Tuesday Feb 23, 2021
With the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 limited to just the major hubs of Karachi and Lahore due to Covid-19, cricket fans in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi are disappointed at missing out and want the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to give them a greater number of share next year.
Cricket fans in the federal capital and its surroundings had ensured capacity crowds in the few PSL matches that took place in Rawalpindi last year.
“We anxiously waited for the PSL VI and were confident that the Pindi Stadium will get its due share for this edition but the news of confining this year’s league to only two venues shocked us. Pindi’s crowd is more supportive and energetic as compared to any other city. Even the 20 percent crowd would have made its presence felt at the Pindi Stadium,” Yasir Shakil, a local club cricketer, said.
He added that the PCB should have distributed matches among the three major cities instead of restricting the matches to just two. “Pindi crowd always loved to watch their heroes in action especially when it comes to T20 cricket. But this time around we would miss the live action at the stadium,” Humair Manzoor, a local club owner, said.
Tehseen Ahmed, who runs a cricket club in Islamabad, demanded major share of matches for the Pindi Stadium during the next PSL season. “InshaAllah by the time next PSL will be held, the Covid-19 pandemic would be a history. In the next edition, the Pindi Stadium will surely get more matches including the playoffs. I still believe hosting the matches at three venues was very much possible. Admitted that Karachi and Lahore are major cities, there is a need to spread the matches to other cities also. Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar will be ready next year. The PCB is requested to allot more matches to this region,” he said.
Faisal Suleman urged the PCB to build a new stadium in the city. “Be it Islamabad or Rawalpindi, there is a need for a state-of-the-art cricket stadium. The fan following for the game is growing day by day. Pindi Stadium is already becoming overcrowded when it comes to organizing T20 matches. I hope the PCB would soon give a go-ahead to the construction of new stadium in the area.”
However, a university student Ashar Ali was enjoying the PSL matches even in front of the mini screen. “I support the PCB’s decision to pick two cities for the PSL VI as these are difficult times. What we need is continuity. India organised all the IPL matches in Dubai last year and PCB is making all-out efforts to keep the PSL within the country. Hopefully, the things would improve drastically. By that time, I would prefer watching the PSL on mini-screens especially on Geo Sports which is my favourite channel.”