LAHORE - Sensational and somewhat highly touching scenes were witnessed during the second T20 of the Independence Cup between Pakistan and World XI here at Qaddafi Stadium Wednesday.

Pakistan Cricket Board, entire management, security agencies and all those who are involved in holding the series in highly befitting manner deserve all the credit. Long queues were witnessed well before the start of the second T20.

The most astonishing thing to witness was the presence of foreigners in the shuttle bus services provided by the PCB.

When this correspondent asked them why they choose to come and watch the match, they informed that they wanted to be the part of the history-making event. “We had heard so much about Pakistan and fans. We had been told lot of fantasy stories about how hospitable and highly passionate are the people of Pakistan and trust us we had watched through our eyes as we were given such awesome and memorable welcome by the crowd and people wherever we go in the stands, “ they said. The PCB and Punjab government had ensured free shuttle service for the ticket holders from three entry points. Security agencies personnel were very much present to ensure people maintain discipline. It was fun, festivity al-around as people from all age groups gathered in huge numbers with their faces painted in national flag colour. Holding different sound instruments and looked highly determined to back up both teams. It was amazing to witness that local youth was supporting World XI rather than the home team. When this scribe asked a Pakistani-born British national, Muhammad Saddiq Ali, who especially arrived from Walthamstow, England to witness matches, hoped that international cricket will return to Pakistan after long gap. “I took one-week leave form my workplace just to be in Lahore,” he told.

While sharing his views OGDCL Sports Board Vice President Chaudhry Ajmal Sabir, who is also chairman Bhutto Cricket Academy,  said: “It is a historic occasion as cricket is back in Pakistan and that too with full bang. I would like to congratulate PCB Chairman Najam Sethi, ICC, security agencies and World XI players, for coming and supporting Pakistan cricket at the time of need. I am sure, after the World XI visit, more international teams will come and play full series.”

Security agencies gave complete respect to the spectators and all those, having valid tickets or complementary passes were allowed to proceed towards Gaddafi Stadium. But police deputed at main entrance of the stadium, not only misbehaved with the masses, but also tried their level best to create ugly situation. The media persons were told not to carry laptops and other required stuff with them despite showing the luggage and informing them that without laptops, how sports journalists could perform their official duties. But the junior staff deputed at main gates was not ready to listen to any argument and informed sports journalists to contact their senior, who was sitting relaxed and was hardly bothered to address to the concerns. After almost several minutes delay, sports journalists were finally allowed to carry their laptops.

Highly pathetic arrangements were witnessed at media centre as wifi was completely outdated and journalists were requesting PCB staff to provide them with internet, but all their respects fell onto deaf ears.

Like inaugural T20, crowd was not in huge numbers. The PCB had claimed tall claims regarding houseful and jam-packed stadium, but PCB Chairman Najam Sethi himself admitted that 80 percent seats were covered on the first day and same was the case on the second day as well. The crowd doesn’t looked like as charged up as it was expected as galaxy of international stars were present while PCB had also picked a decent side. Things could have been much better, had proper arrangements were made at main points as valid ticket-holders return home due to highly non-professional attitude of the persons deployed at main gates, which could have easily filled the vacant seats. It is hoped the PCB will learn from minor mistakes and not to repeat same m mistakes in the third and last T20.