LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board has reportedly not invited PTI chairman Imran Khan and other former cricketers to witness Pakistan Super League final to be held here at Gaddafi Stadium on March 5.

Provisional decision of the cricket authority has come in over PTI chief’s opposition of holding the match in Pakistan terming it a security risk. Earlier this week, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan branded PTI chief’s stance an attempt to score political points over sports. He had criticised the leader of an opposition party alleging for discouraging return of international cricket to Pakistan. However, Imran Khan’s stance was endorsed by former president and co-chair of PPP Asif Ali Zardari, who had declared the PSL final in Pakistan a security risk.

Reportedly, the PCB has also not invited Abdul Qadir, Sarfraz Nawaz and Javed Miandad, when there are enclosures by their names. It should be mentioned here that Sarfraz Nawaz had leveled allegations against PSL chairman Najam Sethi and PCB chief in the recent past.

Later, former Test stalwarts Javed Miandad, Sadiq Muhammad, Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz also confirmed that they had not been invited to witness the PSL final. “Though several enclosures of the Gaddafi Stadium have been named after us, but it was quite unfortunate that the PCB did not extend us the invitation to witness the final,” they said.

“It is not the right way to treat national heroes of the game, who had served the game with pride and honour and brought laurels for the country,” they added.

They said PCB was treating them indifferently, which was not appropriate and they should be given due respect and regard as they served the national team in the past and put up best their performance and created world records for their country. “In the present scenario, we consider ourselves as showpiece and we think that PCB only gives respect to the foreign players and ignores its own heroes,” they said.

Meanwhile, it was also learnt that former PCB chairmen Khalid Mehmood and Ijaz Butt were also not invited to witness the PSL final. Former PCB CEO Hanif Abbasi was also in the list of those, who were not bothered to invite for the final.

Ex-cricketers believe PSL to prove fruitful for Pakistan

Former Pakistan cricket captain Intikhab Alam and Zaheer Abbas Thursday said that the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final will send a positive message to the world that Pakistan is safe to host elite cricket events.

“It is going to be a big cricket event after past many years and the successful staging of the final will help in portraying softer image of the country across the globe,” they said.

“The PSL final will forge national unity bringing closer the people of the country, who want resumption of cricket as there is no international cricket since 2009,” said Intikhab Alam, who led Pakistan from 1969-73 and also served the game in different roles for more than three decades.

He said the PSL final would serve the national cricket and youth would get big inspiration while watching their and foreign players in action in their own backyard. “There is a dire need to bring back international cricket to Pakistan and we must build on the success of PSL final for creating an atmosphere, which is conducive for international cricket. The participation of foreign players in the final will be a step forward to build their confidence.”

Former ICC president Zaheer said that the PSL final would also help in restoring Pakistan image at the highest forum of International Cricket Council (ICC), sending a positive message that situation is improving with each passing day in Pakistan for the resumption of international cricket.

“It is not just a final of a cricket league, it is going to be a deciding moment in Pakistan cricket and collective efforts are needed to make it a big success,” said Zaheer, who is also SBP director cricket academies.

He said the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the PSL authorities had put in years long efforts to see that the PSL final was being played in Pakistan. “The response of the Federal and Punjab governments is tremendous as they are extending all-out cooperation to this make this event a success. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is personally taking interest for the peaceful conduct of the final of this mega event.”

Both the former captains were of the view that the PSL had unearthed new cricket talent and a few players had proved their metal and potential to be a part of the national team. “The PSL league and its final will definitively add to the confidence of the young players, who are in the process of making and by playing alongside foreign players they will be able to gain excellence in their game,” they added. They welcomed the inclusion of four foreign players in each team of the final and wished good luck to both the finalist teams.