KARACHI - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has again reiterated that both Sri Lanka and West Indies will be touring Pakistan, despite rumours circulating to the contrary.

Addressing a press conference, Sethi said: “The full-strength Sri Lankan team is coming to Pakistan. I don’t know who has been circulating these rumours but the Sri Lanka Cricket president has insisted that the full strength team will be coming to Pakistan.” He also insisted that West Indies will also be travelling to the country soon. “We are in talks with the West Indian team as well,” he said.

Fawad Alam’s continued non-selection in the Pakistan team is anybody’s guess, but PCB chairman Najam Sethi had something to say about the perplexing matter. He said chief selector Inzamam, not him, should be asked this question. “Ask Inzamam about Fawad’s non-selection. I won’t recommend on his behalf. I can recommend him but I cannot force the selectors. If you feel that Fawad Alam should be selected, then [you should] pressurize Inzamam.”

Sethi insists that he is doing everything he can for cricket to return to the National Stadium of Karachi, the iconic stadium that has been devoid of major cricket since 2009. “We are talking about the return of international cricket to Pakistan and it won’t exactly be complete until we play matches in Karachi too; just bringing teams to Lahore isn’t the return of international cricket in its true sense,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to bring PSL to Karachi this time around.”

The PSL head revealed that he has met Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah as they iron out security arrangements. “The key in convincing cricketers to come here is to get the approval of the International Cricket Council’s security company,” said Sethi. “That company is associated with player committees all over the world. If we get the green light from them, then I don’t think the players will have any issues.” With the final of PSL2 having already taken place in Lahore, Sethi said the PCB is sharing that knowledge with Sindh. “The Sindh government will be handed the security plan that was devised for Lahore,” he said. “They will then take a look at it and let us know what can be arranged. We will then provide our input after consulting our own security company. Then we will invite ICC’s company to come have a look at it.”

Sethi expressed optimism over the entire play-offs and final taking place in Karachi and Lahore this time around. “Hopefully, Sri Lanka and West Indies would have toured Pakistan before PSL3, so we would have a lot of convincing power.”

“I am trying to convince all parties to play in Karachi, CM and Rangers for security, franchises for foreign players, ICC security for green light and authorities to complete work in National Stadium within due time,” Sethi added.

"Work has been completed on Karachi's Centre for Excellence [of Cricket] and it will be made functional as soon as possible. Mudassir Nazar and I interviewed three candidates to head the centre and a decision will be made soon," he announced. "I admit that this centre is more important than the one in Lahore and I believe the creation of it has already been delayed by 10 years," Sethi added.

With reports circulating regarding chief selector Inzamamul Haq’s involvement in a proposed T10 league and the PCB’s unhappiness over that, Sethi was quick to point out that that was not the case. “Firstly, Inzamam is not actively involved,” said Sethi. “Secondly, even if he was, he is with us as a consultant and is therefore not obligated to stop his other businesses as long as there isn’t a conflict of interest.”

The PCB chairman also said the board has no problem with the league and even said Pakistan’s players will participate in it as long as there isn’t any international or domestic commitments. “The UAE cricket board is very eager to have something permanent there,” said Sethi. “They have realised we will be returning to Pakistan sooner or later so they don’t want their stadiums to just sit empty and gather dust. That is why they want the T10 league to take place.”

IG Sindh orders audit of

National Stadium security

Inspector General of Police (IG) A.D. Khowaja met with PCB's Security In-charge, retired colonel Azam Khan, in relation to the PCB's plans for PSL fixtures in Karachi and subsequently issued orders for a security audit of the National Stadium.

During the meeting, which was held at the Central Police Office, security arrangements for the matches to be played in Karachi during PSL were discussed. Additional Inspector General (AIG) Mushtaq Ahmed Mahir, Special Branch AIG Dr Waliullah Dil, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) headquarters, the DIGs East and South, the senior superintendent of police security's special branch, and the inspector general operations were in attendance at the meeting.

IG Khowaja nominated the DIG East as the focal person for all security matters related to the Karachi matches ad advised him to conduct a security audit of the National Stadium in coordination with the Additional IG of the Special Branch. Khowaja also asked the DIG to file a report of the audit so that fool-proof security plans could be devised.

He added that the security plan should meet international standards and include the Sindh Rangers and other law enforcement agencies. He further ordered the DIG East to oversee the security in areas surrounding the stadium, while ordering the DIG South to oversee the plan for nearby residential areas.

The IGP also ordered that stickers be issued for the parking of cars belonging to VIP persons. Security arrangements should also be made for players and other staff members at airports, their places of stay during the PSL games, and the routes they will be taking, it was decided in the meeting. The AIG Karachi was made in charge of supervising the security plans, it was reported.