ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi termed hosting of Pakistan Super League final in Karachi is a great initiative of Pakistan Cricket Board and it would pave the way for international cricket return to this part of the country.
Afridi expressed these views while talking exclusively to The Nation on Saturday. He said off course international cricket and PSL matches were conducted in Pakistan but only at Lahore and now it will give a very clear and loud message to international community that Karachi can host any kind of international event as well.
“I feel PSL matches should be conducted in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and other major cities of the country as well and international players and teams must come to play in Pakistan. West Indies is coming to play in Karachi that is very good for cricket itself and off course for the people of Karachi especially the youth, who are deprived of watching international cricket at their city since long.”
Afridi said he was missing Karachi Kings in the final as they had worked very hard and played some fantastic cricket throughout the PSL. “Unfortunately, first Imad got injured and then I had to face one after another injury. I even then tried my level best and played through pain-barrier. Karachi should have been in the final and it would have put icing on the cake.”
However he congratulated both the finalists and said it would be a historic occasion and he would be definitely cheering for cricket and Pakistan. “As a Pakistani it is our national duty to celebrate such occasion. I know, Karachi is cricket-mad city and people love and respect their heroes. The good thing is finally the PSL ahs come to this city, which had given Pakistan cricket countless mega stars. I feel for the Karachi youth but now things will go in right direction. When international teams and players are not coming, cricket suffers badly. No one can claim that only that particular country or city suffers in the absence of international cricket. In fact entire system suffers and it is duty of every cricket-lover and promoter to provide equal opportunities to all the stake-holders. It is the one and only realistic way of defeating the terrorism-menace as terrorism is joint enemy and we all had to unite against terrorists, who had no religion and they simply don’t want to let youth flourish.” When asked about how much painful for him that he is not playing on his home soil and last year he missed the PSL final in Lahore as well due to injury and now this year, he had to sit out in the eliminator and how much it costs Karachi Kings, Afridi replied: “I was playing well and was enjoying great form with leather and willow and helping my team flourish. At this stage, my team had badly needed me to play. Obviously I was disappointed as well as for long time I wanted to play in Pakistan and public could watch me playing at home soil. But off course, dreams are not always fulfilled. Injury forced me to sit out and unfortunately I was not able to play the must-win encounter.”
Anyhow it is part of life. Things are not in your hands. I am happy that PSL is gaining huge popularity with each passing day. Some of the biggest cricketing stars are part of the PSL and I am sure next year more cities will host PSL matches and if not entire, then at least half or may be more matches would be held in Pakistan, which I feel is huge achievement. Our armed forces, government and people had given tremendous sacrifices and the day is not far with the active help of armed forces and people, full-fledge international cricket will return to Pakistan and country will host number of ICC events and other bilateral series,” Afridi concluded.