ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has said that bringing full-fledged international to Pakistan is top priority and soon the country will be hosting top cricket playing nations.

Talking to media after the PSL final at National Stadium Karachi on late Sunday night, Sethi said: “Next year, the things will be better and I am sure with the help of our people, we will be able to conduct more and more international matches on Pakistani soil. Besides PSL, we will try to bring more international teams to Pakistan and also try to convince ICC to allocate some major tournaments to Pakistan. The time is not so far, when full-fledged international cricket will be played on Pakistani soil.”

He said he had offered Imran Khan to come and witness the historic occasion. “I was ready to open the door of Imran Khan’s car, but he never turned up. Anyhow, as I promised to bring PSL to Pakistan and international matches, I had lived up to the expectations and soon after the PSL, now the West Indies team is coming to play three-match T20 series against Pakistan from April 1 to 3 at National Stadium, Karachi.”

He said it would have not been possible without government, security forces and determined Pakistan, who wanted to conduct matches in Pakistan, I am also highly grateful to ICC security team, who visited Karachi and give satisfactory report, without involving ICC and major stake-holders, we can’t even think about conducting matches on Pakistani soil.

He said after the West Indies, there is a also very good news for cricket-crazy nation while next year, as I promised, around half of the PSL matches would be played in Pakistan. We will try to conduct matches in Islamabad and Peshawar as well, while we also want to expand matches to other major cities of the country.

“The way international stars looked satisfied and the way Karachi was presenting a bridal look, it has sent a very positive and clear message to international community that Pakistan is completely safe for hosting every kind of international matches,” he added.

To a query regarding refusal of a lot of international players to visit Pakistan to play and its solution, Sethi said: “We are working on it and the players has an agreement in place, but sometimes, we have to understand if players are not willing to come and play in Pakistan, we can’t force them.”

PROUD MOMENT TO WIN TITLE FOR UNITED: JP Duminy

Islamabad United stand-in captain JP Duminy has said that it was proud moment for him to win the title for Islamabad United. “I am highly satisfied with my decision to travel to Pakistan with Islamabad United despite the fact that I was under tremendous pressure from different quarters, but I took right decision to play captain United in the final of PSL, which is second to none.”

Talking to media, Duminy said: “United played like true champions. We were like family and the way youngsters gelled in the team was really amazing. I am grateful to United management for putting faith in my leadership abilities. Wherever I had played in the leagues, I had never won the title, but for United, I managed to win title finally, which is the best feeling and proud moment for me. “When I signed United, I was not aware that I had to lead the team in Misbah’s absence due to injury, but frankly, I enjoyed my role as all the players were highly helpful,” he added.

To a query, Duminy said it was wonderful experience to come and play in Pakistan. Pakistani people are very loving and caring and give great respect to their guests.”

Islamabad United will definitely provide Pakistan cricket team a number of young stars like Hussian Talat and Asif Ali, who are bound to play for Pakistan and will shine in the years to come. Faheem Ashraf and all others are also very good. The entire team played like a unit and that’s the main reason behind our success.”

When this scribe asked Ali Naqvi about Misbah’s future, he said: “We want Misbah to be part of United in one or another role. If he wouldn’t represent United as a player, then a key role can be given to him, as we want to take advantage of his vast experience. The way Jones and Waqar combined and utilised options, I am very glad and it is really proud moment for me that Islamabad United won the coveted PSL3 trophy.”

AKRAM REFUSES TO BLAME

KAMRAN FOR PSL FINAL LOSS

Peshawar Zalmi head coach M Akram refused to blame Kamran Akmal for costing Zalmi the PSL final saying each and every member of Zalmi was himself a match-winner.

He said it is not right that Zalmi was relying heavily on Kamran Akml and the highly important drop catch of Asif Ali was the turning point of the match. “The matter of the fact is that we failed to score enough runs on the board and we were completely off colour as at one stage, it looked like we might not be able to post even 130 on the board, but Jordan and Wahab played a key role in making Zalmi’s total somehow respectable.

“But it was Ronchi who simply blew away Zalmi bowlers as he punished all the bowlers at his will. But Wahab and Jordan have controlled the things at certain stage and we were back in the final, but lady luck was not with us, that’s why we lost the final,” he added.

The coach refused to accept that Hassan Ali was very costly. “Hassan was carrying injury and we kept him with the team just to give him exposure and chance to stage comeback. It is never easy to come and bowl after injury, even then Hassan bowled superbly and helped Zalmi win crucial matches.

“I must say young Ibtesam Sheikh is future of Pakistan cricket. I have witnessed leg spinners, who bowl googlies or other varieties, but this lad is a complete leg spinner as he bowls superbly and if provided with training at NCA or picked up by the PCB, he is bound to excel at higher level,” Akram concluded.