Lahore: Feb 8, 2013
Organisers of Pakistan’s first major Twenty20 league, which has been hit by a warning over security fears, Friday postponed the contest but said it was due to the “overwhelming response” from players.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had planned to stage the Pakistan Super League (PSL) from March 26 as the first step towards reviving international cricket in the country.
No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus during a Test match in Lahore in 2009 and the country is still rocked by almost daily bombings and shootings.
The PCB says around 80 foreign players have already signed for the league but a warning from the Federation of Cricketers Association to international players not to tour has also prompted Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa to hint their players will not feature in the PSL.
Despite the warnings, the PCB said the reason for rescheduling the event was that they needed more time to tackle the overwhelming response.
“PSL got an overwhelming response from sponsors, broadcasters and players. However, there are several other investors who would like us to give them more time for our various rights,” PSL managing director Salman Sarwar Butt said, without announcing new dates.
The PCB will be hard pressed to find another time slot soon as the sixth edition of the more lucrative and attractive Indian Premier League will be held April 3-May 26.
Reports in Pakistani media suggested that the PSL could also be hit by general elections due in May, with the pre-poll preparations starting next month.
PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf said the extra breathing space would give his board a better opportunity to prepare.
“We envisage that as suggested, the shift in our timelines will drive more interested stakeholders towards the PSL and make this one of the most sought after leagues in the cricketing world,” Ashraf was quoted as saying in the PCB statement.