Pakistan news September 18, 2015

PSL should be played in Pakistan - Afridi

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Shahid Afridi: "Our cricket should be played within our own territory. It looks good if our grounds get revived, filled with crowds and our own players get the maximum benefit out of it." © AFP

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan T20 captain, has said the Pakistan Super League (PSL) should be held within the country, with or without overseas players. The PCB had announced recently that the inaugural edition of the league would be held in Doha, Qatar in February 2016.

"It would be great if PSL could have been held in Pakistan," Afridi said. "As we were talking about the revival of cricket in Pakistan after the Zimbabwe tour to Pakistan, we started to hope that cricket would continue to be played here. Our cricket should be played within our own territory. It looks good if our grounds get revived, filled with crowds and our own players get the maximum benefit out of it."

The PSL, ESPNcricinfo understands, had initially contacted top agencies handling over 100 international players to consider playing in Pakistan. The response was overwhelmingly negative, which forced the PSL to be held outside Pakistan.

The Zimbabwe tour in May was widely propagated as heralding the revival of international cricket in Pakistan, but a suicide attack near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore during the second ODI meant the rest of the cricket world remained unconvinced. Though Zimbabwe stayed on to play the third and final ODI, the incident ruined the efforts made to revive international cricket in Pakistan.

Last month, the PCB finally zeroed in on Doha as the venue for the PSL, for which prominent T20 players such as Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo have signed up. Afridi, however, said that what mattered more than overseas signings was that young Pakistan cricketers should get the chance to play at home.

"I am not worried if foreign players come or not, but what is important is the revival of cricket in Pakistan and (that) our youngsters get opportunity to play in front of big crowds," Afridi said. "It isn't possible that we invite foreigners and (they) do not come. I spoke to some players and they are ready to come. If we give good offers to foreign players I don't see any reason why they won't come. The circumstances of our country are getting better and better."

When asked about the prospect of Pakistan playing India, Afridi said it would be "bigger than the Ashes" but added that Pakistan should move on if India does not want to play.

Cricketing ties between the countries have been snapped by border and political tension. Despite an agreement between the PCB and the BCCI, the chances of the series slated for December going ahead appear bleak. The BCCI had signed an MOU to play Pakistan in six series between 2015 and 2023, with the first to be hosted by the PCB in the UAE in December. The series, however, was always subject to government approval.

"I don't know why we are pushing for India series," Afridi said. "There are other teams as well so we should be focusing on reviving our own home grounds. We have to work on the basic things and making them strong. Why insist on playing with India? I don't see any need to play if they don't want to play. We have invited them and if they do not want to play then it shouldn't be a worry. We are still happy.

"Pakistan has always welcomed India, last time when India toured Pakistan nobody has seen such a welcome to any team in the world. We have always supported India in tough times but it's their government decision. But I understand people from both countries want to see their teams play each other. If we play each other it would be a bigger series than the Ashes."

The Pakistan limited-overs squads are presently undergoing a conditioning camp at Gaddafi Stadium. Pakistan are set to play two T20s and three ODIs against Zimbabwe from September 27 to October 5. The trip is meant to reciprocate the Zimbabwe tour to Pakistan earlier this year.

Afridi said Pakistan were not underestimating their opponents. "Obviously no doubt they are a fine side. I never underestimate any team especially in T20 format as once the game slips out of your hand it's really hard to fight back. They are playing so well and I have seen their recent performances. They are in form as a team. Playing at their home ground in their own conditions is always tough. Even the matches here in Pakistan, in our home series, we never won them with ease.

"We are preparing and the series is allowing us to try many new faces ahead of the World T20. There are many players who impressed me in this (domestic) T20 cup but we can't afford to make many changes at once. We are going to make a settled side ahead of the World T20."

Pakistan will depart from Lahore for Harare on September 23.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 25, 2015, 13:28 GMT

    i want to see this squads: Test: 1:Shan 2:Azhar 3:Babar 4:Fawad 5:Haris 6:Sarfraz 7:Imad 8:Wahab 9:Anwar 10:Yasir 11:Imran junior

    ODI: 1:Ahmed 2:Azhar 3:Iftikhar 4:Rizwan 5:Sohaib 6:Imad 7:Sarfraz 8:Yamin 9:Wahab 10:Yasir 11:Irfan

    T20: 1:Nauman 2:Iftikhar 3:Bilal asif 4:Rizwan 5:Sohaib 6:Sarfraz 7:imad 8:Yamin/Usama 9:Anwar 10:Wahab 11:Imran junior. gives you alot of options. batting is upto #10. and 6 bowlers. can make alot of combinations according to the conditions: in spin friendly you can play 4 spiners & 3 quicks in seam conditions you can play 4quicks & 2 spinners.

  • Haleos on September 22, 2015, 6:44 GMT

    Yeah right Afridi. Who will come?

  • fguy on September 21, 2015, 21:23 GMT

    think the organisers have missed out a "M" in the league's acronym

    cant wait for bcci to get the blame when it (inevitably) fails.

  • ammar7may on September 21, 2015, 16:13 GMT

    Afridi is right. If PSL could ensure 20 international cricketers of low profile to Pakistan, this was way better than the overseas. Afridi alone could have brought 3-4 players. 2-3 could come from Zimbabwe. 2-3 from SL. Anyway, let the first edition happen overseas, then evaluate the plus and minuses of the event to be held in Pak. KP, Gayle and Mathews are good prospects.

  • Baundele on September 21, 2015, 15:56 GMT

    Afridi has completely ignored that most important thing "money". Without foreign stars such a T20 league will not earn much money for the PCB. The best option the PCB "could have" got is to organize it in Bangladesh. Bangladesh provides a huge cricket fans that watch every form of cricket. However, the relation between the two boards is not very amicable. PCB pushed Bangladesh too much for touring Pakistan, which the BCB will not do because the fans are against it.

    For the sake of Pakistan cricket the PCB should overcome its ego and try to build healthy relationships with the BCCI, the BCB and the SLC. That would solve most of its monetary problems. Wishing a success to the PSL.

  • CricPatriot on September 21, 2015, 9:45 GMT

    Afridi might be right, what we are doing is defeating the big teams on their home ground. Anyways check the statistics & realize. In regards to UAE venue for PSL and their attitude towards not hosting it, UAE forgets easily who brought cricket to them along with so many profitable business including Emirates Airlines. They are thankless & in the shackles of Big Guns. I am really happy that the venue is Qatar as Qatar I feel is going to be the center of attraction of all sporting events. A peice of advise to PCB try to add teams from India, Bangladesh & Sirlanka like similar to Lahore Badshah in ICL. That will definitely generate the huge crowd & ofcourse the revinue too.

  • Bling01 on September 20, 2015, 21:07 GMT

    Hah! These simpletons actually thought that the money was in the bank and all they have to do is to laugh all the way to it!?!? Man, it's not even a contract, that holds up in a court of law, these are MOUs. And guess who they are looking at for support-BCCI! You really don't need an advance IQ to understand what is going on. Soon as India started to realize the proportion of their market size was the moment they started to put Pakistan down every chance they got. Refusal to play, shutting IPL doors on Pakistan cricket, they did not miss a trick. Why O why are we dying to play with them? So we can get a few lousy bucks? That could be achieved by simply cleaning PCB up of all the leeches and just playing cricket any chance you get. I am positive that we are experiencing a reemergence of Pak cricket talent. Does Afridi not know that good or bad we do have domestic cricket and has been so for past 65 years. All of our talent came out of it - few exceptions of course but it has been here.

  • ahmednaveed on September 20, 2015, 19:14 GMT

    totally Agree with Afridi , Pakistan have a huge cricket viewers and fans in its own country , We dont need to play any series with India and need to focus on establishing our own local leagues in Pakistan .

  • AllanofSouza on September 20, 2015, 11:49 GMT

    If Pakistan wants to play a league in Pakistan they will first need to change the name from Pakistan Super League to simply Pakistan League because they would be nothing 'Super' about it. A super league evolves from having Super players. Pakistan and Zimbabwe is unfortunately not the formula.

  • scooby_007 on September 20, 2015, 11:27 GMT

    @ARISTOTLE: You seem to be offended just because Afridi said not to chase India. Why would that burn and offend you? No fan of Afridi, but I have to agree with him. So grow up, man. I personally have to agree with a level headed Indian in here, and that'd be "Indocriclover". Well said, Indo.

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