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'Wanted to bring back the smiles' - Sammy

Darren Sammy, the Peshawar Zalmi captain, was one of nine overseas players who travelled to Lahore for the PSL final despite the security threat and his reason for doing so was to "bring back the smiles" on the faces of the fans.

Pakistan has hosted only one series of international cricket since the 2009 attacks on the Sri Lanka team and even then there had been the issue of a bombing on the edge of the security perimeter. Moreover, leading up to Sunday's match, there had been worrisome incidents across the country, including one in Lahore's own Defence Housing Authority. A blast had killed at least 10 people and left a dozen injured.

Pakistan did their best to mitigate the situation. The government's paramilitary force was deployed at Gaddafi stadium and the Rangers only made up one part of at least 10,000 security personal, which also included the Punjab police.

Sammy was one of four first-choice overseas players for Peshawar to still make the trip, along with West Indies team-mate Marlon Samuels and England's Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan.

Quetta, however, lost a major part of the reason they made the final in the first place, when Kevin Pietersen, Tymal Mills, Rilee Rossouw, Luke Wright and Nathan McCullum had pulled out of the match. They had to make do with last-minute changes, bringing in Bangladesh's Anamul Haque, South Africa's Morne van Wyk, Zimbabwe's Sean Ervine and West Indies' Rayad Emrit.

The final was played with more than 22,000 people in attendance, who had assembled outside the ground in the afternoon in order to get through three layers of security before reaching their seats. And with Shahid Afridi out injured, Sammy was the one they cheered for the most.

"To me it was more than just a game," he said after Peshawar won the second edition of the PSL. "It started with the draft. Lala [Afridi] made the big announcement that I would be the captain and one of our mottos was to bring back the smiles so I felt tonight I brought a lot of smiles in Lahore and Peshawar. It is an amazing day and this trophy means a lot."

The Federation of International Cricketers' Association, in January, had warned that safety for the PSL final in Lahore could not be guaranteed and it wasn't until 24 hours before the match that the foreign players taking part in it were confirmed.

"When you have not been in a place you always have your doubts," Sammy said. "You get different views, different opinions. But I spoke to Javed [Afridi, the Peshawar team owner] and Shahid Afridi and they influenced my decision to come here. All the boys just made the decision that we are part of something that we are coming down here for a good cause. The fans here deserve to see their players playing as they haven't seen it for quite a while. I am glad I came here.

"I have enjoyed playing a cricket match [in Lahore] and I have even enjoyed being with the security guys as I have never seen something like this before so it was a good experience. It is hopefully a step in the right direction, where things could happen. What I can say is that being here felt like playing in St Lucia, playing in India or anywhere else in the world. And like I said at the toss, today I felt cricket was the winner."

The PCB had invited security advisors from the ICC and its member countries to watch the PSL final. Reports suggest they are keen to invite Bangladesh to tour Pakistan sometime in the future.