The Pakistan Super League kicked off its second season by reconfirming that the final will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Najam Sethi, the PSL chairman, was at the unveiling ceremony of the winner's trophy in Dubai with the five captains, and he said he would be briefing each franchise on Tuesday about the exhaustive security measures that have been taken for smooth conduct of the match on March 5.
"I want to reiterate on this occasion that the final of the PSL will be in Lahore. Let there be no confusion about that," Sethi said. "Tomorrow at 11am, there will be a meeting with all the franchise owners and foreign players where I will give details of the preparations we are making for security and safety for Lahore, which will be endorsed for their satisfaction by the ICC and other player associations."
It is not yet clear how the PCB will manage to obtain endorsements of Lahore's security arrangements from player associations. Last month, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) issued a report warning that an "acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed" in Pakistan. In response, the PCB accused FICA of doing "great disservice to the cause of Pakistan cricket in particular" and called their approach "careless and cavalier", which then prompted FICA to issue a justification.
Since that spat, Giles Clarke, the ECB president and head of the ICC-constituted Pakistan Task Force, has visited Lahore to meet with the PCB as well as Punjab government officials about the security measures that have been taken to try and bring international teams back to Pakistan. It is believed Clarke shared details of his trip with member boards at the ICC meetings this past weekend in Dubai.
As opposed to last year, when all the franchise captains were Pakistani, three of the five - Kumar Sangakarra (Karachi Kings), Darren Sammy (Peshawar Zalmi) and Brendon McCullum (Lahore Qalandars) - are foreign players. In addition to the winners' trophy, the PSL introduced trophies for the best batsman, bowler and wicketkeeper of the tournament. They have been named after the late cricketers Hanif Mohammad, Fazal Mahmood and Imtiaz Ahmed respectively.
The season begins on February 9 when defending champions Islamabad United take on Peshawar Zalmi at the Dubai International Stadium.