PCB brings in international officials for PSL

Sohail Tanvir runs in Associated Press

The PCB has confirmed the inclusion of former ICC match referee Mike Procter and former elite panel umpires Russell Tiffin and Rudi Koertzen for the upcoming Pakistan Super League, a Twenty20 tournament starting on March 25.

"Apart from Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf [who are from Pakistan], three other esteemed international match officials have confirmed their participation," the PCB said in a statement. "In addition, preparation is proceeding apace in all other aspects and the team is well on track with its plans for broadcasters and sponsorship."

Although the PCB hasn't named the foreign players to take part in the event, the addition of the three match officials is a notable scoop, after FICA's advice to players not to travel to Pakistan because of security concerns.

Procter, who stood down as an ICC match referee in 2008 to become Cricket South Africa's convener of selectors, last visited Pakistan in June that year to officiate the Asia Cup matches.

"I am delighted to announce that I have agreed to be one of the Match Referees in the upcoming Pakistan Super League," Procter was quoted as saying by PCB. "I was approached by the PSL management team and after due consideration, I am looking forward to being a part of this exciting event in Pakistan.

"It is unfortunate that Pakistan and its fans do not currently enjoy their beloved international cricket stars at home and this cannot remain so. I am willing to get involved, and to help change perceptions about cricket being played in Pakistan."

Tiffin, a Zimbabwean umpire, was part of ICC's elite panel of umpires from 1995, and his last assignment in the country was to officiate Bangladesh's tour of Pakistan in 2003. "I have been to Pakistan before on cricketing assignments and I am keen to take part in the PSL," Tiffin said. "With the talent we know that exists in Pakistan, I am sure this competition will be quite a spectacle and I cannot wait to be a part of it.

"I know about the challenges that Pakistan cricket faces and I know from my own experiences at home how perceptions can cloud the realities. I am confident that the PCB can deliver a safe and secure event."

Tiffin last officiated an international match in 2009, and since then has been engaged with ICC tournaments featuring associate teams.

The other umpire Koertzen stood in 209 ODIs, a record, and in 108 Tests before retiring in 2010. On accepting the offer, he said: "We all know that Pakistan is going through a trying phase and we in the cricket family need to do what we can to help. It remains a very vibrant cricketing nation that always impresses us with its resilience. I have never had any problem umpiring in Pakistan, and I am actually looking forward to go over and catch up with old friends."