LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board’s shrewd move of shifting the National T20 Cup to Lahore from Karachi despite it being at loggerheads with the Punjab government has received a good response with a joint meeting of the local administration and the PCB having been convened for Tuesday.
It represents a huge breakthrough in the relations between the two since the PCB had alleged that a lacklustre attitude of the Punjab government in ensuring security for the Bangladesh cricket team had resulted in the postponement of their proposed tour of the country in April.
The conflict was further aggravated after the local government demolished the under-construction outer wall of the Gaddafi Stadium, which was being built to make the entrance in the stadium safer.
Thereafter, incidents where district authorities of Gujranwala and Sialkot did not allow the PCB to hold the national under-19 match between Sialkot and Peshawar last week and a match of the same tournament being disturbed as senior Punjab Minister Sardar Zulifqar Khan Khosa made the Jinnah Stadium a landing spot for his helicopter had further strained relations.
In reaction to that, the PCB shifted two matches of the President’s Trophy to Islamabad and Mirpur Khas from Faisalabad and Sialkot respectively.
Despite all that, the PCB has shifted its marquee tournament to Lahore as it has the potential to attract thousands of fans to the stadium and with large scale security measures needed for that, it seems the PCB has reposed its confidence into the abilities of the Punjab government.
“Our preferred choice for holding the Faysal Bank National T20 tournament was Karachi, as it has the perfect weather for such a tournament,” a PCB spokesman told Dawn.
“We had been monitoring the situation in Karachi very closely but owing to the recent surge in the unrest, we reluctantly moved the tournament to Lahore.
“The last edition of the same tournament was shifted to Karachi due to the dengue scare in Lahore. For us, each city in Pakistan is equally important but behind any decision, the priority is to protect the larger interest of the game.”