Quetta Gladiators emerged champions of the HBL PSL fourth edition on March 17. More than 50 foreign players and a large number of officials travelled to Pakistan, and the stars like Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo were all praise for arrangements in Karachi.
Man-of-the-tournament and best batsman, Watson said: "These were wonderful five weeks of cricket, and especially the stay in Karachi was unforgettable. We were really bowled over by the passion of fans in Karachi. It was heartening to see housefuls during all the eight matches at the National Stadium Karachi."
The fans flocked to the National Stadium Karachi in droves, and even the ground was packed for an inconsequential match like Lahore Qalandars vs Multan Sultans. It was a big difference between the matches in the UAE and Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that PSL fifth edition will be held in Pakistan and he said as a player how difficult it is to play a match in a near empty stadium.
The security officers of different cricket boards and International Cricket Council have visited Karachi during the PSL and looked satisfied with the security arrangements. The ICC CEO David Richardson witnessed the final and hoped the days are not far away when international teams will start visiting Pakistan.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani said that hosting of last eight PSL matches in Karachi has boosted the credibility of the board and he hopes international teams should not have any issues to visit Pakistan.
"This was a remarkable endorsement of the PSL. Due to the geo-political situation, it was important that we demonstrated that Pakistan is capable of holding such an event," Mani said.
Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism as the country has lost over 70,000 lives in the process. The country's army and security agencies have fought bravely and won the war against the menace.
The PCB Chief added: "If cricket stops due to terrorism then it's a victory for the terrorists. Players' safety is, of course, important and cannot be risked but the game must go on too."
The PSL has produced players like Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan in the previous three editions. The fourth event is no exception as some of the youngsters are being touted as future prospects for Pakistan.
Fast bowlers Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, spinner Umer Khan and batsman Ahsan Ali are the finds of the latest PSL.
Rauf is a tear away fast bowler from Rawalpindi who represented Lahore Qalandars in the tournament. He is the product of talent-hunt programme by Qalandars and coach Aaqib Javed has a very high opinion about the quickie.
Qalandars again finished at the bottom, but the youngster has really impressed with his speed and swing. He hopes to represent Pakistan in the near future.
Young Hasnain has touched 150 mark during the tournament, and his performance in the final helped Quetta lift the trophy.
He bowled brilliantly and grabbed three important wickets to contain Peshawar Zalmi to 138. The young fast bowler was declared man-of-the-final and his future looks bright.
Hasnain has been selected to represent Pakistan against Australia in the ODI series against Australia in the UAE.
His performance against Australia may help him to get selected for the World Cup squad to be held in England.
The tournament proved a boon for captain Sarfraz Ahmed as Quetta won the tournament finally after finishing runners-up twice.
He showed great improvement as a captain, and it will help him in national duty as the World Cup is approaching.
"It has been my wish to play in front of the home crowd, and I won a major trophy in Karachi. I am thankful to my team and crowd for support," Sarfraz said.
By Liaqat Ali
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