Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani on behalf of the PCB, has paid glowing tributes and thanked the die-hard cricket fans, the 39 foreign international players and all the local stars for making the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019 an overwhelming success.
Mani on Monday termed the league a ‘resilient’ event and said it had delivered all event objectives despite tough operational and logistical challenges, caused due to reasons beyond the PCB’s control.
He also thanked all the franchise owners and their players, as well as the Sindh government and all the security agencies involved in providing a safe and secure environment for the commercial partners, players, spectators, officials, media and service providers for the eight Pakistan-leg matches played at the National Stadium.
“The fans made this a truly Pakistan event. Cricket euphoria gripped the entire country as the fans got behind the tournament and made this an overwhelming success,” Mani said, adding: “The fans not only enjoyed and celebrated the festival of cricket, but they also portrayed a very positive image of Pakistan.”
“This is the real power of a nation and I can’t thank the fans enough for the way they got behind the tournament, supported all the teams and applauded good performances,” Mani said.
“The success of any event is gauged by crowd attendance and I am delighted that the overall crowd turnout at the National Stadium over the seven match days was nearly 95 per cent. This reflects the passion and love for cricket here,” said PCB chief adding “I am sad that the Lahore fans were unable to attend the matches due to operational and logistical challenges, but they too contributed in a big way and I am thankful to all those who backed and supported the matches in the larger national interest,” said Mr Mani, a former President of the International Cricket Council.
Mani said the HBL PSL had been designed as a vehicle to resume international cricket in Pakistan, which needs to be played across the country.
“We have gradually increased the number of matches in Pakistan from one to three to eight. I am confident we will have matches at more venues next year. In this relation, we will soon start our preparations for HBL PSL 2020 and in due course share plans on how we can increase fan participation by expanding the league. It is inevitable that more than eight matches at multiple venues will be held in Pakistan in 2020,” he said.
Chairman PCB said despite facing severe mid-series operational and logistical challenges, the league didn’t drop the ball at any stage and continued to maintain its very high standard and quality.
“The 2019 event has shown how resilient this league is. Having lost the production partner in the first week and then the fallout from last month’s turn of events, to pull everything smoothly, flawlessly and professionally reflects the strength and power of this league,” he said.
PCB Chairman stated, “Shane Watson’s decision to come to Karachi after having declined pre-event, is a testament of the confidence he had in the PCB and all the security agencies. It was also a validation that he too considered Karachi as a peaceful and cricket-loving city, while reinforcing his respect and commitment for the league.”
Mani appreciated the cooperation of the Sindh government and all the local law-enforcing agencies.
“I want to pass on my gratitude to the local administration and all the security agencies for their hard work and cooperation. By hosting six high profile teams and staging eight matches in seven days, we have shown the world our capabilities and resources to stage international matches,” he maintained.
He said the quality of cricket was from the top draw. “The league lived up to the expectations of the fans and followers when it provided 15 last-over finishes. There were 21 matches in which scores of 170 or more were scored, while 404 runs were scored in the match between Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars. This high-quality cricket was played due to good batting surfaces.”
Mani thanked all the players for upholding the Spirit of Cricket. “It was so heartening to see the players competing hard but at the same time playing within the Spirit of Cricket, by respecting the opponents and the umpires. This event was a great advertisement and promotion for cricket and I am sure the younger generation will learn the way this great game needs to be played,” he said.
“All those players and officials who participated in this event are role models and inspiration for the future generation of cricketers.