Lahore, 24 February 2020: The Pakistan Cricket Board has thanked the Karachi and Lahore fans for embracing the first-ever complete HBL Pakistan Super League in Pakistan by almost filing the National and Gaddafi stadia, respectively for each of the opening seven matches of the 34-match 32-day tournament.
The event has now taken a two-day break and resumes on Wednesday, 26 February, when Multan Sultans host Peshawar Zalmi at the Multan Cricket Stadium. The following day, Pindi Cricket Stadium will play host to Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators match. Both the fixtures will commence at 7pm.
“The PCB is overwhelmed with the excellent spectator response and turnaround at the two venues for the first seven matches. When the hosting of the complete HBL PSL 2020 was announced 12 months ago, this is exactly what the PCB had envisaged and the PCB is grateful to all the spectators for supporting its vision and endeavour.
“The HBP PSL 2020 has not only gripped the entire country in its early days, news broadcasters in more than 115 countries are relaying match highlights through our partnership with SNTV. Moreover, live coverage of the event is available in a dozen-odd countries through seven licensees and across the globe through cricketgateway.com, flowsports.co and rabbithole, our live-streaming partners.
“These figures confirm more eyeballs are following the HBL PSL 2020 than ever before, which is undoubtedly helping in promoting and publicising the soft image of Pakistan.
“Through the HBL PSL 2020, the PCB has paid its respects to various national heroes and stars as part of the Humary Heroes initiative, which has been strongly supported by the fans online.
“This all started with the legendary Jahangir Khan unveiling the trophy a day before the kickoff. Subsequently and on match-days, stars such as Arsalan Siddique (E-Sports world champion), Mohammad Yousuf (snooker), Naseem Hameed (athlete), Samar Khan (cyclist), Sameena Baig (mountaineer) and Shahmeer Amir (cyber security analyst) have been honoured for their contributions and services to Pakistan.
“Being a responsible entity, the PCB has also used its reach and platforms by observing the Childhood Cancer Awareness Day on 22 February. In this relation, it hosted young Shezar Rehan, who also got a chance to meet his hero Shahid Afridi among others. Additionally, the PCB is aggressively and proactively promoting Government of Pakistan’s Anti-Drug drive at all its matches as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
“The involvement from the very onset of prominent, leading and respected foreign international stars, who were previously reluctant to visit Pakistan, is a further endorsement that Pakistan as a safe and secure country. The foreigners involved in the league as players, officials or support personnel have already given thumb-up to the arrangements made by the PCB.
“The quality of cricket in the first seven matches has been from the very top draw, thanks to our excellent cricket facilities which have provided these players the opportunity to fully display their talent and produce edge-of-the-seat thrillers. We have had a last-ball finish, a century, a number of half-centuries, four-fers, athletic catches and fielding, and emergence of some exciting youngsters.
“In the seven matches to date, a total of 2,319 runs have been scored for the loss of 89 wickets, including 203 fours and 88 sixes. These statistics reflect the attacking brand of cricket that has been played in the tournament to date, which is a great advertisement for the HBL PSL 2020 and the country’s conditions are conducive for an exciting brand of cricket which favour both batsmen and bowlers.
“The action now moves to the two new homes of HBL PSL – Multan Cricket Stadium and Pindi Cricket Stadium – the venues on which the PCB has invested millions in infrastructure upgradation so that they are ready to international and domestic matches. It will not be out of context to mention here that Pindi Cricket Stadium staged two of the three Tests this season as normal cricket service returned to Pakistan last year in December.
“The PCB is encouraged with the response of ticket sales in Rawalpindi and Multan, and expects the two stadia to be filled to their capacities in the 11 matches shared between these two new venues of HBL PSL.
“While there have been strong positives and, image and profile building initiatives, there have also been shortcomings and learnings. But these were not unexpected considering this is the biggest cricket spectacle in the history of Pakistan cricket and first major event since the 2008 Asia Cup. Staging and running events in the United Arab Emirates presents far lesser logistical, operational and practical issues.
“Hosting of any opening ceremony presents its own challenges. While a number of Pakistan cricket fans have been vocal in their disapproval about elements of the ceremony, a sizeable number of followers were pleased with the display. Being an evolving organisation, the PCB is keen to learn from these experiences to further improve the quality of events in the future.
“As far as the nationalities of the personnel involved in the production of the matches, the PCB wishes to clarify there is a diverse group of people who are ensuring images of our event, culture and passion is distributed across the globe. Most of these personnel have been regular visitors to Pakistan since 2015, albeit different production company.
“It must be remembered modern day high-tech broadcast technologies are neither locally available, nor are the personnel trained to operate these technologies. A goal identified at the outset by both PCB and our consortium partners of Tower Sports and SportzWorkz, was to start the process of developing local talent so that the country becomes self-reliant.
“Despite some disappointments, the HBL PSL firmly belongs to the people of our proud nation and, so, we are delighted that we have brought it back and are delivering it across four cities this year.
“The PCB will continue in its endeavours to add more venues in this league every year to make cricket accessible for fans around the country, which is in line with the PCB’s policy to take the game to every nook and corner of the country
“As global interest continues to grow in our HBL PSL, the PCB urges all cricket fans to join and support the PCB in its efforts to showcase the game and country in a constructive light. The PCB will be firmly on the front foot in its endeavours to host ICC tournaments during the 2023-2031 ICC Events calendar. With the support of the fans and the nation behind us, we aim to keep Pakistan’s cricket moving forward.”