LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board managed to convince at least 23 foreign players from different countries to agree on visiting Pakistan to play the playoffs of Pakistan Super League this season, it won’t be wrong to state that they fought and won the battle of the perception.
Players from England, West Indies, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Bangladesh agreed to visit Pakistan. 17 of them landed in Lahore on early Tuesday morning to play eliminators, 6 will come directly to Karachi later this week with Islamabad United team to play the final.
The PCB worked with foreign security experts who visited Pakistan and presented their reports to players on the security of Pakistan. Meanwhile, the board also remained in regular discussion with FICA and players.
“Convincing players is more about battling perception. We interacted with the players and with FICA on a regular basis,” said Imran Ahmed Khan, PSL’s head of players’ acquisition and management.
“Once the tournament was underway, we had extensive briefings with players where we laid down our plan and equipped them with the right knowledge to make an informed decision,” Khan added.
Foreign players and officials who arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday include Gladiators’ mentor Viv Richards who came with his family to Lahore. He was joined by fielding coach Julian Fountain, cricketers Rilee Rossouw, Chris Green, Mahmudullah, Thisara Perera and Tom Kohler Cadmore. Zalmi’s Daren Sammy, Andre Fletcher, Chris Jordan, Liam Dawson, Rikki Wassels and Tamim Iqbal are also in Pakistan.
Karachi Kings Colin Ingram, Lendl Simmons, Joe Denly, David Wiese, Tymal Mills and Ravi Bopara also arrived in Lahore on Tuesday. Luke Ronchi, JP Duminy, Steven Finn, Chadwick Walton, Samuel Badree and Samit Patel will arrive in Karachi later this week with Islamabad United squad.
PCB and PSL management believes that players will go back with fond memories with them once they return to their respective countries after playing PSL matches in Pakistan.
“I am glad most of them decided to come and play in Pakistan and I hope that they take back some very fond memories with them,” Khan concluded.
The first eliminator of PSL was played in Lahore on Tuesday in which Peshawar defeated Quetta by 1 run in a nail-biting match in front of a jam-packed crowd. The second eliminator will be played today between Karachi and Peshawar.
The winner of the second eliminator will face Islamabad United in the final on Sunday in Karachi.