PSL 2017 final in Lahore, baby step towards cricket revival

Pakistan Super League 2017 (PSL) was a roller coaster ride for the entire Pakistani nation. Players from different corners of the world participated in Pakistan’s biggest cricket event. This league was special for Pakistan as Chairman PSL Najam Sethi announced in the drafting ceremony that the PSL final will be held in Lahore. Entire country was on cloud nine over the news.

This year’s PSL was much bigger than last year’s as more star players as compared to last year were participating in it i.e. Brendon McCullum, Tymal Mills, Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and many others. All the teams were competitive and equally balanced.

The PSL 2017 was filled with some exciting, shocking, entertaining, interesting and nail biting moments. It all started in drafting ceremony when Shahid Khan Afridi surprised everyone by giving captaincy to West Indies’ two times T20 World Cup winning captain Darren Sammy.

Lahore Qalandars traded Chris Gayle with Karachi Kings and Brendon McCullum joined Qalandars as their captain and mentor.

After the colorful opening ceremony, first match of PSL 2017 was played between defending champions Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi. After a thrilling contest, United won by seven wickets in a rain-interrupted match.

It was just the beginning of the most amazing thrillers of cricket. Entire world witnessed back to back nail-biters during the 26 days of cricket hosted by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Danny Morrison’s epic commentary and dancing skills, Darren Sammy’s selfies, Ruman Raees’s celebrations, Shahid Afridi’s sixes, Grant Elliots’s bat-drop, Sir Viv’s emotions, KP’s heroic innings against Lahore and Kieron Pollards last two ball sixes made PSL more exciting.

Cricketing community hailed PSL for the amazing display of quality cricket.

ESPN Cricinfo journalist Freddie Wilde said in his tweet that he can’t recall a run of great matches as good as the one we are in the middle of right now following PSL’s matches.

There was a shameful incident occurred in the PSL when two Pakistani players Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif breached PCB’s code of conduct. However, PSL took some strict measures and sent those two abominations to Pakistan for investigation.

Pakistan is fighting against terrorism for a long time. We have also faced some terrorist attacks during the PSL, in Lahore and Sehwan. That part of Pakistan is called fear. Over 100 people embraced martyrdom in just 5 days by terrorists’ bomb blasts. These incidents damaged the PSL when foreigners refused to come in Lahore for PSL final.

We are cricket-starved nation. A nation who always looks for happiness. Cricket is the reason behind millions of Pakistanis’ happiness and again terrorists targeted happiness of Pakistani nation.

Quetta was the first team to reach the final of PSL 2017 and all of the foreign players of Quetta refused to come to Lahore. It was really heart-breaking but understandable.

Peshawar was the second team to reach into the final and the entire team agreed to come to Lahore to play the final, thanks to the efforts of Javed and Shahid Afridi.

It was a hallmark moment for Lahore and for Pakistan. Tickets were sold out within two days despite the fact that they were priced at Rs 8,000 and above.

I work in a media house and my boss asked me to cover the PSL event and to visit the entire Lahore. Without any second thought I said yes because I want to see the one rare part of Pakistani nation. The part I wanted to see was ‘happiness’.

04 March, 2017 – 09:50 AM: I reached my office and it was fully decorated as it was Eid. All I heard was PSL’s anthem. I got more excited because I was the part of the journalists who were going for coverage.

04 March, 2017 – 12:10 PM: The first segment of the program went on air and the things became more exciting.

04 March, 2017 – 01:30 PM: I was on the road. PSL’s anthem was in the air. Then I saw everyone bouncing around with happiness. This was an emotional moment for me as I was seeing all these things for the first time in my life. I said to myself that how brave we are as a nation. Despite all fears of terrorism, we are still enjoying every little moment of happiness.

05 March, 2017 – 07:30 AM: I woke up. It was my off day. I went outside my house to play cricket. Everyone was talking about only one thing; PSL final. PSL fever was in the air. Lahore was excited as well as Pakistan.

05 March, 2017 – 06:00 PM: Finally! It was the time. PSL final was taking place in Gaddafi Stadium. Six army paratroopers dove out of a helicopter and landed in Gaddafi Stadium. That was the perfect start to the event. Gaddafi Stadium was jam packed. Then arrived the man of the moment, Darren Sammy who later was referred to by journalists as Darren Sammy Khan. To be honest, Sammy was the reason for cricket to come to Pakistan. Had he refused to come to Pakistan, I am afraid no foreign player would have agreed.

Sammy won the hearts of Pakistani nation. He wore the Peshawar Zalmi’s jersey with pride and he wanted to gift Pakistan cricket as he said in his statement that he wants cricket to be the winner. Although it was a one-sided game of cricket, the fact that it took place was huge for Pakistan. In the end, Peshawar Zalmi won the PSL 2017 and Pakistan beat terrorism.

There is no second opinion that revival of cricket in Pakistan is at a distance away but somewhere we needed to start and we took the baby step. Our nation is hopeful that the international cricket will return to Pakistan.

“Phir seeti bajay gi, Stage sajay gaa, Aur taali bajay gi, Aur phir khel jamay ga.”

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