Sports: Cricket: Return of int’l cricket was not even thought by previous setups: Sethi

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Sports: Cricket: Return of int’l cricket was not even thought by previous setups: Sethi

Karachi: According to Najam Sethi, Chairman PCB, Karachi would be hosting four matches during Pakistan Super League (PSL) third season next but first there is an uphill task to renovate National Stadium for that to happen.

“Previous (PCB) setups didn’t even thought of brining international cricket back in Pakistan. This work shouldn’t have come in the way and must have completed before,” said Sethi during a press briefing here at National Stadium on Wednesday.

Sethi had previously served as PCB chief intermittently between 2013 and 2014 when former chairman Zaka Ashraf and the government were involved in a legal battle. The government wanted to remove Ashraf, a friend of Asif Zardari.

Sethi later became Chairman PCB’s Executive Committee and Shaharyar Khan was elected as the PCB Chairman in August 2014.

“There had been immense complications for passing the tender and there was one party who backed out because they did mistakes in their calculations. Now we have finalized Nespak. The budget is of 1.5 billion rupees. It would take one and half year to two years to complete. But we have asked them to renovate the stadium in the first phase so that PSL matches could be held here,” he said.

“The best-case scenario is that Karachi will host four matches while Lahore will host three. The worst-case scenario is Lahore will host one match,” he said.

Sethi had a fruitful meeting with Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah earlier on Wednesday, who is also eager to bring international back to Karachi. He has assured Sethi to provide security for PSL matches in Karachi.

“We will give them the security plan that was implemented in Lahore (recently hosting World XI and PSL final earlier). They will then establish a plan and share with us and then we would give our feedback,” he said.

Sethi seemed confident that West Indies would come to play in Pakistan as West Indies Cricket Board President has confirmed him, “but the question is when,” he said.

“West Indies is ready to come as soon as possible. But they want us to reciprocate soon. But we don’t have a window even in 2018 and I have told them that we would come in 2019 but they say that’s too late for them. However, we are in talks with them. We have offered them remuneration and when we are able to reciprocate then they would pay us back,” he said.

On a question regarding non-selection of prolific run scorer in domestic cricket Fawad Alam, he said that it was selection committee’s work he wouldn’t question them.

“I don’t interfere in cricketing affairs. We have established a committee and it is their work. Please question Inzamam (chief selector). If you think Fawad deserve to be selected then pressurize Inzamam. Even if I question them (selection committee) regarding Fawad’s non-selection then they would give me one reason or another and I couldn’t do anything,” he said.

He also criticized establishment of stadiums under PCB’s patronage in relatively remote areas naming one in Quetta and Garhi Khuda Bux.

“Those stadiums are white elephants. Millions have to spent on them despite cricket cannot be played there because no one wants to go there. There are no hotels to stay and no facilities. But staff has to be paid their salaries and money is also spent on maintaining those stadiums,” he said.

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