KARACHI: Asian Bradman and former International Cricket Council (ICC) President Zaheer Abbas asked the ICC to decide for how long they further deprive Pakistanis from watching their favourite heroes in action in front of their home soil.
Former Pakistan captain and runs-scoring machine Zaheer Abbas expressed these views during an exclusive interview to The Nation at National Stadium on the eve of PSL final. “The way Karachi crowd has gathered in all the eight PSL matches is a clear indication that how much people of Pakistan and Karachi love cricket. They had spent hefty amounts on tickets every single day, including the final. We were starving to see even handful of spectators during UAE matches but everything changed as the PSL comes home.”
He said the ICC CEO is amongst the VVIPs and country’s top leadership is also gathered at the venue to support the cause of cricket and it is very much clear that people of Pakistan want full-fledge cricket back to this country of world champions.
“It is almost impossible to describe the feeling of being here in Karachi and watching the highly charged up, vocal and fully involved fans. People from all walks of life have set aside everything and are fully focused on watching PSL matches as around 35,000 spectators are daily inside the stadium and as many are witnessed outside the stadium. Every single road, every single street leading towards Karachi is decorated with the huge size posters, hoardings of international and local players and mini-stadiums are installed at every main road of the city. The city of lights had been given bride-like look since last month or so and the passion is mounting with each passing day. I as former president of ICC want the world cricket governing body to take Pakistan case on top most priority basis and provide the long-suffering fans much-needed relief and allocate Pakistan international matches and tournaments.”
He said as far as Peshawar Zalmi’s preparations are concerned and why they had gelled so well, the reason is very simple as in Zalmi all are like a family from chairman to president and from support staff to the players and each and everybody is playing the role of a family member.
“We have some great players in the past and now we have some sensational match-winners in the shape of Darren Sammy, Misbah and Keiron Pollard, who are like back-bone to Zalmi’s cause. I am quite sure that the way we put in efforts and take our team so seriously, the way people from Khyber to Karachi are right behind the Zalmi, I think it is our time to lift trophy again.”
He said the PSL is one of the best leagues of the world and top international players had loved to become part of this league.
“The way PCB, government and our security forces had worked as a team and prove that we are capable of providing highly safe and secure environment to visiting players is also another proof that it is high time, the ICC must help Pakistan cricket and use their contacts to peruse international teams to travel to Pakistan,” Zaheer concluded.