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Rawalpindi or Islamabad should host HBL PSL5 matches: Sohail

Former Pakistan opening batsman believes that this will add new flavour to tournament

PHOTO: AFP

Former Pakistan opening batsman Aamir Sohail has said that Rawalpindi or Islamabad should host HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) season five matches.

While talking in an interview with pakpassion.net, Sohail spoke about the importance of gradually adding cities to the HBL PSL venue list.

“I would suggest using a stadium in Rawalpindi or Islamabad as the third venue which will add a new flavour to the tournament,” said Sohail. “Once we can successfully hold games in these three venues, we can start exploring possibilities of adding more cities to hold PSL games.”

The Lahore-born also warned that there is a risk of losing the appeal of HBL PSL among local audience, in case the tournament does not take place in Pakistan.

“We of course recognise the fact that today’s world is a place where one can be at the wrong place at the wrong time and Pakistan is no exception to this rule,” he said. “Now that we have shown the world that we have all the necessary security protocols in place, we need to have more than one venue lined up to hold PSL games, or there is a danger of the tournament losing its novelty value amongst local crowds.”

The local crowd turned up in large numbers during the eight matches of HBL PSL season four, which took place in Karachi. 

Speaking about the successful holding of matches in Pakistan, the left-hander said that Pakistan are heading in the right direction, in terms of bringing entire HBL PSL back to home soil.

“The eight games played in Pakistan were played in front of jam-packed houses and to me these were important baby-steps taken towards moving the whole tournament back to Pakistan,” he said. “Such steps are necessary to get to the goal of restoring international cricket in Pakistan and I am glad to see that we are well on our way in that regard.”

The 52-year-old also appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in improving relations with other International Cricket Council (ICC) member boards.

“PCB to its credit has made good contacts with the various boards around the world to convince them of allowing their players to participate in Pakistan, and also demonstrated its ability to host top-level cricket in the country,” he said.

 Although he also pointed out the aspect in which PCB were currently lacking, that is better coordination with players’ associations.

“What they have neglected to do so far, is to get in touch with the players’ associations and ask for their support for PSL to be played completely in Pakistan,” he said. “This type of coordination is necessary and the way to do that is to use the positive comments made by the overseas players who have played in Pakistan during the PSL and use them to try and convince the associations to have a favourable opinion of Pakistan as a cricket destination.”

He added that these efforts will be beneficial in luring quality players to visit Pakistan in the future. 

“The result of such efforts could mean that more and better-quality overseas players would come to Pakistan for the next edition of the PSL,” he said.