Sir Viv hopeful PSL final a positive indicator of Pakistan’s ability to host International matches

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Former West Indies captain and cricketing legend, Sir Vivian Richards, is hoping that his and the decision of other international cricketers to participate in the “successful” finals of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Sunday, would contribute positively to that country’s fight to bring international cricket back to its shores.
Sir Viv, who was retained by two time finalists Quetta Gladiators as a mentor at the start of the tournament this year said the decision by some international players to compete in the finals could send a message to the “powers that be” that Pakistan is ready once more to host international cricket.
“Darren Sammy and all the other guys of West Indian origin who would have participated in that part of the world saw the love that people have and the respect they have for us as individuals was just huge,” he said.
“It was just a win-win situation. And to have been a part of that and to have played your part in trying to convince the establishment that those of us who went and saw what we did, it was just huge and I guess that this is why guys like Sammy are just hero-worshipped. It was just magnificent to know that we would have played a part in helping if that goes on in September,” he added.
The PSL final between the Sammy-led Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, was the first high profile game featuring foreign players to be played in Lahore since terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009, resulting in the death of security personnel and injury to several players.
While all of the Gladiators’ foreign players refused to play the final owing to security concerns, Sammy had his full complement available, and he said he hoped playing had made a difference to Pakistan cricket.
According to Sir Viv, from a security standpoint, he was always confident that all measures had been taken to ensure the safety of all involved in the event.
“I always felt, in terms of the reassurance factor that we were well briefed and that everything was going to be ok. And that they were on top of their game in terms of the security matters and it was just a privilege in a sense, because you hear people speak about all the stuff that’s going on in that particular area,” the former player said.
“The love that we got from the Pakistani folks themselves, and to have played a huge part in helping to get a team out there and have it work out in a way where I am back in Dubai now,” Sir Viv added.
Sammy was joined in the final by West Indies teammate Marlon Samuels and Barbados-born England all-rounder Chris Jordan, who was one of two Englishmen, along with Dawid Malan who opted to play.
Their fellow countrymen Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Tyman Mills all returned home after helping to guide Gladiators into the semi-finals last week.
Trinidad and Tobago all-rounder Reyad Emrit, Zimbabwean Sean Ervine and South African Morne van Wyk were all drafted by Gladiators as last minute replacements for the final.
In a final played under heavy security at Gaddafi Stadium, Sammy smashed a Man-of-the-Match unbeaten 28 off 11 deliveries as Zalmi beat Gladiators by 58 runs.
No international side has toured the country in eight years; with the Pakistan Cricket Board forced to host ‘home’ games in the United Arab Emirates.
(Neto Baptiste )

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