PSL excitement: Lahore ready to welcome international cricketers again

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The PSL matches are shifted to Pakistan. The city of Lahore is hosting two ‘elimination’ matches that a would be played at Qaddafi Stadium. (AN photo)
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A cricket fan buying a T-Shirt having logo of his favorite team from a make shift stall at a Lahore road. (AN photo)
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Proud ‘successful’ buyers showing their tickets bought to watch PSL match. (AN photo)
Updated 19 March 2018

PSL excitement: Lahore ready to welcome international cricketers again

LAHORE: Punjab’s provincial capital will welcome international cricket players arriving here on Monday to play Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches.
According to the tournament schedule, two “eliminators” will be played in Lahore before the final showdown takes place in Karachi on March 25.
Pakistani players in Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi arrived in the city on Sunday while the remaining cricketers get here on Monday.
According to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the commencement of matches in Lahore and Karachi is a positive sign as it will help bring back international cricket to the country.
“We are gradually moving forward,” PCB’s media manager, Raza Rashid, told Arab News. “Last year, we could only organize one match in Pakistan. However, three matches will be played here this year. This is a good sign for cricket in the country.”
People are also quite excited about the play-offs in Lahore. Many of them are anxious to welcome international players to their hometown.
“This is a delightful opportunity for the people of Pakistan to welcome some of the leading stars of international cricket. Even a small stride toward bringing cricket back to this country is extremely important,” Syed Sarim Raza, an IT expert, told Arab News.
Unlike in previous years, more international cricket players have consented to play in Pakistan this year. These include some of the leading cricketers, such as Luke Ronchi, Samit Patel, JP Duminy, Tymal Mills, Lendl Simmons and Ravi Bopara.
While Ahmad Kaleem, a resident of Lahore, is happy about the development, he wants to see these international cricketers moving in an open lorry, receiving greetings, listening to the cheerful voices of the youth, and waving back at them in return.
“I wish to see the international players moving freely on the streets of Lahore, as I saw many football players in Cardiff in Wales,” he said.
Despite such excitement in the city, young students are not happy with the PCB as they say the tickets for the two matches are quite expensive. Many of them said they wished the tickets were a little cheaper so they could have visited the stadium with their classmates.
“Pakistan is known for its hospitality and we will be welcoming all the foreign players with contagious warmth. Everything seems perfect, though PCB’s ticket issuance policy could have been better. Tickets should have been less costly and at least one or two enclosures should have had free entry for students,” Hira Rajput, a Punjab University student, said.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have made foolproof security arrangements for the matches. The authorities have decided to deploy 18,000 police personnel for the security of the stadium and adjacent areas.
The city’s entry and exit points have also been well guarded, and additional Rangers and Army personnel are also on call if required.
“The police have made necessary arrangements to secure the matches and international players,” Deputy Inspector General Operations, Haider Ashraf, told Arab News.

From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

Updated 25 April 2019

From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

  • Race will start in Jeddah and make a stop in Riyadh before ending in Qiddiya
  • Take a look back at the most momentous moments

LONDON: A new and exciting chapter in the prestigious history of the Dakar Rally is ready to be written as the world’s biggest and most challenging rally confirmed it will debut in Saudi Arabia in January 2020.

1977: Inspiration
Biker Thierry Sabine gets lost in the Libyan desert while competing in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. After being rescued from the sands on the verge of death, he vows to share the scale and magic of the desert with the whole world.

1978: A dream come true
On 26 December 1978, a field of 170 adventurers starts its 10,000-kilometer quest through Algeria, Niger, Mali, the Upper Volta, and Senegal. A total of 74 vehicles make it to the finish on Place de l’Indépendance in Dakar, with Cyril Neveu at the helm.

1983: Ickx on all fronts
Celebrities and the best drivers and riders in the world heed the call of the Dakar. The combination is a successful one, with the six-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Jacky Ickx and comedian Claude Brasseur taking the spoils in the fourth edition.

1986: Tragedy strikes
Thierry Sabine and Daniel Balavoine die in a helicopter crash alongside pilot François-Xavier Bagnoud, journalist Nathalie Odent and radio technician Jean-Paul Lefur. Gilbert Sabine, the father of the creator of the race, takes over as director.

1992: Africa from north to south
The Dakar takes a break from the capital of Senegal to pit the competitors against the challenge of a lifetime. The drivers and riders have to tackle a route of almost 12,500 kilometers through 11 countries to cross Africa from one side to the other and reach Cape Town in South Africa. Stéphane Peterhansel (motorbikes) and Hubert Auriol (cars) stand atop the podium at the end of the Odyssey.

1998: Peterhansel rolls a six
The biker with a blue bandana emerges victorious from a clash of titans with Orioli and Arcarons to become the undisputed master of the category in the 1990s. His sixth win catapults him past Cyril Neveu as the event record holder. “Peter” has since added seven car victories to his tally!

2000: At the foot of the pyramids
The Dakar marks the turn of the century next to one of the seven wonders of the world: the Great Pyramid of Giza. Reigning champions Richard Sainct (motorbikes) and Jean-Louis Schlesser (cars) both manage to defend their titles against this prestigious backdrop.

2001: Miss Dakar
No one suspects that this will be the last Paris–Dakar. In contrast, everyone sees Jutta Kleinschmidt, who had made her Dakar debut in 1988 on a motorbike, become the first woman to win the rally, this time racing at the wheel of a Mitsubishi 4×4. She remains the only female winner of the event to date.

2009: Rising from the ashes in Buenos Aires
The Dakar picks itself up and crosses the Atlantic to rise from the ashes. A new era dawns with 4 million spectators turning out in force to cheer on the drivers and riders in the majestic landscapes of Argentina and Chile.

2012: Pacific Challenge
After three years with a route starting and ending in Buenos Aires, the organizers break the mold with a finish on the Pacific coast of Lima, Peru.

2014: Dizzying heights
Bolivia becomes the 28th country to host the Dakar. The Altiplano and Salar de Uyuni introduce a new test for the competitors: extreme altitude, which takes a toll on both their bodies and their machines.

2020: Chapter 3
In the wake of its first foray into Paraguay in 2017, the Dakar adds the 30th country to its list. In Saudi Arabia, the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, the competitors will face challenges such as the “Empty Quarter,” a pristine expanse that has never been explored fully before.