Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer

Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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A view of the National Stadium Karachi where green lush ground and pitches are ready for the final match of the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL). (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Laborers are busy removing the stains from the steels on the rooftop of National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Ahad, a cricket lover, is happy at the return of international cricket to his city. He, like many Karachiites, wants to frequently see international cricketers playing in Karachi. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Laborers are busy removing the stains from the steels on the rooftop of National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Laborers are busy removing the stains from the steels on the rooftop of National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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A laborer is busy dusting the front wall of the National Stadium Karachi. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Developmental work is underway at the National Stadium Karachi, which is hosting a match with the international players after nine years. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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The last time Karachiites saw any international player at the National Stadium was when Pakistan and Sri Lanka played a test match from Feb 21-25, 2009. According to the stadium officials, the pavilion will look totally different when the stadium will be handed over to PCB. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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A laborer is wielding broken pipe at National Stadium, which is bracing for the historic day on Mar. 25, when top 2 teams of Pakistan Super League will contest for its trophy. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Syed Asif, a cricket fan, talking to Arab News. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Meeran is one of the thousands of cricket enthusiasts who have planned to watch the PSL final match at National Stadium. (AN photo)
Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer
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Haider, left, and Zahra dressed up in the kits of their favorite teams. (Photo courtesy: Haider and Zahra's family)
Updated 03 March 2018

Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer

Karachi catches cricket fever as PSL showdown draws closer

KARACHI: The Pakistan Super League (PSL) final is scheduled to take place in this city on March 25, creating massive excitement among its residents who have not gone to the National Stadium for a cricket match for several years.
“My son asks me every day if I have bought the PSL tickets,” said Salman Siddiqui, who works with a local firm, while talking to Arab News. “It is not about which teams will qualify for the final. We just want to watch the match in the stadium.”
Siddiqui’s sentiment is echoed everywhere in Karachi. The last cricket match played in this city was between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in February 2009.
Surprisingly, the people of Karachi have not lost their enthusiasm for the game. If anything, they have been craving matches during this period.
Most cricket fans remain glued to their television screens when a cricket tournament takes place. Some even arrange public viewings of thrilling international contests by setting up big screens in their neighborhoods.
At the moment, the city’s squad, Karachi Kings, is dominating the PSL play-offs. Meeran, who studies at a private university, is happy about it since he believes his side will not only play the final but also lift the trophy.
“It’s really great that the PSL final will be played in our city,” Ahad, another student, told Arab News. “This will greatly enhance the entertainment factor.”
Another cricket buff, Farhan, said the PSL final would signify the resumption of international cricket in the port city. “The event will tell the world that Karachi is a safe place for such sporting events,” he said. “They will also realize that you can’t get a more electrified crowd anywhere else in the world.”
But some people believe that PSL tickets are too expensive for the lower middle class. “The starting price of Rs1000 is far too high,” said Syed Asif, adding: “This match is important since it will inspire budding cricketers. Let’s not forget that this city has produced some really big names in the game, such as Hanif Muhammad and Javed Miandad.”
The cricket fever is not confined to young men in Karachi. Pakistan has produced a highly skilled national team of female cricketers in recent years, and the craze for the game cuts across the gender divide.
“Our family members have planned to watch the match together,” Rehana Shahid told Arab News. “We are just waiting for PSL tickets to go up for sale.”
Entry into the stadium
Despite their passion for the game, most people are not aware how to get match tickets.
“The process is quite simple,” said TCS Director Strategic Planning Adeel Azhar. “People can either get their tickets online from Yayvo.com or visit TCS Express Centers designated for this purpose across the country.”
He said buyers must present their original computerized national identity cards (CNIC) at TCS centers, adding that they can buy a maximum of five tickets per CNIC. In case of an online purchase, the original CNIC must be presented at the time of delivery.
“The sale of tickets for the final will be announced soon,” said Azhar.
The TCS official told Arab News that tickets for the final would be available in the denominations of Rs1000, Rs4000, Rs8000 and Rs12000. Meanwhile, tickets for the eliminators in Lahore are available for Rs1000, Rs2000, Rs4000 and Rs6000.
According to the official documents of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) available with Arab News, the National Stadium has a capacity of 32,044. Out of that number, 8,017 seats will be sold online while 24,027 tickets will be available at TCS centers.
Security arrangements
According to Sindh Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, the authorities have made stringent security measures for the PSL final.
“We have already chalked out a security plan and shared it with relevant people,” he told Arab News. “It will be strictly implemented.”
He added that security consultants were satisfied with the plan. “The extraordinary, comprehensive and successful security arrangements will not only earn us international appreciation but also prove that international cricket can make a comeback in Pakistan,” he said.
Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair made a similar claim to Arab News. “We have made foolproof security arrangements for the final match. Law enforcement agencies, administration and all civic bodies are closely working together to make this event a success,” he said.
Meanwhile, Salahuddin Sallu, adviser to PCB Chairman, told the newspaper that the stadium would be handed over to the cricket board 12 days before the match.
“The ground and pitch are in excellent condition. The dressing room has been upgraded. New washrooms have been constructed. For the first time elevators have been installed so that elderly people may also enjoy the match,” he said.
“The people of Karachi have not seen their favorite cricket players in action for the past nine years,” he added. “Now is their chance to enjoy the game once again. In fact, people from nearby cities are also likely to benefit from this opportunity.”