After announcing Lahore as a venue for the final of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also altered the date of the contest.
A PCB spokesperson told Cricingif on Thursday that the final will be organised March 5. Initially it was planned for March 7, according to a schedule released by the cricket board last year.
"We had announced to hold the final on the 5th in Dubai and on the 7th in Lahore (subject to the security clearance) but since the match is now confirmed to be held in Lahore, we will organize it on March 5," the spokesperson said.
Last week Chairman Executive Committee Najam Sethi revealed about contingency plans being drawn if foreign players of the finalist sides refuse to tour Pakistan.
“Once the teams for the finals are decided and their icon or foreign players refuse to travel to Lahore, we will make a new draft with a pool from the existing 30-35 players of PSL,” he said, adding, “We will probably need about five to ten players for Lahore, and those players who would be available from the discarded three teams can then get picked through this draft for the final.”- Battle between FICA and the PCB -
The Federation of Internatioanl Cricketers Association (FICA) in its report suggested the cricketers strongly against travelling to Pakistan, terming the risk level in the country to be "at an extremely elevated state".
The report stated: "There have been attacks at sporting events, which have had significant security overlay in the past, and terrorist groups in Pakistan have demonstrated the intent and capability to launch attacks anywhere in the country. Locations including luxury hotels are also at high risk of being targeted by militant groups.
"The historic use of suicide bombers, the willingness of terrorist groups to attack armed police and police protected sporting events, the capability of such groups and the intent, suggests that the risk associated with the running of an international sporting event are problematic at present.
"Whilst the opportunity for attack on international sporting events and competitors in Pakistan can be mitigated to a certain extent by the implementation of an extremely robust security plan, the current advice is that external security environmental factors keep the risk level in Pakistan at an extremely elevated state, where an acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed, even with an extremely robust security plan."
In a strong-worded release, available to Cricingif, the PCB termed the international player body's report as "careless and cavalier".
The release rebutted FICA's claims and said: "FICA’s claim that 'westerners and luxury hotels have been attached' is contrary to the facts on the ground that prove that not a single foreigner or hotel has been attached in Lahore in the last five years.
"PCB has recently hosted Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh (Women), Afghanistan and Malaysian national cricket teams in Lahore and Karachi without any problem. In the case of PSL Final in Lahore for one day, the government has guaranteed protection by over 3000 army and police personnel in Lahore. PCB will provide armored buses for travel along with VVIP security protocols.
"It may also be noted that a group of foreign players including Jonty Rhodes, Brain Lara, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath, Dean Jones, Mark Butcher, Marvin Atapatu, Herschelle Gibbs, Damien Martyn, Andy Roberts, Danny Morrison, Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Symonds, Ajay Jadeja, Robin Smith, Cameron Delport etc are regular visitors to Pakistan on assignment with Pak TV and are available to vouchsafe the safety and security of foreign cricketers in the country.
"PSL has already received confirmation from top international players to play in Lahore and PCB is determined to bring cricket home to Pakistan."