LAHORE: Pakistan on Wednesday tried to brush aside security worries over its first major Twenty20 league but admitted a warning from the international players association not to take part may have an impact.
The head of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) warned players not to take part in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), due to start on March 2, because of the “unmanageable” security risk.
No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus during a Test match in Lahore in 2009 and the country is still rocked by almost daily bombings and shootings.
PSL adviser Haroon Lorgat insisted the dire warnings from FICA chief executive Tim May were not an attack on the league itself and said the competition had had a positive response from players and sponsors.
“While we understand that sort of a statement from the players’ association but I don’t think we necessarily agree with it — the reality is different and the league will happen,” said Lorgat.
Former Australia spinner May said he expected the majority of international cricketers would heed the FICA advice and shun the league, and while Lorgat was upbeat he admitted the warning would have an effect.
“A statement of that sort is negative and it doesn’t help the preparation but fortunately some of the players have already committed and trust the assurances on security given by the PCB,” said Lorgat.
Butt claimed there was an overwhelming response from the broadcasters and bids for title sponsorships would be invited on Thursday.
Earlier this month the International Cricket Council (ICC) hailed the new Twenty20 as a helpful move towards restoring faith in Pakistan as a safe place to play cricket.