Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani believes the successful and event-free conduct of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 5 has enhanced the image of the country and exuded confidence of hosting more international teams next year. Mani, who was brought in by Prime Minister Imran Khan to set things in order in Pakistan cricket, said he was happy to have fulfilled his commitment of hosting the entire PSL this year at home.
"I reiterated this when the event was suspended prior to the playoff stage, and despite several challenges, uncertainties and doubts, I am delighted that the PCB has fulfilled another commitment and promise to the loyal and passionate Pakistan cricket fans and supporters," he said after the summit clash on Tuesday night.
"With the COVID-19 situation being an evolving one, the PCB will continue to monitor and work with the authorities to explore ways of allowing fans to attend matches when international cricket and Pakistan Super League matches are held in 2021.
"We look forward to hosting South Africa under the Future Tours Programme agreement in January/February 2021 and leading international cricketers will also return to feature in the Pakistan Super League 2021, which will be played at the back of the home series against South Africa," he added.
In a further boost to Pakistan cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Wednesday confirmed that England will make their first trip to the Asian country in 16 years for a two-match T20 International series next October. The PCB chief, however, expressed disappointment for not being able to conduct the PSL 5 final in a packed National Stadium here because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I am sad that Karachi Kings had to make history before an empty National Stadium. This great game is all about fans and their absence was badly missed by all of us, including the players and match officials. We can only visualise the celebrations and a festive occasion this final would have created, only if the situation was normal," he said.
People of Karachi burst into celebrations on the social media after the home side beat arch-rivals Lahore Qalanders by five wickets in what turned out to be a one-sided final. Pakistan's captain across all three formats, Babar Azam scored an unbeaten 63 off 49 balls to hand Karachi its maiden title since the PSL's launch in 2016. In fact, both the teams featured in the final for the first time.
Mani congratulated players, officials, local administration and security agencies on the successful completion of the league.