ISLAMABAD (AP) West Indies star Darren Sammy is among five foreign players ready to travel to Lahore if his franchise Peshawar Zalmi qualifies for the Pakistan Super League final.
Peshawar team owner Javed Afridi on Friday said his contracted non-Pakistani players – captain Sammy, Dawid Malan, Samit Patel, Marlon Samuels and Chris Jordan – had all got visas for Pakistan.
”I want to give (the) good news that all our five foreign players have been issued visas for Pakistan,” Afridi said. ”When they will come to Lahore it will be a big thing for the Pakistan Super League.”
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Afridi made the announcement hours before Peshawar Zalmi took on the Karachi Kings in the last knockout match in Dubai to decide which team will meet Quetta Gladiators in Sunday’s domestic Twenty20 final at the Gaddafi Stadium.
The tournament has been contested in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan cricket’s home-away-from-home in recent years, but PSL organizers were determined to stage the championship match on home soil.
All four of the Quetta Gladiators’ foreign players – Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Rilee Rossouw – have pulled out from the final because of security concerns.
Pakistan Super League chairman Najam Sethi said both teams in the final would have four foreign players, although which four represent Quetta is yet to be determined.
Last month, the Federation of International Cricketers Association said there was heightened security risk for foreign players playing in Pakistan.
However, FICA executive chairman Tony Irish told The Associated Press in an e-mail that it was up to each player to make a decision on whether or not he wishes to play in the PSL final in Lahore.
The Pakistan government has promised high-level security for the final, with at least 7,000 police officers expected to be deployed around the stadium.
Last month, at least 13 people were killed in Lahore when a bomber targeted police escorting a rally by pharmacists in a fresh wave of terrorist attacks around Pakistan.
Pakitsan cricket great Imran Khan has also criticized the government’s decision to go ahead with hosting the final and said it will serve no purpose in convincing foreign teams to resume international cricket in Pakistan.
Pakistan has not hosted any major test playing nation since 2009 when Sri Lanka team bus was attacked on the way to a match at Lahore.