Lahore cautiously prepares to host the PSL finale among much fanfare and with a star packed itinerary. The event will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium and will host, from what we anticipate, a full house. The Chief Minister Punjab, Shahbaz Shariff is also scheduled to attend the event among officials from PCB and other political leaders.
The final match will be held between The Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi, although it is the closing ceremony that has us intrigued. According to our sources, the event will be hosted by Ahmed Ali Butt and Ayesha Omer with performances by Ali Zafar, Farhad Humayun, Faakhir and Ali Azmat, who we’ve heard will rock out to Amir Khusrow’s ‘Dum a Dum Mast Qalandar.’
The closing ceremony of the PSL finale has been organized by a Lahore based event management company, Verve Events. We spoke to Imtisal Zafar, one of the directors of Verve, about what to expect from the ceremony. He told us, “The event signifies resilience and resolve of the Pakistani people and we are excited to be a part of it. From the closing ceremony you can expect big names of the music industry taking part. It is going to be fun, dynamic, full of energy,engaging and reflective of our country.”
He also shared the details of the event’s settings. “We are building a massive 60 feet diameter circular stage with 14 feet high cricket sculptures as the setting for the evening. It is going to be quite a challenging event because the show is only 45 minutes long and is timed to the second. But perhaps the most difficult part for us would be dismantling everything in 20 minutes after the show to have the ground ready for the match! It’s been a great learning experience so far and we’re looking forward to finally welcome cricket home with the entire nation.”
The PSL finale has drawn a lot of criticism from locals over the strict and somewhat overdramatized security measures, such as shutting down markets, stores and roads in and around the venue causing traffic jams and road blocks all over the city. Despite the extreme precautions being taken by local, federal and military authorities, it seems not all is going as planned for PCB. Four major players from Quetta Gladiators have already refused to play in Lahore.
“It’s with a heavy heart I will not be coming to Lahore. I have a young family and for me a game of cricket is just not worth the risk,” tweeted 31-year-old Luke Wright. “I’m sorry as I know how much it means to you all and hopefully in the future the safety will not be in doubt to come play there.”
It could be considered a success to host an international cricket event in Pakistan, which hasn’t seen any since 2009, but it’s quite alarming the lengths all the respective authorities are going to make sure this match takes place one way or another. It seems like these days everything is politically driven, even something as recreational as a cricket match.