What Lord’s is to England, Eden is to India, Gaddafi (or Qazzafi, as it is pronounced in Lahori) is to Pakistan. So, when cricket made its way back to the Asian country on Tuesday evening, its home, Qazzafi was dressed up like a newly wed bride to welcome its players. Led by Sarfraz Ahmed the Pakistan cricket team took on the World XI (at least the name said so) in a T20I match. The banners were lifted, the chants returned and the passion of cricket was back in the nation. The fans cheered their team till the last ball as the green army completed its 20-run victory over the Faf du Plessis led team. However, this festival didn’t come cheap for Pakistan. The board had to a pay a huge price for bringing cricket home, a massive one.
According to ESPNCricinfo, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is spending somewhere around $2.5-3 mn to host the world XI at the Gaddafi Stadium which can accommodate up to 25,000 people. As per the report, PCB is spending in the region of $100,000 on each World XI player and the rest of the amount is going for logistics.
This amount could have been a lot more if ICC had not decided to pay for the security. Nearly 6,000 police officials have been deployed for the series to ensure that cricket is played in harmony. Two international security consultants – Reg Dickason and Nicholls Steyn and Associates – are in charge of the security. Overall, the ICC is paying about $1.1 million cost for security as a result of PCB’s long standing discussions over lost income due to the absence of international cricket at home.
Watch the highlights of 1st T2oI here:
The main focus isn’t on generating money but on opening the gates for more international cricket in the country. Since the attack on the Sri Lanka bus in Lahore in 2009, only one international series has been played in Pakistan. It was when Zimbabwe toured in 2015.
PCB strongly believes that if the series against World XI goes off without any mishap, it will open the way to more international cricket in the future. Sri Lanka is scheduled to play a solitary T20 in Lahore on October 29 and, West Indies to follow in November for a three-match series of T20s.
Hopefully, the cricket board will cover the losses through advertisements and media rights in those series.