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All foreign stars will play PSL ties in Pakistan, says Mani

LAHORE: All star cricketers will come to Pakistan to play in the eight matches of the fourth Pakistan Super League (PSL) scheduled for Karachi and Lahore, chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani said here on Thursday.

The PSL matches will be staged from Feb 14 to March 17 at three venues — Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi — in the United Arab Emirates before the remaining fixtures move to Pakistan with Karachi staging five games, including the final, and Lahore three.

Talking to media on sidelines of a friendly cricket match between the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) and the UK-based Pakistani journalists at the Gaddafi Stadium, Mani said a good number of star cricketers had signed up in the six PSL franchises.

However, because of security concerns, prominent overseas players have been reluctant to travel to Pakistan. But with the passage of time, the number of prominent cricketers willing to visit Pakistan has risen. In the recent development the ex-South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers has already pledged to play two matches of Lahore Qalandars in Lahore on March 9 and 10.

To a query, Mani said the talks with Cricket Australia are still on to convince them to send their national side to Pakistan for two games of the five-match One-day International series in the UAE in March despite reports of Australia’s expressing their reluctanceregarding playing here.

The PCB chief declared that he has persuaded CA to send a security delegation to assess the current situation in Pakistan before taking a final decision, which is expected to be taken before the PSL begins in the second week of February.

Mani further said that talks were on with the cricket boards of South Africa and England to send different age-group teams to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Mani, who is also the chairman of the Prime Minister Task Force on Sports, said he had finalised the recommendations how to promote the sports in the country. He said his job was only to make suggestions and final authority to implement rests with the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

When asked why the task force didn’t take the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and other national sports federations on board before finalising the recommendations, the chairman said that step was not necessary because the government have no power to interfere in the POA affairs.

Mani disclosed the main focus of his recommendations was to bring professionalism in the sports and that maximum professional people should be at the helm of affairs.

Among the recommendations is that the government should only give grants to those federations who are properly active at the domestic level, instead of seeking grants for just one international assignment, he added.

Mani said the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is unjustifiably seeking funds from the government despite failing to present any comprehensive activity plan thus far.

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