Ahmed Shehzad, the opener who returned to form with 54 for Quetta Gladiators against Karachi Kings, stressed that everyone ought to back the Pakistan Cricket Board’s plans to stage the final of Pakistan Super League in Lahore, saying terrorists should not be allowed to control the situation.
The Pakistan government and its army have promised full support to the March 5 final, despite two bomb blasts in the city on February 13 and then ten days later on February 23, leaving 22 people killed and over 100 injured.
Quetta’s six-wicket win over Karachi meant they became the first team in the PSL to qualify for the play-offs, and Shehzad said all players should visit Lahore to play the final.
“We have got to back ourselves whatever the situations are. I think we have done justice with the PSL so far and that has been a tremendous effort from the PCB’s side because we have been watching some lovely games of cricket and some every close, nail-biting matches,” said Shehzad on Friday (February 24).
“If they are saying we’ve got to go and play the final in Lahore, we have got to play. We cannot sit back here and let other people control us . Not if they take the responsibility and tell us that they are taking the responsibility.
“As Pakistanis, we have got help our government and army and go there and play the PSL final. Let them know that we are there it is a sport and we’ve got to treat it as a sport. I will back everybody and I will definitely go and play the final in Lahore, there’s no problem for me.”
PCB said it will hold a second draft on March 4 after knowing who are the foreign players willing to visit the terror-hit country.
Najam Sethi, the PSL chairman, flew in to Lahore early on Friday to meet provincial officials and take a final call on the final.
Shehzad attributed Quetta’s success to the spirit of the players backed by a highly charged support staff.
“We have a tremendous dressing room environment. We have a wonderful management. I personally think I have never seen such an environment. I went to different leagues as well. I have never seen such a management and a team atmosphere in my entire life.
“We just back each other and the relation we have with Moin Khan, who is such a big name, and as I said earlier I am a fan of the way he conducts himself,” said Shehzad of the coach and former Pakistan wicketkeeper.
“The players they absolutely love him. Our manager, you may not know him, but he has a special role and that is Azam Khan. He has been doing a wonderful job with the foreigners because it can be very difficult to manage actually foreign players.”
Shehzad also praised Abdul Razzaq, the former Pakistan allrounder, and the team’s fielding coach.
“I would also like to take the name Abdul Razzaq. As youngsters, we have been growing up watching him hitting sixes and wining matches for our country. And now they are sitting with us in the dressing room and just boosting us up. There is no negativity.
“We are selfless, and we are fearless and we just try and play fearless cricket. We have very clear mindsets, and credit for that goes to the whole team and the management because it is tremendous.”