Peshawar Zalmi on Sunday may have won the Pakistan Super League (PSL) but the real victory was that of the country, which after years of terrorism and turmoil was able to stage a landmark international event in Lahore.
Gaddafi Stadium, filled from one corner to the other with cricket fanatics, roared the message of peace and impending prosperity when international cricketers from West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe and England appeared in the stadium representing the two finalist teams.
At the conclusion of the event, the world saw what Pakistan, a nation which has been fighting terrorism for the last decade, could do when they united for a single cause – to bring international cricket back to Pakistan and more importantly to send out a message that we are a peaceful nation who wants to be known for our hospitality.
PSL chairman Najam Sethi, the man behind the successful organisation of the event, said it was a victory to be named to Pakistan and the country will not bow down to anyone or anything.
“Zinda dilane Lahore, Zinda dilane Pakistan, I thank you all very much,” said PSL chairman Najam Sethi while addressing the crowd during the closing ceremony. “This PSL is yours. If you were not with us, then this would not have happened. Today we have people from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi and Balochistan here in Lahore. They are here from every nook and corner [of the country]. This sends out a message that we are united, we will not bow down before anyone or anything.”
Sethi, sunk in emotion, then thanked the people of Pakistan for supporting the idea of holding the final in Pakistan and said tonight’s victory will be named to Pakistan. “I just want to say may the best team, but whoever wins or loses, in the end, Pakistan will win today.”
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi echoed Sethi’s words and said the event will send out a positive message to the world.
“I am here to support foreign players who came in for the final,” said Afridi. “I want to thank [Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren] Sammy and everyone else for coming out. This [final] will send a positive message to the world.”