Scenes in Multan for HBL PSL fixtures were extraordinary, says Wasim Khan
Approximately 80,000 fans crossed the turnstiles to welcome HBL Pakistan Super League in Multan. The three fixtures played across four days – which marked the first time of the league being held in Multan – saw rousing crowds at the 24,800-capacity Multan Cricket Stadium support not only the home side but also the touring parties.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had promised in 2019 to stage the HBL PSL, one of the most-watched T20 leagues across the globe, in Multan which is in line with its policy to take cricket in every nook and corner of the country and make the game accessible to fans all across the country.
For the very purpose, the PCB had earmarked PKR2billion for the renovation of the cricket stadiums in Multan and Rawalpindi, with a big chunk of it was invested on the Multan Cricket Stadium.
With the last international match in Multan being 12 years ago, that it was the right move was underscored by the humongous turnouts – which had almost the same number as in the stands waiting outside the gates to watch their cricketing heroes. Whether in post-match press conferences or in other interactions, both local and foreign squad members mentioned the resounding cheers of energetic fans.
Multan Sultans, the home team, made the four days memorable for the fans by winning all three matches against Peshawar Zalmi (six wickets), Karachi Kings (52 runs) and Quetta Gladiators (30 runs).
Andy Flower, the head coach of Multan Sultans, said: “Our stay in Multan has been a memorable one, thanks to the warmth and hospitality of the people of Multan. The support of the crowd was phenomenal in all three games and I hope that the home fans are proud of the performances that we put up before them.
“The atmosphere in the stadium was electric throughout all the matches and the fans showed great passion and love for the game.
“I would definitely rate this venue as one of the best ones in the world and look forward to coming back with Multan soon.”
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “High-profile cricket was returning to Multan after a long gap of 12 years and the people of Multan well and truly embraced its return. The scenes at the Multan Cricket Stadium were extraordinary and each and every fan in the stands made their presence felt by cheering every shot and wicket.
“These scenes, however, were not only limited to the stands. People in Multan have serious passion for cricket and one could feel that in every part of the city.
“The addition of another venue in the HBL PSL roaster must have delighted every Pakistan cricket fan. This is yet another major milestone in the PCB’s efforts to return to normalcy and that Multan leg of the HBL PSL turned out to be a success is largely due to the cricket-loving people of the city.
“These are the encouraging signs for the PCB and our next aim is to bring international cricket back to the city.”