Darren Sammy happy to bring smiles back to Pakistan

Darren Sammy happy to bring smiles back to Pakistan

Darren Sammy
Darren Sammy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Security issues have always overshadowed cricket in Pakistan but that did not stop Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy from being a part of Pakistan Super League final on Sunday. The big West Indian was among the nine brave foreign players who booked their flight to Lahore for the final showdown because he wanted to “bring the smiles back” on the faces of the Pakistani cricket fans.

After the horrific attack on the Sri-Lankan team bus in the year of 2009 in Pakistan, the country has managed to host only one series of international cricket and even that was not terror free. During the second One Day International, a blast took place just 800 metres away from the ground causing the death of two people. The final on Sunday also had possibilities of something going wrong as Lahore was already a wounded place before the match started. There were bombings that took place in the city including one in Lahore’s Defence Housing Authority. A total number of 10 people were killed in a blast while a dozen left injured.

But Pakistan upgraded their layers of security with a massive number of 10,000 security officers in charge including the nation’s paramilitary force Rangers. The Punjab Police were also a part of the strong security line up. New scanning and CCTV equipments were installed and the security check started from 2 kilometres away from the ground.

T20 World cup winning skipper Darren Sammy was one of the obvious overseas players to feature in the starting line-up and was expected to travel to Pakistan along with teammate Marlon Samuels. English duo Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan were also hoped for.

Quetta Gladiators, on the other hand, were without Kevin Pietersen, Nathan McCullum, Tymal Mills, Rilee Rossouw and Luke Wright as all these players backed out from featuring in the finals.

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However, they got a moral boost as the management did a brilliant job by persuading 5 overseas players who had previously refused to play in Pakistan for security reasons. These players were Anamul Haque, Morne Van Wyk, Elton Chigumbura, Sean Ervine and Rayad Emrit.

22,000 Pakistani cricket fans came to witness the final to fulfil their desire to see cricket being played in Pakistan again at such a grand scale, by passing 3 layers of strong security check. With the ever so popular Shahid Afridi being injured Darren Sammy was the clear favorite among the fans.

“To me it was more than just a game,” Sammy said after Peshawar won the second edition of the PSL. “It started with the draft. Lala [Afridi] made the big announcement that I would be the captain and one of our mottos was to bring back the smiles so I felt tonight I brought a lot of smiles in Lahore and Peshawar. It is an amazing day and this trophy means a lot.”

“When you have not been in a place you always have your doubts,” Sammy said. “You get different views, different opinions. But I spoke to Javed [Afridi, the Peshawar team owner] and Shahid Afridi and they influenced my decision to come here. All the boys just made the decision that we are part of something that we are coming down here for a good cause. The fans here deserve to see their players playing as they haven’t seen it for quite a while. I am glad I came here”.

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“I have enjoyed playing a cricket match [in Lahore] and I have even enjoyed being with the security guys as I have never seen something like this before so it was a good experience. It is hopefully a step in the right direction, where things could happen. What I can say is that being here felt like playing in St Lucia, playing in India or anywhere else in the world. And like I said at the toss, today I felt cricket was the winner.”

Security advisors from the ICC and its member countries were invited the Pakistan Cricket Board to watch the grand PSL finale. If reports are to believed PCB is planning to invite Bangladesh to tour Pakistan in the near future.