Shoaib Akhtar urges Pakistani fans not to condemn players opting out of PSL finals

Shoaib Akhtar urges Pakistani fans not to condemn players opting out of PSL finals

Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan Announces His Retirement From International Cricket
Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar has voiced his opinion on the exodus of overseas players from the Pakistan Super League (PSL) finals. The finals of the second edition of the T20 league is just around the corner and the build up to the big finale is huge. This can largely be accredited to the fact that the final is being seen as a much wider profit gamut for the Pakistani cricket. No major team has landed on the Pakistani soil since the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus.

The minor teams like Afghanistan and Zimbabwe did show up but Test cricket has eluded the Pakistani soil since the time. Now, with the PSL finals being scheduled to be played at Lahore, the PCB hopes that a smooth conduct of the game could open the gates for international cricket back in Pakistan. However, despite all the assurances, most of the overseas players have opted out of the finals in Lahore. Quetta Gladiators beat Peshawar Zalmi in the first Qualifying final of the tournament to be the first side making it to the finals.

Soon after the win, though, the overseas players of the side pulled out of the final fixture. Big names like Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Rilee Rossouw confirmed their exit from the tournament. This resulted in massive outrage, discontent and a backlash from the Pakistani cricket fans. Many fans even abused the cricketers. A fan went on to abuse Luke Wright and Wright had to give a fitting response to shut their mouth.

Shoaib Akhtar has not come out in defense of the players who are making an exit from the tournament finals. In a recent tweet, the pacer noted that the choice is a personal one and must be respected. The fans must thank the players for being a part of the show. He tweeted, “Guys, let’s not criticise foreign players opting out of PSL finals. I’d thank each one of them, would urge each one of u to do d same.”

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He further noted that the finals could well pave the way for international cricket and more cricket action in the country. He expects the next edition of the tournament to have the finals in Rawalpindi or Karachi.

“This year Lahore is hosting PSL finals. Who knows we may have 2018 PSL opening ceremony in Lahore and finals in Karachi or Rawalpindi,” Shoaib Akhtar wrote in another tweet.