The Pakistan Super League witnessed a 'grand' closing ceremony but it was criticised as it was held in the backdrop of the Christchurch mosques shooting which killed 50 people. (Image credit: Twitter)
The 2019 Pakistan Super League ended at the National stadium in Karachi with plenty of fanfare. Quetta Gladiators thrashed the Peshawar Zalmi to win their maiden title. Following the end of the match, the Pakistan Super League decided to organise a music-filled closing ceremony despite the recent terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and this led to massive criticism. The attacks killed 50 people in what was described as the ‘worst terror attack’ on New Zealand soil. Reacting to the criticism, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said the moment was actually ‘toned down’. Speaking about the incident, PCB chief Ehsan Mani defended the decision to hold the closing ceremony in this way.
“We acknowledged the incident, observed a minute's silence, released pigeons and cut out dancing. All the songs too were iconic Pakistani songs. We had a dilemma due to the unfortunate New Zealand incident. People forget that we are also the victims of terrorism. Now the world knows what challenges are there. Pakistan's problems are not different to anyone else's. It doesn't mean we should gloat. We will work with them and share our experiences but cricket should not stop. If cricket stops due to terrorism then it's a victory for the terrorists. Players' safety is of course important and cannot be risked but the game must go on too,” Mani said.
The Pakistan Super League was once again held in two stages, with the first part being held in the UAE while the second part was held in Pakistan. The games were shifted to Karachi from Lahore after the city’s air-space was closed indefinitely due to the ongoing tensions with India over the surgical strike carried out in Balakot by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in response to the Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF jawans.
The third and final Test match between New Zealand and Bangladesh at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch, which was scheduled to be played on March 16, was cancelled after multiple shootings in mosques in the city. The official Twitter handle of the New Zealand cricket team, @BLACKCAPS, tweeted that a joint decision was made.The Bangladesh cricket team, who were touring New Zealand, had a narrow escape. A video tweeted by Bangladesh’s ESPNCricinfo correspondent Mohammad Isam showed the Bangladesh cricketers Tamim Iqbal and Taijul Islam running back from Hagley Park back to the cricket ground. The incident took place around 1.45pm local time when the team had gone to pray when the incident took place.