It will be the city’s first high-profile cricket event since hosting its last ODI in 1996. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has chosen to add Quetta’s Bugti Stadium among the sites that will host the Pakistan Super League in an unprecedented move (PSL). The eighth edition of the league, which will take place from February 13 to March 19, will now be held in five different cities: Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Rawalpindi, and Quetta.
Quetta to host PSL Matches
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It will be the first time Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, Pakistan’s least populated province but its biggest by area, has hosted high-profile cricket since a three-wicket Pakistan victory over Zimbabwe in 1996. The newly formed 14-member management committee, which has taken over from sacked PCB chairman Ramiz Raja, made the decision to widen the list of PSL venues. Previously, just four sites were planned for the 2023 season.
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I am happy that seven years after the Pakistan Super League’s inception, I am now announcing our commitment to add Bugti Stadium in Quetta as the fifth location for our signature event,” said Najam Sethi, chairman of the PCB’s executive committee. “Bugti Stadium is the home stadium of Quetta Gladiators and we still recall the fantastic moments when the Gladiators visited the city after winning the 2019 championship.
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The ardent cricket fans of Quetta have been waiting for a long to see high-profile cricket in their backyard and I am glad that we will finally deliver HBL PSL 8 matches to their doors. In this regard, I have already met with powerful leaders in the Balochistan province, who have guaranteed me their full assistance in terms of event delivery. Quetta has hosted domestic cricket since 1954 but has frequently been overlooked owing to a lack of infrastructure and a volatile security scenario.
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Historically, cricket was not as popular in Balochistan as it is elsewhere in Pakistan, and just one player from the province, opening hitter Shoaib Khan, has gone on to play for Pakistan – he played four T20Is during a T20 Quadrangular in Canada in 2008. Bugti Stadium is the property of the local government, but it was given to the PCB in 2001 under a deal in which the board agreed to develop and maintain the stadium.
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The stadium has held domestic games since 1954, but not consistently; between 1977 and 2004, the venue was neglected for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan’s best first-class championship. It hosted four first-class games in 2019 after a 12-year gap from 2007 to 2019. The weather has been identified as one of the primary reasons for the stadium’s intermittent usage – Pakistan’s domestic season runs from October to March, while winter temperatures in Quetta fluctuate between 4-6 degrees Celsius.
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The Balochistan government has also planned a pre-PSL festival game between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi on February 5. To guarantee Bugti Stadium is ready to host PSL games, the PCB will collaborate with the provincial government and municipal government to refurbish and restore the stadium. Separate negotiations about security clearances will be initiated by the PCB with appropriate authorities.
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