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Najam Sethi

NO MORE PSLs ABROAD

The pulsating cheering crowd in the National Stadium Karachi for the PSL Final, and subsequently for the three international T20s, underscored the return of peace to a city (and country) torn by internal strife. Bereft of any sports spectacle and living in cold fear for life and limb of their (and their families) because of open-ended threats from terrorists, political, religious and the criminal kind, the people of Karachi had very good reason to celebrate, both their “freedom” and Pakistan’s return from sports “exile”. When the speakers playing the National Anthem failed during its rendition before the start of the match, the entire audience spontaneously started singing the anthem, could anyone have stage-managed patriotism better?,” to quote my article “Lest we forget” of April 6, 2018.

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NO MORE PSLs ABROAD

Rameez Raja recently made some suggestions how to attract good quality players for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and to resolve the problem of low spectator turnout in the UAE cricket stadiums. His contention is that in PSL “each team has to stay under a predetermined salary cap set and cannot go over the budget – a restriction that keeps the absolute cream of world cricket away from the league”. The open auction system instead of the present draft system for player recruitment does have some merit. Teams pay a fixed price for each player purchase in the draft system i.e. with fixed wages instead of the preferred method of open bidding as done in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the other Twenty20 leagues. Attracting some of the best international cricketers, an auction will encourage each team to make an extra effort to get the best players. Big names in the teams will give cricket lovers that much more incentive to go to stadiums and see their favourite stars in action.

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Surviving March

As opposed to the 15th of March (the Roman “Ides of March”), the entire month of March seems linked with Pakistan’s destiny. March 23 marks the 1940 Resolution for the muslims of South Asia aspiring for a separate homeland, the fateful Army action in Dhaka in 1971 started late evening of March 25. By early next morning hundreds who had lived for over two decades as patriotic Pakistanis were lying dead in the streets, and were buried as Bangladeshis. March 26 ended the brave and extraordinary experiment to keep the two geographically apart muslim homelands as one entity, Hundreds of thousands died before the formal surgical process was complete nearly nine months later.

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