Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani on Monday paid glowing tributes and thanked the die-hard cricket fans, the 39 foreign international players and all the local stars for making the Pakistan Super League 2019 an overwhelming success. Mani termed the league as a ‘resilient’ event and said it had delivered all event objectives despite tough operational and logistical challenges caused due to reasons beyond the PCB’s control. Mani also thanked all the franchise owners and their players, as well as the Sindh Government and all the security agencies involved in providing a safe and secure environment for the commercial partners, players, spectators, officials, media and service providers for the eight Pakistan-leg matches played at the National Stadium.“The fans made this a truly Pakistan event. Cricket euphoria gripped the entire country as the fans got behind the tournament and made this an overwhelming success,” Mani told reporters at a press conference here yesterday. “The fans not only enjoyed and celebrated the festival of cricket, but they also portrayed a very positive image of Pakistan. This is the real power of a nation and I can’t thank the fans enough for the way they got behind the tournament, supported all the teams and applauded good performances,” he added. “The success of any event is gauged by crowd attendances and I am delighted that the overall crowd turnout at the National Stadium over the seven match days was nearly 95 per cent. This reflects the passion and love for cricket. I am sad that the Lahore fans were unable to attend the matches due to operational and logistical challenges, but they too contributed in a big way and I am thankful to all those who backed and supported the matches in the larger national interest,” said Mani, a former President of the International Cricket Council. He maintained the PSL had been designed as a vehicle to resume international cricket in Pakistan, which needed to be played across the country. “We have gradually increased the number of matches in Pakistan from one to three to eight. I am confident we will have matches at more venues next year. In this relation, we will soon start our preparations for PSL 2020 and in due course share plans on how we can increase fan participation by expanding the league,” he said. The PCB Chairman said that the opening ceremony of the final was “toned down” keeping in mind the New Zealand incident. “We acknowledged the incident, observed a minute’s silence, released pigeons and cut out dancing. All the songs too were iconic Pakistani songs.”Published in Daily Times, March 19th 2019.