LAHORE -- Lahore residents are benefiting from the improved security situation as they prepare to welcome international cricketers to the city for two play-off matches scheduled Tuesday-Wednesday (March 20-21) as part of the 2018 Pakistan Super League (PSL).
"The improved security situation is bearing fruit as Pakistan has scheduled three PSL matches this year: two play-offs in Lahore and the final in Karachi," Lahore-based sports journalist Hafiz Shahbaz Ali told Pakistan Forward Monday (March 19).
Tickets for the matches at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, which has a capacity of 23,700 spectators, sold out a week ago, according to Ali.
"Cricket spectators will get to see many international players playing on Pakistani soil," he said.
"Good news! Six top foreign players will travel with each PSL team to Pakistan," the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Twitter.
"All our foreign players will travel to Pakistan for PSL playoffs," Javed Afridi, the owner of defending champions Peshawar Zalmi, confirmed in a tweet. "Just like last year, Zalmi will have a full-strength squad traveling to Pakistan for the knockout games."
Stepped up security arrangements have been planned for the matches inside and outside Gaddafi Stadium.
"Authorities are assuring spectators and players of tight security during both playoffs," Nayab Haider, a spokesman for the Punjab Police, told Pakistan Forward.
"The spectators will be provided free shuttle service to reach the cricket venue, and everyone will have to be checked at the entry points," he said.
"I myself will supervise the security arrangements," Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a press statement.
"This is a great moment again for Pakistan now that international cricket is returning to our soil," Uzair Khan, a cricket fan from Lahore, told Pakistan Forward.
"I am keen to see the matches to thank the PCB and international players for playing at our grounds," he said.