Muhammad Faheem

On the evening of February 6, 2006, Pakistan’s cricket team was chasing 328 runs target set by their arch-rival India at the Peshawar’s Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium.

At the day draw to a close, Pakistan needed 18 runs on 18 balls with three wickets in hand; however, the game come to end due to insufficient day light. Pakistan won the match by seven runs under the Duckworth–Lewis–Stern method (DLS).

Many among those in the stadium had no inkling that this will be the last international cricket match at this stadium. The Lahore attack on Sri Lankan team in 2009 nearly dealt a death blow to international cricket in Pakistan as teams refused to play cricket in the country till 2015 Zimbabwe visit. Then come the Pakistan Super League and slowly international teams started visiting Pakistan. West Indies, Sri Lank and Bangladesh visits have been followed by Australia and England this year, while New Zealand team will also visit during the current month.

Next year, Pakistan is also scheduled to host the Asia Cup and 2025 ICC Champions Trophy will also take also in country and it is going to first ICC event to take place in the country after 1996.

Peshawar is red flag for western teams

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja statement about Peshawar being red flag for western teams has come a shock for many of the city residents. Talking to Sky Sports during the Multan Test PCB chairman when asked if Pakistan will continue to play its cricket in Multan, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi alone or going to hold matches at other venues like Peshawar and Faisalabad, PCB chief said that Peshawar was still a red flag for western countries.

However, he said that work on the Faisalabad and Sialkot stadiums was in progress and they will see soon cricket matches.

The statement came as rude shock to the most of the city’s cricket lovers and it also raises questions over billions of spending of construction of two cricket stadiums in the city.

The question rises if the foreign players were not ready to play matches in the city, then what was the point of pumping billions of rupees into construction of stadiums.

Rs 3.24 billion investment in Peshawar Cricket stadiums

Arbab Niaz is the only international venue in the city and has seen six test and 17 one day matches.

The reconstruction of the stadium was started in December 2017 and scheduled to complete by 2020; however, it was delayed due to the pandemic. The project is due for completion during the current; however, further delay of three to four months was also possible.

The project is likely to cost Rs 1.94 billion.

Keeping the delay in construction of Arbab Niaz stadium, KP government started working on another cricket stadium in Hayatabad by converting the Hayatabad Sports Complex into cricket ground on a fast track basis.

The project which was scheduled to complete within four months is two years later far from completion and its cost has also jumped to Rs 1.30 billion.

Construction of both the stadiums is likely to cost the province Rs 3.24 billion.

A poor province like KP where thousands of people were living below the poverty line spends Rs 3.24 billion on construction of stadiums and it took only a sentence to PCB chief to dismiss the venue.

The money could have been spent on putting thousand of out of school children into schools, interest free loans for the youths and drinking water supply for people lacking access to drinking water.

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