PCB shifts National Twenty20 Championship to Karachi
Lahore: The PCB on Wednesday decided to shift the National Twenty20 Championship from Lahore to Karachi after it was learnt that country`s President and chief patron of the Board Asif Ali Zardari was unahappy with chairman Ijaz Butt`s resentment in opting for re-location.
Sources in the PCB said the move to shift the venue due to a looming dengue threat came after Butt`s remarks over the relocation irked Zardari during his meeting with the sports fraternity in Karachi on Tuesday.
"President Zardari was left irritated when during the meeting he agreed to suggestions that the event should be held in Karachi but Butt challenged his advice insisting all logistical arrangements had been made to have the event in Lahore," a source revealed.
"PCB Director General of cricket Javed Miandad also played his role in adding fire to by coming out of the meeting at Bilawal house and telling the media about the incident and also insisting that the President`s advice should have been heeded," he added.
It is learnt that immediately after leaving for Lahore after the meeting Butt realised his folly and started taking steps to move the tournament to Karachi.
The board finally issued a press release earlier today confirming the change in the venue.
The event would now be held from September 25 to October 2 at the National Stadium in Karachi, the release stated.
The incident is believed to have cost Butt his extension as only the chief patron has the powers to appoint the head of the PCB. Butt`s tenure as the chairman of the board is scheduled to expire next month.
"Butt has the desire to continue as Chairman for another year or so but he will now have to use all his connections in the government and close to Zardari to get his desired extension after the incident in the meeting," the source added.
The PCB has been resisting the option of shifting the event to Karachi despite repeated demands from the city`s cricket association and former players to relocate the championship in view of the dengue outbreak in Lahore, which has created uncertainty in the minds of the participants.
The dengue fever has so far claimed around 41 lives in Lahore with five deaths reported on Tuesday.
The board had earlier confirmed that 13 teams from across the country apart from Afghanistan will be participating in the country`s premier domestic competition.