Fawad Khan
Fawad Khan Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The mood was upbeat as Pakistan heart-throb Fawad Khan and rock Sufi band Junoon member Salman Ahmad — the star performers at the opening ceremony of Pakistan Super League in Dubai on Thursday — called on their fans and cricket enthusiasts to be patient about the Twenty20 league returning to their home soil.

“Just be patient, the whole event will be eventually transferred. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of matches of PSL being played in Pakistan. The transition will happen,” Khan said at a press briefing ahead of his performance on Wednesday.

There’s a sense of camaraderie and a feeling of fraternity and unity among players from different sides. You don’t see that often in other leagues.

- Fawad Kha

Security concerns for the international players ever since the 2009 terror attack against Sri Lankan players in Lahore had scuttled the chances of any international cricket being played in their home turf.

“PSL franchise league is still in its infancy stages, but it will iron out all its problems,” added Khan.

Khan, who has sung the PSL 2019 anthem Khel Deewano Ka (see video below), also rattled off a few statistics to drive home his point. “Last year, three PSL matches were held in Pakistan, but this year eight PSL matches will be played in Pakistan … The closing ceremony this year will be held in Karachi too and that’s a great sign,” said Khan.

Salman Ahmad, who will be performing on stage alongside Khan at the opening ceremony, also pointed out that his country is working hard towards bolstering peace and goodwill.

“I want to thank the security forces, the army, the government who are bringing back a semblance of normalcy in our lives. Recently, we held a concert in Karachi with more than 20,000 music fans and it went off beautifully. Pakistan is a beautiful country where there’s art, music, television and cricket … We want the world to see that side of ours,” said Ahmad in Hindi.

The artists also felt that PSL matches were a great platform to display a sense of sportsmanship.

Aima Baig, Ali Azmat,Salman Ahmad,Sohaib Shaikh
Aima Baig, Ali Azmat,Salman Ahmad,Sohaib Shaikh, Fawad Khan,Shuja Haider and Young Desi, during a press conference at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman /Gulf News

“The efforts behind PSL should be applauded … There’s a sense of camaraderie and a feeling of fraternity and unity among players from different sides. You don’t see that often in other leagues. The PSL players all seem to be having a great time,” said Khan.

Speaking on the sidelines of the press conference, Khan revealed to Gulf News that he was nervous about performing at the opening ceremony in the UAE.

“I have a serious case of stage fright. It might be shocking to hear, but it’s true. I have a feeling that my opening ceremony act will be a roller-coaster ride and evoke nostalgia in me. Returning to the stage is always fun and I will have a ball,” said Khan, who has acted in several Bollywood hits including Kapoor & Sons and Khoobsurat. Khan was also a part of rock band called ‘Entity Paradigm.’

Other artists, including hip hop star Pitbull and singer Marcia Barrett from Boney M will join the pair at a glittering ceremony at the Dubai International Stadium on Valentine’s Day evening.

PSL schedule updated
Image Credit: Gulf News