The fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is just four days away from starting.
This league, born in the UAE, has over the years won the hearts of cricket fans around the world.
It was the standard of competition and immense talent on display that made the league very special.
This time, out of a total of 34 matches, eight will be hosted in Lahore and Karachi toward the business end of the event — giving rise to speculation that this could well be the last time that UAE plays host to PSL and the 2020 edition could be entirely held in Pakistan.
The fact that more and more foreign players in the PSL are willing to play in Pakistan this time is a good sign.
There cannot be anything more exciting than Karachi Kings playing in Karachi, or the Lahore Qalandars, as well as the other teams playing before their home team fans.
One of the big successes of the Indian Premier League has been the enthusiasm of the fans to turn up and cheer for teams like Chennai Super Kings in Chennai or Mumbai Indians in Mumbai.
Since there is a likelihood of PSL returning to Pakistan, fans in UAE should come out in large numbers and watch this edition.
One cannot deny the fact that Dubai and Sharjah have provided the best of facilities for the PSL and every player in the league has enjoyed playing here.
With PSL being held in the UAE so far, this league earned an international flavour.
Unlike other leagues around the world, this is a league that has been watched by expat fans from other countries in the stadium. Fans from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan have always turned up and watched their best players in action.
Though the Indian players do not play in this league, not once has any fan felt that the competition would have been better with their presence.
This is because all foreign players have given their best and enriched the league. Darren Sammy became the darling of the crowd not only in the UAE but also in Pakistan.
No wonder Sammy is the only foreign player captaining a team (Peshawar Zalmi), while all other team captains are from Pakistan. The ever popular AB de Villiers, too, could win the hearts of the fans in this edition in the UAE and Pakistan.
This edition will see Abu Dhabi also hosting PSL matches for the first time.
It shows the impact that PSL has on fans all over the UAE.
They have cheered the teams — singing the songs of each team and in the language of their country. No player on the field was made to feel that they were playing in a foreign country. UAE’s Pakistan fans made sure their players feel at home and deserve kudos for it.