Dubai: Jamaican reggae star Shaggy and Pakistani singers Ali Zafar and Shahzad Roy are set to open this year’s Pakistan Super League cricket in Dubai at a Thursday night ceremony.
Speaking to a room packed full of reporters at the Dubai Sport City stadium on Wednesday, Shaggy said that his performance would be one of his first at an international cricket tournament.
“I’m sure it will be an amazing time tomorrow,” the ‘It wasn’t me’ star said, who wore oversized sunglasses and a shimmering gold chain, watch and bracelet.
“Cricket has been a national sport in my country Jamaica, so to be a part of this is pretty amazing.”
Ali Zafar, who wore a blazer and brown t-shirt, said that he was honoured to part of the event. “We’re just here to lend a hand in support and do our best,” he said.
Zafar performed at the same tournament’s opening ceremony last year, alongside Jamaican rapper Sean Paul.
Meanwhile, Shehzad Roy, who is known for his humanitarian work as well as his music, said he believed that the tournament would help to pay tribute to Pakistanis back home.
“I’m really excited,” he said. He was wearing a tan leather jacket. “I’m really looking forward to the opening match also. I think Pakistan has suffered for a long time, and I think they deserve this festival.”
Egged on by organizers, all three stars broke into several lines of song. Zafar and Roy sang popular Urdu hits, while Shaggy gave a brief rendition of his 1995 Number One ‘Boombastic.’
Fahad Mustafa, a Pakistan TV and cinema actor, who also spoke with reporters, will emcee the event.
“As we all know, cricket has been dying lately, with major setbacks,” he said. “[But] this is one of the successful leagues in the world these days.”
Outside the conference room at the stadium, organizers held sound checks around the arena to prep for the Thursday show.
The Pakistan Super League’s chairman, Najam Sethi, who sat in the middle and traded jokes with the stars, said that the opening ceremony would eclipse last year’s event.
“I promise you, it’s going to be a treat to watch,” Sethi told reporters. “Last year, the opening ceremony was the envy of all the other leagues.”
“Well this year, we present to you a far more superior product, so that they will have a hard time catching up on us,” he added.
The stars will sing after several rounds of music from provincial Pakistani artists.
Then, when the ceremony ends, bat-and-wicket action will begin with an opening clash between defending champions Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi at 9pm.
What is the Pakistan Super League?
The Pakistan Super League, well known by its acronym PSL, is a professional men’s cricket league which held its first tournament last year. Due to instability in Pakistan, the first season of the league took place in the UAE.
Now in its second season, the number of matches has been increased from 16 to 24. Dubai will play host to 13 of them, while several others will be held in Sharjah.
Together with the opening ceremony, many of the matches will be held at the 25,000-seat Dubai International Stadium in Sports City.
A showdown between the winner of the first playoff and the third playoff will be held in back home in Lahore on March 5.
Tickets are available from the Q-Tickets website, the event’s official partner.
The PSL tickets price for opening match in Dubai following the opening ceremony cost between Dh30 and 250, depending on the area in the stadium.
The next two days will see double-headers played in Dubai, where tickets will range from Dh40-275. Then, at the single game on 12 February, tickets will cost between Dh20-220.