England fast-bowler Chris Jordan, on Tuesday, admitted he was unaware about the passion and zeal Pakistani fans had got for the game of cricket, before he visited Lahore to play the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final on Sunday.
Jordan won the PSL 2 trophy, as his team Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiators by 58 runs, the right-arm pacer bagging a wicket on the historic occasion.
“It was immense and I had no idea that the passion for cricket was so great in Pakistan. The crowd in Lahore were brilliant – they really made the final,” Jordan told ecb.co.uk.
The 28-year-old believed security measures were exemplary and that he enjoyed the protocol players were provided from the time they landed in Lahore till the time they flew from the city.
“As soon as we landed in Lahore, we were met by military guys, escorted straight onto a bus and had a 10-minute drive to the hotel with a full escort,” said Jordan.
“The road was cordoned off and no-one was on the streets – it was a bit unreal!” he added.
Holding the final in Pakistan had drawn criticism from some quarters, after a series of militant attacks in February left 130 people dead and broke a long lull in violence that had encouraged authorities.
Fears of a fresh incident threatened to overshadow Sunday’s final, as top players such as Quetta’s Kevin Pietersen and Luke Wright pulled out ahead of the clash over security concerns.
But, along with Jordan, traveled West Indies’ twice World Cup winning captain Darren Sammy, fellow Englishman Dawid Malan and another Windies veteran Marlon Sameuls to play for the eventual champions Zalmi.
Jordan said that the players were told about the security arrangements in a very clear and convincing manner.
“It was pretty surreal! Obviously from making the decision to go, we were well briefed and everything was well documented about how everything was going to run from the time we left on the plane from Dubai to the time we got back.” said the fast-bowler.
Jordan, who was born in Caribbean island of Barbados, said playing in Lahore was a memory he will always cherish.
“I was glad I was able to be there and experience it. I’ll be able to say I played cricket in Pakistan and won the trophy. It was a brilliant experience.” he said.
“The reception we got said it all. They cheered every single ball for both teams, from ball one to the last. Their passion for cricket was immense. You’re on the boundary and you have people chanting your name,” added Jordan, who has played 31 ODIs and 22 T20Is for the Three Lions.
Jordan, who has featured in T20 leagues in England, the Big Bash in Australia and the Indian Premier League rated the standard of PSL 2 as ‘very high’.
“In terms of the standard, I think it was very high. Every single team had some high quality overseas players and also the local talent was very, very good. It’s good they had a rule that each team had to play one emerging player, so you have a youngster coming through all the time.” he said.
“There were some very exciting games and that’s what made it so competitive and a great spectacle. In comparison to all the other leagues it was right up there in terms of putting yourself in pressure situations and having to deliver for your team.”