Published On: Thu, Sep 7th, 2017

Credit goes to PCB as well

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The ICC security is in Pakistan and they are reviewing armaments for the World XI tour of Pakistan. With this development it is now certain that international cricket is set to return our country. Cricket is passion with our nation and they love cricket to the core of their cricket. When it comes to cricket on home ground, one can imagine their feelings. However, it for many years that our nation is deprived of watching their favorite cricket heroes at their home grounds and efforts were afoot to revive the same.

Those efforts seem to be bearing fruit now as Pakistan Cricket Board under the new leadership of Najam Sethi has announced the visit of the World XI team in what is said to be the return of international cricket to Pakistan. A three match T20 series is scheduled for the next month. With security the main reason for a decade-long hiatus in international cricket in the country, a team from the ICC is in Pakistan to review security arrangements.

The PCB had been able to successfully host the final of the Pakistan Super League amid strong security threats earlier this year. The final provided a boost of encouragement for cricket in a country which has been forced to play all its matches abroad following the attack on the Sri Lankan side in 2009.

The prelude to the World XI series has been nothing short of histrionic as the Prime Minister, who also serves as the Patron in Chief of the PCB, was deposed and barred from contesting elections while negotiations for the series were still taking place.

Despite this – and the appointment of a new PCB chairman – the management has put up a good show of strength and made sure the series goes on. In an effort to cater to cricket euphoria throughout the country, there have been discussions for Karachi being one of the potential venues for the World XI series; however, stronger bets have been placed on Lahore where Zimbabwe also visited two years ago. The World XI T20 format will see a Twenty20 series between Pakistan team and the international side that will be an assorted mix of record making cricketers, including Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, Ben Cutting, Thisara Perera and Darren Sammy.

It appears that the authorities are determined to guarantee the security of players. This will be a sigh of relief for Pakistani fans who have not witnessed cricket on home soil for almost a decade. The prospects for international cricket to return to Pakistan grew following the support of some key members on boards of ICC member teams. The series itself is said to be an exciting challenge for the Pakistan side as the World XI side has players who have won major world titles for their respective teams.

Following a successful and safe World XI series, it is likely that other international teams like Sri Lanka will confirm their tour dates for later this year.

After the World XI team confirmed its tour to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from Sept 11 to 15 for four T20 matches at the Gaddafi Stadium, Sri Lanka and West Indies teams have also agreed to play two and three T20 matches in Lahore. Sri Lanka will play two T20 matches in October; then the Caribbean will be here to play a three T20 matches series.

It is a good news for the cricketing fans, in particular, and for the nation, in general, as the international community is visiting Pakistan without any fear. International cricket and other sports had signed off Pakistan after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at the Liberty Chowk in 2009, a couple of furlongs from the Gaddafi Stadium. The attack had claimed the lives of eight policemen guarding the team, while several others, including umpire Ahsan Raza, were injured. The good thing is the international cricket community considers Pakistan a safe place now to visit. Pakistan has already hosted the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) successfully at the Gaddafi Stadium on March 5 this year. The successful event convinced the World XI, Sri Lanka and West Indies to come to Pakistan. Hopefully, the World XI will conclude the visit on a happy note. Several factors stand behind the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan.

Last week, the Pakistan cricket team also visited the main office of the Safe City Project to watch the system. The foreign coaches of the Pakistan cricket team, including head coach Mickey Arthur, also accompanied the team.

The PCB should be grateful to Giles Clarke, who is the head of the ICC Task Force formed to resume international cricket in Pakistan. Mr Clarke made brilliant efforts to bring international players to Pakistan. The credit also goes to PCB Chairman Najam Sethi for his bold decision of holding the final of the PSL in Lahore, which later convinced the world to consider Pakistan a safe country for cricket. Moreover, the victory of Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy in London in June this year also left a good note on the community.


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