Cricket is finally returning to Pakistan as a World XI team is set to play 3 T20Is against the national side. There has been a huge build up to the series which is named as the ‘Independence Cup’. People in Pakistan are delighted to welcome the game back and the players too are geared up for the challenge.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have made conscious efforts in ensuring that cricket in the country gets the much-needed revival. The matches between the 2 teams have been accorded international status. Some of the big names in world cricket have also put their hands up in supporting the cause.
Would the horror of attacks wash away?
The unfortunate attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in the year 2008 near the Gaddafi Stadium marked a pause on cricket in Pakistan. No team was ready to visit there and all the subsequent tours were canceled. The Pakistani team was forced to play all its home games in the United Arab Emirates.
Two years back, Zimbabwe became the only team to tour the country but even then the clouds of terrorism were not clear. A huge amount of security was provided yet a blast outside the same stadium in Lahore killed 2 people including a policeman. From then on, the country once again was deprived of any action on the field.
The World XI tour will also be played under heavy security and it’s going to be same ground that will host the iconic series. It’s a chance for the country to send a strong message to the world with a safe tour but even a slight mishap might close the doors for the game for a few years to come.
The fans deserve to see the game
The players of Pakistan side haven’t been able to play on their home grounds but more than them, it’s the fans of the country who have suffered. They have been deprived of the game for so long and they surely don’t deserve that. There is immense passion in the nation for the game just like other subcontinental countries like India and Bangladesh.
Whenever their side plays, the fans are glued to the television sets. They support and love their players. Just because of some malicious people, the true fans of the game have suffered.
Ever since the World XI tour was announced, there has been a huge joy amongst the fans. The 4 days on the cricket field will be celebrated like a festival. The tickets for the games have been in huge demand and one can expect the stands of the Gaddafi Stadium to be packed to the rafters.
Chance for Pakistan to show its prowess
The Pakistani side used to be formidable at home. 15 years back, it was very difficult for the touring sides to overcome the might of the hosts. Even though the current players haven’t had a great experience of playing at home yet they will come hard like before. The World XI sides haven’t done well historically and hardly any one of the current squad have any experience of playing in the country.
In the last few years, the Pakistani side has played with the tags of being the underdogs or the unpredictables. Where there was a possibility of them missing out on a chance to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, they ended up winning it by overpowering the strong Indian side in the final.
There is enough talent in the side to dominate the opposition. One thing’s for sure that Sarfaraz Ahmed and his men would be itching to take the field and show the world what they are capable of.
Above all, there is cricket to be played in the series. Whatever the outcome of the tour, if everything goes well, it will be the victory of the game and hopefully, it will open the doors for more cricket in the country.