Kolkata: Perhaps every Pakistani cricket fan all across the world would never ever forget the 18th of June 2017. It was a pleasant Sunday when they trounced their arch-rivals India by a massive 180 runs at the Oval to win their maiden Champions Trophy title. As a matter of fact, that victory was much needed as it gave back Pakistan cricket some of it’s lost glory and honour and instilled faith in the hearts of the Pakistani public that cricket in their country could still see a revival.
After that huge win, praises in the form of tweets, messages and interviews started flowing in from the big names in the cricketing fraternity. For many back in Pakistan, this record-breaking victory hasn’t yet sunk in and there are good news more waiting already as the ICC, in it’s annual conference on Friday agreed to support a proposal of sending a World XI to the country for a three-match T20 series later this year.
With the passage of time, this prospect of a having World XI play against Pakistan XI in Pakistan have slowly started to gain ground as the ICC has supported this idea and has even decided that Lahore would be the venue for all these three high-profile games which would be accorded full T20 International status.
In a release, the global governing body of cricket also said that the, “further details will be announced in due course.”
Back in 2009, the team bus of the touring Sri Lankan team was attacked by gunmen which left six among the visitors injured besides claiming the lives of policemen and civilians. That had shut the doors of international cricket in the country and Pakistan was made to play all of their home matches in the United Arab Emirates.
This led to the cricket fans in the country being deprived of international cricketing action and Zimbabwe and Afghanistan are the only two teams that that have played in Pakistan since that infamous incident. Even during Zimbabwe’s tour, there was a blast nearly 800m away from the Gaddafi Stadium which killed two people. The 2017 PSL final was also held in Pakistan in which many foreign players participated but there were no attacks this time.
But with this news, international cricket in all probability is set to make a comeback after eight long years.
After that dominating victory over India in the Champions Trophy final, Pakistan’s coach Mickey Arthur hoped that the visit by the World XI turns into reality. He said, “We’re scheduled to have a World XI in Pakistan in September for three Twenty20 games..So hopefully that starts paving the way for future tours. We can only hope.”
Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who played a crucial role Pakistan’s Champions Trophy victory also said, “I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and all the (major) playing nations will come to Pakistan.”
Furthermore, according to reports from The Guardian, Giles Clarke the president of the England and Wales Cricket Board and head of the ICC’s Pakistan task force, said that the cricket-loving public in Pakistan should not be deprived because of terrorist activities. “The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action” Clarke said.
He added, “Furthermore, the terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan.”
The historic Champions Trophy victory has indeed proven to be what Pakistan cricket exactly needed. If things work to plan, Lahore could witness history in the making and international cricket could be resurrected in the country once again.