Revival of International Sports


Hosting of Pakistan Super League has played a vital role in paving the way for international cricket in Pakistan

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Published: Wed 23 Mar 2022, 12:00 AM

The wait is over as international sports events return to Pakistan after a gap of more than one decade. The country went through a torrid time as international teams refused to tour Pakistan after the attack on the touring Sri Lanka cricket team in 2009, but now the situation is changing fast in the wake of effective measures taken by the government in recent years.

The lack of international sport has hurt Pakistan in many ways. It left the grounds empty and sports bodies suffered financially.

The youngsters could not see their heroes perform in home grounds as several players debuted and ended their careers without playing a single match in their homeland.

Misbah-ul-Haq was made captain of the cricket team in 2010, and he helped Pakistan team to become the number one Test side in the world without playing a match at home as Pakistan played their home series in the UAE and some of the games in England.

The players were always on tour, and it may have affected their performance because they were unable to enjoy home conditions. It has been an uphill task to convince top teams to tour Pakistan. Pakistan was able to organise some matches by inviting Zimbabwe, World XI, West Indies and Sri Lanka but faced difficulty convincing top teams.

Continuous efforts yield results

Several international wrestlers travelled to Pakistan recently. Some of the top international footballers, including Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, visited Pakistan, which gave fans in Pakistan a chance to interact with former number one players.Karachi Open Squash Championship is being held in Pakistan. Several international stars are taking part in the tournament.

PSL’s key role

Hosting of Pakistan Super League in Pakistan has played a vital role in paving the way for international cricket in Pakistan. Since many international stars take part in the PSL and their feedback to their respective boards could have played a big part.

It was not a smooth affair as the New Zealand cricket team landed in Pakistan to play a series in 2021 but they left the country without playing a single ball on security reasons, although they were given foolproof security as they practised for three days in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan Cricket Board and the Pakistan government tried their best to convince them to carry on the tour. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan called his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Arden to tell her that there was no security issue in the country, but they stuck to their plans and flew back. This tour was followed by England’s men and women cricket teams, who also decided to withdraw. Both the teams have promised to tour Pakistan shortly to fulfil their commitments.

Australian tour

It was great news for Pakistan cricket when Cricket Australia promised to fulfil its commitment to touring the country. They have played two Tests (Rawalpindi and Karachi) which have been drawn and now the third Test is being played in Lahore.

Pakistan hopes Australia completes the tour without any incident. Australians are happy with the security arrangement.

Australian captain Pat Cummins while talking to media, said: “We don’t know what to expect. Subcontinent Tests can be played quickly or slowly, but think for a lot of this group, we haven’t played a lot of cricket overseas, so if we want to be No. 1 in the world, we have to have an excellent showing. On this subcontinent tours.”

The series has failed to create excitement so far because both (Rawalpindi and Karachi) Tests could not produce a result. Rawalpindi Test was a dull draw, but the Karachi game has all the ingredients of a good match. It could have gone anyway, but captain Babar Azam, Abdullah Shafique, and Mohammad Rizwan batted brilliantly to keep mighty Australia at bay.

Babar led from the front to play a historic inning of 196 to earn a draw for Pakistan. Australians must feel unlucky as they almost won the match to go one-up in the series.

The third Test is being played in Lahore, and cricket enthusiasts in the world hope there will be a result.

Australian players’ social media accounts and their media interactions prove that they are enjoying the tour, and it is a significant victory for the PCB and Pakistan.

Australian cricket fan Luke Gillian who last visited Pakistan in 1998 with the team, has become a celebrity in Pakistan on this tour.

While talking to media, the super fan said: “I reckon, in Rawalpindi, 500 photographs were taken of me every day, quickly.

“I have been given I don’t know how many cups of tea, how many pieces of cake, bottles of Pepsi, water and just little incidents people have given us as a ‘thank you’ — free haircuts, free laundry.”

Big thanks to Australia, and Pakistan hopes to host many teams in future for the growth and improvement of the sports in the country.

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