KARACHI: Sri Lanka may lead the way for the world in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan as reports suggest that their authorities have ‘shown willingness’ to send their team to the country later this year.
“Yes, Sri Lanka [cricket board] has shown the willingness to send its team to Pakistan on some condition which we will discuss in the next board of governors meeting before arriving at a decision in this regard,” Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Executive Committee Najam Sethi told DawnNews.
Fragile security situation has forced top-level international cricket teams to avoid visiting Pakistan for bilateral cricket competitions ever since the Sri Lankan cricket squad was attacked by terrorists in Lahore in March 2009.
Pakistan since then have played all their home series at the neutral venues of the UAE. Zimbabwe, a second-tier Test-playing nation, became the only team in this period to tour Pakistan for a short limited-overs series in 2015.
However. the Pakistan Super League final staged in Lahore in March this year was a major boost for the return on international cricket to the country.
“PSL has paved the way for the return of international cricket to Pakistan. Staging the PSL final [held in Lahore] was our first step in this regard. The tour of a World XI side to our country [expected in September this year] will be the second step while the [expected] visit of Sri Lankan team will be the third step and so on,” Sethi added.
According to Dawn’s sources, the PCB expects the West Indies team to tour Pakistan in early 2018.
If all goes according to the plan, Sethi hopes more foreign teams will visit.
“Organising PSL final successfully in Lahore was a massive breakthrough for us and we hope that if we host World X1 and Sri Lanka smoothly, more teams will tour Pakistan from next year,” Sethi said.