Zaheer praises ICC role in bringing cricket back to Pakistan

LAHORE: Batting great Zaheer Abbas has praises the role of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for helping the game’s authorities in Pakistan in their efforts aimed at reviving international cricket in the country by sending the World XI side.

“The ICC has done a tremendous job by supplementing the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for bringing back international cricket and its [ICC’s] role will always be remembered in Pakistan cricket history.

Without all-out ICC support, Zaheer emphasised, it was not possible to arrange the World XI visit which has opened the doors of international cricket on Pakistan.

The contribution of the country’s government and security authorities was equally crucial in making the World XI games in Lahore possible, he stressed.

“The Punjab government and our security agencies also played a paramount role in ensuring this elite cricket event is held smoothly by providing foolproof security to the visiting teams and their officials,” former captain Zaheer underlined.

“Dark nights of Pakistan cricket are finally over and a new era of the game in the country has begun which is evident from the immense interest of the crowd assembled at the Gaddafi Stadium for the first two Twenty20 matches,” he noted.

“Both [PCB and ICC] have worked hard in close coordination to address the issue of international cricket revival in Pakistan. Similar efforts are needed in future as well to have such international events in the country on regular basis,” he said.

Zaheer said that during his stint with the ICC as the game’s world governing body president he also supported the PCB moves aimed at resuming international cricket in Pakistan.

Lamenting that Pakistan was deprived of top-level international cricket action during the last eight years ever since that March 2009 terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers’ team bus in Lahore, Zaheer appreciated the efforts of newly-elected PCB chairman Najam Sethi for taking constructive measures aimed at convincing foreign teams to tour Pakistan.

“Due to persistent PCB efforts Sri Lanka and West Indies have also agreed to visit Pakistan in coming months which will be making Pakistan cricket memorable as watching three foreign teams playing quality cricket will have a greater impact on our national cricket,” Zaheer observed.