High Profile and star-studded World Xi has finished the series of three T20 international matches with Pakistan National Team in Lahore which market the ending of Pakistan’s isolation in international cricket. All three matches of the series have been excitingly entertaining that gripped the cricket starved nation and made international headlines. It was due for 8 years but international cricket has returned to Pakistan. The organizers of this event must also be commended. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with Najem Sethi at the helm, the law enforcement agencies, and the local government; all played a crucial role in making this series possible. While providing a welcome relief to an entertainment-starved nation, the matches were necessary on a national level too – nothing instills a sense of unity and purpose into the public like supporting the national team in unison and enjoying the experience. At the same time, the series will also give a little push to Pakistani cricketers who have been playing in the team for long. With the Champions Trophy victory widely celebrated and cherished, it is now time to focus on the continued building of the team
This series will be followed by a T20 game against Sri Lanka in October and another three-match T20 series against the West Indies in November. More importantly, the otherwise indifferent world cricket governing body, the ICC, has softened its stance towards Pakistan and that could mean the resumption of full-fledged international activity here. Sustained efforts must be made by the authorities to ensure that the stadiums are full and that Pakistan once again becomes the vibrant cricket-playing nation it used to be and regularly hosts foreign teams on its soil.
Another aspect that needs attention is that the return of cricket needs to be expanded beyond Lahore in the coming days. If more foreign teams can be encouraged to play in the country then we must consider other venues for matches as well, rather than singling out the Gaddafi Stadium of Lahore for all fixtures. We have international standard fields and facilities in Karachi, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and even Quetta. Nonetheless, the successful conduction of International level in Pakistan is a very positive development which must be appreciated in all the ways possible.