Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Sunday hosted the historic T20I between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The home side made a perfect return as they clinched victory in this game by 36 runs to seal three-match series 3-0. The former Pakistan cricketers had earlier expressed their joy about the same. World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan suggested that this visit from Sri Lanka is an important one as this would lead to more teams going to Pakistan.
“I am very happy to see that the Sri Lankan team is in Lahore and will play today at the Gaddafi stadium. Their visit is very important for our cricket and hopefully it will now lead to more teams coming to Pakistan,” Imran told a television channel.
“What happened in 2009 was very sad and bad for Pakistan cricket. It hurt our cricket and young players a lot. But now things seem to be moving in the right direction and today our people can show everyone they are a peace-loving nation who enjoys cricket,” the former captain said.
Former skipper Javed Miandad too insisted that this T20I clash would work as a stimulator for Pakistan hosting more international matches.
“This visit by the Sri Lankans will do a lot of good for Pakistan cricket. I think the doors to international cricket in Pakistan will now open up soon,” Miandad said.
“I know it must have not been easy for them after what happened eight years back with them. I can understand if some of their players have pulled out. But the important thing is Sri Lanka is here,” Miandad told PTI.
Former fast bowler and skipper Wasim Akram suggested that it’s unfortunate that the present bunch of players hasn’t got much chance to play in front of the home crowd.
“We were fortunate we played a lot of cricket in front of our people but I always felt bad for the current lot of players many of whom never got a chance to play on their own grounds before their own crowds. Thankfully that is now changing,” Wasim Akram said.
The chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board Najam Sethi said, “This is really a historic day. Eight years ago what happened is a tragedy that we would like to forget. This journey began by the arrival of Zimbabwe followed by the PSL final, then the World XI’s visit and now Sri Lanka,” Sethi told journalists.
“This is historic because it marks the beginning of a new era of international cricket. It sends a message to the rest of the world that Pakistan is ready to host international games. There were doubting Thomas’ who said that it will not happen. Some said it should never happen. I applaud the Sri Lankan board for taking this step. As the first man who landed on moon said, it might look like a small step, but it is a giant leap forward,” Sethi said.