ISLAMABAD – The International Cricket Council (ICC) Saturday congratulated Pakistan after they successfully completed hosting World XI at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium in a three-match Twenty20 International series.
The series – Independence Cup – was aimed to help Pakistan revive bilateral series to be played at home after Pakistan Cricket Board failed to convince member boards to visit the country since 2009 when the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked.
ICC Director Giles Clarke and ICC Chief Executive David Richardson thanked the people of Pakistan for embracing the World XI players, and said the series has demonstrated Pakistan’s passion and love for cricket, as well as its ability to provide an environment in which international cricket stars can show their talent, according to an ICC press release.
They said these are small steps for Pakistan towards the safe and steady revival of bilateral international cricket, and indicated that the next step would be a tour by a Full Member country as opposed to a composite side.
Clarke, who attended the first two matches, said “The reaction of Pakistanis who were at the ground is something I have never seen in my life.
“The reception the team received was quite extraordinary, and for all of us, we did our best to interact with the crowd. The reaction of the Pakistanis who were at the ground is something I have never seen in my life. They were so pleased, saying thank you, and they were so excited by the players being there.
“I felt the tour unleashed the deep and powerful emotions that exist around cricket in this country’s makeup and its society.
“It has been a fantastic tournament and I am very grateful to everybody for all the hard work – by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and everybody else,” he added.
David Richardson, who attended the second same, believes this will be a ‘stepping stone’ for international cricket returning to Pakistan on a full-time basis.
“I think this courageous team, its management and all the people in Pakistan who have been involved, have demonstrated that it is possible for overseas players to come to Pakistan and show their skills in Pakistan and be able to give the people of Pakistan the chance to watch their own heroes in action against the best international players,” the ICC chief executive said.
“With the tour having gone off so successfully and the security arrangements having being implemented so well, we can call it a success.
“The players that came on the tour witnessed the security arrangements firsthand and can go back and report back that although there may be some level of risk, it can be managed successfully,” he added.
“The main objective of that is to try to build confidence in the likes of the Australians, South Africans and other countries that the threat can be managed and this tour has shown that is the case. Returning full-time international cricket back to Pakistan is not going to be an overnight miracle. It has to take time. The PSL final was the first step, this is the second.”
Pakistan won the three-match series 2-1 with wins in the first and third game while Faf du Plessis led World XI side managed to win the second game in a thrilling chase.