ISLAMABAD (APP) – President International Cricket Council (ICC) Zaheer Abbas has expressed the hope that Sri Lanka will tour Pakistan as both the countries are very close to each other.

“The time will come when our neighbours will come. I am hoping especially that Sri Lanka should come. We’ve been very close to each other in every department. If a gesture comes from them I will be very happy,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo on Monday.

Abbas, the third cricketer after Colin Cowdrey and Clyde Walcott to hold the post of ICC president, was in Sri Lanka at invitation of Sri Lanka Cricket’s interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny.

He watched Pakistan seal the ODI series 3-1 in the fourth ODI and was impressed with the improvement in Pakistan’s energy levels and fielding.

He said he would try and convince other member countries to resume tours to Pakistan. Pakistan did not host any international cricket between 2009 and 2015, after Sri Lanka’s team bus was attacked by terrorists in Lahore in March 2009. The country’s six-year isolation ended when Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in May for two Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs.

“Openly I can’t but by talking and trying to convince the ICC members maybe. Obviously everybody is there to listen to you. If I am speaking to them as a cricketer they will.”

“Zimbabwe coming is a good change but why is it that Pakistan is the only country where international cricket is not being played? Take an example of Sri Lanka – when they were going through a bad time we used to come and play here,” he added.

“You should not try to let cricket die in Pakistan it will be of no use. Our job is to spread cricket all over the world that’s why we have new members and we always encourage them.”

“I am really happy to see the way they are fielding and their energy on the field. This is because of youngsters who have come in and are trying to prove themselves,” he said.

“When they were in and out, their performances were bad but now you see their performance, it’s tremendous. Some of the things they did on the field I’ve never seen before in Pakistan cricket. It looks like the Pakistan team is a very good fielding side.

“Sri Lanka is also a very good fielding side but these days they are dropping too many catches which was never there before. They have to improve in that area.

You need to have young players and three-four seniors but if they are not performing well, you have to bring a youngster. The World Cup is coming up in a few years so everybody has started preparations,” he maintained.