Zaheer Abbas , the ICC president, is optimistic about Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan. He questionied why should ICC members not tour Pakistan since they, including Pakistan used to tour Sri Lanka during the Tamil Liberation War in the 1990’s. Abbas was invited by Sri Lanka Cricket’s interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny to watch the fourth ODI in which Pakistan sealed the ODI series 3-1.
In 2009, terrorist attacked Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, as a result Pakistan had to endure six year of cricket isolation in the country which finally broke as Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in May for two Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs.
“The time will come when our neighbours will come. I am hoping especially that Sri Lanka should come,” optimistic Abbas said. “We’ve been very close to each other in every department. If a gesture comes from them I will be very happy,’ Abbas was quoted as saying by Cricinfo.
Abbas said he will talk to every ICC members and try to convince them. “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.”
About Sri Lanka Abbas said “when they were going through bad time we used to come and play here.” Mentioning that he also questioned why Pakistan should only be isolated from being hosting international cricket in the country.
“Zimbabwe coming is a good change but why is it that Pakistan is the only country where international cricket is not being played?”
Abbas, the prolific right-handed batsman played for Pakistan, said, “”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.”
Abbas, the third cricketer after Colin Cowdrey and Clyde Walcott to appoint as the ICC president in June, was impressed with the Pakistan’s improvement in energy levels and fielding.
“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,” proud Abbas asserted.
Meanwhile, Abbas is not impressed with the fielding of Sri Lanka urged them to bring more young players in the squad to improve the fielding.
“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,” Abbas stated.