Just ahead of the Rawalpindi Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has clarified that Pakistan is ready to host every cricket contest. He is also confident that the foreign teams will soon travel in Pakistan for the international cricket series.
The 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team’s bus was the major blow for Pakistan cricket as the country didn’t host an international match before May 2015. Though Zimbabwe, West Indies, Sri Lanka and ICC World XI have come to Pakistan for the limited-overs international series since 2015, the visitors were still not confident for the Test cricket.
After Pakistan has shown proper security arrangement, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has finally decided to play two Tests in Pakistan that has started on this Wednesday (11th December). Incidentally, Sri Lanka were the last team who played a Test match in Pakistan and that was in March 2009. It took more than ten years to schedule a Test cricket in Pakistan.
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium (Rawalpindi) is hosting the first Test of the two-match Test series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and the Test series is the part of the 2019-21 ICC World Test Championship. In the occasion of beginning a new era in Pakistan cricket, PCB chief Ehsan Mani has clarified that Pakistan is safe and ready to host any cricket contest.
The PCB chief told the Associated Press, “The onus will be on the other teams to tell us why they can’t play in Pakistan. Our default position will remain that Pakistan is safe. We play cricket in Pakistan (and if) you want to play against Pakistan you have to come to Pakistan.”
Ehsan Mani has also clarified that Pakistan is now totally different from its past.
He added, “It’s only logical that cricket comes home. People have a perception of Pakistan which is very, very different to the reality of what is happening on the ground in Pakistan today.
“The concerns that people had about Pakistan, certainly for the last year or two, were not what the ground reality is. When they see the ground reality, it’s a different attitude.”
Ehsan Mani is confident that the other teams will travel soon in Pakistan
Cricket Ireland is eager to play international cricket in Pakistan. Ehsan Mani has also pointed out this.
Mani quoted, “In fact, it was very nicely put by the chief executive of Cricket Ireland. He said, “I have to think of a reason why we shouldn’t be coming to Pakistan.'”
The ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka is the big event in Pakistan cricket history. In the near future, England, Australia and New Zealand have the schedules to play away international cricket against Pakistan. Ehsan Mani is confident that these big overseas teams will travel to Pakistan to play the international cricket series.
He said, “I am absolutely confident that in 2021 we’ll have England and in 2022 we’ll have Australia. We’re not due to play New Zealand now till about 2023-24, but our default position is that Pakistan will play all its home matches in Pakistan.”
Ehsan Mani is also looking forward to growing up the popularity of Test cricket in Pakistan.