Elated by the successful completion of their first home series in over six years, Pakistan’s Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq said rest of the cricket-playing world should also come forward to support his country now.
The third and final one-dayer between Pakistan and Zimbabwe was abandoned last night at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore due to a dust storm and heavy rains. But it was yet another heavy turnout of spectators.
“I think the way the people have come and supported the Pakistan Cricket Board, the team and cricket throughout this series it is a strong enough message for the rest of the cricket world to give us more support now to have regular international matches in Pakistan,” Misbah said.
“Even I have been surprised and moved by the passion shown by the cricket fans to give a clear message to the outside world that no matter what the circumstances they love the game and want to watch teams play in Pakistan,” he said.
Misbah urged the Asian teams including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India to offer more support to the PCB to have international matches at home.
“I think Pakistan cricket has shown it has indomitable spirit and I would love to see the Asian teams playing in Pakistan, It would be a dream come true for me,” the senior batsman said.
Despite increased security measures for the third one-dayer, once again cricket fans including women and children started lining up atleast three hours before the start of the match to get into the stadium.
They filled into the stadium with most of them eager to cooperate fully with the security protocol for the match. “I have never seen such discipline from people coming to watch a cricket match it just shows that even the Pakistani people have felt the hurt of being isolated as a international venue for the last six years,” chief selector Haroon Rasheed said.
The turnout for the third match was impressive given that a terror attack was foiled during the second ODI when a blast took place just a kilometer away from the stadium.
While Federal Information minister Pervez Rasheed claimed vigilant policemen had foiled a suicide bomb attack near the Gaddafi stadium, police officials maintained that the blast was caused by a gas cylinder in a rickshaw exploding near the stadium.
A senior Pakistan Cricket Board official said despite the incident, the Zimbabwe team continued the tour and played the third match which was a big relief and success for the PCB.
He said the PCB Chairman would submit a full report on the series and security protocol at the next ICC meeting. He said the PCB would now use the tour to impress upon other boards, particularly Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, to send their teams sometime next year to Pakistan.
Former Test captain Rashid Latif said the ICC needs to do much more to help Pakistan have regular international matches. “I don’t think the PCB can do more to show the ICC and other boards that they are capable of organizing a series successfully and have learnt from the security mistakes made in 2009,” Latif said.