Wasim Khan, CEO of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), opines that it is a ‘huge achievement’ for the board that they have brought cricket, in particular, Test cricket back in Pakistan after a gap of 10 years.
International cricket halted in Pakistan in 2009 when the Sri Lanka team abandoned their tour after being under a terrorist attack while travelling from the hotel to the stadium in Lahore. All the other boards since then denied visiting the country.
Therefore the PCB made adopted UAE as its second home where they hosted teams for the next 10 years. But the grounds often remained empty, especially in Test matches.
Slowly in the last few years, teams have started travelling to Pakistan – but not the major cricketing nations. Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and recently South Africa have toured Pakistan.
Wasim Khan says that they have been planning the homecoming of Test cricket for years and is happy to see teams showing faith in the security assurance provided by the PCB.
“I think the big thing for us was to get international cricket to Test cricket back after 10 years. It was a huge thing for the nation. Playing in the UAE in front of empty crowds, we were losing a generation of fans of cricketers potentially because they could see their heroes play.
“So to actually get Test cricket back, I mean white ball cricket is great but the benchmark or health check of any country is Test cricket for me. Getting it back was a huge achievement for us and that was a goal we set for ourselves two years ago,” Wasim Khan said on The Curtly & Karishma Show on Youtube.
England and Australia also expected to tour Pakistan
Wasim Khan expressed his excitement at hosting 2 of the ‘Big Three’ in the coming months. England will be returning the favour for Pakistan visiting them last year amidst the pandemic. Eoin Morgan’s team will compete with Babar Azam’s side ahead of the T20 World Cup staged in India. Wasim Khan points out that the role of social media is also vital in making the upcoming matches significant.
“We just had South Africa and we have New Zealand and England coming in later this year, Australia early next year and of course the West Indies at the back end of this year and then we have England coming back for a full series next year. It is a huge thing and we are looking at how things used to be and how it is now. I think the one thing for us is that there was no social media back in our day,” 50-year-old PCB official added.