LAHORE: Former Pakistan captain Muhammad Yousuf has hailed the upcoming visit of Sri Lankan team to play a T20I game in Lahore a “defining moment in Pakistan cricket”.
“It is a history making moment in Pakistan cricket as the Sri Lankan team will be visiting Pakistan after a gap of almost nine years and it is going to have a very positive impact on our national cricket,” he told APP.
Sri Lanka will be playing their third and last match of the ongoing T20I series on October 29 at Gaddafi Stadium.
“It does not matter that the Lankan team is playing a lone T20 game in Pakistan, what is important is that the visiting team is playing in Pakistan after 2009 unfortunate incident when their bus was attacked by the terrorists,” said Yousuf.
The former cricketer termed the Pak-Sri Lanka match a very important cricket activity “which will see international cricket taking place in Pakistan”.
“The successful tour of the World XI paved the way for the return of international cricket to Pakistan and now the Lankan team playing a T20 game is another step forward to have international cricket [back here],” he said.
Yousuf acknowledged the hard work and continuous efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board for bringing international cricket back to Pakistan.
“PCB stood firm on its stance of having cricket in Pakistan and it pleaded the country’s case at all the international forums in a very professional manner and finally the International Cricket Council also lent its support for the resumption of international cricket in the country by sending its World XI to Pakistan last month,” he said.
The former Pakistan captain was of the view that the return of international cricket will especially motivate the youth, as the young generation will get inspired by seeing foreign teams playing in Pakistan.
“I appreciate the Sri Lankan side for visiting Pakistan and I value their gesture to support the cause of bringing back international cricket to Pakistan,” Yousuf said.
He said PCB chairman Najam Sethi deserves praise for ensuring cricket’s homecoming.
“He (Sethi) launched Pakistan Super League and made it a success, then its final and the tour of the World XI were successfully organised in Lahore and all these efforts served as trust-building measures which helped in convincing the ICC and other cricket-playing countries to send their teams to Pakistan,” said the former batsman.
He said after Sri Lankan team visit, West Indies will be touring Pakistan next month to play a three-match T20I series and these visits will be inspiration and motivation for other teams to consider touring the country in due course of time.