"Come and play in Pakistan": Sarfraz Ahmed welcomes cricketing nations

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"Come and play in Pakistan": Sarfraz Ahmed welcomes cricketing nations

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SportsCafe Desk

06/19/2017

Sarfraz Ahmed, the captain of the ICC Champions Trophy-winning Pakistan side, has invited other cricketing nations to come and play in his country. Cricketing sides have shunned the nation due to security issues after the visiting Sri Lankan side were attacked by gunmen in 2009 at Lahore.

Apart from Zimbabwe's tour two years ago, Pakistan have had to play all of their home matches outside their own country since a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore. After this incident, all top nations had refused to play in Pakistan because of the security concerns. Pakistan have since been forced to play all their home matches in UAE.

Along with this setback, Pakistan has suffered from the vice-like grip of match-fixing on the nation's cricket as they have struggled to touch the highs of the dominant side they were in the 90s. The Champions Trophy win has come at a crucial time for the nation as they look at a prolonged change-of-guard phase with Misbah-ul-haq and Shahid Afridi no more in the scene. Despite entering the event as the No.8 nation and suffering a drubbing at the hands of rival India, Pakistan came back and reached the final and upset the favorites in a one-sided match. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed has dedicated the win to the people of Pakistan.

"It was a great achievement by the boys and full credit to them. Everyone will remember this achievement, not just for today or tomorrow but for a long, long time in Pakistan cricket. The boys were really motivated today. We came here as the No 8 ranked team and won the tournament. Hope all nations now come and play cricket in Pakistan," Sarfraz said at the post-match press conference."It is an unbelievable feeling which I can't describe at the moment though. I dedicate this win to the people of Pakistan."

"It is an unbelievable feeling which I can't describe at the moment though. I dedicate this win to the people of Pakistan," he said.

Sarfraz, who led his team from the front and played the captain’s role very well throughout the tournament, requested the other cricket teams to play in Pakistan. "For years now, Pakistan is playing home matches in Dubai. We don't get the home advantage like other teams. Through this victory, I would like to appeal to the other teams that please come and play in Pakistan."

Pakistan’s captain also praised the Pakistan Super League for helping them to perform on a big stage.

"We have had youngsters benefiting from PSL. Players like Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman were playing their first tournament and showed us what they are capable of. Lot of credit also goes to senior players like Hafeez bhai (Mohammed Hafeez) and a brilliant spell from Amir," said Sarfraz.

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