Ramiz Raja : World XI series will help resume regular international cricket in Pakistan

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Ramiz Raja : World XI series will help resume regular international cricket in Pakistan

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SportsCafe Desk

09/08/2017

Ramiz Raja has praised the ICC for bringing international cricket back to Pakistan through the World XI series, adding that it will help reviving cricket in the Asian country. The former Pakistan skipper also praised the efforts of the Pakistan players who played at neutral venues during the ban.

Pakistan’s image as an international sporting venue came under heavy scrutiny after an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 where a group of terrorists targeted the bus which was carrying the visiting players to Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. This incident came as a shock to the entire cricketing world as six Lankan players were injured while six Pakistani policemen and two citizens were killed in the attack. Since then Pakistan have not been able to host any home series, apart from Zimbabwe who played a limited over series in 2015, and used UAE for all their "home" matches.

Almost eight years since the attack, the ICC has shown their support for Pakistan by organizing a three-match T20 series against the World XI. Raja praised the ICC’s positive step adding that he believed that the move would help in the reviving International cricket in the country.

"The tour by the World XI will hopefully lead to resumption of a regular international cricket calendar in Pakistan," Raja wrote in his column on ICC website. 

"Credit must go to the players and the ICC for braving perceptions and possible personal pleadings by family and friends to look at the larger picture. The larger picture being - you need us, we need you. That is the only essential for cricket to survive."

The 55-year-old also admitted that the incident which took place eight years ago, hampered the growth of cricket in the nation.  

 "With the passage of time, cricketing wilderness set in across the country. It affected the national psyche and perceptions about Pakistan as a safe country for cricket grew murky. But naturally, it gave way to an emotional and economic meltdown.

"The tour by the Zimbabwe team in 2015 and the successful final of the PSL this year at Lahore were fledgling signs that the cricketing world was opening up to Pakistan again. The PSL exposed the international fraternity to the frustration and helplessness of the Pakistan players, especially the young apprentices, who were being wronged by a situation which was neither of their choice nor their making," Raja added.

Despite these circumstances, Pakistani players have done well and were even the top ranked team in Test for a while before being overthrown by India. However, the crowning jewel was their stunning 180-run victory over their arch-rivals in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy in June.

"Pakistan made a strong case for bringing world cricket back home by playing impressively out of home. Wins in the UAE, rising to No.1 in Tests, two successful editions of the PSL, and a frustrating-to-a-magical run at the ICC Champions Trophy," Raja concluded.

"Pakistan cricket too will soon be reaping the benefits of its hard slog over the past eight years."

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