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Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuria.—File Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya believes Pakistan is safe enough to host international cricket again.

He arrived in the southern port city of Karachi on Thursday to lead an International World XI in two exhibition Twenty20 matches against a Pakistan All Stars side this weekend.

The matches are organized by provincial sports minister Dr. Mohammad Ali Shah in hope of sending positive signals to the cricketing world.

NoTest-playing team has toured Pakistan since the deadly attack on the Sri Lanka team convoy in 2009 in Lahore.

The leader of the banned extremist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) Malik Ishaq was accused of masterminding, from behind bars, the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, which wounded seven players and an assistant coach, and killed eight Pakistanis.

The attacks saw Pakistan stripped of its right to co-host last year’s cricket World Cup.

Jayasuriya, who wasn’t in the team at the time of the attack, says “In my opinion Pakistan is a safe country.”

“It depends on country to country (whether they tour Pakistan) but in my opinion Pakistan is a safe country,” said Jayasuriya, who wasn't in the team at the time of the attack.

“The incidents of Lahore were not the best thing to have happened and the suspension of cricket in Pakistan is very unfortunate because the people love the game here.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board has freed up contracted players to play for the All Stars, but left obligations including security, anti-corruption, marketing and broadcasting to Shah.

The organisers have promised foolproof security for the two matches, saying that the arrangements made should be enough.

“Around 5,000 policemen will be employed to avoid any lapse and we are sure that these arrangements will make the players at ease,” said Shah.

The International World XI will be coached by former West Indies batsman Alvin Kallicharan, who has come to Pakistan 40 years after his last visit in 1972, when he raised funds for flood victims.

“This time it's another noble cause, promotion of cricket in Pakistan, and I think they (other countries) will have to have a look,” Kallicharan said.

“Pakistan is a part of world cricket and we are here to show that Pakistan is a place to play cricket.”

The PCB has been forced to organize its home matches at neutral venues, mainly in the United Arab Emirates.

The World XI will also include Ricardo Powell, Steven Taylor, Jermaine Charles Lawson and Adam Sanford, all from the West Indies; South Africa’s Justin Kemp, Loots Bosman, Mthandeki Tschabalala, Andre Nel, Andre Johann Seymore and Nantie Hayward; and Shapoor Zadran and Mohammad Shahzad Mohammadi of Afghanistan.

Pakistan All Stars will be led by current all-rounder Shahid Afridi and include Younis Khan, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz and Imran Nazir.

Comments (27) Closed

Zeeman Oct 18, 2012 03:38pm
every country have problems like Pakistan neighbore India, everyday killing and discriminations but their media completely hide these stories to go on air. All I am saying Pakistan Gov should take this opportunity and show to rest of the world that we cricket loving nation and we would like to see more cricketing in Pakistan. I am excited!
dr shabir Oct 18, 2012 04:38pm
thanks you ....very much Sanath Jayasuriya and all players to support cricket in country. dr shabir unar
N K Ali Oct 19, 2012 04:38am
The statement Sanath Jayasuria, the master blaster, are really heartening and inspiring. However, let these words not be lost on the organizers and the security officials responsible for the big "S." Now we all know that it means security, which led to the foul up in March 2009 by Ejaz Butt and his team along with the Lahore police. If this is concluded successfully in Karachi Shareef, it will be a big 'thumbs up' sign for the city. However, it is important not to be over confident and to keep our eyes and ears open for the worst because the Taliban and their sponsors will be out for the grabs. Nevertheless, the successful corollary to holding the matches the matches will be an ideal opportunity to establish the Sindh Cricket Association or the Karachi Shareef Cricket Association. Salams
Khan Oct 18, 2012 02:33pm
Thanks Jayasuria!!!
Khan Usafzai Oct 19, 2012 04:24am
Thanks Sanath ...You have always been friendly to Pakistan ...
Zishi Oct 18, 2012 02:20pm
Pakistan is not at all a safe place. Every day people get killed in Karachi in target killings. Then there are Taliban attacks. By what standard is it safe? We need to sort out our internal problems before we invite any international teams.
r Vijay Oct 18, 2012 02:45pm
I am an ardent Indian cricket fan. I love to watch the indo-pak cricket game that is being played with passion. It is very unfortunate that the Pakistani fans are denied the privilege of having cricket matches played in Pakistan. I hope one day Pakistan is safe enough to conduct a world cup on its own.
Mandeep Oct 18, 2012 03:25pm
No player was attacked in Calcutta. Some spectators came to the pitch and players were not their target. It is bad. But attack on Sri Lankan cricket was part of large scale violence that happens in Pakistan everyother day. You cant compare unruly behaviour of spectators during a match with a well organized and premeditated terror attack on a visiting team outside the ground. I will be glad if international cricket returns to Pakistan.
ali Oct 18, 2012 03:21pm
On what basis is Jayasurya saying that Pakistan is safe for international cricket.
Sam Oct 19, 2012 02:09am
Gone are the days when love used to save life in pakistan.At the moment Pakistani people are themselves not safe therefore their love cannot save international teams.Karachi is a dangerous city.
Cyrus Howell Oct 18, 2012 02:03pm
G.A. Oct 18, 2012 09:08pm
Define 'safe'.
Ahmed Sultan (India) Oct 19, 2012 04:51am
You cant compare calcutta and lahore. In lahore guns were used by terrorist, in calcutta there were angry fans throwing empty water bottles
Anony Oct 18, 2012 10:59pm
Thank you Jayasuriya and Alvin for helping revive cricket in Pakistan. Being an ardent Jayasuriya supporter, I'm very happy that he is the one who has made the initiative.
Anony Oct 18, 2012 10:58pm
Well said Ali.
dilshad Oct 19, 2012 05:13am
because jaisurya is in Pakistan that's why he is showing respect to Pakistan that international cricket is safe here in the Country otherwise i don't think that this is true even pakistanies don't think so
Fawad Khan Oct 18, 2012 03:20pm
Sanath Jayasuria has been a great entertainer of the game.. and besides proved to be a great gentleman as a player.. It's going to be so exciting to see him back in action and we thank him for the support he's showing to help bring cricket back in Pakistan.
deepak Oct 18, 2012 11:50pm
plz go ahead and visit
athar Oct 19, 2012 12:37am
Thanks Jay Suria & Kali Charan and the the team members of the World eleven. As far as the daily killing is a issue in Karachi its all conspiracy against Karachi & nothing else. Great job by the organizer. God blessed all of us for noble work.
artem Oct 18, 2012 04:53pm
Don't worry taliban will takle note of the situation and shoot dead a few more school girls.
Tahir Ali Oct 18, 2012 05:00pm
Thanks Vijay, I appriciate your comments and wishes. Thanks once again
Ch.subba Rao Oct 18, 2012 05:08pm
International teams must visit pakistan and encourage pakistan cricket.Pakistan people are great lovers of the game,countries like india,Srilanka should take the lead and do justice to pakistan citizens
Ali Oct 18, 2012 03:05pm
And it seems like you have completely forgotten many more tours with lots of love from the Pakistani people. If you consider kalkata incidence where spectators attacked the players and the match was abandoned then no one should play in India at all. But I say isolated incidences does not make it unsafe.
Sam Oct 18, 2012 01:43pm
Hello1 Oct 19, 2012 04:04am
I am keeping my fingers crossed
skeptic Oct 18, 2012 03:02pm
God bless you guys for supporting our country in time of need. We shall never forget our friends
raja hindustani Oct 18, 2012 06:40pm
Jayasurya is already taken retirement. Anyhow, he will not have to go to Pakistan to play cricket ;)