Commonwealth side’s tour could trigger return of international cricket in Pakistan: Sethi

Published February 23, 2016
Najam Sethi speaks to reporters during a press conference. — AFP/File
Najam Sethi speaks to reporters during a press conference. — AFP/File

Najam Sethi, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) executive committee, has expressed desire to host a Commonwealth team in Pakistan and believed that such a visit could trigger return of international cricket in the country.

“We are in touch with Giles Clarke (chairman of the England cricket board), because we feel if we can have the Commonwealth side play in Pakistan then we can also have some matches of the second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the country,” Sethi was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

“If that happens it will break the ice for us. The PSL has generated so much interest not only in Pakistan but in other countries as well. It has been a big boost for us,” he added.

The inaugural edition of the PSL has grabbed attention in cricketing circles with some nail-biting finishes and capacity crowds in the United Arab Emirates.

Expectations with the league were high and when it kicked off on February 4, followers of the game began comparing it with the likes of Indian Premier League and the Australian Big Bash T20.

Two weeks into the tournament, project director and the mastermind behind PSL, Salman Sarwar Butt, revealed that the PCB is very possibly set to break even as the league nears end.

West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell, who is representing Islamabad United in the PSL, has also expressed willingness to visit Pakistan, but said he will be ‘scared’ if the league were to be staged in it’s host country next year.

Russell judges the situation according to what he sees and hears on mainstream media about Pakistan.

“Based on what I have heard and stuff you know, I mean, I am going to be scared obviously,” Russell told ESPNcricinfo, when asked if he would play in Pakistan. “But, for some reason, I would go to Pakistan. But listen, I am going to be scared. That’s the thing.”

The International Cricket Council does not yet consider Pakistan as a safe place to travel for international teams despite Zimbabwe’s tour to the country last year, which made them the first team to visit Pakistan after the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked near Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, in 2009.

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