KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has saluted the foreign players for featuring in the Karachi-leg matches of the HBL Pakistan Super League, saying they will always be credited for helping the PCB to revive international cricket in the country.
The 39-year-old, who played his early cricket in Karachi and rose to international fame in 1996, represented Multan Sultans this year and will be in action for the last time against Lahore Qalandars on Monday.
Afridi -- one of the most popular cricketers around the world for his swashbuckling batting -- said all 41 foreign players, as well as those before them who have come to Pakistan in the last three years, are the real stars.“Whenever international cricket is fully revived in Pakistan, the credit will go to these foreign players who have come to our country,” Afridi told psl-t20.com in an interview. “We salute them for touring Pakistan and appreciate their contribution.”
Afridi hoped more and more international cricket will come to Pakistan.
“These PSL matches and the few series we have hosted since 2015, have proved that Pakistan is a safe country, the people here are peace-loving people and they want to watch cricket on their grounds.“I am sure with security improving and these foreign players coming to Pakistan will send a very positive message to the world and I hope more teams will come to Pakistan and our isolation will soon be over.”
Afridi said arrangements for the matches in Karachi are outstanding.
“Karachi is a vibrant, welcoming and a memorable city, and the response of these PSL matches is very good,” he commented. “There was a big crowd, good number of people came and the organisation of the event was very good. People want to watch these matches and foreign players have responded well. I hope this will continue till the [March 17] final.”
Afridi praised security personnel for putting up excellent arrangements. “The security arrangements are outstanding and I salute all those involved in providing high profile security and hope that all the foreign players will feel at home.
“My message to the fans is to enjoy the game and come in big numbers. Pakistan cricket is on the up and I am sure our cricket will continue to rise.”
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2019