Would love for international teams to consider touring Pakistan, says Sangakkara

Published February 20, 2020
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in a rickshaw in Lahore.  The team's captain Kumar Sangakkara said that "the message we take back is that Pakistan is a great place to tour." — Photo Courtesy PCB
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in a rickshaw in Lahore. The team's captain Kumar Sangakkara said that "the message we take back is that Pakistan is a great place to tour." — Photo Courtesy PCB

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) captain and president Kumar Sangakkara said on Thursday that the players were "really, really impressed and very, very moved and we understand very, very easily how much passion there is and how the lack of international cricket is not a great thing for Pakistan," a press release issued by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said.

The former Sri Lanka captain said that it is always special to revisit the matches he has played in Pakistan and the MCC team was very surprised and moved by the welcome they received in the country.

"We never expected such a big crowd for a first game against the [Lahore] Qalandars. When we got to the ground, we had almost 19,000 people, hungry to watch some cricket."

The MCC team arrived for a week-long tour on February 13 — in their first visit after 48 years — to play one 50-over and three 20-over matches with domestic teams in the country including Pakistan Shaheens, Northern, Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans.

"The message we will be taking back is about the warmth of the people, the welcome of the fabulous spectators who came to watch cricket, the passion the players and people have for it and our own experiences of playing here and travelling about in Lahore," said Sangakkara.

“We would love for teams to consider coming here so that international cricket can finally come back to Pakistan in full force.

"It's important that, when you are in a country on a tour, you're not confined to a hotel, but you can go around and enjoy the city and the country you're in," he added.

The MCC team during its week-long tour visited the Lahore Gymkhana golf course, the Lahore Fort and had dinner at the British High Commission.

MCC captain Kumar Sangakkara shakes hands with a PCB official after the team's arrival in Lahore on February 13. — Photo courtesy PCB
MCC captain Kumar Sangakkara shakes hands with a PCB official after the team's arrival in Lahore on February 13. — Photo courtesy PCB

The club played their first match against Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Lahore Qalandars on Feb 14 at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. The touring team won the match by four wickets. — Photo courtesy PCB
The club played their first match against Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Lahore Qalandars on Feb 14 at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. The touring team won the match by four wickets. — Photo courtesy PCB

The team was not expecting "such a big crowd of some 19,000 people, hungry to watch some cricket", said Sangakkara. — Photo courtesy - PCB
The team was not expecting "such a big crowd of some 19,000 people, hungry to watch some cricket", said Sangakkara. — Photo courtesy - PCB

Sangakkara said the MCC team "absolutely loved" going to the Lahore Gymkhana golf course quite a few times during their visit.  — Photo courtesy PCB
Sangakkara said the MCC team "absolutely loved" going to the Lahore Gymkhana golf course quite a few times during their visit. — Photo courtesy PCB

The team captain Kumar Sangakkara playing golf at the Lahore Gymkhana golf course where he said the team was hosted with "amazing hospitality and warmth".  — Photo courtesy PCB
The team captain Kumar Sangakkara playing golf at the Lahore Gymkhana golf course where he said the team was hosted with "amazing hospitality and warmth". — Photo courtesy PCB

The MCC team at a dinner hosted for them at the British High Commission on Feb 15. — Photo courtesy PCB
The MCC team at a dinner hosted for them at the British High Commission on Feb 15. — Photo courtesy PCB

The team on a visit to the Lahore Fort during their week-long tour of the country. — Photo courtesy PCB
The team on a visit to the Lahore Fort during their week-long tour of the country. — Photo courtesy PCB

The international players admire a statue of Ranjit Singh at the Lahore Fort. — Photo courtesy PCB
The international players admire a statue of Ranjit Singh at the Lahore Fort. — Photo courtesy PCB

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