ISLAMABAD: England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who is featuring for Multan Sultans in PSL here, said one of the main reasons behind his participation in the Pakistan Super League is to see the return of the game to the country.

“It is also to experience the atmospheres and a bit of franchise cricket, but the reason mainly to participate in the PSL is to get Pakistan playing cricket again and getting their fans to experience good players coming here,” The Cricketer reported Moeen as saying.

“Being of Pakistani heritage, it definitely means a lot to come out and experience it. My father was very keen for me to come out. It’s been amazing,” he said. “In the three games that I’ve played here, the atmosphere was unbelievable, right up with the best I’ve ever experienced.”

No wonder, then, that Moeen is desperate to be part of an England side that tours the country in the next few years, or maybe earlier than that.

“It would be a major stepping stone, milestone, whatever you want to call it for England to come out here,” he said. “It would send a message to the rest of the world. It would be great for cricket.”

According to the ICC Future Tours Programme, England are due to play three Tests and five ODIs here in the final months of 2022.

“If they ask and they want to know of course, I’ll be honest about it. I wont be biased for or against it at all. I’ll tell them what I think and believe,” Moeen said.

“As a player you hope that cricket does come back here and you’re part of that legacy. You hope you’re part of that group that came back and played cricket in Pakistan again.

“It depends on how people look at it. I look at it as being safe, or at least safer. You might be somewhere where something happens - in South Africa, for example - and you don’t have that. Then you’d be in trouble,” he said.

Most of Moeen’s family is joining him on his PSL adventure — his wife Firuza, children, mother and father have all flown out to be with him.

“Pakistan is a beautiful country — the food, the place, the people are amazing. There’s a vibe in Pakistan which is different to other places,” he said.

“I don’t know if it’s because of my background and my roots, but theres a great vibe around. People are very hospitable, they just look after us really well. It’s like a nice chill and obviously the cricket is tough.

“The fans are electric, especially the Multan fans in the three games that we had there,” he said. “They love cricket, and I’ve always felt that sport — and cricket in particular — can bring people together and take you away from all the bad stuff. That’s what we probably need,” concluded Moeen.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2020