LAHORE: Cricket remained the primary source of elation in Pakistan in the pandemic-hit 2020 as six of the top-10 searches for the year related to the sport, according to the year-end trends revealed by Google.
“Pakistan vs England” was the top searched item in Pakistan on the world’s biggest search engine. “Zimbabwe vs Pakistan” was the third most-searched trend, while “PSL 2020” stood at sixth in the list, which had “Coronavirus” at number-two.
The other three trends in the cricket-mad Pakistan were “India vs New Zealand”, “England vs Australia” and “England vs West Indies” on seventh, eighth and ninth positions, respectively.
The Pakistan men’s team toured British shores in challenging conditions during August-September to play three Tests and as many T20Is in bio-secure conditions, a move which played an integral role in the resumption of cricketing activities across the globe.
Within Pakistan, the tour attracted major traction in the press and social media with it being the only major sporting activity in which a national side was involved in the post-lockdown months.
The Pakistan Cricket Board — assisted by a decline in Covid-19 percent positive, a measure of percentage of positive cases to the total number of tests — became the only board around the world to announce a complete domestic season in September.
As such, the board hosted Zimbabwe men’s team for a six limited overs fixtures in Rawalpindi — which included three ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League matches — and most sought-after T20 cricketers including former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis for the playoffs and final of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 in Karachi.
The move paid dividends in attracting the populace towards the game, underscored by the presence of both events in the Google’s most-searched list.
Following the announcement of South Africa’s men’s team’s tour to country for two Tests in three T20Is early next year, the board aims to host 260 matches in the 2020-21 season, of which 154 matches have been delivered with the completion of the seventh round of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy on Friday.
Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2020