Karachi: The PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf on Friday said the brief tour by the British Army team was a small step forward towards the revival of international cricket in the country. Ashraf described the visit by the British team to play a couple of T20 matches against the Pakistan Army and a PCB XI as a ray of hope for future international tours.
"I am really happy to see the British Army team playing on Pakistan soil and enjoying their stay here. It is an achievement by the Pakistan Army Sports Board to invite them and will also help us in our endeavours to convince international teams to tour Pakistan again," said Ashraf.
"I am also thankful to the British Defence Ministry including the British High Commission in Pakistan since they have helped us in hosting this event besides sending a positive message that Pakistan is a safe cricketing nation," he said. No Test playing nation has visited Pakistan since March, 2009 after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
But, last month, the Sindh provincial government hosted a world international eleven for two T20 matches at the national stadium in Karachi which rekindled hope of international cricket finally returning to Pakistan. The PCB is also in talks with the Bangladesh Cricket Board and some other boards to send their teams to Pakistan but the PCB chief has admitted that these tours are dependent on fool-proof security being provided to these teams.
Jacques Prinsloo, the captain of the visiting British team, has also raised the hopes of the PCB and the cricket fraternity with his encouraging comments after the tour concluded here today. "We have been really impressed by the security and hospitality provided to us on this short tour and the surprise for us has been the Pakistani food. The food has been a bonus for us on this tour," Prinsloo said.
The British Army team played four T20 matches against the Pakistan Army team and one game against a PCB XI which included some top national team players.