Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) Management Committee, Zaka Ashraf on Friday congratulated the Indian [fans] for their "fantastic reception" of Pakistan's cricket team at Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi airport earlier this week.
"The warm reception received by the Pakistan [cricket team] "proves the love people of both countries [India and Pakistan] have for each other's players," the PCB's press release quoting Ashraf said.
The PCB official also expressed hope that the Green Shirts would continue to receive the same warmth and cordial welcome throughout the mega event as Pakistani teams [visiting India] have always received, and so have the Indian cricket teams visiting Pakistan.
Furthermore, Ashraf accentuated that Pakistan and India, whenever they step onto the cricket field, "emerge as traditional rivals but not as enemies".
"Cricket is a sport that has always played a bridging role between the two nations, and cricketers from both countries have remained popular in and well-loved by fans in both India and Pakistan," the PCB chief said.
The chairman managing committee also stressed that the cricket between India and Pakistan is "more significant" and become the "centre of global attention" when compared to other contests in the sport.
Expressing his hope that the Men in Blue will visit Pakistan soon, Ashraf revealed his desire for the restoration of bilateral cricket between India and Pakistan which will give millions of cricket fans from both nations to watch the contest live.
It is pertinent to know that the Pakistan cricket team upon their arrival in India for the World Cup 2023 were greeted by ecstatic Indian fans at the airport earlier this week.
Excited crowds, held back by officers, cheered and shouted the team captain's name Babar Azam, as the Pakistani contingent — comprising 18 players and 13-player support personnel — arrived at the airport in the southern Indian city for the one-day international (ODI) tournament which opens on October 5.
Lauding the welcome by Indian fans, Pakistan's star pacer Shaheen Afridi expressed his excitement about the welcome by posting a message on his social media stating: "Great welcome thus far!"
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper Muhammad Rizwan was "amazed" by the reception by the fans when they reached Hyderabad.
October 6 — vs Netherlands in Hyderabad
October 10 — vs Sri Lanka in Hyderabad
October 14 — vs India in Ahmedabad
October 20 — vs Australia in Bengaluru
October 23 — vs Afghanistan in Chennai
October 27 — vs South Africa in Chennai
October 31 — vs Bangladesh in Kolkata
November 4 — vs New Zealand Bengaluru (Day match)