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APP
February 14, 2020

World must back Pakistan’s journey back to cricket: Sangakara

Sports

A
APP
February 14, 2020

LAHORE: Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Captain Kumar Sangakara has reminded the world of its collective responsibility to support Pakistan in its journey back to cricket at the home soil.

Addressing a press conference alongside Chief Executive Officer PCB Wasim Khan at the Gaddafi Stadium, here on Thursday, he said it was unfortunate that Pakistani cricketers could not perform before their home crowds due to the security situation, adding that the situation had improved a great deal.

Reminiscing on the similar security challenges in Sri Lanka, the former Sri Lankan great said Sri Lanka was in need of assistance in 1996, and the unified front of the cricketing nations showed up to play in the country and “gave the message that cricket was healthy and the country was safe”. Sangakara stressed cricket was all about engaging people from different countries and it was important for the players to play and perform before their home crowds.

To a query, he said Sri Lanka was the first team to tour Pakistan and play tests after the 2009’s unfortunate terrorist attack, adding that as a fellow Sri Lankan and President of the MCC, he was happy to do his part.

He said these tours would encourage countries to visit Pakistan, adding, “Pakistan is one of the best cricketing destinations in the world.” “But slowly cricket is coming back, Sri Lanka was one of the first teams [to come back].

As a Sri Lankan and as president of the MCC, I am so happy we are able to do our part to try and encourage countries to look at Pakistan as one of the best cricketing destinations. It has been that in the past and I am sure it will be that very soon.”

On the importance of cricket in Pakistan, Sangakara said: “Cricket belongs to all and if there is no cricket to watch for the youngsters, the hunger for the game is more likely to go away,” adding MCC tour was part of the campaign to encourage other sides to come to Pakistan.

About a message to the teams reluctant to visit Pakistan, Sangakara said, “Our actions can better persuade the teams than the words,” adding that the performances at the grounds and the media coverage were the best tools towards luring teams back to the country for cricket.

To a question, he said he had fond memories of cricket in Pakistan and as a batsman he had always loved to tour Pakistan. He was very happy to be back in Pakistan after the 2009 tour, adding that he had many friends in the Pakistani team and looked forward to his visit to Pakistan.