ISLAMABAD: On the historic opening day of the first Test between Australia and Pakistan, Chief Executive International Cricket Council (ICC) Geoff Allardice admitted that a stronger Pakistan would be of a big benefit to international cricket.
Allardice along with Nick Hockley (CE Cricket Australia), Australian Cricket Association (CAA) Chief Executive Todd Greenberg, and the PCB CEO Faisal Hasnain held a media talk Friday at the Pindi Stadium to mark the return of the Australian team to Pakistan.
“I think strong Pakistan is very important for international cricket. Series not only holds importance for the PCB and cricket fans in Pakistan, but it also is a significant moment when it’s been twenty-four years between Test series in this country, between the two teams.”
The ICC chief executive hoped that the series would have its impact on the World Test Championship.
“More importantly it provides an opportunity to the fans to watch leading players in action.”
He was also worried about the cricketers’ preference for T20 leagues instead of national duties.
“It is an issue the ICC is facing. It is changing the game, really. I think the strengths of some of the domestic leagues around the world provide really good options and professional opportunities for the players. So finding the balance between those two is an ongoing discussion. And in our next set of meetings in April, it’ll be a pretty prominent agenda item.”
Allardice, however, did not have a satisfactory answer when questioned on the social media’s misuse trying to interrupt and discourage teams touring Pakistan.
“I think the detail of that isn’t something that we’ve, you know. The ICC has been part of the journey of getting Pakistan back, hosting elite cricket, and I think each of the touring teams has to satisfy itself with the arrangements when they embark on a tour.”
Faisal Hasnain praised the contribution of all the concerned to ensure that the series would go ahead. “There are many, many people on both sides that have worked tirelessly over many, many months to make this tour a reality. And the PCB and the Pakistani public and cricket fans are part of those efforts. Thank all those involved governments and agencies.”
“I am confident that when the Australian team returns home, they will leave with fond memories and will all hopefully become ambassadors of Pakistan. The Pakistani fans have waited for 24 years to see a strong Australian side play in Pakistan, and their wishes will very, very shortly be fulfilled. So I urge cricket fans all over Pakistan to come and see the matches to fill the stadiums and enjoy what promises to be a high-quality cricket match and series between two top world-class teams.”
Nick Hockley was blunt in admitting that Australian players’ worries and pre-tour fears turned into excitement. “A lot of players were very anxious about this tour some months ago, but that anxiety has turned to real excitement and that’s a really positive sign for global cricket. We understand our contribution and responsibility to the global game, which is why this tour is so significantly important.”