Kumar Sangakkara urges England and Australia to help cricket’s return to Pakistan
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) president Sangakkara was part of the Sri Lankan side that was attacked in 2009 when 12 gunmen opened fire on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus near the Gaddafi Stadium, but the 42-year-old says his belief is that international cricket must return to Pakistan. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) won a 20-over match against Lahore Qalandars at the Gaddafi Stadium by four wickets before losing by five wickets to the Pakistan Shaheens in a 50-over game.
In December 2019, Pakistan played their first test match on home soil since 2009 when they hosted Sri Lanka in Karachi in front of their home audience while Bangladesh also played a test match in Rawalpindi in February. Bangladesh split its tour into three parts even though the final leg was called off in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The country also managed to host Sri Lanka and Bangladesh series in nearly a decade and the entire Pakistan Super League 2020 (PSL) also took place on home soil for the first time.
Kumar Sangakkara says:
England and Cricket Australia must play a leading role in facilitating the return of international cricket to Pakistan in the future, says Kumar Sangakkara.
It doesn’t matter an Asian side going there or a second side in terms of world prominence when it comes to having security measures in place. I think it’s important that England or Australia, even South Africa, make up their minds to actually tour when security is assured and they have those discussions. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) tour will be a precursor to that. I think it will be more a case of you play two Test matches, you take a break, you go back and play three one-dayers. It’s not exactly the right time for extended tours but I’m sure that with the right communication and the measures in place that players can go back and play some great quality cricket, have a great time and bring cricket back to Pakistan. A strong Pakistan side playing in front of their home crowds is one of the best things that can happen to world cricket.
We think there were about 18,000-19,000 people there on the first day (at the Gaddafi Stadium) – about Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) vs Lahore Qalandars T20 Match, To have them come out there in force, there were queues just as we got to the ground of people waiting to go in and the reception that we got, the enthusiasm that they showed the happiness on their faces; their welcome, their hospitality, was absolutely incredible.