ISLAMABAD: The members of the Australian team have said that they have enjoyed their time in Pakistan and are carrying great memories back to their home during their tour for three Tests, three One Day Internationals (ODIs), and a one-off T20I from March 4 to April 5.
It was Australia’s first tour of Pakistan in more than 24 years. The great success of the tour has already led to a chorus of calls for more teams to follow Australia’s lead and play future series on Pakistan’s soil.
Australia’s limited-overs captain Aaron Finch Thursday took to Twitter and said, “What an amazing tour we’ve had in Pakistan. To be a part of the first Australian men’s team to play here since 1998 is an honor.”
Finch, who scored a 45-ball 55 to anchor Australia’s chase of the 163-run target in the only Twenty20 international in Lahore on Tuesday, thanked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and fans for making the tour memorable.
“Thank you to the @TheRealPCB and all of the fans in Pakistan, you’ve made it a special tour,” he added.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh backed Finch as he also posted his Twitter handle before flying back to his country: “A last morning in Pakistan. I want to tell everyone that Pakistan is safe country plz visit Pakistan and enjoy cricket. We enjoyed our time in Pakistan. Thanks Everyone for great memories.”
Another all-rounder Cameron Green, who represented Australia in all the three formats against Pakistan in the series, also echoed similar sentiments in a tweet: “When I was selected in the team for Pakistan tour, I was a little worried to go to Pakistan because I had not heard good things. But when I got here then I found out that Pakistan is not as it is shown. I suggest everyone need to visit Pakistan at least once in your life.”
“When you visit Pakistan, like all of us.…your opinion about Pakistan will also be changed. Thank you fans of Pakistan for your love and amazing memories,” he added.
On Wednesday, several erstwhile Pakistan and Australian greats had also expressed the hope that Australia’s highly-successful recent tour of Pakistan would lead to more cricket being played in the country.
Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi was among a group of ex-players wanting to see more cricket played in the country. “I would like to thank the entire Australian squad & mgmt for coming to Pakistan after 24 years,” Afridi said on his Twitter handle.
“I hope other teams will follow their footsteps & visit Pakistan,” he added.
Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson, who featured for two different Pakistan Super League sides during his glittering career, commended the Australians for taking the massive step and making the trip. He said he wanted to see more cricket played in Pakistan.
“I am stoked that everything worked out well for the Aussie team to be able to go over there and then also play the quality of cricket that they did,” Watson said on The ICC Review.
“It’s a great thing for world cricket and I am very proud of the Aussie boys to have gone over there and played the way they did.”
Former Australia leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, who was a spin consultant for the Australian side during the tour, was also thrilled to see international cricket make its return to Pakistan.
Fawad, who represented Australia in three ODIs and two T20 matches, was born in Pakistan and went to Australia in 2010.
Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz tweeted: “Top tier cricket display coupled with the ecstatic crowd support. Congratulations to everyone involved on a successful tour.”
He thanked the entire Australian, the PCB and the country’s security forces for making the tour happen.
Former fast bowling great Shoaib Akhtar also took to Twitter and said: “Glad the whole series with Australia went smooth. Got to see some really good cricket from both teams.” He thanked Cricket Australia for a complete tour to Pakistan and some great cricket. He also lauded national skipper Babar Azam and other players for displaying quality cricket.