Ex-greats hope Australia tour will lead to more int’l cricket in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: A host of former stars are hopeful that Australia’s highly-successful recent tour of Pakistan will lead to more cricket being played in the country.

Australia’s month-long tour of Pakistan came to an end in Lahore on Tuesday as experienced skipper as Australian captain Aaron Finch scored a valuable half-century to lead his side to a three-wicket win in the only T20I.

It concluded Australia’s first tour of the country in more than 24 years, which included three hard-fought Test matches as many ODIs and the one-off T20I that came down to the final over. 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 soil, with former great Shahid Afridi 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.” Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson is a veteran when it comes to playing cricket in Pakistan, with the erstwhile star having featured for two different Pakistan Super League sides during his glittering career.

He commended the Australians for taking the massive step and making the trip and 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 has represented Australia in three one-day internationals and two T20 matches, was born in Pakistan and only went to Australia in 2010. The Pakistan Cricket Board and a group of prominent former players also Tweeted their support for the Australians.

“Thank you @CricketAus for your visit to Pakistan and entertaining our passionate fans with high-quality cricket, something they had been missing for 24 years. Safe travels and we look forward to hosting you again soon!,” the PCB said on its official Twitter account. 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.

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