Pakistan is once again hosting international cricket, and fans in the cricket-crazy country seem to be loving it.
The ongoing three-match T20I series between the hosts and a visiting World XI side at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore is being seen as a historic moment in the country's cricket lore.
It is expected to pave the way for top teams from across the world to tour the Asian country, which was deprived of cricket after gunmen attacked a visiting Sri Lankan team outside the Gaddafi Stadium in 2009.
Meanwhile, Pakistan cricketers have not disappointed fans who thronged the Gaddafi Stadium to witness their superstars in action.
Sarfraz Ahmed's men celebrated their homecoming by thrashing the Faf du Plessis-led World XI by 20 runs in the first T20I on Tuesday, September 12.
The World XI hit back on Wednesday, September 13, by clinching a seven-wicket win in the second match to keep the series alive.
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Absence of Indian stars
Despite all the hype surrounding the ongoing series in Lahore, the absence of Indian cricketers in the World XI side came as a disappointment for cricket fans, including those in Pakistan.
Notably, former skipper Shahid Afridi had opined that the ICC World XI would have been better off if it had had players from the Virat Kohli-led Team India.
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Players from seven Test-playing nations are part of the World XI side, assembled by coach Andy Flower and the Pakistan Cricket Board. Zimbabwe and India are the only top sides to not have their players in action in Lahore.
'Practical approach from PCB'
While political tensions between the neighbouring countries are being seen as an obvious reason for Indian players not being part of the World XI squad, ICC CEO Dave Richardson shed more light on the issue.
"India is about to tour Australia and this tour [Pakistan vs World XI] was sandwiched between a very busy FTP [Future Tours Programme]. One of the reasons why many South Africans are in this team is because they haven't been playing recently. In India's case they genuinely are a very busy country," Richardson was quoted by ESPNCricinfo as saying.
He added: "You cannot ignore the political situation that is between India and Pakistan at the moment and the difficulties that might exist.
He also said: "From a political point of view, obviously, if an Indian player would have been a part of this tour you can imagine the level of attention he would have attracted and the pressures it would have brought from the security point of view. I think Andy Flower and the PCB have taken a practical approach."
Strained cricketing ties
It is safe to say that India are now one of the busiest cricket teams as they are set to feature in a packed home season that will see Kohli's men take on Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka over a record 23 matches in the next two months.
Also, given the strained political relations between the India and Pakistan, it was not surprising to see Indian players absent from the World XI side.
Cricket ties have also taken a hit as India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series since December 2012.
Both the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the PCB had been involved in discussions over resumption of bilateral cricket with no success.