Pakistan ready to host international teams, say touring stars

Karachi, Oct. 23 (ANI): International cricketers who visited Pakistan to participate in the two Twenty20 exhibition matches held successfully during the weekend, have said that overseas teams should start touring the country soon.

The exhibition games played between International World XI and All Stars XI, were the first appearances by high-profile foreign players in Pakistan since deadly militant attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009 led to the suspension of international matches in the country, reports the Daily Times.

"After these two matches I hope people will believe that Pakistan is a safe country for cricket. We had two great days with good crowds coming and I am sure that with more efforts international cricket will return to Pakistan," said Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka, who led the international team.

"It is unfortunate that the people of Pakistan are not getting international cricket on their grounds, but I am sure they will get it sooner than later," he added.

Former South African Test bowler Andre Nel said Pakistan was ready to host foreign teams again.

"I was initially hesitant on touring. After these two well-organised matches I am sure Pakistan cannot be denied international cricket for long," said Nel, who played 36 Tests and 79 one-day internationals for South Africa until 2008.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which distanced itself from the matches initially, said it hoped a platform had been set for the revival of the game.

"I hope these matches, despite being private, are a good step. We are doing our efforts and hope that we are able to convince teams to tour us," said PCB chief Zaka Ashraf.

Ashraf said the board was in talks with Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and two other boards and hoped international cricket would be revived by as soon as next year. (ANI)

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