One the most important aspects of West Indies’ tour of Pakistan was the cricket-mad fans who got to see their national stars play in front of them, and most of them feel lucky to be a part of a historic series.
Pakistan completed their series victory against a depleted West Indies side in a convincing manner to retain their top position in the T20I rankings and cricket fans in the country are happy they witnessed it first-hand.
In the second match, where Pakistan won by 82 runs, right-hand batsman Babar Azam scored 97 off just 58 balls courtesy 13 boundaries and a six to the delight of his Gujranwala fan Nadir Ali.
“I have always followed every innings of Azam and when he was named in the T20I squad, I wanted to watch him play in front of my eyes. I booked a ticket to Karachi and came here to buy the ticket for the T20Is. I had to stand in long queues, but now, when I am here, watching him play, it seems like a dream come true,” an ecstatic Nadir said.
He added: “The feel of an international match cannot be compared with the domestic matches.”
Azam on Monday became the second only batsman in T20Is to push his career average past the 50 mark. The 23-year-old, in 19 T20Is, has scored at an average of 53.15, with the 97 he scored in the second match being his best score in the format.
The middle-order batsman still has a long way go in international cricket and will break or better many other records, and Nadir says watching his post this record was a treat for him.
“He had a 50-above average in the ODIs and now got it in T20Is too. I am happy that I witnessed this innings,” said Nadir. “This is one of the most memorable moments for me. I wish I could meet and congratulate him.”
‘Here to support Pakistan cricket’
A family of 15 with placards that stated ‘Thank You Windies’ says they came to see the match only to thank the West Indies team.
“We are here to thank the West Indies team for coming to Pakistan and also to support our national team. We also want to show the world that we are a peace-loving and welcoming nation,” the head of the family Mushtaq Zahid told The Express Tribune.
He continued by saying that more matches should be played in Pakistan. “My kids are experiencing an international match in the stadium for the first time and they love the feel of it,” he said. “I hope more matches are played in Pakistan.”
‘Never seen anything like this before’
Anwar Ahmed, one of the loyal fans of the Pakistan cricket team, who used to go to stadiums before cricket departed the country after 2009, says this series has been momentous.
“I must have watched more than 50 matches in this (National) stadium but the events that this crowd has witnessed are momentous,” said Ahmed. “Pakistan scoring their highest T20I total, Babar pushing his average above 50, player being injured and taken back on a stretcher, a houseful stadium, top T20I players of Pakistan in the stadium and most of all the revival of international cricket in the country, they have seen all of it.”
He hopes that this series will attract more crowds to domestic matches and the stadiums of the country will become lively once more.