Only the strongest survive trying times, and when they do, they emerge stronger than ever. Same will be the case with Pakistan in general and Lahore in particular, which in former coach Waqar Younis’ words will be ‘lit’ when true international cricket makes its way back to the country after eight long years.
Although a short tour featuring Zimbabwe did materialise back in 2015, the cricket-mad country’s fans wanted to see a sizable, substantial opponent on home soil. They demanded a tour where top players from major cricketing nations visited the country and faced their local heroes as opposed to minnows and castoffs.
Their wish was finally granted when a South Africa captain Faf du Plessis-led World XI team was set up to play three T20Is in Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
With every single cricket fan in Pakistan happy and waiting anxiously for the tour, pace legend Waqar Younis’s case is no different as he too is cherishing the return of international cricket to the cricket-famished country.
“It has been nearly 10 years since international cricket was played on this ground [Gaddafi Stadium],” he said while talking to the Pakistan Cricket Board. “A few matches were played here before but it is great to see [true international] cricket returning to the country. Of course, it is a huge deal for the fans; it is a moment of great glee for all of us.”
The 45-year-old feels the grandeur of the World XI tour will not be any less than India’s historical visits to Pakistan.
“I hope the fans will enjoy as much as they used to enjoy when India visited this place,” he said. “I hope the fans will celebrate the return of international cricket with fervour and the air of Gaddafi Stadium will be filled with colours of happiness.”