Revival of International Cricket in Pakistan
Cricket as a message of peace and prosperity
When Pakistan Super League (PSL) first launched on 9 September 2015 in Lahore, Pakistan as a T20 cricket league, the question was where to conduct series matches as international players were hesitant visiting and playing on Pakistani soil. So the neutral country UAE finalized for the series to be conducted in. However, after a thorough dedication by all stakeholders i.e. Government, Law Enforcement Agencies and common citizens of Pakistan, from 2017 the series finale matches started playing in Pakistan. The tightened security, meticulous planning and management bore fruit, and as a result, Pakistan managed to attract foreign players and International Cricket Council (ICC) back on the Pakistani soil. The lost trust and sense of security regained by the hard work and determination of Pakistan's government and security forces.
Just recently on the eve of PSL final which was held in Karachi Pakistan on 17 March 2019. The Chief Executive of ICC lauded the overall management and execution of PSL by the Pakistani government, Pakistan Cricket Board and security forces. Moreover, he also assured the confidence of ICC in the Pakistani government and security forces for conducting future cricket series inside Pakistan. He said that ICC will encourage all foreign cricket teams to visit and play series in Pakistan with full confidence.
No doubt Pakistan has yet again proved that it is a safe country for all economic, social and leisure activities. All praises go to the incumbent government, security forces and all other stakeholders who made it possible. The only need of the time is, that no stone should be left unturned in sustaining this sense of peace and security in Pakistan especially by the security forces. The time is not far away when the comeback of international cricket and other sports in Pakistan will be witnessed with glory and entertainment.
Pakistan has always been a soil of natural talented cricketers and other sportsmen, the way its image has been tarnished in the past was a hard time for the entire nation. The Pakistani home grounds remained empty from international cricket, it has been a hard time as well as discouraging for the cricket lovers of Pakistan. PSL has brought hope, joy and confidence back into this nation of cricket lovers. PSL has also introduced several young and talented players to be inducted in national cricket team of Pakistan. Pakistan has proved itself to be the biggest force fighting and winning against the menace of terrorism and insurgency. This is how nations grow and prosper in a steady way.
Sabotage against peace
On the fateful day of 3rd March 2009 a terrorist attack targeted at Sri Lankan cricket team presented in Lahore, Pakistan for a bilateral series occurred, the bus carrying Sri Lankan team to Lahore's Qaddafi stadium came under attack, fortunately, not a single member of the visiting team got killed however seven were injured in the attack. The bus driver despite being shot demonstrated the bravery and managed to take the bus out of danger into the safe zone. The CPO Lahore at that time admitted in the press conference that intelligence agencies cautioned the police of possible attack on visiting cricket team.
In the aftermath of that cowardice attack by militants, Pakistan had been declared a dangerous country for international cricket. Among all of the international cricket teams, none had shown interest in playing inside Pakistan due to obvious security reasons. It was a disgrace as well as economic fall out for the cricket in Pakistan, as cricket has always been the most revenue generating sport for Pakistan.
Revival through hard times
It took Pakistan ten years to prove that its soil is as safe as it has always been. The war against terrorism and insurgency fought by brave Pakistani security forces finally paid off. It was only a matter of time for the whole country to stand up and rise once again.
It has been a difficult journey for Pakistan to defeat the menace of terrorism/insurgency and create an environment that shows a sense of security, especially for foreigners from different walks of life. Not only international cricket is going to be held inside Pakistan, but the Prime minister of Pakistan is also boosting efforts to highlight tourism and tourist destinations of Pakistan. In a nutshell, Pakistan is going to be one of the safest and vibrant countries of the world, especially for the cricket as it always used to be.
Cricket Super League as a fresh start
It is worth mentioning here that despite being a country with the small economy and limited resources, Pakistan's PSL has proved to be one of the famous T-20 cricket leagues as compared to its rival series such as IPL (Indian Premier League). IPL was launched far earlier than PSL in 2008. IPL is also a successful and famous series of India, however, given the shortcomings and hardships Pakistan has/had faced, PSL has obtained the slot of successful series quite earlier than expected.
As a conclusion, we can say that Pakistan is taking every possible step to regain the trust of the international community, and nothing could be better than to start from cricket.