By Muhammad Asif Khan
Karachi: The World XI series, in Lahore, is seen as a stepping stone towards full-scale restoration of international cricketing events in Pakistan, however the chief architect of this significant series, Giles Clarke, feels there is still same distance to cover before achieving the ultimate goal.
Talking to this correspondent, Clarke recalled the formation of the Pakistan Task Force, back in 2009, to gradually restore cricketing world’s confidence in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is an important full member of the ICC and bilateral cricket is critical for full members. I was asked to chair the Pakistan Task Team in 2009 and it has been my objective to work towards the return of international teams to Pakistan”, Giles Clarke said
Pakistan has not hosted a full-scale international cricket series since the March 2009 terrorist attack, on the Sri Lanka team, in Lahore.
“Pakistan needed support and as the then ECB Chairman, we were keen to help”, the former ECB chief said.
Clarke, the former chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, recalled his over forty-year bond with Pakistan, revealing that he even learnt to speak a few local languages.
“I know the country [Pakistan] well, having made my first visit in 1972 and speak some of the languages too”, Clarke shared.
Giles Clark feels there is still a road to travel before reaching the destination. In the next step, Clarke expects Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in other cities of Pakistan along with upgraded security arrangements, such as safe-city project in Lahore.
“I anticipate that the PSL matches in Karachi, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Multan etc, along with the safe-city programmes, would help in paving way for a return of international cricket to the country ”, Giles Clarke concluded
The Gaddafi stadium, Lahore hosted the final match of the Pakistan Super League in March this year.