The return of international cricket to the country got another boost on Wednesday when Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi confirmed the visit of West Indies later this November for a three-match T20I series.
This announcement comes against the backdrop of the ongoing T20I series between Pakistan and the ICC World XI, which got underway in Lahore on Tuesday.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) had last month tentatively announced a short tour to Pakistan in November but nothing had been confirmed officially.
Speaking to a local television channel, the PCB chief said that the itinerary for the visit of the Caribbean team will be announced shortly.
“The agreement with the West Indies Cricket Board has been finalised and done and they have confirmed they will come to Lahore in November to play three T20 Internationals,” Sethi said.
A few weeks earlier the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had also announced their intention of playing one of the three scheduled T20Is between the two countries, starting later this month in Lahore instead of the UAE.
Sethi has now confirmed that Sri Lanka will be visiting Lahore to play that particular T20I on October 29 – subject to security measures.
“I am still trying to convince Sri Lanka to play at least two matches in the coming series in Lahore,” he said.
The historic visit of the World XI led by Faf du Plessis is the ICC’s latest attempt to aid in the resumption of international teams touring the nation which has faced the brunt of terrorism.
In 2009, a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore had put a full stop to international cricket in Pakistan with the cricket team playing their home matches in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the UAE since then.
The first of the T20I clashes took place on Tuesday at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore under heavy-security presence with the hosts edging out the star-laden World XI by 20 runs.
A successful visit of the World XI could open the door for other teams visiting Pakistan in the near future.
It seems the tide is already turning for the Pakistan fans who have been starved of watching international cricket stars in action in their own backyards for eight years.
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) September 13, 2017
Sethi is also trying to convince Cricket South Africa (CSA) to visit the country for a short bilateral series sometime next year given that five members of the Proteas squad are a part of the World XI.
The first T20I between the hosts and the World XI saw a near sell-out crowd at the Gaddafi stadium as Pakistan cricket fans welcomed the return of proper international cricket after a long and tedious wait.
The PCB chief also confirmed that the ICC World XI would be touring the country again in 2018 and 2019 – making it an annual affair.
For now all eyes of the cricketing world will be on the remaining matches in the Independence Cup and Sethi will be hoping that Pakistan can put on a great show as the hosts.