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Pakistan is as safe as any other country to play cricket: Abdul Razzaq

Pakistan recently hosted Windies for a 3-match T20I series in Karachi.

Abdul Razzaq
Abdul Razzaq. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

With the just-concluded series against West Indies, international cricket returned to Pakistan after almost nine years of isolation baring the Zimbabwe tour and the one-off game Sri Lanka played in Lahore. Needless to say, the local cricket fans were absolutely thrilled about the 3 T20 International matches that were held at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The stadium is under renovations and is offering a roofless gallery for now. But that did not dampen the excitement of the fans at all. Despite the fact that the matches were pretty much one-sided, with the hosts winning the series 3-0, a handsome crowd showed up on all the three occasions. An approximate footfall given by a PCB official is 25,000 in the 3rd and last match on Tuesday. The number is quite promising, given it was a dead rubber match.

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However, former Pakistani cricketer Abdul Razzaq thinks that the presence of Chris Gayle in the visiting team would have made a bigger difference. Unfortunately, the big-hitter from Jamaica was not picked for Pakistan Super League (PSL) as well, and he thinks had Gayle been there the cricket-starved Karachites would have flocked to the stadium in more numbers.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if Chris Gayle had come here there would have been tremendous following for this series. Instead of watching lopsided matches, the spectators, who would have jam-packed the stadium, got their money’s worth,” Razzaq spoke to Pakistan’s Dawn after the final match.

Pakistan is safe

He went on to praise the PCB’s efforts to send out the message to the world that “Pakistan is as safe as any other country to play cricket”.

“I think the PCB deserves a lot of credit in ensuring international matches are played in Karachi this time. The message worldwide to go from here will encourage other countries to send over their teams to Pakistan,” the all-rounder added.

With PSL earlier this year, and now the international series with West Indies, Pakistan Cricket Board is indeed doing everything they can to encourage other cricket-playing nations to tour. Razzaq is hopeful that this will be the cornerstone for Pakistan to get its reputation back as an international venue.

“The Pakistan Super League final last week was a wonderful occasion for the cricket-starved people of Karachi. The West Indies series further cemented this city’s status as a regular venue from now onward,” said the assistant coach of Quetta Gladiators.

He also thinks Karachi is getting back to its old form, the way it was during his own cricketing days.

“Personally, I had always enjoyed playing here and have some great memories. I’m sure they would be lot of international matches played in the future because I feel Karachi is a peaceful city nowadays.”

Other than Gayle, another thing that could have really drawn the crowd is a bit more lenient security system. No private or public vehicles were allowed within one kilometre of the stadium, and the fans had to either walk or avail the authority-provided shuttle service to reach. It was not a very convenient experience for the fans. But nevertheless, it was a smooth sail for PCB and will definitely help them attract more teams to their docks.

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