Time is right to play in Pakistan, says AB de Villiers ahead of his maiden PSL stint

Time is right to play in Pakistan, says AB de Villiers ahead of his maiden PSL stint

If everything plays out perfectly, AB, who will play for Lahore Qalandars in the PSL, will feature in two fixtures in Lahore on March 9 and 10.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers who bid goodbye to international cricket last year has earned bouquets over his decision to play in Pakistan during the upcoming edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) starting in February. Cricket stars from across the board who have played in Pakistan during the previous editions of the popular T20 tournament lauded AB for his gesture and said the country remains a good place to play the game.

International cricket assignments saw Pakistan removed as a venue since a dastardly terror attack took place over the visiting Sri Lankan national team in the country a decade ago. The cricketers and the officials were airlifted from the stadium in Lahore and foreign teams refused to play there again and Pakistan’s home matches have been staged in the UAE ever since.

In recent years, cricket has slowly started returning to Pakistan’s original home. While the Zimbabwean and Windies national teams visited the country for a short limited-over series in 2015 and 2018, respectively, matches in the final stages of the PSL have also been staged in Pakistan. This year, quite a few matches in the dying stages of the tournament will be played in Pakistan, including the final, and AB has agreed to play them in Pakistan after the initial phase gets over in the UAE.

The 34-year-old batsman, one of the cleanest hitters the game has seen, hopes his involvement in PSL 2019 will encourage the world’s best players to return to Pakistan to play. Former Australia captain Steve Smith, who was also set to play in the PSL 2019 until a recent injury forced him out, refused to play the games that will be held there.

AB to play two games in Lahore in March

If everything plays out perfectly, AB, who will play for Lahore Qalandars in the PSL, will feature in two fixtures in Lahore on March 9 and 10.

“I felt that I had this opportunity to maybe make an impact to help international cricket return to Pakistan,” AB was heard as saying in BBC World Service´s Stumped programme. “I was reluctant to go a few years back, when we were all a bit worried, but I feel the time is right to go back there,” he said.

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