PCB chairman expects major cricket nations to resume touring Pakistan

PCB chairman Najam Sethi says he expects Sri Lanka’s visit to Pakistan to herald a return to regular international cricket in the country.

Sri Lanka will face Pakistan in a T20 international in Lahore on Sunday, the first time they have played in the country since their team bus was attacked, in Lahore, in March 2009.

No major international nation has competed in Pakistan since the atrocity, in which six Sri Lankan players were injured and six security personnel and two civilians were killed.

However, a World XI, including former England batsman Paul Collingwood, played out a successful three-match T20 series in Lahore in September, with Windies due to arrive for a limited-overs series in November – and Sethi believes other nations will follow.

“I have two other countries lined up who are ready to come,” he told Reuters. “By the end of 2020, I think every cricket country would have come and played in Pakistan.”

In an interview with AFP, Sethi also said: “Our stadiums have remained empty. Now all that is poised to change for the better. I foresee a full-fledged restoration in the next two years,”

Sri Lanka will be captained by Thisara Perera in Sunday’s international – the all-rounder taking the reins for the series after regular skipper Upul Tharanga reportedly refused to travel to Lahore.

Perera was part of the World XI that lost 2-1 to Pakistan in September’s series – hitting the penultimate ball of the second game for a match-winning six – and says he has no fears over safety in the country.

The 28-year-old told AFP: “I am really satisfied with the security, so no problems there.”

Pakistan hold an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match series with Sri Lanka after triumphing in Abu Dhabi on Thursday and Friday, winning the first match by seven wickets and the second by two.

Sri Lanka were also beaten 5-0 in the preceding ODIs but did defeat Pakistan 2-0 in the Test series.