ISLAMABAD, Sep 5 (APP): Former England captain Paul Collingwood, part of the World XI squad which will tour Pakistan next week, is hopeful the series “can be a significant step” in bringing international cricket back to the country.
“You can only imagine how demoralising it must have been for
Pakistan’s players during the last few years and it’s an
opportunity to show and prove that they can hold big fixtures in
their own country once again,” he wrote in a column for the ICC
website, private news channel reported.
“Playing away from their home would have done nothing to help them improve their game in the long-term and it must have been so frustrating.
“Despite that, I have to say I’m not surprised that they
still topped the ICC Test Team Rankings last year and won the ICC
Champions Trophy 2017, because when it comes to cricket, they’re a
hugely-talented nation.
“Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re going to get in terms
of performance and that’s why they can be such a dangerous
opposition.. Getting those home games again – although there is a
little way to go – would be a big thing,” he wrote.
Reminiscing about his previous tour to Pakistan, Collingwood
fondly recalled the passion of Pakistani fans. “I’ve had a taste
of it myself because I toured there with England just after The
Ashes in 2005. It’s a very passionate place and the atmosphere in
the grounds can be deafening, particularly in Karachi.
“I’m sure that once we get out there, the locals will want
Pakistan to win, but they will see the bigger picture and they
will be behind us too,” he said.
The 2010 T20 World Cup-winning captain said he cannot wait
to play on Pakistan soil again, but regretted he would not be able
to do much sightseeing because of the `head of state’ security
which would accompany the team.
“I’m just looking forward to playing three really competitive games of cricket and for it to be as normal as possible,” he wrote, adding that he was “really proud” of getting selected in the World XI squad.
“Trying to help Pakistan is important for cricket and no-one
can pretend the money isn’t great – but, added to that, playing
them in their own back yard also really floated my boat.
“I’ve not played international cricket since 2011, so to
play in games with full international status against the full
Pakistan side is very, very exciting and it’s great to be
involved,” the 41-year-old cricketer remarked.
“We’ll have three great matches and hopefully we will have
helped in a small way,” he added.