Mazher Arshad in Lahore

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Sep 12

Pakistan hails return of international cricket with joyous World XI visit

The country has been a no-go zone for most foreign teams since the Lahore attack of 2009 but the presence of Andy Flower’s star-studded visitors for a T20 series has given hope of a brighter future

Pakistan may have taken its biggest step yet towards full restoration of cricket at home by staging the first of three Twenty20 internationals against the World XI, a team from seven nations assembled by coach Andy Flower on behalf of the Pakistan Task Team that was formed by International Cricket Council in 2010 to revive cricket in Pakistan. After the horrific militant attack on the touring Sri Lankans in Lahore in 2009, the country had become a no-go zone for the foreign teams with Zimbabwe being the only team to tour Pakistan for an international series in 2015.

On a glorious night in Lahore, cricket took the centre stage with about 20,000 people turning up to watch the players they perhaps had seen only on television screens before. Such was the pull of the event that every news channel had made ample room for cricket in the bulletins. While the prices of the tickets were on the higher side – the maximum being 8,000 Rupees (£55), the car-for-hire app Uber announced it would take spectators to the stadium at a flat rate of 111 Rupees (£0.80).

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