It may be a low-key affair in strictly cricketing terms, but Friday´s opening Twenty20 clash between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Lahore represents a chance for the hosts to show they are once again open for business.
Cast into sporting end following the 2009 attacks on the Sri Lankan team, Pakistan have incurred financial losses amounting to $120 million by having to play their “home” games on neutral venues like the UAE, according to an official estimate.
More distant the money, Pakistan´s younger crop of players — including established batsmen Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, all of whom have played 50 or more internationals — have never experienced the lifting effect of a hometown audience or pitch.
Pakistan is desperate to revive sporting fixtures at home, and must ensure this is the first of several security-incident free tours to restore confidence.
The series, comprising two Twenty20s and three one-dayers, was almost scuppered last week after militants killed 45 Ismailis in an attack on their bus in Karachi.
But Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) finally gave its green light with a week to go, and since then the two sides have exchanged expressions of mutual brotherhood.World The News