Former New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott, who is a part of the World XI squad touring Pakistan for a three-match T20 series, is looking forward to going to Lahore, which he reckons will feel like visiting home.
“I’ve never been to Lahore so I’m really looking forward to that. I suppose, going to Lahore will feel like I am going home,” Pakpassion.net quoted Elliott as saying.
“I think it’s quite exciting. I’m looking forward to playing in front of a country that has sadly been starved of international cricket. They had the PSL final there and the atmosphere looked like it was amazing. The likes of Darren Sammy are going back there to Pakistan after he played in the PSL final. It’s exciting to be playing cricket in Pakistan and also making a difference and playing a small part in bringing cricket back to Pakistan,” he added.
Considered as one of the top T20 specialists in the world, the 38-year-old was a successful figure in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), while he also led Birmingham Bears to the final of the Natwest T20 Blast tournament.
Admitting that he is now looking forward to his participation in the upcoming World XI tour of Pakistan, Elliott explained the reasons behind his decision to take part in this historic tour and emphasized as to why it is important for return of international cricket in the country.
“Obviously you do your homework and it’s not the sort of decision that you take lightly, but I don’t think anyone would be going to Pakistan if they did not think it was safe and no amount of money would get people there if they did not think it was safe. I hope that we are potentially taking a small step to bringing international cricket back to Pakistan at some stage,” Elliott said.
When quizzed if he is prepared to play in Pakistan in future, the former New Zealand player answered in affirmation while adding that it would be subjected to adequate security measures.
“I would once again go through the security measures and go with the advice from the professionals. We get all of that information and then we can make our own assessment on whether we feel it is safe to go to Pakistan,” he said.
Elliott said that he remains hopeful that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) would be able to provide the same level of security as they provided at the PSL final at the Gaddafi Stadium.
“Hopefully the Pakistan Cricket Board can fulfil the same levels of security as there was at the PSL final and which has been promised to the World XI. This will then hopefully mean that these matches in Lahore will be a step or perhaps the turning point for international cricket to return to Pakistan,” he said.
It should be noted that no Test side has toured Pakistan since March 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore, killing six Pakistani policemen and injuring some of the visiting players.
However, low-ranked sides, namely Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, had toured the country for a limited-over series.
The first two T20Is between World XI side and Pakistan will be played on September 12 and 13, and the final game will be played on September 15 at the Gaddafi Stadium.
The World XI includes five players from South Africa, three from Australia, two from the Windies, and one each from Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka