Our grounds were turned into wedding halls…’: Shahid Afridi recalls dark days of Pakistan cricket

‘Our grounds were turned into wedding halls…’: Shahid Afridi recalls dark days of Pakistan cricket

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has shared the challenging situation Pakistan cricket faced a few years ago. Afridi highlighted how administrators and former cricketers struggled and confronted all odds to resurrect cricket in Pakistan from a hopeless phase.

In the last few years, Pakistan have been in top form, espcially in white-ball cricket. In T20Is, they are ranked third, in ODIs fourth and in Test cricket, it’s at the sixth position as per the latest International Cricket Council(ICC) rankings. In the Asia Cup earlier this year, they were beaten by Sri Lanka in the final. In rethe cently held T20 World Cup 2022, Pakistan emerged as the runners-up after another heartbreaking loss in the summit clash, this time to England.

Pakistan cricket underwent a difficult phase after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009. The incident led to no international matches in the Asian nation for quite some years as cricket teams were fearful of touring the country.

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi has shared the challenging situation Pakistan cricket faced a few years ago. Afridi highlighted how administrators and former cricketers struggled and confronted all odds to resurrect cricket in Pakistan from a hopeless phase.

“Our grounds were turned into wedding halls. We wanted to play on our grounds. It was a difficult period for Pakistan cricket, we were missing our crowd. The people who have worked to make this happen, have put in a lot of effort. The board, the government. They played an important role. We used to convince cricketers outside when we used to go and play in other leagues, county cricket, that through their help we’ll be able to bring cricket back in our country. When cricket returned, a good message was sent from Pakistan, that we are sports loving nation and that we want to watch and play cricket on our ground here,” Shahid Afridi said on Samaa TV.

“That difficult period has passed. The teams have started touring Pakistan. Some pulled out (but) Australia came, England came. These were things our crowd was missing,” he added.

England and New Zealand are due to tour Pakistan this year. England will play three Test matches while New Zealand will play two Tests and three ODIs in Pakistan, starting December 27.

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