Cricket the richer for Pak triumph

The sport can ill afford to lose one of its more flamboyant protagonists

Besieged with cricket, this South Asian nation has been craving to see some quality matches on its soil for the last few months, especially in the aftermath of the terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers at Lahore. This title win is certain to instil fresh hopes into Pakistan cricket, a position unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

Despite efforts from International Cricket Council, traditional powerhouse West Indies have still not escaped from the clutches of decline while Zimbabwe and Kenya, two countries that promised to spread the base, have been absent from top level cricket for various reasons. In this scenario, world cricket cannot afford to let Pakistan go into a deep chasm of isolation, shrinking its global base.

Such a situation would have been a massive blow for the ambitions of Asian nations to play a more pro-active role in the world arena. In more cricketing terms, the thrills, shocks, and agony that only a team like Pakistan can produce would have been sadly missing.

Perhaps you would not have seen anymore kids playing cricket in the streets of Pakistan with sheer abandon and joy, bringing the curtain down on one of the biggest non-tutored nurseries of cricketing talent in the world. In that sense, this victory has come at the right time.

Now, there is a ray of hope, a belief that Pakistan will not go down the road of perdition. When skipper Younis Khan stressed on the importance of the return of international cricket to Pakistan’s soil, he was merely stating the obvious.

“Everybody follows Twenty20 cricket nowadays and since we are the Twenty20 champions, I hope we will play some home series now. I am requesting all the teams to come to Pakistan. Everybody knows that the law and order situation is not good but this is not our fault,” Younis said.

“We need to play home series to groom youngsters and if there is no cricket in Pakistan, how can we motivate youngsters at school and college levels? There is a message from me and my team to everyone to come and play in Pakistan. I am proud of my nation and this victory will be good for all of us,” he added.

But even Younis will be aware that his wish might not come true immediately. It will certainly take some more time before other nations agree to come to Pakistan for full-fledged series as they need tangible proof that the security situation in that country is better.

“I hope the terrorists listen to me and work for peace. We have seen this is a big problem in our countries. I think this should not happen because it affects sports,” Younis detailed.

The significance of this victory lies in the fact that it, as Younis hoped, might usher in change not just in sports but in all walks of life. “The whole of Pakistan needed this win. There is problem with everything in Pakistan and we tried to bring about a change. When you win a big tournament like the World Cup, then it definitely brings about a change.”

Now, it remains to be seen how fast that change comes in Pakistan, as the future of its cricket depends directly on it.

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