Butt hopes international cricket may return to Pakistan

Karachi: Extremely happy with Pakistan reaching the semifinal of the World Cup, PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt today said if his side could go on to win the tournament it would pave the way for the return of international cricket to the country.

"We are all proud of our boys and the way they have performed to reach the semi-finals. It is a great credit to them that despite the problems Pakistan cricket has faced in the last few months they have shown the courage and spirit to fight on," Butt told reporters.

"I was always confident that this team had the capability of reaching the semi finals now it is just a matter of two matches and I hope they can continue their good form and confidence in these matches," Butt added.

The PCB Chairman, who would be in Mohali for the semi-final, also felt that if Pakistan ends up winning the World Cup it would lead to the return of international cricket to Pakistan.

"It will eventually play a big role in helping us convince teams to resume playing on our grounds. That is why this World Cup is so important for Pakistan cricket and I am happy to see the players also realize the responsibility ahead of them."

Butt`s tenure as Chairman saw militants attack the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March, 2009 leading to the suspension of teams touring Pakistan and the ICC moving the World Cup matches out of the country due to security reasons.

Last year he had to face the scandal of spot fixing and other issues like warnings from the ICC to reform Pakistan cricket`s administration and structure.

Former PCB Chairman, Khalid Mehmood also appreciated the hard work and resilience of the Pakistan team.

"It is a great achievement on part of this team to come so far after what they have been through. And the best part is this team does not have many superstar players like in the past but all the players are playing their roles and doing well," Mehmood said.

Mehmood was Chairman when Pakistan reached the final of the 1999 World Cup and lost to Australia.

"That defeat still hurts because it could have done so much for Pakistan cricket but now I think we have a great opportunity to move on from all these controversies and scandals and show the world what Pakistan cricket is really all about," he said.

Former PCB Chairman, Tauqir Zia felt if Pakistan and India clash in the semifinal it would be a big boost for the World Cup and also lead to an eventual resumption of bilateral cricket ties between the two nations.

"It would be great if this happens and I don’t see this team now backing down they are perfectly capable of handling the pressure of playing in India. The management deserves a lot of credit for how they have turned around the team," Zia said.


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