Karachi: Their hosting rights taken away by the International Cricket Council (ICC) due to security reasons, Pakistan on Thursday vowed to bring the World Cup trophy home.
Team manager Intikhab Alam, Test captain Misabh-ul-haq and paceman Umar Gul and other players on Thursday rued that their country would not get to host any match.
Their comments came at the unveiling ceremony of the World Cup trophy in Lahore.
The International Cricket Council moved away matches of the World Cup from Pakistan last year due to security reasons after militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March.
Misbah said it was disappointing that Pakistan fans would miss all the action.
“I know how disappointed the Pakistani people are that they wouldn’t be able to host any matches but the best thing we can do for them is to play with commitment and passion and try to bring this trophy home as winners,” he said.
Misbah, who led Pakistan in the Tests against South Africa, said that it was good for Pakistan cricket that the ICC and sponsors had arranged for the trophy to be unveiled in Pakistan.
“It is a good gesture and will boost the interest in the tournament in Pakistan,” he added.
The World Cup is now being hosted jointly by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19 with Pakistan due to play its group matches in Sri Lanka.
Alam, who was also a team manager when Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992, said he knew very well the significance of the tournament.
“I know how much it matters for our people that we do well in the World Cup. Unfortunately the last two World Cups have not been good for us but our team has the ability to do well in the tournament,” he said.
He said that it was sad that the World Cup matches were not being held in Pakistan but had no doubt the tournament would create enormous interest and that the game has passionate following in the country.
He said the present team in every format of the game was developing well and by the time of the World Cup would start it would be in a good position to challenge the other contenders.
“The coming tour to New Zealand is very important for us as it will help us finalize our one-day squad for the World Cup,” he said.
Pacer Umar Gul said he was looking forward to the New Zealand tour and World Cup.
“Conditions in New Zealand are favorable to the pace bowlers but in the World Cup we will have to work hard and try to do well for the country,” he said.