Karachi: Canada’s Pakistani-origin cricketers, Khurrum Chohan and Rizwan Cheema, regret not being able to play the 2011 World Cup in the country.
“It would have been great to play the World Cup matches in Lahore my hometown but unfortunately this is a dream that will not come true for us,” Chohan said in Colombo.
Chohan said it would have been a lifelong ambition fulfilled if they had been able to play in Pakistan. The International Cricket Council moved 14 matches of the World Cup from Pakistan after the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore two years back.
Pakistan lost its right to host matches at home after participating teams refused to play in the country due to security concerns.
Pakistan’s share of the World Cup matches were eventually distributed among the other three host countries, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Chohan who played for the Pakistan under-19 team before immigrating to Canada said he got a lot in his adopted country but would never lose his Pakistani identity.
“When the World Cup matches were awarded to Pakistan we were so happy that we would get a chance to play international cricket in our mother country. But that attack on Sri Lanka changed everything,” Chohan said.
Cheema, a hard-hitting batsman, said he was sure that if the World Cup matches had been held in Pakistan, the Canadian team would have got a lot of support in Pakistan because of the presence of so many Asian players in the team.
“I am sure a Lot of Pakistanis in Canada would have also visited Pakistan for the matches. It is my greatest regret in life that we didn’t get a chance to play the World Cup in our home country,” he said.
Cheema, however, admitted that the ICC perhaps had no choice but to move the World Cup matches from Pakistan after the attack.
“That incident was bad for Pakistan cricket and we can understand the concerns of many teams to go and play in Pakistan.”