Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said on Wednesday he hoped a proposed tour of the World XI to the South Asian country would bring the embattled nation a step closer to reviving international cricket.
Pakistan have not hosted international cricket—barring a limited over series against Zimbabwe in 2015—since terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009. And Monday’s blast in Lahore, which killed 26 people, has again cast doubts over the World XI tour planned for mid-September this year.
However, Arthur said he regretted Pakistan’s isolation. “The isolation is being very hard on Pakistan cricket,” said Arthur. “PCB [Pakistan Cricket Board] is doing an unbelievable job in trying to resurrect international cricket. I just hope the World XI tour goes ahead and that will almost be the curtain raiser to, hopefully, get some international cricket back.”
Pakistan has been forced to play home matches in the United Arab Emirates. “Every international match we play as a unit we are playing effectively away from home, away our own conditions and that makes it doubly difficult,” he said. “Look, I definitely think it affects all cricket. The first class cricketers in Pakistan are not able to see their stars playing at home and are not able to lift their standards so it’s a vicious circle,” he added.
Arthur said Pakistan’s Champions Trophy win in England last month would change impressions. “I think Pakistan was always a destination where it was hard to come and win. I was the coach of the South African team, which came here in 2007. We won the Test and one-day series and that was a massive win and achievement because not many sides had come and won in Pakistan.”