Vital for Pakistan to play cricket at home: Sangakkara
Former Sri Lanka captain and batting legend Kumar Sangakkara admired the hospitability and kindness of the Pakistani people and said that he really enjoyed whenever he get to visit the host country.
Sangakkara, who is also Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) president and also captain of the touring MCC team, said Pakistan is a great cricket destination and he is happy to visit the country after a long gap.
A team of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) led by Sangakkara arrived in Lahore Thursday. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Executive Wasim Khan welcomed the guests at the airport.
Sangakkara lauded Pakistan’s efforts to minimise the security threats. “There is a clear message to all the teams across the world that we are here in Pakistan as cricket ambassadors”.
Sangakkara was part of the Sri Lankan team that has to endure the infamous terrorist attack at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium some 11 years ago.
“I’m so happy that we’re able to do our part to try and encourage countries to look at Pakistan as one of the best cricketing destinations. It has been that in the past and I’m sure it will be that again very soon”
He said it was vital to have home games as cricket belongs to everyone and you need to have youngsters getting inspired to take up the game.
“If there is no home cricket then there is a danger that kind of hunger might go away,” he added.
Addressing to a press conference alongside PCB’s chief executive Wasim, Sangakkara also expressed how excited he was for coming to Pakistan after a long gap of almost 11 years.
“Many beautiful memories are associated with Pakistan, especially with Lahore,” he said. He said that he had visited Pakistan for the first time in 2002 and played a Test match against Wasim, Waqar, Razzaq, Inzamam and Shoaib.
“The more cricket you play at home, the more times young children & the fabulous fans of Pakistan can see their team, their players play in front of them within almost touching distance. That’s great for the game and the country, and for the global game”
“I think all Sri Lankan players who were here in 2009 would love to come back. A few have come in their private capacity but even together, the players will definitely be willing to come back. We’ve great memories of playing in Pakistan & touring here”
"The MCC is very competitive, we are here to play some good cricket and to win some games. It's great that we have some tough oppositions to play against," he reiterated.