Song of the exile – Captain longs for genuine home Tests after Pakistans rise to No 1

Posted on Sep 22 2016 - 4:15am
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Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq paid credit to his players and their families for earning Test cricket’s No 1 ranking while exiled from playing home matches for the past seven years.

Calling it “one of the best days in my life,” Misbah was handed the ceremonial mace by ICC chief executive David Richardson at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, venue of Pakistan’s last Test on home soil.

“It is ironic for both the players as well as the fans that the journey to the No 1 position has been made outside Pakistan,” Misbah said.

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Pakistan have played the ‘home’ Tests in the United Arab Emirates since 2009 when Sri Lanka’s team came under terrorist attack in Lahore and other nations subsequently refused to tour the country due to security concerns.

“We are playing away matches and are not playing where we are brought up; even Dubai and Abu Dhabi are foreign soil,” Misbah said. “The families of the players really sacrificed lot of things … we have to play almost six- seven months out of country and that’s difficult.”

The captain said he hopes international cricket will soon return to Pakistan.

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“The players have missed on the crowd support, while the spectators have been unable to watch live some magnificent team and individual performances. But I am confident that things will change and international cricket will soon return to Pakistan.”

Misbah’s men have recently beaten Australia and England in the UAE, drawn with New Zealand, and earned impressive away series wins in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before a 2-2 draw in England. Pakistan were then elevated to No 1 without bowling a ball after table-topping India were denied the 3-0 series win they needed to retain top spot against West Indies last month.

“This is a remarkable achievement given that the last 24 series had all been played away from Pakistan,” Richardson said.

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He added that it was not in the hands of the ICC to convince other nations that it’s safe to tour the country, but hoped the government and the Pakistan Cricket Board can convince foreign teams to resume tours.

Pakistan face a stern test to keep the top ranking in the coming months.

AGENCIES

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Song of the exile – Captain longs for genuine home Tests after Pakistans rise to No 1 was last modified: September 22nd, 2016 by greendecker

This article was originally published on http://www.thestandard.com.hk/section-news.php?id=174266