Karachi - Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed says foreign teams
should stop raising security concerns about his country's capabilities to host
international cricket matches.
Top-ranked Pakistan swept a weakened West Indies 3-0 in
Twenty20 series on Tuesday as Karachi hosted its first international games in
"I don't think now there's any excuse left with the
(foreign) teams not to tour Pakistan," Ahmed told reporters. "The
whole world has seen today. The way people have come to the ground, it proves
now international cricket can be staged in Pakistan."
Security in Pakistan had been foreign teams' major concern
for the last nine years since terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team bus at
Lahore. Since then the Pakistan Cricket Board had been hosting its
"home" matches in the United Arab Emirates.
When the franchise-based Twenty20 Pakistan Super League was
started in 2016, it was also organized in the same gulf country, but the PCB
has been making efforts to convince the cricketing world that it's safe to tour
Lahore organized last year's PSL final and two playoffs this
year in which some foreign players from countries like Australia and England
refused to represent their franchises due to security concerns. But the PSL
final was still staged in Karachi last month, when around 8 000 security personnel
were used to offer presidential-like security of the teams. The teams drove to
the ground with dozens of armed guards in vehicles surrounding the players'
It proved a perfect dress rehearsal for Karachi to host West
Indies for three days.
Several top players were missing from the West Indies squad,
but that didn't dampen the spirits of Karachiites as more than 70 000
spectators watched the three matches at the National Stadium over the three
Spectators had to walk around a mile to reach the stadium
after at least three security checkpoints, but it didn't bother them much.
"So what if it's a weak West Indies team?" asked a
20-year-old spectator Mohammad Amjad. "We want to show the world that it's
safe to play in Pakistan."
West Indies coach Stuart Law of Australia was impressed with
"The security has been outstanding, we haven't seen any
issues, any incidences and anything that may arose was communicated to us very
Law said it's difficult for people outside Pakistan to
assess whether it's safe to play there.
"Look it's a bit daunting if you are not used to the
(intense security) setup," he said. "I'm not saying that (the West
Indies tour) has open the floodgates and everyone come rushing back. Still
people will have reservations, but from what I've seen here it's more than
adequate, that's for sure."
Law said playing home matches in the UAE is like playing
away from home for Pakistan cricketers.
"I feel sorry for the Pakistan players who don't play
enough cricket in front of their home fans," he said. "Every game for
them is away game, so you feel for those boys who can't play in front of their
families week in and week out."