JOHANNESBURG, Jan 21, 2013 – Pakistan should be allowed to stage international cricket again, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said Monday as his team prepared to face top-ranked South Africa in a three-Test series.
No Test series has been staged in Pakistan since armed militants attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in Lahore four years ago, killing eight locals and wounding six visiting players.
“Pakistan is such a big cricketing nation and the world has to think about bringing international cricket back to the country,” the 38-year-old right-hand batsman said.
“A Twenty20 tournament in Pakistan saw full stadiums for every game and there were no security concerns. The people should have international cricket,” he told a media conference. Team manager Naveed Akram Cheema backed the views of Misbah, stressing that the security situation in the country was much safer than the outside world
“There is a difference between perception and reality. Other teams do not come to Pakistan on the pretext of security concerns, but it is as safe as any other country in the world,” he said.
Misbah said having to play ‘home’ Tests abroad — often in the United Arab Emirates cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi — was affecting the competiveness of the team.
“It is very difficult when you are not playing a format on a regular basis — you really have to work hard. You could say it is a limitation for us, but we are professionals and have to do well.
“We play only about five or six Tests a year while other countries play 15 or 16 a year. This really does affect our team,” he said ahead of the first Test from February 1 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Pakistan will also play Tests in Cape Town and Centurion, two Twenty 20 internationals and five one-day internationals during a tour that stretches to late March.