Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pakistan welcomes back International Cricket

I was in Lahore on 2nd March 2009. It was my brother's wedding. The baraat had driven down from Rawal Pindi to Lahore in the morning and we drove back the same evening after the wedding festivities.

The next day, 3rd March 2009, was my brother's valima in Rawal Pindi. I woke up early morning to catch the third day's play of the 2nd test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, but I was in for a rude shock.

Sri Lanka's team bus, on route from the hotel to Gaddafi Stadium, had been attacked by militants. The unfathomable event had happened. Teams like Australia were already apprehensive to tour Pakistan, but after this, no team wanted to.

By the afternoon a number of our guests who were supposed to drive from Lahore to Pindi started cancelling due to a blocked motorway.

Having never lived in Pakistan, I happened to be in Pakistan on that tragic day when international cricket disappeared from Pakistan forever.

6 years on, I happen to be in Pakistan once again for yet another wedding and coincidentally it is the day when international cricket returns to Pakistan!

That is quite a coincidence considering that my visits to Pakistan are usually only for weddings. But completely apt as well. Somehow, nothing unites us Pakistanis more than shaadis and cricket!

Having been personally affected by the shooting on Sri Lanka's team bus 6 years ago, it was an absolute delight to see Lahore prepare for the arrival of the Zimbabwe cricket team.

What has been even more pleasing is the excitement resulting from this home series for Pakistan.

Gaddafi stadium was sold out in the matter of minutes.

Social media is abuzz with #cricketcomeshome and #thankyouzimbabwe trending all over twitter and facebook. is shipping tickets all over the country.

Pepsi and Boys in Green are giving away 2 FREE tickets for each match.

For the next 10 days, Lahore is going to be in a cricket frenzy.

One that it has not experienced since 2004 when India came to town.

Finally cricket is back home and we hope that it is here to stay with other teams following suit in the near future.

Pakistanis celebrate a number of days like 23rd March, 14th August, 25th December, among others. 22nd May is another day that will be celebrated in the years to come as the day international cricket returned to Pakistan!

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