Must say, one of the saddening realities of our sport for close to a decade has been the helplessness of Pakistan to get to play cricket at home. Various corners have echoed this sentiment for a while. Cricket needs Pakistan as much Pakistan needs it is a known fact. The Pakistan Cricket Board has been doing the tough task of trying to revive cricket in the country for a long time and hence when the events like PSL final(twice), the ICC World XI visiting, Zimbabwe, Srilanka coming, takes place in Lahore everyone feels overjoyed in cricket loving community.
But it was important for Pakistan to further spread the net across to other cities in the country and that's why the great Waqar Younis believes the series like the one versus the Westindies in Karachi is absolutely vital to instill confidence to the world and other international teams that Pakistan is a safe country to tour and play cricket in.
Talking to Cricbuzz recently, Waqar reiterated the importance of the successful organisation of the series with Westindies, "very important, the process of bringing international cricket in Pakistan had to be initiated and a message of peace needed to go out of the country. This series has sent a huge message worldwide,"
There has been a noticeable absence of some of the main stars of the teams to Pakistan, though and also the unwillingness of big stars playing the PSL to travel to Pakistan. Talking about this Waqar said, "No, it is not like that. The people who are becoming confident [about Pakistan being a safe country] are coming here. Till now we are kind of beggars at the moment. It is okay, whoever is coming. Now in the next PSL you will see only those players will be made available during drafts who will show consent to tour Pakistan."
Westindies too have sent a depleted team but Waqar pointed the other reasons for that, "The reasons behind the other West Indian players not coming to Pakistan had other factors as well. Some were going for the IPL and the Cricket West Indies also have problems with its cricketers."
"The West Indian side was a bit weak. Everyone knew it. They had new faces in the side. Pakistan was a stronger team. Although the matches weren't that close or competitive, the crowd turned out and sent a message that Karachi is a very peaceful place. This will open a lot of doors. Maybe in the next couple of years, it will be a different story hopefully. We may host a full series. Maybe India might come in the next couple of years' time. To open the doors, this was perfect. We have had two to three series. We have had an ICC World XI tour Pakistan. Now West Indies have come. It [the normalisation] won't take much time."
Recently the PSL season finale also took place in Karachi and Waqar saw the event this time as the Director of cricket for the Islamabad United who was playing the Peshawar Zalmi on the occasion. Talking about it he said, "It is always nice [to be in the action], who has had two stints as the head coach of the Pakistan national side. I have always been a cricket-lover and I have played cricket internationally. In my post-retirement days, it is always good to be in the dugout. I love the game, so, it doesn't matter whether I am in the commentary box, in the studio or in the dugout, as long as I can help the youngsters and promote the game."