'Our grounds were turned into wedding halls'- Shahid Afridi on difficult times in Pakistan cricket

International cricket was halted in Pakistan after Sri Lankan team was shot at by terrorists in Lahore in 2009.

Shahid Afridi | TwitterFormer Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi recalled the horrid phase which the nation’s cricket went through when none of the other international teams came to play in the country after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.

International cricket didn’t return in full to Pakistan till 2019 when Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies, and Zimbabwe toured them, and most recently, Australia and England traveled to the Asian nation.

Shahid Afridi expressed how difficult conditions were in the country. He has revealed that their iconic grounds had then been turned into wedding halls.

"Our grounds were turned into wedding halls. We wanted to play on our grounds. It was a difficult period for Pakistan cricket, we were missing our crowd. The people who have worked to make this happen, have put in a lot of effort. The board, the government. They played an important role," Afridi said on the Pakistani channel Samaa TV.

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Afridi also revealed that when Pakistani players went to play in overseas leagues, they used to try and convince foreign players to visit Pakistan so that international cricket could resume in the country.

"We used to convince cricketers outside when we used to go and play in other leagues, county cricket, that through their help we'll be able to bring cricket back in our country. When cricket returned, a good message was sent from Pakistan, that we are sports loving nation and that we want to watch and play cricket on our ground here," the all-rounder added.

The veteran cricketer has expressed happiness and relief that teams have started touring Pakistan.

That difficult period has passed. The teams started touring Pakistan. Some pulled out Australia came, England came. These were things our crowd was missing," he added.


By Jatin Sharma - 16 Nov, 2022

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