LAHORE - Former Pakistan captain M Yousaf has said that he is ready to serve Pakistan cricket in any role and he has special passion to work at grassroots level for the betterment of game.

“I am ready to serve my country, which gave me name and fame internationally, so whatever role is assigned to me by the PCB, I am ready to accept it but I would like to work at grassroots level and eager to provide my country quality cricketers. Even my services are also available for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and its participating teams because whatever I have earned in life is because of cricket and I am ready to payback for it,” he said here on Thursday.

Yousaf said the tour of ICC World XI would pave the way of international cricket to Pakistan. “It is beginning of resumption of international cricket in Pakistan and it is going to be a very important cricket activity after a long gap of almost nine years,” he said.

Former Test batsman said Pakistani people have waited long for the resumption of cricket especially the youth, whose top favourite game across the country is cricket. “The wait is finally over and we will be seeing a high-profile cricket activity taking place in Lahore as the ICC World XI is a blend of finest players chosen from seven cricket-playing nations,” he added.

Yousaf acknowledged the hard work and continuous efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for making strenuous efforts for bringing back international cricket to Pakistan. “The PCB stood firm on its stance of having cricket in Pakistan and it pleaded the country’s case at all the international forums in a very professional manner and the International Cricket Council (ICC) also supported its stance and finally decided to send its World XI to Pakistan,” he said.

The former captain was of the view that return of the international cricket would serve the cause of cricket in Pakistan especially at the youth level as the young generation would be getting big inspiration by seeing the world class players in action at their own ground. “When I was young, I learnt a lot of cricket by watching foreign players playing in Pakistan on different occasions and it was a big way of learning which eventually helped me become a quality cricketer,” he said.

Yousaf said newly-elected PCB chairman Najam Sethi deserves praise for ensuring the return of international cricket to Pakistan. “Sethi launched the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and made it a huge success, then successfully conducted the PSL-2 final in Lahore and all these efforts served as trust building measures which helped in convincing the ICC and other cricket-playing nations to send their teams to Pakistan.”

Yousaf said next three months are very important for Pakistan cricket as after the World XI tour, the teams of Sri Lanka and West Indies will be visiting the country. “These are defining moments of Pakistan cricket and they will decide the course of visits of foreign teams in near future and once again, we will be having international cricket events in different parts of the country on regular basis,” he concluded.