LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahyar Khan has said that Zimbabwe tour has opened a big gate for return of cricket in Pakistan.

Speaking at the press briefing here at the Gaddafi Stadium Wednesday, Shahryar said: “Small gates were opened by Kenya, Afghanistan and Australia’s army team but Zimbabwe can be credited for providing the biggest opening for the return of international cricket in the country.”

He said that Zimbabwe Cricket (CZ) chairman Wilson Manase and players were very happy with the response from the Pakistani crowd. “My dear friend Wilson Manase was very happy with the tour. All the players before leaving Pakistan said that they had never received such a warm welcome anywhere in the world. “Their government even stopped them from visiting Pakistan but they came here to keep their word,” he added.

He also talked about the watertight security which caused traffic jams and sometime hassle for everyone including journalists. “Everyone had to face some difficulties during the tour. Even I was stopped on the gates for an hour,” he said.

“Once I was stuck in traffic and everyone was getting frustrated but when they came to know that the Zimbabwe team is being escorted to the stadium, everyone kept their calm and didn’t complain. I am very thankful to the public for showing so much support,” the PCB chief said.

Shahryar also talked about how motivated Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)’s interim committee president Sidarth Wettimuny was after observing all the arrangements and most importantly the crowd. “Wettimuny was awe-struck by the response from the crowd. He said I have never seen such fervor from the spectators. He also said that the security arrangements were good and he will tell his board about all of it.”

“But I want to plead that please we should not jump to conclusions about anything. They are not coming in September; it was just a suggestion that they can visit Pakistan in September if they can. They can come whenever they feel comfortable,” the PCB chief concluded.