LONDON - Former Hampshire batsman Mark Nicholas believes international cricket needs Pakistan to start hosting matches again and the nation also wants assistance from the game’s community to help them get back on their feet. “The ICC must continue to watch over Pakistan and ensure that pastoral and fiscal help is at hand,” wrote Nicholas for ESPNcricinfo.

“It is expensive and destabilising to play home games abroad. Zimbabwe’s recent visit to Pakistan was a success, as were trips by Kenya and Afghanistan. The next move should be for a representative ICC team to tour the country, a World XI if you like. The global game cannot afford to rest until Pakistan is fully incorporated again. We need this land of warrior cricketers every bit as it needs us,” added host of Channel Nine’s cricket coverage. Nicholas further admired the passion in Pakistani cricketers saying it is sad that players do not enjoy local exposure.

“It is sad that England are not in Pakistan but we know why and wonder when. Pakistanis have cricket in their blood. Fostering the game is increasingly difficult without local exposure, but still exciting players emerge who will push England hard. Thankfully the passion remains,” wrote Nicholas.

Nicholas was also all-praise for Muhammad Aamir and conceded his support for the young bowler’s return. “It is five years since Mohammad Aamir was punished for his teenage greed. Those who led him down the path must find it hard to look the game they are supposed to have loved in the eye,” he added. “By all accounts Aamir is on track for a feisty return. Thank heaven for that. Were he to pull on the colours of his great land once more, there would be cause for celebration.”

With clear thinking and careful guidance, he can be an inspiration to others. Everyone, young and old, deserves a second chance.”

Nicholas made also makes a rather interesting observation that if English cricket is about discipline then Pakistan cricket in all about talent. “Cricket in Pakistan is utterly different and, thus, the players produced are very different too,” opined Nicholas.

“In England, you are first taught the virtues of a forward-defensive stroke and of line and length. In Pakistan both are a byplay to the ability to use the wrists and manoeuvre the ball into gaps, and to using the fingers and wrist to make the ball talk. In general, Pakistani cricketers have the greater talent and Englishmen the greater discipline.”

Moreover, Nicholas observed Misbah’s captaincy as a calm leader who instilled the same virtues in his playing eleven.

“Misbah-ul-Haq is coping immensely well with an assignment that has left many before him at the mercy of those on high. To his credit, Pakistan have been singled out by the ICC for good behaviour of late. Misbah has calmed these erratic, emotional cricketers and channelled their gifts. Not that this group is as gifted as those gone by, just that they have the same fierce ambition to justify themselves on the world stage,” explained Nicholas.