The stage is set for the game; the teams have arrived. Cricket always brings with it the highs and lows, and its fair share of controversies, but sometimes the rest must be set aside to simply enjoy the sport. The coming three T20 matches promise to provide a riveting contest between Pakistan and the World XI – a team composed of top cricket players from around the world and led by South Africa’s Faf Du Plessis.

However, cricket in Pakistan has taken other dimensions since the 2006 attack on the Sri Lankan team; since then the mission to “bring cricket home” has been part of every match played on home turf. Following the Zimbabwe tour and the PSL final in Lahore, another successful series will go a long way in convincing the rest of the cricketing nations to tour Pakistan.

The significance of the match is not lost on the visiting players. The coach Andy Flower said “the World XI looks forward to celebrating the return of international cricket in Pakistan,” while the rest of the squad echoed his sentiments. The must be commended for their initiative for coming to Pakistan; this is indeed “playing for something bigger than the game itself”.

Similarly, the organisers of this event must also be commended. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with Najem Sethi at the helm, the law enforcement agencies, and the local government; all played a crucial role in making this series possible.

While providing a welcome relief to an entertainment-starved nation, the matches are necessary on a national level too – nothing instills a sense of unity and purpose into the public like supporting the national team in unison and enjoying the experience..

At the same time, the series will also give a little push to Pakistani cricketers who have been playing in the team for long. With the Champions Trophy victory widely celebrated and cherished, it is now time to focus on the continued building of the team

The Umar Akmal fiasco did not happen a long time ago, and change reinforces the idea that positions have to be earned. Being able to display your talent on the national stage is a huge privilege and one must be capable and fit in order to avail that opportunity.

The menace of our larger conflicts looms over the coming days, and the denizens of Lahore will have to brace for some inconvenience. However, let us all hope that there is good cricket in store for us, and that the series ends on a positive note.