Lahore -  Pakistan heroes and former captains Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Khan Afridi had a ride of rickshaws during the interval of the Pak-World XI series-decider around the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) arranged this ride for the national heroes before the crowd in order to honour them for their meritorious services for Pakistan cricket. Both the players were looking dashing in their national dress (Shalwar Qameez) in black. They waved hands during their lap of rickshaws while they were reciprocated by the spectators more enthusiastically. Younus Khan, who was also among the invitees, has chosen to give the event a miss.

The colourful and decorated traditional rickshaws were arranged by the Lahore Walled City Authority, while the same rickshaws earlier gave a joyful ride of the stadium to the World XI players, who made their debut at the vehicle and were very delighted with this unique experience.

Speaking on the occasion, Misbah, who is considered as one of the best captains of Pakistan history, said: “I am really grateful to Board for this honour, which every player desires on his retirement. The way the PCB has honoured Shahid and me is a great way to give respect to retiring players and I hope the PCB will continue this trend in a befitting manner.”

Flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi also expressed his gratitude to the PCB and his fans, who honoured him in a great style. I am very happy to see international cricket return to Pakistan and I hope PCB chairman Najam Sethi will continue his efforts to convince more international teams to Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, the series-decider saw extraordinary excitement from the charged crowd, which cheered every ball, boundary and sixer and kept on raising slogans ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ throughout the match. Their passion was sky high and they enjoyed the return of international cricket enthusiastically. But like previous matches and despite a warning from the PCB against political slogans, “Go Nawaz Go” remained crowds favourite chant during the final Twenty20 as well.

The security for the last T20 international was tighter as compared to earlier two encounters of the Independence Cup. The spectators had to face a number security hurdles to reach the stadium.

Each and every hand carry was checked thoroughly and the fans were not allowed to bring even bottles of water and eatables with them. At the checkpoints, the officials, from lower to higher ranks, were involved in the tight scrutiny in order to ensure foolproof security to the visitors as well as the general public. 




Azhar Khan