ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) cricket committee chairman Shakil Sheikh has said that Zimbabwe team tour to Pakistan would usher new era of international cricket revival in Pakistan and provide much-needed relief to long suffering cricket fans.

Talking to The Nation, Shakil, who is also president of Islamabad Region, said: “The PCB, nation and cricket organisers are now getting ready to give Zimbabwe team thunderous welcome. This home series against Zimbabwe, a full-fledge Test playing nation, will give new impetus to international cricket in Pakistan. Cricket-mad fans would love to watch top international players playing at their own back yard after six-year wait.”

Shakil, who is also PCB governing body member and experienced cricket organizer, said: “Credit goes to PCB, Punjab and federal government and our law enforcing agencies, who have been working day and night to make the series a success. Just because of their tireless efforts, Zimbabwe security team returned home with positive report.”

He said people must talk positive, instead of playing blame game and promote negativity. They must appreciate PCB chairman Shahryar M Khan and all the other board officials and all the persons involved in hectic efforts to host the series in a befitting manner. “I urge all the stake holders to please stop spreading negativity, as this is not the time to settle personal scores rather its time join hands and show world how peaceful and sports loving we are.”

Shakil said that the PCB chairman’s visit to India had brought more than positive results already. “The resumption of Pakistan-India bilateral series would be a great sigh of relief for the cricket-loving fans of Pakistan and India. India had not toured us since long and there is every prospect the bilateral series would take place at UAE. Things are heading in right direction. Indian PM Modi's statement is also very encouraging. Pak-India cricket is most sought after and highly iconic as far as its impact on cricket world in concerned. Billions of fans wait anxiously to witness Pakistan-India clash.

“Shahryar Khan is using his vast international links, respect to best of his abilities and time is not far, when he and all his team’s efforts will bear fruit and all the top international Test playing nations will feel proud to visit Pakistan. Time is not far, when Pakistani grounds and stadiums will be packed with spectators,” he added.

“Our armed forces and government has been doing great job in this regard and ready to provide every visiting team high-level foolproof security and Zimbabwe cricket team will be provided hosted in a the other Test playing nations. We all must stand firm right behind them, and I am sure the day is not far now, we would soon hear and witness more positive things in very short span of time,” Shakil concluded.