As the three-match Independence Cup wrapped up on Friday with a convincing Pakistani win in front of a capacity crowd at Gaddafi Stadium, the elation was coupled with a massive sigh of relief; the series was a success, and took place without any security incident whatsoever. The objective of the World XI tour – the real objective beyond the sporting contest – was to demonstrate that Pakistan can effectively host international matches on home turf, and from the comments pouring in across the cricketing world, it seems that objective has been throughly achieved

Top officials of the International Cricket Council (ICC) along with World XI captain and coach did not hold back from generously praising Pakistan, its security agencies and fans for successfully staging the Independence Cup, and hoped the series would eventually lead to more regular cricket. According to ICC officials “these are small steps for Pakistan towards safe and steady revival of bilateral international cricket, and indicated that the next step would be a tour by a full member country as opposed to a composite side.”

These are strong endorsements from the players and officials who were in Lahore to oversee the security arrangements and should pave the way for Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to make the mooted tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies a reality. While this series can be chalked off as a success the challenges for Pakistan and the PCB are not over yet.

Holding a condensed T20 series is very different from holding full-fledged tours from another country – which tends to last several weeks. The PCB needs to find a way to accommodate long series without shutting down the city for the whole duration. They also need to hold matches in venues outside Lahore to truly “bring cricket home”. These are long term plans and incremental step are needed at the moment – but PCB should always keep an eye on the ultimate objective.