LAHORE - With Zimbabwe team’s tour to Pakistan, cricket is now entering into a new phase that would certainly help the country in resuming international cricket here. It’s just the beginning and future of Pakistan cricket is very bright.

These were the views of former Pakistan team manager Azhar Zaidi, sports journalists Ashraf Chaudhry and Azhar Masood Khan, who expressed their sentiments in a sports programme ‘Waqt Special’ being telecasted by Waqt TV, produced by Imran Abbas and hosted by Osama Tayyab.

Zaidi urged the critics to put the country’s honour and respect on top, setting aside personal interests and egos as it was the time, when collective efforts are required to make the Zimbabwe tour a success. “If we host Zimbabwe team in a trend-setting manner and succeed in presenting soft image of the country to the entire world, Pakistan and its cricket would be the ultimate winners and we will see cricket here flourishing with each passing day and our team competing with foreign teams on our home grounds.”

He added: “The credit of convincing and inviting the Test-playing nation to the country goes to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar M Khan, who is a former ambassador and with his vast experience and skilled dealings, he has not only managed to convince Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) but also has extended invitation to Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Indian counterparts to visit Pakistan and play cricket here.”

Zaidi urged the cricket fans, media persons, former cricketers and critics that they should show patience and play a positive role in making the tour a historical and successful one.

Sharing his views, Ch Ashraf said that not only the cricket board, the Punjab government and Sports Board Punjab (SBP) had also played great role in making this series possible as their all-out support and state guests’ security had convinced the Zimbabwe security team to confirm the tour. “The need of the hour is to work together sincerely to host the series in a befitting manner as this will open more opportunities of more cricket and international sports events on Pakistan,” he added.

Anchor Osama Tayyab has stressed the need of being united at this time of great significance and making the event prolific with patience, hard work, cooperation, hospitality and unity. “After all, it is the matter of the country’s pride which has gave us name and fame and we have to work together to brighten the country’s name across the globe.”

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt lauded the cricket board for hosting Zimbabwe cricket team and termed it a great step towards revival of cricket in the country. “After Sri Lankan team’s attack, our youngsters have not been getting ample opportunities to excel in this particular game. But our national players struggled very hard while playing their home series away and tried to produce better results. But playing at home grounds in front of home crowd now will help them perform well against the visiting teams and it will also help revive Pakistan cricket,” he added.