Lahore - Former Pakistan captain M Yousuf termed the short tour of Sri Lankan team to Pakistan to play a Twenty20 match as ‘a historic moment’ in Pakistan cricket.

“It is a history-making moment in Pakistan cricket as Sri Lankan team will be visiting Pakistan after a gap of almost nine years and it is going to have a very positive impact on our national cricket,” he said.

Sri Lanka will be playing their third and last match of their ongoing T20 series on Sunday at Gaddafi Stadium. “It does not matter that the Lankan team is playing a lone T20 game in Pakistan, what is important is that the visiting team is playing in Pakistan after 2009 unfortunate incident when their bus was attacked by attacked by the terrorists,” he said.

Yousuf termed the match a very important occasion, which will see international cricket taking place in Pakistan. “The successful tour of the World XI paved the way for the return of international cricket to Pakistan and now the Lankan team playing a T20 game is another step forward to have international cricket being played in Pakistan,” he said.

Yousuf acknowledged the hard work and untiring efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to bring back international cricket to the country. “PCB stood firm on its stance of having cricket in Pakistan and it pleaded country’s case at all the international forums in a very professional manner and, finally, the International Cricket Council (ICC) also lent its support for the resumption of international cricket in the country by sending its World XI to Pakistan last month,” he said.

Yousuf expressed the view that return of the international cricket will serve the cause of cricket in Pakistan, especially at the youth level as the younger generation stands to draw big inspiration by seeing foreign teams playing in Pakistan.

“I appreciate the Lankan side for visiting Pakistan and I value their gesture to support the cause of bringing back international cricket to Pakistan,” he said.

He said PCB chairman, Najam Sethi, deserves praise for ensuring the return of international cricket to Pakistan. “He launched Pakistan Super League and made it a success, then its final and the tour of the World XI were successfully organised in Lahore and all these efforts served as trust-building measures which helped in convincing the ICC and other cricket-playing countries to send their teams to Pakistan,” said the former batsman.

Yousuf observed that, following the Lankan side’s visit, the West Indies will be touring Pakistan next month to play a three-match T20 series and these visits would provide inspiration and motivation for other teams to consider touring Pakistan in due course of time.