So, this is it then! After months of security checks, re-checks and again re-checks, agreement and then finally denial by the senior Sri Lankan players like skipper Lasith Malinga, Angelo Matthews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, the Sri Lankans are in Pakistan to finally play some cricket. One-day cricket returns to Pakistan and to Karachi. Ironically, it is these two teams that featured in the last ODI staged at the National Stadium, Karachi back in January 2009.
Misbah-ul-Haq played in that last ODI on Pakistan soil and now ten years on he’ll start his second innings in International cricket as the Head Coach and chief-selector of the Pakistan Cricket team. The new Head-Coach was an instant hit in his very first conference. just like his playing days, his demeanor in the press conference was that of a sportsman who wasn’t going to be sucked in by the journos asking questions completely non-related to the sport. To, as usual, the journalists asked him questions which could be termed as preposterous, but Misbah handled them brilliantly.
Off-course! One of those questions was about Kashmir. Ever since the Indian government has abrogated Article 370 from the constitution of Jammu & Kashmir and declared them as union-territories, tensions have been rife between the arc-rivals. The Pakistanis- including former cricketers like Shahid Afridi and Javed Miandad- have been crying foul over India’s decision; resorting to shameful acts like Javed Miandad, walking with a sword in his hand asking for ‘peace’ in Kashmir. But Misbah came as a breath of fresh air.
On being asked whether the Pakistani team will do something like the Indian team did post the Pulwama attack by wearing army caps to honor the fallen heroes, to this Misabah responded with utmost grace and humility that ‘The whole of Pakistan has sympathies with Kashmir- but let’s talk cricket.’
Misbah-ul-Haq "the whole of Pakistan has sympathies with Kashmir – but let's talk cricket" #PAKvSL #Cricket pic.twitter.com/lAMW0c9Itd
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) September 26, 2019
Meanwhile, Pakistan kickstarts their home-series against Sri Lanka today. The 3-match ODI series will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi which will be followed by a 3-match T20I series which will be staged at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore between October 07-09.
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