Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said that the upcoming bilateral series at home will be a career highlight for him as he will lead the team in front of a home crowd. Since the terror attacks in 2009, Pakistan have hardly hosted international matches. They have been forcing to play home matches away from the country. The last ODI series that took place there was in 2015.
“Leading the Pakistan cricket team in a bilateral ODI series in front of my home crowd will be one of the highlights of my career. I can’t wait for Friday, which will mark the memorable occasion, and I hope when I walk out, I have a full-house behind me, not only cheering me but both the sides,” Sarfaraz Ahmed told reporters on Tuesday.
“Fans are the lifeline for any sport as they are the driving force for any team or player. They give extra energy to the teams and help them produce their very best. History will be made on Friday when Karachi will host the first bilateral ODI series since January 2009. I request all local cricket fans to be part of history so that they can tell the next generation that they were at the National Stadium when an international series was played,” he added.
Pakistan vice-captain Babar Azam also said similar things.
“I can’t thank enough for the love and respect I have received from all my fans in the early days of my career. Friday will be one of my biggest days when I will take the field as Pakistan vice-captain,” Babar said. “I will want the entire country as well as the National Stadium crowd to make this a day to remember for me.”
Babar Azam recalled his memories which are the 2004 and 2008 ODIs against India.
“In 2004, Pakistan lost by five runs despite Inzamam-ul-Haq’s brilliant century but four years later, Younis Khan’s belligerent 123 not out steered us to eight wickets victory. I am hoping there will be a similar crowd number when we will play Sri Lanka,” he said.
Coach Misbah-ul-Haq was also happy as the cricket has returned to the venue.
“Friday’s match will be an emotional one for me as I played at the National Stadium when it last staged an ODI, also against Sri Lanka. Ten years later, I will start my time as head coach of the Pakistan national cricket team, so the time has moved really fast. As the national cricket team commences its 2019-20 international season in Karachi, I hope the crowds will once again be there to encourage us and help us do better,” he told.
The first ODI is scheduled to be played on Friday (September 27).