KARACHI, Pakistan, CMC – West Indies Players Association president, Wavell Hinds, says he is proud of the role West Indies cricket has played in returning international cricket to Pakistan.
The Caribbean side’s three-match Twenty20 International series which wrapped up here Tuesday, was the first visit by a major Test-playing nation in nine years, following the terrorists attack on a Sri Lankan team in 2009.
Since then, Pakistan played their home series in United Arab Emirates.
“Its feel good to be playing role in bringing cricket back in Pakistan,” said Hinds, who along with director of cricket Jimmy Adams, travelled for the historic series.
“The people of Pakistan deserve to see their national players, their stars playing in front of them and of course to see the stars of West Indies to come over and play in Pakistan.
“For the game of cricket to grow and for the world cricket to take its rightful place in the world of sports then playing cricket in Pakistan is one step towards achieving that.”
The tour was hastily arranged and was without several of the leading T20 stars but the three matches saw capacity crowds pack the National Stadium.
And buoyed by the vociferous home crowd, the Pakistanis dominated the series winning 3-0, taking every game by handsome margins.
Hinds, a former Test batsman, said the series would serve as an inspiration to young players.
“The way in which Pakistan plays is pretty similar to the way West Indies play,” he explained.
“And where international cricket is played and stars are in the show then it motivates young kids and it can help game improve.”
He added: “I know the passion the fans here have. I came to Pakistan 23 years ago as an Under-19 player, played in this very ground (National Stadium), went to Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad and all other grounds and played against top players.”
There were concerns over the security situation in Pakistan but these were allayed after the Pakistan Cricket Board successfully staged the Independence Cup last September which involved a three-match series against a World XI, and also hosted the last two finals of the Pakistan Super League in Lahore and Karachi respectively.
Some leading Windies players, including captain Carlos Brathwaite, opted out of the series because of security concerns but Hinds said Windies cricket authorities had been reassured by the report from indepedence security advisors.
“Once the Eastern Star International, the independent security firm, gave the undertaking that the risk is manageable then as a cricket association back in West Indies, we wanted all our players in West Indies the best opportunity to show their skills around the world and doing that they also bringing back smiles to the faces of Pakistani people,” Hinds said.
And while West Indies were outclassed in the series and were bowled out in the first T20 for their lowest-ever total in the format, Hinds said the importance of the tour went beyond the results.
“Our performances aren’t as what we expected. There are quality players in the squad but the performance has been down,” Hinds noted.
“Players are hurt because they are losing but in the end, they understand the value of coming to Pakistan and what they are doing for world cricket.”