'Sports is the only medium to bring people together'

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - Javed Miandad Image Credit: Al Khaleej Today archive

Islamabad: Batting legend Javed Miandad believes sports were the only medium to bring the people of different nations together, saying the Pak-Sri Lanka Tests would show the world that Pakistan was safe for all kinds of sports activities.

To show gratitude, respect and appreciation the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had also invited Miandad and former Sri Lanka captain Bandula Warnapura as special guests for the Rawalpindi Test. Miandad and Warnapura were opposite captains in the first-ever Test between both the countries at Karachi's National Stadium in March 1982.

Miandad said the cricket lovers deserve to see the long-awaited games at home. "Sportsmen are ambassadors of their countries and sports must not be involved with politics," he said.

Miandad, who represented Pakistan in Tests and ODIs between 1975 and 1996, also commended the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for bringing back the longer format game to Pakistan.

Both sides would contest two Tests as part of the World Test Championship, with the first to be played at Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi from December 11 and the second to begin at National Stadium in Karachi on December 19.

The Pakistani spectators have last seen test matches in Karachi Stadium some10 years back, when Pakistan and Sri Lanka met each other in February 2009.

Speaking about Pakistan's chances in the two-match Test series, Miandad, who had scored 8832 runs in 124 Tests, said playing at home and the conditions would definitely benefit the green-shirts. Asian Bradman Zaheer Abbas who had two stints as captain of the national team in 1981 and 1984, also lauded the Sri Lanka team for touring Pakistan. "It is a great achievement on part of PCB and now the focus must be on bringing the world's top teams like Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa and England to Pakistan," he said.

"PCB must convince these sides for a tour to Pakistan if not for longer formats but at least for a Twenty20 or ODI series," he said and added the T20 or ODI series must be played in all cities across the country so that the fans could enjoy the long-awaited games.

The former International Cricket Council (ICC) president, who scored 5,062 runs in 78 Tests, said the Sri Lankan side visit has approved that they were all time friends of Pakistan and they value the efforts of PCB for the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan. "A new era of cricket has begun in the country, with the revival of Tests," he said.

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