LAHORE – Australian Higher Commissioner in Pakistan HE Peter Heyward has appreciated the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regarding bringing international cricket back to the country saying that he was expecting resumption of international cricket at Pakistani soil in near future.

Talking to the journalists along with PCB chief Zaka Ashraf here at a press conference at National Cricket Academy (NCA) on Monday, Peter said:   “It is good to see high standard cricket facilities in Pakistan available especially here in the city where National Cricket Academy is also located and in the presence of such facilities, it is my desire to see international cricket returning to Pakistan.”

“PCB chairman Ashraf’s efforts regarding bringing international cricket back to the country are commendable and I wish he may get success in achieving his great aim soon,” said the Australian commissioner.

Talking about Pakistan-Australia series in UAE, he said the series was going on in its excellent spirit. “Both the teams are playing very well and are in excellent spirit in the ODI series so the final match will be very tough and interesting. Being an Australian, I will surely want Australian team to win the ODI series but if they will be unable to do so, then they have the opportunity in the Twenty20 series and I am sure Australian team can put a better show to win it,” the Australian commissioner said. “I always love to see Australian team playing against Pakistan and especially playing in front of Pakistani people and at their home ground. So I wish Pakistan may get international cricket back on its home soil soon,” he said.

To a query Peter said: “It will be a good omen for Pakistan cricket to hold a T20 League in which many foreign players will take part and I will love to see Australian players in action in the league which will help Pakistan revive international cricket here.”

The Australian High Commissioner said it was not his domain to decide the visit of the Australian team to Pakistan as the Australian government, Cricket Australia and the Australian cricketers can decide this issue with a mutual understanding. “I cannot say when Australian team will visit Pakistan but it is my desire to see them playing in Pakistan. It is the Australian government who will finally decide about it,” he added.

When he was asked if he was going to write to his government regarding the visit of Australian team to Pakistan, he has said that he sends reports to his government on regular basis in which such issues and aspects are highlighted.

“I think there are some reasons that’s why international cricket in not being played in Pakistan and one of the main factors is the security as there are some security issues in some cities of Pakistan. Though the situation is improving and is quite better in Lahore but at the same, certain incidents are happening in other cities,” he maintained.

He said that cricket was Pakistan’s top most sport in which youth was taking extraordinary interest. “Cricket is very popular in Pakistan and it is being played at every street and corner of Pakistan which speaks volume of youth’s interest in it. So it is my wish to see my team and other foreign teams playing in Pakistan in front of lovers of the game and it is imperative for Pakistan cricket that international cricket returns to Pakistan, the sooner it will be better,” Peter concluded. The PCB chief also presented a souvenir to the Australian High Commissioner.

Earlier, Australian High Commissioner was warmly welcomed at his arrival to visit Gaddafi Stadium and NCA. PCB DG Javed Miandad also informed him about the efforts made by the PCB regarding development of cricket across the country.