Lahore    -   Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani has lauded the role of International Cricket Council (ICC) in resuming international cricket in the country.

Speaking at a press conference here at Gaddafi Stadium on Saturday, Mani, along with ICC Deputy Chairman Imran Khawaja, said: “I am very glad with the presence of ICC Deputy Chairman Imran Khawaja here at Gaddafi Stadium. He has especially visited the stadium to witness Pakistan-Sri Lanka T20. I am highly grateful to the ICC for making Sri Lankan team tour to Pakistan possible.

“The attack on Sri Lankan team 10 years ago was a very tragic incident, which closed the doors of international sports on Pakistan. But with the sincere efforts of armed forces and government, once again the country is hosting the international series and with the passage of time, it will start hosting full-fledged international series.

“After Sri Lankan team tour, the tours of Australia and England teams are on the cards. Bangladesh women team is also coming to the country to play against our promising females players. We are taking every step to improve the standard of Pakistan cricket and its infrastructure, so that the country may keep on hosting maximum number of international events,” he added.

He expressed his gratitude to armed forces and government in helping the PCB in hosting PSL matches in the country and now the Sri Lanka series. “Without the active and all-out support of government and armed forces, it is almost impossible for us to host international teams as well as Pakistan Super League matches. I hope the government and armed forces will continue to provide us all-out support to provide more exciting moments to cricket-crazy nation.”

He said that Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC) has clarified him that those Lankan players, who didn’t visit Pakistan to play series against the hosts, wouldn’t be given No-Objection Certificate (NOC).

“When I talked to Sri Lankan board officials regarding playing Test series, they had some reservations but hopefully, after their successfully completing the ODI and T20 series in Karachi and Lahore, we will hopefully talk about hosting the Test series as well.”

The PCB chairman said that the visit of British Prince Waliam and Princess Kate Middleton will also present very positive message to the entire world that Pakistan is a safe country and it is ready to host any international cricketing event. “Pakistanis are peaceful and cricket-loving nation and their love, respect and hospitality are always remembered by the guests.”

Speaking at the press briefing, ICC Deputy Chairman Imran Khawaja has said that he is grateful to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani for a warm welcome and his views on ICC’s role in Sri Lanka team’s tour to Pakistan. “The ICC is keen to promote the game of cricket in all its member nations and it will continue to support Pakistan in resuming international cricket in the country.

“The visit of Sri Lankan team to Pakistan shows that the country is a safe place to host international matches and hopefully, it will continue to host more and more international series. I heartily congratulate Pakistan on hosting Sri Lankan team in a befitting manner,” he added.