ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has thanked Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe for sending their cricket team to Pakistan and help revive international cricket in the country after six years.

“The government and people of Pakistan are grateful to you for your leadership, vision and solidarity with Pakistan and Pakistani cricket for helping make this entertaining cricket contest a reality,” Sharif wrote in a letter to Mugabe.

Nawaz talked about the successful tour and the enthusiasm displayed by cricket fans in Pakistan. “I am sure you have been informed about the tremendous enthusiasm of the Pakistani fans who packed the stadium on all the matches, waving not just Pakistani flags but also those of Zimbabwe,” he wrote in the letter dispatched yesterday from Prime Minister House.

The PM said the successful tour would pave way for other teams to play cricket in Pakistan. “The successful series has now paved way for Pakistan to host other teams and to be reintegrated into the mainstream of international cricket,” he said.

Cricket returned to Pakistan after six years when Zimbabwe played two three ODIs and two T20s in Lahore last month.

The bilateral series, the first after an attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, ended with Pakistan wining both the T20s and clinching the ODI series 2-0 as the final match was washed out. The tour went ahead despite a suicide bombing near the stadium in Lahore on May 29.