LAHORE - Former International Cricket Council (ICC) president Zaheer Abbas has praised the role of Sri Lankan Cricket Board for sending its team to Pakistan to play the third and the last Twenty20 international against Pakistan here today (Sunday) at Gaddafi Stadium.

“The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) has done a tremendous job by sending its team to Pakistan for supplementing the efforts of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for bringing back international cricket and its role will always be remembered in Pakistan cricket history,” he said here on Saturday ahead of Pak-Lankan third and last T20 international.

Former Pakistan captain said that without the all-out support of the Lankan Board, it was not possible to have this match to be played in Lahore. “No matter Lankan side is playing just one T20 games as it has its own significance , it is another way forward to have international cricket in Pakistan and it will help in bringing back more international cricket in near future,” he added.

He said Lankan side visit has approved that they are all time friends of Pakistan and they value the efforts of PCB for the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan. The former captain said the visit of the Lankan side has its own importance in many ways and it will help in restoring the confidence of the visiting side which met a tragic terrorists attack on its players’ bus on its way to the Gaddafi Stadium, way back in March 2009. “Sri Lankan team is visiting Pakistan after a long gap and its successful tour will add to Pakistan’s respect and prestige in many ways,” he said.

He said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was deprived of international cricket during the past nine years and its cricket arenas wore a deserted look and cricket suffered a lot. “With international cricket being played in Pakistan a new era of cricket has begun in the country which is evident from the successful tour of World XI and now the people of Pakistan will welcome the Lankan side by thronging the Gaddafi Stadium to show their affection for the visiting team as well as for the cricket,” said former ICC president.

He said the ICC and its task force and the players, who represented the World XI, have widely acknowledged the investment Pakistan has made for bringing back international cricket to the country. The former batting icon said due to PCB’s persistent efforts the West Indies team has also agreed to visit Pakistan next month for a three T20 match series. “All these high profile cricket events will be making our national cricket ‘memorable’ and it will have a greater impact on our national cricket,” said Zaheer Abbas.

“Cricket is a binding force and adds to national unity and brotherhood, it is the identity of Pakistan globally due to country’s excellence in cricket, due to success in champions trophy and winning the one day series against Lanka with a 5-0 sweep, then taking 2-0 lead in the ongoing T20 series,” he said.