Cricket: Misbah wants help from world for regular home series in Pakistan

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(Reuters) – Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has requested the support of more cricket-playing nations as the country takes another step towards the revival of international matches on home soil with a limited-overs series against Sri Lanka in Karachi and Lahore.

Major international teams have avoided touring Pakistan since a 2009 militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore left six security personnel and two civilians dead while six players were injured.

Pakistan have been forced to play most of their ‘home’ matches in the United Arab Emirates, but have hosted teams such as Zimbabwe and West Indies in recent years.

“I think be it Pakistan, or any other country that has faced similar situation, we need to make sure cricket keeps going,” Misbah told reporters ahead of Friday’s first one-day international against Sri Lanka in Karachi.

“We need to do more, the world cricket needs to do more to make sure that we play series here on regular basis and cricket is not affected.

“We understand that this wasn’t an easy decision… but it is encouraging sign to see Sri Lanka coming here for series.”

Ten Sri Lankan players opted out of the tour over security fears but their cricket board confirmed the series after being assured of head-of-state-like security by the Pakistan government.

Misbah said a full-strength Sri Lanka team would have made it a more exciting contest but still expects a competitive white-ball series in front of packed stadiums.

“When you’re playing at home ground, you’re also different at emotional level. It will be an important moment for all the players,” the former Pakistan captain added.

“It is also important for youngsters to play in front of home crowd and home ground. It is key for them to play in front of packed stadium. You can’t attract crowd at neutral venue.”

The remaining two one-dayers will also be held in Karachi on Sunday and Wednesday, while the three Twenty20 internationals will be played in Lahore on Oct. 5, 7 and 9.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan ChakrabortyOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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