South African cricket team have arrived for the historic tour in Pakistan after 14 years. The proteas team arrived at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi through a chartered flight on Saturday.
Apart from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, West Indies and Zimbabwe, who toured Pakistan before, South Africa will be the first team apart from them to visit Pakistan.
This will be a massive success for Pakistan team when the series will go as scheduled without any interruption as the South African team was given state guest level security.
A look back at cricket in Pakistan
For years, after what happened with the Sri Lankan team back in 2009, cricketing coming back to Pakistan was a huge success when Zimbabwe visited the nation in 2015. It was a short series, a white ball series comprised of 2 T20 internationals and 3 One Day internationals. It did, however, had a an issue when a bomb blast took place during the second ODI match but apart from that, everything went well. The series was won by Pakistan of course.
Security has been always been a great deal for any team visiting Pakistan. Pakistan have promised the visiting teams the maximum level of security. The next team that visit Pakistan was the “World XI” announced by the ICC after Pakistan won the Champions Trophy in 2017. Players from Australia, England, South Africa came and played the series. It was another a big moment for Pakistan with them winning the three T20 series 2-1.
Then the Sri Lankan side visited Lahore for the final match in three match T20I series. This was an emotional moment as the 2009 attack was remembered. Though many of their star players pulled out due to security reasons, Sri Lankan team was widely appreciated by the Pakistan media. Sri Lanka’s batting coach Hishan Tillakaratne said;
“Sri Lanka Cricket has already announced that the team is travelling to Pakistan. In 1996, Pakistan and India’s combined side came to Sri Lanka and helped our game. So, it is our duty to go back and help them.”
Up to that moment, all matches was held in Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore. And when Pakistan called the West Indies side, a rather second string side, they decided to host the matches in National Stadium Karachi. The series was whitewashed and slowing the matches for Pakistan came back to home.
PSL matches started to make their debut at Pakistan in 2018 as two playoff matches played in Lahore and the final at the National Stadium, Karachi. The tickets for the final were sold out quickly, within fifteen hours. Then slowly, all the PSL matches were held in Pakistan by 2020.
The return of Test cricket in Pakistan
The biggest moment in 2019 was the returning of Test cricket to Pakistan after 10 years. And it was the same team to return in Lahore from which they had to leave due to the attack. Sri Lanka played two test series against Pakistan in Rawalpindi and Karachi, in which Pakistan won 1-0.
The PCB had a clear vision now that all the matches will be held in Pakistan and that no matches will return to UAE. Bangladesh also toured Pakistan, despite making amends of holding a Test match in a neutral venue. But that also was sorted out, as the only Test match played.
The global pandemic took place and the remaining Bangladesh matches were hold. However, as the matches then slowly started to play again, the PSL playoffs matches held last November and it was a success.
Why does the South Africa series make a big deal is because of two reasons; The history of a SENA team coming to Pakistan and that also after 14 years. The excitements have build up for an exciting series. It will be a moment waiting for a long time for fans to see Test cricket happening again.
We cannot thank all the teams enough for coming to Pakistan and bringing cricket back.