LAHORE: As many as 12 Pakistan players are in line to play their first ODI in the country with the commencement of the three-match series against Sri Lanka on Friday, said an official press release by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Top-level 50-over cricket will mark its return in Pakistan after a gap of four years when the first ball will be bowled at the National Stadium in Karachi.
The Pakistan players, namely Abid Ali, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Usman Shinwari are eager to jump on the opportunity and leave a mark in what promises to be a historic tour.
Fakhar Zaman, who has 1,828 runs ODI runs at an average of 45.70, said: “It is very disappointing to play ‘home’ matches in other countries. It is always a privilege for us to play cricket in front of our home crowd so we all are ecstatic to have this opportunity.
“The players have set personal goals and look forward to perform to the best of their abilities to ensure that they entertain the cricket-loving nation. Playing my first ODI match at the home venue is like making an international debut. I have set a target to score either the fastest century or half-century in the series.”
Shadab Khan, who has the experience of 41 ODI matches, which garnered him 56 wickets and 337 runs with the bat, said: “The ODI series against Sri Lanka will be my first 50-over series at home, and I am hopeful that the Test cricket will also resume in the country soon.
“The T20I series against Windies was jam-packed and I am looking forward to the see public turning up in large numbers to witness exciting games. Each player is excited to give his best on the home ground.”
“I love to bowl alongside Imad and look forward to bowling with him in Karachi. Our roles are identified and we go out there to get our opponents with our spin variations.” Mohammad Nawaz, who last played for Pakistan in 2018 Asia Cup, said: “I am not only excited to be back in the ODI squad, but also thrilled to be playing in Karachi. I have featured in different leagues all over the world, but there is no parallel of a Pakistani crowd. “The PSL matches in Pakistan were packed, and it was a great joy to bowl in front of the people, who have so much passion for the game.”
Mohammad Rizwan, the wicketkeeper-batsman who has featured in 32 ODIs to date and has two centuries and three half-centuries, said: “The preparations are complete for the mouth-watering series, and now the wait is for 27 September when both sides will feature in the first ODI match at National Stadium in Karachi. “It is always a great to play in front of the local crowd as it gives a great energy to the players to perform.”