Paul Collingwood, the former England captain, believes that after the successful World XI series, other sides should also consider touring Pakistan. The 41-year-old was part of the Faf du Plessis-led squad which traveled to Pakistan and played a three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series.
Pakistan have been playing their home games in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since the bus attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009. However, with the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL) final being held at home and the World XI series, international cricket is close to returning to Pakistan, with T20I series against Sri Lanka and Windies scheduled later this year.
“We were there five days and if you had that level of security for a longer tour, I can’t imagine how much it would cost,” Collingwood told BBC Radio 5 Live.
The security for the World players was top notch with the army guarding them throughout their stay and even blocking roads when they were travelling to the ground. Collingwood reckons that if the same security measures are taken, then other countries should also consider touring Pakistan.
“It was like having the army around you at all times, which was excellent because we knew we were safe, [but] the disruption it must cause to every day living, because they literally closed all the roads to get to the ground. If you can sustain that level of security for a longer period of time, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t tour there.”
The all-rounder also revealed that he was in doubt whether to take part in the series, especially with his history against Pakistan, but upon seeing the response from the players and supporters, Collingwood felt it was a worthwhile experience. “I was a bit skeptical when I first signed up, and I haven’t had a great time with Pakistan cricket in the past in terms of Amir and no-balls [in 2010], the ball tampering [allegations in 2006] etc so I was thinking ‘do I want to support that’ but after the week I’ve had I’m really proud I’ve been involved,” he said.
Most of the Pakistan players had not played at home and the World XI series meant more to them and the management ensured most of the players in the 15-man squad got a chance to represent their country at home. The icing, however, came when they won the third T20I and claimed the series 2-1.
“There’s a bigger picture and to see the Pakistan players’ faces to play in front of their home crowd, to get their feelings and how much it meant to them, they were saying ‘thank you, it means so much to us’.
“You feel as though you’ve done something good for the game. I probably didn’t realise the impact it had. We’re a cricketing family and you have to help each other out. It’s a small stepping stone, we know it’s not the final piece of the jigsaw, and Pakistan cricket know that but they’re trying their hardest to get things happening again,” Collingwood concluded.