LONDON: Marylebone Cricket Club confirmed on Wednesday they would send a touring squad to Pakistan next year under the captaincy of president Kumar Sangakkara after the recent return of Test cricket to the country.
The MCC said they had accepted an invitation from the Pakistan Cricket Board to send a team to Lahore in February 2020 and would play a number of matches in the city.
“It is hugely important to support cricket in countries such as Pakistan, and the PCB has done a tremendous job in rebuilding the international cricketing landscape since the tragic events of 2009,” said the now retired Sangakkara, who was injured in the attack in 2009.
“I am excited to be captaining MCC on the tour to Pakistan. With international cricket having returned for the first time in a decade, it is wonderful the Club is doing its part to strengthen cricket in Pakistan and I look forward to being part of the trip. The PCB has done a tremendous job in rebuilding the international cricketing landscape since the tragic events of 2009.”
MCC chief executive and secretary Guy Lavender said cricket fans in the country had been starved of seeing their team play at home for a decade.
Guy Lavender, MCC Chief Executive & Secretary said: “The people of Pakistan have been starved of seeing their team play at home for a decade and it is wonderful to see that Test cricket has recently returned to the country.
“As a Club, one of MCC’s priorities is to maintain its global relevance on the game by supporting countries in their provision for cricket, and we are united with the global game in wanting to see international teams returning to play in Pakistan.
“Of course the predominant focus has been assessing the relative safety and security considerations, and we are working closely with the PCB to manage a robust security plan to ensure the tour can take place.”
PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said the decision is further testament that Pakistan is as safe and secure a country as any other cricket-playing nation in the world.
“I am delighted that MCC has confirmed that it will send a touring team to Lahore in February. The decision by the world’s oldest and most influential cricket club to send a quality team is further testament that Pakistan is as safe and secure a country as any other cricket-playing nation in the world, and MCC’s tour is a further step forward in normalising team tours to Pakistan.
“The PCB looks forward to welcoming the MCC cricket team and we fully expect the squad to have a thoroughly enjoyable time.”
All of MCC’s matches will be played at Aitchison College in Lahore.The second Test of the two-match series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka starts in Karachi on Thursday.
MCC is the world’s most active cricket club, the owner of Lord’s Ground and the guardian of the Laws and Spirit of the game. Founded in 1787, it is recognised as the sole authority on the game’s Laws and moved to its current home in St John’s Wood in 1814. There are approximately 18,000 Full and 5,000 Associate Members of MCC.