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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Paul Collingwood, ex-England cricket captain, backs more tours to Pakistan

Former England cricket captain Paul Collingwood, who was a part of the World XI side that recently toured Pakistan for a three-T20 series, sees no reason why others should not tour the nation.

cricket Updated: Sep 19, 2017 08:27 IST
Paul Collingwood, ex-England cricket captain, was a part of the World XI side that recently toured Pakistan for a three-T20 series.
Paul Collingwood, ex-England cricket captain, was a part of the World XI side that recently toured Pakistan for a three-T20 series. (Twitter/BluSkills‏)

Paul Collingwood believes other sides should consider touring Pakistan again after the recent Twenty20 series involving a World XI passed without incident.

Several teams have refused to visit the country amid security concerns since the Sri Lanka bus was attacked by gunmen in March 2009.

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Former England all-rounder Collingwood, who made more than 300 international appearances during his career, was part of a squad that played three matches in Lahore earlier this month, with the home side prevailing 2-1.

The World players were heavily guarded throughout their stay, and Collingwood sees no reason why other nations should not follow suit, providing that similar safety measures can be guaranteed.

Pakistan have been forced to play their home matches in the United Arab Emirates, but it was announced last month that both Sri Lanka and West Indies would arrive for tours later this year, in the event of the World series going ahead undisrupted.

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“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.

“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.”

Collingwood admitted to having doubts before taking the trip, but said the response received from the Pakistan players and supporters made it more than a worthwhile exercise.

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“I was a bit sceptical when I first signed up, and I haven’t had a great time with Pakistan cricket in the past in terms of [Mohammad] 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.

“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.”

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 08:27 IST

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