International cricket returned to Pakistan big on Friday with the start of Australia’s tour but Pakistani minister Fawad Chaudhry is still entertaining conspiracy theories that claim it was India that kept teams away from his country. Chaudhary’s response to a reporter’s question on India’s role in allegedly sabotaging Pakistani cricket carried a jibe and an invitation. The Imran Khan minister said India should come to Pakistan and play cricket instead of conspiracies.
While informing the media that Prime Minister Imran Khan will also come to see the match, Chaudhry, taking a dig at his political opponents, said the opposition of Pakistan was not fit enough to play a match against the PTI government.
پاکستان میں کرکٹ بحال ہو رہی ہے. ہم چاہتے ہیں بھارتی کرکٹ ٹیم بھی پاکستان کھیلنے آئے. ہم پاکستان اور بھارت میں کھیل کو فروغ دینا چاہتے ہیں. بھارت سازشوں کی بجائے پاکستان آ کر کرکٹ کھیلے.@fawadchaudhry pic.twitter.com/1UESRYi7Yq
— Fawad Chaudhry (Updates) (@FawadPTIUpdates) March 4, 2022
Fawad inviting opposition to see the historic match but not to play because in his view opposition is Unfit 😉 My question to @fawadchaudhry about Kaptaan @ImranKhanPTI arrival, ? He said Khan sb will visit soon , 🤞🏏✅🇵🇰🇦🇺🏟 pic.twitter.com/qEOwu64Jpj
— NeelumArshad (@NeelumArshad) March 4, 2022
As Australia plays their first series on the Pakistani soil after 24 years, the excitement among cricket fans knows no bounds. The clip of the first ball bowled by Australian pacer Mitchell Starc to opener Abdullah Shafique has been shared by the Pakistani fans with the caption ‘historic’.
— shahid Ali (@Shahid4Tweet) March 4, 2022
In an ‘overwhelming’ expression, a Pakistani Twitter handle wrote in disbelief on the return of quality international cricketers to Pakistan.
— PSL Memes (@PSLMemesWalay) March 4, 2022
Giving a sense of what this tour means for Pakistan and Pakistani cricket, national daily Dawn wrote: “Regardless of what the outcome of the match is…it will be a momentous occasion when the first ball is bowled…as it will signal the end of a long, anxious and, at times, agonising wait for Pakistan’s cricket fans to see top teams playing in their own backyard.”
Despite Australia being better of the two teams, former pacer Shoaib Akhtar said he thinks Australians will get stiff competition in Pakistan. Akhtar believes Pakistan was trying for a long time to build an image in international circles that it is safe to play cricket in the country. He said: “The image that Pakistan was trying to build– finally that dream is coming true. This is going to be a tough competition. Rain may play a spoilsport. But Australia is against one of the toughest side”
Sports journalist Abdul Majid Bhatti called it a “Historic occasion after 24 years”, tweeting the picture of the two captains during the toss.
TV host Kazmi Wajahat described the chaotic scenes outside the Pindi cricket stadium, tweeting about the long queues and how scanning QR codes for the match ticket was taking longer.
— Abdul Majid Bhatti (@bhattimajid) March 4, 2022
Long queues of fans outside the Pindi Cricket Stadium. The entire process of getting inside the stadium is too tedious. This is something that PCB really needs to sort out with LEAs and ticketing partners. Even scanning the ticket QR takes minutes.#PAKvAUS #PAKvsAUS #AUSvPAK
— Wajahat Kazmi (@KazmiWajahat) March 4, 2022
The match in Rawalpindi coincided with the news of former Australian wicketkeeper Rod Marsh passing away. Former Pakistani pacer Waqar Younis wrote: “Devastated to hear about Rod Marsh’s death. He was a great human and a wonderful coach.”
Devastated to hear about Rod Marsh’s death. He was a great human and a wonderful coach. One of the best person I have ever come across. My thoughts are with his family and friends #RIP Legend😔. @CricketAus pic.twitter.com/8VqLX64LbF
— Waqar Younis (@waqyounis99) March 4, 2022