Sir Vivian Richards who is in Dubai as a ‘mentor’ of the Quetta Gladiators team which is one of the five PSL outfits, laments the circumstances which do not allow Pakistan to play international cricket at home.
Referring, of course, to the security situation of the country which has kept international teams away after the terrorists attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team in 2009 at Lahore during a Test, Viv said: “I feel Pakistan has gone on the back foot because of this and it is tragic that the PCB can’t host teams to play Tests, ODIs or T20s.”
Pakistan has been hosting all their home series in the UAE like the present PSL in progress.
“I have been to Pakistan many times and enjoyed every visit and it breaks my heart to see teams not playing in that country,” lamented the former West Indian captain.
Richards praised Pakistan cricket and its cricketers for being brilliant then and brilliant now. “Over the years I have been watching Pakistan when playing against them or with them in county cricket. And they have been brilliant bowlers and batsmen and great individuals,” said Richards.
He, however, admitted he is not unaware of the present talent. “I watch them on TV and they look great players and very talented as always. I pray that situation in Pakistan improves and I think it is improving and a time will soon come when cricketers from all over the world would be visiting Pakistan, a beautiful country that I know,” he said.
He looked thrilled for being involved with a team from Pakistan with a majority of the country’s cricketers in it. “Quetta Gladiators looks a good combination of players and it is no surprise that they beat their opposition in the opening match with ease,” said the master blaster.
“Looks like Nadeem Omar of Quetta Gladiator has got a very useful combination here.”
Richards’ imposing presence in the opening game of the league on Thursday was itself a moral boosting factor for the Quetta team which he is mentoring.
Here in Dubai for the entire period of the PSL, Richards who is a role model for all batsmen thinks Pakistan has the potential to be on top of the cricketing world if its players are well looked after and provided proper facilities. “I am sure they are already getting there.”
Always a fitness fanatic, the great man immediately took to the road for a jog after talking to me.