ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top cricket official said on Tuesday it was a "matter of great pride" for his country that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had chosen it to host the Champions Trophy in 2025.
The ICC announced world cricket tournaments scheduled to take place from 2024 to 2031 earlier in the day, surprising everyone by mentioning that the United States would co-host the T20 World Cup for the first time with West Indies.
Pakistan, which tried to revive international cricket after militants targeted the Sri Lankan team in 2009, will host its first major tournament in 29 years, said the Associated Press.
"It's a matter of great pride and delight that Pakistan will be hosting ICC Champions Trophy 2025," the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja said in a Twitter post. "This great news will surely excite millions of Pakistani fans, expats and world fans to see great teams and players in action and will allow the world to sample our hospitality."
A PCB statement noted the ICC decision meant that Pakistan would "defend the ICC Champions Trophy title in their backyard when the eight-team and 15-match tournament is held at three iconic venues in February 2025."
It recalled that "Pakistan had defeated India by 180 runs in the 2017 tournament at The Oval" in London.
Commenting on its decision to allow the US, a non-cricket playing country, to host the next T20 World Cup, ICC chairman Greg Barclay said: "The USA is a strategic growth market for us."
Despite rigorous efforts to revive international cricket in the country, Pakistan faced tough challenges until September this year when New Zealand abandoned their cricket tour without playing a single match in the country over "security alert."
Days later, England called off its scheduled tour to Pakistan as well, disappointing millions of cricket fans in the country who were hoping to see the world's top cricket teams in action in local stadiums.
While the Pakistan cricket players did not get much practice, they still performed well during the recent Twenty20 World Cup and secured a place in the semi-finals.