ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s star wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan said on Thursday he is already feeling “ripples of excitement” ahead of Australia’s upcoming tour of Pakistan.
Australia are scheduled to play three Test matches, an equal number of ODIs and a T20I match on Pakistani soil in March-April this year. Fans in both countries are ecstatic and cannot wait for the series to get underway as an Australian cricket team will arrive in Pakistan for the first time in 24 years.
International cricket has largely remained away from Pakistan since the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Lahore in 2009. While Pakistan’s security situation improved over the years, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has remained unsuccessful in wooing big teams to play a complete series on its soil.
“I can feel ripples of excitement for Australia’s tour of Pakistan,” Rizwan said in an interview with the PCB’s digital wing.
“I have read some very positive remarks from the stakeholders in Australia about the tour to Pakistan. The entire nation of Pakistan is ready to welcome Australia for the historic tour after 24 years.”
Recognized by the PCB as Pakistan’s Most Valuable Cricketer of 2021, Rizwan said the tour will help strengthen the bond between the two nations.
“Australian cricketers like Usman Khawaja participate in the HBL PSL,” he said.
“Our players (Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf and Mohammad Hasnain) were recently featured in the KFC Big Bash League 2021-22. This further strengthens the bond between the two countries.”
Rizwan recalled how Pakistan’s former batting consultant, Australian cricketer
Matthew Hayden, spoke passionately about Pakistan and how his friend and Australia’s head coach Justin Langer showed “love and admiration” for the country when the two sides met last year in the ICC T20 World Cup semifinal.
He was wary, however, about the potential of the Australian cricket team, after it won the Ashes, a Test cricket series with England.
“Australia have recently won the Ashes and they are a strong side, but we have also had a tremendous year and have shined brightly across all formats,” he said. “These two teams make the perfect recipe for a thrilling and exciting series.”