Swashbuckler all-rounder and Pakistan’s national T20 captain Shahid Afridi has heaped praises on touring side Zimbabwe for their courage and is running out of words to thank the African nation.

Pakistan will play two T20 internationals and three ODIs against Zimbabwe on soil after six years no-game draught beginning this friday. Pakistan played their last international tournament on home against Sri Lanka in 2009 when a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers, part of a larger convoy, was fired upon by 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second Test. Six members of the Sri Lankan team were injured. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed. According to Wikipedia, the attack was believed to have been carried out by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants.

Since then the nation has not had a single international tournament and Zimbabwe’s decision to tour comes as welcome change for all the cricketing fans in Pakistan. “It is excellent that cricket is now back. This is a commendable effort by PCB and a massive thanks to Zimbabwe,” the T20 skipper said in an interview to a local TV channel. Afridi has high hopes from the tournament and believes other test-playing nations will soon follow suit. “Zimbabwe tour is just a start of a very good beginning,” he said, adding: “We will have to wait for other teams to tour Pakistan.” “It’s very positive and we guys have been waiting for this for the last six years,” Afridi told reporters on Thursday. “I especially want to thank the Zimbabwe government … and I hope their players do enjoy their trip here.” He also praised PCB chief-in-charge Shaharyar Khan for his valiant efforts to end the six-year glut. “There is a lot of anticipation for this series and we are hopeful it will open doors for more tours in the future,” the PCB chief told reporters on Thursday. “More importantly, it will also allow us and the government and security agencies to practically assess what more can be done to make touring sides more secure.”

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