The first game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the National Stadium in Karachi was abandoned due to heavy rain. (Image credit: Twitter)
Pakistan had to wait for close to a decade for international cricket to return. In 2015, Zimbabwe played three games in Lahore while the matches involving the ICC World XI, West Indies and Sri Lanka were all played at Lahore. However, for Karachi, they have had to wait for 10 solid years to get some international cricket going. The Pakistan vs Sri Lanka game was the first game at the National Stadium since 2009 when incidentally, Pakistan and Sri Lanka squared off with the Sri Lankans winning by 129 runs. However, the fans, who have been waiting for so long for a game, were left bitterly disappointed.
Karachi's first international game after 10 years was abandoned as heavy rain the previous night and an incessant drizzle left the outfield in a bad state at the National Stadium. The groundstaff were trying their best to get the outfield in good shape. However, there were big puddles near the boundary areas and with the drainage system getting clogged, the chances of play resuming looked bleaked.
The cut-off time for a Twenty20 game was 8:00 PM local time but the decision to abandon the match took place at 4:30 PM local as the groundstaff tried in vain to clear the excess water. However, the weather for the second game at the same venue is more promising and chances of the match getting truncated are close to nil.
Sri Lanka's tour to Pakistan was under a cloud after reports emerged that the team could be targeted in a terrorist attack. The withdrawal of 10 top players also did not help. There were allegations from Pakistan's Science and Tenchology Minister that India was coercing the Sri Lanka players to not tour Pakistan. However, the Defence Ministry of Sri Lanka gave the go-ahead and the team arrived in the country under massive security.
The series is the first for Pakistan under Misbah-ul-Haq, the new head coach and chief selector. Misbah captained Pakistan for close to six years and in 56 Tests but he never managed to do that at home in Pakistan. Misbah played just five Tests in Pakistan and ahead of the first match, he has urged the world to help Pakistan revive their international cricket.
"Cricket world need to do more, not only for Pakistan but for any country where it is hit. Pakistan is a cricket-loving country and it would be injustice to deprive them of international cricket, so I hope that the world will support us more and more. Otherwise the survival of cricket will be difficult," Misbah said.
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