By M Muzamil Asif
2017 ended with lots of memories for Pakistan in the grounds of sport, especially the achievements in cricket are really appreciable because the way our national team had created the history winning the title of Champions trophy for the first time ever under the newly developed team with new captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
Apart from that win, this year has become memorable immediately after the revival of International events in the country after a gap of almost 8 years. The good memories of this year ended with a loan T-20 match which the srilankan team had played in Pakistan, which in fact has displayed a positive image of the country in front of the world.
Several International events took place in different sports. However, the ice of International events was broken when the Pakistan cricket board (PCB) made it possible for the nation to witness the International event once again, hence organised a colorful final of the PSL 2 in Lahore earlier this year. I think that the final of PSL has played an important role in paving the way for the resumption of International events in the country.
Indeed the final match of the PSL has portrayed the soft image of Pakistan and has shown that our country is a safe land where all type International sporting event could take place.
Afterwards, the football community took the initiative to revive the International football too in the country, however the world group came across in organising exhibition matches in Karachi and Lahore simultaneously, which featured some classic football stars across from the world including the World’s great Ronaldinho and Giggs along with a superstar cast of Robert Pires, Roberto Carlos, Nicolas Anelka, David James, Luis Boa and George Boateng.
It was not over, as in September the PCB once again broke the good news regarding the tour of the World-XI which further was a step to bring cricket back home.
The World-XI tour was way exceptional for the cricket fans in the country as it included world’s top-class cricketers including Hashim Amla, Du plessis, Darren Sammy, Thisara Perera and other prolific players from Australia, West-indies and South Africa.
The tour ended with three thrilling T-20 matches being played at jam packed Gaddafi stadium. The World-XI stars unfortunately lost the series 2-0 but in fact they had won the heart of every single Pakistani.
That tour displayed a soft image of Pakistan and the credit goes to the PCB Chairman Najam Sethi and his team who burn the midnight oil to organise this colorful tour which amused the fans with thriller and excitement.
Nishan-e-Haider nine-a-side hockey tournament was one of the prominent event among the international events took place this year. The event featured 11 goalkeepers from Australia and Argentina. The event was organised under the supervision of the Pakistan Hockey federation (PHF).
The PHF has done nothing so far for the betterment of hockey accept this tournament which was an opportunity for the local players to gain confidence.
Before going back to their home, the foreigners applauded the hospitality provided to them during their stay in Karachi which is so called the heart city of Pakistan, meanwhile they were satisfied with the security and wished to come again which is a proof that all the allegations of poor security in the city are just a part of rumors.
In November the last International event occurred in the country. The srilankan team came in Pakistan to play the last T-20 of the three match series. I still remember the day when the news was arrived regarding the visit of the same team Srilanka which was gone through an attack in Lahore back in 2008. We all were surprised to see the decision of Srilankan board who pledged to send their team to play in Pakistan despite security threats.
All the things went in our favor in fact this year was a golden year as far as sports is concerned. The next year is very crucial for both the National cricket and Hockey teams as there are so many challenges for them to face. I hope that the coming year will bring more achievements for the country.