Quetta gave a rousing welcome to Pakistan Super League champions Quetta Gladiators as the team went on their victory tour of the home town.
The two-day tour, which began on March 23 in order to mark Pakistan Day, saw throngs of fans take the streets of Quetta to welcome the touring party. Pakistan and Gladiators skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, coach Moin Khan, opener Ahmed Shehzad and all-rounder Anwar Ali were all part of the touring party.
“The only celebration that I have seen bigger than this was when we won the 1992 World Cup,” said World Cup-winning wicketkeeper batsman Moin. “Thanks to the Quetta Gladiators fan, especially the common people who came out to welcome us in such numbers. We are so happy to be here. This brings back memories of the 1992 World Cup triumph.”
Sarfaraz also thanked the people of Quetta for their support. “I want to thank all of Quetta,” he said. “It feels great to be here and we promise to do our best next year as well so that we can bring the cup back here again. Balochistan is an area where cricket is not as prevalent as it is in other parts of the country. The amount of love we have received is amazing.”
Shehzad, who was an integral part of his side’s triumphant campaign, was happy to see how peaceful the once-troubled area of Quetta had become. “We just went on an open-roof parade through Quetta without any fears and that is great,” said the right-handed opener. “I don’t think I have ever seen a response like this before. We love you.”
Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar said the scenes they had just witnessed were historic. “We just witnessed history being made. The way we were accepted by the people of this city was unbelievable and surreal, almost like we were living in a dream. We were in an open-roof bus and we had no worries. I salute Quetta and all of Balochistan and Pakistan. Thank you so much, Quetta for giving us such a rousing welcome.”