A warm, secure welcome for the ‘British Universities’
British Universities AAF XI captain, Kamal Alam writes about his wonderful experience touring Pakistan:
…We arrived in Lahore for the first cricket tour of Pakistan by a foreign team, apart from Afghanistan, since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team. We are the Afghan Appeal Fund XI (AAF) – a charity team captained by Kamal Alam and comprised of MCC, Durham and Oxford University players – and are here to play four matches, to promote the AAF and also, crucially, to help the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in their bid to bring international cricket back to the country.
…While the quality of our play may not, in truth, merit our staying at the prestigious National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore, 24-hour access to a bowling machine and breakfast coaching tips from national coach Dav Whatmore are more than welcome. The NCA is also a convenient and secure base.
Our initial experience security-wise has been only positive. Everyone we have met – from our bus driver to batting-legend Javed Miandad – has been incredibly welcoming, betraying the size of the hole left by the absence of touring teams. And they all echo the same sentiments – what one reads in the media back home is not the reality. While the stigma created by the 2009 attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus remains strong outside Pakistan, we have encountered nothing thus far to support negative claims. The Punjab Police’s black t-shirts – with their ‘No Fear’ motifs – serve as a useful nudge to the ICC and Test playing nations alike, showing the attitude required to bring international cricket back to Pakistan.