• De Villiers to travel to Pakistan

    Former Proteas captain AB de Villiers will play two Pakistan Super League fixtures in Lahore later this year.

    De Villiers’ participation for the Lahore Qalandars, in the United Arab Emirates leg of the tournament, was confirmed last year.

    The hard-hitting right-hander, however, will also play in the Pakistan leg.

    International cricket has not been played in Pakistan on a regular basis since 2009, when the touring Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore by terrorists.

    ‘I am delighted to confirm that I will represent Lahore Qalandars in front of our home crowds on 9 and 10 March during the 2019 PSL,’ said De Villiers.

    ‘I look forward to revisiting the Gaddafi Stadium and aim to play my part in helping Lahore Qalandars achieve something they have been aspiring for since the inception of this tournament in 2016.

    ‘I am fully aware that cricket is like a second religion in Pakistan. I still remember the support and appreciation we received in 2007. Furthermore, I feel I have a role to play in helping international cricket return to Pakistan. These have been some of the motivating factors for me to return to Lahore.

    ‘I sympathise with the people of Pakistan because they have been cricket-starved through no fault of theirs, but I am optimistic that the days are not too far ahead when international cricket will return to Pakistan and the stadiums will once again be packed with crowds.’

    Fellow South Africans Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir and David Miller played for the International Cricket Council’s World XI in Pakistan in September 2017.

    Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani added: ‘I am confident that De Villiers’ decision on the back of his fellow World XI, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and the Windies’ cricketers’ decisions to play in Lahore will encourage other leading cricketers and international sides to visit this cricket-passionate country.’

    Photo: Gallo

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