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'We would really appreciate England visiting Pakistan soon' – Misbah-ul-Haq
England-Pakistan Series

'We would really appreciate England visiting Pakistan soon' – Misbah-ul-Haq

Misbah-ul-Haq has urged England to reciprocate Pakistan's gesture of touring amid the coronavirus pandemic by playing a series in the country for the first time since 2005.

International cricket has gradually resumed in Pakistan after a prolonged period of isolation created by the militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009.

Pakistan most recently welcomed Sri Lanka back on its shores for a Test series as the island nation's cricketers had earlier travelled to Lahore for a solitary T20I in 2018 and another short-form assignment in September 2019.

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan had made similar remarks before Misbah when he hoped England would briefly visit Pakistan ahead of their scheduled tour in 2022.

Misbah pointed out the presence of several England internationals in the 2020 Pakistan Super League, that was played across four venues in the country and said this proved the security situation was satisfactory.

"Looking into the future, we would really appreciate England visiting Pakistan soon," Misbah wrote in a column published on the PCB's website.

"A number of England players have appeared in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020, which was played at home. Then, we had Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and MCC in the 2019-20 season and before that, the World XI and the West Indies in 2017-18," he added.

Pakistan and West Indies, the two sides to tour England this summer, are considered to be not as well endowed financially compared to other cricket boards. Yet they helped the host board ECB avoid swollen losses in excess of hundreds of millions of pounds.

Apart from the larger Covid-19 context in which the Test series was held, Misbah focused on the excellent rapport between the two sides.

This aspect of the encounters was underlined when pace bowling great James Anderson chatted with Shaheen Afridi, not long after becoming the fourth individual to take 600 Test wickets.

"It was great to see Shaheen having the chance to talk about bowling with Jimmy Anderson after the Test had finished," Misbah said.

"Anderson's achievement of reaching 600 Test wickets is amazing. He has shown exceptional discipline, motivation and determination because fast bowling is the toughest job in cricket," the former Pakistan captain added.

The outcome of the series did not go in the favour of the visitors but Misbah was keen to highlight a few positives from Pakistan's battle with England.

The head coach-cum-chief selector was pleased to see the "fight" demonstrated by his side following the agonising loss in the first Test.

"While it was disappointing to lose the Test series, the whole experience has been a really positive one for a young, improving team.

"It was a really competitive series played in an excellent spirit. Without spectators it was important to create the right atmosphere and it was great to see how players and staff from both sides applauded performances by their opponents."

Misbah lauded skipper Azhar Ali for his exceptional 141 not out in the final Test at Southampton after managing just 38 runs in the preceding two games.

"He was under a lot of pressure but he showed great character and mental strength."

"That innings saved the game for us. Any batsman scoring a hundred is always special but that innings was extra special because Azhar had worked so hard.

"Finally, every single ball thrown to him, everything we did together had paid off."