Karachi: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja cannot contain his excitement after the International Cricket Council (ICC) awarded Pakistan the hosting rights of the 2025 Champions Trophy on Tuesday. Pakistan, who won the last edition of the Champions Trophy (2017) by beating arch-rivals India, will host an ICC event for the first time in nearly 29 years. Happy with the announcement, PCB Chairman Raja thanked the world body of cricket – ICC, saying the event will showcase Pakistan’s passion for the sport. ICC has revealed that 8 new tournaments will be hosted by as many as 14 host nations in the 2024-2031 cycle.

“I am pleased no end with the ICC’s decision to select Pakistan as a host nation for one of their elite tournaments. By allocating a major global event to Pakistan, the ICC has expressed complete confidence and faith in our management and operational capabilities and skills,” Raja said in a statement.

Along with Raja, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar and swashbuckling all-rounder Shahid Afridi also welcomed ICC’s massive decision. The 2025 Champions Trophy also signals the return of a big-ticket global event into the country after more than two decades.

“Super excited to hear about Pakistan getting the hosting rights for 2025 ICC Champions Trophy,” Akhtar wrote on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Afridi believes the announcement gives a fantastic chance to reigning champions to defend the prestigious 50-over title on the home ground. “Congratulations PCB and fans! This will be a great incentive for Pakistan players to defend this BIG title at home. Pakistan Zindabad,” Afridi tweeted.

The development comes just under two months after both New Zealand and England pulled out of their respective Pakistan tours citing security concerns.

Pakistan, who had last co-hosted the 1996 World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka, have not been able to host many international games in the country since the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

Raja said, “We have continued to demonstrate how a great host we are and through the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, we will again showcase our passion and love for the sport as this event will be a boon to the millions of home fans, who will see world-class teams and their favourite international players from close quarters.”

Last held in the UK in 2017, the Champions Trophy will be making a comeback in the ICC calender after a gap of eight years.

“We not only endeavour to plan and deliver a world-class event, we will also prepare and field a strong and formidable side that can perform and entertain our home fans.

“We saw during the ICC men’s T20 World Cup campaign how the nation got united and the Champions Trophy at home will be another opportunity to further strengthen that bond as we defend the title,” Raja stated.

Pakistan had won the last Champions Trophy beating India in the final.