Andy Flower coached World XI against Pakistan © AFP
Andy Flower coached World XI against Pakistan © AFP

International cricket returned to Pakistan after the dreadful attack on Sri Lanka side in 2009. All credit belonged to a combined effort of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Andy Flower. Flower, former England coach was instrumental in putting up a World XI consisting of the likes of Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Paul Collingwood and other.

World XI coached by Flower, eventually lost the 3-T20I series, 1-2 to Pakistan. Speaking to IndianExpress Flower expressed his gratitude towards Pakistan for its hospitality. “The food was very good, top-drawer food. But seriously, I just loved seeing the emotions on people’s faces, that’s something that stood out for me, how much it meant for the people of Pakistan. That goes way beyond what you do on the cricket field,” explained Flower.

He further added, “You look around the field and every person says thank you very much for coming, and you see the generosity comes from a deep place in their hearts. That’s the most special thing to be a part of.”

“We’ve been extremely well looked after, we go home on Saturday with memories that I hope the boys will cherish for the rest of their lives. This tour is another reminder of the fact that cricket transcends boundaries. The way Pakistani people and the crowd, particularly at this ground, cheered for us at the end of the second game which we won, and beat their national side, they made us feel right at home,” quipped Flower.

“That won’t be my decision. I can just relate my experiences over here, but there will have to be a complete different set of things put in place for South Africa to come and tour here. What I can say is the fact that we’ve been in Lahore here now and we did feel safe. I’m sure if there was an opportunity to come here and they saw all the procedures that are put in place and the feedback we as a players give, then that could be option,” he concluded.

Du Plessis too thanked Pakistan for its warm welcome through a tweet.  “Arrived safely back home .Thank you Pakistan and Lahore for your hospitality”, it read.