A three-day cricket feast in Karachi, after nine barren years, came to an end on Tuesday, with over 70,000 spectators having gone through the turnstiles at National Stadium. West Indies – who last toured Pakistan in 2006 – lost all three games heavily, but won lots of goodwill for the part they played in helping return international cricket to the country.
“I’m a big fan of Pakistan cricket,” head coach Stuart Law said at a press conference. “The fans here in the subcontinent are pretty passionate. This was the first time I’d been to Karachi and the fans here were outstanding every night. They were very respectful to us. Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve been treated very well. The security has been outstanding, and we haven’t had any problems.
“It’s a bit daunting if you’re not used to the set-up. It’s a bit daunting for the people outside but once you get here and see for yourself, you feel more confident. I’m not saying that it will open the floodgates and bring everyone rushing back, but from what I’ve seen here, it’s more than adequate and we should be able to get cricket back to Pakistan. I feel sorry for the Pakistan players who don’t play enough cricket in front of their home fans. Every game for them is an away game so you feel for those boys who can’t play in front of their families week in week out.”
“The tour was somewhat rushed and the IPL is starting soon. We have a lot of players involved in the IPL and their franchises are pretty ruthless when it comes to player activity”
Stuart Law when asked if the result could have been different if West Indies had had the time to prepare better
West Indies had committed to touring Pakistan last year, but then the series was postponed to April. It suffered another setback with key players including Chris Gayle and captain Carlos Brathwaite pulling out. Their reluctance to tour Pakistan due to safety concerns has been evident with Cricket West Indies even having to offer them USD 25,000 as extra incentive. In the end, a weakened 13-man squad was assembled together, hastily, and they landed in Karachi mere hours before the opening game on Sunday.
The difference in quality between the two sides was stark. Pakistan beat West Indies by a record-breaking 143 runs on Sunday. The second T20I was, again, barely a contest and even though the visitors, reduced to 12 men with Veerasammy Permaul’s injury, put up a better fight in the third game, Pakistan romped home in a chase of 153 with eight wickets and three overs to spare.
“The positives we can take is that we brought a very young team here with little experience,” Law said. “I’m pretty impressed with Keemo Paul, who I thought stood out. He worked for us in Zimbabwe in the 50 over format too. Another debutant tonight Andre McCarthy showed good intent with the bat. It’s a difficult task coming here and playing in Pakistan. We did lose the series 3-0 but we got better as the series went on and that’s a good sign for us.”
West Indies’ schedule was cramped, and they weren’t able to have a conditioning or training session before or during their three days in Karachi. They were driven back to the airport immediately after the final game to fly home and were unable to shrug of the lingering jet lag. When asked if the result of the series could have been different if his side was given enough time to train, Law said, “You never know, we don’t have a crystal ball. But we got better as the tournament went on. The tour was somewhat rushed and the IPL is starting soon. We have a lot of players involved in the IPL and their franchises are pretty ruthless when it comes to player activity. It wasn’t probably ideal timing, but I’m glad for the people here in Karachi. When you look back, yes I’m disappointed with our result, but there’s lot of smiles on faces, and there are lot of people happy out here.
“I thought every time we went out we had a more positive attitude towards the game. We probably lacked desire in the first two games whether that was jet lag or whatever, it’s still no excuse playing international cricket and representing your country, your people, your family and yourself. So you shouldn’t have to be up for any contest, it should be automatic. But Pakistan are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment, and playing very good cricket.”