Cricket news - Sangakkara in Pakistan to ensure 'cricket belongs to everyone'

"We should not lose sight of how important the strength of Pakistan is in that big picture of having global cricket in a very, very healthy and strong state" - Sangakkara

"We should not lose sight of how important the strength of Pakistan is in that big picture of having global cricket in a very, very healthy and strong state" - Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara, the MCC President and captain of its 12-man squad on a week-long tour of Pakistan, believes in actions more than words, which is why he's in the country to ensure Pakistan is back on the cricketing map.

"Cricket belongs to everyone, but for the players to have that platform and display their skills you need to have that support," Sangakkara said in Lahore. "The fact is that you need to have an underpinning of youth who can be inspired to take up the game.

"So if there is no home cricket for a very long period of time, there is a danger that sometime that kind of hunger might go away. The more cricket that you play here at home, the more times young children and the fabulous fans of Pakistan can see their side, their players play in front of them, within almost touching distance."

Sangakkara, who took over the charge as MCC president in October 2019, further said its difficult to put into words what a strong Pakistan brings to world cricket, and how it's important to hammer home the message that touring Pakistan is now safe.

"Rather than a direct message by saying something to them, the best thing that we can do is send that message by the way we play in the field," Sangakkara said. "The more times international sides tour that message becomes stronger and becomes harder to ignore.

"I think that is wonderful for the game, it is wonderful for the country and it's great for the global game. We should not lose sight of how important the strength of Pakistan is in that big picture of having global cricket in a very, very healthy and strong state.

"The MCC tour is a part of completing that puzzle, and I think this is a great step by everyone to combine and to be here to again try and encourage sides to come back and play cricket in Pakistan."

MCC will play four T20s in Pakistan starting Friday and the Ajmal Shahzad-coached side will feature the likes of Ravi Bopara and Safyaan Sharif. The series comes on the heels of successful tours by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.