Passion restored, Pakistan relish Sri Lanka tour

KARACHI, July 2, 2009 (AFP) – Pakistan start their Test series against Sri Lanka Saturday riding the wave of a feel-good factor after winning the World Twenty20 and giving their country a much-needed respite from bombs and battles. When Pakistan won the championship in England last month, the victory renewed the country’s passion for the game, which had plummeted after an attack on the Sri Lankan team in March wiped out hopes of international cricket being played there again.

Eight Pakistanis were killed and seven Sri Lankan players and their assistant coach wounded in the sophisticated gun and grenade assault in Lahore on the third day of the second Test. The tourists were evacuated immediately.

There were fears that, with no more international cricket in Pakistan, the sport would die a slow death, but captain Younus Khan hopes the tourists can build on their Twenty20 success when the five-day three-Test series begins.

“I hope this series will be very interesting and we play positive cricket to win it,” he told AFP from Sri Lanka.

“It is very important that the interest generated by the T20 success back home is maintained during the Test series, which is the real form of the game,” said Younus.

From Presid