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LAHORE: Australia men’s cricket team’s tour of Pakistan got a big thumbs-up from compatriots Ben Dunk and James Faulkner, who said the visitors will enjoy the atmosphere, the fanatic fans and a quality opposition during their tour for three Tests, three ODIs and a one-off T20I from 4th March to 5th April.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to speak to a few of the guys who are planning on coming over here. It’s certainly different to what we are used to at home. But it’s important that cricket does come back to Pakistan and you get to play at home like you play away," Dunk, who played five T20Is for Australia and a Lahore Qalandars’ regular, told PCB digital.

Australia confirm 'best available players' for Pakistan tour

"So, for the boys that are coming out, I think they can expect a population that loves cricket and good performances, whether they’re from the home team or the away team. It would just be an amazing thing for world cricket.”

Faulkner, who played a Test, 69 ODIs and 24 T20Is for Australia and is presently representing Quetta Gladiators in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2022, backed Dunk when he said: “I’m excited to watch Australia play Pakistan. There are going to be challenging wickets in the Test matches to feature two very good teams. I am sure the Australian players are going to be tested and will enjoy playing against some quality players.

"It has been a long time since Australia came to Pakistan. In fact, it was probably the same year I came over for an under-19 trip when I was 17.

"I think it is important for cricket to be back in Pakistan, hence, why I’m here as well. I have traveled all around the world, so there is no exception for me not to come here.”

On Friday, the Cricket Australia Board approved their national men’s team’s first tour of Pakistan in 24 years, while a day before on Thursday, Test captain Pat Cummins confirmed most players were comfortable with the tour going ahead.

Dunk said, “I think it’s great for cricket in general. Having played here in Pakistan for almost four years, I’ve got to experience a bit of the culture. Certainly before Covid-19, the crowds and the atmosphere that would flood into our games.

"So, I’m hoping the COVID situation allows as many fans to get into the grounds as possible because I think it would be a really amazing atmosphere for a lot of the Australian players to experience.”

Dunk echoed Faulkner’s views and agreed major that Test playing nations needed to do more to ensure the smaller nations get enough Test cricket to survive and grow.

“It’s hugely important that some of the more established Test playing nations lift their weight and help out the other Test playing nations that aren’t as fortunate. We’re seeing quite often around the world that some of the smaller Test playing nations aren’t getting enough cricket to survive,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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