Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi vowed on Tuesday to win the World Cup for millions of weary fans back home who lost out on the showpiece when their country became a no-go zone.
International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan ever since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore two years ago which left eight people dead and injured seven visiting players and their assistant coach.
Pakistan was among the four co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup but the International Cricket Council was forced to move the matches in the wake of attacks.
“Not playing in our country is on our minds,” Afridi said, ahead of his team’s first match against Kenya on Wednesday.
“We feel for our nation, our people who are missing the World Cup.
“I think this is the main thing for us, so definitely we will try our level best to win, which is very important for us, and if we do that I hope some cricket returns to our country sooner than later.”
Besides the suspension of international cricket, Pakistan has also been hit by the spot-fixing scandal, which ended in lengthy bans on Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, and other disciplinary problems.
Afridi admitted it was hard to keep the team in the right frame of mind against a background of such problems.
“It was difficult to keep the team settled in the beginning when we had all those issues,” said Afridi, himself banned for two matches on charges of ball-tampering during a one-day match in Australia in 2010.