A test for cricket

Pakistan successfully hosted its first major match in eight years. What does that mean?

Cricketers of Peshawar Zalmi celebrate their victory over Quetta Gladiators in the final cricket match of the Pakistan Super League at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday. Aaamir Qureshi / AFP

At a time when Pakistan is bleeding after a wave of terror attacks, it might have been seen as foolhardy to host the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 final in Lahore. But Sunday's match was more than just a game of cricket, which is why an enormous security operation was mounted to ensure the game passed without incident.

Terrorism has hurt Pakistan, which has not hosted any of the major international cricket teams since 2009, when a bus carrying Sri Lankan players was attacked in Lahore. Sunday’s venue, the Gaddafi stadium, was the same as the scheduled game with Sri Lanka eight years ago. Since then, Pakistan has made the UAE its home from home.

There is no doubt that the atmosphere at the ground was something special on Sunday night, even if the match itself was a damp squib. The authorities were also able to demonstrate they could safely stage a major match. Unfortunately, one PSL final will not end the years of exile, but it is a small step forward.