LAHORE: Thousands of cricket fans in Lahore joined the nation in celebrating one of the most important days in the history of Pakistan Cricket as the World XI team took on Pakistan in the first of a three match Independence Series on Tuesday
Among the fans was Shaniera Akram, an Australia-born-Pakistani, as she introduces herself.
Shaneira joined the local crowd to cheer “Cricket Ki Halalala” in the enclosure named after her husband, the Sultan of Swing Wasim Akram.
“I was so proud to be at Gaddafi stadium sitting in my husband’s stand watching a live cricket match. We have been waiting so many years for this day,” Mrs Akram told Geo.tv in an exclusive chat.
“For me today was about being amongst the atmosphere, amongst the people, and take every moment in. It was hot and it was loud and it was exciting and I loved every minute, it was just like cricket should be,” said Shaniera when asked why she didn’t sit upstairs in the air-conditioned hospitality boxes.
Shaniera, who married Wasim Akram in 2013, said that Pakistan is a land of hospitality.
“Because of the kindness of the people here I am not a guest in this country anymore this is my home,” she said.
“Pakistan is a country that shows its guests love to another level, and I am sure the cricketers from overseas are feeling it right now. We are a wonderful country and now we get to show the world what wonderful hosts we are,” Shaneira said as Pakistan were heading towards victory in the first match.
The wife of former skipper added that the Pakistan vs World XI game was so much more than a cricket match for everyone in Pakistan.
“It was about showing the world what a hospitable country we are,” she explained.
“Thank you to the cricketers, crew and commentators from around the world who came to our country to contribute to the revival of cricket in Pakistan. And from me and my country I know we can say with whole heart – welcome to Pakistan,” said Shaniera, who also uses her influence on social media to portray Pakistan’s positive image.
For Shaniera, as well, the series also stands more than just a game of cricket.
“When my daughter asks me years from now, where was I when cricket came back to Pakistan. I want to tell her I was right there sitting at Gaddafi stadium in the crowd with the rest of the country,” she said.