LAHORE: Ambassadors Donald Blome, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim al Zabi and British High Commissioner watched the 5th T20I of the seven match series between Pakistan and England at the Gaddafi stadium, here on Wednesday. US Ambassador Donald A. Blome said that it was wonderful to watch first ever cricket match at the Gaddafi stadium, adding he was pleased to watch Mohammad Rizwan bat. He said the United States would co-host the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 with the West Indies. He felicitated the PCB for growing cricket, pathway cricket and women cricket. UK High Commissioner Christian Turner, who had been the main force behind English team’s tour, said it had been an extraordinary week to watch quality cricket and large crowds here in Lahore as well. Turner, congratulating Ramiz Raja, the PCB, ECB, Deputy Chairman ECB Martin, said it was a team effort to bring back cricket to the Pakistani cricket grounds after 17 years where everything went smoothly and he was humbled to be part of it. “It has been tough few weeks for UK and Pakistan with the sad demise of her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II and the Pakistan’s terrible floods to which the world is responding to”, the envoy said, adding, “In the context of all of that and to give us some lift with some of the most exciting, nail-biting cricket matches we have seen and will continue to watch and whoever wins the T20I series we have the three test matches to look forward to in December.” Turner wished the best team wins the series. On the question of ECB offer to host India and Pakistan for a test series, he said he was a simple diplomat and the matter was to be decided by the cricket boards mutually, adding that cricket was much more than what happened on the field. UAE ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim al Zabi, speaking on the occasion, said he was equally excited to watch cricket match between Pakistan and England at the iconic Gaddafi stadium, adding that Pakistan and the UAE had long cricketing relationship and UAE was committed to support Pakistan cricket as they believed sports diplomacy and soft diplomacy was important for nations. He said it was a great moment to see international cricket return to Pakistani grounds. He thanked Christian Turner for encouraging him to watch the match at Gaddafi stadium. Deputy Chairman ECB Martin Darlow said it was a proud moment for Ramiz Raja for what he had achieved and it was a team effort by the PCB, ECB, Pakistan and UK governments, the security agencies and the spectators. He said, “It is after 17 long years that English team returned to Pakistan and what a fantastic series we have.” Martin Darlow said they felt very safe in Pakistan and hoped the series would be the harbinger of many to follow. PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja in his note of thanks said it was momentous occasion for Pakistan cricket as the entire world was here at the PCB headquarters, adding that he was extremely thankful to the ECB for sending the team to Pakistan for a seven match T20I series as it would provide great preparation for the world ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia. Ramiz welcomed US and UAE ambassadors Donald Blome and Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salim al Zabi to Gaddafi stadium for watching their first games and said Christian Turner had become a ‘local flavor’ for his service to Pakistan and England cricket.