Peter’s popular in Pakistan

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Cricketer Peter Barnes swapped his North Crawley whites for the black of Lancaster University as they toured Pakistan - and got an unexpected welcome.

The 21-year-old and his team arrived in captial Lahore to a huge media scrum.

In 2009, terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team as they travelled to the Gaddafi Stadium, and Pakistan hasn’t hosted an international game since.

Peter said: “We were greeted everywhere by media as this was a hugely important occasion for the country.

“They wanted us to feel safe, enjoy their country and leave with the opinion that cricket should return to their country.

“As hosts, Pakistan massively exceeded our expectations. After every game we travelled back to our hotel in the evening, turned on our TVs and found ourselves on national news.”

Taking part in a T20 tournament, Lancaster played against Islamabad and Lahore campuses, but came up just short in their two matches.

But their game against Pakistan U19s was the biggest occasion yet with 7,000 fans in attendance, while being broadcast across the country.

Peter said: “The game was exactly like any other international T20, cameras all around the ground, entrance music, big replay screen and scoreboard for the spectators and the inclusion of a third umpire.

“We were treated like kings in Pakistan by the organisers, the players and the general public.

“Everywhere we went we were greeted with a smile and a handshake.

“We did not realise the significance of our trip to the people of Pakistan until we were out there, even now it is difficult to describe.”