Olly Hannon-Dalby has thanked the "brilliant" people of Pakistan for their hospitality towards him and his fellow MCC squad-members on their recent tour.
Hannon-Dalby was one of three Warwickshire players, along with Will Rhodes and Michael Burgess, on the tour which was organised as another step on the path of restoring Pakistan fully as a home venue in international cricket.
The Asian country entered a long period without hosting international cricket after the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by terrorists in Lahore in March 2009.
Pakistan is a cricket powerhouse and if the tour helped a little bit to bring them fully back into the international fold then that would be fantastic.Olly Hannon-Dalby
On the bus that day, in his role as Sri Lanka assistant coach, was Paul Farbrace, now the Bears’ sport director, and it was his recommendation that convinced Hannon-Dalby to make the trip.
“I spoke to Paul and he was brilliant,” the seamer said. “He said it is a fantastic country and a great opportunity for me and to just go for it. I’m so glad I did.
“I must admit there were a few nerves when we first landed and had an armed escort from the airport and then, any time we moved around, roads were shut for us. But they were just taking absolutely no chances which you can understand.
“When we settled in and got into the tour it was clear how welcoming everybody was. The people were brilliant. They have such a passion for cricket and were really pleased that MCC was touring there and we were really pleased to be there.”
The tourists, captained by former Warwickshire batsman Kumar Sangakkara, played four games, winning two and losing two. It was a trip which owed much to the influence of former Bears – while Sangakkara backed it from the start, its prime architect was Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan, Birmingham-born and a Warwickshire batsman between 1992 and 1997.
“It was a great tour to be part of and I am very grateful to have been invited on to it,” said Hannon-Dalby. “Pakistan is a cricket powerhouse and if the tour helped a little bit to bring them fully back into the international fold then that would be fantastic.”