"I think everyone agrees that getting the PSL matches in Pakistan and the final in Karachi is a great step to get international cricket back." Getty

David Richardson, the ICC CEO, believes the perception about Pakistan being a dangerous country that had formed after the gruesome attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team a decade ago has "slowly but surely" changed "through the good work that has been done".

Pakistan over the past two years have used the PSL as a gateway for the return of international cricket by increasing the number of matches hosted in the country every year. In 2017, the PCB hosted the final of the second edition of the PSL in Lahore after which Pakistan played an ICC World XI and the Sri Lankan team in four T20Is in the city in a span of a few months. After the final of the PSL's third edition in Karachi, which followed three matches in Lahore, West Indies toured the port-city for three T20Is.

The recently-concluded fourth-edition of the league saw Karachi host eight matches in a span of as many days. And the fact that this time all foreign players - namely Shane Watson, who has previously been reluctant to travel to Pakistan - in the league toured the country has further put weight behind the PCB's claims that the country is ready to host international cricket.

Richardson himself was in Karachi to witness the final of the PSL's fourth edition between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators on Sunday (March 17), which the latter won comprehensively. "I think everyone agrees that getting the PSL matches in Pakistan and the final in Karachi is a great step to get international cricket back," he said on the sidelines of the final. "There was perception outside Pakistan in the past that it was quite a dangerous place to visit. That perception has slowly but surely changed through the good work that has been done yet. I think that's the point which needs to be appreciated. The fact that so many foreign players agreed to come and play here is indicative of that.

"I know some security officials from Australia and other countries have come to see the matches here. Step by step, certainly, Pakistan is on the right path and I know that the PCB will be redoubling their efforts to encourage people and teams to come across and certainly it will be with the ICC's support."

To ensure foolproof security to the overseas cricketers, they were provided with the presidential-level security protocol. According to estimates, as many as 2,30,000 people attended the eight matches in Karachi.

"Well done to all involved, and thank you to the players who decided to make the trip across to Pakistan," said Richardson. "I think you should also appreciate the work done by Pakistan as a country and Pakistan's security forces."

After heinous attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday which the Bangladesh team had escaped narrowly, the ICC CEO said that there was a need to not to be complacent regarding the security arrangements ahead of the World Cup in England this year.

"It has always been the case that we've had to make sure that we keep security absolutely priority, not only for the players but also for the visiting media, fans, spectators and everyone who attends the event," he said. "If you recall the Champions Trophy in England a couple of years back, there were a few incidents that happened.

"So I don't think security is anything new, obviously something happening in New Zealand probably took a lot of people by surprise and it emphasised the need not to be complacent, especially going into the World Cup. I know the work done already by the security director together with all the security agencies in the UK, they leaving no stone unturned, and if the threat level should rise in any way we will [further upgrade] the plans in place."