The World XI series became especially important to Pakistan, their captain Sarfraz Ahmed has said, because of the presence of a number of star players in the opposition line-up.
The tourists were led by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis and included his team-mates Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, David Miller and Morne Morkel. Two-time World T20 winner Samuel Badree was there. And so were former captains of Australia and England, George Bailey and Paul Collingwood.
As such, Sarfraz felt the three T20Is held this week might have a bigger impact on the cricketing landscape in Pakistan than the Zimbabwe matches in 2015 or the PSL final earlier this year.
"From the start of the series we were talking about how important it was," Sarfraz said. "We did play the PSL final and the Zimbabwe series here, but this series was different, with big names like Amla, Faf etc, and the intensity of the crowd was huge. It's a different impact when you play at your home ground which we have not for seven to eight years. We spoke about what it means to perform in front of the crowd.
"People acknowledge you and applaud and it makes you more passionate about the game. It gives you proper recognition and if you perform well its increases your respect by a huge margin. I remember how passionate Shoaib (Akhtar) and Wasim (Akram) used to be playing at home venues. It enhances you as a player and pushes you beyond your limit. When a bowler bowls with the crowd support behind him, it naturally raises one's morale. His passion and his performance go up, and I am happy that we are playing in front of our home crowd and this will help all of us."
The World XI squad left Lahore on Saturday morning. Both teams, and the estimated 60,000 fans that came to Gaddafi stadium, had been protected by as many as 16,000 security officials, including paramilitary and police personnel. With the series going off without any trouble, Sarfraz, now Pakistan captain across formats, was optimistic about the return of Test cricket to the country.
"I am very thankful to the World XI team and the boards who agreed to send their players to resume international cricket in Pakistan," he said. "I hope after this series when they return home, they tell people about how lovely Pakistan is as a country. Going ahead I expect these players to return back to Pakistan with full squads to play a full Test series.
"From a cricketing perspective, we got competitive cricket, as the side wasn't easy to play. They were the best players in the world and played like a World XI. In T20 cricket, whichever team makes fewer mistakes wins at the end. We won the first game, didn't bowl well in second game and lost, but worked on our mistakes to win the third. As captain and as a team, we got a lot of confidence from the Champions Trophy.
"But since then, expectations have increased and there was a lot of focus on how we do in our next series, which made this World XI series much more important. There was a sense of scepticism that winning the Champions Trophy title was a fluke, so we wanted to quash this impression by maintaining our performance. We now have a Test series ahead, which we are playing after a lengthy gap, and we are starting our preparation in two days, forgetting everything else, with eyes only on next series."
Sri Lanka are set to arrive in the UAE to play two Tests against Pakistan on September 28. The PCB has announced a six-day conditioning camp in Lahore with 18 players as Pakistan move on from the era of Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan.
"Both were our legendary players and have been our backbone," Sarfraz said. "But they are no more in the team, and we will try to get the best possible replacements."