LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi on Thursday confirmed that the World XI cricket team will tour Pakistan in September and announced the cricket squad.
The star-studded team will be captained by South African cricketer Faf du Plessis, and coached by former Zimbabwe player Andy Flower.
The 14-member team will include players from seven countries including five South Africans, two West Indies, three Australians cricketers and one each from Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Some of the most prominent players include Darren Sammy, Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine and Tamim Iqbal. Australian star batsmen George Bailey will also be part of the team.
Paul Collingwood, Grant Elliott, Thisara Perera, and Samuel Badree are also part of the team. There are players representing from all top cricket playing nations except India and Zimbabwe.
The team will have a two-day training camp in Dubai, and will arrive in Lahore on September 11. It will play three T20 matches for the Independence Cup against Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium on September 12, 13 and 15 in Lahore.
The cricket series marks the revival of cricket after the final of the Pakistan Super League was successfully held in Lahore. This will be followed by a tour by West Indies, while Sri Lanka have also announced to send a team to Pakistan.
World XI captain Faf du Plessis said that he was honoured to have been appointed as captain of such a diverse, attractive and well-balanced side, and was looking forward to his maiden tour to Lahore and play his part in the safe and gradual resumption of international cricket in Pakistan.
“All the members of the squad have complete faith and trust in the assessment and judgement of the security experts, who have assured us that there will be no comprise on the safety and security of all those involved in the series.
“As professionals, we are getting paid to play in the series, but the bottom-line is that if we didn’t feel safe, no amount of money would get us there. In this background, we will land in Lahore with nothing except cricket in our minds.
“In my career, I have featured in some very exciting matches against Pakistan but playing Pakistan in front of its passionate supporters will be a unique occasion, which I can’t wait to experience. As a player, I understand the importance of playing in front of home crowds and that is something I’m sure the Pakistan players will relish.”
World’s top-ranked Test player Hashim Amla, who visited Pakistan with Graeme Smith’s side in 2007, said: “I am looking forward to the trip to Pakistan. The rehabilitation of my injured shoulder is progressing well and I am confident of being fit for the matches.”
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said that he was really excited to see the World XI team coming to Pakistan and keenly look forward to playing in front of the committed crowds and supporters.
“I can assure all Pakistan cricket fans that we have missed playing in front of them, like they have missed watching us live in action. But this wait is about to end and I am sure better times lie ahead of all of us.”
“I am confident that through this tour of the World XI, the global cricket community, including players, media and visitors will get a better understanding and perception of Pakistan, which is a peace-loving and extremely hospitable nation that loves its cricket.
He congratulated the PCB and ICC for making this tour happen, and looked forward to some exciting matches. He expressed confidence that following the success of these matches, Pakistan will not only host regular international series but at other international cricket centres as well.
World XI squad
Faf du Plessis (South Africa) (captain)
Hashim Amla (South Africa)
Samuel Badree (West Indies)
George Bailey (Australia)
Paul Collingwood (England)
Ben Cutting (Australia)
Grant Elliott (New Zealand)
Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
David Miller (South Africa)
Morne Morkel (South Africa)
Tim Paine (Australia) (wicket-keeper)
Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)
Imran Tahir (South Africa)
Darren Sammy (West Indies)
Pretty good World XI side assembled to go to Lahore. To be honest, I didn’t expect so many to sign up. Hope it goes well.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 24, 2017
Proud to have been selected for the World XI squad for the Independence Cup in Pakistan. To play… https://t.co/7Bd4XXEbO8
— Paul Collingwood (@Colly622) August 24, 2017