LAHORE: After eight years of isolation, Pakistan cricket team is to face star-studded World XI team featuring international players before home crowd at Gaddafi Stadium here Tuesday night (tonight).
A three-match Twenty20 (T20) series, titled Independence Cup, embarks on reviving international cricket in Pakistan.
A 13-member World XI squad led by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, featuring five players from South Africa, three from Australia, two cricketers from West Indies and one each from New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be part of the world squad.
The historic three-match T20 series will be overseen by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) along with others as PCB expects this would pave the way for the country to host tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies later this year.
Calls for reviving the international cricket gained momentum in March this year following the successful T20 Pakistan Super League (PSL) final at Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, featuring various high-profile foreign players including skipper of victorious Peshawar Zalmi and West Indian all-rounder Darren Sammy.
The international players arrived at Allama Iqbal International Airport amid tight security early on Monday morning.
Talking to media persons on Monday, PCB chairman Najam Sethi said that it’s a great opportunity for Pakistan to revive international cricket in the country.
“Arrival of international cricket players in the country to play against Pakistan a three-match Twenty20 (T20) series is outcome of extraordinary efforts that were made to revive international cricket,” Sethi had then said.
Subsequently on Monday, World XI Coach Andy Flower said that he was glad to be coach of the star-studded team while addressing press and anticipating great cricket action during the historic series.
“This brave nation suffered for a very long time being deprived of international cricket,” Flower said.
Security has been beefed up in the provincial capital and some 8,000 personnel of police and paramilitary forces will guard teams as they travel back and forth from Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
The series will be the most high-profile in the cricket-mad country since a 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore left eight dead and drove away international cricket and most other sports.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have high hopes that the series will close that dark chapter for good — and allow a new generation of players to experience the thrill of playing before a home crowd for the first time.
SQUADS FOR WORLD XI TOUR OF PAKISTAN, 2017
Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf , Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan, Sohail Khan
David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Imran Tahir, Darren Sammy, Hashim Amla, Grant Elliott, Samuel Badree, George Bailey, Tamim Iqbal, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Faf du Plessis(c)
1st T20I, September 12, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore at 7:00PM
2nd T20I, September 13, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore at 7:00PM
3rd T20I, September 15, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore at 7:00PM