ICC World XI is set to tour Pakistan this September for a T20 series.
The 14-member squad has been announced and it contains some big names in world cricket. Players from South Africa, West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and England will be seen playing in the upcoming World XI tour to Pakistan.
South African Test and T20 captain, Faf du Plessis will be leading the World XI side on the Pakistani shores. He will be accompanied by four more South African players including Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, David Miller, and Imran Tahir. One each player from Bangladesh (Tamim Iqbal), England (Paul Collingwood), New Zealand (Grant Elliot) and Sri Lanka (Thisara Perera) will also be part of the side.
Faf Du Plessis will be the captain of World XI in the 3-match series
Tim Payne (Australia) will be the wicket keeper, while other Australian players include George Bailey and Ben Cutting. The crowd-favorite Darren Sammy, or as some lovingly call him Sammy Khan Shinwari, and Samuel Badree will be flying from the Caribbean to Pakistan.
Photo Via Cricinfo
Former England coach Andy Flower will be the coach for World XI. The three-match T20 series, which has international status, will commence on September 12. The matches will be played on 12, 13, and 15 September at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
All the participating players are very excited about their tour to Pakistan. Everyone has shown full faith in the security arrangements.
Du Plessis said,
“I am honored to have been appointed as captain of such a diverse, attractive and well-balanced side. Like most of the players, I look forward to my maiden tour of Lahore and play my 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 compromise on the safety and security of all those involved in the series but the bottom line is if we don’t feel safe, no amount of money would get us there. In this background, we will land in Lahore with nothing but cricket on our minds”, he said.
Paul Collingwood remembers the passionate crowds in Pakistan, saying:
“I think Karachi was the loudest I’ve ever heard a crowd during an international match. They love cricket out there, and it is a tough place to tour as an opposition team. If we weren’t allowed to play cricket in England at this moment in time, we’d do everything possible to try to get cricket back. They are exactly the same.”
Pakistani Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said that his team is looking forward to playing in front of their home crowd which they have missed a lot due to the lack of home cricket. He believes that this will be a stepping stone for international cricket revival in Pakistan, He said,
“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.”
This series is the beginning of what may be called as a home season after 8 long years, with Sri Lanka and West Indies to tour Pakistan later this year.
Giles Clark, the head of ICC Task Force for Pakistan, believes that this tour is “not only important for cricket in Pakistan but also for international cricket since it opens the possibility of other teams, media and sponsors visiting Pakistan for bilateral series.”
ICC Chief Executive, David Richardson also welcomed the decision of players who’ve agreed to visit Pakistan. He further said,
“The ICC wants to see regular international cricket being played safely in all its Member countries and the World XI playing Pakistan in Lahore next month is a step towards that for the PCB. We are optimistic that this will be the next step in a steady and safe return of international cricket to Pakistan.”