Cricketers from seven countries landed in Pakistan late on Sunday night. Led by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, the World XI squad came to Lahore amid tight security and in a bid to revive international cricket in the country, the team will play a three-match T20 international series.
No team, apart from Zimbabwe, has toured Pakistan for an international fixture since the 2009 terror attack on Sri Lanka cricket team bus in Lahore which left players injured and killing other civilians.
But now, players like Hashim Amla, George Bailey, Grant Elliott, Morne Morkel, Thisara Perera and Paul Collingwood among others are here, ready to play in front of a crowd that hasn’t seen international cricket at home since long. Samuel Badree will join the squad on Monday as he was part of the Caribbean Premier League final on Sunday.
“It’s great to be here,” Andy Flower, the World XI coach and former Zimbabwe captain, said. “We are looking forward to seeing a lot of you watching the great cricket that we are going to put on show and we had a warm welcome already.”
During the series, both the hotel and stadium will be out of bounds and around 10, 000 security personnel will be deployed. The shops and restaurants around the stadium will be closed as well.
“It is just a start for the people of Pakistan who are thirsty to see international cricket matches in the country. We have Sri Lanka and West Indies lined up in October and November as well,” PCB Chairman Najam Sethi said.
THE WORLD XI : Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, George Bailey, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Grant Elliott, Tamim Iqbal, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Imran Tahir.Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi welcomes World XI player Imran Tahir