Pakistan hopes World XI series will herald return of global cricket

LAHORE Members of the ICC World Xi Squad take part in a training session at the Gaddafi Station on Monday.— Online

LAHORE Members of the ICC World Xi Squad take part in a training session at the Gaddafi Station on Monday.— Online

Pakistan's home T20I series against a World XI presents a chance for the country - all but starved of worldwide cricket since the 2009 attack on Sri Lanka in Lahore - to show it can host the world's best once again, writes Saj Sadiq...

The PCB will be hoping that a successful organisation of the Independence Cup could open the floodgates for other worldwide sides to visit the country in the future.

Speaking on this occasion, Director ICC Giles Clarke said that Pakistani government and people have played an important role in bringing back worldwide cricket to the country.

"These cricketers are here to play their part in the safe and steady return of worldwide cricket in Pakistan, so that the enthusiastic and diehard fans and followers of Pakistan cricket can once again start watching their stars in their own backyard".

The Azadi Cup matches between Pakistan and World XI players starts tomorrow.

Du Plessis repeatedly alluded to the end of his playing days - he even said he was unlikely to be on a tour to Pakistan with South Africa because he would have retired by then - and spoke of the importance of this tour for the legacy he'd like to leave behind.

"As captain it's my first, so for me, it's a proud moment, as well as for all those who have been selected to play against World XI".

But he said events such as the final of the popular Pakistan Super League in Lahore earlier this year had made the World XI tour possible. "I remember Giles Clarke once saying that no major teams would come to Pakistan until two years to the last bomb blast.", he recalls. "We are just happy that after a long time Pakistani cricket fans can watch worldwide action at home", Du Plessis said.

"It's great to be here, we're looking forward to seeing a lot of you watching the great cricket we put on the show", said Flower.

World XI coach said he has strong connections and ties with Pakistan Cricket and he has the experience of being associated with a team in the PSL and he enjoys his association with cricket in Pakistan.

When asked about his favourite players in the World XI, he said he likes the South African Hashim Alma the most.

They won the ICC Champions Trophy in June 2017.

The high-profile T20I series brings together several top-level competitors including three of the top five bowlers in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Players Rankings getting to display their wares.

Pakistan take on World XI in three match T20 series as worldwide cricket returns to the nation. "Thank you very much", he added.

Sarfraz said it is joyful and memorable occasion that worldwide cricket has returned to Pakistan and this series will be long remembered in Pakistan cricket history. It will be after a gap of eight years that a top flight worldwide game will be held in Pakistan. Despite their global isolation, Pakistan had welcomed Zimbabwe for a visit in 2015 but the matches had been supervised by local Pakistan officials.

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