There are reports coming in from the credible sources that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is planning to send a World XI team to Pakistan for a four-match T20 International series later this year in September.
The series will be comprised of four shortest-format matches — all of them will be played at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore — is called ‘The Independence Cup’ to mark the 70th anniversary of partition and could very well prove to be a stepping in reviving the international cricket in the country, which remained elusive since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in 2009.
“There is a series on the cards. Various organizers and security people, including consultants to the ICC and various boards are involved. So far dates and a few other things being discussed. Will have more details once we’re a little further along the process,” a source inside the PCB said.
Just this week, a successful Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017 final was safely conducted in Lahore amidst tight, military-level security that saw the entire city in lockdown and commandos escorting the team buses at all times. West Indies captain Darren Sammy and England all-rounder Chris Jordan were among the eight overseas players that traveled the country to participate in the final match of the event, that took place between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi.
“To me it was more than just a game,” Sammy said after the match. “When you have not been in a place you always have your doubts. You get different views, different opinions. But I spoke to Javed [Afridi, the Peshawar team owner] and Shahid Afridi and they influenced my decision to come here.
“The fans here deserve to see their players playing as they haven’t seen it for quite a while. I am glad I came here. Being here felt like playing in St Lucia, playing in India or anywhere else in the world. And like I said at the toss, today I felt cricket was the winner.”
According to a report in The Guardian, the World XI team will assemble in Dubai on September 17, before flying to Lahore for four matches on 22nd, 23rd, 28th and 29th, and similar security plan will be followed which was in place during the Sunday’s PSL final. But the details of which players will take part in the series still remain unknown.
Giles Clarke, the president of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and ICC’s task force for Pakistan, is very keen on bringing the top-level cricket back in the country.
“The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action,” Clarke said.
“The world of cricket needs to help Pakistan, who cannot continue to play their home fixtures overseas. The youth need inspiring, and the national teams need far more cricket played in familiar terrain. Furthermore, the terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan.”
Ab Bolo! PSL Lahore has opened the door to return of international cricket. ICC 11 will play four t20 matches in Lahore in Sept. Hooray!
— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) March 6, 2017
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