International cricket returns to Pakistan with World XI tour
As the World XI squad arrived in Lahore today amid tight security, Pakistan readies itself to host its first big international cricketing event in years. The World XI tour is a big opportunity for Pakistan to revive international cricket at home. With the three-match T20I series kicking off tomorrow, let's look at the squads, and fixtures of the breakthrough tournament.
2009 terror incident
Barring Zimbabwe's tour of Pakistan in 2015, no team visited Pakistan since the 2009 terror attack on Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. Ever since 2009, the strife-torn nation made UAE its home ground, also having conducted two of its domestic T20 league tournaments there.
Faf du Plessis to lead the World XI
South Africa's Faf du Plessis will lead the World XI which includes players from seven countries. The 3-match T20I series will be played on 12th, 13th, and 15th September at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Others in the squad are Hashim Amla, George Bailey, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Grant Elliott, Tamim Iqbal, David Miller, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Samuel Badree, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Pakistan named the following squad to take on the visitors- 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, and Sohail Khan.
Much more than just cricket
World XI tour is being touted as a major step towards re-establishing Pakistan's credibility as a veritable host. Highlighting its importance Faf du Plessis said, "As a cricketer, I will be able to look back and say that I played my part in bringing cricket back to Pakistan." "Everyone is here and they realize that they are part of greater cause," Sammy added.
Pak hopes to host more internationals post World XI tour
PCB has its hopes pinned on the success of the World XI tour. Post this, they plan to host Sri Lanka in October for a T20I, subject to clearance. PCB also has in pipeline, a T20 series against West Indies, in November.