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August 25, 2017
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14 players from seven countries constitute World XI

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August 25, 2017

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LAHORE: Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi on Thursday announced a 14-member World XI to play three-match T20 Independence Cup here in Lahore in September.

Finally, the cat is out of the bag after frequently getting the names of some of the members of World XI through Twitter, the PCB chairman made the announcement declaring South Africa’s Faf du Plessis captain. And the international players coming to play in Pakistan too is a much more-bigger thing to cherish. The 14-man squad that have players from seven Test playing countries has five players only from South Africa, three from Australia, two from the Windies, and one each from Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

India and Zimbabwe are the only two countries whose players have been left out of team. There is a reason for India not being part of the World XI because it is not playing Pakistan bilateral series despite promises and revival of international cricket in Pakistan would also have left chills up their spine. As of Zimbabwe, they need not to be in the team because it was the only Test playing country that toured Pakistan in May 2015 when no other nation was willing to play here.

However, former Zimbabwean captain Andy Flower, who will coach the World XI, played a lead role in the formation of the World XI. The International Cricket Council, though has formed a special task force for Pakistan, came to a realization only after Pakistan won the Champions Trophy this year in England that international cricket could not be kept away for long from here. As of the Pakistan team, the board officials and the selection committee has started deliberations on constituting a team which would be a blend of youth and experience. The World XI side will play its opening match on September 12 followed by second on 13th and the final game will be played on September 15 in Lahore.

The team will arrive in Lahore on 11 September after attending a two-day camp in Dubai. But by the end of current month an ICC security team will visit Lahore to finalise the security arrangements before the World XI tour is given a green signal.

Najam Sethi said: “This will be an auspicious moment for Pakistan cricket and I am positive that it will serve to open the doors of international cricket in Pakistan.” Apart from South Africa’s Test captain du Plessis, the World side also includes England’s ICC World Twenty20 2010 winning captain Paul Collingwood, Windies’ Darren Sammy, who inspired his side to ICC World Twenty20 titles in 2012 and 2016; former number-one ranked Test batsman Hashim Amla; Bangladesh’s explosive opener Tamim Iqbal; Australia’s former ODI and T20 captain George Bailey; David Miller of South Africa, who is considered as one of the best finishers in modern day cricket, as well as T20 specialist Grant Elliott, who famously steered New Zealand to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final with a last-ball six against South Africa in Auckland.

World XI captain Faf du Plessis said in a statement: “I am honoured 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 to Lahore and play my part in the safe and gradual resumption of international cricket in Pakistan”.

PCB Chairman Najam Sethi said: “On behalf of the Pakistan Cricket Board and the cricket loving public, I welcome the ICC World XI team to Pakistan to play in the three-match T20I series.

“This will be an auspicious moment for Pakistan cricket and I am positive that it will serve to open the doors of international cricket in Pakistan. Kenya and Zimbabwe have already been here and featured in high-voltage matches with rapturous crowds.

“We successfully organized the final of the PSL’s second edition in Lahore early this year, which proved to be a catalyst in gaining the confidence of the international community to come and play here. Now we are on the threshold of an exciting series between the winners of the Champions Trophy and am ICC in team boasting the top cricketing stars from seven nations.

“I would like to congratulate Mr. Giles Clarke, Chairman of ICC’s Pakistan Task Force, for helping facilitate the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. I am confident that this World XI tour shall be a harbinger of other full member nations visiting us in the months to come.”

Hashim Amla, who visited Pakistan with Graeme Smith’s side in 2007, said: “I am looking forward to the trip to Pakistan. The rehabilitation of my injured shoulder is progressing well and I am confident of being fit for the matches.”

World XI coach Andy Flower, who visited Pakistan in 1993, 1996 and 1998 with the Zimbabwe cricket teams, said: “I have enjoyed all my previous tours to Pakistan and look forward to returning to Lahore next month”.

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said: “I am really excited to see the World XI team coming to Pakistan and keenly look forward to playing in front of our committed crowds and supporters. I can assure all Pakistan cricket fans that we have missed playing in front of them, like they have missed watching us live in action. But this wait is about to end and I am sure better times lie ahead of all of us”.

The World XI for Independence Cup: Faf du Plessis (C), Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir (South Africa), Darren Sammy, Samuel Badree (West Indies), George Bailey, Ben Cutting, Tim Paine (wk) (Australia), Paul Collingwood (England), Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh), Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka).

Meanwhile, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General tweeted: "We welcome Cricket Team World XI to Pakistan. Pakistanis are eagerly prepared to host them as a peace and sports loving nation."

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