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September 17, 2017



Du Plessis ‘impressed’ by time in Lahore

LAHORE: South African skipper Faf du Plessis on Saturday admitted he was nervous ahead of the World XI tour of Pakistan but praised the hosts for ensuring a safe series which he said would help its revival of international cricket.


Apart from five limited-overs games against minnows Zimbabwe in 2015, Pakistan had not hosted top-level international cricket since militants attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009.

“When I first thought of coming, obviously there was little bit of nervousness within myself,” said du Plessis, who led the World XI for the Twenty20 three match series.

“Now going through this week with complete different emotions and feelings, I’m very happy with our time here, we’ve really enjoyed it as a team,” he told an end-of-tour press conference.

Pakistan celebrated the return of international cricket with a thumping 33-run win at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Friday to clinch the series 2-1.

Hosting the short series is a major step towards convincing international teams to return, with Sri Lanka already due to play a Twenty20 match in Lahore on October 29.

Du Plessis said he was deeply impressed by his time in Lahore but was not sure he could convince South Africa to tour just yet.

“I can just relate my experiences over here, but they will have to be a complete different set of things put in place for South Africa to come and tour here,” he said.

“What I can say is the fact that we’ve been in Lahore here now and we did feel safe,” he said.

“If you do out all those things that were in place (for this series) then definitely another step, another step, another step, to hopefully (bring) cricket back into Pakistan.”

World XI coach Andy Flower agreed Pakistan was making progress towards reviving international cricket.

“This is the step taken in the right direction. This is one step forward, it’s been very successful and very well received here in Pakistan, here in Lahore,” said the ex-England coach, who assembled a World XI with players from seven countries.

“The coverage of the three games around the world has gone down very well. The security operations has made players safe and secure, so first step has been taken so there will be more steps along the way,” said Flower.

“I’ve never been part of a game where there’s been so much emotions and appreciativeness from the crowd when they are cheering you as if you are playing at your own home crowd,” he said. —AFP





ICC congratulates Pakistan on successfully hosting World XI

KARACHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) congratulated Pakistan on successfully hosting the Independence Cup T20I series against World XI at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

In their video messages, the ICC Director Giles Clarke and CEO David Richardson thanked the people of Pakistan for embracing the World XI players. They said that the series demonstrated Pakistan’s passion and love for cricket.

However, they added that these are small steps towards the safe and steady revival of bilateral international cricket, indicating that the next step may be a tour by a full-member country.

“The reception the team received was quite extraordinary, and for all of us, we did our best to interact with the crowd. The reaction of the Pakistanis who were in the ground is something I have never seen in my life. I felt the tour unleashed the deep and powerful emotions that exist around cricket in this country’s makeup and its society,” said Clarke, who also attended the first two matches.

“I think this courageous team, its management and all the people in Pakistan who were involved, have demonstrated that it is possible for overseas players to come here and show their skills and be able to give the people of Pakistan the chance to watch their own heroes in action against the best of international players. It has been a fantastic tournament and I am very grateful for all the hard work done by the PCB and everybody else.”

Richardson, who witnessed the second T20I, said: “The tour having gone off so successfully, the security arrangements having being implemented so well, we can call it a success. I am very satisfied,”

“The main objective of that (series) was to try building confidence in the likes of Australians, South Africans and other countries that the threat can be managed and this tour has shown that is the case. The security arrangements were unprecedented,” said Richardson.

“Bringing back full-time international cricket to Pakistan is not going to be an overnight miracle. It has to take time. The PSL final was the first step, this is the second. We have now shown that events can be staged in one city over a short period of time in a Twenty20 format. Now, the next steps have to be taken. The next step would be a tour by a full-member country as opposed to a composite team,” he added. —