International Cricketers Set To Return To Pakistan

International Cricketers Set To Return To Pakistan
International Cricketers Set To Return To Pakistan
©REUTERS/Philip Brown. Picture Supplied by Action Images

A Pakistani sports minister in the country’s Sindh province has outlined plans for a World XI of current and former international cricketers to play two Twenty20 matches against a Pakistan Star XI in Karachi’s National Stadium.

Dr Mohammad Ali Shah said, "[A]World XI team will be arriving in Karachi on October 18 to play a series of two Twenty20 matches. There are some notable players touring and this is a big breakthrough.

"I have been working from last one year to make this event possible. We have finalised all the arrangements to hold these matches in a befitting manner under tight security. Both matches will be played under floodlights. The event will give a soft image of Pakistan around the world and would encourage the teams to visit Pakistan."

Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, now a member of the Sri Lankan parliament, will lead the World XI, which features players from the West Indies, South Africa and Afghanistan, while Shahid Afridi will lead the Pakistan XI, which includes several members of the country’s recent ICC World Twety20 squad.

Seeking to quell obvious concerns about security, Shah said, "Around 5,000 policemen will be employed to avoid any lapse and we are sure that these arrangements will put the players at ease. All the players are excited over the prospect of visiting Pakistan."

Pakistan has not hosted international cricket since terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009, and since then they have played most of their ‘home’ games in the UAE. Many recent attempts to host international cricket - including the most recent one to bring Bangladesh to the country - have failed because of security concerns as have previous ideas about bringing a World XI to the country due to objections from the PCB. 

On this occasion, the PCB is understood to have issued the required No Objection Certificates (NOCs) required to allow contracted players such as Shahid Afridi to take part, although Shah, with help from the local government in Karachi, has organised and will run the event.

World XI: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Jermaine Lawson, Ricardo Powell, Adam Sanford, Steven Taylor (all from the West Indies), Loots Bosman, Nantie Hayward, Justin Kemp, Andre Nel, Andre Seymore (all South Africa), Mohammad Shahzad, Shapoor Zadran (both Afghanistan) Manager: Alvin Kallicharran.

Pakistan Star XI squad: Shahid Afridi (captain), Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Fawad Alam, Umar Gul, Shahzaib Hasan, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Khalid Latif, Shoaib Malik, Imran Nazir, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Sami, Asad Shafiq. 

© Cricket World 2012

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