LONDON – The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced that plans for a World XI to play in Pakistan later this year are “continuing to be developed”, following the conclusion of its annual meeting in London on Friday.
The ICC board said it had agreed to support a three-game Twenty20 series between Pakistan and a World XI side in a bid to help revive international cricket in the country.
With the exception of Zimbabwe’s tour two years ago, Pakistan have had to play all of their ‘home’ matches outside of the country since a 2009 terror attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.
All the matches would take place in Lahore and be accorded full Twenty20 International status, the sport’s global governing body said, adding “further details will be announced in due course.”
After Pakistan’s stunning 180-run win over arch-rivals India in the final of the one-day international Champions Trophy tournament at The Oval last week, coach Mickey Arthur said he hoped the visit of the World XI would go ahead.
“We’re scheduled to have a World XI in Pakistan in September for three Twenty20 games,” he said. “So hopefully that starts paving the way for future tours. We can only hope.”
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed added: “I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and all the (major) playing nations will come to Pakistan.”
The idea of sending a world XI team to Pakistan was reportedly presented by Giles Clarke, the head of Pakistan’s Task Force Team in ICC after successful conduct of PSL final in Lahore earlier this year.
The list of players visiting with World XI squad is yet to be known, but it is expected that following backing of ICC’s board, all major Test nations will have representation in the event.
The visit of World XI was murmured after the successful Pakistan Super League Season 2 final in Lahore. However, no official statement was available till now.
PSL chairman Najam Sethi, had already disclosed on Twitter that cricket would return to Pakistan citing the tour of World XI, days after conclusion of PSL that waded through controversies of match-fixing but remained successful overall.
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
Najam had announced that the event would take place in September but the schedule of the tour that would definitely take place in cricket grounds in Pakistan once again is still not confirmed.