The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has confirmed that a World XI series will be held in Lahore after the Punjab Government gave its nod for ‘Presidential level security’ for the tour. According to a Cricinfo report, the 15-man squad, featuring players from all top Test countries, will be in Dubai for a seven-day camp and will then head to Lahore for the three-T20 series starting September 10. Former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower will be the coach of the side.
Shahryar Khan made a lot of efforts to get a green signal for this series. Giles Clarke, ECB president and chairman of ICC’s Pakistan Task Force, also played a major role in this project. The World XI team was picked by ECB director Flower. The tour has got full backing from the ICC and, according to PCB chairman Najam Sethi, the world body has been working closely with the PCB for ensuring security for the event. All the expenses of the tour will be borne by the PCB.
With Pakistan hoping to host Sri Lanka for a one-off T20I in September, Najam Sethi feels World XI series could encourage more countries to come to Pakistan.
After the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009, only Zimbabwe and Afghanistan have toured Pakistan as the others have refused over security concerns. The major blow was not hosting 2011 World Cup which was scheduled to jointly held by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Short tour by Zimbabwe in 2015 did revive international cricket in Pakistan but another bomb blast, 800m from Gadaffi system, did no good. After that, PCB hosted the PSL final in 2017 and overseas players, including former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy, featured in the fixture on March 5 in Lahore.