Plans for the full resumption of international cricket in Pakistan moved forward Friday when the sport’s global governing body said it wanted to send a World XI to the country later this year. 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 Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore. But Friday saw the International Cricket Council (ICC), following the conclusion of its annual meeting in London, announce that plans for a World XI to play in Pakistan later this year were “continuing to be developed”.
The ICC board said it had agreed to support a three-game T20 series between Pakistan and a World XI in a bid to help revive international cricket in the country. All the matches would take place in Lahore and be accorded full Twenty20 international status, the ICC 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 ICC Champions Trophy 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 T20I games. So hopefully that starts paving the way for future tours. We can only hope”, he said. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed added, “I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and all the (major) playing nations will come to Pakistan.
Giles Clarke, the president of the England and Wales Cricket Board and head of the ICC’s Pakistan task force said, in comments reported by the Guardian in March, “The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action. Furthermore, the terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan.”
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