Sports

Du Plessis To Captain World XI Team To Visit Pakistan

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi on Thursday announced the 14-man squad which will tour the country in September to play three T20Is, being called the Independence Cup, in Lahore.

The team — which includes stars such as South African stars Hashim Amla, David Miller, Albie Morkel and Imran Tahir, West Indian Samuel Badree and Darren Sammy — will be led by South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis.

Other players which are a part of the squad are Australian George Bailey, Ben Cutting and Tim Paine. New Zealand’s all-rounder Grant Elliot, former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood, Sri Lanka opener Tamim Iqbal and Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera complete the squad.

“The team will arrive in Dubai two days before the matches and practice there,” announced Sethi. “A three-member security team is going to visit Pakistan on September 1. They will discuss security arrangements with the Punjab Government.”

Playing in Pakistan will be unique experience: Du Plessis

Captain Du Plessis, in a statement published by the PCB, said that he is happy to do his part in the return of cricket to Pakistan.

“I am honoured to have been appointed as captain of such a diverse, attractive and well-balanced side,” he said. “Like most of the players, I look forward to my maiden tour to Lahore and play my part in the safe and gradual resumption of international cricket in Pakistan.”

On the topic of security, Du Plessis showed his faith in the arrangements made by the PCB. “All the members of the squad have complete faith and trust in the assessment and the judgement of the security experts, who have assured us that there will be no compromise on safety,” said Du Plessis. “As professionals, we are getting paid to play in the series, but the bottom line is if we don’t feel safe, no amount of money can get us there. We will land in Lahore with nothing but cricket on our minds.”

The 33-year-old said he was looking forward to playing in Pakistan. “In my career, I’ve featured in many exciting matches against Pakistan. But playing Pakistan in front of their passionate supporters will be a unique experience, which I can’t wait to experience.”

South African Test star Hashim Amla is nursing a shoulder injury but believes he will be fit for the three T20Is in Lahore.

“I am looking forward to the trip to Pakistan,” said Amla. “The rehabilitation of my injured shoulder is progressing well and I am confident of being fit for the matches.”

Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who tasted international cricket at home during the Zimbabwe tour and the final of the second edition of Pakistan Super League, believes the World XI tour will bring better times for the game in the country.

“I am really excited to see the World XI team coming to Pakistan and keenly look forward to playing in front of our committed crowds and supporters,” he said. “I can assure all Pakistan cricket fans that we have missed playing in front of them, like they have missed watching us live in action. But this wait is about to end and I am sure better times lie ahead of all of us.”

He continued: “I am confident that through this tour of the World XI, the global cricket community, including players, media and visitors will get a better understanding and perception of Pakistan, which is a peace-loving and extremely hospitable nation that loves its cricket.”