After strong support from International Cricket Council and diplomacy by PCB Cheif Najam Sethi, Pakistan is set to host ICC World XI in Independence Cup 2017.
For almost a decade now, Pakistan has played most of its home matches in the United Arab Emirates. This is where the two editions of the Pakistan Super League (PSLT20) were also played.
After the Sri Lankan team was attacked in Lahore, the terrorism struct nation tried to bring back cricket to the country but the political and security situation did not allow this dream to come true. However, with the final of the second edition of Pakistan Super League being played in Lahore, a new path was paved for Independence Cup 2017.
ICC World XI is South Africa’s Faf du Plessis. The star-studded team includes Darren Sammy, who has recently played in the final of PSL for Peshawar Zalmi. New Zealand’s Grant Elliott, Australia’s Tim Paine, England’s Paul Collingwood, Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal, Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera, South Africa’s Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir, are the major players who will tour Pakistan in a bid to revive international cricket in the country.
“I can speak for myself and everyone in the World XI squad that we’re all really excited to get to Pakistan, to be part of something special, and introducing international cricket slowly and safely back to Pakistan,” Hashim Amla told reporters in Dubai on Sunday before leaving for Pakistan.
Pakistan Cricket Board has already scheduled a Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka in October. The series, however, is subject to security clearance but a successful Independence Cup will help build PCB its case stronger. Soon after that in November, there is a three-match T20 series scheduled against the West Indies.
Pakistan’s federal government and Provincial Government of Punjab have promised foolproof security for the World XI. Thousands of security officials are expected to be deployed over the next five days. Spectators will have to go through strict security checkpoints before entering the Gaddafi Stadium, where all the matches are scheduled to be played.
All of the economy tickets have been sold out. The ticket pricing starts from Rs. 500 PKR and goes up to Rs. 8,000 PKR.
Pakistan’s struggle to bring back international cricket has been a true sport. Despite no international cricket being played on the soil, it managed to win its first ever ICC Champions Trophy by beating India in the final.
There are big hopes for the Independence Cup 2017. The future series would most certainly be dependent on how good this series goes. The fans on the other side can’t wait to see the action.