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Matches will be held in Lahore amid tight security, says the PCB chief. —File
Matches will be held in Lahore amid tight security, says the PCB chief. —File

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi said on Monday that 15 players from seven countries have agreed to visit Pakistan as part of the World XI squad set to play a three-match T20 series in Lahore next month.

Sethi, addressing a press conference, said, "Players from England, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe have agreed to play the World XI tournament in Pakistan. India, however, has declined to send its players."

Former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower, who will coach the World XI, has been assigned to select the squad for the tour, which is financially supported by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"A security team from ICC will visit Pakistan at the end of this month to view our security plans," Sethi said, adding that the Punjab government has given the PCB a green signal for the implementation of the plan.

Sethi added that all the matches would take place in Lahore, "even though it is my wish that we conduct some matches in Karachi."

"Unfortunately, wherever I go, they tell me they are willing to send their players to Lahore as we successfully conducted the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final here. However, they [do] say that if we are able to conduct some PSL matches in Karachi next time, they will reconsider that option too," the PCB chief explained.

"At the moment, we will focus on what we have right now and conduct the tournament in Lahore."

Discussing the return of international cricket to Pakistan, Sethi said: "Sri Lanka has agreed to visit Pakistan if we are able to conduct the World XI tour successfully."

“Cricket West Indies and PCB are in talks that will see the Windies visiting Pakistan for a three-match T20 series in Lahore in November,” Sethi said, adding that the tour will be “subject to the safe conclusion of the World XI series.”

On June 24, following the conclusion of its annual meeting in London, the ICC had announced that plans for World XI to be held in Pakistan later this year were “continuing to be developed”.

The ICC board 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.

Pakistan cricket team's Head Coach Mickey Arthur has shown great interest in the series and hopes that the tour of the World XI will bring Pakistan a step closer to reviving international cricket.

With the exception of a Zimbabwe tour two years ago, Pakistan has had to play all home matches outside of the country after a 2009 terrorist attack in Lahore on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team wiped out the possibility of international level matches to be held in the country.