Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi on Thursday announced the squad for the World XI team scheduled to play three Twenty20 matches against Pakistan for the Independence Cup series in Lahore next month.
The international team, comprising players from seven Test-playing countries, will be captained by South African Test and T20 Captain Faf Du Plessis and coached by former Zimbabwe skipper Andy Flower.
World XI squad:
- Faf du Plessis (captain) (South Africa)
- Hashim Amla (South Africa)
- Samuel Badree (Windies)
- George Bailey (Australia)
- Paul Collingwood (England)
- Ben Cutting (Australia)
- Grant Elliott (New Zealand)
- Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh)
- David Miller (South Africa)
- Morne Morkel (South Africa)
- Tim Paine (wicketkeeper) (Australia)
- Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)
- Imran Tahir (South Africa)
- Darren Sammy (Windies)
The Independence Cup series will be played in Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on Sept 12, 13 and 15.
The World XI are expected to arrive in Pakistan on Sept 11, after a two-day camp in Dubai.
According to a PCB handout, Sethi described the tournament as "an auspicious moment for Pakistan", which he said would pave way for the return of international cricket to the country. He expressed confidence that the international team's tour would be a "harbinger for other full-member nations visiting us in the months to come".
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.
Team coach Andy Flower, quoted in the press release, said: "All players are satisfied and comfortable with the security arrangements that will be put in place for the series and happy to be part of the first step towards the safe return of international cricket to Pakistan."
Sethi's next 'challenge'
The PCB chairman, while announcing the squad at a press conference in Lahore today, said that his "next challenge" was to hold an international cricket match in Karachi.
"Right now, foreign players and security experts are not ready [for a match in Karachi]," he told reporters.
"But I have asked my security expert to tour Karachi and draw a security plan so that we can brief ICC's security team to convince them."
He also said that international players starring in the next Pakistan Super League (PSL) would be bound by contract to play any matches that will be held in Pakistan.
Last year, many international players had refused to play the PSL final in Pakistan.
Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed said that he "is confident that following the success of these matches, Pakistan will not only host regular international series but at other international cricket centres as well”.
Du Plessis, who will be touring Pakistan for the first time, said that he looks forward to "playing [his] part in the safe and gradual resumption of international cricket in Pakistan."
"As professionals, we are getting paid to play in the series, but the bottom line is that if we didn’t feel safe, no amount of money would get us there. In this background, we will land in Lahore with nothing except cricket in our minds," he said, adding that it would be exciting to play for Pakistan's "passionate supporters".
His South African teammate, Hashim Amla, who visited Pakistan with Graeme Smith’s side in 2007, said that he too is looking forward to his trip to Pakistan.
"The rehabilitation of my injured shoulder is progressing well and I am confident of being fit for the matches."