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DUBAI: Sri Lanka’s 28-year-old all-rounder Thisara Perera considers himself to be lucky to be picked for the World XI tour to Pakistan which is scheduled to commence next week with matches in Lahore.

Speaking from Colombo on Friday, as he prepared to leave for Dubai where the World XI players will have a few practice sessions, Perera said: “I was approached by World XI coach (Andy Flower) during the Netwest Blast (T-20 in England) and I was really excited and happy.

“Initially, my family was a bit scared but I told them that Pakistan is an Asian neighboring country and we have to help them and stand behind them in their difficult times.”

Thisara will be the first Sri Lankan player to play in Pakistan after the 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team.

“This is the best opportunity for me to play in the World XI and therefore I want to grab it with both hands,” he said. “Yes, I did consult a few members of the 2009 Sri Lankan team which had toured Pakistan and believe me, no one discouraged me. Not a single player advised me to avoid this tour.

“I am proud to be the only player representing my country in the World XI. It is a big achievement to be selected,” said the all-rounder.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2017