pakistan all stars XI international world XI, andre nel, ricardo powell, pakistan cricket, pakistan cricket board, pcb, shahid afridi, brian lara, sanath jayasuriya, karachi national stadium, national stadium karachi
Pakistani policemen escort International World XI cricketers after a practise session in Karachi. -Photo by AFP

With the word ‘passion’ tattooed in Mandarin on his right arm, Andre Nel, undoubtedly, is all about passion and aggression as he runs in towards the batsman. He wants to impose himself on the opposition all the time, always has throughout his career for South Africa, and as he went through the paces warming up for the exhibition matches in Karachi he made it clear he was here to win. “I am not a loser,” he stated loud and clear.

An International World XI captained by Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya and featuring several former South African and West Indian Test players will take on a Pakistan All Stars side led by Shahid Afridi in two Twenty 20s in Karachi on Saturday and Sunday. And if Nel’s words match his intensity on the field, local fans should be in for a treat after what seem ages now.

Speaking to Dawn News, Nel said that he was extremely happy to be a part of a process which should eventually bring international cricket back to Pakistan. He feels that the fans here are passionate and their craze for the game is second to none.

“I think that Pakistan should not be denied for long, they are vital to international cricket and I don’t see major security concerns here, the people have been warm and we are being looked after very well”.

Nel has fond memories of South Africa’s tour to Pakistan in 2007 where the Proteas won both the Test and ODI series. The visitors became only the second team ever to beat the hosts in a Test match at Karachi’s National Stadium, venue for the two exhibition games.

“I think I recorded my best bowling figures at the Karachi stadium, as a team we did very well in that series”.

The burly fast bowler from Transvaal, will also get to link up with his friend Younis Khan in Karachi who he rates as the best Pakistan cricketer he has played against.

“Younis and I get along very well, he had a great series against us in 2007 and I think I dismissed him after he had reached a hundred in Lahore in the second Test. I also played with him for Surrey and had a good time with him.”

Another prominent member of the International World XI is West Indian batsman Ricardo Powell, the right hander rated highly for his belligerent hitting is on his first tour to Pakistan even though he made his debut for West Indies in 1999.

The amiable Powell claimed that the security force in place in Karachi was the biggest he had ever seen.

“I have travelled the world for cricket but never saw better and more stringent security arrangements, I am happy to be in Pakistan and feel that I am contributing to a great cause by being here.”

Powell feels that international cricket in Pakistan would receive a tremendous boost once the two exhibition matches set to take place on the weekend end trouble free.

Once regarded as the next big thing in West Indian cricket, Powell never fully realized his talent. However, his stunning ODI century against India in a tri-series final at Singapore is still rated highly.

Powell blasted 8 sixes on his way to his maiden hundred in the format. This was his only major performance in 109 ODIs.

He last played international cricket in 2005 and besides that century he only reached fifty eight times.

At 33 he still believes he has cricket left in him and claims that he gave it his all every time he represented West Indies “I tried my best and gave my 100 per cent every time I took the field. I don’t have any major regret”.

Powell recalled his battles with Pakistan during his international career. “During my time Pakistan had an outstanding bowling attack, we always were wary off them and there was no way that you could take them lightly” he stated.

Now settled in the United States, Powell is enjoying life as a broadcaster. He was seen on a TV channel giving expert views on the recently concluded World T20.

“It is always fun to speak on cricket and criticize your fellow players” he joked.