Faf du Plessis to lead World XI in 3 T20Is in Pakistan

The World XI side that will tour Pakistan for a three-match T20I series in September, will be led by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, PCB chief Najam Sethi announced in a press conference on Thursday (August 24). The first two T20Is will be played on September 12 and 13, and the final game will be played on September 15. All the games will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Andy Flower was named the coach of the World XI side previously.

The squad boasts of as many as five South Africa players, namely Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir, apart from skipper du Plessis himself. The star-studded 14-member squad will feature three Australians too, in the form of George Bailey, Ben Cutting and wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine. Darren Sammy, who was a part of the Pakistan Super League 2 Final, will lead the West Indian representation along side Samuel Badree.

There is one player each from England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, in the form of Paul Collingwood, Tamim Iqbal, Thisara Perera and Grant Elliott respectively. The only countries which do not have a representation in the World XI squad are India, Zimbabwe and Pakistan of course.

Faf du Plessis (C), Hashim Amla, Samuel Badree, George Bailey, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Grant Elliott, Tamim Iqbal, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Imran Tahir, Darren Sammy

“I am honored to have been appointed as the captain of such a diverse, attractive and well balanced side. Like most of the players, I look forward to my maiden tour of Lahore and play my part in the safe and gradual resumption of international cricket in Pakistan,” du Plessis said on the momentous occasion.

“All the members of the squad have complete faith in the assessment and judgement of the security experts who have assured that there will be no compromise on the safety and security of all those involved in the series. As professionals, we are being paid to play in the series but the bottom line is that if we don’t feel safe, no amount of money can get us there. In this background, we will land in Lahore with nothing except cricket on our minds.

“In my career, I have featured in some very exciting matches against Pakistan but to play in Pakistan in front of its passionate supporters, will be a unique experience which I cannot wait to explain. As a player I understand the importance of playing in front of home crowds and that is something I am sure that Pakistani players will relish,” du Plessis added.

I am looking forward to the trip to Pakistan. The rehabilitation of my shoulder is progressing well and I am confident of being fit for the matches,” said Hashim Amla, who will be one among the five South Africa players in the World XI.

The World XI coach Andy Flower, who was one of the first to get on board, expressed his joy at the prospect of visiting Pakistan and being a part of the initiation of international cricket in the country. “I have visited Pakistan in 1993, 1996 and 1998 with the Zimbabwe cricket team. I have enjoyed all my previous tours of Pakistan and look forward to returning to Lahore next month. All the players are satisfied and comfortable with the security arrangements that will be put in place for the series and are happy to be a part of the first step towards the safe return of international cricket in Pakistan.

“We now look forward to playing some exciting cricket, so that we can entertain the Lahore crowd who have waited long enough to see local as well as international stars live in their backyard,” Flower said.

“I am really excited to see the World XI team coming to Pakistan and I keenly look forward to play in front of a committed crowd who support us. I can assure all Pakistani cricket fans that we have missed playing in front of them, like they have missed watching us live in action,” Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed said.

“But this wait is about to end and I am sure better times lie ahead for all of us. I am confident that through this tour of World XI, the global cricket community, including players, media and visitors will get a better understanding and perception of Pakistan, which is a peace loving and extremely hospitable nation.

“I would like to congratulate PCB and ICC for making this tour happen and I look forward to some exciting matches in front of a packed Gaddafi stadium. I am confident that following the success of these matches, Pakistan will not only host regular international series but at all international cricket centres as well.”

More to follow..

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