Lahore – The World XI squad in the Independence Cup 2017 will be “playing for something bigger than the game itself,” South African Test and T20 Captain Faf du Plessis said in Lahore, Pakistan. Du Plessis is leading the World XI squad.
Plessis and World XI coach Andy Flower were jointly addressing a press conference in Lahore on Monday, following the arrival of the World XI cricket team in the early hours of the day. “You always try to find things to help you leave your mark — and this seemed like the sort of opportunity to do just that,” du Plessis said.
He added: “As a cricketer, in a few years’ time, I will be able to look back and say that I played my part in bringing cricket back to Pakistan.”
“The World XI comprises well known international players who have come to Lahore to play their part in bringing international cricket to Pakistan so that the diehard fans and enthusiasts can once again watch cricket in their own backyard,” said World XI coach Flower.
He added: “The World XI looks forward to celebrating the return of international cricket in Pakistan,” he said, adding “I’m sure our international stars will return home with happy memories”.
Earlier, the Chairman of International Cricket Council (ICC) Task Force on Pakistan Giles Clarke congratulated the Pakistani people over the revival of cricket in the country, saying, “It is not just cricket, but much much more than that”.
The government, the security agencies and most importantly the people of Pakistan have played a significant role in the revival of Cricket in Pakistan, said the senior ICC official.
Clarke thanked the PCB and hailed the courage of all stakeholders, he also congratulated Andy Flower — the coach of World XI — for arranging the side and talking the international players into visiting Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Sethi said he was not taking the tournament as a cricket event “but as a historic move”.
The World XI squad comprising 13 players from seven top cricket-playing nations landed in Lahore amid massive security, with Pakistan hoping the tour will end years of international isolation.
Pakistan has not hosted top-level international cricket since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists in March 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven players and staff.
The World XI, which will play three Twenty20 internationals from Tuesday, arrived around 2am with air surveillance and dozens of police vans in attendance as the team was whisked to their hotel.
Both the hotel and stadium will be cordoned off with 9,000 police and paramilitary staff deployed during the next five days.
The World XI is led by South African skipper Faf du Plessis and coached by former Zimbabwe batsman and ex-England coach Andy Flower.
A fourteenth player, Samuel Badree of the West Indies, will arrive later on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday Malik Mohammad Khan, a spokesperson for the Punjab government said authorities were providing “foolproof security for the World XI with a big contingent of security officials deployed”.
In March, Pakistan successfully hosted the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 final in Lahore with English players Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan, West Indies’ Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels and South Africa’s Morne van Wyk and Zimbabwe’s Sean Ervine competing. – firstname.lastname@example.org