World XI stars arrive in Pakistan | cricket.com.au

Advertisement

World XI stars arrive in Pakistan

Excitement grows as star-studded side touch down ahead of three-match T20 Independence Cup series

A World XI squad featuring 13 players from seven top cricket-playing nations landed in Lahore early Monday amid massive security, with Pakistan hoping the tour will end years of international isolation.

Pakistan has not hosted top-level international cricket – barring five limited over matches against Zimbabwe in 2015 – since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by terrorists in March 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven players and staff. 

Australians George Bailey, Ben Cutting and Tim Paine were part of the arrival after the squad had assembled for a training camp in Dubai.

Training Day in Dubai, see you soon Lahore! #PAKvsWXI #CricketKiHalalala #WorldXI

A post shared by Ben Cutting (@cuttsy_31) on


The World XI, which will play three Twenty20 internationals from Tuesday, arrived around 2:00am Pakistan time (2100 GMT) 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 Monday.

Earlier on Sunday Malik Mohammad Khan, a spokesperson for the government of Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, said authorities were providing "foolproof security for the World XI with a big contingent of security officials deployed".


Parts of the city near the stadium will be cordoned off, with shops and restaurants around the venue to be shut for the duration of the series while spectators will have to pass through multiple security checkpoints.

Since the 2009 attack Pakistan have been forced to play most of their "home" games in the United Arab Emirates – with the Pakistan Cricket Board claiming they have incurred losses of around $120 million.

But security has dramatically improved across Pakistan in the past two years, signalling hopes for the slow revival of international sport in the country.

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.

The Independence Cup matches will be broadcast on PTV in Pakistan and fans across the border in India can watch the series on DSport after the new premium sports TV channel launched by Discovery Communications India acquired the exclusive broadcast rights for that country.

World XI squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Samuel Badree, George Bailey, Ben Cutting, Grant Elliot, Tamim Iqbal, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Imran Tahir, Paul Collingwood

Pakistan squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c, wk), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan, Sohail Khan