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Big names in World XI set to be unveiled

PCB chairman says players from seven countries will compete in historic T20 in Pakistan

Former England captain Paul Collingwood is reportedly among the big names that will be unveiled this week in a World XI for their historic T20 series in Pakistan next month.

After much speculation surrounding the possibility of the tour, the Pakistan Cricket Board finally confirmed the news on Monday having received approval from the Punjab Government over levels of security to be afforded the touring party.

Quick Single: PCB confirm World XI series will go ahead

Pakistan has largely been isolated from the international scene since a terrorist attack in Lahore in 2009 and have been forced to play their 'home' matches in the UAE.

PCB chairman Najam Sethi said the World XI squad, which will be coached by former Zimbabwe player and England coach Andy Flower, will be revealed later this week.

"I have all the names, but will announce them in a day or two," Sethi said. "All top players will come.

"Players from England, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe have agreed to play the World XI tournament in Pakistan. India, however, has declined to send its players."

Former England coach Andy Flower is set to coach the World XI next month // Getty
Former England coach Andy Flower is set to coach the World XI next month // Getty

The International Cricket Council, who will visit Pakistan later this month to finalise security arrangements for the series in Lahore, said in June that the matches would be granted full Twenty20 International status.

The Telegraph and The Guardian in the UK have both reported that Collingwood, who captained England to their World T20 title in 2010, is the only Englishman to make himself available for the series.

Former PCB chairman Shahryar Khan said last month that the likes of Hashim Amla, Luke Ronchi, Tim Paine and Michael Clarke would also be part of the World XI, although Clarke was quick to say that reports of his involvement were "news to me".

South African spinner Imran Tahir has also been linked to the World XI squad.

Sethi said a successful and safe staging of the World XI series would be followed by tours of the country by Sri Lanka and West Indies later in the year.

"We will play a full series with Sri Lanka in the UAE after which Sri Lanka will come to Lahore for a Twenty20, so things are shaping up," he said.

"Cricket West Indies and PCB are in talks that will see the Windies visiting Pakistan for a three-match T20 series in Lahore in November."

In a statement, the West Indies board said their tour "would be subject to the safe conclusion of the ICC World XI team’s three match series in Lahore in September."

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

In March, Pakistan successfully hosted the PSL 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 match's success pushed the PCB to expedite efforts to convince more teams to play in Pakistan.

"We are getting positive signals and the doors of international cricket are opening on Pakistan," Sethi said.