Star-studded World XI confirmed

Three Australians included in team of international stars to play historic T20 in Pakistan

Cricket Network

24 August 2017, 09:27 PM

A star-studded line-up featuring three Australians has been unveiled as the World XI side that will play an historic T20I series in Pakistan next month.

George Bailey, Ben Cutting and Tim Paine are part of a 14-player squad that will be captained by South Africa T20 and Test skipper Faf du Plessis.

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, Daren Sammy, Imran Tahir, Paul Collingwood

The line-up features players from seven Test-playing nations: three Australians, five South Africans, two West Indians, as well as players from Bangladesh, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, David, Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel make up the Proteas contingent, joined by West Indies pair Samuel Badree and Daren Sammy.

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Former England captain Paul Collingwood is the sole Englishman in the squad, while Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal has also signed on alongside New Zealand allrounder Grant Elliot and Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera.

The World XI will play a three-match T20I series - to be called the Independence Cup - against Pakistan under lights at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on September 12, 13 and 15.

Paine will play in the series before linking up with Australia's T20 squad in India for a three-match series in October, while Bailey has been playing for Hampshire in England's domestic competitions this northern summer. 

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Du Plessis said he was honoured to captain a "diverse, attractive and well-balanced side".

"Like most of the players, I look forward to my maiden tour to Lahore and play my part in the safe and gradual resumption of international cricket in Pakistan," du Plessis said.

"All the members of the squad have complete faith and trust in the assessment and judgement of the security experts, who have assured us that there will be no comprise on the safety and security of all those involved in the series.

"As professionals, we are getting paid to play in the series, but the bottom-line is that if we didn’t feel safe, no amount of money would get us there. In this background, we will land in Lahore with nothing except cricket in our minds.

“In my career, I have featured in some very exciting matches against Pakistan but playing Pakistan in front of its passionate supporters will be a unique occasion, which I can’t wait to experience. As a player, I understand the importance of playing in front of home crowds and that is something I’m sure the Pakistan players will relish.”

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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.

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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.

The World XI will be coached by former Zimbabwe player and England coach Andy Flower.

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.

A successful and safe staging of the World XI series is likely be followed by tours to Pakistan by Sri Lanka and West Indies later in the year.

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.