Grant Elliott says the World XI side have a job to entertain the home crowd by playing their part in putting on a great spectacle against Pakistan in the Independence Cup.
The Pakistani fans will get a chance to see high-profile cricket for the first time on home soil since 2009 when the World XI meet the Champions Trophy winners Pakistan in Lahore in a three-match T20 series.
Elliott, who will become the first New Zealand cricketer to play in Pakistan since 2003, says it’s a vibrant atmosphere within the dressing room and hopes the team can put on a show in all the games.
“I think it’s exciting,” said the 38-year-old all-rounder, who won 104 international caps. “It adds up to the whole excitement of the event. I’ve seen social media posts of fans going to the game and they can’t wait. They are counting down the hours. I’ve spoken to Darren Sammy and he’s spoken about the Gaddafi Stadium in the PSL final and the guys have a little bit experience of what it would feel like.
“I think we have a very exciting team and our job will be to go out there and entertain the crowd and make it a spectacle and try and win the games.”
Despite having not played a T20I against Pakistan, Elliott knows a few of the national team players having been part of the Pakistan Super League with Lahore Qalanders.
With Mickey Arthur’s men playing for the first time since stunning India in the Champions Trophy in London, Elliott is fully aware that his side face a stern task.
“I saw them in the Champions Trophy and on their day they are a very exciting team,” he said. “They are building something exciting. There are a lot of fantastic players like Fakhar Zaman, who scored a century in the final. Pakistan have always had an exciting team and it’s just great they will be able to play in front of their home crowd.”
Pakistan seamer Mohammad Amir’s wait to play an international match in front of his home crowd will be prolonged.
The 25-year old is likely to miss the three-match Twenty20 series against a star-studded World XI, scheduled to take place this week in Lahore, as Amir and his wife are currently in England expecting their first child.
Although Amir’s name was included in Pakistan’s 16-man squad, he hasn’t travelled to Pakistan and has been playing for Essex this summer.
Amir has yet to play in front of his home crowd since his debut eight years ago given the nation’s international cricket hiatus.
Among the 16 players selected to face the World XI, only Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Sohail Khan have played international cricket in Pakistan previously.
World XI and South African batsman Hashim Amla is confident the historic T20 matches against Pakistan this week will help to revive international cricket in the country.
The cricket-mad nation has been starved of high-profile cricket since 2009 after the militant attack on the touring Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore - which left eight people dead.
But now, eight years on, Pakistan is ready to come out of isolation and host their own national side and the World XI at the Gaddafi Stadium, in the same city, for three 20-over contests.
The matches will take place this Tuesday (12th), Wednesday (13th) and Friday (15th) amid a presidential style security presence.
It is another major breakthrough for the Pakistan Cricket Board following the successful staging of the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore earlier this year.
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