The much anticipated return of international cricket to Pakistan is almost upon us as the hosts get ready to welcome the ICC World XI for a three-match T20I series.
The World XI led by South African skipper Faf du Plessis arrived in Lahore on Monday after their two-day training camp in Dubai.
The two teams will play all the three T20 clashes at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, starting on Tuesday.
Preparations for the historic series has been underway for some time now with the ICC throwing its complete support behind the matches in a bid to progress the resumption of international cricket to the South Asian country.
The series, which has been renamed as the Independence Cup, is the first time since 2009 that an international match will take place in Pakistan under the supervision of ICC officials.
Former West Indies skipper Sir Richie Richardson has been appointed as the match referee for the three ties by the ICC. Despite their international isolation, Pakistan had welcomed Zimbabwe for a visit in 2015 but the matches had been supervised by local Pakistan officials.
The visit of the World XI, who are being coached by Andy Flower, could be the first of many in what might well prove to be a watershed year for Pakistan cricket. Sri Lanka have confirmed that they will be playing one of the three T20Is scheduled with Pakistan in the UAE later this month at the Lahore venue instead.
Similarly, West Indies have agreed to visit the country for a three-match T20I series later this November.
— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) September 11, 2017
The PCB will be hoping that a successful organisation of the Independence Cup could open the floodgates for other international sides to visit the country in the future.
As of now, the excitement continues to build up for the three T20 clashes which sees Safraz Ahmed’s men take on a star-laden 14-man World XI squad.
Sarfraz Ahmed (C), 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.
WORLD XI SQUAD
Faf du Plessis (C), Hashim Amla, George Bailey, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, George Elliott, Tamim Iqbal, David Miller, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Samuel Badree, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.