The International Cricket Council has reiterated its support for the Pakistan vs World XI match, in a bid to bring back international cricket in Pakistan. The ICC has announced that it is contemplating plans of a three-match Twenty20 series in Pakistan, which will be accorded international status.
ICC’s decision has come as a big solace for the Asian nation, which has been devoid of international cricket for a long time now. If the proposed series takes place, then it might act as a stepping stone in taking mainstream cricket back to Pakistan on a permanent basis.
Since 2009, when militants attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore, international teams have been hesitant to tour the country. It was only in 2015, Pakistan hosted Zimbabwe for a historic limited-overs series, but other Test-playing nations have not shown any willingness to play a cricket series in the country, which has forced Pakistan to play their home games in the United Arab Emirates in the last few years.
Earlier, Pakistan's plans to host West Indies in Lahore, after the conclusion of Pakistan Super League, suffered a huge setback as the West Indies players' union asked the team not to tour the country for security reasons. Bangladesh also decided against touring Pakistan for a proposed two-match T20I series due to security reasons. PCB then retaliated by putting off the national team's tour of Bangladesh for at least a year.
After Pakistan’s stunning 180-run win over arch-rivals India in the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy at The Oval last Sunday, Mickey Arthur said that he hoped the visit of the World XI would go ahead.
“We’re scheduled to have a World XI in Pakistan in September for three Twenty20 games,” the Pakistan coach said. “So hopefully that starts paving the way for future tours. We can only hope.”
Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, added, “I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and all the (major) playing nations will come to Pakistan.”
Giles Clarke, the president of the England and Wales Cricket Board and head of the ICC’s Pakistan task force said, in comments reported by The Guardian in March, “The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action. Furthermore, the terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan.”