Islamabad (AP) — Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi said Monday that international cricket will return to the country next month when a World XI plays a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore.
“World XI will come in second week (of September) and within next 72 hours I will announce names of the players,” Sethi told reporters in Lahore.
The 15-men World XI comprises cricketers from all top test playing nations with former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower as its coach.
“I have the names (of World XI) with me but at the moment I can say that all top players from top cricketing nations will tour Pakistan,” Sethi said.
Flower had been assigned to select the World XI squad and the tour is financially supported by the International Cricket Council. According to Sethi, the ICC has promised to give Pakistan $1.2 million over the next three years for the revival of international cricket in the country.
Zimbabwe and Afghanistan are the only foreign countries to tour Pakistan for short limited-overs series since terrorists attacked a Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore in 2009.
The PCB had been trying hard to convince foreign teams to tour Pakistan for the last three to four years. It hosted an incident free final of its domestic T20 tournament — Pakistan Super League — in Lahore in March in which former West Indies captain Darren Sammy also participated.
“Just pray that we keep our security solid,” Sethi said. “Punjab (provincial) government has given us the signal that preparations are in full swing and later this month an ICC security team is also coming.”
The Federation of International Cricketers Association had its security reservations over the participation of foreign players in the PSL final earlier this year. But Sethi said that FICA recognizes the report of ICC’s security team which will visit Lahore next month.
Sethi also said that both Sri Lanka and the West Indies cricket boards had assured the PCB they will tour Pakistan in October and November, provided there were no security problems during the World XI’s tour.
Sri Lanka is due to play two test matches, five ODIs and three T20s against Pakistan in October and Sethi said probably one or two Twenty20s could be played in Lahore.
The West Indies tour will comprise of three T20s.