Du Plessis to captain World XI against Pakistan in Independence Cup

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LAHORE, Aug 24 (APP): Seven-country-star-studded World XI,
led by South African Du Plessis, will play three T20 matches on
Sept 12, 13 and 15 here at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Addressing a news conference here, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)
Chairman Najam Sethi said the series had been named as Independence
Cup.
“It (World XI) is great combination of players and we will be
delighted to welcome them in Pakistan as international cricket is
returning here after nine years since 2009,” he said.
Sethi said the World XI included five players from South
Africa, three from Australia, two from the Windies, and one each
from Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Apart from Du Plessis, who is South Africa’s Test captain,
the World XI also includes England’s ICC World Twenty20 2010
winning captain Paul Collingwood, who scored 108 off 68 balls
in a T20 Blast game against Worcester in July; Windies’ Darren
Sammy, who inspired his side to ICC World Twenty20 titles in 2012
and 2016; former number-one ranked Test batsman Hashim Amla;
Bangladesh’s explosive opener Tamim Iqbal; Australia’s former ODI
and T20I captain George Bailey; David Miller of South Africa, who is considered as one of the best finishers in modern-day cricket, as
well as T20I specialist Grant Elliott, who famously steered
New Zealand to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 final with a last-ball
six against South Africa in Auckland.
The World XI for the Independence Cup is: Faf du Plessis (captain)
(South Africa), Hashim Amla (South Africa), Samuel Badree (Windies),
George Bailey (Australia), Paul Collingwood (England), Ben Cutting (Australia), Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh),
David Miller (South Africa), Morne Morkel (South Africa), Tim Paine (wicketkeeper) (Australia), Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka), Imran Tahir
(South Africa) and Darren Sammy (Windies).
Former Zimbabwe captain and ex-England coach Andy Flower will
be the coach of the side, which will arrive in Lahore on Sept 11
after attending a two-day camp in Dubai.
The PCB chairman specially acknowledged the efforts of Giles
Clark, the head of ICC Task-force for Pakistan, for making strenuous
efforts for making the tour of World XI to Pakistan possible.
He read out the statements of various players, including World XI
captain Faf du Plessis, on the tour.
Du Plessis said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as captain
of such 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.
“All the members of the squad have complete faith and trust in
the assessment and judgment of the security experts, who have assured
us that there will be no compromise 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 did not 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 experience, which I cannot wait to experience. As a player,
I understand the importance of playing in front of home crowd and that
is something I am sure the Pakistan players will relish.”
The PCB chairman said: “On behalf of the Pakistan Cricket
Board and the cricket-loving public, I welcome the ICC World XI team
to Pakistan to play in the three-match TI series.
“This will be an auspicious moment for Pakistan cricket and I am
positive that it will serve to open the doors of international cricket
in Pakistan. Kenya and Zimbabwe have already been here and featured in high-voltage matches with rapturous crowd.
“Recently, we successfully organised the final of the PSL’s second
edition in Lahore, which proved to be a catalyst in gaining the
confidence of the international community to come and play here. Now
we are on the threshold of an exciting series between the winners of
the Champions Trophy and an ICC in team boasting the top cricketing
stars from seven nations.”
Hashim Amla, who visited Pakistan with Graeme Smith’s side in 2007,
said: “I am looking forward to the trip to Pakistan. The rehabilitation
of my injured shoulder is progressing well and I am confident of being
fit for the matches.”
World XI coach Andy Flower, who visited Pakistan in 1993, 1996 and
1998 with the Zimbabwe cricket teams, said: “I have enjoyed all my
previous tours to Pakistan and look forward to returning to Lahore
next month.
“All the players are satisfied and comfortable with the security
arrangements that will be put in place for the series and happy to be
part of the first step towards the safe return of international cricket
to Pakistan,” he added.
“We now look forward to playing some exciting cricket so that we
can entertain the Lahore crowd, which has waited long enough to see
local as well as international stars live in action in their backyard.”
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said: “I am really excited to see
the World XI team coming to Pakistan and keenly look forward to playing
in front of our committed crowd and supporters. I can assure all
Pakistan cricket fans that we have missed playing in front of them,
like they have missed watching us live in action. But this wait is
about to end and I am sure better times lie ahead of all of us.
“I am confident that through this tour of the World XI, the global
cricket community, including players, media and visitors, will get a
better understanding and perception of Pakistan, which is a
peace-loving and extremely hospitable nation that loves cricket.
“I would like to congratulate the PCB and ICC for making this
tour happen, and look forward to some exciting matches in front of
the packed Gaddafi Stadium. I am confident that following the success
of these matches, Pakistan will not only host regular international
series but at other international cricket centres as well.”