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International cricket returns to Pakistan with WI, SL tours

 KARACHI, Aug 21: International cricket is set for a comeback in strife-torn Pakistan with the West Indies, following in the footsteps of Sri Lanka, agreeing to play T20 matches in Lahore in November.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today confirmed tours by Sri Lankan and West Indies teams from September onwards besides a series of T20 matches against a World XI side in Lahore.

“Cricket West Indies and Pakistan Cricket Board are advancing discussions that will see the West Indies team play the T20 matches with Pakistan in Lahore in late November,” said a statement released by the PCB.

This will be the first time in nine years that Pakistan cricket fans will get to witness a season of international cricket in their country. No Test nation has toured the country since the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus.

The statement further added that the tour will be subject to the ICC World XI team’s visit to Pakistan.

“My mission statement is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan and hopefully we will be able to announce the full World XI side in next two to three days,” PCB chairman Najam Sethi told a news conference.

The World XI series has been in discussions ever since the PSL final was held in Lahore in March this year.

The government has promised presidential-level security for the week-long tour by the World XI side, which will be a 15-man squad comprising players from all top Test-playing countries.

The team will be led by Andy Flower as coach and also includes South Africans Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.

Sethi said two Australian players had also confirmed their participation in the World XI side.

“Rest of the players are from West Indies, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand,” he said, adding, “The Indian board had not given clearance for any Indian player to be in the World XI side.”

Since 2009, only Zimbabwe visited the country in 2015 to play in a limited over series.

Sethi said the return of international cricket to Pakistan was a gradual process. – PTI

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