The road to bringing cricket back to Pakistan has begun as World XI players finally arrived in Lahore in the early hours of Monday under strict security measures. The squad was escorted from the airport to the hotel under air and ground surveillance with dozens of policemen surrounding the players.
The three-match T20 series between Pakistan and World XI is a step taken by Pakistan Cricket Board and International Cricket Council to bring cricket back to the country that has not played a home game since 2009.
The cricket-crazed nation has witnessed no international cricket in the country as green shirts were forced to play all their home games in UAE. Zimbabwe has played a one-day series in Pakistan but no top team has visited the country since terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009.
Australian contingent of Tim Paine, Ben Cutting and George Bailey are also in the squad for World XI after the visiting team staged a practice session in Dubai. World XI will play three T20 internationals with first one to be played on 12th September.
The hotel and the area around the stadium will be completely surrounded by over 9,000 paramilitary and policemen for the next five days. Faf du Plessis is the captain of the World XI while Andy Flower is the Head Coach for the side. Samuel Badree will join the squad later due to his commitments in the Caribbean Premier League.
The surroundings area around the stadium will under lockdown for five days as to ensure everything goes well in the three-match series between World XI and Pakistan. The multiple walk through gates has been placed at the entrance of stadium to order avoid any untoward incident.
Earlier this year, Pakistan hosted the finals of the second edition of Pakistan Super League in Lahore with foreign players participating in the contest. Players like Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Dawid Malan, Morne Van Wyk, Sean Ervine and Chris Jordan all were part of that event.
The Independence Cup matches will be broadcast on PTV in Pakistan and fans across the border in India can watch the series on DSport after the new premium sports TV channel launched by Discovery Communications India acquired the exclusive broadcast rights for that country.
World XI squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Samuel Badree, George Bailey, Ben Cutting, Grant Elliot, Tamim Iqbal, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Imran Tahir, Paul Collingwood