LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi has said the World XI will tour Pakistan every year for the next three years, as the country took a giant step towards reviving international cricket at home with a 20-run victory over the World XI in the first of three T20 matches before excited crowds at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
“The World XI series is now planned for every year for the three years. This is first of the three series and there will be two more in the next years,” he told The Guardian in Lahore, adding that many more teams could be touring Pakistan in the coming years if all goes well.
“Once this [World XI tour] is done the Sri Lankans have committed to play one or two matches in Lahore next month and then the West Indies have committed to me that they will come for three matches in November,” he said.
“If there is no untoward incident that mars any of these events then I’d imagine by next year at least one or two big teams will come to Pakistan,” he added.
The PCB and PSL chairman said that two years ago, the board did not want to “risk anything that might endanger the guests even if they were prepared to come”.
“Now we can say with assurance that the war against terrorism has been taken to its logical conclusion and that 90-95 per cent of terrorism has abated in this country.
“A sufficient condition was to convince the international community in general and the ICC in particular that the situation was safe to play cricket.
“First step in that direction was to at least try and play at least one match in Pakistan, which is why I fought tooth and nail to have the PSL final in Lahore.
“Security experts affiliated with various boards and also with the ICC came to the Lahore final and saw for themselves the excellent security arrangements that were in place, and then they went back and gave their reports. All this formed the basis for a World XI tour,” he explained.
Pakistan, sent in to bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis in the first T20, notched 197-5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86 – his career best T20 score.
The World XI started off well with Tamim Iqbal hitting 18 with three boundaries and Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but left-arm pacer Rumman Raees dismissed both in the same over to put the brakes on their innings.
Skipper Faf du Plessis hit four boundaries and a six while Darren Sammy smashed three sixes — both scoring 29 — but were unable to see their team through.
Tuesday marked the first time that five of Pakistan players — Ashraf, Zaman, Shadab, Raees and Hasan Ali — played an international match on home soil.