After years of isolation over security concerns, Pakistan announced the return of international cricket to its soil, with World XI & Sri Lanka scheduled to visit later in 2017. A quick look at the development...
Winds of change?
A World XI tour kicks off in September followed by a short visit by Sri Lanka for one Twenty20 match in October. The Pakistan board is also currently in talks with their West Indies counterpart for a short Twenty20 trip a month later.
What are the concerns?
The Zimbabwe series in 2015 was marred by a bomb blast during the second ODI, 800 metres from the Gaddafi Stadium. It remains to be seen how many countries send their players for World XI. New Zealand Cricket has already announced it is not interested.
Number of ICC trophies Pakistan have won in the last eight years despite not hosting international cricket at home — World T20 2009 and Champions Trophy 2017.
Since the games have ICC backing and have official status, many could come. Andy Flower is the World XI coach and stars like Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir (SA), Luke Ronchi (NZ) and Tim Paine (Aus) are expected to play. A clearer picture would emerge over the next few days.
On March 3, 2009, a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers was fired upon by gunmen near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. Six members of the team were injured, with Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paranavitana suffering shrapnel injuries on thigh and chest respectively. This resulted in teams staying away from Pakistan, and the team had to play their ‘home’ games in UAE.
There is a perception that the security has improved over the last few years. Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy and the successful hosting of the PSL final, which saw players such as Chris Jordan, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels participate, have also helped.
Amount reportedly being offered to players to play in the World XI games in Pakistan.