International cricket is set for a return in Pakistan with the West Indies agreeing to play a Twenty20 International series in November. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday 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. 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.
“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.
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 the 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 overs series.
Sethi said the return of international cricket to Pakistan was a gradual process.
“It was a very difficult task convincing the Sri Lankan board to send their team to Lahore once again but they have shown great courage in accepting our request and hopefully if security arrangements are confirmed they will come and play T20 matches in October.”
Sethi also made it clear that no foreign team was presently willing to play matches away from Lahore.
“We will try to organise some matches of the Pakistan Super League in Karachi early next year so that we can start convincing teams to also play at other venues apart from Lahore,” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)