As per latest news, former Sri Lankan player Mahela Jayawardene will lead the World XI which will visit Pakistan in September to play three T20 games at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. Pakistan has received support from the International Cricket Council for hosting these matches.
Only a few days ago, the Safraz Ahmed-led Pakistan defeated tournament favourites India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 by a huge margin of 180 runs to lift their maiden Champions Trophy title. Given the strides Pakistan has made in international cricket, other countries are now showing interest in visiting them.
“I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and all the (major) playing nations will come to Pakistan,” said Ahmed after the final.
“We’re scheduled to have a World XI in Pakistan in September for three Twenty20 games. So hopefully that starts paving the way for future tours. We can only hope,” added Pakistan’s coach Mickey Arthur.
Pakistan do not have a home ground since the past 8 years, after a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in 2009 was attacked by terrorists in Pakistan. Apart from one series against Zimbabwe in 2015 at home, Pakistan have played all their ‘home matches’ in the United Arab Emirates.
Moreover, now the security conditions in the country have largely improved and security threats have largely diminished. Gaddafi Stadium hosted the finals of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League successfully and since then, more countries have showed willingness to tour the war torn country. Pakistan barely managed to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, but ended up winning the tournament, and that explains their eagerness to make a mark in international cricket.
As for Mahela Jayawardene being the captain for the touring World XI, with the experience and expertise that he holds, he seems a fitting choice for the post.