Dubai: Former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood, who is a part of the 14-member World XI squad that would be touring Pakistan later this month, believes that the tour will prove to be a significant step in helping Pakistan host international fixtures again.
World XI, led by South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis, will be playing three T20Is in Lahore. The first two T20Is will be played on September 12 and 13, and the final game will be played on September 15 at the Gaddafi Stadium.
In a column for the International Cricket Council (ICC), Collingwood says, “There are lots of reasons why I’m looking forward to playing in the World XI T20 tour of Lahore.”
“Hopefully this can be a significant step in helping Pakistan host international fixtures again after eight years of playing in other countries, including their home series in the United Arab Emirates and England,” he adds.
It should be noted that no Test side has toured Pakistan since March 2009 militants attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in Lahore, killing six Pakistani policemen and injuring some of the visiting players.
However, low-ranked sides, namely Afghanistan and Zimbabwe, had toured the country for a limited-over series.
Collingwood, a veteran of 68 Tests, further said that it must have been quite demoralising for Pakistan’s players during the last few years as no international matches were held in their country because of security reasons.
“Playing away from their home would have done nothing to help them improve their game in the long-term and it must have been so frustrating,” writes Collingwood.
The former England skipper, while pointing that the locals in Pakistan will want their team to win, believes that the Pakistani national will see the bigger picture and will be support the World XI too.
“If teams are going to tour there again, it’s important that their supporters are also going to be safe to travel there.”
“Trying to help Pakistan is important for cricket – and no-one can pretend the money isn’t great – but, added to that, playing them in their own back yard also really floated my boat,” he adds.
Pakistan Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf , Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan, Sohail Khan
World XI Squad: David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Imran Tahir, Darren Sammy, Hashim Amla, Grant Elliott, Samuel Badree, George Bailey, Tamim Iqbal, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Faf du Plessis(c) (ANI)
This is published unedited from the ANI feed.