World XI in Pakistan – A Dream Come True

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A dream, a commitment and a passion to restore cricket in Pakistan finally fulfilled when World XI decided to play T20 series in Pakistan. World XI, a team from 7 nations was formed by International Cricket Council, arrived in Pakistan to revive cricket in Pakistan under the supervision of Coach Andy Flower.

Pakistan was deprived of International cricket since 2009 when Sri Lankan team was attacked by militants in Lahore due to which Pakistan became a no-go zone for foreign cricket teams. Since then our players have to travel foreign countries all year, longing for that cheerful noise of a home crowd. Only Zimbabwe was the team that agreed to visit Pakistan in 2015.

Security arrangements

More than 200 latest CCTV cameras have been installed on the ways that lead to Gaddafi stadium, the venue and live streaming of CCTV cameras was monitored by Safe City Authority. Aerial monitoring of Gaddafi stadium and the hotel where World XI players were staying, was done by law enforcement agencies.

10400 security officials, including eight thousand police officers and 2400 wardens, performed the duties during the series. Officers of intelligence agencies and snipers were also being deployed.

Pakistani policemen patrol on horses around the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on September 15, 2017 before the start of the third and final Twenty20 International match between the World XI and Pakistan. Photo: AFP

Gaddafi beckoned again

Gaddafi stadium lived up again, there were huge lines for the purchase of tickets. Lahories, as well as people from other cities, were so much excited and they were not even afraid of anything bad. There was energy don’t get me wrong – Collingwood, who has played in Lahore before, thought the crowd’s intensity was high.

‘People of Pakistan were really friendly to us’: Faf du Plessis

He also added“I just loved seeing emotions on people’s faces, that’s the thing that stands out for me,” he said when asked about his fondest memory of the tour, adding that he also loved the food in Pakistan. “It didn’t feel strange at all. We got some food delivered at the hotel, and we had some good time to spend together as a team, so that’s wasn’t an issue at all,” said Faf. “When I first thought of coming, I was obviously nervous within myself, but now going through this week, I have completely different emotions and feelings and very happy with our time here,” he said.

Pakistanis celebrate the international cricket back in Pakistan with the placards.

Darren Sammy as always loved playing in Pakistan and his smile says it all!

Two boys hail all the way long from Larkana (City in Sindh) just to watch 3-hour match 

How can Chacha cricket miss this outstanding show?

Audience also missed the arch-rival Indian team

Pakistani spectators hold placards at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on September 15, 2017 before the start of the third and final Twenty20 International match between the World XI and Pakistan. Photo: AFP

The Passion to win

Having recently won the ICC champions title, the team was much motivated than ever to put up a fantastic show for a crowd under the supervision of Sarfaraz Ahmed, The winning captain.

Three matches T20 International series between Pakistan and World XI was played where Pakistan won the first match on 12th September, World XI won on 13th whereas Pakistan winded up the series by a thumping 33 runs in the 3rd and final match of the series on 15th September. Former players Misbah and Afridi also attended the last T20 Match.

 

The two were driven around the stadium in rickshaws which were had also taken the World XI team round the stadium before the start of the first match.

A step towards other international matches

Hosting of this short cricket series is a major step towards the revival of cricket in Pakistan and to convivence the other countries to play cricket in Pakistan. On the 15th September 2017 West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) President Dave Cameron has announced that the West Indies team will visit Pakistan in November for a three-match T20 series.

The Sri Lankan cricket board has also announced that they will send their players for a single T20 match on the condition of successful completion of this World XI series. The upcoming visits of West Indies and SriLankan teams will pave a way for other teams to visit Pakistan.

Cricket Board (PCB) Awards 2017 ceremony

During the innings break the Pakistan Cricket Board arranged a lap of honor for retired greats Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq. The two were given a standing ovation by a packed 25,000 crowd.

PCB Award winners:

Sarfraz Ahmed: Outstanding Player of the Year

Babar Azam: ODI Player of the Year

Yasir Shah: Best Test Player of the Year

Imad Wasim: Best T20 Player of the Year

Hassan Ali, Shadab Khan: Emerging Player of the Year

Former skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who was present at the ceremony, received the Imtiaz Ahmed Spirit Award named after the former great who was part of Pakistan’s first Test team whereas PCB Chairman Najam Sethi awarded 10million for each Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi which would be donated to Edhi foundation. Responding to this announcement Shahid Afridi thanked Najam Sethi and said; “Nothing better than supporting this noble cause.”

After the great 3- matches other countries have also started thinking about sending their players to Pakistan after watching a full-proof security. The Pakistani nation is indeed indebted of World XI for visiting Pakistan and showing the world that Pakistan is a safe haven for cricket lovers!!!

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