Karachi, Oct. 17: In a bid to move a step closer to resuming home internationals which have been suspended for more than three years, Pakistan will host two Twenty20 exhibition matches between Pakistan All Stars and World XI at the National Stadium in Karachi this weekend, officials have said.
Foreign sides have refused to play in Pakistan since 2009, when the Sri Lankan team was attacked as they arrived for the third day of the second Test in Lahore, leaving eight people dead, reports The Express Tribune.
Former Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya will lead the World XI, which also includes former players from South Africa and the West Indies. They will play a Pakistan All Stars side in Karachi on Saturday and Sunday.
Sports Minister for Sindh province, Mohammad Ali Shah, said the matches will help restore Pakistan’s image in the world.
“We hope that this small step will pave the way for other teams to tour Pakistan and by staging these matches we hope to send a clear message that our country is safe for international sports,” Shah said.
The World XI will also include Ricardo Powell, Steven Taylor, Jermaine Charles Lawson and Adam Sanford, all from the West Indies; South Africa’s Justin Kemp, Loots Bosman, Mthandeki Tschabalala, Andre Nel, Andre Johann Seymore and Nantie Hayward; and Shapoor Zadran and Mohammad Shahzad Mohammadi of Afghanistan.
Pakistan All Stars will be led by current all-rounder Shahid Afridi and include Younis Khan, Nasir Jamshed, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Umar Gul, Mohammad Sami, Wahab Riaz and Imran Nazir.
Shah said strict security would be in place.
“Around 5,000 policemen will be employed to avoid any lapse and we are sure that these arrangements will make the players at ease,” said Shah.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) wished luck to Shah but distanced itself from obligations of arrangements.
“The PCB has released its players for the matches. The board has also permitted the use of National Stadium for these matches. But all other obligations including security, anti-corruption, marketing and broadcasting etc are direct responsibility of the organiser and were to be managed by him,” said a PCB media release. (ANI)