Independence
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The 13-member squad of the World XI arrived in Lahore on Monday to take part in the historic three-match Independence Cup. The flight from Dubai landed at 0200 hrs on Monday and was received by Chairman PCB, Najam Sethi.

The arrival of a star-studded lineup is a big landmark as the country hopes to end years of international cricket isolation which started after the Srilankan Cricket Team was attacked in Lahore in 2009.

He further added that he is part of something very important. everybody here has accepted that they are part of something more important than just their self

The team was taken to the hotel amid tight security. The eminent players include the likes of Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Darren Sammy. Former Zimbabwean ace, Andy Flower will coach the team which is slated to play three T20 matches on 12, 13 and 15 September at the mecca of Pakistan cricket: Qaddafi Stadium.

Andy Flower gave a video message after the team’s arrival. He thanked Pakistanis for the warm welcome and hoped that many would turn up to watch the action-packed matches. “We are looking forward to seeing a lot of you watching the great cricket that we are going to put on the show and we had a warm welcome already,” he said.

After 2009, this is the third time that international stars have graced the country. Zimbabwe came for a short tour in May 2015 while a few international players came to play the final of the PSL in March this year. This time it is a notch up with the ICC sending its match referee, Sir Richie Richardson and giving the matches an official status.

During the series, both the hotel and stadium will be out of bounds and around 10,000 security personnel will be deployed. The shops and restaurants around the stadium will be closed as well.

The excitement and hope 

After tireless efforts of the PCB, the hopes of seeing Muhammad Amir charge to bowl at the greats of the modern game have risen greatly. The man behind this revival surge, Najam Sethi was confident that this series will be the precursor to the full restoration of the game in the country. He said: “It is just a start for the people of Pakistan who are thirsty to see international cricket matches in the country. We have Sri Lanka and West Indies lined up in October and November as well.”

A prominent squad member, Darren Sammy who lifted the PSL trophy in Lahore earlier this year is looking forward to seeing a charged up crowd in Lahore. The former West Indies captain who has twice won the World T20 for his team said

A prominent squad member, Darren Sammy who lifted the PSL trophy in Lahore earlier this year is looking forward to seeing a charged up crowd in Lahore. The former West Indies captain who has twice won the World T20 for his team said: “I briefed them about my experience in Lahore during the PSL final. We had the best security team there. For me, I also get to play with friends in the St Lucia team and also those across the world, and be able to see again how passionate the Pakistan crowd is. We are all happy to be a part of it.”

He further added that he is part of something very important. “Everybody here has accepted that they are part of something more important than just their self. For me, it’s a place where I have a great connection with and I am going back there where I played in the PSL final earlier this year.”

The successful hosting of the tournament will augur really well for the much-longed revival of international cricket in the country

“If we could be part of history, with the greater purpose of helping the friends in Pakistan see cricket again, it would be a wonderful thing.”

The successful hosting of the tournament will augur really well for the much-longed revival of international cricket in the country. It will play a part in giving just the right optics to the international community.

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