LAHORE: Former New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliot believes the security arrangements for the World XI’s tour to Pakistan were concrete enough to convince him and his teammates to visit the country for the landmark event.
The World XI side, led by South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, will play three T20Is against Pakistan on September 12, 13 and 15 at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore in front of a jam-packed crowd.
“We get the reports from all the relevant agencies such as FICA (Federation of International Cricket Associations) and independent security firms,” Elliott told the New Zealand Herald. “You assess the risks involved and make a decision as a family. Of course the players are getting paid but, if no one felt safe, no one would be going.”
Elliot, who is also a part of the Pakistan Super League and plays for Lahore Qalandars, believes this tour is a small step towards return of international cricket to the country.
“These are small steps in returning cricket to Pakistan on a more permanent basis,” he said. “It’s sad for them that they never play at home. They always talk about it with such passion. I think we can expect enthusiastic crowds. Wherever you go there are risks, and being away from home for long periods is always tough on the family.”
Hassan seeks Amla scalp
Pakistan bowling sensation Hassan Ali said Friday he wants to bowl out South Africa’s Hashim Amla when he plays an international before a home crowd for the first time.
Ali, 23, the highest wicket-taker during the 2017 Champions Trophy, which underdogs Pakistan won earlier this year, said he “can’t wait” to take on the star-studded World XI.
It will be the first highest-profile international fixture to take place in Pakistan since a deadly militant attack eight years ago drove international cricket — and most other sports — from the country.
“This is my first international match on my home ground in Pakistan. I’m very excited to play in front of my home crowd on my home ground,” he told reporters after a practice session at the stadium on Friday.
The attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009, which killed eight people and wounded nine, isolated Pakistan, forcing it to host its “home” fixtures on neutral venues.
Ali said he was “sad” about this, but put the international players who are coming for the World XI on notice: especially Amla.
“The World XI is a good team, it has very good players, I will try to bowl well to all of them. Especially I would like to out brother Hashim Amla, it would give me more pleasure,” he said.
He said he would partner with strike bowler Mohammad Aamir to take as many wickets as possible. “There are partnerships in bowling too just like batting. If one bowler in the pair is being thrashed, the other tries to contain, so there is no competition.”
He said coaches were working on fitness and his reverse swing at training.
Pakistan is preparing to deploy several thousand security forces in Lahore for the three-match series.