World XI captain Faf du Plessis chose to see the silver lining amid the dark cloud of uncertainty that hovers over international cricket in Pakistan, saying the presidential-style security afforded to the touring players made them feel like they “were in a movie”
The South Africa captain spoke about being approached to play in the series and how he initially wrestled with the idea of playing in Pakistan, before being put at ease by the comprehensive security arrangements.
“When this whole thing came about, you do think about those sort of things, but as soon as we spoke to the people who were in control of the security, the planning, things were fine,” du Plessis said. “As a player all you want is that peace of mind and they gave it to us, so they are very confident that this will be smooth sailing. As soon as we got onto the plane those thoughts were gone; we just wanted to get here and experience what was going to be something that was going to be huge turnaround in world cricket. The last 24 hours were exciting because the excitement of last night is not something we as players get to do normally, getting on a private jet, being chauffeured away from the plane, so we felt like we were in a movie.”
Du Plessis repeatedly alluded to the end of his playing days – he even said he was unlikely to be on a tour to Pakistan with South Africa because he would have retired by then – and spoke of the importance of this tour for the legacy he’d like to leave behind. “As a captain you always look for things to try and leave your mark in what you do in a team. I thought this was a great opportunity for me when the coach [Andy Flower] phoned me and said he’d like me to captain this side. In a few years’ time when I look back at my career, it would be nice to look at ways where you had your footprint in the game of cricket whether it would be in your own team as captain. This will be certainly be something that in few years’ time when I sit down with my family. This will be something that I can say was a huge honour to be a part of. Looking back on my career it’ll be great to say that I made an impact on bringing international cricket back to Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, Andy Flower, whose brother Grant has been the Pakistan batting coach since 2014, spoke of the honour of coaching the World XI. “I feel privileged to be sitting here and addressing you as the coach of the World XI,” he said. “We are here to celebrate Pakistan’s 70th anniversary of independence, play our part in the revival of international cricket in Pakistan, and play some great cricket in front of the Pakistani people.
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Ruman Raees, Usman Khan, Sohail Khan.
World XI: Faf du Plessis (capt), Hashim Amla, Samuel Badree, George Bailey, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Grant Elliott, Tamim Iqbal, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Imran Tahir, Darren Sammy.
The first of three T-20 matches was set to commence on Tuesday 12th September.