Rameez Raja’s thumbs up for Independence Cup in Lahore

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Lahore, Sep 8 (IANS) Former captain Rameez Raja said that the Independence Cup, to be fought between ICC World XI and Pakistan, will be a baby step towards bringing international cricket back to the terror-stricken Asian country.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) World XI will play three day and night Twenty20 matches with reigning Champions Trophy winners Pakistan at Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium on September 12, 13 and 15.

International teams have refused to tour Pakistan since the 2008 terrorist attack on Sri Lanka team bus in 2008. Pakistan later hosted Zimbabwe in October 2015.

“It is a great occasion for the home fans. We have taken baby steps with this first initiative and we know that giant steps for international cricket in Pakistan will obviously follow after this historic ICC World XI visit,” Raja said in a release.

“I would specially like to thank the ICC World XI players who have agreed for this tour. We are a very strong cricket fraternity and I am really happy that the game has won again.”

The World XI, to be led by South African captain Faf du Plessis, comprises players from seven Test playing countries. Former Zimbabwe star player Andy Flower has been named the manager of the team.

Veteran Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik too supported the tournament and said, “It is a great gesture. I am grateful to the World XI team who are helping bring back international cricket to the country.”

Meanwhile, the ICC World XI team has started preparations for the tour of Pakistan with a two-day camp at Dubai Sports City Cricket Stadium, according to a release.

South Africans Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir, Australian batsman George Bailey and former West Indies captain Darren Sammy are some of the star players who feature in the World XI.

–IANS

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