DUBAI: Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy believes that the World XI’s tour of Pakistan next week will be for the greater good of the country and is glad that they can play a significant part in international cricket returning to Pakistan.
After the absence of international cricket for years following the attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, a full-fledged World XI, sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC), will play three T20 Internationals at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on September 12, 13 and 15. It is a big leap of faith and follows on after Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in 2015 and the PSL final this March.
Sammy, who travelled to Pakistan and captained Peshawar Zalmi to the PSL title, said that each and every player in the World XI accepted that they are part of something more important than just themselves.
“We are here for a reason, for a greater cause and everybody who are here have accepted that they are part of something more important than just themselves. For me, it is a place where I have a great connection and going back there, and like I had said it during the PSL final, if we could be part of history and a greater purpose of helping the fans in Pakistan see cricket, it would be wonderful,” Sammy said in Dubai on Saturday.
The World XI, captained by South African skipper Faf du Plessis, will be training at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai Sports City before travelling to Lahore in the wee hours of Monday morning for the ‘Independence Cup.’
Sammy revealed that he had briefed the squad about his experience during the PSL final.
“I did brief them quickly about my experience in Lahore at the PSL final. We have had the best security team, who have also briefed them. Like I said, it is important. I’ve said it before, I get to play in front of my fans in St Lucia, across the world and you see how passionate they are to get an opportunity after so long. They are all happy to be a part of that process,” he said.
“From the time when we went to the final back then, because of my connection with Zalmi, with the people of Pakistan during the PSL, and soon after I heard that they were planning a World XI. I would have been very disappointed if I was not part of this team. We played a small part in bringing cricket back and it is one that I guess the guys here in the World XI would continue to do. It is great for cricket and not only for us, but for the people of Pakistan.”
“Now, you have an international team with Faf (du Plessis), Hashim Amla and David Miller, guys who are represented from all over the world, to play. And it is also sanctioned by the ICC and it counts as an international match. It is a lot at stake and I feel the PSL final played a small part in that,” added Sammy.
Sammy, who led West Indies to the World T20 title last year, said that playing the PSL final felt like playing at his home St Lucia and added that he was looking forward to screaming at the Gaddafi Stadium.
“The first thing I said to the guys after the PSL final, apart from all the security and the protocol you have to go through, once I stepped on the cricket field, it felt like playing in St Lucia. And that’s my honest experience. The crowd, the people were hungry for cricket, they wanted to see their icons and their role models playing the game. That’s what it felt like. And that’s what I briefed them this morning when the coach asked me about my experience. Obviously, everything takes time, there’s a process which you get things done. But, for me, I had a wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to screaming at the Gadaffi Stadium,” he said.