LONDON: Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja on Tuesday said that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final served its purpose as International Cricket Council (ICC) is now planning to send a World XI team to Lahore in September. According to a report, the ICC has devised a schedule for ‘The Independence Cup’, which will see the World XI side assemble in Dubai on September 17 before flying off to Lahore, where they will play four T20 matches on September 22, 23, 28 and 29. “It was the successful organization of the PSL final which encouraged the ICC to decide to send their World XI team to Pakistan,” said Ramiz. “They were monitoring the PSL final in Lahore and treated it as a case study to determine if international players can be brought to Pakistan to participate in cricket matches.” The 54-year-old, however, added that it needs to be seen who will say yes to the idea of coming to Pakistan for the aforementioned tour. “It is still to be seen who will come and who will not,” said Ramiz. “However, I expect foreign players to cooperate and get involved in this tour.” Ramiz, who alongside legendary bowler Wasim Akram, is the brand ambassador of the PSL, further said that serving as a commentator in the final at Gaddafi Stadium was an emotional moment for him.
“It was an emotional moment,” said Ramiz. “After serving as a commentator around the world, I thought it would be easy to do it in Lahore, but there was something different about it. Cricket had come back to Pakistan after a long time and being there, being a part of it and witnessing that moment was special.” He added that the PSL is taking baby steps before taking a giant leap. “The final was very good. It sent out a strong message to the world. We are taking baby steps (PSL3 final is expected to be staged in Karachi). Soon, we will start taking giant leaps towards success.” Former opening batsman also said that foreign players who came to Pakistan deserve our gratitude. “We should be thankful to the players who came to Lahore for the final,” said Ramiz. “Someone took the first step for us. Soon more international players will follow it.” Head of the ICC’s task force for Pakistan Giles Clarke said the purpose of World XI’s tour is to give the cricket-starved nation hope. “The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action,” said Clarke, as quoted. “The cricket world needs to help Pakistan, who cannot continue to play their home fixtures overseas. The youth need inspiration, and the national teams need far more cricket played in familiar terrain. Furthermore, the terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan.”