LONDON (Agencies): Paul Collingwood says he hopes the World XI Twenty20 tour in Pakistan “can be a significant step” in international cricket returning to the country.
The ex-England all-rounder is part of a World XI squad which will play in Lahore on 12, 13 and 15 September. It will be the first international cricket in Pakistan since the attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore in 2009.
“Getting home games again, although there is a little way to go, would be a big thing,” said Collingwood, 41. The Durham player sought safety assurances before agreeing to take part and said the team will receive “head of state” protection.
“I’m sure that once we get out there, the locals will want Pakistan to win, but they will see the bigger picture and they will be behind us too,” Collingwood wrote on the International Cricket Council website. “If teams are going to tour there again, it’s important that their supporters are also going to be safe to travel there.”
Collingwood, who played 68 Tests, 197 one-day internationals and 35 T20s for England between 2001 and 2011, will reportedly earn $100,000 for playing three T20s.
“Trying to help Pakistan is important for cricket – and no-one can pretend the money isn’t great – but, added to that, playing them in their own back yard also really floated my boat.
“I’ve not played international cricket since 2011, so to play in games with full international status against the full Pakistan side is very, very exciting and it’s great to be involved.”
Pakistan have played their ‘home’ matches in the United Arab Emirates and England since 2009, although they hosted Zimbabwe in three ODIs and two T20s in 2015. South Africa captain Faf du Plessis will skipper the World XI side, which includes players from seven countries and is coached by former England boss Andy Flower.