Sports: Cricket: Hopefully World XI T20s help Pakistan host international fixtures again: Collingwood

Karachi: Former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood has said he hopes World XI T20 series in Lahore proves to be a significant step in helping Pakistan host international fixtures once again.

“There are lots of reasons why I’m looking forward to playing in the World XI T20 tour of Lahore. Hopefully this can be a significant step in helping Pakistan host international fixtures again after eight years of playing in other countries, including their home series in the United Arab Emirates and England,” wrote Collingwood in his column for ICC website.

Collingwood will be a part of World XI that will be touring Pakistan and is expected to mark the resumption of international action in Pakistan.

Collingwood has played in 68 Tests, 197 ODIs and 35 T20Is from 2001 to 2011, scoring a total of 9,934 international runs with 15 centuries besides taking 144 international wickets. He also captained England in 25 ODIs and 30 T20Is. England won its only ICC major event under Collingwood, who inspired his side to seven wickets victory over Australia in the ICC World Twenty20 2010 final in Barbados. Collingwood has been captaining Durham County Cricket Clubs since 2013.

The tour has got the backing and support of all the Test playing nations, the professional players’ unions as well as the International Cricket Council, though the series is being considered as a bilateral series with the Pakistan Cricket Board as its host.

“You can only imagine how demoralising it must have been for Pakistan’s players during the last few years and it’s an opportunity to show and prove that they can hold big fixtures in their own country once again,” he added.

“Playing away from their home would have done nothing to help them improve their game in the long-term and it must have been so frustrating.

“Despite that, I have to say I’m not surprised that they still topped the ICC Test Team Rankings last year and won the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, because when it comes to cricket, they’re a hugely-talented nation.”

“Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re going to get in terms of performance and that’s why they can be such a dangerous opposition. They always have players with potential and talent and, while it couldn’t have helped, it doesn’t seem to have harmed their development playing in Dubai.”

“I’ve had a taste of it myself because I toured there with England just after The Ashes in 2005. It’s a very passionate place and the atmosphere in the grounds can be deafening, particularly in Karachi.”

“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,” he said.

“If teams are going to tour there again, it’s important that their supporters are also going to be safe to travel there.

“Time is limited and the security will be high, so unfortunately we won’t be able to do the tourist things I did when I went there 12 years ago and we understand that. We’ve got ‘Head of State’ security, which I’ve been involved with in India after the Mumbai attacks and also in Bangladesh last year,” he said.

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