DUBAI: Darren Sammy, one of the star players in the World XI squad that will take on Pakistan in three Twenty20 Internationals in Lahore from Tuesday, is looking forward to experience the excitement of playing in front of the Pakistan crowd for the second time this year.
Responding to a query whether there was any apprehension of touring Pakistan, Sammy, who captained West Indies to two World Twenty20 titles, said during an interview with Gulf News: “Everybody here has accepted that they are part of something more important that just their self. For me it’s a place where I have great connection with and I am going back there where I played in the PSL final earlier this year.
“If we could be part of history, with the greater purpose of helping the friends in Pakistan see cricket again, it would be a wonderful thing.”
All the World XI players arrived in Dubai for a short training session from Saturday at the ICC Academy.
Sammy, who did not hesitate to play for Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL final on March 5 this year, has played a mentoring role by briefing his team-mates about playing in Lahore.
“I briefed them about my experience in Lahore during the PSL final. We had the best security team there. For me, I also get to play with friends in the St Lucia team and also those across the world, and be able to see again how passionate the Pakistan crowd is. We are all happy to be a part of it,” the all-rounder pointed out.
When inquired whether World XI would find it tough playing Pakistan, who are now the Champions Trophy winners, Sammy said: “It is a different format that they [Pakistan] won. It was a one-day tournament in England and I covered that tournament [as commentator] for OSN. It revealed the role that PSL has done in developing talent in Pakistan. Stars like Hasan Ali and Fakhar Zaman all came through the PSL and went on to make a huge impact for the national team.
“So we are not going to take their cricket lightly. We know it is a tournament for a bigger cause, but cricket is the most important thing and the squad they put in for the World XI is strong and we stand our chances.
“Hopefully we will have exciting matches where the fans are entertained and everybody goes back home, proud of the small step they have taken to bring in cricket safely back to Pakistan.”
Sammy then went on to highlight the importance of the tour.
“Now you have an international team with players like [skipper] Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and David Miller, guys who are representing from all over the world coming to play and it is also sanctioned by the International Cricket Council. So it counts as an international match as well and hence there is lot at stake,” Sammy said.
Sammy also stressed that the three matches will be really competitive. “I think as a professional we take pride in what we do and that itself will bring out the competitive edge. For those who like the statistical side it goes on the record books as well. So as much as we would play in the true spirit, our captain Faf will ensure that we are very competitive because that is what it is all about. And this is what the fans have paid to come and watch.”
Does Sammy believe that after this series Pakistan will get to host international tours?
“That is way outside my powers to comment. Like I said we are just happy that we are able to play a role in bringing cricket back there. Zimbabwe had played there and the PSL final was also held, which I thought went really well. I probably feel that is because of the PSL final that we now have few international matches there.”
Courtesy By: https://dawn.com/