Coach Mickey Arthur eager for World XI to play in Pakistan
London — Coach Mickey Arthur said he hoped a proposed World XI visit to Pakistan later this year would go ahead after his side served notice of their enduring talent with a stunning Champions Trophy final win over India.
Bottom-ranked Pakistan produced a breathtaking display at London’s Oval on Sunday to inflict a 180-run defeat upon arch-rivals India. It was India’s heaviest defeat, by runs, in 129 ODIs against Pakistan.
With the exception of Zimbabwe’s tour two years ago, Pakistan have had to play all their home matches outside the country since a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore.
However, the International Cricket Council is set to send a World XI to Pakistan in September. That team could find themselves acting as pathfinders for the resumption of tours of Pakistan by major cricket nations.
Giles Clarke, the president of the England and Wales Cricket Board and head of the ICC’s Pakistan task force said, in comments reported by the Guardian in March: "The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action.
"Furthermore, the terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan."
Arthur for one was looking forward to the series.
"We’re scheduled to have a World XI in Pakistan in September for three Twenty20 games," he said. "So hopefully that starts paving the way for future tours. We can only hope."
Pakistan’s victory on Sunday was all the more astounding given a 124-run defeat by India in their tournament opener at Edgbaston on June 4.
The turnaround was a triumph for Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who impressed in his triple role of wicketkeeper, batsman and skipper.
"I hope this win will boost Pakistan cricket and all the [major] playing nations will come to Pakistan," said Sarfraz, who will now look to lead Pakistan at the 2019 World Cup in England as well.
He added: "Hopefully this win, everyone will remember, not just for today, not just for tomorrow, but for a very long, long time. When we arrived here, we were No8 and now we are the champions."
Meanwhile, Arthur paid tribute to Sarfraz’s role as both a tactician and a leader.
"We just had to keep believing ... they kept on believing, trusting their roles [and] trusting the game-plan that ‘Saffy’ [Sarfraz] and I had set up," said Arthur, for whom this was a first major tournament success after spells in charge of both his native SA and Australia.