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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

International cricket to return to Pakistan as PCB announce plans to host World XI, Sri Lanka and West Indies

'We are getting positive signals and the doors of international cricket are opening on Pakistan

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi addresses a news conference in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, August 21, 2017. Sethi says international cricket will return to the country next month when a World XI plays a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore. KM Chaudary / AP Photo
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi addresses a news conference in Lahore, Pakistan, Monday, August 21, 2017. Sethi says international cricket will return to the country next month when a World XI plays a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore. KM Chaudary / AP Photo

Pakistan announced the return of international cricket to its soil, with three separate sides scheduled to visit after years of isolation over security concerns.

A World XI tour kicks off in September followed by a short visit by Sri Lanka for a Twenty20 match in October, then a Twenty20 series against the West Indies a month later.

"We are getting positive signals and the doors of international cricket are opening on Pakistan," Najam Sethi, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, told a press conference in Lahore.

The tours are seen as a big step towards Pakistan once again hosting major international outfits after militants targeted the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009, killing eight people and wounding at least seven players.

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Since the attacks Pakistan has only hosted a limited-over series against Zimbabwe in 2015 while Bangladesh, the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Ireland turned down offers over security fears.

Pakistan has also been forced to play their cricket in the UAE for the past eight years including two editions of the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 (PSL).

But security has dramatically improved across Pakistan in the past two years, signalling hopes for the slow revival of international sport in the country.

In March, Pakistan successfully hosted the PSL final in Lahore with English players Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan, West Indies' Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels and South Africa's Morne van Wyk and Zimbabwe's Sean Ervine competing.

The match's success pushed the PCB to expedite efforts to convince more teams to play in Pakistan.

"We will play a full series with Sri Lanka in the UAE after which Sri Lanka will come to Lahore for a Twenty20, so things are shaping up," Sethi said.

Sethi said he will announce the names of World XI players in the coming days, with the team being managed by former England coach Andy Flower.