Pakistan take big step in from cold as World XI come to play

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Pakistan will take a huge step towards reviving international cricket at home after years of isolation when it hosts the three-match Independence Cup Twenty20 series amid tight security against a star-studded World XI starting Tuesday.

The series will be the most high-profile since a 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore left eight dead and drove away international cricket and most other sports.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has high hopes that the series will close that dark chapter for good ─ and allow a new generation of players to experience the thrill of playing before a home crowd for the first time.

Juts five members of the current squad have done that before ─ skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Sohail Khan and Ahmed Shehzad.

“I can assure all Pakistan cricket fans that we have missed playing in front of them,” Ahmed said.

“But I am confident that through this tour more cricket will come our way and we will (do) our best to win for home fans.”