Collingwood admits he is tempted to play T20I series in Pakistan

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LONDON:  Former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood has been approached to play in a T20 series in Pakistan next month as part of the campaign to bring top-level cricket back to the country.

Collingwood admits he could be willing to take part in the landmark three-match series in Lahore providing security measures are in place.

The touring side will be coached by Andy Flower, forming part of the International Cricket Council’s bid to step up the return of major matches in a terror-hit country.

The World XI series will be followed by a short visit by Sri Lanka for one or two T20I matches in October, then a T20 series against the West Indies a month later.

Collingwood, who was the captain of the England’s World T20 winning side in 2010, is still playing for Durham and admits the idea of representing a world XI at the age of 41 certainly appeals.

“I’ve been asked if I would be willing. But until you hear all the details of the security and everything you can’t really commit to anything,” he said. “Andy asked me if I would entertain the idea, so that’s the starting point. Certainly the thing that would interest me is if, at 41, I could play in a T20 international in front of that crowd, that would float anybody’s boat. The tag of a world XI at 41, I’m quite proud of that if I was to get into that team.”

Pakistan has been isolated from the international scene since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 and have been forced to play their ‘home’ internationals in the UAE.

Apart from Zimbabwe in 2015, no Test playing nation have visited the country in the last eight years, and Collingwood believes country’s passionate fans will make the series more exciting.

“What I do remember about Pakistan was the passion of the supporters,” he added. “I think Karachi was probably one of the loudest crowds I have heard during an international match. They love cricket out there and it’s a tough place to tour. If it was England and we weren’t allowed to play cricket in England, we would be doing everything possible to get it back.”

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