LAHORE - Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi has said that collective efforts are needed from government and the public to make the tour of star-studded World XI a huge success.

“Besides government and PCB, it is the people of the Pakistan, who will be playing a significant role in the success of the World XI tour,” Sethi said this while speaking at the logo unveiling ceremony of the Independence Day Cup between Pakistan and World XI, commencing from September 12.

“It is our collective responsibility as the fate of resumption of international cricket in Pakistan heavily depends on the success of the World XI tour. If we successfully host the World XI, then Sri Lankan and West Indies teams will also be visiting us in coming months and by that way, we will see the return of international cricket in Pakistan,” he added.

He said once international cricket returns to Pakistan, the PCB will be holding discussions with other cricket boards regarding the visit of their respective teams to Pakistan in due course of time. “The task of having World XI in Pakistan was challenging. We overcame a number of hurdles, as to satisfy the ICC hired-security team was challenging, there were a lot of demands of the Word XI players, so we sorted out problems related to the foreign cricketers and their respective boards,” said the PCB chief.

Sethi said the PCB was striving to stage international cricket matches at Karachi and it was also aiming to hold World XI matches there but unfortunately foreign players were not ready to play in the port city. “It does not mean that we have given up to hold matches in Karachi, we will be making things better in Karachi and we will also arrange the visit of the security teams there to satisfy them in regard to security issues.

It is a step-by-step procedure, as first we will be holding Pakistan Super League matches in Karachi, then we will also hold international matches there and that is the way to ensure the resumption of international cricket to Karachi as well,” he added.

To a query, Sethi said the PCB is selling the tickets of the Independence Day Cup in a fair manner as this event is not a profit earning venture and the cricket board wants to minimize its losses as it will be difficult to answer and satisfy the audit people and the Board of Governors, in case huge losses are suffered in the three-match series.

He said the World XI visit is a step forward to give good name and respect to the national cricket and it is national duty to portray a positive image of the country to prove the world that Pakistan is a safe country for elite cricket events.

He said public’s interest is immense to buy the tickets of the first match of the series and people have to wait for hours to buy the tickets, which are available in less number due to limited sitting capacity at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Sethi said the PCB will be holding a reception to honour national heroes including Misbah-ul-Haq, Younus Khan and Shahid Afridi on September 14 and it is hoped that these players will attend the ceremony.

The PCB chief expressed his gratitude to the sponsors for extending support to the board and said efforts are underway to seek sponsorship for the top four regions of the PCB to bring improvement in the domestic cricket.

Speaking on the occasion, UBL president and CEO Mrs Sima Kamil said: “We are excited to be the title sponsors for the World XI series, which has tremendous appeal for millions of cricket fans as it marks the return of international cricket to Pakistan. We wish both teams the best of luck.”  Brighto Paints chairman Atif Riaz Sikka said: “Brighto Paints is the presenting sponsors for this T20 series and kit sponsor of World XI team as well. We wish good luck to the teams and look forward to host this auspicious event.”

Meanwhile, Pakistani cricket squad has begun its training camp here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday for the upcoming three Twenty20 matches series with World XI.  The players from the national squad have reported at the camp to participate in the training session. Pakistani speedster M Aamir will miss early days of training camp as he is in England along with his wife; the couple is expecting their first child. Spinner Shadab Khan has missed the first day of the training session for his commitment in the Caribbean Premier League. Head coach Mickey Arthur also visited Gaddafi Stadium to oversee the training and arrangements.