Dubai - South Africa’s prolific run-getter Hashim Amla will be playing in Pakistan after a decade. He is one of the star players in the World XI team that trained at the Dubai International Stadium Sunday prior to their departure for the three match T20 series against Pakistan in Lahore on September 12, 13 and 15.

Amla carries with him great memories from his first tour in 2007 and hopes that this tour will be even more special and memorable. “I have good memories of playing Test cricket there and we managed to win that Test series when not many teams could do it. The crowd made the atmosphere great,” said Amla, who cracked a spectacular 71 in the first Test match of two-Test series in 2007 at Karachi that South Africa won by 160 runs. Amla scored 10 and 17 runs in the drawn second Test in Lahore.

It is the excitement of playing before the Pakistan crowd that has prompted Amla to tour with the World XI apart from the main mission of trying to get international cricket back into Pakistan. “Pakistani supporters are fantastic wherever we have been in the world and they have been outstanding whenever we played them. Even when playing them in neutral venues the fans made it look like it is their home game. We are all really excited to get to Pakistan and be part of something special — of introducing international cricket slowly and safely back in Pakistan.”

Amla, who averages 49 in Tests and 50.25 in One Day Internationals and 32.42 in T20 Internationals and has 26 Test centuries and 25 ODI centuries, loves challenges and considers a series against Pakistan to be exciting. “Pakistan are a very good team and they being the Champions Trophy winners they have always been a commendable team in T20. It is going to be really exciting and I think everybody will enjoy the competition and the atmosphere. Since we played against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy we have played against everyone in their team.

So when Gulf News asked whether the World XI has the right combination to win over Pakistan, Amla said: “We have a very good team. I have played with our captain Faf du Plessis and three other South African players (David Miller, Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel). We have got quality in other international players. So we have a really good team but Pakistan are a quality team too. So hopefully it will be closely contested series.”

Will the tour be a good preparation for him for the oncoming South Africa’s T20 Global League, Amla said: “Yes, for me personally, apart from the main factor of being part of something big, we have a series against Bangladesh when we get back to South Africa. So this can form part of my preparation of getting into the cricket season.”

Revealing about how he transformed into a top player in all formats of the game, Amla said: “Every format takes its time. I have always felt that it is easier to adjust coming from Test cricket to the shorter formats. Over the years I have worked hard on my game. Initially when T20s were introduced, to be very honest, I did not enjoy it. I don’t think I quite understood how to find my way of playing into the format but as the years have gone by I have thoroughly enjoyed and found my way around the format and I’m now really enjoying T20.”