LAHORE - After nearly three-and-a-half years, Pakistan and cricket crazy fans will get a bit of international cricket at home on Saturday (today) and Sunday (tomorrow) when International World XI led by former Sri Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya — will take on Pakistan Star XI in two Twenty20 matches at the National Stadium Karachi. Pakistan’s 43-month long drought of international cricket has set to be ended on Saturday (today) as the Pakistan All Stars XI will take on International World XI in the first of the two Twenty20 matches. The international cricket activities were suspended in Pakistan after a terrorist attack at the Sri Lankan cricket team bus in March 2009 in which at least eight people, including six policemen, were killed while six Sri Lankan players were injured. Pakistan lost its hosting rights for the 2011 Cricket World Cup matches after the incident, which was scheduled to be jointly hosted by Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. Since that attack, Pakistan’s cricket team was compelled to play its home series on neutral venues in the other countries, especially, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is for the first time that international cricketers — even if mostly retired from the game — will be playing in the country after the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team. Since then the ‘cricket-crazy’ nation fell off the cricket map and had to settle for either watching the game on television or travel elsewhere for live action, including home series matches hosted on neutral grounds. The international cricket revival hope brightened in April when the Bangladesh cricket team was to tour Pakistan for a one-day and a T20 match in Lahore but they were stopped from doing so by the Dhaka High Court at the eleventh hour. Since the International World XI has already arrived in Karachi on Thursday, a last-minute cancellation is unlikely this time round. The event is the personal initiative of the Sindh Sports Minister M Ali Shah while the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has only provided the venue and allowed contracted players for participation in the matches. Upon arrival, Jayasuriya was upbeat and hoped that the two matches would encourage other teams to come and play in Pakistan. “In my opinion, Pakistan is a safe country.” His team – being coached by West Indian batsman Alvin Kallicharran – include South African Test players Andre Nel and Nantie Hayward besides Ricardo Powell and Jermaine Lawson from the Carribbean.  West Indies former batsman Ricardo Powell expressed the hope that the upcoming matches against the Pakistan Stars XI are going to be a huge opportunity for a number of players to showcase their talent. The Jamaican is a part of the International XI that will play two unofficial T20s matches against a Pakistan team led by Shahid Khan Afridi. Despite the fact that these matches do not hold any official status and have not been endorsed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) or PCB, it is a serious effort on part of the Sindh Sports Minister Dr MA Shah to revive international cricket in the country. Powell, who represented West Indies from 1999 to 2005, feels that there are no major security concerns in Pakistan and hopes that the two T20s will encourage different countries to send their teams to the troubled region. "Its feel good to be here in Pakistan and it’s a great opportunity for the players to come here and really exhibit their skills. I think it’s about time that world cricket returns to Pakistan.” Powell is excited to have been given a chance to play alongside some of the other international stars and wishes to provide entertainment to the masses in the upcoming matches.  "Twenty20 is the most exciting form of the game that you have right now and the teams are here to really enjoy themselves. Lots of good players are here, lots of guys from South Africa as well and lots of other players from other parts of the world, and I'm sure it will be a great weekend and we will see some good cricket," Powell added. The Pakistan team will be led by Shahid Afridi and will have some players from the national squad including Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz and Umar Akmal. Also playing for Pakistan will be former captains Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik. Though most of the players on both sides are past their prime, reports about ticket sales from Karachi suggest that this by no means has dampened the enthusiasm for the contest among the nation’s cricket lovers.