The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the first three players who will participate in the T20I match between World XI and Windies at Lord’s on 31st May. The game is being organized to raise funds for stadia in the Caribbean that were badly damaged following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year. The players are, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, and Thisara Perera.
Afridi and Malik were part of the Pakistan squad that won the ICC World T20 2009 at Lord’s, while Perera was a member of the Sri Lanka side that lifted the silverware in Dhaka in 2014. The three World T20 winners will provide a lot of experience to the ICC World XI side which will see more names being added with English skipper Eoin Morgan is expected to lead the side.
Talking about the Shahid Afridi said: “I am humbled to have been selected for such a noble cause. Cricket is one big family and no matter how hard and tough we play against each other, there is tremendous comradery within the group. As such, it is our moral and professional obligation to stand up and support whenever and wherever we can, to assist our members, colleagues and cricket fans. Lord’s is an iconic venue and the perfect location for this match. I look forward to visiting it again in May with an aim to entertain the fans.”
On the other hand, Shoaib Malik said: “It’s a matter of great honor and pride to be selected in an ICC World XI and a wonderful opportunity to play along with and against some of the biggest names in world cricket. We have all heard of the damage caused by the two hurricanes in the West Indies last year and it is really good to see so many cricketers come together for the objective of raising funds to repair the damage to cricket venues. Lord’s obviously is one of the most revered cricket venues but I also have some very delightful memories there. One that really stands out is anchoring the chase along with Shahid Afridi when we beat Sri Lanka in the final to win the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009.”
Thisara Perera was part of an ICC World XI side that toured Pakistan, he said, “I’m privileged to have made the World XI side for a second time after having also played in the series against Pakistan in Lahore last year. I’m looking forward to the match at Lord’s next month with great enthusiasm as this is one of those rare opportunities when you get to rub shoulders with the best in the world. It is heartening to note that players have come together for helping rebuild stadia in the West Indies. The West Indies have contributed a lot to world cricket over the years and they deserve all support from our generation of players.”
Carlos Brathwaite-led Windies too are a strong side as they have stalwarts like Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree and Andre Russell and will be looking to give off their best and show the might that helped them win the ICC World Twenty20 title two years ago. The match is scheduled in order to raise funds to rebuild and restore five major cricket venues at the heart of Caribbean communities that were damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.