World XI arrives in Pakistan to play 3 Twenty20 matches

A Pakistani police officer stands guard while cricketers attend a training session for the upcoming World XI series at a ground in Lahore, Pakistan, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Pakistan is preparing to show the cricketing world that it's safe to play international matches in the country by staging a three-match Twenty20 international series named World XI with players from seven countries in Lahore next week. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) A World XI led by South Africa’s Faf du Plessis arrived in Lahore early Monday amid tight security to play a three-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan.

Players from seven countries – England, Australia, West Indies, South Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and New Zealand – agreed to tour Pakistan, which is organizing the series in a bid to revive international cricket at home.

West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree was due to join the squad later on Monday, after playing in the Caribbean Premier League final.

Pakistan has only hosted Zimbabwe for a short, limited-overs series in 2015 since gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan national cricket team bus in Lahore in 2009, wounding several of the players and killing six policemen and a driver.

”It’s great to be here,” said Andy Flower, the World XI coach and former Zimbabwe captain. ”We are looking forward to seeing a lot of you watching the great cricket that we are going to put on show and we had a warm welcome already.”

Top officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board, including its chairman Najam Sethi, welcomed the players at the airport.

Both the federal and Punjab provincial governments have deployed thousands of security officials to guard the teams on the routes from their hotel to the Gaddafi Stadium, which will host the matches on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

World XI: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, George Bailey, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Grant Elliott, Tamim Iqbal, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Darren Sammy, Imran Tahir.