Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik and Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera have been added to the ICC Rest of the World XI squad for the Hurricane Relief T20 Challenge charity match against the West Indies.
All three players have tasted glory in the shortest format, specifically at the World Twenty20. Afridi and Malik were part of the Pakistan team that won the event in 2009, while Thisara was a member of the Sri Lankan side that triumphed in the 2014 edition of the tournament.
The trio are the first international players that have been confirmed for the ICC Rest of the World XI squad, which will be captained by England limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan.
“I am humbled to have been selected for such a noble cause,” Afridi was quoted as saying by the Lord’s website. “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 have some fond memories of this great venue, having played the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 and the ICC World T20 2009, and I look forward to visiting it again in May with an aim to entertain the fans.”
Malik echoed Afridi’s sentiments, saying: “It’s a matter of great honour 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.
“As much as the chance of figuring in such a select group, I also see this as an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful cause. 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.
“That the match is being played at Lord’s makes this event extra special for me. 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 added: “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.
“To be playing alongside so many top players from different countries will definitely be a high point of my career.
“I’m also very happy because I have been given the opportunity to contribute in what I think is a very good cause. 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.”
The one-off Twenty20 International will be held at Lord’s on May 31 to raise funds for five cricket grounds that were damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria – James Ronald Webster Park in Anguilla, Dominica’s Windsor Park Stadium, Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua, A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground in the British Virgin Islands and Carib Lumber Ball Park in St Maarten.