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We have a reason, a greater cause: Sammy

Former Windies skipper says World XI players are aware they are part of something more important than just themselves.
Darren Sammy

Darren Sammy, the former Windies captain, believes the players involved in the World XI team that will play three Twenty20 Internationals in Pakistan over this week are aware of the fact that “they are part of something more important than just their selves”.

Sammy, along with the other members of the World XI, have assembled in Dubai for a two-day training camp. “We have a reason, a greater cause,” said Sammy, who led Windies to two ICC World T20 titles.

“Everybody here has accepted that they are part of something more important than just their selves. To me, it's a place where I have a great connection and going back there, like I said through the PSL [Pakistan Super League] final, to bring cricket back to Pakistan, if we can be part of history, a greater purpose, it's a wonderful opportunity."

Earlier this year, Sammy led Peshawar Zalmi to a maiden PSL title in Lahore, and the all-rounder didn't shy away from sharing his experience with his new team-mates. “I did brief them quickly about my experience in Lahore for the PSL final," revealed Sammy. "We've had the best security team, who have also briefed them. Like I said before, it's important. To get an opportunity after so long, they are all happy to be part of that process.

"The first thing I said to guys after the PSL final – apart from all the security and the protocol – once I stepped on the field, it felt like playing in St Lucia. That is my honest experience – the crowd were just hungry for cricket, to see their icons and role models play in the game. That is what it felt like. That is what I briefed the players when the coach [Andy Flower] asked me about my experience."

Sammy said this series could play an important role in bringing international cricket back to Pakistan. "I believe Sri Lanka and Windies are also planning to travel to Pakistan, and if the government, the security agencies and cricket authorities there can keep the momentum going, it won't be long before we have full-fledged tours there."

Ben Cutting, George Bailey and Tim Paine will become the first Australians to tour Pakistan in nearly 20 years. The last time Australia visited Pakistan was in 1998-99, and without putting much pressure on himself, Cutting said he was looking forward to enjoy the experience. “I haven’t played a lot of international cricket in the past couple of years, let alone at all," said Cutting. "So to play under the banner of a World XI against a team like Pakistan, in Pakistan, is pretty exciting. I’m not going to take it too seriously. I’m going to enjoy myself, and hopefully, that pays off in performances.

"I did run into Jason Gillespie about a week ago and he said well done. I asked him what he knew about Lahore and Pakistan, and he said you're really going to enjoy it, particularly Lahore itself. He spent some time there. So that was refreshing and good to hear."

The Faf du Plessis-led side will take on Pakistan in the first game at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Tuesday. The other two matches are at the same venue, on Wednesday and Friday.

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