In the world of sports, whenever a country or team has faced crisis, other teams and countries have actively worked on successfully conducting tournaments in those countries to ward the crisis away.
The World XI model — members of different international teams coming together as a single diverse team — has seen raving success in various sports including football, baseball, rugby and cricket.
The 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore appeared to shut all doors for international cricket in Pakistan.
Not only did the incident result in the suspension of international cricket in Pakistan, it also kept other sports stars from visiting Pakistan for nearly a decade.
The key to bringing sports back to Pakistan has always lain with cricket — the sport with which the country’s hiatus from the international arena first started.
With much persuasion, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) managed to bring international players to Pakistan, and the International Cricket Board chose players from top cricketing nations to compile a World XI lineup for a three-match Twenty20 tournament in the hopes of reopening the closed doors of international cricket in Pakistan.
This is the first time that a World XI cricket team has been formed to play a complete T20 series against a single international cricket team.
However, there have been other World XI teams in the past. Here’s a look at the history of World XI cricket teams:
The first ever World XI team played a tri-team tournament against the West Indies and England in 1966.
The beauty of this tournament was that the world had never witnessed limited-over One Day International (ODI) cricket matches before. The English team won this series.
In 1967, to commemorate Barbados’ independence day, an All-Star XI team — comprised of star players from all international teams — played the Barbados Independence Cup against the island’s cricket team.
After that, in 1970, when South Africa cancelled a tour to England, a World XI was constituted to play five test matches with England, in which Intekhab Alam and Mushtaq Mohammed of Pakistan were also drafted. The World XI beat England with 4-1.
Similarly, South Africa were to visit Australia for a series in 1971 which was cancelled by the home country, after which a World XI was constituted and sent to Australia.
In this World XI, ‘Asian Bradman’ Zaheer Abbas, Intekhab Alam and Asif Masood were included, and it played 16 matches from November 1971 to February 1972.
In 1977, Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket organised a one-day series between West Indies, Australia and World XI, in which Pakistan’s former captain Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Asif Iqbal, Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohammed, Sarfraz Nawaz, Tasleem Arif and Zaheer Abbas, among others, played.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), a five-match one-day series was played between MCC XI and World XI.
In this match, players from both teams were not restricted to any one country, but belonged to different nations of the world.
The MCC, on the first anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, organised a one-day match between the World XI and MCC XI to raise 1 million pounds for the Princess Diana Memorial Fund.
In April 2000, to mark the ICC Cricket Week, a team was formed out of Asian cricket teams’ players which had to play against World XI.
This match was held in Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, and was aimed at promoting cricket in the nation.
In this match, Michael Bevan played a memorable innings of 185 runs.
However, the match was overshadowed by the historical match-fixing scandal of Hansie Cronje which surfaced just a day before the match.
On 10 January, 2005, an exhibition match was held between Asia XI and World XI to raise funds for areas affected by the destructive Tsunami which hit Southeast Asian countries in December 2004.
The match raised 17 million Australian dollars, which was spent on the welfare of Tsunami affected.
In October 2005, a series of one test and three one-day matches was played between World XI and Australia, in which Australian team, the then world champions, decimated their opponents.
Three years ago, in 2014, a match was held between Team Sachin and Team Shane to mark the 200th anniversary of the Lords’ Cricket Ground. The teams comprised international players from different nations.
This rain-struck match, although was very well-received among spectators, but at the end, a skirmish between Andrew Strauss and Kevin Pietersen came to light.