Karachi abuzz with anticipation

T20 cricket
Karachi

This is no April fools joke, international cricket is coming back to Karachi on Sunday with the West Indies in town for three T20Is at the National Stadium.

The city has not seen an international match since 2009 when they hosted a Test during Sri Lanka’s ill-fated 2009 tour.

A militant attack on the Sri Lanka bus saw players injured and scarred Pakistan cricket forever.

From that tour on Pakistan were forced to play all internationals at neutral venues mostly in the United Arab Emirates a bitter blow for the cricket mad country.

Lahore has been favoured for thefew international forays into Pakistan since 2009 hosting Zimbabwe in 2015 before the visit of a World XI and international players in the Pakistan Super League final in 2017.

Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder and Devendra Bishoo decided to skip the series due to security concerns but the West Indies have still brought a strong squad along.

The 31-year-old Jason Mohammed will lead a squad that includes 4 newcomers with a minimum of two T20I debuts guaranteed for Sunday.

The four bolters in the Windies group are Andre McCarthy, a middle-order batsman, pacers Odean Smith and Keemo Paul, and Veerasammy Permaul, the left-arm spinner who has played Tests and ODIs but not T20Is.

The crowds in Pakistan will savour the talents of Marlon Samuels, Samuel Badree, Andre Fletcher, Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams alongside the home team who will no doubt receive a raucous reception.

Pakistan will likely also take the opportunity to blood some fresh talent with uncapped youngsters Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and Shaheen Afridi included in the squad led by Sarfaraz Ahmed.

The home team will be looking to retain their number one ranking and sport a strong squad that should be favourites to win this quickfire series.

Squads

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (c/wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Faheem Ashraf, Muhammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali, Usman Khan, Shaheen Afridi

Windies: Jason Mohammed (c), Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Andre Fletcher, Andre McCarthy, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Marlon Samuels, Odean Smith, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams.

Fixtures

Sunday 1 April, 20:00 local (15:00 GMT)
Monday 2 April, 19:30 local (14:30 GMT)
Tuesday 3 April, 19:30 local (14:30 GMT)

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