The World XI side may not have won the opening game of three-match Independence series against Pakistan on Tuesday, but senior member of the squad from England, Paul Collingwood, says he’s proud to be part of this special occasion.
The 41-year-old former England captain also shared his past experiences of playing against Pakistan in Pakistan in general and in Lahore in particular.
“I am already proud to be part of this tour,” said the former England skipper when asked about his feeling on being part of something special for Pakistan cricket.
“Once I heard that three T20s are going to be held here and I was likely to be a part of it. It was a pretty easy decision to made,” he added.
Describing his feeling further, Collingwood said “I am like a kid at Christmas again.”
He was also full of praise for the Lahore’s crowd, who – according to Paul - kept the intensity of competition very high till the end.
“The intensity was there, and although the crowd wasn’t at hundred percent of the capacity but the noise they made showed how they enjoyed seeing Pakistan playing at home after a long time,” he said.
Collingwood, who became first England captain to win a global tournament by leading his team to victory in World T20 2010, also shared his experience of his previous visits to Pakistan.
“Last time I came to Pakistan I understood that cricket in Pakistan is like a religion and the passion and atmosphere at cricket ground here is really special, I experienced that in Karachi in 2005 and tonight was a great start too,” he said.
Collingwood made everyone enjoy the moment when a journalist reminded him that he was out for a nervous 90 when he last played a Test in Lahore by pulling his fellow World XI team mate Tamim Iqbal into the answer.
“Don’t look at me like this, I have scored some runs,” he said to Tamim which made everyone laugh.
“I scored in nineties here against likes of Shoaib Akhtar, who was a fastest bowler.”
“And, Danish Kaneria, I couldn’t’ believe how he caught me. And I am sure he couldn’t either,” he said while recalling the Lahore Test.
The former England captain hoped that the World XI team will bounce back in second match against Pakistan to level the Independence series.
“It is not easy for a World XI team to gel so quickly, but we have learnt a lot from today’s game and hopefully we’ll be back in the game tomorrow night,” he said.