LONDON: South Africas AB de Villiers hopes his involvement in this years Pakistan Super League will encourage the worlds best players to return to the country.

Pakistan have had to play most of their home games in the United Arab Emirates since a 2009 attack on Sri Lankas team bus in Lahore, although the West Indies did tour Pakistan in April last year.

But former Proteas captain De Villiers will become arguably the most high-profile overseas cricketer to play in Pakistan for a decade should he, as planned, feature in two fixtures in the PSL in Lahore on March 9 and 10.

“I felt that I had this opportunity to maybe make an impact to help international cricket return to Pakistan,” he told the BBC World Services Stumped programme.

“I was reluctant to go a few years back, when we were all a bit worried, but I feel the time is right to go back there.”

“Im hoping to go there and have some fun and show the whole world that Pakistan is safe to travel to again.”

Meanwhile the 34-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman added he “would love to play” in English crickets new Hundred tournament when it launches in 2020.

Matches will be restricted to 100 balls per innings — even fewer than in Twenty20 — in a bid to speed up the game.

India captain Virat Kohli has queried the need for a new format in addition to first-class, one-day and Twenty20 cricket.

But De Villiers, who unlike Kohli is now a free agent after retiring from international duty in May, said: “I cant see anything wrong with trying something different.”

“Im not set in my schedule at the moment but I would love to play in the UK.

“Im sure with the tradition and the culture of cricket over there, it would be very well supported. I would love to be a part of it.”

De Villiers, however, all but ruled himself out of playing in England during this years World Cup, which starts in May.

South Africa have never won the World Cup, but De Villiers — whose 31-ball century against the West Indies at Johannesburg in 2015 remains the fastest one-day international hundred — said: “I feel Ive made the right decision to retire.

“If they (South Africa) do approach me — and I dont think that will happen — well have a conversation and Im pretty sure that I will be staying over here and supporting the team.”

AFP

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