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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
USA opening batsman Steven Taylor has been selected to be a part of a World XI team captained by former Sri Lanka star Sanath Jayasuriya against a Pakistan All-Star XI in a pair of exhibition matches this weekend in Karachi, Pakistan. The 18-year-old Florida native confirmed his participation in the event via text message on Monday prior to boarding a flight for Pakistan.
Taylor was named the 2011 Cricketer of the Year in DreamCricket.com’s New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards. The menacing left-hander was USA’s vice-captain at the 2011 ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifier in Ireland where he finished tied for second overall at the event with 455 runs including two centuries. He is the only American player in the 12-man World XI squad for the matches which will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi on October 20 and 21.
Image (right) - Steven Taylor in action vs. Denmark at 2012 ICC WCL Division Four in Malaysia. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
At the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE, Taylor was USA’s second most productive batsman with 179 runs at the tournament. His best score was 40 in USA’s upset win over ODI-nation Scotland. In August, he captained the ICC Americas U-19 team in Barbados at the West Indies Cricket Board Regional U-19 Tournament, making a top score of 75 against Barbados U-19. At ICC World Cricket League Division Four last month in Malaysia, he finished second overall at the tournament with 216 runs at an average of 36.00 including two half-centuries for USA at a strike rate of 104.85.
In addition to Taylor, former West Indies Test bowlers Adam Sanford and Jermaine Lawson, who played for the New York and Atlantic Regions respectively in USACA National Tournaments in 2010, are also in the World XI as is former West Indies international Ricardo Powell, former South African internationals Justin Kemp, Loots Bosman, Nantie Hayward and Andre Nel and current Afghanistan players Shapoor Zadran and Mohammad Shahzad.
The Pakistan All-Star XI will be captained by Shahid Afridi and includes seven other players from Pakistan’s 2012 ICC World Twenty20 squad: Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Imran Nazir, Asad Shafiq and Mohammad Sami. Also in the Pakistan All-Star XI squad is Younis Khan, who has played 79 Tests and was the title-winning captain for Pakistan at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 in England.
The matches are being staged in an attempt to help revive international tours to Pakistan. No Test playing nation has toured the country since the Sri Lanka team bus was the target of a terrorist attack on the way to the Gaddafi Stadium for day three of a Test match in Lahore on March 3, 2009.