Grant Elliott is poised to become the first New Zealand cricketer to play an international match in Pakistan for more than 13 years.
The 38-year-old has flown to Lahore where he will join the World XI to prepare for three Twenty20 matches against the hosts on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The fixtures will be played under lights at Gaddafi Stadium. Each squad member is expected to receive in the vicinity of $135,000 for their services.
The all-rounder is New Zealand's sole representative in a 14-man squad captained by Faf du Plessis, coached by Andy Flower, and featuring cricketers from seven test-playing countries.
Several reasons convinced Elliott to play, but the passion of his Pakistan Super League teammates at the Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalanders franchises was prominent.
"I got to know a few people in Pakistani cricket when I performed pretty well in those tournaments," he told the Herald on Sunday.
"I'm also excited about some opportunities which might open up with the Lahore owners. They've just bought the Durban Qalanders franchise in South Africa, and I will be their assistant coach in November-December [for the inaugural Global League].
"That doesn't mean my playing days are over. I'm still keen to play, and have another year with the Birmingham Bears."
Elliott led the Bears to the T20 Blast final. Nottinghamshire beat them by 22 runs.
"The shorter format is something I'm still passionate about, so I may as well keep doing it. I thrived with the captaincy of the Bears towards the end. I enjoy helping younger guys achieve the pathways they want."
The Pakistan government has promised presidential-level security for the World XI tour, and the country's cricket board is covering the players' expenses. An International Cricket Council security unit visited Lahore on August 26 and 27 as part of the vetting procedure.
Elliott was satisfied with the due diligence taken.
"We get the reports from all the relevant agencies. You assess the risks involved and make a decision as a family. Of course the players are getting paid but if no one felt safe, no one would be going.
"These are small steps in returning cricket to Pakistan on a more permanent basis. It's sad for them that they never play at home. They always talk about it with such passion. I think we can expect enthusiastic crowds."
Elliott will join up with coach Flower, who toured Pakistan three times with Zimbabwe and has been a batting coach for Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL. The New Zealander first came across the former England coach 19 years ago. "I remember playing him when I was part of the South African academy team in 1998. He got 170 for a Zimbabwe XI, and they had beaten us by tea on the third day."
The World XI matches mark the third time international players have visited Pakistan since the March 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus.
New Zealand's last tour to Pakistan was when the Chris Cairns-led limited overs side lost 5-0 in December 2003. A bomb in Karachi ended the May 2002 test tour.
Zimbabwe embarked on a limited overs tour in May 2015, and the PSL final was held at Lahore in March.
"This is a very big thing," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Najam Sethi told a media conference last month. "Pray that we keep our security solid."
The World XI squad
Faf du Plessis (South Africa, captain), Hashim Amla (South Africa), Samuel Badree (West Indies), George Bailey (Australia), Paul Collingwood (England), Ben Cutting (Australia), Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh), David Miller (South Africa), Morne Morkel (South Africa), Tim Paine (Australia), Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka), Imran Tahir (South Africa), Darren Sammy (West Indies).