By Syed Khalid Mahmood
The Customs Cricket Academy (CCA), founded by former Test fast bowler Jalaluddin in 1999, has distinguished itself by providing quality service. Currently celebrating its first decade of excellence, the CCA has also embarked upon the mission of spreading itself.
Headquartered at the Customs Sports Complex in Block 15 of Federal-B-Area, close to the UBL Sports Complex on Rashid Minhas Road, the CCA has recently established a base in the posh locality of the Defence Housing Society. A project by the name of Vital Five Club has been launched, based at the SKBZ Ground.
“The purpose of establishing Vital Five club is to give youngsters a chance to shine. The programme is a commitment for the development of cricket at school level in the eve of raising the standard of Pakistan cricket. This is a cricket carnival, which will give children the benefit of playing sports competitively. Team pairs competition for different age groups (8-10 years) (11-15), and (16-19 years) is planned, and schools are invited to take benefit from the set up,” Jalaluddin stated in his welcome speech during the presentation ceremony of an exhibition match organized to mark the opening of the club.
Jalaluddin, who is remembered for recording the first-ever hat-trick in One-day Internationals, highlighted the objectives of the Vital Five Club and announced the plan to revive school cricket. The club will be managed by the CCA, possessing qualified coaches and other support staff.
Jalaluddin, credited for developing a team of qualified coaches and trainers after having undertaken various ICC-accredited courses himself, has a firm resolve to revive the school cricket.
Meanwhile Askari XI registered an exciting 14-run victory over Showbiz XI in the festival match played in connection with the inauguration ceremony of Vital Five Club at the DA College Ground in DHA Phase VI.
Put into bat, Askari XI, led by Lt Gen Tariq Wasim Ghazi, scored 195 for the loss of wickets in the allotted 25 overs. Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan smashed a breezy 38 while Col Billa made 48. Hockey Olympian Islahuddin contributed 21 before retiring after Saleem Yousuf had kickstarted the innings with a brisk 49.
The damage was controlled by the Showbiz XI skipper, Adnan Siddiqui, who took wickets with Haji Ashraf, Faisal and Waqar being the other successful bowlers.
Chasing a formidable target of 196 in 25 overs the Showbiz XI lost a few early wickets but the situation was retrieved by Haji Ashraf and former hockey Olympian Qamar Ibrahim.
There was another mini-collapse following the departure of Qamar who made 36 but Haji Ashraf kept his side afloat until he was run out for 56. Col Billa sealed the fate of the match with three quick wickets as Showbiz XI were bowled out for 180.
Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, who was the chief guest in the ceremony, presented Man of the Match award to Saleem Yousuf of Askari XI while Haji Ashraf of Showbiz XI and Col Billa of Askari XI were adjudged the best batsman and the best bowler respectively.
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