August 30, 2016

Quetta Gladiators to hold Under-23 Talent Hunt Programme in Balochistan


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Quetta Gladiators, one of the five founding entities of the Pakistan Super League, has set off to promote cricket in a big way in the province of Balochistan, by launching a talent hunt programme titled ‘Your Gateway to Stardom’ in the first week of September. 

The salient of the Under-23 Talent Hunt Programme for Balochistan, to be conducted under the supervision of the spinning great, Iqbal Qasim, were unveiled by the owner of Quetta Gladiators, Nadeem Omar, in a media briefing at Hotel Movenpick, Karachi, on August 29. 

Moin Khan, a former Pakistan captain and coach of Quetta Gladiators, was also present on the occasion alongwith Salahuddin Ahmed, ex-Chairman of the national selection committee, and quite a few other cricketers. 

“Iqbal Qasim, one of the greatest left-arm spinners, has been roped in as the Director of the talent hunt programme and he will be assisted by the trio of Saleem Jaffer, Ghulam Ali and Zafar Ahmed. All of them have volunteered to work on honorary basis which is truly commendable,” Nadeem Omar recognized. 

“The initial phase of the trials will be taking place at the Bugti Stadium in Quetta from September 1 to 4 and at the Jam Mir Ghulam Qadir Stadium in Hub on September 7 and 8. The final phase of the trials will be carried out in the third week of September in Quetta. At the end of the final selection process, around 20 players will be selected and they will be awarded one-year contracts during which period they will be trained by qualified coaches,” the Managing Director of Omar Associates revealed. 

“As many as 15 players will be selected from the talent hunt while the top five performers of Balochistan in the PCB Regional Under-19 Tournament will be automatically drafted in the final list,” he added. 

The players from all cities and districts of Balochistan, falling in the Under-23 age group, have been invited to take part in the trials. 

“Our initiative is aimed at providing a solid platform to the deprived cricketers of Balochistan for showcasing their true potential. Here is an opportunity for them to get noticed and give a head start to their career. They can prove their mettle and make it big,” Nadeem Omar remarked. 

“It’s our mission to support the cause of cricket from the grassroots level in the entire province of Balochistan. Talent hunt was a missing link there and we are plugging the gap. Our programme will go a long way in boosting the sport in the truest sense of the word,” he reckoned. 

Iqbal Qasim shared having worked in the province of Balochistan for seven to eight years during his long stint as a cricket administrator. 

“Trust me we were overwhelmed by the talent of the youngsters over there. They were incredibly powerful young lads whose cricketing abilities were beyond our imagination. This initiative of Quetta Gladiators is a masterstroke and it should work wonders in future. This will be greatly helpful in facilitating the cricketers of the province who get little exposure otherwise,” he remarked in his speech on the occasion. 

Moin Khan was equally optimistic about discovering quality talent from Balochistan which could prove to be assets for Quetta Gladiators as well as Pakistan. 

“The Balochistan youngsters thoroughly deserved such an initiative. They have enormous talent and enthusiasm. We are providing them the platform and we are confident that it will yield the desired results,” he hoped. 

Murad Ismail, President of the Quetta Regional Cricket Association, offered his wholehearted support to Quetta Gladiators in this venture, promising total cooperation in achieving the mutual objective of putting Balochistan on the cricket map. 

Shariq Hasib Khan, a senior bureaucrat having headed the cricket bodies in Balochistan, announced holding an Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament in Quetta during the month of October in which a total of 24 outfits will be taking part.


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