By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
(Pakistan News & Features Services)
A total of 32 outfits will be participating in the PVCA Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament 2016 for the Omar Trophy, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) and sponsored by Omar Associates.
Salahuddin Ahmed, Sadiq Mohammad and Iqbal Qasim were the Test cricketers present in the gathering, along with former chief of the HBL Sports Division, Abdul Raquib, the President of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, and the President of Karachi Gymkhana, Fawad Salim Malik. Besides the media corps, the representatives of the participating schools also attended the briefing.
It was announced that the tournament will be getting underway with a colourful opening ceremony at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground on September 1 and it will be followed by the opening match between Beaconhouse School and Ladybird School the same day.
Fawad Ijaz Khan, in his speech, highlighted the role of the PVCA in the promotion of cricket at the grassroots level, as the association is now holding eighth edition of the Inter-School Tournament in Karachi, having launched it in 1999.
“We had envisioned the Inter-Schools cricket on the pattern of the Ruby Shield, which used to be the premier tournament of its kind and it’s still talked about with great awe. We have launched something similar and we need supporters like Omar Associates and Bank Alfalah to join hands with us in making it an annual event,” he observed.
“Both the semifinals as well as the final, to be staged at the National Stadium, Karachi, will be telecast live nationally and internationally as was done in the last edition of the tournament,” Fawad Ijaz Khan disclosed.
Nadeem Omar, Managing Director, Omar Associates, paid glowing tribute to the functionaries of the PVCA on organizing the Inter-Schools Tournament in Karachi for the eighth time in 17 years.
“It’s quite an uphill task doing it as there are numerous challenges involved. Hats off to Fawad Ijaz Khan and his PVCA team for having done it quite professionally and nicely. Omar Associates is always a willing sponsor for the sports activities in the country and we are delighted to be supporting the PVCA Inter-Schools Tournament,” he observed.
“It’s indeed a pity that just a few athletes of our country participated in the recently concluded Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. We need to build a proper infrastructure for sports as we do have the talents which are not being utilized,” he reckoned.
Aly Mustansir, Chief Marketing Officer, Bank Alfalah, welcoming the initiative of the PVCA of continuously holding Inter-Schools Tournament in Karachi, expressed the hoped that it will also be taken to other cities.
“Extending support in developing indigenous talent and taking innovation in to the next level are part of our institutional strategy as well. Inter-Schools Tournament provide solid platform to the rising talent and it’s extremely beneficial for the cause of the game,” he noted.
Meanwhile the participating teams of the PVCA Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament 2016 for the Omar Trophy have been divided equally in eight groups.
The Group A comprises of Ladybird Grammar School, Beaconhouse School, CAA School and Fahim School System while the Group B contains Fahad Academy, Happy Palace School, Fatimiyah Boys School and Zaheer Public School.
The Group C features St Paul English School, Qadri Model English School, Zeeshan Secondary School and Qamar Bani Hashim School while the Group D is composed of Khan Secondary School, Al Fatima Academy, Oasis English Secondary School and The Educators.
The quartet of BM Grammar School, Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Springfield School and Hira Foundation Boys School constitute the Group E while the Group F has the presence of Ebrahim Ali Bhai School, Karachi Public School, Government Boys Secondary School No 2 and Al Hameed Secondary School.
The Group G includes Karachi Gymkhana Schoolboys, Foundation Public School, St Patrick’s High School and Behbud Boys Secondary School while the four teams in the Group H are Kamran Public School, New Standard Secondary School, Falcon House Grammar School and The City School.
At the end of the league matches, the leaders of all the eight groups will be advancing to the knockout stage of the competition, starting with the quarter-finals on October 31. The semifinals on November 10 and 11 will be followed by the final on November 15.