December 10, 2019

Omar Associates clinch PVCA National Seniors Cup

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Omar Associates from Karachi added another feather in its cap by winning the 20th National Seniors Cup Cricket Tournament 2018-19 as they outwitted Amar Cables of Lahore four wickets in the national final, held at Shah Faisal Cricket Ground, Lahore, on December 8.

A total of 107 teams from all over the country participated in the event, organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) every season since its inception in 1998-99. 

It was for the 10th time in the 20-year old history of the competition, being when a team from the southern region ran away with the trophy. 

On nine occasions a team from northern region has annexed the title while it was shared between Karachi and Lahore one time. Rashid Latif Cricket Academy (RLCA) had clinched the crown last season by outsmarting Okara, the northern region champions, in the national final at Karachi. 

Khalid Mahmood, a former Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), was the chief guest in the prize distribution ceremony where he presented a cash prize of Rs 150,000 alongwith winners’ trophy to Jaffer Qureshi, skipper of Omar Associates. The Amar Cables captain, Waqas Ahmed, collected the runners-up trophy with a purse of Rs 75,000. 

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman, PVCA, and Intikhab Alam, a former Pakistan captain, manager and coach, were also present on the occasion. 

As anticipated, the national final turned out to be a closely contested affair between the two regional champions. Put into bat, Amar Cables, the northern region champions, scored 203 for the loss of eight wickets in the allotted 25 overs. Omar Associates, the southern region champions, overcame an uncertain start to chase down the target successfully with just two deliveries remaining. Nadeem Shaikh’s decisive unbeaten 38 off 21 balls earned him Man of the Match award. 

The decision of Omar Associates to insert the opponents, after calling correctly, paid dividends as the home side lost three wickets before raising 50 of their innings. 

It was Farhan Asghar’s brilliant unbeaten 81 off 60 balls which lifted Amar Cables as he clobbered one six and nine fours. Shahzad Butt’s cameo in the death overs took the total past 200. He hammered a six and four fours in his 30 off 18 balls as Amar Cables reached a respectable score of 203. Left-arm medium-pacer Kashif Pervez (3-30) was the pick of the Omar Associates bowlers. 

Amar Cables got into the driving seat by dismissing both the openers, Jaffer Qureshi and Sajid Ali, early and they still had the game in control when Omar Associates lost fourth wicket at 70 while chasing a target of 204. 

Azhar Khan’s counter-attacking 61 off 37 balls containing three sixes and six fours brought Omar Associates back in the game and then Nadeem Shaikh finished it off with a breezy 38. Afsar Nawaz also contributed an invaluable 32 off 22 balls to help the Karachi outfit overhaul the stiff target.

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December 5, 2019

Sindh Archery Championship creates buzz, excitement

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Hosts Karachi dominated the Sindh Archery Championship 2019 by winning the Inter-Division contests for both men as well as the women competitions which concluded at the Soccer Ground of the University of Karachi over the weekend. 

The two-day Sindh Archery Championship was declared open by Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi, Vice Chancellor, University of Karachi, in a colourful ceremony.

Zain-ul-Abideen Valika, President, SAA, was the chief guest in an equally enchanting prize distribution ceremony which was also attended by Wisal Khan, Secretary, Archery Federation of Pakistan (AFP), who had specially flown in from Peshawar to witness the event. 

The atmosphere at the event remained electric on both the days with participants showing great intensity. Various stalls were also set up to facilitate the players, officials and visitors.
Speaking briefly on the occasion the SAA President revealed that quite a few archery events have been planned to be held in the city during the next few months, which includes the National Archery Championship 2020. 

Zainuddin Valika, appearing enthusiastic and animated, also hinted at hosting an international archery event in Karachi sometime in the second half of next year.

A proud Grammarian, being an alumni of the famous Karachi Grammar School, the SAA President promised to take archery to another level with the support of all stakeholders.

According to the results made available by Mansoor Shahzad, Secretary, Sindh Archery Association (SAA), Karachi Division clinched the men’s contest in which Hyderabad and Sukkur finished second and third respectively while in the women’s category Karachi was followed by Benazirabad and Sukkur. 

Huzaifa of Al Nadi Ali Burhani Academy emerged triumphant in the Sindh Open men competition and he was followed by Ibrahim Pattiwala. The third spot was claimed by Abdul Nur Khan of Bulls Eye Club. 

Qurrat-ul-Ain and Kanwal Hasan, both of them belonging to Customs Archery Club, shared the top two positions in the Sindh Open women tourney with Sumaira of Karachi University finishing third.

There was plenty of buzz and excitement at the campus of the University of Karachi on both days and the participation and involvement of a large number of players augured well for the future of archery in the province of Sindh.

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November 29, 2019

Kohli capitalizing on good work of predecessors

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Captaining the Indian cricket has never been easy. The task has continued to become increasingly tough and challenging because of the monumental significance of the sport which is followed the most passionately and so closely in a country whose population is reported to be more than 1.3 billion. 

The legendary Sunil Gavaskar has indeed correctly reminded the modern great Virat Kohli that the Indians were winning in the 1970s as well as in the 1980s but it should also not be forgotten that the frequency of Indian victories was on lower side compared to the one attained by the present side. 

The cricket historians and the statisticians from all over the world will testify that the current team, captained by Kohli, has displayed far more consistency and intensity to overcome most of the obstacles than any of the outfits fielded by the country since its Test debut in 1932. 

Kohli’s may not be the most resourceful Indian side of all time which makes its conquests even more praiseworthy. The marshalling of resources and the mindset to dominate, among other factors, has enabled them to register Test victories more regularly than before. 

Mind you Kohli is also confronted, time and again, by the factors that used to derail and sometimes even dishearten the Indian teams of the past. More than half of the 10 Test matches which the Indians have lost under him so far could also have been won. At least three Tests in his tenure were hit by rain just when victory seemed round the corner. 

‘Tiger’ Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, with his dashing personality, is thought to be the first-ever Indian captain who taught self-belief to his teammates. Ajit Wadekar, credited to have fast-tracked Gavaskar into international arena, continued the Pataudi legacy to reap instant rewards. 

Bishan Singh Bedi, a great left-arm spinner, achieved limited success as captain before giving way to Gavaskar, following defeats in a couple of Test matches in Pakistan that could have been saved. 

Gavaskar, arguably the greatest-ever opening batsman in cricket history, got off to a sensational start as a captain too. He remained unbeaten in 18 Tests, winning six of them, before tasting first defeat at Sydney. He also lost the captaincy following a dismal tour of Pakistan in 1982-83. 

Kapil Dev, the mercurial all-rounder, took over and stunned the world by taming the high-flying West Indies in a high-scoring one-dayer in their own den. A few months later the Indians dethroned the mighty islanders of the Caribbean in the 1983 World Cup. 

He continued to lead by example as India defeated England in the Test series in the summer of 1986 but on innumerable occasions India failed to finish off the rivals despite being in the driving seat. 

The era of Muhammad Azharddin as captain saw India winning more regularly on home turf in the 1990s but Sachin Tendulkar, the most gifted of all batsmen, couldn’t do justice with high expectations when handed over the responsibility of leading the side. 

Enter Ganguly and the Indians become a formidable force abroad too. Remember he had taken over the command in 2000 following an unheard of whitewash at home. How he restored the confidence in his boys, or men, to become world beaters deserves special mention. And that’s what Kohli must have been at the back of his mind while praising Ganguly after decimating Bangladesh recently. 

Obviously it’s not any disrespect meant for Gavaskar or any other former Indian skipper but Kohli seemed justified in recalling that Ganguly, as captain, was responsible for putting India on path of winning Tests overseas. 

The versatile Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whom Kohli had succeeded, also played a major part in leading India to conquests in big events but he had to endure a nightmarish streak in Tests outside Asia. Kohli has been leading more or less the same bunch of players who were around in the days of Dhoni. 

These speedsters, Ishant Sharma, Muhammad Shami and Umesh Yadav, who are dismantling the opponents at will of late, were there at the disposal of Dhoni too. The spin duo of Ravichandaran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja was also there but look at their changed roles and the subsequent results.

It’s not meant to discredit Dhoni, who remained as cool as a cucumber in the toughest of scenarios and brought about many famous victories, but the fact remains that Kohli has used the same set of bowlers with a different mindset and the rest is history.

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November 25, 2019

Ali Abbas Hasanie honoured in Karachi

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The veteran cricket administrator, Ali Abbas Hasanie, was showered with praise by comrades and contemporaries in a reception hosted in his honour by the former top functionaries of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) on November 23. 

Prof Siraj-ul-Islam Bokhari, a former President and Secretary of the KCCA, and Akram Khan, ex-Joint Secretary, KCCA, arranged the ceremony to recognize the visiting official, having moved to Canada almost five decades ago. It was attended by a large number of Test and first-class cricketers, umpires and organizers. 

It was recalled that Hasanie, one of the founding members of the National Sports Club, established in 1960, had quickly made his mark in the city cricket circles as he worked closely and enthusiastically with Haji Iftikhar, who was one of the zonal chairmen of the KCCA. 

It was disclosed that, upon relocating in Canada way back in 1970, he has remained actively involved in cricket’s organizational matters besides pursuing his career as a management consultant. 

In 2011, he was elected President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Canada (BCCC) which was earlier known as the Canadian Cricket Federation (CCF). 

“My most significant contribution has been reviving international cricket in Canada against the heaviest of odds as I was instrumental in laying the turf pitch at the stadium in Toronto which paved the way for the Indo-Pak ODI series by the name of Sahara Cup to take place there in the 1990s,” Hasanie revealed in his speech on the occasion. 

In his welcome address, Prof Siraj-ul-Islam Bokhari, whose name remained synonymous with Karachi cricket for decades, became little emotional as he expressed his delight at finding a lot of retired and forgotten personalities who had served the cause of the sport diligently in the past. 

The widely respected umpire, Mahboob Shah, who earned the honour of becoming the first Pakistani to stand in a World Cup final, in his address, regretted that the cricket authorities in the country were unwilling to arrange for the training of the umpires which didn’t allow them to break into the elite ICC panel. 

Brig (Retd) Salahuddin, who is still remembered for having uprooted the stumps of the legendary opener Hanif Muhammad in a first-class match, in his speech, expressed the hope that the cricket organizers of today will learn and derive inspiration from their illustrious predecessors in order to carry forward their mission. 

The vote of thanks was presented by Jamil Ahmed while Ghulam Muhammad conducted the ceremony. Prominent among those present on the occasion were former Test cricketers Aftab Baloch, Jalaluddin and Danish Kaneria besides international umpires Saleem Badr and Masroor Ali.

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Dreamworld Resort to host World Wrestling Champions on Dec 21

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The buzz and excitement in the rings will return to Karachi with a bang with more than 15 foreign participants expected to set alight the one-day event titled as the World Wrestling Champions at the picturesque Dreamworld Resort on December 21. 

“We had witnessed the participation of four foreign international wrestlers at the first-ever competition of its kind to be held in Pakistan earlier this year but now we have received confirmation from as many as 17 combatants from abroad for the upcoming event which will be much bigger than the previous one,” Nouman Suleman, President, Pro Wrestling Federation of Pakistan (PWFP), announced in the media launch organized at the Dreamworld Resort on November 24. 

“We are excited to be bringing such a historic wrestling event to Pakistan. It is important for us to organize something new and exciting for the fans of this sport. We hope that through organizing such events, Pakistan gains recognition as an important destination for world wrestling and other mega sporting events,” he remarked. 

Hailed as the biggest event in Pakistan’s Pro Wrestling history yet, it will witness the participation of eminent wrestlers from USA, UK, UAE, Mexico, Greece and Singapore who will be coming over to Karachi to lock horns with the top challengers of the country. 

The international wrestlers, which include former and current champions from WWE, TNA, AEW, Lucha Underground and Indie circuits, are expected to be engaged in tough and exciting contests with the local talent. 

“We are more than glad to be playing our role in the promotion of soft image of our country as we reckon that the success of the our international wrestling events will be particularly helpful in sending positive vibes from Pakistan which will encourage the top athletes of the world to continue visiting our country without any apprehensions or reservations,” Faraz-ul-Huda, Head of Marketing, Dreamworld Resort, observed. 

“As part of our policy of promoting the neglected sports, we had joined hands with the PWFP to hold Rumble in Pakistan earlier this year which was hailed as a landmark event. In order to promote wrestling further, we are now helping them organize another event next month which is expected to be even more thrilling spectacle than the previous one,” he hoped. 

Abdul Jabbar Rathod, Executive Director, Dreamworld Resort, in his brief remarks, reckoned that the upcoming World Wrestling Champions will not only turn out to be an exciting day for wrestling fans but it will also help further establish Pakistan’s position in the world of wrestling. 

“We are happy to be partnering with Dreamworld Resort for this historic event. It is important to introduce new sporting avenues to the youth of our country, especially a sport such as wrestling, which, until recent years, has only ever been seen on television or online.” Zofeen Ihsan, Chief Operating Officer, Xenith Public Relations, noted. 

The media launch was also attended by some of the leading wrestlers, having performed impressively in the Rumble in Pakistan on April 28, who vowed to upstage the foreign participants in the World Wrestling Champions.

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October 21, 2019

Jubilee looking for longer partnership with snooker

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
Pakistan News & Features Services)

Jubilee Insurance, who teamed up with the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) more than a decade ago, looked forward to extending its sponsorship support into the future as well. 

Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, Jubilee General Insurance, while speaking as the chief guest in the prize distribution of the 3rd Jubilee Insurance Ranking Snooker Championship 2019 recently at the Karachi Gymkhana, hinted at continuing their support to snooker in the coming years. 

The insurance giants had initially joined hands with the PBSA in a big way, by having sponsored the 24th ACBS Asian Snooker Championship at Karachi in 2007 when the national snooker body was being led by Ali Asghar Valika. 

From the following year onwards they took up the sponsorship of the national ranking tournaments as well and the relationship became stronger and wider with the passage of time. 

They have been the major sponsors of snooker in Pakistan for the past one decade and during this period they have been motivating force in launching the tournaments for the teenagers and schoolboys in particular in the recent past. 

Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, Co-Chairman, PBSA, while acknowledging the cooperation of all the stakeholders in the transformation of snooker as one of the most popular sports of the country, lavished the sponsors for their continued patronage. 

“Now-a-days no sport can flourish or even survive without the sponsorship support. We have been very fortunate in this regard and this has been the single most significant factor to have contributed in the development of cue sports in Pakistan. They have enabled us to keep going despite the challenges we were up against. And we have responded by strengthening and expanding the game,” the former PBSA President stated. 

“We are committed to continuing our mission and we look forward to the government support as well as to the sponsors in the private sector to achieve our mutual objective of putting Pakistan snooker right on top,” Alamgir Shaikh concluded.

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October 19, 2019

Asif edges out Sajjad to win Jubilee Ranking tourney

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

Top seeded Muhammad Asif played like a true champion to edge out old adversary Muhammad Sajjad in the final of the 3rd Jubilee Insurance Ranking Snooker Championship 2019 at the Karachi Gymkhana on October 17. 

The 2012 world champion had to bring all his expertise and experience into play to tame Sajjad 7-4 in the best of 13-frame final with the scores of 61-53, 64-63, 36-78, 13-89, 83-27, 11-54, 38-61, 69-49, 69-64, 55-13, 68-14. 

As expected, the title clash between the two vastly experienced cueists, possessing big match temperament, turned out to be an absorbing contest despite Asif enjoying psychological advantage over Sajjad, whom he had also outwitted in the preliminary rounds. 

The 37-year-old Asif, hailing from the industrial town of Faisalabad, had to bring all his expertise besides reserve energy into play to overcome the 33-year-old Sajjad, belonging to Sargodha, has been a former world number two. 

The match lasted no less than four and a half hours. Asif, who looked supremely confident throughout the match, was delighted to have regained the trophy on the eve of the IBSF World Championship, hoping that he will be extending his brilliant form at the international stage. 

Sajjad, who has been crowned as the national champion as many as three times since his sensational entry more than a decade ago, vowed to continue working hard for achieving more glories in future. 

Asif and Sajjad, the two of the most gifted cueists of the country, produced another game of pedigree, as anticipated, in the final. Asif did win the first couple of frames but he was made to work very hard for it. 

It was a matter of time for Sajjad to open his account and he did it in the third frame by compiling a break of 57. He sustained the momentum to win the fourth frame which equalized the match. 

Asif put his nose in front by taking fifth frame but Sajjad made it three-all by running away with the sixth frame and moved ahead, for the first time, by pocketing the seventh frame with the help of a break of 61. 

More tense battle followed in the next couple of frames but Asif was fortunate to get away with it on both occasions and he made it count by winning the next two frames as well to seal the fate of the match. 

The final was followed by the prize distribution ceremony in which Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, Jubilee General Insurance, was the chief guest. He presented a cheque of Rs one lac alongwith the winner’s trophy to Muhammad Asif. 

Speaking on the occasion, Tahir Ahmed expressed his delight at the performance of the seasoned campaigners who managed to overcome the rising stars of the country. 

Syed Usman Qaiser, Marketing Head, Jubilee Life Insurance, awarded the cash prize of Rs 40,000 alongwith the runner-up trophy to Muhammad Sajjad while Fawad Malik, President, Karachi Gymkhana, gave away a cash reward of Rs 5,000 to Muhammad Naseem Akhtar for registering the highest break (134) of the one-week championship. 

The total prize money disbursed was Rs195,000 as Muhammad Bilal and Sohail Shahzad, the losing semifinalists, got Rs 15,000 each and the quarter of losing quarter-finalists, Muhammad Ijaz, Asjad Iqbal, Abdul Sattar and Babar Masih, received Rs 5,000 each. 

Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, Co-Chairman, Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), during his brief remarks, acknowledged the support of all the stakeholders in the transformation of snooker as one of the most popular sports of the country. 

He reckoned that the emergence of talented youngsters has prompted the old guard to stay on their toes and seek continued improvement for success even at the national level.

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August 9, 2019

Surgeon Faiz passes away

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Surgeon Faiz Muhammad Khan, one of the founder members of the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) and the Founder President of the Pakistan Association of Plastic Surgeons (PAPS), has passed away at the age of 79. He was buried in Karachi on August 9.

The PVCA Chairman, Fawad Ijaz Khan, and Mian Shaukat Hussain, a cricket commentator, in their condolence messages, recalled the services of the deceased surgeon who was a close friend of theirs. 

“Surgeon Faiz was a founder member of the PVCA when it was founded in 1998. Besides being one of the top plastic surgeons of the country, he himself was a very good cricketer. He was an accurate medium pace bowler, who had stopped playing cricket only a few years ago,” Fawad recalled. 

“The whole veterans’ cricket fraternity of Pakistan is very sad on the tragic death of Surgeon Faiz who was playing the game actively until he was 73 years old. He was working regularly at his hospital until the time of his death,” the PVCA Chairman added. 

Mian Shaukat Hussain, who played cricket with Surgeon Faiz for many decades at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground, also felt shaken at the death of one of his long time buddies. 

“We have had fond memories together and he was such a passionate cricketer who used to visit KG every Sunday. The last time I talked to him was just a couple of weeks ago. When reminded that we were missing him at KG cricket ground, he promised to return in a week or two. Sadly that couldn’t be possible,” Mian Shaukat remarked in a choked voice here at the Alamgir Masjid in Bahadurabad after offering Namaz-e-Janaza of the late Surgeon Faiz soon after Friday prayers. 

Born at Rajkot in Rajhastan, India, he and his family had migrated to Pakistan soon after independence and they relocated at Hyderabad. After doing FRCS from Edinburgh, he had also practiced in the United States before returning to Karachi to continue his work in plastic surgery. 

He was credited to have set up the department of plastic surgery here at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in the early 1990s. Upon retirement from government service, he resumed practicing at his own hospital on Shaheed-e-Millat Road which continued until the last days of his life.

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June 26, 2019

England, Australia humble Pakistan Super Veterans

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Over-60 outfits of Australia and England prevailed over Pakistan in their ‘international’ matches played at the Oswestry Cricket Ground in the county of Shorpshire during the ongoing tour of the United Kingdom.

According to the information shared by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), hosts England defeated Pakistan by a staggering margin of 267 runs in the 50-over game while Australia prevailed over them by 56 runs despite a brilliant century from Raja Arshad. 

England bowled Pakistan for a paltry 77 after having amassed 344 for the loss of three wickets in the allotted 50 overs. 

John Punchard topscored for the home side, with 76 off 91 balls containing eight fours. R Merriman (65), M Bowyer (50) and Barth Cilomen (50) also notched up half centuries while Haji Ashraf and Mansoor Akhtar took a wicket each for Pakistan Super Veterans, giving away for 47 and 48 runs respectively. 

Chasing a formidable target of 345 in 50 overs, the visitors collapsed under the scoreboard pressure, folding for a modest77 runs in 27 overs. Mansoor Akhtar (16), Sajid Kabir Khan (14) and Nadeem Omar (10) were the only batsmen to reach double figures as the innings was wrecked by N Stevens and M Young, who took three wickets each. 

The prize distribution ceremony was also addressed by Clive Ricks, President, England Over-60 Association, who informed that in England there were18 counties with 84 Over-60 teams and as many as 20 Over-70 Teams. 

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman, PVCA, praised the playing skills and fitness level of the England players, stating that in Pakistan Over-60 cricket was only being played in Karachi with just a few fit players available. He presented Man of the Match award to John Punchard of England. Ashiq Hussain Qureshi, CEO, PVCA, was also present on the occasion. 

The contest between the two touring sides, Australia and Pakistan, at a neutral venue produced as many as 542 runs in 96 overs. 

Batting first, after winning the toss, Australian Over-60 accumulated 299 for the loss of six wickets in the allotted 50 overs. Mark Brady (83 off 81 balls) hit eight fours to emerge as the topscorer while Murray Harrison smashed a couple of sixes and as many fours in his enterprising 55. Ray Smith (42), Mark Gashell (38) and Glenn Richardson (32) were the other major contributors to the Australian total while Raja Arshad, Babar Basharat, Mansoor Akhtar, Fawad Ijaz Khan and Ejaz Faquih were the wicket-takers for Pakistan.

Raja Arshad’s typically awesome stroke-play put Pakistan Super Veterans in the driving seat as the aggressive opener belted eight sixes and 13 fours in his 136 off 109 balls. Babar Basharat (43) and Haji Ashraf (19) also played fine knocks but the Australian rallied back through Michael Frame (4-60) and Dale Thornton (2-47). 

The Pakistan outfit was bowled out for 243 in 46 overs, falling 57 runs short of their target. Their consolation was Man of the Match award collected by Raja Arshad for his sensational knock. It was improved performance by the visiting Pakistan side, who had been outplayed by the hosts a only couple of days ago. 

Pakistan Super Veterans will play their last match of the tour against Cheshire County on June 26. Earlier they had also played matches against the counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire before taking on England Over-60 and Australia Over-60 outfits.

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June 14, 2019

Fawad Ijaz Khan to lead Pakistan Super Veterans in England

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan’s Super Veterans (Over-60) cricket team will be creating history of sorts as they embark on a two-week tour of England on June 15.

According to the information made available on June 14, all-rounder Fawad Ijaz Khan, who is also Chairman of the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), will be leading the squad which is scheduled to play five limited-overs matches in England. 

Ijaz Faqih, a former Test all-rounder, has been appointed as the vice-captain for what’s going to be the first-ever tour to be undertaken by Super Veterans of the country.  
Ashiq Hussain Qureshi, CEO, PVCA, will be accompanying the team as manager while former Test bowler, Jalaluddin, who performed the first-ever hat-trick in One-day Internationals, and Kaleem Zia Khawaja will be travelling as the head coach and the assistant manager respectively. 

The Super Veteran squad also includes former Test players, Mansoor Akhtar and Ashraf Ali, besides P J Mir, who had represented Pakistan by the name of Pervez Mir during the inaugural World Cup in 1975, and Nadeem Omar, President, Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA).

Arif Habib, Tahir Shah, Basharat Ali Babar, Haji Ashraf, Badar Ansari, Aminullah Khan Raisani, Sajid Kabir and Nadeem Yousuf are the other members of the touring squad with Muhammad Akram and Altaf Aziz being reserve players. 

Pakistan’s Super Veterans will be playing a couple of matches of 50 overs each against hosts England and the touring Australian Veterans Team. 

They will also play three 45 overs-a-side matches against the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire. 

They will open the tour with a game against Yorkshire at Woodlands Cricket Club, Bradford, on June 17 before taking on Lancashire at Heywood Cricket Club, Heywood, on June 19. 

They will be up against England Veterans at Oswestry Cricket Club, Shropshire, on June 21 before meeting Australian Veterans at the same venue three days later. They will play the final game of the tour against Cheshire at Warrington Cricket Club, Warrington, on June 26. 

Meanwhile the PVCA has expressed its gratitude to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, for his personal intervention in getting UK visas of some of the players from the British High Commission.

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June 4, 2019

Nadeem Omar delighted with Quetta performance

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Nadeem Omar, the owner of Quetta Gladiators franchise, has expressed his delight at the phenomenal rise in the standard of cricket during the last few years in the western province of Balochistan, whose capital in Quetta.

“At the time of the bidding for Quetta Gladiators about four years ago we were being advised by all quarters not to do so because of the lack of cricketing talent and resources in that province. But we had our own parameters of assessment and we went ahead with our plans. The results are there for everybody to see,” he observed in an interview at the sidelines of prize distribution ceremony of the 34th edition of Karachi Gymkhana Omar Associates Ramazan Festival Cricket Tournament 2019 at the KG Cricket Ground on June 3. 

Nadeem Omar, who was the chief guest of the evening, felt particularly pleased with the title-clash between Heroes Cricket Club Quetta and Quetta Gladiators Academy which highlighted the rising standard of sport in Balochistan.

“Isn’t it quite remarkable that both the finalists of one of the leading tournaments of the country belonged to Quetta? Their outfits comprised of players from all over the province and what a splendid performance they have come up with,” he complimented. 

Nadeem Omar, who was elected as President of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) last year, didn’t mince words in stating that integrated efforts were needed to groom the talent and polish the skills of the young cricketers. 

“Quetta, like rest of the country, has always been blessed with talented cricketers. They have come of age now after being taken care of during the last few years only. Obviously this is just the beginning. They will be hitting headlines in future,” he thought. 

“The enthusiasm and passion for cricket in Balochistan augur well for the future of the sport in the country. They will make the game more competitive and the national team will only become stronger,” he believed. 

He agreed that the title triumph of Quetta Gladiators in the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL-4) has been help in further motivating the cricketers of Balochistan in particular.

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May 6, 2019

MSAP back in business with a bang!

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP), fittingly a brainchild of Khurshid Hadi, arguably the brainiest individual to have ever been associated with sports arena in the country for a long time, is back with a bang. 

With a few like-minded comrades, he had launched the MSAP way back in 2007. He didn’t waste time to make the presence felt in a big way because the inaugural National Mind Sports Games staged at the Southend Club in Karachi in 2008 were nothing short of spectacular. 

Since then the MSAP has survived, mainly because of the man himself, because he never let it fade. He has had a mission from day one and he has been on it despite everything, the occasional disappointments included. 

Knowing him well enough, it’s not surprising that his MSAP has taken fresh guard and started with a bang again. 

They have joined hands with Shahzad Roy’s Zindagi Trust in the promotion of chess, alongwith The Citizen Foundation (TCF). 

“Powered by four-year sponsorship deal (2019-2022) with the Engro Foundation, we have now launched a major project of introducing chess at educational institutional level which will go a long way in achieving our mutual objectives,” Khurshid Hadi, the MSAP Founder Chairman and Director, announced during a media briefing at the Karachi Press Club on May 6. 

“The objectives of the MSAP have included the development of games of chess, bridge and scrabble by facilitation to academic institutions to establish mind sport learning/teaching and clubs. We promote public awareness for the value of developing minds especially among the youth while we organize local, national and international competitions to improve soft image of Pakistan,” he narrated. 

Emphasizing the significance of chess at school level, Khurshid Hadi shared the benefits of playing mind sports, which reflected on behavior, structuring of minds, reasoning, mental arithmetic, increase in memory, concentration and emphasis on ethical standards. 

He further remarked that mind sports also played an important part for betterment of health, protection against mental deterioration and also allowed gymnastics of mind for a person learning or playing chess.

Replying to a questioner, he talked about the plans of the MSAP to revive the National Mind Sports Games whose inaugural edition was staged with great fanfare in 2008. 

“We will be able to do it either by the year end or early next year. We are very interested and inclined towards reviving this event and it will be a matter of time when we do it,” the MSAP Chairman said. 

“It’s quite unusual for three social sector organizations to come on one platform but we, three NGOs, have decided to work together for the introduction of chess at educational institution level,” Shahzad Roy, a renowned singer, social worker and humanitarian, declared on the occasion. 

“Zindagi Trust, since its establishment in 2002, has been striving to improve the quality of education available to the under-privileged segment in particular. We have been trying to transform the education system through uniform curriculum and sports activities. Now, with the collaboration of MSAP, we are endeavouring to have chess included in the curriculum of various boards,” he announced. 

“Our collaborative chess initiatives will go a long way in transforming the lives of talented individuals. Chess is a sport which teaches wisdom and intelligence. Going by our past experiences, personally I don’t foresee hurdles or problems in having chess in the curriculum,” Shahzad Roy felt. 

To a question, he clarified that the purpose of the whole exercise will die if the students of the government schools were not its main beneficiaries. 

“It won’t an elite activity or anything like that. We will welcome all schools to include chess in their curriculum but our focus will be on the government schools,” he added. 

Besides Khurshid Hadi, the other MSAP officials present on the occasion were Kemal Shoaib, Tariq Rasheed Khan and Syed Pervez Iqbal.

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May 2, 2019

Dr Junaid Ali Shah protests at PCB’s hefty fee again

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The President of the Asghar Ali Shah Foundation and two-times former provincial Minister, Dr Syed Junaid Ali Shah, has lashed out at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for charging exorbitantly for the purpose of holding club level tournaments.

“I had protested loudly earlier in the presence of the then PCB Chairman, Najam Sethi, who had agreed to review the hefty charges in the interest of the game. He is no more a part of the PCB but those in power should have taken the responsibility to do the needful. It’s really sickening to have such regulations which pollute the atmosphere and damage the interests of the game,” he remarked during the media launch of the 24th Dr M A Shah Night Trophy Cricket Tournament 2019 at the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium, Karachi, on May 2. 

“Since all the seven knockout games, starting from quarter-finals, have to be telecast live on Geo Super, we have deposited the PCB fee of Rs 15 lacs but we have done it in protest and we will continue fighting for the cause of the game,” he stated.

"As a mark of protest against the policies of the PCB we didn't have our matches televised last year but obviously we didn't wish to deprive the cricket community and we have chosen for the live telecast of our knockout matches as we used to do in the past," he added.

Dr Junaid Ali Shah, who is also the President of the Karachi Hockey Association (KHA), didn’t mince words in stating his displeasure with the existing policies of the sports bodies at the national level. 

“Be it the PCB or the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), they are often found in the news for the wrong reasons. They seem to be pursuing their own agenda without realizing the gravity of the situation and the harms their actions or inactions cause from time to time,” he regretted. 

Meanwhile he disclosed that the Asghar Ali Shah Foundation, established by his illustrious father, Dr Syed Muhammad Ali Shah, will continue meeting the costs of the Dr M A Shah Night Trophy Cricket Tournament. 

The tournament, to be contested by a total of 16 teams, to be divided equally in four groups for the preliminary rounds, will be offering attractive prize money with the winners to receive Rupees five lacs and the runner-up to get Rupees two and a half lacs.

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Pakistan snooker to benefit with Alamgir Shaikh-Fehmida Mirza meeting

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), enduring financial hardships, has a reason to smile at last as they have been assured of revival of the governmental support by the top officials at the federal level.

Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, Co-Chairman, PBSA, expressed delight at the outcome of his recent meeting with Dr Fehmida Mirza, Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), in Islamabad on April 29. 

“The Minister was briefed of the present problems and difficulties being faced by the PBSA, which was in a critical financial situation, due to the non-release of the annual and special grants from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the IPC Ministry for the current financial year 2018 – 2019,” Alamgir Shaikh revealed. 

“She was also informed that we had exhausted almost all our funds, as the PSB had not released any financial assistance for the past 11 months, starting from July 2018, due to which the association is unable to disburse the monthly honorarium to the top eight senior players and the top four junior players of the Pakistan snooker circuit besides facing financial difficulty to meet the administrative expenses pertaining to the PBSA secretariat,” he added. 

“Further she was apprised of the worst financial situation being faced by the Association due to funds already incurred for the participation of the Pakistan team from its own resources for the World and Asian events, held during July to December 2018 and if the funds for the current financial year were not released before June 30 the funds might lapse and as such the association may not be able to function,” the PBSA Co-Chairman shared. 

The Minister was informed that the PBSA had fulfilled the requirement for submission of its audited accounts for the year ending June 30, 2018 to the PSB. 

The Minister assured the PBSA Co-Chairman that the federal government was in the process of uplifting the standards of sports in the country and due to the 18th constitutional amendment the Ministry had made the provincial governments responsible for promotion and development of sports in their respective provinces and as such the Prime Minister had constituted a Task Force for making recommendations to revamp the Sports system of the country. 

The Minister explained that as the National Sports Federations were autonomous bodies and generate their own funds and also receive government grants through the PSB and the Task Force has categorized the sports federations who have achieved better results and the categorization will be carried out by sports technocrats, based popularity of the game, status of the game at national level and prospects for medal winning. 

The Minister further stated that the representatives of the national sports federation would be called for a meeting to finalize the allocation of funds, which will be forwarded to the Prime Minister for approval, after which the grants would be released to the national federations. 

The PBSA Co-Chairman after his meeting with the Minister IPC, also met the Secretary Sports IPC, Akbar Durrani, and briefed him about the present difficult financial situation of the Association and also about the participation of the Pakistan snooker team in the upcoming international events.

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Value addition of KG Ramazan Festival with KCCA blessings, sponsors’ support

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The 34th edition of Karachi Gymkhana Ramazan Festival Cricket Tournament 2019 for the Omar Associates Trophy, has the blessings of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) as well as the sponsorship support of some enterprising corporations.

The details about the four-week end, due to commence on the first day of the holy month, were shared in a media briefing here at the Gymkhana’s Banquet Hall on May 2. 

The tournament, being contested by 16 teams, having been divided equally in four groups for the preliminary rounds, will be offering a record prize money of Rupees one and half million. 

The champions will be claiming a handsome purse of Rupees eight lacs while the runners-up will be collecting Rupees four lacs. Speaking on the occasion, 

Nadeem Omar, President, KCCA, and Managing Director, Omar Associates, announced that he would use his good offices for the live telecast of the knockout games of the tournament which could not yet be finalized by the organizers. 

“The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) may advise us to pay an additional charges of Rupees one million for beaming the event but we would not burden the participating teams,” he declared while questioning the logic of imposing fee for organizing club tournaments.

The KCCA President recognized that the KG Ramazan Festival, being held every year for more than three decades, has played a lead role in the promotion of T20 cricket and others took cue from them at a later stage. 

Highlighting the role of media in boosting image of the tournament, he also complimented the sponsors for having joined hands with the organizers in taking the tournament to another level. 

“Sponsors and media, besides management, play vital role and these elements are firmly behind the monumental success of the KG Ramazan Festival which has gone from strength to strength over the years,” he acknowledged.

Nadeem Omar recalled that the KG Ramazan Festival was hitting headlines even in those days when satellite channels were not there but the print media accorded it due respect and covered the matches extensively.

Tabish Javed (Master Oil), Abida Hasanali (Soneri Bank), Khalid Mani (KFC) and Irfan-ur-Rahman (Acme Technologies & Sports Intelligence) represented their respective companies in the meeting which was also attended by Abbas Saifuddin, Valika, Chairman, Tournament Committee, and Jam Nafees Ali, Honorary Secretary Cricket, Karachi Gymkhana. 

International umpire Riazuddin, who is one of the technical committee members, revealed that the PCB fee of Rupees five lacs has already been paid by the Gymkhana authorities. 

Fawad Salim Malik, President, Karachi Gymkhana, in his brief address, spoke about the monumental role of their club in support sports in general and cricket in particular over the years.

He sounded optimistic about the installation of floodlights at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground, a project that hasn’t taken off yet despite commitments by the past leaders. 

“There are indeed some security concerns involved because the club is located in the red zone. But we are trying our level best to meet the challenges and fulfill this dream of installing floodlights at our historic cricket ground,” he added.

At the end of the media briefing the KCCA President, Nadeem Omar, performed the formal inauguration of the tournament by playing a solid forward defensive stroke.

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April 24, 2019

Celebration of World Book Day

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April 15, 2019

Rangers Cricket Club celebrates 56th anniversary

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Rangers Cricket Club, one of the oldest cricket clubs of the country, celebrated its 56th birthday with traditional enthusiasm at the NBP Sports Complex in Clifton, Karachi, on April 13.

Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Secretary Communications to Government of Pakistan, in his telephonic address on the occasion, praised the untiring efforts of the officials of the Rangers CC to have kept the club operational for more than five decades. 

“It’s really gladdening to find the Rangers CC working with the same intensity today even after 55 years after its establishment. It has been one of the leading cricket clubs of Karachi and its role in the development of the game from the grassroots level merits recognition,” he remarked. 

“Its founder members may have retired from service from the various institutions they worked for but they have not lost the passion to run the Rangers CC which remains very dear to their heart,” Shoaib Siddiqui, also having served at the position of Commissioner, Karachi, complimented. 

Dr Waqar Masood Khan, a former Secretary Finance to Government of Pakistan, and President of the Rangers CC, expressed the desire to make the club more proactive in order to fulfill its cherished goals. 

“Although we are today celebrating 56 years of our existence, I find that it’s about time to turn it around by conducting meetings a bit more regularly to acquire funds and utilize them for carrying out more activities for our youngsters who deserve to be given more exposure for unfolding their talents,” the Rangers CC President stated. 

 Acknowledging the meritorious services of the club secretary, Zia-ul-Hasan, who was also present on the occasion, he floated the idea of compilation of a book documenting the 56-year old history of the club. 

Rangers CC, in accordance with its traditions, honoured its outstanding performers for the 2018-19 season, who were presented shields and kits, in the annual ceremony. 

Ahmed Hussain was declared as the best batsman while Nasir Ali was adjudged as the best bowler. The award for the best all-rounder was clinched by Babar Hussain while S M Babar and Hayatullah Khan claimed the prizes for the best wicketkeeper and the best fielder respectively. 

The Rangers CC shields were also presented to the Municipal Commissioner, Dr Syed Saif-ur-Rahman and former IG Sindh, Asad Jahangir Khan, while the trio of Saleem Swelah, Umar Shahid and Asim Altaf was recognized for their performance for the club during decades of 1960s and 1970s. 

The function was also attended by eminent personalities which included Iqbal Mahmood, Kunwar Idris, Anwar Haji Karim and Amin Dawood besides Prof Siraj-ul-Islam Bukhari, former President, Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA).

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April 10, 2019

Alvi to represent Pakistan in BFAME 2019

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Alvi qualified for participation in the upcoming BFAME Zonal Championship 2019 after emerging triumphant in the national bridge trials for open team conducted at the Aslam Bridge Hall, housed in the National Stadium, Karachi. 

According to the details shared by the Karachi Bridge Associates (KBA) on April 10, Alvi, comprising of Farooq Alvi, Jahangir Ahmed, Arslan Mansoor, Hamed Mohiuddin, Muhammad Mubashir Puri and Khaled Mohiuddin, outsmarted all their six rivals in the four-day event. They will now represent Pakistan in the BFAME Championship due to be held in June at Jordan. 

Kizilbashing, featuring Anwar Mumtaz Kizilbash, Ali Hai, Zia Hai, Anis-ur-Rehman and Farhat Abbas, crashed in the final while Bilal, having the services of Gulzar Ahmed Bilal, Sheikh Abdul Muqeet, Javed Ahmed Miran, Shahin Iqbal and Masood Mazhar, and Spel, containing Muhammad Salman Qasim, Yasser Rahim, Mirza Shauq Hussain, Imran Abedi, Ahsan Javed Qureshi and Zia Hyder Naqi, were outwitted in the semifinals. 

The trials for selection of the open team had commenced on April 6 and concluded on April 9. Seven teams participated in the trials from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, the three major centres of the country, who were engaged in the brainy warfare. 

Bilal, Alvi, Kizilbashing and Spel had entered the semifinals after the preliminary round matches. Kizilbashing outpaced Spel and Alvi outplayed Bilal in the semifinals and Alvi was up against Kizilbashing in the final. 

Alvi, having the representation from Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore, started the final with a bang, winning the opening segment 70-38. They capitalized on the grand start and went on to win the following two segments as well with the final scores being Alvi 156-141 Imps. 

Tehseen, having Hasan Askari, Tehsin Gheewala, Parvez Mirza, Farrukh Liaquat, Mohsin Chandna and Rashid-ul-Ghazi, Chandna, possessing Shakeel Ahmed Chandna, Major Akhter Zaidi, Syed Abdul Hameed, Col Nasir, Syed Asghar Abbas Zaidi and Ghulam Mohammad, and Romex, fielding Shahid Rafique, Shafiq Janjua, Rashid Nabi and Sajid Nabi, were the other three participating team in the national trials.

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April 9, 2019

Nadeem Omar made the difference in PSL: Fawad Ijaz Khan

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chairman of the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), Fawad Ijaz Khan, has declared that Nadeem Omar, the owner of Quetta Gladiators, was the difference among the otherwise evenly matched six participating squads in the recently held fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

“His motivational qualities played the key role in guiding his team to title victory this time round after they had been edged out in the final two times in three previous editions of the PSL,” he observed during his speech in the dinner hosted at the Karachi Gymkhana on April 8 by the PVCA in the honour of Quetta Gladiators for winning the PSL-4. 

“Each of the six teams contained power hitters and match winners. But it was the management skills and the incredible passion of its owner which tilted the tide decisively towards Quetta Gladiators,” the PVCA Chairman added. 

Inspired by the terrific response from the spectators in Karachi during the PSL-4, urged the authorities to either build a new stadium or enhance the seating capacity of the National Stadium to facilitate the passionate cricket lovers of the most populous city of Pakistan. 

Saeed Ghani, Sindh Minister for Local Government, Public Health Engineering, Rural Development and Katchi Abadies, who was the chief guest of the evening, acceded to the request of the PVCA Chairman and agreed to play his role in developing more cricket facilities in the metropolis. 

Encouraged by successfully staging the Karachi leg of the PSL, the Government of Sindh has agreed in principle in developing more facilities for fuelling the passion of the cricket-loving population of the metropolis. 

Saeed Ghani confirmed the willingness of the provincial government to further play its role in the promotion of cricket, the number one sport of the country. 

Sharing his thoughts candidly, the provincial minister talked about the hardships and the challenges faced by the provincial government in staging as many as eight matches of PSL-4 in Karachi without a single mishap. 

He complimented the law enforcement agencies and the city administration in particular for rising to the occasion. 

The Commissioner Karachi, Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, also spoke about the organizational aspects of the PSL-4 and he acknowledged the support of all the stakeholders in making the event a big success. 

Nadeem Omar, the owner of Quetta Gladiators and the President of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), attributed the recent triumph of his team in the PSL as a result of teamwork rather than individual brilliance.

“We have been firm believers of teamwork. We have been operating like an extended family all along and the results have been there for everyone to see. It’s little wonder that ours has been the most consistent side in the PSL even though many people felt that we didn’t have too many megastars in our ranks,” he observed. 

Nadeem Omar made special mention of his family members for having been involved with Quetta Gladiators with heart and soul to keep everyone motivated and inspired. 

The Quetta Gladiators skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed, who is also the captain of Pakistan in all three formats, in his brief speech, thanked everyone in the team for having given their best to achieve the desired results. 

Former Pakistan captain and now the head coach of Quetta Gladiators, Moin Khan, expressed similar views and he was even more appreciative of the role of the management and the support staff in the success of the team on the field. 

Alamgir Ahmed, President, Sindh Seniors Cricket & Welfare Association, delivered the welcome address. 

The ceremony was attended by a large number of cricketers and others which included Nasim-ul-Ghani, Wasim Bari, Sadiq Muhammad, Ijaz Faqih, Jalaluddin, Mansoor Akhtar, Anwar Ali, Rashid Khan, Ghulam Ali, Sajid Ali, Prof Siraj-ul-Islam Bukhari, Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, Shariq Hasib Khan, Qamar Ahmed, Lt Gen (Rtd.) Wasim Ghazi, Asad Ashraf Malik, Fawad Malik and Azam Khan.

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