April 23, 2022

40 teams contesting Ramazan Futsal Festival


By Iqbal Jamil

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

As many as 40 outfits, having both men and women, would be seen in action in the three-day Futsal competition which commences at the Cedar College, DHA Phase-VIII, in Karachi on April 23. 

According to the details shared by the organizers there would be participation from various schools, colleges and universities with the age group of 15 years and above allowed to take part in the event. 

The prize money of the Futsal competition, being organized by Guideistan, will be Rs 120,000 and it will be distributed among winners and runners up. 

The officials of Guideistan, Tariq Baloch, Hassaan Sohail and Faiz Bukhari, expressed their desire to promote healthy activities among the youth so that they could become good citizens and contribute to the betterment of the country. They hoped sporting spirit to be displayed during the three-day festival.

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March 17, 2022

DHA’s EDE praised for bringing college teachers to cricket field


Pakistan News & Features Services

The Executive Director Education (EDE) of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Brig Muhammad Arshad Khan, was lavishly praised by chief guest, Syed Khalid Mahmood, an eminent journalist and author, during the presentation ceremony of a cricket match played between EDE XI and DHACSS United held at Rahat Ground, DHA, on March 15.

“What a pleasant sight it is to watch the educationists flexing their muscles in a cricket field! So much used to covering and reporting competitive cricket for a number of years, it really feels like breathe of fresh air coming across such events where cricket is being played for fun and recreation rather than professionally,” the chief guest observed in his speech after presenting awards to outstanding performers of the game. 

“First and foremost I must compliment Brig Arshad Khan for having taken up this novel idea of engaging teachers and professors in cricket activities. This is a great initiative by all means which will have multiple benefits for all of you. This makes much more sense in his digital era when dependence on gadgets has curtailed outdoor movements of people of all ages,” Khalid Mahmood, noted.

"It's really fascinating to be playing a game or two once in a while despite our preoccupations on various fronts. As you would have discovered it allowed you rare moments of joy. It provided you the opportunity to interact in a sporting environment. Such events should be organized regularly," he suggested.

“I salute the wisdom of EDE for having chosen cricket as the sport for this purpose. Because hockey is indeed our national sport officially and football may be the most popular sport in some segments but cricket is the sport here and almost everyone loves it. I am not sure how many of you played cricket seriously in the past but I am confident that almost all of you must be enjoying these little opportunities of playing together in cricket field. Trust me these stints will help you in many ways,” he added. 

The organizer of the ceremony and the match, Prof Syed Zulfiqar Ali, Principal, DHACCS Degree College, was also recognized for having successfully implemented the visionary plan of EDE. He was responsible for putting the extra efforts to ensure the event to be conducted in a befitting manner.

Meanwhile EDE XI prevailed over DHACCS United in the festival 10-overs-a-side game which was enthusiastically contested and thoroughly enjoyed by the galaxy of Principals, Vice Principals, teachers and other staff members of various educational institutions, who watched the action. 

The 125-run opening partnership between Muhammad Sultan and Muhammad Arif for DHACSS United was trumped by the EDE XI’s duo of Major Atif Saeed and Major Ejaz Bashir whose flurry of sixes enabled their team to win the match comfortably. 

The EDE himself, Brig Arshad Khan, batted brilliantly while skipper Prof Zulfiqar Ali also chipped in with an unbeaten contribution. Major Atif Saeed was adjudged Man of the Match.

All the participants in the field tried to give their best and a few of them came up with rather impressive performance as they seemed to have played competitive cricket in the past.

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February 12, 2022

DHA college teachers flex muscles in cricket field


Pakistan News & Features Services

The college teachers of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Karachi, flexed their muscles in the cricket field and they produced a thriller of sorts as the DHACSS United edged out EDE XI by five wickets on the last ball of the T-10 match at the DHACC Creek campus on February 9.

DHACSS United’s Kamran Qazi, who scored hard-hitting 51, was declared Man of the Match as well as the best batsman while his teammate, Hafiz Rizwan, who claimed four wickets in an over, was adjudged the best bowler in the closely fought encounter which went to the wire. 

Batting first, after winning the toss, EDE XI, led by Syed Siraj Munir, posted an impressive total of 94 for seven in the allotted 10 overs. EDE XI fought back after Kamran Qazi’s half-century and it was anybody’s game when DHACSS United needed two runs for victory on the final. A boundary was struck on the last ball took the batting side home, which was being captained by Junaid Farrukh Siddiqui. 

Holding a match between the college teachers, above the age of 40, was the brainchild of the DHA’s Executive Director Education, Brig Muhammad Arshad Khan, as he desired to boost the fitness and health of the staff members. He also participated in the game. 

Dr Farhat Agha, Pricipal, DHACSS College for Women, was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony while the welcome address was delivered by Prof Syed Zulfiqar Ali, Principal, DHACSS Degree College. The head of the 16 DHACSS institutions were present on the occasion while the game was also witnessed by a large number of teachers.

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December 22, 2021

PCB Chairman praises Babar Azam’s proactive captaincy


By Ehsan Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Rameez Raja, has credited skipper Babar Azam for the recent resurgence of the national team, describing him a much improved leader. 

“We are here to facilitate him in leading from the front, instead of hiding behind the coaches. He has developed of late as an outstanding captain who has been able to lead by example and motivate his teammates to express themselves fearlessly. He has been instrumental in bringing about positive changes on the field resulting in a well-knit combination which is good enough to challenge anyone. We will continue to back him for achieving the desired results,” the former Pakistan captain declared while talking to the media corps in Karachi on December 22. 

“We have obviously been disappointed by the lack of crowd interest in the recently concluded T20 home series against the West Indies. In future we would persuade the cricket boards the world to send their best available outfits to Pakistan as the depleted teams don’t generate the kind of interest which is generally expected in international matches. We will request the authorities in Australia, England and New Zealand to ensure their full strength squads for touring Pakistan later this year ,” he added. 

“In order to create a long-term sustainable process, it is essential that we continue to tap into, stimulate and motivate the youth’s passion and talent for cricket, whilst focusing on a bottom-up approach towards participation and making attempts to bridge the wide divide between pathways and Pakistan cricket journey,” the PCB Chairman observed. 

“We feel that our Junior Contracts and Cricket Foundation initiatives will now play a decisive role in ensuring that raw talent from even the remotest and less privileged of areas in Pakistan reaches its full potential. Through these and various other initiatives, including an all-Pakistan Talent Hunt Programme, we aim to unearth the hidden talent and provide them absolute clarity at a very young age that the PCB will back, support and provide a clear pathway through which they can embark on their journey of representing Pakistan at an international stage,” he continued. 

Meanwhile the West Indies will play three Twenty20 Internationals in the build up to the HBL Pakistan Super League 2023. The West Indian team has already confirmed to play ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs in June 2022 to make up for the postponed December 2021 matches due to an increased number of Covid-19 cases in their side.

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Rameez commends Saqlain’s role in T20 World Cup


By Ehsan Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Rameez Raja, Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has commended the role of interim coach Saqlain Mushtaq in the ICC T20 World Cup as well as during the Bangladesh tour. 

The PCB helmsman reckoned that Saqlain, a former Pakistan off-spinner, filled the vacant role from behind the scene quite admirably and he merited accolades for having created a sense nationalism. 

He also applauded the batting and bowling consultants, Matthew Hayden of Australia and Vernon Philander of South Africa respectively, who also rose to the occasion. 

"I don’t have fixed mindset and approach on this issue like short or long contracts,” he observed while commenting on appointment of foreign or local coaches for Team Pakistan. Rameez stressed that they were looking to improve Pakistan batters’ power hitting, adding that he was looking to see Pakistan getting better in Tests and ODIs. 

He would like specialists for different tours and conditions while indicating that Hayden may be retained with the team until the 2022 T20 World Cup to be held in Australia. 

The PCB Chairman pointed out that the team came up with improved performances in the T20 World Cup after the pressure they came under following the sudden and mysterious move of New Zealand to run away during the tour of Pakistan and then England cancelling their visit at the eleventh hour. 

“The boys fought hard in the T20 World Cup to come up with incredible performances which paid dividends and we were also awarded the Champions Trophy 2025 besides the Asia Cup,” the PCB Chairman concluded.

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December 21, 2021

Nasir Shah becomes first recipient of Global Sports CBF award


Pakistan News & Features Services

Nasir Ali Shah, a former first-class cricketer from Karachi, became the first recipient of the Cricketer Benefit Fund (CBF) award, instituted by the US-based Global Sports Inc. 

He was an opening batsman who played for Karachi, United Bank Limited and Pak PWD. He also captained his teams on many occasions. 

The presentation ceremony was held recently at the Karachi Gymkhana in which Younis Khan, a former Pakistan captain and holder of many Test records, handed over the cheque of PKR five lacs to Nasir Shah on behalf of Global Sports. 

The presence of Younis, a legendary top-order batsman with a number of records under his belt, was a massive source of encouragement to the organizers and promoters of the noble cause, jointly undertaken by a few of former Pakistani cricketers and philanthropists having relocated in USA.

The ceremony was organized through the courtesy of Jalaluddin, a former Test fast bowler and the highest qualified coach of the country, currently visiting his home city. Anwar-ul-Haq, Naeem-ul-Haq, Waqar Hussain and Zafar Ahmed were among the other cricketers present on the occasion. 

Naeem, who played for Karachi, Pak PWD and Pakistan Customs, has been a part and parcel of Global Sports since its inception around 17 years ago. He had specially travelled from Orlando, USA, to be part of the presentation ceremony in Karachi. 

Having been associated with Global Sports as its Vice President, Advisor and Coach, Naeem is acknowledged as the person to have floated the idea of supporting former cricketers back home which led to the formation of the CBF and Nasir Shah was selected as the recipient for the inaugural award. 

In a brief conversation with PNFS, Naeem informed that besides being an outstanding cricket player, Nasir mentored quite a few of his teammates, including him, and he was widely respected for his leadership qualities. 

Naeem also disclosed that the CBF will announce the next beneficiary for 2022 during the Diversity Cup Tournament, scheduled to be held in Detroit, Michigan, next July.

He expressed gratitude to his colleagues and patrons of Global Sports, particularly its Founder President, Shahid Ahmed, and Dr Shaukat Rashid of Ohio, to have launched the initiative which will be their token contribution for recognizing the silent soldiers and unsung heroes of the game.

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December 16, 2021

Different script but identical result as Pakistan sweep WI 3-0


By Ehsan Qureshi at National Stadium, Karachi 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Skipper Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan powered Pakistan to seven-wicket victory over the West Indies to complete the expected 3-0 clean-sweep in T20 series which concluded on December 16.

The match was jeopardized when three more West Indian cricketers, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, and Justin Greaves tested positive for Covid-19, but it was decided to go ahead with the match and complete the T20 series. 

The tourists were left to field a severely depleted side because they had had already lost Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers, also due to Covid-19, at the start of the tour while Devon Thomas was ruled out after a finger injury. It went to their credit to have agreed to play the third game without the availability of seven players. 

While the West Indians showed grace by staying on even with marginal resources at their disposal, the home side continued to enjoy with the rub of the green going their way until the very end. That Pakistan completed the series whitewash with the help of a dropped catch was another reflection of lady luck keeping their company all the way. 

Chasing a record total of 208 at the National Stadium, Karachi, the start of Pakistan innings was a dramatic one. Rizwan was declared out leg-before on the very first ball but the decision of on-field umpire was reversed following a review and the West Indies could not break the opening partnership until the 16th over by which time 158 runs had already been scored. 

The hosts rode their luck to overhaul the total for the loss of only three wickets with seven balls to spare. It was their sixth successive T20 win over the West Indies in Pakistan. They had also swept them by the identical 3-0 scoreline in 2018. Pakistan ended the year 2021 year their 20th T20 win. 

Babar, who was dismissed cheaply in the earlier two matches, returned to top form with another sterling knock. He made 79 off 53 balls with nine sizzling fours and two sixes. The openers put on 158 off 91 balls for the first wicket. Rizwan and Fakhar Zaman continued to attack the bowlers the requirement was down to 24 off 16 balls when the former fell after scoring 87 off 45 balls with the help of three sixes and 10 fours. 
Asif Ali’s unbroken 21 off seven balls ensured that the match didn’t go into the final over. Rovman Powell helped his cause by dropping him in the deep off Romario Shepherd and that was it. 

As in the previous game, the young West Indian side showed flashes of brilliance but choked at key moments. They must have felt happy at having posted a competitive total of 207 for three which was their best at the ground which obviously proved inadequate in the end. 

Captain Nichollas Pooran, Samrah Brooks and Brandon King produced the best batting display of the tour. The top three West Indian batters blasted no less than a dozen sixes to demonstrate their big hitting prowess. 

Pooran batted fearlessly while hammering 64 off 37 balls with the help of half a dozen sixes and two fours. Brooks mustered 49 off 31 balls, spiced with four sixes and two fours while King cracked 21-ball 43 with seven fours and brace of sixes. Curiously, though, Darren Bravo didn’t hit any six in his unbeaten 34 off 27 balls which denied the visitors some crucial runs in the death overs. 

King and Brooks had provided the West Indies a flying start of 66 in power play. Brooks was in a punishing mood as he lifted premier spinner Shadab Khan for three sixes in a row. The momentum was sustained by Pooran but Bravo, coming in at number four, remained unusually quiet and returned unbeaten without belting the bowlers. 

Muhammad Wasim (2-44) was the most successful home bowler but Shahnawaz Dahani delivered an economical spell of one for 24 in four overs. Fast bowler Muhammad Hasnain, making a comeback, was hit all over the park, conceding 48 runs in four overs without taking any wicket.

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Pak- WI ODI series postponed due to Covid-19


By Ehsan Qureshi at National Stadium, Karachi 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The series of three One-day International between Pakistan and the West Indies, which was set to be played at the National Stadium, Karachi, from Dec 18 to 22, has been postponed due to detection of more Covid-19 positive cases in the West Indian camp. 

The series has now been rescheduled for June 2022. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) jointly issued a statement after five more positive cases were reported in the West Indies camp following the PCR testing, raising the total number of positive cases to nine since their arrival in Karachi on December 9.

“On Thursday (December 16) morning and as part of the PCB COVID-19 Protocols, Rapid Antigen tests were conducted on the remaining 15 West Indies players and six player support personnel. All 21 members of the West Indies touring party returned negative test result. As such, Thursday’s T20 International (T20I) proceeded as planned,” the statement read. 

“However, taking into consideration both the teams’ welfare as well as limited resources in the West Indies side for the ODIs, it has been agreed that the series, which forms part of the ICC Men’s Cricket Word Cup Super League, will be postponed and rescheduled for early June 2022. This will provide the West Indies with an equal opportunity to field their best available players for the World Cup qualification matches,” it added. 

“The West Indies team members, who returned negative results following Wednesday’s PCR and today’s Rapid Antigen tests, will depart from Pakistan after tonight’s match. Those who have tested positive will complete their isolation in Karachi before their travel arrangements are finalized to allow them to rejoin their families in time for Christmas celebrations.” 

“Meanwhile, the Pakistan team members, all of whom have returned PCR negative after Wednesday’s tests, will also be leaving the Managed Event Environment after tonight’s third T20I. The CWI would like to thank the PCB for its excellent series arrangements and appreciates its support in rescheduling the ODI series in June 2022.”

The West Indians must have heaved a sigh of relief at the postponement of the ODI series because their already thin resources could have been tested further in the longer of two white-ball formats.

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