July 27, 2011

KG Ramazan Cricket Festival 2011 off to controversial start


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The 26th edition of the Karachi Gymkhana Ramazan Festival Cricket Tournament 2011 for the Bahria Town Trophy got off to a nightmarish start with far too many weaknesses of the organizers brought to light in the media briefing on July 26.

So fierce was the question-answer session following the details unveiled by Tournament Directors, Iqbal Umar and Mian Azmat Hussain, at the Gymkhana’s Banquet Hall that the high points of the event receded in the background for a while.

Former Test wicketkeeper-batsman, Saleem Yousuf, now Convener Sports and Chairman Tournament Committee, was at the centre of criticism for not having taken out draws of the upcoming event.

One of the Past Presidents of the Karachi Gymkhana, Razzaq Bengali, who was sitting with the audience in the front row, stood up and advised the movers and shakers of the tournament to take note of the loopholes pointed out by the media. His move was clapped and appreciated.

Ali Rahim, President, Karachi Gumkhana, realized the gravity of the situation and he took a decision on the spur of the moment to have the draws taken out in front of the media corps right there.

According to the draws, that were openly done and duly authenticated by the officials of the Karachi Gymkhana as well as the representatives of media, defending champions Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) has been placed in the Group B in the company of Advance Telecom, Dubai Islamic Bank and Karachi Stars while the last year’s runners-up, Omar Cricket Club, features in the Group A along with Dollar East, Karachi Gymkhana Blues and Brothers Cricket Club.

Last year’s semifinalist, Vital Five Club has been drawn in the Group C along with Fazal-ur-Rahman Sports, AO Cricket Club and Medicam while Tapal Cricket Club, who also ended as semifinalists last year, is placed in the Group D along with Karachi Gymkhana Whites, Ali Sports and Bahria Town.

The tournament was formally inaugurated by Zain Malik, Director, Bahria Town, in the presence of Prof Siraj-ul-Islam Bokhari, President, Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), and Gymkhana officials, Ali Rahim, Iqbal Umar, Jahangir Moghul, Mian Azmat Hussain and Saleem Yousuf.

In his opening remarks, Iqbal Umar, Tournament Director and a former President of the Karachi Gymkhana, talked about the history of the Ramazan Festival Cricket Tournament which has been held every year since its launch in 1986. He described it as one of the leading tournaments of the country, having discovered many brilliant youngsters.

Mian Azmat Hussain, whose own team Mian Azmat Professionals will be absenting once more after having won the tournament on the highest number of occasions, disclosed that the semifinals and the final of will be telecast live on a private channel.

Ali Rahim, President, Karachi Gymkhana, announced that the tournament, which will be getting underway on the first day of the Holy month of Ramazan, carries enhanced prize money of Rs 825,000 with the winners to take home Rs 400,000 and the runners-up to collect Rs 200,000.

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