December 30, 2013

Naya Nazimabad’s Lawai Stadium ready to stage first-class cricket


By Syed Khalid Mahmood  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The magnificent Lawai Stadium, located in Naya Nazimabad, Karachi, seems to be having all the ingredients of becoming a world-class venue in future. No wonder it’s ready to host first-class cricket matches as well as limited overs games under floodlights. 

Mohammad Iqbal, Director Sports, Naya Nazimabad, has informed that they would shortly be writing to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to allocate them some matches during the upcoming 2014-15 cricket season. 

“Having acquired all the necessary equipments after developing a stadium of the highest class we are ready to host the matches of the national competitions. We would be writing to the PCB Chairman, Najam Sethi, to let us stage the matches in the coming season,” Iqbal, who headed the MCB Bank’s Sports Division with distinction for a number of years, revealed. 

“The Lawai Stadium houses dressing rooms besides dugouts for participating teams. We have third-umpire room as well as brand new sightscreens. We have got hold of auto roller as well as the auto grass cutting machine. We have re-laid our pitches having a lot of grassy stuff. The floodlights are already there. So we have adequate facilities to hold day games as well as day-nighters,” he remarked. 

“We are confident about the PCB including our stadium in its list of venues for national tournaments next season because we fulfill nearly every condition needed to host first-class games,” Iqbal, himself a former cricketer, added. 

The Lawai Stadium is an initiative of Arif Habib, one of the leading entrepreneurs of the country, who was instrumental in developing a cricket ground of international standard in Naya Nazimabad City, a 2,100-acre housing scheme in the northern area of Karachi. He is credited to have masterminded the development of the cricket stadium on a fast track, earning huge goodwill to the mega project. 

The picturesque cricket stadium has been named after Hussain Lawai, President, Summit Bank Limited, in recognition and honour of his support and passion for cricket. Besides being a seasoned banker, he has remained a great promoter of sports over the years. 

The Lawai Stadium is first thing one comes across after entering the main gate of the Naya Nazimabad project. 

With hills on one side and the Manghopir Lake on the other, the scheme is well guarded and gated. It’s just a few minutes drive from the Sakhi Hasan roundabout in North Nazimabad. 

The construction work in the housing scheme is in full flow, much to the delight and satisfaction of the allottees, and the developed cricket stadium has ensured plenty of life in the arena much before people start residing there upon the completion of the project by the end of 2015. 

The credit for turning Arif Habib’s dream of the Naya Nazimabad Lawai Stadium into reality goes to Mohammad Iqbal, whose expertise and skills for sports administration are well known. 

He had represented the organization in the various committees as well as the Council of the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP), now the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). 

The Naya Nazimabad Lawai Stadium has already hosted a major tournament recently in which Omar Cricket Club emerged triumphant in the final of the Peace Cup Twenty20 Cricket Tournament 2013 at as they overpowered Qasmi Cricket Club in the final.

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Nadeem Omar reckons Karachi can produce high-quality fast bowlers


By Syed Khalid Mahmood  
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Nadeem Omar, a Presidential candidate in the upcoming elections of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), has dispelled the impression that Karachi didn’t possess the capability to produce high quality fast bowlers for the top level. 

“The ethnic cultural mix puts Karachi at a huge advantage and here we do have quite a few potentially good fast bowlers. Their misfortune, however, is the quality of pitches which don’t offer them any sort of encouragement. I am convinced that Karachi will produce many fast bowlers of international quality if the pitches were made lively,” he contended during the media briefing of the Pace Bowlers Training Programme, being organized by the Customs Cricket Academy (CCA). 

He had no doubts in his mind whatsoever about the Karachi fast bowlers being capable enough to compete at the national level. “Yes I am absolutely sure that we do possess enormous talent in the fast bowling department as well. It’s just the question of polishing their skills and providing them the right kind of environment,” Nadeem Omar emphasized. 

Meanwhile a total of 16 promising youngsters, in the age group of 17 to 22 years, are being imparted one-month coaching under the guidance of the CCA Head Coach, Mr Jalaluddin. The programme, having commenced on December 15, will continue until January 14. 

The details were unveiled in a media briefing by Jalaluddin at the Karachi Gymkhana Banquet Hall. Nadeem Omar, Managing Director, Omar Associates, and Khalil Masood, former Collector of Customs, also shared their thoughts on the occasion. 

Besides the participating young cricketers, their coaches and trainers as well as some former cricketers like Abdul Raquib, Anwar Khan and Anwar-ul-Haq were also in attendance in the gathering. 

“The Pace Bowlers Training Programme is being conducted to provide an opportunity to the young and upcoming fast bowlers who have talent and capacity to graduate to the higher level. Qualified coaches feel that the raw talent should develop with the knowledge of basic bio-mechanics, physiology and attributes of physical fitness that help them in their self-development. Our programme has been designed to keep focus on these aspects,” Jalaluddin, acclaimed as the highest qualified cricket coach in the country, observed in his opening remarks. 

“The trainees have been picked in the age groups of Under-17 and Under-22 but neither of these youngsters has played much cricket yet and they are considered raw pace bowling talent. In the limited time period and also because of the resource constraints we could not hold open trials. We have selected these youngsters upon the recommendation of the various clubs of Karachi,” he revealed. 

“Although the programme is aimed at boosting the fast bowling resources of Karachi, the ultimate beneficiary will be the Pakistan cricket. A few of these bowlers, when developed perfectly, could go on to represent the country in future,” Jalaluddin felt. 

Khalil Masood, Patron of the CCA, remarked that Pakistan Customs, as a department, had a moral obligation to serve the community and it was exactly doing that by engaging the youth in such healthy activities. 

The cricketers selected for the Pace Bowlers Training Programme, being sponsored by Omar Associates, are Waqar Anwar, Nawaz Khan, Basit Ali, Noor Khan, Ihsan Afridi, Usman Ghani, Noman Saleem, Minhaj Kamal, Ahsan Iqbal, Khurram Shahzad, Sameed Qadri, Abdullah Aziz, Hammad Raza, Ahad Ali and Mohammad Raheel. A women cricketer, Maham Tariq, is also taking part in the training programme. 

The CCA will be spending around Rs 65,000 on each participant as it includes the cost of training, equipment, resource material and hospitality.

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