November 28, 2014

HBL Inter-Schools semifinals, final to be telecast live


Pakistan News & Features Services

Both the semifinals as well as the final of the HBL Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament 2014, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), will be telecast live. 

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman, PVCA, has announced that the semifinals and the final, to be staged at the National Stadium, Karachi, next week, will be beamed live by the Pakistan Television (PTV). 

“The first semifinal, to be played between Kamran Public School and Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad, on December 1 will be telecast live on PTV National while the second semifinal, to be contested between Fahad Academy and St Paul’s School on December 2, will be shown live on PTV Sports. The final, to be held on December 3, will be telecast live on PTV National,” the PVCA Chairman revealed. 

He further disclosed that Shaharyar Khan, Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), will be the guest of honour while Nouman K Dar, President HBL, will be the chief guest in the prize distribution the ceremony to be held soon after the conclusion of the final. 

Like all the previous matches, the semifinals and the finals will be 40 overs-a-side contests, and will be getting underway at 10 am. 

A total of 32 teams, including a couple of outfits selected by HBL on the basis of open trials, entered the tournament which was inaugurated by Shahid Afridi, Pakistan T20 skipper, in a colourful ceremony at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground on September 18. 

Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan, both proud products of HBL, had mingled with the players and officials of the participating teams while giving them motivational talks in which they emphasized on the importance of discipline in the game.  It’s for the seventh time when the PVCA has organized an Inter-Schools tournament in Karachi.

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Jalaluddin pledges for lifetime affair with cricket


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Boosted by the glowing tributes showered upon him, Jalaluddin, a former Test fast bowler, has pledged to continue working for the cause of the game until his last breath. 

During his brief address in the launching ceremony of ‘2015: Jalaluddin’s Tribute Year’ here at the Karachi Gymkhana Banquet Hall on November 27, the highest qualified coach of the country vowed to have a lifetime attachment with the sport which has earned him fame and recognition. 

Pakistan Customs has ventured to pay tribute to Jalaluddin in a befitting manner in view of his overwhelming contribution to the game of cricket. A grand gala dinner in his honour will be organized at a five-star hotel while an exhibition T-20 match between Pakistan Stars-XI and Pakistan Customs-XI, dedicated to him, will be staged at National Stadium, Karachi. 

Some other side events like the launching of a book on the history of Pakistan Customs cricket and conducting a seminar on cricket coaching are also planned to be a part of the programme to be held in January-February 2015. 

“I feel really touched and overwhelmed lavished by our departmental chiefs. I could not have made it where I am today without their unstinted support. They have been very considerate and accommodating towards the cause of sports in general and cricket in particular. Now it’s my duty to reciprocate by devoting the rest of my life in serving the interests of cricket as well as our department,” Jalaluddin, the founder chief coach of the Customs Cricket Academy (CCA), observed in an emotional tone. 

He was responding to the compliments passed by Nazim Saleem, Chief Collector Enforcement, South, Nasir Masroor, Chief Collector Appraisement South, and Khalil Masood, Ex-member Customs and former Chairman, Corporate Law Authority. 

“We have decided to celebrate 2015 as the tribute year to Jalaluddin, in recognition of his outstanding services as a player, a coach and as an administrator. He thoroughly deserves this honour. In fact we are late in doing it. Our department should have done it a few years ago,” Nazim Saleem reckoned. 

“Having played a phenomenal role in the grooming of talented youngsters from all over the country at the state-of-the-art Customs Cricket Academy in Karachi, which he has been running for the last 15 years, he has contributed overwhelmingly to be acknowledged in a befitting manner,” the Chief Collector Enforcement stated. 

“Everyone at Pakistan Customs feels proud of his accomplishments, single-mindedness and consistency of purpose. That’s why his departmental colleagues are excited about turning his benefit year’s events into a resounding success,” Nasir Masroor, Chief Collector Appraisement, remarked. 

“Our collectorate has been looking after the cricket affairs at the Pakistan Customs and it’s mainly due to Jalaluddin’s efforts that we have gone from strength to strength over the years. He has played an awesome role in developing talent from the grassroots level. He has made the department proud with his accomplishments,” he complimented. 

Khalil Masood, Ex-member Customs, recalled that day about three decades ago when he had appointed Jalaluddin at the Pakistan Customs on the basis of his cricketing abilities. 

“It looks like ages ago when Jalaluddin was struggling to find a job. It was our good fortune that we offered him the employment which he gladly accepted. Since then he has proved a great asset for the department as well as the country. He has been doing a great service to the game by coaching the youngsters and turning them into professional cricketers,” the former Customs Collector said. 

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Prof Siraj-ul-Islam Bokhari, former President, Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman, Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) and Nadeem Omar, Managing Director, Omar Associates.

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November 17, 2014

Nadeem Omar’s brilliant knock in vain as Omar Associates go down fighting


Pakistan News & Features Services

Nadeem Omar played a brilliant innings but it was not enough in the end as Omar Associates went down fighting by 22 runs in their encounter against Karachi Gymkhana here at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground on November 16. The match was organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA).

Nadeem Omar made a brilliant 68 off 64 balls to provide Omar Associates a strong platform to win the match. He was adjudged Man of the Match even though his team was unable to press home the advantage. 

Batting first, Karachi Gymkhana scored 191 for five in 22 overs. Saleem Parekh was the topscorer with 50 off 48 balls, hitting six fours while Tayyab Yousuf remained undefeated on 38 off 32 balls with the help of four boundaries. Leg-spinner Sajid Ansari (2-30) was the pick of the Omar Associates bowlers. 

Chasing a target of 192 in 22 overs, Omar Associates got off to a flying start through the opening pair of Nadeem Omar and Fawad Ijaz Khan, both of whom scored briskly. Fawad Ijaz was dismissed after scoring 48 off 44 balls, smashing five fours, while Nadeem Omar went on to score 68 off 64 balls with the aid of three boundaries. 

The asking rate could not be maintained in the final phase of the innings and Omar Associates was restricted to 169 for four in 22 overs. Off-spinner Akhtar Munir and left-arm spinner Jaffer Qureshi picked up a couple of wickets each for Karachi Gymkhana. 

The presentation ceremony was held soon after the conclusion of the match in which chief guest Muzaffar Alam presented Man of the Match award to Nadeem Omar while Saleem Parekh and Akhtar Munir were declared best batman and best bowler respectively.

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Beaconhouse North Nazimabad, St Paul sneak into HBL Inter-Schools Cricket semifinals


Pakistan News & Features Services

Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad and St Paul High School sneaked into the semifinals of the HBL Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament 2014, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), by edging out their respective rivals in the quarter-finals.  

Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad outwitted HBL Schoolboys Whites by nine runs at the TMC Ground while St Paul High School recorded a narrow two-wicket victory over Beaconhouse School PECHS at the KCCA Stadium. 

Batting first, after winning the toss, Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad overcome a shaky start to finish with a decent total 185 for seven in the allotted 40 overs. Then they bowled out HBL Schoolboys Whites for 176 on the final ball of the innings to win the keenly contested encounter. 

Opener Izan Khan held the Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad innings together with a solid 47 off 93 balls. He added 80 for the fifth wicket with Muaz Bin Salman, who remained undefeated on 54 off 79 balls. Medium-pacer Sohail Khan (2-48) and leg-spinner Ashraf Khan (2-49) were the successful bowlers for HBL Schoolboys Whites. 

Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad fought back through the spin trio of Waleed Hasan (2-25), Ahmed Salman (2-27) and Hasan Khan (2-30) after HBL Schoolboys Whites was put in the driving seat by their top-order batsmen Waleed Khan (54 off 73 balls), Wajid Nasir (35 off 35 balls) and Owais Butt (28 off 47 balls). Muaz Bin Salman of Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad, who also picked up a wicket in his five-over spell of leg-spin besides scoring an unbeaten half century, was declared Man of the Match. 

The other quarter-final, featuring St Paul High School and Beaconhouse School PECHS, also went to the wire. Beaconhouse School PECHS was bowled out for 175 in 35 overs and St Paul High School lost eight wickets before finally reaching the target in the penultimate over. 

Leg-spinner Fahad Irfan (4-27), assisted by left-arm spinner Hamza Khan (2-10) and medium-pacer Mohammad Hasnain (2-22), wrecked the Beaconhouse School PECHS innings after enterprising knocks from Huzaifa Ahmed (44 off 45 balls) and Hammad Khan (28 off 27 balls) in the early overs. 

Chasing a target of 176 in 40 overs, St Paul High School lost wickets at regular intervals to be reduced to 111 for six despite Umar Abdullah’s 45 off 102 balls. With off-spinner Mazahir Walji (3-25) delivering an outstanding spell, Beaconhouse School PECHS sensed victory when they claimed eighth wicket. 

It was Mohammad Kashan’s brilliant unbeaten knock, under pressure, turned the tide decisively in favour of St Paul High School. He remained undefeated on 36 off 40 balls as the winning runs came with only eight deliveries to spare.

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November 13, 2014

Fahad Academy, Kamran Public cruise into HBL Inter-Schools Cricket semifinals


Pakistan News & Features Services

Fahad Academy and Kamran Public School cruised into the semifinals of the HBL Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament 2014, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), by taming their respective rivals in the quarter-finals.

Fahad Academy defeated HBL Schoolboys Greens by 71 runs at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground while Kamran Public School overwhelmed Khan Secondary School by seven wickets at the TMC Ground. 

Electing to bat first, after calling correctly, Fahad Academy posted a total of 229 for nine in the allotted 40 overs. Then they bowled out their opponents for 158 in 36.5 overs to win the match comprehensively. 

The 63-run brisk opening stand between Babar Hussain (56 off 46 balls) and Mohammad Saleem (29 off 27 balls) put Fahad Academy in commanding position but HBL Schoolboys Greens fought back through off-spinner Mohammad Yousuf, who grabbed five wickets for 40 runs. 

Zafar Mandani and Tauseef Khan revived Fahad Academy with useful knocks. Zafar remained undefeated on 56 off 59 balls after Tauseef was dismissed for 43 off 59 balls. They allowed their team to reach a fighting score of 229. 

Set to score 230 in 40 overs, HBL Schoolboys Greens lost three early wickets. The 61-run fourth wicket stand between opener Syed Amin (36 off 63 balls) and Nadir Awan (42 off 48 balls) brought them back into contention but another collapse saw them lose their last seven wickets for 48 runs. 

Left-arm spinner Arsalan Shah (3-41) was the pick of the Fahad Academy bowlers but his teammate Zafar Mandani was adjudged Man of the Match for his unbeaten half century. 

In the other quarter-final, Khan Secondary School, who batted first after winning the toss, was spun out for 125 in 32.5 overs by Kamran Public School who raced to the target of 126 in just 12.2 overs. 

The spin trio of Mohammad Bin Junaid (4-21), Ubaidullah (2-12) and Ammad Alam (2-31) sent Khan Secondary School tumbling to a low score with only Faizan Shaikh (27 off 36 balls) and Hasan Bashir (20 off 35 balls) offering some resistance. 

Set a modest target of 126 in 40 overs, Kamran Public School went after the bowling from the start of their innings. The tone was set by the skipper himself as Ammad Alam, who opened the innings, hammered 22 off 11 balls. 

The momentum was sustained by number three Hasan Mohsin who smashed 11 boundaries in his whirlwind 60 off 37 balls. S M Hasnain remained undefeated on 27 off 20 balls with the help of four boundaries as the winning runs came in only the 13th over. The Man of the Match award, however, was picked up by off-spinner Mohammad Bin Junaid for his four-wicket haul.

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November 11, 2014

Saad-ul-Haq: Shane Warne in the making?


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

As they say one should aim high. Saad-ul-Haq is only 11 years old and imagining him to become a leg-spinning wizard in future may look too ambitious at this stage but you never know.

This Florida-born lad has cricket in blood. His father, Naeem-ul-Haq, played first-class cricket in Pakistan. His uncle, Anwar-ul-Haq, who was a prolific opening batsman, came very close to representing Pakistan at the international level. 

Not surprisingly Saad has had the passion for cricket since childhood even though he has been brought up in the United States of America (USA) where the sport doesn’t enjoy the kind of popularity it has in Pakistan. 

Saad, a natural leg-spinner, who turns the ball quite a bit, seems to be having a burning desire to succeed in cricket.

In order to fulfill his dream into reality he is a regular visitor to the Florida Cricket Academy over the weekends when the enthusiastic learners are provided the much-needed lessons by qualified coaches.

He was barely four years old when Shane Warne, the legendary Australian leg-spinner, had decided to his hang boots but he heard and read so many stories about the champion which fascinated him endlessly. 

Well Warnie was quite a character and we many never witness another version of Shane Warne ever but there’s always an incentive to model yourself on his lines because even if you achieve even a few of his traits you could still be making big. 

Naeem-ul-Haq, who is a qualified coach, believes that his son has the potential to grow and he can blossom into a real good spin bowler in future. 

With the Florida Cricket Academy planning a tour of Pakistan early next year, it would be interesting to see if Saad also accompanies the squad.

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HBL Inter-Schools Tournament enters knockout phase


Pakistan News & Features Services

Upon the conclusion of 48 league matches, the knockout stage of the HBL Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament 2014, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), will now be getting underway on November 12. 

Kamran Public School, Khan Secondary School, HBL Schoolboys Greens, Fahad Academy, Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad, HBL Schoolboys Whites, St Paul High School and Beaconhouse School PECHS are the eight outfits, among the 32 contestants, to have qualified for the knockout stage of the competition starting with the quarter-finals. 

According to the schedule, announced by the PVCA, a couple of quarter-finals will be held on November 12 in which Kamran Public School will confront Khan Secondary School at the TMC Ground and HBL Schoolboys Greens will be pitted against Fahad Academy at the Karachi Gymkhana Cricket Ground. 

In the other two quarter-finals, due to take place on November 13, Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad will lock horns with HBL Schoolboys Whites at the TMC Ground while St Paul High School will clash with Beaconhouse School PECHS at the KCCA Stadium. 

The winners of the Kamran Public School-Khan Secondary School tie will combat the winners of the Beaconhouse School North Nazimabad-HBL Schoolboys Whites encounter in the first semifinal to be staged at the National Stadium on December 1. 

The other semifinal, to be held also at the National Stadium, the following day, will be between the winners of HBL Schoolboys Greens-Fahad Academy and St Paul High School-Beaconhouse School PECHS quarter-finals. The curtain will fall on the tournament with the final, scheduled to be held at the National Stadium, on December 3.

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Ashraf Khan spins HBL Schoolboys Whites into Inter-School Cricket quarters


Pakistan News & Features Services

Leg-spinner Ashraf Khan, with the magical figures of five for nine off eight overs, powered HBL Schoolboys Whites to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Foundation Public School in the last league fixture of the HBL Inter-School Cricket Tournament 2014 at the Hill Park Ground in Karachi. 

By virtue of their resounding victory, HBL Schoolboys Whites also cruised in the quarter-finals of the tournament, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA). 

Batting first, after winning the toss, Foundation Public School had weathered the early storm but their batting fell apart with the introduction of the spinners. They lost their last nine wickets for only 63 runs to be bowled out for 103 in 37.4 overs. Shafiq Khan (23 off 56 balls), Saifullah (21 off 39 balls) and Osama Khan (15 off 29) were the only three batsmen to enter double figures. 

The leg-spin of Ashraf Khan proved too hot to handle for him as he mesmerized them in this eight-over spell. Five of his overs were maidens and he picked up five wickets for only nine runs. The other three spinners, Anas Ilyas (2-13), Emman Ahmed (1-19) and Ibad Shah (1-26) also proved very economical, conceding only 58 runs in 20.4 overs which they bowled themselves. 

HBL Schoolboys Whites needed only 11.4 overs to reach the modest target of 104, losing three wickets in the bargain. The victory charge was led by Wajid Nasir who hammered two sixes and five fours in his unbeaten 38 off 17 balls. 

Anas Ilyas was comparatively sedate, scoring 34 off 30 balls with the help of seven boundaries. The Man of the Match award, however, was clinched by their teammate Ashraf Khan for his five-wicket haul.

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Florida Cricket Academy eager to tour Pakistan: Naeem-ul-Haq


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Florida Cricket Academy (FCA) has planned to undertake a tour of Pakistan early next year and the squad will comprise of the youngsters of the United States of America (USA) residing in the south eastern region.

This was disclosed by Naeem-ul-Haq, a former cricketer from Karachi having relocated in the USA where he is the Head Coach of the Fort Lauderdale-based FCA, in an interview at the residence of his brother, Anwar-ul-Haq, also a famous opening batsman. 

Currently on a brief visit to his home city, Naeem, who represented Pakistan Customs in national tournaments in the 1980s, revealed that the FCA was working on its planned one-week tour of Karachi during which its trainees, coming from the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, will be playing three matches against three top local academies during the months of January or February next. 

“We have already negotiated with the Customs Cricket Academy who will be playing one of the matches against the FCA. Now we are talking to the Rashid Latif Cricket Academy and the Moin Khan Cricket Academy and positive results are expected,” he reckoned. 

“The FCA tour will be taking place with the blessings and support of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) and we don’t foresee any problems in bringing our cricketers to this part of the world,” he stated.

Having served a coach of the South East of the USACA, Naeem revealed that the FCA squad, to be in the age group of 16 to 19 years, will be featuring cricketers having relocated there from different Test playing nations across the globe. 

“It’s an incredible mix of youngsters having backgrounds from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the West Indies who receive training at the FCA. There are a few native Americans too,” he added. 

“Mostly we have the training sessions over the weekends. Many youngsters are very enthusiastic about the game of cricket in the South East region although it’s not the number one sport there,” Naeem remarked. 

“A brief tour of Pakistan will do their confidence a world of good. They will learn a lot of new things by playing against the top academies of Karachi and they will go back as improved cricketers,” he felt. 

“Cricket can flourish in USA if more work was done to promote the game at schools, colleges and universities. It has a potential to succeed but hard work is needed besides deep pockets,” Naeem, who alongwith Raza Jaffri, was instrumental in setting up the Florida Cricket Academy in Fort Lauderdale about a decade ago, opined. 

Such initiatives are indeed vital in the promotion of cricket in the USA and it’s upto the authorities there to inspire the community leaders to play their role more proactively in developing this particular sport.

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November 1, 2014

Three more matches decided in HBL Inter-Schools Cricket


Pakistan News & Features Services

HBL Schoolboys Greens, St Paul High School and Aga Khan Higher Secondary School recorded victories over their respective rivals in the latest round of league matches of the HBL Inter-Schools Cricket Tournament 2014, being organized by the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA). 

HBL Schoolboys Greens outwitted New Oxford Grammar School by five wickets in their Group H encounter at the KCCA Stadium, St Paul High School overpowered Karachi Public School by 88 runs in their Group F clash at the Hussain Lawai Naya Nazimabad Stadium and Aga Khan Higher Secondary School defeated Azeem Academy by 35 runs in their Group C fixture at the TMC Ground. 

Batting first, New Oxford Grammar School was all out for 174 in 39.5 overs with Mohammad Ahsan (41 off 53 balls), Chand Ahmed (29 off 27 balls) and Umair Ibrahim (20 off 37 balls) contributing substantially as the innings was kept in check by the spin duo of Mohammad Yousuf (2-20) and Syed Amin (2-30). 

HBL Schoolboys Greens lost their top three batsmen for only 35 runs while chasing a target of 175 in 40 overs. The 64-run fourth wicket stand between Aamir Malik (33 off 48 balls) and Nadir Awan (33 off 45 balls) revived them and the job was completed by the duo of Taufiq Ahmed (38 off 37 balls) and Yawar Imam (29 off 33 balls) who added 70 for their unbroken sixth wicket partnership as the winning runs came with 4.2 overs to spare. Taufiq Ahmed was adjudged Man of the Match. 

St Paul High School got off to a flyer with the 114-run opening stand between Fahad Irfan (64 off 48 balls) and Noman Ahmed (34 off 49 balls). They managed to score 190 in 34.5 overs despite suffering a massive collapse brought about by the spin trio of Ahmed Farooq (4-35), Jibran Hasan (2-18) and Ali Tirmizi (2-34). 

Karachi Public School, in reply, was bowled out for 102 in 27.1 overs with only Sameer Shaikh (44 off 70 balls) offering resistance as the innings was rocked by medium-pacers Hammad Ahmed (4-15) and Hamza Ali (2-25) while Fawad Irfan, with his leg-spin, also chipped in with a couple of cheap wickets. He was named Man of the Match for his fine all-round performance. 

Aga Khan Higher Secondary School was boosted by 53 extras which raised their total to 195. Shakir Ali (40 off 48 balls) made the highest contribution among the batsmen after openers Hasan Ashraf (32 off 47 balls) and Ali Ahmed (21 off 28 balls) had kickstarted the innings by putting on 81 runs for the first wicket. 

Medium-pacer Daniyal Pervez (3-23) and off-spinner Hamza Ashraf (3-42) pulled it back but the leakage of sundries didn’t help their cause. Azeem Academy was also gifted 40 extras in their innings but they lost their last nine wickets for only 47 runs to be bowled out for 160 in 30.4 overs. They were tormented by off-spinner Omar Shahid, who claimed five wickets for 31 runs.

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