December 24, 2019

Prof Siraj Bukhari welcomes return of Test cricket in Karachi


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Prof Syed Siraj-ul-Islam Bukhari, hailed as the father figure of Karachi cricket for a long time, has expressed his joy at the return of Test cricket in Pakistan after the gap of whole decade.

“I would like to congratulate the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ehsan Mani, for bringing international cricket back to Pakistan with a bang. The entire cricket fraternity of the country is thrilled by watching the cricketers perform in our own backyard,” Prof Bukhari, who has been the President as well as the Secretary of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) for a number of years, remarked in a statement soon after Pakistan had completed a resounding victory over Sri Lanka in the second and final Test, to clinch the series 1-0, at the National Stadium, Karachi, on December 23.

“The icing on the cake is the impressive performance of Pakistan’s team in the field which enabled them to win the Karachi Test against Sri Lanka at the National Stadium so handsomely. The victory in home Test series really tastes sweeter,” he added. 

“In fact I am running short of words in praising the PCB and the Pakistan cricket team for coming up with such sterling performance. They deserve the credit for doing it against the heaviest of odds,” the former KCCA chief reckoned. 

“The accomplishments of opener Abid Ali, who scored a century in each of his first two Tests, will be remembered for a long time. Similarly the firepower of the young fast bowlers, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah, augurs well for the future of the Pakistan cricket,” he complimented. 

“It’s such a pleasing sight to watch Test cricket being played again at the National Stadium, Karachi, after 10 years. This has been the happy hunting ground for Pakistan ever since the first Test was played here in 1955. Hopefully we will continue having international matches on a regular basis and every foreign team will be willing to come and play in future,” Prof Bukhari observed. 

It may be recalled that Prof Syed Siraj-ul-Islam Bukhari had remained the face of Karachi cricket for decades. He used to be in the forefront in organizing international matches in Karachi year after year. He has also held important positions in the PCB with domestic cricket organization being his forte.

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December 10, 2019

Omar Associates clinch PVCA National Seniors Cup


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


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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