ISLAMABAD-PCB Governing Board member Shakil Shaikh has promised to provide Rawalpindi and Islamabad youth due share in national team as well as in Pakistan Super League and other major events.

Shakil said this during a prize distribution ceremony held at Bhutto Cricket Ground (BCG) to honour PCB Inter-District U-19 champions East Zone, where he was chief guest while Ch Ajmal Sabir, ICA VP Syed Abrar Rizvi, East Zone head coach Hassan Asghar, administrator Wasif Bajwa and others were also present.

Shakil lauded Ajmal Sabir and East Zone for their outstanding contributions for promoting cricket in Islamabad region. “Islamabad and Rawalpindi players very important for me and I never ever think about depriving local talent. I sent 10 players of twin cities for the PSL emerging players’ category, which also include names of Arsal and Ali Imran, but the PCB panel decided to pick Muzammil, which is also appreciable.”

He also announced the PCB and Pepsi would launch Hanif Muhamamd Cricket in last week of March, which would be a great step towards promotion of U-19 cricket at grassroots level. 

He said cricket stadium in Islamabad would start functioning this year, as the PCB wanted to start cricket there soon while the mega things would be added later. He rebuffed a few circles claiming Islamabad Stadium project was dead and buried. “Instead of spreading speculations, people should visit the place and witness majority of the ground work has almost completed. The PM is taking the project very seriously, while I will also meet with CDA chairman soon to discuss new cricket grounds in different sectors.”

To a query, he said: “Ever since Islamabad started playing prestigious trophy, its’ players were never relegated. We have to take into account a number of things as there is a lot of at stake.”

Ajmal Sabir termed Shakil as man of commitment and pride of Islamabad. “In only 4-year time, Bhutto Cricket Academy has produced a number of quality players and we have won ICA League, U-19 Championship and other titles during this short span of time, which clearly indicate that this zone is full of natural talent.”

Ajmal vowed that in the next year or so, East Zone would provide Islamabad Region at least 4 or 5 players and two of them would at least represent the country at international level.

He said Ali Imran, a product of East Zone and Asif Memorial Club, had very successfully toured UAE and Sri Lanka and helped Test cricketer Imran Nazir Academy lift back-to-back international titles, while he also made Quaid-e-Azam Trophy debut for Islamabad and also One-Day debut for the same Region.

RISJA president Mohsin Ali has said that Pindi-Islamabad players are being ignored for national team selection and also not even being considered for Pakistan Super League, which is huge injustice to the players of twin cities.

 “The PCB must give same attention to the twin cities players which they give to other region players.”

He said it was very hard to spend a single penny on the players, but Ajmal Sabir, who spends huge money on the players, upgrades ground, provides balls, kits, hires top coaches for teams practising at Bhutto Cricket Ground and gives cash incentives to the players to motivate them, deserves all credit for this noble cause, he has been doing since long.

Mohsin suggested Shaikh to take Ajmal onboard and give him any major responsibility in regional and zonal cricket, as it will prove beneficial for players of twin cities.

 

ISLAMABAD: Champions East Zone in a group photo with chief guest Shakil Shaikh and Ch Ajmal Sabir at Bhutto Cricket Ground.–Staff photo by Syed Mehdi