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September 27, 2020

Cricket without fans is incomplete, says Babar

Sports

September 27, 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan’s white-ball captain Babar Azam has said cricket without fans was incomplete but it could be a blessing in disguise.

“The game is all about the fans, they are the ones who inspire and motivate us with their presence and support during good and bad days,” he was quoted as saying in a PCB media release ahead of the National T20 Cup.

“All I can request the fans on behalf of all competitors is to continue to support this tournament online and show the world through their positive engagement that we are one of the biggest sporting nations that loves its cricket,” he added.

Haider Ali, who became the first Pakistan batsman to hit a half-century on his T20I debut, said: “As a teenager, I have seen a number of games with my friends, family and colleagues from the stands. I know and understand the buzz and excitement of the spectators when they become part of the action.

“But these are unprecedented times where we all have to make small sacrifices to keep the sport alive and healthy. We will miss the fans and the fans will miss live action.

“We all look forward to the fans’ support through various online platforms that will inspire us to produce our best performances,” Haider said.

Haris Rauf, Northern’s fast bowler, said: “Fast bowlers, in particular, enjoy the crowds more as their voice and noise when they run into bowl motivates them to bowl faster. I will miss that part in the National T20 Cup, but hopefully their backing in the lead up matches through positive and supportive social media activations will give me that extra energy that will help me to contribute in my side’s title defence.

“I am keenly looking forward to this competition as it will allow me to catch up with my old mates whom I have not met for a long time due to Covid-19 restrictions,” he added.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, captain of Sindh, said: “We will badly miss the fans but at the same time I have complete faith that they will support the players and the event off site so that they can continue to play their pivotal role in cricket promotion.

“When I walk on to the field, besides the task in hand, I would like to remember the days when I played matches before full houses and the fans right behind me. This will be my motivation as I can never detach myself from the fans who have contributed in what I am today.

“I want the younger generation especially to follow the tournament but not at the cost of their education as academic institutions have just opened after a long closure and at no stage they should sacrifice their studies. Cricket and education can co-exist; it is all about striking the right balance,” said the wicketkeeper batsman.

Shan Masood, who will lead Southern Punjab, said: “The best part about cricket coming back home was to play in front of our supportive and knowledgeable people, but sadly with the Covid-19 situation that won’t be the case for the National T20 Cup and we are going to miss their lively presence.

“The fans’ backing is always invaluable to us and although they can’t be physically present at the venues . . . I urge them to keep supporting all the competitors and the event by following the proceedings through television, live-streaming, mainstream media or the social media.

“As always, the fans’ support and backing is much appreciated,” said the left-handed opener.