Saturday September 23, 2023

PBCC chairman aims to win next Blind T20 World Cup

February 13, 2022

LAHORE : The South African blind cricket team is a strong outfit and we are expecting a tough fight from them in the upcoming ODI and T20 cricket series in Pakistan; these views were expressed by Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) Chairman Syed Sultan Shah while talking to ‘The News’ at his office here on Saturday.

PBCC Chairman Syed Sultan Shah, who is also President of World Blind Cricket Council, said that South Africans are former world champions, and our cricketers will have to exhibit their full potential to script encouraging results in the upcoming ODI and T20 series. “We have several world class cricketers such as Captain Nisar Ali, Badar Munir, Zafar Iqbal and M Rashid in our squad who can play a key role in the victory of national team”.

He said after the South Africa series, the national blind cricket team is scheduled to feature in a 3-Nation Blind T20 Cricket Tournament to be played in Dubai from March 13 to 19, 2022. Besides Pakistan and India, one team from either Bangladesh or Sri Lanka will feature in the tri-series,” he informed.

Responding to a question, PBCC Chairman Syed Sultan Shah, who has the honour of being the first captain of Pakistan blind cricket team, said that upcoming cricket series against South African and subsequent 3-Nation Tournament will be of great significance as we are playing both the events as part of our preparation for next T20 World Cup that is expected to be staged in India in Nov this year.

“We are also fielding some young talented players against South Africa and Dubai Triangular event to give them maximum international exposure ahead of the mega T20 World Cup tournament. Our selectors will observe the performance of all junior and senior players minutely in a bid to form a strong national blind cricket team for the T20 World Cup”.

Syed Sultan Shah, who became blind at the age of 9 as a result of an accident, said: “Our main focus is to raise a balanced team for the T20 World Cup. Our players and team officials are working hard with an aim to win the coveted world title again and we are quite upbeat to end our World Cup drought this time,” he elaborated.

Revealing the schedule, PBCC Chairman informed that South African blind cricket team will arrive in Karachi on February 26 and play 3 ODIs there on Feb 28, March 1 and 3. “The T20 leg of the tour will be played in Lahore and Faisalabad. The first T20 will be played at Lahore’s Bagh-e-Jinnah cricket ground on March 5 followed by two T20s at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium on March 7 and 8,” he added.

Syed Sultan Shah further said that PBCC selectors will announce separate teams for ODI and T20 rubbers against South Africa and the top performers will be picked up for Dubai Triangular event. “We want to give sufficient opportunities to our young players to play alongside seniors in international matches so that they can polish their cricketing skills ahead of major tournaments. As many as 23 players have already been picked for 6-day training camp in Lahore from Feb 19 to 24,” he informed.

When asked about Pakistan’s chances in Dubai Tri-Angular Series, PBCC Chairman said that Pakistan team will enter the 3-Nation Tournament with a psychological edge over arch-rivals India. “It is quite heartening that Pakistan have defeated India, the current T20 and ODI World Champions, twice including the final match in a T20 Tri-series in Dhaka in April last year. That’s why we are quite confident that Pakistan blind team will offer satisfactory performance against India in Dubai Tri-series”.

PBCC Chairman further informed that Pakistan blind cricket team will also participate in World Blind Games scheduled to be staged in England under the auspices of International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) in August 2023. “The game of cricket has been included in World Blind Games for the first time,” he added.

Answering a query regarding Pakistan’s blind women cricket activities, PBCC Chairman said that PBCC is striving hard to promote cricket among Pakistan’s blind women players. “We have trained 70-80 blind girls in collaboration with the Australian High Commission. These girls will represent 4 teams - Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad in a 4-Team National Women Blind Cricket Tournament in March 2022 under the aegis of Australian High Commission.