Shoaib Malik has called for the Sialkot Stallions’ inclusion in the Champions League T20 after his side won the second edition of the Super Eight T20 Cup to go with the domestic Twenty20 event they won last year.
Stallions’ effort remains unparalleled and Malik believed that after such repeated heroics, his side deserved a place in the mega event where Pakistan teams have been snubbed each year.
“Stallions deserve a place in the Champions League because of our efforts,” Malik told The Express Tribune. “It won’t just be a team from Sialkot but a representation from the country so it’ll make the competition stronger.
“Stallions’ inclusion will help Pakistan cricket as well because people from both sides love each other and want to see Pakistan-India matches. Our participation in the event will remove hurdles and pave the way for these matches.”
Malik top-scored with an unbeaten 62 off 47 balls as Stallions chased down the 168-run target with ease despite losing an early wicket.
Malik was involved in an unbroken 119-run third-wicket partnership with Haris Sohail (55*) after Khalid Latif, who was named best batsman of the tournament, struck 81 to propel Dolphins to 167 for eight off their quota.
“The win was a team effort and we all play for each other,” added Malik. “My aim was to field the best possible eleven and thankfully the players have always repaid my faith.”
Stallions pocketed Rs2m for the win while the Dolphins, who lost their sixth domestic Twenty20 final, got Rs1m. Malik was named man of the match but he went on to share it with Haris, praising the left-hander and his effort.
‘Pakistan ready for internationals’
Meanwhile, following a successful event, the authorities said that Pakistan was ready to host international cricket matches once again after a three-year break.
Tens of thousands of cricket-starved fans thronged the Rawalpindi Stadium during the week-long tournament as Malik said fans were desperate to see foreign teams come and play — and the country was ready for it.
“The discipline shown by the fans proves that we deserve international cricket and the successful event with immaculate security proves that we can host international cricket,” said Malik.
“We’ve been playing on foreign venues, which not only deprives the fans but also youngsters who want to improve their skills, they can’t do that when they don’t see their stars play before them.”
Javed Miandad,said the success of the event showed the appetite for international cricket was enormous.
“This event sends a big message to the world,” said Miandad. “We don’t have to say anything, 22,000 people on Sunday night demanded the return of international cricket in Pakistan and we can host that in near future.”(With additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 3rd, 2012.
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