KARACHI: Pakistan will begin their campaign at the West Asia Baseball Cup 2013 against Afghanistan at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Saturday.
The tournament is being hosted by the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB) in collaboration with the Punjab government. Teams from Sri Lanka, Nepal and Afghanistan are participating in the event which will also serve as a qualifier for the Asia Cup next year.
PFB secretary Khawar Shah pointed out that Pakistan have won the West Asia Cup four times so far and said the team will have a good chance of winning the tournament on home-ground.
“Our team is very capable and can win the tournament again,” Khawar told The Express Tribune.
“Our toughest competition will be Sri Lanka, but we have defeated them before as well, so hopefully we can do it again. As far as our opening match is concerned, Afghanistan may also give us a hard time.”
The opening match of the tournament will take place on Saturday between Sri Lanka and Nepal, while Pakistan will play Afghanistan in the second fixture for the day.
Meanwhile, the foreign teams have expressed their satisfaction over the security arrangement.
“The teams are safe and the Punjab Government has been alert so far,” added Khawar. “This event is a great opportunity for Pakistan to show that we can host an international event successfully.”
He further said that holding an international event will help the PFB promote baseball in which the number of players has been steadily increasing over the years.
“Baseball is growing as a sport and we have more players in our camps than ever before. The sport can only grab the attention of people when international events take place regularly.”
The PFB had held a month-long camp in Lahore to prepare the players for the tournament. The selection committee chose 30 players from the National Championship in October to ensure that the best talent would come forward for the West Asia Cup.
Earlier, the Indian team was also expected to visit Pakistan but failed to confirm its participation.
However, Shah said the PFB are looking forward to the bilateral series with the neighbouring country next year.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2013.