KARACHI: The inaugural edition of the Pakistan Cup, a one-day tournament based on last year’s Pentangular Cup, will commence today when Balochistan take on Punjab at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad.
The tournament is being organised under the aegis of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and is a part of the PCB’s efforts to improve the quality of domestic cricket in the country.
In total, 11 50-over matches will be played with the country’s top 80 cricketers showcasing their skills in five teams — Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Federal Capital. Each team will play four league matches, while the top two teams will contest the final on May 1.
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The player remunerations have also been increased drastically — a 100% rise from what players receive in the Pentangular Cup — with a key focus on ensuring player welfare, while an U19 player has been included in each team.
Pakistan’s T20 skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who is also leading the Sindh side, believes that the tournament will be a huge stepping stone for young cricketers. “We have a great chance to polish our one-day skills ahead of a long season. It is great to see such innovations and I am confident that the youngsters will benefit from this,” said Sarfraz during a practise session at the National Stadium of Karachi.
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ODI captain Azhar Ali, who is leading a strong Balochistan side, also threw his weight behind the tournament. “The Pakistan Cup is going to provide quality entertainment for cricket fans. All five squads are evenly balanced and this will ensure competitive cricket,” he said.
Meanwhile, nine pitches are being prepared for the Pakistan Cup with five being prepared for the matches, while the remaining four will be used for the practise sessions.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2016.
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