SHABQADAR: The first-ever local premier league was organised in Charsadda where native players will be sponsored by financial backers, who live in the district, to encourage cricket.
The tournament has been organised along the same lines as international sports leagues.
Sunday trials for the tournament were held at the Haleemzai Cricket Club in Samanat village of Shabqadar, where the PCB coach for Fata, Haji Badshah Afridi, selected the Mohmand Cheetahs team.
Khaista Khan, the team owner was present on the occasion. Also in attendance was Pakhtunkhwa Warriors team owner Faisal Khan.
Khaista Khan said Muhammad Zahid, a local, took the initiative of organising the first-ever Tangi Premier League (TPL) to promote local talent. He added that league will kick off on September 1 and consist of eight sponsored teams.
“The main purpose is to tap local talent. The TPL is completely sponsored by locals and neither the PCB nor the K-P sports department is involved in it.”
He said that his brother was a first-class player and founded the Haleemzai Cricket Club to promote local talent on a national and international levels. This was the reason Khaista decided to sponsor the Mohmand Cheetahs team.
The captain of Mohmand Cheetahs, Noor Sahib Khan, said the club has been training talented players since 2007 when militancy was at its peak in the area. The cricketer said he was happy over his selection for this tournament.
He added Riffatullah Mohmand and Iftikhar Ahmad, who have played cricket in Pakistan and abroad, are part of his team. “I have struggled hard to introduce local talent on the national and international levels, but it was not successful. Today, my dreams have become a reality,” said Noor Sahib.
He added that there is a lot of talent in the area, but the government does not sponsor or facilitate it. “There is no ground in the area and the district government’s funds are wasted on cricket played with a tennis ball which destroys local talent instead of boosting it,” he added.
A batsman of Mohmand Cheetahs, Sher Badshah Muhmmand, who hails from Mohmand Agency, told The Express Tribune that he regularly comes to the club for practice and has to travel 30km to do so. He points out there is no such facility in Mohmand Agency, even though it has been declared a district by the PCB.
Zakria Mohmand, another batsman, said there is a lot of talent, but few facilities available for the players. In such circumstances, the premier league is a positive step. “Although TPL has been organised by a private owner, there is still need for a government sponsor to boost local talent in the area.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2016.
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