KARACHI: The Pakistan under-18 team left for Japan yesterday to take part in the ninth Asia Baseball Cup that begins on August 28.
Eight countries vie for the Asian under-18 title with Pakistan placed against the hosts, Taiwan and Hong Kong in their group while Korea, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand form the other group that will vie for the title.
PBF hope for a good show
The Pakistan Federation of Baseball (PFB) was hopeful of a good show from the players at the five-day tournament where the 18-man squad – accompanied by four officials – capable of surprising their opponents, according the PFB Secretary Khawar Shah.
"These boys can go a long way," Shah told The Express Tribune. "Our senior team is ranked 25th in the world so we have a lot of talent. This under-18 team is a reflection of the seniors. Naturally, they are expected to do well and have the necessary skills to achieve that," added Shah, who is the team leader of the 22-man Pakistan contingent.
Players upbeat over chances
Despite not making the headlines with regards to their tour of Japan, the squad remained confident of making the country proud.
Catcher Abdul Momin, an experienced member of the side, said the hard work of the players will pay off.
"All of us have worked hard for the tournament," said Momin. "There's no reason why we can't do well against these teams."
While Momin sounded optimistic, there was one more reason for Pakistan to be confident about. Their captain Abdullah and another member, Asadullah, have regularly played in Japan's local league and are already familiar with the environment and conditions.
Apart from these players, Hasan Arif Butt, who has been declared the team's fastest pitcher by Momin, will be another player to watch out for when Pakistan lock horns against the Asian teams.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.