KARACHI: The first round of the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy, Pakistan’s premier domestic tournament, starts today and features 12 teams and top national cricketers battling it out for the coveted title.
While the teams vie for the Division I title, a total of 10 sides will fight for the Division II trophy. At the end of the tournament, a region and a department finishing at the bottom of the table will be demoted to Division II for next year’s tournament.
HBL, led by former Pakistan captain Younus Khan, will defend their title after they defeated PIA in the final last season, which was played under lights and with an orange ball at the National Stadium.
This year, the final of the tournament is scheduled to be held from December 20 to 24 while the venue is yet to be announced.
Yousuf to miss event
Meanwhile, former captain Mohammad Yousuf will be a notable absentee from the event. According to the list of teams provided by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the experienced batsman, who also skipped the Faysal Bank T20 Cup, is not included in any of the competing teams.
Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq (SNGPL), former captain Shahid Afridi (HBL), Umar Gul (HBL), Shoaib Malik (PIA) and Kamran Akmal (NBP) are among the top players who will represent their respective regions and departments.
Pakistan players, selected for the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka, are expected to take part in the first round.
“We have advised the players to play in the first round,” said interim coach Mohsin Khan. “It would be good warm-up for them before the short camp.”
Event all set to go
Meanwhile, a PCB official said all the things were in place for the tournament. “The event is all set to start,” said the officials before adding that precautionary measures have been taken to counter the dengue threat. “We started the preparations much before the tournament and everything is ready now.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011.
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