KARACHI: Pakistan’s top players will be in action during the upcoming domestic Faysal Bank Twenty20 Cup, which will be contested between a record 17 regional teams.
The competition will take place from February 6-16 in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, and five matches are scheduled to take place each day. The teams have been divided in four groups, with one pool made up of five teams, while the rest will include four.
Group A includes favourites Sialkot Stallions, Karachi Dolphins alongside Hyderabad Hawks, Quetta Bears and Larkana Bulls, while hosts Rawalpindi Rams, Karachi Zebras, Multan Tigers and Fata Cheetahs complete Group B.
Defending champions Faisalabad Wolves have been pitted against Islamabad Leopards, Lahore Eagles and Peshawar Panthers in Pool C. Another hot favourite, the Lahore Lions have been placed in Group D with Abbottabad Falcons, Bahawalpur Stags and Dera Murad Jamali Ibexes.
The tournament will be of immense importance for players who are expecting to make their mark before Pakistan’s World Twenty20 contingent is shortlisted from a provisional 30-man squad. Players will be looking to impress the newly chosen chief selector, Aamir Sohail, who is known for his interest in the domestic circuit.
The new teams, Fata Cheetahs, Ibexes and Bulls have included guest players in their squad to improve their units for the challenge they face from the traditional powerhouses like Stallions, Dolphins, Rams, Tigers and Lions.
Ashraf to change stance on suspended players
In another development, players Khalid Latif and Fawad Alam are expected to be pardoned by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf for their alleged misconduct last year — however; fast-bowler Sohail Khan is unlikely to get reprieve.
The trio was suspended from taking part in the T20 competition for a year by the Karachi City Cricket Association after reports were filed, in regards to their misconduct, from the manager, captain and coach. However, the stance has changed since the Karachi coaches are attempting to get Latif and Alam back in their squads due to their skills.
“Latif and Alam will be granted permission to appear in the T20 tournament by chairman Ashraf as there aren’t any serious complains against them,” a PCB official told The Express Tribune.
“Sohail though is in trouble due to his inexcusable language and gestures towards the management.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2014.