KARACHI: With India not taking part in the cricket event, Pakistan are aiming for a gold medal in the Asian Games which features the sport – a Twenty20 event – for the first time in its history.
The event kicks off next month in Guangzhou, China, where India withdrew its men and women teams from, citing prior commitments. Despite a seemingly easy route to the title, Pakistan captain for the event, Khalid Latif, has full respect for his opponents.
“We [cricketers] have never featured in events like the Olympics or the Asian Games but we can sense the feeling athletes experience when their country’s flag is on top after winning a gold medal,” Latif told The Express Tribune. “It’s an important assignment for us and we won’t take it lightly.
“Playing for the senior side is a big honour but representing the country in an event like this is nothing less. I’m proud to be named captain.”
Pakistan is among the seeded teams in the event that also features Test nations like Sri Lanka and Bangladesh besides Afghanistan who were impressive in the ICC World Twenty20 in Caribbean this year. Hosts China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Maldives, Singapore and Nepal are the other teams taking part.
Latif, while ruing India’s absence, said it made Pakistan one of the favourites. “It’s good to have India in the event because it adds excitement. They are tough competitors but their absence has made us one of the favourites.”
But the right-handed batsman, who has played five One-Day Internationals and the same number of Twenty20s for Pakistan, added that the event would be competitive given the nature of the format.
“Our former greats are serving as coaches in China and Afghanistan so we can expect tough competition from them.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2010.