The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finalised its decision to renovate and uplift the neglected National Stadium Karachi (NSK), which was once the national team’s fortress in Tests until England beat them in 2000-2001.
The NSK has been overlooked by the two previous chairmen, Zaka Ashraf and Ijaz Butt, despite repeated requests from authorities – including PCB and Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) officials – to upgrade its deteriorating condition.
The gymnasium has not been operative for the past several years, and players in Karachi have not had access to top-class facilities as compared to those in Lahore at the National Cricket Academy.
The stairs of the NSK and roof tops of some of the enclosures are in dismal shape as well; and despite repeated efforts to turn things around, the endeavours have proved futile.
However, current PCB chief Najam Sethi is close to approving the renovation project which is estimated at Rs30 million.
“Sethi has agreed to approve the renovation work at the NSK which will cost around Rs30 million,” a senior PCB official told The Express Tribune.
“He has given the go-ahead to building a top-class gym at the stadium, while the deteriorating areas such as the stairs, different rooms for officials, chairman boxes, roof tops, media boxes will also be upgraded.
“Similarly, the PCB chief wants the completion of High Performance Centres in Karachi and Multan, which have been delayed over the years, so that more players can have access to world-class cricketing facilities.”
Meanwhile, former Test cricketer Basit Ali, who is the development head in Zone-I of Sindh and Balochistan, said that the ongoing court proceedings have slowed things down, but a request has been sent to the honourable judges to let cricket run smoothly in the country.
“There are projects in the pipeline that can benefit Pakistan cricket, but more often than not, they have been slowed down by regular court proceedings,” said Basit.
“The judges should allow cricket affairs to run smoothly because enough time has been lost already; we need to focus on the sport instead of looking towards courts.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.
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