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Cricket game now becomes a symbol of unity in Pakistan

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shakeel shaikh

By.Asghar Ali Mubarak

Associated Press Service


Rawalpindi-After the success full final match of Pakistan Super League (PSL) the cricket game now becomes a symbol of unity and brother hood. Pakistan Cup Cool & Cool Presents Q Mobile Pakistan Cup One Day 2017 final will be played between the two top teams of group stage. Rawalpindi Stadium is hosting the domestic One Day cricket tournament. Pakistan Cup 2017 starts on 14 April, in which five provincial teams are participating. Team Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the current champions of the tournament; they beat Punjab in the 2016 Pakistan Cup final by 151 runs to lift the trophy of tournament’s first edition. The Pakistan cricket cup 2017 matches are providing immense relief and joy to the spectators of twin cities. The cricket lovers proud on Pakistan cup because a number of young players are ready to showed their skills and talent in this mega event and to become the part of national team. The entry for spectators is totally free for all matches in Rawalpindi cricket stadium. The Pakistan cricket cup is fast becoming a symbol of national unity and integration. This kind of the success full events will bring international cricket back to Pakistan very soon.

Before starts Pakistan cup matches the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has embroiled Pakistan cricket in yet another spot-fixing scandal involving five leading.

The PCB inquiry tribunal of Justice (retired) Asghar Haider, Tauqir Zia and Wasim Bari starts its proceeding to probe the   allegations of spot-fixing.

The Pakistan Cup 2017 is in action at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi. In the 14-day one-day competitions, 11 matches will be played. After the single league the leading two sides will play the final on April 29.

The teams contesting in the event are Sindh, Punjab, holders Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federal Areas and Balochistan.In the previous edition, held at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa crushed Punjab by 151 runs in the final.The squads were formed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) through a draft system.As many as 131 top players had been kept in the draft.

International all-rounder Anwar Ali is leading Sindh, Imad Wasim is the skipper of Federal, wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan is captain Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Umar Akmal is leading  Punjab and left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman is the captain of  Balochistan.

The winners team will receive Rs2 million whereas the runners-up will get Rs1 million. The best batsman, the best bowler, the best all-rounder and the-man-of-the-final will get Rs50,000 each. The tournament, which will end on April 29 in Rawalpindi

According to former chief selector Haroon Rasheed Pakistan Cup will provide the aspiring youngsters with a `big opportunity` to showcase their skills and earn a chance to make it to the national team.

“One-day cricket is not happening so much in Pakistan at the moment. The frequency of the 50-over game should be increased and more players from our national team should participate in it alongside the youngsters. When the young players play against senior players, they gain more experience and learn a lot,” said Haroon  Rasheed. No dought Pakistan today is much safer, stable and prosperous compared to five years ago and this because we have taken the war to the terrorists. PSL final in Lahore gave out the message that Pakistanis were a resilient nation and terrorists cannot deter their resolve and determination .Now we need to showcase this improved and safer Pakistan to the world. What better than to do it when the world is watching an event of international stature here? The successfull PSL final will also make for a vivid memory which should be taken as an incremental but significant step in improving Pakistan’s perception abroad. Pakistan’s marketing strategy of its security situation can be that of a work in progress. For now, we can be content with publicizing the message that things are improving here and the positivity generated by successfully hosting the PSL final will help solidify this message to the world. If we look on history from the late 1980s onward, Pakistan cricket inherited the nationalist character which the country’s hockey had been carrying ever since the early 1960s. In 1992, the Pakistan cricket team won its first world cup, coming back into the tournament after being almost knocked out.

Pakistan cricket’s most recent nationalist endeavour came in 2012 when Misbah-ul-Haq was made captain of a team tainted by scandal and infighting. It reflected the state of the country at the time: polarised, isolated and plagued by terrorism. No foreign team was willing to tour Pakistan. Misbah had to captain all his games abroad.

He gradually repaired the damage and in 2016, when Pakistan won a Test against England at Lords, the team performed push-ups as a salutation to the military men who had given fitness training to the players for the tour. This was Pakistan cricket’s way of acknowledging the shift in the nationalist narrative being shaped by the state and government of Pakistan which now wants to reverse the militaristic narrative instilled in the 1980s.

The push-ups meant that cricket is still well ingrained as the sport which defines Pakistan’s nationalist ethos. Pakistan Cricket Board for making cricket as a game in Pakistan a symbol of national unity, brother hood and hospitality. Pakistan Cricket Board succeeds to bring peoples together from all ages and both genders, it has no boundaries.” The cricketers are like a family, learn from each other, share ideas and even eat together. It has become a symbol of love and unity for all of us,”

In 1954 when Pakistan defeated England in a Test during its first tour of England, the Pakistan government became alert to the possibility of using cricket as an expression of nationalist fervour. The victory in England was explained as Pakistan’s resilience and the players were hailed as heroes who had ‘overcome the colonial legacy of the region.’ The successful exploits of Kardar’s team continued to draw attention from the government and more resources were invested in the game. In 1958 when Kardar announced his retirement, Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon and Governor General Iskander Mirza implored him to carry on. But Kardar decided to remain retired.

In late 1958, Ayub Khan came to power through a military coup. He envisioned Pakistan as a country driven by a robust economy and industrialisation and nationalism built on the precepts of ‘Muslim modernism’, scientific thinking and a strong military.

But after Kardar, Pakistan cricket had fallen by the wayside. It was unable to express Ayub’s idea of vigorous nationalism. This is when hockey seeped through the cracks emerging between cricket and Pakistan’s changing nationalist ethos.

Pakistan hockey had first made its mark by winning the 1958 Asian Games hockey final. But it was the team’s win against India in the hockey final of the 1960 Olympic Games which galvanised hockey in Pakistan and it became the national sport of the country.

On the other hand, cricket continued to slide. After Pakistan lost 4-0 in a series against England in 1962, the Ayub regime announced that Pakistan was not to play any international cricket until the team upped its standards. Pakistan didn’t play another series till 1964. And again none between 1965 and early 1967. It hardly won a cricket game across the 1960s.

Cricket in those days was played by just seven countries. Hockey was a more global sport. Ayub found hockey to be a perfect sporting expression of his idea of progress and nationalism. And unlike South American football or West Indian cricket which would thrive in times of political turmoil, hockey in Pakistan grew during a time of economic growth and political stability.

After the 1965 Pakistan-India War, the country’s economy had begun to slide, triggering political turmoil. Ayub resigned in March 1969. By 1971, the country’s armed forces were embroiled in a vicious civil war in its eastern wing (the Bengali-dominated East Pakistan). In the summer of 1971, some Pakistani cricketers tried to make cricket nationally relevant again. The civil war in East Pakistan had gotten intense when the Pakistan cricket team reached England under the captaincy of Intikhab Alam.

A charity organisation had planned to auction a bat in London, signed by Pakistan and England players. The auction money was then supposed to be handed over to the Red Cross working in East Pakistan during a destructive monsoon there.

Some Pakistan players led by former Marxist-student-leader-turned-cricketer Aftab Gul refused to sign the bat, claiming that the ‘Bengalis were traitors!’ But the government of General Yahya Khan, fearing that this act would be seen by the British press as an exhibition of West Pakistan’s arrogance towards the Bengalis, ordered the team management and the captain to make sure that the players signed the bat. They eventually did. Pakistan lost the series 2-0. Under Bhutto and after the East Pakistan debacle, Pakistan’s nationalist narrative began to change. It became more aggressive, mainly driven by illusions of grandeur (pumped in to regenerate a demoralised polity) and a persecution complex which blamed ‘international forces working against Pakistan.’

The nature of the country’s hockey team also changed. Whereas in the 1960s the hockey team was to perform as a reflection and symbol of the Ayub regime’s developmental and modernist nationalist model, the team became more aggressive during the Bhutto regime.

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In 1976, Pakistan cricket which had been in the doldrums ever since the early 1960s tried to crawl back into contention when Pakistan pulled off a stunning win against Australia in Australia. But it got its best chance yet to make a prominent nationalist statement when in 1978, cricket resumed between Pakistan and India. It had been terminated after the 1965 war.

In July 1977 a reactionary military coup had put General Zia into power. He was facing protests when the Indian cricket team arrived in Pakistan to play three Tests and three ODIs. In Zia regime and hockey reached the peak of its popularity in Pakistan.Cricket rebounded by defeating India 2-0, and the regime declared a holiday to celebrate the win! What’s more, while the Pakistan cricket team was on its way to win a Test against India in Lahore.

Cricket had somewhat rebounded as a popular sport, but it continued to play second fiddle to hockey. Ironically, even though Pakistan cricket captain Mushtaq Muhammad had managed to make the board increase the salaries of the players, nothing of the sort happened for the hockey players. They were still being dubbed as ‘soldiers’ who were playing for the country’s national pride rather than money.

Low pay and high nationalist expectations did not halt Pakistan hockey’s continuing rise. It remained to be Pakistan’s most popular sport despite the fact that the Pakistan cricket team scored some major victories in the early 1980s, both under Imran Khan’s captaincy. In 1982-83, it defeated India 3-0 and then swept Australia 3-0.

Pakistan cricket began to overtake hockey as a national sport, it has to be 1986. During a Pakistan-India final in an international cricket tournament in Sharjah in April 1986, India was well-placed to win the game when Pakistan vice-captain and master batsman Javed Miandad played a match-winning innings to help the team grab its first major tournament. Requiring four to win from the last ball of the match, Miandad lifted Indian medium-pacer Cheetan Sharma for a massive six!

The country went wild and Minadad became perhaps Pakistan cricket’s first millionaire!

Gen, Zia decided to use cricket as a diplomatic tool instead of hockey to better ties with India. He did just that by visiting India to watch a match during Pakistan’s 1987 tour of that country. Pakistan won the Test series 1-0 and the ODI series 5-1.

The format of the Pakistan One Day Cup 2017 will see each of the five sides play the other four once a piece. The top two teams in the competition will then feature in the final on May 5.

Last season the Ahmed shehzad-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had finished at the top of the points table, winning three of their four games and took on Punjab in the final. Shoaib Malik captained the Punjab side. The final of the Pakistan Cup 2016 was a one-sided one with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa hitting 311 for nine in their 50 overs thanks to Fakhar Zaman’s century. Punjab was bowled out for 160 in reply. Pakistan cup live streaming will be available on PTV site for all matches.

Pakistan Cup 2017 Teams & Squads are;

Punjab Team Squad: Umar Akmal (captain), Kamran Akmal, Nasir Nawaz, Umar Amin, Salman Butt, Saad Nasim, Zulfiqar Babar, Khushdil Shah, Bilawal Bhatti, Junaid Khan, Hammad Azam, Fahim Ashraf, Abdul Rehman Muzammil, Raza Ali Dar, Arsal Sheikh.

Sindh Team Squad: Anwar Ali (captain), Khurram Manzoor, Saif Badar, Asif Zakir, Fawad Alam, Rumman Raees, Zain Abbas, Mir Hamza, Usama Mir, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Nawaz, Umar Gul, Mohammad Hasan, Saud Shakeel, Hasan Mohsin.

Baluchistan Team Squad: Fakhar Zaman (captain), Bismillah Khan, Ghulam Muddasir, Sohaib Maqsood, Imam-ul-Haq, Usman Shinwari, Saad Ali, Azizullah, Khalid Usman, Aamer Yamin, Agha Salman, Rameez Aziz, Taimoor Khan, Sahibzada Farhan, Hammal Wahab.

Federal Team Squad: Imad Wasim (captain), Zohaib Ahmed, Hassan Khan, Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Sohail Khan, Abid Ali, Sameen Gul, Mohammad Abbas, Hussain Talat, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan, Rohail Nazir, Sarmad Bhatti, Abdullah Shafiq.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Team Squad: Mohammad Rizwan (captain), Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Israrullah, Taj Wali, Imran Butt, Adil Amin, Waqas Mehmood, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Malik, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Naeem, Kashif Bhatti, Imran Khan Sr., Nabi Gul.

The tournament will provide a good platform for players young and old to force themselves into the reckoning for the national team. Besides, the amount of talent that is out there for this competition is likely to translate into some quality matches over the course of the two weeks.

Pakistan Cup Schedule 2017

April 11: Baluchistan vs Sindh – Bugti Stadium, Quetta

April 13: Baluchistan vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Bugti Stadium, Quetta

April 16: Punjab vs Sindh – National Stadium, Karachi

April 18: Sindh vs Federal Areas – National Stadium, Karachi

April 21: Baluchistan vs Federal Areas – Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi

April 23: Federal Areas vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi

April 25: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Punjab – Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar

April 28: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Sindh – Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar

May 1: Baluchistan vs Punjab – Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad

May 3: Federal Areas vs Punjab – Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad

May 5: Pakistan Cup 2017 Final – Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

The team of Islamabad represents the Federal Capital of Pakistan in the domestic One Day cricket tournament – Pakistan Cup. Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq led the team in the first tournament of Pakistan Cup in April 2016. They finished the group stage at the bottom of the table by winning just one game of the competition. Pakistan Cup 2017 has been scheduled from 11 April to 5 May 2017 and their two home matches will be played at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi.

Islamabad Squad for Pakistan Cup 2017:

Imad Wasim (C), Sami Aslam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohail Khan, Hassan Khan, Zohaib Ahmed, Abid Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Sameen Gul, Hussain Talat, Rohail Nazir, Mohammad Irfan, Sarmad Bhatti, Abdullah Shafiq

The team of Punjab represents the Punjab province of Pakistan in the domestic One Day cricket tournament – Pakistan Cup. They are the runners up of the first Pakistan Cup tournament which was arranged in April 2016. Punjab lost to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the final on 1 May by 151 runs. Former Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik captained the team in the first edition of the competition. Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad will be used for the Punjab’s two home games in the Pakistan Cup 2017, which has been scheduled from 11 April to 5 May 2017.

Punjab Squad for Pakistan Cup 2017:

Umar Akmal (C), Umar Amin, Kamran Akmal, Hammad Azam, Saad Nasim, Salman Butt, Junaid Khan, Bilawal Bhatti, Zulfiqar Babar, Fahim Ashraf, Raza Ali Dar, Khushdil Shah, Abdul Rehman Muzammil, Nasir Nawaz, Arsal Sheikh

The team of Sindh represents the Sindh province of Pakistan in the domestic One Day cricket tournament – Pakistan Cup. Pakistan T20 skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was the captain of the team in the first season of Pakistan Cup in April 2016. They finished the group stage at third place. The matches of Pakistan Cup 2017 will be played from 11 April to 5 May 2017. National Stadium Karachi will host the two home matches of Sindh.

Sindh Squad for Pakistan Cup 2017:

Anwar Ali (C), Khurram Manzoor, Fawad Alam, Rumman Raees, Mohammad Nawaz, Umar Gul, Asif Zakir, Usma Mir, Zain Abbas, Mir Hamza, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Hasan, Saud Shakeel, Saif Badar, Hasan Mohsin

The team of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa represents the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan in the domestic One Day cricket tournament – Pakistan Cup. They are the current champions of the first Pakistan Cup tournament which was organised in April 2016. They beat Punjab by 151 runs in the final on 1 May. Pakistan ex-skipper Younis Khan was the captain of team in the first edition of the competition. The matches of Pakistan Cup 2017 will be played from 11 April to 5 May 2017. Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar will host the two home matches of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Squad for Pakistan Cup 2017:

Mohammad Rizwan (C), Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Sami, Iftikhar Ahmed, Zafar Gohar, Israrullah, Adil Amin, Imran Butt, Waqas Maqsood, Taj Wali, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Naeem, Shadab Khan, Nabi Gul, Imran Khan Sr.

The team of Balochistan represents the Balochistan province of Pakistan in the domestic One Day cricket tournament – Pakistan Cup. Pakistan ODI skipper Azhar Ali captained the team in the first edition of Pakistan Cup in April 2016. They finished the group stage at fourth place. The next edition of the tournament will be organised in April-May 2017. The team will play their two home games at Bugti Stadium in Quetta.

Balochistan Squad for Pakistan Cup 2017:

Fakhar Zaman (C), Sohaib Maqsood, Aamer Yamin, Saad Ali, Bismillah Khan, Usman Shinwari, Imam-ul-Haq, Khalid Usman, Azizullah, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, Rameez Aziz, Taimoor Khan, Ghulam Mudassir, Hammal Wahab

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