Friday Jan 11, 2019 | By: Our Correspondent
KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Ahmad Shehzad will add to the charm of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Grade-II which begins at different venues of the country from Friday (today).
The duo will represent Faisalabad in the ten-team event. The teams have been divided in two groups. Bahawalpur, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Hyderabad have been placed in Group A.
The Group B comprises Abbottabad, Quetta, Larkana, Karachi Blues and DM Jamali. Two teams from each pool will make it to the semi-finals, which will be held at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, and Mirpur Cricket Stadium, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, from February 1-3.
The final will be conducted at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, from February 6-9.According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), existing domestic cricket relegation and promotion rules will apply. The tournament winners will seal a berth in the next edition of Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Grade-I tournament.
“Faisalabad have a real star power in their ranks with Test icon Misbah-ul-Haq leading their campaign. He will be supported by opener Ahmad Shahzad also is also making a return to competitive cricket,” the Board said.
Misbah said he was keen to help Faisalabad move into the Grade-I competition. “The biggest motivation for me is to help Faisalabad regain their Grade-I spot. We were relegated last season and our aim is to qualify for first-class cricket again; this is what we can strive to do for our region,” Misbah was quoted as saying.
The former skipper is keen to transfer his experience to the emerging players. He is also hopeful that competitive cricket in this event would help him in HBL PSL 2019 in which he will represent Peshawar Zalmi.
“Such events provide an opportunity to work with younger players, to spend time with them to work on their game and transfer experience. On a personal note the tournament should help me prepare for the HBL PSL,” he said.
Misbah said he was glad to have Ahmad Shahzad in his side and felt this tournament was a good platform for the opener to regain his lost touch. “I feel that the tournament will help Ahmad Shahzad get back into form, regain his confidence and prepare for the HBL PSL 2019. The three-day tournaments provide a great opportunity of spending a long time at the crease and improving one’s game,” he said.
Ahmad said he was eager to return to the cricket field and was hopeful of making a big impact ahead of an action-packed cricketing year. “The last few months were very tough for me; I badly missed playing cricket, especially since the sport is a childhood passion of mine and an integral part of my life. I am more focused than ever and have worked hard on improving my mindset and other aspects of the game.
“I am really looking forward to representing Faisalabad. Grade II is a platform from where a lot of players have emerged and I am eager to deliver to the best of my ability for my team.”The winners will get Rs500,000 with the runners-up to take Rs250,000. Besides, Rs50,000 each will be handed over to the best batsman, the best bowler and the best stumper.
On the first day on Friday (today), Faisalabad will take on AJK at Iqbal Stadium, Sialkot will lock horns with Bahawalpur at Mirpur Stadium, Abbottabad will meet Quetta here at NBP Stadium, while Larkana will be pitted against Karachi Blues here at the SBP Ground.
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