Babar, Shadab set to participate in Butt-led Ramadan tournament

It will be played in Lahore

March 24, 2023
Salman Butt (R) speaks during a press conference — Geo News

LAHORE: Pakistan’s star cricketers, including captain Babar Azam, will participate in a Ramadan tournament in Lahore.

Apart from Azam, Shadab Khan, Ihsanullah, Usama Mir, Azam Khan, Usman Qadir, Umar Akmal, Ahsan Ali and Abid Ali will also feature in the event.

Eight teams will participate in the tournament, which is organised by a private cricket institute, with each side having the services of two international players.

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt is the chief organiser of the tournament.

“Such a tournament is taking place in Lahore for the first time,” said Butt during a press conference in Lahore on Friday.

“This event will unearth new talent as well,” the former Pakistan opener added.

The player of the match in each game will be awarded Rs30,000 by the organisers.

The schedule of the tournament will be revealed in due course.

The Pakistan team is currently playing a three-match T20I series against Afghanistan in Sharjah.

Shadab is leading the side in the absence of Babar, who has been rested for the series.

It must be noted that Azam was conferred with the country's third-highest civilian award, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, on Thursday in Lahore.

With the conferment of the award, Babar became the youngest person to be awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz at the age of 28 for his outstanding achievements in the field of cricket.

Earlier this year, Azam had bagged the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Men's Cricketer of 2022. Azam was also named captain of the ICC ODI Team of the Year. Meanwhile, he also clinched the award for ICC ODI Player of the Year.

The Afghanistan T20Is are Pakistan’s first since their T20 World Cup campaign in Australia last year, where they were the runners-up.

Shadab, while speaking to PCB Digital on the eve of the series opener, shared his thoughts on the challenge of facing Rashid Khan-captained Afghanistan.

“I try to play an aggressive and attacking brand of cricket. Modern-day cricket demands you to be fearless as a captain. Afghanistan players have a lot of experience of playing in leagues around the globe. They are a formidable unit in these conditions and we will see a competitive series with our exciting young side,” said Shadab.

“The uncapped players in our squad have earned their call-ups given their consistent performances in domestic cricket and impactful displays in the HBL Pakistan Super League. We also have in-form senior players making a comeback to the side and this augurs well for the team,” he added. 

Sohail Imran is a senior reporter for Geo News.