Leading Pakistan cricketers set to be in action during soft opening of Narowal Complex

The T10 exhibition match will be played on May 28

May 19, 2023
The decision to organise the T10 match was taken on Thursday — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Leading national and international cricketers will be seen in action in the T10 exhibition match on May 28, planned for the soft opening of the multi-billion Narowal Sports Complex.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is expected to be the guest of honour at the launching ceremony of the state-of-the-art Complex that provides the best international standard-setting for the athletes’ training.

The decision to organise the T10 match was taken on Thursday during a meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal.

The meeting was also attended by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee (MC) Chairman Najam Sethi on Zoom from London and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Shoaib Khoso and other stakeholders finalised the arrangements for the occasion.

The Narowal Sports City has 14 stadiums and gymnasiums for different games such as cricket, football, hockey, volleyball, squash, table tennis, lawn tennis, badminton, and other games besides swimming pools.

While chairing the meeting the minister directed the concerned stakeholders to complete all the arrangements by May 22 as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is likely to make soft opening of the complex.

Besides other dignitaries, members of the Parliament and retired cricketers will be invited to the occasion. Leading national level players will be participating in the match.

“The key objective is to provide the best platform to the youth of the country to sharpen their skills. The complex provides the best setting and hopefully would help in grooming future generations in a big way. Youth of the country has huge potential to transform the country,” said Ahsan Iqbal while chairing the meeting.

During the meeting on Thursday, it was also decided that live coverage of the match will be ensured.

Narowal Deputy Commissioner will be the focal person for the coordination amongst all the stakeholders. He will chair a meeting on May 20 at Narowal Cricket Ground that will be attended by the DG PSB and one representative from the PCB and other related persons.

Earlier, Sethi informed the participants that all the arrangements have been finalised regarding the pitch and the ground preparations.

He added that a special team of the PCB was deployed at the spot which has completed the technical things of the match.

DG PSB also apprised the meeting about the steps taken by the Board to make the event a real success. The minister directed him to immediately complete the pending work while ensuring his presence at the venue on May 22.

Similarly, it was decided that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will start its advertisement campaign one week before the match and all the steps will be taken to facilitate the spectators and players. A huge number of spectators are expected to turn up at the stadium to watch the best available national and international cricketers in action.

Since the government came into power in April 2022, several initiatives have been taken for the country’s youth and the construction of a 250-mini sports complex across the country at the district level is a part of the PM Youth Initiative, which was launched in October last year to provide basic facilities to the youth.

“We have been communicated by the concerned to make all the necessary arrangements for the soft opening of the project that was supposed to be ready almost four years back,” an official told ‘The News’.

The previous PTI government handed over the Narowal Sports Complex funds misappropriation cases simultaneously to NAB and FIA. The change of power at the Centre resulted in giving a clean chit to the project which is now heading for completion.

It is believed that the project which required around Rs700 million more at the time of its closure in 2018 would now cough up another Rs3,000 million in due course to reach its logical completion. No efforts were made during the previous government to complete the Rs4 billion project which will now be around Rs6 billion project. For the last three years, there has been no up-gradation work which restarted just recently.

Abdul Mohi Shah is a senior reporter for The News