The domestic T20 event starts tomorrow
Pakistan captain Babar Azam has urged fans to show up in numbers at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium which is set to host the National T20 Cup from Thursday.
The skipper said New Zealand’s abrupt abandonment of their tour and England cancelling their visit last week have left them disappointed, but the domestic T20 competition will be chance for the fans to prove Pakistan’s passion for the sport.
“I want to request to the fans especially in Rawalpindi to turn up and make full use of the 25 per cent attendance, I know there is a real disappointment after the setback last weekend; this event provides us a real opportunity of proving to the world our passion for cricket,” Babar, who will be leading Central Punjab, said.
With Pakistan’s international calendar ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup now completely unoccupied, the National T20 Cup will be the only preparatory excercise for the national team for the mega-event.
This, however, will add value to the domestic tournament with the entire Pakistan squad for the T20 World Cup featuring in it.
“For us, the event is a great opportunity for T20 World Cup preparations and I hope all players in the UAE-bound squad will give it their all in the event,” said the Pakistan skipper.
“We have a richly experienced side that is full of international stars, my aim would be to lead Central Punjab to the title and improve on our performances in the last two seasons.”
The first phase of the National T20 Cup will run until October 3 in Rawalpindi. It will be followed by the second phase in Lahore from October 6-13.
The first match will be played between Balochistan and Northern at 7:30pm.
Sindh, Balochistan, Southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the other four sides that will feature in the event.
Pakistan wicket-keeper batsman and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa skipper Mohammad Rizwan said the National T20 Cup will provide a great opportunity “to prove to the world that we are as safe as any cricketing destination”
“All the players are motivated to go a step extra this time around in the National T20,” said Rizwan.
Rizwan, who is also the vice-captain of the national side, said all six teams are balanced and as defending champions, his Khyber Pakhtunkhwa side would aim to defend their title.
“We have good quality all-rounders in our squad and that should help us as you do need capable back-up bowling options at times besides your main bowling attack.”