The Federal Areas to defend their Pakistan Cup title as the tournament is all set to begin from April 2 at Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Saturday.
As many as five teams including Baluchistan, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Federal Areas will participate in 11 days tournament which will end on April 12 with two top teams playing title decider contest of the extravaganza.
Seasoned Test batsman Asad Shafiq to lead Baluchistan for the very first time as his team features young spinning sensation Umer Khan and fast bowler Haris Rauf who proved their mettle in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal will hold the command of Punjab and one of the prominent batsman at domestic level Khurram Manzoor will accompany him. Anwar Ali, Mohammad Sami, and Sohail Tanveer will be among top attractions of Punjab’s unit.
Two-time champions Federal Areas will be led by Mohammad Rizwan who will return to the country after representing Pakistan in the ongoing ODI series against Australia. Ahmad Shahzad, Bilal Asif will serve for Rizwan in an all-important tournament which will pave the way for players to make their presence felt ahead of the World Cup 2019.
Right-arm fast bowler Umar Gul will lead Sindh as the experienced asset is capable of handling pressure situations. Umar Ami, Sahabzada Farhan, Asif Ali, Amir Yamin, and Hammad Azam are the prominent names of Sindh’s squad.
Last but not least, Salman Butt will be seen in action taking care of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as their skipper. Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Abid Ali and Adnan Akmal will be wearing yellow in the tournament.
According to the PCB, all the teams have finalised by the national selection committee led by Inzamam-ul-Haq. Those players who have given rest before the World Cup 2019 are also not included in the Pakistan Cup with an aim to provide them sufficient rest before the mega event.
“Pakistan Cup is an opportunity for the players to show their form and put their name in the list of players who are going to be a part of Pakistan’s squad for upcoming WC19,” Inzamam said.
The chief selector added that they have always selected players on merit and the players who perform well will get rewards. “If there are any extraordinary performances on positions which are up for grabs, then those top performers will definitely be considered,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the opening fixture of Pakistan Cup will be played between Punjab and Balochistan.
Balochistan: Asad Shafiq (captain) Ali Imran, Ammad Butt, Awais Zia, Bismillah Khan (WK), Fawad Alam, Ghulam Mudassar, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Irfan Sr, Qaiser Ashraf, Taj Wali, Umer Khan, Umar Akmal, Waqar Hussain (WK), Zeeshan Ashraf
Federal Areas: Mohammad Rizwan (WK, captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Afridi, Bilal Asif, Israrullah, Khurram Shahzad, Mohammad Nawaz, Nihal Mansoor, Ramiz Raja Jr, Rumman Raees, Sameen Gul, Saud Shakil, Sohaib Maqsood, Waqas Maqsood, Zia-ul-Haq
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Salman Butt (captain), Abid Alim, Adil Amin, Adnan Akmal (WK), Faizan Riaz, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Irfan Jr, Mohammad Saad, Sohail Khan, Musa Khan, Umaid Asif, Wahab Riaz, Zeeshan Malik, Zohaib Khan
Punjab: Kamran Akmal (WK, captain), Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Ehsan Adil, Fahad Iqbal, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Khurram Manzoor, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Sami, Ramiz Aziz, Saad Ali, Sami Aslam, Sohail Tanveer, Waleed Ahmed
Sindh: Umer Gul (captain), Ahsan Ali, Amir Yamin, Ashiq Ali, Asif Ali, Hammad Azam, Imran Rafiq, Mohammad Hassan (WK), Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Ilyas, Nauman Ali, Rahat Ali, Sahibzada Farhan, Umar Amin, Umar Siddique (WK)
Complete schedule of the tournament
Tue, 2 April – Punjab v Balochistan
Wed, 3 April – Federal Areas v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Thu, 4 April – Balochistan v Sindh
Fri, 5 April – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Punjab
Sat, 6 April – Sindh v Federal Areas
Sun, 7 April – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Balochistan
Mon, 8 April – Punjab v Federal Areas
Tue, 9 April – Sindh v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Wed, 10 April – Federal Areas v Balochistan
Thu, 11 April – Punjab v Sindh
Fri, 12 April – FINAL