Federal Areas aim to complete hat-trick of Pakistan Cup titles
Pakistan international Mohammad Rizwan has been appointed captain of the Federal Areas cricket team, which will aim to complete a hat-trick of Pakistan Cup titles in the tournament. The defending champions will be joined by the four provincial sides in the 50-over tournament which be held at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi from 2-12 April.
Federal Areas played under the name of Islamabad in the inaugural edition and failed to finish in the top two sides. However, under a new name, they bounced back in style in the 2017 final when they chased down a 324-run target to beat Balochistan by one wicket off the final delivery of the match.
Last year in the Faisalabad final, Federal Areas comfortably beat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by five wickets when they achieved the 253-run target with five wickets and nine overs to spare.
This year, Federal Areas will open their title defence on the second day of the tournament on Wednesday, 3 April, against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which will be captained by Salman Butt.
The opening fixture will be between Punjab and Balochistan, which will be captained by Kamran Akmal and Asad Shafiq, respectively.
Sindh is the other side in the tournament, which will be led by former Test fast bowler Umer Gul.
The five sides have been chosen by the national selection committee, which is headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq. Players who have been playing regular and consistent cricket for the Pakistan cricket team have not been included as part of the selectors’ policy of providing them sufficient rest prior to the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
With the 15-player squad for the World Cup to be announced after the Pakistan Cup, the Pakistan Cup provides another opportunity to the cricketers to stake a claim for a place in the biggest cricket spectacle on the planet.
“We have always selected players on their performances in domestic cricket. If there are any extraordinary performances on positions which are up for grabs, then those top performers will definitely be considered,” chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said.
“The purpose of announcing the World Cup squad after the Pakistan Cup is to give value and importance to this tournament in which all the top performers below the national team players are playing and they deserve to be given equal and fair opportunity before the national side is finalised and announced.”
Haroon Rasheed, Director – Domestic cricket said: “Pakistan Cup is a short but challenging competition in which the spectators will have an opportunity to watch some of their favourite cricketers live in action. I am confident that this tournament will live up to its reputation of producing some high quality cricket.”
The tournament carries a total prize money of PRK3.5 million with the winner collecting PKR2 million. The losing finalist will get PKR1 million, while player of the league matches will get PKR25,000 each.
The best batsman, bowler, all-rounder and player of the final will receive PKR100,000 each.
The PCB, as part of its strategy to further give incentives in domestic cricket, has enhanced the match fee of each player from PKR33,000 to PKR 35,000.
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; Umar Khan; Umer Akmal; Waqar Hussain (WK) and 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 and Zia-ul-Haq
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Salman Butt (captain); Abid Ali; 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 and 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 and 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 and Umar Siddique (WK)