LAHORE - On the initiative of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar M Khan, the board authorities have named the inaugural U-21 National Women Cricket Championship 2014-2015 after Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai.

The PCB Friday dedicated the U-21 women's event, to be held in December this year with 12 regional teams in action, to Malala.

Speaking at the press conference held here at the Gaddafi Stadium, Shaharyar said: “The Nobel Prize for Peace for young Malala is a great honour for the entire nation. Not only it has given Pakistan’s image a huge boost, to the young women in this country, and our women’s cricket team in particular, but also provides inspiration and stimulus to them to excel. Naming of our premier age-group women’s event after is a tribute to her signal achievement.”

Malala, an ardent advocate of children’s education with special emphasis on the right of girl child to education, on October 10, 2014 became the youngest individual to win the Nobel Prize, sharing the honour with India's Kailash Satyarthi, who campaigns against child trafficking and child labour.

“The PCB has focused on the development of our women’s team in recent times. Our women cricketers have gradually picked up and only last month the women’s team has retained the Asian Games gold at Incheon. This golden performance came on the back of a very competitive four-match series against Australia where our women though losing 4-0 gave a frontline team run for its money,” he added.

“Soon at every regional center, the PCB will provide a dedicated ground so that our women cricketers may hone their skill-set in a safe environment. With so much effort and attention being given to our women’s team, and with the way the game is spreading far and wide, I am sure it will provide our women cricketers the spur and the incentive to be amongst the very best in the world,” said Shaharyar.

To a query regarding Younus performances in the Test series against Australia and any special incentive for him, Shaharyar replied: “As I had promised after his century in each innings feat, the PCB shall definitely reward him for this string of standout performance against a top-of-the-line outfit like Australia. I have known Younus Khan for a long time now. He is an honourable man and to him, the team and country come first. He does not play his cricket for financial rewards.” To another query regarding Sethi’s nomination as ICC president for 2015-16, Shaharyar said: “The position maybe titular, but I tell you it will help Pakistan cricket’s cause as the PCB will have two representatives in the ICC. Najam Sethi’s diplomatic skills and good articulation shall definitely be our strength.”