ISLAMABAD

Federation of Pakistan Baseball (FPB) president Syed Khawar Shah has said that the recent progress of Pakistan team shows that the game of baseball is progressing rapidly in the country.

In an interview with The Nation, Khawar said now first task had been accomplished and now he had set his sights on the next target which was to beat mighty China in the Asian Baseball Championship in September this year in Chinese Taipei. “If we carve out victory against China, we will jump into top four in Asia and thus qualify for the Baseball World Cup.”

He said: “I am feeling very proud despite countless difficulties I manage to gather India, Iran and Iraq for the West Asia Cup. It will definitely help revive international sports in Pakistan. All the visiting teams fully lauded the security arrangements and hospitality rendered to them. They showed their willingness to come again whenever called and also urged others to follow the same.

“It is a great gesture from all the visiting teams especially the Indian, and I am looking forward to conduct another high-profile event in Pakistan in next few months. I would prefer Islamabad to host that too as security situation is better here and international teams feel safe and secure. The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) ministry also provide excellent facilities to the visitors. I am grateful to IPC minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, secretary Ejaz Chaudhry and PSB for lending a helping hand and sparing precious time to grace the occasions as chief guests at the inaugural and concluding ceremonies.”

He added: “I am especially thankful to The Nation as they pleaded federation case very strongly otherwise we had lost hope of staging the event in capital and we were running out of options, it was great gesture and I really appreciate the way The Nation administration supported that national cause, I hope IPC Minster Mian Riaz would soon invite triumphant Pakistan Baseball team and announce incentives for the players, who created history by winning the cup for the 7th time and remained unbeaten in 23 international matches, I am quite sure players would be given due recognition and praise they had earned after giving such matchless performances at international stage.

When asked about what the federation will announce for the winning team and players, Khawar replied: “I would love to shower countless benefits to the team and players, but due to shortage of funds, it’s not possible to announce special incentives for them. Anyhow, I would try to arrange incentives as much as I could and would request the PSB and IPC minister to release long standing funds and special grants for the federation. It is my promise each and every penny will be spent on the players’ promotion.”  “It is high time, the IPC and the PSB must recognise the winning baseball players and honour them as they do honour cricketers. If given due recognition and honour, they will excel at the highest level and win laurels for the country.”

“We also request the PSB to continue our training camp in Islamabad and also arrange a foreign coach for the players. Our head coach Musaddaq, Nasir Butt and Sarfraz Ahmed did a tremendous job but now we need international coach to create new waves in our boys. I hope the IPC minister will listen to our genuine demands and provide us the required things only for the betterment of the game and players,” Khawar concluded.