ISLAMABAD - Capital Development Authority (CDA) is all set to deprive Islamabad cricketers of showcasing their skills in one of the world’s best grounds, as CDA has started forcefully taking possession of cricket grounds in the federal capital.

When this scribe contacted Islamabad Cricket Association (ICA) president Nasir Iqbal to seek his point of view on the prevailing situation, Nasir said: “Where the CDA was, when there was not a single quality cricket ground in the federal capital. The players of Islamabad had to travel to Rawalpindi and other far flung areas to play cricket.”

He completely rubbished the claims made by the CDA that the ICA was charging hefty amount of money for allowing clubs and departments to utilise ground facilities. “The matter of the fact is that we have constructed the cricket grounds at Diamond, National and Marghazar, as these grounds were existing since long. When CDA decided to construct 7th and 9th avenues, these grounds fall under the proposed map. We have a proper agreement with the then CDA chairman Liaq Shah, who in principle, agreed that the relevant clubs would bear the cost of the construction of grounds, while CDA would provide replacement space. A written agreement is available with us and anybody can come and check the details.”

He said: “The CDA never bothered to know how we had been arranging monthly expenditures required for maintenance/electricity bills, keeping grounds in shape, grounds men salary, upgradation and other expenses. It is my challenge that Diamond ground admin had not charged a single penny from the clubs. We always provide ground to the clubs and all those who want to play cricket, as the main aim of these grounds is to ensure healthy activities for the youth of the capital. The PCB looks after the ground and provided us Rs 4 million for the construction of the Diamond ground and we had spent around 40 million on renovation/maintenance and fully equipped the ground with modern days need.”

Nasir said it was same in the entire world that local associations charge meager amounts from multinational and other wealthy people to run day-to-day affairs. “Pakistan cricket team pay in dollars to utilise grounds in the UAE. Without money, nobody can think of keeping facilities in order. We have offered CDA chairman Sheikh Ansar to formulate a committee as we are ready to open grounds for all, but it is my challenge the very next day, grounds will be in shambles. The CDA never bothered to provide single penny assistance to the association. The worst condition of the CDA-led cricket grounds F-9 Park and G-6 cricket ground, near MNA Hostel, is a prime example and speaks volumes about the CDA’s inefficiency.

“Islamabad cricket grounds are not only role model for entire Pakistan but international teams have also played on these grounds and they accept they have not witnessed these international grounds even in top cricket-playing countries. It is my request to the CDA chairman not to play into the hands of elements, who have vested interests and wanted to spoil cordial working relations between CDA and ICA. We are ready to provide audit details and present ourselves for accountability. If found guilty of any wrongdoing, we are ready to walk away, but we will not accept any unlawful act,” Nasir concluded. Sharing his views, Shalimar cricket ground committee member Syed Talat Hussain termed the CDA act of forceful possession of cricket grounds as totally unlawful and highly unacceptable.

Bhutto Cricket Ground secretary Ajmal Sabir said that they had not taken a single penny from the players. “We have produced players like Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Raheel Majeed, Junaid Nadir, Shoaib Khaliq, M Irfan, Asher Zaidi. We are providing each and every facility to academy players and bearing all the costs.”