ISLAMABAD - Chamman cricket team captain Balqyas Khan has urged Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi to allow the local cricketers play at the Bughti Cricket Stadium, Chamman.

Talking to The Nation, Balqyas, 31, who is touring Islamabad with 13-member cricket team, said: “People talk too much about Balochistan being deprived and made tall claims regarding taking youth of the province into mainstream and providing them same facilities, which other provinces has been enjoying, but the reality is entirely different and quite harsh.

“The matter of the fact is that there is hardly any cricket ground available in entire Balochistan and we have to fulfill our passion at main roads. Despite having lone Bughti International Stadium, unfortunately, we are not allowed to play matches inside the venue. Only tournaments are held and we have to pay Rs 2000 each team to play matches inside.

“It is our humble request to PCB chief Najam Sethi to look into this matter and direct PCB manager of Bughti Cricket Stadium to allow us play matches inside the stadium, as there are a great number of cricket enthusiasts in Chamman and other far-flung areas of the province, who want to play and adopt cricket. Whenever we meet our local MNAs or MPAs, instead of supporting us, they always ask us to start business rather than wasting time on sports,” he added.

It is quite discouraging that that the local representatives want youth not to be involved in healthy activities and take guns into their hands. “We have started a cricket team in Chamman on self-finance basis and our team consists of players of 20 to 31 years old, who are very talented and can become valuable part of the national team. If provided with opportunities, these players can become an asset of the country.

“We are in Islamabad for the very first time. We have toured Lahore and played a number of matches against top clubs there. We are highly grateful to Bhutto Cricket Academy chairman Ajmal Sabir for not only inviting us, but also promising to arrange different matches in Islamabad. We are here for 15 days, Balochistan Football Association president Saeed Ahmed Taku arranged our accommodation at Pakistan Sports Complex, while we are managing all our expenditures. It is passion of cricket, which is driving us, as majority of us are jobless and depend on our families for financial assistance. We don’t demand over the moon facilities or favours, but we just want the right to play cricket and fulfill our passion and dream of playing for the national team,” he added.

Bhutto Cricket Academy chairman Ajmal Sabir said his doors are always open for the talented youth. “When they contacted me and requested to play matches against our teams, I immediately accepted their request and ensured free of cost matches and balls for them along with free meal. It is our responsibility to extend helping hand to the people of Balochistan as much as we can.

“I will also request Islamabad Regional Cricket Association (IRCA) president Shakil Shakih to arrange a few matches of visiting Chamman team, as today the youth of capital is enjoying one of the very best cricket grounds of the country due to his tireless efforts and he is the man to lead cricket of not only region but also the entire country. I am sure once these players met with Shakil Shaikh, their problems will be resolved and doors of cricket at their own city will be opened on them,” he added.