RAWALPINDI - Rain came to rescue struggling Rawalpindi Region against Peshawar in the National Twenty20 Cup 2017-18 match which was washed out and one point each was awarded to both the teams here at Pindi Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
Peshawar Region skipper M Rizwan won the toss and opted to bowl first. As highly overcast conditions were set to favour the seam bowlers, his decision paid off, as Rawalpindi, mainly based on guest players, failed to make an impact in the second game in the running. After losing to Islamabad, Rawalpindi were almost certain to lose this particular encounter as well, as they were bundled out for a meager total of 116 in 18.2 overs.
Rawalpindi got off to worst possible start, as opener Ahsan Ali, after playing three dot balls, was removed without opening his and team’s account by Sohail Khan. Soon it was tow down and Rawalpindi lost half of the team with only 27 runs on the board. Only M Irfan Junior provided some resistance and scored fighting 30, consuming 10 balls, hitting one four and 4 sixes while Fawad Alam made 28 and Shadab Khan unbeaten 21. Test discarded Sohail Khan was main wrecker-in-chief of Pindi batting line up as he grabbed 4-22 while he was ably assisted by Imran Khan Senior (2-12) and Kashif Bhatti (2-26).
Rawalpindi Region coach Sabih Azhar has ignored the local talent and relied on other cities’ players, but his tactics failed miserably to yield even ordinary results.
Fawad Alam, being never considered as T20 specialist and hardly got any chance to play for his Karachi team, was preferred by Sabih over local players, but Fawad too failed to justify his place while same was the case with other picks of Sabih. The coach failed to pick his time-tested players like Awais Zia, Naved Malik and Hammad Azam, who were picked by Fata Region’s young coach Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai, who knows what these three can do for the team.
The second match between Fata and Islamabad also rained out and both the teams were given one point each. There is hardly any chance of matches to be played today (Wednesday) as heavy rain lashed out the twin cities. In case the rain stops and ground staff produces wonders, Lahore Blues will take on Karachi Whites in the first match today (Wednesday) at 12:00pm and Lahore Whites face Faisalabad challenge in the second match at 4:00pm.
The self-styled polices of Rawalpindi and Islamabad Region president has destroyed the careers of many talented players, but no one is bothered to provide justice to the players of twin cities. Both the regions are free to hire and fire any player of their liking. The PCB has given clean chit to most powerful former governing board member Shakil Shaikh, who against all the odds, has completed three tenures as Islamabad Region president and looking all set to make amendments to make his way for the fourth term. Shakil’s third term completes on November 25, but there is a chance that PCB chairman Najam Sethi may appoint an ad-hoc committee and fair elections of Islamabad region might be conducted.
When this scribe asked Rawalpindi Region president Major (r) Naeem Gillani, why club tournaments have been conducted for the last decade, he said: “It is not my job but it is district association’s responsibility, which must conduct club tournaments.” When asked why he is keeping mum on sorry state of district affairs, he said: “I have written a letter to PCB and informed them about districts’ inability to conduct the tournaments.”
The PCB must use commonsense and allow spectators to enter general stands free of cost, as it is the only way of filling the empty venue. It is the sponsors’ demand to conduct events at Faisalabad and Rawalpindi, as both venues are crowd pullers. If some certain people are allowed to rule the roost, then there is every possibility, Rawalpindi may be deprived of hosting future events.