LAHORE  -  Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has requested Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan not to end departmental cricket because it has played a pivotal role in development of the game in the country.

“I would like to request Imran Khan not to end departmental cricket as these departments have played an important role in the development of Pakistan cricket,” he said during a club match played here at Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA).

“I have also come from departmental cricket. First I played for region and then department and it does improve cricket. Once Imran Khan comes in the cricket, it will gradually improve but I can only request him not to end departmental cricket,” he added.

Speaking about reports on BCCI’s protest on Asia Cup scheduling, Sarfraz said that he was not aware about the issue. He felt that Pakistan are better equipped to utilise the conditions to their advantage. “I’m not aware about India’s protest on Asia Cup scheduling. We will have a psychological edge over India because UAE is our home ground and we are in a better position to gauge the conditions and utilise it to our advantage.”

The skipper conceded that India are a better team than Pakistan. “Kohli-led unit are more experienced than the men in green but we are also well prepared with high morals.” This will be the first time that both the arch-rivals will face each other after Pakistan’s thumping win over India in the Champions Trophy final at The Oval in 2017. “I am hopeful that it will be a good match because this is the first time both sides are facing each other after the Champions Trophy final,” he said.

The skipper also pointed out team’s special emphasis on improving their fitness levels especially considering the fact that they have important assignments coming up in the near future. “We have been a plan to work on our fitness that’s why we are focusing closely on improving in that area,” he said. “After Asia Cup, we have important series against Australia and New Zealand that’s why we are looking to stretch our good run of form in all formats.”

Meanwhile, Sarfraz Ahmed-led Pakistan Club of KCCA Zone VI outclassed Model Town Club of LCCA West Zone by 9 wickets in the Fazal Mahmood National Club Cricket Championship 2018 semifinal played here at the LCCA Ground Lahore on Wednesday.

Saad Nasim-led Model Town, batting first, posted a decent total of 243 runs on the board. Wicketkeeper batsman Asim Ali Nasir played the swashbuckling knock of 118 runs while he was ably assisted by his captain Saad Nasim, who struck significant 72 runs. Pakistan Club of KCCA Zone Vi replied strongly and punished the LCCA’s West Zone club severely and chased the target easily by losing just one wicket.

Test cricketer Asad Shafiq was hero of the KCCA Club’s victory as he slammed superb 107 runs while his teammate Shan Masood contributed invaluable 94, which guided their team to an impressive victory as well as a place in the final of the event, where they will vie for the top honours against Brothers Club of Sialkot, who have already qualified for the final of the prestigious club tournaments. The final will be played here at the Lahore City Cricket Association ground tomorrow (Friday).