RAWALPINDI - Test cricketer M Wasim celebrated first anniversary of M Wasim Cricket Academy (MWCA) at Rawalpindi Arts Council in a ceremony held on late Saturday night.

Former and present Test cricketers and other important dignitaries including Rashid Latif, Umar Gul, Umar Amin, Naveed Qureshi, Arif Mehmood, Haseeb Amjed, Rawalpindi Region head coach Sabih Azhar, former first class player Masood Anwar, OGDCL Sports Board vice president Ajmal Sabir, RISJA president Mohsin Ali along with RISJA members, Ali Imran, Hanif Abbasi, Pirzada Rahat Masood Qadoosi, PHF secretary Shahbaz Senior and MWCA young stars were also present on the occasion. Awards were also distributed among the talented players of the academy.

Sharing his views, Sabih Azhar termed establishing of different cricket academies by former Test and first class players as best gifts for cricketers of the region. “Definitely, these academies help the Rawalpindi Region in general and Pakistan team in particular in getting future stars, which is the due need of the hour.”

Sabih lauded Wasim for paying back to the city, which gave him so much love, respect, name and fame across the world. “It is our national and moral duty to help this game in the best possible fashion and produce quality players in a befitting manner.  “Hanif Ababsi has been playing pivotal role in spreading grounds network in the city, which lacked quality grounds, and with the availability of a great number of grounds, it is now the responsibility of former cricketers to come forward and work for the betterment of cricket in this region,” he added.

Hanif Abbasi, who was given a standing ovation by the pack to capacity arena, termed the MWCA as the best facility not only in the Rawalpindi region but also in the entire country. “A lot of cricketers and others came to me and wanted me to allocate grounds, where they could start their own academies, but unfortunately majority of them had their own vested interests rather than working for a cause. I gave nod of approval to Wasim and I am very happy and feeling proud that I had made the right decision. Wasim is putting extra efforts and spending lot of time with youngsters without any lust and providing best coaching at the academy.” He said he was very glad with his decision of providing maximum number of playgrounds to Rawalpindi youth and also grateful to Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif for approving this idea. “I wanted to give Rawalpindi youth grounds, where they could fulfill their ambitions and involve in healthy activities, rather than falling prey to immoral activities.

M Wasim thanked Hanif Abbasi, all the stakeholders, Test cricketers and others who helped him in fulfilling his dream and promised that the mission would continue unabated. “It is my promise within one year, I will give Pakistan some quality stuff, both in batting and bowling. I offer all to come forward and help me accomplish the task,” Wasim concluded.