ISLAMABAD   -   Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that Pakistani Parliamentarians cricket team players will represent the country as ambassadors and will play their part in revival of international cricket in Pakistan.

The first Inter-Parliamentary Cricket World Cup is scheduled to be held in England from July 8 to 15 this year. In an interview with The Nation at Diamond Cricket ground, where he daily visits to check Parliamentarians team training under the watchful eyes of PCB coaches. He said: “I didn’t know much about cricket but when the opportunity came that the Parliamentarians World Cup is being held in England, I decided to prepare Pakistan Parliamentarians cricket team for the mega event.

“I am grateful to Islamabad Regional President Shakil Shaikh and PCB for providing excellent facilities and arranging floodlights, so that our players may train well during Ramazan. As far as the team’s preparations are concerned, I am more than satisfied, as they are putting in a lot of efforts, while we have also invited provincial assembly members and Senate members, which has further boosted our team’s strength and the way PCB caches Sabih Azhar, Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai and Taimoor Azam are working with the Parliamentarians, I am sure that they will give their 100 percent and try to win the mega event.”

Asad said: “As Pakistan has been facing a lot of financial problems, we have decided that every player will bear his expenditures and representing Pakistan is the biggest reward for me. I have given them directives during matches especially against arch-rivals India and others. They should plead Pakistan’s case and tell the world that how much Pakistan is safe for hosting all kinds of sporting events.

“I will also be flying to witness matches. I don’t think having Tendulkar or other mega stars in Indian team can distract Pakistani Parliamentarians team, rather it will give my team extra motivation to excel and win for the country. They know our Prime Minister Imran Khan was not only great captain, but also used to utilise his available options in the best possible manner. That’s why he won World Cup for the country in 1992. Same spirit is being witnessed among this team.”

He said: “We are selecting team purely on merit and every Parliamentarian, who is training well and showing his skills, whether as a batsman, bowler or as an all-rounder, will be selected on merit. PCB coaches along with Zain Qureshi and other senior players will finalise 30 players, who will train and play practice matches before their departure.

“I have given full authority to coaches Sabih Azhar, Ayaz Akbar and Tamioor Azam to finalise the team and will submit final squad with their signatures. They will be completely responsible for team selection and they will be held answerable upon team’s return,” he added.

The Parliamentarians team should depart for UK at least 10 days earlier to prepare well at English pitches, which will help them a lot. On this, Asad said: “I will talk to Pakistan High Commissioner in England to make arrangements for Pakistani Parliamentarians training and arrange practice matches for them. At least one coach, trainer and a physio will also accompany Parliamentarians team, as they have to play 7 matches.

“Fitness is the biggest problem of our team while they also lack in fielding and catching area, which can be improved. But I am sure the way they are putting their efforts and their passion and desire are good enough to win the title,” he added.

“I will talk to PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani to provide maximum assistance to Parliamentarians team, which will play mega event in England. This team will continue to play matches in future too. I will try my best to provide equal opportunities to female Parliamentarians as well and soon we will form a women committee, who will discuss with female Parliamentarians and inform me about which sports they want to take part. It is great feeling that all the elected representatives of different parties are united under one flag and keen to laurels for the country,” Asad concluded.