LAHORE - Pakistan ‘A’ cricket team, as per revised schedule, will vie against Qatar team in the international Twenty20 match today (Wednesday) here at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Provincial Minister for Sports and Education Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan will grace the occasion as chief guest while Director General Sports Board Punjab Usman Anwar and several top cricketers will also be present there.

The match will start at 12:00 noon and before that, the cricket enthusiasts will be entertained through aerobics and gymnastic shows. During the interval, a cultural performance will also be part of the international activity. Both the teams will also be introduced to the chief guest. DG SBP Usman Anwar along with SBP Law Adviser Ali Raza Shah also visited the Gaddafi Stadium to review the arrangements of the international cricket match. PCB chief curator Haji Bashir Ahmad told the DG SBP that the affected portions of the ground by the Sunday’s rain had been made perfectly alright for the international match.

Giving instructions regarding the match, Usman Anwar said that the spectators should be provided best available facilities as they would watch the international match after the laps of many years. He hopped that after the visit of Qatar team, more international teams would tour Pakistan which would help bring back international cricket to the country. It is to be noted here that Pakistan could not convince any top cricket team for a home series during the last five years after the terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009 in Lahore. Resultantly, all kinds of international sports activities and matches were suspended in the country.

Since that attack, Pakistan cricket team has been forced to play its home series on neutral venues in other countries i.e. Sri Lanka, England and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, things are improving rapidly due to untiring efforts of central and Punjab government.

It is pertinent to mention here that sports contingents from 26 countries featured in the Punjab Youth Festival event in 2012. Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and his team, by convincing such a large number of countries to send their sportsmen to Pakistan, did a commendable job. They put up hectic efforts and presented Pakistan’s soft image to the entire world quite effectively. It won't be wrong if we say that the huge sports festival activity in 2014 would pave way for revival of international sports in Pakistan.

It is expected that the crucial cricket match will attract a large number of families, children and youth. The entry will be free for everyone so that maximum people could enjoy the match of greater importance.  Special measures have been taken for the strict security of guest team. Hundreds of police officials will be deputed in and around the Gaddafi Stadium to prevent any untoward incident. The police officials, laced with metal detectors, will check every single person. The SBP officials also installed walk-through gates at all the major entry roads.

Pakistan A Squad:

Sami Aslam (captain), Ameer Hamza, Hasan Raza, Hussain Talat, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Rafiq, Irfanullah Shah, Kamran Ghulam, Karamat Ali, M Aftab, Saifullah Khan, Salman Saeed, Saud Shakeel, Zafar Gohar and Zia-ul-Haq.

Qatar Squad:

Awais Malik (capt), Mohammad Rizlan, Khurram Shehzad, Syed Abbas Shah, Naeem Shoukat Bhatti, Noman Sarwar, Omran Hussain, Tuan Razak Marso, Uzair Amir, Talal Khan, Mansoor Khalid, Omer Sayeed, Amanullah Khan, Rafiqul Islam, Adil Rehman, M Sohail, Obaid Yahya, M Mirza, Hamad Mirza, Jahangir Ehsan and M Jahangir.