Pakistani captain Babar Azam has urged fans to turn up in numbers at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, which is set to host the T20 National Cup from Thursday.
The skipper said they were disappointed with the abrupt abandonment of his tour by New Zealand and the cancellation of his visit by England last week, but the domestic T20 competition will be an opportunity for fans to prove the Pakistan’s passion for sport.
âI want to ask the fans, especially Rawalpindi, to come forward and make full use of the 25 percent turnout, I know there is a real disappointment after the setback last weekend; this event gives us a real opportunity to show the world our passion for cricket, âsaid Babar, who will lead central Punjab.
With Pakistan’s international schedule ahead of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup now completely unoccupied, the National T20 Cup will be the national team’s only preparatory exercise for the mega event.
However, it will add value to the national tournament with the whole Pakistani squad for the T20 World Cup.
“For us the event is a great opportunity for the preparations for the T20 World Cup and I hope all players in the United Arab Emirates team will give their all for the event,” said the Pakistani skipper. .
“We have an experienced team full of international stars, my goal would be to lead central Punjab to the title and improve our performance over the past two seasons.”
The first phase of the National T20 Cup will take place until October 3 in Rawalpindi. It will be followed by the second phase in Lahore from October 6 to 13.
The first match will be played between Balochistan and the North at 7:30 p.m.
Sindh, Balochistan, southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the other four teams that will participate in the event.
Motivated players to take it one step further
Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan wicket batsman and skipper of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the T20 National Cup would be a great opportunity “to prove to the world that we are as safe as any cricket destination”.
âAll the players are motivated to take another step forward this time around in the National T20,â said Rizwan.
Rizwan, who is also the vice-captain of the national team, said the six teams are balanced and that as defending champions his team Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will aim to defend their title.
“We have good quality versatile players on our squad and that should help us as sometimes you need capable backup bowling options on top of your main bowling attack.”