LAHORE: Current Pakistan skipper for all three formats Sarfraz Ahmed, former captain Misbah-ul-Haq and tainted opener Salman Butt were among the skippers named to lead teams in the upcoming National T20 Cricket Cup in a players’ selection ceremony held at a local hotel here on Thursday.
A total of eight teams will participate in the tournament set to commence on Aug 25.
Former Test captain Salman Butt who was selected for the first time to lead Lahore Whites since completing his ICC ban.
Though Salman had been leading Wapda in the domestic season, he had never been picked by any regional team before this. But now his return back to the regional team, and that too as a captain, shows that the PCB has no objection over his selection in the national team if he performs well.
There has been a report in the media that chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq still admires Salman as a useful opener but the chief selector had to step back for a while in picking up Salman in the national team, because the recent scandal of the spot-fixing reported in the second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) held in Dubai this year.
The case against four cricketers is still being heard by a PCB-appointed tribunal.
The teams to compete in the T20 Cup are Karachi Whites, Lahore Whites, Lahore Blues, Islamabad, FATA, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Faisalabad. All the teams were selected from a list of 150 players.
“All participating teams were picked by their respective regional head, selector, captain and coach,” a PCB press release stated.
“The eight-team tournament will commence from August 25, 2017 in two phases, where the first round matches would be played in Multan till August 31, 2017. The second and final stage of the tournament would start on September 4, 2017 in Faisalabad and conclude on September 10, 2017,” the PCB further announced.
“A total number of 31 matches including the final will be played, where each team will play seven matches. The top four teams among the eight teams will compete in the semi-final on September 9, 2017 at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad, whereas the final will take place at the same venue on September 10, 2017,” it concluded.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s captain of all three formats Sarfraz Ahmed will lead Karachi Whites. He will have other key international cricketers like Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, Zulfiqar Babar, Khurram Manzoor, Anwar Ali and Rumman Raees.
Misbah, who has already called it a day from all the three formats of the game, still available to lead Faisalabad with some other prominent names like discarded off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, paceman Mohammad Sami, out of the national scene middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood.
Test cricketer Mohammad Hafeez will lead Lahore Blues, having some noted cricketers namely discarded Ahmed Shehzad, in form pacer Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, middle-order batsman Babar Azam and another discarded wicket-keeper Adnan Akmal.
In Lahore Whites, besides Salman the key cricketers are former Test captain Azhar Ali, and the trio struggling to get back into the national team including batsman Umar Akmal, his elder brother Kamran Akmal and pacer Wahab Riaz.
Sami Aslam and Ehsan Adil are the other two prominent international cricketers in the squad.
Discarded international wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan will lead Peshawar which had few well-known players like Sohail Khan and recently emerged dashing opener Fakahr Zaman besides the discarded Imran Khan Senior.
The Islamabad team will be led by all-rounder Imad Wasim, who will have some good bowling attack in shape of fast emerging pacer Hasan Ali, Rahat Ali and experienced Umar Gul. Seasoned all-rounder Shoaib Malik is also included in the Islamabad squad.
Umar Amin has been appointed as captain of Rawalpindi team which will have famous cricketers including Sohail Tanvir, discarded Fawad Alam and emerging Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan.
Usman Shinwari will lead Fata which will also feature discarded fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti.
KARACHI WHITES: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Asad Shafiq, Anwar Ali, Rumman Raees Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Shahid Yousuf, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Mir Hamza, Tabish Khan, Haris Sohail, Zulfiqar Babar, Danish Aziz, Azam Hussain, Jaahid Ali, Abrar Ahmed.
LAHORE WHITES: Salman Butt (captain), Wahab Riaz, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Sami Aslam, Asif Ali, Asif Zakir, Ehsan Adil, Mohammad Irfan (Fata), Aamir Yamin, Bilal Asif, Amad Butt, Raza Ali Dar, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hassaan Khan,
LAHORE BLUES: Mohammad Hafeez (captain), Babar Azam, Ahmed Shehzad, Hussain Talat, Imam-ul-Haq, Tayyab Tahir, Abid Ali, Khalid Usman, Atif Jabbar, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Agha Salman, Saad Nasim, Adnan Akmal, Ghulam Mudassar.
RAWALPINDI: Umar Amin (captain), Sohail Tanvir, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Fawad Alam, Zain Abbas, Ahsan Ali, Mohammad Irfan Jr, Mohammad Abbas, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Asghar, Rameez Aziz, Nasir Nawaz, Adnan Ghaus, Umair Masood.
ISLAMABAD: Imad Wasim (captain), Hasan Ali, Zohaib Ahmed, Sarmad Bhatti, Nauman Anwar, Adil Amin, Shan Masood, Rahat Ali, Umar Gul, Shoaib Malik, Rohail Nazir, Ali Sarfraz, Shehzad Azam Rana, Faizan Riaz, Arsal Shaikh.
FAISALABAD: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain),Saeed Ajmal, Asif Ali, Fahim Ashraf, Sohaib Maqsood, Imran Butt, Khurram Shehzad, Mohammad Sami, Taj Wali, Sahibzada Farhan, Yasir Shah, Ali Waqas, Imran Khalid, Ali Shan, Asad Raza.
PESHAWAR: Mohammad Rizwan (captain), Zohaib Khan, Israrullah, Imran Khan Jr, Riffatullah Mohmand, Musadiq Ahmed, Waqas Maqsood, Mohammad Imran, Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Imran Khan, Usman Qadir, Saif Badar.
FATA: Usman Khan Shinwari (captain), Rehan Afridi, Asif Afridi, Khushdil Shah, Mukhtar Ahmed, Naved Malik, Awais Zia, Bilawal Bhatti, Sameen Gul, Usama Mir, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Naeem, Nabi Gul, Irfan Rasheed, Shahenshah Afridi.
Aug 25: Lahore Whites vs Lahore Blues (4:00pm); Peshawar vs Fata (8:00pm).
Aug 26: Karachi Whites vs Lahore Blues (12:00noon); Faisalabad vs Peshawar (4:00pm); Islamabad vs Rawalpindi (8:00pm).
Aug 27: Rawalpindi vs Peshawar (12:00noon); Faisalabad vs Fata (4:00pm); Karachi Whites vs Lahore Whites (8:00pm).
Aug 28: Lahore Whites vs Fata (12:00noon); Karachi Whites vs Islamabad (4:00pm); Lahore Blues vs Peshawar (8:00pm).
Aug 29: Lahore Whites vs Islamabad (12:00noon); Lahore Blues vs Faisalabad (4:00pm); Rawalpindi vs Fata (8:00pm).
Aug 30: Karachi Whites vs Rawalpindi (4:00pm); Islamabad vs Peshawar (8:00pm).
Aug 31: Lahore Blues vs Rawalpindi (4:00pm); Lahore Whites vs Faisalabad (8:00pm).
Sept 1-3: Eid-ul-Azha holidays.
Sept 4: Islamabad vs Fata (4:00pm); Faisalabad vs Karachi Whites (8:00pm).
Sept 5: Lahore Whites vs Peshawar (4:00pm); Lahore Blues vs Fata (8:00pm).
Sept 6: Lahore Whites vs Rawalpindi (4:00pm); Faisalabad vs Islamabad (8:00pm).
Sept 7: Karachi Whites vs Fata (4:00pm); Faisalabad vs Rawalpindi (8:00pm).
Sept 8: Karachi Whites vs Peshawar (4:00pm); Lahore Blues vs Islamabad (8:00pm).
Sept 9: First semi-final (4:00pm); Second semi-final (8:00pm).
Sept 10: Final (7:00pm).
Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017