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Shah said the World XI tour was for the benefit of Pakistan and the revival of international cricket in the country.  -File photo by AFP

KARACHI: Sindh Sports Minister Dr Mohammad Ali Shah has called upon the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf to review the decision of not allowing the Pakistan team to play T20 matches against a visiting World XI on May 25-26.

“We asked for the National Stadium as venue and the availability of Pakistan team for these two matches. We do not need any financial support from the PCB,” he told a news conference at a local hotel on Thursday.

Former federal sports minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani, President Karachi City Cricket Association Syed Sirajul Islam Bukhari, ex-chairman National Standing Committee Iqbal Mohammad Ali Shah, Sindh Environment Minister Khalid Umar, former Test wicket-keeper Saleem Yousuf, Test cricketers Danish Kaneria and Jalaluddin and other officials were also present on the occasion.

“We are staging these festival matches between Pakistan XI and World XI for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan,” Dr Shah said. “This is splendid opportunity for us to provide some fun and good cricket for the fans here.”

He said he wrote a letter to PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf five day ago and received the reply on Wednesday that the World XI matches should be postponed. “Some officials within PCB are giving wrong advice to Zaka Ashraf, like they did to ex-PCB chairman Ijaz Butt,” he alleged. Dr Shah said there was still time for the PCB to review the decision and there is sufficient time available to allow Pakistan team to play matches before their departure to Colombo on May 28. He said Sindh Governor Dr Isharatul Ebad Khan and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah are fully supporting him in staging the matches. He said they have already signed contracts with 12 players for the World XI which included Sanath Jayasuriya (captain, Sri Lanka), Justin Kemp, Paul Adams, Andre Nel, Loots Bosman (South Africa), Jerome Taylor, Jermain Lawson, Adam Stanford (West Indies), Owais Shah (England) and Mohammad Shehzad (Afghanistan). “We have paid 10 per cent of the signing amount to them and their travel plan has been finalised. He said World XI team manager Alvin Kallicaharan will be arriving four days ahead of the matches.—APP