Wednesday Sep 22 2021
Web Desk

Babar Azam pins hope on fans for National T20 Cup after NZ, England cancel tours

Web Desk
Pakistani cricket captain Babar Azam during a match. Photo:PCB.
Pakistani cricket captain Babar Azam during a match. Photo:PCB.

  • Babar Azam wants fans to make full use of 25% attendance.
  • National T20 Cup scheduled to take place from Sep 23 to Oct 13.
  • Fans have always been the players' strength, Sarfaraz Ahmed says.

Babar Azam sought support from the fans to make the upcoming National T20 Cup successful after Pakistan faced a major setback as a result of New Zealand and England abandoning their tours.

The National T20 2021-22 matches are scheduled to take place from September 23 to October 13, with elite Pakistani players are partaking in the tournament.

“I want to request to the fans, especially in Rawalpindi, to turn up and make full use of the 25 per cent attendance," Central Punjab skipper Azam urged in a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), as the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) has restricted the attendance.

"I know there is a real disappointment after the setback last weekend; this event provides us a real opportunity of proving to the world that we are passionate about cricket," he said.

The national team's skipper said fans should come and support all six sides, as they are all are endeavouring to entertain them. He also appealed to people who will follow the matches on TV and digital media to show their support.

The quality of cricket is very high in the National T20 events, backed by outstanding pitches at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. Therefore, the Rawalpindi-leg should produce wonderful and entertaining games, Azam noted.

For us, the event is a great opportunity for T20 World Cup preparations and I hope all players in the UAE-bound squad will give it their best to the event, the skipper said while sharing his aspirations.

"We have a richly experienced side that is full of international stars, my aim would be to lead Central Punjab to the title and improve on our performances in the last two seasons," he added.

'As safe as any cricketing destination'

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa skipper Mohammad Rizwan said the tournament provides Pakistan with a great opportunity to prove to the world that the country is as safe as any cricketing destination.

"All the players are motivated to take an extra step this time around in the National T20. The Pindi crowd is a passionate crowd which supports cricket and has always come in large numbers to back our national events," he said.

Shadab's home ground

Northern captain Shadab Khan said the Pindi Cricket Stadium was his home ground and he had started playing there as a kid.

"The crowd in Rawalpindi has always supported quality cricket and I know while the fans are a bit disappointed at the cancellation of the New Zealand series, they would come to the venue to back our national event," he added.

'Fans need to support team and PCB'

GFS Sindh skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed said that fans have always been the players' strength and while they were going through another tough phase at the moment, it is fans who can lift them up.

"Fans need to support the team and the PCB and show the world how resilient we are. I request fans to turn up at the venue and back the players as they will be given quality entertainment in this quality tournament," the former national side skipper added.

'National T20 is a quality tournament'

ATF Southern Punjab captain Sohaib Maqsood said that while there is a real disappointment due to the recent developments, it is fans who will lift the team and provide the backing it needs.

"The National T20 is a quality tournament that provides rich entertainment to the fans, I really hope that we will see the fans show their passion in Rawalpindi and Lahore," he added.

All 18 Pakistan players — including the three travelling reserves — part of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup touring party will be seen in action in the tournament.

The first leg will run until 3 October at Rawalpindi’s Pindi Cricket Stadium, before the action moves to Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan’s home of cricket, where the second leg will be staged from 6-13 October.

Nearly a Rs9million prize money will be up for grabs in the National T20. Rs5million will be awarded to the winners while the runner-up will receive Rs2.5million.

Rs400,000 will be shared equally between the tournament’s top performers which include player of the tournament, best batsman of the tournament, best bowler of the tournament, and best wicketkeeper of the tournament.

The best performer of every match will get Rs25,000 as the man-of-the-match award while the top performer of the tournament’s finale will be rewarded Rs35,000.

Meanwhile, all six squads are packed with quality T20 performers and form a great blend of youth and experience.