Pakistan stars to grace Sharjah Sixes event
Dubai: The Grand Midwest Sharjah Sixes tournament has become the first domestic tournament in the UAE to gain international approval after the International Cricket Council (ICC) officially sanctioned the event, allowing top international stars to participate.
Following the approval, the Pakistan Cricket Board cleared the likes of former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, renowned all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, opening batsman Imran Nazir, star middle order man Omar Akmal, Faisal Iqbal and all-rounder Rana Naveed to play for various teams in the later stages of the tournament.
Announcing the landmark achievement, Mazhar Khan, secretary of organisers Sharjah Cricket Council and Administrator of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), said: “We are delighted at getting official approval from the ICC to become the first ever tournament to gain its sanction. Following the sanctioning, top international players from all full member nations can now play in this tournament.”
The ECB’s Waleed Bukhatir, who, attended the conference along with Zafar Shah, the Managing Director of Midwest, and Test stars Razzaq and Iqbal, said: “The ICC’s sanctioning is a big boost for the tournament. The first edition of the event is being held in Sharjah Cricket Stadium, which has always been a cricketer’s paradise. We assure everyone that the coming editions will be better with more participation.”
Shah, who played a vital role in flying in the Pakistani stars, urged the cricketers to inspire young fans with their presence. “The purpose of bringing these great cricketers here is to ensure that they mix freely with our fans. I urge all the top players to come early to the ground and meet their fans, sign autographs and satisfy the enthusiasm of the fans here,” he said.
As per the rules of the sixes tournament, eight fielders will be permitted, though only six can bat and bowl and organisers are now hoping this tournament will become as popular as the Hong Kong Sixes.
“For the first time, Vinayak Shipping Corporation, a corporate team from India, will participate and next year we are expecting teams from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and even Singapore,” Khan said. The 36-team tournament, which began last month, has already produced 288 sixes, with every match posting an average of 150 to 180 runs.
The final is scheduled for Friday (May 31) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Legendary pacer Waqar Younis, who is the brand ambassador of the event, along with former India captain Bishen Singh Bedi and former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Mohammad, will attend the final and give away the prizes.
Courtesy: GULF NEWS