PESHAWAR (APP) – Chief Selection Pakistan Cricket Board Inzamam-ul-Haq and star wicket-keeper batsman Rashid Latif termed KP Talent Hunt Program a vital step taken by Senior Minister Sports KP Muhammad Atif Khan for searching out new faces in cricket and other games.
Talking to media men during a press briefing here at Media Center, Chief Selector Inzamam, also known as Inzi, urged upon the Directorate of Sports KP to extend such program at U-14 level so that to develop the much needed nurseries of various games at grassroots level.
While appreciating the Talent Hunt Program, Inzamam said allocating Rs. 50 Million for the Talent Hunt Program initially is very encouraging steps taken by Senior Minister for Sports, Tourism, Culture and Youth Affairs Muhammad Atif Khan and keen interest shown by DG Sports KP by involving Kabir Khan, Wajahat Ullah Wasti and other international and first class cricketers who visited across KP and merger tribal districts and conducted trials.
Answering a question about Pakistan team performance against Australia, chief selector Inzamam said that the team have given good fight despite we have rested 5 to 10 playing eleven players and hopefully the selected players would give good result in the World Cup.
Rashid Latif said that looking after the upcoming batsmen mean KP have good talent and certainly these batsmen would go through under qualified coaches would learn more as far their developing their skills are concerned.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Inzamam is the leading run scorer for Pakistan in One-Day Internationals, and the third-highest run scorer for Pakistan in Test cricket, appreciated Senior Minister KP Muhammad Atif Khan for launching Talent Hunt Program in nine different games including cricket.
Inzamam is the only Pakistani batsman to score 20,000 runs in international cricket. He was the captain of cricket team from 2003–07 and is considered to be one of the best leaders in Pakistan Cricket history. Inzamam rose to fame in the semi-final of the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Inzamam retired from international cricket in 2007, following the second Test match against South Africa, falling three runs short of Javed Miandad as Pakistan’s leading run scorer in Test cricket at the time. Following his retirement, he joined the Indian Cricket League, captaining the Hyderabad Heroes in the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 competition. In the ICL’s second edition, he captained the Lahore Badshahs, a team composed entirely of Pakistani cricketers. In April 2016, he was appointed the chief selector of the Pakistan National Cricket Team.
Inzamam said that a total of 6000 players from 36 districts including district of recently merged tribal areas took part in the trials in their respective districts, out of the 6000 players 250 players were short-listed for the second phase of trials at Maazullah Khan Cricket Academy Peshawar.
Soon after selecting 250 players, he said, medical checkup of the players were conducted at Shaukat Khanum Hospital to ascertain age of every individual. He disclosed that out of 250, 110 players according to the medical report were declared overage and 140 were called for the trials.
Out of 140 players, a total of 82 players were short-listed in the morning session of the trials supervised by Inzamam and final 60 were short-listed to make four teams of 15 players each. These teams, he said, would play seven One-Day and as many Twenty20 matches before final selection of 20 players for a longer duration of training and coaching under qualified coaches.
A contract would also be signed with these final selected 20 players for two years. Answering a question, Inzamam said that out of the final 20 players the chances of the players would be high enough to be selected for the forthcoming Under-19 World Cup and other national teams. Besides cricket, Squash, Football, Volleyball, Hockey, Cricket (male), Badminton (male & female), Table Tennis (male & female), and Athletic (male & female).
Pakistan former wicket-keeper batsman Rashid Latif, Chief Coordinator of the KP Talent Hunt Program and former pacer Kabir Khan, national selector and World Cupper Wajahat Ullah Wasti, star spinner Arshad Khan, pacer Sajid Shah, Director Operation Syed Saqlain Shah, Director Development Niamat Ullah were also present during a day-long trials.