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Monday, February 13, 2012

Multan cricket run by petrol pump owner

Multan: From fighting for titles to fighting of survival, Multan’s cricket is experiencing an unprecedented slump and, with an interim committee headed by a bus-terminal owner, faces a tough ask on and off the field.

In the 2006-07 season, Multan won the Silver League title — and a promotion to the top tier of first-class cricket, the grade-II under-23 crown and the U15 event. Now, they have lost eight of their nine matches to sit bottom of Division-II. In the domestic Twenty20 event, Multan were eliminated after finishing third in their four-team group. The slump, regarded by many, is due to the ad-hocism implemented by former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ijaz Butt who replaced long-serving president Mian Munir Ahmed with Inamul Haq.

Now, Sahiwal’s Sohail Shafqat, a bus terminal owner, has been handed over the responsibilities by Zaka Ashraf, a bold move especially since Shafqat admits he is a novice in cricketing matters.

“My passion to work with cricket brings me here,” Shafqat told The Express Tribune. “I’ve formed a five-member committee comprising former first-class cricketers to give me suggestions. I have my own bus terminals as well as petrol and CNG stations so I’m not here to make money but only to ensure deserving individuals get a chance.

“Things were not good prior to my appointment I have come up with a plan to put them back on track.”

Shafqat also confirmed that he had invited Munir to work with him for the improvement of the region’s cricket. The former president Munir, blaming Butt for destroying the structure, also revealed that he had sought a meeting with Zaka Ashraf but to no avail.

“I’ve sought time from the new chairman for a meeting, but haven’t heard anything yet. I won’t lose my respect by running after him.”


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