By VINODE MAMCHANPakistani legend Shoiab Akhtar is amongst four former cricketers who have been invited as special guests for the inaugural Pakistan Major Cricket League tournament that will be held from June 25 to 27 at the Maq Cricket Stadium in Hafizabad, Pakistan.
Cricket Council USA (CCUSA) is spearheading this effort to get foreign Pakistani nationals to pump finances into the tournament to assist cricketers at their place of birth. Chairman of CCUSA Mahammad Qureshi came up with the idea and got buy in from stakeholders with the aim of giving all Pakistani cricketers a chance at being recognised and getting opportunities to play cricket overseas after being spotted that this tournament.
Qureshi would have invited Akhtar at this very popular tournament, the US Open T20 in Florida many years ago. Now with this league starting back in Pakistan he has been able to get the former speed merchant to endorse it and he will be a special guest at the tournament. Joining Akhtar will be Shoaib Muhammad, Kamran Akmal and Aqib Javed.
According to Qureshi: “We are very happy to have these former cricketers as our special guests. This is a project that will only serve to assist cricket in Pakistan. We are giving players that platform to perform and a chance at being seen by overseas cricket clubs, so that they can develop their game further. All matches will be shown on MaqTv and we will be taking the action to the world.”
The tournament will see five franchises battling for glory, namely Karachi Sharks, Lahore Lions, Faisalabad Bears, Hafizabad Stallions and Islamabad Tigers.