Lahore, March 28, 2019 (PPI-OT): Punjab captain Kamran Akmal has backed his squad’s potential of winning the prestigious Pakistan Cup 2019 trophy, when the five-team tournament commences at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, on 2 April. “We have a well-balanced squad with capable batsmen and bowlers, we have a good combination for the tournament, and we really want to perform well for our Punjab team.” Kamran said.
Federal Areas will defend the title, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan are the other competing teams in the tournament. All 11 matches of the tournament will be played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, with the top two sides from the single-league competition progressing to the 12 April final.
Punjab are searching for their maiden Pakistan Cup title. Their best performance to date was in the inaugural edition in 2016 when they reached the final. They failed to finish in the top two in the 2017 and 2018 editions. Kamran observed Punjab had an explosive batting line-up that could provide a stiff challenge to the opposition bowling attacks.
“I feel we have some quality performers in the batting department. Khurram Manzoor, Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmed and Fahad Iqbal give batting a good shape with their experience and pedigree, I really like the combination and I hope the batsmen will deliver for us,” the wicketkeeper/batsman said.
Kamran, who has represented Pakistan in 53 Tests, 157 ODIs and 58 T20Is, reposed confidence in his team’s bowling when he said: “Mohammad Asghar and Kashif Bhatti lead our spin department, while we have the experienced Mohammad Sami and Bilawal Bhatti leading our pace attack with Ehsan Adil. Sohail Tanveer, a versatile white ball performer, also gives us real bowling depth.”
The selectors have made one change in the Punjab squad. Left-handed batsman Hussain Talat has replaced Anwar Ali, who is injured and unavailable for the tournament. Hussain was part of Pakistan’s ODI and T20I squads on the tour of South Africa earlier in the year, while he represented Islamabad United in the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019.
Other than Kamran, Punjab have Sami Aslam and Khurram providing real firepower at the top of the batting order. Hussain, Fahad Iqbal and Saad Ali form the middle-order, Saad and Hussain would be aiming to impress the selectors especially with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Pakistan team selection due after the Pakistan Cup. For this event, the selectors have the option of including a few more players if they feel necessary before revealing the World Cup squad.
Punjab have a formidable bowling department that covers almost all the bases for skipper Kamran. Mohammad Sami, Sohail Tanveer, Bilawal and Ehsan have the ability to unsettle any batting line-up while Asghar and Kashif provide capable spin bowling options.
Karachi-born off-spinner Waleed Ahmed is another bowling option available to Kamran. The 26-year-old made an impressive start to his List A career taking 10 wickets in his first five matches with a best of six for 28.
Punjab squad – Kamran Akmal (WK, captain); Bilawal Bhatti; Ehsan Adil; Fahad Iqbal; Hussain Talat; Iftikhar Ahmed; Kashif Bhatti; Khurram Manzoor; Mohammad Asghar; Mohammad Sami; Ramiz Aziz; Saad Ali; Sami Aslam; Sohail Tanveer and Waleed Ahmed
Punjab fixtures (matches start 2pm):
Tue, 2 April – v Balochistan
Fri, 5 April – v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Mon, 8 April – v Federal Areas
Thu, 11 April – v Sindh
Fri, 12 April – FINAL
For more information, contact:
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore 54600, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 571 7231 -4
Fax: +9242 571 1860