MUZAFFARABAD: The Lahore Qalandars players’ development programme will be starting its trials in Muzaffarabad today after a stint in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).
While speaking to Geo.tv, Aaqib Javed, who is the Qalandars head coach and director cricket, said the coaching staff has been working hard and looking forward to the trials in Muzaffarabad.
Last year, all-rounder Salman Irshad became the first player from the region in 70 years from AJK after being spotted during the Qalandars’ Rising Stars program.
He became the talk of the town when he bowled at the speed of 90mph in the trails held at Muzaffarabad.
“Salman Irshad is the reason there is an air of excitement in the area with people looking forward to the trials,” Javed said.
“We will be looking for two or three more youngsters this year also from AJK who can become part of the team and travel to Australia and have a chance to perform,” he added.
While speaking about cricket in the region Javed said the area just needs to be developed along with its facilities.
“This is known as the most scenic cricketing ground in the world. All it needs is facilities.”
When asked why Qalandars’ focus had taken them to places like GB and AJK, Javed said the cricket boards are not the only ones responsible for the development of cricket in a country.
Private sectors also have to do their parts in developing cricket, he pointed out.
“We are now getting requests from Balochistan and Sindh to come there,” he added.
“When we first came here, nobody else had thought about developing cricket in GB or AJK.”
Sharing his thoughts on the platform the programme has provided, Javed said it provides opportunities for youngsters who have the passion for cricket but no outlet to showcase their talent.
“It does not matter whether they have cricket kits or shoes if they have the talent this programme is for them.”
Javed suggested a summer league in the valley would also help promote cricket here.
“Domestic cricket leagues need to be expanded and we can have the summer league and T20 events here to promote cricket,” he added.