PCB asks Sialkot Stallions to retain team for CLT20

Shoaib Malik will lead Sialkot Stallions in Champions League T20 2012 Getty Images

Lahore: Aug 13, 2012

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has asked Sialkot Stallions to select the same set of players that represented the team in the national T20 and super eights championships last season, during their campaign in the Champions League qualifying tournament in South Africa.

It will be the first time that a Pakistani outfit will be appearing in the Champions League scheduled to be held in October.

Sialkot Stallions which has been led by former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik for the last few seasons has to appear in the qualifying tournament to qualify for the main round of the Champions League also in South Africa.

“Basically the squads can’t include any guest player or change players for the Champions League. They have to go in with the same set of players that won them the domestic titles,” one source in the board said.

Sialkot which has been dominant in the domestic T20 competitions since they were launched five years ago include international players such as Malik, Rana Naved, Imran Nazir, Shakeel Ansar, Abdul Rehman, Reza Hasan and Qaiser Abbas, who played a Test against England in 2000.

“But we are not worried because we have some exciting youngsters like Reza Hasan, Haris Sohail, Ali Khan and Bilawal Bhatti tempered with the experienced players,” said an official of the Sialkot cricket body.

Pacer Mohammad Asif also played for Sialkot but is no longer eligible as he is serving a five year ban for spot fixing imposed on him by the International Cricket Council.

Interestingly, four of the Sialkot squad are presently members of either the Pakistan one-day or T20 squads including Malik, Nazir, Reza and Rehman.

The official said the association is trying to arrange for some sponsorship money to send the team early to South Africa as most of the players had never played before in South Africa.

“We want to give some acclimatisation time to the players who will be going to South Africa for the first time.” (PTI)