Arsalan Chandio, the inhabitant of Larkana, while speaking to PAKISTAN & GULF ECONOMIST expressed his dejection with utter dismay regarding the overlooking of cricket in Larkana, a city with the population of over two million. He spoke about the injustice being meted out to the cricketers of some cities of Sindh comprising Larkana, Qamar-Shahdakot, Jacobabad, Warah, Naseerabad, Maihar, Dadu etc. The pathetic condition of the Niaz Stadium Hyderabad, the Larkana Stadium, Makli Cricket Stadium and the Gama Stadium Mirpurkhas evinces readiness of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Sindh government in terms of the promotion of the most-acclaimed sport of the country in the aforementioned cities in particular.
Could anyone explain why these stadiums have been ignored since time immemorial? How much has been invested for the maintenance and upgradation of these stadiums and what is being done to inspire the school-going kids to adopt cricket as their profession? How many players from 22 districts of Sindh over the period of six decades have been considered by the PCB for the national team and how many players are able to make way to the central contracts of PCB? Only one city, thanks to the authorities, of the province is in the limelight whereas the entire province does not seem to be the preference either of the Sindh government or the PCB.
Being an ardent fan of cricket and particularly of Pakistan Super League, Arsalan Chandio was of the view that the selectors, promoters and the competent authorities do not look beyond Karachi or Hyderabad in Sindh. Talented cricketers of Larkana, a city with significant population and burgeoning adjacent areas and suburbs, feel left alone for multifarious reasons: Sindh government does not seem interested in supporting the budding talent, PCB seems least interested in getting talent from Larkana, which is one of the largest cities of Pakistan. The youth feels neglected since there is no substantial infrastructure, no training camps as such, no promotion etc. to encourage the talent which could serve the national team and the emerging Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Arsalan Chandio is of the view that there should be a team from Larkana, the fourth largest city of Sindh, in PSL which would bring life to the youth of the region. Media also reports the news like HIV outbreak etc. from Larkana, however, there is no news about the talent of the city. Larkana contributes to the economy of Pakistan marvelously. One must know that the manufacturing units in Larkana include sugar, flour and rice mills, chilies and spices processing units, ice factories, oil mills, plastic pipes, steel pots, clay pots, furniture and gold ornaments. Industrial estate in Larkana was established in 1964 with an aim to promote small industries within the city. Larkana is known for its quality production of guava as well. Budding cricketers from Larkana, Qamar-Shahdakot, Jacobabad, Warah, Naseerabad, Maihar, Dadu etc. are not able to afford to travel to Karachi or Lahore and prove their worth. The concerned authorities need to ensure the effective talent hunt events so that players from across the country could serve their dear homeland.
The incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan could do plenty to promote the inspiring cricketers of Sindh. Cricket is a much-loved sport with a great deal of commercial potential. PCB could groom the budding cricketers and under the aegis of PCB, city wise matches with fanfare could bring opportunities galore in various cities through broadcasting and advertising. There are countries where cricket is a source for much-needed financial resources of country. One has to read between the lines. Cricket has been televised in Pakistan since 1970 and is widely watched across the country. The print media could also play a vital role in terms of promoting cricket in the small cities of Pakistan which would ultimately help the country. Cricket must not be a Karachi-Lahore sport but a countrywide sport bringing equal opportunities for the cricketers from large and small cities and towns alike. PCB should think of conducting PSL matches, may be five years down the road, in Larkana, Dadu, Jacobabad, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Quetta, Peshawar etc. PSL has become a kind of source of upward mobility for lower middle-class and working-class boys, which must be eulogized. There is a remarkable surge in cricket’s popularity across the country in the wake of the PSL.
The term positive discrimination exists in cricket, which should be considered a positive move to promote players from certain cities, races, religions etc. The South African cricket team has a quota for two players of color. Should this model be replicated in Pakistan?