ISLAMABAD – Newly-elected chairman of International Cricket Council for Physically Challenged (ICCPC) Raja Imran Hussain has said Pakistan will host the four-nation handicapped cricket championship in December to mark the World Disabled Day.
Speaking at the press conference held here, he said: “I am very grateful to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan handicapped cricket associations for keeping faith in my abilities and appointing me as the first ICCPC chairman during a meeting held in Agra, India recently where I was invited as a special guest. All the representatives unanimously elected me as chairman which is a great honor for me for the entire nation.”
“We are in close contact with India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan for the four-nation championship in Islamabad in December this year. If any of the team is unable to come then we will host tri-nation series. India and Afghanistan have promised to travel to Pakistan to play the championship,” he added. “The Asia Cup for handicapped players will be held in February 2015. We have shown keen interest in hosting the inaugural edition, so as the Indians, who have prepared eight different venues for it. Talks are going on, if security situation of Pakistan permits and Indian government issues NOCs to their handicapped team, then the event will be held in Pakistan, but if the situation was not satisfactory, then India will host the event,” he said.
“We have prepared around 3,500 handicapped players and also managed to make a female cricket team. It was very difficult to find and select female handicapped players, but I would like to give credit to our women wing secretary Saiqa Iftikhar, who worked tirelessly and made this dream possible. We have around 100 female players. It is very difficult to train female players under male coach, so we are trying to arrange a top level female coach for them.”
To a query, Imran replied: “We have requested international player Irfan Bhatti to once again help us and coach our team. In the past, he completely transformed our team and made it a winning unit. I am sure he will accept our request. The trials will be conducted early next month in all the major cities and the short-listed players will be invited for the training camp here.”
“Already eight teams are playing at national level. We have appointed coordinators in all the major cities, who are finding out the players and then they will send their names to the PCAPH,” he added.
“We have sent complete documents to the ICC for the PCAPH’s affiliation. We have completed all the formalities and now expecting to get a positive reply from them. I am also in close contact with the PCB and expecting that they will also give us the due long overdue right of recognition. We have won laurels for the country at international stage and we deserve better treatment,” he said.
When this scribe contacted India’s Disabled Sports Society secretary Haroon Rasheed, who played key role in formation of the ICCPC, he replied: “Raja Imran is elected as a chairman with consensus by all the participants for a period of five years. He is fully authorized and powerful to take decisions in the best interest of the association. We will fully endorse his all decisions.”
To another query, he said: “It is a done deal and it was already decided the inaugural edition will be held in India. We have prepared two international standard grounds. Yes, if given permission by our government, we will also travel to Pakistan to play in the four-nation event.”