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 Rashid Latif’s dream of launching a city-based Twenty20 league comes true next week

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PostSubject: Rashid Latif’s dream of launching a city-based Twenty20 league comes true next week   Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:28 am

Rashid Latif has long been thinking of launching a city-based Twenty20 league, but finally decided it was time to act when Pakistan’s leading cricketers were snubbed at an Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction in Mumbai last month. The former Pakistan captain told himself that it was time to initiate a project that would initially cater to local players and could then be broadened into a national and even international league in the future.

Rashid sought a meeting with City Nazir Mustafa Kamal, who took a keen interest in his idea of launching a Twenty20 tournament and within days the Karachi Champions League was launched offering a record prize basket of Rs17 million for the competing clubs.

“The way our players were shabbily treated by the IPL forced me to get into action,” said Rashid, who played 37 Tests and 166 One-day Internationals during illustrious career that concluded in 2003. “It was evident that Pakistan needed to have its own Twenty20 league. I can’t do that alone but I told myself that I could play my role in initiating a local league,” he stressed.

Rashid said he firmly believes that “actions speak louder than words”, adding that it’s time for all stakeholders associated with Pakistan cricket to come forward and do their bit to lift the sport out of the current crises.

“As a former Test cricketer, I regularly write and comment about the game, but now I’m convinced that it is time for actions. Everybody talks about how the PCB has failed, but is anyone ready to come forward to do anything concrete for Pakistan cricket? I must say that if all of us decide to do our bit, then our cricket can really make great progress,” he said.

Rashid said he was overwhelmed by the support extended by City Nazim Mustafa Kamal for the project. “It took him (Kamal) just two minutes to approve my idea of having a city-based Twenty20 league,” said Rashid, who will be supervising the Karachi Champions League that gets underway next week.

The inaugural edition of the Champions League will only feature local clubs, but there are plans to convert it into a Pakistan Champions League in 2011. “We can do it,” said Rashid. “In fact, we are hoping that this project will attract enough support from all quarters to enable us to turn into an international league in the future.”

The inaugural event is likely to feature top Karachi-based stars like Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Fawad Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Khurram Manzoor and Khalid Latif.

The team winning the title after what will be a month-long tournament will walk away with Rs10 million — easily the biggest-ever prize in the history of club cricket in Pakistan. The runners-up will get Rs 5 million the semi-finalists Rs 500,000 each and the quarter-finalists Rs 250,000 apiece.

Each competing team will be allowed just one international player. The Rashid Latif Cricket Academy (RLCA) will conduct matches at various grounds, while Geo Super will televise the tournament.
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