| Rameez Raja
Calcutta: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will, later this month, propose an annual inter-academy tournament among the four Test-playing nations of the region.
While academies have already been established in India (Bangalore), Pakistan (Lahore) and Sri Lanka (Colombo), the one in Bangladesh will be functional before the year is out.
The proposed (one-day) tournament, of course, will have to be held by rotation.
“Such an arrangement will have many benefits and favourably impact Indo-Pak relations,” PCB chief executive Rameez Raja told The Telegraph Wednesday.
According to the former captain, the proposal may either be formally placed at the Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC’s) annual general meeting in London, on June 14, or be “informally” discussed before or after the yearly conclave.
[Traditionally, the ACC meets before or after the International Cricket Council’s annual session — this time slated for June 19.]
Rameez added that the tournament apart, the four Test-playing nations should enter into an academy-specific exchange programme.
“Each year, for instance, we could have the most promising trainees in Pakistan going to Bangalore. Similarly, India may reciprocate by sending across the most gifted from the National Cricket Academy,” is how he put it, speaking from Lahore.
Rameez, in any case, has been advocating quick restoration of bilateral ties between India and Pakistan. “A tie-up between the academies can only cement relations, not do any harm,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, Rameez confirmed that Imran Khan, the 1992 World Cup-winning captain who is now a National Assembly member, will oversee the conduct of U-16 camps at the seven regional academies besides the principal one in Lahore.
“The ball will begin to roll in a couple of weeks,” he informed, delighted that Imran had decided to renew his association with cricket.
Incidentally, one of the regional academies is in Mianwali, Imran’s constituency. The others are in Hyderabad, Karachi, Multan, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Quetta.