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Saqlain Mushtaq inspects Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium

PESHAWAR: Spin maestro and Director International Players Development Saqlain Mushtaq along with Pakistan Cricket Board Director High Performance Center Nadeem Khan Wednesday visited the under construction Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium and Hayatabad Sports Complex accompanied by Director General Sports Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Asfandyar Khan Khattak here.

Deputy Director Development Sports Nematullah Khan Marwat, Regional Sports Officer Mardan Mir Bashar Khan, AD Development Munir Abbas, Administrator Hayatabad Sports Complex Syed Jaffer Shah and other dignitaries were also present.
Former Test cricketer, who still has a matchless record in the cricketing world Saqlain Mushtaq on occasion, said that “Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar is a historically important Stadium and expressed his satisfaction with the way the work is going on.”
He also lauded the Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan for taking keen interest in bringing Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium and the most beautiful Cricket ground in Hayatabad Sports Complex at par with international standard, fully equipped with international need.
“I have so many memories associated with this ground both as a domestic cricketer and international cricketer and always loved to play here, having the support of the people, their cheering and their love,” a jubilant Saqlain said.
Saqlain made his Test debut in Sept. 1995 against Sri Lanka at Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar. He picked up four wickets at an average of 26.75 in the match, and accumulated nine wickets in the series from two Tests. The best facilities at Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium are a testament to success, international matches will be held here easily, and it will be a great gift for the people here, Saqlain said. Saqlain has unmatched achievements for Pakistan as he has taken 13 Test five-wicket hauls with 3 Test tenfers (most 10-wickets in the match) and in ODI, he took seven five-wicket hauls. Saqlain was also selected as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 2000.
A statistical analysis conducted by Wisden in 2003 revealed Saqlain as the all-time greatest ODI spinner, and the sixth-greatest ODI bowler. Saqlain has the honor of being the fastest bowler to reach the milestones of 100, 150, 200 and 250 wickets in ODIs.
He was the first of only two spinners to have taken a hat-trick in an ODI, (the other being Abdur Razzak), and the second of only four bowlers to have taken two ODI hat-tricks (Wasim Akram, Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga being the others), and the second of which was only the second hat-trick in a World Cup match.
He holds the record for the most wickets in a calendar year in ODIs-69 wickets in 1997. He is also second in this elite list with 65 wickets in 1996. A right-arm off break bowler, Saqlain played 49 Test matches and 169 (ODIs) for Pakistan between 1995 and 2004. He took 208 Test and 288 ODI wickets and also scored a Test match century as well, against New Zealand in March 2001. Until 2016, Saqlain was the fastest bowler in the history of ODI cricket to take 100 wickets.
“It’s really fascinate me the way the construction work is going on for earlier completion of the Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium and initiatives have been taken for the up-gradation and bringing at bar the Cricket venue at Hayatabad Sports Complex, are really very key and good additions to Pakistan Cricket,” Saqlain said during his visit to Hayatabad Sports Complex.
Nadeem Khan said that with the construction of Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium Peshawar and KP would promote cricket in the country.
” Peshawar is a great city for hosting domestic and international cricket matches where there are many cricket fans and there is a lot of talent”
“We are also trying to promote cricket in Peshawar,” he said, adding, “the PCB is focusing on Under-13 and Under-16 cricket at the club level.” He said that the PCB and the KP government are trying to hold some matches of the next edition of PSL in Peshawar and their visit is part of the overall support extended by PCB on the request of Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan.
Earlier, DG Sports Asfandyar Khan briefed the PCB delegation along with the contractors of the Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium. DG Sports Asfandyar Khan said the visit aimed to go forward with the guidance and consultation with the PCB so the venues of both Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium and Hayatabad Sports Complex would be prepared accordingly. He also thanked the PCB delegation on behalf of the Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan for time to time visits and inspecting the under construction venues.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.