Pakistan crowned West Asian champions
KARACHI: Pakistan clinched the 11th West Asia Baseball Cup 2013 after facing tough competition from Sri Lanka in the final match played at the Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Monday.
The national team, placed 23rd in the world, defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 as Abu Bakar scored two runs and Adnan Butt contributed with a solitary run to ensure the win. Abu Bakar remained the key scorer for Pakistan throughout the tournament.
In Pakistan’s last match against Nepal, he scored two runs while he began the tournament scoring five runs for his side in the campaign opener against Afghanistan.
Other scorers such as Umair Bhatti, Basit Murtaza, Sumair Zawar and Asif Mushtaq also gave outstanding performances for the team.
This was the fifth time that Pakistan won the West Asia Cup.
“We proved that we can hold and win an international event successfully in Pakistan,” Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB) Secretary Syed Khawar Shah told The Express Tribune.
Meanwhile, coach Mussadiq Hanif said the victory was not only for the Pakistan team but for the coaches as well.
“The Sri Lanka team gets regular coaching from Japan, but we just proved that we don’t need any help from foreigners,” said Hanif.
“Before the tournament, our federation decided to have an all-Pakistan squad, including the coaches. We didn’t look towards any foreign assistance. I’m very proud of my team. “
Hanif said that they deserved the win.
“The level of competition was amazing. It was of the same standard as any of the professional leagues in the US. Our players contained Sri Lanka for nine innings,” added Hanif.
“We’ve really improved as a team as well. I’m extremely satisfied with our performance and happy with the results.”
Team to prepare for upcoming events
The PFB trained the team in Lahore in a month-long camp at the Punjab University ground under coach Mussadiq Hanif, while the players were selected after the national championship which was held in October.
Shah said that Pakistan also qualified for the Asian Games 2014 in Korea next year along with the Asia Cup 2014.
“The baseball camp will continue till next year and the players will keep training for upcoming assignments.”
Meanwhile, in the third-place play off, Afghanistan defeated Nepal 3-2.
Taiwan’s Chao-Asiung and CS Wang also participated in the tournament as the chief umpires, while Sri Lankan’s Tharanga was the first base umpire for the event.
Shah concluded on the note that Pakistan are also expected to host a bilateral series with India next year to provide more exposure to the players.
“India couldn’t participate in the event due to various reasons, but we‘ll try to hold a bilateral series with them in the first quarter next year. We can host the series in Lahore.”
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