President for a roundtable of former cricketers to revive the game

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Monday while calling to make cricket a vehicle of national integration by holding inter-regional matches, urged veteran cricketers to convene a roundtable for revival of the game at national level.

Addressing a prize distribution ceremony here at the President House to give away prizes to winners of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Memorial Cricket the President recalled that Pakistan once led the cricket world and won several international laurels. He however regretted that over the past few years, the quality of the game had declined and there was a need that veteran cricket players, coaches and captains sit together to formulate a strategy for its revival. President Zardari extended full support of the government in this regard and said cricket "can serve as a vehicle for greater national integration by holding more inter-regional and inter-provincial matches." He said the roundtable should come up with recommendations for launching cricket across the country at school and college level, so that young and fresh blood is inducted, that can be groomed and trained for serving at the national level. The President suggested that the large corporations sponsor teams at different tiers to cultivate young cricketers who can win laurels for the country.

The President earlier distrib0uted trophies and souvenirs among the participants of the cricket matches, organized by Shaheed Z. A. Bhutto sports society, with Pakistan Cricket Control Board as the patron. The Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Memorial Cricket Championship matches were played on league basis in Islamabad, Lahore, Hyderabad and Karachi by sixteen national teams. The final in Islamabad was won by Rawalpindi Cricket Association against the Port Qasim Trust Authority team. National level teams from PIA, HBL, NBP and other organizations participated in the matches.