|Stallions target Champions League glory|
06 October 2012
KARACHI: With millions saddened after Pakistan’s exit from the World Twenty20, Sialkot Stallions are aiming glory ‘for the nation’ in their maiden Champions League T20 appearance – which will, however, only be confirmed after two qualifying matches.
The country’s top domestic T20 side, with a record seven national titles under their belt, is leaving today for South Africa where they will feature in the qualifying round from October 9. The Shoaib Malik-led team will play against New Zealand’s Auckland Aces and Hampshire (England) on October 9 and 11 respectively with the team finishing on top of the group heading into the main event which starts on October 13.
“Our initial target is to qualify for the main event,” Sialkot coach Naved Anjum told The Express Tribune on the eve of the team’s departure. “Our players have been preparing for the event for a long time with their respective departments. Then they were brought together during the training camp at the National Cricket Academy during which they also played a few practice matches. Preparations were held keeping in mind the bouncy tracks in South Africa.
“We have expectations from Malik, Imran Nazir and Raza Hasan who played the World Twenty20.”
Anjum, a former Test cricketer, added that while the team will be making its debut, they were still targeting the title.
“We have the ingredients to become champions as we‘re a balanced team. Our biggest positive is our captain who has proved himself a great leader in crunch situations. We’re confident of extending our titles tally to the Champions League. We’re going to represent our country and want to give the nation glory after the heartbreak.”
Meanwhile, Sialkot were unlikely to get a replacement in the qualifying round for spinner Abdul Rehman who will miss the event a following a 12-week ban for failing dope test.
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