What was the fault of UBL cricketers?

By Syed Intikhab Ali - June 9, 2018

Everything seemed to be going smoothly and UBL cricket team was also winning – the department recently won the national one-day cricket championship in January — when the authorities decided to close the team because of an impending financial crisis.

Informed sources said that only 0.2 percent of UBL’s profit from 2017 was the cost of running the UBL cricket team. Thus, the question of the cricket team being the reason for the drop in profit — if it really has dropped is questionable. It is the leadership possibly who will provide some explanation at a certain point

It was shocking for the entire cricket fraternity across the country as world’s leading batsman Younis Khan had joined UBL after leaving HBL which he had served for 18 years. He was tasked to groom the cricket team and build its academy on strong foundations.

UBL won the departmental national one-day championship in 2018 with Shan Masood scoring 1288 runs, a record in any domestic one-day championship of any country. Previously the record was held by Australia’s Michael Bevan.

Around 800 children were enrolled in the UBL academy.  It was one of the most advanced academies in the country which trained children through a syllabus imported from Australia.

Nobody knows the reasons behind this stunning decision. It would be catastrophic for domestic cricket and a number of cricketers, coaches and officials would be deprived to their livelihood.

Those employed by the bank include such cricketers as Wahab Riaz, Rumman Raees, Muhammad Asghar, Saad Ali, Sohail Khan and Umar Akmal.

The players popularized the bank through their performances. If there is a crisis, it must definitely be due to the policies of institution not because of its cricket team. Instead of correcting the required policies, the management have chosen to close the cricket team.

It may be noted that it is a clear-cut directive of the government that the departments, including banks, are to establish at least three sports teams. It is unbelievable that UBL is closing its team of cricket, the most popular sport in the region.

It would be a great setback not only for the cricketers associated with UBL, but also for the domestic cricket system and the bank itself. It would be embarrassed in the sports world.

Informed sources said that only 0.2 percent of UBL’s profit from 2017 was the cost of running the UBL cricket team. Thus, the question of the cricket team being the reason for the drop in profit — if it really has dropped is questionable. It is the leadership possibly who will provide some explanation at a certain point.

It is not just to fire players at the pretext of profitability. These cricketers have been made scapegoat. These decisions have been taken before as well.

It has been learnt that  great Younis Khan tried his best to rescue the team. He met the State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa, seeking his help to rescue the team. But so far his efforts seemed to have failed, informed sources said.

Let’s see what happens. If UBL cricket team is not restored, it will be a great loss for the domestic cricket which is already shaken.

By Syed Intikhab Ali

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