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A true patron of sports

U nlike other Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises’ owners, Nadeem Omar has a story to ...

A true patron of sports

nlike other Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises’ owners, Nadeem Omar has a story to tell like that of many Pakistan cricketers. Many cricketers, including Sarfraz Ahmed, used to play cricket without the approval of their parents.

“I also used to play cricket a lot. My father didn’t like that. But I would secretively go to the ground,” said Nadeem Omar, who owns Quetta Gladiators, a PSL franchise that reached the final of the tournament in the first two editions. In most of the Quetta Gladiator ceremonies and on other occasions, players like Sarfraz mention Omar’s name in their note of thanks to the people who have contributed to their success.

Quetta Gladiators manager Azam Khan, who is attributed to have spotted and groomed a lot of cricketers of Karachi, including Sarfraz, Asad Shafiq, and Rumman Raees, says that without Omar’s helping hand it would have been impossible for him.

Khan also says that he might have been able to hunt the talent but Omar has always supported him in his endeavors and eventually enabled him to groom the raw talent.

“There’s immense talent in the country. Finding talent is not the only thing for producing cricketers. Talented players need to be groomed and polished. Many talented cricketers leave cricket halfway through due to financial constraints,” Khan said.

Nadeem Omar is also the President of Pakistan Cricket Club and Omar Associates Grade-II cricket team. Many national cricketers hailing from Karachi began their careers at Pakistan Cricket Club.

“There’s always an opportunity cost to do something and the players coming from modest background accrue higher cost of playing cricket. Nadeem bhai has always been there for many players supporting them financially so that they can keep playing cricket,” Khan said.

Quetta Gladiators was the least expensive team in PSL, but it made it to the final on both occasions. One of the reasons for the team’s successful stints in the PSL has been Pakistan Cricket Club because many of Quetta Gladiators players have been playing together for Pakistan Cricket Club for a long time.

Pakistan Cricket Club has been the most successful cricket club in Karachi winning NBP-KCCA Inter-Club Cricket Tournament whenever it has been organised. The tournament was discontinued three years.

International all-rounder Anwar Ali, who played a key-role in Pakistan’s Under-19 World Cup final triumph against India back in 2006 picking five wickets, also came through this setup.

The team was captained by Sarfraz Ahmed. Pakistan CC’s Ramiz Raja Jr., who went on to play for Pakistan and Ali Asad were also a part of the U-19 World Cup winning squad. Asad has played for Pakistan-A and is playing for NBP department nowadays. Mohammad Asghar, Shan Masood, Mir Hamza and Akbar-ur-Rehman are other known players.

According to Azam Khan, under-14 and Under-15 players first play in Metropolitan Cricket Club. Good players graduate to Alamgir Gymkhana and the best of them are picked for Pakistan Cricket Club.

Omar is not only working for male cricketers, but he has also established a women’s team. There’s also a veteran’s team, in which he himself plays.

He has also promoted other sports, mainly scrabble. In fact, he was one of its key promoters initially. Pakistan has been performing brilliantly in the international arena with players winning tournaments now and then. He has rewarded Snooker World Champion Mohammad Asif and had also sent Pakistan hockey team to compete in Champions Trophy held in Bhubaneswar, India in 2014, where it reached the final.

Omar also rewarded national women cricket team for winning gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014.

Bilal Hussain

Bilal Hussain
The author may be contacted at bilalsports86@yahoo.com.

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