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LAHORE: With excitement and enthusiasm building, the Pakistan Cricket Board today confirmed the names of the six teams and their mentors for the Pakistan Junior League. The inaugural edition will be played in Lahore from 6-21 October this year and will be produced by the PCB and broadcast live by PTV Sports.
The six sides to take part in this first of its kind U19 domestic cricket tournament, which is primarily aimed to provide opportunities to the talented teenagers to introduce themselves to the world, are: Bahawalpur (Southern Punjab), Gujranwala (Central Punjab), Gwadar (Balochistan), Hyderabad (Sindh), Mardan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Rawalpindi (Northern).
South Africa’s Imran Tahir will be the team mentor for Bahawalpur, Pakistan’s two-time ICC tournament winner Shoaib Malik will be Gujranwala’s mentor, two-time 50-over World Cup winner Vivian Richards will be Gwadar’s mentor, two-time ICC T20 World Cup winner Daren Sammy will the mentor for Hyderabad, 2009 T20 World Cup winner and charismatic Shahid Afridi will be the mentor for Mardan and hard-hitting New Zealander Colin Munro, who has been on Islamabad United’s roster since 2020, will be the team mentor for Rawalpindi.
Former Pakistan captain and PCB Hall of Famer Javed Miandad will be the roving umbrella mentor, helping and assisting all the sides.
The PCB also confirmed the player draft for the tournament to be played on a single-league basis will be held in Lahore on 6 September. Details around the draft process will be announced shortly.
Over 140 players from Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, England, Ireland, Nepal, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Scotland, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates have completed their registrations for the tournament through their respective cricket boards as well as clubs and professional representative submissions.
PCB Chief Executive Faisal Hasnain: “There is tremendous interest within and outside Pakistan about this league and we have maintained that momentum by today confirming the city names and their mentors. The six cities mirror our domestic cricket structure. This will not only provide talented teenagers with opportunities to showcase their talent to the world, but will also encourage them to play quality cricket in an environment they have never faced before.
“The Pakistan Junior League dovetails very nicely with the PCB’s Development Programme, through which we organise schools, clubs, City Cricket Association, Cricket Association and PCB-organised 50-over and three-day tournaments. As the game’s regulatory and governing body in Pakistan, it is our responsibility to attract and create chances for our talented youth so that they not only make a career as a professional cricketer, but also solidify our bench-strength.
“Instead of selling team rights, the PCB has made a strategic decision to take ownership of the six teams for the inaugural edition. This gives us the chance to present to the world and to all our valued commercial partners that this is an event that has high value, context and is here to stay.
“While the process for the sale of other commercial inventory is ongoing and we remain confident of attracting high-quality sponsors, I want to thank all the investors who expressed their interest in procuring team naming rights. We will continue the discussions with them after the completion of the tournament, with a future aim of building a long-term relationship.”