South Punjab, particularly Multan, has a great potential of producing players especially cricketers. In Multan performance of domestic cricket was not good enough for last few years. There was no cricket tournament organized by District Cricket Association Multan for last 5-6 years, whereas they have to arrange two tournaments in a year. The two important reasons for this are the internal conflicts in the Association, and the lack of financial resources.
Bedari tried to fill that gap by financing one annual tournament at the district level. Bedari signed an MoU with the District Cricket Association Multan. As per MoU, the Association was supposed to make arrangements for the tournament, while Bedari would provide the financial support. During the planning meetings, it transpired that there were huge differences within the administration and the management of the Association.
The internal differences caused much delay in the commencement of the tournament. Bedari made a lot of efforts, but the differences could not be resolved. Finally, Bedari discussed this issue with the donor, and decided to organize the tournament independently on its own. Again there were problems, as some of the clubs would agree to join the tournament, and others would opt out of it. A lot of running from pillar to pole happened before we managed to bring all the clubs together on one platform, and develop a consensus on venues, and format of the matches etc.
Finally, the tournament started with much fanfare. Bedari provided support for the levelling of the two cricket grounds – Government Emerson College, and Districts Sports Ground. As the time was short, two more grounds were also used – Ayub Stadium, and Shafqat Complex Ground (owned by Pak Army).
A total of 69 matches were played among 40 cricket clubs. The finalists were Agha Youngsters Cricket Club, and Crescent Cricket Club; the latter won the tournament.
Following were the leading players:
- Best All Round Performer was Waseem Shah from Agha Youngsters Cricket Club (11 wickets, and 270 runs)
- Best bowler of the tournament was Muhammad Arif from Crescent Club (with 18 Wickets)
- Best Batsman of the tournament was Hassan Awan from Crescent Club (with 358 runs including one century to his credit. He also scored a fifty in the final match)
- Hassan Awan was the man of the match for final, and also for the entire tournament.
- The best keeper of the tournament was Ihtesham ul Haq from SPNA Cricket Club (with 13 catches)
The event received good coverage in the local media – both print and electronic. The players were very happy about it, and praised Bedari for its commitment as it managed to organize the event in spite of all the problems. One of the players commented, “It was made possible by Bedari, otherwise, another year would have gone without annual cricket tournament”.
Another player mentioned that it was first ever tournament in which players did not have to pay for anything – balls, grounds, pitches, umpires etc. In fact, Bedari had arranged refreshments for the players at each cricket match.