ISLAMABAD - Sarfaraz Nawaz launched the first-ever international standard cricket academy here on Tuesday to groom grassroots level youngsters under his experienced coaching.

Capital Development Authority (CDA) Member Environment Sanaullah Aman inaugurated the academy pitches along with Islamabad Region president Shakil Shaikh and Sarfaraz Nawaz. Speaking at the occasion, Shakil Shaikh lauded Sarfraz’s services for cricket and termed him a blessing for the people of Islamabad. “The academy will be a hallmark for the entire region, where not only fast bowlers but also other specialist players will be produced.”

Shakil further said: “Pakistan cricket is facing acute shortage of fast bowlers like Imran, Wasim and Waqar Younis, but with the inauguration of this academy, Pakistan cricket gets a new lease of hope. I offer my all-out support for the academy on behalf of Islamabad Region and will provide bats, balls and other related stuff to the academy players free of cost.”

Sarfaraz thanked the CDA for allocating a piece of land for construction of the academy and highlighted Shakil’s significant role in helping him to get that academy going. “It is a matter of great honour for the people of Islamabad that in a short span of time, their team is playing the final of the country's most prestigious event Quaid Trophy, which shows their potential.”

Sarfaraz further said: “I have not establish this academy to mint money, but to provide free of cost coaching facilities to the registered members and to bear all these expenses, we will find sponsors. I will also invite Abdul Qadir to train spinners and Zaheer Abbas to train batsmen while Iqbal Qasim and other stars will also be invited to give tips to the registered members of the academy.”  “We will divide pool of players starting from the age group 10-12, 13-15, 16-19 and above. It is quite interesting that players don’t know even the basics of physical and mental fitness so we will provide basic training to them and will also invite visiting professors and coaches to help the youngsters in this regard,” he asserted.  Sharing his views, chief guest Sanaullah Aman said: “I have long association with cricket, which spans to over two decades.  It is my promise I will provide assistance whenever required for running the affairs of the academy and also help in organising other sports as well.”