Baseball: Pakistan hit Sri Lanka out of the park
Pakistan clinched the South-West Asia Baseball Cup after beating Sri Lanka 4-1 in the final held in Lahore yesterday.
With their second triumph, the hosts, ranked fifth in Asia, also qualified for the Asian Championship that takes place in October. Irfanullah, Farooq Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Arsalan Asif scored for Pakistan and pitchers Asif Hussain, Mohammad Israr and Hafiz Usman made sure the visitors were struck out quickly, maintaining the team’s unbeaten run in the tournament.
“Watching the team win the tournament as successful hosts has sent a very positive message to the World Baseball Federation,” Pakistan Baseball Federation Secretary Pervaiz Shah Khawar told The Express Tribune. “We’ve proved that we can host big events and the triumph will also help us get a piece of land from the Punjab government in order to build a baseball stadium.
“It’s about time the Pakistan Sports Board acknowledges our achievement.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s South Korean coach Hwang Hoon Dong reiterated the need for the team to tour other countries in order to prepare for the Asian Championship.
“We need a foreign tour primarily because of the lack of facilities here,” said Dong. “There’s a lot of talent and these players are on the right track but Pakistan will be brushed aside if they play against the strong teams.”
Meanwhile, batter Irfanullah, who was key in Pakistan’s triumph, predicted a bright future for the sports in the country.
“I couldn’t make it to the national cricket team but I’m glad that I have made a mark in baseball,” he said. “It’s rewarding in its own way. Baseball will become one of the popular games in Pakistan because I’ve seen a lot of players switching from cricket to baseball and that surely is a positive sign.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2012.