RAMAZAN CRICKET: A CULTURAL RITUAL OF KARACHI
Karachi: It all started in late 70’s when people in large number use to watch cricket during the holy month of Ramazan. The most popular Ramazan cricket competition on those days was the Ramazan Super cricket tournament which use to be played at the famous Eid Gah ground, near petrol pump, in Nazimabad. Not only top local stars use to appear in the Ramazan cricket matches, but many test cricketers also participated and showed their class to the delight of huge crowd which watched these matches. In the mid 80’s during Ramazan night cricket emerged in Karachi and in most localities and streets cricket lovers were seen in action after Taraveeh until Sehri. Gradually the Ramazan cricket became the culture of Karachi city and even sponsors started taking interest in major tournaments. Till 2015 more then 60 big and small Ramazan cricket tournaments were played in various parts of the city.
During the Ramazan of 2019, five major Ramazan cricket tournaments are in progress with the support of sponsors in which current and former cricketers, who represented Pakistan are also taking part in it. Players are seen in action in Naya Nazimabad Ramazan Cup, 2019, at Lawai Stadium, Corporate T- 20 Cup, 2019, at Moin Khan Academy ground in DHA, phase 8, Asghar Ali Shah Stadium in North Nazimabad Block A, Karachi Gymkhana Ramazan Cup at Karachi Gymkhana and Agha Khan Gymkhana at Garden. In the recent past Ramazan cricket at Naya Nazimabad has come up with a bang and has shown tremendous growth due to its innovative style of organizing the event.
The picturesque Naya Nazimabad cricket ground with mountain on one side, which has all the facilities to hold international cricket matches, will see 16 teams in four groups, vying for the Naya Nazimabad Ramazan Cricket Cup, 2019. First Time 31 matches will be telecast live on PTV Sports from the Naya Nazimabad cricket ground, two drone cameras will be used during the coverage. Top two teams of each group will qualify for the quarter final stage and the final of the Cup will be played on May 26, 2019. Naya Nazimabad Ramazan Cup offers a lucrative total prize money of over Rs 5 million of which the winning team will get Rs 1.2 million and the runner-up will fetch Rs 600,000 million. Their will be “Catch a Bike” incentive for spectators and the Man of the Match of each game will go home with a motorbike. Naya Nazimabad Ramazan cricket cup is attracting big crowd due to innovative style and facilities provided for the spectators by the organizers. Famous cricketers of the country will show their skills during the 21 day exciting and competitive cricket.
The brain child behind the cricketing event at Naya Nazimabad is Mr Arif Habib, Chairman Arif Habib Group, who himself is very fond of cricket and plays cricket on regular basis. Mr Arif Habib said in a statement that the main objective of the Naya Nazimabad Cricket Cup is to provide a platform for the young cricketers to nurture their talent and groom themselves to be the part of the main stream cricket.