‘Corporate sector must play its part in sports uplift’


There are very few companies in the corporate sector with a heart big enough to lend a hand in sports promotion set aside supporting the veterans sporting activities. With the exception of few banks and cellular companies no one is coming forward to support them or keep their own sports teams of veterans. But Amar Cables is one such group which is not only having its own veterans’ cricket team but its chief executive Amer Ilyas Butt himself is a passionate cricketer and has in the past couple of months organized two T20 tournaments for the above-aged cricketers and during the same period won three titles.
A former first class cricketer, Amer Butt was inspired back into the game by Kh Nadeem Ahmed, LCCA president.
It was on his inspiration Amer was elected president of Shah Faisal Cricket Club and started playing cricket on regular basis.
Amer, who was also part of national under-17 team, feels pity about the state of Pakistan cricket and identified the bogus clubs and lack of sponsors as the root cause of the games’ downfall.
Interestingly the fist two tournament organized by Amar Cables were clinched by their own team and later Amar Cables also won the 3rd SPM Stags League that also dispelled several wrong impressions of Amar Cables winning its own tournaments.
Apart from concentrating on its own business, Amer Ilyas carries his passion and love for the game and to widen the horizon he is sponsoring the Under-19 cricket of the Lahore city.
“Being a former cricketer and a businessman of repute I feel it’s my duty to give back to the game and I have selected under-19 in particular because these are the cricketers who would ultimately be representing Pakistan.
“Playing veterans or sponsoring an event of the likes of T20 for the veterans was the idea to keep the mid-aged cricketers active but sponsoring the under-19 cricket is a one to all a different concept.
“Like the club cricket, which is the base of any game, under-19 is the backbone of Pakistan cricket and needed to be organized on a wider and disciplined manner,” said Mr Butt.
“See there are around 132 cricket clubs operating in Lahore alone and only around 70 are fully operative while rest of them are working on papers or does not have grounds or hold nets. Above all half of them do not have cricketers of different age groups. So there is a dire need of scrutiny of clubs and cricketers,” he maintained.
Although Amer Ilyas Butt does not have any intention to run for any LCCA position but for the betterment of the game he vows to stand firm with LCCA president Kh Nadeem and support him in the development of proper infrastructure in the city.
“See I am doing my part in the development of the game. I first started veterans’ tournament and now sponsoring under-19 cricket. Like this Amar Cables is keeping the veterans busy side by side contributing to cricket by supporting young cricketers and would do as much as we can for the game.
“The other companies must also come forward for the sake of the country to give the talent their due right to represent Pakistan.”
“I believe if a company by sponsoring a couple of clubs or local tournaments keep a proper check club cricket can be organized in a proper way and only talented cricketers would come to the fore.
“What I am saying is that sponsors with proper check and balance in organizing and sponsoring clubs and tournament can make a difference that would ultimately be a big return to the country and cricket,” he concluded.