The Pakistan national baseball team could be on the verge of putting the country on the popular sport’s map.
The Pakistan team is gearing up to compete in the prestigious World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, where they will play their first match against Argentina on September 30 in Panama City.
The top two teams from the six-nation tournament will qualify for next year’s main event in March.
Pakistan team scout and players’ liaison manager Hussain Ansari is confident that the national side will be able to qualify for the World Baseball Classic.
“Our coaches, which includes Patrick Anderson, are very experienced and game plan we have in place is going to woo people,” said Hussain while speaking to SAMAA Digital.
“We have speed, power and velocity from pitchers so it’s going to be hard for any team to take us lightly since college or a good high school players are as good as professional baseball minor league players.
“Pakistan is making big step forward in baseball after 30 years in making.”
Hussain also drew parallels between cricket and baseball while talking about top-notch pitchers in Pakistan.
“Just to let you know as Pakistan is a hub for [cricket] fast bowlers, we can produce high end pitchers who can potentially make $20 to $30 million a year playing baseball. We will see those days in Pakistan during the next 10 years,” he said.
Initially, 14 players were supposed to be part of the squad from Pakistan. However, due to visa issues, only eight were able to join the team.
The Pakistan squad also includes overseas players of Pakistani descent from Japan, Canada and the United States since the federation wanted to utilise their experience of playing baseball internationally.
Pitchers Adam Khan and 16-year-old Amaan Khan, Outfielder Shan Sundu, Catcher Iyad Ansari and Infielder Zan Von Schlegell are some of the players to watch out for in the Pakistan contingent.
Gibran Hamdan, the first player of Pakistani descent in NFL history after he was drafted by Washington in 2003, was also supposed to be part of the squad but he was ruled out of the event due to Covid-19 couple of days back.
It must be noted that Pakistan were shut out in its first ever WBC Qualifier in 2017 after losing to Brazil and Great Britain.
How to stream
The qualifiers will be available to stream live and for free, from anywhere in the world, on WorldBaseballClassic.com.
You can also catch the event live on MLB.TV, MLB.com, the new World Baseball Classic YouTube channel, and the World Baseball Classic Facebook page.