Teenager Huraira became the first player to top the run charts in his debut Quaid-e-Azam season
Instead, it was the well-oiled machine of KP – joint winners of last year’s tournament – who came out on top once more as Huraira’s Northern fell short by 169 runs.
“Of course, it’s personally satisfying to be the top scorer but it would have been much nicer if it was in a winning cause,” Huraira said after the game. “But hats off to KP; they outplayed us in all three departments. I didn’t have a huge goal of finishing as the highest scorer, but I had small goals from game to game. Whenever I get a chance I give it my best shot. It came off thankfully. Last year, I didn’t get a chance and I was off-colour after the U-19 World Cup. I just worked hard.”
In Pakistan, domestic success, particularly for younger players, is seen as something of a stepping stone to international stardom, epitomised by what Hurraira went on to say. “My next target is to represent Pakistan in all three formats, and to give match-winning performances for my country.”
‘The way my form is going, it feels like I’ll play for a long time’ – Iftikhar
“I’m feeling very proud because where you go and win a trophy, it makes you proud,” Iftikhar, 31, said. “Winning five consecutive trophies is a testament to all the hard work of our players. They work hard in the field and give their all, which gives them success.”
“I was thrilled to get a hundred and perform in such a big match,” he said. “I was thinking before the final that I’ll go out and help my team win. The way my form is going, it feels like I’ll play for a long time. Our team has a lot of young players and senior players, and everyone pulls their own weight. Our young players perform really well. The juniors take as much responsibility as the seniors.”
Our domestic structure ‘incentivises positive cricket’ – Amin
“Of course, it’s disappointing if you don’t get over the line after playing two consecutive QeA finals,” he said. “When we moved to Karachi, we won four matches on the bounce to qualify for the final. It would have been nice to win to cap our season and the efforts we put in. Unfortunately, we didn’t do it this time but if we ever get a chance again, we’ll try and get over the line.
“This points system is very exciting; the tournament remains wide open till late in the tournament. Even Sindh, who didn’t qualify, only fell short by about two or three points. It’s fun till the end and gives all six teams a fair chance. It encourages teams to play aggressive cricket. Overall, this is good for both our domestic and international cricket that we have a system in our domestic structure that incentivises positive cricket.”
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000