Hasan Raza, captain of Habib Bank Limited who won the QEA Trophy, has backed the use of floodlights and the orange ball for first-class games in Pakistan in the future. The QEA Trophy final between HBL and Pakistan International Airlines was played under lights at the National Stadium in Karachi, an unprecedented event for the first-class game in the country.
"It was a really good experience, all the boys really enjoyed themselves and I hope that this is not a one-off," Raza told Pakpassion.net. "I really do hope that this idea is continued for next season and further into the future.
"We started practicing with the orange ball and pink ball two days ahead of the match, so it gave us all an opportunity to adjust to the light and the colour of the ball. The PIA captain Kamran Sajid and I in discussion with our teams decided that the orange ball would be better and I really do hope that future matches in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy are played under lights with the orange cricket ball."
Raza said that the experience was enjoyable, not just for the players but for the spectators as well. "The fans seemed to be having a good time watching the game and got behind the teams. I think if you asked the supporters they would definitely say they prefer day/night cricket compared with day cricket."
HBL regained the QEA trophy after 33 years and Raza, who scored an unbeaten 54 on the final day, attributed the result to the hard work put in by his team right through the season. "It's been a painstaking wait for all the guys involved with Habib Bank and we are all delighted and very proud of our achievements this season. We've played consistently well throughout the season and have beaten some very good teams during the course of the season."
The QEA tournament is currently played with two divisions and departmental sides and regional teams are spread across both divisions. Raza, however, felt that the format needed to be changed for the next season. "Departments should play against departments and the regional sides should play among one another. The departmental sides play the most competitive cricket and generally produce the best players. I think it would benefit the national side also if the format was altered where department teams and regional teams are kept apart, as the most talented players but be visible in the first division and playing for the departmental sides."
The final was marred by controversy as four players were fined a total of nearly $2,000 for ball tampering, slow over-rates and use of abusive language during the game. The trigger was believed to be poor umpiring but Raza chose to downplay the incidents. "Both umpires are experienced guys and decisions went for and against both teams," Raza said. "We got some poor decisions and also some in our favour. And you just have to accept them and get on with the game. There was a lot of sledging but it is all part of the game and shouldn't be taken personally. It was an intense match with a lot at stake and both sets of players were striving to win."
Raza, who made his Test debut for Pakistan at the age of 14, has played seven Tests and 16 ODIs. He last played for Pakistan in 2005, but has been a consistent performer on the domestic circuit, having recently gone past 12,000 first-class runs. Raza said he was hopeful of making a comeback to the national side, along the lines of Pakistan's current Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq. "I'm a much more responsible individual now and have had the responsibility of captaincy with me for the past few years.
"I've been a consistent performer in domestic cricket and I look at Misbah ul Haq's example as someone who can make a strong comeback into test cricket. I have faith in my ability and know for sure that I can do a job for Pakistan."