By Syed Parwaiz Imam

RIYADH, Oct. 23 – As an initial breakthrough for the young ones, the Central Province Cricket Association (CPCA) has finalized arrangements to hold a best-of-three games inter-school tournament between Minaret Al Riyadh and the Bangladesh International from October 22, 1999.
A larger event is planned for after the Eid holidays in January 2000 at the Al-Sulhay ground, said Asif Saleem, the vice president. Saudi Hollandi Bank (SHB), courtesy of S. A. Ziauddin, senior vice president and head of financial institutions group of Hollandi bank, has agreed to sponsor the Inter-schools gala.
Ziauddin, while announcing the sponsorship said "I am very pleased with the progress shown by CPCA to develop cricket in Saudi Arabia". He further went on to add, "the cricket coaching clinic initiated for the children is something for which I commend their efforts and the organizational ability. I am sure that the parents will also join me in wishing CPCA good luck."
The president of the cricket body, Wilfrid A. Paes, thanked SHB and Ziauddin for this gesture which will go a long way to boost the moral in promoting the game amongst the school children. He further stated that "I hope other corporate organizations will follow SHB example soon."
As a first step in achieving this goal, invitations have been sent out to the schools. These include SAIS – British, SAIS – multinational, Middle East International, Bangladesh International, International Pakistan, SAIS – American, SAIS – Sri Lankan, Carvan Learning, International Indian and Minaret Al Riyadh.
Waheed Mirza has been named the coordinator for the inter-schools meets.For the parents’ convenience, this 20-overs bonanza will be played every Thursday afternoon starting 14.30 hours on a cement pitch with a proper cricket ball.
It was also proposed that the tourney final match be played on a Friday to facilitate greater participation of the spectators. The CPCA president agreed with the idea but would check with the final match teams and their parents for their feedback.
The players would be required to wear proper playing kit and teams will have to bring their own pads, helmet, gloves and bats.
Going forward, the Inter-school tournament will become an annual gala and part of the CPCA calendar. This type of school meet will not be restricted to the cricket playing nations’ schools. The plan of the CPCA is to introduce cricket to Saudi schools in 2000-2001 season through their ongoing coaching clinics.