Lahore: The Pakistan Cricket Board has officially announced that the Sialkot Stallions team, which is being led by Shoaib Malik, will represent the country in the forthcoming Champions League qualifying tournament in South Africa.
"It was decided that Sialkot Stallions by virtue of being the domestic T20 champions will represent Pakistan in the event after we got an official invitation from the Champions League organisers," a board official said.
Sialkot Stallions, which includes a number of well-known players, has been led by Malik, a former Pakistan captain, since domestic T20 cricket was launched in Pakistan and the team is presently the holders of the National T20 and Super Eights titles.
The invitation to Pakistan to take part in the Champions League is being seen by the PCB as a breakthrough towards revival of bilateral cricket ties with India.
Pakistan's players and teams have been kept away from the Indian Premier League and the Champions League since the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
An official of the Sialkot Cricket Association said that it didn't matter if their team had to appear in the qualifying round of the Champions League.
"It really doesn't matter because it will be a good experience for our players to play against the best domestic T20 teams of other countries in South African conditions," the official said.
"What is important is that finally Pakistan has got a chance to also compete in the Champions League and we are confident our team is capable of surprising a lot of people," he said.