Monday, 31 December 2012

Bangladesh’s tour to Pakistan - The illusion ends

Yet the PCB shouldn’t stop it’s players from BPL

By Muhammad Asif Khan

The dawn of March 03rd, 2009 actually became the dusk for International Cricket events in Pakistan. Ever since the day, when the touring Sri Lankan team was attacked nearby Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, the cricket administrators of Pakistan have been moving from pillar to post to convince the cricketing world but so far this labour has not borne fruits.

Like his predecessor – Ijaz Butt – the incumbent Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Zaka Ashraf has also been very keen to fill this void and invite an international outfit to Pakistan. Only recently he was almost certain to have achieved this goal by persuading the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) as earlier in 2012, the BCB not only had given the green-signal but also sent its security delegation to Pakistan. All was seemingly well and Bangladesh was on the verge of embarking on a short trip to Pakistan but a petition in the Dhaka High Court from nowhere hindered the development.

Before the announcement of that trip, the Pakistan Cricket Board assured its Bangladeshi counterparts of their ‘unconditional’ support to Bangladesh for the slot of International Cricket Council (ICC) President. The tour was called off yet Pakistan went on with its commitment for the then BCB chief Mustafa Kamal who later took charge as the ICC President.

At that time, it was an impression that the PCB tried to break a barter deal with Bangladesh; however, despite of the tour cancellation, the appointment of the ICC president from Bangladesh with Pakistan’s negated this impression.

Life went on and yet again Bangladesh raised hopes and eventually backed off once again as expected. This time around the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had played yet another card, which is again a barter deal to send its player to the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) if Bangladesh tours Pakistan.

Before moving further on the issue and analyse the possible reasons of Bangladesh’s decision I would like to make a point here that in whatever circumstances the PCB should not stop it’s players from featuring in the BPL. The first reason for my viewpoint is that the players selected for league – including a lot of youngsters – should not be deprived of an opportunity to earn money as well as valuable experience after all, it’s not the fault of the Pakistani players if the Bangladesh is not coming to Pakistan. Secondly it will transmit wrong signals to the world that Pakistan Cricket Board in fact used blackmailing tactics after failing to convince Bangladesh for a short tour.

Earlier when Bangladesh broke the promise, the PCB showed big heart and did not oppose Bangladesh’s nomination for the ICC President, the situation is almost the same this time around too as PCB has another tool in the form BPL to somehow reciprocate the gesture shown by it’s Bangladeshi counterpart.

The question is that what would happen if Pakistani players are kept away from the BPL, will Bangladesh bow down to the Pakistan Cricket Board? Whatever would be the outcome but one this is for certain that the impression of blackmailing would prevail.

If it was imperative then this BPL card should be used earlier, and Pakistani players should not be sent for the auction. Bangladesh backed off all right, but what is the fault of the franchises, which have opted for around 20 Pakistani players? Or there must be a clause added to the contract of these players related to the Pakistan tour. Since there is no formal condition attached hence baring players would also be a breach of the code of conduct rather code of ethics. Moreover, if PCB does so, then will Bangladesh send it’s players to the proposed Premier league in Pakistan?
My feeling is that if the PCB used the BPL as a tool earlier then today this card is in the hand of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, because the President of the BCB, Nazmul Hassan has said that they would re-think about a short trip to Pakistan after the Bangladesh Premier League, now in this situation, imagine if the PCB boycotts the BPL then would it be in a better position to convince or pressurise it’s Bangladeshi counterparts to honour their commitment?

In the end coming to the possible reason of the continued uneasiness shown by the Bangladeshi board towards this issue. Their Board chairman has recently said that touring Pakistan is a ‘sensitive’ issue. The reason why he said so is that the BCB was a highly politicised organisation. Its chief is the son of the incumbent President of Bangladesh, Zillur Rahman, who is a prominent leader of the ruling party, Awami League as well. At the time when the next general elections are not so far away, how the opposition parties would cash-in on the ‘sensitive’ matter for point scoring against the ruling party.

There is also a large public resentment present in Bangladesh over the Pakistan tour which might have forced the ‘political’ BCB President to even sallow the bitter pill of annoying the Pakistan Cricket Board. It has probably made him a villain in Pakistan, but he has become a hero in his own country for sure.

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Saturday, 8 December 2012

Westfield not to attend Kaneria’s appeal hearing

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Karachi: Pakistan’s suspended leg-spinner, Danish Kaneria - who has been banned for life from playing in England and Wales after being found guilty of corruption – is in London for the hearing of his appeal against the ban. However, sources privy to the development have claimed that Westfield had now formally refused to attend the appeal hearing scheduled for Monday. “Westfield’s lawyers have formal informed the ECB about his non-availability to be present at the appeal hearing”, claim sources.

The 61-test veteran, Kaneria was banned for life from playing in England at a disciplinary hearing of the ECB earlier year for his alleged role in spot-fixing in county matches. Consequently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also suspended the leg-spinner from taking part at any level until his appeal is heard by an independent ECB panel.

Also, Kaneria’s Essex county mate, Westfield was sentenced four months imprisonment for intentionally bowling badly in a pro-40 game against Durham in 2009, and later was banned for 5 years after he pleaded guilty to the charge of accepting money to underperform. The ECB said that key evidence against Kaneria came from Westfield.

On the upcoming appeal and the absence of Westfield the sources further said that Monday’s hearing would not move forward without the presence of the English cricketer. “If Westfield’s lawyers would come up with a legitimate excuse then the hearing is likely to be adjourned as the presence of Westfield, who is the main person in the case, is a must at the proceedings”, conclude sources
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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Is genuine fast bowling a fading art?

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Ever since I started following the game of Cricket the aspect fascinates me the most is the sight of a genuinely quick paceman running down from his bowling mark to rattle a batsman. I still remember the day when I entered a Cricket stadium for the very first time – early 2000 - only to witness the run-up of the legendry Waqar Younis. Although I observed the craftsmanship of Wasim Akram as well but, the swift yet smooth approach of the other ‘W’ mesmerised me the most.

I used to hook to the Television screen to see Waqar Younis running rather sprinting down to the bowling crease with a purpose to scare the hell out of a batsman, not only me but Waqar was in fact the source of inspiration for the World’s fasted-man, Usain Bolt also as the Jamaican athlete had himself revealed that he was enthralled by the lighting sprint to the wicket by the former speed-star of Pakistan.

Off course Waqar Younis is not the only one who struck the fear of God into many batsmen but the time before and after him is also studded with terrifying fast bowlers, but recently this high quality supply seems to have decelerated.

After Shoaib Akhtar, Australia’s Brett Lee has also hung his boots which left South Africa’s Dale Steyn as the sole fear factor on the Cricket field to terrify even an all-guarded opponent standing on the other side of the pitch. I am sure that the majority of the Cricket lovers weren’t happy with this state as they are also familiar with the impact of these ‘terrorists’ who treat cricket ball as a missile. Obviously the question would arise that what was the reason of this drought like situation and why not many people are getting inspired by the heroes of yesteryears?

Young bowlers with a speed of around 145 kph are coming to the fore pretty regularly but a rare breed is being missed. Even a 145 kph bowler fades away in a year or two. To understand the cause one has to be aware of the ingredients which transform a good bowler into a fearsome one. Apart from the athleticism, the physical hard work is a must to throw bomb shells at the batsman every time and here comes the need of top-class fitness and the regime to maintain the body to bear the exceptional amount of workload.

Indeed the newer lot of players is shying away from this beautiful yet demanding aspect but the authorities managing the game have also been contributing to this disheartening phenomenon. The rapid spread of the shortest version – Twenty20 – has made the pacemen most vulnerable because in this format a captain prefers an all-rounder than a specialist, also a faster, or any bowler for that matter, focus more on saving runs. Remember what Imran Khan used to tell Wasim Akram during the 1992 World Cup? “Bowl as fast as you can, don’t worry about the runs, I want a wicket from you” and now after 20 years, when we are breathing in a T20 era, I am sure no captain could exhibit the courage to push his fast-bowler like this.

The fright of going for runs is one of the main reasons why a fast bowler hardly experiments with his length during his spell. This is the very fact why bouncers and yorkers – the main weaponry of faster bowlers – are becoming a rare sight now.

Some people also blame the rules and the dead surfaces around the world as one of the major causes of killing a potential Express bowler, but I would say that rules for the bowlers were more or less same. Also like yesteryears the wickets – especially in the subcontinent – are in favour of the batsman or a spinner, yet Pakistan has been able to produced quality faster-men one after the other.

The amount of Cricket happening around is taking it’s toll on the players as well, this scenario forced a batsman even to be on his toes however this work-load has put a fear of injuries in Cricketers’ minds hence they are not opting for an extra yard during bowling especially. Avoiding runs and injuries is preferred on the pace to intimidate the opponents.

The T20 version also attracts a league of spectators who are more interested in witnessing towering hits and a flurry of strokes or in other words guys like Gayle and Afridi are more in demand but what about the thrill and the row created amongst the spectators by a fearsome fast bowler? This feature is neglected rather discouraged.

Coming towards the end, I feel, seeking short cuts is the main cause of concern. Currently playing Test cricket is not as enticing a factor than representing a T20 league I am afraid. Due to these lucrative leagues players, in the past, have not even bothered to skip Test Cricket over the shorter versions. Sad, isn’t? To preserve the art of Cricket in general the mushroom growth of T20 leagues should be checked otherwise we would not be able to witness the likes of Thomson, Marshall, Imran, Lillee, Donald, Akhtar and Lee again.

Good intentions, bad results

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Whenever a decision is made its impact in the coming days is, or should be, the foremost concern of the decision-maker. The more sensitive one’s position is the greater amount of responsibility gets attached to a decision.

In Pakistan, the position of the Cricket Board chairman is among the most watched slots, so a single wrong step made by the person occupying the seat attracts a great deal of criticism.

The era of Ijaz Butt was by far the most talked about, but has the situation changed since the new Chairman — Chaudhry Zaka Ashraf — took the reigns of the Pakistan Cricket Pakistan (PCB)? Quite honestly, it has been a mixed bag in terms of the decisions taken by him.

An overview of the last one year — since Zaka Ashraf assumed the office — gives an impression of his being a man desperate to make his mark. Nevertheless, he has also pressed a few wrong buttons in the process.

The latest wrong button was in connection with the Domestic T20 tournament, which was finally shifted to Lahore from Karachi.

Contrasting statements from the media department showed the lack of coordination which was later proved when the President of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) Sirajul Islam Bukhari burst the bubble and presented an official letter from the PCB with instructions to constitute various committees for smooth operations during the event in Karachi.

The board spokesman later pointed to the unrest in Karachi as the reason for the venue-shift and this is the point where many eye brows were raised.

What kind of message these statements would transmit to the world — already shying away from Pakistan — and how would they react in the future?

Earlier this year when the Bangladesh Cricket Board agreed to send its team to Pakistan, a petition was filed against the move in the Dhaka High Court in which an article from the local press — regarding the law and order — was also included to strengthen the case.

This time around, a statement from a person within the PCB could serve the same purpose.

The Chairman started off really well by taking everyone aboard and meeting with former PCB heads as well as a number of ex-cricketers. He also wrote letters to the cricket fraternity to seek support. During other relevant meetings as well, he tried to send his point across pretty efficiently, but a few wrong calls on important junctures have somewhat spoiled the party for him.

When Zaka took over, he showed a lot of interest in employing foreign coaches for the national team despite the fact that the then coach Mohsin Khan was doing reasonably well.

Since then the Chairman has been advocating the need for qualified individuals. But the appointment of Mohammad Akram as the bowling coach is opposite of that very claim.

Also, if a certain level of qualification is a must for a team’s coach then why no certification is sought for the all important post of the Director Academies?

The efforts of Zaka to bring back international cricket to Pakistan are honest and highly commendable. When the Bangladesh Cricket Board hinted at sending its team to Pakistan, the barrage of statements from the chairman pushed the hopes high. Even in January ñ when the tour of Bangladesh was still conditional in many ways — the chairman said that their tour to Pakistan in April would give a breakthrough.

He also said that the government was onboard, but the tour was called off and later the local government in Punjab crushed the security wall around the PCB headquarters, which showed to the world the lack of coordination and trust between the PCB and the Punjab administration.

It is believed that the boards of Bangladesh and Pakistan are again engaged in talks for a bilateral series in Pakistan, so it would be better if the PCB chairman sorted the matter out with the local administration before giving any statement.

The PCB recently invited former England coach Peter Moores in a consulting role. He has been assigned to review Pakistan’s domestic structure. If Moores is the perfect man, then why a task team was constituted by the PCB in last December?

The task team — consisting of former players — did present their recommendations, but what happened later is still unknown?

If the board wants to improve the standard of the domestic cricket, won’t it be better to consult with the people who are actively attached to this system?

Representatives of the departments taking part in the domestic circuit would be in a better position to apprise the chairman about the shortcomings in the existing domestic system.

Here again the intentions of the PCB Chairman are not doubted but his execution is putting a lot of doubts in mind.

Another matter which is limited to announcement only is a call from the PCB chairman to honour off-spinner Saeed Ajmal. When the ICC snubbed Ajmal the PCB swiftly reacted, but till date the ‘Best bowler’ award has not been conferred on him.

The board tasked Javed Miandad with finding the reasons for the worst ever performance by the U19 team in the World Cup in Australia — where Pakistan finished 8th. But nothing has come out yet.

Separately, the PCB initiated an inquiry into the conduct of two local umpires, who were accused by an Indian TV of agreeing to fixing. But nothing has come to the fore on this issue either.

Most recently the board provided another opportunity to the world to laugh at us by mishandling the Big Bash NOCs for its players.

Initially the players were allowed to take part in the league, but then they were denied and finally a conditional permission was given. The reported reason for the denial and then the conditional approval was that the PCB wanted the players to give importance to the domestic competition, but wouldn’t this unnecessary episode hamper Pakistan Cricket Board’s relations with the Australians counterparts?

In the first place it was not players’ fault at all because they weren’t aware of the board’s plans to hold the National T20 earlier than usual.

The chairman is very keen on the commencement of Pakistan’s own brand of premier league, but statements in this regard as well are not helping the cause at all.

The chairman has given many dates for the venture. The purpose of the league is no doubt a bid to transmit pleasant signals around the world, but when Sindh Sports Minister Dr Muhammad Ali Shah managed to rope in a few former international players the cold attitude of the board chairman was not in good taste.

The sensitivity and attention attached to the post of the PCB chairman demands a lot of control. A general impression is that the chairman talks on almost every aspect. In fact he talks a lot — the habit which led to the downfall of his predecessor.

The Twenty20 impact

By Muhammad Asif Khan

More than a century ago when the game of cricket came into being it was just Test Cricket on display. The number of overs had no limit, yet the quality of the game was quite high.

After decades a faster version was introduced with a limited number of overs to achieve the target. In this scenario the players were forced to invent new ways to score. Here again the quality of the game was not compromised very much.

However, not so far ago, the fastest version of the game was launched — the Twenty20 Cricket. This is the point from where everything seemed to have taken a fresh turn.

In this format the number of overs is even less than the previous limited-overs one, so the batsmen remain on their toes all the time.

During the early days of the ODI cricket, the emergence of the World Series Cricket — organised by Kerry Packer — came as a jolt as it was seen as a factor which divided players’ loyalty. The storm triggered by the lucrative venture was somewhat controlled but it surely left its footprint. That was, to me, the beginning of the extravagance in cricket that has peaked today.

People at the helm back in the late ‘70s put a lid on the World Series, but they could not do anything about its recurrence in the form of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which began in the last decade.

Lalit Modi took the baton from Kerry Packer and with extraordinary amount of money the league was more than mouth watering for players around the globe.

Even the cricket administrators did not put their foot down this time around and gave their consent to what turned out to be a trend-setting venture.

This was indeed the beginning of a new era which changed the complexion of the game and its perception. But it was precisely here that the authorities should have played their due role.

Now everybody is in it and it is very much like over-cooked food which leaves bad taste in one’s mouth. Even a good thing can earn you bad result if it is overdone and same is the case with the mushroom growth of the T20 leagues.

After India, now almost every Test playing country has an indigenous T20 league where the players are given handsome amounts of money to basically entertain the audience. This trend is actually denting the game in many ways and here the International Cricket Council (ICC) should concentrate on quality rather than the quantity.

With the T20 expansion —mainly through these leagues — the game of cricket is seen as a three-hour entertaining show only.

Nobody remembers a copybook stuff but a towering hit. It is also taking its toll on good players around the world because when an organiser pumps in huge money then he would surely bank on top-class players to get good returns on his investments.

On the other hand, the players are fatigued because of non-stop traveling and playing. Several of them now have to make a choice between such leagues and the national duty.

There have been examples when players chose a league over a national assignment, and it will continue I am afraid.

This is not the only problem associated with this phenomenon. Apart from cricketers and their issues, this has also been tarnishing the image of the game in general. Ever since the IPL numerous corruption cases have come to the fore.

It has actually put an extra burden on the shoulders of the people responsible for the transparency matters.

Also, it has been a reason why a vast majority of people has distanced itself from the true version of cricket — the Tests. The ICC also has an idea of it and that is why they have introduced some colourful innovations to the longest format, but still a lot should be done.

In modern time people very easily associate cricket with fixing, and the reason is that the number of leagues made a bookie’s job a little easier and the non-payment episodes, such as Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the match-fixers.

Indeed capping a wrongdoing is very difficult but with the amount of cricket being played in the form of such extravagant leagues, curbing this menace has become next to impossible.

Everyone is trying to outsmart the other and in the process the game of cricket is suffering. The ICC has to take immediate steps to limit this practice.

They should put in place strict mechanism both for the players as well as for the organisers. Players should not be encouraged if they overlook their national side and the host cricket boards should also be penalised if a wrongdoing is unearthed in a league.

How to train best for national duty

By Muhammad Asif Khan

The game of cricket has taken a lot of turns for betterment since its birth because the administrators have kept on pushing for innovations.

Among the modern introductions, coaching staff for a team is also considered as a must. Almost all the teams now have a set of professional coaches and trainers.

Unlike yesteryears, this department is taken care of very seriously and relevant qualification ñ coaching courses, etc. ñ is seen as mandatory for the individuals chosen for the different jobs.

The question is: if the world is doing this, why shouldn’t the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)?

But first we must understand the idea behind having separate coaches. Other teams are doing fine with this methodology but why heavy duty coaches have not been able to deliver in Pakistan?

From Richard Pybus, Bob Woolmer, Geoff Lawson to Dev Whatmore and Julian Fountain the end result has not been satisfactory. Why, what is the reason for it?

If a player, even after reaching the top level, does not know the basics of the game then there are two possible issues to confront with. Either the domestic structure is not producing quality players or the selection process is not transparent. Or there might be a third possible reason: probably we are not putting the right persons at the right places.

And this third possibility is exactly the point I would like to make here.

Can a coach alter the technique of a 100-match veteran overnight? It seems next to impossible, so the purpose of having an expensive coach is not well served.

There can be no comparison between Pakistan and other top cricket playing countries because all those have competitive domestic structures, in which the issues related to fitness and techniques are taken care of adequately. Players there are mature enough before entering the international arena.

The Pakistani authorities directly expose a good domestic performer to the international pressure which, at times, has an adverse effect on the otherwise talented youngster.

In my opinion, the short-term solution to this issue is the revival of the junior level outfits such as the A and B teams, which should be provided with foreign trips so that they have international exposure of a sort.

In the long run, there should be a system put in place to fix problems beforehand by putting a talented bunch at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) prior to their inclusion in the national side.

At this penultimate stage qualified coaches should be available to these players.

This penultimate phase should have a bunch of outstanding domestic performers or under-19 players who should be put to rigorous training and groomed on technical lines.

The coaches at this level should be assigned a duty to grade the players on the basis of their ability, and performance during the training.

This way, the boys will get motivated to do well, and the end result will definitely be in Pakistan’s favour.

I am personally not in favour of appointing a heavy duty coach with the national team only, because at that stage one could not do much with players’ techniques. But, yes, a man who can guide the captain and player in formulating a strategy should accompany the boys.

A strategist, planner or an analyst should be there for the tune-up along with a competent trainer who could help the players in maintaining top class fitness which is the foremost requirement of the modern era.

With these arrangements, the selectors for the national team would have a trained individual who can replace any injured or out-of-form player in the top team. Moreover, the rotation policy will also be effective with this liberty of having a large group of trained players. We will have more than eleven players ready to represent the team at the top level.

We have a lot of talent in the country, but the transition phase is where the problem lies. Therefore if the best of coaches are placed at the above mentioned penultimate phase, it will help rectify the players’ imperfections before they put their steps into the international arena.

Need for better detectives

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Money and corruption go hand in hand and cricket is a game in which a lot of money is involved. So corruption cannot be ruled out. Every now and then the resurfacing of corruption scandals is indicative of the fact that the game had continuously been under the shadow of this menace even when there were no reports of fixing.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) formed the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) back in 2000 with an idea to put a lid on the malpractice, but fixing has continued ever since. It means that there is some thing wrong in the methodology which is being practiced by the ICC and it needs to be altered.

ACSU is manned by ex-police officials who must have been brilliant in their respective fields, but cricket is a different ball game altogether.

The ACSU’s officers can keep watch on players’ off-the-field movements, but detecting a dubious act by an individual on the field is next to impossible. If a batsman deliberately scores slowly then a detective cannot figure that out, but probably an ex-cricketer would smell a rat in the process. One proof of the ineffectiveness of the ACSU is the fact that the body has not so far unearthed a wrongdoing on its own.

They take action only after something wrong has been exposed by newspapers or television channels. Just recall the infamous over-step by Mohammad Amir in 2010. It remained undetected until the sting operation. Let me quote a few more examples here. In the World Cup 2011 match between Australia and Zimbabwe on February 21, 2011, Australia managed to score just 28 runs in the first 10 overs, and later went on to post a winning total of 262.

I am not saying that something must have been wrong in that match, but the question remains: can it be noticed by a detective who is not related to the field of cricket?

Another example is the World Cup match between India and Australia on February 15, 2003. India were at 26/1 in the first 6 overs and after 15 overs their score was 45/4. Wasn’t it strange? It could be pre-designed but again nothing could be said with absolute certainty. The above two examples are amongst many which might have been noticed by cricket experts.

So what should the ICC do? They have distributed literature amongst players, empowered member boards to establish their own anti-corruption units, etc. But still there is room for improvement.

Countless endeavours by the ICC are there but what they have not done so far is to encourage those who want to speak against this wide-spread menace.

Who doesn’t know former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif and his efforts against match-fixing but did the ICC take him seriously? He wrote a letter to the apex body in 2003, but was not taken aboard in putting in place a better mechanism.

There are other examples too. Former fast bowler Sarfaraz Nawaz also claimed to have briefed the ACSU officials in the past but to no avail.

Therefore, for the sake of this game and its integrity, the governing body needs to come up with an out-of-the-box solution. By only admitting the reality, the ICC is actually showing its helplessness. They are in charge of the game, so they are the ones who need to take charge. Otherwise the recurrence of unpleasant events would continue.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Umpires in fixing: It was sensational and that was it

By Muhammad Asif Khan

A few weeks back I received a text message which said “The best day to propose to a girl is April 1st. U Know Why?? Because If she accepts then it’s your luck, otherwise just shout “April Fool”. Harmful jokes apart, but generally the culprits, in such acts on the day (April 1), are not taken to task and the reason is the non-serious or fake nature of the environment. So it finally comes down to the intentions and the motive of the action.

Ok, moving out from April to reach the period between July and August this year when a TV channel from India started fooling a few people in the name of serve a genuine purpose. They exposed a few faces – in a thrilling footage - who were ready rather greedy to crush the dignity of the game of Cricket under their feet. That was indeed a good job and should be appreciated.

But, was the India TV action only falls into the category of sensationalism or actually a great service to the game and its followers? I myself am not utterly clear on this as yet. I may be naïve, therefore don’t have answers to the following silly questions. So please help me out. Let me make it clear that I am not at all trying to favour any umpire featured in the footage shown by the TV but the intention of the TV station had left enough room for suspicion, for me at least.

The environment created by the India TV, during the sting operation, was real or surreal, serious or non-serious? Since, the questions and the ‘surreal’ environment were hypothetical, then why those - on the on the other side of the Skype - were caught on their words not actions?

In the last sting operation of such nature in 2010, carried out by the News of the World in London, the players (Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif) were not only caught pledging but later they also lived up to their promises, hence rightly penalised by the court of law and the apex body of the game of Cricket – The International Cricket Council - but in this case can a person be penalised on his intentions only?

If all the exposed officials are all set to be taken to task then the reporter should also be at least questioned because he was the one who lured in somebody to a crime. I know the under-cover reporter’s part was hypothetical but then the entire episode was surreal including an umpire on the other side of the Skype. One can’t be punished for his intentions until he transforms them it into actions?

What was India TV up to? Off course they were on a mission to cleanse the game of Cricket, ok then why did they only choose the officials at a lower tier?

Six Umpires were shown on the camera, and I am sure numerous other officials – probably includes some from the highest level which is called the elite ICC panel - were approached during the ‘cleansing service’. Question is that did they come across anyone who blatantly refused their offer or threw a few probing questioned at them? Would not it be heartening to share that tape too to prove to the world that in general this game is clean but yes there are few miscreants present in this field too.

I doubt that they (India TV) ever approached someone in the elite panel, because had they done so then two scenarios would have followed. Either, the ICC was intimated by those approached, and in this case, the ‘hidden service’ would have forcefully been wrapped up by the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) OR the second more likely situation would be that due to the shrewdness of a top-level umpire the visionary bubble would get burst half way. The fear of getting exposed probably kept the stingers away from the elite panelists.

Before moving further, let’s check the list of Cricketers who have already banned, suspended or penalised for fixing to-date. The list - on Wikipedia - shows the name of 22 international and domestic players which includes nine Indians, six Pakistanis, three South Africans and one each from Kenya, Bangladesh, England and the West Indies.

The glaring reality mentioned in the list is that, apart from the majority of Indian cricketers, the most such incidents took place on the Indian soil too. Moreover, in the latest case of Danish Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield the bookie associated with Kaneria (Arun Bhatia) was supposed to be an Indian as well. Another interesting thing in Kaneria’s case was that he was named in the court as the man who approached Westfield with the idea of fixing or in other words he (Kaneria) was the one who actually influenced a young cricketer to commit the wrongdoing. So, if this is a crime worth a life ban to Kaneria then the ‘under-cover’ reporter of the India TV should also be charged because he lured in people to commit a crime and limited his effort to enticing only and did not wait till the pledges of the umpires would become a reality.

If they (India TV) were on a mission then they should have done something more productive, by digging into the fixing dens within their own country. Again, I am not pinpointing anything particular. This is a fact that fixing is a widespread problem and isn’t limited to India only. The point is that since the TV is from India therefore they should follow “Charity begins at home” principle. They should have probed further into the Indian Premier League – the way they did earlier -, they should have questioned Vinod Kamli, who questioned a 1996 World Cup match featuring India and so many other dubious activities.

Coming to the very end, I would reiterate that the intentions showed by the Umpires are absolutely wrong, and should be condemned but I am afraid they could not be charged on this account only. After all real-time penalties are there for real-times actions.
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Friday, 21 September 2012

Gavaskar’s lecture boosts Afghan Cricketers

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The Afghan Cricket Team have finally got some recognition at the big stage and the flare shown by the players, at the ongoing World Twenty20 Cup in Sri Lanka, has not only moved the spectators but one of the former greats as well. During the group match against India, the bowling of the World ODI champions (India) was badly exposed and even the minnow Afghans cashed in on it at will. While expressing the satisfaction over the team’s overall performance, the Coach Kabir Khan admitted that the pressure of a big event and strong opposition got to the boys. He (Kabir), however, is optimistic that things would start falling in place for them with the passage of time.

“We hardly play against quality oppositions therefore the crowd and camera increased the already existing pressure on to the players. Even our best fielders dropped catches, and later our batsmen succumbed to the anxiety as well. We are working on the weakness, but it will take time”, said Kabir Khan, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

Kabir Khan, who recently took over as Afghan Coach from former Pakistan Captain Rashid Latif, further said that after the match against India, former great Sunil Gavaskar also visited the training camp and praised the effort of the Afghan team.

“Sunil Gavaskar was kind enough to spend about 15 minutes with Afghan players and gave valuable tips to them about mental toughness. Along with other suggestions, Gavaskar emphasised over our fielding a lot. Boys are thrilled by the great gesture and hopeful of making it count on the field. The bottom line is that the more we play, the better we would get”, added Kabir Khan.

Former Test cricketer from Pakistan, Kabir Khan has been enjoying his second stint with the Afghan team as coach. He was replaced by Rashid Latif last year, however earlier this year Latif stepped down to make way for Kabir Khan again.

Kabir Khan, 38, was a left-arm seamer during his playing days, however couldn’t find a permanent slot for him in the Pakistan team. The Peshawar born Kabir represented Pakistan in 4 Tests and 10 ODIs between 1994 and 2000.

On the infrastructure in Afghanistan, the coach said that with two state-of-the-art facilities at home, the Afghan Cricket Authorities are now in a position to develop domestic structure which will benefit the national team in the future.

“Two stadiums with adequate capacity and facilities have been built in Kabul and Jalalabad. Now we mainly practice at home, however due to harsh weather in winter, important camps are still held in Dubai”, said Kabir Khan

Cricket is being played in Afghanistan since decades however the national team was formed in 2001. After a series of impressive performances in the past 3 years, the team secured qualification to the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 Cup which was their first major tournament.

“Domestic structure is being developed, and with the passage of time and the passion for the game in the youngsters, I am optimistic of bright future for the Afghan cricket”, concludes Kabir Khan.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Latif lauds Akram’s appointment as bowling coach

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday confirmed former fast bowler, Muhammad Akram as the bowling coach for the national team. Lauding the decision, former captain and Wicket-keeper, Rashid Latif believes that the decision would have a significant impact on the Pakistan team as a whole. “I know him (Akram) for years. He is a hard-worker and knows the art of man-management which is the key to modern coaching methodology”, said Rashid Latif, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“Akram is qualified and familiar with the philosophy of modern coaching. I hope he will treat the players equally, and deal with them accordingly as well. I am sure he is capable of doing it.” added Latif.

Muhammad Akram, who is based in England, will join the Pakistan squad in the UAE for the series against Australia.

The lanky former pace-man, Akram has played nine Tests and 23 one-day international matches for Pakistan between 1995 and 2001. He has also represented Sussex, Surrey, Essex and Northamptonshire on the English county circuit.

On a question Rashid Latif was of the view that Akram’s experience should be utilised more at the academy and at the junior level. He added that the Pakistan Cricket Board should opt for a spin bowling coach as well. “Whatmore and Akram would make a good combination which will serve the team well. As far as the spin department is concerned, there is no harm in hiring a separate individual for it. In my view Saqlain Mushtaq is the fitting man for the job”, concludes Latif, who himself represented Pakistan in 37 test matches from 1992 to 2003.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Shahid Ali Khan bounces back on Akbar’s accusations

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey team’s performance in the recently concluded Olympics in London has broadened the already existing gap between former Hockey stars even further. In the meantime the debate on team’s selection for the mega event got stimulated yet again when the discarded Goalkeeper Salman Akbar opened a new front against former goalies – Shahid Ali Khan and Ahmed Alam. In his latest column for Dawn (, the veteran goal-keeper - playing club hockey in Holland - questioned the coaching techniques being used by Pakistan’s goal-keeping coaches at junior and senior levels. He wrote that they were not aware of the modern techniques so they forced keepers to adopt the old styles which were now irrelevant.

On the other hand, while dismissing Akbar’s observations, Shahid Ali Khan said that with this very technique he had produced quality Goal-keepers over the years, which includes Salman Akbar as well. On Salman Akbar’s performance in the training camp, Shahid Ali Khan minced no words in terming it below-par. He also admitted that he was not in favour of calling him (Salman) from Holland.
“In comparison with Imran Shah and Imran Butt, the performance of Salman Akbar in the training camp was ordinary. Before the mega event, performance of both Imran Shah and Imran Butt was good, and dropping one of them to accommodate Salman Akbar would have been unjust.” said Shahid Ali Khan, while talking to this correspondent.

“I was actually not in favour of calling Salman Akbar from Holland, but the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) wanted to give him (Salman) a chance to prove his metal. Also, even if I was in his favour then the selection committee wouldn’t have picked him because they were not impressed too.” added Shahid Ali Khan.

“With Imran Shah, Pakistan finished 7th, but I feel, if Salman Akbar was there then we probably would have finished last”, said Shahid Ali Khan, who played 135 matches for Pakistan and was considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the game.

Terming the team’s performance as satisfactory during the London Olympics, he said that Pakistan played well above the expectations. “Only two games were bad, and that too were against the top ranking teams. Because of the performance we also qualified for the Champions Trophy. The overall performance was satisfactory”, concludes Shahid Ali Khan.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Zulqarnain and his latest queries

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan test wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Hyder has come out of hibernation and once again the target of his onslaught is none other than Kamran Akmal.

Not so long ago - after apologising to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the run-away episode - the lanky wicketkeeper made his way back to the domestic cricket and did really well.

The latest twist to the tale came as Zulqarnain posted a message on his Facebook profile on Wednesday. He wrote and I quote with a bit of adjustment “The ICC didn’t clear Kamran Akmal but the PCB, its selectors and other members did. What a justice? One thief goes and another comes in. Lot of stories about selectors and corruption will surface soon”

On the face of it these allegations have no substance whatsoever and this is the very question asked by this correspondent on which Zulqarnain Hyder replied that he would soon present three questions before the media. He added that he was taking this step along with his lawyer “in the best interest of the game”.

The wicketkeepers said his lawyer will hold a press conference soon, and will present following three ‘relevant’ questions.

1. What was the reason of sidelining Kamran Akmal?
2. The ICC’s clearance letter should be made public.
3. Names of the PCB integrity committee members who questioned Akmal should be made public along with their findings.

“I am doing it in the national interest and for the betterment of the game of Cricket. My lawyer will also probe into the documents presented by Kamran Akmal before the Integrity Committee. Furthermore a bond should be signed by me and Kamran Akmal, and whoever fails to prove his point should be sent to jail for 5 years”, said Zulqarnain Hyder

Zulqarnain Hyder’s latest allegations seem as fragile as his earlier claims, but this is for certain that this new outburst would not bring any good for him.

Previously in 2010, Zulqarnain had fled to London from a team camp in Dubai without informing the PCB after receiving “death threats”. He also retired from international cricket but later withdrew his decision.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Inconsistent policies prior to Olympic led to debacle – Hassan Sardar

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The below par performance of the Pakistan Hockey team at the Olympics rightfully irked the nation and former greats are no exception. On team greens’ below-par performance at the mega event, one the most celebrated stars of Pakistan’s hockey history, and arguably the best centre forward Pakistan has ever produced, Hassan Sardar, minced no word in putting the blame on the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), saying that the inconsistency in the policies, only weeks before the London event, had an adverse effect on the team’s overall performance. Hassan Sardar said that if the senior players were to be selected then it should have been done at least six months before the mega event so that the oldies would have worked hard on their fitness level.

“Only weeks before the Olympics, the fate of some senior players was uncertain. A few players were penalised for violating the PHF code of conduct, however were mysteriously included in the team eventually. This clearly shows the uncertainty in PHF’s priorities”, said Hassan Sardar while talking to this correspondent for News One TV

The former captain said that Pakistan conceded too many goals in the competition which is indicative of the fact that the defence of the team was relatively weak. “Pakistan’s goal-keeper and defence were badly exposed during the Olympics, and the inability of the forward line to assist the defence was the main reason for that. Unlike other teams Pakistan players were not fit enough to come back all the way from opponent’s goal to assist the defenders. A huge gap between attack and defence cost Pakistan badly”, added the former captain, who was part of the gold medal winning National Hockey Team at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

After retiring, Hassan Sardar later managed the Pakistani Hockey Team. He has also served as the Chief Selector of Pakistan hockey team.

On a question the former great said during the matches against Great Britain and South Africa the number of goals conceded by the Pakistan team was alarming. “After the match against Great Britain, the number of goals conceded against South Africa was alarming for Pakistan's defence but then it was too late to devise a fitting strategy against Australia.”, concluded Hassan Sardar

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Kamran Akmal cleared despite ‘suspicion’

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI:  Some people call him a wicket-keeper, while others consider him as a ball-stopper only. In whatever case, Kamran Akmal has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Ever since his emergence on the scene he is considered as a dependable batsman but at the same time is seen as a dodgy glove-man.

When he was away, people wanted to know the reason, now when he has made his way back to the team, the cricketing world is curious again.

The 30-year old Wicket-keeper batsman was accused of deliberately under-performing during Pakistan's defeat against Australia in the 2010 Sydney Test. After the tour, a probe committee was constituted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which recorded statements of players and officials. During the inquiry it was suspected that Akmal deliberately under-performed and failed to run Shane Watson out and dropped three chances on Michael Hussey during the Sydney test.

Kamran Akmal's name was mentioned at the notorious spot-fixing trial in England as well, but was neither summoned by the London court nor banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Before his inclusion in the 15-member national T20 squad, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated that the wicket-keeper was summoned by the Integrity Committee and asked to submit some material.

A source closed to the development has revealed to this correspondent that during the meeting the members of the integrity committee were not entirely satisfied with Akmal’s viewpoint; however they had no other choice but to provide him with a clean chit. “A great deal of suspicion on him was there, but he could not be penalised on the basis of severe doubts only. We needed concrete evidence, which was not there against him.” said the source.

“The selection committee also wanted his services while the Anti-corruption and Security Unit of the ICC had already given him the clearance, hence there was no room left to clamp him”, concludes the source.

A 53-test veteran, Akmal, was axed from the team after a dismal keeping behind the stumps at the World Cup in 2011 where he dropped New Zealand's Ross Taylor twice in one over.

Despite the allegations, Kamran claimed to have a clearance letter from the ICC saying he is not being investigated.

Since his debut in 2002, Kamran Akmal has played 53 Tests, 137 ODIs and 38 T20Is matches for Pakistan.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Pakistan T20 Squad and a few questions

Nine players were also present in the last World T20 Cup squad

By Muhammad Asif Khan

The passion for Cricket in Pakistan is overwhelming and this is the very reason why the game is discussed in almost every gathering.  The followers have their say on the issues related to the game and they don’t let an opportunity to comment go by whenever a decision is taken by the authorities at the helm of affairs.

Chopping and changing in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) setup do raise eyebrows however when it comes to the National team selection the mood swing of the enthusiasts is evident. The story was not different after the announcement of the 15-member squad for the World T20 Cup which is scheduled to be held in September this year.

There is no doubt that the squad announced for the mega event was strong on paper but a few inclusions need clarification. Before jumping to the list of players the question is that why the PCB was in a hurry? - the deadline to submit the final squad is mid August - At the time when other teams are only finalising their provisional 30-man squad for ICC World Twenty20, we have already curtailed the squad to 15.

Now coming to the squad and starting with Kamran Akmal, who had been out of favour since last 15 months for his alleged involvements in the wrongdoing, got a nod but the question still remains that why his selection was put on hold in the first place? Why his selection was subjected to the clearance from the Integrity Committee and the most important aspect is that what was presented before the integrity committee by Kamran Akmal to get the clean chit?

In the All-rounders’ category, the selection committee banked on the experience of Abdul Razzaq who was dropped from earlier assignments due to non participation in the domestic events. On the snub the all-rounder (Razzaq) went berserk and questioned the credibility of the selectors however the dust somehow settled and he is back in the team. His recent performance in England was good thou. Furthermore, another all-rounder in the list, Yasir Arafat seems to have a magic wand in his hand because he plays in the U.K., and gets into the team from nowhere.

Ahmed Shehzad, the tailor-made batsman for the shortest version, was snubbed but not on technical grounds. As per reports he was overlooked due to his negative attitude and erratic behaviour, again something is fishy.

Junaid Khan, the fast bowler, who bowled his heart out in Sri Lanka, however his superb bowling form was not considered enough, and the reason, is best known by the selectors only.

Drifting away from the team combination, it’s time to look into the vision of the authorities running the game in the country. Every now and then we read and hear statements about the futuristic approach by the authorities, but on ground the situation is not so and the example is the recently announced 15-member squad for the World T20 cup 2012.

Before the last edition of the mega event in 2010, the then selection committee assembled a bunch of 17 players and amazingly after around 28 month the incumbent selection committee accumulated the squad in which 9 players were in 2010 squad as well.

Abdul Razzaq, Kamran Akmal, Muhammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Muhammad Sami and Yasir Arafat were included in the 2010 squad and later on Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat were withdrawn from it to make it a 15-member bunch which took part in the 2010 World T20 Cup in the West Indies. If this is called the futuristic approach then God knows where are we heading and where would we end up at he end of the day. The key to running any business successfully is the check and balance as well as the just approach but I am afraid we are lacking on both accounts.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Kaneria feels he was made a scapegoat by ECB

By Muhammad Asif Khan

LONDON: Slapped with a lifetime ban, for his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal,
by the Disciplinary panel of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), the former Essex and Pakistan Leg-spinner, Danish Kaneria feels that he was ‘mistreated’ by the ECB panel as, according to him, the judgment was ‘pre-determined’. “My lawyers were not even heard properly during the hearing. I was given a harsh treatment even without concrete evidence against me”, said Kaneria while talking to this correspondent.

Kaneria has already filed an appeal against the life ban imposed by the (ECB) on July 12 2012 for spot-fixing in a pro-40 match played in 2009. Kaneria was found guilty of two charges following a contested hearing which was held in London. In view of the charges the ECB banned him (Kaneria) for life from any involvement in the playing, organisation or administration of any cricket under the jurisdiction of the (ECB).

Later the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also endorsed the ECB ban, saying that as per the International Cricket Council (ICC) rules Kaneria would remain suspended pending his appeal.

Only months prior to the ECB hearing Kaneria’s county teammate Marven Westfield, during criminal proceedings in a London court, admitted to have underperformed in match against Durham in 2009 allegedly on the behest of Danish Kaneria. Although, London Police never charged Kaneria in that case due to lack of evidence.

Danish Kaneria further claimed that he was made scapegoat in the fixing episode, adding that he had nothing to do with Westfield’s involvement in the menace. According to Kaneria – the most successful spin bowler of Pakistan – during the hearing of the appeal his lawyers would also want to question Westfield. “In an appeal my lawyers have requested for the formation of an independent panel. We also want to question Westfield during the proceedings, because we believe that probably in order to have his sentence reduced, Westfield pleaded guilty and accused me of instigating him”, said Kaneria who have taken 261 wickets in 61 test matches for Pakistan.

“The trail of the appeal should be transparent in which media should also be allowed to witness the proceedings”, concludes Kaneria.

In May 2010, Kaneria was arrested by the Essex police in connection with “match irregularities” in the 2009 domestic season. The investigations are believed to focus on a NatWest Pro40 match in September 2009, which Essex won.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Danish Kaneria dejected on “unfair” treatment

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan’s most successful Test spinner, Danish Kaneria got the jolt of his life last week when the disciplinary panel constituted by the English Cricket Board (ECB), handed down a life ban to him after describing him (Kaneria) as a grave danger to the game of cricket.

However, the lanky leg-spinner is of the view that he was treated unfairly during the 5-day trial during which, according to him, the behaviour of the disciplinary panel was also “discriminatory”.

Kaneria’s Essex county teammate Westfield served a two-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to spot-fixing during a pro-40 match in 2009.

Westfield, during criminal proceedings in a London court, admitted to have underperformed allegedly on the behest of Danish Kaneria. Although, the Essex Police never charged Kaneria in that case due to lack of evidence.

“The panel did not bother asking for evidence from Westfield to support his allegations against me. It was obvious that they had decided even before the commencement of the trial”, maintained Kaneria while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“Even the Essex players, appeared before the panel did not support the claims of Marven Westfield”, added Kaneria

On his alleged relationship with an Indian bookie, Anu Bhatt, the 31-year old leg-spinner said that he met with him (Bhatt) twice in his life and both the meetings were at public places. While admitting that the ICC’s ACSU official, Allan Peacock had warned him about the dubious activities of Bhatt, Kaneria added that the warning was ‘verbal’ which he said was adhered to as well.

“I met Anu Bhatt in 2007 for the first time when he invited the Pakistan team for dinner during Indian tour. Later in 2008, ACSU’s Allan Peacock verbally warned me to avoid Anu Bhatt, which I did”, said Kaneria, who represented Pakistan in 61 test matches since his debut in 2000.

“In 2009, I met with Anu Bhatt for the last time in England. The meeting was at a public
Place. In both encounters, Bhatt did not extend any fixing offer to me”, Kaneria recalled.

Danish Kaneria said that his legal team was weighing the available options, and would file an appeal – against the life ban – after receiving the detailed judgment from the ECB panel.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Hasty changes cost Pakistan Hockey – Salman Akbar

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Like every hockey lover in Pakistan the discarded Goalkeeper Salman Akbar is equally dejected over the dismal performance by the National hockey team in the recently concluded 21st edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament. Salman Akbar, who is residing in Holland to represent a local club, minced no words in putting the entire blame on the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for the below-par performance in Malaysia.

“Unwarranted changes in coaching staff and the team combination only a few months before the Olympics cost us badly, however the PHF doesn’t seem to accept responsibility and putting the blame on the players instead. Planning of the federation and the performance of the coaching staff should be questioned”, said Salman Akbar while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“Even the lowest ranking team in the Olympics wouldn’t have altered the setup with so little time remaining for the mega event”, added Salman Akbar.

Salman Akbar is in Holland these days where, apart from representing a local club, he has also engaged himself in grooming young goalkeepers for the club.

On Pakistan’s goalkeepers, Salman Akbar was off the view that the game had changed considerably over the past few years. He added that the existing goalkeeping coaches of Pakistan were greats in their respective eras however, according to him (Salman Akbar), they were not at par with the modern coaching methodology. “Shahid Ali Khan and Ahmed Alam were excellent, even I also looked up to them, but the game has changed now and the coaches should also be aware of the latest techniques to train youngsters on modern lines”, said Salman Akbar.

“In the younger lot, I am very impressed with Mazhar Abbass, I think he can make a name for himself if treated fairly”, added Salman Akbar

On a question, the lanky goalkeeper also turned down the impression of grouping in the team. “All the players are known to me and I can’t buy this impression at all. It is probably a bid to divert the attention from the recent performance.” maintained Salman Akbar

Salman Akbar, who has played 220 international matches for Pakistan, urged the PHF to make way for the return of Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Butt, Zeeshan Ashraf and Muhammad Imran for the Olympics, adding that he was also ready to represent the national team if the PHF would provide him with an opportunity.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Linking Pak tour with ICC vice-presidency incorrect – Mustafa Kamal

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The under fire president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), Mustafa Kamal has categorically turned down the impression that he had committed for the Pakistan tour in return of the nod from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the vice-presidency of the International Cricket Council (ICC). “No it’s absolutely incorrect. I can’t get the Vice-presidency by Pakistan’s support only. I need endorsements from at least 7 of 10 full members of the ICC to acquire the important office”, maintained Mustafa Kamal, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV  

“My sincerity should not be doubted”, added Mustafa Kamal

His comments came after a petition was filed in the Dhaka High court on Thursday, claiming that Mustafa Kamal agreed to tour Pakistan without consulting the relevant quarters. The petitioner, Barrister Hassan Azim was off the view that due to the law and order situation the Bangladesh cricket team’s tour to Pakistan was not conducive.

The court, while staying the decision of sending Bangladesh Cricket team to Pakistan, ordered the BCB and the government to respond within four weeks.

In view of the development, the Bangladesh Cricket Board announced to postpone the trip and duly informed their counterparts in Pakistan.

Bangladesh was earlier scheduled to play one ODI and a T20 in Lahore on April 29th and April 30th respectively.

On the High Court’s intervention, the BCB president declined to comment however said that they would file a reply within the given timeframe.

“We are waiting for the court order as yet and since the matter is sub judice, therefore I will not be able to comment on it. Our legal division is working and we will file the reply accordingly”, said Mustafa Kamal.  

One a question, the BCB President shrugged off the possibility of Pakistan’s pullout from the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) saying that it was too early speculate in this regard. “The matter is between the two boards and the reports about Pakistan’s likely absence from the upcoming BPL was mere speculation at the moment”, said Mustafa Kamal

“PCB and BCB are striving hard for the betterment of cricket in the region, and I hope the bilateral cooperation will continue”, concludes Mustafa Kamal

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Pak tour: Everyone should wait for appropriate time: BCB Chief Mustafa Kamal

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Nation are jubilant upon the return of international cricket to Pakistan, after a painstaking wait of more than three years, however cricket officials along with a section of followers in Bangladesh are in-fact not thrilled after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President reportedly took a solo flight in making a commitment to tour Pakistan.

Meanwhile the BCB President, Mustafa Kamal has categorically said that he would speak about the Pakistan tour only on an “appropriate” time. He also denied stories published by the Bangladeshi press, while quoting him, in this regard. “About Pakistan tour I have decided, I will not talk to anybody. All the media people are making stories and selling newspapers. I am not giving statements to anybody at least about Pakistan tour”, said Mustafa Kamal while talking to this correspondent for News One TV, Pakistan.

“When the tour will be on, you will come to know and if the tour is called off you will come to know as well. You have to see everything from our cricket board website”, added BCB President.

On the sidelines of the Executive board meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai earlier this month, Mustafa Kamal met with his Pakistani counterpart, Zaka Ashraf and signed a joined communiqué, according to which the Bangladesh cricket team will tour Pakistan to play ODI and T20 matches – one each - on April 29th and April 30th in Lahore.

Mustafa Kamal also urged the PCB chairman, Zaka Ashraf to refrain from releasing media statements regarding the committed tour.

“I request my counterpart in Pakistan to please do not talk to anybody that will be better. Leave everything to the Almighty and wait for an appropriate time”, concludes Mustafa Kamal