Wednesday, 28 March 2012

David Folb ready to send international XI to Pakistan

By Muhammad Asif Khan 

KARACHI:  Upon the positive signals transmitted by the Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the Chief of the Lashings Club, David Folb, is equally thrilled and has expressed readiness to tour Pakistan to put an end to a 3-year long international cricket drought in Pakistan. However the chief of the club – studded with former international stars – feared that the time was running out for the PCB to make a formal move in this regard. “Invitation from the PCB will be very exciting for us. We will personally love to bring our team to Pakistan but due to our tight schedule, starting from April 24th, the PCB should initiate the formal process at the earliest”, said David Folb while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

After the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, the frequent rounds of talks between the PCB and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), starting late last year, were seen as a breath of fresh air but unfortunately at this moment in time the tour is in jeopardy which prompted the PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf, to try out for other options which includes an invitation to an international XI.

Earlier Pakistan's former captain, Rashid Latif has also said that he could assemble a quality world eleven team to come and play in Pakistan if the PCB was willing to bear the expenses. Responding to the offer, the PCB Chairman said that he would be glad to support Latif in his efforts to transform the idea, of brining the World XI to Pakistan, into reality.

David Folb also recalled his interactions with Latif on the Pakistan’s tour however reiterated that the shorts must be called by the PCB to make it happen. “I have had discussions with Rashid Latif on Pakistan Cricket many a times, I know he is very keen on the revival of international cricket in Pakistan, but it’s for the PCB to make a final call in this regard”, said David Folb

“I have been to Pakistan more than once and have many friends there. I will never forget the wonderful hospitality I experienced”, concludes David Folb

Lashings - the UK based club - is amongst the famous clubs in the world. A lot of former and incumbent mega stars such as Sachin Tendulkar, Murli, Brian Lara, Wasim Akram, Sir Viv Richards, Chris Harris, Allan Donald, Shoaib Akhtar, Rashid Latif, Courtney Walsh and others have represented the club.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Zaka Ashraf’s statement on BCCI stunned Ijaz Butt

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan is undergoing an agonising drought of cricket since March 2009 and undoubtedly the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf are afoot to turn the fortunes in favour, however it seems that still a long way to go in this regard.

At this juncture, the former PCB chairman, Ijaz Butt expressed disappointment over the recent statement of his successor, Zaka Ashraf, in which he accused the BCCI of running scared. “The statement was certainly uncalled for and sent adverse signals across the border. I was personally surprised by the remarks which might have dented the prospect of a bilateral series in the near future, I am afraid”, said Ijaz Butt, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

In a statement last month the incumbent PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf maintained that because of the impressive performance of the green-shirts, the BCCI was shying away from an Indo-Pak cricket series.

“We’re ready to play against them when their prime minister and board president want the teams to play. Maybe it’s their selectors and team management who are afraid of facing Pakistan.” said Ashraf

Ijaz Butt, who remained the PCB chairman from Oct. 2008 to Oct. 2011, himself faced a lot of criticism for his comment - in 2010 - when he accused the English players of taking money to lose the third Pak-England ODI at The Oval. However, later Mr. Butt was left with no other option but to render a formal apology.

Commenting on the on-field performance of the team, Ijaz Butt termed the Asia Cup triumph a tremendous feat. He also showered praise on skipper Misbah-Ul-Haq for his performance as a leader. “Despite all the odds, I appointed Misbah as the captain, and I feel proud of that decision”, said Butt

“In spite of a good performance as the leader, the criticism on Misbah is certainly unfair”, concludes Ijaz Butt.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Tension during Indo-Pak encounter should not cross boundary – Miandad

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Whenever Pakistan and India have shared a cricket field, the atmosphere has always been electrifying and emotions would not be different during the upcoming Asia Cup encounter between the arch rivals this Sunday, however the legendry former Pakistan Captain, Javed Miandad has urged the players from either side to consider the encounter as game not war. The gutsy former batsman was also off the view that players’ conduct on the field could contribute to normalising the cricketing ties between the neighbouring nations.

“This will be a game and should be considered as the game not war. I know the atmosphere would be charged-up, but the players shouldn’t let the tension to cross the boundary and have an effect on bilateral ties”, said Miandad while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

Javed Miandad, who has played 124 Tests and 233 ODIs for Pakistan between 1975 and 1996, is widely known for his last-ball six against India in 1986 to win the Australasia Cup.

“We want our relations to flourish therefore the players should maintain the true spirit of the game by keeping in view the off-the-field aspect as well. Whatever happens on the field should be left on the field”, added Miandad who is currently the Director General of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Praising Sachin Tendulkar for achieving the outstanding 100th century milestone, the former great gave full marks to the little master for his attitude and commitment. “Maintaining the commitment and fitness level for 22 long years is an enormous achievement, it shows the class of a man. Although records are made to be broken but I believe this feat is there to stay forever”, said Miandad who played against Tendulkar in his first Test match at Karachi in 1989.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Mohsin Khan still perplexed over slump in performance

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The former coach of the Pakistan Cricket team, Mohsin Hassan Khan is full of praise for the green-shirts on back to back victories in the Asia Cup, however he has not been able to figure out the reason behind the sudden slump in the team’s performance after the historic Test whitewash against England.  “The performance of the team is on the up since last 18 months or so, but what happened to the players after the test whitewash against England is still a mystery for me”, said Mohsin Khan while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

Mohsin Khan, a former right-handed opening batsman, was appointed chief selector in March 2010 and later, after Waqar Younis’s resignation, was given the role of an interim coach. After the series against England in the U.A.E, the Pakistan Cricket Board replaced Mohsin Khan with Dev Whatmore.

“The players are gaining the lost touch in the Asia Cup, which is a good sign, however still a lot to be done. All in all every player should realise his responsibility and continue with the fighting spirit and killer instinct which was their forte not long ago”, concludes Mohsin Khan, the right-handed opening batsman who has played 48 test matches for Pakistan.

ICC dismisses fixing story but Sunday Times adamant

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Very much like the notorious spot-fixing saga of the 2010, which swallowed the careers of three promising Pakistani cricketers, another UK paper, The Sunday Times, in a bid to unearth another corruption scandal, published a secretly recorded interview of a self-proclaimed bookmaker of an Indian origin, Vicky Seth, who made a few astonishing claims about corruption in the game of cricket. Interestingly, the man who secretly recorded the bookie was none other than Mazhar Mahmood who was the centre figure in the 2010 controversy as well.

In the story published by The Sunday Times Vicky Seth, a Delhi bookie, claimed he fixed the World Cup semifinal between Pakistan and India in Mohali on March 30th last year. Vicky Seth also said that he could fix international matches as well as games in both the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

The newspaper also claimed that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had taken serious notice of the development, and had already initiated a probe into the matter. However, reacting sharply to the claim, the ICC dismissed the Sunday Time’s version.

"The story carried by the newspaper, in which it has claimed that the ICC is investigating the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 semifinal between India and Pakistan, is baseless and misleading. The ICC has no reason or evidence to require an investigation into this match”, said Lorgat the ICC Chief Executive in a statement.

After all these claims and rebuttals, the Sunday Times had a latest reaction in which the paper challenged the apex body of the game again by saying that it still stood by the story.

“The Sunday Times stands by its story which raises important questions about the integrity of cricket”, spokesman for The Sunday Times told this blog.

While challenging the ICC’s claim of not having an inquiry into the matter, the spokesman added that the ICC had actually agreed to carry out the investigation, and in the future as well, the paper was ready to share all the information it had regarding the malpractice in the game.

"Our dossier of evidence will be made available to the International Cricket Council (ICC) which has agreed to investigate the matter in full”, spokesman concluded.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Strict rotation policy need of hour – Kirmani

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: At the team when, after successive failures, the senior Indian cricketers are being criticised and some quarters have even advised them to call it a day, another former Indian star, Syed Mujtaba Hussain Kirmani jumped on the bandwagon but in a deceptive tone. Addressing a ceremony hosted in his honour here by Sports Journalists Association of Sindh (SJAS), Kirmani urged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to adopt an effective rotation policy to keep a fair pressure on players. “I have already recommended a clear-cut policy to the BCCI. I believe regardless of his experience a player should be replaced after 4 successive failures”, said Kirmani who played 88 Test and 49 one-day matches for India from 1976 to 1986.

“If this rotation policy is adopted then players would also be aware in advance, hence nobody would feel humiliated when is sidelined on poor run of form”, added Kirmani

Syed Mujtaba Kirmani, who is on a private visit to Karachi to attend a wedding of his relative, recalled his playing days in Pakistan and said that like in the past, he felt touched by the affection expressed to him by the people of Pakistan.

On bilateral series between Pakistan and India, the former wicketkeeper batsman expressed the opinion that the revival of cricketing ties was also important for the future of both the countries. “Asia possesses exceptional talent, and I feel that revival of bilateral series would be a great platform for the youngsters to exhibit their talent. It will ultimately benefit both the teams”, added Kirmani

Syed Mujtaba Kirmani also stated that the ongoing drought of international cricket in Pakistan should come to an end. “Pakistan is a cricket loving nation, ICC should expedite it’s efforts to bring back International Cricket to Pakistan”, concludes Kirmani

Apart from neat glove-work behind the stumps, Mujtaba Kirmani was an able batsman down the order and has two Test hundreds to his credit. He also played a pivotal role in India's triumph in the 1983 World Cup and won the award for the best wicket keeper in the mega event.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Jalaluddin hits out at Intikhab Alam

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Zaka Ashraf has been very keen on competency in the setup and he has proved his point by appointing a qualified coach in Dev Whatmore for the Pakistan team however a former Test fast bowler, Jalaluddin does not seem thrilled with the recent developments, and feels that still a lot of measures required for the betterment at the junior level. Referring to Intikhab Alam, who is the Director Game Development at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Jalaluddin, who himself is a certified coach, was of the view that, with the national team, even a non-qualified coach could serve the purpose to some extent however, the policy of the PCB at the level just below the national team is under par. “A non-qualified but experienced coach can work with the national team, but at the National and Regional academies appointment of non-qualified individuals is impractical”, said Jalaluddin while talking to this correspondent.

“At a junior level a coach needs to know the art of identification of a problem which is followed by rectification and then the development of a player. Thorough knowledge of bio-mechanics and video analysis is essential for which up-to-date certification is a must. This is unfortunate that Intikhab Alam, who is the head of the National Academy, does not possess any relevant certification.”, concludes Jalaluddin who was the right-arm medium pace bowler and has played 6 Tests and 8 ODIs from 1982 to 1985.

He was the first player to take a hat-trick in ODI cricket. Jalaluddin achieved that distinction against Australia in 1982. He has the accreditation as both ECB and PCB level-3 coach, and has been managing his cricket academy in Karachi.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Contrasting mindsets could lead to disaster – Latif

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: After an extensive deliberation the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally appointed Dev Whatmore as the head coach for the national team. The entry of the fourth foreign coach in Pakistan’s cricket history is seen as a welcome move by many however, former Captain Rashid Latif has a different philosophy to look at it. He fears that due the huge gap between the mindsets and approach the appointment of Dev Whatmore could have an adverse effect. "In Pakistan, we want rapid results, however, top foreign coaches believe in a long-term strategy. These contrasting mind-sets could lead to a disaster, I am afraid", said Latif while talking to this correspondent.

Whatmore, who has played seven tests for Australia, came to the limelight when under his guidance Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup. Afterwards, he joined Bangladesh and also led them to their maiden test match and series win in 2005.

Along with Whatmore, the PCB also employed Englishmen Julian Fountain as the fielding coach. Both men have taken charge of the team to prepare them for the upcoming Asia Cup Cricket tournament starting from March 11th in Bangladesh.

Latif further said that now the board had taken the decision therefore it should be supported rather than criticised. "Now since they are our national coaches therefore we have no other choice but to support them. I wish them success", concludes Latif, who himself is a qualified coach and have been successfully managing several academies in Pakistan.

Prior to Whatmore, Pakistan have had Richard Pybus, Bob Woolmer and Geoff Lawson as their foreign coaches and despite the results under these foreigners the PCB Chairman, Zaka Ashraf was adamant for yet another experiment.