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 communiqu̩, according to which the Bangladesh cricket team will tour Pakistan to play ODI and T20 matches Рone 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

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

FIH delegation to meet Indian hockey officials next week

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The dispute between the Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) over the reins of Hockey in the country is still unsettled however, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is hopeful for an amicable resolution of the matter. “The FIH recognises Hockey India (HI) as the legitimate body to look after hockey affairs in India and we are in constant touch with HI for the resolution of all disputes”, said Kelly Fairweather while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“FIH delegation will travel to India next week to hold talks with Hockey India officials”, added Kelly Fairweather

The row between the HI and IHF has already cost India the right to host the Champions trophy last year, and the apex body shifted the mega event to New Zealand.

Recently the Indian Hockey Federation organised the World Series Hockey (WSH) in which players from all around the world including Pakistan and India took part. Since the Indian Hockey Federation is not recognised by the FIH therefore local federations have vowed to take the players to task.

On the issue the CEO, Kelly Fairweather said that the FIH had a clear policy in this regard however the onus is on the local federations to deal with the players.

“Action against those took part in the disputed Indian league is the prerogative of local federations”, concludes Kelly Fairweather

The CEO however said that the clauses related to unsanctioned events was only included in the FIH regulations on March 31st, 2011, therefore players signed contracts with WSH after the date would surely be taken to task by local federations.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Kaneria got a little breathing space

By Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: Pakistan Test leg-spinner, Danish Kaneria, who has been in hot waters due to spot-fixing charges, got a little breathing space as the disciplinary panel, constituted by the English Cricket Board (ECB), has agreed to postpone the hearing into the matter till May 21st this year.

Earlier the hearing was scheduled to begin on May 10th.

Talking to this correspondent, leg-spinner’s lawyer in Pakistan, Barrister Farogh Naseem confirmed the latest development and said that in reply to their former request on April 7th, they had got a little time to respond to the 400-page charge-sheet on the leg-spinner. “The disciplinary panel gave until April 27 to send a summary, and then a detailed reply could be sent till May 9th. The ECB panel will respond on May 16th, afterwards the hearing will begin from May 21st”, said Barrister Farogh Naseem.

Danish Kaneria along with his Essex county teammate, Marven Westfield, was accused of spot fixing in a pro-40 encounter in 2009. Later, the Essex police released Kaneria after failing to get evidence against the leg-spinner.

The case took a new turn when, earlier this year, Westfield not only pleaded guilty before a court in London but also described Danish Kaneria as the main conspirator.

Kaneria, on the other hand, has been adamant and is of the view that he was innocent.

Danish Kaneria, 31, who made his test debut in 2000, captured 261 wickets for Pakistan in 61 Test appearances. The lanky right-armer played his last test match in Aug 2010 against England in Nottingham.

Monday, 9 April 2012

What if Amir was not talented?

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Right from the day when the News of the World (NoTW) took the cricketing world by storm – by publishing the spot-fixing story – a large number of Pakistani cricket fanatics has been expressing soft sentiments for young Mohammad Amir and every supporter has his own way of looking at it, but majority seems converged on these two points (a) he is exceptionally talented (b) the left-armer is very young and has good amount of cricket left in him. In view of these aspects this school of thought believes that the 20-year old fast bowler should be given a second chance to play sooner then the expiration of the 5-year ICC suspension.

Fans are fans, they want to see their heroes in action at all cost so they can’t be blamed for their emotions but the authorities which are administering the game have a greater responsibility and their role should be refraining from transmitting a one-sided viewpoint. If a cricket board chief hints having a soft corner for a player then it should not be appreciated.

The above mentioned points, which actually were the convincing factor for many to see Amir’s early return to the field, were not persuasive for me. He is very young and was trapped. I disagree on this point simply because he was not young enough in terms of the experience under his belt. Before the infamous Lord’s test, Mohammad Amir had played fair amount of cricket and meanwhile was duly taught about the rules and regulations by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Amir mentioned in the interview to Sky News that since he was not used to of bowling No-balls therefore had to practice hard before actually going for those notorious couple of deliveries at Lord’s. Here I agree with him because his track record suggests the same – 14 Tests and 24 No-balls – but what happed in his 7th test match where he over-stepped 13 times is glaring, keep this point in mind. Well that’s not all, remember he was seen talking on his cell phone during a domestic match in Pakistan and was also penalised, therefore describing him as innocent and only a victim of the trap allegedly set by former skipper Salman Butt and others is not a digestible viewpoint – at least for me.

When he said that a guy named Ali blackmailed him – he was right he must have done something before the England tour due to which he was blackmailed by Mazhar Majeed and company. Who knows probably his 7th Test – against Australia - was the starting point of the relationship between Amir and the spot-fixing gang?

Now come to the second famous argument in Amir’s favour – he is an exceptional talent – even the great Wasim Akram supports Amir and urged the ICC to allow him to play domestic cricket. My question to all is that what if Amir was not exceptionally talented?
By excessive of talk about Amir’s return, the cricket authorities in Pakistan are actually admitting that we were short of talent in Pakistan. As done in the past where justice was compromised and certain players were let off the hook due to their talent. It raises a question that is talent the only yard stick to decide the fate of a player involved in a malpractice?

There is another scenario which needs to be looked at. A player is either caught or voluntarily comes forward against the menace but in both cases the follow-up by the apex body, the ICC, has been different somewhat.

Not so long ago, Pakistan’s wicket-keeper, Zulqarnain Haider spoke a lot about match-fixing but the ICC and the PCB, which have been pretty vocal against corruption in the game and always urge players to come forward and help but, in reality if someone opens his lips – like Zulqarnain did – then he is only snubbed. The ICC, with the zero-tolerance slogan, should have listened to him at least once.

On one hand the cricketing authorities are cautious to the extend that even a slightest of doubt is considered enough to end a career – Kamran Akmal is an example – but on the other hand if someone speaks up then they (ICC) just goes quiet. Recently Vinod Kamli and Hashan Tilkaratne and then Bangladeshi fast bowler Mushrafi Murtaza spoke about the menace. In fact Tilkaratne and Kamli went on to accuse their own team mates but what happened? The issues were swept under the carpet by the ICC.

This is really strange but true that if a player wants to expose things the ICC discourages him and if he gets caught, like Amir, then the apex body and relevant authorities act in a different fashion. Amir, Zulqarnain or whoever, regardless of his talent, should be treated fairly.

As far as Amir’s future is concerned, rather than giving lectures to players the authorities should investigate him further to know about the possible involvement of others because only four people – Salman, Mazhar, Ali and Amir – couldn’t run the entire fixing racket on their own but, will the ICC do it? Well, in view of the performance of the apex body and its Anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) so far, I am not very optimistic and feel that further inquiry in this regard was highly unlikely.

If the environment is deliberately being molded in Amir’s favour then this shows that either we in Pakistan are short of talent and don’t believe that there was another Amir present in the system or we don’t want Amir to open up further so that other possible culprits should remain unharmed.

Just recall, Zulqarnain Haider took named of some of his fellows who later threatened to sue him as well but that was the end and nobody approached the court of law. Later Zulqarnain was kept aloof, and despite an impressive performance in the domestic circuit the door of the national team is still closed on him.

The only difference between Amir and Zulqarnain was off course the scale of talent but the thing which is glaring is that Amir concealed facts while Zulqarnain revealed them.

If the PCB or ICC wants to really clear the game of corruption then the motto “Zero Tolerance” must be implemented in its true letter and spirit.

The sentiments should also be hold back until the same level playing field is provided to Salman Butt after his release. Amir, in his interview dubbed his former skipper as the influencer, let’s see what Salman would have to say. The natural justice demands a fair listening to Salman too.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Pakistan’s negative impression needs to be adequately countered – British Cricketer

Pakistan’s negative impression needs to be adequately countered – British Cricketer

LAHORE: Ever since the deadly March 3rd 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan has been a no-go zone for international cricket events, however the tour of the British Universities’ team is seen as a breath of fresh air and it is hoped that it would go a long way in negating Pakistan’s perception abroad.

Meanwhile, Robert Gallimore, a prominent member of the visiting British team, described the negative impression of Pakistan as unfortunate and urged for a strong counter strategy to diminish the notion. “I think the tragedy is that through a little bit of ignorance the negative impression was allowed to develop and no-one is doing enough to counter it”, said Gallimore while talking to News One TV.

The British Universities’ team is in Pakistan to play a series of limited over games against Pakistan’s Under-19 outfit.

Gallimore, who has also served in British Army, hoped that such tours would transmit positive signals across the World and would educate people about the actual situation in Pakistan.

“Trips like this will act as a small step to educate people. It's not a case of impression it’s just about educating people how safe it is, how friendly it is and hopefully this will be the first of many British trips over here”, added Gallimore

On a question Gallimore was full of praise for the security and other arrangements made by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to facilitate the touring squad.

“We have been looked after fantastically. As security goes, to me we don't need security in Lahore because Lahore seems like a very safe place”, concludes Gallimore

Since the 2009 attack Afghanistan and Hong Kong are the only international teams to have visited Pakistan.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

India refuses to send hockey team to Pakistan

LAHORE: Yet again the Indian Hockey Authorities have refused to send it’s team to Pakistan – citing security concerns - to take part in a 3-nation hockey tournament scheduled in Lahore.
“The Indian Hockey Federation earlier confirmed their participation however, this new development is disappointing rather painful”, said Asif Bajwa, who is the Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF)

“They are not satisfied with the security arrangements”, added Bajwa

Addressing to the media in Lahore, Asif Bajwa also announced to postpone the 4-nation hockey tournament which was scheduled from April 7-14 as part of Pakistan’s national team preparations for the London Olympics.

The sporting ties between the neighbouring countries have been tainted since the deadly terrorist attack in the busy Indian city of Mumbai in November 2008. Later the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore further dented the efforts to revive relations.

It is worth mentioning here that the Chinese hockey team visited Pakistan late last year and played a hockey test series in Karachi and Lahore. During the trip the Chinese players and officials were provided with adequate security which was highly appreciated by the visitors.

Also, key Pakistan hockey stars have recently took part in the World Hockey Series (WHS) took place in India.