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.