Thursday, 31 January 2013

Sarfaraz Nawaz urges PCB to support Kaneria

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: While terming the life-ban on Danish Kaneria ‘very harsh’, former Test Cricketer Sarfaraz Nawaz said that the banned leg-spinner was treated inadequately by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as well. “Even the players, who were jailed for the same sort of offence, were not banned for life but he [Kaneria] was handed over a very harsh punishment without concrete evidence”, said the former fast bowler while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“I would say Kaneria was left alone and unfairly treated by the PCB”, adds Sarfaraz Nawaz

“The PCB should take this matter up with the ICC”, concludes Sarfaraz Nawaz

Kaneria, 32, was banned by a disciplinary panel of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year for his role in the spot-fixing case involving his Essex County mate Mervyn Westfield.

During the hearing Westfield accused Kaneria of introducing him to an Indian bookie. Later, the ECB panel declared Kaneria as guilty and also banned Westfield for five years.

Kaneria, who is in London, filed an appeal against the sentence. At the moment he is waiting for the resumption of his appeal’s hearing which was adjourned in December last.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Cricket starts with ‘P’ in Pakistan

By Muhammad Asif Khan

You must be amazed by the header and a few might be laughing on my elementary knowledge of the English language, but I still stand by what I wrote in the header. In Pakistan the game of Cricket starts with ‘P’ not ‘C’. Here the ‘P’ mainly represents two aspects.

Firstly the ‘P’ refers to the President of the Country who, as soon as he takes the oath of his office, automatically becomes the Patron or the undisputed guardian of Cricketing affairs in the country.

Secondly, the Chairman of the body, which is responsible of running the cricketing matters in the country – Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) –, is appointed on the basis of his political – another ‘P’ - alignment with the President of the Country.

Later on, the Chairman of the Board appoints various individuals mainly to his likings or on the basic of some sort of political pressure on him.

Right from the top one hardly finds a check and balance mechanism in the Pakistan Cricket Board, and since there is no accountability hence the chairman feels free to exercise his will. In the majority of ICC member nations, Cricket does start with ‘C’ but in Pakistan this alphabet is highly politicised.

Almost everyday this statement is heard that sports should not be linked with politics. This is indeed the height of double standards because an organisation in which politics runs as blood, how can this desire of de-linking Sports & Politics be transformed into a reality, hence the dream – of depoliticising Cricket affairs – would remain a dream unless the words are not transformed in to meaningful actions.

Although the Pakistan Cricket Board has its own constitution like the other boards however after going thought the document one hardly finds a function without the approval of either the Patron – President of the Country – or the Chairman of the Board.

Under the chairman there are two important bodies mentioned in the PCB constitution – The Board of Governors and the General Body. The former comprised of regional & department’s representatives, technocrats and former cricketers etc and it’s responsibility is to manage the affairs of the PCB, whereas the General Body contains various PCB officials including the Chairman along with PCB’s full and associate members and honourary members. The responsibility of the General Body is to recommend to the Governing Board on various important matters.

After a brief introduction of the two configurations, let’s talk about the primary one first, which is Board of Governors in which two cricketers at the moment are Javed Miandad and Intikhab Alam. Interestingly, both acquire key slots in the PCB setup as well. Intikhab holds the position of the Director Game Development / Director Cricket
Operations (International) while Miandad is the Director General of the PCB, a post which is in fact not mentioned in the Constitution however it’s constitutional in a way because the Chairman holds the key and he can create any post for smooth operations.

Moving on, like the Governing Board, the PCB chairman also holds a slot in the General Body, means he is everywhere and can influence any or every major decision. The interference of the chairman is not limited to the administrative affairs only, even the matters of the National Cricket team - from the team selection to the appointment of a captain or a vice-captain - the final authority is the again the chairman of the PCB.  

Furthermore on the team matters in view of the constitution which explains the mechanism for the appointment of the supporting staff. Before moving forward, Let me quote the relevant clause first.

The clause 4(XVII) says “Objects and functions of PCB to engage or hire professional coaches, physiotherapists, trainers, groundsmen, doctors, experts and such other persons as may deemed appropriate for the purpose of development of the cricket infrastructure in Pakistan”

In view of this article, there is no room for consultants or nonprofessional coaches but the part “such other persons as may deemed appropriate for the purpose…” actually serves the purpose, hence with this liberty provided by the PCB constitution, the chairman can approve any action he feels appropriate for the betterment of the game.

This is not done by this PCB setup only, in the past as well. Right from the implementation of the existing constitution of 2007, nonprofessional coaches have accompanied the team but again the power to appoint an appropriate individual gives it a constitutional cover.

There is a disciplinary mechanism as well. The clause 4(XIV) is related to constitute tribunals to investigate or adjudicate upon disciplinary issues. Not so far ago in 2010 when a few cricketers were banned and fined but gradually they all made their way back. Yes they had gone through an investigation mechanism – which is a constitutional way- but the vagueness attached to the episode made it dubious. No official press statement from the PCB on the findings or the disciplinary proceedings made the process ambiguous. All we heard is that a certain player was found guilty or not.

As far as the recent disciplinary matters are concerned, two enquiries were recently launched by the PCB (1) The probe into the U-19 Cricket team’s performance. (2) Investigation against two umpires alleged of fixing by an India TV. Both the matters are in the dark as yet and nothing has come out in the open as yet. As far as the umpires case is concerned, the other two Boards – Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – have concluded their inquiries and handed down penalties to their official who were accused along with two Pakistanis – Nadeem Ghouri and Aneeduddin Siddiqui – in October last.

These shortcomings have a reason and the biggest of them all is the presence of the PCB chairman in almost every scenario. How one man can handle everything? Not possible humanly either.

To overcome these issues the excessive burden on the shoulders of the PCB chairman must be shared. Or in other way, the delegation of powers in a democratic manner might be the answer to these concerns. This is what the International Cricket Council (ICC) wants, which has given a deadline to all the boards to put in place a democratic system.

At the moment there is an election procedure at the regional level in the PCB however the top hierarchy is still handpicked, which is entirely in line with the exiting constitution too, therefore to introduce the democratic culture, the constitution of the Pakistan Cricket Board needs to be amended. What is being done in this regards is unknown as yet because the ICC deadline is also approaching fast. Apart from Pakistan, the Bangladesh Cricket Board is also controlled by a handpicked chairman however; they are reportedly on course of meeting the ICC requirements within the deadline.

I started with ‘P’ for Cricket and have come down to the need of ‘C’ for the check and balance. I believe unless this ‘C’ is wholeheartedly implemented the game of Cricket will remain politicised in Pakistan.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Super League, a super challenge

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Cricket is no more the game it was a decade ago, the introduction of the T20 format enticed a large chunk of people and later the extravagant leagues by various cricket playing countries added more spice to the affair. India took the lead in this regard by launching the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is getting better and better with the passage of time. The IPL is serving the game of Cricket or not is a separate debatable, however, the fact remains that every cricketer desires to be a part of this cash-rich competition.

After India, various other nations launched their own brands of T20 leagues and now Pakistan is thinking on the same lines too. In fact the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has already announced the basic structure of the league – Pakistan Super League (PSL) -which is scheduled to begin in last week of March this year.

For Pakistan, the importance of its own brand of such tournament – PSL – is way different from other nations.  If India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka launches a league then they would primarily have to focus on one aspect – the financial one – but the PCB, actually, is facing two huge challenges in this connection. One is off course the financial aspect like others but the more daunting task is to persuade foreign players to make the proposed event colourful as well as successful.

The PCB has appointed Salman Sarwar Butt as the Managing Director and Haroon Lorgat as the Consultant for the Pakistan Super League and I am sure a lot of other people are also working their heart out to make the venture successful, but to confront the two challenges (financial & security issues), a two-pronged strategy is the need of the hour for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Before moving further, let me refer to a few quotes from the PSL Managing Director during a press conference earlier this month, which, I feel, raised some queries.

PSL will be a $100 million event.
With the size of Pakistan’s economy, the figure is not unachievable, but to attain profit one must present a product in demand to the market. In cricketing terms the product means high class cricketers. To attract the spectators and subsequently the sponsors, the presence of top class performers is essential.

Discussions underway with big names including Chris Gayle and others from South Africa, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia.
Fair enough, hats off to the sincere efforts of Salman Sarwar Butt and his team

Millions of dollars are fine, but roping in big names is directly linked with the security assurances given to them. The big test coming up is to convince the foreigners. How will it be done is remains to be seen.
BCCI does not allow their players to visit Pakistan, but we are in contact with players from Bangladesh.
In view of the bilateral relations, the BCCI’s refusal is understandable. As far as Bangladesh is concerned, the recent tussle between the two boards has left a very little window of hope. In fact the major stars of Bangladesh will be in Sri Lanka the whole month of March, then will embark on a trip to Zimbabwe in the middle of April – dates not confirmed yet – therefore getting the saleable items (Cricketers) will not be easy for the PCB. In view of the developments unfolded in the recent past, immaculate diplomatic skills would be required to convince even the Bangladesh Cricket Board to send its players to Pakistan for the PSL. Not impossible, but not easy either.

Also, the Indian Premier League’s latest edition is scheduled in April-May this year, and off course the cream would go that way. In this situation the limited number of the ‘salable items’ up for grab could be another headache for the PSL organisers.

We have taken care of the security situation and are informing players about our security measures. They can come and see all our security arrangements for the PSL.
So, after going thought the above mentioned quotes, it has finally come down to the security arrangements, which is the most important area to be looked at. But if Mr. Butt is offering foreign cricketers to come and asses the arrangements then only God knows how many security assessment teams would tour Pakistan in the coming days. The less time at hand – before the bidding for the PSL – actually makes this task doubly difficult for the PSL planners.

Coming back to the two-pronged strategy mentioned earlier. The one angle relates to fulfilling the financial requirements of the players – mainly foreigners – is dealt with adequately as the PSL MD said, but to earn money, the presence of salable products is a must, and here comes the second and the most important part of the two-sided methodology.

The PCB needs to convince the foreign players to tour and what have been done in this regard is not very well known. There are speculations in the media that the Pakistan Cricket Board was considering the option of hiring foreign security experts to set up the security plan for the forthcoming Pakistan Super League. If this is true, then it will transmit a message to the World that the PCB doesn’t have faith in its own security agencies, isn’t it? The argument that other countries also do so – during their leagues – is not fitting in Pakistan’s scenario due to the extraordinary law and order situation.

Another missing link which could turnout as a hindrance for the PSL management is the lack of engaging the international players association. Federation of International Cricketers' Association (FICA) has been very active in protecting Cricketers’ rights worldwide. In the recent edition of the Bangladesh Premier League, the FICA adequately dealt with the issues related to the players’ payments, but in Pakistan, where payments are a less important concern, how can the involvement of FICA be ruled out? Already a few local cricket associations have raised concerned over touring Pakistan for the PSL, and the situation could get worse in days to come.

Other than FICA, the role of the International Cricket Council (ICC) is also missing, although the CEO, Dave Richardson visited Pakistan earlier this month, but he said that the role of the ICC was limited in the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan. "Security is not something that is taken lightly by anybody," he said and put the entire onus on the PCB to convince the other boards in this regard. What impression this opinion – from the ICC – would broadcast to the world is not difficult to be gauged.

In the end, the PCB has to do it on its own. After covering the economical aspect, for the foolproof security arrangements the Cricket Board needs to be well-aligned with the local administration. In this regard the past between the PCB and the local administration (Punjab Government) is not encouraging at all. For the smooth PSL, these two must be on the same wavelength.

The PCB should also keep in mind the political changes in the offing. As per media reports, the country would be under a caretaker Government from mid-march – around 10 days before the PSL launch – therefore, during that time, the PCB has to deal with a new set of government officials altogether. The sole focus of the caretaker administration would be on the upcoming elections rather than facilitating the PCB to put in place a foolproof security mechanism.

All the above mentioned apprehensions were based on the information which has surfaced as yet. It is easier said than done and I am sure the Pakistan Cricket Board is also aware of all the challenges in waiting.

Nobody is against the revival of international cricket in Pakistan through various means including the T20 leagues, but a solid homework is better to be done because a single foot wrong could be enough to change the whole course of action because haste makes waste.

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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Only contracted foreign players to benefit PSL: Amir Sohail

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Various cricket playing nations have launched their own brands of T20 leagues to earn money as well as to provide local players with a change to exhibit their talent. However, Pakistan’s case is unique in this regard because along with the two mentioned facts, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has to confront with another daunting task of somewhat negating country’s negative impression.

In Pakistan the initiative was widely appreciated however former Pakistan Captain Amir Sohail feels that the ultimate objective would only be achieved only if a reasonable number of current international players participate in the Pakistan Super League. “The objective of the PCB is to rope in foreign players to build a strong case for the international cricket revival to Pakistan. This goal will only be achieved if contracted current players from major cricket playing countries come and play in Pakistan.”, said Amir Sohail while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“If active foreign players show up [for PSL] then the case of those reluctant to visit Pakistan would get weaker and Pakistan’s case get stronger subsequently”, adds Amir Sohail

The Pakistan Cricket Board has recently announced to launch Pakistan Super T20 league, which is scheduled to commence from March 26th. Haroon Lorgat, the former CEO of the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been hired as the consultant for the league by the PCB.

The former left-handed opener also questioned the wisdom behind the appointment of Haroon Lorgat for the PSL, adding that the non-involvement of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA) might turnout as hindrance for the PSL. “Instead of Lorgat, the PCB should have started off by engaging the FICA in the first place. Tim May [FIFA, CEO] could play a part in the future, I am afraid”, said Amir Sohail.

“Anyway now Lorgat is appointed, so let’s see how he works. I wish him all the best”, concludes Amir Sohail

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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Junaid Khan eyes top five in South Africa

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The left-arm paceman of Pakistan, Junaid Khan, who is still in his early days, however has made an impression with his recent performances especially those in India lately. Still fresh from his impressive effort against the arch-rival, the promising youngster is upbeat to perform even better in South Africa. “Their top five batsmen are world class and I am not targeting anyone specific. I keep things simple and give my 100 per cent every time I get a chance to bowl.” said Junaid Khan while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“I have worked hard at the training camp, and with the help of the video analyst, keenly observed the strengths and weaknesses of the South Africans”, adds the left-arm fast bowler.

Pakistan will play three Test matches followed by two T20Is and five ODIs against the host team on the 5-week long tour to South Africa. The tour will commence with the test match in Johannesburg from February 1st.

The 23-year old, hails from Swabi, also recalled his outright triumph against the prolific Virat Kohli on the recent India tour, describing it as a joint effort with his team analyst. “Team analyst, Usman Hashmi, helped me a great deal in finding out the weaknesses of Kohli and others, I am glad the plan worked by the grace of God.”, concludes Junaid Khan, who knocked Kohli out thrice in as many ODIs in India.

Junaid Khan has claimed 27 wickets in eight Test matches for Pakistan since his debut in 2011. In 16 ODIs and three T20I he has had 25 and two wickets respectively.

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Friday, 18 January 2013

PCB should make BD ‘commitments’ public: Rashid Latif

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The ties between Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) hit the all time low this Wednesday, when the PCB finally put its foot down and denied the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to its players to feature in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Reacting to the situation, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif deplored the attitude of the BCP, however at the same time added that the PCB should also clear the ambiguities attached to the whole episode.

“The law and order situation is well known, however Bangladesh should not have made commitments in the first place, their attitude was absolutely unprofessional in this regard.”, said former wicket-keeper batsman while talking to this correspondent.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should also made public the written pledges by the BCB to iron-out the vagueness attached to the affair”, added Latif.

Meanwhile, talking to this correspondent over the phone from Dhaka, Mushfiqur Rahman Mohan, the Chairman of the BPL franchise, Duronto Rajshahi, expressed disappointment over the PCB’s decision, adding that despite ‘the last minute’ refusal, they had managed ‘good replacements’ for the Pakistani players.

“PCB should have informed us at least 7 days before the league, however, we have managed in time and replaced Pakistani players with Brett Lee, Simon Katich, Ben Edmondson, Dilshan Munaweera and Jehan Mubarak”, said Mushfiqur Rahman Mohan who also feels that the PCB would loose more than BCB out of the standoff.

Earlier, commenting on the developments pertaining to Pakistani players’ non-participation in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), the Spokesman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said “As per practice and procedures in vogue, a home Board has to approach the visiting players’ parent Board seeking release of its players for their domestic cricket competitions. In BPL’s case, BCB, their representatives or the players’ agents were in contact directly with the Pakistani players and PCB was kept out of this process. Even the auction of Pakistani players at BPL was done without PCB’s prior permission or intimation.”

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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Two wrongs can make one right?

By Muhammad Asif Khan

The drop scene of the seesaw between Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and its Bangladeshi counterparts finally reached this Wednesday, when the PCB put it foot down and denied permission to its players for the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Contrasting views emerged on the decision, by the PCB. It is supported by many as well as is criticised by some at the same time.

Everyone has a right of expression but the Pakistan’s participation in the BPL was generally seen through a prism of sentiments. Emotions won and sanity lost in my view.

Like freedom of expressions, the right to earn a living is also protected in Pakistan’s constitution. Remember when Shahid Afridi was barred from the county Cricket circuit, he got the NOC through the legal course. Here how this issue will turn out, this remains to be seen.

Coming back to the earlier point that this very issue was tackled emotionally and with the version of the PCB it is obvious that the BPL was used as a bargaining chip too.

The Pakistan Cricket Board says the administrators of the BPL bypassed them before the auction and directly contracted the players’ agents. The board spokesman termed it a “great embarrassment” for the PCB, however, the question is that what the PCB did to avoid the embarrassment in the first place? Why didn’t they stop the players or issue an official statement then?

Right from the start, this episode was surrounded with conditions from both the parties. Pakistan initially supported BCB’s former President Mustafa Kamal for the ICC’s vice presidency in return for his consent to the Pakistan tour, however when it didn’t happen then the PCB raised the BPL card which didn’t work either.

Bangladesh committed then backed off, yes it’s a very bad move, but is it the fault of those Pakistani players hired by the BPL franchises? Absolutely not, if one has the right of expression than why the players were deprived off their right to earn a living?

If the PCB failed to convince its counterpart, or the other side backed-off then what could the players do?

I am not supporting the recent behaviour of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, but is it the only Board shying away from Pakistan? Australia & Zimbabwe visited Pakistan in 1998, South Africa in 2007, India & West Indies in 2006 and New Zealand last visited Pakistan in 2002, and the reason is very well know to everyone. As far as the miss-commitment by the BCB is concerned then what about the attitude of the BCCI?  As per scheduled, the Indian team had to visit Pakistan in 2009, however they are not at all in a mood to do so in the near future either, yet Pakistan went on to play a series in India. Cricket went on, which is heartening, but where were the principles? Why the same rigid stance missing from the PCB while dealing with Boards other than Bangladesh? Also, the issue of Pakistan’s women team’s participation in the World Cup – to be held in India – is in jeopardy till this writing.

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 in the future? Whatever the outcome, one thing is for certain that the impression of blackmailing would prevail.

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, but the way Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) tackled the situation is hurting its own player more rather than the BCB. The Bangladesh League will end in a month and life will continue but many of the Pakistan players – chosen for the BPL – will remain high and dry for no apparent fault.

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Saturday, 12 January 2013

Reviving international cricket

 Is PCB doing enough to bring back foreign teams to Pakistan? Maybe not

By Muhammad Asif Khan

It is said that even a long journey begins with a single step and later on every single step matters. More sensitive the job at hand the more careful is the approach required as a single wrong move is enough to make one go off the track.
These things come to mind when we look at the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.
The PCB is looking to have international teams visit Pakistan, but to achieve this target it needs to undertake a long voyage with tremendous care.
Arabian Sea Country Club Cricket ground  
Primarily the PCB should concentrate on tiny steps to adequately build the case to regain the lost trust. To be honest, this aspect has been neglected thus far.
What could be those tiny steps? Of course the way the PCB is planning to organise an indigenous brand of Twenty20 league, which also includes a few foreign players, is a step in the right direction but haven’t such efforts been made in the recent past by others?
Last year, renowned cricket administrator Dr Muhammad Ali Shah successfully organised a couple of exhibition matches in Karachi. A lot of former international players participated in the event which was cheered by the spectators who turned up in huge numbers.
The effort — the tiny step — was widely appreciated but the gesture shown by the PCB was not enough. They did provide Dr Shah with stadium and other facilities, although they should have done something to take the process forward from there.
That was not the first time a genuine effort was not duly recognised. In the early part of 2012, Arif Ali Khan Abbasi, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) — now PCB — also managed to persuaded some international players — including a few from India — to visit Pakistan and feature in a T20 cricket tournament at his Arabian Sea Country Club in Karachi.
I met with Abbasi a few weeks back and he was dejected the way his plan to contribute to the cause was ‘sabotaged’.
He was of the view that as per the regulations he formally sought PCB’s prior permission for the event but, according to him, the PCB did not pay heed and did not respond for the next two months.
Later on a set of prerequisites was sent to him which, he said, were fulfilled as well but to no avail because “no stadium in Pakistan has the facilities which PCB demanded.  Yet I somehow fulfilled their requirements but it was too late then.
“Late reply from the PCB with tough conditions caused further delay and in the meantime sponsors backed off while the local players also got engaged in a domestic event.”
The PCB negates the claim made by Abbasi. It said all was done in view of the ICC regulations and the proposed event was in fact shelved by Abbasi himself.
With these recent episodes — Dr Shah and Arif Abbasi — it seems that the PCB wanted to do it all on its own and was not willing to share the pride of achieving the goal, of bringing back international cricket to the country.
I might be wrong in my assessment, but this is a perception held by many cricket lovers.
It would be unfair not to commend the efforts of the PCB though. They had almost succeeded in hosting Bangladesh — the first International team since March 2009 — but still this would not have been enough to convince the other countries. The goal of the revival of international cricket would have remained unachieved even if they had come.
The PCB’s own international T20 league — scheduled in March this year — will be a step in the right direction.
After the smooth happening of the Pakistan Super League the board would be in a position to build a strong case to persuade teams to visit Pakistan.
However, had the efforts made by others been duly acknowledged and patronised probably half the journey in this regard would have already been covered by now.
If the PCB can consult with former ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat and is ready to pay him a hefty sum then why not seek help from those who are willing to assist and are not demanding anything in return? When our own people, with sound reputation abroad, tried to assist the PCB, they were given a cold shoulder.
The return of international cricket to Pakistan is indeed a dream which would hopefully come true sooner rather than later. But the board will have to take small steps instead of trying to jump to the destination. 

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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Bedi calls ICC ‘sleeping giant’, says world body after money & entertainment

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The new laws introduced by the International Cricket Council (ICC) have been received with mixed feelings while one of India’s finest cricketers, Bishan Singh Bedi, believes that, with these innovations, the role of spinners had diminished even further. “I am not in favour of two new balls in an ODI, one ball is enough I believe which can also be changed – if required – after 34-35 overs. In this situation, when will spinners get a chance to excel? Both captains – Misbah & Dhoni – also raised concerns over the fielding regulations”, claimed Bishan Bedi while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“Cricket has always been a batsman’s game but mainly bowlers win matches for their teams. Rules should be fair to all especially spinners and medium fast bowlers.” added Bedi, who has played 67 Test matches for India from 1966 to 1979.

The ICC has recently altered the regulations during an ODI after which a new ball from either end is used while, apart from power-plays, only four fielders are allowed to be stationed outside the inner circle. Fast bowlers have also been provided with a liberty to deliver two bouncers in an over now while, instead of three, now there would be two chunks of power-plays available during an ODI innings.

On the recently concluded cricket series between the arch-rivals, the former left-arm spinner said that Pakistan had outplayed India during the encounters. On India’s performance Bedi was of the view that Dhoni’s captaincy was not up to the mark and the home team looked jaded too.

“The overall standard of Cricket has come down yet the ICC is only concerned about the inner circles and ways to send the ball out of the park to provide entertainment to the spectators. The overall development of the game is not taken care of adequately”, said Bedi

Bishen Singh Bedi also touched upon the concession provided by the ICC to certain bowlers and let them bend the arm up to a certain degree while delivering the ball. “If a person is born with a certain abnormality, then would he be considered eligible to join the armed forces? Rules shouldn’t be altered to accommodate certain individuals”, said Bedi

“Cricket gets tarnished to a level that some 16 bowlers had suspect actions during last World Cup only. The ICC is a sleeping giant to take no notice of all this and let it all happen for the sake of money and entertainment”, concludes Bedi, who has 266 Test wickets to his credit.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Latif urges Afridi to play Domestic Cricket

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan’s former captain and a prolific all-rounder Shahid Khan Afridi has been under the scanner for his mediocre batting form throughout last year hence was advised to take a break from game as well however, the former skipper, Rashid Latif feels that instead of taking a break the all-rounder should revisit his decision to retire from domestic competitions. “I have not seen a problem with Afridi’s fitness in the past year. His batting strike rate was also impressive but the fact of the matter is that he spent very little time at the wicket for his runs. Every batsman needs to give himself time to regain the lost touch and this is where Afridi lacked in the recent past.” said Rashid Latif while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“Afridi scored 182 runs in 13 ODI innings he played in 2012, but faced only 179 deliveries”, Latif points out

Latif further said that unlike others who faced the similar sort of situation in the past, Afridi does not play longer-versions of the domestic events. He advised the all-rounder to revisit his decision.

“Younus, Misbah, Hafeez and others have been through bad patches, however they overcome the hindrance by scoring heavily in the domestic events by spending time in the middle. Afridi should do the same, I feel”, concludes Latif

Shahid Afridi, who has played 27 Test matches for Pakistan, took retirement from the longest version in July 2010. In Test matches, the all-rounder scored 1716 runs with an average of 36.51 which includes five centuries.