Pakistan probables named for Test series against Sri Lanka

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) selection committee has here on Tuesday announced the names of 22 probable players for the forthcoming two-Test home series against Sri Lanka.

The meeting, presided over by chief selector Abdul Qadir, was also attended by the national team’s coach Intikhab Alam and newly-appointed captain Younus Khan besides the members of the selection committee.

The 22 selected probable players will report at the camp to be held in Karachi from February 15.

Younus Khan ahs been appointed captain of the team while former captain Shoaib Malik has also been included in the squad. Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been ruled out due to injury.

Other players are: Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Khurram Manzoor, Misbah-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Asim Kamal, Fawad Alam, Bazid Khan, Saeed Bin Nasir, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat, Danish Kaneria, Shahid Khan Afridi, Umar Gul, Mohammad Talha, Sohail Khan, Abdul Rauf and Saeed Ajmal.

Besides, Kamran Akmal and Sarfaraz Ahmed have been included in the team as wicketkeepers.

As per Abdul Qadir, fitness and performance of the probables will be reviewed in the camp and later the final team will be announced.


Senate committee asks for Butt's resignation

Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ijaz Butt failed to come out with appropriate responses to a number of tough questions fired at him by a 12-member Senate's sports committee at the Parliament House on Monday.

The six-hour long, high-voltage meeting that began with intentions to probe into the national cricket affairs ended with calls for Butt's resignation.

"It is crystal clear that Mr Butt and his team are incapable of running the Board which is why I've asked them to resign for the sake of Pakistan cricket,"
Senator Enver Baig told media after the meeting.

Baig said that he urged Butt to quit as PCB chairman after he failed to come clear on the Javed Miandad controversy and again when he denied writing a letter to the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) to advise him against launching an audit into PCB accounts.

The PCB also drew flak over its controversial hiring and firing policies while the Senators raised suspicions of foul-play in Pakistan's humiliating 234-run defeat in their ODI series finale against Sri Lanka in Lahore last month.

Senator Tahir Mashhadi, another committee member, said that he and fellow Senators were highly disappointed at PCB management's lack of vision.

Butt attracted scathing criticism after it became apparent that he had blocked an attempt by the AGP to carry out an audit into the Board's accounts last November soon after taking over as PCB chief.

"I told Mr Butt that he talks about transparency in financial matters but in the meantime is against any public audit of the PCB accounts,"
said Baig.
"I asked him whether he wrote a letter to the AGP, advising him not to carry out an audit. But he (Butt) claimed he never wrote any such letter. It was a lie because he did write a letter and we (the committee) had copies of it,"
he added.

In the letter, Butt wrote to AGP Tanvir Ali Agha on November 10
"while I am in favour of a special audit so as to ensure transparency... our legal advisor at the PCB has raised a legal objection in relation to the conduct of the special audit".

Mashhadi, meanwhile, emphasised that the PCB chief was also unconvincing while defending his role in the Miandad issue.

Miandad, the former Pakistan captain, stepped down as PCB Director General last month saying that he was not happy with the Board decision to offer him a contract with curtailed authority.

"The PCB chairman was unable to explain to us the reasons why Miandad worked for the PCB without signing a contract for over two months. He was unable to explain why the Board tried to curtail Miandad's role,"
said Mashhadi.

Mashhadi said that when Miandad was appointed as DG, the Board issued a circular on December 4, 2008 in which it was clearly stated that a number of senior officials including Director Game Development, Director International Cricket, Director Domestic, chief selector and Pakistan coach will report to him.

But Mashhadi added that, in the contract offered to Miandad on January 27, his role was restricted to domestic development and "co-ordination with the local authorities in south (Sindh)".

"All 12 members of the committee rejected the Board's contention that Miandad should be equally blamed for the fiasco,"
said Mashhadi.
"We believe that Miandad who is a national hero was treated shabbily by the Board. We have asked the PCB chairman to sit down with Miandad and sort out the issue,"
he added.

Senator Haroon Khan, another committee member, rejected the PCB management's claim that the Board is heading towards bankruptcy.

"At the previous meeting, the Board officials told us that they just have Rs 1.5 billion in the PCB accounts and that it could get bankrupt in six months,"
said Haroon.
"It was a false figure because according to a latest statement submitted by them, the Board has Rs 2.7 billion in its accounts."

Haroon also raised a question mark over PCB's claims that a controversial development project at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium will cost a whopping Rs 470 million because of malpractices by the previous Board management.

"We had summoned the contractor and consultant of the Gaddafi Stadium project today,"
said Haroon.
"They told us that the project will cost Rs 310 million and Rs 470 million was estimated by the Board people."

When grilled on Pakistan's poor showing in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, the coach and chief selector said that they had started their tenures just three months back and needed more time to bring about an improvement in the team's performance.

The Senators also disputed PCB's claim that all-rounder Shoaib Malik had stepped down after the ODI series loss.

"In their report submitted to the PCB, the team coach and manager had recommended that Malik be sacked and Younis (Khan) be appointed as new captain,"
said Baig.
"The press reports we have been reading also say that Malik was sacked but the Board claims that the player had stepped down himself."

Meanwhile, the committee has asked the Board to rethink its hiring and firing policies. The committee also asked the Board to consider rehiring dozens of low-income employees which it fired without following any proper procedure.


Invite World XI to ease concerns - Wasim Akram

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, has suggested the PCB invite a World XI to play matches in the country in order to ease the security concerns of international teams. With teams reluctant to tour Pakistan, Akram felt the board needs to find a "viable solution" to the problem, which is "not going to go away soon".

"We should give priority to inviting a World XI if no country is willing to send teams to Pakistan," Akram told PTI.

"If we offer good money to international cricketers from different countries they will come and this will go a long way in showing the world that it is safe to play cricket in our country."

Recently, the ICC decided not to stage the Champions Trophy in Pakistan after several countries expressed reservations about touring. The event, scheduled for last year, had been postponed in light of security concerns. Australia also cancelled their proposed tour of the country in 2008, and are likely to play the ODI leg of the tour in April at a neutral venue.

Akram said the board could try organising its own Twenty20 league on the lines of the IPL and try to attract players to take part. However, he felt the PCB needed to show focus. Recently, Javed Miandad stepped down from his position as director-general.

"Although the PCB is run by former cricketers I don't see a sense of direction but I think we should give them some time. They should also avoid personal feuds and make a good system and follow it,"

he said.

"All board officials must realise no one person can enjoy or have absolute powers. Major decisions must be taken collectively and that is how a good company is run."

Akram hoped Younis Khan succeeds as Pakistan captain, making up for the inadequacies of his predecessor Shoaib Malik.

"I don't think only Sri Lanka series decided Malik's fate. I think his performance and attitude on and off the field also caused him dearly. I think he had lost the confidence of senior players and I hope Younis Khan will prove himself as a good leader."

Akram advised Younis to keep his calm in leading the side, especially when things went against the team. Akram, who led a Pakistan team to India in a breakthrough series in 1999, said the Pakistan players who have been presently barred from travelling to India for the IPL should be permitted to take part in the tournament if the Indian government gives an assurance about their security.

Will Pakistan Premier League gain success just like Indian Premier League ?