Inzamam looks to county cricket to revive Test career

Friday, June 29, 2007

Training hard, Inzamam insists his Test career isn't yet over

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, has expressed his interest in playing county cricket in a bid to regain his Test place.

"I have offers from league clubs in England but I want to play for a county to ascertain my form and fitness for a place in the Test team,"
Inzamam said.
"I am training hard and am fit. I played a one-day match at the weekend and will continue my efforts to get into the Test side."

Pakistan selectors have said Inzamam will have to prove his fitness to get a place in the home series against South Africa in late September this year. However, there are no further domestic matches in Pakistan, meaning Inzamam is looking to England to gain match practice.

"I have been in touch with people,"

he said,

"and if there is a place vacant in the county I would definitely like to go and play."

Inzamam, who retired from ODIs after Pakistan's disastrous World Cup and resigned from the Test captaincy, has never played for a county in a long and illustrious career. Although the Pakistan Cricket Board left him out from their list of centrally-contracted players, the country's chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said

"the doors of Test cricket are open for him"

Pakistan's one-day team are in Scotland for two one-dayers, against the hosts on Sunday at Edinburgh before facing India in Glasgow next Tuesday.


Shoaib Akhtar wants last crack at Australia

Thursday, June 28, 2007

LAHORE: Fit-again fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar wants to lead Pakistan’s attack against Australia early next year, saying that the world champions bring out the best in him.

The injury-prone 31-year-old paceman is back in the Pakistan team after missing the World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year due to knee problems.

“My best comes against Australia. I am confident that I will keep fit and help my team beat Australia,”
Akhtar said.

The mercurial bowler, who played just one Test this year due to nagging injury problems, said he enjoyed facing India but added that playing Australia boosted his performances.

“It is always exciting to play against India. But Australia bring out the best in me,”
said Akhtar, whose last full series was against the traditional rivals last year. Pakistan are due to travel to India later this year.

“I am gearing up for the full season. I hope I keep fit and play a lead role, especially in our home series against Australia,”
he added.

Akhtar’s three appearances against Australia 1999, 2002 and 2004 each ended with Pakistan losing 3-0.
“I know my fitness will play a major part, but I am confident that I will play my role this season as we have three very important series,”
said Akhtar.

“This is the best I have felt in my entire career,”
said Akhtar, who had twin knee operations last year. He then damaged his hamstring on a tour of South Africa, where he was sent in as a reinforcement.

“I hope this is a new start for me and I will do my best to play continuous cricket. I know what is required of me in Tests as well as in One-day Internationals and I am ready to play my part,”
he added.


PCB asked to submit details of amendments in new constitution

KARACHI: Senator Enver Baig, a member of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Sports, has asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to provide details of the amendments made in the Board’s new constitution.

Baig told this correspondent on Wednesday that he has written to the committee’s secretary to ask the Board to submit the details of the constitution before the committee’s next meeting with the PCB officials to be held in Islamabad in the first week of August.

Baig said that he has also asked the PCB to ‘exactly state where the draft constitution is lying on the day they reply to this letter’.

The PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf had last year promised to implement the Board’s new constitution by January 31, 2007. Almost five months have passed since that deadline but there are no signs of the new constitution. Baig said that he has also asked the Board to submit the salaries and perks enjoyed by 352 employees of the PCB.

He has also asked the PCB to submit reasons why the names of Aamir Bilal (media consultant) and Jehanzeb Afzal (business development manager) were omitted from the list of new appointees since August 2006.


Pakistan cricket team leaves for Scotland

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

LAHORE: Pakistan cricket team Wednesday left for Scotland where it would play two one-day matches.

Pakistani squad would play against Scotland on July1. Prince Charles Trust organized a charity match between Pakistan and India, which would be played on July 3.

The 14- member team and officials would reach Glasgow via Manchester. Younis Khan would join the team in England.

While talking to media before departure, captain Shoaib Malik said that all players including Shoaib Akhter are completely fit and would deliver best performance in Scotland.

Team manager Talat Ali said the team is united and no differences exist regarding captain or vice captain.

Fast bowler Shoaib Akhter said that he would proof fitness in Scotland tour. He termed his come back in team as privilege.


Akhtar's return will boost Pakistan, says Malik

Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, has said that the return of Shoaib Akhtar would boost the team ahead of the one-off ODIs against Scotland and India.
"Akhtar is a proven match-winner and his return has strengthened our bowling attack"

Malik said.

"He is vital to our team and bowled at full throttle in the two practice matches. I'm hopeful he will give his best against India and Scotland".

Malik said that Akhtar had found his rhythm at the two-week training camp held at an army base in Abbottabad. Akhtar had missed the 2007 World Cup due to an injury and was not selected for the Abu Dhabi ODI series against Sri Lanka in May as he had not yet fully recovered.

Akhtar had made the last of his 133 one-day appearances against England in September last year. He played only one Test this year, damaging his hamstring on the second day of the second Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth.

Akhtar, ahead of a busy season for Pakistan, told AFP "I am gearing up for the full season. I hope I keep fit and play a lead role, especially in our home series against Australia.

"I know my fitness will play a major part, but I am confident that I will play my role this season as we have three very important series,"

said Akhtar.

"This is the best I have felt in my entire career. I hope this is a new start for me and I will do my best to play continuous cricket. I know what is required of me in Tests as well as in one-day internationals and I am ready to play my part."

Malik sought to dispel concerns about differences within the team.

"There has been a lot of talk about differences in the team but there is no credibility to it. I have the full backing of the seniors and there are no problems,"

said Malik.

Malik led Pakistan to a 2-1 win over Sri Lanka in a one-day series in Abu Dhabi in May, which he said put the team back on track after the World Cup and the death of coach Bob Woolmer in Jamaica.

"We did well to beat Sri Lanka as they were the losing finalists in the World Cup. The match against India will be a another big test for us,"

said Malik.

"I hope we enter the ground with an aim to win because after this tour we must prepare for the Twenty20 World Championships and then a hectic season awaits us,"

he added.

Pakistan are set to host South Africa after the Twenty20 World Championships and world champions Australia early next year.

Pakistan face Scotland in Edinburgh on July 1 and then play India at Glasgow on July 3 during their short tour.


Inzamam gives the thumbs-up to Whatmore

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, has backed Dav Whatmore to be appointed as coach of the Pakistan team. "He has a lot of experience and a strong coaching background like Bob [Woolmer] did,"Inzamam told Reuters. "He appears most likely to be selected as coach."

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has interviewed three Australians - Whatmore, Geoff Lawson and Richard Done - for the coaching position which fell vacant after the death of Woolmer during the World Cup in March.

Inzamam, who retired from ODIs and stepped down as captain after Pakistan's early exit from the World Cup, said Whatmore had a lot of experience working in the cricket set-up in the region.

"He has coached Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and produced good results. So I think he is the one the board will eventually select.

"The Pakistani players need an experienced and strong coach like Woolmer to guide them and get the best performances out of them. I have always said our team needs a qualified coach."

Inzamam had earlier also stated his intention of wanting to continue playing Test cricket.


Inzamam keen to play on in Tests

Inzamam-ul-Haq, former Pakistan captain, wants to play Test matches for some more time before retiring "in an honourable manner."

Inzamam retired from ODIs after a disastrous World Cup and resigned from the Test captaincy. The PCB is expected to leave out Inzamam from its list of centrally-contracted players, on the basis that he is no longer an ODI player. Further, sounds coming out of the board and selection committee suggest that it may be difficult for Inzamam to find a way back into the team.

"I am not going to play for long but I do want to play a few more Tests as I think I can still contribute to Pakistan cricket,"

Inzamam said at a function where he was feted for his contribution to the game.

"I don't understand why they (selectors) keep on saying things about my form and fitness. Obviously if I am not fit or not in form I myself will not make myself available for selection,"

Inzamam said.

"But the selectors should not make such a big issue of these things. I want to play Test matches but honourably and I also want to finally retire in an honourable manner,"

he added.

Tauqir Zia, the former board chairman, at the same function reminded Inzamam that every player had to go someday, mindful perhaps that few Pakistan players have ever left the game graciously.

"What I would advise Inzamam is to accept whatever the board and selectors decide for him. What they decide, will be in the national interest and their decision must be accepted sportingly by him,"

Tauqir said.

Inzamam, who has played 119 Tests and 378 One-day Internationals (ODIs) for Pakistan, ruled out reversing his retirement from ODIs and said once a player retired, he should stay retired.

"It is never easy for a professional cricketer, who has represented his country for 17 years, to forget the past and adopt a new lifestyle. But I have taken my decision on one-dayers," he said.


Pakistan cricket team’s new coach by July 1

Friday, June 22, 2007

KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Dr. Nasim Ashraf said that this impression is wrong that Dave Whatmore had not applied for the position of coach.

Talking with media at the National Stadium, Karachi, Nasim Ashraf said that after consulting with the captain and players, the nomination of new coach would be announced by July 1.

He said that fast bowler Mohammad Asif was removed from the position of vice captain not on the pressure of ICC or doping case. Salman Butt has the potential of leadership and it is therefore he has been appointed vice captain.

He said that Rs.800 million have been allocated in the PCB budget for upgrading of grounds.


Military training camp comes to an end

The military training camp organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to improve the players' fitness levels finishes today with the team in a great shape for the forthcoming season, according to Major Mohammad Arif, the camp instructor. The 20-member squad attended the camp in Abbottabad for 15 days to prepare for a season that starts off next month and includes Test series against South Africa, India, Australia as well as the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship.

"The players were initially frightened about the concept but once they started enjoying exercises they did extra work,"

said Arif. According to him, the camp would leave them ready to face Australia.
"Sports mean fitness and if the players continue to train in army ways, I am sure they can compete with Australia in fitness."

While Shahid Afridi, Pakistan's dashing allrounder and now a senior member of the team, was described as the fittest of the lot, Shoaib Akhtar was told to lose weight and to

"his stamina and flexibility."

Akhtar himself was convinced the experience at the camp would benefit him immensely in the future.

"We trained the best way and I am sure these exercises will help me in the long run."

Lectures on how to prevent frequent injuries were also delivered to go with the physical training and Shoaib Malik, Pakistan captain, was in no doubt that the players had not only enjoyed the camp but had gained a lot from the experience.

"It was wonderful and there were no distractions for the players as in the camps held previously. We had a wonderful time and hope such camps are held regularly."

Pakistan leave for a short tour of Scotland next week where they will take on the hosts on July 1 before pitting up against India on July 3.


Whatmore heads to Pakistan for interview

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dav Whatmore arrives in Pakistan on Wednesday hoping to push further his credentials as the next coach of Pakistan. Whatmore will be interviewed by the PCB on Thursday as a potential candidate for the position, the third Australian the board has interviewed this week.

Earlier in the week, Richard Done, the ICC high-performance manager and former New South Wales fast bowler, and Geoff Lawson, former Test cricketer, were also interviewed. Lawson yesterday visited the national team's conditioning camp currently underway in Abbottabad, meeting with senior players and officials.

One of the three will become Pakistan's coach though Zakir Khan, director operations PCB and a member of the three-man committee to find a coach, stressed again the decision will not be taken in haste.

Khan didn't confirm that an appointment will be made by July 1, the date set by chairman Nasim Ashraf, to announce a new coach to succeed the late Bob Woolmer.

"It is premature to give an exact date right now. After the interviews of the three, our committee will compile a report and present our choice to the chairman, who will take it to the ad-hoc committee. Only then will a decision be made,"

Khan told Cricinfo.

The board has been tight-lipped about its preferences from the three in recent days. Khan said that the interviews had gone well and that all three had excellent qualifications.

"They were shortlisted because of their qualifications and on the basis of past achievements."

Until recently, Whatmore was understood to be the board's top choice, the only hitch being his interest in the position of India coach. With that now out of the way, the path appears clear for Whatmore to take over. But the board is said to be impressed by Done as well, and he would seemingly fit in with some officials' wishes that the new coach be a low-key personality willing to prove himself internationally with Pakistan.

Meanwhile Javed Miandad, former captain and three-time coach, continued his criticism of the board's policy for selecting a coach by pointing out that Lawson had not officially applied for the position.

Miandad disagreed with the board's decision to publicly advertise the vacancy and invite applications arguing that no coach of substance would apply in such a way. Lawson made clear before arriving in Pakistan that the board had contacted him and not the other way round.

Miandad told Dawn,

"Now I ask the PCB: where does it stand? Instead of considering the applications of those candidates who have applied for the post, it is contacting those who did not apply."


Pakistan unveils hectic home season

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) unveiled a hectic international home season that includes hosting South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia.

South Africa arrive first and are scheduled to play two Tests and five ODIs between September 26 and October 29. Pakistan then tour India from November 2 to December 13 for three Tests and five ODIs.

Zimbabwe are scheduled to arrive for a series of five one-day internationals in January and February next year while world champions Australia tour from March 10 to April 27, 2008. Soon after, Pakistan will also host the Asia Cup.

The U-19 and A teams are likely to be as busy. Pakistan U-19 travel to England this July, while their Australian and Bangladeshi counterparts are expected to tour Pakistan in October and November. Pakistan then return to Bangladesh before taking part in the U-19 World Cup in Malaysia in February. The Australia A team also tours Pakistan in September.

Meanwhile, the PCB is confident that South Africa will have no problems playing a Test in Karachi in October.

"We have sent a tentative itinerary to the South Africans which includes Karachi as a venue for one of the two Tests,"

Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer, told the reporter. The city is in line to hold an ODI as well.

Naghmi added that thus far, South African officials had not raised any objections though the final itinerary will only be announced after full approval from board officials. He also added that it is unlikely South Africa will send officials to inspect security arrangements before the tour. "We have assured them that the South African cricketers will get foolproof security cover."

Karachi has missed out on international matches in the recent past due to security concerns. After the events of September 11, 2001 and in particular, May 14, 2002, when a bomb blast outside the visiting New Zealand team's hotel killed 14 people, Australia, West Indies, South Africa, India and England have all refused to play Tests in the port city.

The trend was broken last year when England played an ODI there and India stayed for a Test.


Cricket South Africa okays Karachi as Test venue

KARACHI: South African cricket officials have given the green light to their national team playing a Test match in Karachi during a tour of Pakistan this fall.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told the reporter on Tuesday that the South African cricket board (Cricket South Africa) has okayed Karachi as one of the two Test venues during their team’s tour of Pakistan from September 26 to October 29 this year.

“We have sent a tentative itinerary to the South Africans for the series in October which includes Karachi as venue for one of the two Tests,”
said Shafqat Naghmi, PCB’s Chief Operating Officer.

In the past, Karachi has been rejected as a Test venue by England, South Africa and India since a bomb blast outside the New Zealand’s team hotel in May 2002 killed 14 people including 11 French naval engineers.

Naghmi said that the PCB wants Karachi to host a Test and a one-dayer during the series against South Africa as it is among the country’s major cricket centres.

He said that the itinerary prepared by PCB officials had Karachi and Lahore as the venues of the two Tests adding that the one-dayers would take place in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan.

Naghmi said that the Board will announce the schedule of the series against South Africa after final approval from top officials.
“The South African officials have agreed to the itinerary sent by us without raising any objections,”
he said.

Naghmi said that it is highly unlikely that the South Africans will send any experts to Pakistan to inspect security measures.
“We have assured them that the South African cricketers will get fool-proof security cover during the tour,”
he said.

Pakistan became a no-go area for foreign cricket teams in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Teams like Australia and the West Indies refused to play in Pakistan because of security fears.


Central contracts list finalised; Inzamam snubbed

KARACHI: National selectors have ignored former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq while finalising a list of 30 players to be submitted today to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for issuance of central contracts.

Well-placed sources told ‘The News’ on Tuesday that the members of the national selection committee have reached a consensus on the list of players to be recommended for new central contracts. They have decided against recommending Inzamam for a central contract but have opted to keep in the list all other leading national cricketers who were previously given contracts by the PCB.

Sources said that the selectors have snubbed Inzamam mainly because they do not think that the 37-year-old batsman is valuable for the Pakistan team any more.

However, the official reason to be given for his omission would be the fact that Inzamam is only available to play Tests following his decision to retire from ODIs.

Inzamam was at the helm of Pakistan’s disastrous World Cup campaign this March when they crashed out of the 16-nation spectacle following defeats against the West Indies and underdogs Ireland. The Multan-born player resigned as Pakistan captain and also announced quitting ODI cricket following the debacle.

Sources said that the Board has given clear instructions to the national committee that is headed by former Test cricketer Salahuddin Ahmed to only consider players who are available for national duty both for Tests and one-dayers.

Inzamam, who has 8813 runs from 119 Tests and is one of the highest run-getters in ODI cricket (11739 runs from 378 games), fell out of favour with top PCB officials following the World Cup disappointment and was later singled out as the chief villain behind the disaster by a probe committee appointed by the Board.

The selectors were asked by the Board to submit a list of 30 players whom they believe should get central contracts.

The PCB officials will discuss this week the list to be submitted by the national selection committee and will later award central contracts to 20 players. The contracts will come into effect from July 1.

A new pay formula, which the PCB official say would reward performance more than seniority was approved by the Board’s ad-hoc committee in Bhurban last week.

The PCB suspended the previous contracts following Pakistan’s first-round exit from the World Cup in the Caribbean.

Sources said that the selectors have included several young players in the list including talented all-rounder Fawad Alam and pacers Najaf Shah, Abdul Rauf and Mohammad Irshad. Second string players like batsmen Hassan Raza and Asim Kamal have also been recommended.
The selection committee that also includes former Test cricketers Shafqat Rana and Saleem Jaffar has also included discarded Test opener Imran Farhat in the list.

The left-handed batsman was fined by the Board last month over misconduct. Imran had an argument with the chief selector after he was dropped from the Pakistan squad for a three-match series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi.


Pakistan may play 33 ODIs within ten months

KARACHI: Pakistan on Tuesday announced a hectic international calendar for the national cricket team that would play eight Tests and 20 one-dayers within a span of just over six months.

The Pakistanis will be playing against three of the world’s top teams — South Africa, India and Australia between October and March at home and away.

Pakistan may play a total of 33 one-dayers from July 2007 to April 2008 (when they host the Asia Cup) if they made it to the final of the triangular event in Bangladesh and the Asia Cup.
The schedule announced by the Board also includes details of Pakistan ‘A’ and Under-19 team’s assignments over the next 12 months.

Pakistan will warm-up for the season with a couple if one-day games against Scotland and India in Scotland early next month. They would later feature in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup to be held in South Africa from September 12-24. The Board has announced that Pakistan will figure in a Twenty20 tournament either in Toronto or Nairobi in August to warm-up for the Twenty20 World Cup.

Zakir Khan, PCB’s Director Cricket Operations, said that the schedule has been released by the Board in advance so that the national cricketers and selectors can make plans accordingly.
Zakir, a former Test cricketer, said that the next home season is of ‘exceptional importance’ to the national team, pointing out that Pakistan will host two of the cricket’s world’s top teams — South Africa and Australia. Pakistan will also host Zimbabwe for a one-day series in January-February apart from hosting the Asia Cup in April-May.

Pakistan will host the South Africans for two Tests and three one-dayers in October this year. Towards the end of the season, Australia will tour Pakistan in March-April to play three Tests, five One-day Internationals (ODIs) and a Twenty20 game. It would be the first Twenty20 international on Pakistani soil.

Between the two home assignments, Pakistan will tour India for three Tests and five one-dayers during November-December.

Also included in the schedule is a triangular tournament to be held in May in Bangladesh involving Pakistan, India and the hosts.

With an eye on the 2008 Junior World Cup, the Board has also chalked out an extensive calendar of activities for the Pakistan under-19 team. Pakistan will defend the title in the Under-19 World Cup to be held in Malaysia from February 17 to March 2.

The Under-19 cricketers would tour England from July 25 to August 25. They would later play against Australia’s Under-19 team at home from September 1-13. The Bangladesh Under-19 squad would tour Pakistan from November 7-27 and later the Pakistani juniors will pay a return tour to Bangladesh during January-February just before the Under-19 World Cup.

Pakistan’s A team also has an international assignment assignments coming up this season. Australia A will tour Pakistan for a series from September 1-23.


New coach to be nominated in July: Nasim Ashraf

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

BHURBAN: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Dr. Nasim Ashraf said that both Richard Done and Geoff Lawson are determined for coaching the Pakistan cricket team.

The name of the new coach of the national cricket team will definitely be announced in July after the interview of Dave Whatmore.

He was talking with Abid Malik of News in Bhurban.


Lawson ‘honoured’ to be Pakistan coach candidate

BHURBAN, Pakistan: Former Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson said on Monday he was honoured to be a candidate to coach Pakistan, saying it was one of the top jobs in world cricket.
Lawson, 49, is one of three Australians shortlisted to replace Bob Woolmer along with former Bangladesh coach Dav Whatmore and Richard Done.
“I am honoured and feel great pride to be among the running candidates".

“Pakistan have a bright future and that’s what took me here,”

Lawson told reporters in Bhurban.
“It is one of the most important jobs in world cricket. I am actually in the running and it is great to be back in Pakistan after 25 years,”
said Lawson, part of the Australian team who lost 3-0 in a Test series here in 1982.

Lawson, who took 180 wickets in 46 Tests between 1980 to 1987, arrived here early Monday and was interviewed by a three-member Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) panel in the afternoon. He admitted he was initially reluctant to come but changed his mind after last week’s announcement by Jamaican police that Woolmer died of natural causes and was not murdered, as initially announced.

“It is fair to say that I changed my mind after it was announced Woolmer died of natural causes. I mean, there could not have been any other reason and had it been I would not have been here,”
said Lawson.

The Australian said it was “disappointing” to see Pakistan dumped out of the World Cup by outsiders Ireland in March.
“They are impressive when they play well and are frustrating when they play bad but they still are a good group of men who can be motivated,”
Lawson said of the Pakistan team, whom he will meet on Tuesday (today).
“I have been a great admirer of Pakistan players, having watched their matches in early mornings in Australia and met some players”
while working with the media, he said.


Kenya hoping to stage Twenty20 warm-ups

Cricket Kenya is hoping to stage some international Twenty20 matches in Nairobi in early September in the build-up to the Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa.

Samir Inamdar, Cricket Kenya's chairman, told Cricinfo that Pakistan had said they were very keen to play and Bangladesh were also interested. West Indies had also been invited but there is still speculation that they will play their warm-ups in Canada.

With the World Championships starting in the second week of September, a number of sides who are not overly familiar with the format are keen to get as much experience as possible.


Sialkot Stallions on second spot in Twenty20 rankings

LONDON: With no domestic Twenty20 games played last month, Australia’s Victorian Bushrangers, winners of back to back titles, remain at the top of the rankings for a fifth month with Pakistan’s Sialkot Stallions in second place followed by Surrey Brown Caps (3rd), Leicestershire Foxes (4th) and Somerset Sabres (5th) — all from England.

In sixth place are the Karachi Dolphins (Pakistan), followed closely by Tamil Nadu (India), winners of the first ever Inter-State Twenty20 Cup. Lahore Lions (Pakistan) are at eighth spot while Sri Lanka’s Chilaw Marians CC are at ninth.

The top ten is rounded out by another Pakistani team, Faisalabad Wolves, who were the winners of 2005 ABN-Amro Twenty20 Cup. However, the rankings will see some major changes this month though when the Twenty20 Cup starts in England.

Surrey, Leicestershire and Somerset will all be looking to move up the table and overtake the Bushrangers to claim the number one spot. As many as 92 teams from England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India have all been rated and included in the Bartercard Power Rankings.

The ratings are based on a number of important factors including runs scored, totals chased, loss of wickets and margins of victory. A team’s rating is then worked out by dividing the points scored in each game by the number of matches played; the totals are then given to the nearest whole number.

Team/Country Matches Pts Ranking
1. Victorian Bushrangers AUS 7 1761 221
2. Sialkot Stallions PAK 15 3314 220
3. Surrey Brown Caps ENG 33 7130 216
4. Leicestershire Foxes ENG 32 6900 215
5. Somerset Sabres ENG 27 5786 214
6. Karachi Dolphins PAK 16 3412 213
7. Tamil Nadu IND 10 2114 211
8. Lahore Lions PAK 11 2329 211
9. Chilaw Marians CC SL 13 2705 208
10. Faisalabad Wolves PAK 16 3336 208
11. Warwickshire Bears ENG 28 5805 207
12.Lahore Eagles PAK 14 2888 206
13. Yorkshire Phoenix ENG 25 5099 204
14. Glamorgan Dragons ENG 26 5256 202
15. Rawalpindi Rams PAK 10 2006 200
16. Gloucestershire Gladiators ENG 24 4804 200
17. Karachi Zebras PAK 11 2194 199
18. Punjab IND 10 1965 197
19. Northamptonshire Steelbacks ENG 25 4921 197
20. Peshawar Panthers PAK 10 1965 196


NBP Cricket Academy by July end

KARACHI: The work for establishing the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Cricket Academy is in its final stage and hopefully it would start functioning by the last week of July. Chief of the SEVP Operation Group NBP, Dr Asif Brohi, announced this while inaugurating the second semifinal of the NBP-KCCA Inter-Club Cricket Tournament here. Dr Asif Brohi said NBP has been contributing a lot in the promotion of major sports in big cities besides regional sports and said that the bank would organise 60 sports this year in different cities and towns of the country with participation of women also. Chief of the sports section Iqbal Qasim, Gul Faraz Khan, Ghulam Muhammad Khan, international umpire Syed Afzal Rizvi and others were also present.


Organisers not to open joint account for 2011 World Cup

Monday, June 18, 2007

BHURBAN: Cricket World Cup 2011Organising Committee has decided not to open joint account for the mega event, in its first meeting in this northern Pakistani hill resort on Monday.

The meeting was attended by Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India Sharad Pawar, CEO of Bangladesh Cricket Board Mehmood-ur-Rahman, chief executive Sri Lankan Cricket Board Dilip Mendies and other top cricket officials of the South Asian nations hosting the 2011 cricket World Cup.

The committee was looking at common visas for India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, following a pattern established by Caribbean nations for this year's competition, officials said.

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf said that the committee would ask the ICC for grants to develop cricket grounds in all four countries,

"like they gave to the Caribbean countries,"

said Ashraf.

Ashraf said that Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad would host the World Cup matches in Pakistan.

The inaugural ceremony of the event will be held in Dhaka, while Lahore and Colombo will host semifinals and final of mega event will be held in Mumbai.

The organizers promised to hold a spectator-friendly tournament with affordable ticket prices.

"We promise a spectator- and media-friendly World Cup in four years time,"

said Sharad Pawar, chairman BCCI.

"We will make unrelenting efforts to make the event a spectacular one so that more and more people come and watch the best cricket,"

said Pawar.

"We assure that prices of the tickets will be affordable to the local paying capacity,"

said Pawar.

He said the committee was looking at common visas for India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, following a pattern established by Caribbean nations for this year's competition.

"The possibility of a common visa will also be explored through talks with governments,"

said Pawar.

The meeting also chose Pakistan's eastern cultural hub of Lahore as the headquarters of the World Cup 2011.

The four countries from the subcontinent beat a joint bid from Australia and New Zealand to stage the 2011 World Cup. Australia and New Zealand will now have the 2015 edition.

The next organising committee meeting will be held in India in November-December this year.


Salman Butt named Malik's deputy

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has appointed Salman Butt as Pakistan's vice-captain until December. The decision was taken by the board's ad-hoc committee meeting and Butt thus replaces Mohammad Asif, who was named Shoaib Malik's deputy for the recent Abu Dhabi series against Sri Lanka.

Butt, 22, made his Test debut against Bangladesh in 2003 but has only featured in 13 Tests since, due to a combination of his own inconsistency and that of the selection committee. He was not part of Pakistan's dismal World Cup performance but was brought back to partner Imran Nazir at the top of the order in Abu Dhabi. His first outing as vice-captain will be in Edinburgh against Scotland followed by an ODI against India at Glasgow.

Meanwhile, Nasim Ashraf, chairman PCB, said that a central contracts structure has also been approved. Central contracts will come in three categories, as before, but will now give greater consideration to performance in the last year (40%) and also take into account aspects such as fitness (20%), discipline (20%) and seniority (20%). categories for the central contracts that are to be issued shortly. Three slabs remain in the monthly retainer: a category A contract amounts to Rs3 million, category B to Rs2.5 million and category C will be Rs1.8 million annually.

There are also increases in match fees for ODIs with greater incentives also on offer, though the fees will be the same for all players. The contracts, Ashraf added, will be based on performances as judged by the ICC player rankings. The board is aiming to award all central contracts by July 1.


PCB meeting suggests ‘one first-class championship’

Sunday, June 17, 2007

KARACHI: For the third time in an eight-year span, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to tamper with the domestic cricket structure, aiming to put the various regions and departments together in a single first-class championship.

Among the various decisions taken regarding cricket within Pakistan, in a domestic cricket meeting arranged at the hill resort of Bhurban on Saturday, one detailed that now there will be “one first-class championship including regions and departments”.

This experiment has been conducted before. A total of 23 teams were put together in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy Championship in 1999-00 and again there were 24 teams in the same competition held in 2002-03.

On either occasion, a department — Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) — emerged as the champion. In both instances, the system of having separate tournaments for regions/associations and departments was embraced again in subsequent seasons. The PCB meeting lists the “promotion/relegation system” at number two, something which is already in vogue here. The hope to have “overseas players” in our domestic cricket is expressed again.

An item mentions there will be “regional selectors plus PCB representatives” for each team. First-class cricketers are to be compensated — monetarily, most probably. The PCB also intends to “monitor” matches.

Club and school cricket will be run by associations but is to be financed by the PCB. There will be input of regions/associations in selection of regional coaches and funds will be raised for regional cricket associations “locally”.

There will be a sub-committee of the Board, the purpose of which was not quite clear and it has been suggested that regional and department representatives will form an “Advisory Council”.

More old wine in new bottles is the idea that “selection of regional teams not limited to squad but allowed to select any (guest) player”. The Regional Development Managers (RDMs) and Regional Development Officers (RDOs) will “support regional set-ups”.

The Pentangular tournament will be “for the 100 best players — provinces or zones”. The advisory council will meet quarterly, but initially it will have monthly meetings.

The structure of the first-class method will however be worked out in detail later. All national players will be urged to play first-class (domestic) cricket: “through central contracts”.

The next meeting of the PCB Advisory Council is to be held in Karachi on July 16. In Bhurban, the meeting was attented by all regional presidents, representatives of the eight departments that play first-class cricket, ex-cricketers and PCB officials and was chaired by the PCB Chief Dr Nasim Ashraf.


Done interviews for Pakistan coaching job

Pakistan have interviewed Richard Done, the former New South Wales bowler and ICC High Performance Manager, for the position of coach, a post they hope to fill in before the team tours Scotland in July.

Done, 51, is part of Pakistan's coaches' shortlist along with fellow Australians Dav Whatmore and Geoff Lawson. Ahsan Malik, the Pakistan board's communications director, confirmed that Done had been interviewed and that the board expected to interview the other two candidates by next week.

Done, who took over as ICC's High Performance Manager from Bob Woolmer in 2004 after the latter was appointed Pakistan's coach, previously visited Pakistan in 2001 on a coaching assignment with the National Academy in Lahore. His main area of focus on that visit was to give guidance on coach training and suggestions on Academy work.

Apart from his stint with the ICC, Done also worked with the Australian Academy and the Queensland Academy of Sport. He played 10 first-class matches and took 21 wickets at 41.76.


Shoaib, Younis included in Pakistan squad

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Shoaib Akhtar and Younis Khan have been named in the Pakistan squad to provide much-needed experience in the wake of Inzamam's retirement

Shoaib Akhtar and Younis Khan have been named in the 15-man squad for Pakistan's short trip to Scotland. While Younis opted to honour his county commitment by making himself unavailable for national selection after the World Cup, Akhtar not only missed the World Cup due to injury but was also left out of the squad for the Abu Dhabi series against Sri Lanka.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said Akhtar's fitness is a good omen for Pakistan. "A fit Akhtar is an asset for Pakistan and we have watched him bowl so he was included," said Salauddin after picking the squad to play hosts Scotland on July 1 in Edinburgh followed by an ODI against India in Glasgow on July 3.

Akhtar, too, was delighted to be back in the national fold after proving his fitness as he was dropped from the Asian squad for the recently-concluded Afro-Asia Cup on fitness grounds. "I am happy and look forward to play for Pakistan once more. I have been bowling with full throttle and intensity and hope to do well," he said.

Younis, former vice captain, also returns to stabilise the middle-order after previously making himself unavailable for Pakistan until the end of the county season. Fawad Alam, after a disappointing debut in Abu Dhabi, has been retained in the squad but there is no room for the tall Najaf Shah due to the presence of the experienced quartet of Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif and Rao Iftikhar. Mohammad Hafeez was dropped as well after playing only one match in the Abu Dhabi series while Abdul Rehman, the left-arm spinner, also missed out as Pakistan chose to rely on allrounders for the spin department.

Pakistan squad: Shoaib Malik (captain), Imran Nazir, Salman Butt, Younis Khan, Yasir Hameed, Mohammad Yousuf, Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Rao Iftikhar, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sami.


Pakistan shortlist Aussie Geoff Lawson for coach

SYDNEY: The obsession with cricket coaches from Australia continues unabated, with Geoff Lawson summoned to Pakistan for talks as a possible replacement for the late Bob Woolmer.

He is one of three on Pakistan’s short list with compatriots Dav Whatmore & ICC high performance manager Richard Done, left-arm former fast bowler who was Lawson’s new ball partner for NSW Colts in 1977.

Former NSW and New Zealand coach Steve Rixon was also sounded out several weeks ago but rejected the approach due to safety concerns.

However, the position has become more palatable in recent days when police investigators reversed a finding of murder surrounding the death of Woolmer during the World Cup at Kingston, Jamaica.

The latest revelations on Pakistan’s coaching position come as another Australian, NSW coach and former batsman Trevor Bayliss, was appointed coach of Sri Lanka overnight.

He is the fifth Australian to take charge of Sri Lanka in little more than a decade behind Whatmore, Bruce Yardley, John Dyson and Tom Moody.

Should an Australian be appointed to the Pakistan job only two of the 10 Test playing countries, England and South Africa, will not have had an Australian coach in the past decade.

Pakistan requested Lawson make himself available soon and he was stranded in Sydney on Friday after being unable to obtain a visa from the Pakistan High Commission in Canberra. He was hoping to fly out on Saturday
“once paper work has been done”.

“It’s a significant challenge,”
Lawson said of coaching Pakistan.
“They’re an underachieving team with plenty of talent. I’m flattered I’ve even been invited I suppose. I certainly haven’t been chasing it. At short notice they asked me to come to Islamabad for an interview.”

Lawson, 49, took 180 wickets in 46 Tests between 1980-1989 before finishing his career as NSW captain and later became state coach. He is a long standing fast bowling coach with NSW and recently held the position of advising junior coaches.


Pakistan all set for a return to ‘full strength’ today

KARACHI: Pakistani cricket officials are confident that their team would return to ‘full strength’ for a mouth-watering One-day International (ODI) clash against old rivals India in Glasgow early next month.

Pace star Shoaib Akhtar is certain to make his international return in the one-dayer while former vice-captain Younis Khan is also likely to make a comeback in the side after missing last month’s three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi because of county commitments.

Pakistan are to announce today their squad for the brief tour of Scotland that would also include a one-dayer against Scotland, also in Glasgow.

“After quite some time we have almost all our top players completely fit and available for selection,”
team manager Talat Ali told ‘The News’ on Friday from Abbottabad where leading national cricketers are currently attending a training camp.

“I’m confident that we will finally have a full strength team for the tour of Scotland and that is a very positive sign for Pakistan,”
added Talat, a former Pakistan Test cricketer.

Pakistan have been plagued by injuries to some of their key players in recent times and were also dogged by a drug scandal involving key strike bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.

The 1992 champions crashed out of the 2007 World Cup in March following a shock defeat against underdogs Ireland and one of the reasons behind the disastrous show in the Caribbean was the fact that they were without Shoaib and Asif.

The lanky Asif, a medium-pacer returned to the side for the series in Abu Dhabi, and now Shoaib’s expected return would make Pakistan’s bowling attack that also has medium pacer Umar Gul and fast bowler Mohammad Sami a formidable one.

“It is very important that all of our leading players are back in the side ahead of what is a very hectic and important season for us,”
said Talat.

Pakistan are to figure in the inaugural Twenty20 Cup in South Africa in September — an event that would serve as an appetizer to a sumptuous course of cricket over a six-month period when they would face three of the world’s top teams — South Africa, India and Australia — either at home or away.

National selectors will announce the squad for the tour of Scotland today fully aware that the player they are going to pick will go on to play for Pakistan during the hectic season.

Chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed alias Sallu will name the team after a meeting of the selection committee that also includes two more former Test cricketers Shafqat Rana and Saleem Jaffar.

They are likely to make a few changes in the side that beat Sri Lanka 2-1 in the Abu Dhabi series. Shoaib will be brought in along with Younis Khan. Young all-rounder Fawad Alam is expected to be retained in spite of a first ball duck on his debut in the Abu Dhabi series.

The Pakistan team will continue training for the next ten days in a bid to improve their fitness.
“Our emphasis remains on improving the fitness of the players,”
said Talat.
“We have the services of a team of excellent Army trainers and want to make full use of it,”
he explained.


University students to help PCB lay ‘bouncy’ pitches

KARACHI: After experimenting with the idea of getting foreign help, Pakistani cricket officials are now looking towards home-grown experts in a bid to prepare lively pitches around the country, writes Khalid Hussain.

Shafqat Naghmi, Pakistan Cricket Board’s Chief Operating Officer, told ‘The News’ that a local engineering university has offered to assist the PCB in its plan to lay fast and bouncy tracks in several of the country’s cricket grounds.

“We have accepted a proposal from an engineering university which has offered to help us prepare bouncy pitches,”
Naghmi said.

He said that in return the university administration has requested the Board to sponsor a thesis on the making of cricket pitches.
“We will sponsor the university programme because it might be helpful for us,”
he said.

The PCB is planning to have 90 ‘bouncy’ pitches in grounds all over Pakistan by October this year in a bid to allow hundreds of Test, international and domestic cricketers to train and play on more challenging surfaces.

Pakistani batsmen generally struggle against teams like Australia, South Africa and England on away tours mainly because they are not used to playing on fast and bouncy tracks.

In the past, national cricket officials have tried to get foreign help for preparation of lively tracks at home but failed to achieve the desired results.

“Our problem is that in Pakistan the soil has more clay content than sand and that combination makes it sure that the wickets are soft and offer little bounce,”
said Naghmi.

“The proposal we have received from the university says that they can find a workable solution for this problem provided the Board released funds for some research work they intend to carry out,”
he added.

Naghmi said that the PCB is planning to issue guidelines to local pitch curators one of which would be to avoid shaving off the grass from wickets for domestic matches.
“On the kind of surfaces we have here in Pakistan, you should have some grass on the wicket to make it sure that it doesn’t become a batting paradise,”
he added.

However, Naghmi made it clear that the decision to shave the grass or keep it ahead of international matches would that be of the team management.

He was confident that the project aimed at preparing wickets with significant bounce in various cricket grounds will be completed in the next four months.

The Board wants to lay new pitches in ten grounds in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad and Quetta.


Shorter World Cup means less money, says official

Friday, June 15, 2007

Officials from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will meet on June 18 in the Pakistani summer resort of Bhurban to discuss matters relating to the 2011 World Cup, according to Saleem Altaf, the chief executive officer of the World Cup organising committee.

Altaf, speaking to The News, said that the officials from all four countries jointly hosting the World Cup would work out a method to meet initial expenses in the setting up as well as the running of the various organising committees.

Altaf said that the issue of generating seed money for the organising committee is expected to be settled during the meet.

"We need around US$500,000 for the initial expenses. This amount will be shared equally by the four boards,"

said Altaf. He stated that the organisers of the World Cup would also take steps towards opening a joint account during the meeting.

In addition, officials from India would speak on their experience of hosting the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy and on the expenses involved. The frequency of future meetings of the central organising committee and the setting up of local organising committees would also be discussed at the meet.

"We have to see whether all the boards are ready to put the local organising committees in place by February 2008, three years before the World Cup,"

he said.

On the issue of a shorter World Cup, Altaf said that the final decision would come from the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"A shorter World Cup would mean less money and we are not happy with that. But the final decision would come from the ICC executive board,"

he explained.


Pakistan not to extend contracts of support staff

The Pakistan board has decided not extend the contracts of trainer Murray Stevenson and physiotherapist Darryn Lifson who had been working as the team's support staff under coach Bob Woolmer.

"We are not extending the contracts of Woolmer's support staff after their tenures finished this month," PCB operations director Zakir Khan told AFP.

Lifson and Stevenson, both from South Africa, were hired on Woolmer's recommendation in 2004. The duo were with the Pakistan team during the World Cup and they returned to South Africa two weeks after Woolmer's death.

Khan said the PCB was assessing its options on hiring a new trainer and a physiotherapist. "We have identified some new people and will hopefully decide before Pakistan's tour to Scotland early next month," said Khan. Pakistan are due play one-off internationals with India and Scotland in Glasgow after which they will head to South Africa for the Twenty20 World Cup in September before visiting India for five ODIs and three Tests.

Pakistan are also due to choose Woolmer's successor later this week.


‘Time to move on after Woolmer nightmare’

Thursday, June 14, 2007

KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket chief said on Wednesday it was time for the national team to move on after Jamaican police revealed that coach Bob Woolmer was not murdered after all, but died of natural causes.

Nasim Ashraf, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said he was glad to see the end of a “traumatic” three months that began when Woolmer’s body was found in his hotel during the World Cup in the Caribbean.

“The chapter of Woolmer’s death is closed and we feel it’s time to move on,”
Ashraf told in his first comments since the announcement by Jamaican police late on Tuesday.

Cricket legend-turned-politician Imran Khan and some current players have called for the PCB to sue the Caribbean investigators because of the way the Pakistani team and the country were cast in a bad light by the affair.

But Ashraf appeared to rule out taking any legal action.
“I have given you Pakistan’s stance and I don’t want to comment on what individuals say,”
Ashraf said when asked if the PCB would take the Jamaican police to court.

The cricket board chairman said the case was made more difficult by “hurtful” speculation in the media, which threw allegations about gambling, poisoned champagne and even Al-Qaeda into the mix.

“There was a lot of unhealthy speculation about the cause of his death over the last few months, none of which eased the pressure,”
said Ashraf.

“We fully co-operated with the authorities so that the truth comes out in the case, (we) sent our diplomats and investigators to help them and we are now glad that the true findings have come out,”
he expressed.

The PCB head said that Pakistan would name the training facilities at its national cricket academy after Woolmer to honour his memory.

“Woolmer was literally a family member to us and we will always remember his services to Pakistan cricket,”
said Ashraf.

“I personally went to Cape Town to his funeral and consoled with his widow Gill and will continue to remember Woolmer as a great friend of Pakistan cricket,”
he added.

Looking to the future, Ashraf said Pakistan was rebuilding its side, which has also been hit by a series of crises over the past year including the Oval Test fiasco and a doping scandal.

Shoaib Malik has replaced Inzamam as captain to give the team a fresh start. The PCB is also nearing the end of an international hunt for a new coach.

Former Pakistan captain and coach Intikhab Alam said Pakistan should seek an apology from the Jamaican police but added that it was “too late” for any legal action. He said Pakistan also had to learn from the debacle.


Handing over of Niaz Stadium to PCB in doldrums

HYDERABAD: The handing over of the Niaz Stadium, Hyderabad to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is lying in pending but the Board officials said that the agreement with the district government for handing over the stadium to PCB would be finalized next month.

In the past, the Niaz Stadium Hyderabad was utilized as wedding lawn and heli-pad for the arrival of the higher personalities. The Supreme Court itself took notice of the stadium’s utilization for wedding ceremonies.

Later, on the directive of the president General Pervez Musharraf, former chairman PCB Shaharyar Khan took over the control of the stadium and decided to renovate it up to the standard of an international stadium. For this, he made correspondence with the Hyderabad’s district administration but after his resignation the matter was put in pending.

On the other hand, a PCB official Abdul Hussain Shah claimed that the agreement between the PCB and the district government of Hyderabad would be finalized next month.

As per the ICC rules, a five-star hotel in the city is must for holding international matches at a stadium. In this connection, Hyderabad’s district government had got a Sindh government approval for building a hotel on a government land adjacent to the Niaz Stadium.

The citizens of Hyderabad demanded the PCB to take over the Niaz Stadium and start its construction as soon as possible.


Last few days in Caribbean hardest of my life: Inzamam

KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq says he and fellow teammates endured a 10-day ‘nightmare’ in Jamaica following the sudden death of their coach Bob Woolmer on March 18.

In his diary for bigstarcricket.com, Inzamam also wrote that he was relieved to know that Woolmer was not murdered

“I am pleased to hear that Bob was not murdered, all the boys will feel the same as I’m sure his family will also. But this verdict will never take away one of the toughest periods in our lives. It was a nightmare,”
he wrote.

Jamaican Police on Tuesday announced that Woolmer died of natural causes almost three months after launching a murder probe following a pathologist reports which said that the Englishman was strangled.

Pakistani players had to go through Police interrogation, were finger-printed and had to give DNA samples before being allowed to fly out of Jamaica.

“Those final 10 days in the Caribbean were the hardest of my life. We went through hell. I was always hopeful and confident that Bob died naturally and that the Jamaican doctors made a mistake. It seems likely that the doctors there have said something wrong, maybe, but I don’t know the full facts,”
he added.

Inzamam, 37, who had to resign as Pakistan captain after leading the team in its worst ever World Cup campaign, said that Woolmer’s ‘murder’ announcement was a fatal blow for the quadrennial spectacle.

“I don’t know what has happened there but I can tell you it wasn’t good for the players or for Pakistan cricket. Actually when they started talking about ‘murder’ it was not a good thing for the world of cricket, not just Pakistan. It took over the whole World Cup,”
he wrote.

Inzamam said that he is feeling better after a two-month layoff and is now planning to make his international return.

“I needed a long time afterwards to get away from it all. After a two-month break I now feel relaxed again, the stress is gone and day by day things have become better. I started practice again two weeks ago. For six days a week I go to the gym and in the evenings when the weather is cooler I go to Lahore Gymkhana to practice my cricket. The club has good practice facilities, good bowlers, good pitches — they are a good club and it gives me all that I need for practice,”

he explained.

He added,
“Before the World Cup we were playing a lot of cricket and it was tiring. Then after all that happened at the World Cup I felt I need that two-month break. Now I’m mentally focused and feeling refreshed and very ambitious to play more Test cricket. I’m confident that I will and I’m working hard to make it happen.”

Inzamam, who has scored 8813 runs from 119 Tests, wants to continue playing cricket till he reached the 10,000-run milestone.

“I’m aware that I need a few runs (21) to pass Javed Miandad (to become Pakistan’s highest run-scorer) but I am looking further ahead than that. I want to score at least another thousand Test runs and get to 10,000. The summer that Pakistan has coming up later in the year is all the motivation I need with tough series against South Africa at home, India in India and then Australia at home. Hopefully the selectors will feel that my experience will be useful to the team. InshAllah,”
he signed off.


‘Every Tom, Dick and Harry is enjoying wasting money’

KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad has criticised the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for holding its ad-hoc committee and domestic cricket meeting at a holiday resort in Bhurban rather than at their headquarters in Lahore.

“It’s a sort of joyride and enjoyment for the PCB officials and those who are invited to give suggestions on domestic cricket,”

said Miandad.

“It’s wastage of money by the cricket board. Why to spend millions of rupees when you could save nearly 70 percent of the expenses by holding the same meeting at National Cricket Academy (NCA). What is the purpose of having expensive facilities with accommodation and meeting hall in Lahore?”

Miandad asked.

“Every Tom, Dick and Harry will go there (Bhurban) and enjoy. It is not that easy to earn money these days. This is sheer wastage of precious funds. Since there is no accountability, no constitution and no planning, those at the helm are destroying everything,”

Miandad warned.

He added:
“I think all the former cricketers should have vetoed the idea of holding it at Bhurban. Look at the cost of airfare, hotel charges and other perks. This could have been avoided easily. There is no such example in the history of Pakistan cricket that meetings were used to be held at holiday resorts and millions of rupees wasted.”

“I think its time now that General Musharraf, the Patron, should interfere in these matters and stop them,”
he explained.


Danish Kaneria helps Essex top table with 5-32 haul

KARACHI: Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who has expressed his desire to represent the country in the couple of One-day Internationals set to be played in Scotland in early July, did his chances a world of good as he helped Essex soar to the top of the Friends Provident Trophy South Conference, with his English county running away with a seven-wicket triumph over Somerset at the County Ground in Chelmsford on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Kaneria from Karachi captured five wickets for 32 runs in his 10 overs for Essex yesterday, as Somerset were bowled out for 193 runs in 49.4 overs. Essex lost three wickets in making 194 runs while winning the match with as many as 94 balls to spare.

Essex, third on the 10-team table before the start of the match, jumped up to the first position after collecting the two points for victory. From nine matches, of which they have won six and lost two, they now have a tally of 13 points, one more than Hampshire and two more than both Kent and Gloucestershire.

Of the other Pakistanis currently contracted by the various English counties, only Yasir Arafat for Kent and Azhar Mahmood for Surrey were playing for their teams in the Friends Provident Trophy in Wednesday’s round of matches.

Leicestershire didn’t include leg-spinning all-rounder Mansoor Amjad in their line-up against Derbyshire, both Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Mushtaq Ahmed were missing from Sussex’s encounter against Middlesex and Yorkshire didn’t play Younis Khan in the game against Northamptonshire.

Kaneria, incidentally, has picked up a five-wicket haul in a limited overs cricket match for the first time on England soil. He has, however, reached this tally on three previous occasions — every time in Pakistan.

His best figures in a one-day match are 5-21 in eight overs, for Habib Bank against Pakistan Customs in the 2005-06 Patron’s Cup final, here at the NBP Sports Complex Stadium as Habib Bank won by 37 runs.

Danish Kaneria who, with a total of 44 wickets, is already the highest wicket-taker in the England first-class season this summer, has also gone to the top of the limited overs matches table.

He has joined Australia’s fast-medium bowler Stuart Clark, who is playing for Hampshire, in first position as both have a total of 18 wickets each.

In six matches, Clark has taken his 18 wickets at just 11.16 runs apiece. Kaneria is not too far behind: his 18 have been picked up at only 13.77 runs each though from eight appearances.


Asif Iqbal demands legal action against anti-Pakistan elements

LONDON: Former Pakistan captain Asif Iqbal has called for legal action against those elements that had maligned the national team in the wake of the death of coach Bob Woolmer during the World Cup.

Commenting on the Jamaican police embarrassing reversal that Woolmer died of natural causes and was not strangled following Pakistan’s surprise World Cup loss this spring, Asif said certain individual players and a section of media must be penalised for pointing wrong fingers at the Pakistan team and its players.

Asif agreed that although Jamaican police had totally mishandled the case from the outset but according to him more damage was done to the team by the irresponsible statements from some of the Pakistani former Test players and a section of print and electronic media in a bid to outdo each other and increase their circulation and rating.

He said Woolmer’s death was related by these elements to match-fixing and Pakistan cricket culture which damaged the image of the country.

The former all-rounder was of the view that legal action be initiated against these elements for defaming Pakistan and for insinuations against the national team and the players.

Asked whether Jamaican Police should apologise to Pakistan cricket team, Asif said the Jamaican Police had said at the very onset that Woolmer’s death was being treated as ‘suspicious’.

“The apology should be rendered by those persons and the media who had spread all sorts of malicious stories about Pakistan cricket and its culture,”
he said.


Inzamam hoping to play Tests for one-two years more

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ISLAMABAD: Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq says he may play on Test cricket for Pakistan for another one to two years.

“I feel I have one to two years of cricket left in me,”
said the man who is already one of Pakistan’s most successful Test batsman with 25 centuries to his credit.

Inzamam stepped down as skipper and also quit one-day cricket after Pakistan’s unceremonious exit from the World Cup held in the West Indies in March-April this year.

Pakistan lost the opening first round match to the hosts West Indies and then followed it up with another ignominous defeat to lowly Ireland in their second outing on March 17, thus completing an humiliating early elimination from the World Cup.

Inzamam accepted responsibility for the defeat against Ireland.

“It was a bad day for the whole team.”

To a question why Pakistan usually fail on fast and bouncy tracks in foreign countries, Inzamam suggested to improve the domestic cricket structure.

“Our players at home usually play on low, slow wickets. If pitches in domestic first-class matches are fast with enough bounce, then our batsmen will learn to live with the phenomenon and cut down on their rate of failure abroad,”
he said.

To a question when did he last speak to Bob Woolmer before his death, Inzamam said the moment came when the coach met the players in the dressing room after the defeat.
“He (coach) was downcast but he emphasised that such things do happen in sports,”
he said.

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