Wasim Akram denies being approached to coach Pakistan

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, has quashed growing speculation that he is about to replace Geoff Lawson as the coach of Pakistan, saying that nobody from the Pakistan Cricket Board has approached him.

Local media has buzzed in recent days with unconfirmed reports that the PCB is unhappy with Lawson and is looking for a replacement. Akram has been conducting a camp for fast bowlers in Lahore at the same time and was asked, on his first day, whether he would be interested in the coaching job.

A positive response - albeit with qualifications - and subsequent reports of a fall-out between Lawson and members of the selection committee has led many to conclude that Akram is being lined up.

But Akram said he had not been sounded out yet, though if the conditions were right, he would consider the post.

"There has been no offer,"

he said.

"Nobody from the board has approached me officially or unofficially with anything. I have a few years left on my contract with ESPN (as a television commentator and analyst) so anything that comes would have to be weighed up against that. Ultimately it would depend on a number of things."

Akram also ruled out the possibility of working as a bowling coach with the team, suggesting that he would prefer becoming a full-time coach.

Akram's work as a floating, freelance bowling consultant of sorts has been successful since he retired from the game in 2003. A number of Indian bowlers have benefited from his informal sessions and last year, in his first official role, his two-week camp for Pakistani fast bowlers, was widely considered a success. Sohail Tanvir - though he had already been spotted - benefited immensely from the tutelage and Akram also pushed the case of Mohammad Aamer, who has had a successful time at the Under-19 level. He is working this time with the likes of Sohail Khan and Anwar Ali.

The development comes amid growing uncertainty over Lawson, though whether there is any substance to the unrest is not yet clear. The coach is expected to arrive in Pakistan from a month-long holiday in Australia tomorrow, and he is likely to arrive to a barrage of questions about his relationship with the selectors and his future.

The selection committee and Lawson both deny that there are problems between them, though there have been run-ins in the series against Zimbabwe earlier this year. The situation was resolved at the time, but matters have reportedly taken a turn for the worse again in the aftermath of the Bangladesh series, the central issue remaining final say in selection. A few days ago, a local Urdu newspaper published an interview reportedly given by Lawson to an unspecified Australian radio station in which he is said to have criticised the selectors and some senior players.


South Australia keen to sign Younis Khan

South Australia have offered Younis Khan, the Pakistan batsman, a short-term contract for the 2008-09 domestic season as they attempt to cover the loss of a group of senior players. After looking at their own talent and failing to capture any significant interstate signings, the struggling Redbacks have finally gone overseas in their bid for a high-quality performer.

"Recruiting Younis is an important step in our strategy and an opportunity that presents itself as too good to miss,"

South Australia's coach Mark Sorell said. A report last week mistakenly linked Younis to Western Australia, but it is the Redbacks who are chasing him to add stability to their line-up after losing Darren Lehmann, Matthew Elliott, Ryan Harris and Jason Gillespie.

"This is a short-term scenario which would see Younis play with us until about Christmas and then possibly return to South Australia for the finals, if required,"

Sorell said.

"His Redbacks duties will not impinge on his commitment to Pakistan."

Younis, who has played 58 Tests and 167 one-day internationals, has series against India between December and February. Looking overseas for talent is not a regular method in Australia because part of a state's charter is to develop players for national teams. However, there have been some big names involved in the domestic game.

Barry Richards played for South Australia in the 1970s while in the 1980s Graeme Hick and Ian Botham turned out for Queensland and Imran Khan appeared for New South Wales. Most transfers have gone the other way, with state representatives heading to England for county assignments.

"Recruiting an international player is a new approach for South Australia and a bit outside the square,"

Sorell said.

"But one of the things to be learnt from the Indian Premier League is just how much younger Australian players from the domestic level have really benefited from being exposed to, and playing with, some of the world's best international players."

South Australia have struggled in first-class cricket in recent times and finished the 2007-08 season second last.


ACC satisfied with security measures for Asia Cup

The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has expressed satisfaction with the security arrangements in Pakistan for the Asia Cup next month. "Everything is in order and we are satisfied with the security arrangements made by Pakistan," Ashraful Huq, the ACC chief executive, told AFP. "We hope that the event will be held in a fitting manner."

The Asia Cup will be played between six teams - Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UAE and Hong Kong - in Karachi and Lahore from June 24 to July 6. Security has been a concern for visiting teams after a state of emergency was imposed in November, followed in December by the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, which sparked off violent protests across the country. The ICC women's World Cup Qualifiers were shifted from Pakistan to South Africa and then Australia decided to postpone their tour of the country. But since general elections in February and the forming of a new government, the violence has lessened considerably.

Last week an ICC delegation reportedly left satisfied after inspecting grounds around Pakistan to assess the security situation ahead of the Champions Trophy in September. Pakistan is expected to get the go-ahead for hosting the tournament, with Sri Lanka being the alternative host country, at the ICC board meeting in Dubai on June 29.

The ACC will be commemorating its 25th anniversary during the Asia Cup and Huq said awards to mark the occasion would be given to top Asian cricketers and past and current administrators. A four-member committee has been formed to organise the function.


PCB chairman withdraws lawsuit against Shoaib

Friday, May 16, 2008

The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Dr.Nasim Ashraf has withdrawn a 220 million rupees lawsuit against fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, PCB lawyer Tafazzul Rizvi said Tuesday.

PCB Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf filed the defamation suit in a civil court after Shoaib accused him of demanding money from him and other players to allow them to play in a lucrative Twenty20 league in India.

The allegations came after Shoaib was banned for five years by the PCB's disciplinary committee for several counts of indiscipline.

Interior ministry advisor Rahman Malik, had intervened in the matter as per direction of PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and settled the issue.


Shoaib Akhtar has to be handled professionally: Wasim Akram

Former captain Wasim Akram said that Shoaib Akhtar has to be handled professionally for achieving good results.

Wasim Akram said that the Kolkata Knight Riders coach John Buchanen has proved this that Shoaib Akhtar has to be handled professionally for getting good results from him while the encouragement from the spectators also played role in Shoaib Akhtar’s outstanding performance in his IPL debut.

He said that he had already predicted that Shoaib Akhtar would perform in the IPL and he is the player who gives fine performance by getting crowd’s support in the ground.


List of players prepared for Dhaka series

The Pakistan Cricket Board selection committee has prepared the list of 20 players for the three-nation series to be held in Dhaka.

The selection committee will hand over the list of 20 players to the PCB by May 20.

The triangular series will commence from June 8 and the teams from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh will participate in this tournament.

Chief operating officer PCB Shafqat Naghmi said that as most of the team’s players are busy in playing IPL in India, there is no need for holding training camp for the event.


Supreme Court to hear Salim Malik's life ban appeal

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Former Pakistan captain Salim Malik Saturday said he hoped to overturn his life ban for alleged involvement in match-fixing after the country's top court granted him an appeal hearing.

Malik was banned by a match-fixing inquiry in 2001 after three top Australian players accused him of offering bribes for them to underperform.

But after Saturday's decision by the Supreme Court, the 44-year-old cricketer said:
"It is a sort of a win for me."

He said he was told he could start proceedings on May 19.

"This means a lot to me because I have been fighting to clear my name for eight years and once I get this ban overturned I would like to associate myself to cricket once again."

The May 2001 ban, imposed by an inquiry headed by high court judge Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum, also prevented him from holding any office or involvement in any cricket-related activity.

The ban was imposed after Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh claimed he offered them bribes to underperform during Australia's 1994 tour of Pakistan.

In 1995 Malik was cleared of the allegations by a one-judge commission on the grounds of lack of evidence.

However the Qayyum commission, which conducted an extensive inquiry that also included recorded statements from the Australian trio in Australia, decreed there was enough evidence to ban Malik for life.

Former fast bowler Ataur Rehman was also banned for life on charges of perjury during the inquiry, although that was lifted in 2003.

The Qayyum commission also fined six other Pakistan players -- Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saeed Anwar and Akram Raza.

Malik's name also featured in an Indian match-fixing inquiry, which led to life bans for former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma in 2000. Late South African captain Hansie Cronje, also banned for life on match-fixing, also named Malik as an offender in a separate probe in South Africa.

Malik's appeal against the ban was rejected by Lahore High court in 2001. His appeal to the Supreme court has been pending since then.

In October 2006 India pardoned Azharuddin -- a move that inspired Malik, who said:
"India has already lifted the ban on Azharuddin and I feel my ban can also be lifted."

He added: "I can't play cricket at my age now but there are hundreds of things linked to cricket which I can do and one is coaching," said Malik, whose efforts to start his own coaching academy were blocked by the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2006.

Malik played 103 Tests and 263 one-day internationals for Pakistan between 1981 and 1999. He also led his country in 12 Tests and 34 one-day internationals.


Shoaib five-year ban suspended for one month

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Shoaib Akhtar has been cleared to play in the IPL after the Appellate Tribunal decided to suspend his five-year ban for one month, until they reconvene on June 4.

Lalit Modi, the chairman and commissioner of the IPL, confirmed that Shoaib could play the tournament.

Farrukh Aftab, the head of the three-man tribunal, announced the decision.
"We have suspended the ban for one month and the next hearing will be held on June 4,"
Aftab told reporters in Lahore.

"Had we not suspended the ban, he could not have been played the in IPL, which we thought was injustice to Akhtar."

The tribunal's decision to grant Shoaib a temporary reprieve comes after his lawyers pressed for the suspension of his ban.

Lalit Modi, the chairman and commissioner of the IPL, confirmed that Shoaib could play the tournament.

"We look forward to Shoaib playing for us,"
Modi told an Indian news channel.
"I am going to call him immediately and invite him to come to Kolkata tonight or tomorrow morning."

Shoaib will now join the Kolkata Knight Riders, who signed him for US$425,000 in the player auctions.


Mushtaq Ahmed undergoes knee operation

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sussex spinner Mushtaq Ahmed could be out of action for up to three weeks after undergoing keyhole knee surgery, his club revealed Thursday.

The former Pakistan international was admitted to hospital on Wednesday evening after the county champions decided to bring forward the planned operation.

Mark Robinson, Sussex's professional cricket manager, said:
"We made the decision very quickly on the Wednesday morning. We were originally hoping that we would just play him in four day cricket up to the Twenty20 window where he'd then have the operation.

"However, on reflection, we felt it wouldn't be right to compromise our strike bowler by having him playing in discomfort, so, with the amount of unsettled weather around and the fact our club surgeon said he could get him in that day, we felt it was the wisest decision to make.

"It is a routine operation that many sportsmen have and we are hopeful that Mushy will be back between two and three weeks."


Appellate tribunal upheld ban on Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar's international future was left dangling in limbo after the Pakistan Cricket Board’s appellate tribunal, set up to hear his appeal against a five-year ban, upheld the ban.

However, the decision is temporary as the appellate tribunal postponed proceedings on the petition and decided to revisit the appeal in June.

Shoaib Akhtar rejected the stay of petition by the tribunal.

The three-member appellate tribunal, headed by Justice (Retd.) Aftab Farrukh, in its interim ruling Wednesday said Shoaib Akhtar cannot play any match in or for Pakistan, but allowed him to play anywhere else in the world.

Justice (Rtd) Farrukh said ban will stay as Shoaib did not try to reform himself.
"Basically he has not tried to reform himself and has continued to violate discipline. That is view of the tribunal, so the ban stays,"
he told newsmen here.

"This is also order of disciplinary committee of Pakistan Cricket Board that he can't play for or anywhere in Pakistan domestically or internationally. But there is no bar on him playing anywhere else in the world,"
Farrukh added.

He said tribunal had taken the decision in view of unconditional apology submitted by Shoaib on Monday to the nation, his team and Board for his actions.

The tribunal will resume proceedings against overall ban in June.


Appellate Tribunal calls for the details of PCB-IPL letters

Friday, May 2, 2008

Appellate Tribunal Chief, Justice ® Aftab Farrukh has called for the details of the correspondence between Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Indian Board and the managements of IPL, following the Tribunal’s interim decision, while the PCB lawyer said that he has submitted the relevant clarification and would do so if required in future also, as he could never think of interfering in the Tribunal’s proceedings.

Appellate Tribunal Chief Justice ® Aftab Farrukh summoning PCB lawyer, Tafazzul Rizvi in his office had called for clarification of the correspondence with the IPL and Indian Board. Later, he told Geo News that as Shoaib Akhtar matters were still under hearing, but several news with reference to PCB legal advisor appeared after the interim order, therefore, clarification was called for so that it could be ascertained whether his action was aimed at influencing the Tribunal’s proceedings.

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