Shoaib Akhtar files petition against ban

Monday, June 30, 2008

Shoaib Akhtar has filed a writ petition in the Lahore High Court seeking to overturn the original five-year ban imposed on him by the Pakistan board that was later reduced to 18 months by an appellate tribunal.

Even though Shoaib's ban was reduced after an appeal, he wasn't happy with the tribunal's decision.

"I want to play for Pakistan as soon as possible,"

Shoaib told PTI.

"I was disappointed with the tribunal's decision on my appeal."

"We feel the decision of the PCB in the first place to ban him for five years was illegal and unjustified,"

Abid Hasan Minto, Shoaib's legal counsel, said.

"We believe he is being prevented from playing cricket for his country by an illegal decision of the board. The ban itself is very harsh. We are contesting the entire ban."

Nasim Ashraf, the Pakistan board chairman, had said Shoaib was free to appeal in court.

"That is his decision to make,"

Ashraf had said.

"The tribunal's verdict has nothing to do with the PCB. I can't overturn the reduced ban on him. The decision made by Justice Aftab Farrukh is final and it can only be challenged in the court."

Shoaib was banned for five years in April by a disciplinary committee of the PCB for violating the players' code of conduct after he was charged with publicly criticising the board for offering him a retainership instead of a contract. The ban prevented him from playing in the IPL until it was suspended for one month which facilitated Shoaib's participation in the Twenty20 tournament.

Shoaib appealed against the five-year ban and it was reduced to 18 months along with a fine of Rs 7 million (approximately $105,000) by a PCB-appointed appellate tribunal, headed by Justice (retd) Aftab Farrukh, on June 14.


Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Super Four, Asia Cup, Karachi

Sri Lanka 302 for 7 (Sangakkara 112, Tanvir 5-48) beat
Pakistan 238 for 9 (Misbah-ul-Haq 76, Malik 52, Mendis 4-47) by 64 runs

Pakistan continued their poor performance in Asia Cup with another humiliating defeat when Sri Lanka won their first match of the Super-4 stage by 64 runs here on Sunday at the National Stadium.

Chasing a tough target of 303 runs, Pakistan could make 238 runs for nine wickets in the allotted 50 overs.

They played under pressure right from the ball one when opener Salman Butt was dismissed without scoring any run.

However, captain Shoaib Malik and Younus Khan made 72 runs when Younus departed on 47.

Later, Pakistan lost four more wickets including Malik, who got 52 with three fours.

Then, Misbah-ul-Haq and Sarfraz Ahmed set to take their team to recovery and added 66 runs for the seventh wicket when Misbah was bowled by Mendis for a valuable 76. he faced 70 balls and hit four sixes and three fours.

Sri Lanka piled up a big score of 302 for seven wickets in the allotted 50 overs after put into bat by Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik in the second match of the Super-4 stage of the Asia Cup here on Sunday at the National Stadium.

Opener Kumar Sangakkara was the architect of the Sri Lanka innings who scored 112 off 110 balls. He hit ten fours and one six in his ninth ODI hundred, second against Pakistan.

Except him, no one could reach fifty as Chamara Silva made 46 with five fours and Chamara Kapugedera got 43 with two sixes and as many fours.

Other main scorers were captain Mahela Jayawardene (29) and Thilan Tushara Mirando (28).

From Pakistan, left-arm fast-medium bowler Sohail Tanvir displayed excellent performance with a career-best five for 48. His previous best was 4-34 against Zimbabwe at Hyderabad (Sindh) early this year.

Other wicket takers were pacer Wahab Riaz and leg-spinner Mansoor Amjad. Both took one wicket each.

Pakistan made two changes, bringing in Mansoor Amjad and Wahab Riaz for the injured Umar Gul and Fawad Alam.

Amjad, who is making his ODI debut, has played one Twenty20 match for Pakistan before and took three wickets for three runs against Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka brought back Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas, who were all rested for the game against the UAE. They also replaced Dilhara Fernando with Thilan Tushara.

Pakistan: Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik (captain), Younis Khan, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Mansoor Amjad, Wahab Riaz, Iftikhar Anjum.

Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Chamara Kapugedera, Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Thilan Tushara.


Castrol Asian Cricket awards

Sourav Ganguly has been named the Castrol Asian Cricketer of the Year at the awards handed out in Karachi. Ganguly, who made his way back to the Indian side in December 2006, also won the best overall batsman prize for his outstanding performances in 2007. He was the highest Asian run-getter in Tests in 2007, with 1106 runs, including a career-best 239 not out against Pakistan, besides scoring 1240 runs in ODIs.

Indians and Sri Lankans dominated the inaugural edition of the awards. Muttiah Muralitharan, the joint leading wicket-taker in 2007 with 49 scalps, was honoured with the best overall and best Test bowler. His team-mate Kumar Sangakkara, who reached the No. 1 spot in the ICC Test rankings last year, was awarded the best Test batsman while Farveez Maharoof was the best ODI bowler.

Sachin Tendulkar's phenomenal 1425 runs in ODIs last year fetched him the award for best ODI batsman while Gautam Gambhir, the second highest run-scorer in the World Twenty20, bagged the Twenty20 award. Yuvraj Singh was presented a special award for his six sixes in an over off Stuart Broad in the World Twenty20 in South Africa.

Pakistan's winners included the leading wicket-taker in the World Twenty20, Umar Gul (best Twenty20 bowler), and surprisingly, Kamran Akmal (best fielder/wicketkeeper). Akmal's form has slipped since 2006 and he was dropped from the squad for the Asia Cup after his poor showings.

Among other awards announced, Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan captain, was named the Pakistan Cricketer of the Year, while Ahmed Shehzad, who performed creditably with both bat and ball in the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, won the prize for the best junior. Pakistan legend Hanif Mohammad was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The awards are based on the Castrol Performance Index - a comprehensive points system which takes into consideration batting, bowling and fielding performances of each player against all teams in all international matches, in all three formats - Tests, ODIs and Tweny20s, during a calendar year.


Pakistan 'A' to tour Zimbabwe in August

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official has said they will send their “A” team to Zimbabwe from August 20 as planned, regardless of any sanctions that might be taken next week against the African nation by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) called their 2009 tour of Zimbabwe off on Wednesday under instructions from the British government over the growing violence before Friday’s presidential election run-off.

The ICC’s annual conference begins on Sunday in Dubai and South Africa’s outgoing ICC president Ray Mali has placed Zimbabwe on the agenda for a two-day meeting of the ICC Board, the highest decision-making body, starting on Wednesday when Zimbabwe could face a ban from international cricket.

But an official of the PCB told Reuters on Saturday that Pakistan would go ahead with their scheduled “A” team tour.

“Our tour will take place and our team will play two four-day matches and three one-dayers regardless of what transpires at the ICC meeting,”
the official said, declining to be named.


Technical Committee allows Pakistan to replace Gul with Rauf

The Technical Committee of the Ninth Asia Cup 2008 has permitted Pakistan to replace injured fast bowler, Umar Gul with Abdur Rauf.

The three member committee comprising Zakir Khan (Chairman), Mr. K. K Haridas (Member) and Iqbal Sikander (Member) considered the request from the pakistan team management for the replacement and allowed it.

Abdur Rauf will join the Pakistan Team for the rest of the tournament.

Gul was ruled out of the tournament with a rib cage injury during the match against India on Thursday.


Injured Umar Gul out of remainder of the Asia Cup

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul has been ruled out for the remainder of the Asia Cup because of a rib cartilage injury. He has been advised two weeks rest.

"Gul has been advised complete rest for at least two weeks and this is a big setback for us as he is one of our main bowler's,"

Salahuddin Ahmed, a Pakistan selector, told PTI.

Gul sustained the injury during Pakistan's group match against India on Thursday. He pulled up in his first over and, despite receiving some treatment, had to leave the field after bowling only 1.2 overs. His departure left Pakistan's bowling attack severely depleted and India chased down their target of 300 with 47 balls to spare.

"I don't know exactly what it is but I felt pain after just a few balls and it became unbearable,"

Gul said. Abdur Rauf, the fast bowler who made his debut against Zimbabwe in February, is likely to be named as a replacement. Sohail Khan, who was part of Pakistan's squad for the Kitply Cup in Bangladesh, hasn't recovered from a malaria attack.

Pakistan qualified second from their group after their loss to India and their first match of the second round is against Sri Lanka on Sunday.


Pakistan v India, Group B, Asia Cup, Karachi

Thursday, June 26, 2008

ndia 301 for 4 (Sehwag 119, Raina 84) beat
Pakistan 299 for 4 (Malik 125, Younis 59) by six wickets

A mighty performance from India's batsmen, led by Virender Sehwag and Suresh Raina, made short work of Pakistan's competitive target of 300 and gave India two points to take into the next round. Sehwag and Raina tore into Pakistan's depleted and wayward bowling attack and sent fielders on frequent ball-retrieving missions as they scored at over eight an over during their partnership of 198 for the second wicket. The impact of that devastating stand was that India overhauled their target with six wickets and 48 balls to spare, their quickest run-chase while facing a target of 300.

The Indian approach was in stark contrast to Pakistan's methodical planning of their innings. Their openers played cautiously at the start, guarded against early wickets, and accelerated once the new-ball had been seen off to set up a launch pad. Malik's maiden century as captain was the cornerstone of the innings and the platform he provided allowed the batsmen that followed the freedom to innovate and bat aggressively in order to propel Pakistan to 299 for 4. In the end, however, they needed plenty more to challenge a trailblazing Indian batting line-up.

Pakistan's defence was blighted by a rib-muscle injury to Umar Gul, as a result of which he left the field after bowling only 1.2 overs. Shoaib Malik's offspin was also unavailable because he didn't take the field after cramping towards the end of his century. This left the acting captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, with only three specialist bowling options - Sohail Tanvir, Rao Iftikhar Anjum and Shahid Afridi - and their flat performance cost Pakistan dearly.

Despite snaring Gautam Gambhir early - Misbah reacted in 0.2 seconds at gully to take a one-handed catch to his left - Pakistan were unable to contain India. After the Kitply Cup final, Dhoni had admitted that promoting Raina ahead of himself was a mistake but today Raina walked in at No. 3, instead of the out-of-touch Rohit Sharma.

Bristling with confidence after his maiden century against Hong Kong, Raina began with free-flowing cover drives when offered width outside off stump by Tanvir and Iftikhar Anjum. He did most of the early scoring and Sehwag hadn't got off the mark till the fourth over. However, Sehwag began to gather momentum by flicking consecutively to the long-leg boundary when Anjum strayed on to his pads, and slashed two short and wide balls from Tanvir to the third-man boundary.

With Tanvir and Anjum proving toothless, Misbah turned to Afridi in the 11th over. Afridi bowled one satisfactory over before Sehwag hit him for two straight sixes in his second. Raina lofted Anjum audaciously over extra cover for another six and when Misbah brought Tanvir back, Sehwag immediately glided him down to the third-man boundary.

Pakistan began to heammorage runs and by the time Malik took the field, India had raced to 100 in 14 overs. They found the boundary virtually every over: Raina lofted Fawad Alam's leg break over the deep-midwicket boundary, Sehwag hit Afridi over long on once more. And when Malik, who wasn't allowed to bowl for 71 minutes after taking the field, turned to Salman Butt, Sehwag responded by charging him and smashing the ball twice into the stands at deep midwicket to move into the 90s.

Sehwag brought up his century of only 80 balls but Raina missed his, chipping Anjum tamely to Alam at cover but, at his departure, India needed 90 runs in 23 overs and victory was only a matter of time.

The ease with which India achieved victory was startling for Pakistan, on a sluggish pitch, had worked extremely hard to build a competitive total. They reverted to the caution-before-aggression approach that won them the Kitply Cup final against India. In that game, Butt and Younis Khan did the groundwork, steering Pakistan cautiously to 104 for 1 after 25 overs before they went on to score hundreds in a final total of 315 for 3.

Today, Malik's effort was an example of how to pace an innings. He and Butt gave the first eight overs to the Indian bowlers and took no risks. By the end of the 13th over, Pakistan had only scored 38 but the Indian fast bowlers had failed to create wicket-taking opportunities. Thereafter, Malik began to attack, driving Praveen straight for four and then gliding him between Dhoni and short third man. He was offered width twice by Ishant and cut him through and over point for fours. Dhoni finally resorted to spin in the 20th over but by now Malik was well set and he hit Chawla for two fours through midwicket to reach his half-century off 61 balls.

Malik and Younis, who scored 59, strengthened Pakistan's grip on the game during their 129-run stand for the second wicket. Brimming with confidence, Younis swept the spinners fluently, made room to cut, lofted them over midwicket and threw them completely off line by using the reverse sweep repeatedly. They played crucial roles in helping set a challenging target but their hard-working partnership, during which they ran between the wickets splendidly, was put firmly in the shade by the blitzkrieg launched by Sehwag and Raina.


PPL renamed Twenty20 Super League

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The proposed Pakistan Premier League (PPL) has been renamed the Twenty20 Super League, the Pakistan Cricket Board has announced. The league, planned for September next year, was conceived following the success of the recently-concluded Indian Premier League.

Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, said the tournament will be modeled on the franchise system similar to the IPL

."We have had meetings with two international companies interested in the event and we are confident international companies will buy franchises in the Twenty20 league,"

Ashraf said after a meeting of the board's governing body in Lahore on Saturday.

Pakistan have replaced England in the inaugural Champions League tournament in September and October this year after the Indian board imposed restrictions on English counties selecting players linked to the Indian Cricket League. The tournament features the top two Twenty20 domestic teams from Australia, South Africa and the winner and runner-up in the IPL. It is expected that the top two teams of Pakistan's domestic Twenty20 tournament - proposed for August this year - will take part in the Champions League.

The PCB governing body has also decided against sacking the Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson, following the team's victory over India in the final of the Kitply Cup tri-series in Bangladesh recently. Lawson was earlier criticised for his team's inconsistent performances since taking over last year.

The governing body has also decided not to inquire into the sacking of Saleem Altaf, a senior board official, over allegations that he leaked sensitive information to the press.

"The matter was discussed by the members and the body feels there is no need for further investigations in the sacking case of Altaf,"

Ashraf said.

A budget of Rs 3.9 billion for the current fiscal year has been approved, with plans to build 35 new stadiums in the country and renovate existing ones.


Pakistan v Hong Kong, Group B, Asia Cup, Karachi

Pakistan 288 for 9 (Younis 67, Alam 63*, Tanvir 59, Nadeem 4-51) beat

Hong Kong 133 by 155 runs

The final scoreline might indicate an emphatic victory for Pakistan but it needed an Asia Cup-record 100-run eighth-wicket stand between Sohail Tanvir and Fawad Alam to set up the win. Both of them made their maiden ODI half-centuries to lift Pakistan to 288, a score which proved well beyond the reach of Hong Kong's inexperienced batsmen.

After Pakistan chose to bat on a blisteringly hot day in Karachi, Nadeem Ahmed, the Hong Kong left-arm spinner, sliced through the Pakistan middle-order as what was expected to be a straightforward opening encounter for the hosts threatened to become a tricky one before Tanvir and Alam's rescue act.

Coming in with Pakistan at a precarious 161 for 7, Tanvir and Alam initially worked the singles, effectively employing the sweep shot. The left-arm spinners initially kept them in check but the partnership gained impetus only after the 44th over, when Pakistan had progressed to a more reassuring 219.

Tanvir raced to his maiden ODI fifty as a confident reverse-sweep, a conventional sweep and a powerful off-drive all fetched him boundaries. He holed out to long-off in the 47th but Alam, who had been subdued during the partnership, remained unbeaten to ensure the runs kept flowing and that his side weren't bowled out.

Hong Kong had earlier got off to a dream start as Pakistan lost their in-form opener Salman Butt in the first over for a duck. Afzaal Haider, the 36-year-old seamer, shaped the first two deliveries into the left-hander, before getting the next one to move away, inducing the outside edge. On a pitch a bit on the slower side, Haider extracted a hint of movement and troubled Shoaib Malik, who opened the innings, and Younis Khan early on.

With Pakistan on a scratchy 33 for 1 after eight overs, some loose bowling in the next couple of overs let them off the hook. Thirty runs came off them as a flurry of boundaries from Malik gave the innings momentum. He fell soon after to an athletic catch by Hussain Butt at backward point but with Younis getting into his stride and Mohammad Yousuf continuing his splendid form, Pakistan were in command at 121 for 2 after 19.

Left-arm spinner Najeeb Amar bowled it flat and full to restrict the runs at one end while Nadeem was more adventurous, varying his flight and length. He was rewarded with the wicket of Mohammad Yousuf - top-edging a sweep. Younis continued to attack, impudently slog-sweeping Nadeem for six and then paddling him for four. Despite the batsmen's attacking mindset, Nadeem flighted the next ball and Younis, who danced down the track, was beaten by the turn and easily stumped.

There was more joy for Nadeem as Misbah-ul-Haq failed to read a straighter one to be lbw. Another flighted delivery foxed Shahid Afridi, who checked his shot to offer a low return catch, and Sarfraz Ahmed was run out soon after as Pakistan slid to 161 for 7. An upbeat Hong Kong had eight fielders in the ring at this stage but things went all downhill from there.

Faced with an intimidating target, Hong Kong's batsmen were all at sea against Pakistan's formidable fast bowling unit as they were unable to force the pace. A barrage of bouncers, especially from Umar Gul, discomforted the openers but they hung around for a while. Tabarak Dar dodged a snorter from Gul off the penultimate ball of the seventh over but was forced to retire hurt when he was hit on the jaw off the final ball.

That triggered a collapse, with four wickets falling in quick succession. Opener Skhawat Ali was the first to go, pulling Tanvir to substitute Mansoor Amjad at fine leg. Iftikhar Anjum then struck with his first delivery, bowling Irfan Ahmed before Tanvir got his second with a middle-stump yorker to send back Courtney Kruger.

Anjum was soon rewarded again for his wicket-to-wicket line as Hussain Butt became the next batsman to be bowled, leaving Hong Kong at a hopeless 45 for 4. With the spinners backing up the good work of the fast bowlers, the run-rate quickly shot up above eight, and the match meandered towards a foregone conclusion.

Pakistan may have had some anxious moments but will be pleased with the manner in which their lower-middle order pulled them out of a dicey situation ahead of a tough encounter against arch-rivals India, on Thursday.


Salim Altaf files petition against his sacking

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Former Test Cricketer Salim Altaf has filed a petition in Lahore High Court to challenge his sacking by Pakistan Cricket Board today.

PCB had terminated Salim Altaf from the post of Director World Cup 2011, alleging he had passed on some secret information to media. Salim Altaf services are no more required, therefore, his contract has been terminated, PCB said.

LHC justice Ali Akbar Qureshi will hear Salim Altaf’s petition on Wednesday. Salim Altaf has denied to have any secret information.


Malik: Anyone Can Win It

Monday, June 23, 2008

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik believes there is no clear favourite for the Asia Cup, which begins on Tuesday.

Many pundits have tipped Pakistan for glory after an impressive recent run of form. Malik's side have claimed victory in 12 of their 13 one-day internationals this year and beat India and Bangladesh to claim the Kitply Cup earlier this month.

That win was all the more remarkable considering star bowler Mohammad Asif was held in Dubai over allegations of possessing drugs for the duration of the competition.

Nevertheless, Malik was quick to play down his sides chances of triumphing on home soil.

"I wouldn't say any team is favourite,"

Malik told Chennai Online.

"India is a strong and balanced side but we showed in the tri-series final they can be beaten. So in a way this Asia Cup I think is going to be the closest one in recent years."

Former Under-19 World Cup-winning captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been called into the Pakistan squad to replace out of form wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal.

Holders Sri Lanka come into the tournament on the back of consecutive ODI series defeats against England, Australia and the West Indies. The 2007 World Cup finalists have won just two ODIs all year and will be without injured duo Lasith Malinga and Farveez Maharoof.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene told the Times of India that his side have been pulling out all the stops to turn their slump around.

"We have had good preparations as it is an important cup to win. Both India and Pakistan will be hard to beat,"
said Jayawardene who welcomes back Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan after their absence against the West Indies.

India fast bowler Sreesanth has failed to recover from the side strain he suffered during the IPL and will miss tournament.

Sreesanth joins Sachin Tendulkar on the sidelines for the three-time champions who will be looking to build on their victory over Australia in the VB Series earlier this year.

Bangladesh enter the competition on the back of comprehensive defeats to Pakistan and India in the Kitply Cup.

The form of star batsman Mohammad Ashraful, who has been promoted up the order to number three by coach Jamie Siddons, could hold the key to whether Bangladesh can progress past the group stage of the tournament.

As in the 2004 Asia Cup, minnows Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates will make up the numbers. Honk Kong face the daunting task of games against India and Pakistan in Group A, while the UAE join Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Group B. The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals.

Pakistani officials are viewing the tournament as good preparation for hosting the ICC Champions Trophy in September.

England and Australia have already expressed security concerns about travelling to the country this autumn and a smoothly run Asia Cup could play a crucial role in alleviating those fears.


Indian team reaches Karachi

A fifteen-member Indian squad led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni arrived in Karachi late Sunday night to make their claims at the Asia Cup starting this Tuesday.

Guarded under heavy security, Indian team was cheered by the crowd who had gathered to have a glimpse at the neighbouring cricket stars.

However, the media was kept a distance from the men in blues as the visitors were rushed to the team hotel as soon they came out of the lounge.

Indian cricketers are now scheduled to have their first practice session followed by a pre-tournament press conference later on Monday evening.

India will play their first match in Asia Cup on Wednesday against minnows Hong Kong followed by the big match against arch rivals Pakistan on Thursday.


Pakistan team for Asia Cup announced

The 15-member Pakistan squad for the Asia Cup 2008 has been announced here today.

Chief selector Salahuddin announced the final team during a press conference at the National Stadium, Karachi.

The team is as follows: Shoaib Malik (captain), Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Younus Khan, Salman Butt, Shahid Khan Afridi, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikahr Anjum, Suhail Tanvir, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Fawad Alam, Nasir Jamshed, Wahab Riaz, Mansoor Amjad and Saeed Ajmal.

The Asia Cup will begin from Tuesday (June 24) simultaneously at Lahore and Karachi. Six teams are participating in the event including hosts Pakistan. Other teams are India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.


PCB budget 20 % bigger than previous year: Shafqat Naghmi

Chief operating officer Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said that the budget of the board this year is 20 per cent bigger than the budget for the previous year.

Shafqat Naghmi said that the PCB budget of Rs 3.9 billion for the year 2008 has been approved which is 20 per cent bigger than compared with the previous year.

Shafqat Naghmi said that 60 per cent of the budget would be spent on development of players and tours while the remaining amount would be spent on construction of 35 district level grounds in the country and the old grounds would be renovated and full facilities of cricket would be provided in the grounds.

Regarding Mohammad Asif case, he said that unless the Dubai committee does not give us the complete report on the case we won take any action.


Asif to reimburse expenses of his case : Nasim Ashraf

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mohammad Asif has to pay all expenses incurred by the PCB on his case.

This has been said by chairman PCB Dr. Nasim Ashraf during a briefing after the meeting of the PCB governing body here on Saturday.

He told that the board budget of Rs.3.9 billion has been approved in the meeting of the PCB governing body and 62 per cent of the budget would be spent on the promotion of cricket.

He said that there is no proposal of removing Geoff Lawson from the post of the coach.


PCB forms three-man committee for Asif inquiry

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The PCB has constituted a three-man committee to investigate Mohammad Asif's 19-day detention in Dubai on allegations of possessing an illegal substance. Asif returned to Pakistan on Friday after Dubai authorities dropped the case on grounds of it being "insignificant." There remains confusion over whether he was deported, as media reports in Dubai claim, or 'repatriated', as the PCB claimed in a statement.
"They [the committee] have been asked to acquire all the documents related to the case, establish facts, and after a complete investigation, submit a report to me,"

Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, said in Lahore.

"The same report will be sent to the ICC."

Of particular importance will be whether or not formal charges were actually laid down against Asif and whether he was subsequently pardoned. If no formal charges were placed, it could be that Asif escapes punishment altogether. But if charges have been placed and then withdrawn, it is likely Asif will face some sort of action, particularly as this is his second related offence.

The committee comprises of PCB officials Shaqfat Naghmi [chief operating officer], Zakir Khan [director - cricket operations], and Nadeem Akram [director - human resources], and they will begin their inquiry once they receive official records pertaining to the case from Dubai. Akram spent some time in Dubai handling Asif's case, though he came back before Asif was released.

"Based on the judgment's copy, we will consider whether Asif can be pardoned or not. A crime is a crime and any player who has committed it will be punished,"

Ashraf said.

"It is a relief that he has been released, but it is a fact that this incident caused a lot of embarrassment and gave sleepless nights to the board."

Ashraf also said the hakeem [physician] who, according to Asif had given him the substance, could be questioned.

"I have heard his [Asif's] point of view, and he told me that he was in possession of a pain killer given to him by an expert on natural herbs,"

he said.

"If needed, we will also summon the hakeem to record his statement to know what exactly was in possession with Asif."


Shoaib Malik says, "Pakistan is Favourite for Asia Cup."

The captain of Pakistan cricket team has stated that Pakistan are favorite for Asia Cup after having won tri-nation series in Bangladesh.

Talking to media in Karachi he said that victory in tri-nation series has lifted up moral of national cricket team and I hope that ours would demonstrate excellent performance in round the corner Asia Cup.

India and Srilanka cricket teams would confer us tough time therefore our players have to prove industrious against them, he said.

Responding to a question skipper said that Kamran Akmal has been part of national team by dint of his performance, on friendship basis instead.

Pakistan would have edge on opponents on account of home-ground nevertheless, the guests are not soft-under-belly.


Asif returns home after drug case dropped

Friday, June 20, 2008

After spending twenty days of detention in Dubai, Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif returned home early Friday as Dubai prosecutors dropped charges of possessing contrabands.

Director Human Resources Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Nadeem Akram and Director Khalid received Muhammad Asif at Lahore Airport who reached here via Karachi.

The 25-year-old fast bowler was held at Dubai airport on June 1 while returning home from in India, and charged with possessing a small amount of opium.

The pacer tried to avoid the large number of media waiting for him out side Jinnah terminal and opted not to come out of the lounge.

According to eye witnesses, as soon Asif cleared the immigration counter, he was taken to customs office and later he was seen resting in VIP lounge of PIA in domestic departure area.

The Pakistan Cricket Board earlier welcomed the decision to drop the case, adding that it is relieved that his ordeal is over.


Asif apologetic over Dubai episode

Fast bowler Muhammad Asif Friday apologized from the nation over whatever happened in Dubai and clarified that he had never used prohibited drugs.

Addressing a press conference after his meeting with Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Dr. Nasim Ashraf, he said he had tested negative for use of banned drugs before Indian Premier League and similarly also in Dubai.


ICC asks PCB to submit report on Asif’s issue

International Cricket Council (ICC) has asked Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to submit a report about fast bowler Muhammad Asif.

ICC spokesman Samiul HasanBurni said that ICC would take a decision after receiving a report from PCB.

Meanwhile, PCB Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf announces to form a fact finding committee to probe the matter.

Talking to media at Lahore airport, Ashraf said he will disclose the names of the three member committee and further details to press later today at Gaddafi stadium.

He also said that he will meet Asif today to further discuss the matter. Ashraf, who arrived at Lahore airport shortly after Mohammad Asif, said that he is happy that finally the Pakistani pacer is back in his home country.


Training Camp for Asia Cup begins at National Stadium

In connection with the preparations for the Asia Cup, commencing from June 24, the training camp for the national cricket team probable players has begun from Friday here at the National Stadium.

The Pakistan Cricket Board selection committee has initially announced 20 players for the event in which fast bowler Mohammad Asif and wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal have not been included.

The probable players did training today at the National Stadium.

Keeping in view the form and the fitness of the players, the selection committee will announce the final 15-member team on Sunday.

Players included in the team have reached Karachi where they will undergo training in the supervision of coach Geoff Lawson.


No contrabands recovered: Muhammad Asif

Pakistan fast bowler Muhammad Asif has returned to Lahore airport through Karachi this morning, after 20-day long incarceration in Dubai. The PCB officials Nadeem Akram and Ahsan Hameed acclaimed Asif at port.

No illegal import was found from my custody and all of my medical tests had resulted negative in this connection, talking to media at Lahore airport he justified.

He said that I am grateful to Allah on getting back to homeland. The Chairman PCB Dr. Naseem Ashraf and Pakistan Embassy officials cooperated with me at their best.

The Dubai airport officials found a medicine, which they took for contrabands however all tests have reverberated me innocent and I have no charges with me now, Asif defined.


Dubai agrees to deport Pakistan cricketer Muhammad Asif

Dubai officials have agreed to release Pakistan fast bowler Muhammad Asif who is expected to return home anytime tonight.

Public prosecutor in Dubai, Muhammad Al-Naimee dropped all the charges against Muhammad Asif after finding no concrete evidence. Umar will be sent back to Pakistan soon.

Muhammad Naimee in an interview to a local daily said all the charges against the detained cricketer had to be dropped as no significant proof establishing the crime could be gathered.

Muhammad Asif will be deported home as soon as all the documentation will be completed.

The Pakistani cricket player was arrested on allegedly keeping 0.24 grams of opium.

He remained in the police custody for 18 days.


ICC team visits Pindi Stadium, expresses satisfaction

Thursday, June 19, 2008

International Cricket Council’s security team on Thursday inspected the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium and expressed its satisfaction over security and other arrangements.

ICC’s 16-membr team comprising security, cricket operations, media and anti-doping officials visited the stadium. Members of delegation examined various parts of the stadium and offered few suggestions as well.

Stadium’s construction work would be completed by August 15 along with facilities of international standard, ICC team told.

Talking to media, ICC spokesman Samiul Hassan and Event Manager Christ Tetley expressed their satisfaction over arrangements.

Besides this, the ICC team also visited Islamabad’s Diamond Cricket Ground to examine the facilities for practice matches.

Prior to the ICC Champion Trophy to be held in September, more teams of ICC will visit Pakistan to examine overall arrangements.


Pakistan's Asia Cup probable Squad

The axe has finally fallen on Kamran Akmal as Pakistan have left out the under fire wicketkeeper from the list of 20 probables announced for the Asia Cup, which begins on June 24. All the other members of the squad that won the Kitply Cup in Bangladesh have been included among the probables.

"We have decided to rest Kamran Akmal. He needs to sharpen up his stumps work,"

Salahuddin Ahmed, chief selector, told Cricinfo. Akmal has been Pakistan's regular wicketkeeper since November 2004, when he took over from Moin Khan, playing virtually non-stop in all three formats. Over the last two years, however, Akmal's form has been poor behind the stumps. The slump began on the 2006 tour to England, where he fluffed a number of chances, but since then he has been unable to improve.

The last straw came when he was criticised by Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, in an email leaked to the press for claiming a controversial catch against Virender Sehwag during the Kitply Cup league match against India, which Pakistan lost by 140 runs.

"[The] wicketkeeping was pathetic, especially after Kamran Akmal dropped the catch and pretended that he had held on to it,"

Ashraf wrote to team manager Talat Ali.

"This is unsporting behaviour but perhaps one has to give him the benefit of the doubt as he may not have realised that the ball had slipped out from his hand, which was picked up by the cameras. I do not want such behaviour from any Pakistani player. Please warn everyone. We ought to be looking at playing another 'keeper."

Part of the reason Akmal was persisted with for so long was that he was Shoaib Malik's preference, particularly as Malik was able to utilise him as an opener. But a poor showing in front of and behind the stumps in Bangladesh has finally meant he can no longer hold his place. Sarfraz Ahmed, the former U-19 World Cup winning captain, has been expectedly called up as Akmal's replacement.

Other inclusions in the probables are opening batsman Yasir Hameed, Mansoor Amjad, Abdur Rauf and Saeed Ajmal, the offspinner off the back of an impressive first-class season, taking 38 wickets in 12 matches at an average of 29.

"He [Amjal] was impressive this season and we want to assess him more carefully now before we announce the final squad,"

Salahuddin said.

While Sarfraz has played only three ODIs, not having batted in any of them, Hameed has been in and out of the side since last year, though he made his debut in 2003. Rauf is a fast bowler who has played one ODI, against Zimbabwe in February. The final squad will be named on June 22.

Probables for Asia Cup

Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Bazid Khan, Fawad Alam, Iftikhar Anjum, Mohammad Yousuf, Nasir Jamshed, Abdur Rauf, Naumanullah, Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Hameed, Mansoor Amjad, Saeed Ajmal


President, PM urged to intervene in Asif case

The Senate committee for sports has appealed to President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to intervene for getting fast bowler Mohammad Asif released, who is under-arrest in Dubai.

The meeting of the Senate committee for sports was held under senator Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry here on Wednesday at the Parliament House.

The committee expressed concern on the issue of not getting Mohammad Asif released who is under-arrest in Dubai for many weeks and said that the country is getting a bad name due to this incident.

Senator Anwar Baig demanded a life ban on Asif whereas senator Haroon Khan asked for his immediate release.

Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Dr. Nasim Ashraf said that the board would itself investigate the case of Mohammad Asif and if his crime is proved he would be punished according to law.

He told that the PCB is making efforts for getting Asif freed through the Pakistan embassy in Dubai.

Expressing satisfaction on monetary details of the PCB, the committee decided to review on quarterly basis the PCB accounts and the performance of the national cricket team.


ICC board to take final decision on holding Champions Trophy: Richardson

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chief executive ICC David Richardson said that expressing reservations by the Australian and New Zealand players on the ICC Champions Trophy is premature but the final decision for holding the trophy would be taken by the ICC board.

David Richardson said this while addressing at a press conference along with event director Ahmed Farooq, vice-captain Pakistan cricket team Misbah-ul-Haq and chief operating officer PCB Shafqat Naghmi.

Regarding the ICC Champions Trophy, David Richardson said at the press conference that the administrative matters are being considered on daily basis.

Misbah-ul-Haq said that he is happy to be the part of the ICC Champions Trophy and holding this event in Pakistan is very enthusiastic for the people.


ICC backs Pakistan to stage Champions Trophy

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pakistan was given a vote of confidence Tuesday by international cricket bosses as it gears up to host the Champions Trophy later this year.

International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ray Mali said he was confident Pakistan would put on a good tournament as the country had experience of running such events in the past.

The tournament, from September 11 to 28, involves all the major cricketing powers -- Australia, South Africa, India, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

Pakistan also host the six-nation Asia Cup involving defending champions Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates from June 24 to July 6.

Mali, who arrived with other ICC officials for Wednesday's launch of the Champions Trophy, said:
"The Asia Cup will give Pakistan an opportunity to rehearse for the Champions Trophy."

Mali and other ICC officials held talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over preparations for the event.

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf gave assurances on security.

"The ICC is launching the event in Lahore on Wednesday and that is an ample proof that there are no problems. We have made foolproof security arrangements for the event,"
said Nasim Ashraf.

It will be the first time that Pakistan has staged a major sporting event since hosting a quadrangular tournament in 1997. Pakistan also hosted some matches of the 1996 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka.

Australia put off their March-April tour to Pakistan this year over security fears.


FICA concerned about security in Pakistan

Tim May, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations, has criticised the decision to hold the Champions Trophy in Pakistan, given the security situation in the country. He said

"absolutely nothing has changed"

in the three months since Australia postponed their Pakistan tour after safety concerns.

"FICA is very concerned about the inherent risks of holding such an event in Pakistan in such a landscape of unrest and volatility and opposition to Western countries,"

May said.

"FICA is not alone in its concern regarding holding this event in Pakistan, compounded by the timing of the event in terms of the religious celebration of Ramadan and the anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York."

A ten-member ICC panel, headed by its president, Ray Mali, is currently in Pakistan for the launch and to inspect the facilities at the tournament's venues. Mali said he was confident Pakistan's past experience in hosting such events will aid them put up a good show in September.

"The Asia Cup [which starts next week] will give Pakistan an opportunity to rehearse for the Champions Trophy,"

Mali said.

Mali and other ICC officials held talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board over preparations for the event.

"The ICC is launching the event in Lahore on Wednesday and that is an ample proof that there are no problems,"

Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, said.

"We have made foolproof security arrangements for the event."

An ICC team of security experts had visited Pakistan last month to assess whether the country was safe enough for hosting the Champions Trophy in September and were reportedly satisfied with the security arrangements.

However, FICA along with other players' associations, including the Australian Cricketers Association, will commission its own independent report, expected to be completed in a fortnight.

Cricket Australia will bring up any concerns it has with the ICC's security assessment at the meeting of the ICC's executive board in Dubai later this month.

"The welfare of the Australian team and team management is paramount,"

Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young said.

"But we have a responsibility to world cricket and the continued development of the game as a global sport so we'd like to see the Pakistan tour succeed."

While the Asian Cricket Council had been satisfactied with the security arrangements in Pakistan for the upcoming Asia Cup, beginning next week, New Zealand allrounder Jacob Oram had recently expressed concerns over his team's security ahead of their three-match ODI series in Pakistan in late August.


Development in Asif case expected by June 22: Naghmi

Chief operating officer Pakistan Cricket Board Shafqat Naghmi said that a development is expected in Mohammad Asif’s case by June 22 while Pakistan team for the Asia Cup would be announced on June 19.

Talking with media at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore, Shafqat Naghmi said that since the attorney general in Dubai is on leave these days due to which the case of Mohammad Asif is in pending.

Attorney general will resume on June 22 and any development in Asif’s case is likely to take place on his return from leave.

He said that he remains in contact with Asif on phone and his anxieties are increasing day by day.

Shafqat Naghmi told that the meeting of the national selection committee would be held on Thursday morning and the team would be announced on the same day whereas a three-day training camp would begin from June 21 at the National Stadium Karachi.


Shoaib Akhtar to appeal against Tribunal’s verdict

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has resolved to register appeal in High Court against the 18-month ban verdict of Appellate Tribunal here on Monday.

Shoaib’s counsel Abid Hassan Minto, talking to the Geo News correspondent Sohail Imran, said that we have yet to receive the formal copy of tribunal’s verdict in black and white after which we would contact High Court for filing appeal.

Appellate Tribunal had reduced Shoaib Akhtar’s five-year ban to 18 months with rupees seven million fine on Saturday.


ICC team headed by its president arriving in Pakistan

The 12-member delegation of the International Cricket Council (ICC), headed by its president Ray Mali, is arriving in Pakistan on Monday late night.

The delegation will reach Lahore in the night between Monday and Tuesday and during the stay in Pakistan it will attend the launching ceremony of the ICC Champions Trophy, to be held on June 18 in Lahore, and also review the arrangements of the event.

Besides president Ray Mali and chief executive David Richardson, the ICC delegation includes the representatives of its departments of commercial, event management, sponsorship, broadcast, pitches and media. They will review the arrangements related to their departments.

The delegation on Tuesday will review the arrangements of the launching ceremony of the ICC Champions Trophy at the Pakistan Cricket Board secretariat and then visit the Gaddafi Stadium where it will also meet the PCB officials.

The delegation will go to Islamabad and Rawalpindi on June 19 and visit Karachi on June 20.


Selectors to meet on June 19 for Asia Cup team

The national selection committee will meet on June 19 at Lahore to select the Pakistan cricket team for the Asia Cup.

Chief of the selection committee Salahuddin Sallu told Geo News that captain Shoaib Malik, coach Geoff Lawson and selector Shafqat Rana are arriving from Bangladesh on Monday and on their returning home the team selection would be discussed.

He said that the number of players would be determined after consulting with the team management and the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The chief selector told that the training camp of the team would be held in Karachi.


Asia Cup 2008 Schedule

Sunday, June 15, 2008

24 June

Group A

Bangladesh v U.A.E

Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

24 June

Group B

Pakistan v Hong Kong

National Stadium, Karachi

25 June

Group A

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

25 June

Group B

Hong Kong v India

National Stadium, Karachi

26 June

Group B

Pakistan v India

National Stadium, Karachi

26 June

Group A

Sri Lanka v U.A.E

Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

28 June

2nd Stage

not known v not known

National Stadium, Karachi

29 June

2nd Stage

not known v not known

National Stadium, Karachi

30 June

2nd Stage

not known v not known

National Stadium, Karachi

02 July

2nd Stage

not known v not known

National Stadium, Karachi

03 July

2nd Stage

not known v not known

National Stadium, Karachi

04 July

2nd Stage

not known v not known

National Stadium, Karachi

06 July


not known v not known

National Stadium, Karachi


India v Pakistan, final, Kitply Cup, Mirpur

Pakistan 315 for 3 (Butt 129, Younis 108) beat

India 290 (Dhoni 64, Yuvraj 56) by 25 runs

A familiar nemesis and a battle-scarred warhorse inspired a downcast bunch to brave the odds and hand Pakistan their first multi-nation title in more than five years. In front of their board chairman, who had lashed out after their previous loss, and their coach, who was criticised for his overly optimistic statements, Pakistan turned in an intense, yet controlled, performance to clinch the Kitply Cup and head home upbeat for the Asia Cup.

In an era of slam-bang cricket, Pakistan reverted to a strategy straight out of the early 1990s: win the toss, bat, see off the new ball, keep wickets, accelerate and launch a big score. From 75 for 1 in the 20th over, on a pitch where the ball appeared to be stopping on the batsmen, they soared to 315. Salman Butt cracked his fifth hundred against India, and seventh overall, but it was Younis Khan's pumped-up century that charmed - under the cosh after his two successive ducks, he chose the big stage for the comeback.

India started well but came apart in the face of the middle-over onslaught. Eight bowlers were tried but Pakistan made the most of the lack of a fifth specialist, going after the part-time spinners even though the field was spread. Piyush Chawla came into this game on the back of a morale-boosting four-wicket haul but ended up having a harrowing time, finishing with the most expensive spell by an Indian spinner in an ODI.

All wasn't lost yet - India had chased down a similar total against Pakistan in Dhaka ten years ago - but there was no batsman, or partnership, to hold the innings together. A constantly mounting run-rate forced some poor shot selection and Yuvraj Singh's wicket, just when he was settled enough to guide the chase, all but shut the door. And just when Mahendra Singh Dhoni raised visions of a robbery, Umar Gul produced a masterclass in death-over bowling to seal the deal. His two early wickets, earned with bouncers, were probably more important but it was the final two, nailed with yorker-length balls, that will stick in the mind. The yorker that crashed into the base of Piyush Chawla's leg stump came with the effect of a hammer knocking in the final nail in the coffin.

Vital contributions ensured India stayed in the fight but what India could have done with was a couple of batsmen with the innings-building capabilities of Butt and Younis. The pitch wasn't conducive to strokeplay early and both bided their time through the Powerplays. Once set, there was little the bowlers could do and the blistering 240 they crashed in 30 overs made up for the lost time. This didn't come about through wild bashing; rather it was because of a pair who understood the nuances of the one-day game and illustrated the value of pacing an innings.

One needs to go back more than 25 years when a Pakistani second-wicket pair added more than 200 against India. The present duo couldn't match the rate set by Mohsin Khan and Zaheer Abbas, who belted 205 in just 27 overs, but did enough to set a rock-solid platform.

Younis raised his bat to the crowd twice: the first when he had a laugh at himself for getting off the mark, on the back of two successive ducks, and the second, a more emphatic celebration, when he brought up his century. It was truly a Younis special, the sort you expect from a batsmen who's used to his back against the wall. At no point was there a shortage of intent, whether he was drilling through the covers or pulling over midwicket or hustling between the stumps or even paddling fine.

If Younis nudged and glided, Butt punched and slapped. He didn't work on subtle glances and focused instead on forcing the ball through the gaps. He pulled out some of his signature strokes, like the slap through point and flick towards square leg, but the shot that defined this knock was the slog-sweep, whistling balls over midwicket. India, bizarrely, never plugged the gap - even after both batsmen peppered the midwicket boundary - and conceded 84 runs to the duo in that region. The V had a different definition today.

Yuvraj chose to play in a different sort of V - between midwicket and fine leg. He was intent on sweeping the spinners and the packed off-side field prompted him to try out the slog-sweep, the flick, the conventional sweep and the vertical back-drive. He survived a close lbw appeal and a Fawad Alam caught-and-bowled chance but couldn't gauge the low bounce from Shahid Afridi, snicking to the wicketkeeper.

Dhoni held the lower order together and, typically, he chose to rotate the strike as the tailenders went for their shots. Irfan Pathan struggled to get his timing right and both Praveen Kumar and Chawla had no clue against Gul. Dhoni's two late sixes kept the flame flickering but, with nine wickets down and needing to go for broke, he holed out to deep point. He might have left it too late but the real damage was probably done much earlier in the evening.


Hong Kong refused warm-up matches

The Pakistan Cricket Board has turned down a request by Hong Kong for warm-up matches ahead of the Asia Cup, which begins on June 24, citing logistical reasons.

"The Hong Kong Cricket Association had asked us for some warm-up matches in Lahore as part of their preparation for the Asia Cup,"

Zakir Khan, the PCB's director of operations.

"We refused and said they must arrive on June 21, according to the Asian Cricket Council's approval for every team."

It is learnt that Hong Kong had wanted to come ten days before the event to warm up, at which time the PCB would be in the final stages of preparation for the tournament.

A board official denied an earlier report that security reasons were behind the scrapping.

"Hong Kong were in Pakistan a month ago on a development tour so the question of security is a non-starter,"

he said.

Hong Kong face hosts Pakistan in their opening game in Karachi on June 24.


Canada to host Twenty20 tri-series in August

Canada will host a Twenty20 tri-series featuring Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh from August 13 to 16 and all the matches will be played in Toronto. The tournament, which was organised by the PCB to fill up its calendar after the postponement of their home series against Australia, had initially faced problems with the backing out of the primary sponsors, but the board has managed to bring in a Pakistan-based business house to finance the event.

"The proposed tournament in Canada may have run into major problems after the previous sponsor backed out of their commitment,"

Shafqat Naghmi, the chief operating officer of the PCB, told the News.

"But we've got new sponsors and hopefully the tournament will go ahead according to schedule."

Naghmi said the board had also received a guarantee from the new sponsors for Pakistan's participation for the tournament. This will the first time in close to nine years that Pakistan will be playing in Canada: they had beaten West Indies 3-0 in September, 1999. Prior to that, they had played an annual ODI series against India from 1996 to 1998, winning on two occasions.


18 month-ban, Rs 7 million-fine awarded to Shoaib Akhtar

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Appellate Tribunal in a majority decision has reduced the ban on Shoaib Akhtar from five years to 18 months and imposed a fine of seven million rupees.

While talking to media the head of the Appellate Tribunal Justice (retired) Aftab Farrukh told that the third member of the tribunal was in favour of withdrawing the five-year ban and instead imposing a fine of Rs 50 million.

Aftab Farrukh said that Shoaib Akhtar should also undergo counseling.

He said that he gave his verdict according to his conscious and he personally felt that the five-year ban was too much.

He said that this decision was not made under any pressure and the tribunal has reviewed the case from every aspect before reaching the final verdict.


PCB advisor grassroots resigns

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) advisor grassroots Javaid Zaman resigns following sacking of three top PCB officials.

According to reports, Javed Zamans decision to resign comes after a charge sheet prepared against him by the PCB officials.

Zaman also served as board's election commissioner but was demoted 2 months back and the designation was later handed over to Brigadier (retd) Munawer Rana.

Talking to Geo, Zaman denied differences with Chairman Cricket board Nasim Ashraf and added the decision is due to his personal engagements.


Pakistan vows full security for Champions Trophy

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An International Cricket Council official said Thursday that Pakistan's government had made stringent security arrangements for the upcoming biennial Champions Trophy.

Pakistan hosts the Champions Trophy from September 11 to 28 with top eight Test playing countries -- Australia, South Africa, India, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies -- competing.

The matches will be staged in Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, cities that have been hit by several suicide attacks over the past year before a lull in recent months.

"The government of Pakistan has taken comprehensive measures to ensure foolproof security for ICC (International Cricket Council) Champions Trophy and have constituted high powered committees to oversee the arrangements,"
ICC director for event management Ahmad Farooq said in a statement.

A meeting took place between officials from the interior ministry, the Pakistan Cricket Board and ICC event management in Islamabad on Tuesday to oversee the arrangements, he said.

"The interior ministry offered its full cooperation to ensure immaculate security during the high-profile event and established high-level committees which will be headed by some very senior officials,"
Farooq said.

This will be the first time that Pakistan has staged a major sporting event since hosting a quadrangular tournament in 1997. Pakistan also co-hosted matches of the 1996 World Cup with India and Sri Lanka.

Foreign teams have been reluctant to tour Pakistan in the wake of the 2001 invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan and ensuing war against terrorism.

Australia put off their March-April tour to the trouble-hit country this year over security fears. They agreed to split the postponed tour in 2009 and 2010 after elections and the formation of a new government have seen improved security.

Pakistan will have an opportunity for a dress rehearsal of the Champions Trophy when they host the six-nation Asia Cup in Lahore and Karachi from June 24-July 6.

India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and United Arab Emirates will also feature in the Asia Cup.


PCB sacks Saleem Altaf

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has sacked Saleem Altaf, Director of Special Project on World Cup 2011 with immediate effect.

Saleem Altaf said he had been accused of leaking a confidential email to the media which criticised the team.

The PCB confirmed that former fast bowler Saleem Altaf, who was overseeing the 2011 World Cup to be hosted in the subcontinent, was fired, but a top official played down the incident.

"Saleem Altaf's services were no more required but I would not say he was accused of leakage to the media,"
PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

But Altaf said he was sacked after local media published an email by the PCB chief accusing the national team of lacking commitment after they suffered their biggest-ever defeat against arch-rivals India this week.

"I have worked to the best of sincerity and honesty but today PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf called me to his office and accused me of leaking news to the media,"
Altaf told.

"He gave me the option of resigning or else said that he would sack me,"
Altaf added.

Saleem Altaf, 64, who played 21 Tests for Pakistan in the 1970s as a medium fast bowler, was made director for special projects after serving as chief executive of the PCB until September last year.

Altaf said he would consult an attorney.

"After I left Ashraf's room he came to my office and told me to read the transcript of a taped conversation which had my voice. He accused me of leaking secrets to the media,"
Altaf said.

"I replied that most of the things in the transcript were public knowledge and nothing is proved in the transcript. I will consult my lawyer and then decide my course of action,"
said Altaf.

India thrashed Pakistan by 140 runs in the tri-series match held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Tuesday. They posted a formidable 330-8 and then bowled Pakistan out for a paltry 190.

"The performance against India was embarrassing,"
Ashraf wrote in the email published in the media.

"It is not a question of losing a match but our overall performance and the lack of resolve and commitment bothered me the most,"
it added.

The email, which was addressed to manager Talat Ali and copied to captain Shoaib Malik and Pakistan's Australian coach Geoff Lawson, demanded swift action.

It was unclear how Altaf was alleged to have obtained the email.

"Please discuss these points and give us your considered response within the next 24 hours so that timely action can be taken before the next match against India on the 14th which will be the final,"
the message said.

India take on Bangladesh on Thursday, with Pakistan set to meet their foes again on Saturday.

Nasim Ashraf criticised the selection of the team, which did not include a regular spinner.

"The previous game against Bangladesh had clearly highlighted the characteristics of the track in Dhaka, that the spinners were going to play a crucial role,"
said Ashraf of Pakistan's 70-run win over the hosts on Sunday.

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