Kenya want to undertake Pakistan tour

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cricket Kenya has approached Pakistan to explore the possibility of touring the country next February to warm-up for the ICC World Cup Qualifiers scheduled for April, 2009.

Tom Tikolo, Cricket Kenya’s chief executive, said that he has discussed a proposal with Pakistan Academy manager Haroon Rasheed to play around six one-dayers in Pakistan to get ready for the 12-nation qualifying tournament from where the top four will make the cut for the 2011 World Cup to be co-hosted by Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“We are desperate to play against some strong teams and believe that playing a series of one-dayers in Pakistan can really help our players get ready for the World Cup qualifiers,”
said Tikolo.

Kenya are struggling at the international arena, five years after reaching the World Cup semifinals in South Africa. Tikolo blames lack of exposure for his team’s slump.

“Playing around six games in Pakistan will help us to find our rhythm,”
said Tikolo.
“The World Cup qualifiers is our most important assignment and we will take all possible steps to ensure that our team competes in the event well-prepared,”
he added.

Haroon Rasheed said that he has discussed the idea with Tikolo and will now forward it to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on his return to Pakistan. The Pakistan Academy’s tour of Africa concluded on Sunday with their third one-dayer against Kenya here at the Nairobi Gymkhana.

The tourists are scheduled to fly out of Nairobi for Karachi on Monday night after completing what was a highly successful tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya.


I don’t consider T20 cricket difficult: Yousuf

Pakistan cricket team’s middle-order batsman and captain of Lahore Lions Mohammad Yousuf said that he does not consider Twenty20 cricket any difficult and the impression about him in this regard is not correct.

Talking on the occasion of practice match between his team Lahore Lions and Lahore Eagles in connection with the National Twenty20 Cup at the LCCA Ground, he said that this tournament is being played at a suitable time as the players can get a good opportunity for preparing themselves for the event in Canada.

Mohammad Yousuf said that there would be a great contest in the National Twenty20 Cricket Tournament , beginning from October 4 and the players have begun full preparation for this event.

He said that his team Lahore Lions consists of talented and in-form players.

The veteran batsman said that Twenty20 cricket also requires experienced and talented batsmen and this impression is not correct that he does not have any ability to play Twenty20 cricket.


3 more Pakistani players join ICL

Three more players from Pakistan have joined the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

According to an Indian media report, Lahore Badshahs, led by Inzamam-ul-Haq, has acquired the services of three more Pakistani cricketers to play in the ICL.

These three cricketers are Tahir Mughal, Shahid Yousuf and hafeez Khalil while one more Bangladeshi player Nazimuddin has joined Dhaka Warriors, a new team in the ICL.


Mani to advise PCB on TV rights

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ehsan Mani, the former ICC president, will advise the PCB management on its tender process for television rights of international matches held in the country by the board from 2009-2013.

Leading broadcasters and agencies can bid for the rights until the second week of November. The PCB expects the process to be completed by the end of November.

"There is no doubt the Indian Premier League (IPL) has grabbed most of the TV rights money but I'm hopeful that PCB's television rights for the next four years would be sold on full market value,"

Mani told IANS.

"The PCB, however, would suffer in case of any team not fulfilling its obligation. For example Sri Lankan players are talking of not visiting England next year as they are interested in IPL. But the English broadcasters would not pay for the series not taking place.

"When any team pulls out, the host country loses not only the income generated by television rights but it also suffers huge and immeasurable loss in terms of advertisement, gate money, endorsements and most of all great loss to the projection and promotion of sport in the country."

The PCB said the process will be in accordance with the best practices worldwide and will be monitored by an independent forensic accountant. Pakistan have only hosted two ODI series - against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - and the Asia Cup this year. Security concerns led to the postponement of both Australia's visit and the Champions Trophy, which was to be held in September.

The PCB invited West Indies for two Tests in November, but the tour is yet to be finalised. India are scheduled to tour Pakistan early next year for a full series.


PCB asks Moin to pay Rs 250m in damages

In a strong reply to the legal notice sent by Moin Khan, the former Pakistan captain, the PCB has asked him to pay Rs 250 million rupees (approx US$3,210,891) in damages within two weeks.

On September 19, Moin sued the PCB and demanded Rs 100 million (approx US$1.3m) over its claims that he was involved in recruiting batsman Mohammad Yousuf for the ICL. Moin said "false and engineered statements" were made by the PCB that he pressured Yousuf to join the ICL, and that when the agreement was not finalised, Yousuf paid the player's fee back to him.

Taffazul H Rizvi, the PCB's lawyer, sent a legal address to Moin's lawyer Imran Aziz Qureshi alleging that Moin did not pay the full amount to Yousuf while signing a contract with him for the ICL last year. The legal notice rubbishes Moin's claims as "whimsical and capricious" and states Yousuf as having incurred "colossal financial losses due to the said arbitration proceedings pending in India".


PCB signs US$9 million deal with Dubai Sports City

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Pakistan Cricket Board has signed a three-year contract worth US$9 million with Dubai Sports City, which will serve as the home venue for Pakistan's future cricketing commitments after touring teams raised security concerns over travelling to Pakistan.

"Under the recently-signed contract, the Pakistan team will play different events at the offshore venue for three years after the completion of Dubai Cricket Stadium next year ,"

said Shafqat Nagmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, while announcing the deal at a news conference.

Naghmi said the stadium is likely to be completed in February 2009 and will host a tri-series involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in April. For the next two years, the team will be participating in Twenty20 events.

According to a senior PCB official, Pakistan will play four Twenty20 matches in that period with the board expected to rake in US$3 million per match for the three-year assignment. The PCB has already suffered heavy financial losses this year with the postponement of the Champions Trophy and Australia's refusal to tour Pakistan for a Test series earlier in March-April this year.

Ehsan Mani, the former ICC president, however was opposed to the idea of shifting matches away from Pakistan.

"By offshore series Pakistan can perhaps get the TV rights money but there will be no crowds and sponsorships,"

Mani told the Voice of America.

"If there was no cricket played in Pakistan, it will be loss to cricket, loss of Pakistan cricket in the longer run."

Concerns also loomed over the lack of international cricket being played, with only a quadrangular tournament in Toronto involving hosts Canada, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe scheduled for October, ahead of the home series against India in January 2009.

"It is a lucrative contract which will help in overcoming the loss after postponement of Champions Trophy,"

said Naghmi.

"Through this deal we will be generating enough funds besides having a definite programme of our team's participation in international cricket".

He signed the contract subject to the approval of the incoming chairman of the PCB, the position which remains vacant following the resignation of Nasim Ashraf.


IPL sets October 11 date for Asif hearing

Mohammad Asif will be appearing before the IPL drugs tribunal on October 11 after testing positive for the banned steroid, nandrolone, during the tournament.

Asif's lawyer Shahid Karim told reporters that the fast bowler received a letter from the IPL asking him to appear before the tribunal on the said date. Sunder Raman, the IPL chief executive, confirmed the date and said the meeting would be held in Mumbai.

Originally scheduled for August 30, soon after his B sample also tested positive, the hearing was pushed back after a request from Asif. A decision will be arrived at by the three-man panel set up by the IPL comprising former India opener Sunil Gavaskar, doctor Ravi Bapat and lawyer Shirish Gupte.

Besides his lawyer, Asif will be accompanied by his consultant, Dr Graham Durgan, and if found guilty he is likely to be handed a two-year ban from the IPL which will apply to both domestic and international cricket.


Asif eager for drugs hearing

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mohammad Asif wants the chance to clear his name as he waits for his doping tribunal. It will decide if he is handed a two-year ban after testing positive for the banned steroid, nandrolone, during the Indian Preimer League (IPL).

Asif has been suspended by the Pakistan board and his B sample also tested positive in August, although he hopes that a discrepancy between the two readings could help his case.

"I am anxiously waiting to put my case before the IPL tribunal because I want to get my name cleared and return to where I belong - [on] cricket grounds,"

Asif told AFP.

"I am confident that I will get cleared on the basis of discrepancies in the quantity, but the first thing is to get a hearing where I could prove myself."

The tribunal will take place in front of a three-man panel set up by the IPL including former India opener Sunil Gavaskar, doctor Ravi Bapat and lawyer Shirish Gupte. The hearing had originally been due on August 30, but Asif asked for it to be pushed back.

If Asif is found guilty the ban will come from the IPL, but as it is officially sanctioned by ICC it will apply to both domestic and international cricket.

Asif is currently in Karachi to play some club cricket and aiming to stay in shape should he be able to resume his career.

"I have already missed a lot of cricket,"

he said.

"My whole career has suffered badly in the last few months and once I return I will make sure that no untoward incident happens again."


India to tour Pakistan next year despite bomb blasts

India will play a Test and a one-day international in Rawalpindi on their tour of Pakistan early next year despite the latest bombing in adjoining Islamabad, official said Tuesday.

The blast on Saturday evening devastated the five-star Marriott hotel and killed at least 60 people, including at least four foreigners.

"India will play a Test and a one-day international in Rawalpindi because the itinerary was approved by India before the Islamabad blast,"
Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

"We hope normalcy returns by the time India tours us."

The Champions Trophy, the second biggest tournament after the World Cup, was due to be held earlier this month but was cancelled due to security concerns in Pakistan.

The Indian team stayed in the Marriott on their last two visits in 2004 and 2006. They also played a Test and a one-day in Rawalpindi in 2004 and a one-day in 2006.

Naghmi said Rawalpindi is one of the most important venues in Pakistan.

"We have recently renovated the stadium in Rawalpindi and hope when India tours us all will be well,"
said Naghmi.

The Indian team will arrive in Karachi on January 4 to play three Tests, five one-day Internationals and a Twenty20 on their 47-day tour.

The tour begins with a three-day side match at Hyderabad starting January 6, while Karachi will host the first Test from January 13 to 17.

The teams will play the second Test in Rawalpindi from January 21 to 25 and the third in Lahore from January 29 to February 2.

The one-day series will start from February 6 in Faisalabad. The remaining matches will be played in Lahore (February 8), Rawalpindi (February 11), Multan (February 14) and Karachi (February 17). Karachi will host the only Twenty20 match on February 19.

This will be India's third tour of Pakistan since the two countries revived bilateral cricket series in 2004.

India stalled the ties on political grounds in 2000. India's tour of Pakistan in 2004 was their first to Pakistan since 1990.

Pakistan also toured India in 2005 -- their first since 1999 -- and then in 2007.

Itinerary of India team's tour to Pakistan:
Jan 4: arrival in Karachi
Jan 6-8: Three-day side match - Hyderabad
Jan 13-17: First Test - Karachi
Jan 21-25: Second Test -Rawalpindi
Jan 29-Feb 2: Third Test - Lahore
Feb 6: First one-day international - Faisalabad
Feb 8: Second one-day international - Lahore
Feb 11: Third one-day international - Rawalpindi
Feb 14: Fourth one-day international - Multan
Feb 17: Fifth one-day international - Karachi
Feb 19: Twenty20 match - Karachi.


Pakistan board brought under government control

The Pakistan Cricket Board has been brought under government control for the first time, until a new chairman is appointed, after the Ministry of Sports issued a notification on Monday.

Cricket was the only sport in Pakistan not under government supervision but this move by the ministry was expected after Nasim Ashraf resigned as PCB chairman last month.

"Since the board chairman resigned last month, the ministry has decided to take measures to bring cricket affairs under the control of the ministry,"

sports minister Najumuddin Khan told Reuters.

"All sports federations in the country come under our control. And we also want to have a certain level of transparency in cricket affairs as people are unhappy with the performance of the team."

Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, said he thought the board would still be allowed to look after itself other than for policy decisions.

"Apart from that, day-to-day affairs and those things which have already been approved by the board, I believe, the ministry will let the board handle them. This is my assumption,"

he said.

Currently the Pakistan president, who is also the PCB's patron-in-chief, must appoint the new board chairman but Najumuddin had previously indicated that the board constitution would be reformed and the power to appoint the chairman could go to the prime minister.


Shoaib Akhtar to play domestic Twenty20 tournament

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shoaib Akhtar has been included for Pakistan's national Twenty20 tournament, which starts on October 4 in Lahore, after he was issued an ultimatum by the Pakistan Cricket Board to pay an outstanding fine of Rs 7 million (approx US$105,000). The PCB today announced its 15-member squads for all 13 participating teams, with Shoaib representing Islamabad Leopards.

The PCB slapped Shoaib, 33, with the fine last month after he criticised the PCB over its failure to award him a central contract. He was initially banned by the PCB for five years, but the sentence had been reduced to 18 months by an appellate tribunal in June.

The ban had restricted him from playing in and for Pakistan but he was given permission to play in England. He's currently on a short stint with Surrey. He has also been included in the preliminary 20-man squad for next month's Canada Cup Four Nation Twenty20 tournament.

A notable exclusion is the batsman Younis Khan, who was granted permission from the PCB to represent South Australia as their overseas player in their domestic season, which starts next month.

The tournament will be staged between October 4-8 at the Bagh-e-Jinnah and Lahore City Cricket Association Grounds. It will serve as a selection trial for the series in Canada, Pakistan's first international assignment after the recent Asia Cup. The Champions Trophy, scheduled between September 12-28, was postponed due to security issues.


Pak-India series schedule to be released on Monday or Tuesday

The schedule of Pakistan-India cricket series will be released on Monday or Tuesday. The Indian cricket team will play three Tests and five One-day Internationals on the tour of Pakistan.

According to sources, the suggested schedule has been received by the Pakistan Cricket Board after it was approved by the Indian cricket board.

The sources said that the Indian board did not raise any objection on the venues suggested by Pakistan.

The Pak-India series will be held from January 4 to February 20, 2009 during which three Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20 match will be played.

The venues of the matches will be Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Multan.


Traditional interest no more in Pak-India cricket : Rashid Lateef

Former captain of Pakistan cricket team Rashid Lateef said that there has been no more traditional interest in Pakistan-India cricket contests due to weak bowling attack of the national team.

Indian star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has declared India-Australia series more interesting than Pakistan-India cricket.

Rashid Lateef supporting his instance declared Pakistan’s weak bowling responsible for it.


PCB seeks LHC guidance in Shoaib Akhtar case

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has filed an application at the Lahore High Court for seeking guidance for allowing Shoaib Akhtar to play for Pakistan without paying the fine.

Legal advisor PCB Tafazzal Rizvi told Geo News that the Lahore High Court on July 4 had issued a stay order against 18-month ban on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar but that did not include any stay order regarding payment of the fine and therefore he legally could not play cricket in Pakistan and for Pakistan cricket team.

However, Shoaib Akhtar had adopted the instance that he would be liable to pay the fine when the case would be decided by the court.

Tafazzal Rizvi said that it has been asked to the court in the PCB’s petition to guide the PCB whether Shoaib should be allowed to play or not without paying the fine.

The petition will be heard on September 22 by the chief justice Lahore High Court justice Syed Zahid Hussain.


Players disappointed on postponement of Champions Trophy: Shoaib Malik

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pakistan pondered another low-point for the country's cricketing fortunes on Friday, when the shelved Champions Trophy had been due to kick off.

Captain Shoaib Malik said the players were "very disappointed" at last month's setback when the high-profile International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament was postponed over security fears.

Attempts to reschedule the Trophy for October 2009 are clashing with other series, leaving the event in doubt.

With ongoing security problems placing a question mark over future tours here, Malik said Pakistan's reputation had been dealt a serious blow.

"As cricketers we are very disappointed,"
Malik told foreign news agency.
"I would rather say that disappointment is a very small word for the feeling we are going through and our cricket has badly suffered from the Trophy postponement."

The September 12-28 event for the top eight nations was put off after South Africa refused to tour and players from Australia, England and New Zealand also expressed reluctance to visit.

Malik said Pakistan needed to host the Trophy to prove itself as a safe venue for international cricket.

"The Pakistan government gave full security assurances and had the event took place with fans coming from abroad perceptions and the image of our country would have changed,"
he said.

"We badly needed to host the Champions Trophy because it would have paved the way for more international cricket in Pakistan. We are now sitting idle with no activity and it's something which no player wanted,"
Malik added.


PCB invites West Indies for Test series

Pakistan Cricket Board has finally sent a formal invitation to West Indian Cricket Board to tour Pakistan for a two-Test match series after the efforts from PCB to arrange a Test series with Sri Lanka and South Africa went in vain.

Also, Shafqat Nagmi, the Chief Operating Officer PCB announced in an interview here that Pakistan and West Indies would play a three-match ODI series in November in Abu Dhabi.

PCB has invited West Indian Cricket Board to tour Pakistan right after ODI series for which we are looking forward a positive response, he said.

Naghmi further said that unfortunately, Pakistan team could not play too many matches this year however he hoped Pakistan cricket team would have a busy schedule next year.


National Twenty20 cricket from Oct 4 to 8

Friday, September 12, 2008

The 20 Twenty cricket tournament would be kicked off from October 4 here, which would lasts till October 8.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has asked the national team players to attend the tournament.

PCB Director cricket operations domestic Sultan Rana told Geo News that all players would be available for the tournament.


Chanderpaul wins ICC Cricketer of the Year award

Thursday, September 11, 2008

West Indies’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul has become the fifth player to win the coveted Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy after being named as the 2008 ICC Cricketer of the Year at the ICC Awards ceremony in Dubai on Wednesday

Chanderpaul, who also made the short-list last year, fought off competition from other nominees Mahela Jayawardena from Sri Lanka, as well as South Africa’s Graeme Smith and Dale Steyn to take the top award.

Chanderpaul follows in the footsteps of India’s Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff of England and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005) and Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006 and 2007) to take the top award.

India one-day captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the ODI Player of the Year award while his teammate Yuvraj Singh became the inaugural winner of the Twenty20 International Performance of the Year award in recognition of his amazing six sixes in one over during the World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007.

Dhoni also found a berth in the ODI Team of the Year along with Sachin Tendulkar. Virender Sehwag was the only Indian player in the Test Team of the Year. Dhoni beat off tough competition from teammate Sachin Tendulkar, Australia fast bowler Nathan Bracken and Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf.

During the voting period, Dhoni played 39 ODIs and scored 1,298 runs at an average of 49.92 and at a rate of 82.46 runs per 100 balls faced. He also hit a century and nine fifties, making sure he led his team from the front during this period. He is currently ranked No.1 in the ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen.

According to the awards voting academy, Yuvraj’s effort was the most impressive performance in the past 12 months. He beat off competition from teammate Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led his team to victory at World Twenty20 in South Africa, Chris Gayle who scored 117 off just 57 balls against South Africa in the opening match of the competition and Australia’s Brett Lee, who became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the event against Bangladesh in Cape Town.

Significantly, Andrew Symonds has been included in the ODI Team of the Year. Ricky Ponting has been named captain of the ODI side while Graeme Smith will lead the Test team.

The selection panel was chaired by Clive Lloyd and included former Australia captain Greg Chappell, recently retired South Africa all rounder Shaun Pollock, former Sri Lanka opener Sidath Wettimuny and former Bangladesh batsman Athar Ali Khan.

The Award Winners: Cricketer of the Year: Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies)
Test Player of the Year: Dale Steyn (South Africa)
ODI Player of the Year: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India)
Women’s Player of the Year: Charlotte Edwards (England)
Emerging Player of the Year: Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka)
Associate Player of the Year: Ryan ten Doeschate (The Netherlands)
Twenty20 International Performance of the Year: Yuvraj Singh (India)
Spirit of Cricket: Sri Lanka
Umpire of the Year: Simon Taufel (Australia).


'Pakistan should surrender Champions Trophy rights' - Mani

Ehsan Mani, the former ICC president, has advised the Pakistan Cricket Board to surrender its right to host the Champions Trophy, scheduled for October 2009, and ask the ICC for an event in the future as compensation.

Pakistan was supposed to host the Champions Trophy in September 2008 but the tournament was postponed after five countries said they would not send their teams because of security concerns in the country. Sri Lanka was the designated back-up option but the ICC chose to postpone the tournament, rather than shift it to another location, after the Pakistan board and the BCCI stood firm against a change in venue.

"Since it was known earlier that some teams were not comfortable about touring Pakistan for the Champions Trophy, the PCB should have taken the initiative by asking the ICC to shift it to an alternate venue, instead of postponing it, to avoid the financial loses,"

Mani told IANS.

"If the tournament was shifted, the ICC could have earned approximately $50 million and every participating team would have had their share of $3.75 million each.

"In my view, the PCB should have withdrawn from hosting the Champions Trophy and should have demanded any future ICC event like the 2012 Champions Trophy or the Twenty20 World Cup in 2013 as compensation since ICC hasn't allocated those events."

The staging of the Champions Trophy in 2009 will be discussed during meetings between the Chief Executives Committee and the ICC board on September 10 and 11. Mani was of the view that Pakistan could still give up the hosting rights during the meeting in Dubai.


    4 Pakistani cricketers leave for SA to act in Indian movie

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Four players of Pakistan’s cricket team have left for South Africa to take part in shooting of an Indian documentary film based on cricket.

    According to reports, Captain Shoaib Malik, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Suhail Tanvir and Kamran Akmal are among the players, who have left today for Johannesburg.

    Besides Pakistani players, other international cricketers are also expected to participate in the film ‘victory’.


    Pakistan’s Yousuf, Dar among nominees for ICC awards

    Pakistan’s star batsman Mohammad Yousuf and umpire Aleem Dar have been included in the list of nominees for the fifth ICC awards.

    Yousuf has been nominated for the award of the One-day player of the year along with Nathan Bracken (Australia), Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India) and Sachin Tendulkar (India).

    However, West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and South African Dale Steyn are set to dominate the fifth ICC awards night on Wednesday.

    The three were nominated for both the cricketer of the year and the Test player of the year awards that will be announced at a gala dinner in Dubai, the headquarters of the International Cricket Council.

    South African captain Graeme Smith was the fourth nominee for the cricketer of the year, while team-mate Jacques Kallis completed the list for the Test player of the year.

    None of the four nominees for the cricketer of the year have won the award before, meaning a new name will be inscribed on the prestigious Garfield Sobers Trophy.

    Past winners include India's Rahul Dravid (2004), England's Andrew Flintoff and Kallis (joint winners in 2005), and Australia captain Ricky Ponting (2006 and 2007).

    The nominees were announced by ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat here on Monday.

    India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been nominated for two prizes, the one-day player of the year and the Twenty20 International performance of the year after leading India to victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa.

    Indian paceman Ishant Sharma will compete with Sri Lanka's mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, England all-rounder Stuart Broad and South African fast bowler Morne Morkel for the Emerging Player award.

    Simon Taufel of Australia could win a fifth successive umpire of the year award after being nominated alongside Mark Benson of England, Aleem Dar of Pakistan, Steve Davis of Australia and South African Rudi Koertzen.


    Hearing on Shoaib's appeal against ban postponed

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008

    A hearing on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's appeal against an 18-month ban was postponed Tuesday because the judge was not available, a lawyer for the Pakistan Cricket Board said.

    The 33-year-old paceman is appealing the ban and a fine of seven million rupees (100,000 dollars).

    "Lahore High Court Justice Syed Zahid Hussain was not available to hear the case as he was attending the swearing-in ceremony of the president of Pakistan in Islamabad,"
    PCB lawyer Taffazul Rizvi said.

    A new date for the hearing would be announced next week, he said.

    The original ban of five years was imposed by the PCB disciplinary committee in April following Akhtar's public criticism of the board in January when he was axed from the list of 15 contracted players.

    An appeal committee reduced the ban but imposed the fine in June before the Lahore High Court suspended the ban the same month, allowing Akhtar to play in the Indian Premier League.

    However the court upheld the fine, a prerequisite for Akhtar representing Pakistan again.

    He was named to a 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy that was to be held in September but was postponed for 12 months amid security fears in Pakistan.

    The injury-prone paceman is in London due to play for Surrey in a county game against Hampshire starting at The Oval on Tuesday.


    I’ll prove 100% fitness through better performance in county cricket: Shoaib Akhtar

    Saturday, September 6, 2008

    Pakistan cricket team’s fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar said that he would try to prove his 100 per cent fitness by showing better performance in the English county cricket.

    Talking with media at the Allama Iqbal International Airport before leaving for Delhi, he said that he would be given an opportunity to prove his fitness by playing county cricket while he would also get good support from his fellow countryman Saqlain Mushtaq in the county.

    He said that he is going to India for participating in a private tv programme. After a day’s stay in Delhi, the fast bowler will leave for London to represent Surrey in the English county cricket.


    I’ll go back to Australia if my services not required in new set up: Lawson

    National cricket team’s coach Geoff Lawson said that he would happily go back to Australia if his services are not required in the new set up of the PCB after the political changes in the country.

    In an interview, Geoff Lawson said that he has been offered attractive packages in Australia but he accepted the Pakistan team’s coaching assignment as a challenge and all his attention is focused on making Pakistan the best team in the world.

    Lawson said that he has no feeling of insecurity regarding his contract with the Pakistan cricket team. However, if he has no place in the forthcoming set up then he would go back happily.

    Regarding security, Geoff Lawson said that he lives in the city of Lahore and is free to perform his routine duties there and he does not consider himself insecure.


    Tri-series likely to be called off

    The proposed tri-series in South Africa, also involving Pakistan and probably Sri Lanka, is likely to be called off. The Pakistan Cricket Board was trying to arrange the tournament to fill the gap in the schedule caused by the postponement of the Champions Trophy.

    Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, confirmed that the event was facing several roadblocks.

    "A CSA official asked us for details on the proposal,"

    he told the News.

    "He did say that South Africa's leading players were not interested in playing in a series immediately after their tour of England."

    As for the PCB's next course of action, Naghmi said:

    "We are working on several options and will decide in the next few days as to which idea is the most feasible."

    South Africa's coach Mickey Arthur had expressed concerns that fatigue was hampering his team's progress after their 4-0 loss to England in the recent one-day series. He also said he believed the tri-series was an unlikely starter.

    "I'm sure the tri-series is not going to take place and, in retrospect, it's a relief the Champions Trophy was called off because we would have been back on a plane flying to Pakistan on Sunday,"

    Arthur said.

    "I'd like the administrators to remember the team is our product and because they've done so marvellously well it has led to commercial opportunities. But I don't think we should be flogging a dead horse."


    Zimbabwe Board XI v Pakistan Cricket Academy, 1st ODI, Harare

    Friday, September 5, 2008

    Pakistan Cricket Academy 237 for 8 (Iqbal 61, Ali 54*, Cremer 3-46, Garwe 3-50) beat Zimbabwe Board XI 124 (Mujuru 45; Talha 4-36, Shah 3-23) by 113 runs

    After comprehensively beating the Zimbabwe Board XI in the four-day games, the Pakistan Cricket Academy took their winning form to the one-dayers as, after a solid batting performance, Mohammad Talha and Yasir Shah shared seven wickets between them to bowl out Zimbabwe for 124 in Harare.

    Fahad Iqbal and Anwar Ali scored half-centuries to take their side to 237 but there was a period in the innings when the spinners, Graeme Cremer and Timycen Marua, jolted Pakistan with four wickets for 75 runs. Zimbabwe couldn't push home the advantage, though, and let the ninth-wicket pair of Ali and Shah add 28 - of which Shah contributed eight off four balls. Ali's unbeaten 54, off 46 balls, included three fours and three sixes. Iqbal, who had added 52 with Asad Shafiq, took 86 balls for his 61, which had five fours.

    Pakistan's bowlers then took 33.2 overs to wrap up Zimbabwe's innings in which, apart from Bornaparte Mujuru's 45, no other player scored more than 16. The last five wickets - shared by Talha and Shah - fell for four runs.

    The second one-dayer is scheduled for Sunday in Harare.


    Shoaib sent back from London due to visa problem

    Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has been sent back from London as he had no working visa.

    He had reached London for playing cricket for Surrey - an English county. He was determined to make a successful return to county cricket and help Surrey with his performance in the county’s remaining three matches.

    Although the Pakistan Cricket Board had given Akhtar a No Objection Certificate, clearing the way for him to play in Surrey's last three County Championship matches but the British immigration officials sent him back to Pakistan as he could not show them his working visa.

    Meanwhile, Shoaib Akhtar said that he would go again to London on Saturday for playing matches for his county.


    Intikhab for new captain for series against India

    Former Pakistan cricket captain Intikhab Alam said that Shoaib Malik could not impress as captain and it would be better if the Pakistan cricket Board find a new captain for the home series against India.

    Talking with media, Intikhab Alam said that Shoaib Malik has no ability to combine players in the country and he was proved a failure as captain after losing from South Africa and India.

    He said that vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq may be a better candidate for captaincy.


    Shoaib Malik defends his captaincy

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    Shoaib Malik has defended his 14-month tenure as Pakistan captain amid speculation that a leadership change could be in the offing after the resignation of Nasim Ashraf as chairman of the PCB.

    "I did not tell anybody to make me captain,"

    Malik told the Karachi-based Dawn.

    "I was chosen to lead Pakistan and I have been doing the job in the best possible manner."

    Malik highlighted Pakistan's successes during his time in charge.

    "We did well in the World Twenty20 [where Pakistan reached the final], and remember, Pakistan also won 12 consecutive one-dayers with me as captain."

    Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were whitewashed in a couple of bilateral series, results which are primarily responsible for Malik's 20-10 win-loss record in ODIs.

    "A record is a record,"

    he said,

    "and the opponents we play is not under my control."

    Pakistan went on to win the Kitply Cup, a tri-nation tournament in Bangladesh, but doubts about Malik's captaincy persisted when they failed to reach the final of the Asia Cup, which was held in Karachi. Pakistan also lost their two Test series when he was in charge, first against South Africa at home, and then in India.

    However, Malik's deputy, Misbah-ul-Haq, said he had no aspirations to become Pakistan captain.

    "Obviously, leadership brings extra load of responsibility and I am enjoying my present status of vice-captain in the team,"

    he said.

    "I know it is a great honour to be the captain of the team but I feel content where I am."

    Malik's comments come a day after Intikhab Alam, the former Pakistan captain, criticised his leadership abilities.

    "I don't think he has the ability to keep players together,"

    Alam told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

    "Malik is not impressive at all and it's better the PCB should start looking for a new captain to lead the side against India at home."


    'Afridi has no team ethics' - Laxman

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008

    VVS Laxman, the Deccan Chargers captain, has said that it was a "collective failure" that resulted in the franchise finishing last during the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League in 2007-08 and said he was "really shocked" that team-mate Shahid Afridi criticised his performance in public.

    "Afridi has no team ethics. Speaking negatively about the team in public, let alone the captain, is just not on,"

    Laxman told cricketnext.com.

    "Being an experienced cricketer, he should not be questioning the way the team functions. I am really shocked to say the least. He should know that it was a collective failure because he was part of the team. It is unfortunate that he chose to blame the captain for it."

    Laxman was reacting to Afridi's statement that Adam Gilchrist would have been a better choice to lead the side than Laxman.

    "At times Laxman lost the plot on the field,"

    Afridi told News.

    "Twenty20 cricket is not his forte. Adam is more comfortable in this type of cricket.

    "Gilchrist was one of the two most successful players for us along with Rohit Sharma. He played some really good innings and his input was very good at times on the field. If they do appoint Adam as captain I think he would be a better choice than Laxman."

    Both Laxman and Afridi performed poorly during the IPL. Afridi was one of the most high-profile failures, scoring only 81 runs in ten innings. Laxman sustained an injury after six games, in which he scored 155 runs, and Gilchrist took over as captain. The Deccan Chargers won only two out of 14 games in the league.

    "Probably it is time someone told Afridi that a captain can only be as good as the team and to blame only me is totally out of place,"

    Laxman said.

    "The truth is that the team did not perform to its potential. Every player should take the blame for it and try and comeback strongly in the next edition instead of blaming each other.

    "There was not much I could do after I fractured my hand and heeded the team's request to travel with it. So just being with the team does not mean I was influencing the decisions on the field. Gilchrist was totally in charge of the game once he took over from me and being a true professional, he does not take orders from others and was instrumental in making the decisions in the middle."


    Shoaib Akhtar targets Pakistan return with Surrey stint

    Fit-again Shoaib Akhtar vowed Tuesday to use a short stint with Surrey to mount a comeback at international level, saying he would do his best to help the English county side avoid relegation.

    Surrey, who look set for the drop as they are bottom of the County Championship table with only three matches to go, have recruited the mercurial Pakistan paceman on a contract until the end of the season.

    Akhtar, on the way back from injury and disciplinary breaches, will fly to London on Wednesday.

    The 33-year-old said there could be no better launching pad for a return.

    "I am honoured to play for a county like Surrey,"
    Shoaib Akhtar said.
    "I will do my best to win all three matches for the county and I am fit and raring to go."

    He said he would try and live up to the standards of one of his idols Waqar Younis, who once played for Surrey, and "keep up the traditions of Pakistan fast bowling."

    The bowler said his arrival in England has been slightly delayed due to family illness.

    "My mother was not well, otherwise I wanted to reach there for the last four or five matches. But still it is a great opportunity for me to prove my fitness before the Pakistan team fly out to South Africa or for a possible series or against India at home,"
    said Akhtar.

    Pakistan's team is lacking international cricket after Australia postponed a full tour to the country over security fears in March.

    To add to their woes, the International Cricket Council was forced to postpone September's Champions Trophy until next year after non-Asian teams raised concerns about playing in Pakistan, which has been driven by bombings and suicide attacks.

    The postponement deprived Akhtar of the chance to stage a comeback after he was handed a five-year ban by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over a series of discipline violations.

    The ban followed his public criticism of the PCB after he was axed from a list of 15 contracted players in January.

    In July, an appeal committee reduced the ban to 18 months but imposed a fine of seven million rupees (93,000 dollars). A Lahore High court hearing suspended the ban but upheld the fine, paving the way for his selection in the Trophy squad last month.

    Akhtar promised he had put his troubles behind him.

    "The past eight months were disappointing, but now I am focused on my return. I want to bowl at least 15-20 overs in an innings and gain rhythm because we are hosting India late in the year."

    Pakistan host India for three Tests and five one-day internationals from December 2008 to February 2009.

    Shoaib Akhtar has played 46 Tests and 138 one-day internationals for Pakistan since making his debut in 1997, but has not played any international cricket this year.

    The PCB said it had issued a no objections certificate, allowing Shoaib Akhtar to play for Surrey.

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