West Indies call off Abu Dhabi Tests

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The proposed Test series between West Indies and Pakistan, planned originally for Abu Dhabi in November, will not be going ahead, after West Indies cited problems in their schedule. The decision leaves Pakistan with no Test cricket this year, despite repeated efforts by the board in the recent months to slot them in.

"The West Indies board have informed us that they cannot go ahead with the series,"

Salim Altaf, the Pakistan Cricket Board's director-general, told.

Had it gone ahead, the two-Test series would've taken place after the three ODIs between the two countries at the same venue in mid-November. The short amount of time left between now and then, however, turned out to be a hurdle.

"Their board said there wasn't enough time for them to negotiate touring terms for players with the WIPA (West Indies Player Association),"

Altaf said.

"They also have to go to New Zealand soon after, so the schedule would have been a bit hectic for them."

Dr Donald Peters, the WICB CEO, while making the announcement said the possibility of playing two Test matches against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi was explored by both boards but such an arrangement could not be put in place.

"There was a proposal to play two Tests matches against Pakistan, also in Abu Dhabi, but logistically this proved too difficult for us, so we had to decline that request,"

he said.

"The team will have a camp in New Zealand as part of the build-up for what will be a very important tour. This will allow them to get fully acclimatized to the conditions."

Even if West Indies had agreed to the Tests, the financial benefits for a cash-strapped Pakistan board would have been questionable. The postponement of the Australia home series and the Champions Trophy due to security concerns has hurt Pakistan badly. Organising the series with West Indies, a board official revealed to Cricinfo, would have cost roughly US$2 million.

Whether that would have been recovered, let alone a profit made, is doubtful. Few TV broadcasters were interested in a series on neutral territory with little spectator interest. One local sports channel, said the official, offered "the grand sum of US$40,000 to broadcast the series." Though playing Tests might have helped the team, "commercially it just wasn't very viable for us," the official said. Local reports also suggested that the amount the West Indies board had asked for as payment for what would be, in effect, a home series for Pakistan, wasn't something the PCB could afford.

However, Altaf revealed that the boards had agreed to talk again in Dubai in December to try and fit the tour in to the Future Tours Programme.

"That is a positive thing. We will meet again and hopefully we can organise this series at a more suitable date."

While West Indies will play two Tests, two Twenty20 Internationals and five ODIs from December 5 to January 13, Pakistan's next scheduled Test assignment is the home series against India starting in January.


Monetary issues settled between PCB and Lawson

The conflict of the monetary issues between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the axed coach of the national cricket team Geoff Lawson has been settled here on Monday.

The PCB will pay Lawson further $30,000 on the account of bonus which was made the part of his contract on Pakistan’s reaching the final of the tournament in Toronto.

In an unofficial talk with media at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Saleem Altaf said that there is no conflict with Geoff Lawson regarding payment. There were dues of $30,000 on account of bonus which the board would pay him.

He said that the final decision for holding or not holding Test series between Pakistan and the West Indies would be made by Tuesday.

Replying to a question, Saleem Altaf said that the trainer of the team David Dyer would continue to work with the team at the moment and he would be with the national team in Abu Dahbi.

Meanwhile, Geoff Lawson after meeting with Saleem Altaf said that he spent good time in Pakistan and with the Pakistan team.

He said that he has an offer for commentary in future while he has also given interviews for coaching and he would finalize his future strategy viewing the options.


Issue settled, I’ll return home soon: Lawson

Former coach of Pakistan cricket team Geoff Lawson said that all of his monetary issues have been settled with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and he would go back to Australia as soon he gets the plane seat.

Talking with media after a 15-minute meeting with director-general PCB Saleem Altaf at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lawson said that his good wishes are with the PCB and the players.

He said that it was a different experience for him as for as the culture is concerned but he got ample chances of learning here.

Lawson said that he would come again to visit the beautiful parts of Pakistan.

The former Pakistan coach said he spent very good time with the Pakistan team and watched the talented and great players by sitting in the dressing room.

Lawson said that he has given interviews for coaching assignment and he has also an option of commentary but he would decide it after returning to Australia.


Intikhab Alam appointed Pakistan’s new cricket coach

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) named former captain and manager Intikhab Alam as the new national cricket coach on Saturday, a day after Australian Geoff Lawson was sacked.

Intikhab Alam will take the helm for Pakistan's upcoming series of three one-day
internationals against the West Indies in November at the neutral venue of Abu Dhabi.

"We have appointed Intikhab as the coach as we found him to be the suitable candidate,"
PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said.

"He will accompany the team to Abu Dhabi for the one-day internationals against the West Indies."

The PCB sacked former Australian Test fast bowler Lawson on Friday after a string of poor results. He had spent just 15 months in the job, regarded as one of the toughest in world cricket.

The 66-year-old Intikhab Alam has also been Pakistan coach and manager on several occasions, most notably during Pakistan's World Cup title win in 1992. Former captain and master batsman Javed Miandad was also a candidate for the post.

Butt said the length of Intikhab's contract was expected to be decided next week.

"We would like to appoint Alam for a two-year contract, but we have to get final approval from the members of the governing board,"
said Butt, who took over as chairman earlier this month.

Intikhab said he would try to do his best for Pakistan.
"It's a big responsibility,"
he said.

"It is not an easy job and I have taken up this assignment as a big challenge,"
said Alam, who will abandon his contract with Punjab in India, where he was to take over this month.

Intikhab Alam said discipline would be his top priority for the controversy-hit Pakistan side.

"I will try to maintain discipline because no player is bigger than the game and discipline has been our problem, so that will be my top priority,"
said Intikhab, who played 47 Tests between 1959-75 and also led Pakistan in 17 Tests.

As a quality leg-spinner he took 125 wickets, his first coming on his first delivery in Test cricket against Australia in 1959.


List of Pakistan coaches in last decade

Former captain Intikhab Alam returned for a second stint as Pakistan cricket coach on Saturday, a day after the sacking of Australian Geoff Lawson.

Here is a timeline of the country's cricket coaches in the last ten years:

Sept 1998: Legendary former captain Javed Miandad takes over from Haroon Rasheed, a former middle-order batsman.

April 1999: Miandad resigns after falling out with senior players and is replaced by former captain Mushtaq Mohammad for the 1999 World Cup.

Aug 1999: Mushtaq sacked after the World Cup. Wasim Raja, a former allrounder, steps in.

Nov 1999: English-born Richard Pybus becomes Pakistan's first foreign coach.

Dec 1999: Intikhab Alam takes over after Pybus is axed following Pakistan's 3-0 rout
in a Test series in Australia.

Mar 2000: Miandad replaces Intikhab after Pakistan lost home series to Sri Lanka.

April 2001: Miandad sacked after Pakistan's tour of New Zealand and is replaced by Pybus.

Sept 2001: Pybus refuses to come to Pakistan for security reasons after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and Mudassar Nazar takes over.

Sept 2002: Mudassar summoned home midway through ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka and Pybus returns for a third stint.

March 2003: Pybus says he does not want to stay on after Pakistan were knocked out in the first round of the World Cup held in South Africa. Miandad returns as coach.

June 2004: Miandad sacked after Pakistan lost one-day and Test series against India at home.

July 2004: Former England batsman Bob Woolmer takes over.

March 2007: Woolmer dies in his Jamaica hotel room hours after Pakistan crash out in the first round of the World Cup in the West Indies.

July 2007: Lawson appointed as coach.

October 2008: Lawson sacked over poor results. Intikhab Alam appointed for three-day series against the West Indies to be played in Abu Dhabi.


Best bowler award for Sohail Tanvir in Twenty20 cricket

Pakistan pacer Sohail Tanvir, representing Rajhastan Royals in the Indian Premier League, was declared the best bowler in the Twenty20 cricket awards.

The award giving ceremony will be telecast by Geo Super tonight at 8-30.

In the ceremony held in New Delhi, Suhail Tanvir was given the best bowler award for taking six wickets for 14 runs against Chennai Super Kings in the first edition of the IPL.

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik gave him the award trophy in the ceremony.

Australian player Shaun Marsh of the Punjab Kings XI was declared the best batsman for scoring at the highest average of 68.44 in the event. His award, in his absence, was received by Shane Watson.

The only award winning by an Indian player, was given to Kolkata Knight Riders all- rounder Laxman Rattan Shukla for the best strike rate in bowling.

Award for the best strike rate in batting went to Graham Napier of the English side Essex Eagles.

An special award was given to Sialkot Stallions for achieving the most victories (16) in the Twenty20 format. This award was received by its captain Shoaib Malik.


Lawson considering legal action against PCB

Former coach of Pakistan cricket team Geoff Lawson of Australia is considering to take a legal action against the Pakistan Cricket Board (PBC).

According to sources, Lawson is in contact with the Australian High Commission in Islamabad.

The former coach has refused to leave Pakistan until he is not paid all his dues from the PCB.

Sources said that trainer of the Pakistan cricket team David Dyer is also considering to resign from his position.


Major changes in PCB, Lawson, Naghmi sacked, Altaf reappointed

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made various changes in its organization here on Friday.

First, it sacked the national cricket team’s coach Geoff Lawson, just 15 months after the former Australian paceman took up the position, the board's spokesman said.

"Geoff Lawson has been sacked. He has been given three months' severance pay,"
PCB spokesman Raza Rashid told a foreign news agency.

Meanwhile, Saleem Altaf has been appointed as director special operations of the board.

The PCB has also sacked chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi and given his powers to Saleem Altaf, the PCB spokesman said.

"Altaf has been made the director general of the board with powers of the chief operating officer,"
the spokesman added.

Former coach and legendary ex-captain Javed Miandad is widely tipped as a leading candidate to succeed Lawson, according to several PCB sources, but there was no immediate confirmation.


Sports ministry for ‘model constitution’ to run PCB on democratic lines

Federal sports ministry, in coordination with Law Ministry, is aiming to draft a new ‘model constitution’ of Pakistan Cricket Board in three months time to run the Board on democratic lines and ending one man show. This was stated by Chef De Mission of Pakistan Contingent taking part in Bali Asian Beach Games Muhammad Ashram Khan, who is also the Federal Sports Minister.

“With the provision and implementation of the new document, the Board can be run under a power sharing formula by all the stake-holders ending one man dominance”,
he said.

Present constitution is a “vague document” and all the powers revolve around its chairman. Under such circumstances the Board cannot be run on democratic lines, he reiterated.

“We will be having the first meeting in the first week of November on this issue with Law Minister Farooq H Naek, who has taken up the job to re-write the PCB constitution”,
he said.

Ashraf said the present constitution of the PCB has ruined the game as one man holds the fate of entire cricket of the country in his hands, adding that in the past many years former chairmen of the Board took steps which pushed the game to the brink of disaster.

“If we do not bail out PCB from this situation the future of cricket in Pakistan will be bleak as no attention is being paid to revamp the existing dull, domestic structure and huge funds are being wasted on a big set up of the PCB”,
he said, adding,
"PCB at the moment is spending Rs260 million per annum on the salaries of its employees, who are nearly 700 hundred. They were inducted in the Board without need.”

“In the world, Boards of cricket are being run by less than one hundred employees and under-developed country like Pakistan cannot afford to have army of employees who are a sheer burden”,
he said.

Federal Sports Secretary said instead of giving hefty salaries to employees that amount should be spent on the domestic cricket, saying that with such expenditure for five years Pakistan will have a pool of talented players.

“We want to evolve a system under which all the cricket playing associations and regions can be given equal representation. They must have power sharing under the new constitution so that chairman should not take decisions on his own—without any accountability”
, he stressed.

However, he said the new Chairman of the PCB, Ejaz Butt has rich experience of cricket, and expressed his confidence that he (chairman) will extend his cooperation for a new constitution to run the Board on professional lines.

“We want to have a strong Board of Governors to take every decision and a set up which comprises experts to run Pakistan cricket on modern lines”,
he said.

He also opposed the trend of giving important managerial or administrative positions to former Test cricketers in the set up of the Board and said that they should only be appointed as managers, coaches or selectors and rest of positions be filled by those individuals who are experts in administrators or other fields.

“All the cricket boards, barring Sri Lanka, are being run by private business sector experts and former test cricketers are not in that set up, except with the teams. This pattern should also be followed in Pakistan to save huge resources being spent on the set-up and on those un-needed employees who were inducted through back door,”
he said.


Geoff Lawson

The Pakistan Cricket Board has sacked the national cricket team’s coach Geoff Lawson here on Friday.

The former Australian pace-man had assumed the position of coach just 15 months before, the board's spokesman said.

"Geoff Lawson has been sacked. He has been given three months' severance pay,"
PCB spokesman Raza Rashid told media.

The move comes just three days after new PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said that Lawson's contract would not be renewed next year, on the grounds that Pakistan
had "no utility" for him.

The 50-year-old Lawson was appointed Pakistan coach in July last year after Pakistan's first-round defeat in the World Cup in the Caribbean in March.

Calls for his removal intensified when Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka in the final of the Twenty20 four-nation event in Canada earlier this month.

Butt had said that Lawson could not be instantly removed for financial reasons.

Lawson took 180 wickets in 46 Tests and 88 in 79 one-day internationals for Australia between 1980-89. He had no experience as an international coach but had coached the New South Wales team in Australia.

Pakistan have had 11 different coaches in the past 10 years, with three stints each for Miandad and Richard Pybus, Pakistan's first foreign coach.

Lawson succeeded former England batsman Bob Woolmer, who was found dead in his hotel room in Jamaica in March 2007 just a day after Pakistan's upset defeat at the hands of Ireland in the cricket World Cup.

Pakistan must now look for a new coach before a Test series against India at home in January-February next year.

Former coach and legendary ex-captain Javed Miandad is widely tipped as a leading candidate to succeed Lawson, according to several PCB sources, but there was no immediate confirmation.


Captain to be consulted in team selection: Ejaz Butt

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ejaz Butt has assured Saturday that captain Pakistan cricket team Shoaib Malik would be consulted for selection of the national cricket team.

He said this during a meeting with Shoaib Malik and the selection committee at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Shoaib Malik said after the meeting that the selection for the national team, for next tour, would be made on mutual consultation of the captain and the selection committee.

He quoted PCB chairman as saying that no in-disciplinary act would be allowed and only the in-form players would become part of the team.

Malik said neither does exist any conflict nor there is any grouping in the team and ruled out news regarding PCB former chairman Dr. Naseem Ashraf’s joining cricket team in dressing room during a T20 match in Toronto.

Meanwhile, the chairman selection committee said that team selection, for series in Abu Dhabi against the West Indies, would be evaluated on the performance of players in the first two matches of the Toronto T20 tournament.


Faisal Iqbal to lead Pakistan in Hong Kong Super Sixes

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Middle-order batsman Faisal Iqbal will lead former champions Pakistan's challenge in next month's Super Sixes, selectors announced Saturday.

Mohammad Salman, Waqas Ahmed, Raheel Majeed, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Talah and Kamran Younis are also in the squad.

Pakistan will be among eight teams in the sixes tournament to be staged at the Kowloon Cricket Club in Hong Kong on November 8 and 9.

Pakistan, arch-rivals India, England and South Africa are in one group, while Australia, hosts Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and an All Stars team will be in the other group.

The teams are comprised of six players with one player as substitute.

The Hong Kong Sixes tournament was first held in 1992 and is sanctioned by the International Cricket Council.

Pakistan won the inaugural event 16 years ago.


Lawson unaffected by criticism

As Pakistan cricket undergoes its umpteenth revamp and a new PCB chairman with new ideas and possibly personnel settles in, Geoff Lawson, Pakistan's coach, remains indifferent to the criticism directed at him after an uncertain year in charge.

Lawson's tenure has been a difficult one; a lack of cricket coupled with some poor on-field performances has made him an easy target. Even Ijaz Butt, the newly-installed chairman, has questioned his contribution. But in an interview with Cricinfo just after the four-nation Twenty20 tournament in Canada, Lawson was in a bullish mood about his stint and the future for Pakistan.

"The only criticism I take any notice of is the criticism within my group and my own criticism,"

he said.

"I'm very harsh on myself about what we need to do and I certainly don't take any notice of the media."

Lawson has had a spiky relationship with the Pakistan media, which reached its lowest ebb during the Asia Cup, when the media walked out of his press conference in Karachi. Lawson insisted, however, that the only support he needed was from the players and the board.

"I pick up the paper and laugh. You can't take any notice of it, you just have to ignore it. It's one of the big issues I've brought up with the players, I've said 'look, you can't let what people say in the press, particularly the Pakistani press, affect how you play the game. You have support from the coaching staff and from the board itself, so play the game' ... My life is not affected by what the media say."

In a wide-ranging, typically honest chat, Lawson also spoke about the Australian attitude he was trying to instil into the Pakistan side and the changes that need to be made to improve the game in the country.

"One of the main reasons I was employed by the PCB was to bring that sort of attitude to the Pakistan team,"

Lawson said.

"I've played the game hard, I've played to win and I've played an aggressive style of cricket. When you have talented players you can do that. The job now is to get over all the hurdles that are placed in your way, to transfer that to the team."

When asked about the nature of the hurdles, Lawson pointed to the lack of facilities in some areas of the country. "Well, the fact that there aren't good enough gyms in all the outlying regions. All the players can't follow a high-level fitness program. That's a basic thing. It's great in Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi, but not everywhere. And if you live in an outlying region, or even Quetta or rural Sind or Punjab you don't have all that access. Within Australia or England, you just take it for granted that the players will be able to train at a high level. That's a fairly significant hurdle, but the PCB are trying to work on those sorts of things."


New-look PCB rings in the changes

The first raft of administrative changes have started taking place in the PCB under the leadership of new chairman Ijaz Butt. The selection committee has been re-jigged temporarily, while the team manager, Talat Ali, has decided to step down from his post.

Butt, a former Test player, took over ten days ago, in the aftermath of which chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed stepped down. The board announced today that Shafqat Rana, a member of the selection committee, has also resigned from his position.

Saleem Jaffar, the former fast bowler, and the remaining member of the previous three-man committee, becomes the chairman of selectors for now. He will be in charge of selection for the Hong Kong Sixes tournament and the three-ODI series against West Indies in Abu Dhabi next month. The two new members of the committee are former Test batsmen Ijaz Ahmed and Shoaib Mohammad. The junior selection committee has been disbanded.

In another significant change, Talat Ali has also resigned as manager of the team. Talat had been manager of the side since October 2006 and his appointment at the time was a move towards stability, away from the tradition of appointing managers series-by-series basis. Though he was brought in for ensuring discipline, a number of high-profile incidents marred his tenure.

"I have no regrets as I wanted to make way for the new chairman to bring his own team,"

he said.

"I haven't spoken to Mr Butt but I feel its the right time to leave the job and make way for some other person."

Importantly, Talat was also seen as part of a strong clique in the team that included captain Shoaib Malik and Geoff Lawson, the coach, as well as a couple of other players.

Rarely has a month gone by in the last year where reports of dissent within the team against this group have not been present. His departure and Butt's recent less-than-flattering comments about Lawson mean that more changes in the team set-up cannot be entirely ruled out.

Sultan Rana will accompany the Hong Kong Sixes team as manager while Yawar Saeed, a veteran administrator and former manager, will take over for the ODI series in Abu Dhabi.

Reports in the press have suggested that Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer and a key official in Nasim Ashraf's regime, is also set to stand down.


ICC finalises dates for 2009 Champions Trophy

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The ICC will hold the postponed Champions Trophy between September 24 and October 5, 2009, it was decided during the second day of its board meeting in Dubai. The announcement ends months of uncertainty about the event which was originally scheduled for September this year in Pakistan but was postponed after several participating countries refused to travel over security fears in the country.

The new dates were formalised after detailed discussions between Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, and officials of various national boards, many of whom will have now have to adjust their international programme to accommodate the event. The ICC, too, has had to make an adjustment of its own to accommodate the event, shortening its duration from the original 17 days to 12, including a reserve day for the final.

The ICC also said the event will be held in one city, possibly to ensure foolproof security arrangements, though Pakistan's fate as host will be decided only after a review following India's tour of the country in early 2009. Lahore and Karachi were the original venues. David Morgan, the ICC president, welcomed the decision to find a place for the tournament despite an increasingly packed Future Tours Program (FTP) and Lorgat thanked the participating countries for their cooperation.

"I'm hugely encouraged by the spirit of togetherness and teamwork shown by our members in ensuring we have found a place for the Champions Trophy in next year's calendar,"

Lorgat said.

The ICC board's decision means the BCCI, which had originally refused to adjust its international programme to allow the postponed event, will have to reschedule the second edition of the Twenty20 Champions League, which had originally been slotted for September 25-October 10. India has also tentatively scheduled a seven-ODI home series against Australia to start from October 13 next year.

N Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, said that

"there will be no clash of dates"
"The new programme takes into account a provision for the Champions League also,"

Srinivasan said.

According to Lorgat, for whom the result of today's decision is an achievement of sorts considering the initial opposition to the new window, the tournament needed to be held as it is "vitally important for the world game".

The Champions Trophy is expected to rake in around USD 40 million, most of which will be redeployed for the development of the game.

"The tournament, with its new format of the top eight teams playing in a short, sharp event, is vitally important for the world game because it allows those members, as well as the developing cricket world, to grow the sport,"

Lorgat said.


Malik blames low total for Pakistan’s defeat in T20 final

Captain Paksitan cricket team Shoaib Malik blamed the over all low total for his team’s failure against Sri Lanka in the final of the Toronto Twnety-20 tournament.

“Chasing nearly 130 to 140 runs in twenty-20 cricket is not that difficult, and had we scored another 20 runs it could have been difficult for the Lankan team to achieve the target,”
he told media here on Tuesday.

He said Pakistan did manage to get a breakthrough after Lankans were off to a solid stand but it proved late as they knocked off a low total.

“Twenty20 cricket is always thrilling and minor mistakes on the part any team can benefit the other side, and this is what happened when we did not post a good total,”
he said.

Malik said he was disappointed to lose the final as he was anticipating victory after his team’s earlier success in the league match.

“However things turned from bad to worse for us on a pitch on which scoring runs is always difficult,”
he added.

He said the Lankan team took a solid start and Pakistan got into trouble mainly as they scored 60 runs in the first ten overs.

“I expected that we will be able to get two or three early wickets, which did not happen, while our bowlers too did not bowl with good line or length,”
he said.

The captain refused to pinpoint any bowler for a poor show, but Shoaib Akhtar, once known as the world’s most fearsome pace bowler and now a pale shadow of his glittering past, was mainly responsible for the defeat by conceding 40 runs in just 3 overs.

“I did not want to blame anyone, I did my best to inspire the team and at one stage we broke through the Lankans defence but could not maintain an upper hand as the bowling was not accurate in the final session,”
he asserted.

Responding to a query, he said he always endeavoured to be a role model for the team through his all round performance as it was sad to lose in that manner.

“We won three back to back matches and we set a flow of victories through collective efforts but we could not sustain the pressure in the final because our batting and bowling was not of high quality,”
he said.

“Twenty20 cricket is unpredictable, a team keeps on posting victories and then at a stage it may suddenly fall because this shortest version of the game gives little chance to achieve the desired result after committing mistakes,”
he said.

“Defeat does not mean the end of cricket, there is always room to improve and there is dire need to put in resolute efforts and hard work to boost our performance,”
he observed.


Experienced coach can bring improvement in national team: Inzamam

Former captain of Pakistan cricket team Inzamam-ul-Haq said that only an experienced coach or captain can bring improvement in performance of the national team and both Geoff Lawson and Shoaib Malik are weak in their respective departments.

In an interview with an Indian TV, Inzamam-ul-Haq said that nor the coach neither the captain can be made responsible for the team’s defeat as both are inexperienced.

He said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should have taken care of it that if it is selecting a new captain of the team then the coach should be experienced. Both Shoaib Malik and coach Lawson do not have any experience in their departments.

Inzamam further said that Lawson had no experience of coaching any big team before Pakistan cricket team while the captaincy was also a new assignment for Shoaib Malik.

He said that there is no dearth of talent in Pakistan but the PCB requires the best planning for establishing a strong team.


Jayasuriya and Mendis hand Sri Lanka T20 title

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sri Lanka 133 for 5 (Jayasuriya 40, Kapugedera 17*) beat

Pakistan 132 for 7 (Butt 44, Mendis 3-23) by 5 wickets

A Twenty20 round-robin in Canada does little to set hearts fluttering. Yet when Shoaib Akhtar steams in to bowl at Sanath Jayasuriya and company, the venue is of little importance. Unfortunately for Pakistan, Akhtar has yet to rediscover his accuracy, and it was Jayasuriya who won the battle, consequently leading Sri Lanka to a convincing five-wicket win in the final of the T20 Canada at King City.

In stark contrast to Pakistan's, Sri Lanka's batsmen set off in frantic pursuit of a very gettable 133, in front of a boisterous crowd of 9000. Jayasuriya and Mahela Udawatte put on a match-altering 66 in 6.6 overs, though they were indebted to a predictably wayward start from Pakistan's trio of fast bowlers, Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir and, chief culprit of all, Umar Gul.

Jayasuriya shot out of the traps and never allowed Akhtar to settle. Flicking him for four in his first over, he then pulled him for consecutive sixes into the midwicket stand, the second of which went AWOL. Udawatte was no less aggressive, but such was Gul's persistently short length that he spent most of his time on the back foot. A hook for six was followed by a flayed cut for four, while a further slice past point scorched the outfield. Sri Lanka's fifty was notched inside five overs.

So, it was to spin that Pakistan turned and it brought immediate results when Shahid Afridi - who earlier only managed 14 with the bat - beat Udawatte in the flight and was caught at long-off. Afridi's partner at the other end, Shoaib Malik, then bowled Jayasuriya around his legs, following it up with the prize wicket of Mahela Jayawardene and suddenly Sri Lanka had taken four. They made it five when Kaushalya Weeraratne was bowled in Gul's second spell, but it was all too little, too late, and Chamara Kapugedera's calm 17 guided Sri Lanka to their first win over Pakistan in Twenty20s.

That Sri Lanka were allowed to chase such an attainable target was thanks to their own spin-attack, namely Ajantha Mendis, whose three wickets stifled Pakistan's middle-order. Salman Butt played a steady hand for his 44, but wickets fell at crucial moments all around him, and Pakistan's innings never gained true momentum. Misbah-ul-Haq cracked two fours in a spirited 25, but no one could truly get on top of Mendis, who ended the tournament with 11 wickets at the frugally economical 5 apiece.


Pakistan v Zimbabwe, T20 Canada, King City

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pakistan 110 for 3 (Shoaib Khan 50, Butt 33*) beat

Zimbabwe 107 for 8 (Masakadza 53*, Alam 3-7) by seven wickets

A mismatch on paper, a mismatch on the pitch. Pakistan romped to an easy seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe, knocking off the required 108 runs with Shoaib Khan jnr stroking an even 50.

Zimbabwe briefly threatened to make it a contest thanks to an aggressive and uncomplicated 53 from Hamilton Masakadza, but none of his team-mates could match his ability in shot-selection. The next highest score was extras with 18, and against a batting side of the depth and natural strokeplay of Pakistan, their bowlers were equally unable to defend such a low total.

Nevertheless, Masakadza briefly exposed the rustiness in Pakistan's armoury, taking a particular fancy to Abdur Rauf. After he was cracked behind square off the back foot, Masakadza then swivelled a six over square-leg, before bettering this with two stronger pulls off Anwar Ali, one of which landed in the road. Pakistan's bowling was predictably short, and Zimbabwe took toll to bring up their fifty in just the sixth over.

At the other end, Cephas Zhuwawo virtually static in his scoring, and a top-edge off Umar Gul failed to help his confidence. An ugly slog-sweep off Shoaib Malik did for him in the next over, and Pakistan had their breakthrough at 62 for 1. There was very little substance or fight thereafter from Zimbabwe, and Fawad Alam took centre-stage. A bullet-throw from the deep ran out Masakadza, who had just brought up a fine 35-ball fifty while Afridi beat Tatenda Taibu in the flight. Chamu Chibhabha hung around for 35 minutes, scoring 8, and became Alam's second wicket when he slapped him to long-off.

From 81 for 1, Zimbabwe lost 7 for 26, and a target of 108 was never likely to trouble Pakistan. They did lose their gun-opener, Afridi - typically attempting orbit and beyond with a huge heave - but Khan and Salman Butt played a fine hand with a partnership of 96 in just over 15 overs.

After losing Afridi, Khan propelled Pakistan forward with a classical off-drive, bisecting mid-off and the stumps, before he lifted Chigumbura for another over his head. Butt took toll of Chigumbura's floaty half-volleys, launching one over his head as Pakistan sprinted to the finishing line. No Zimbabwe bowler was spared - Ray Price began poorly with five wides down to fine-leg, and lacked control thereafter.

Unfortunately, Khan fell for an even fifty from 54 balls when he was brilliantly caught by Taibu, diving to his right. Appropriately, however, it allowed Alam to come in and flick the winning runs down to fine-leg, as Pakistan eased home with an over to spare.


Sri Lanka v Pakistan, T20 Canada, King City

Pakistan 141 for 7 (Malik 42*, Weeraratne 4-19) beat

Sri Lanka 137 for 9 (Mubarak 39, Gul 4-13) by three wickets

Considering that cricket bats have normally been packed away at this time of the year in Toronto, it is hardly surprising that the T20 Canada tournament is proving tough for batsmen, but Shoaib Malik and Fawad Alam combined in thrilling style to steal this match away from Sri Lanka with a ball to spare.

Pakistan had little hope at 91 for 7, following a four-wicket return for debutant Kaushalya Weeraratne, but Malik and Alam added 50 in four overs in front of a packed ground. Malik hit the winning boundary off the penultimate ball to send Pakistan to the top of the table.

This was the glamour tie of the tournament (although a repeat in the final is likely) and the local supporters responded. There was plenty of support for both sides, and they got the match they deserved. Following closely on from the bowl-out win for Zimbabwe, it was a cracking day for the tournament.

Sri Lanka were left regretting their decision to leave out Mahela Jayawardene and Ajantha Mendis, among four changes from the Zimbabwe game. Their absence took something away from the contest, but Jayawardene is probably expecting a rematch in the final, and the finish more than made up for it. Sri Lanka, though, will accept that it was one that got away.

In four matches there has been only one half-century, by Salman Butt, but he went early this time, given lbw to Farveez Maharoof. He seemed far from pleased and appeared to think he grazed the ball, although replays weren't totally clear. Shoaib Khan jnr had already departed and Pakistan were 13 for 2.

Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq played sensibly, adding 48 in seven overs, until the introduction of Weeraratne - as the fifth bowler - changed the game, but not for the final time. He bowled Younis with his fourth ball and two deliveries later had Misbah caught behind. Shahid Afridi only plays one way and his attempt to launch the ball into a neighbouring suburb ended with a boundary catch.

Weeraratne continued to shine when he claimed his fourth as Sohail Tanvir got a leading edge. Between Weeraratne's display, Dilhara Fernando - whose first over cost 16, including a free-hit that went for six - chipped in to remove Kamran Akmal.

But the captain Malik was still there and Alam showed immense power. Alam launched three sixes, including two into the VIP area and, before Sri Lanka knew it, Pakistan needed 13 from the final over. Alam slammed his third six and Malik sealed the rapid reversal with consecutive boundaries off Nuwan Kulasekara.

The first over of the match suggested a good contest was on the cards as Sanath Jayasuriya launched the innings with consecutive boundaries off Shoaib Akhtar, but fell next ball when he top-edged to fine leg.

Mahela Udawatte and Jehan Mubarak added 51 for the second wicket with Mubarak the more dominant, continuing positively after Udawatte was bowled round his legs by Afridi. Mubarak had struck six fours when he came down the track and was beaten by turn from Malik, with Akmal completing a safe stumping.

As has been the case in all matches, scoring off the spinners was tough and the middle order struggled to push on against Afridi and Malik. However, the action came from Umar Gul, who showed why he has developed into one of the most effective death bowlers in the world.

His first wicket was Chamara Kapugedera, who was setting himself for a late assault. Gul then bowled full and straight at the tail - who kept swinging and missing - and finished with healthy returns of 4 for 13 off three overs. For much of the second innings it looked to have been a wasted effort, but nothing can be taken for granted in Twenty20.


Canada v Pakistan, T20 Canada, King City

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pakistan 137 for 7 (Butt 74, Baidwan 3-15, Bhatti 3-23) beat

Canada 102 for 9 (Cheema 35, Shoaib 2-11) by 35 runs

Canada fought hard in the field, but were blown away when they batted as Pakistan cranked themselves into life after a sluggish start. Salman Butt provided more than half Pakistan's moderate total with 74 off 56 balls and for a while Canada presented a challenge in the chase, but in the end they subsided to 102 for 9.

That it was ever really a contest is credit to Canada and a comment on Pakistan's recent lack of action. The visitors struggled for momentum on a tricky pitch, however Butt bided his time and gave the innings a late kick.

Shoaib Akhtar, playing his first international since last December, marked his return with two early wickets - double the tally he managed in two Championship matches for Surrey. He struck in his first over when he removed Abdool Samad and soon added Mohammad Iqbal as he chopped into his stumps. Shoaib didn't operate at express pace, but stretched himself after local star, Rizwan Cheema, pulled him for a flat six.

Canada didn't immediately cave in after Shoaib's strikes with Cheema and Manoj David adding 52 for the third wicket. That, though, was as good as it got for Canada and once David lobbed a leading edge to cover off Umar Gul the collapse set in. The midde order struggled to score off the spinners and Shahid Afridi picked up Asif Mulla when he swept to square leg.

Sohail Tanvir, who made his name in Twenty20, firstly at the world event in South Africa then in the IPL, chipped in with two strikes late on but the match was already over.

The crowd peaked during the day's second game, although that isn't saying much as estimates put the best figure at about 1400, in a ground that can now hold 10,000. The organisers are banking on Pakistan drawing in the crowds, but Canada might expect some local support too although those who did turn up provided enthusiastic flag-waving.

The home side were far from disgraced for the first half of the game as they held the innings under control. After 10 overs Pakistan were barely scoring at a run-a-ball and shortly afterwards captain Shoaib Malik was bowled, giving himself room, leaving Pakistan 63 for 3.

Runs were hard to come by after a brisk start from Butt. Shoaib Khan, making his debut, fell in the fourth over to Umar Bhatti and Younis Khan couldn't find the boundary in his 19-ball effort. Younis eventually pulled a catch to deep square-leg as Canada's tight bowling brought rewards.

With the innings stuttering, Butt took over and was the commanding presence in a fourth-wicket stand of 64 in seven overs with Misbah-ul-Haq. As the overs started running out Butt began to play his shots, passing fifty off 48 balls with a six off Balaji Rao and taking 17 off an over from Sunil Dhaniram. It gave Pakistan the breathing space they needed as they found their feet and shook off the jetlag. Tougher challenges await.


Sialkot Stallions beat Karachi Dolphins to win T20 title

Thursday, October 9, 2008

In a highly exciting Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) National Twenty20 Cup Cricket Championship 2008-09 final, Sialkot Stallions made it a hat-trick of titles as they defeated Karachi Dolphins in a replay of the 2006-07 decider here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.

After their semifinal victory on Tuesday, Karachi Dolphins had emerged as the favourites to win the final. However, they eventually ended up as the runners-up for the second season running.

Karachi won the toss and opted to bat first. In the allotted 20 overs, they reached a rather modest 125 runs and lost nine wickets. The match went to the wire. Sialkot won by seven wickets with just two balls to spare.

After opener Kamran Younis had contributed a run-a-ball 37 with three fours and a six and Mansoor Ajmad hammered 39 off 35 balls with four fours before being retired hurt, brothers Shoaib Malik and Adeel Malik shared an exhilarating unbroken fourth-wicket stand to take Sialkot through.

Adeel, three years younger than Shoaib, smacked an unbeaten 23 off a mere 11 deliveries with one four and two sixes. Shoaib made 19 not out off 23 balls without hitting any boundaries.

There were two run outs in the Stallions innings and only Dolphins skipper Shahid Afridi took a bowling wicket.

Earlier, the young left-hander Fawad Alam was the lone star for Karachi with a knock of 40 off 31 balls with three fours. Several others got good starts but failed to capitalise on them.

Left-arm pacer Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik with his off-spin got among the wickets as usual.

Sialkot Stallions bagged the winners’ trophy and the whopping cash award of 2.5 million rupees, also winning the opportunity to play in the Champions League tournament to be held in India in December this year.

Karachi Dolphins took the runners-up position and one million rupees. Shoaib Malik was given a prize of Rs 50,000 for being the Man of the Match in the final.

Several other individual awards were given, but the major prizes of Rs 30,000 each went to the outstanding players of the tournament — best batsman Salman Butt (Lahore Lions), best bowler Sohail Khan (Karachi Dolphins), best wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed (Karachi Dolphins) and best fielder Nauman Ali (Hyderabad Hawks).


Salahuddin resigns as chief selector

Former Test cricketer Salahuddin Ahmed resigned as chief selector on Wednesday just hours after Ijaz Butt was formally installed as the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Salahuddin, who took over as the chairman of the national selection committee soon after Pakistan’s humiliating first round exit from the 2007 World Cup, said that he was unable to carry on his duties as the chief selector in what he termed as a “changed scenario”.

“I welcome the appointment of Mr. Ijaz Butt as the new PCB chief and wish him all the best,”
he told media.

Salahuddin said that he spent a productive time as chief selector under former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf, who resigned in August.

“I must give credit to former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf for his relentless hard work and dedicated efforts,”
said Salahuddin.
“He (Ashraf) gave the selectors a free hand and we were never pressurised to select any player in the team,”
said Salahuddin.

He stressed that the biggest reason behind his resignation was the fact that he wants the new chairman to bring in his own team to lift Pakistan cricket.
“I gave my best as chief selector but was not sure whether I could continue doing that in the changed scenario. It is better to let the new PCB chief bring in his own team.”

Salahuddin was given a taste of what lay ahead on Tuesday when a change was made in the Pakistan team for this week’s four-nation twenty20 tournament that was chosen by the national selection committee.

The list of players handed over to the PCB by Salahuddin included the name of specialist spinner Saeed Ajmal, but the squad that was later released to the media instead included Quetta opener Shoaib Khan. The change was made by the Sports Ministry which approved the squad before it was made public by the PCB.

Shoaib’s inclusion in the 15-man touring party for the Toronto quadrangular meant that it has four opening batsmen and not a single specialist spinner.

But Salahuddin refrained from commenting on it and instead focused on the ‘achievements’ during his 18-month stint as chief selector.

“As selection committee members, we began the stint at a very difficult phase as the Pakistan team’s morale was really low after the World Cup debacle.
“But the team improved and we also managed to blood some talented youngsters,”
he said.

Former Test cricketers Shafqat Rana and Saleem Jaffer — the other two members of the national selection committee — have so far decided against following suit.

Butt, who was a member of the PCB Governing Board, is regarded as a hard task-master and a tough administrator and it is being widely anticipated in the national cricket circles that he would make some sweeping changes in the cricket set-up in the coming weeks.


West Indies board calls off men’s team tour of Pakistan

The West Indies cricket board has called off its men’s team tour of Pakistan after the women’s team refused to come to Pakistan.

The Pakistan Cricket Board's efforts to arrange a home series have been dealt a blow as West Indies have opted not to tour next month because of security concerns.

Senior players had already expressed concerns about visiting Pakistan and the decision comes a week after the West Indies women's team called off the Pakistan leg of their Asian tour.

Donald Peters, the chief executive of the West Indies board, said negotiations are on to reschedule the tour.
"We are in talks with the PCB at present with the hope of getting the tour deferred to another date, but at this time we are not going to tour the country,"
Peters said.

"At the end of the last (WICB) board meeting, the directors wanted a security report on the situation in Pakistan and I contacted the PCB. I had requested a security plan from them that was okayed by their police and military.

"They got this plan and sent it to me and we were then looking further at getting an independent security firm but this was not done because we had decided that at this point it was not really safe for the players to go to Pakistan."

The West Indies team had to play a Test series of two matches in Pakistan.


Shoaib in, Yousuf out of Pakistan's squad for Canada T20 Tournament

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Controversial paceman Shoaib Akhtar was included in a 15-man Pakistan squad for this week's Twenty20 tournament in Canada but star batsman Mohammad Yousuf was left out, selectors said Tuesday.

The selection of the 33-year-old Akhtar came after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) softened its stance on a demand for payment of a seven million rupees (90,000 dollars) fine.

The PCB said last month that Akhtar, who has not played for Pakistan this year because of injury and discipline problems, would only be allowed to play if he pays the fine.

"We have included Akhtar after clearance from the PCB and hope that he delivers the goods in the tournament," chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed said.

The four-nation event runs from October 10-13 in Toronto. Sri Lanka, hosts
Canada and Zimbabwe complete the line-up.

Akhtar, who last played in the Bangalore Test against India in December, was set to return to international cricket for the Champions Trophy but the September event was postponed over security fears in Pakistan.

The maverick bowler -- known as the Rawalpindi Express for the sheer pace of his deliveries -- was in April banned for five years for publicly criticising the PCB after he was left out of a 15-man list for lucrative contracts.

A PCB appeal committee reduced the ban to 18 months but also imposed a fine in June. Akhtar then challenged the reduction and fine in Lahore High court, which suspended the ban but upheld the fine in July.

Yousuf, who was left out of the side that finished runners-up to India in last year's Twenty20 World Cup held in South Africa, failed to impress in the ongoing domestic Twenty20 event in Lahore.

But PCB chief Shafqat Naghmi said Yousuf's passport did not return from the Canadian high commission.
"Otherwise he would have been in the 15-man squad,"

Naghmi said.

All-rounder Shahid Afridi is in the team despite poor recent batting form, while another all-rounder, Fawad Alam, also staged a comeback after being left out of the Champions Trophy squad.

The 23-year-old paceman Anwar Ali and opener Shoaib Khan, also 23, have not played for Pakistan at senior level.

Squad: Shoaib Malik (capt), Salman Butt, Shoaib Khan, Khalid Latif, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanveer, Umar Gul, Fawad Alam, Anwar Ali, Sohail Khan, Abdur Rauf.


Ejaz Butt appointed chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board

Former Test wicket-keeper batsman Ejaz Butt has been appointed chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

According to an official press release, the 73-year-old takes over from Dr Nasim Ashraf, who resigned on August 18, the same day that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf stood down.

"We have been verbally informed about the notification and Mr Butt has been appointed new PCB chairman by President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari,"
PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi said.

Butt, who played eight Tests in the 1950s with modest success, becomes the 27th chairman of the PCB. He is a former secretary of the BCCP (Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan) in the late 1980s.

Butt also served as chairman of the selection committee and was a member of the governing board during Nasim Ashraf's tenure.

Butt's first task will be to restore Pakistan cricket's image, which has been badly hit by doping controversies and through a lack of discipline.

He is also facing a tough task to convince foreign teams to tour Pakistan, which has been a no-go zone for touring sides following a wave of suicide bombings.


National team for Canadian T20 to be announced on Oct 6

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chairman selection committee of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Salahuddin Sallu said that national squad for Twenty20 quadrangular in Canada would be announced on October 6.

Talking to Geo News here, Sallu said that PCB would give final clearance as regards Shoaib Akhtar today and if Shoaib clears the fitness test, he would be picked up for the squad.

The Board is learnt to have chosen 20 odd players for the Canadian assignment, out of which 15 will be playing in the October 10-13 quadrangular tournament.


I never asked to remove Laxman from captaincy

Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi said that he never demanded to remove Venkat Laxman from captaincy of IPL team Deccan Chargers and his statement in this regard was distorted.

Star all-rounder Shahid Afridi said that the new chief executive of Deccan Chargers, Tim Wright had asked him about his statement regarding Laxman and he explained the matter and told him that his statement was distorted.

Afridi said that he never demanded to remove Laxman from the captaincy. Howevewr, he had said that Laxman was not the player of Twenty20 format.

He further said that Tim Wright had also listened to the video of his statement.

Shahid Afridi said that he regards Laxman and the team management of Deccan Chargers very much and now this issue remains no more and he expresses good wishes to Laxman for the series against Australia.

Last week, the team management of Deccan Chargers removed Venkat Laxman from the captaincy and appointed Adam Gilchrist the new captain in his place.


Javed`s Impulsive Punt Could Be Costly

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pakistan Cricket Academy coach Aaqib Javed's remarks that Anwar Ali and Mohammad Talha are "definitely Test material" and "ready for Pakistan duty" respectively are of alarming concern.

"We have a few exceptional fast bowlers in the Pakistan Academy side and at least one of them - Anwar Ali - is now ready to play Test cricket,"
Javed told the News, going on to enthuse about Talha's international prospects.

Regardless of their promising performances on the academy's recent tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya, 20-year-old Ali and 19 year-old Talha are not the answer to their nation's pace-bowler woes.

Having made his Test debut as a teenager, Javed struggled for a lengthy stint as his developing body suffered through the rigours of the big arena before coming into its own under the watchful guidance of legendary duo Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. He should know better than any that premature international selection can do more to harm a young fast bowler than it can help.

Furthermore, Ali and Talha would be severely short on expert guidance should they take to the big stage this year or the next. Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif are about the closest thing Pakistan have to the mentoring role Waqar and Wasim played in Javed's budding career; neither of them can be considered ideal role models, on or off the field.

Anwar has already shown Shoaib-esque misbehaviour, recently fined for overstaying his welcome at a Nairobi nightclub, breaking the team's curfew and the management's trust. The last thing the soap-operatic team needs at this pinnacle juncture is another jaunting hothead in their ranks, racking up the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Notorious for selecting youngsters, particularly green fast bowlers, and then tossing them aside after one or two average caps, the selectors really need not heed Aaqib's impulsive punt. Rather allow for the rookie duo's potential, temperament and physique to grow on the domestic circuit unitil they are ripe for the picking.

Pakistan's dearth of fixtures allows for plenty of time for Umar Gul's recovery from injury, Yasir Arafat and Iftikhar Rao's growth with the new ball and perhaps a second chance for a host of one-cap wonders. There is simply no need for the extremity of Javed's wishes.

Meanwhile, an experienced trio of seamers - Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved and Abdul Razzaq - bask in successful seasons with Sussex, Yorkshire and Surrey respectively and ready for a second lucrative stint in the Indian Cricket League, smugly giving the stubborn PCB food for thought on their unrelenting stance on ICL defectors.

"The ban on ICL players could be lifted worldwide or the PCB officials could be replaced and the new set of officials may decide to lift the ban,"
Razzaq told pakpassion.net recently.
"Just look at county cricket. Initially we were banned but now that it has been lifted, I'm playing for Surrey. So it's not impossible to think that I could be playing for the ICL and the PCB by this time next year."

If the exiled all-rounder's hopes are anything to go by, Pakistan's fast-bowler famish might see a welcome influx sooner rather than later, and Ali, Talha and the like left to earn their place rather than have it gifted due to others' injury, ill discipline or blatant bias.


Hearing in Shoaib Akhtar’s fine case on Oct 8

Hearing of the writ filed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in the Lahore High Court (LHC) will be held on October 8 instead of October 3.

PCB legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi told Geo News that the hearing on October 3 cannot be possible due to Eid holidays and therefore chief justice LHC Syed Zahid Hussain has fixed October 8 as new date for the hearing.

Tafazzul Rizvi will be in the United States on October 8 in connection with a conference there and in his absence, Talib Rizvi will appear in the court on behalf of the PCB.

The PCB had filed a petition in the court for seeking guidance that whether Shoaib Akhtar can play cricket in or for Pakistan without paying the fine of Rs 7 million.


ICC Confirm Rule Changes

The International Cricket Council have confirmed that a series of amendments to playing conditions will take effect from tomorrow.

The ICC chief executives' committee ratified a number of proposals when they met at the end of June and all future Tests and one-day internationals will now be played under the revised laws.

The practice of players leaving the field for 'comfort breaks' to be replaced by substitute fielders has been legislated against, with clause two of the game's playing conditions explicitly stating that such reasons do not represent "wholly acceptable" justification.

Additionally, all catches can now be referred to the third umpire when the on-field officials are unsure as to the validity of an appeal.

The amended wording on disputed catches now reads:

"Should both umpires be unable to make a decision, they may consult by two-way radio with the third umpire as to whether there is any definitive evidence as to whether the catch was taken cleanly or not. Following such consultation, the final decision will be made and given by the bowler's-end umpire."

One-day captains have been handed another tactical decision to make, with one of the two options power-plays - periods of five overs when fielding restrictions are applied - to be picked by the batting side.

Current rules have a 10-over enforced power-play, with the fielding captain choosing the timing of the next two.

Another change that was brought about at the ICC meeting involved handing the umpires the chance to reduce the interval between innings when the game has been delayed or interrupted was introduced with immediate effect in June.

An ICC statement read:

"These amendments, which were unanimously approved by all 10 full members and the three associate member representatives on the CEC at its meeting at the end of June, are designed to improve the game for players, umpires and spectators."


Yousuf among probables for Canada tournament

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has named Mohammad Yousuf among the probables for the Twenty20 quadrangular tournament in Toronto, which begins on October 10 and features hosts Canada, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. The board included Yousuf's name in the list submitted to the Canadian high commission for obtaining visas.

"Unfortunately, Yousuf missed the Twenty20 World Cup last September in South Africa and we have included his name in the list of probables. We hope that he will perform to a higher level in the national Twenty20 tournament and win a place in the national team,"

Shafqat Naghmi, the PCB's chief operating officer, told APP.

"He is a world-class batsman and we want him to be part of the team as he would provide a tremendous boost. We firmly believe that he will put up a good performance in the national Twenty20 tournament."

Yousuf, 34, was in the middle of a controversy because of a possible move to the ICL and also for criticising the selectors for omitting him from Twenty20 teams. He has played 79 Tests and 269 ODIs, but managed only one Twenty20 international, in 2006 against England in Bristol.

"I don't think Twenty20 cricket is all about sloggers who hit out wildly. Even in this cricket you need a batsman who can play proper cricket,"

Yousuf told Reuters.

"Considering the easy wickets nowadays, getting seven to eight runs per over at the start is not that difficult and, towards the end, you can hit 15 to 20 runs per over."

Meanwhile, Shoaib Akhtar, who was earlier included in the provisional squad, will have to wait for his visa to play in the quadrangular tournament because the PCB failed to get a clearance for him. "He was in England playing for Surrey and we didn't have his passport. So he has to wait. We will now send his name in the second list most probably," a board official said.

Shoaib is also awaiting the Lahore High Court's decision, expected next week, over whether he can play for Pakistan without paying a fine of Rs 7 million imposed on him by the appellate tribunal of the board.

Shoaib had publicly criticised the PCB for offering him a retainer rather than a contract in February, for which he was banned for five years. The ban was later reduced to eighteen months with the imposition of the fine, and then temporarily suspended by the High Court.

The final squad of 15 is expected to leave for Canada on October 8.


Eid Mubarak to all Muslim Ummah

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Eid Mubarak to all Muslim Ummah, from S. M. Faisal (Owner of Pakistan Cricket Blog)

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