olympics
Pakistan slip a notch at Tokyo and settle for the hockey silver medal
Exchanges were fairly even in the first half of the final and, when the interval arrived, there was no score. Both sides had failed to grasp the half-chance, but the feeling arose that the absence of the injured Waheed and the forgotten Naseer Bunda had taken some of the edge off Pakistan's attack
By Gul Hameed Bhatti
At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Pakistan's fifth since the country became an independent nation, there was disappointment in store for them. Especially in the light of events that unfolded at the previous Olympiad at Rome four years earlier. In Italy, Pakistan had held their heads high in pride after winning their first Olympics gold medal in hockey. In Japan, they fell a notch, having to settle for a second place and the silver medal, once again surrendering in the final to old rivals India, who snatched a 1-0 win to claim their seventh gold medal in all at the Olympic Games hockey competition.

cricket
Pakistan cricket: On the rise downwards?It is an education that wallets are also being checked (in Dubai)? Why don't they search our wallets is a mystery; and why did they check Asif's is mysterious still
By Dr Nauman Niaz
The cauldron of our cricket politics is bubbling with exotic ingredients and might end up becoming a witch's brew. Mohammad Asif is terribly innocent. He is naive. He must be thick-headed or duped so must be PCB's power-managers telling us that he was carrying a medicine in his wallet prescribed to him by a local Pakistani hakeem. I am a very frequent traveller around the world, and must have entered or left Dubai almost a hundred times and to me it is an education that wallets are also being checked? Why don't they search our wallets is a mystery; and why did they check Asif's is mysterious still. Innocent he was when the tribunal in 2006 banned him for one year as compared to Shoaib Akhtar's two.

Pakistan players generally disappoint in IPL
Only Sohail Tanvir and, to some extent, Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt produced some notable performances for their teams
By Khurram Mahmood
The recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) grabbed everyone's attention in the subcontinent especially in India. Under the lights, a noisy full house, glamorous cheerleaders, celebrities from showbiz and business tycons made the event really one of its kind.

Euro 2008: Who will dethrone the Greeks?
Italy, the current world champions, have a strong and reliable defence. But, with the loss of Fabio Cannavaro they would probably find it a little more difficult against flamboyant oppositions
By Nabeel Naqvi
History is repeating itself. The rise of Rome is again a threat for the Greek crown. As the nations descend upon Austria and Switzerland, Europe has turned into a battlefield, where might eventually will be right.

 

olympics
Pakistan slip a notch at Tokyo and settle for the hockey silver medal

At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Pakistan's fifth since the country became an independent nation, there was disappointment in store for them. Especially in the light of events that unfolded at the previous Olympiad at Rome four years earlier. In Italy, Pakistan had held their heads high in pride after winning their first Olympics gold medal in hockey. In Japan, they fell a notch, having to settle for a second place and the silver medal, once again surrendering in the final to old rivals India, who snatched a 1-0 win to claim their seventh gold medal in all at the Olympic Games hockey competition.

The retirements of several of their stars at Rome in 1960 didn't really help matters, although Pakistan were still able to raise quite a strong line-up for Tokyo. Left-in Naseer Bunda, whose lone goal in the final against India had won Pakistan their gold medal, had said goodye to the game. The celebrated inside-right Abdul Hameed 'Hameedi', who had represented Pakistan in four successive Olympic Games since 1948 and was captain at Melbourne 1956 (silver) and Rome 1960 (gold), had also decided to bow out.

Also not available anymore were 1960 team vice-captain Ghulam Rasool Chaudhry, goalkeepers Abdul Rashid and Rony Gardner, outside-right Noor Alam and the brilliant centre-forward Abdul Waheed after his only Olympic Games appearance, where he, in fact, netted as many as six goals.

But the celebrated left full-back Manzoor Hussain Atif was now captain and playing in his fourth consecutive Olympiad. Centre half-back Anwar Ahmed Khan assumed the role of vice-captain for Tokyo. Other stalwarts on the team were right full-back Munir Dar, outside-left Motiullah, inside-right Khawaja Zakauddin and half-line expert Zafar Hayat.

Among the newcomers to the Olympic Games scene were inside-left Mohammad Afzal Manna, inside-right Tariq Niazi, inside-left Asad Malik, outside-right Khalid Mahmood, right full-back Tariq Aziz, goalkeeper Abdul Hameed and right half-back Saeed Anwar.

Pakistan's hockey captain at London 1948 Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara continued to be the team's manager, as he was a member of the management team at Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960 also. Pakistan hockey was still in good hands.

The noted Australian hockey historian and journalist Sydney Friskin wrote: "The India-Pakistan rivalry was resumed at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo where fifteen teams were in contention, the framework looking slightly unbalanced with seven teams in one pool and eight in the other. Pakistan had a smooth passage into the semifinals while defeating Australia 2-1, Great Britain 1-0, Japan 1-0, Kenya 5-2, New Zealand 2-0 and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) 6-0.

"Stubborn resistance was, however, encountered in the match against Japan, and it was only after Anwar Ahmed Khan had begun operating as a sixth forward that a goal was scored in the second half. India stumbled along the way with drawn matches against the German Democratic Republic and Spain, but still finished on top of the pool with five wins. India brushed past Australia with a 3-1 victory and Pakistan scored three times without reply against Spain in the semifinals.

"Exchanges were fairly even in the first half of the final and, when the interval arrived, there was no score. Both sides had failed to grasp the half-chance, but the feeling arose that the absence of the injured Waheed and the forgotten Naseer Bunda had taken some of the edge off Pakistan's attack.

"Five minutes into the second half the destiny of the gold medal was decided when Pakistan conceded a penalty stroke for a foot infringement while defending a penalty corner. India's wing half Mohinder Lal made no mistake from the spot and Pakistan began an uphill struggle.

"With precious minutes ticking away Pakistan exerted pressure on India's defence but could not get a shot past Shankar Laxman, the goalkeeper. So the Olympic title was back in India's hands for the seventh time. It was a disappointing end for Pakistan, after all the preparation and planning which included a tour of New Zealand and Australia."

 

PAKISTAN RETAIN

ASIAN GAMES GOLD

Before the hockey team ventured on its trip to Tokyo for the Olympiad, it had continued with its successful run at the international level. After having won a gold medal in the inaugural hockey event of the Asian Games at Tokyo in 1958, under 'Hameedi', two years later it landed the Olympic Games gold at Rome. With new captain Atif at the helm, the Pakistan hockey teams retained its Asian Games gold at Jakarta in Indonesia in 1962.

For Tokyo 1964, the national selectors had managed to convince left full-back Habib Ali Kiddie to come out of retirement, after he had represented the country in three successive Olympics. Also chosen was Khurshid Aslam, another left full-back, and newcomer Hayat Mohammad, an inside-forward. After the pre-Olympiad tour of Australia and New Zealand, however, these three were excluded from the Olympic Games squad.

The team that thus ventured into Tokyo comprised the following: Manzoor Hussain Atif (captain), Anwar Ahmed Khan (vice-captain), Munir Ahmed Dar, Motiullah, Khawaja Zakauddin, Zafar Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Afzal Manna, Zafar Hayat, Mazhar Hussain (goalkeeper), Tariq Niazi, Mohammad Asad Malik, Khalid Mahmood, Tariq Aziz, Mohammad Rashid, Abdul Hameed (goalkeeper), Khizar Nawaz Bajwa, Saeed Anwar and Khurshid Azam. A I S Dara was the team manager and S M Tawfique the associate manager.

The story regarding Pakistan's other representatives at the Tokyo Olympiad was as pathetic as ever. While sprinter Abdul Khaliq had done well to make the semifinals in both the 100 and 200 metres events at Melbourne 1956, hurdler Ghulam Raziq had done the same in the 110 metres hurdles race at Rome 1960. In fact, he had continued to improve upon his timings with every race until bowing out of the semifinals.

At Tokyo, Ghulam Raziq clearly appeared to be a spent force. He was 0.4 seconds slower than the time he attained at Rome and could only finish fifth out of eight runners in his event's first round. He was eliminated after his heat.

Iftikhar Shah, who had also competed in Rome with disastrous results, was entered in two events in his second Olympiad. He ran in last in his 100 metres heat and his three attempts in the long jump were not even conspicuous enough to be measured.

Somehow, Mohammad Sadiq moved into the second round of the 400 metres race but didn't go beyond that. Middle distance runner Anar Khan was a disappointment in both the 800 and 1500 metres, as was Manzoor-ul-Haq Awan in 400 metres hurdles and Mohammad Yousuf in the marathon.

 

POOR DISPLAY IN OTHER DISCIPLINES

The four boxers sent by Pakistan to the Tokyo Olympiad were eliminated after just one bout each, except for lightweight Ghulam Sarwar who beat his first opponent. The cyclists turned in an even more pathetic display, the quite highly-rated Mohammad Hafeez hardly getting to contribute anything of note. The year 1964 was, however, the last time Pakistan's cyclists were chosen to participate in the Olympic Games.

Somehow, the marksmen were again picked for the Olympiad in Tokyo, and they produced worse results than ever. Aziz Ahmed Chaudhry finished 73rd out the same number of participants in the small bore rifle prone position shooting event. The others hardly did any better and there were five of them representing Pakistan.

After Mohammad Bashir won an individual bronze medal in wrestling for Pakistan at the Rome Olympiad in 1960, better things were expected of him at Tokyo. But he had lost some weight and took part in the lightweight event instead of welterweight. He won his first bout but lost the next two of the mandatory three rounds.

But featherweight Mohammad Akhtar, who had done quite well at Rome without winning a medal, lost twice and was not required to face a third opponent. Welterweight Mohammad Afzal and middleweight Faiz Mohammad both made the fourth round, but that was all that they could manage.

The lone weightlifter Mohammad Azam Mian didn't do any better than he had done in his previous Olympic Games appearance, at Rome in 1960. His total of 295.0kg was as much as 61.5kg less than USSR's Alexey Vakhonin's 357.5kg, who won the gold medal with a new world and Olympic record.

 

FINAL TORCHBEARER BORN IN HIROSHIMA

The 1964 Tokyo Games were the first to be held in Asia. The Japanese expressed their successful reconstruction after World War II by choosing as the final torchbearer Yoshinori Sakai, who was born in Hiroshima the day that that city was destroyed by an atomic bomb.

Judo and volleyball were introduced to the Olympic programme. American swimmer Don Schollander won four gold medals. Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia became the first repeat winner of the marathon -- less than six weeks after having his appendix removed. Russian rower Vyacheslav Ivanov won the single sculls for the third time, and Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser won the 100m freestyle for the third time.

Al Oerter of the United States did the same in the discus throw despite a cervical disc injury that forced him to wear a neck harness and torn rib cartilage incurred a week before the competition. Hungarian water polo player Dezso Gyarmati won his fifth medal in a row.

Another Hungarian, Greco-Roman wrestler Imre Polyak, finally won a gold medal after finishing second in the same division at the previous three Olympics. By winning two medals of each kind, Larysa Latynina of the Ukraine brought her career medal total to an incredible 18. She is also one of only four athletes in any sport to win nine gold medals.

The 1964 Summer Olympics were officially known as the Games of the XVIII Olympiad. Tokyo, which won the rights to the games in 1958 over the bids from Detroit, Buenos Aires and Vienna, had been awarded with the organisation of the 1940 Summer Olympics, but this honour had been passed to Helsinki because of Japan's invasion of China.

The 1940 Olympics were eventually cancelled because of the outbreak of World War II. The 1964 Summer games marked the first time the Olympics were held by a non-Western nation. This was the first Olympics in which South Africa was barred from taking part due to its refusal to racially desegregate its sports.

American Billy Mills, a little-known distance runner, shocked everyone when he won the gold in the men's 10,000 metres. No American had won it before and no American has won it since.

Bob Hayes won the 100 metres title in a time of 10.0 seconds, equalling the world record. He had run the distance in 9.9 seconds in the semifinal but this was not recognised as a world record as it was wind assisted.

Joe Frazier, future heavyweight champion of the world, won a gold medal for the USA in heavyweight boxing.

A total of 94 nations were represented at the 1964 Games. Sixteen nations made their first Olympic appearance in Tokyo: Algeria, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire (as Ivory Coast), Dominican Republic, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Senegal, and Tanzania (as Tanganyika).

Athletes from Libya withdrew from competition after the Opening Ceremony, so a total of 93 nations actually competed. Athletes from East Germany and West Germany competed together as the United Team of Germany from 1956-1964. There were 5,151 athletes in all, 678 women and 4,473 men, competing in 163 events.

United States topped the medals table now with a tally of 90, that comprised 36 gold, 26 silver and 28 bronze. Soviet Union were second with a total of 96 including gold and hosts Japan third with 16 gold medals among their 29 medals.

Among the top 10 nations, the others were: Germany 50 (10-22-18), Italy 27 (10-10-7), Hungary 22 (10-7-5), Poland 23 (7-6-10), Australia 18 (6-2-10), Czechoslovakia 14 (5-6-3) and Great Britain 18 (4-12-2).

 

NEXT WEEK: Pakistan at 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City

 

The writer is Group Editor Sports of 'The News'

[email protected]

[email protected]

 

PAKISTAN AT 1964 OLYMPIC GAMES: ALL RESULTS

ATHLETICS

100 metres: 1st round heat G Iftikhar Shah 11.4sec 7th out of 7

400 metres: 1st round heat D Mohammad Sadiq 47.3sec 6th out of 8. 2nd round heat A Mohammad Sadiq 48.0sec 8th out of 8

800 metres: 1st round heat B Anar Khan 1:56.4min 8th out of 8

1500 metres: 1st round heat C Anar Khan 3:56.7min 11th out of 11

110 metres hurdles: 1st round heat B Ghulam Raziq 14.7sec 5th out of 8

400 metres hurdles: 1st round heat C Manzoor-ul-Haq Awan 55.3sec 8th out of 8

Long jump: Qualifying round Iftikhar Shah disqualified all three jumps not measured

Marathon: Mohammad Yousuf 2:40.46.0hrs 48th out of 58

 

BOXING

Lightweight (up to 60kg): Series No 2 Ghulam Sarwar beat Jacques Cotot (France) on points. Series No 3 lost to James Vincent McCourt (Ireland) on points

Middleweight (up to 75kg): Series No 2 Sultan Mahmood lost to Valery Popenchenko (USSR) RSC in 1st round

Light Heavyweight (up to 81kg): Series No 1 Barkat Ali lost to Robert H Christopherson (USA) on points

Heavyweight (over 81kg): Series No 2 Abdul Rehman lost to Hans Huber (Germany) KO in 1st round

 

CYCLING

1,000 metres time trial: Final classification Mohammad Hafeez 1:18.50min (45.859 km/h) 23rd out of 26

4,000 metres team pursuit race: Elimination heats race No 7 Pakistan (Mohammad Ashiq/Lal Bux/Mohammad Hafeez/Mohammad Shafi) 5:38.77min (42.506 km/h) lost to Thailand (Preeda Chullamondhol/Somchai Chantarasamriti/Smaisuk Krisansuwan)

4,000 metres individual pursuit race: Elimination heats race No 12 Mohammad Ashiq disqualified as Antonio Duque Garza (Mexico) won by pursuing (Wbp)

Scratch sprint race: Heats race No 3 Mohammad Hafeez lost to Sergio Bianchetto (Italy). Repechages elimination race No 7 Mohammad Hafeez lost to Peder Pedersen (Denmark)

 

HOCKEY

Pool A 1st round league: Pakistan beat Japan 1-0 (half-time 0-0), beat Kenya 5-2 (h-t 2-2), beat Great Britain 1-0 (h-t 0-0), beat Rhodesia 6-0 (h-t 4-0), beat New Zealand 2-0 (h-t 1-0), beat Australia 2-1 (h-t 1-1). Pakistan topped Pool A 6 played, 6 won, GF 17, GA 3, points 12. Semifinals Pakistan beat Spain 3-0 (h-t 2-0). Final Pakistan lost to India 1-0 (h-t 1-0). Pakistan won the silver medal

 

SHOOTING

Small bore rifle 3 positions (50 metres): Aziz Ahmed Chaudhry score 1040 50th out of 53. Saifi Chaudhry retired

Small bore rifle prone position (50 metres): Aziz Ahmed Chaudhry score 567 73rd out of 73

Free pistol (50 metres): M A Salaam score 507 46th out of 52

Rapid fire pistol (25 metres): Abdur Rashid score 538 49th out of 53

Clay pigeon shooting: Mohiuddin Khawaja score 91 51st out of 51

 

WEIGHTLIFTING

Bantamweight (56kg): Mohammad Azam Mian total 295.0kg 20th out of 24

 

 

WRESTLING (FREESTYLE)

Flyweight (52kg): 1st round Mohammad Niaz drew with Said Aliakbar Haydari (Iran), 2nd round beat Athanasios Zafiropoulos (Greece), 3rd round beat Stoytcho Malov Georgiev (Bulgaria), 4th round lost to Chang Sun Chang (Korea)

Bantamweight (57kg): 1st round Siraj Din beat Walter Pilling (Britain), 2nd round beat Karl Dodrimont (Germany), 3rd round lost to Yojiro Uetake (Japan)

Featherweight (63kg): 1st round Mohammad Akhtar lost to Nodar Khokhashvili (USSR), 2nd round lost to Stantcho Kolev Ivanov (Bulgaria)

Lightweight (70kg): 1st round Mohammad Bashir beat Stefanos Ioannidis (Greece), 2nd round lost to Zarbegi Beriashvili (USSR), 3rd round lost to Mahmut Atalay (Turkey) by fall

Welterwight (78kg): 1st round Mohammad Afzal lost to Karoly Bajko (Hungary), 2nd round beat Byung-Sup Choi (Korea), 3rd round beat Perko A Dermendjiev (Bulgaria), 4th round lost to Mohamad-Ali Sanatkaran (Iran) by default

Middleweight (87kg): 1st round Faiz Mohammad beat Alfonso Rafael Gonzalez (Panama) by fall, 2nd round drew with Doo-Man Kang (Korea), 3rd round lost to Geza Hollosi (Hungary), 4th round lost to Daniel Oliver Brand (USA) by fall

 

PAKISTAN WON A SILVER MEDAL

The cauldron of our cricket politics is bubbling with exotic ingredients and might end up becoming a witch's brew. Mohammad Asif is terribly innocent. He is naive. He must be thick-headed or duped so must be PCB's power-managers telling us that he was carrying a medicine in his wallet prescribed to him by a local Pakistani hakeem. I am a very frequent traveller around the world, and must have entered or left Dubai almost a hundred times and to me it is an education that wallets are also being checked? Why don't they search our wallets is a mystery; and why did they check Asif's is mysterious still. Innocent he was when the tribunal in 2006 banned him for one year as compared to Shoaib Akhtar's two.

And ironically, now the Chief Operating Officer of the PCB leaves us spellbound telling how desperate the cricket authorities were to have Asif back in Pakistan before the team travelled to Bangladesh. Furthermore, it was also stated that the situation was still unclear, and almost seventy-two hours into the incident nothing was known to the PCB.

Their Director HR had rocketed to Dubai and still the substance wasn't identified. It seemed all the forensic and biochemical laboratories must have gone on strike in the Emirates. And in case if the tests were inconclusive, Asif must be given a Noble Prize for inventing a substance that couldn't be biochemically recognised. It's a shame. It's complete zilch. I think, it's high time either we should stop writing about cricket or make ourselves believe that we are nothing but a collection of hoodwinkers.

Dr Nasim Ashraf's grip on power faces its most challenging test in the next quarter of 2008. Our energies once let loose can move in unexpected directions. He has a done a great job of packaging himself as a 'revolutionary', giving cricket a new culture, as evidenced from Asif's epsiode and a trillion others, the unprecedented new constitution and a terse stance towards the self-disruptive Shoaib Akhtar. The fact that I can write these words is in itself an advertisement of Dr Nasim's indulgent rule. Also visible are many other symbols of rhetorical prosperity.

You have to tip your hat in admiration for Dr Nasim Ashraf and his indefatigable secretariat for their awe-inspiring determination to succeed with an agenda high on their list. The recent accounts of how hard the secretariat has been trying to improve the infrastructure makes us look like wimps. In the Senate, Mr Shafqat Naghmi in his well-poised style explained that PCB had hugely benefited both monetarily and through well-placed and intelligently driven policies of Dr Nasim Ashraf.

It may be asking for too much from such a desperate bunch coming together in the PCB but their 'detractors' might even agree to launch a movement or a struggle against Dr Nasim Ashraf's regime. Though, hardly there is any evidence that it should be called a 'cricket' regime, still it is a regime, that's what we know. As I say, the method of the resistance that we choose is crucial. Some may suggest mobilising media campaigns against the PCB decisions. others may want the regime being boycotted.

However, there are several players at play, the ones now open and shut. Some may call for street pressure, others for sucking up to a top heavy PCB. One thing is obvious, though. It has to be a combination of street, media and external pressure that would convince the Patron of the PCB General Pervez Musharraf removing the chairman, sacking the regime or nudge Dr Nasim Ashraf towards resignation. Mere pious articles, resolutions and fancy words won't do it.

Dr Nasim will last in office until the Patron of the PCB holds strength as President of the country -- this equation is also becoming murky. While I still believe that several people in the cauldron see Dr Nasim as their best bet in Pakistan, there are too many negative comments against him in the press and elsewhere, everywhere. Cricket is being run on credit, and the reality is becoming hazy. And there are one too many flies in the ointment.

There are people trying to run with the opposition and hunt with Dr Nasim. This world is full of hypocrites. Hypocrisy couldn't give solutions it can only confuse us. And we are thoroughly perplexed. Criticism against Dr Nasim is on the rise. Does this signify that we are becoming less patient with him? And if we are, how does this affect the cricket management's current arrangement. It seems the gorge is getting extensively deep and we see our task harder.

Dr Nasim since October 2006 has been looking after an overgrowing army (now seven hundred plus) of 'non-technocrats' and definitely stands out like a shining emerald. Here is a man who has always put cricket's interest ahead of his own. The perks? Pretty average stuff. Not even a round two dozen. He has done enough of cricket service and I'll be disappointed if he is removed well before 2010. Another extension would also be very viable. Why Dr Nasim can't frolic here until the trumpets blow is not understandable.

Perhaps deep down someone must be thinking he is a man whose statues should be erected once he is gone. Seeing the methods with which Dr Nasim has tried to run the game, I must admit my Greek is not that good as it used to be. The current regime has done its bit. I think this is not even fit for a debate. It should have been given all the medals and their names put on honour rolls.

They should now be given free limos, how do we expect them to cope with the traffic on the roads of Lahore in smaller vehicles. Personally, I would add a sports car as we go. I hear that the Porsche is quite something as someone testifies, provided you are able to explain to him what testify means. Don't want the man to get the wrong ideas.

Awkward, inefficient, or ill-directed movements of men, however, leave nothing visible or tangible behind them. Their appreciation calls for an act of memory, an effort of the imagination. And for this reason, even though our daily loss from this source is greater than from our waste of material things, the one has stirred us deeply, while the other has moved us but little.

As yet there has been no public agitation for greater management efficiency. The first objective of any good system must be that of developing first class men; and under systematic management the best man rises to the top more certainly and more rapidly than ever before. This seems wordiness, far away from reality but we need to identify what we must do.

Here what we get is another lout held at Dubai airport with something that resembled a contraband drug. And even if it was 'salajeet' or 'kushta', again we would be stepping on our own tails -- both are nothing but Nandrolone (anabolic steroid) and its metabolites. Complete shambles!




Pakistan players generally disappoint in IPL

The recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) grabbed everyone's attention in the subcontinent especially in India. Under the lights, a noisy full house, glamorous cheerleaders, celebrities from showbiz and business tycons made the event really one of its kind.

Rajasthan Royals won the inaugural edition of the IPL after beating Chennai Super King in the thrilling final by three wickets.

The presence of international players from all over the world added shine to the event with Pakistan being represented by captain Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Gul, Younis Khan and Sohail Tanvir.

Pakistan's players were supposed to be very useful for Twenty20 games because of their aggressive approach and more experience of the shortest version of the game, but they failed to perform upto the expectations. Only Sohail Tanvir and, to some extent, Kamran Akmal and Salman Butt have produced some notable performances for Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders, respectively.

Even players like Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq, who are famed for their limited-over cricket displays, were sidelined because of their inability to deliver in the newest form of the sport on a consistent basis.

Sohail Tanvir, who came into the headlines during the Twenty20 World Cup last year, proved his talent and played a decisive role for the Rajasthan victory. He ended up as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 22 wickets at an average of just 12.09 with an economy rate of 6.45.

Apart from Sohail no other Pakistan bowler has had a good tournament. Asif struggled to get fit while Umar Gul did not get enough chances.

Shoaib Akhtar after a long wait made his first appearance in the IPL for his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders with a hope that he will be a trump card for his team and he will prove his fitness. He joined his team after the Appellate Tribunal in Pakistan decided to suspend his five years ban for one month. PCB also granted him an NOC to take part in the IPL.

Before playing his first match John Buchanan, the Kolkata coach and skipper Sourav Ganguly gave some time to Shoaib Akhtar for getting up to full fitness, as the coach and captain were not satisfied with Shoaib's match fitness.

John Buchanan said he spoke to Geoff Lawson, the Pakistan coach, before the IPL started and was told that Shoaib had never been fitter. "He brings pace to the table and is possibly one of those players who could emerge a Twenty20 specialist because Shoaib won't have to bowl more than four overs. He could just run in for those four overs and make an impact."

But Shoaib Akhtar did make a dramatic IPL debut against the Delhi Daredevils. He gave a match-winning performance and took four top order wickets just conceding 11 runs in his four overs and got the Man of the Match award.

With a match winning performance in the first game, expectations from Shoaib went sky high. He began his second match with a bang again and bowled master batsman and Mumbai captain Sachin Tendulkar in his first over for a duck. But he bowled just two overs and conceded 29 runs.

As expected, in the third match against Chennai, Shoaib lost his fitness and after bowling only two overs he struggled with his ankle injury again. He missed the game against Rajasthan.

During his first three appearances he bowled only seven overs conceding 54 runs and took five wickets to maintain his reputation of a "regularly unfit player".

On the other hand, another one of Pakistan's main strikers Mohammad Asif played for Delhi Daredevils, got an injury while fielding against Deccan Chargers, got four stitches on his hand and missed the remaining matches until Delhi qualified for the semifinal.

Asif had taken around one year away from cricket, and he made his comeback in the ODI series against Bangladesh two months back. He had surgery on his right elbow in Australia at the beginning of the year and was still bowling with a protective brace on his right arm.

To take part in the IPL he declared himself fit, as he was the second most expensive Pakistani player in the IPL. The injury possibly would have kept him away from the remaining IPL matches until Delhi unexpectedly qualified for the semifinals.

Asif played eight matches for Delhi in which he bowled 32 overs and took only eight wickets at an average of 37, his economy rate of 9.25 was also quite high.

Umar Gul took 12 wickets in his six appearances for Kolkata Knight Riders with an average of 15.33 and economy rate of 8.17. All-rounder Shahid Afridi performed better in the bowling department than while batting for Deccan Chargers.

He trapped nine batsmen in ten matches, averaging 25 with an economy rate of 7.50. Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik played seven matches for Delhi Daredevils, bowled 8.3 overs, conceded 85 runs and took only two wickets.

On the batting front, Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Misbah and Afridi either did not get the required number of chances or just could not do justice to their standing and potential and were sidelined because of a string of failures.

Not a very pleasant scenario from Pakistan's point of view as everybody here was looking forward to some solid contributions from all the players who were picked for the inaugural IPL event.

Pakistani players failed to perform upto the expectations, they only gained financial benefits. Their output was in total contrast with what they had gained. Master blaster Shahid Afridi who had the fame and love to play this type of cricket failed miserably. He scored just 81 runs in 10 matches at an average of just 10.12 with a best score of 33.

Twenty20 World Cup famed Misbah-ul-Haq also failed to capitalise on his reputation and in his eight appearances for Banglore Royals scored 117 runs, averaging 16.71.

Mohammad Hafeez of Kolkata Knight Riders played eight matches at different positions but scored just 64 runs with the average of only 9.14.

Shoaib Malik in seven matches scored only 52 runs at an average of just 13. Only Salman Butt also from Kolkata managed some runs (193) in seven games at an average of 27.57.

The Pakistan players' performances are an eye opener for cricket bosses, now they should realise where our players stand in world cricket. We should discover young talented players to replace the old guns.

Apart from other things, the most important side of the tournament was that India found many young and talented players to replace their senior players in the near future.

These young players not only got fame and money but most importantly a valuable experience of high class cricket with some of the world's renowned players. They learnt how to handle the pressure in presence of a huge noisy crowd.

 

The writer works in the art department at 'The News on Sunday' in Karachi [email protected]



Euro 2008: Who will dethrone the Greeks?

History is repeating itself. The rise of Rome is again a threat for the Greek crown. As the nations descend upon Austria and Switzerland, Europe has turned into a battlefield, where might eventually will be right.

Euro 2008, which started yesterday, is being held in Austria and Switzerland and the top 16 teams from across Europe are participating in this quadrennial tournament.

Four years back, Greece won the championship when they defeated hosts Portugal in the final. This time around, however, it is tougher than ever before in spite of the fact that European powerhouse England are not participating.

Of course there are the usual suspects like Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, but other teams like Sweden, Romania and the Czech Republic can never be put out of contention.

Italy, the current world champions, have a strong and reliable defence. But, with the loss of Fabio Cannavaro they would probably find it a little more difficult against flamboyant oppositions such as Portugal and the Netherlands. They don't even have Totti in the squad anymore, but Luca Toni is in form and Italy are expected to rely upon him more often now.

Portugal is home to some of the most exciting players on the planet. They have a midfield that can change the complexion of the game in a whisker. With Ronaldo, Quaresma, Nani, Deco and Simao Portugal they have a five-star midfield. Their defensive pairing of Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe is one of the best in Europe.

The Netherlands never fail to entertain their fans with their electrifying passing movements. The edge that the Netherlands have on Portugal is that they have the most lethal strike partnership. Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas jan Huntelaar are the meanest of strikers in the tournament and they would pounce on to any opportunity provided to them by their midfield.

The Dutch squad had to suffer before the start of the tournament when their pacy winger Ryan Babel got injured and was ruled out of the tournament. Still, they have substantial firepower with Schneider, Robben and Rafael Van der Vaart playing just behind the front two.

Spain can match the Dutch when it comes to the quality of strikers in the squad. Fernando Torres and David Villa have the charisma to remove the underachievers label that has been haunting the Spaniards for decades. Sergio Ramos is the man to watch if you are following Spain. Ramos is a complete package, he can play anywhere in the defence and can score crucial goals.

Then there's the French team appearing in a major international tournament without Zinedine Zidane for the first time in years. French squad is a mix of ageing superstars like Henry, Makelele, Vieira, Thuram and exciting young players like Benzema, Nasri and Gomis. But the most exciting player in the team is without a doubt Frank Ribery, who has been in great form throughout the year. The German media heaped praise on the Frenchman for his scintillating debut season, which concluded recently, for German giants Bayern Munich.

Talking about Germany who have a reputation of performing brilliantly on big stage. They would rely heavily on their inform strikers Klose and Gomez. The charismatic Michael Ballack can always be trusted in tight situations. Phillip Lahm of Bayern Munich is the player to keep an eye on this time around; his runs from defence can be a cause of a headache for weaker defences in the tournament.

It is safe to assume that one of these teams will end up with the Euro 2008 trophy. But, to count other teams out, in a championship that has a history of providing upsets, is totally unadvisable.

 

 

 

 

|Home|Daily Jang|The News|Sales & Advt|Contact Us|


BACK ISSUES