13-match ban? Simply peanuts for Shoaib Akhtar
needs to look into the wicket-keeping department
syndrome and our players
Rahim: The greatest tennis
What we need first is time and proper coaching. If we do have time, we can chalk out strategies and tactics to combine up the talent we have and utilise it in a proper manner
By Muhammad Shahbaz Zahid
The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) have always vowed to improve the standard of the game in the country. They have worked their heart out to promote the game at grass-root level and strived to provide more opportunities and international exposure to its players.
Lately, they (PFF) have been trying to acquire the help of Pakistan-born foreign-based players to provide stability to the (national) team so that the team improves its rankings and starts performing at Asian level at least if not at international stage.
Besides that, a private TV channel also staged a championship (known as the Geo Super League) in Karachi, in which five teams took part namely Karachi Baazigars, Lahore Lajpaals, Quetta Zorawar, Islamabad United and Tribe FC Peshawar. This was a very supportive step by the TV channel to give exposure to the local players and the event, thus, turned out to be a massive success.
Coming back to PFF's plan of action, as many as eight players (Pakistan-born) were called up from England, where they were playing in lower leagues, to join the national squad ahead of Pakistan's matches in 2010 World Cup Qualifiers.
I had a very strong feeling that (calling up players from England) won't really help the team's cause immediately as making those footballers play straight away in totally different atmosphere and circumstances wouldn't be easy and it proved so, unfortunately.
Pakistan had a tough Qualifier against the Asian champions Iraq on the 22nd of October at Lahore and they, according to their coach and local experts, were geared up for a daunting challenge ahead.
Days before the match, ex-players and media were hailing PFF chief's efforts for holding such an important match. What didn't get to my mind was staging such matches isn't that important until and unless the team performs well. That what really counts, doesn't it?
And more important to the people here was the calling-up of foreign-based players. They thought they would sprinkle some magic powder in the team and the squad would immediately start doing wonders and ease past tough opponents. It is easier said than done mates.
Akhtar Mohiuddin, Pakistan's head coach, before the match against Iraq said that "we are looking for the timely click of combination among the local and foreign-based players and I hope they will provide the good".
How in the world can that be possible, and in such a little time? The players, who were called up from England, have a totally different playing style. Zesh Rehman, a former Fulham (an English Premier League side) player has played at the highest level. He of all people must have known that mixing up with the local players right away won't be that easy.
What we need first is time and proper coaching. If we do have time, we can chalk out strategies and tactics to combine up the talent we have and utilise it in a proper manner. Then we have to create a playing style which is known to each and every player and easy to adopt.
Football isn't always a one man show and the whole team has to perform at a certain level equally to give the goods. Lack of coordination doesn't really help one's cause and can prove lethal for the team's progress.
Whatever were the circumstances, four-time South Asian Federation (SAF) Games gold medallists Pakistan took on the recently-crowned Asian champions Iraq, who had just lost a friendly to Qatar. And the national team coach, himself, knew that beating Iraq would be very very tough. He said: "Iraq is a very good side and under the coaching of Egil 'Drillo' Olsen, it would be very difficult to beat them".
Olsen, a Norwegian, had led Norway to qualification for World Cups on two occasions during his tenure -- in 1994 and 1998. Under his coaching, Norway even reached their career-high ranking of 2.
Pakistan, who were ranked 179 in the world before the match and had a 25-player squad to select for the tie, were hammered 0-7 by Iraq, ranked 65th in the world. In total now, Pakistan has won only one match out of eight they have played against Iraq conceding 40 goals in the process. They have scored only six times against them.
Mahdi Jaleel was the star performer for Iraq as he scored a hat-trick. Other scorers for Iraq were Nashat Akram, Mahdi Karim, Al Hamd and Emad Ridha.
Pakistan defended very poorly in the game and their strategies totally failed. For once, Zesh played as a defender and then his position was changed to a midfielder. There was no stability seen in the match and Iraq took total control of the match from the word go.
The match at the Punjab Stadium, which saw around 500-600 spectators at the start of match will see the return leg being played on October 28th (today) in Aleppo, Syria. Iraq will not host the home tie because of uncertain political conditions.
The result showed that no coordination between the called-up foreign-based players and locals was seen and there was a total mayhem on the field.
Iraq, who had beaten many favourite teams on their way to clinch the Asian title, proved too strong for them. Pakistan though kept the deficit to two goals in the first half but they totally gave away the match in the second. None of their players shone on the field except for a few occasions when Zesh and skipper Mohammad Essa tried to pull one back for the national team.
Iraq's coach, Olsen, was still convinced that the standard of the game in Pakistan had rapidly improved in recent years and the team has a bright future in the years to come.
No doubt the team has made some progress and have a bright future ahead, hopefully. But what we lack here is proper training facilities, playing grounds, supportive staff and professional coaches. We have the talent, the skilled players that are needed to build up a strong team; what we don't have is the machinery to bring up the talent, polish them, expose them and combine all the available talent into a strong unit.
As mentioned earlier that Pakistan has made a rapid progress, it can be justified by the fact that they won the gold medal in the South Asian Games, held in Colombo (Sri Lanka) last year.
And that feat they achieved when they hadn't called up players from other countries. All the local players combined together to bring this laurel for the country.
I won't say that foreign-based players shouldn't be included in the squad but this should be kept in mind that local players should be given a chance before them. We should extract the raw material from different cities of Pakistan and breathe a new life in that new found talent.
If we will start recruiting expatriates in the team than the local lad will feel they are being neglected, ignored and the state of the game in local areas would be severely affected in a negative way. We should keep our faith in home-grown talent first.
The upcoming assignments for Pakistan are other World Cup Qualifiers and the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship, which will be played in last week of May next year in Sri Lanka and Maldives. Hopefully they will perform better in those events and will showcase the talent that we have in ourselves.
writer is a staff member at 'The News' Karachi
One also fails to understand why Shoaib Akhtar had been seated along with the members of the disciplinary committee when the verdict was being announced in a press conference
By Dr Ehtasham Anwar
The latest Shoaib Akhtar drama, which started before the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa last month, came to an end with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) imposing a 13-match ban and a Rs 3.4 million fine on the player. Shoaib Akhar is one player who has brought shame to his nation, and to the game of cricket, more often than he has brought joy to them.
He has done all sorts of wrong things in the game, ranging from minor acts of indiscipline to using performance-enhancing drugs, with impunity. Now using such drugs is an act which is considered the most deplorable in the arena of sports in the whole world. We have seen players of far greater stature than Shoaib being banned for life and stripped of their previous laurels when charges of drug use were proved against them.
Only recently Marion Jones, the celebrated US athlete, confessed using such drugs with tears in her eyes and was subsequently deprived of five medals she had won for her country in the 2000 Olympics. I was surprised to see tears in her eyes as I am used to seeing players from my own country who have the guts to use these drugs without any resentment, repentance and remorse and to do even worse things subsequently.
In making Shoaib, what he is today, only the PCB is to blame. Every time he was found indulging in an act of indiscipline, the PCB either looked the other way or took a half-hearted action. Had Shoaib been dealt with strictly in the beginning he would have been a different man today. Take for instance the drug scandal. The PCB made a mockery of itself as well of the country in front of the whole world.
Firstly, the PCB itself declared that Shoaib along with another fellow player had been found guilty of using drugs, then placed extended bans on both of them and finally itself acquitted them of all the charges. The world looked on in disbelief. Other cricket playing countries wanted to pursue the case further against this ridiculous mishandling of such a serious issue by PCB but then avoided the same due to diplomatic considerations as well as the clout Asian countries enjoy in the ICC.
This time round when Shoaib hit and injured Asif with a bat, the cricket fans, sports analysts, newspapers editorials and even common men on the streets joined hands in demanding an exemplary punishment for him from the PCB. There were also calls for imposing a life ban on him. And when the punishment was finally announced, in view of the present as well as past gross misconduct of the player, it was just peanuts.
Those who wanted sanity to finally prevail this time in PCB were taken aback. Far from placing life or any other extended ban on Shoaib, PCB had not even placed a ban for one whole series on him. So much so that the matches which had already been played by the national team during the Twenty20 World Cup and the recent South African series have also been painstakingly counted for the purpose with the result that the ban would be over after the fourth one-day match the final match with South Africa.
The PCB chief has tried to justify the verdict by saying that 'maximum possible punishment' has been meted out to Shoaib and fine imposed is 'the biggest ever imposed on a cricketer at the international level'. If this is the exemplary punishment the PCB could award, one wonders what would have been a less than exemplary punishment?
As regards myth of biggest ever fine, cricket is such an earning profession that Rs 3.4 million and that too for a player like Shoaib did not mean much. He can easily earn five times the amount from a single Pepsi ad. And guess what more? Shoaib has been given the option of getting this fine deducted from his future earnings from cricket. Even Shoaib Akhtar had himself not expected such a deal (sorry I can't call it a punishment).
Furthermore, one also fails to understand why Shoaib Akhtar had been seated along with the members of disciplinary committee when the verdict was being announced in a press conference. I may be a very ill-informed person but at least I have not seen such a precedence elsewhere in the world where the judge and the convict sit on the same side of the table and talk to the journalists as if something has been mutually arrived at among them or as if they were going to announce some memorandum of understanding. And then you ask me why do I call it a deal and not a punishment!
Finally some comments on his get-up in the same press conference. He was wearing a T-shirt with a wide mouth and hardly any sleeves. His face was unshaven, hair long and unkempt and a chain was loosely hanging around his neck. A perfect recipe for a gangster look! I respect everyone else's right to wear what he or she likes but then there are certain occasions when you have to look decent so as to show that you mean business.
Hearing a verdict against you is one such occasion especially when you apparently seek an apology from the whole nation during the same proceedings and promise to behave properly in future. Moreover, cricket has been known to be the game of gentlemen, at least previously, and is not meant for gangsters. Those who love the game therefore still wish to see its pristine image saved.
One wonders how decisions are being arrived at in the PCB? What PCB has achieved, or is expecting to achieve, from the decision? One of the purposes of punishment is to act as deterrence for others. Does the PCB really think that the punishment meted out to Shoaib would deter others from behaving in a similar way? After having hit Asif with bat, Shoaib presented a million dollars' argument to defend his act by saying that he actually gets 'angry more often than others'.
If this is the case, he should be made to sit within the four walls of his home and advised to get angry as many times as he wishes there since such a behavior in presence of others brings bad name to country as well as the game. PCB chief has himself said that Shoaib Akhtar needed psychiatric counseling. If this is the case, what is the obligation of including such a player in playing eleven?
Now that PCB has paved a way for Shoaibís return in the team, only fools can believe that his inclusion would not damage the spirit and cohesion of the team. He has beaten one player with the bat; expressed venom against another in a press conference and even tried to start legal proceedings against the latter. This gives us a crude idea of what sort of relations he is having, or will have, with rest of his teammates.
Mind you, his apology was directed towards Asif and his countrymen alone; there was no mention of Afridi. It may therefore be presumed that Shoaib has not buried the hatchet with him yet.
If the PCB argues that Shoaib has been spared only to strengthen the bowling attack, one must remind the body that the bowling attack of Pakistan has performed reasonably well in Twenty20 championship and the recent South African series and it was mainly the batting line-up which failed and brought us defeats.
Moreover, Shoaib's fitness has always been far from satisfactory. What then is his utility for the team? At best he would play a couple of matches, get some wickets and then either get unfit or embroiled in some act of gross misconduct.
writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist
It seems a great injustice to other promising wicket-keepers and Kamran Akmal as well to throw him to play all forms of cricket in quick succession
By Ghalib Mehmood Bajwa
After completing a five-match ODI series against South Africa at home, the Pakistan cricket team has a hectic season ahead. Our cricketers are scheduled to tour India in November for three Tests and five ODIs. Then Pakistan would play host to world champions Australia early next year. During the last one and a half months, the Pakistan team also played the Twenty20 World Cup and a two-Test home rubber against South Africa.
To cope with such a packed cricket season properly, Pakistan requires a hundred per cent fit and in-form squad especially its wicket-keeper. Wicket-keeping is a demanding job and a wicket-keeper has to do double effort as compared to any batsman or bowler in a cricket match. Beside batting responsibilities, a wicket-keeper has to bend for every fast and slow delivery that makes his job more tougher than others.
As cricket is growing speedily in different forms, PCB needs to introduce concept of separate sides and wicket-keepers for different kinds of game. There should be one wicket-keeper for Tests and other first-class matches while a separate stumper should be deputed for fast cricket i.e. ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.
It has been observed that in the prevailing situation usually players have to change their frame of mind according to slower or faster nature of game. If it is Test cricket, the batsmen are usually bound to play a technically sound game whereas in the one-day and Twenty20 form of game, they have to mould themselves into an Afridi-like style. However, in separate sides concept, batsmen and wicket-keepers are not required to change their batting style and they would be free to play their natural game. In this way, definitely they can contribute more handsomely in their respective form of game. Moreover, the fans of the game would watch a fresh and agile wicket-keeper every time.
After realising the wicket-keepers' extraordinary workload in international cricket, other countries are introducing reserve wicket-keepers in their teams to give much wanted relief to their regular and first choice glovemen. Australian and Indian cricket managements are keeping reserve wicket-keepers Brad Haddin and Dinesh Karthik with their respective teams regularly to give vital rest to their regular wicket-keepers. England are trying three cricketers Matthew Prior, Paul Nixon and Phil Mustard to find suitable wicket-keepers for all three forms of the game. And it is a fact that this is the only way to get the maximum out of a wicket-keeper particularly in crucial games.
As far as Pakistan's wicket-keeping is concerned, Kamran Akmal has been the country's number one gloveman for the last couple of years. During the just concluding two-Test series against South Africa, he performed well with the bat but could not live up to the expectations behind the stumps probably due to excessive cricket. He dropped South Africa's premier batsman Jacques Kallis when he was on 36 in the Karachi Test and resultantly the giant all-rounder managed to score 155 that proved decisive in Pakistan's 160-run defeat.
Then at Lahore, Kamran had to open the innings after keeping wicket for almost two days. As an opener, he played well and struck 52 and 71 in both innings and virtually remained in the middle for all five days with pads on his legs.
Prior to the South Africa Test series, Kamran remained unimpressive in either department in two major competitions -- World Cup 2007 and Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. In the Caribbean's World Cup his contributions were 0, 27 and 15 and in the recent Twenty20 World Cup he could not click in any of his seven outings and scored just 44 runs at 14.66.
After playing Twenty20 and Test cricket, these days Kamran is busy in the five-match ODI series against South Africa and it seems a great injustice to other promising wicket-keepers and Kamran as well to throw him to play all forms of cricket in quick succession. After watching his recent poor showing in ODI and Twenty20 World Cups and impressive batting display in Tests, one can reach a conclusion that he should be left to concentrate only on Test cricket.
Fortunately Pakistan is blessed with plenty of wicket-keeping potential to shoulder Kamran's workload. There are a few agile youngsters such as Kashif Mahmood Butt, Sarfraz Ahmed and Zulqarnain Haider and any one of the three could be considered for a second wicket-keeper's slot.
Kashif Mahmood, who has been chosen in the Lahore Shalimar team for the 2007-08 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, has played grade-II and junior cricket for several years with distinction. Kashif, who was awarded Gold Medal for his cricketing potential, has captained junior teams at school, college, university, district, region and national level. He was Pakistan skipper in the U-15 World Cup in 2000 in England. Pakistan finished runners-up in the said event.
Kashif, 22, is doing his MBA, and has great cricketing potential but could not get a proper chance to prove his worth in first-class cricket due to unknown reasons. Besides being a good keeper, he is also a prolific left-hand batsman. In the 2006-07 Inter-District Cricket Tournament, he gathered his runs with the average of 61.30.
Pakistan's late coach Bob Woolmer was a great admirer of Kashif's talent. In 2005, Bob watched him keeping wicket at LCCA ground and called him to Gaddafi Stadium for a practice match between Pakistan and Pakistan A side. Bob, who was looking for a left-hand wicket-keeper/batsman, was quite impressed with his punctuality, communication, batting and above all wicket-keeping talent.
The visionary coach advised Kashif to play first-class cricket regularly for a chance in the national team. It is to be noted here that Bob also asked the selectors to give Kashif proper exposure at the first-class level but the young stumper could not extend his first-class career during the last two years beyond two matches due to mysterious selection process.
Zulqarnain Haider and Sarfraz Ahmed are the other two guys, who are performing well in domestic cricket. Zulqarnain, who has 44 first-class matches in his kitty at such a young age, has been with the national team for the last couple of years. The lanky stumper, who could not demonstrate his true batting skills in the practice one-dayer against touring South Africans at Bagh-e-Jinnah, has toured South Africa last year under Inzamam-ul-Haq and played the only Twenty20 International there.
In 2004, he was part of the 16-member national team for the two-Test home series against Sri Lanka. At one stage, he was on the verge of making his Test debut but was suddenly overlooked due to unknown reasons. Zulqarnain, who has struck two centuries and 10 fifties in first-class career so far, has displayed his batting potential on a number of occasions. He was top scorer and best wicket-keeper in the 2004 U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh where Pakistan won the title.
Sarfraz Ahmed, another U-19 World Cup winning skipper in 2006, is a right-handed wicket-keeper/batsman. He has already shown his worth as a middle-order batsman, scoring six half-centuries in his 13 first-class matches. It is for sure that the PCB will have to take this decision sooner or later to meet the challenges of modern day cricket.
writer is a staffer at 'The News' Lahore
Pakistan cricket is in
a constitutional mess!
We have subverted the first-class set-ups including the basic democracy previously prevalent in the regions and associations, and have made cricket's machinery a shaggy dog story
By Dr Nauman Niaz
With eight years of Ad hocism our cricket has lived through more than its share of difficulties. From coping with the changing methods of cricket in the 2000s, experimenting with first-class cricket and managements embroiled in player-power has come easily. First we lost our number three place on the ICC Test Rankings, languishing at seventh and asked to cope with the 'periods' of transition and implementation of preposterous policies, we have to live in a constant state of disarray.
We have survived alternate bouts of Ad hocism and autocratic democrats, were subjected to experiments to change the constitution, to make PCB modern and also asked to endure single-minded, power-yielding captains. And now cope with something called 'Corporate' PCB with another constitution ready to be implemented.
How the new constitution would give space to PCB's corporate high flyers is still not very clear. Through these upheavals, we haven't found a formula to keep all of our people committed to a common vision of cricketing progress.
We are today mired in a debilitating conflict in the selection of the Pakistan team, face a breakdown of cricket's governance in different parts of the country and experience meaningless random acts from the stalwarts (ex-Berkley graduates, ex-Pakistan Military Academy stars, portly doctors) of the PCB organisation.
On the ideological level, we don't know whether we have a corporate set-up with liberal pretensions or a worldly board paying lip service to the vision of corporate governance. Even the exercise of power at the highest level of governance is delusive with an enterprising chairman, though extremely sensitive to criticism and wobbly directors making democratic claims and behaving like dictators.
Like his predecessors, Dr Nasim Ashraf hasn't been an exception, as they should have been an instrument of the board became the arbiters of game's destiny and their personnel rule through artifices and maneuvering or another. To make their power grab easier they have often sabotaged the norms, veiling their frailties in different wrappers such as 'new constitutions' etcetera, have subverted the first-class set-ups including the basic democracy previously prevalent in the regions and associations, and have made cricket's machinery a shaggy dog story.
The ways the previous chairmen and the current one attained autonomy will make it impossible for any future sovereign man to exercise control over it.
Chairmen in Ad hoc systems are usually with a stiff upper lip, their path to the board's control becomes easy with unqualified people swarming around them, and fitting into powerful slots. Then, they have been using their media 'connections' to not only arm and equip themselves, but also to browbeat all other contenders for power within or outside the system. This support however comes with price tags. And subsequently, these capable and insightful chairmen become instruments of people with macro agendas.
Recently, the PCB inadvertently or deliberately became players in the cold war of the cricketers against authority and defections. To some, the PCB chain of command has worked as power-brokers in getting some of their top players contracted with the Indian Premier League. Such was their unconventional loyalty to the BCCI and the IPL that they enticed Mohammad Yousuf to defect from the Indian Cricket League (ICL). In return what they are supposed to get, their regime acceptability and benefits is still not decipherable. ICL are contemplating filing a legal suit against Yousuf; in this context, PCB's future role is surely going to be very interesting.
The current support for Dr Nasim Ashraf within the board and to some extent within the regions and associations hinges on his perceived role in the evolution and implementation of the 'new' constitution. Interestingly, with this latest constitution's implementation, if it is ever employed Dr Nasim would need greater legitimacy and wider public support to take radical decisions with reference to grassroots development and spending huge budgets.
This would create the circumstances for him to stage a comeback, to find firm footing which he nearly lost in his topsy-turvy run so far. With a strong Board of Governors may well be a reward of his assiduous cultivation of the 'corporate' establishment and his part as an honest negotiator to help clinching an extended role in the country's cricket, say for at least the next three to five years.
To some, Dr Nasim's future in cricket would depend on his political ambitions. Dr Nasim was an above average nephrologist in the United States of America but quit medicine to explore other mainstream, more publicly prominent careers. To some, he has tried to use cricket as a tool for evolving his political base. Once the strategic scenario is worked out, its tactical unfolding while colourful is inconsequential. Dr Nasim arrived in October 2006 to a turbulent welcome and it provided the right kind of optics but without him fitting in a broader perspective this would not have been possible.
The next step for Dr Nasim is to put into effect the new constitution, which on paper does not seem easy because he has lost a great deal of genuine support of people who were looking towards him as country's cricket's light. However we have seen in the past that once such things have been ordained, survival itself is just a formality. Nasim by virtue of his appointments and re-designations at PCB's head office in Lahore now may not be able to get a level playing field and if he digs up that, he may well be the man to watch in the next six months or so.
It seems the new constitution would come, with its rights and wrongs still having Dr Nasim's role to continue in office and keep working for cricket in Pakistan. So far, his run has been mostly disruptive, with sporadic moments of brilliance. Keeping in view, the character and tone of the regions, associations and ex-players, not all, may well become major partners in a set-up powerfully run by him.
Dr Nasim picked a handful of people to give value to his 'corporate' vision and seemingly, he didn't take immense trouble and didn't interfere so blatantly in his team's working because he may well have had a particular fondness for either the personalities of Mr Shafqat Naghmi and Nadeem Akram or Zakir Khan. He would want his team to deliver, now and after the implementation of the constitution.
It hardly seems a fact that Dr Nasim's dream team (a quartet of directors) would be able to deliver. Dr Nasim's highbrow team including a doctor with a penchant of being in the news hasn't been able to impress either. Dr Nasim's workforce has been a huge disappointment. And holding on, not relinquishing their seats of power despite ample evidence of complete failure to give a corporate shape to the PCB, they would rather try getting their workspace sealed and criticism physically eliminated.
PCB has shaken up all previous traditions offering unlimited financial rewards to the players, team management, even the masseurs. Luckily, there wasn't any sanitary worker otherwise he would have also been given Rs 1.25 M. It seemed a swift drifting to 'buy and hi' approach. With PCB being veiled as a 'corporate' enterprise and its new culture being promulgated by Dr Nasim's three most powerful directors, the beneficiaries themselves, often argue, as in one of the television programmes Shafqat Naghmi tried to justify giving huge signing amounts to the cricketers in addition to the exorbitant contractual remuneration and also the performance based rewards, emphasizing that such traditions were common in the corporate world to seek loyalty of the employees.
Isn't it an expensive method of seeking loyalty of the employees? It showed Mr Naghmi as nonchalant, an undaunted director in a supervisory role of an organisation where money comes easy through television rights and cricket's added value.
Dr Nasim is already engaged in changing PCB's doctrinaire and conservative systems, but his best efforts often lack legitimacy and are not fully accepted. He, despite rebuttals seemed unpopular and his working-team at Lahore making the goings even more difficult for him; there is a hope that addition of high profiled cricketers in the Board of Governors and in his government after PCB implements its new constitution there would be greater public backing for Pakistan's new cricket conflict. This is the kind of partnership Dr Nasim may well have been looking for.
Instead of having a new constitution where from eleven regions, only five representatives are allowed to sit on the Board of Governors (and at least one from each province), creating insecurities, the PCB could have negotiated a new curriculum and a new direction for administering cricket at the regional level. All of this could have required engagement not conflict.
Cricket politics in Pakistan has many faces and no single tactic can be successful everywhere. For example, cricket power within the associations is a by-product of influence of an indiviudal or his person or traditional conservatism. It has little to do with the ideology, constitution or merit or any other form of deep-seated values or attitude. Since, most of the associations and regions are dependent completely on the cricket board, without actually getting interruptive it is thus something that can be rooted out by force -- so why did we need a new constitution?
In the developed world, constitutions are implemented in letter and spirit, where the counties or states own the cricket board. In Pakistan it's the opposite. Here, the regions and associations are completely dependent on the PCB, standing up with begging bowls. So if they can't be stakeholders why should they be given their share of power on the board of governors or councils?
Unfortunately, this combination of dictatorship and democracy cannot be provided by Dr Nasim Ashraf and his corporate combine. They are reviled figures in the eyes of cricket conventionalists and not acceptable to them as fair interlocutors or negotiating partners.
Pakistan great Jansher Khan's decision to stage a comeback to international squash after a lapse of over eight years can also be dubbed as an 'unwise' decision
By Gul Nasreen
Strange are the ways of our sporty ones. They exhibit more of a 'sense and sensibility' all through their heydays of the career, but they become stubborn, possessive, egoistic, self-centered and even eccentric in their approach to the game and the fellow sportsmen and related authorities as they age and near their retirement. That's why most of them make unceremonious exits from their respective disciplines of the game. Some even behave the same way after saying adieu to the game.
It has been witnessed over the years that players' power too emanates from these aforesaid character straits of the individual sporting greats (at the receiving end of their careers), who show the youngsters a path of discord and indiscipline.
From classic cricketers to hockey aces down to squash greats, we come across individuals who resort to mar their reputation by irresponsible behaviors and self-centred decisions at the receiving ends of their glorious and wonderful careers.
The senior most sporting icons not only make a mockery of thems by making ridiculous decisions, but also tarnish the image of the country through such decisions at time. Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's belated decision to call it a day in cricket, Jansher Khan's first round exit from the London Open recently and the late reporting by former senior most Olympians at the ongoing preparatory hockey camp in Karachi for the Champions Trophy are to name a few.
A STUBBORN APPROACH
Inzmam-ul-Haq was an excellent person and sportsman when he emerged on the cricket horizon and was instrumental in many great victories for the team, but started bullying youngsters into his 'cord of discord' when he captained the team in the later days of his career. The Oval fiasco that ended in great disgrace to the national team is solely attributed to the 'foolish' and uncalled for reaction from the then Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who despite a glorious career, also has a long list †of controversies to his credit. The irony is that most of the controversies attached with Inzamam unfurled at the later stage of his career.
AN UNWISE DECISION
In a way, Pakistan squash great Jansher Khan's decision to stage a comeback to international squash after a lapse of over eight years can also be dubbed as an 'unwise' decision on part of a legendary squash veteran. The first round ouster of the eight-time record holder of World Open from the London Open squash recently, was an expected outcome. It was really embarrassing for the squash fans in Pakistan when the much-touted comeback faltered when the former world number one and record eight times world champion went down in four games to England's Scott Handley in the inaugural Tour event at the Cumberland Club.
Thirty-eight years old Jansher Khan was given the wild card entry on his glorious past performance to be in the 16-man main draw otherwise the former great Khan would have had to compete in the qualifying round for a place in the main round of the tournament which concluded in London recently. The Peshawar-born Jansher Khan after taking the first game at 11-7 lost three subsequent games against Handley who won 11-6, 11-6, 11-0. Losing the fourth game at 0-11 showed that Jansher Khan, whose both knees were operated upon in Lahore about eight years ago, had no leg to stand on because he was completely exhausted.
He just completed the formality of the first round match. Jansher Khan committed a blunder to compete in the London Open. Luckily he was not injured. So in a way it was an unwise decision to take part in an international tournament once he retired after winning almost all the major titles of world squash.
Recalled ace penalty corner striker Sohail Abbas and half-back Waseem Ahmed failed to report at the ongoing national hockey camp at the Hockey Club of Pakistan on the opening day. The camp is in build-up for next month's Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) from November 29 to December 9. And such an irresponsible behaviour from the former Olympians is a matter of concern for all us.
Out of 39 who had to join the camp, it was only the senior most players who failed to report at the camp. These top players should have reported to the camp in time so as to prove their form and fitness in the camp which will be the major criteria of selection in the national team within the next two weeks.
It may be mentioned here that Sohail, who holds the record of most goals by a player in international hockey, last played for Pakistan in the 2006 World Cup held in Germany. He was banned along with several other leading players after they stayed away from a training camp held in preparations for last December's Asian Games held in Doha, Qatar.
However, after a string of poor results this year, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) was forced to reconsider its decision of banning the senior players and opted to recall them for the Champions Trophy preparatory camp that is in full swing in Karachi.
However, on the opening day only midfielder Ghazanfar Ali had given an indication that he will turn up for the training camp. The coach had no knowledge about the whereabouts of Sohail Abbas and Waseem nor had he received any intimation from the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for their not reporting at the camp.
He not only appeared in the main draw of three of the four Grand Slam tournaments: Wimbledon, US Open and French Open but he also has the honour of winning matches in all three of them
By Dr Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry
During this year's Wimbledon championships, interest in tennis among people of Pakistan was the highest in decades. This sudden and short term attention to tennis in Pakistan was due to the fact that Aisam-ul-Haq became the first Pakistani to play in the main rounds of Wimbledon, the most prestigious of all the tennis tournaments, since Haroon Rahim in 1976. Aisam reached the second round where he lost to former Wimbledon champion Marat Safin.
As it had happened after decades, many sports followers got inquisitive about past performances of Pakistani tennis players. And the query about the "greatest Pakistani tennis player of all times" also sprang up.
A number of Pakistani players before Aisam have figured in the main draw of Wimbledon. The list includes Mahmmod Alam, Saeed Hai, Munir Pirzada, Saeed Mir, Munawwar Iqbal and Haroon Rahim.
Out of them only Saeed Hai and Haroon Rahim appeared in grand slam tournaments other than Wimbledon.
However, Haroon Rahim easily stands out. He not only appeared in the main draw of three of the four grand slam tournaments: Wimbledon, US Open and French Open but he also has the honour of winning matches in all three of them. Moreover he won matches not only in singles but also in doubles in the main round of each of these three!
He is also the only Pakistani to reach the quarter-final of any grand slam (1971 US Open, doubles). In addition, he has the unique distinction of being the only Pakistani to win ATP title either in singles or doubles -- Haroon won both. And he attained a world ranking of 44 and no other Pakistani has ever come even close to that.
Born in Lahore in 1949, Haroon got early encouragement right at home. His father, a civil servant, was a tennis fanatic and encouraged all his children to play tennis competitively.
Apart from Haroon, not only his two other brothers, Zufiqar and Sarfraz but sister Shahnaz also won national championships of Pakistan!
His was a precocious talent. Haroon became national champion at the age of just 15. He also represented Pakistan at the Davis Cup at the same age. Both are Pakistan records till today! And from then onwards there was no looking back. Apart from representing Pakistan, he also started playing in the international professional circuit.
Soon he was awarded 'tennis scholarship' by one of America's top universities, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). At UCLA, under the tutelage of famous coach Glenn Bassett, Haroon's talent really flourished. He led UCLA to win NCAA title in 1970 as well as in 1971. And his team mate in 1971 was one Jimmy Connors who later became one of tennis all-time greats and also remained Haroon's doubles partner for some time on the pro-circuit. Apart from winning the team title, Haroon also won the NCAA doubles title in 1971 with Jeff Borowiak. In singles he reached the semifinal of easily the world's most competitive collegiate championships.
Haroon turned professional, when still a teenager, in 1968 and remarkably made his debut in the grand slams' main round the very same year!
He remained active on the professional circuit for around a decade. During this period, he appeared in grand slam events a number of times.
Haroon's best results in Grand Slams
French Open Second Round
Wimbledon Second Round
US Open Third Round
French Open Second Round
Wimbledon Third Round
US Open Quarter Final
Though Haroon could not land a grand slam title he did win five ATP titles (two singles and three doubles).
It is pertinent to mention that ATP tournaments along with Grand Slam events form the first tier of the Professional tennis circuit followed by ATP challenger and Futures.
Haroon won his both ATP titles in 1976 and against very distinguished opponents.
The first at Little Rock against former Wimbledon runner up, Alex Metreveli, and then the second at Cleveland, against the former record holder of the fastest serve, Australian, Colin Dibley. His three doubles titles were won at Oslo, Norway in 1974, North Conway in 1975 and Little Rock in 1978.
He twice finished as runner-up in ATP tournaments, in 1972 he lost to US Open winner Manual Orantes in the final.
In ATP doubles apart from winning three crowns, he lost in the final the same number of times. In one of these, his partner was his team mate at UCLA, legendary Jimmy Connors.
Haroon reached a career highest ranking of 44 in 1977. He was respected and feared by all the top pro-circuit players and defeated top players like Connors, Ashe etc. Haroon married an American girl and lives in the US.
Youth always looks for role models in every sport. For any Pakistani youngster taking up tennis seriously, Haroon should be the inspiration.
His accomplishments at all levels are quite awesome: National champion at 15, Davis Cup appearance also at 15, Winning scholarship to the best 'tennis university' of US of his time, Excelling at NCAA, Shining at grand slams, Winning ATP titles, Defeating most of the top players of his time at least once.
Achievements of Haroon should serve as motivation to Pakistan's up and coming tennis players. It remains to be seen if any Pakistani player in future can come close to attaining these heights.
contributer is a freelance sports writer email@example.com