stars' ICL show: An eye opener
Akhtar: Victimised or victim of self-infliction?
PCB both need long introspection
Express needs to get back on track
Everybody – be they former cricketers or cricket fans – is now slamming the decision and sympathising with the bowler as if he has been 'victimised' for no reason
By Imran Farooqi
We, in Pakistan, sometimes adopt a very strange stance while supporting or rejecting an issue. At times, we tend to ignore very serious problems that may have long-lasting and dreadful ramifications, and on certain occasions we blow simple things out of proportion. And most of us seem to have been 'blessed' with a very short memory.
Shoaib Akhtar's ban has stirred an unnecessary uproar in the country. We are used to criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for almost everything it does. Very few steps of the Board attract the praise they genuinely deserve.
Not very long ago everybody in the country was screaming over Shoaib's consistent violations of discipline and shameless off-field activities that have always caused unbearable anguish to his countrymen.
And there are those who always speak of 'player power' in the team. But now when the PCB has taken a step in the right direction by announcing a five-year ban for the arrogant fast bowler, everybody -- be they former cricketers or cricket fans -- is now slamming the decision and sympathising with the bowler as if he has been 'victimised' for no reason.
The PCB did make a mistake! A two-year ban would have served the purpose. Keeping in view his fitness, or should we say 'unfitness' record Shoaib is unlikely to last for more than two years in any case. So why suspend him for five? The duration of the ban has provided his supporters a chance to throw abuse at the PCB for this 'ghastly act of cruelty'.
Will those campaigning for Shoaib's inclusion in the side, please, tell us how much cricket he has played in the last two years? How seriously does he take his fitness and form? He often compares himself with the premier speed merchants of the world, specially Brett Lee, who has not had an injury-free career.
The Australian missed the entire 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and spent almost a year on the sidelines because of injuries. But since his comeback he has been bowling brilliantly and is leading the Aussie bowling pack in place of now-retired Glenn McGrath. His disciplinary record, too, is not bad. Can Shoaib say the same for himself? Does he remember when he last played three Tests in a row for Pakistan without getting injured?
Nobody can question his wicket-taking ability, but the same does not hold true as far as Shoaib's commitment is concerned. What kind of goal does he want to achieve by claiming that he was offered money for throwing matches? And on whose behest is he doing this?
If match-fixing does exist in Pakistan cricket at the highest level, why did it take him so long to disclose the same? He has also accused the PCB chief Dr Nasim Ashraf of asking for money for allowing him to put himself up for the Indian Premier League auction. If that was the case why he kept silent over these two incidents while he was still playing?
And if he's so valuable an asset for any team he plays for why could he not get a better price at the IPL auction. Rather than anything else it was his closeness with Shahrukh Khan that ensured a $425,000 price tag for him. He proclaims to be the fastest bowler in the world, yet his auction price tells a different story. Can he justify his low price?
And the most serious question is: does he know the consequences Pakistan are likely to face following his 'startling disclosure vis-a-vis match-fixing?' The ICC does have a system in place to detect match-fixing, and it will be taking those allegation quite seriously.
And according to a news report the ICC has asserted to grill Shoaib over his statement regarding the match-fixing offers.
Does Shoaib not know that by raising the contentious issue of match-fixing yet again in his bid to settle score with the PCB he is in fact further damaging the reputation of this nation and creating problems for those who are still playing the game?
The Board has done the right thing by filing a suit against Shoaib. In the past, too, nobody came forward with a solid proof, and it is not likely to happen even now. But in order to get the ban overturned Shoaib has now taken to the route of revenge, now resorting to the use unethical practices.
Shoaib's ban has become a political issue with some of the parties jumping to his support and calling for the ban to be revoked. It's purely a sporting issue, and the parties involved aren't doing any service to the country. The pacer has got what he deserved. He has already been given more chances than he could have asked for. Had he been playing in any other country he would have been thrown out of the side immediately. But in Pakistan he can afford to throw tantrums but still manage to stay on the team.
In fact, Pakistan don't stand to lose as much as the pacer himself. If the PCB can defend the ban, which is not likely, keeping in view the factors that come into play in such conditions, Shoaib's career will come to an end, and he will have no place in either the IPL or the ICL as the organisers have already made it clear that with PCB's permission they wouldn't be allowing him to appear in their respective league games. But if those can get a reprieve whoíve looted this country and are involved in different sorts of immoral activities, why can't Shoaib be let off?
If the ban does not stay it will not only create headaches for the PCB, but will also enable Shoaib to continue his antics and do as he likes. Apart from that Pakistan cricket will also suffer as those young bowlers who're working hard and dreaming for an international career will have to wait further for their chance.
By Gul Nasreen
It was both pleasant and melancholic to see Pakistani stars shining on the Indian soil in the just-concluded 2008 Indian Cricket League (ICL) Grand Championship. Yes, it was nice indeed to note that Lahore Badshahs which was entirely made up of Pakistan stars played excellent cricket most of the time in the championship. However, it was sad for they were delivering from a platform of the ICL and not the national team, which definitely needs the ones included in the ranks of Badshahs.
The matter of the fact is that Badshahs raised the level of the game in the ICL. It was because of the good show by the Badshah that improvement was obvious in the standard of the 20/20 game. They did help the ICL in stepping up the tempo for this genre of the game.
Coming up to their show in their maiden ICL season, the Badshahs won seven out of seven encounters during the league stage to claim first place in the rankings. They were with a maximum 14 points after the league stage of the Championship. Their winning stretch during the league matches included 'convincing' wins over the Hyderabad Heroes (9 wickets), Mumbai Champs (50 runs) and Delhi Giants (8 wickets). In this way, they also entered the Bartercard Power Rankings top ten and were third in the international Twenty20 ranking after the Sialkot Stallions following the league stage.
However, in the final, they could not repeat the 'unbeatable performance' and succumbed to the onslaught of the Hyderabad Heroes, whom they had defeated for a meagre 86 runs (the lowest total by any outfit in the ICL) in the league stage.
Though they gave a tough time to the Heroes, who completed a 2-0 triumph in the best-of-three finals, yet they could not match the class of the Heroes.
The Badshahs' inability in the 'bowl-out' after the tie in the second final sealed their fate and deprived them of the glittering Edelweiss Challenge Trophy as also a cheque for a handsome amount of 20m Indian rupees.
Individually, most of the Pakistan cricket discards were excellent in their run except for the finals, where they dwindled in their approach a bit. The way hard-hitter Imran Nazir and striking opener Taufeeq Umar played exciting cricket by smacking the ball to the boundaries and all around the stadium was a treat to watch. Most importantly, the duo did a good job as an opening pair for the Badshahs.
Both kept the momentum of the game in most of the encounters in the initial stage of the match and provided solid starts to the team, on which the middle order could easily consolidate their position later on.
Led by 'Big Inzi', the Pakistani cricket stars like Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Rana Naved, Naved Latif, Humayun Farhat, Mohammad Sami and Mushtaq Ahmed shone in almost all departments of the game. Everyone contributed his bit to the excellent show. Another Pakistan star and former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, who was at the helm of the coaching affairs of the Badshahs, also impressed with his coaching stint. The Pakistan players' aggressive stroke play and superb bowling skills and excellent fielding moves made them ideal players for the fast paced twenty/twenty format of the game during the ICL Championship.
Though one is really thrilled with the Pakistan cricket stars' excellent show on Indian soil, at the same time questions have been rising in the minds as to why the PCB could not get the best out of them in their capacity as members of the national team in international assignments in the past. The irony is that most of them were overlooked and ruled out for being a 'spent force', others looked down upon as 'inconsistent' in their form and approach to the and 'unable' to come to terms with the requirements of the team. But the same discarded and axed cricketers played so well on the Indian soil that they have created quite stir with their show.
In the wake of their performance in the ICL, one fails to understand as to what went wrong with them at the platform of a national team that desperately needs 'attacking' and 'dependable' players like them.
Whatever be the reason for their best outings in India and inability to cement place in the national team, now it has become apparent that there has been something wrong, somewhere in the prevailing cricket system in Pakistan, that deprived the nation of such sparkling cricketers.
One can attribute it to the 'politics', 'players power', 'lack of a check and balance system' on the those at the helm of affairs and most importantly the frequent 'ins' and 'outs' in the team, which can also be termed as inconsistency in selection matters for many a year. All these factors combined to let Pakistan lose some of its brilliant cricketing stuff.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan players delivered not only from the platform of the Badshahs, but they were equally excellent while playing for other outfits featuring in the ICL. For instance, it was Pakistan discard all rounder Abdul Razzaq's heroics which denied Badshahs a 'sure' win in the first final.
Razaq finished with impressive figures of 3-18 in four overs in that grand final. He really did the trick for Hyderabad Heroes at a crucial stage of the game. He took two wickets within a span of three balls to snatch the win away from the Badshahs, who were unbeaten in the entire tournament before this final match.
It is also interesting to note here that while the Pakistan discard players pulled capacity crowds in the finals on the Indian grounds from the ICL platform, Pakistan's national team members were unable to do so at the IPL auction, where Pakistani players fetched lower prices than that of the world renowned cricketers.
Pakistan's most popular and hard hitting all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who fetched the price of $675,000, was the top player from Pakistan as compared to India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who topped the IPL auction. Dhoni was bought by Chennai for $1.5m and Australia's Andrew Symonds went for $1.35m. The approach to Pakistan's top players at the IPL auction bidding was not overwhelming, rather a surprising one. They, at the IPL, could not definitely match the popularity attracted by Pakistan discarded players at the ICL.
Again, it is Pakistan's former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who confident of the form and capabilities of ICL-contacted players has challenged the IPL. "I think it would be a good idea to have a best-of-three finals between winners of both the leagues. I don't see ICL and IPL as enemies of each other. After all, both are meant to promote cricket." Inzamam was quoted to have said after the ICL's Trophy prize distribution ceremony.
All said and done, the reality is that Pakistan's discarded and rejected players have left a mark on the Indian soil. They have made a niche for themselves and are very much confident of adding feathers to their crown at future ICL events, so much so that they have challenged the ICC and the BCCI-backed IPL, which kicked off its operation on a very awkward note and in a bizarre fashion by putting players up for grab at its inaugural auction, which attracted mixed reaction from the cricket-loving public, who were divided on such 'sale' and 'purchase' of the cricketers.
To conclude, one may say that it was brilliant batting, excellent bowling and enthusiastic fielding that won Pakistan players accolades on part of the Indian spectators on the Indian soil, where even our national cricketers have been unable to woo many from among the spectators. One hopes that it may augur well for cricket across the great divide, where sports are often mingled with politics.
Shoaib Akhtar: Victimised or victim of self-infliction?
Though never involved in match fixing, in attitude and temperament seeing Shoaib Akhtar we may well witness Pooley's mirror image
By Dr Nauman Niaz
If there isn't enough confusion all around, we have to go and make a very large mountain of a very small molehill. I refer to this irrelevant and quite useless debate that is raging on the sports pages of every newspaper and a handful of private channels that have arrived in all their grainy wonder. Is the ban on Shoaib Akhtar unjustified? I have been a strong critic of the current PCB regime.
Interestingly, some from the PCB including couple of their high ups have been trying their best to determine that why I have so vociferously been against them -- vested interest, being asked to write critically to serve someone's future designs or too engrossed in my own ability and persona.
I have been relentless, at times brittle because I acknowledge and feel that the incumbent PCB management has been a through and through failure. As far as I am concerned, I would be much happier if the top board officials were going rather than coming, because it is clear no one has done any work other than determining what is going to happen with the arrival of a collation government in Pakistan.
Surely, there must be, there should be other topics that we should be involved in like why Shoaib Akhtar was banned, how the PCB could replace him with new boys in his shoes and how people pointed fingers on the decision that arrived on April 1, 2008.
I must say, not recklessly but with the assuredness, the decision against Akhtar was presumably the only viable thing that the current cricket government came out with, regrettably at a wrong time. Dr Nasim Ashraf is receiving the wrath -- there are many images that linger from that terrible day of October 6, 2006 but two stand out; One is of Akhtar on the rampage, shooting with intent to kill all the impediments standing in his way, brutalising those in the PCB already injured and burning whatever they could get their hands on. And, the second is Dr Nasim Ashraf, not embarrassed or contrite at what his government had allowed to happen in the last few years but exulting at how pro-Akhtar forces, meaning people like Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Sarfraz Nawaz, are being thwarted.
Anyone in Dr Nasim's position would have sued not only Akhtar but the entire humanity talking against him. At the same time, anyone in his position would have hung his head in shame what his allies had inflicted on Pakistan cricket since October 2006.
Dr Nasim is now in that special cuckoo land where the country's cricket has been cajoled and ruined at great expense. PCB is a world of make believe where the enraged critics wandering around like headless animals seemingly the definitive answer to the spontaneous outpouring of support that Akhtar has received. And it is that state of denial where, the violent tactics of Akhtar during his unpredictable eleven year old career are invisible to his supporters while they are obvious to everyone else in the country.
Unfortunately, by making it an ego-problem and suing Akhtar, by these tactics, Dr Nasim has exposed the huge fault line of his regime that divides the players and the opinion-makers. Not all the anti Dr Nasim people are supporting Akhtar but the way the entire case has been taken up to defend PCB's zero tolerance on indiscipline, have brought to the fore his own fragilities and failures.
He has now squarely indentified himself, whether by default or design, as a man bewildered and at sea dealing with self-centered and logic-defying people like Akhtar.
Several people may be afraid to talk about it on the air or write about it in print but it is now the proverbial elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is there and yet there is public uproar about it. This has huge ramifications because as the self-declared saviour of Pakistan cricket Dr Nasim and also the best Chairman PCB he is supposed to be any kind of parochial or political considerations.
Ironically, by default or in the spur of the moment, politics had become a part of the decision against Akhtar since he chose to show a hard-fist but he wasn't able to decipher the fact that the parochial were also taking over. This couldn't be good for country's cricket, certainly not at all beneficial for Dr Nasim already having lost his feet and Akhtar, now seemingly doomed.
If even a pre-eminent amateur like Alfred Mynn had money problems, those playing the game professionally had it even harder, and some of them were not too particular as to how they made ends meet. Edward Pooley, whose first-class career lasted from 1861 until 1883, was not unique in ending his life as a pauper in the workhouse. He was unquestionably the best (English) wicket-keeper of his day, and no mean batsman, but he was also regarded as a rogue who spent much of his career under one cloud or another.
In 1869, he was bound over to keep the peace after threatening a journalist with violence for adverse comments in a match report, and he had the distinction of missing the first ever Test match (at Melbourne in 1877) because he was awaiting trial in New Zealand.
In 1873, Pooley was suspended by Surrey on suspicion of selling a match against Yorkshire for £50. According to Pooley's appeal to the Committee, his betting was on a rather smaller scale: "I took one bet of five shillings to half a crown that five Yorkshire players did not get seventy runs"; but the Committee remained adamant, and he was dropped for the rest of the season (though, typically, he still continued to play in minor cricket -- for a fee).
Three years later, when he went on James Lillywhite's tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1876-77, he got into much deeper trouble. The New Zealand leg of the trip involved some undemanding matches against the odds to provide an interlude in the much more serious Australian itinerary.
The England team were in Christchurch playing Eighteen of Canterbury when Pooley saw his way to making a killing. He was taking his turn as umpire, and even though the laws expressly prohibited those standing from betting on any aspect of the game, Pooley offered £1 to a shilling that he could guess the individual scores of the Canterbury team. A local man, Ralph Donkin, took the wager.
Pooley, despite his diminutive stature, was a natural bar-room brawler and promptly assaulted him. Along with the team bag man, Albert Bramall, he also trashed Donkin's hotel room, and cannot have been surprised to find himself up before the local bench. Both men were committed for trial, so the England party had not only to continue the tour without their wicket-keeper, but to carry their own bags into the bargain. Under this double handicap they lost the historic first ever Test match in Melbourne by 45 runs.
Pooley, meanwhile, loafed around awaiting his day in court, where he faced charges of injuring property "above the value of £5". Much to the surprise of anyone conversant with the facts, the Surrey man and his sidekick were acquitted.
He had obviously acquired a certain celebrity during his enforced stay, and on the court's decision, someone organised a subscription and presented him with a gold watch and £50. Although Pooley was untypical in his brushes with the law, he was taken by many as a representative of the new cricket professional: brash, ill-disciplined and, on occasion, bloody minded. Though never involved in match fixing, in attitude and temperament seeing Shoaib Akhtar we may well witness Pooley's mirror image.
Shoaib's career, philosophically as we see was first and foremost about elitism. Its premise was that you could separate him from the rest of the world and he could play in his own little bubble. Pakistan Cricket Board's attitude to Akhtar was oddly non-committal -- man-management concerns and poor handling was the subheads whenever Akhtar created an impediment or a disciplinary slur. Conventionalists clearly disliked the duplicity at work in reprimanding Akhtar and mostly his reactions were understated. Cricket board's attitude was, I think, an odd one. From 1997 until 2007 most of the board regimes were trying to pretend that it wasn't happening, and Akhtar was a pampered bash boy. He could mature into a genuine spearhead and a potential match winner -- he surely transcended to become one of the quickest bowlers but mostly injury prone, never helped his team win matches consistently.
Recently, Chairman PCB was on television trying to vindicate his board's decision to slap a five-year ban on Akhtar and also at times referring to conspiracy theories and vested interest -- why is that whenever someone stands up to criticise the board or the chairman, it's always about vested interest and the conspiracy theories?
Why is it always that cricket governments in power comprise of dedicated, self-less and fault free angels? In our country, the tittle-tattle about conspiracies is often complete, possibly because they are so damn good at coming true. It is the fodder on which cricket lives.
Our national scene is a space where unwarranted people rise to distinction and there is a strong possibility that Akhtar with all his boats burnt may well return to lead Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy? As my friend Osman Samiuddin suggests "Pakistan is also a land with no full stops, only commas, brackets and colons, semi and full... a land where as former wicket-keeper Rashid Latif says, only the dead cannot be raised again. Here then is another humble conspiracy theory and a sad truth."
Masood Hassan to me is a legend. Masood on April 4th wrote a story entitled: "End of a Lout" -- how truthful and expressive anyone could be? In his beautifully expressed piece, the author wrote: "This cricket board is a joke and should be sent packing at twice the speed at which they are packing off Shoaib..." I would be the first to support his perception. Why shouldn't I?
You can never expect to be in the league of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis just because you also bowl with the same speed as those masters did during their heyday
By Syed Ahsan Ali
Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistan's notorious cricketer, is again under the pump. So there is nothing new about this at all. He has always found several excuses to get into the mess over and over again.
So what is unusual that has excited the strong-headed cricketer to an extent that he is appearing on all media channels and pleading his case like an innocent soul ever played the game?
As far as I can grasp it he is hard done by the board if we look at this incident in isolation. A five-year ban is too big a punishment for some arrogant ego-boosting senseless chirping that he is famous for from the day one of his cricket career.
But why is he looking at this whole incident in isolation? He has to understand that it is his reputation that is bringing his downfall.
Perhaps, only a few in this country know who those people were gathering at the Islamabad Airport to show their ardent support for the fast bowler. Because when one looks around, one finds very few sympathisers of what Shoaib has been doing over the years.
He knows that the PCB chief Dr Nasim Ashraf is a hand-picked person of President Pervez Musharraf who has been under the sweltering sun owing to various political reasons for some time now. And so let's make it an issue by exerting all the pressure by garnering support of main streamline political parties who are against everything Musharraf does.
This saga could result in Dr Nasim's dismissal and the Shoaib ban would be lifted by using such highly controversial tactics. But will these gimmicks redeem Shoaib as a cricketer?
After spending a long time in the field where commitment and passion are great credentials to find a place among legends who had served Pakistan over the years, that are definitely missing from the book of Mr Shoaib.
You can never expect to be in the league of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis just because you also bowl with the same speed as those masters did during their heyday.
By reiterating again and again these big names with frivolity cannot make you as lethal and stupendous as they were.
Life expects from all of us to be on top on every twist and turn of our lives. You cannot get away with your responsibilities by saying that you did this and that in late 1990s. Unfortunately, you have to prove that you are still good enough to break toes of even the best in the business.
And what is the PCB staring at? In my opinion, the current administration sitting in the lavish offices is just paying the price of the mistakes done by the past administrations who allowed Shoaib to behave like a loose cannon. To bring the house in order you need to take some strict steps which the PCB has done by banning Shoaib for five years but perhaps it came a little too late.
Now Shoaib has grown up into a problem child who wants everything that he puts finger to.
Boards have always given him whatever he wants just because he is a match-winner and now the current administration looks to teach him a lesson.
Watching Shoaib talking to an anchorman on a private TV channel last Monday made me feel as if the mysterious paceman wants everybody to listen to what he has to say and shut his own eyes on everything he himself does on and off the field with mindless rapidity.
This behaviour is utterly unacceptable. And above all, he is again setting a wrong precedent for all the young cricketers in Pakistan that you can wail and cry about bans and fines imposed by the authorities on the media and retain your place by showing your strength and influence in the political circles.
I believe punishment of such a long ban is little too far-fetched but we should not look at this incident in isolation.
Shoaib has been digging this hole for himself from sometime now and he deserves to be there in that hole to learn that representing Pakistan is not about your image, reputation or your political power. It is all about how you perform on the ground.
And on the hindsight there is also a message for all cricket governing authorities that never make someone spoil-sport by claiming him as a necessity or must-have commodity. Nobody is indispensable. Pakistan is full of cricket talent and we just need to look around.
He should try and make sure that his attempt proves successful that he becomes an asset to the team and the nation rather than becoming a liability
By Muhammad Akram Chohan
The recent war of words and controversy involving speedster Shoaib Akhtar and Chairman PCB Dr Nasim Ashraf has opened up a Pandora's Box and an ordinary cricket lover is really disturbed and at the same time concerned over the recent showdown between both these persons.
These two were never on good terms in the past but no one was expecting that things would turn so ugly that the entire reputation of Pakistan cricket would be in jeopardy. The latest controversy has dropped the curtain from certain issues and happenings behind the closed doors of the PCB Headquarters.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had started all this by denying a central contract to the mercurial fast bowler as Shoaib Akhtar was not expecting this shabby treatment from the board.
Instead of encouraging him as he had played in the second Test against the Indians on the recent trip of the neighboring country despite been unfit and had turned down a lucrative offer from the breakaway ICL league, he was once gain made a scapegoat for all the failures of the Indian tour which was very unfair on part of the Board.
This uncalled behaviour had awoken the stubbornness of the temperamental and very sentimental Shoaib Akhtar as he was making an all out effort to amend all his past activities but the ruthless policies of the Board gave a clear message to the unlucky Shoaib that sensing his lack of form and fitness, Board and its Chairman have decided to settle the scores once for all by tarnishing his image in the masses.
A couple of months ago, after the approval of the PCB's new constitution, Dr Nasim Ashraf got himself appointed for the chairmanship for another three year term. He is also heading the National Commission for Human Development as he is said to have close ties with President Pervez Musharraf.
This post of Chairman NCHD is equivalent to that of a federal minister thus enabling Dr Nasim Ashraf to enjoy life lavishly and more authoritatively.
He introduced a culture of spending the Board money on his proposed projects with extreme ease by appointing a large number of employees in the Board set up and, by using this, succeeded in giving jobs for his dear ones and to those who can never think of getting those financially great attractive posts as majority of them do not possess the required criteria of experience and qualification in the relevant fields.
This practice of awarding the blue eyed persons in a most controversial manner has made PCB a joke in the world cricket fraternity and to make matter worse, Chairman PCB provided all out assistance to the neighboring country cricket board, BCCI.
But what has the Pakistan Cricket Board gained from all that hardship? That is a million dollar question.
Some insiders are of the firm opinion that Dr Nasim Ashraf is pinning all his hopes on becoming the Asian Cricket Council chief by using the influence of the Indians in the regional cricket set up as he has realised that his days as chairman PCB are numbered and people like Tauqir Zia, Enver Baig and even newly elected MNA Hanif Abbasi are waiting for their turn most desperately.
Dr Nasim Ashraf has made PCB an associate company of BCCI by giving undue importance to the guidelines of the Indian Cricket Board, whether they were in connection to the ICL or IPL, but our board handed unconditional support to the BCCI.
But when PCB had asked BCCI to utilise its influence to convince the Australians to come to Pakistan for the scheduled visit, the Indian Board had half heartedly tried to do the same fearing that it can affect their IPL.
When PCB can provide all possible support despite bitter experiences as BCCI is still enjoying the PCB's friendship, when Mohammad Yousuf had consented to be a part of the ICL and PCB by using all its contacts had convinced the bearded maestro to drop the idea, then what are the reasons of going so strong in the Shoaib case.
But a piece of advice for Shoaib too that Pakistan cricket badly needs him as the arsenal of Pakistan team fast bowling department is nearly vacant due to obvious reasons.
It is also true that Mohammad Asif is still nursing his injury while Umar Gul is trying hard to get into shape well before the commencement of the IPL but being a senior, Shoaib should realise his responsibilities more maturely as he is no more a teenager or a newcomer.
He will have to understand that in the twilight of his controversial career, he should try and make it sure that his attempt proves successful that he becomes an asset to the team and the nation rather than becoming a liability as he has been prominently involved in some of the most infamous episodes which have almost jolted the Pakistan cricket.
It is also worth mentioning here that Shoaib was not taken up by any of the competing teams in direct bidding for IPL and it had become possible after his meeting with Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan that he was included in the Kolkata team.
He was denied a season's contract in the English County Championship a couple of years ago fearing that he will broke down during the summer and he was just offered per match retainer but he declined and returned to homeland empty handed.
Another recent past incident when he announced his keen interest in Showbiz, no front line heroine showed any sort of fondness for Shoaib making it clear that he is not having enough box office or masses attention that his debut film proves a blockbuster so in the end one does hope that despite been overlooked for the captaincy after the retirement of Inzamam and Younis reluctance to do the job, the Rawalpindi Express would come on the track and will try to come up to the expectations of the entire nation and would call it a day when he will be having more positives against his name than negatives.