cricket
Why we don't need the IPL
When Ricky Ponting warned Australia to beware of the IPL cash, he was speaking from experience. People at the helm of Pakistan cricket should have been listening.
By Khalid Hussain
Pakistan cricket's think-tank can learn a thing or two from Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain who is easily one of the greatest cricketers of our generation.

Record-breaking duo keen to perform national duty
By Ghalib Bajwa
Last month has been very productive for Pakistan cricket as far as results and other landmarks are concerned. Besides winning their first Test match after almost three years and T20 rubber against New Zealand, Pakistani cricketers also managed to break two world records and equaled the third one during this time.

Test Matches in New Zealand
By Malik Arshed Gilani p.s.n.
It has been interesting to witness on television the two Test matches played so far by Pakistan against the Kiwis. This Series is a Pakistan home series being played in New Zealand by decision of the PCB. This means that the television production is by Ten Sports who have bought the 'rights' of all PCB Cricket and the commentators are therefore selected by them. The original contract of course did not envision that the matches would be played outside Pakistan and hence the production costs must have originally been estimated for matches to be played in Pakistan.

Down but not entirely out!
By Alam Zeb Safi
Unfortunately, the well-prepared Pakistan football team once again failed to qualify for the semifinals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship being held in Bangladesh in spite of an excellent effort. Unlike in the past, this time the Greenshirts were considered as a force and one of the best teams of the eight-nation tournament and the induction of five England-based footballers including Atif Bashir, Adnan Farooq Ahmad, Reis Ashraf, Shabbir Khan and Amjad Iqbal had added to their strength.

Sohail Abbas and records are synonymous
In the first match of the Champions Challenge Cup in Argentina, Pakistani drag flicker, Sohail Abbas became the first player in history to score 300 goals in international hockey. The wise decision by the new setup of the PHF to recall the Karachi boy, who didn't play for Pakistan during 2007 and 2008, is paying off. At the World Cup qualifiers, Sohail was tournament's top scorer with nine goals including two in the do-or-die final.

Who calls the shots?
By Aamir Bilal
Sports and games are healthy pursuits cherished by millions of people all over the world. Sports offer unlimited opportunities for developing human faculties, both mental and physical. It is a great integrating force which if carefully planned can gel the fragmented segments of society and do wonders to take the marginalized on board. It is the most effective and time tested vehicle to learn the life skills and inculcate the values of leadership, tolerance and team work that are missing desperately in our society.

The second coming of Senna
By Amar Ayaz
"If you think I'm fast, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno," was a quote accredited Bruno's legendary uncle Ayrton. With the 2010 Formula One grid set to once again be graced by the name Senna, we can finally say that the wait is over. Prior to his unfortunate accident at the San Marino circuit in 1994, that took his life, Ayrton Senna's legacy was established.

 

 

 

cricket

Why we don't need the IPL

When Ricky Ponting warned Australia to beware of the IPL cash, he was speaking from experience. People at the helm of Pakistan cricket should have been listening.

By Khalid Hussain

Pakistan cricket's think-tank can learn a thing or two from Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain who is easily one of the greatest cricketers of our generation.

It was last month that Ponting hit the nail on the head when he urged his teammates to choose country over IPL cash.

Some people might argue it's a case of sour grapes since Ponting himself was unable to make the big buck when he did feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before saying goodbye to the Twenty20 format but I believe the Tasmanian maestro has a point.

He is worried that the big IPL cash on offer is going to hurt world cricket in the long run, no matter how many millionaires it produces in the process. And what Ponting wants is to shield the future stars of Australian cricket from it.

Back at home people like Ijaz Butt should be doing the same instead of running from pillar to post to get IPL permission for his cricketers.

Butt, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman, has been busy these days trying to overcome hurdles that keep emerging in the way of Pakistan's IPL hopefuls. He made a trip to India last autumn, seeking permission for his players to feature in the cash-rich league.

He got the IPL deadline for Pakistani cricketers extended twice. And when IPL commissioner Lalit Modi ruled out the participation of Pakistani players in IPL 3 because of their failure to obtain Indian visas, Butt switched to back-door diplomacy and sought the help of the higher authorities to resolve the issue.

Is it all worth it?

I mean if the Indians do not want our players in the IPL then one should have the guts to tell them that we won't beg for an opportunity for our cricketers to make some money.

Players like Abdul Razzaq or Kamran Akmal are not poor blokes, who would starve if they are not allowed to play and make money at the IPL. The PCB pays them handsomely in the form of central contracts, match fees and endorsements and should instead be focusing on getting the best out of them for the sake of the country. Pakistan should come first.

Don't get me wrong. I would love to see the likes of Shahid Afridi and the young Umar Akmal lifting that glamorous spectacle called the IPL with their big-hitting prowess or somebody like Umar Gul becoming the scourge of pinch-hitters the way he did in England last summer with his unlimited supply of deadly yorkers at the ICC World Twenty20.

But if men like Modi -- who was aptly described as 'law unto himself' -- by the Indian Express last week don't want players from the team that won the World Twenty20 title just six months back then its their loss not ours.

Pakistani players will certainly make a quick buck if they play in the IPL but it's the league that would benefit more because stars like Afridi are big crowd-pullers even on the other side of the border. In any case, how can you call any competition the Premier League when you don't have the world champions playing in it!

In national interest, too, it's better if our players stayed away from the IPL.

Listen to Afridi, Pakistan's Twenty20 captain, who said that if shut out of the IPL his players will have more time to prepare for the ICC World Twenty20 championship that will get underway in the Caribbean just five days after the third IPL edition to be played from March 12-April 25 next year.

Afridi, who is hoping to lead Pakistan to their second world Twenty20 title in ten months, told 'The News' in an interview last week that his players can have an extensive camp during the time when other leading cricketers from around the world would be busy featuring in the IPL.

Earlier this year, Pakistani cricketers were shut out of IPL 2 which preceded the World Twenty20 in England and went on to win the crown while teams like India, who se players were supposed to be ready for the event after having 'warmed-up' at the IPL, flopped miserably in the 12-nation contest.

It's not that Pakistan won the world title just because they didn't play in the IPL but apparently it helped. It made them hungrier as compared to players from India, who might have felt a bit burnt-out after being a part of the exhaustive IPL schedule.

When Ponting issued his IPL warning last month, his main concern was the affect of the money on offer could have on young cricketers.

"I've made no secret that I'm a bit worried about some of the attitudes of younger players with the amount of money that's around in Champions League and IPL," he said in the interview.

"I've made it common knowledge over last couple of years that next generation of players has the same sort of want and desire to play as much international cricket as I have. That's what it's all about as far as I'm concerned," stressed Ponting.

International cricket and not the IPL should remain the target for our cricketers too. And it's the Board's responsibility to ensure that the players are focused on national duty. So far, that doesn't seem to be the case. The way our team, especially the batsmen, have performed on the Test tour of New Zealand is a clear proof that most of the players are not giving their hundred percent.

Why is Ijaz Butt wasting his time and energy in getting their IPL way cleared instead of asking them to pull up their socks and start giving their best for Pakistan?

Playing cricket at the highest level is not just about making money. When you play for your country, there are a lot of other things at stake. I'm sure that the players know it but there is this need for somebody in power to keep reminding them, especially when the team is not performing well.

Khalid Hussain is Editor Sports, The News, [email protected]

By Ghalib Bajwa

Last month has been very productive for Pakistan cricket as far as results and other landmarks are concerned. Besides winning their first Test match after almost three years and T20 rubber against New Zealand, Pakistani cricketers also managed to break two world records and equaled the third one during this time.

In early November, Pakistan pace sensation Mohammad Aamer scored the highest runs (73*) at number 10 in ODIs history and produced the second highest score (103) for the 10th wicket stand along with Saeed Ajmal against Kiwis at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Then in the two-match T20 rubber, Pakistan thrashed the same opponents 2-0 to equal South Africa's record for most consecutive victories (7) in the shortest form of the game. Pakistan can grab this world record as well if they managed to beat Australia in the upcoming T20 International game at their home ground.

Last week, Pakistan cricketers continued to enlighten the name of their motherland by annexing another invaluable world record -- now in first class format.

Wapda's Riffatullah Mohmand and Aamer Sajjad put on 580 runs for the second wicket partnership on the last day of their drawn Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match against Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) at Sheikhupura. It was the second biggest partnership first-class cricket history after the third wicket stand of 624 runs piled up by Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara (287) and Mahela Jayawardene (374) against South Africa at Colombo in 2006.

Riffatullah and Aamer broke the 12-year old second wicket world record of 576 runs set by Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama during their first Test match against India at Colombo in 1997.

Riffatullah hit one six and 34 fours in his career-best unbeaten knock of 302 off 465 balls while Aamer's contribution that of 289 included 36 boundaries off 373 balls. Wapda scored 671-2 in reply to SSGC's first-innings total of 466 as the four-day match ended without a result.

The Wapda team management comprising of Haroon Masood (manager), Amjad Siddique (head coach) and Zahid Umar (coach) were delighted at the rare achievement of their players. Haroon Masood, the manager of team while talking to 'The News on Sunday' said both players are world class cricketers and they demonstrated excellent piece of cricket. "They deserve a chance in the national team since Pakistan are looking for some standard openers for the last several years," he said. To a question Haroon informed that Wapda will reward both cricketers with cash prizes and promotions. "PCB will also announce handsome prizes for the record-breaking duo," he said.

Chief coach Amjad Siddique while replying a query regarding the age of the cricketers said that both Riffatullah and Aamer still can play competitive cricket for another 6/7 years. "It has been observed that a cricketer gets real maturity in late 20s. The examples of Australia and New Zealand are obvious to us. They usually thrust their cricketers in international matches in mid or late 20s. So I don't think so that our duo is so late," he explained.

Jubilant coach Zahid Umar expressed his hope that both Riffatullah and Aamer, who are among leading performers of the current season with 746 and 659 runs respectively, will get an opportunity in the near future to prove their talent at international level

 

500 plus partnerships in first class cricket

Runs Wicket Players Match Venue Year

624 3rd KC Sangakkara (287), M Jayawardene (374) Sri Lanka v S Africa Colombo 2006

580 2nd Aamer Sajjad (289), Rafatullah Mohmand (302) Wapda vs Sui Gas Corp Sheikhupura 2009

577 4th VS Hazare (288), Gul Mahomed (319) Baroda v Holkar Baroda 1946

576 2nd ST Jayasuriya(340), RS Mahanama (225) Sri Lanka v India Colombo 1997

574* 4th FMM Worrell (255*), CL Walcott (314*) Barbados v Trinidad Port-of-Spain 1945

561 1st Waheed Mirza (324), Mansoor Akhtar (224*) Karachi (W) v Quetta Karachi 1976

555 1st P Holmes (224*), H Sutcliffe (313) Yorkshire v Essex Leyton 1932

554 1st JT Brown (300), J Tunnicliffe (243) Yorkshire v Deryshire Chesterfield 1898

520* 5th CA Pujara (302), RA Jadeja (232) Saurashtra v Orissa Rajkot 2008

502* 4th FMM Worrell (308*), JDC Goddard (218*) Barbados v Trinidad Bridgetown 1943

 

Highest first-class partnerships for every wicket

 

561 1st Waheed Mirza, Mansoor Akhtar Karachi (W) v Quetta Karachi 1976

580 2nd Aamer Sajjad, Rafatullah Mohmand Wapda vs Sui Gas Corp Sheikhupura 2009

624 3rd KC Sangakkara, DPMD Jayawardene S Lanka v S Africa Colombo 2006

577 4th VS Hazare, Gul Mahomed Baroda v Holkar Baroda 1946

520* 5th CA Pujara, RA Jadeja Saurashtra v Orissa Rajkot 2008

487* 6th GA Headley, CC Passailaigue Jamaica v Lord's XI Kingston 1931

460 7th Bhupinder Singh Jnr, P Dharmani Punjab v New Delhi New Delhi 1994

433 8th A Sims, VT Trumper Aust XI v Canterbury Christchurch 1913

283 9th A Warren, J Chapman Derby v Warwickshire Blackwell 1910

307 10th AF Kippax, JEH Hooker NS Wales v Victoria Melbourne 1928.

 

Test Matches

in New Zealand

By Malik Arshed Gilani p.s.n.

It has been interesting to witness on television the two Test matches played so far by Pakistan against the Kiwis. This Series is a Pakistan home series being played in New Zealand by decision of the PCB. This means that the television production is by Ten Sports who have bought the 'rights' of all PCB Cricket and the commentators are therefore selected by them. The original contract of course did not envision that the matches would be played outside Pakistan and hence the production costs must have originally been estimated for matches to be played in Pakistan.

I am not privy to the exact terms of the original contract but one hopes no extra charges have been laid at the doorstep of PCB in light of the change in venues. We will have to wait, I hope not in vain, to see the profit and loss statement of this series to judge whether the move to divide the Series between the UAE and New Zealand was a sensible and economical one.

It is a matter of record that a New Zealand tour of Pakistan has never been a major earner. Television interest is limited and this limits sponsorship, ground advertising, hospitality and related incomes. From what one saw of the number of spectators, the gate money could not have been very substantial. Additionally the cost of holding these matches would also be to PCB's cost adding to the expenditure.

What did seem strange and raised my ire was the make up of the commentary team. It appeared almost as if the selection was made by the Kiwi Board for Kiwi viewers. Whilst appreciating that Ten Sports were keen to limit their expense; not having at least two Pakistan-friendly commentators was very sad. It was however inexcusable, for it to appear, that they did not advise the producer throughout the broadcast that the original pay masters were the PCB and thus ensure that commentators avoid remarks which could offend viewers in Pakistan.

The comments made when Danish Kaneria dropped a catch off his own bowling were unacceptably cruel and could be considered as bigoted. The many extra replays of this incident and the snide remarks gave further credence to my view. It is absolutely the right of the commentators to call the play as they see it. They can be as judgmental as they like but they cannot be derogatory. That license is only available to commentators that hail from the same country as the player. One would have let this pass if it had been a one time thing but unfortunately that was not the case. Let me hasten to add that the Pakistan fielding was pathetic. The catching could be bettered by a good club side but criticism and remarks by commentators appeared to imply "It's only Pakistan! What can you expect?"

The Kiwi Commentators were careful not to make these remarks when Waqar Younis was alongside them as I am sure he would have resented it. This only makes me further suspect that it was knowingly done. It certainly did not appear to me as if the 'rights buyer' valued or respected his client.

The body language of the Pakistan team has been good so far. The bowling attack led by Asif, Amir, Umar Gul, and followed by the Spinners is as good as any in the world. Asif has lost some of his pace which will cost him in Australia but on a helpful pitch, he has the talent to be unplayable. In the batting department, Pakistan has serious problems. It is obvious that Yousuf is not comfortable at number three although that is where he must bat. The rather amateur way in which the batting order has been juggled bears proof of this. Middle order too is suspect. Consider for a moment that with Younis away, Pakistan could not find anybody younger than Misbah to try out. This is not for one moment meant to lessen Misbah as a batsman but if the Selectors could not put him in the original squad, was this not the right time to blood in a youngster?

Faisal Iqbal was with the team; who appears has only been taken as a tourist. New Zealand is not the strongest opposition around and Pakistan could have always strengthened the squad with the experience of Misbah for the Australian leg of the tour.

The fielding of the Pakistan team is typified by the clip and remarks broadcast from New Zealand showing Intikhab Alam giving catching practice in slips to the players. It is no surprise that Pakistan have dropped more catches than they have held. We witnessed a novel method where the Coach wore no batting gloves and the entire exercise appeared to be meant for children. If it had not been for the tone and banter of the Commentators looking down upon the Pakistan Team one would let it pass. It did not do Pakistan or our team proud.

Let me sadly forecast that unless the Pakistan team plays out of its skin, its limitations will be exposed in Australia. Let us hope I am wrong!

On another matter, PCB's all-conquering Chairman has returned from his much trumpeted visit to Dubai following participation in the ICC Task Force meeting. The impression given was that this body is meant to plan a method to bring International cricket back to Pakistan. That seems to have gone completely by the board. I am not surprised since the leading light in this body is the head of the ECB who is quite happy with our 'home series' being played in England. It is shameful that we cannot manage our finances without chasing India. The PCB's tone has become as wearisome as the Foreign Office's complaints about talks with India!

[email protected]

 

 

 

Down but not entirely out!

By Alam Zeb Safi

Unfortunately, the well-prepared Pakistan football team once again failed to qualify for the semifinals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship being held in Bangladesh in spite of an excellent effort. Unlike in the past, this time the Greenshirts were considered as a force and one of the best teams of the eight-nation tournament and the induction of five England-based footballers including Atif Bashir, Adnan Farooq Ahmad, Reis Ashraf, Shabbir Khan and Amjad Iqbal had added to their strength.

Moreover, for the first time in Pakistan's football history, the team passed through a rigorous preparatory period, initially at home and then for two weeks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar ahead of the competition in Dhaka.

Interestingly, Pakistan conceded just a single goal throughout the tournament in three meetings in their respective group but failed to make the cut for the knock-out stage. Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka 0-1 in their opener on December 4, followed by a goalless draw against hosts Bangladesh on December 6 along with a thumping 7-0 win over minnows Bhutan on December 8; finishing with four points in Group B after the leaders Bangladesh (seven points) and the runners-up Sri Lanka (six points), who both made it to the last four.

There were several factors responsible for the pre-mature ouster of Pakistan from the competition. Firstly, luck had a hand in the team's early exit from the event and it would not be wrong to say that Pakistan would have been in the semifinals had England-based midfielder Adnan Farooq Ahmad not missed the penalty against Sri Lanka in the final moments when the opponents were 1-0 ahead.

Secondly, poor finishing marred Pakistan's chances to qualify for the semis as in the initial two league encounters against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the Greenshirts, featuring Captain Muhammad Essa, Arif Mehmood -- the leading goal-scorer of the ongoing Pakistan Premier Football League -- and Safiullah Khan in their frontline, were not on target.

Coach George Kottan also admitted it during an interview with this writer from Dhaka the other day. "We did not score goals in the first two matches which spurred our exit," he said.

"Though we failed to move ahead but we played tremendously and I must say that Pakistan had never played like this before. Still the people are crying here in Dhaka that the SAFF Championship lost one of its best teams in the shape of Pakistan," the coach said.

Surely, if we look back, we will find that George Kottan is justified to say that the team never played like this before. No doubt, it was one of the best efforts from Pakistan in the entire history of the SAFF Championship but Kottan, who is one of my best friends in the sports circles, should explain his statement that Pakistan were bowed out of the competition because they did not score goals. Is it not the job of the coach to improve the finishing of his team?

I have been observing Pakistan football for the last seven years and am convinced that finishing is one of the major problems Pakistan team has been confronted with over the years and it is mainly because of the weakness of our domestic structure. I don't blame Kottan solely for all this but will also criticize the local coaches who are unable to improve the striking ability of their boys in the Premier League. There is also a reason behind Pakistani players' poor striking ability. Most of our coaches opt for defensive strategy in international events and always want their defence strong while giving almost no heed to the frontline. Football has become more technical and unless a team is strong in all the three areas, wins would always elude it.

Though, the recent debacle for Pakistan in Dhaka is now a history but being optimistic, I will say that the team under Kottan has made considerable improvement. Though this year, Pakistan missed the final rounds of both the AFC Challenge Cup and the SAFF Championship but there was grace in the performance -- flushing out the unpredictability which the team had in the past.

It does not matter if Pakistan earns a goalless draw against the Asian champions Iraq and later fall rapidly in the subsequent battles but what matters a lot is the constant rise of the team and this is the lesson the authorities should learn from the major teams on the globe. The Pakistan football authorities (PFF) should continue arranging training tours for its team ahead of any major assignment in future as well as it did it for the SAFF Championship because the more the team will get exposure the more the players will mature and get ready for stressful assignments.

Though, in the developed football playing nations, a national team coach can achieve the desired results after conducting two or three weeks training camp but here, things should be different due to poor domestic structure and a coach in Pakistan needs at least three months to prepare his troops for an international assignment.

Moreover, it is not that bad to include the England-based footballers of Pakistani origin in the national team but there should be a specific time-frame set for them for joining the team's training camp as their late arrival or sudden refusal just ahead of any foreign trip leaves a strong impact on the team formation. Kottan, who is very impressed with the foreign players, should rely more on his domestic boys in future to avoid further complications and such a step will make the formation of the team easy for him.

I would also suggest to the authorities that they should use their influence to induct their top players in the domestic leagues of at least the Asian countries so that they could groom which would be productive for the team in future. Unfortunately, in the recent past a bunch of our leading players received so many offers from foreign clubs but the PFF did not bother to manage a deal for them due to reasons best known to them (PFF).

Most recently, one of the top players of the country went to Sweden to play for a club but the player is not ready to disclose the reality fearing that it may land him in trouble due to lack of support from the authorities. When the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) are focusing on extending material and technical assistance to Pakistan for the uplift of the game, the PFF should also take a professional step and modify its whole structure and behaviour in dealing with the players and officials so that a better squad could be produced for the future in a professional environment.

 

Sohail Abbas and records are synonymous

In the first match of the Champions Challenge Cup in Argentina, Pakistani drag flicker, Sohail Abbas became the first player in history to score 300 goals in international hockey. The wise decision by the new setup of the PHF to recall the Karachi boy, who didn't play for Pakistan during 2007 and 2008, is paying off. At the World Cup qualifiers, Sohail was tournament's top scorer with nine goals including two in the do-or-die final.

Sohail who has been playing in the lucrative Dutch league for last many years holds a surfeit of records.

 

WORLD RECORDS:

- Highest number of individual goals in international hockey -- broke Holland's Paul Litjens record of 267 goals on Oct 08 2004 in test vs India at Amritsar.

- Highest number of goals in a calendar year: 60 goals in 1999

- Fastest to score 100 goals in international hockey: two years six months and 18 days.

- Fastest to score 200 goals in international hockey: five years five months and 16 days.

It is interesting to note his tally of 59 goals in 2004 is only one goal less than his record of 60 in 1999.

 

OTHER RECORDS & FEATS:

- Sohail's tally of 16 goals in the 1999 Asia cup is a record for a single edition of that competition (which he shares with compatriot Hasan Sardar).

- He is Pakistan's all time top scorer in Olympics with 19 goals from two Olympics.

- For a single edition of Olympic games also, Sohail,s tally of 11 goals in the 2004 Olympics is a Pakistan record.

- For World Cup also, Sohail is Pakistan's overall top scorer with a total of 16 goals from three appearances.

- He is Pakistan's top scorer in the elite champions trophy as well with 40 goals. In fact, it was also the highest overall tally for this tournament till this year's Champions trophy. It was broken by another great drag flicker of this age, Holland's Taeke Taekema.

- In a single edition of the champions trophy also Sohail holds Pakistan's record with eight goals (2001 champions).

- Overall top scorer of the 2004 Olympics with 11 goals.

- Joint overall top scorer of the 2002 World Cup with 10 goals.

He also has another though an unconventional sort of a record. That is getting the biggest financial bonanza for creating a new individual world record in hockey.

For his record breaking 268th international goal in 2004, he was awarded Rs 2m by the President of Pakistan, Rs 1m each by the governor and the chief minister of Sind province and a residential plot as well by the Sind government.

--compiled by Ijaz Chaudhry

 

Who calls the shots?

By Aamir Bilal

Sports and games are healthy pursuits cherished by millions of people all over the world. Sports offer unlimited opportunities for developing human faculties, both mental and physical. It is a great integrating force which if carefully planned can gel the fragmented segments of society and do wonders to take the marginalized on board. It is the most effective and time tested vehicle to learn the life skills and inculcate the values of leadership, tolerance and team work that are missing desperately in our society.

Despite its global recognition as a powerful vehicle of social change, sports remain a low priority area in the national policy. It is interesting to note that Pakistan's sport structure runs vertically under three different heads with little horizontal coordination and overlap.

The Federal Ministry of Sports headed by a Federal Minister has Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and National Coaching Centres under its wing. PSB which was established in 1962 as a corporate body is the main driving agency of sport, responsible of promoting and developing the competitive sports across the country. It provides grants and aids to almost 40 National Federations and sports organisations. It also organises the national camps and finances the national contingents for international games.

Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) is the second parallel sports body in the structure of national sports which is a subsidiary organization of International Olympic Committee (IOC). Its main task is to develop and protect the Olympic Movement in Pakistan in accordance with the Olympic charter. POA is also responsible to bring athletes to Regional, Asian, Commonwealth and Olympic games. POA has Provincial Olympic Associations, Services, Departments, Sports Federations, Provincial Associations, District Associations and registered sports clubs under its belt.

The third parallel sports set up runs under the respective Provincial Sports Ministers with a setup of Provincial Sports Boards, District Sports Organisations and tehsil sports organisations.

The Provincial Sports Ministries provide funding to Provincial Associations under the POA, where as national sports federations are funded by federal ministry of sports through PSB. The national sports federations have their branches down to district, tehsil and club level and are responsible for development of sports at appropriate level. These federations are provided annual grants by PSB to meet their day to day requirement, and special grants for participation in international competitions beside expenses on national training camps.

Its not just the Federal Ministry of Sports, POA and Provincial Ministry of Sports and its affiliated bodies but the others responsible for sports include the National Assembly and Senate Standing Committees on Sports and Pakistan Cricket Board that works independently and reports directly to its patron i:e The President of Pakistan.

The country also has a Schools & Colleges Sports Board (SCSB) whose chairman is Minister of Education and has four different directors of sport for intermediate board (men), intermediate (women), schools (men) and schools (women). The Secretary General POA and Director General Federal/ Provincial Sports Boards are its co-opted members.

Development of sports in universities is the responsibility of Higher Education Commission (HEC) which is supposed to organise Inter-University competitions in all provinces, award sport scholarships at home and abroad and develop sports infrastructure in the universities and above all produce the highly trained human resource that can organise and run the national and local sports affairs in an efficient manner.

Despite such an elaborate and heavy top, the country has only eight synthetic athletics tracks, fourteen international level swimming pools, fifteen synthetic field hockey turfs and nothing to cherish at Asian, World and Olympics level.

Mr Ban Ki-moon the United Nations Secretary General and Wilfried Lemke, the Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Sport for Development & Peace recognises sport as a universal language and engine of development and many international donors seek partners around the world to promote sport education and sport for all programs at grass roots to develop responsible global citizens, however our top heavy competitive sports development system lacks the capacity to grab such opportunities.

A recent opportunity of developing the sport education programs through "International Inspiration" initiative of UK Global Vision 2012 seems to fleet away from us, as no one is sure about who calls the shots in Pakistan's sports system, whereas the same has been capitalised by countries like India, Brazil, Palau, Zambia, Ghana, Jordon and Mozambique because of clarity in their objectives and programmes.

Pakistan sport has too many masters to look-after its affairs and too many petty issues to resolve including issues of policies, mindset, capacity, coordination and infrastructure. If Pakistan has to emerge as a potent sport force of Asia in the near future, than we need to look at our sports issues and resolve them not through a top down approach but through a bottom up approach for which a paradigm shift is needed that has to start from the change of the mind set and priorities in national sports.

The decision makers have to rise above their shoulder and look beyond to formulate public private partnerships in sports by involving the corporate sector for developing basic sport infrastructure which should be demand driven with equal stakes of community.

Above all there should be absolute clarity in the role, objectives and functions of all sports bodies of the country, knowing that who call the shots at what level, so that duplication of roles can be avoided and perceived objectives can be achieved with fixed responsibilities in the given time lines.

Aamir Bilal is a qualified Coach [email protected]

 

 

The second coming of Senna

By Amar Ayaz

"If you think I'm fast, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno," was a quote accredited Bruno's legendary uncle Ayrton. With the 2010 Formula One grid set to once again be graced by the name Senna, we can finally say that the wait is over. Prior to his unfortunate accident at the San Marino circuit in 1994, that took his life, Ayrton Senna's legacy was established.

Having wracked up 65 pole positions in qualifying and three drivers championships (records later to be overcome by Michael Schumacher), Ayrton (along with Alain Prost), it seems, had set a bench-mark for future drivers to be considered amongst the greats. In Bruno's case, his uncle, unknowingly, was setting a comparison that would be almost impossible to conquer.

In the present atmosphere in Formula One, with the new rule changes and engine makeovers, for one driver to absolutely dominate season after season or for an entire season at a time is almost impractical. In the last five years we have seen four champions, only one of which has won back-to-back championships (Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006).

Since Alonso's last title there have been four promising rookies who have graced the grid. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have proven there qualities since their introductions. The other two, Nico Rosberg (son former World Champion Keke) and Nelson Piquet Jr (son of three time World Champion Nelson Sr.), were introduced to much fervour but have yet to deliver to the bench-marks set for them. Bruno, upon his introduction, will face similar pressure to live up to the legacy of his uncle.

If there ever was a driver destined to make it to Formula One, it was Bruno. To be given the mantle of Ayrton's nephew, in some circles he is seen as the second coming of Senna. However, the world should embrace him as just another rookie, like Hamilton or Vettel, rather than a driver destined for stardom because of his heritage, ala Nico and Nelson.

To learn more about the man who is Bruno, and not the nephew of a late, great champion, we have to see his career to date.

Growing up to be a race car driver is something most kids have dreamt of at some stage in their career. Given that Bruno had the advantage of burning rubber on a private family track alongside a legendary racer, in his uncle, he also had to deal with that legend's demise at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. With the death of his father in a motorcycle accident a few months later, Bruno left karting to concentrate on his studies.

In 2004, he decided to scratch the ten year itch of motorsport and move to the UK. It was a difficult task for a 20-year-old considering most drivers make the step-up to Formula One at around that age, most recent to date being Sebastian Vettel making his debut at 19.

Unfazed, the Brazilian started his career by taking part in the British Formula BMW series. In his third race at Donington Park he qualified second and finished the race in sixth. In the same year he competed in the Formula Renault race at Macau where he gained his first podium in a second place finish after an impressive performance.

In 2005 he moved up the racing ladder to the British Formula Three series, where he put in several strong performances which included three podiums, one pole position and a 10th place finish in the championship. Having joined Kimi Raikkonen's team, Raikkonen Robertson, for the 2006 British F3 season, he had even more success.

Three pole positions, five wins, two second-places and 219 points secured him third in the championship. Unsurprisingly his skill on the track, particularly in the wet, was magnificent.

He continued his climb in racing and moved up to GP2 -- a F1 feeder series. He did well with one win, two podiums and a third overall finish while racing for Arden. True to form in his second GP2 season Bruno continued to progress and impress; scoring six podiums, two wins and three pole positions to help him finish runner-up to eventual champion Giorgio Pantano.

Recognising the potential attached to the name, Honda invited Senna to test its car at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, where he completed 140 laps whilst familiarising himself with a superior car. Honda had pinned him as a possible driver for the 2009 season before they pulled the plug on their F1 venture altogether. The new management under the new name of BrawnGP couldn't take much risk and kept the existing experienced line-up of Barrichello, who at one time was his uncle's protege, and Button.

Understandably being disheartened at losing his F1 bid, the Brazilian decided to focus on sports car competition; taking part in both the Le Mans 24-hour race and the Le Mans series, leaving behind the single-seater series. However he didn't have to wait long for his opportunity to come again and it did. Campos Meta, one of the four new teams to grace the F1 grid in the coming season, announced in October that Bruno Senna will be part of their line-up.

Ayrton Senna once said "Racing, competing, is in my blood. It's part of me, its part of my life; I've been doing it all my life. And it stands up before anything else." Next season the world will see if the same holds true for Bruno. To set a pole position or score a podium in his first season is difficult considering the talent on the grid. If his track record to date is anything to go by then we know he will improve as he progresses and we will have to be patient with the rookie. For now all we know is that the "wait" Ayrton spoke of is finally over. Here's to 2010.



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