Champions Trophy
A statistical overview
The Hockey Champions Trophy is the International Hockey Federation’s most prestigious annual event (since 1978). A Brainchild of Air Marshal Nur Khan, former president of Pakistan Hockey Federation, it features the world’s top-ranked teams. Pakistan initiated the competition as a men’s tournament in 1978 and also presented the beautiful trophy. The tournament has been an annual affair since 1980 for men and since 1987 for women.

The curious case of 
Danish Kaneria

By Umair A Qazi
I recently happened to meet a dejected but very optimistic and hopeful Danish Kaneria who’s petition seeking to be cleared for selection by the PCB filed in the Sindh High Court and ably argued by Dr Farough Naseem has been dismissed on ground of lacking jurisdiction since the PCB head office is based in Lahore, Punjab. Whether the decision is challenged before the Superior Courts remains to be seen, but given Farough Naseem’s prowess over constitutional matters it is almost foreseeable that the decision will be challenged for obvious reasons. More importantly what it signifies is the lack of professionalism by the PCB headed by Ijaz Butt in handling the sensitive issue of Danish Kaneria’s involvement in spot-fixing after having been cleared by the local police in Essex.

Mid-season transfer report cards
By Zain Qureshi
There is always much fervour and anticipation when the new season kicks off in any football league, let alone in Europe, where transfer activity lights up the summer, and come this time of year, fans, club managers and their teams have all had the chance to see just what the incoming players are made of. The structure of the domestic European football season conveniently makes December a half-way point, and suitable for a school-like report card comparison of the performance for some landmark signings made by the various clubs.

 

 

 

 

 

Champions Trophy

A statistical overview

The Hockey Champions Trophy is the International Hockey Federation’s most prestigious annual event (since 1978). A Brainchild of Air Marshal Nur Khan, former president of Pakistan Hockey Federation, it features the world’s top-ranked teams. Pakistan initiated the competition as a men’s tournament in 1978 and also presented the beautiful trophy. The tournament has been an annual affair since 1980 for men and since 1987 for women.

In the men’s tournament, the Australians have won the trophy eleven, the Germans nine, and the Dutch eight times. Pakistan are the only Asian champions, with three titles to their name including the first two in 1978 and 1980. Usually six teams qualify for the championship, though the first edition had five teams, the second had seven and 1987 and 2007 had eight. In the year following the Olympics or a World Cup, the six teams include the hosts, the defending champions, the world champions and the next highest ranked teams from either the most recent World Cup or Olympic Games.

The last-placed team in the tournament is dropped and replaced by the winner of the Champions Challenge, which was introduced in 2001 and can be considered as the Champions Trophy for so called B-nations.

From 1978 till 1991 only a Round Robin was played. From the 1992 edition on, after the Round Robin, play-off matches are played between the numbers 1 and 2 (Final), 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 to determine final standings.

The 2011 edition already under progress in Auckland (New Zealand) is unique. For the first time ever there would be no round-robin but two pools of four teams each. The top two teams from each pool would play the semifinals followed by the final. Apart from the six teams selected via the above discussed criterion, two additional teams, Korea and Pakistan have been invited based on their world rankings at the time. 

This edition also sees a new host of Champions Trophy in New Zealand. Of the 32 previous editions, Pakistan have hosted the Champions Trophy as many as eleven times while Holland have held it six times and Australia and Germany on five occasions each. India and Malaysia twice each and Spain had the honour once.

Out of the eleven occasions in Pakistan, the Champions Trophy has been held six times in Karachi and five times in Lahore.

Countries with most appearances: Australia 31, Netherlands 30, Germany 29, Pakistan 28. France have made only one appearance (1992).

Only five teams have won the Champions Trophy so far; each of them has won at least once in Pakistan.

Best runs- three victories on trot: Australia (1983-85 and 2008-10) and Germany (1986-88). If Australi wins this time it would be a record breaking fourth consecutive win

The highest number of goals scored in a single CT is 136, in the second version at Karachi in 1980.

The lowest number of goals scored in a single event is 46 goals, also at Karachi in 1986

The highest number of goals scored by a team in a single tournament is 32- Pakistan in 1980

The least number of goals conceded by a team in a single tournament is two - Germany (1995)

Five times, the teams had perfect campaigns i.e. winning all the matches: Pakistan in 1978 and 1980, Netherlands in 2000, Germany in 2001, Australia in 2010

Biggest win:  Australia bt France 9-2 in 1992    

The players with the most men’s Champions Trophy gold medals are Jeroen Delmee, Teun de Nooijer, Sander van der Weide and Guss Vogels (all NED) and Carsten Fischer (GER), who have won 6 gold medals each

Most Appearances:  Teun de Nooijer (NED) 16 followed by Jeroen Delmee (NED) 15

Three players have picked up twelve career Champions Trophy medals: Dutchmen Teun de Nooijer and Jeroen Delmee, and Australiaís Craig Davies

The top three scorers in the CT are Taeke Taekema (NED) — 45 goals, Teun de Nooijer (NED) — 42 goals, Sohail Abbas (PAK) — 40 goals

Paul Litjens (NED) with 15 goals in 1980 holds the record for a single edition  

Teun de Nooijer (NED) has scored in 15 consecutive CT events

In a single match, three players have scored five goals: all three are Dutch - Paul Litjens v Britan in 1981, Ties Kruise v Pakistan in 1982, Taco Van Honert vs Pakistan in1993

Yet another Dutch player, Floris Jan Bovalander, owns the record for the highest number of hat-tricks, he made it four times.

The fastest hat-trick in a Champions Trophy match was scored by Australia’s Colin Batch, in only nine minutes against Holland in 1980

The highest number of goals in a final match is four, by Germany’s Andreas Becker against Australia in 1992

Pakistan’s Hanif Khan is generally credited with the fastest goal in a Champions Trophy match, when he put his side ahead after just 11 seconds, against Holland in 1984

 The first ever goal in the Champions Trophy was scored by Pakistan’s forward, Shahnaz Sheikh, against New Zealand (1978).

When Germany performed a hat-trick of victories at the Champions Trophy from 1986-88, they were led by Heins Dopp on each of the three occasions.

Shahbaz Ahmed skippered Pakistan as many as six times, 1990 to 1995, a record for the Champions Trophy.

PAKISTANí S RECORDS:

Pakistan appeared in 28 out of the 32 editions (didnít figure in 2000 and the last three i.e. 2008 from 2010)

Three golds: 1978 (1st), 1980 (2nd) and 1994 (16th)

Six silvers: 1983, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1996 and1998

Six bronze: 1986, 1992, 1995, 2002, 2003 and 2004

Seven times 4th position: 1981, 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1993 and 2001

Thrice 5th position: 1997, 2005 and 2006

Once 6th: 1999

Twice 7th: 1987 and 2007

Pakistan won the first and the second Champion Trophy events but had to wait for 14 years for their third win, in 1994

— All three Pakistani victories were achieved on home soil.

— Shahbaz Ahmad and the two goalkeepers: Shahid Ali Khan and Mansoor Ahmed have the maximum appearances (10) in the Champions Trophy for Pakistan.

Apart from Shahbaz Ahmed, who captained Pakistan six times, only three players have captained Pakistan on more than one occasion. Hanif Khan, Mansoor Ahmed and M. Sarwar all skippered Pakistan in two editions of champions Trophy

— Penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas has been Pakistan’s overall top scorer with 40 goals followed by inside-left Hanif Khan — 21 goals.

Sohail Abbas is Pakistan’s top goal-getter in a single edition as well, with nine goals in 2003.

— After his appearance in 1995 champions Trophy, Shahbaz Ahmad next appeared in 2001, a gap of six years — Apart from Shahbaz Ahmed, who won the Player of the Tournament award twice (1991 and 1992), five other Pakistanis have won this coveted award: Shahid Ali Khan (1983), Hanif Khan (1984), late Qazi Mohib (1988), Khawaja Junaid (1994) and Dr. Atif Bashir (1998).

. Pakistan’s biggest victories in the Champions Trophy came in the second edition (1980) when Pakistan defeated both India and Australia by an identical margin of 7-1.

Pakistan’s heaviest defeat is 2-9 by Holland in 2006.

In 1984, Pakistan team had three real brothers in Manzoor Hussain Jr (captain), Maqsood Hussain and Mahmood Hussain, all of them forwards, who in one match played together.

Apart from the above trio, six pairs of brothers have represented Pakistan in the Champions Trophy: Samiullah and Kaleemullah, Manzoorul Husan and Rasheedul Hasan, Imran Yousuf and Irfan Yousuf, Raheem Khan and Imran Khan, Mohammad Anees and Mohammad Asim, Mohammad Sarwar and Mohammad Zubair.

 

Compiled by Ijaz Chaudhry

[email protected]

 

Performance by nation

Team          Champions          Runners-up    Third-place

Australia          11          10         4

Germany#         9          7          6

Netherlands       8          5          7

Pakistan            3      6          6

Spain  1          1          3

Korea  0          1          2

Great Britain^          0          2          2

India   0          0          1

Argentina          0          0          1

New Zealand          0          0          0

Soviet Union          0          0          0

France 0          0          0

# Include West Germany

^ Include England

   

 

 

 

 

 

The curious case of 
Danish Kaneria

By Umair A Qazi

I recently happened to meet a dejected but very optimistic and hopeful Danish Kaneria who’s petition seeking to be cleared for selection by the PCB filed in the Sindh High Court and ably argued by Dr Farough Naseem has been dismissed on ground of lacking jurisdiction since the PCB head office is based in Lahore, Punjab. Whether the decision is challenged before the Superior Courts remains to be seen, but given Farough Naseem’s prowess over constitutional matters it is almost foreseeable that the decision will be challenged for obvious reasons. More importantly what it signifies is the lack of professionalism by the PCB headed by Ijaz Butt in handling the sensitive issue of Danish Kaneria’s involvement in spot-fixing after having been cleared by the local police in Essex.

Kaneria has been Pakistan premiere leg-spinner over the last decade or so and albeit having been a little expensive he has been a threat ably used by the likes of Inzamam and Co. Having mastered the art of leg spin; a dying art which seems to have died out ever since the exit of Shane Warne, Kaneria if anything has kept it alive, making it a joy to watch a leg spinner in full flow. A fine bowler having the ability to bowl long spells and keeping one end in check in terms of keeping the flow of runs down to a minimum, Kaneria’s ability to take wickets relied on out thinking the batsmen over a period of time. We may be harsh in criticising him by saying he conceded way too many runs for the wickets he took and the time he consumed but in this criticism we often forget the prevailing circumstances’ of Pakistan cricket and his selfless services in that hour of need. We must not forget that Kaneria was a permanent member of the side during a period when the team was going through a rebuilding phase. During Inzamam’s era when Bob Woolmer rebuilt the team and led Pakistan to draw the test series in India, it was in that third Test that Kaneria was instrumental in taking Pakistan to victory with his magical and at time unreadable leg spin bowling. It is these performances that merit a place for Kaneria in the team, bowling selflessly for hours without any support from the other end being the lone spinner. It’s this ability to bowl long spells, try different variations and keep trying which makes Kaneria special. One must also not forget his luck with Kamran Akmal and his faulty hands, being the culprit behind so many of Kaneria’s dropped catches, at times making him look ineffective and prolonging matters, the Sydney being one such prime example.

In order for a leg-spinner to be successful apart from having the art of leg spin along with its variations, having the required paraphernalia in terms of good fielders around the bat is important. A prime example is that of Shane Warne and Anil Kumble, in Warne’s case it Healy who kept to him and then later the legendary Gilchrist, both of whom hardly ever missed, followed by the close in fielders like Mark Taylor at first Slip followed by Mark Waugh added to his bowling prowess. Similarly for Kumble, Dravid has been an excellent slip fielder and a permanent member of the side for the last 16 years supported by good close in fielders such as Laxman who have supported Kumble throughout his illustrious career. Kaneria quite hasn’t had the same paraphernalia in terms of fielding support due to the constant chopping and changing in the Pakistan side in the last decade or so. The side has never really looked settled and has been through turbulent times making it difficult for Kaneria to rely on youngsters and at times veterans who haven’t been sure of their place in the side either. In such uncertain times and Kamran’s dismal show behind the stumps, Kaneria’s case merits special consideration. His stats today would read a different story had he been supported in the same fashion as his counterparts.

Another tragedy in Kaneria’s case is that of labeling him as a test cricketer, confining him to the boundaries of test cricket and selecting him only for Test matches. This plague seems to spread in the cricket board setup every few years resulting in the sacrifice of an able cricketer who could have been a great something which is beyond comprehension. Saeed Anwar one of Pakistan’s greatest batsmen was initially also only considered for Tests but due to some act of God was selected and never looked back. However, poor Kaneria has suffered for no reason whatsoever. His selection in the one day side would have contributed largely to his development as a wicket taking bowler and more so as an attacking bowler with more variations coupled with Shahid Afridi making a deadly attack potent enough to bother any side in the world. It’s a pity that Kaneria now that the team has settled and is part of a winning combination is not able to feature even if in the test side. With Saeed Ajmal going great guns, Kaneria would be the ideal partner something he has longed for all throughout his career when he has been the lonesome warrior, offering variations that are unplayable from both ends.

With the new PCB chairman in field now and his reputation of running the PCB like an organisation in a very professional manner, one can perhaps hope that Kaneria’s case will be looked into and we may see him in Pakistani colours one more time or at least be cleared for selection. Zaka Ashraf’s fair-play approach as in the case of Afridi who’s return to the side almost immediately after Ijaz Butt’s departure breathes new life into Kaneria’s case and even though spot fixing remains a sensitive issue Kaneria having been cleared through and through by the Essex police merits a chance to be considered for selection in the backdrop of his monumental and selfless service to Pakistan cricket.

 

The writer is a Barrister practicing in the High.

[email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-season transfer report cards

By Zain Qureshi

There is always much fervour and anticipation when the new season kicks off in any football league, let alone in Europe, where transfer activity lights up the summer, and come this time of year, fans, club managers and their teams have all had the chance to see just what the incoming players are made of. The structure of the domestic European football season conveniently makes December a half-way point, and suitable for a school-like report card comparison of the performance for some landmark signings made by the various clubs.

We can start things off by looking at the most extravagant spenders of the last few seasons, Manchester City. The key signing for them was that of Atletico Madrid’s Argentine striker Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero. Aguero’s arrival at the stadium formerly known as Eastlands was engineered around the alienation of his compatriot and erstwhile club talisman Carlos Tevez. The latter’s falling out with the club management prompted City to search for an alternative to the man responsible for dragging the club to their first trophy almost single handed. Aguero quickly set to work after his arrival in Manchester, with no fuss made about shifting from one country to another, or from one league to another with a different style of play. He was here to perform, and he has done so exceptionally. While he is just one goal behind this season’s top scorer Edin Dzeko, Aguero is responsible for more assists, and his ability both to dribble and pass, combined with the exquisite vision of Silva, allows City to play a fluid brand of football that is easy on the eye. As far as summer signings go, Aguero is the standout performer and a worthy acquisition, having played a huge part in bringing City to the top of the Premier League table.

While their so-called ‘noisy neighbours’ were busily scouring Europe for its finest talents, defending champions Manchester United were content in picking out transfer targets from within the Premier League. Ashley Young arrived from Aston Villa, and Phil Jones from Blackburn, while the replacement of Edwin Van der Sar arrived in the form of Atletico Madrid’s David de Gea. So far, for all of United’s inconsistency, all three players have thrived. Phil Jones looks more and more the natural leader for United’s defence, which is undergoing a changing of the guard from the time of Ferdinand and Vidic, while De Gea has picked up the pace after some jittery displays early on in the season. One aspect of his that was highlighted soon after his arrival at Old Trafford was his tendency to be caught out by shots at goal from distance. These concerns have been put paid to, and the young Spaniard has shown consistent improvement in all aspects of his game. At the other end of the pitch, Ashley Young has gelled well with his counterpart on United’s opposite wing, Nani, to wreak havoc with quick passing and accurate crosses into the box to service the United strike force of Rooney and Wellbeck. Young hit the ground running and combined with the rest of a youthful front line, looks set to be a longer term replacement for the wily Ryan Giggs on the left flank.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had to suffer the departures of Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in quick succession, and there was a time not too long ago when all in the media branded Arsenal as a club in crisis, with little hope of salvation. The manager finally caved to demands that had been made by fans and analysts alike in addressing the various shortages up and down the pitch. Although all three arrivals were secured near the transfer deadline, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos have performed well enough to justify their inclusion in the new Arsenal side, while Gervinho brings more energy than end product, akin to Walcott but further up the pitch. Arteta brings defensive discipline with a wide range of passes, although the Spaniard will constantly be in the need of a true ball winner, one he currently has in the shape of Alex Song. Mertesacker has been a regular starter for Germany for some time now, and his shortcomings in pace and sheer strength come second to his ability to read the game and avoid getting trapped. That said, Mertesacker shines only when supported by a more rugged defender, and for this, he becomes wholly dependent on the often inconsistent Laurent Koscielny. The latter goes missing in games sometimes, and in the absence of regular showings by the club’s first choice defender Thomas Vermaelen, one feels Mertesacker will not be able to show his best football. Andre Santos appears to be a left back in the Arsenal mould, in that he is more of a left winger in disguise. The Brazilian is fond of forays into the opposition half, but does not track back effectively enough and this leaves Arsenal exposed on the counter attack. Couple this with the fact that his defensive abilities come secondary to his attacking instinct, and you get the feel that Wenger is still searching for a replacement for Ashley Cole.

Lastly, there is Liverpool. The Reds picked up quite a few players over the summer, picking up Henderson from Sunderland, Downing from Aston Villa, Adam from Blackpool and Jose Enrique from Newcastle, with the late arrival of Sebastian Coates from Uruguay’s Nacional. The midfield area was clearly considered crucial from manager Kenny Dalglish’s point of view, and to that effect, Liverpool still find themselves looking for some consistent creativity. Downing is quite capable of taking defenders on and whipping in crosses, but the winger does not get as involved in play as he used to at Aston Villa, though this is perhaps owed to the fact that Liverpool appear to have a clear guideline that all play must be channelled through Adam in the centre of midfield.

The left footer has done a good enough job, and is a big threat from dead ball situations, but even he has yet to consistently perform in every game. Henderson has mostly been restricted to the role of a substitute, and quite often played out on the right wing rather than his favoured central midfield position. The layoff to the outstanding Lucas, who is out for the rest of the season, may give Henderson a better chance to prove his credentials. Jose Enrique has proven himself a tireless worker, marauding forward to support Suarez and Downing on the left, and tracking back to help out his central defenders. However, the Spaniard is prone to lapses in concentration, particularly when he is caught watching the ball rather than covering incoming attackers at the far post. Coates has not featured much for the Reds, and the lanky Uruguayan will need more exposure to show if he is the replacement for Sammi Hyppia that Liverpool are still seeking.

 

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