hockey
Hockey's high hopes
Pakistan eye a winning start to the World Cup with a win against old rivals India on Sunday. They expect drag flick ace Sohail Abbas to shine in the eagerly-awaited clash
By Khalid Hussain
When Pakistan will clash with India in their much-awaited World Cup opener in front of a packed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday (tomorrow), most of their hopes of making a winning start to the 12-nation spectacle will rest on the broad shoulders of Sohail Abbas.

1982: Pakistan record memorable triumph
By Ijaz Chaudhry
From the 1978 World Cup till early 1981, Pakistan had been on a winning spree. On the eve of the third Champions Trophy in January 1981, the greatest pair of full backs in Pakistan's history - Manzoorul Hasan and Munawwaruz Zaman (who was the captain as well) - were shown the door.

2010 Hockey World Cup Perspective, aspirations and challenges
By Aamir Bilal
The 12th men's Hockey World Cup starts in New Delhi from February 28th 2010 with South Africa facing Spain in the opener of the two-week extravaganza. Later in the evening, Pakistan face arch-rivals India which may set the mode of the two teams for rest of the tournament. After 1982, this is the second time that India has been trusted by the FIH to hold the coveted event. In spite of a gradual decent in the performance and the serious security concerns, the World Cup in India brings along a good omen for Pakistan who won their third world cup title in Mumbai in 1982.

Can Afridi solve Pakistan's captaincy dilemma?
By Dr Nauman Niaz
Since October 1996, Shahid Afridi has been an enigma; a world-record breaking batsman, a gritty right arm leg-spinner, a spectacular fielder, a horse for different courses, and a cricketer bringing essence of coveted eccentricity to cricket, exuding relentless charm and often falling foul of the spirit of the game, and also preoccupying uncertainty.

The record-breaking run machine
By Khurram Mahmood
Little master Sachin Tendulkar re-wrote the record books during the second One-day International against South Africa in Gwalior on Wednesday to become the first batsman in the four-decade history of the format to score 200 runs.

The legal 'rules of management' of PCB
By Malik Arshed Gilani p.s.n.
After being bored with the asinine excuses that have been made by the last many heads of Pakistan cricket, I felt it would be worth telling the readers the facts about the existing legal 'Rules of Management' of the PCB. I say legal 'Rules of Management' because as per the laws of our country, an ad-hoc body that started this drama could only have been instituted for a maximum period of one year. By law, such a body could only be constituted to execute a specific task.

 

 

 

 

hockey

Hockey's high hopes

Pakistan eye a winning start to the World Cup with a win against old rivals India on Sunday. They expect drag flick ace Sohail Abbas to shine in the eagerly-awaited clash

 

By Khalid Hussain

When Pakistan will clash with India in their much-awaited World Cup opener in front of a packed Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday (tomorrow), most of their hopes of making a winning start to the 12-nation spectacle will rest on the broad shoulders of Sohail Abbas.

The drag flick ace from Karachi is miles ahead of his peers when it comes to scoring international goals and if Pakistan are to make their presence felt in the Feb 28-March 13 tournament, he has to somehow regain his golden form that once made him the scourge of goalies and defenders all over the hockey world.

Sohail, 33, holds the record of scoring the highest number of goals in international hockey and is still regarded among the best when it comes to converting short corners. Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan has no doubts in his mind that Sohail will be his team's key man in the World Cup.

"Everybody knows that Sohail is one of the world's best drag flickers and if he delivers, we will have good chances of progressing to the semifinals," he said.

Pakistan have won the World Cup on a record four occasions but have failed to make the last-four in their previous three attempts in 1998, 2002 and 2006. Sohail was a part of all those three World Cup teams and is well aware that this is likely to be his last appearance in the showpiece event.

"This is my fourth World Cup and I would love to make it a memorable one for me and my team," said Sohail. "Me and my teammates are aware that if we do well in the World Cup, we can help put Pakistan hockey back on track and it's my dream to that before I retire."

Ask Shahid and he will tell you that Sohail and company can do it.

"It's all about self-belief," said Shahid, a former Olympian and a hero of Pakistan's triumphant World Cup campaign in 1982 in Bombay. "We have a good team with some solid players. It's true that in the current world rankings we are far behind the top teams but I'm confident if our boys give their best then the rankings won't matter. It is all about how you play on that given day and I must say that these boys are totally focused on giving their best in New Delhi," Shahid told 'The News on Saturday' in an interview.

Shahid said that another reason why Sohail will be such a key player against India is the fact that the home team is scared of the short corner specialist.

"Somehow, Sohail has always made them (India) uneasy," said the coach. "Apparently, it is because he has scored so many goals against them. For us it's a huge plus point and we are going to try and get the maximum out of him in our first match."

Apart from Sohail, another man who is expected to play a key role in the big game against India is Rehan Butt. The Lahore-born striker has a knack for scoring goals against the old foes and is now itching to take the field against them tomorrow.

"India have the home advantage, but we have the confidence of a better recent record against them. We are sure of putting up a good showing against them. The crowds will love the match," promised Butt.

Butt said that Pakistan will convert the pressure of the potentially-explosive clash into positive energy.

"There is bound to be pressure, especially when you are playing India in the first match of the World Cup. But we hope to convert that into positive energy," he stressed.

For Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf, Sunday's clash against India will be a perfect platform to put hockey back in the spotlight.

"Hockey is still very much a sport that is loved both in Pakistan and India," Zeeshan told this correspondent in an interview. "And it is quite a fortunate thing that we are having our first match in the World Cup against India. It is bound to attract fans in both countries and I'm confident that my team will come out with the best possible showing in it," he added.

Zeeshan, who will turn 32 tomorrow, is hoping to celebrate his birthday with a victory lap.

"It's very important for us to beat India because it will give us a perfect start and boost our confidence," he said.

The captain and the team coaches are hoping that Pakistan will shed their reputation of being "slow starters" in this World Cup.

Pakistan begin their World Cup campaign against India on Sunday and will then take on Spain in their second Pool B game on Tuesday. Any hiccups in either of the match can pose a major blow to their hopes of reaching the semifinals.

"There is no margin for error or any slow starts," said Shahid. "The boys know it and we expect them to go all out and win the first two matches but that is the only way to boost our chances of reaching the semifinals," he added.

Shahid believes that Pakistan should beat both India and Spain if they stick to the game plan. "There is no doubt that both the games would be tough," he said. "India will be playing in front of their home crowd and will go all out to beat us. But we have done well against them in the past few matches and I don't see any reason why we can't do that again.

"Spain have established themselves as one of the world's leading teams in the past few years. But currently, they are a bit down something that was visible during (last December's) Champions Trophy in Melbourne. I think if we make a good game plan and then stick to it, we should beat them."

After the matches against India and Spain, Pakistan will play against European champions England, South Africa and finally Australia, the side many believe has the best chances of winning this World Cup.

"We are fancying our chances of winning the matches against South Africa and also England, whom we beat in a Test series last year," said Shahid. "Australia are currently the most dangerous team but if we give our best then anything is possible."

After winning the 1994 World Cup in Sydney, Pakistan have never done better than a fifth position in the World Cup in their last three attempts. But this time, they are brimming with confidence and are looking forward to playing in the semifinals. Whether they can back up such promises with results remains to be seen.

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

By Ijaz Chaudhry

From the 1978 World Cup till early 1981, Pakistan had been on a winning spree. On the eve of the third Champions Trophy in January 1981, the greatest pair of full backs in Pakistan's history - Manzoorul Hasan and Munawwaruz Zaman (who was the captain as well) - were shown the door.

The world champions had a real jolt in the third Champions Trophy failing to win its first ever tournament since the 1976 Olympics. The slip was quite slippery as they couldn't even mount the podium, ending fourth.

Good sense prevailed and the PHF hierarchy admitted its folly of omitting both the fortresses of deep defence simultaneously, by recalling right full back Manzoorul Hasan. Former skipper Muneer Dar was appointed the manager for a minor tournament in Singapore and a tour of Europe.

Result-wise, the European tour couldn't be termed as successful as Pakistan failed to win either of the two four-nation tourneys in Germany and Holland. The only success came in a low profile tournament in Poland.

From the preparatory point of view, nine forwards were given opportunity to display their potential. During the tour, the manager Munir Dar's somewhat rude behaviour didn't endear him to some senior players and he was replaced by that shrewdest of the hockey brains, Brigadier (rtd) Manzoor Hussain Atif, who was also the sitting secretary general of the PHF.

Atif took up the task in full earnest. Keeping in view the humid conditions of the World Cup's venue -- Bombay (now Mumbai), the coastal city of Karachi was chosen for the training camp.

As before the last World Cup in 1978, a home and away four Test series against India was arranged. The series went to the wire and Pakistan won the last Test to emerge victorious by two matches to one, with one game drawn.

Hence by the time the team arrived in Bombay in the last days of 1981, the team had evolved into a great combination.

Pakistan trounced Argentina 6-1 in their opener and in the next game, the Spanish armada was sunk with two goals in each half, 4-1 being the final score line before demolishing New Zealand, the surprise gold medallists of the 1976 Olympics, 12-3.

Pakistan had their first real test against the erstwhile West Germany. The mean and keen German side stretched Pakistan to the fullest.

It was only when Samiullah scored in the 68th minute (to make it 5-3) that Pakistan heaved a sigh of relief.

Though Pakistan remained a superior side throughout, their one weak link came to the fore, goalkeeping on the penalty corners.

With their topping the pool guaranteed, Pakistan played all the reserves against Poland in the last pool game and emerged 4-1 winners. Having put on such an impressive show, easily over riding every opponent, Pakistan had become everyone's favourite.

But Pakistan's manager Atif was a worried man having seen goalie Moinuddin badly beaten on penalty corners against Germany, He was fearful of Holland's penalty corner king Paul Litjens - the highest scorer in a single World Cup as well as overall top-scorer in the World Cup history.

Atif's other net minder was the 17 year old Shahid Ali Khan, who prior to appearing in the last pool match had an international experience of less than one match -- Pakistan's 11-1 victory against Zimbabwe in a Test, a few months back.

But Atif had been impressed by Shahid's performance against Holland and Litjens in a side match which the Dutch played on their tour to Pakistan just before the World Cup. So to the surprise of almost everyone, Shahid was put against Holland in the semi-final.

And the teenager justified by letting only one goal off half a dozen penalty corners. But the moment that is still etched on everyone's memory, who saw that, is Shahid's acrobatic save off a penalty stroke taken by Kruise -- who was playing the fifth of his record six World Cups - early in the sixth minute.

This single act of heroism by one of the youngest players in that World Cup, in front of 40,000 people spurred the whole Pakistan team and there was no looking back. Waves after wave of Pakistani attacks ensued, mostly orchestrated by left-in Hanif, and the Dutch were very lucky in the end to lose only by 2-4.

Pakistan's vintage attacking display had now made everyone agree, pundits and ordinary fans alike, that the World Cup was flying back to Pakistan and the final was a mere formality. But the Pakistani contingent was in for a shock. A person no less than the president of the FIH, Rene Frank remarked that the traditional sub-continental style based on five forwards had become out-dated.

Pakistan answered Rene Frank in the field in the final and in no uncertain terms.

With India not making the knock-out phase, the local crowds had become great supporters of Pakistan seeing them as the torch bearers of the sub-continental style of play and the majority of the 40,000 plus crowd in the final was backing Pakistan. The simplest way to summarise the final: one way traffic.

For almost all the time, the Pakistanis retained the possession. Still it was Germany who went ahead as early as the sixth minute through a goal by Dopp resulting from a misunderstanding between full back Manzoorul Hasan and goal keeper Shahid.

Thereafter, Pakistan put up relentless aggression.

It was only a matter of time before Hasan Sardar tapped in the equaliser from a corner in the 25th minute. Hardly a minute passed when Manzoor Jr in a flash of genius scored the finest goal of the knock out rounds. Receiving the ball near the half line, the legendary right in weaved patterns around the German defence and from the right side of the circle his powerful shot found the smallest of the angles past the German goal keeper.

There was no respite for the Germans even after the change of the sides. A Hanif effort was stopped with a foot and Kalimullah capitalised on the resulting penalty stroke.

Pakistan were awarded another penalty stroke and as Kalimullah was walking up to the spot, something unbelievable happened. Succumbing to sustained pressure by the protesting Germans, the French umpire Reanud reversed the decision. However captain Akhtar Rasool took the decision very sportingly. The final score line of 3-1 did scant justice to the absolute domination of the Pakistanis in the most one sided final in the World Cup's history.

Pakistan lifted the cup for the third time and as was the case in the last World Cup triumph they rewrote the record book:

They became the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups. In 1978, they had become the first nation to win the World Cup without losing a single match, in fact winning all of them. This time Pakistan went one better, winning all their matches by a margin of at least two goals. Their tally of 38 goals was an all-time World Cup record. 12 goals against New Zealand: the new highest for a single World Cup match.

Hasan Sardar's total of 11 goals: a World Cup record for a forward. Akhtar Rasool became the only player to have three World Cup winner medals.

At Mumbai, Pakistan pieced together one of the most stunning runs to victory in the history of sports. Their performance was comparable to that of the Brazilian football side of the 1970 World Cup, the American dream team of basketball in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and the Australian cricket team of the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

[email protected]

 

2010 Hockey World Cup

Perspective, aspirations and challenges

By Aamir Bilal

The 12th men's Hockey World Cup starts in New Delhi from February 28th 2010 with South Africa facing Spain in the opener of the two-week extravaganza. Later in the evening, Pakistan face arch-rivals India which may set the mode of the two teams for rest of the tournament. After 1982, this is the second time that India has been trusted by the FIH to hold the coveted event. In spite of a gradual decent in the performance and the serious security concerns, the World Cup in India brings along a good omen for Pakistan who won their third world cup title in Mumbai in 1982.

The Hockey World Cup was first conceived by Air Marshal Nur Khan and the trophy was designed by Bashir Moojid which was handed over to FIH president Rene Frank by the Pakistani Ambassador to Belgium in March 1971. The 11,560g trophy consists of a silver cup with an intricate floral design, surmounted by a globe of the world in silver and gold, placed on a high blade base inlaid with ivory. At its peak is a model hockey stick and ball.

Pakistan's last appearance on the World Cup victory stand was in 1994 when Pakistan defeated the Netherlands in a penalty shootout to lift the crown. Since the last ten years, Pakistan hockey has witnessed a steady decline in its standards due to various reasons. Conciliation came to game lovers in the country when Pakistan defeated India in the finals of recently concluded SAF games, reviving hopes that we may witness the resurgence of field hockey in Pakistan in the next few years.

Pakistan has produced some of the best field hockey players in the world. Dara, Hammidi, Khalid Mehmood, Attif, Shahnaz, Shahbaz, Samiullah, Rasheed Junior, Hanif Khan, Hassan Sardar, Akhtar Rasul, Tahir Zaman and Islah-ud-Din will always be remembered as the greats of hockey. However the introduction of Astroturf, brought structural changes in the rules, approach, strategy and philosophy of the game with more focus to skilled execution of fundamental techniques fuelled by intelligence and physical prowess that includes muscular strength, good balance, aerobic endurance, flexibility, exceptional hand-eye coordination and ballistic movement.

In the 2010 World Cup, Pakistan is in group B along with India, South Africa, England, Spain and 2006 World Cup runners-up Australia. As per FIH ranking Pakistan is at number seven in the world with 1498 points where as England with 1535 points is at number six, Spain with 1790 points is at number three and Australia is seeded at number two with 1993 points in the world. India and South Africa the other two teams of the group, are not amongst the top ten FIH ranking teams of the world.

Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan is fancying his chances against India, South Africa, Spain and England in the order of priority to make it to the semifinals. Shahid admits that his boys are slow starters and the match schedule doesn't allow any complacency. Unfortunately a lot of pre-tournament calculations are going on "ifs" and "buts" of beating the opponents which is not a sign of a well prepared and confident side.

In spite of the change in playing surface Pakistan's hockey philosophy is still embedded in "grass" where wingers play a vital role in scheming the attacks. The introduction of artificial surface and change of rules has added new dimensions to the game of hockey which is no more an eleven-man game.

The outcome of matches now largely depends on how ball possession is maintained during the seventy minutes, the cohesiveness of defence to defy counter-attacks, penetration of forwards from the shortest routes, blocking of dangerous players and spaces, ball-tackling, correct and timely distribution of the ball, explosiveness of the forwards, execution of the finish, availing opportunities on deflections, minimum mistakes by the deep defence and the correct use of bench strength by the coach.

I personally think that our chances against Spain and England in pool matches will largely depend on how well and intelligently Shahid uses his reserve players according to the conceived and rehearsed strategies as per the law of diminishing minutes in modern-day hockey.

Pakistan enjoys a huge advantage in the field of penalty corner. Sohail is the undisputed master of the craft. Pakistan's forward line has the services of some of the best players like Rehan Butt, Zeeshan Ashraf and Shakeel Abbasi who will be tightly marked by the opponents.

With a weak deep defence, the singular strategy of creating chances for penalty-corners by the forwards is likely to backfire. Pakistan's forward line up must focus on exploiting all possible chances to score field goals and also avail penalty-corners in the process. The role of Faiz-ur-Rehman (Physiotherapist) and Nadeem Khan (Video Analyst) would be vital.

The Prime Minister has given the necessary support by announcing five hundred million grants to develop hockey in the country. The ten million rupee award for SAF games hockey winners should also serve as a good incentive and base of motivation for the team. It is now up to the players and the support staff to put in their hundred percent, stay focussed and bring good news for the nation from the neighboring country.

Hockey fans in Pakistan will be glued to their TV sets for next two weeks to find out who lifts the coveted crown of world champions. Pakistan hockey would have to put up an extraordinary performance to defend their goal post. Defence will hold the key in the final outcome of the tournament. Will Pakistan's defence be able to guard the hardwork of their penetrating forwards and hold on to the white hockey ball for the seventy grueling minutes? Will they be able to rise above the age-old grass hockey philosophy of stick work and wingers attack and be able to create short passes with explosive short inside moves to the opponents goal, ending in smooth finish, would be answered in the 12th Men's World Hockey Cup, that kicks off in style today in style at Dhayan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

Aamir Bilal is a qualified coach [email protected]

 

Can Afridi solve Pakistan's captaincy dilemma?

By Dr Nauman Niaz

Since October 1996, Shahid Afridi has been an enigma; a world-record breaking batsman, a gritty right arm leg-spinner, a spectacular fielder, a horse for different courses, and a cricketer bringing essence of coveted eccentricity to cricket, exuding relentless charm and often falling foul of the spirit of the game, and also preoccupying uncertainty.

A bash boy, an aggressor, unthinking and thinking, erratic and dependable, orthodox and unorthodox, Afridi has been like linguistic complexities -- what are you to make of a language where to 'show up missing' is to be absent and to 'include me out' is non-participation and where a statesman could be described as 'lousy with greatness' -- it seemed Afridi played English cricket in America's baseball style. His presence in the Pakistan team hasn't been without an identity, but as an important landmass.

His has been an attitude, arrogance but more than that it was self-belief as it was self-delusion. He has been an ideal that has been embedded in the psyche of youthful, over exuberant Pakistanis. For the orthodox and people holding Neville Cardus in high esteem, his cricket has been a hall of mirrors where all the reflections exaggerated but flattering. And Pakistan's paucity of resources has often coerced the management to ignore his misdemeanours; and they had to sing varied carols, the unwillingness of the heart, an enormous abstract, something sacrosanct with vitality and variety of situational compulsions.

He has had skirmishes with indiscipline and more seriously 'cheating' like doing a pirouette on the pitch with spikes on or by biting the ball like a dimmed-wit thinking that the twenty-six plus cameras would have blinded or crashed electrically. Is this the type of behavior, let alone his capacity to rejuvenate a disunited team, an ideal visage of a leader? Afridi was an enigma as he started his career and until today, the thirteen years haven't been blessed with a change in his approach; matured as a cricketer, people could argue, abysmally short of the finesse that a stately captain should possess, inarguable.

Afridi could step in as Pakistan's captain in Tests, One-day Internationals and T20 matches, however, his rise to prominence as a potential candidate hasn't entirely been because of his talent, his persona or his presence on the field, there have been evidences where he had been alleged to have triggered disharmony and discontent against the strong-headed Younis Khan. Afridi has also been in the fray, with his arbitrary manipulation and politicking and this could make him vulnerable and easily excitable, over-ambitious and a 'negative influence' on the youthful new aspirants within and outside the team? Is he really a cricketer to be ravished as a role model?

I have toured with the Pakistan team to Sharjah, West Indies, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2000 and to New Zealand in 2001, and Afridi was very much the part, though not predominantly as a responsible cricketer but often playing second fiddle to the star cast including Wasim Akram et al. Charisma he has had, but to me he is a subject about which most people know very little. And his erratic unorthodox batsmanship might well have left the teenagers and unconventional fans frazzled but his great talent, oddly enough, was considered of no practical value. He seldom turned his potential into dexterity. That he managed to survive in spite of scant high-quality performances should have been a definitive revelation to PCB's administration before they even contemplated making him team's captain.

To some critiques, the supposed impracticality of Afridi's underscored talent was reason enough to disregard or denigrate him on the list of successful cricketers and to some his decision not to play in Tests was actually his plan to avoid over-exposure in five-day games. He didn't want to fritter opportunities by the crevices in his technique being highlighted in real battles; he wanted to secure his place on the one-day teams, where he could confidently and belligerently mask his technical frailties and also could stamp himself as a crowd-puller, a blazing superstar.

Afridi by now should know that it's not only his cricketing image and productivity that could elevate him to the captaincy role or management's incapacity, their helplessness with no one eligible to be named as a 'leader' could step him in the fray. Captaincy over a long period or leadership in Tests is often about an appeal that makes a captain when he has to deal with situations highly complex and obscure. That's seemingly too deep for him. The aura surrounding Test match captaincy is in part due to the fact that this subject is almost never fully contemplated and wasn't ever even by people like Douglas Jardine, C.K. Nayudu, T.S. Worthington, Sir Frank Worrell, Mike Brearley, Ian Chappell or an Imran Khan.

Captaincy isn't about field work but the only prerequisite is an inquiring mind. A formidable, highly respected man is required amongst his pupil, having the charisma, the character, self-discipline, an unflinching presence, an impeccable track record and a man with the ability to engage, from time to time in serious discussions with the players, management and administration. Is Afridi fully equipped with all these attributes?

Truth is that Afridi faultered and he has often been vulnerable to such 'indiscreet' acts. He could still be named as captain of Pakistan, ringing bowling changes, igniting a free-spirit, even being able to unite the star-cast with his unquestionable ability to manipulate situations but at the end of the day, with such a rugged and 'controversial' past and with his incessant streaks of unpredictability, he might never become a 'leader'. Here in a situation where player power and other such nemesis stare in anyone captaining Pakistan, he could also stumble and fritter not only his own position in the team but injuring country's future hopes to get back to the successful highways and byways.

Afridi may well be a stop-gap arrangement but the slumbering cricket management in the country needs to wake-up and shake-up before the game gets completely ruined. So there has to be a decision keeping in view Afridi as a man being asked to rebuild, not only the team but its mottled and flecked image. Afridi could be a cricket captain, but he can't be a leader, come what may?

 

Yes he can!

By Ghalib Bajwa

Aggressive and wise captaincy plays the main role in any team's winning ratio. The teams which are led by aggressive and brainy skippers are ruling in their respective sports. Look at the Aussies, South Africans and Sri Lankans. Aggressive and clever captaincy from their skippers has transformed these sides into successful teams of the world. And frankly, Pakistan have been lacking in this area for quite a long time.

These days, Pakistan cricket is facing a captaincy dilemma. During the disastrous tour Down Under, Pakistan used three captains - Mohammad Yousuf, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik. After Afridi's infamous ball-biting incident in the last ODI against Australia and his subsequent two T20 match ban, the PCB management has handed the reins to Malik for the brief England T20 series.

Malik was dumped as captain from all formats in early 2009 due to different controversies and poor results. In the light of the past analysis, other captaincy options - Younis Khan, Muhammad Yousuf and Kamran Akmal have had different problems along with some controversies attached to them.

Yousuf, who captained Pakistan in Tests and ODIs in New Zealand and Australia, is not a part of the Twenty20 squad and Younis has been quite inconsistent with his behaviour both on and off the pitch.

Malik has been given the charge in the absence of regular T20 captain Afridi but on a regular basis, he does not qualify for the top post in light of his past performances.

After the England rubber, Pakistan are to feature in T20 World Cup in May in the Caribbean and PCB top brass is considering different options for the leadership role.

In the given circumstances, Afridi seems to be the best choice. Under him, Pakistan have performed well in T20s and it seems that he is fully capable of guiding the team to victory in Tests and ODIs.

In a strange move recently, the Senate Standing Committee on Sports has called for strict disciplinary action against the star all-rounder for his disgraceful 'ball-biting' act during the fifth and final ODI against Australia at Perth earlier this month. After the ball-biting incident, Afridi duly apologised for his grave mistake.

Even that misdemeanor does not discount his potential as a captain. He possesses Imran Khan-like qualities to control his players. He has demonstrated his skills in the couple of T20s in which he led Pakistan. He has made sensible decisions in crucial stages and seems to be only man who can pull Pakistan cricket out of the vicious circle of poor results.

Our honorable senators must remember that former England skipper Michael Atherton was caught red-handed using dirt on the ball during a Test match against South Africa in 1994 and recently English pacer Stuart Broad was also involved in ball-tampering in a Test against South Africa but they were not banned for such a long period.

Former English left-arm pacer John Kenneth Lever (Third Test at Madras against India in 1976-77), India's Sachin Tendulkar (2nd Test match against South Africa at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth in 2001) and Rahul Dravid (ODI against Zimbabwe in 2004) have also been involved in ball-tampering but none of them was banned beyond one or two matches.

The two-match ban from ICC disciplinary committee and the embarrassment he is going through since the WACA mishap is enough punishment for the competent cricketer. If the illogical five-year ban is imposed on the all-rounder, it would incur great injustice on Pakistan cricket.

Interestingly, four former captains Asif Iqbal, Wasim Akram, Moin Khan and Inzamamul Haq have also expressed their support for Afridi and suggested to PCB to appoint him as the skipper for all three formats.

Besides former skippers, a large number of cricket enthusiasts are also of the view that like Twenty20, the responsibilities of team's leadership in Tests and ODIs should also be handed over to Afridi.

Our team does not lack in talent but lacks in motivation and aggression.

Afridi's whirlwind batting style also should not be a hindrance in his appointment as a regular and authoritative skipper. Pakistan just needs a bold leader who is filled with aggression and is motivated to take Pakistan to victory.

It is worth-mentioning that Afridi, who played key role in Pakistan's Twenty20 World Cup triumph in England last year, has expressed his intention to resume Test cricket if the team needed him in future. The 29-year-old batsman, who had scored 1683 run in 26 Tests at an average of 37.40 and grabbing 45 wickets, has not appeared in any Test match since 2006. His last Test was against England at Manchester.

Afridi's match-winning potential is there for all to see. Besides his resolute approach, Afridi has been a true cricketing all-rounder. He can contribute in either of the three departments in a cricket match. The statistics of the past decade show that Afridi has won several matches with his bowling, batting and fielding. He is also considered among the best fielders in the world cricketing circles.

[email protected]

 

The record-breaking run machine

By Khurram Mahmood

Little master Sachin Tendulkar re-wrote the record books during the second One-day International against South Africa in Gwalior on Wednesday to become the first batsman in the four-decade history of the format to score 200 runs.

The previous record of 194 runs was shared by Zimbabwean Charles Coventry (against Bangladesh in 2009) and Pakistan's Saeed Anwar (against India in 1997).

There can be few more exciting sights in cricket than watching Sachin Tendulkar batting at his best and, whenever he does, it gets the spectators to their feet. Tendulkar is setting almost impossible targets for the other batsmen. He has reached a stage that others can only dream of. The only major record is still left for Sachin is Brian Lara's highest Test score of 400.

In modern-day cricket, Tendulkar has achieved almost all landmarks of the game. He has scored most Test runs, is the highest scorer in One-day Internationals, and has the most centuries in Tests and ODIs.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, 37, made his One-day international debut against Pakistan in December 1989. In his first appearance, he was dismissed for a second-ball duck off the bowling of Waqar Younis. Twenty years later, however, he is regarded as one of the all-time greats of the game.

So far, he has played 442 One-day International matches; scoring 17,598 runs at a magnificent average of 45.12, at a strike rate of 86.26 per innings.

Tendulkar has scored 46 centuries in the one-day format besides going past the half-century mark on 93 occasions. He is the first batsmen to have scored 50 or more internationals hundreds. Overall Tendulkar has 93 hundreds in International cricket that include 47 in Test matches.

Interestingly, he failed to score his first century until his 79th One-day International. After that, he has never looked back.

In the near future, no batsman can break his records. Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jasayauriya with 13,428 ODI runs is the second highest run-getter in shorter version of the game. Australian skipper Ricky Ponting is second with 29 ODI hundreds; far behind Sachin's 46.

Tendulkar also has the record of most runs (1,796) in the World Cup at an staggering average of 59.87 including four hundreds and 13 half-centuries. His best score in the World Cup is 152 not out was against Namibia in 2003.

Sachin Tendulkar, with his 12,773 runs in Test cricket is also the highest run-getter in longer version of the game as well.

"No record is unbreakable. Records are made to be broken and I would like to see an Indian breaking this record," Tendulkar said after his historic innings on Wednesday.

Tendulkar is ranked second in both the all-time Test and one-day lists prepared by Wisden; behind Australia's Don Bradman and West Indies' Viv Richards, respectively.

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The legal 'rules of management' of PCB

By Malik Arshed Gilani p.s.n.

After being bored with the asinine excuses that have been made by the last many heads of Pakistan cricket, I felt it would be worth telling the readers the facts about the existing legal 'Rules of Management' of the PCB. I say legal 'Rules of Management' because as per the laws of our country, an ad-hoc body that started this drama could only have been instituted for a maximum period of one year. By law, such a body could only be constituted to execute a specific task.

When General Pervez Musharraf appointed Lt General Tauquir Zia as the chairman of the board, if the requirement to define its task was fulfilled, the world was not told about it. In any case, the action could only be valid for one year and thus in effect the Constitution of the BCCP (PCB) which had been legally and with full authority of the general body (the shareholders) turned into articles of association of a registered limited company which still remains in existence. What the PCB Lawyer was instructed to tell the SECP resulting in the withdrawal of the registration is still a mystery.

In any case, it could not have been legal. It bears repetition that no chairman amongst the last four has ever indicated what was wrong with the old legal document. Furthermore either consciously or otherwise, no one has publicly admitted the facts about the Registration with the SECP.

With this background which has been a bit laboured and repetitive let me try and give the main points of the 'Legal Rules' that PCB should govern the operation of the PCB. The constitution of the PCB was written initially written by Justice Cornelius, a very learned and accepted legal authority. It was fully in its final form made into law in 1975.

It in general stated;

l The powers of the Pakistan Cricket Board stem from the General Body.

l The General Body of the Board consists of: The Patron (President of Pakistan), Chairman, Chief Executive and the Treasurer.

l One representative each from all full members; provided that a divisional cricket association or city cricket association which has more than 65 active clubs affiliated to it shall be entitled to have two representatives and to an additional representative for every additional block of active clubs beyond 130 active clubs affiliated to it.

l The Chairman shall be appointed by the Patron; Provided that the Patron may authorise the General Body to appoint the Chairman.

l The Chief Executive shall be appointed by the Patron. The Chief Executive shall devote full time to the affairs of the Board and shall be paid such remuneration as may be determined by the Patron from time to time.

l The Chief Executive well be the Chief Executive and shall be responsible for implementing the Policy of the Board.

l The Treasurer shall be appointed by the Patron; Provided that whenever the Patron deems fit, he may direct the General Body to elect the Treasurer.

l The full membership of the board shall be open to:

1. A divisional cricket association which has not less than seventeen active clubs and has amongst its constituent members at least two district associations having not less than seven active clubs affiliated to each of them.

2. A city cricket association which has not less than sixty five active cricket clubs associated to each of them.

3. A service organisation and a federal institution which has raised five teams.

The working system required that the General Body meeting annually elected a council of twelve members of which six were from the divisional/city cricket associations and six from the institutions/service organisations. This council working with the chairman, chief executive and treasurer managed the Board and was responsible to the General Body.

The President of Pakistan was requested as a mark of respect by the General Body to be the Patron. The principles outlined above were amplified in the full document to ensure that the jobs and responsibilities were specified. I challenge any of the past four pseudo experts who led the PCB and have confused matters almost beyond correction in the last ten years to explain what is wrong with this system. It was based on the active genuine cricket clubs of the entire Country (the base of our cricket) electing their representatives and managing the game in the country to the satisfaction of the General Body. There were checks and balances. The chairman was obviously a figure head and the CEO, the professional who was to manage what was and is a multi-million dollar international business.

It bears clarification that various individuals have stated that the change was necessary because of the change in the domestic cricket structure. Well the first person to promote the change in the 'rules' did so when the old domestic system was in force. Secondly and vitally, why was the domestic structure changed? The old system provided us phenomenal talent, outstanding teams both in the youth class and in the senior structure. The system made the Pakistan team 'the team to beat, and one of the leading teams in the world. Our domestic system was duplicated by England. The world's best players, writers, journalists and commentators were amazed at the quality and quantity of talent that we produced. But lo and behold these ad hoc appointees assisted by weak kneed lily livered cricketers with vested interests proceeded to bring us to our present state.

Please let us remember what a wise man said, "If it works don't mess with it'

In putting the last argument to rest, if the system was changed to a provincial one or whatever, just the chapter concerning that part could have been easily amended and no great legal exercise was needed.

From what most people understand, the changes being proposed are aimed at control by the chairman over cricket and its funds. The individuals who proposed change wanted to be titled chairmen but wanted to be CEO's and were not content to be the non executive chairmen. It appears that they wanted command whilst also holding on to other important jobs. Can one believe that the selected members of the Board were to exceed the elected ones?

In effect an autocratic set of 'rules' was being aimed at but one which would appear to be democratic! Is it any surprise then that the 'rules cannot be finalized?

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