League of trouble
PSL: Will it sink or swim?
Unpredictable as ever
Nadal returns amidst changing tennis landscape
The curious case of miscued shots
The sorry state of Pakistan boxing
Delivering the goods
After back-to-back blows that came in the form of PSL’s postponement and the
resignation of its managing director, PCB is trying to create an impression that everything is under control
By Khalid Hussain
If making tall
claims were like making runs then Pakistan’s cricket chiefs would have
been more prolific than Sachin Tendulkar. In the case of the proposed
Pakistan Super League (PSL), our cricket bosses have broken their own
record of making the tallest of claims. And even though the PSL ship is
all but sunk, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) continues to claim that
everything related to the project is hunky dory. After back-to-back
blows that came in the form of the league’s indefinite postponement
and the resignation of its managing director, PCB is trying to create an
impression that everything is under control. It has announced that the
league has been rescheduled and would now be held in a befitting manner
sooner than later.
Are you still kidding
me? I mean, how could the PCB claim that it is very much in control of
the PSL after making a mess out of a project that actually had the
potential of helping the Board’s campaign to revive international
cricket in Pakistan. It also had potential of helping the Board make
much-needed profits. But the trigger-happy PCB chiefs have scored an own
goal by making hasty, ill-timed plans. The PCB leadership was trying to
swim against the tide with its hands tied behind its back.
Though the PCB
continues to claim that it has received overwhelming response from
investors and players, my sources tell me a different story.
The Board claims that
it has roped in dozens of international cricketers for the league. My
sources tell me that barring a few retired or sidelined players, nobody
expressed any substantial interest in the PSL except for several players
from neighbouring Afghanistan — hardly a big catch. My sources tell me
that the hired guns who were making contacts with international players
on PCB’s behalf were targetting West Indian master blaster Chris Gayle
as PSL’s star signing. Gayle was willing to make an appearance but at
a price of one million dollars for the 12-day event and only if it was
held on safer venues in the UAE. Not a single international star
expressed any interest in playing the PSL in Pakistan.
My sources tell me
various other stories related to the PSL as well. But let’s keep that
for some other time.
What’s more relevant
is the future of PSL. I hope that the Board has learnt some lessons from
its mistakes. It has already wasted a lot of time and money on the
project without making any worthwhile progress. By postponing the
league, PCB has given itself much-needed breathing space. But what’s
next for the PSL? Not much would change if the Board continued to make
efforts in an amateurish manner.
It was never an easy
task to plan and launch a full-fledged Twenty20 league in Pakistan at a
time when the country is going through turbulent times. It is quite
obvious that Pakistan’s security situation will remain volatile
considering the American plans to pull out from Afghanistan next year.
The easy way out for
PCB would to be to close the PSL shop and move on to something more
doable. In that case, it would have to take responsibility for the
entire fiasco. Zaka Ashraf, its chairman, has been promising for more
than a year that he would deliver a successful PSL. The Board has
already spent a lot on the planning of the league. It would be held
accountable for the wastage of precious funds at a time when PCB’s
sources of income are pretty limited.
The Board, of course,
can keep on working on its campaign to make PSL happen. But then, it
would need to change its game plan. It would have to take much more
concrete steps to make sure that the league is held in a successful
manner on Pakistani soil. But the question is whether the Board is
capable of doing that?
Khalid Hussain is
Editor Sports of The News,
Chris Gayle (right)...
was targetted as PSL’s star signing
My cell rang
late last Wednesday night. It was Javed Miandad. He was returning a
call. “Sorry my phone was on silent,” he apologized for missing my
call. “I was at Data Darbar which is why I missed it,” said the
former Pakistan captain.
I had called Miandad
soon after it was announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that
Salman Sarwar Butt — the managing director of the so-called Pakistan
Super League (PSL) — has stepped down. It was also announced in a
statement that Miandad has been picked as acting managing director of
“Yes, I was told (by
the PCB) about this additional responsibility this evening,” said
Miandad currently serving as PCB’s director-general. “I have been
given this task temporarily but let me say that this important project
would get my best efforts.”
Miandad reappears on
the gloomy horizon of the PSL at a time when the project is gasping for
air. The project has received a series of lethal blows even before
On February 8, PCB
decided to postpone the much-trumpeted league that was supposed to get
underway on March 26 after claiming that it was forced to reschedule the
event because of an ‘overwhelming’ response from investors and
international players. Last Wednesday, PSL suffered yet another setback
when its managing director — Salman Butt — decided to quit the
The Board tried to
portray Butt’s resignation as no big deal but as a matter of fact
it was a major blow
for a project that seems to be doomed to fail.
But Miandad doesn’t
think so. “I think that we are perfectly capable of staging a
successful Twenty20 league,” he says. “Pakistan is a major
cricket-playing country and it reserves the right to have its own
So what role does the
former captain sees for himself as far as the PSL is concerned.
“Though it’s a
temporary responsibility, I’m ready to give my best to make sure that
the PSL is launched in a successful manner,” he says. “I was the one
who got this project initially (before it was handed over to Salman
Butt) and am confident that this league would be held in a befitting
manner,” he adds.
As a batsman, Miandad
always liked to take his time to settle down before going for the big
shots. When it comes to PSL, he thinks the PCB should adopt a similar
approach. Miandad doesn’t believe that the PSL can be launched
“I don’t see any
reason why we should be in a hurry,” he says. “I think that we
should take our time and do everything necessary before launching the
league. It may take some time but such an approach would help us in
staging it in the best possible manner.”
Miandad is not sure
whether the league can take place in the near future. “We would sit
down soon and look for appropriate slots for our league,” he promises.
He doesn’t think
that Butt’s decision to quit PSL at a crucial time would be a big blow
for the proposed league.
“He (Butt) was
working hard for the successful launch of the PSL,” says Miandad.
“But that doesn’t mean that the league won’t happen if somebody
quits. Everybody (in the PCB) is optimistic about it and I’m sure that
with a team effort, we can deliver the league.”
Javed Miandad... ‘we
can do it’
It’s a very
old saying in the cricketing world that Pakistan are a highly
unpredictable side; they can surprise any side on their day and their
batsmen proved it once again against South Africa in Johannesburg in the
first Test last week.
In the first innings,
Pakistan were bowled out for their lowest ever total of 49.
In the second innings
only skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq showed some resistance, but
their efforts failed to save the match.
But it was not
something that we cannot expect from our batsmen. They failed to handle
the new ball on the grassy track of New Wanderers Stadium.
Dale Steyn with his
lethal fast bowling destroyed Pakistan’s batting and finished the Test
before lunch on the fourth day.
It is our bad luck
that Pakistan domestic structure is not up to the international standard
and has failed to provide quality players who can compete with top
players of the world and cope up with the pressure of crunch situations.
The players who score
record numbers of runs and took wickets regularly in domestic cricket
fail to deliver the goods when chances are provided to them at the
The board and
management are more responsible for this situation than players
themselves. What can a player do when he is not used to the conditions
he faces at the international level, especially on green tracks.
In the domestic
matches, the batsmen face little bounce and movement, so it is too tough
for them to tackle high bounce and greater movement when they play
When they play on the
bouncy tracks in Australia, England or South Africa, they fail
They get out, mostly
behind the stumps or in the slips. In the first Test, AB de Villiers
equalled the record for most catches (11) behind the stumps.
The board never provides the opportunity to domestic players to
play their trophy matches on fast and grassy tracks.
Every country prepares
its pitches according to their own team’s strength, but Pakistan is
most unfortunate in the sense that it doesn’t utilises its strength
according to its cricketing capabilities.
Pakistan has had the
services of the world’s most lethal fast bowlers — Wasim Akram,
Waqar Younis, Mohammad Zahid, Aaqib Javed, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif
and Mohammad Amir in the past and Umar Gul and Junaid Khan at present
— but the PCB hasn’t taken advantage of this.
The management has
never tried fast tracks for home series — neither against Australia,
South Africa and England nor against teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
The fact is that
Pakistan is the only side in the world that doesn’t believe in home
advantage. The defensive attitude of the team management almost always
deprives the team of utilising its resources effectively and
surprising then that there have been numerous calls for the appointment
of a batting coach but so far the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has
refused to listen.
After their team’s
humiliating first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup, India appointed
former South Africa Test opener Gary Kirsten as the chief coach. In four
years, India came so strong that they won the last World Cup.
Inzamam-ul-Haq was appointed for ODI series against India and batsmen
showed maturity there. But for the important tour of South Africa PCB
didn’t retain the former master batsmen.
No doubt Mohammad
Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq and other youngsters are
talented players, but due to lack of proper guidance they are
inconsistent and lose their wickets in crunch situations. To remove
their weaknesses, concrete steps have be taken.
has finally returned to tennis after an eight-month injury layoff at the
VTR Open in Chile last week. Considering the gravity of the Spaniard’s
injury, it would undoubtedly take quite a few tournaments before he
returns to anywhere near his peak form. However, despite struggling with
a colossal injury crisis, it would not be the only thing that would be
on Nadal’s mind as he vies to climb the current tennis pecking order.
For starters the
pecking order itself has undergone a metamorphosis of sorts. Since
Nadal’s absence from the tennis scene, each of the current top three
players — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray — has won a
major each, with the Scott also adding the gold medal to his US Open
trophy. Back in June 2012, men’s tennis was a one-on-one tug-of-war
between Djokovic and Nadal as the top two players back then had shared
previous nine majors between them, and contested the each of the four
major finals preceding Wimbledon 2012. Djokovic had bagelled the 11-time
major winner in 2011 with six final defeats, including three in Grand
Slams, and breaking the Serb’s stranglehold was what he needed to do
to return to the pinnacle of tennis. It was a one-man challenge back
then — albeit one that resembled a brakeless freight train at the time
— and Nadal had managed to erase the Serbian’s phantom in the clay
court season of 2012. However, the challenge for the Spaniard in 2013 is
Federer has returned
to major winning form with his 17th Grand Slam title at SW-19, while
Murray finally threw the procrastinating monkey off his back by becoming
the first British player to win a major since Fred Perry. Before Nadal
can set his sights on outdoing Djokovic he needs to tackle the two
Historically, Nadal is
the bogeyman of both Federer and Murray, with landslide head-to-head
leads of 18-10 and 13-5 respectively against them. And one could argue
that it’s no coincidence that major success for both players in 2012
coincided with Nadal’s absence. Even so, one needs to factor in the
fact that Murray seems to be a completely different player now after
Ivan Lendl joined his camp, while Federer would still be a massive
threat at Wimbledon at least. Not only would Nadal’s injury be crucial
in determining his head-to-heads with these two players henceforth, one
also needs to factor in their respective rejuvenations and how they
could be mentally stronger facing the Spaniard now.
challenge would of course still be Djokovic, on all three surfaces. Even
though one could say that he overcame the psychological barrier that
Djokovic’s seven consecutive victories over him had created last year,
but the Serb is the player that has the repertoire to counter Nadal’s
weapons. With Federer, Nadal has the crosscourt forehand that is the
tormentor in chief, with the Swiss’ single-handed backhand failing to
deal with it. With Murray (of old, if one may add), Nadal normally went
to his forehand, and even though the Scott has considerably improved
that particular shot recently, we are yet to see him deal with the
Spaniard’s vicious topspin with his reincarnated forehand. Djokovic
meanwhile has had the answers to most of Nadal’s question, especially
when the Serb is performing at his peak.
Nadal reached the
final in his first tournament back on the Latin American clay, but
understandably there was hesitation in his game. The backhand — a shot
that works in synchrony with the Spaniard’s confidence — was
significantly tentative, the serve is significantly short of Nadal’s
peak serves back in 2010 and the machinelike depth of strokes is still
not there. However, Nadal’s forehand still looked deadly even in his
first tournament back, and more importantly his movement — for someone
who’s been out of the game for eight months — was pretty decent,
without any excess of inhibition or concern regarding injury
Nadal choosing to play
his first few tournaments back from injury on his favourite surface is
understandable on many fronts. First of all, the clay takes the least
toll on his knees and is the ideal surface for him to get match practice
under his belt as he vies to return to full fitness. Secondly, he is
least likely to suffer early exits from tournaments — a massive
confidence shaker — on clay, as compared to the American hard courts
for instance. Thirdly, and arguably most importantly, the next major
championship is the French Open at Roland Garros, which is Nadal’s
Even though Nadal
would play the two ATP 1000 Masters events in American hard courts at
Miami and Indian Wells next month, what he is really eying is the clay
court season, and most of all: Roland Garros. Nadal knows that if he is
even bordering on his best form he should win in Paris. If that happens,
and he remains injury-free, it would put him in good shape to maybe have
a tilt at Wimbledon and the US Open as well. Not winning at Roland
Garros would be a confidence crusher that might slash question marks
over Nadal ever returning to within the proximity of the top of men’s
It seems criminal to
expect someone to return from an eight-month layoff and win the first
major title on his return. But such has been the domineering stature of
Nadal on clay and in Paris, that his performance and confidence at
Roland Garros lays the benchmark for him for the remainder of the
season. If Nadal wins at Roland Garros it would definitely throw the cat
among the pigeons and would summon another reshuffle in men’s tennis
that has already witnessed a convulsion or two over the past eight
It is said
that the world is full of surprises. And also, as William Cowper said
way back in the 18th century, “God moves in a mysterious way; His
wonders to perform”. Had Cowper been living today he would certainly
have had something to say about the “thinking” and “working”
(although many would challenge me for using these terms in this
context!!) of the PCB and the PSL.
Since the unfortunate
attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers by terrorists in Lahore almost four
years ago no ICC member (full, associate or affiliate) team has visited
Pakistan. That the incident and its aftermath were shabbily handled by
the PCB; and no real efforts have been made since to bring back
international cricket to Pakistan, is another story. We have wooed
Bangladesh without success, and in spite of our goodwill and sincerity
have been let down. We have danced to the tune of India and went on a
tour sandwiched between the Test and the shorter versions played there
by England. The sahibs went home after the first part to celebrate
Christmas, and we readily stepped in to give our neighbours much needed
practice. This is a trip we should not have undertaken as it was India
who owed us visits and we should have been firm for once. The result was
egg on our faces when our hockey heroes were sent packing back on the
heels of our returning cricketers who had committed the “mistake” of
defeating the hosts convincingly in the ODI series.
Pakistan, we believe,
did not benefit even by a brass farthing and it seems no gratitude
either if you take into account the repercussions of that trip. The tour
was a roaring success financially for the already rich BCCI.
“concessions” so graciously granted by our neighbours in connection
with visas to our citizens were also hastily withdrawn. So much for our
good intentions and desire to restore some semblance of normalcy in our
sports particularly cricket.
We were further repaid
by the shabby treatment meted out to our girls who were touring India
for the ICC Women’s World Cup. Shifting matches from Bombay to Orissa
should not have been acceptable and even after that accommodating our
girls in the stadium rather than a hotel like the other teams was
nothing short of shameful.
We should have pulled
out if the ICC were powerless to shift the tournament from India. The
argument that this treatment did not affect the performance of our team
Since 2009 Pakistan
has played cricket all over the world except at home. Statisticians
inform us that over 175 international matches have been played abroad
and “at home”. A rough count is 35 Tests, equal number of T20s and
75 ODIs on a bilateral basis. Those played for ICC/ACC events — World
Cup, Champions Trophy, ICC World Twenty20 and Asia Cups are separate.
“Home” being Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. We have played Tests,
ODIs and T20s against every Test playing country, as well as toured
Ireland. With even Bangladesh acting difficult and going back on their
commitments, it is difficult to see the other big guns visiting us
particularly as we so readily agree to “host” them in the lavish lap
of luxury in the UAE.
It has now become
routine for us to be proactive and offer off shore venues for our
“home” series. In fact it is convenient for all except of course the
ardent Pakistani fans of cricket. It appears that they are also now
becoming resigned to their fate. The convenience is apparent. These
“home” tours are free of any hassles for the authorities. Everything
is outsourced from the printing and sale of tickets, accreditation,
security, to the accommodation and travel of both the teams and the
officials. Whether we spend a fortune going down this lane is another
question. PCB has enough in their coffers. After all they got their
share of hosting fee for the World Cup without lifting a finger or
spending any money after the friendly ICC had cancelled our rights to be
In all fairness the
current Chairman has done all in his power to put matters on the right
path. But remember that he is still surrounded by advisors and
executives of the old establishment. There are hardly any new or
competent faces in the management. The Board is grossly overstaffed and
the Gaddafi where the headquarters are overstuffed with even Media Boxes
and Broadcast Boxes being used as offices. What the PCB desperately
needs is to carry out a thorough “Greenfield” exercise to determine
the required strength of the organisation. I am sure with the class of
management and expertise available to them the PCB has proper
Organisation Tree, Job descriptions, Reporting Relationships, Key Tasks
and Annual Appraisal System.
The PSL is one example
of how not to go about doing projects of this importance, significance
and magnitude. From the beginning it was shrouded in mystery. Almost
seemed a cloak and dagger exercise. “Sorry we just cannot reveal this
at this moment...” was the usual reply to every genuine query. It was
suspected that the League was planning to get the UAE venues to bail
them out. This news may have leaked out, besides the unwillingness of
the foreign players from travelling to Pakistan, which led to the
postponement. Having high profile managers on your pay roll does not
mean that they will deliver every time. Getting the assistance and
advice of the former CEO of ICC was not the most brilliant of ideas...
the rest as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet “is silence.” We do not
have to jump on the bandwagon. We should think, plan and implement
judiciously. The entire cricketing world is now brimming with Leagues
— Premier, Super, Bashes, Dashes what not; let them be; more power to
them cut your coat according to your cloth. Do not stop your players
from earning a few dollars from them — pulling out our players from
the BPL was, with utmost respect, in bad taste and did not help our
cause. We should have been gracious and large hearted.
The time is not far
when we may have freelance League players — not committed to any
domestic events. What then? Wither Boards? Wither ICC? That the Managing
Director of the PSL has stepped down is not surprising; what is baffling
is why he joined in the first place. An experienced executive like him
should have read the writing on the wall.
Now has come the news
— yet to be officially confirmed — that PCB’s constitution has
been implemented and the Chairman will be elected. However the current
Chairman will carry on till October 2015. What this means and what the
ICC has to say on this (they had a deadline of June 2013 for
“democratic” Boards) we will wait and see. It will only become clear
once the details are available.
Meanwhile, by the time
this piece appears, if it does, the Newlands Test will be in progress or
may have ended. Pakistan can only perform better. They can and will
players... were sent back home
cricket team... was treated shabbily in India
There was a
time when Pakistan had a say in international boxing, especially at the
Asian level, thanks to the towering personality of the then Pakistan
Boxing Federation (PBF) chief late Professor Anwar Chowdhry, who also
ruled the world boxing governing body (AIBA) for a long time.
After he left the
scene in final days of his life, the responsibility of serving the sport
came on the young shoulders of Doda Bhutto and Akram Khan. But their
tenure proved disastrous for Pakistan boxing. A year ago, strong
differences emerged between the two. Both leveled allegations of
corruption and human smuggling against each other. The differences
between Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB)
also helped in widening the gulf between Doda and Akram.
Doda and company on
December 20, 2012, claimed to have conducted PBF elections which were
endorsed by the POA. But Akram group claimed that no elections had been
held as there was a stay order against election by a court in Islamabad.
AIBA took notice of
the matter and advised the PBF to attend a meeting in Lausanne through a
letter it issued to Doda Bhutto on January 4, 2013. But surprisingly on
February 9, AIBA approved the elections through another letter it
addressed to Doda Bhutto without holding any such meeting.
As a result of the
AIBA approval, legally Doda once again will serve as PBF chief, while
Iqbal Hussain, former vice-president of the PBF, will act as secretary.
But the real position
would become clear only after the tussle between the POA and the PSB
came to an end.
It would be extremely
difficult for the new PBF set up to run the boxing affairs without the
cooperation of the rival group because it has most of the technical
people in its fold. The people in power don’t know much about the
Politics in Pakistan
boxing has also hurt a former Pakistani Olympian boxer and Asian
champion Haider Ali, who lives in Birmingham. He had a chat with ‘The
News on Sunday’ during which he spoke without reserve about what is
happening in the country’s boxing.
“You know, I am here
in Birmingham but because I have been a boxer so when I hear something
about the downfall of Pakistan boxing it bleeds my heart,” Haider
He said he had
desperately wanted to see a few Pakistani boxers in the 2012 London
Olympics and support them.
But to his utter
dismay no one qualified. “Pakistan used to send a healthy contingent
of boxers to the Olympics in the past but in the last two Olympics why
did our boxers fail to qualify? I know exactly what is happening in the
PBF and also know there are people who don’t want to see Pakistan’s
boxing flourishing,” said the emotional Haider.
“In the era of Anwar
Chowdhry boxing was developing. We used to get training abroad and take
part in international events regularly which is very important for
He said that those
handling boxing affairs of the country for the last four or five years
did not know much about the game. “We used to train abroad for months
but you know no Pakistani boxer was sent abroad for training for the
2012 London Olympics qualifiers. If a boxer does sparring with a boxer
weaker than him for months at home, he will never improve unless he is
sent abroad for training with quality boxers,” he said. “It bleeds
my heart when I listen about corruption in the PBF as in the past we
never heard such things. Corruption destroys the careers of top boxers.
Those who have done corruption in Pakistan boxing should be severely
punished and sports should be free of politics,” said Haider.
“There is corruption
even in the selection of coaches and I must say that young coaches
should be given chance in order to save the future of the country’s
boxing,” said Haider.
“There is an
abundance of talent in Pakistan but there is no one who could look after
it. I remember Anwar Chowdhry used to weep while giving interviews when
our boxers were maltreated at any forum. He had pain in his heart for
boxing and you know Pakistan had a name, particularly in the continent
in his era. We did not have facilities which the athletes have today but
there was spirit and love for the game and the country. I remember when
we were undergoing training in 2002 in the PSB caching centre in Karachi
there was no electricity, no gas, and in summer we used to sleep on the
roof of the hostel where mosquitoes would bite us. Our meal was prepared
with woods in the nearby bushes but in spite of all these problems we
used to do rigorous training and won a gold, four silver and a bronze in
the Busan Asian Games and I also then lifted the only gold for the
country in the Manchester Commonwealth Games,” Haider reminisced.
“I would say that
union is strength and would suggest to the Pakistan boxing fraternity to
join hands and work for the promotion of boxing. In our age, the
national ranking used to be a tough contest because of the strong pool
of pugilists but today there is no such thing,” Haider pointed out.
“We have served
boxing and I am still ready to serve it. If Pakistan sends its boxers, I
will arrange for them training programmes in both amateur and
professional. My doors are open for those who serve Pakistan boxing,”
Haider Ali, born on
November 12, 1979, in Quetta, had an explosive speed that made him a
constant threat to his rivals. He began boxing at an early age and
became the national champion in 1998. He won gold medals in the Green
Hill International Boxing Tournament in Karachi in 1998 and late Imam
Khomeini International Boxing Tournament in Iran in 1999.
He lifted bronze in
1998 Bangkok Asian Games and won gold in his first appearance in the
1999 Nepal South Asian Games.
He qualified for the
2002 Sydney Olympics by winning gold in the qualifiers in the flyweight.
In 2002, he lifted the coveted title by winning gold in the XXI Asian
Boxing Championship in Malaysia when he defeated Thailand’s boxer in
the final. He was also declared the best boxer of Asia.
India’s Som Bahadur Pun in the final of the Manchester Commonwealth
Games in July-August 2002 to grab first ever gold for Pakistan in the
He was then signed by
England-based promoter Frank Warren. Haider turned pro in 2003 and moved
to east London to start his professional career. According to Haider
four years back he had to abandon his pro career after he broke his ribs
during training for Inter-Continental event. He is still associated with
the game as an organiser and trainer. Haider was given Pride of
Performance award in 2002.
sports goods manufacturing industry is an important source of foreign
exchange earnings for the country. It is based mostly in and around the
city of Sialkot, where it has flourished as a cottage industry with most
of its production undertaken by people who have inherited the profession
from their ancestors.
At the time of
independence, this industry was in infancy with a nominal export of
Rs0.82 million. The government took steps to develop this industry by
providing loans and subsidies to the manufacturers and arrangements were
made to market the manufactured goods.
Since then, the
industry has flourished locally and enjoys very good reputation in the
At present, there are
more than 2000 units — most of them operating on a small scale —
producing goods worth about Rs20 billion per annum. The units operate on
Pakistan produces a
wide range of sports goods and accessories generally following the
British, American and German specifications. The government ensures that
the manufacturers adhere to quality standards.
The Pakistan Standards
Institute, a government agency, has devised specific standards for
different sports goods.
The important items
being produced are tennis rackets, hockey sticks, hockey balls, polo
sticks, cricket bats and balls, footballs and numerous other goods used
in indoor and outdoor games.
goods have recognition the world over mainly because of the care that
goes into their designing, manufacturing and selection of the raw
The basic raw
materials required for the production of sports goods are leather, wood,
glue, nylon guts, rubber and chemicals.
Out of these, leather
and various kinds of wood are abundantly available in Pakistan. The
industry annually utilises material worth Rs8 billion, including
imported raw material.
It is estimated that
more than 75 percent of the total production is exported. The export
demand has acted as the main stimulus for the rapid growth of this
As per the government
statistics, export of sports goods increased from $136 million in
1990-91 to $384 million in 1997-98.
The export market for
sports goods is fairly diversified. More and more countries are being
added to the list of their imports. In 1990-91 there were in all 50
countries importing these good from Pakistan. Thereafter, the list has
continuously expanded so that by 1998, Pakistan exported sports goods to
However, the principal
importing countries are Germany, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Spain,
the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Denmark, Canada, Belgium, Dubai and Chile.
Talking to ‘The News
on Sunday’, Chaudhry Faisal Imtiaz, an export analyst at a local
sports manufacturing facility, said that though growth in exports has
remained steady, it may fall short of expectations this year mainly
because of crippling electricity shortages, which have frequently
disturbed production process.
Problems of the sports
industry are no different from those of other industries though it is
generally considered a less energy-consuming industry.
managing partner at one of the leading producers of cricket
paraphernalia, said crippling power outages that went up to eight hours
a day had directly hurt production process at the industries.
India, Japan, Taiwan
and South Korea are the main competitors of Pakistan. They are supplying
their products at lower prices. While India has an advantage of cheap
labour and raw material, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea have
semi-automotive and mechanised units and are always engaged in
introducing cheap sports goods such as metal rackets.
In order to encourage
the export of sports goods, the government has taken many positive steps
and has offered various incentives. It offers rebates on customs duty,
sales tax and excise duty for export of various goods.
Another incentive is
that import of restricted and tanned raw materials are also allowed on
cash licenses against export of sports goods.
Since the government
has banned child labour, most of the sports manufacturing companies have
now employed handicapped persons to keep their costs low.
Liaqat Ali, a foreman
in local sports industry in Sialkot, said they facilitate handicapped
people. “We have provided staff transport and other facilities. It
will not only help them meet their financial requirements, but also give
them confidence in life.”