Europe took off from where South America left!
By Umaid Wasim
Last week, the FIFA World Cup finally came to climax. Spain were crowned world champions for the first time in their history after Andres Iniesta popped up with the winning goal four minutes from time -- a goal that was dedicated to the late Dani Jarque. And what a fitting tribute it was!
Jarque, who died last year, was Iniesta's teammate in the Spanish under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-21 teams. And just as Iniesta scored what was to be the World Cup clincher past Dutch goalkeeper Markus Steklenberg, he removed his blue Spain shirt to reveal a white T-shirt bearing the message: "Dani Jarque: always with us".

Re-living the 2010 African dream
By Nabeel Hashmi
Thanks to Andres Iniesta's strike, European champions Spain became conquerors of the World, capturing their first ever World Cup by defeating Netherlands 1-0 in the final at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.
Spain became the only European side to win the World Cup outside their continent and only the second team, after West Germany in 1970 to win the European championship and the World Cup successively.

My World Cup experience!
By Abdul Ahad Farshori
The FIFA World Cup is easily the biggest sporting event in the world. And being a sports journalist there can't be more workload than during this quadrennial spectacle no matter even if you are working in Pakistan. But even then, you have to find time to watch the matches -- whichever you can while doing your routine job in the office.

Pakistan cricket:
Just a matter of billions?
By Dr Nauman Niaz
It is with mingled feelings of admiration and sympathy, both reinforcing each other, that I solicit the privilege of addressing this epistle to Mr Malcolm Speed. If history is nothing but an anthology of the sterling deeds of a gifted few, then surely Speed has carved a niche for himself in the pantheon of cricket. Since cricket ranks next to religion in the bustling, bubbling and bristling world of the sub-continent, his stature becomes all the more sacrosanct in the eyes of the local aficionados. But since, in spite of all our gifts and talents, lofty words and towering deeds, we are all but mere mortals and cannot help but being one from time to time, it seems Speed is also prone to his moments of levity and in one such particular space of weakness he came up with a calumny, nay a sacrilege for which he couldn't atone for adequately unless he renounces all his academic, professional and business accomplishments and swear eternal fealty of the great one, whom he had dared deride as a 'buffoon'.

The Twenty20 version of Test cricket
By Malik Arshed Gilani p.s.n.
The chairman of the PCB is present at Lord's to see his personally chosen and selected Pakistan Team playing the first Twenty20 Test Match that it has been my doubtful privilege to watch. It would seem that the team forgot that the Aussies were playing a normal Test match. The MCC who are sponsoring this test series titled 'The spirit of cricket' should ask the PCB for a rebate. To see my country's team exhibit such an amateur approach to what is real cricket at the home of the game quite rightly amused the likes of Willis and his kind of commentators.

Whose responsibilty is the UDRS?
If the review system is an ICC regulation, why are teams allowed to decide on its usage?
This business of playing home matches away, (does that sound a bit like, say, vegetarian chicken tikka?) doesn't seem to be as bad as some might have imagined early on. Given that Pakistan didn't have the option of playing at home, this seems increasingly like a pretty good alternative. They have enough fans in England, or for that matter in Dubai, to make the matches look like home games, and I'm sure revenues are pretty well protected too. Yes, the kid in Sialkot will not be able to go to a cricket ground to watch his heroes, but in any case he would probably have watched most games on a television set anyway.

 

 

 

Europe took off from where South America left!

By Umaid Wasim

Last week, the FIFA World Cup finally came to climax. Spain were crowned world champions for the first time in their history after Andres Iniesta popped up with the winning goal four minutes from time -- a goal that was dedicated to the late Dani Jarque. And what a fitting tribute it was!

Jarque, who died last year, was Iniesta's teammate in the Spanish under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-21 teams. And just as Iniesta scored what was to be the World Cup clincher past Dutch goalkeeper Markus Steklenberg, he removed his blue Spain shirt to reveal a white T-shirt bearing the message: "Dani Jarque: always with us".

It was a message that reverberated across the planet showing the selflessness of the Barcelona midfielder who dedicated the most important goal of his career to his late teammate.

Iniesta ran tearing down towards the touch-line after the goal, the message glaringly in view of the fans at Johannesburg's scenic Soccer City stadium and to the millions of people watching the final worldwide. The message was loud and clear, "Football connects hearts!"

It was a glorious way to end the month-long gala in South Africa which in itself had given fans of the beautiful game some memorable moments -- moments that captured the imagination of fans of the beautiful game across the world.

As Spain celebrated their victory at the end of the match, one camera turned towards Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder. And the picture depicted an amazingly contrasting emotion. No matter how hard Sneijder tried, he couldn't hold back his tears and for many who saw it, it would remain long in the memory.

The camera clearly captured Sneijder's pupils dilating as his eyes filled with tears before one trickled down his face and he collapsed to the ground in anguish. He had come so close to near immortality. After a fantastic season with Inter Milan that saw him winning the treble of the Italian league, Cup and the UEFA Champions League, he would have been the first player to achieve the feat of winning a fourth trophy. Yet he was so far!

And it were the Spaniards who celebrated into the night from Johannesburg to Madrid.

Paul's prediction had come true. The octopus from the sea-life aquarium in the German city of Oberhausen had become a darling for the world media after predicting all of Germany's matches correctly before picking Spain as the eventual winners.

Germany's fantastic run to the semifinals had seen them win fans worldwide before Paul intervened. If there was a team that dazzled the World Cup then it was Germany. Written off by many before the World Cup, they showed their true pedigree by hammering both England and Argentina on their way to the semis.

Joachim Loew's young team comprising of starlets like Thomas Mueller, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil sparkled at the World Cup -- their style of play leading one commentator to remark that it was "like watching Brazil".

But where were the South Americans? They had only one representative in the last-four and it was Uruguay. Yes Uruguay! Traditional powerhouses Brazil and Argentina had fallen on the wayside in the quarter-finals to Netherlands and Germany respectively.

European domination was loud and clear in the end to a World Cup that after the group stages looked to follow a certain trend in history. No European team had ever won the World Cup outside of their own continent.

Spain's victory, though, has changed all that and the fact that the last two World Cup finals have been all-European affairs -- Italy and France contested for the title in 2006 -- shows that European teams have been better in almost all aspects against their South American counterparts over the last four years.

Barring Uruguay's run to the semis, which of course was courtesy of their striker Luis Suarez whose moment of madness turned into a masterstroke, there was little grit shown by the South American teams.

Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan would live in pain for his entire career after missing the ensuing penalty-kick which denied Ghana a place in the semis and Africa a first-ever appearance in the last-four. They were ever so close in a tournament that saw little from the African teams in the first World Cup to be hosted in the Dark Continent.

Furore over Suarez' act was rife but Uruguay nevertheless deserved their fourth-placed finish and their talismanic striker was a deserving Golden Ball winner. Forlan led the unheralded Uruguayans from the front and his performances had Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson thinking that 'he was one that got away'.

Forlan had a disastrous spell at Old Trafford but ever since leaving the club in 2003, has had a renaissance that has seen him become one of the top strikers around. His award was probably one bright spot for South American football in a World Cup in which their teams performed below expectations.

Brazil and Argentina bowed out of the spectacle in the space of 24 hours. If Brazil coach Dunga was edged out tactically by his Dutch counterpart Bert Van Maarjwik, Argentina gaffer Diego Maradona's naivety was exposed ruthlessly by Loew.

For South America, it was a message that on-field heroes do not always translate their success off it. Dunga and Maradona had both won the World Cup for their respective countries as players -- Dunga in 1994 and Maradona eight years earlier.

Dunga had transformed Brazil into a winning unit since his appointment. Copa America and Confederations Cup titles followed but Brazilian style of play was far from the 'Joga Bonito' style that had brought them so much success over the years.

'Joga Bonito' refers to the beautiful game and as exponents of that, Brazil know how to do it best. Dunga's Brazil, though, were ugly -- far from the exciting Brazilian teams of the past. The free-flowing passing game had gone from their manuals and European teams like Spain and Germany, who had adopted it, were more successful.

Dunga's team was dismantled by the Dutch and Felipe Melo's red card summed up Brazil's apparent disarray.

Argentina, meanwhile, were humiliated by Germany. 4-nil was a scoreline that clearly reflected German dominance. The Germans had brilliantly managed to nullify the threat posed by Lionel Messi and with Maradona's system built around the little maestro, they crumbled.

In the World Cup aftermath, Dunga has left his position; Maradona is unsure.

Dunga's decision not to take Ronaldinho back-fired with devastating effect, while Maradona would be ruing the fact that he did not take Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso to the World Cup.

Apart from the coaching errors that were quite blatant from both South American rivals, the teams too did not show the fighting spirit or the willingness to win the World Cup.

Individual brilliance doesn't count for much in football now. Over recent years, it has become more of a team game. The Kakas and Messis of the game cannot do the 'Ronaldo' now since football has become more competitive and much emphasis is placed on tactics with a lot of work being done behind the scenes.

"South Africa in 2010 is showing us the value of the team as a concept. No individual talent can save you if it does not have the support of a functioning collective unit," wrote columnist Juan Pablo Varsky in Argentine daily La Nacion.

While South America remains the biggest hub for footballing talent, Europe is where that raw talent is nurtured. Incidentally, Messi has never played club football in his homeland. Club stars they may be but when it comes to the national team, the biggest South American players have fallen way short of the mark.

Europe has reaped the rewards of that. Barcelona are driven by Messi and Spain have greatly benefited. Spain's midfield trio of Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta plays alongside Messi at the Catalan club and whilst Messi did not have a similar midfield to support him in the Albiceleste squad, the Spaniards had a certain David Villa doing the 'Messi role'.

For Spain, there was little change; for Messi, though, it was a whole different ball-game. The fact remains that whenever Brazil or Argentina have won the World Cup, they have had a good number of home-based players. For Argentina this time around, there were three; Brazil had just two -- a clear reflection that local leagues in South America are not up to the mark.

The lure of the Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club competition, has subsided. Money has been the major factor.

That may, however, not be the only reason why Europe has managed to put South America in the shade. While Iniesta's gesture showed a fantastic team spirit, Sneijder's tears showed the burning desire to win -- two things that the South Americans failed to show in South Africa.

By Nabeel Hashmi

Thanks to Andres Iniesta's strike, European champions Spain became conquerors of the World, capturing their first ever World Cup by defeating Netherlands 1-0 in the final at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg.

Spain became the only European side to win the World Cup outside their continent and only the second team, after West Germany in 1970 to win the European championship and the World Cup successively.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands completed a hat-trick of losing in the World Cup final, emulating previous Dutch teams of 1974 and 1978.

The final never looked like being decided in normal time. Both teams played a physical game marred by 14 bookings, eight to Dutch and six for Spain. Both sides wasted several wonderful scoring opportunities.

And in extra-time, Dutch defender John Heitinga's sending off along with the introduction of Jesus Navas and Cesc Fabregas proved instrumental as it turned the tide of the game in favour of Spain. Fabregas' perfect through-ball gave Iniesta the chance to clinch a fantastic victory for the Spaniards four minutes from the end of the second-half of extra-time.

FIFA award winners

Surprisingly Uruguay's Diego Forlan was awarded the Golden ball ahead of Spain's David Villa and Xavi and Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder.

Young German star Thomas Mueller was fittingly presented with young player of the tournament award. He also won the golden boot award. Tied at five goals with Sneijder, Forlan and Villa, Mueller's three assists meant that it was he who bagged the honour.

Iker Casillas was named the goalkeeper of the tournament for his fine performance throughout the tournament. Spain received the fair-play award.

Third place play-off and semifinals

Losing semifinalists Germany and Uruguay, went head-to-head for a consolation third place finish. And the Germans came out triumphant in a five goal thriller, edging the tie 3-2.

Earlier in the semifinals, Spain and Netherlands had defeated Germany and Uruguay respectively to progress to the final. Spain edged Germany 1-0 courtesy Carles Puyol's superb headed goal. In an utter show of dominance, Spain kept 70 percent of the possession, brilliantly stifling the aggressive Germans.

In the other semi, Uruguay lost out to Netherlands in an intriguing contest as the men in orange marched into the finals with a 3-2 win.

Paul the Enigma and Shakira's magic

A British-born, two and half years old Octopus called Paul caught the imagination of world by predicting all the spot on winners of the games from pre quarters to the final.

Colombian singing sensation Shakira, spread her own magic with official song of the World Cup 'Waka Waka' which she performed in the opening and closing ceremony of the quadrennial spectacle made its place in heart of millions of football fanatics.

Quarter-finals

The fall of mighty Brazil and Argentina in last eight at the hands of Netherlands and Germany stunned the entire world as all the eyes were on the two bitter South American rivals.

Many expected either the Samba boys or the Albiceleste to win the tournament but it wasn't to be as Netherlands marched on at the expense of Brazil sealing the victory with a 2-1 scoreline with Maradona's side being torn apart by the impressive Germans. Meanwhile Spain won a dramatic encounter against Paraguay 1-0.

Ghana's dream run finally came to end in the quarter final at the hands of Uruguay as they lost out on penalties 4-2 with the game finishing 1-1 in extra-time with the help of heroics from Luis Suarez whose "hand of God 2010 version" who turned from villain to hero for his goal stopping effort and the subsequent red card. Asmoah Gyan missed the penalty on the 120th minute mark which was the last kick of the game.

Knockout stage

The round of sixteen brought an end to Asian hopes as South Korea and Japan were knocked out. Luis Suarez scored a brace to help Uruguay defeat Koreans and Japan lost to Paraguay 5-3 on penalties.

England, disappointed fans as they suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Germany and Portugal lost to eventual winners Spain 1-0 as Cristiano Ronaldo failed weave his magic.

Ghana surprised the United States, edging them 2-1. Meanwhile, Argentina ended the Mexican dream by defeating them 3-1. Further more Brazil cruised past Chile 3-0 and Netherlands came out as winners against Slovakia 2-1.

Best of the Group stages

The unexpected fall of defending champions Italy and France in preliminary stages was biggest shock of the tournament.

Switzerland gave Spain a wake-up call as they defeated the Red Fury 1-0. Rookies New Zealand held Italy to a 1-1 draw before Slovakia struck the final blow to Italian hopes with a 3-2 win.

African teams disappointed as none except Ghana were able to go beyond the first phase with South Africa, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Nigeria fading off in first round. South Africa became the first host nation in history of the World Cup not to qualify for the second round.

Portugal, Argentina and Germany recorded impressive victories against North Korea 7-0, South Korea 4-1, and Australia 4-0 respectively.

 

 

My World Cup experience!

By Abdul Ahad Farshori

The FIFA World Cup is easily the biggest sporting event in the world. And being a sports journalist there can't be more workload than during this quadrennial spectacle no matter even if you are working in Pakistan. But even then, you have to find time to watch the matches -- whichever you can while doing your routine job in the office.

Millions watched the event from their homes or even in the stadiums so did we. And like with most World Cups, not everything was sweet and light and the South African extravaganza had its moments.

The moments become a highlight because of the company you are in. I was, for most of the matches, in the office with my colleagues.

Here are few of the moments that will stick with my personal World Cup memory card.

Demise of the 2006 finalists

Very few considered France as favourites for the World Cup. Yet even fewer would have anticipated the self destruction that Les Blues went through. It, in the end, felt like that we have wasted precious centi-metres in putting up their stories and pictures but the humiliation part was spicy and worth reading.

And to comment on Italy, 2006 champions and undisclosed favourites of a very dear colleague of mine, UW, one word pathetic -- would be it.

You ask why so? They lost to Slovakia for crying out loud.

With their exit loyalties on my office floor shifted towards Argentina -- because of their so-called love affair with football. A love affair that was even shorter than a romantic movie. Come on one guy (Messi) can't get you the trophy. Yes Maradona was there but he was not allowed pass the tactical line. He didn't cross that line and his team failed to cross the goal-line against Germany in the quarter-finals.

Coming to Italy, their self destruction lacked the pyrotechnics of France but they had to learn it the hard way that South Africa was no country for old men. Case in point: 36-year-old defender Fabio Cannavaro.

The goal line dilemma

There is no such thing as bad publicity, may be that is the stance of FIFA against goal-line technology. But when Frank Lampard's shot crossed the goal-line, even I watching the match on a very small TV shouted 'GOAL' although UW said 'na na'.

Replays proved that me, Beckham, Rooney and Lampard were right UW and the line judge were wrong.

In spite of what I wanted, Germany won the match and the paper next day had the headline 'Germans bury England in Bloemfontein'.

Super-rich flops

Oh my God! I so wish that I'd have taken a bet with someone before the World Cup that Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney -- arguably the top three players in the world -- would score one goal combined, I could have had an evil grin on my face for most part of the month-long Cup.

UW's conclusion: the long European club season for the below-par form of these three players.

Although the Dutch master Wesley Sneijder, Spain midfielders Xavi and Iniesta, and Uruguay striker Diego Forlan were the names praised in a small corner office. A reason might be 'heart'.

African Flag

No continent disappointed more with their on field game than Africa not even the flop of Brazil and Argentina, the South-American giants.

And Ghana should be the only one to praised, who'd have made history if they would have made it to the semis. But you can't do much against the 'Hand of God II', at least Asamoah Gyan couldn't.

Putting aside the fact that African nations didn't show any fight on the pitch but would you believe Cameroon failed to garner a single point, Algeria didn't score a single goal, Nigeria failed to progress from what appeared to be one of the easier groups, leading that nation's government to issue a threat -- since rescinded -- to shut down the team for two years.

Vuvuzelas

Every big tournament like the Olympics, the World Cup is bound to leave some lasting memories.

But no one in his wildest of dreams could have thought that vuvuzelas be part of the 2010 World Cup heritage. They say it makes more din when you hear it live and I can understand as it was very annoying even on TV. And then it might be more pleasant than the din that I have to bear from an aforesaid member of our staff, while making pages.

At times I so wish that there be guy playing a vuvuzela around the corner office.

Spain the 2010 World Champions

The support was always there for Spain even though sometimes signs were not there.

I stuck to them from day one. Unlike people I never changed loyalties and when they won it for the first time in eighty years beating three-time finalists Netherlands all I had to say was 'I rest my case'.

And the opposition came up with a remarkable headline, although a day late but we have to mind the time difference, 'Viva La Furia Roja'.

 

Pakistan cricket:

Just a matter of billions?

By Dr Nauman Niaz

It is with mingled feelings of admiration and sympathy, both reinforcing each other, that I solicit the privilege of addressing this epistle to Mr Malcolm Speed. If history is nothing but an anthology of the sterling deeds of a gifted few, then surely Speed has carved a niche for himself in the pantheon of cricket. Since cricket ranks next to religion in the bustling, bubbling and bristling world of the sub-continent, his stature becomes all the more sacrosanct in the eyes of the local aficionados. But since, in spite of all our gifts and talents, lofty words and towering deeds, we are all but mere mortals and cannot help but being one from time to time, it seems Speed is also prone to his moments of levity and in one such particular space of weakness he came up with a calumny, nay a sacrilege for which he couldn't atone for adequately unless he renounces all his academic, professional and business accomplishments and swear eternal fealty of the great one, whom he had dared deride as a 'buffoon'.

If Speed gets served up with a slew of legal notices of defamation from linguists, epistemologists, ordinary people with a modicum of sensibility or 'buffoons' themselves, he shall only have himself to blame. What exactly did thrum his part of the world, when he mustered up enough audacity to speak ill of Ijaz Butt? How did such an obnoxious and parliamentary epithet enter Speed's well groomed and seasoned mind? What happened to his years of education as a barrister, voluminous experience as a businessman and extensive tenure of sports administration when he inveighed against such orotund epitome of inventiveness and ingenuity as Butt in such a crude and uncouth manner? Are the glasses which he dons so suavely, so jaundiced and blinkered as to present to him such topsy turvy views of the world and its celebrated giants? Was he in throes of insanity or was scrounging for his lost marbles when he lousily spilled the beans on our most revered and well-preserved iconic Mr Butt?

For all his gall and derision against Butt, can Speed hope to hold a candle to the worthy and burly Pakistan Cricket Board's chairman by emulating his inimitable deeds and unprecedented accomplishments?

Did Speed ever have the cheek or the authority to arrogate all conceivable powers of decision making to most protoplasmic level to himself? Did he ever have the foresight, insight and gumption to hire and fire left, right and centre without diluting the efficacy of institutional operations? Did he ever even dream of imposing drastic bans on frontline players; to stage a pantomime of an inquiry; to hand down quixotic penalties; only to backtrack as forcefully and vehemently by lifting the same bans, commuting the same penalties and pardoning the same damned players with a single flourish of his whim? Did he ever conceive the novel and ingenious method of engendering discipline and bonhomie among players by banning-unbanning them schizophrenically? By passing around the mantle of captaincy like a hat? By playing merry go round with team officials and board members? Did Speed ever set his team on the path of relentless defeats and unabated humiliation? Did he ever table deficit budgets for his cricketing body? Did the institutions under his tutelage ever plumb the depths of bottomless pits, despair and misrule? Did he ever make the entire cricketing culture of his country run to seed? Did his memory ever ditch him as frequently and embarrassingly as it Butt's ditches him?

The answer to all these pithy and pertinent queries is a big, hollering No? He is no match for the might and calibre of Butt! He would always fear to tread where Butt crashes in. He would always be found wanting where Butt excels; he would always be squeamish enough to tender a resignation where Butt clings onto life rather stoutly. Before the cup of Speed's apparently limited patience spills over and lest he may aim the same barbed shaft of buffoonery at me as well, I would fortify myself with statistical evidence of Butt's prodigal budgetary inventiveness and his invaluable services for the game of cricket in Pakistan.

Butt and his retinue of erudite savants have devised a revolutionary budget which is all set to usher in a new era of unprecedented prosperity and development in the history of Pakistan cricket. Speed should hold his breath as we have delved deep and ferreted out some sparkling pearls of entrepreneurial inventiveness which may defy and insult logic and transparency but surely are good as gold for the endangered future of Pakistan Cricket. The budget entails 40% development while as much as 60% non development part. A glowing example of adroit fiscal and administrative management; Mr. Speed would be left scratching as the vacuous titles of various heads may leave him in a quandary and quite unsure of his financial acumen so painstakingly, but in this case quite uselessly, gleaned through years of toil. Millions have been quietly brushed under the carpet of 'other administrative expenses, 'travelling cost', players' expenses, rather amorphous cricket expenses etc.

Before Speed utter stuff and humbug, let me pose him a few queries to dispel my own amazement? How come legal and professional charges far outscore media, marketing and advertisement costs? How come when so much money is being injected into the womb of our cricket, the product being delivered is stillborn? When billions can be frittered with such frivolity why cannot we modernize and reinvent our entire first class set up and lay the ground work for progress. Speed should know if such a long drawn litany in the honour of Butt is not enough to induce him to review his image of him and to make him eat his words about him; nothing ever will!

 

There are so many ambiguities and virtual frittering of financial resource and it seems there is no one to be held answerable. It is blatant extravagance with shameless justifications. Some of the hallmark allocations as reported and evidenced include the following:

-Staff Cost: Rs 314m

-Security Equipment for the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Gadaffi Stadium and National Stadium Karachi: Rs 25m

-Travelling Cost: Rs 65.9m

-Utilities: Rs 31.4m

-Repair and Maintenance: Rs 25.4m

-Other Administrative Expenses: Rs 33.2m

-Security Cost: Rs 6.4m

-Legal & Professional Charges: Rs 18.4m

-ICC Development Expenses: Rs 147.6m

-Players' Cost: Rs 88.4m

-Team Officials & Selectors Salaries: Rs 34.9m

-Players Development Programme: Rs 41.9m

-Maintenance Expenses: Rs 25.1m

-Grant for Cricket Development: Rs 50.8m

-Legal & Professional Charges: Rs 26.5m

-Media Cost: Rs 12.6m

-Other Cricket Related Expenses: Rs 15.7m

-Marketing Cost: Rs 15m

-National Team Home Tours: Rs 338.5m

-National Team Away Tours: Rs 386.5m

-National Team International tournaments: Rs 115. 7m

-Junior Team International Tours: Rs 15.8 M

-Junior Team Tournaments: Rs 298.1 M

-Cricket Related Expenses: Rs 474.1 M

-Cricket Expenses: Rs 520.5 M

-Contingencies & Chairman Office: Rs 51.5m

-Depreciation & Amortifisation: Rs 113.9m

-PCB Developed Grounds: Rs 35m

-Cricket Academy Multan (ongoing): Rs 29.8m

-NCA Lahore: Rs 2.3m

-Cricket Academy Karachi: Rs 134.9m

-Cricket Stadiums:

a. Gadaffi Stadium Lahore Far End and Pavilion: Rs 19.4m

b. Gari Khuda Baksh: Rs 189.1m

c. NSK: Rs 5.1m

-Curator Development: Rs 15.4

 

The Twenty20 version of Test cricket

By Malik Arshed Gilani p.s.n.

The chairman of the PCB is present at Lord's to see his personally chosen and selected Pakistan Team playing the first Twenty20 Test Match that it has been my doubtful privilege to watch. It would seem that the team forgot that the Aussies were playing a normal Test match. The MCC who are sponsoring this test series titled 'The spirit of cricket' should ask the PCB for a rebate. To see my country's team exhibit such an amateur approach to what is real cricket at the home of the game quite rightly amused the likes of Willis and his kind of commentators.

I hope we will not now have somebody saying that this was due to anti Pakistan sentiments. It left me feeling sad that by all accounts the PCB chairman has brought this upon our team by leaving at least two obvious world class players and a third deserving player back at home for all the wrong reasons.

Even at the cost of criticism from my friends, I state that the experience required by the team for these difficult tours in England demanded that Faisal Iqbal should have been in the squad. This time the player may well be paying for the Javed Miandad connection!

Adding to all the above our chairman appointed a captain who at his best is only a limited over player. His psyche does not lend itself to the long form of the game. The best use the MCC can make of this sponsorship is to use it as a as a promo for Twenty20 Test cricket. I hope our august chairman will get royalties for being the originator of this new form of the game. The spirit of our past heroes who stayed at the crease to fight for their team in past Test matches braving the likes of Holding and company must be turning in their graves.

Pakistan are a great bowling side. It is as good as, if not better, than any in the world. The lads are young and not yet experienced enough to know their strengths. Thus their field placing needs a captain with experience and thought. Shahid Afridi at his best does not have this quality for the long form of the game. This requires patience and knowledge to ensure that the bowler is provided the best field placing that the state of the game demands.

The Australians fought their way to a score that to my mind was fifty runs more than what would have been par for the conditions in the first innings and some seventy-five runs extra in the second innings. This along with unthinking batting has left Pakistan a very difficult record breaking task in their second innings. Let me say that they have started their task well but it is a long hard road and I wish them well. The chairman and his prized manger might make themselves useful and advise the team once again that they are playing a Test match.

It is a matter of great national pride that the great Khan has been invited to join the greats of the game. He joins an illustrious list from Pakistan and deserves every bit of this accolade. It brought 'sunshine' to an otherwise trying day. The well attended Test match following the sell out of the T20's brought to mind once again the reality that the PCB did not execute the best deal with the ECB for these tours.

The chairman and the PCB continue to rain upon all individuals who desire to do their tasked job to the best of their ability. This time the person at the receiving end is Saleem Jaffer, a selector from Karachi. I am not sure what he has done to deserve his step motherly treatment by not getting a new contract. Is it his association with a Board Member who is now out of favour? Or was it his need to speak the truth? If a reporter enquired from him about his input into the selection of the England tour, should he have lied and said that he was involved when by all accounts the Chief Selector made the selection in Sri Lanka to the requirements of the chairman. Needless to add Saleem was in Karachi.

By the time this piece is printed I shall hopefully be in England to witness the first two days of the second Test match at Headingly. Mr Geoffrey Boycott has done me the great honour of getting me invited by the Yorkshire Committee to be their guest along with my brother Dr Javed Gilani who will join me from USA. Yorkshire County is also scheduled to open their new pavilion and I am sure it will be a grand occasion. My reservations are that from what I read in the newspapers there will be a large Pakistan contingent of free loaders, hangers along with the PCB chairman along with his minions. Being some what of a retiring nature one is hoping to keep a low profile for those two days so that unpleasant truths do not need to be aired to spoil ones time on the ground.

malikgilani2002@gmail.com

 

Whose responsibilty is the UDRS?

If the review system is an ICC regulation, why are teams allowed to decide on its usage?

This business of playing home matches away, (does that sound a bit like, say, vegetarian chicken tikka?) doesn't seem to be as bad as some might have imagined early on. Given that Pakistan didn't have the option of playing at home, this seems increasingly like a pretty good alternative. They have enough fans in England, or for that matter in Dubai, to make the matches look like home games, and I'm sure revenues are pretty well protected too. Yes, the kid in Sialkot will not be able to go to a cricket ground to watch his heroes, but in any case he would probably have watched most games on a television set anyway.

I actually believe Pakistan have a couple of other benefits too. For a start, they are free of the pressures of playing international cricket at home, free of the constant scrutiny from those who may not be the best for their cricket. And they probably get friendlier conditions for their bowlers. Pakistan have always produced great swing bowlers; one of the reasons they bowl better in England than in Australia where bounce is the more dominant trait.

And yet this is not a long-term solution for international cricket, given that it will only work for those teams that have sufficient expat populations or enough "home" fans (it would be interesting to know how many of the Pakistan supporters at these games, or for that matter Indian supporters when India tour England next year, hold British passports). Really, that means only India or Pakistan. Sadly, I don't think politicians on either side are too enamoured by the idea at the moment, so we must wait. I think that is also the more pragmatic view, certainly at the moment.

And so, India must play Sri Lanka. Indians don't need a visa to go to Sri Lanka anymore but if they did, the cricketers would probably get multiple-entry visas; they would discover their phone SIM cards work on the next visit, and they wouldn't need to use local currency. And the debate over the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) could just continue after a little break.

To be honest, I'm a little surprised that both countries have to agree on its use in a series. A rule should either be mandatory or not exist at all. If bilateral agreement is essential, then why have the ICC debate over it at all? Teams don't have a choice on whether or not to use the lbw law in a match. The moment the governing body puts it into the rules and regulations, it applies to everyone. So too with the UDRS. If the ICC believes it is needed for cricket to progress, then everyone must toe the line. Alternatively, the cricket world says it is not ready for it and you wait till it is.

At the heart of it all, and this has been the case for years, is the fact that the ICC doesn't want to pay for the diagnosis. And the television networks, already saddled with huge costs, are not too keen to incur another if it doesn't add significantly to viewing pleasure. I suspect new contracts that broadcasters will have to sign with cricket boards will require them to use additional technology, though that won't make it fairer. But whether or not the UDRS becomes mandatory, India's bowlers will still have to generate enough convincing appeals to produce 20 wickets. Currently, if you have a long run-up, you have a decent chance of playing for India. The BCCI today spends more time discussing legal and financial matters, but surely this is something that must be top of its agenda. Having done a remarkable job of weeding out bowlers with suspect actions in first-class cricket, it must now start finding bowlers again. Corporations must have legal and finance departments but first they must have quality products. It is imperative the BCCI and the IPL get over the mess they are in and return to the business of running cricket.

Just as you need a reasonable gender balance to keep the world moving, you need to have a balance between producing bowlers and batsmen to keep winning matches. It is a balance desperately skewed at the moment.

I also think someone needs to have a word with young Cheteshwar Pujara on what you need to do to play for India. He might be a bit confused. --Harsha Bhogle on Cricinfo

 



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