Are you a
Haroon Lorgat’s false imagery?
Sky is the limit for
Pakistan squash is in
an hour of need!
By Dilanka Mannakkara
In Sri Lankan cricketing circles, the focus is very much on Australia’s tour to the emerald island this month. And the Aussies’ first tour to Sri Lanka in seven years is expected to serve up a whole lot of exhilarating stuff with the action starting from August 6 with a Twenty20 game. The tour involves two T20s, five ODIs and three Tests.
Not only that, but it also forces one to look back at the last time the Aussies were here. In 2004, Sri Lanka suffered a 3-0 whitewash in the Test series at the hands of the team that was full of match-winners of the calibre of the marauding Matthew Hayden, the blistering Adam Gilchrist, spin king Shane Warne, the deadly Glenn Mcgrath as well as Justin Langer and Brett Lee.
However, the 3-0 score line does not reflect on how close those games were as the Aussies had to fight back in each game and if it had not been for the defensive attitude of then Sri Lankan captain Hashan Tillakaratne, it could have been a very different story altogether.
In the first Test at Galle, spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan helped Sri Lanka bundle out the Aussies for 220 in the first innings before Tillakaratne Dilshan scored a century as the hosts amassed 381. If the Aussies were under pressure, they showed no signs of it and batted like champions. That coupled with Tillakartane’s poor bowling changes and defensive field-placing allowed the Australians to a massive 512 before Warne and fellow leg-spinner Stuart McGill spun a spin web around the Sri Lankans who were bundled out for a paltry 154 to take a 1-0 lead.
The following Test was an absolute thriller and one of the very best that I have watched in my life. The pendulum kept swinging both ways before the Aussies won by a whisker. The pitch wasn’t perfect, offering some seam movement, but the batting was horrid by the Aussies who opted to bat first. Their 120 all out was their lowest total against Sri Lanka, and their worst overall since they made 104 against Phil Tufnell on a crumbling Oval pitch in 1997.
Sri Lankans were ecstatic when Michael Kasprowicz was bowled by Muralitharan for his 500th Test wicket. Congratulatory banners unfurled at the ground and firecrackers echoed off the green hillsides as the news spread despite the fact that Warne had actually beaten him in the 500-wicket race in Galle.
Sri Lanka’s first innings started off terribly as they were reduced to 132-9 before Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas put on a record 91 for the last wicket.
The Australians, though, fought back once again.
Gilchrist provided a glittering example of straight hitting and put on 200 with Damien Martyn who went on to score a career-best 161 and set Sri Lanka a target of 352 at lunch on the fourth day.
The Sri Lankans did not have high hopes but Sanath Jayasuriya, in probably his best knock at home proved all them wrong with a whirlwind 131 of just 145 to leave the Aussies stunned.
Both teams faced a nervous night and Sri Lanka needed 51 runs while Australia three wickets on the final day. But the Aussies held their nerve to secure a fantastic victory to leave Sri Lanka distraught at another near-miss.
The final Test in Colombo was a high-scoring one which Australia won comfortably.
From that series to the current one, both teams have seen a lot of change. And its the Sri Lankan selection that has given me quite a few shocks.
Sri Lanka have retained 15 players from the side that toured England in their 20-man squad. The man who was named as a specialist vice-captain and who even captained the T20 game in England, Thilina Kandmaby has been rightfully dropped after doing nothing significant with the bat. His replacement, though, has brought in the woefully inconsistent Chamara Kapugedara and Chamara Silva.
Kapugedara, despite his talent has been disastrous with the bat in his 87-match ODI career and the tag “the more he fails the more he plays and the more he plays the more he fails” suits him perfectly.
If the selectors include these two in the final 15 they would not be doing any justice to the two who are short of confidence. I personally would not want to again witness our fans screaming at Silva like they did when he got really bogged down at Premadasa in the World cup game against Pakistan.
Then comes the real shocker: Isuru Udana. This guy was parachuted in to the World T20 squad in 2009 and he has a variety of slower balls but the problem is that although he runs 30 yards to deliver, his stock ball is the slower ball and the batsmen pick him easily. Udana can be nurtured in to a good ODI and T20 bowler if he improves on his line and length and also develops a faster stock ball. The only glimmer of fresh hope in the squad is the very consistent and prolific Sachitra Senanayake who is a crafty off-spinner with subtle varieties. But it is unlikely that this young talent would be given a go as he is in England with the A team.
So you’ve been a loyal and devoted Pakistani cricket fan. You feel you could hold your own in any spirited discussion of the game. But how well do you know Pakistan cricket, really? Are you a mere enthusiast or a true connoisseur? Take this quiz and find out.
1. Four players have appeared in more than a hundred Tests for Pakistan, including Javed Miandad, Inamamul Haq, and Wasim Akram. Who is the fourth?
a. Waqar Younis
b. Imran Khan
c. Saleem Malik
d. Wasim Bari
2. Each of the following batsmen has a career Test average over 40, Except:
a. Hanif Mohammad
b. Saeed Anwar
c. Zaheer Abbas
d. Majid Khan
3. Which Pakistani has scored the highest number of Test double-centuries?
a. Javed Miandad
b. Mohammad Yousuf
c. Inzamamul Haq
d. Zaheer Abbas
4. Shahid Afridi holds the world record for the fastest century in One-day Internationals. How many balls did he take to reach the three-figure mark?
5. Which of the following partnerships for Pakistan is still a world record?
a. 451 for the 4th wicket (Javed Miandad and Mudassar Nazar in 1983)
b. 313 for the 8th wicket (Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq in 1996)
c. 190 for the 9th wicket (Asif Iqbal and Intikhab Alam in 1967)
d. 151 for the 10th wicket (Azhar Mahmood and Mushtaq Ahmed in 1997)
6. Who has played the most ODIs for Pakistan?
a. Shahid Afridi
b. Inzamamul Haq
c. Wasim Akram
d. Saeed Anwar
7. Who has played the most Twenty20 Internationals for Pakistan?
a. Umar Gul
b. Kamran Akmal
c. Abdul Razzaq
d. Shahid Afridi
8. Which Pakistani bowler took a wicket with his very first ball in Test cricket?
a. Intikhab Alam
b. Saqlain Mushtaq
c. Wasim Akram
d. Iqbal Qasim
9. Which player has appeared most often in Tests won by Pakistan?
a. Inzamamul Haq
b. Imran Khan
c. Wasim Akram
d. Javed Miandad
10. Which city hosted the first-ever Test on Pakistani soil?
11. Which player has appeared most often in ODIs won by Pakistan?
a. Wasim Akram
b. Mohammad Yousuf
c. Inzamamul Haq
d. Shahid Afridi
12. Which city hosted the first-ever ODI on Pakistani soil?
13. The highest number of consecutive Test victories by Pakistan is six. Under whose captaincy was this achieved?
a. Imran Khan
b. Javed Miandad
c. Wasim Akram
d. Waqar Younis
14. Who was the first Pakistani to score a century on Test debut?
a. Hanif Mohammad
b. Khalid Ibadullah
c. Javed Miandad
d. Majid Khan
15. Who is the only Pakistani with over a hundred first-class centuries to his name?
a. Zaheer Abbas
b. Mushtaq Mohammad
c. Inzamamul Haq
d. Javed Miandad
16. Which was the first team from outside the subcontinent to visit Pakistan for a Test series?
a. West Indies
d. New Zealand
17. The Pakistan team once went through sixteen consecutive Tests without suffering a single defeat, which is its longest streak without a loss. When was this achieved?
18. Which of the following Pakistanis has scored a century in both innings of the same Test?
a. Mohsin Khan
b. Saeed Anwar
c. Wajahatullah Wasti
d. Mudassar Nazar
19. Who is the only Pakistani to have taken more than 1,500 first-class wickets?
a. Abdul Qadir
b. Intikhab Alam
c. Fazal Mahmood
d. Imran Khan
20. Which Pakistani wicket-keeper holds the world record for most dismissals during a Test innings?
a. Rashid Latif
b. Kamran Akmal
c. Imtiaz Ahmad
d. Wasim Bari
1-c, 2-d, 3-a, 4-b, 5-d, 6-b, 7-d, 8-a, 9-a, 10-d, 11-c, 12-b, 13-d, 14-b, 15-a, 16-d, 17-c, 18-c, 19-b, 20-d.
Scoring: If you get 15-20 correct, consider yourself a connoisseur; 10-15 correct, you’re definitely an enthusiast; 5-9 correct, you’re a casual fan; 0-4 correct, pick another sport to follow.
By Dr. Nauman Niaz
Listening to Haroon Lorgat, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Cricket Council (ICC), helped me establish future priorities of cricket’s regulatory body. Some of them are quite far removed from our previous perceptions. I have identified two problems that endanger our survival: the ‘bribery and match-fixing’ allegations and in couple of cases a painful ‘reality’ and their silent ‘dogmatism’, largely because of ‘conceding’ approach of some of the boards and more prominently the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
As regards the former, we are already at the cutting edge of dealing with the players and the curse of ‘lucrative’ opportunities being provided to them by the power and financial brokers and silently we are accepting the hazards of international cricketers being involved in nefarious activities, it definitely hits the solemnity and integrity of cricket that the individual boards and the ICC had tried to champion since its inception in 1912.
The ICC policy of using their unconditional powers vested in them democratically through vote, to suborn affiliated full members and to divert what ought to be the strength for cricket as a product, most definitely a field of most genuine interest. Overt commercialism and the retrospective failure of the ICC and most of the full member boards to handle the huge influx of money and players’ vulnerability to corruption; I do not know what we can do about it but we cannot disregard it.
The main obstacle to a stable and just international community is ICC’s parallel policies on one end of the stick is the inevitable financial banner of the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and on the other to show a helpful hand to the PCB, whereas with evident intolerance to the buffoonery of people like Mr. Ijaz Butt and clear-cut impertinence to his self-denials; that’s pure reflexivity? This is a harsh-indeed, for me, painful-thing to say, but regrettably I am convinced it is true. The ICC continues to set the agenda for the world in spite of its loss of influence (BCCI predominating the fray and even the PCB refusing to accept the recommendations of their Task Force, even condemning it as a scholarly exercise) and I believe the Sharad Pawar led administration is setting a wrong agenda.
ICC’s agenda is definitely not conniving but might it be slightly displaced and innately wrong; it emphasizes the use of force and ignores global problems whose solution requires, not the recommendations but powerful implementation through international cooperation. The rest of the boards dance to the tunes of the ICC, though their faces are handsomely turned towards the BCCI, and if that continues too long we are in danger of destroying cricket’s civility. Changing their attitude and policies should remain their top priority; they should evolve a method to at least propagate riddance of people like Ijaz Butt, if they are genuinely concerned of the state of Pakistan cricket through vote, instead of diplomatically making mentions in dispatches. Their task becomes more complicated, and that is the source of confusion, it is no longer a question of removing conflicts from cricket’s international space, a more profound rethinking of ICC’s role in world cricket is needed.
It is not enough to revert to the policies benefiting only a handful of boards or with an unaccepted tinge of ‘racism’, the ICC must undergo a change of heart. The change of heart cannot be accomplished merely by making recommendations, time has come that the ICC as a regulatory body should stand up and point directly towards the inefficiencies of the boards, significantly the PCB or the BCCSL and then doing something about it. On the contrary people like Haroon Lorgat are soft on defence, spooked by the angered fist shown to them by the pretentious, self-obsessed and portentous Ijaz Butt, the ICC should take a step forward revealing his misdeeds which are currently kept under wraps.
Lorgat has recently expressed that the international players have started reporting illicit approaches by bookmakers is the result of better education, the awareness that the ICC has created amongst them, as he talked to Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek programme. To him the players had become ‘more conscious’ and he was heartened to reveal that cricket was being played in the ‘right spirit’. He showed complacency, so it seemed however he could have simultaneously being overrating the infallibility of the systems that have recently been evolved; he should have turned back to see that the ICC had to depend hugely on the ‘sting-operation’ carried out by now a ‘damned’ tabloid ‘The News of The World’? What the ICC is going to do of the ‘approaches’ made to the players and how could they provide ‘security’ to the ‘effected’ and what could they do to marginalize the rate of incidences? Are they sure that the white elephant they had created ‘The Anti-Corruption & Security Unit’ and its approximately 171 clauses foolproof to thwart the relentless ‘approaches’ made to the players?
Lorgat was gleaming and cherishing that more players were informing the ICC of the approaches made to them, but what are going to be the methods to resolve and to evaluate possibilities of giving viable solutions? Recommendations to the boards could meet the fate as in case of the PCB first accepting and then out of the slumber standing up to question the validity of the solutions offered to them explain the inefficacy of the International Cricket Council; I feel their act has purely been ‘scholarly’ unless until they create a precedence and show their teeth? I still believe ‘rhetorical exercises’ aren’t going to cleanse the international game, more is required-vibrant, astute and realistic implementation through various boards and if the full members aren’t in line, ICC should evolve powers to force changes through the appointing authorities or by direct imposition of sanctions using their sledgehammer.
I just want Lorgat to review the history of match-fixing and corruption, not only restricted to cricket but encompassing other sports such as the 1919 Chicago White Sox being bribed to throw the World Series, evidently known as the Black Sox Scandal and recounted in book and the movie ‘Eight Men Out’. The 1951, Frank Hogan indictment of the college basket ball players for points shaving, the 1964 British Football Betting Scandal involving three Sheffield Wednesday players, including two England internationals, the 1978 New York Lucchese crime family amongst them Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke facilitating point shaving connected with the mobsters, the 1989 Pete Rose Baseball scandal, the 1994 point shaving scheme organized by campus bookmaker Benny Silman involving players from the Arizona State University, the 1999 Malaysian based betting syndicate caught attempting to install a remote-control device to sabotage the floodlights at FA Premier League team Charlton Athletics’ Ground, the Italian Football Federation condemning eight players for match fixing in October 2000, the 2004 South Africa Football Scandal including nineteen referees and officials, a match commissioner fixing matches and arrests being made, the 2004 Betfair race fixing reported to the City of London Police, the imprisonment of jockey Kieren Fallon, the 2004 UEFA Cup scandal, the 2005 German Football Association alleging Robert Hoyzer for match fixing with him being sentenced to serve two years and five months in prison, the Edilson Pereira de Carvalho (member of the FIFA referee staff) and Paulo Jose Danelon accepting bribes in Brazil, the 2006 Series A Scandal involving AC Milan players, the 2007 NBA scandal involving Tim Donaghy, the referee, the 2006 FIFA World Cup matches between Ghana and Brazil, the Italy-Ukraine quarter-final being fixed by Asian Gambling Syndicates, the story of Russian Mafia associated with fixing the UEFA Cup semi-final etc.
Lorgat should really not be heartened to see more players reporting the ‘approaches’ made to them, it isn’t sufficient to act as a catalyst, ICC needs to be a potent reactant in all reactions? However, the opprobrium being heaped on the ICC could be mitigated of boards like the PCB being becoming irrelevant; that should be a point of real concern?
Pakistan look for ways and means to boost their slim chances of winning a medal in London
By Khalid Hussain
On July 27, Sohail Abbas and a host of Pakistan’s sports stars from the past and present attended a festival at the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi. The spectacle was hosted by BDHC and the British Council to mark the 365-day countdown for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Sohail, who shoulders most of Pakistan’s hopes for a hockey medal in London, had a ball at the festival that had also attracted former stalwarts like Samiullah, Hanif Khan, Qamar Ibrahim and squash legend Jahangir Khan.
But the drag flick ace was fully aware of the fact that he and his teammates were now supposed to get down to serious work, a year before the London Games get underway on July 27, 2012.
On the current form book, Pakistan hockey team has little hopes of winning a medal in London. Winning the Olympic title seems almost out of question, at least at the moment.
Pakistan have won three Olympic titles but currently they lag far behind top teams like world champions Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and even hosts Great Britain.
In recent times, they have even lost against lowly teams like France and Belgium. The Pakistanis have not won a major world event since annexing the World Cup for a record fourth time in 1994 in Sydney.
Odds seem completely stacked against the Pakistanis as they carry on their Olympic homework after a month-long training tour of Europe.
“It’s certainly a very tough task to win an Olympic medal,” Sohail told ‘The News on Sunday’. “Most of the competing teams are really good and to be able to finish among the top-three in London where teams like Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Britain will be going glory with full force we will need to give our very best,” added the seasoned defender, who has never won an Olympic gold during an illustrious career that has seen him score 329 international goals -- the most by any player in hockey’s history.
But Sohail was quick to add that things weren’t all that bad for the Greenshirts, who last won the Olympic gold in 1984 in Los Angeles. “The good thing is that we have managed to regain our Asian Games title which has really boosted out morale and confidence,” said Sohail, who was a part of the team won the Asian Games gold in China last year. The win gave Pakistan their first Asian Games crown in 20 years.
Another factor that provides optimism to Pakistan’s hockey players and officials is that the national team is getting more and more matches against top international teams. Recently, Pakistan locked horns with top teams like Netherlands, Germany and Britain during their training tour of Europe. Before that Pakistan sailed into the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh (Malaysia) before losing to world champions Australia in extra-time.
Later this year, Pakistan will play several matches against the Aussies during a tour Down Under after featuring in the inaugural Champions Trophy in China. They will end an action-packed 2011 by making a comeback in the elite Champions Trophy to be played in New Delhi.
“We have lined up maximum number of matches for our team because that’s going to be really beneficial for the boys as they prepare for major events like the Champions Trophy and Olympic Games,” Asif Bajwa, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary, told TNS. “In the last few years, we seldom got ample chances to play against leading teams and that was really affecting our performance. But that has changed now,” added Bajwa, a former Olympian.
Sohail agrees that playing regularly against the big boys is helping Pakistan’s cause. “When you play close matches against top teams, it adds to your confidence and helps you in improving your game,” he said.
Following the tour of Europe, the role of Pakistan’s aging senior players like Sohail, midfielder Waseem Ahmed and strikers Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi has been questioned with former stalwarts like Shehnaz Shiekh and Samiullah suggesting that Pakistan should show more faith in youngsters.
Their critics are of the view that senior players might not be able to maintain peak fitness in tough tournaments like the Champions Trophy and the Olympic Games, something that they fear will further dent Pakistan’s hopes in the two major assignments.
But Sohail is confident that he and fellow seniors will give their best both in New Delhi and London.
“We are working really hard on our form and fitness,” he said. “We are hungry and motivated and want to win an Olympic medal for Pakistan before saying goodbye to the game. That is why I’m sure that we will be giving our best for the team.”
Sohail is also of the view that any ‘experimentation’ at this point in time could prove counter-prductive for Pakistan. “We will have to rely on the existing pool of 25-30 players because now there isnít much time for experimentation,” he signed off.
Sky is the limit for Amir Khan
By Ijaz Chaudhry
British Pakistani boxer Amir Khan successfully defended his light welter-weight title in style against American boxer Zab Judah last week. Amir dominated the entire five rounds. Judah, a former undisputed world welter-weight champion and the IBF world light welter-weight champions, had no answer to his opponent’s speed, agility and power. Amir Khan is presently the most popular British Asian sports person and the highest profiled boxer in Britain.
And while his story is inspiring, it has a fictional flavour to it.
Born in Bolton to parents of Pakistani origin hailing from Rawalpindi, Amir was a precocious talent and started competitive boxing at the age of 11; winning three ABA (Amateur Boxing Association of England) titles.
In 2003, he stepped into the international circuit and won gold at the Junior Olympics and the very next year he crowned as the world junior light-weight champion.
The 2004 Olympics made him a national hero as he was the only British boxer to qualify. He defied all odds to reach the final where he lost to the Cuban Mario Kindelan. Still, at 17, he became the youngest ever British athlete to win an Olympic medal.
England wanted Amir to remain an amateur as they were eyeing gold for him at the 2008 Olympics. But the professional promoters could not let go of such a talent. The biggest British boxing promoter Frank Warren signed him for a contract worth one million pounds and Amir entered the professional ring.
After his first professional fight in July 2005, Amir continued winning and with that, the quality of the opponents improved.
Having won all of his first 12 bouts in the first two years of his pro career, Amir had his first shot at a meaningful title in July 2007: for the Commonwealth light-weight crown against reigning champion Willie Limond of Scotland.
Although he was knocked down early in the fight, he easily won the title bout in the eighth round and has since successfully defended his Commonwealth title four times.
Meanwhile, Amir had also won the lightly regarded WBO intercontinental title by defeating Danish Martin Kristjansen.
But in his first defence of WBO intercontinental title in September 2009, he suffered the biggest setback of the career. Against Colombian Breidis Prescott in Manchester, Amir was knocked out in the first round for his first loss in 19 pro fights.
That had serious repercussions.
With the fight being his Sky Box Office debut, it was his maiden bout with the new trainer Jorge Rubio and detractors came out with claims that “Amir’s weak chin fully exposed” and that “he has been mostly contesting weak opponents”.
His promoter, Frank Warren immediately sacked Jorge Rubio replacing him with Freddie Roach, widely regarded as world’s finest boxing coach having trained 27 world champions.
And that change paid dividends.
Amir easily defeated Oisin Fagan in the second round to win the vacant WBA international light-weight title before successfully defending it against Mexican Marco Barrera.
That win made everyone believe that Amir was now ready for a shot at the world title.
And it came in July 2009.
Moving up to the light welter-weight division to fight Andreas Kotelnek, Amir won by a unanimous decision to become the WBA World light welter-weight champion at the age of 22.
He then defended it against America’s Salita, a jew, in a bout titled as the ‘battle of faiths’ in his last fight with Frank Warren as his promoter.
Then, at New York’s famous Madison Square Garden, Amir won his first overseas pro-bout against Pauli Malignaggi to keep the belt before winning a classic against Marcos Maidana in Nevada in a bout that was declared the ‘Fight of the Year’ by the boxing writers association of America.
He then beat Northern Irishman McClowsky at the MEN arena in Manchester before the fight with Judah for his fifth defence of the WBC title
The latest victory means that Amir now holds both the WBA and IBF versions of the world light-welter weight title. And now his next target would be to win the other two belts IBF and WBO to unify the weight division.
In boxing, the champion of the highest weight category steals almost all the limelight and mostly the world heavyweight champion had been regarded as the best boxer of a particular era. Sugar Ray Robinson, the world welter-weight champion from 1946-51 and the world middle-weight champion for most of the 50s, made the boxing connoisseurs and officials think otherwise.
His achievements, domination and style prompted the sports writers to coin the term “pound for pound” whereby fighters were compared regardless of weight.
Presently, all the reputed magazines give pound for pound rankings of the professional boxers. Amir is presently rated at 9 and 10 by Boxrec and Sports Illustrated respectively. The number one pound for pound boxer is the Filipino Manny Pacquiao and now the connoisseurs firmly believe that Amir has the capability to win the greatest accolade his sport has to offer: No 1 Pound for Pound.
Pakistan squash is in an hour of need!
By Arshad Shami
When the legendary Hashim Khan won the British Open in the fifties, many in Pakistan were surprised as they had no idea about this game of ball and walls. Hashim’s dominance continued for several years before his cousin Roshan Khan toppled him before his younger brother Azam Khan took over where the two had left.
Squash has been dominated by Pathans from the northern areas of Pakistan for decades. Among the players who performed outstandingly in years to come were Qamar Zaman and Mohibullah before Jahangir Khan took over to rule the world of squash for well over a decade.
His record has not been surpassed and there is hardly any hope that someone will cross the hurdle. Then came the mercurial Jansher Khan, who took the world of squash by surprise and carried the Pakistan flag for another decade before calling it a day. The void left by Jahangir and Jansher, though, is yet to be filled.
We have many prospective stars on the horizon but the major problem is the lack of planning, lack of vision, resolve, determination, and the will to act and produce world class players. Both Jahangir and Jansher have been sidelined and are not being used to prepare young players for future competitions. Young players are struggling to prepare themselves for world tournaments and have performed reasonably well though not up to the optimum level of success.
We can have a fair amount of would-be world beaters but the problem is that the game is managed and organised by the Pakistan Air Force which has its limitations. The Federation has not done enough by engaging former world performers and on Jahangir’s part it was astonishing when he said if players want to learn, they should come to him. Perhaps the best bet would be to offer his services to local associations or the federation who in their part would then organise things.
Gone are the days when people like Air Marshal Nur Khan used to take personal interest in promoting games and sports to engage players in gainful employment in PIA which he was heading.
He created a sports department employing Squash players, cricketers, hockey starts and boxers and then established a world class squash court to honour Jahangir Khan. Several international tournaments were played at this complex on Kashmir Road.
With him gone, the PIA sports wing shrunk and its prowess in games and sports fell apart. Nur Khan and Atif teamed up to give Pakistan two gold medals in hockey at Mexico and Los Angeles.
After Nur Khan, Admiral Iftikhar Sirohey, Commander in chief of Pakistan Navy promoted squash and gave Karachi its second-most beautiful squash complex named after Jahangir Khan and his father Roshan Khan, who worked as a coach at that place. But with him gone, Navy’s interest faded.
The PAF manages the game and at one time it was handled by one of the senior most Air Vice Marshals who took great interest in promoting the game. During this period, several tournaments were staged in Karachi and Peshawar while a glass-walled squash court was built in Lahore. This was a good addition to the facilities but the lack of activity due to political and social environment badly affected the game.
Among women, we have a very promising player Maria Toor Paakay, the current national champion, while amongst men we have Aamir Atlas Khan who recently reached the final of an event in Kuala Lumpur, only to lose it.
The need of the hour is to give the game the needed flip and have a plan which can keep the players motivated. We need dedication, the will to produce and launch players in national and international circuits and provide them with incentives and patronage.
Short of this, we cannot hope to rule the world!