Pakistan football: So far so good
PFF's deal with IPLG is definitely a massive step for the betterment of football in Pakistan which will pave the way for our footballers, coaches, administrators and referees to learn the prevailing soccer techniques from well-known teams like
Al-Nasr Club
By Ghalib Mehmood Bajwa
Pakistan, once a big power in hockey, squash and cricket, has been struggling for survival in the above-mentioned games during the last one decade.

Pakistan cricket: Paradoxical combination of Stalinist politics
Majority of the participants of the seminar were those who had earlier benefited from the constitution and now they were being asked to modify it, to make it look better? From the face of it, the variation of verbosity within networks of people only spurs bigotry, genetic bias easy
By Dr Nauman Niaz
In practicing a seemingly paradoxical combination of Stalinist politics and reinforcing failures, the Ministry of Sports is doing no more than following the example of what Dr Nasim Ashraf and his predecessors did during their most turbulent reins. A seminar was held last Saturday in Islamabad to reach negotiated settlements regarding improving the state of cricket in the country and also to change the controversial existing constitution.

Broadcasting rights being undervalued yet again
Just so that rights values can be put into some context, the Indian cricket rights in the past five-year period have grown in multiples to reach over US$900 million. This belies the strangely inexplicable pessimistic approach adopted by the PCB's newly appointed adviser
By Malik Arshed Gilani
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has advertised its television and media rights from 2009 onwards. Information gleaned from the media over the past months on this matter strongly indicates that lightning is about to strike once again in the same place and perish the thought, history is about to repeat itself.


Pakistan football: So far so good

Pakistan, once a big power in hockey, squash and cricket, has been struggling for survival in the above-mentioned games during the last one decade.

The performance of the Pakistan contingent particularly the hockey team in the recent Beijing Olympics is open to all. Sadly Pakistan failed to make their presence felt by not winning a single medal at the Beijing Games and the Pakistan hockey team, who already have been out of the Champions Trophy Tournament, finished a pathetic eighth in the grand event.

In cricket, the Pakistan team have not won a Test series or ODI rubber against top teams of the world since long. They even failed to reach the final of the recently-played six-nation Asia Cup cricket tournament on home grounds.

In such a dismal situation, some good and constructive reports from the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) and its team are not less than a breath of fresh air.

Recently, the Senate's Standing Committee on Sports (Culture, Tourism and Youth Affairs) expressed its satisfaction on the performance of the PFF and the national soccer team. The Senate Committee recommended the removal of PHF president Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) president Tanvir Mehmood Ahmad but showed satisfaction on PFF's football promotional work in the country.

It may be recalled here that the position of Pakistan football was not so satisfactory in 2003 and people used to turn a deaf ear towards it but now football can be seen and felt in every nook and corner of Pakistan.

During 2008, Pakistan's different football teams took part in five international tournaments and bilateral series.

In March, Pakistan played a 1-1 draw series against Nepal at Pokhara. However, the Pakistan team had an edge as far as the number of goals was concerned.

In April, Pakistan fared well in the Second 4-nation AFC Challenge Cup at Chungshan Stadium in Chinese Taipei. Pakistan played three matches with two victories (Chinese Taipei 2-1 and Guam 9-2) and a single loss against Sri Lanka 7-1.

The Under-14 boys' team of Pakistan also played well in the 30 Minutes Format of the AFC U-14 Festival of Football at Tehran's Shahid Bahonar Stadium in May. Pakistan won three matches as against two defeats. However, in the 60 Minutes Format, Pakistan youngsters could not maintain their level of performance.

The Pakistan soccer team is gearing up to complete a historic hat-trick of SAF Games titles next year when Dhaka will stage the 11th South Asian Games. PFF Secretary Lt-Col Ahmed Yar Khan Lodhi while talking to 'The News on Sunday' (TNS) vowed to develop a strong national Under-23 team to give Pakistan a third gold on the trot after triumphs in 2004 and 2006.

The last time Pakistan won the 10th South Asian Games soccer crown at Colombo. "By virtue of that gold medal in the Sri Lankan capital, Pakistan became the most successful nation of South Asian Games' 22-year history with four gold medals, sprinted past India's three golds. Pakistan also won Asian titles in 1989 and 1991," Lodhi elaborated.

The Pakistan soccer team made another big progress when they edged out Singapore to reach the Qualifying Round for Beijing Olympics after 17 years. Pakistan last played an Olympic Qualifying Round in 1991. It may be recalled here that Pakistan withdrew from the Olympic qualifiers in 2000 and for the 2004 Athens Games, the then PFF decided to play their home matches against Syria at Damascus, instead of home grounds.

While explaining PFF's different departments, Col Lodhi informed that now PFF had separate wings for finance, marketing, media and administration just to have round the clock activity. "Now we have leagues in three different groups. The Pakistan Premier Football League is the only league among 35 sports bodies of the country. Even PCB and PHF do not have their leagues which shows how strongly PFF is progressing," he claimed.

The talented players are being given international exposure to raise their confidence. "They are getting handsome amounts through lucrative daily allowances on international assignments and prize money as well," the PFF Secretary General informed.

In another major development, PFF signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia's International Professional Link Group (IPLG), who is also supporting UAE's Al-Nasr FC. "This accord will contribute to a great extent in converting Pakistan's dream of being the region's big soccer power into reality. The joint venture would propel the national soccer body to apply new ideas regarding marketing and media network which would provide a great help in raising the standard of the game in the country," Lodhi expressed his hope.

PFF's deal with IPLG is definitely a massive step for the betterment of football in Pakistan which will pave the way for our footballers, coaches, administrators and referees to learn the prevailing soccer techniques from well-known teams like Al-Nasr Club.

Three years ago, PFF Chief Sayed Faisal Saleh Hayat had signed a similar agreement with Bahrain Football Association (BFA) and General Organisation for Youth and Affairs that provided coaches free of cost to Pakistan.

The credit of hosting qualifying matches of Olympics, World Cup and Asia Cup in Pakistan also goes to PFF's present leadership. The previous chiefs of PFF used to withdraw from hosting such high-profile matches and strangely preferred to play their matches away in order to avoid financial burden.

"During the last two years, Pakistan has played host to formidable outfits -- Oman, UAE and Jordan in 2006 and Singapore, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq in 2007. Pakistan also hosted the eight-nation third AFC President Cup in a splendid way recently," he added.

To a question regarding national women soccer, Lodhi said that once it was a dream to hold women's soccer in Pakistan but that dream turned into reality in 2005 due to some untiring efforts of the present PFF chief.

"The inaugural National Women Championship had eight sides whereas there were as many as 25 teams in the fourth edition of the National Women Championship this year which is a great achievement within a short span of four years," said PFF Secretary.

"The PFF chief elaborated his vision of football in the country from the restructuring of the PFF to development of the game at every level. PFF wants to see the game of soccer being flourished in the country with main emphasis on youth development and women soccer," he further said.

Answering a query Col Lodhi said that the first tenure of Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat from 2003-07 could be called as the golden years of Pakistan football. "After his tremendous work for the cause of Pakistan football, Faisal was re-elected as PFF President for the next tenure 2007-11 unopposed. Faisal Saleh Hayat, who is also an MNA in the sitting Parliament, is already working as Member of AFC Disciplinary Committee. The AFC Executive Committee had designated him until May 31, 2007 and now extended his period until 2011 that speaks of Faisal's administrative credentials.

"Faisal also approved the ambitious PFF Vision 2020 Plan through which Pakistan can earn a berth in the top 15 Asian teams besides earning a ticket to World Cup, Olympics and FIFA age-limit competitions in the next five to seven years," Lodhi continued.

Faisal, the 17th President in PFF's 60-year history, pledged to continue his drive to youth development, women soccer and to professionalise the game in Pakistan.

"We have achieved a lot in the last five years as compared to activities from 1999 to 2003 that showed that we are serious and committed about uplift and welfare of this game in this part of the world," Col Lodhi proudly said.

The PFF chief's revolutionary measures have won praise from different quarters of the sports world. "FIFA President and AFC Chief have sent him letters of appreciation for reviving the dying fortunes of soccer in Pakistan."

"Kuwait's head coach Vladimir Petrovic Pizon and former Iraqi coach Egil Olsen are very much impressed with the growing standard of the game in Pakistan," Lodhi added.

FIFA Officer Mohsen Gilani, Philippines' Cristina Ramos, Member of Committee for Women's Football, Dr Aneesa Al Hitmi, President of Qatar Women's Sports Committee and member of FIFA Women's Committee, also praised the efforts of the PFF boss for the promotion of soccer in Pakistan.

When asked to detail soccer events for Pakistan teams in 2009, Lodhi informed that our national team will launch year 2009 in February with a 4-Nation Tournament at Multan. "In April, the Pakistan side will feature in the AFC Challenge Cup. Our national champions are scheduled to play the AFC President's Cup in May. Pakistan's U-13 team will participate in the AFC U-13 Festival of Football in the same month."

Then Pakistan's U-16 squad is to play the AFC U-16 Championship in October. "The AFC U-19 Championship will be played the following month. And lastly the Pakistan football team will wrap up their calendar year by taking part in the 11th SA Games in December," he concluded.


THe writer is a staff member at 'The News' in Lahore

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In practicing a seemingly paradoxical combination of Stalinist politics and reinforcing failures, the Ministry of Sports is doing no more than following the example of what Dr Nasim Ashraf and his predecessors did during their most turbulent reins. A seminar was held last Saturday in Islamabad to reach negotiated settlements regarding improving the state of cricket in the country and also to change the controversial existing constitution.

Gul Hameed Bhatti, Group Editor Sports of 'The News International' was one of the attendees, his tenth 'seminar' of the career. An attractive speaker and a competent elderly gentleman, Bhatti is a kind not ideally suited for the present environment. He is an idealist, honest to the core and the one who believes in sporting romanticism. His life has been like a spiral constantly believing that one day Pakistan cricket and rest of the sports would drench in gold.

It must have been frustrating for him to attend such seminars, where the hallowed and standard operating procedure is to make sure that you are bled dry or at best given crumbs thinly disguised as caviar. People like Bhatti would go to their graves not convinced that anything good to cricket will ever happen.

The Ministry of Sports ought to revise the titles it gives its panjandrums to reflect their activities. Instead of distorting and disfiguring PCB's set-up why shouldn't our revered Federal Minister for Sports should leave his portfolio and becomes the board's chairman. And Ashraf Khan plainly diminished by his current description as Secretary of Ministry of Sports, could be known, as he so richly deserves to be, as PCB's Chief Executive.

Someone has to stand up expressing concern. Cricket and the PCB are being toyed with. Irate it is, ironic to the extreme that powerful people with their dreadlocks and face paint, more or less have been inviting the heckling by turning out in a contemporary version of blackface. Looked at reasonably, it is possible, the argument runs, to see it as no more than a kind of empirical testing where unsophisticated people like myself, Bhatti or another wonky character Abid Ali Kazi name what they are seeing: Like with other institutions 'tabahi' (complete destruction) of sports in Pakistan. It's silly to look for anthropological explanations that will turn crude behaviour of sporting authorities into something subtly different.

In the recent seminar the Federal Minister for Law advised getting the accounts of the PCB audited by the Auditor General of Pakistan and roughly, as it could be some opinion pieces struggled with the large question: Shafqat Naghmi, the Chief Operating Officer of PCB, explained that the accounts were audited annually by a private firm and that everything was orderly and according to the laid down procedures -- contradictions!

The seminar content seemed like a preference happily specified in classified matrimonial ads and further borne out by the sale of fairness creams. Rhetorically it seemed that Ministry of Sports was terribly interested in saving PCB from being completely derailed.

Interestingly, trillions of committees were previously formulated and there is no republican history of sanctions being imposed or newer ideas and corrective measures being proposed and finally implemented.

Majority of the participants of the seminar were those who had earlier benefited from the constitution and now they were being asked to modify it, to make it look better? From the face of it, the variation of verbosity within networks of people only spurs bigotry, genetic bias easy. Such endeavours are like making the point that prejudice, specially the practice of power-sharing are only a vicious form of discrimination as apartheid or segregation.

A new chairman of the PCB would soon be named and as the days pass a pattern will emerge in the public response to the taunting of cricket's soul by useless seminars and heavy work-load committees. It's the need of the hour that we should denounce such cosmetic surgeries as unacceptable, and newspapers should carry editorials mean culpas. We don't have to swing the public opinion away from denial towards an acknowledgement that there is a problem that is seriously needed to be figured out and preferably named. And the name is hopelessness.

Time has come that we really are serious to develop cricket as a product in a highly sensitized world then we have to exterminate naive and unsophisticated thinking. This assumption makes it possible for us to explain their behaviour away as a kind of unschooled brutishness that is unfortunate and wicked. We have to stop discussing the virtues of one malt whisky over the other, who possibly holiday abroad, whose children certainly go to private schools that teach in English-using one of the many international codes they've learnt in their cosmopolitan lives, the Esperanto of bigotry. Honestly, most of heads of the PCB have had used tools straight out of the crude style guide to insulting the most revered product -- cricket.

Ironically, domestic cricket in Pakistan has often been left to the leftist undergraduates. It's time we have to take steps to get it released from their egotistical tyranny. At times it has been left to typical third world thugs. We need resistance heroes.

Different regimes, some based on fanatical kleptocracy, some working as one-man states have to be removed from representative form of the government. Whenever a chairman retires, resigns or forcibly removed he is tagged as uniquely obnoxious. This leads to some heated arguments about hypocrisy, shored up by familiar accusations of inconsistency and partiality.

There is a talk of financial audits and despite PCB in the last few years presiding over an exodus of its best players and the weakening of the national team to the point where it has less competitive credibility then most of the top sides, an audit of its finances has never revealed serious irregularities. Under political pressures etcetera none has ever been held to account.

It would indeed be interesting to see who agrees to be named as Chairman of a virtually dysfunctional, politically compromised and in the light of an expected audit, very likely corrupt PCB. The government has to work out to financially subsidise such an organisation, a subsidy that, in effect could make the authorities complicit in the violence and national cricket's complete destruction. It shouldn't be a hard decision to make.

The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, said Oscar Wilde. If cricket in Pakistan was feeling a bit faint after paroxysms of misrule then the past few days have only provided a full-on oxygen mask of publicity. Social conditioning tells you to be outraged and appalled but who doesn't secretly enjoy a bit of personal kick? Where my secret enjoyment of cricket's current infamy starts to dissipate is when I start to realise why the mainstream people in the country are so fascinated with the idea of reinvigorating the game in different perspectives.

It is not necessarily because they care about the game but because of a continued obsession about cricket having some aspiration or obligation to a higher calling. It's such tosh. It seems, the government is really serious about rejuvenating cricket in the country, at all levels then they may well need more sand to sink their heads in. We cannot change the past. However, we can learn from it.

Rameez Raja, a former captain expressed that Imran Khan could turn the PCB and cricket around. He didn't, but one could refer to the Imran era, that time of now forlorn memory, when Pakistan was the prime force in world cricket. What has become somewhat blurred in nostalgic recall is the distinction to be made between leading an extraordinary team and being an extraordinary leader of men and organisation.

Now this is not to diminish the quality of Imran's captaincy but simply to assert that as leaders AH Kardar and Air Marshal Nur Khan were peerless. To place on Imran's shoulders such a massive weight is to add unnecessary baggage as he heads off to strengthen his political course and party.

Similarly, best choices at this moment to head the PCB may well be the indomitable Ijaz Butt or a more classy Arif Ali Khan Abbasi, the rightful owner of the title, and they do not need comments to puncture whatever they have contributed and tried to do, but in the current environment it would be like pulling them down a peg or two. It is also tremendously misguided and narrow-minded to tell that these elderly gentlemen could still be pivotal figures in Pakistan's renaissance.

Now we need a relatively young, fully dedicated and committed man with superfluous vigour taking a lot more responsibility within the board. He should have an all-round influence on what happens within that realm. People have been propelling Arif Abbasi's name or promoting Ijaz Butt, but a lot of people don't know what they have to be put up with -- people feel because they are what they are, not what they have been, they are going to wave a magic wand and everything will be fixed. I am afraid this time around it's not going to work that way.

It would still be better if the Ministry of Sports takes its hands off cricket and not make it a product like hockey and let the Patron-in-Chief decide whosoever he thinks is going to work businessman-like and makes cricket administration revolutionary, selling and healing it as a commercial product -- may it be a monk asked to take over the severely depilated game and run it within the scope of his monastery.

With the 2008-09 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) National Twenty20 Cup Cricket Championship having got under way on Saturday, the ambition of the Sialkot Stallions making a hat-trick of title wins appears in some jeopardy. As compared to their successful campaign to retain the trophy early last year in the 2006-07 edition of the competition, they have entered this season's contest with as many as six of their star players missing. The task thus is cut out for the Stallions skipper Shoaib Malik to make a real fight of it.

The Sialkot team won both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 tournaments of the National Twenty20 Cup. Faisalabad Wolves were the inaugural champions in 2004-05 and, led by the brilliant Misbah-ul-Haq -- Pakistan's biggest expert of the twenty20 game internationally, they could very well be on the way to regaining their lost glory.

In a competition, where a whopping prize money purse of nearly 4.5 million rupees is at stake, the Royal Bank of Scotland -- until a few months ago known by its old name of ABN AMRO Bank -- has put aside 2.5 million rupees for the winner of the national title. A cool one million will go to the runners-up, an award that was reserved for the tournament's winners the last time.

A total of Rs 4,395,000 (almost 44 lakh rupees) will be on offer in the main tournament. The other cash prizes, apart from the money going to the winners and runners-up, are Rs 50,000 for the Man of the Match in the final and Rs 30,000 each for the tournament's best batsman, best bowler, best fielder and best wicket-keeper.    

The Man of the Match for every match will receive Rs 25,000. The holders of the titles of most sixes, most boundaries, most wickets, most catches in the semifinals and the final will also get Rs 25,000 each.

Beside this prize money the sponsors will also pay Rs 500 for each six hit by a batsman throughout the tournament.

Karachi Dolphins were the runners-up -- to Faisalabad Wolves -- in the inaugural competition in 2004-05. Sialkot Stallions went on to win the next two tournaments, with the Dolphins being the losing finalists in 2006-07 also. They toppled the Wolves from the top spot in 2005-06.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) could not find a proper slot for the National Twenty20 Cup in the 2007-08 season, and it was initially scheduled to start on January 10, 2008. It was then given a new date of February 9 and eventually put off till the next season.

One more rescheduling was on the card. From the new date of August 1, it was postponed to some day in the month of October. Now, the PCB and the sponsors have decided to hold the national event from October 4 to 8, to complete it within five days, before the Pakistan team proceeds on its tour of Canada where a four-nation Twenty20 series has been planned in the middle of October.

Sialkot Stallions have gone into the 2008-09 tournament with an almost brand-new team. Shoaib Malik, who is also the national team captain, however, is playing his fourth successive National Twenty20 Cup competition. So is left-handed all-rounder Qaiser Abbas who, back in November 2000, appeared in a solitary Test match match for Pakistan.

Mansoor Amjad, a leg-spinning all-rounder, who has been appointed the Stallions vice-captain this season has played in a One-day International and a Twenty20 International for the senior national side apart from two previous Twenty20 national events.

In April earlier this year, the 20-year-old Mansoor bowled Pakistan to a 102-run victory over Bangladesh in their T20 International at National Stadium Karachi taking three wickets for three runs in his only over -- which was the last over of the match too. Earlier, he had grabbed two catches in the field!

Slow left-arm bowler Abdul Rehman missed the 2005-06 tournament, but he will be taking part in his third such competition. Having turned 28 now, Rehman has represented Pakistan in two Test matches and 11 One-day Internationals.

The other players who have played for Sialkot Stallions in a previous National Twenty20 Cup contest before, only once each though, are all-rounder Bilal Hussain, who bowls off-breaks, upper order batsman Faisal Naved, left-arm fast-medium bowler Sarfraz Ahmed and left-handed batsman and right-arm leg-spinner Adeel Malik.

And who are the ones missing from the Sialkot line-up? Players like Imran Nazir, who was their captain in the last two seasons, wicket-keeper Haafiz Khalid Mahmood, fast bowler Mohammad Asif, all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, batsman Shahid Yousuf and fast-medium bowler Tahir Mughal.

While Imran and Naved had their links broken with cricket for and inside Pakistan after having joined the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), Mohammad Asif is still awaiting clearance following his implication in a drugs case. Khalid, Shahid and Tahir have all been reported to have switched over to the ICL ranks too.

This situation finally gives the edge once again to the Faisalabad Wolves, who started off in 2004-05 as the top twenty20 side in national cricket. They have a strong team at this disposal, not having suffered any exodus and the Stallions will find a tough nut to crack in them.

Since the shortest version of limited overs cricket has come into vogue, Pakistan have staged three National Twenty20 Cup tournaments at the domestic level. The first one was held in Lahore in 2004-05, with Faisalabad Wolves becoming the champions defeating Karachi Dolphins in the final.

The next two editions of the Twenty20 Cup were both held in Karachi. Now the competition has gone back to Lahore. As mentioned earlier, the sponsors remain the same, the ABN AMRO Bank having recently undergone a name change and now being called the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The thirteen (13) teams representing the 11 cricketing regions of Pakistan -- both Karachi and Lahore being allowed to field two teams each -- have been divided into four groups for the National Twenty20 Cup. Group A includes four teams in Faisalabad Wolves, Karachi Dolphins, Lahore Eagles and Abbottabad Rhinos.

The other three groups comprise: Group B -- Sialkot Stallions, Hyderabad Hawks and Karachi Zebras. Group C -- Peshawar Panthers, Multan Tigers and Islamabad Leopards. Group D -- Lahore Lions, Rawalpindi Rams and Quetta Bears.   

The semifinals will be held on October 7 while the final will be played on October 8, all at the Gaddafi Stadium.

While cricket matches comprising 20 overs and less, or thereabouts, had been part of the sports perhaps eversince it came into being, 'established' Twenty20 cricket made its debut only as recently as five years ago, in the summer of 2003.

This was England's inaugural Twenty20 tournament, played in June-July of 2003 and won by Surrey. South Africa soon followed suit and introduced the Standard Bank Pro20 Series in April 2004. Sri Lanka became the third team to have its own Twenty-20 Cup at the domestic level in August 2004.

February 17 in the year 2005 saw the first Twenty20 International being played, at Eden Park in Auckland, when Australia defeated hosts New Zealand by 44 runs. Since that date, a total of 68 Twenty20 Internationals have been staged around the world.

The inaugural International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 competition was organised in South Africa in September 2007. India were crowned the first champions, after beating arch-rivals Pakistan by just five runs in the final at Johannesburg.

England hosted the only International 20:20 Club Championship in the summer of 2005, which was won by a team from Pakistan, the Faisalabad Wolves, who were the national champions here in 2004-05.

The first Australian Twenty20 Competition was held in 2005-06, followed by the New Zealand Twenty20 Competition later the same season. The Stanford 20/20 in 2006 was the West Indies' first such event. India's inaugural contest in this category was the Inter State Twenty-20 Tournament in 2006-07. The highly lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) made its debut last season.

A Champions Twenty20 League competition has been arranged to be played in India from December 3 to 10 this year. Eight teams will take part, the winners of the ongoing National Twenty20 Cup in Pakistan to be one of them. The other sides are Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings from India, Western Australia and Victoria from Australia, the Titans and Dolphins from South Africa and Middlesex from England.        

The prize money up for grabs for the tournament is US$6 million, which is five times what the Rajasthan Royals got for winning the IPL earlier this year. The Champions League organisers had earlier announced a prize pool of $5 million but that has now been raised.

Next year the format will be extended to accomodate 12 teams and will take place between September 25 and October 10.

The PCB and sponsors RBS were hoping that all current Pakistan stars would be available for the 2008-09 National Twenty20 Cup. They have all been chosen. Shahid Afridi is the Karachi Dolphins captain and Mohammad Yousuf is leading Lahore Lions while Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq, of course, are at the helm of Faisalabad and Sialkot, respectively.

All eyes will certainly be on the left-arm fast bowler Sohail Tanvir, who plays for Rawalpindi Rams, and was declared bowler of the tournament at the inaugural IPL. Shoaib Akhtar is back with Islamabad Leopards, after it seemed as if he would be debarred from playing as he hasn't paid up the seven million rupees fine slapped on him by the PCB.

Younis Khan has delayed his departure for Australia where he is contracted with South Australia, because he wants to represent Peshawar Panthers in the National Twenty20 Cup and Pakistan in the event in Canada.

Other prominent Pakistan players in the competition are Yasir Arafat of Rawalpindi Rams, Rao Iftikhar of Islamabad Leopards, Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal of Lahore Lions and Umar Gul, who has been named to captain the Peshawar Panthers, as Younis was earlier not available.

In addition, all 13 teams are able to draw upon some of the best emerging talent in the country, the national under-19 players, the successful Pakistan Academy tourists on their just concluded tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya and a large number of young lads trying very hard to make a name for themselves in the time to come.       





Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, Samiullah Niazi, Asad Ali, Khurram Shahzad, Imran Khalid, Asif Hussain, Ammar Mahmood, Usman Arshad, Saadat Munir, Mohammad Salman (wk), Ahmed Hayat, Mohammad Talha, Mohammad Laeeq. Reserves -- Ijaz Ahmed, Asad Zarar, Imran Ahmed, Hamza Zaheer, Hasan Mahmood.



Abdul Rauf (captain), Usman Tariq (vice-captain), Kamran Hussain, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Irshad, Gulraiz Sadaf (wk), Hammad Tariq, Bilal Khilji, Ansar Javed, Azharullah, Zulfiqar Babar, Saeed Anwar, Mohammad Hafeez, Naved Yasin, Rameez Alam. Reserves -- Ahmed Raza, Kashif Naved, Qaiser Shahzad, Imranullah Aslam, Mohammad Zahid.



Naved Ashraf (captain), Yasir Arafat (vice-captain), Sohail Tanvir, Umar Amin, Babar Naeem, Usman Saeed, Fawad Hussain, Zahid Mansoor, Sajid Mahmood (wk), Yasim Murtaza, Mohammad Aamer, Yasir Ali, Mohammad Rameez, Tanzeel-ur-Rehman, Awais Zia. Reserves -- Adnan Mufti, Asad Zahid, Hammad Azam, Mohmmmad Ayaz, Rizwan Akbar.



Shoaib Khan (captain), Nasim Khan, Taimur Ali, Sabir Hussain, Shahzad Tareen (wk), Samiullah Agha, Jalat Khan, Naseer Khan, Arun Lal, Faisal Irfan, Nazar Hussain, Sher Hasan, Sanaullah, Irfan Ismail, Gauhar Faiz. Reserves -- Mohammad Alam, Majid Hussain, Hameedullah Khan, Sanaullah Khan (wk), Aimal Khan.



Ashar Zaidi (captain), Raheel Majeed (vice-captain), Shoaib Akhtar, Rao Iftikhar, Umair Khan, Afaq Rahim, Bazid Khan, Fayyaz Ahmed, Ali Sarfraz, Naeem Anjum (wk), Rauf Akbar, Imad Wasim, Shahzad Azam, Junaid Nadir, Fakhar Hussain. Reserves -- Asadullah Sumari, Aamer Khan, Wasim Abbas, Mir Usman, Umair Mir.



Ali Raza (captain/wk), Suleman Khan, Asif Khan, Usman Malik, Asif Raza, Mohammad Saeed, Mohammad Naved, Junaid Malik, Ahmed Butt, Azhar Ali, Adnan Raza, Ali Haider, Zulqarnain Haider (wk), Shahab Basharat, Ashfaq Ahmed. Reserves -- Kamran Sajid, Khaqan Arsal, Mohammad Shahzad, Azhar Attari, Aamer Sajjad.



Mohammad Yousuf (captain), Salman Butt, Kamran Akmal (wk), Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shahzad, Wahab Riaz, Imran Ali, Junaid Zia, Shahzawaz Malik, Sunny Irshad, Kashif Siddiq, Waqas Ahmed, Aizaz Cheema, Sohail Ahmed, Umar Akmal. Reserves -- Shahbaz Butt, Anwar Hafeez, Rizwan Ahmed jnr, Wasim Khan, Mohammad Khalil.


Adnan Raees (captain), Wajid Ali (vice-captain), Armaghan Elahi, Ghulam Mohammad (wk), Fawad Khan, Usman Khan, Mohammad Kashif, Rashid Mansoor, Riaz Kail, Noor-ul-Amin, Yasir Shah, Azam Khan, Junaid Khan, Khalid Usman, Amjad Waqas. Reserves -- Sajjad Ali, Irfan Khan, Mohammad Naeem, Iftikhar Mahmood, Rahimbaz Khan.



Faisal Athar (captain), Shahid Qambrani, Rizwan Ahmed, Hanif Malik (wk), Aqeel Anjum, Nasrullah Memon, Mir Ali Talpur, Taj Wasan, Khadim Hussain, Farhan Ayub, Pir Zulfiqar, Lal Kumar, Kashif Bhatti, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Awais. Reserves -- Shoaib Laghari, Hanif-ur-Rehman, Mohammad Noor, Sharjeel Khan, Abid Ali.



Umar Gul (captain), Yasir Hameed (vice-captain), Rafatullah Mohmand, Usman Zeb, Younis Khan, Aftab Khan, Wajahatullah Wasti, Akbar Badshah, Jamaluddin, Jannisar Khan, Zohaib Khan, Zulfiqar Jan (wk), Fazl-e-Akbar, Nauman Habib, Aslam Qureshi. Reserves -- Shoaib Khan, Nawaz Ahmed, Mahfooz Sabri, Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Waqar Ahmed.



Shoaib Malik (captain), Mansoor Amjad (vice-captain), Kamran Younis, Naeemuddin, Ali Khan, Qaiser Abbas, Bilal Hussain, Ayub Dogar, Faisal Naved, Shakeel Ansar (wk), Mohammad Ali, Kashif Raza, Sarfraz Ahmed, Adeel Malik, Abdul Rehman. Reserves -- Prince Abbas, Adil Raza, Atiq-ur-Rehman, Ahmed Butt, Farhan Malik.



Shahid Afridi (captain), Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Naumanullah, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Afsar Nawaz, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Faraz Ahmed, Tahir Khan, Sohail Khan, Anwar Ali, Tanvir Ahmed, Malik Aftab, Tariq Haroon. Reserves -- Shaharyar Ghani, Ali Asad, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Haaris Ayaz, Adnan Kaleem.



Faisal Iqbal (captain), Shadab Kabir, Shahzaib Hasan, Asif Zakir, Asim Kamal, Shahzaib Khan, Saeed Bin Nasir, Ahmed Zeeshan (wk), Fahad Khan, Uzair-ul-Haq, Tabish Khan, Abdul Ameer, Azam Hussain, Misbah Khan, Fahad Iqbal. Reserves -- Agha Sabir, Nauman Alvi, Daniyal Ahsan, Rameez Raja, Faraz Ahmed.


The writer is Group Editor Sports of 'The News'

[email protected]

[email protected] 

Broadcasting rights being undervalued yet again

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has advertised its television and media rights from 2009 onwards. Information gleaned from the media over the past months on this matter strongly indicates that lightning is about to strike once again in the same place and perish the thought, history is about to repeat itself.

This fear is highlighted by an article quoting the recently appointed advisor for this purpose who says that "the PCB should earn above US$100 million". The monies that such rights have achieved for other Cricket Boards suggest that our rights are again being seriously under valued.

The PCB's television rights in the nineties were worth some US$10,000 annually. In 1996-97, the PCB was able to negotiate a considerable increase and sell these rights for a minimum guaranteed price of US$1.25 million for a three-year period. The gross sales achieved enabled the PCB to earn a total of US$2.75 million -- that is more than double of the minimum guarantee.

On the completion of three years, the PCB under a new management renegotiated the sale of these rights for the next three years for US$3.5 million. In this period the gross sales achieved enabled the PCB to earn some US$21.0 million -- a very large multiple of the minimum guarantee.

In fairness one must state that cricket rights had increased greatly worldwide. It is worth noting that the Indian Cricket Board's television rights were then valued at some seven times ours which reflected the ratios of our respective populations.

Following the end of this contracted period, the PCB announced a tender for the sale of their television rights for a five-year period on the basis of a minimum guarantee. The PCB had as its adviser Mr Ehsan Mani. The PCB was headed by a military person and a first-class cricketer. Remarkably, the PCB finally sold their rights to a new broadcasting company who, at the time did not even have an annual financial report, for US$42 million. The award was made on the basis of a buyout.

Critically, the terms of the tender were changed privately and the second bidder was not even given the opportunity to provide a bid on the conveniently changed terms. The difference in the two bid amounts over a five-year period was US$8 million. According to the buyout contract the PCB stood to gain nothing above the contracted amount whilst in the other case of minimum guarantee the PCB stood to earn 90% of all earnings above the guaranteed amount.

Keeping in mind the previous track record whereby the minimum guarantee was first doubled and then multiplied nearly seven times, the decision was obviously not in the interest of the PCB. The PCB was advised in writing that even in the worst case scenario, of the Indians not touring Pakistan, the minimum guarantee basis would earn some US$10 million more than the buyout. This letter was not only ignored, but in a show of autocratic arrogance did not even warrant a reply.

It is a matter of provable fact that the rights over this period grossed over US$250 million. The PCB inexplicably gave up the opportunity of earning some US$150 million. One can fairly state that at a minimum this was a case of criminal incompetence.

Recent newspaper reports credit that once again Mr Ehsan Mani has been appointed as the adviser to the PCB for the sale of their future rights. Keeping recorded history in mind, a major cause of concern is that newspaper reports also quote Mani as saying that the previous sale was "a good one" and even more alarmingly stating that "the rights should earn over US$100 million".

From the figures given in the preceding paragraph the alleged remarks are obviously totally misleading. The facts suggest that whilst justifying a questionable appointment the alleged remarks are like the proverbial 'jharoo' trying to sweep damaging historical facts under the carpet. Just so that rights values can be put into some context, the Indian cricket rights in the past five-year period have grown in multiples to reach over US$900 million.

The earnings of other Cricket Boards around the world have also at least doubled in the same period in keeping with increased advertising costs. All this belies the strangely inexplicable pessimistic approach adopted by the newly appointed adviser.

It is a matter of remarkable coincidence that the PCB has recently signed an agreement for some future cricket events with a private company that is operated by some of the same individuals who were heading the broadcasting organisation that acquired the PCB cricket rights for the last five years.

This only warrants mention, as one would like to hope that as Pakistan apparently becomes the very first member of the ICC to lend credibility to this new company, and importantly as there is no real credible method of ensuring fairness and transparency and in these cynical times, also protecting the reputations of all concerned, that PCB has ensured that it will contractually profit from the upside of this venture.

Can we learn from our history and ensure that lightning does not once again strike the television earnings of our Cricket Board? That is the question!



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