Is PCB chief really doing wonders?
By Dr Nauman Niaz
Pakistan lost to New Zealand in the semifinal of the Champions Trophy. Pakistan has always played by unusual set of laws. We as a nation like to believe in the paranormal, the mystic, often wanting to venture our way to success. That Pakistan lost at the Wanderers was simply the recurrence of a customary prototype of failure. For hors d'oeuvre, on the fateful day, Pakistan had no genuine captain with Younis Khan faltering regularly.

India taking big strides on world sports stage
By Abdul Ahad Farshori
It may not be considered patriotic if you praise a country considered your arch-rival -- in our case India, also our neighbour. Especially in sports, praising opponents is a pill very hard to swallow but one has to give credit where it is due.

The game in Pakistan
By Malik Arshed Gilani
I have to make a confession today about me watching the Pakistan team play any match. It evokes sentiments in me which leave me in an emotional mess. I wonder how many others suffer these feelings. Before I delve into the whys and wherefores I would like to define what I think makes a consistent, winning team. Cricket is a team game. That being said the fact that a lot of the game is played in the mind, a success story is created by more than just the players on the field. Of course the most important and vital part of the team are the eleven on the field but vitally for them to perform at the peak of their capabilities they need the full support and have faith in the top management of their Board followed by the same in their support systems in the dressing rooms.

Biomechanics and its importance in sports
By Aamir Bilal
In 1956, prior to the Summer Olympic Games in Melbourne, Felix Erausquin, a javelin thrower from Spain, experimented with an unconventional way of throwing the javelin. Rather than throwing it over the shoulder with one hand from a run, Erausquin spun around like a hammer thrower and slung the javelin from both hands, which guided the implement.

 

 

Is PCB chief really doing wonders?

 

By Dr Nauman Niaz

Pakistan lost to New Zealand in the semifinal of the Champions Trophy. Pakistan has always played by unusual set of laws. We as a nation like to believe in the paranormal, the mystic, often wanting to venture our way to success. That Pakistan lost at the Wanderers was simply the recurrence of a customary prototype of failure. For hors d'oeuvre, on the fateful day, Pakistan had no genuine captain with Younis Khan faltering regularly.

Having said this, analyzing briefly, I must acknowledge Pakistan's team is still a very gifted congregation of naturally flamboyant players. It is logical, therefore, not to point fingers on them.

That in adverse circumstances, where their board and team management is ham-fisted and impractical, only deeply swallowed-up in an act of surplus pomposity and showiness, a self-contradictory state and apt at making ghostly appearances of people rebutting evidence based write-ups. PCB is in turmoil and Pakistan team is what it has been. The problem is elementary, structural, continual and widespread.

Pakistan's problem is their inconsistency; they have been winning with alarming regularity and also losing crucial matches. Without a doubt, this variation provides understanding the vulnerable to the vibes and ambience and it is not enough to make the team consistent. The crux of the argument is that Pakistan's captain Younis Khan was relying absolutely on individual brilliance and it is definitely perceptible that most Pakistan's famous victories, particularly against quality teams had either been by natural benefits or by the heroic efforts of a few outstanding individuals.

I say that the future of the players and cricket are too important to be left in the hands of people whose only link is privileged access to the cauldrons of power. I find plenty of barbed references to PCB's appellation: The Pakistan Cricket Board- reminds me of times of incompetent governance of the most cherished game in the country.

It's time the Chairman PCB counts his own slips and respectfully quits or otherwise he should listen to the real needs of the sport, because that's where the centre of power will shift, in methodology and swift planning, otherwise we would be as parlous in 2011 as we are today, in a state that we think, because the PCB negates evidence-based criticism and all nothing but truth. They are not ready to listen and they won't in future too.

The development is some way off with hoofs in positions of power that admit and rebut at short notice. But if Mr Butt has the interests of the Pakistani game, he should consider returning to the basics of management before making claims to world-stunning innovations and progress. Only recently, from South Africa, often pretentious Chairman of the PCB presumably backed-up by his 'all know' status promised the nation to bring the World Cup Twenty20 2014 to Pakistan -- he was categorical then he should readily disclaim Bangladesh Cricket Board's refutation: 'According to BCB's media director, Jalal Younis, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has already decided to host the tournament in Bangladesh way back in 2006, so there was no question of hosting the event in Pakistan'.

'The papers to host this tournament was prepared and submitted to the ICC by the BCB.

The papers were scrutinized by the ICC in April 2006 and it was decided by the ICC board members that the 2014 ICC WT20 would be held in Bangladesh,' a local newspaper quoted Younis, as saying.

'The then BCB chief Ali Ashghar Lobi was given the acceptance of the bid and therefore the PCB cannot claim to host for this event,' he added. Nothing more, this is the extreme.

In 1998, the then President of the ICC, Jagmohan Dalmiya, noticing that interest in Test matches was taking a fade, devised a format for World Championship of Test Cricket, with a scale of points for outright wins, first-innings leads and draws, and bonus points for scoring rates. No matter what else thought of him, at least Dalmiya pretended for a moment that the dead hand of politics, the complexities of international scheduling, and delicate diplomatic issues were no barriers to innovation.

Here we have a PCB incessantly try proving to us that their Chairman never blunders and his strategies are prophetic and also Pakistan cricket is in wondrous hands -- we also want that. Mr. Butt should be as shrewd and an innovator such as Mr. Dalmiya or Arif Abbasi or become a Nur Khan. After the World Cup 2011 and Twenty20 2014 misses, the PCB shouldn't try impressing us with their Chairman's panache of negotiability and stop drumming that he has gotten PCB US$ 1.2M or 1.8M or whatever in this context we are as perplexed as the PCB itself. Dalmiya's concept didn't take-off but truth is that the Mr. Butt's Pakistan Cricket Board has failed to deliver.

Pakistan cricket was enlightened when Mr. Arif Abbasi joined Nur Khan. These professionals regarded warily any intrusion into their inner circle. They weren't related to each other and were not like the industrialists seeing square pegs into square holes.

If cricket management is defined and derived properly, it may well still cherish the arrival of left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Aamer and that amazing Umar Akmal, a real enjoyment of watching entertaining cricketers, albeit the two who actually managed to exasperate those in authority. Where then lies salvation of Pakistan cricket? What is needed is a living bond between the top and bottom of the game. The overriding need is to heal the rupture between first class and all other cricket.

Most importantly, PCB has to become a democracy, and ways have to find solutions to rediscover Pakistan's global image. Pakistan team, completely having a different identity and the PCB have to become part of a unitary, representative structure which elects and removes when necessary-all the game's leading officials.

The irony is that, while PCB isn't really trying closing the social gap between the team and is also treading on masking the real happenings and promoting the faces of their top-tier. PCB's management methodology is mostly hypothetical and under-prepared, time has come they discover imaginative plans, ensuring the competitiveness of their main product and they shouldn't bring itself to abandon the albatross entirely.

This PCB regime has been unashamedly professional in their approach negating the facts, attacking in undertones people who want to stand up for truth, defacing the evidence and also operating a kind of government by boredom, in which pretensions and false passions dissolve in the dry atmosphere of rhetorical discussions.

It is now proven with evidence that PCB is black and grey, in cycles inefficient. Their chairman has become a strolling player, a down at mediocrity actor resting between engagements at the decrepit theatres of isolated and self-obsessed minds. Umar Akmal may well have but Mr. Butt hasn't done any wonders.

 

By Abdul Ahad Farshori

It may not be considered patriotic if you praise a country considered your arch-rival -- in our case India, also our neighbour. Especially in sports, praising opponents is a pill very hard to swallow but one has to give credit where it is due.

The fact that we (Pakistanis) were considered to be the sporting powerhouse at least in the subcontinent, but as of last few years our neighbours are taking over the world by storm.

Pundits feel they have got what it takes to become a superpower in sports.

The joy that went through the nation as Saeed Ajmal bowled out Harbhajan Singh, on this 26 September, was, if not more than, equal to the rapture felt with becoming the T20 World Champions. An array of insult messages started humiliating India and making fun of their players -- although we didn't win any match after that in the Trophy and took a semifinal exit from the tournament.

But the win against the arch rivals was a feat maybe more satisfying for the masses then the Trophy itself.

Though we should not underestimate our neighbours and remember that cricket is not the only sport in the World, and even if we think like that, in the bigger scheme of things India is way ahead of us. Sitting third and second in the Test and ODI rankings respectively whereas we are sixth and fifth.

India, once considered sleeping giant who have now been stirred up. Be it any sport, the Indians are taking long strides towards success and are climbing up the ladder very quickly. And undoubtedly their performances on the field have shown their commitment and eagerness to become the world's best.

Cricket has been one sport where India, after a long gap, has finally made inroads and is challenging for the top spot. The world champions in the one-day format of the game way back in 1983, the Indian cricket team have now started threatening the Australian supremacy in all forms of cricket.

Australia, who hold the coveted World Cup trophy alongside the Champions Trophy crown and are the number-1 ranked Test team in the world, have finally seen an opposition who have given them a run for their money.

The major part of the Indian success story started in 2007, when their young team, led by new skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, won the inaugural World Twenty20 title in South Africa.

India were the one who stopped Australia's Test winning streak Down Under. Although the Aussies won the first two Tests of the four-match series in 2008, the Indians finally stopped them from winning a seventeenth consecutive five-day match.

Australia did equal their own record of sixteen straight Test match wins but failed once again to get past that sixteen-match mark. It has to be said that India once again proved to be their nemesis. They were the ones who stopped Australia the last time around as well.

Elsewhere in India, the battle to organise cricket events and attract star players has already reached its climax.

The first edition of the Champions League has already started while the Indian Premier League (IPL) is slated to begin in April.

All the big names from Test playing nations have lined up themselves to play in India.

All this is boosting up the cricketing revenue and interest that is being generated in India. The BCCI, the strongest cricketing board in the world, is getting richer by the day. And it is also making all-out efforts to ensure that its players get all the facilities and become the best in the world. The results coming up are showing that now.

India have truly become a cricketing hub now. The five major sponsors of the ICC, out of six, are Indian companies. The BCCI impact on world cricket is so dominating that people feel the ICC is afraid of taking decisions against them even if the Indian board is supporting a wrong cause.

So much so for cricket making the headlines.

Formula One is one sport that could make a huge impact in this second-most populated country of the world.

Force India a team bankrolled by India tycoon Vijay Maliya is coming of age in the circuits with a Formula One race planned to be hosted by India in 2011 provided the promoters meet the statuary requirements like building an expensive race track.

India, who already have a taste of F1 with home-grown Narain Karthikeyan having raced for team Jordan in 2005 and test drove with Williams over the past two years while Karun Chandhok test drove with Red Bull.

And with India's ever-growing advertising revenues and strong monetary future ahead, the F1 administration says F1's financial future lies in India along side China.

Golf is another sport the Indians are taking up at a rapid pace. With the growth of golf experienced like never before in Asia, India have been the ones who are penciled in to give the game a bigger boost.

With almost six to seven Asian and European tour-sanctioned events to be staged in India from now on, the game of golf has been termed as the second most popular sport in the country after cricket.

Indian tennis has also been on a rise. Star players like Sania Mirza, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have worked extremely hard to put their country's name on the tennis map.

More international tennis events -- both WTA and ATP approved -- are now being organised in India these days and further more events have been promised by the ITF to them if they increase and improve playing facilities. Even the NBA is planning on poening their offices in India.

Furthermore, India -- hosts of 2010 Common Wealth Games -- have also been touted to stage the Olympic Games one day.

With so much discussion of India may host the Olympics it is also important to mention here the performance of our neighbour in the Beijing Games where they won gold in shooting and bronze in men's middleweight boxing and men's freestyle wrestling.

Vijender Kumar, the Indian who lost in the semifinals of the Games is now the top-ranked boxer in his weight category.

All this shows how much progress India have made in recent times. Though they still lack a bit in other global sports such as football and athletics, one feels it is just a matter of time when they'll start ruling the world of sports.

 

 

The game in Pakistan

By Malik Arshed Gilani

I have to make a confession today about me watching the Pakistan team play any match. It evokes sentiments in me which leave me in an emotional mess. I wonder how many others suffer these feelings. Before I delve into the whys and wherefores I would like to define what I think makes a consistent, winning team. Cricket is a team game. That being said the fact that a lot of the game is played in the mind, a success story is created by more than just the players on the field. Of course the most important and vital part of the team are the eleven on the field but vitally for them to perform at the peak of their capabilities they need the full support and have faith in the top management of their Board followed by the same in their support systems in the dressing rooms.

The Manager, the Coach and even the Physiotherapist are equally important. Should these important cogs of the wheel not play their parts the system breaks down. The result is intermittent success depending upon the individual skills of the players added to opponents and situations where they are able to overcome all their handicaps and play as a team to the best of the abilities. This for me defines the Pakistan Team.

So back to why for me watching Pakistan play is like watching a Dracula movie; you keep hiding your eyes in the more scary bits. In spite of being fiercely patriotic and a great admirer of the talent in our players somewhere deep inside me there is a constant battle going on between wanting our team to win and lose at the same time. You may well ask why, and the reply would be that each time the Team wins it gives a blood transfusion to a very ailing management which permits it to limp its way forward and save itself from its due come uppance. We read inane and arrogant remarks from those cogs in the wheel which are in fact a deterrent to progress and which give all knowing people a growing state of frustration. Before the end of any match I switch the television off due to a blinding headache caused by conflicting hopes.

Winning and losing is a part of any game. We can bemoan a dropped catch and blame umpiring as is being done by our returned team. We can blame the Captain for playing while unfit when we admired him for playing in the same sort of condition and winning against India. We will have to suffer the Coach blaming the batting and wait with bated breath for our departing Manager to give his excuses. Meanwhile, others will come up with theories that blame whomsoever they want to settle accounts. Let me add my two bits into this analysis. Apart from my theory about 'bad cogs' which seriously handicaps our Team, it did well to get into the Semis.

I believe we lost that match to a weaker team because of rigidly sticking to a sound plan of starting the innings playing "risk free cricket and keeping wickets in hand". This gave us a reasonable start with both Imran Nazir and Kamran playing soundly. We lost two quick wickets and then Yousuf and Umar Akmal went into a shell for far too long.

A good Captain and Coach who had faith in each other would have taken visible action during this period to require Yousuf as the senior player to change gears. He scored 48 in 74 balls. Hardly match winning inspiring stuff. It put too much pressure on the lower middle order and the final nail in the coffin was that we scored less than a run a ball during the power play. Two hundred and Thirty Two was never going to be enough. Especially, as we had left a world class match winning bowler out of the team.

The silver lining in this cloud is that the powers that be might at last be forced to take stock of the mess in the PCB. We have a domestic system all at sea. Our under-19's has been moved around as if it does not matter and we have a financial state of affairs high lighted by the Draft Audit Report that screams ' foul play'.

Our Chairman has so annoyed a senior member of the ICC hailing from India that its fall out is noticeable. He surprised the world by announcing his intentions to bid for a world event at a time when he has done not a darned thing to encourage other Boards to support the return of International cricket to Pakistan. The reaction of the ICC to the intentions of our chairman was predictable.

Mr. Patron Sir, please save our cricket from these persons and give our very talented players a chance to show the world what they are made off.

 

Biomechanics and its importance in sports

By Aamir Bilal

 

In 1956, prior to the Summer Olympic Games in Melbourne, Felix Erausquin, a javelin thrower from Spain, experimented with an unconventional way of throwing the javelin. Rather than throwing it over the shoulder with one hand from a run, Erausquin spun around like a hammer thrower and slung the javelin from both hands, which guided the implement.

The outstanding results achieved by Erausquin with this technique attracted international attention. The international Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) became so alarmed that they had to declare the technique illegal. However, the ultimate goal of biomechanics i.e. 'to determine what actions may improve performance' was achieved.

In 1968, Dick Fosbury an American from Oregon State University, used a back layout technique to jump 2.24m. The technique became known as the Fosbury Flop. Though no biomechanics researcher developed this technique and Fosbury achieved success in high school, these initiatives of Fosbury and Erausquin led to research in biomechanics which is rooted in the science of kinesiology or the study of human movement.

In 1973, the international society of biomechanics was hence formed. The research in exercise and sport biomechanics increased steadily in the last few decades of 20th century and 21st century. One reason of this boom has been the advent of the modern digital computer, which allows for easier data collection and analysis from the high speed film or video cameras and electronic force measuring platform used in biomechanics research. It is unfortunate that our age old, gray headed coaches who have learnt some skills through trial and error are not willing to learn and apply the new technology for development of sport in the country.

The science of biomechanics has revolutionised sports worldwide. From performance improvement to technique improvement, from equipment improvement to training and reduction of the sport injuries, biomechanics is now involved in every aspect of sport development and outcome.

Biomechanics has affected even the design of running shoes. Following Frank Shorter's marathon gold medal in 1972 Olympics, the United States experienced a running boom. Unfortunately this boom in running was also accompanied by a boom in running related injuries. The increase in injuries led runners to be more sophisticated about their selection of running shoes. Thus advancement in biomechanics research into running and running shoes began in the 1970s.

In 1980, Nike established the Nike Sport Research Laboratory to further the development of athletics and athletic shoes by means of studies in biomechanics, exercise physiology and functional anatomy. Today athletes of all sport pay special attention in selecting their shoes and apparel. It certainly affects their performance directly or through injury prevention.

Taking the example of a sport injury, Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a common sport injury that afflicts many novice tennis players. Biomechanics research has revealed that one major cause of the tennis elbow is the overexertion of the extensor carpiradials brevis muscle. Several biomechanists have implicated faulty technique during backhand strokes as a possible reason for the overexertion. Tennis players who maintain a neutral wrist position through ball impact during a backhand stroke are less likely to develop tennis elbow than those with flexed wrists.

Biomechanics teaches us about maintaining equilibrium, explaining the causes of linear and angular motion. It covers in detail the fluid mechanics and the effects of water and air in regard to relative motion. Through this science one learns the qualitative biomechanics analysis to improve training and the entire understanding of tissue response to stress, mechanism of injuries, individual differences in tissue threshold and understanding of intrinsic and extrinsic factors affecting the injury to an athlete.

In a nutshell, biomechanics is a highly specialised area that needs immediate attention and extensive research. Few biomechanical facilities exist in the country and limited training facilities are available to impart advance training in the field of biomechanics and its subsequent implementation. Had we understood the utility of this vital field, Muhammad Younis, the Asian long distance gold medalist would not have perished prematurely, nor would fast bowling sensation Muhammad Zahid have suffered the back injury that ruled him out of the international cricket.

There are many more examples when talented athletes had to leave the sport prematurely due to poor performance or irreversible sport injury which could have been easily improved or avoided in the guidance of biomechanics expert.

The apathy of decision makers regarding the understanding of this important area in sport can be judged from the fact that finances kept in the sports budget for biomechanics lab in Pakistan Sports Board for year 2009-2010 was scraped by the authorities on the plea of insufficient funds. Sport is indeed a science and a human intensive industry. We would have to either invest seriously in the business of sport to achieve worthwhile results or leave it as a bad job.

The writer is a qualified coach [email protected]

 



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