February 24, 2017

Dr Minhaj Qidwai elected new KBA President


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Dr Minhaj Qidwai and Khalid Mohiuddin have been elected unopposed as the President and the Secretary respectively of the Karachi Bridge Associates (KBA) for a three-year term starting from 2017.

According to the results declared by the KBA at the Aslam Bridge Hall, housed at the National Stadium, Karachi, all the nine candidates having submitted their nominations were elected unopposed. 

The Founder President of the KBA, Ahsan Rizvi, having relocated abroad, didn’t contest the elections while Azwer-ul-Haque, a veteran bridge player and administrator, was conferred the post of Chairman Emeritus and Rehana Saigol, a former President of the Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF), has been inducted as an Advisor of the KBA. 

Besides Dr Minhaj Qidwai (President and Director), and Khalid Mohiuddin, (Secretary), Mubashir Puri (Director), Tehseen Ayub (Director), Syed Ameer Hassan (Communication Manager), Mohammad Rafiq (Facility Manager), Shaikh Abdul Muqeet (Business Development Manager), Shahab Khan (Media and Publicity Manager) and Wajahat Suri (Training Manager) are the other elected office-bearers of the KBA for the period 2017-2019. 

“Serving our members, working closely with like-minded organizations and promotion of bridge among youth are our top most priorities. The new KBA management looks forward to work as a team with all the bridge fraternity to promote bridge in Pakistan and make Pakistan shine on the global bridge map,” Dr Minhaj Qidwai remarked. 

“We would like to welcome our member for pairs event every Friday from 6 pm to 9 pm and team event every Sunday from 3 pm to 9 pm at the Aslam Bridge Hall. For playing on Tuesdays the members may have to speak to one of our team members to know the venues holding the event which include Karachi Gymkhana, Karachi Club, Defence Club or Golf Club or elsewhere,” he announced. 

“All who desire to learn bridge are encouraged to contact the KBA management for lessons and training sessions. We are open to suggestions on how to promote bridge particularly among the young Pakistanis to excel in this mind sport,” he added.

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February 15, 2017

Younis Khan could become interim Pakistan Test captain


By Naeem-ul-Haq

With Misbah-ul-Haq uncertain about his future as the Pakistan Test captain, following a dismal run soon after claiming the number one slot in the world last year, there are strong enough indications of change of guard down the road. 

Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed, who has been leading the national team in the shortest format of the game (Twenty20 Internationals), has recently also been appointed the skipper for the One-day Internationals, replacing the under-fire Azhar Ali, who prudently chose to resign instead of waiting to be axed. 

With Sarfraz having shown the aggression as well as the enterprise when captaining the side in the opportunities having come his way so far in the limited overs matches, he remains untested for the longest format of the game.

There are many people who consider him as the natural choice to lead the national team at the Test level whenever Misbah’s tenure is over. Yet there are a few heads who desire Sarfraz not to be fast-tracked into the role which could jeopardize his own future as well as that of the national team. 

I also reckon that it would be wiser to let Sarfraz do an apprenticeship before being thrust into the most challenging role of his career. 

If he fails to deliver as a Test captain at this stage this could hurt him in the limited overs formats as well and Pakistan could be struggling to find another capable leader. 

While Misbah’s days, by his own admission, seem numbered in the Test arena, the selectors can turn towards Younis Khan, the greatest-ever batsman produced by Pakistan, to lead the Test team in the period when Sarfraz could be groomed as his successor. 

Younis as captain and Sarfraz as vice-captain could become win-win situation for Pakistan in Tests. Both of them are at the peak of their careers and together they can work wonders for the country.

Younis has a proven record both as a batsman as well as a captain. His records are far too impressive to ignore by any stretch of imagination. 

In fact he has been very harshly treated on most occasions despite his accomplishments. It’s never too late and too little to make amends. He is only 39 at the moment. He is among the fittest guys on the park. 

He still has a lot to offer to Pakistan cricket, if allowed to do it. He has the capacity to turn it around. 

With Misbah’s retirement a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ the powers that be have a great option in Younis. Reappointing him as the Test skipper at this point of time will have multiple benefits. 

While the functionaries of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have often been accused of hitting headlines for the wrong reasons, here’s an opening for them to undo some of the sins of the past. 

They will be hailed as the saviours of Pakistan cricket if they decide to bring in Younis as the Test captain and also give him an extended run to let him fire on all cylinders. He still has the energy and the burning desire to make things happen.

He may not be the show boy in the cricket field but he is certainly the most strong-willed person one could think of. He has proved his mettle every single time he has gone on to bat.

He has remained an outstanding fielder all along, having plucked a record number of catches. Wherever standing, he's a source of inspiration for the whole team.

Younis has been subjected to the toughest of pressures at all times. The most brutal treatment was meted out to him by the regime of Ijaz Butt which kept him out of the team for a year and and a half.

He not only has had to bring all his skills into play to negotiate and dominate the most fearsome bowling attacks of the world but he also had to deliver with a sword hanging around him all along. 

It’s indeed shameful that a batsman of his caliber, who has phenomenal Test record against all opponents, has been put under trial more often than not. 

Instead of getting the due recognition from his own country’s administrators he has had to engage in uncalled for battles. Just look at his numbers. He is only 23 runs away from becoming the first Pakistani batsman to reach the milestone of 10,000 Test runs. 

He has already scored 34 Test centuries, which is Pakistan’s highest. He can be proud of his average of 53.06 after 116 Tests in 17 years. What else could have been asked from this man? 

He has all the major Test records for Pakistan under his belt. He has delivered all over the world, having scored heaps of runs in every continent. He has withstood the fastest bowlers of the world fearlessly. He has been equally proficient in taming the best spinners in the planet. 

Yet Younis, a gentleman by nature, has never been accorded the respect he deserved in Pakistan. There has been politicking and all sorts of nuisance to curtail his advancement. Give credit to this man to have weathered the storm with a smile on his face, most of the time. 

Obviously he’s a human being and sometimes he has reacted bitterly to the senseless campaign to malign him. He has always believed in letting his bat to do the talking and he has been successful in silencing his critics by scoring heavily. 

He was the man who brought glories for the country as Pakistan had won the ICC World Twenty20 Championship in 2009 under his captaincy in England. It’s the only time Pakistan has got hold of this crown. 

Despite bringing home the trophy, Younis faced more criticism at home rather than praise which was mind-boggling and unfortunate. The hero was being treated as a villain for reasons that defied logic. 

He has been at the receiving end in the battles between the various groups surrounding the PCB and he has only survived due to the weight of runs he scored. 

Needless to say, Younis has been blessed with nerves of steel. He can handle the bowlers of all kinds and he can also absorb the pressures from different corners. It’s rare to find a man possessing so much mental toughness as him. 

If better sense prevails and the PCB is prepared to look beyond its club, Younis is ready for another stint as the Pakistan captain. With Sarfraz waiting in the wings, and sharing responsibilities as the vice-captain, Pakistan could become a force to reckon with in Tests once more.

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February 11, 2017

SSUET progressing in sports arena


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, had a very busy sports month in January with the start of new year 2017 with its teams participating in different sports events in a big way.

According to the SSUET Director Sports, Mubbashir Mukhtar, the their outfits participated in cricket, football and table tennis competitions during the month of January, having emerged successful as the champion in the Inter-University Cricket Tournament organized by Bahria University. 

SSUET had clinched the trophy by dethroning Indus University in the final. 

The SSUET had another achievement when it, for the first time, organized the HEC Football Tournament (Zone G) in a most successful manner. 

The tournament was participated by as many as 15 universities with the University of Karachi becoming the champion of Zone G alongwith IBA as the second qualifier. Both teams will now take part in the final round to be staged in Peshawar. 

Mubbashir Mukhtar disclosed that a schedule of sports events for February 2017 has already been prepared whereby a five-member team will take part in All Pakistan Judo Championship to be held in Tando Jam on February 3-4.

The university hockey team has making preparations to participate in HEC Hockey Tournament (Zone G) which is scheduled to start in Karachi from February 7. The tournament is expected to be participated by eight universities. 

In February, Director Sports SSUET informed that the university's boxing squad will be in action in the Final round of All Pakistan Boxing Championship which is being organized by SBB University Lyari. 

The final round will start by the end of the month. 

During the month, Pakistan Marine Academy (PMA) is organizing a Sports Gala from February 16 in which SSUET will participate in cricket, football, hockey, volleyball, badminton, athletics and tug of war events. 

The SSUET Director Sports stated that the preparations for participation in these events have started in a big way. 

He remarked that the SSUET could not have gone this far in its sports activities without the active support of its Chancellor Jawaid Anwar, Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Jawed H. Rizvi and Registrar Syed Sarfraz Ali who themselves are passionate about sports and desire to see the institution on the top in the sporting arena.

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January 30, 2017

Quetta Gladiators sign title sponsorship deal with Jubilee Life


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Quetta Gladiators, a Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, has signed title sponsorship deal with a leading private insurance firm for the second edition of the tournament starting in less than a couple of weeks time. 

The signing ceremony between the two parties was witnessed by capacity crowd in the hall of Movenpick Hotel, Karachi, where it was held on January 30. The top management of the PSL franchise alongwith some of their players and coach Moin Khan, who is also a former Pakistan captain. 

The Quetta Gladiators skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed, who is also the Pakistan T20 skipper and tipped to become the leader in all three formats in not too distant future, however, was unable to make it due to personal reasons. 

Nadeem Omar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Omar Associates (Pvt) Ltd, which owns Quetta Gladiators, was particularly pleased at signing the title sponsorship deal with Jubilee Life Insurance. 

“Jubilee Life is a dynamic young corporate entity which takes pride in long term relationships. Our successive meetings with them over the past few weeks to finalize the matters reflected their positive approach,” he noted.

“Our squad has a lot of young faces who make up for their inexperience with their aggression and high level of commitment. We may have entered the inaugural PSL as the underdogs but our boys excelled in the field to storm into the final. Now our aim will be to bring home the trophy,” Nadeem Omar remarked. 

He paid glowing tributes to Moin Khan, the coach of Quetta Gladiators, for having put the acts together so nicely, also acknowledging the services of Azam Khan, the manager besides complimenting Sarfraz Ahmed for leading by example.

Javed Ahmed, Managing Director, Jubilee Life Insurance, lavished Quetta Gladiators for emerging as a popular brand right away with their brilliant craftsmanship. 

“Your team has worked wonders in a short span of time and we appreciate your brilliance. We look forward to working with you for a long time to achieve our mutual objective of putting Pakistan cricket on top of the world,” he observed. 

The ceremony was also attended by the President of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, and the Chairman of the Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), Fawad Ijaz Khan.

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December 25, 2016

Golden era of Pakistan snooker ends with Alamgir Shaikh’s tenure


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, having completed a couple of successful four-year tenures as the President of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), will not taking part in the upcoming elections of the national body due to take place on December 28.

In accordance with the National Sports Policy, which restrains any official from retaining the same slot for more than eight years, Alamgir Shaikh has not filed nomination for the quadrennial elections. 

The PBSA, which is affiliated to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), has been hailed as one of the best performing sports federations of the country over the years, having produced positive results on a more consistent basis than any other sport, besides cricket. 

The game of snooker, it may be recalled, was revived in a big way in 1988 when Ali Asghar Valika took up its leadership and went from strength to strength. 

He not only changed the nomenclature of the governing body of cue sports from the Billiards Association of Pakistan (BAP), which was dormant for the preceding decades, to the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) but brought about a revolution which witnessed phenomenal growth for snooker in particular all over the country. 

In a matter of years, Pakistan came to be recognized as one of the major snooker nations, enabling it to be a preferential venue for global and continental events. 

Asghar Valika, whose administrative and organizational qualities earned him worldwide acclaim, quit the leadership of the PBSA in 2008, ironically to fulfill the obligations of the National Sports Policy. 

His successor, Alamgir Shaikh, having worked with him for a long time in his team, sustained the momentum and built a stronger platform for cue sports during the next eight years which witnessed more activities at national and international levels. 

Once again it’s the National Sports Policy, prompting another change of guard in the PBSA. The newly elected President, however, will be hard pressed to emulate the accomplishments of his last couple of predecessors, Asghar Valika and Alamgir Shaikh, both of whom are credited to have taken cue sports to very high level.

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December 5, 2016

Master stroke by Quetta Gladiators


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Quetta Gladiators, a Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, has signed a sponsorship deal with a leading lubricants firm for the upcoming second edition of the tournament.

The signing ceremony in this regard was held with great fanfare at Movenpick Hotel, Karachi, on December 3 in the presence of the top management of the PSL franchise as well as some of their players and coach Moin Khan, who is also a former Pakistan captain. 

Nadeem Omar, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Omar Associates (Pvt) Ltd, which owns Quetta Gladiators, expressed his delight at signing the sponsorship deal with Pakistan Lubricants, the manufacturers of Master Oil, for the PSL-2, to be held in February-March 2017. 

“We have made history of sorts today. This is the first-ever sponsorship deal being signed by Quetta Gladiators. Obviously it’s new beginning for us. These are still the early days for the PSL. Ours as well as the other four franchises stand a great chance of getting more sponsorship support in future because the PSL is here to stay and make waves,” he reckoned. 

He attributed the success of Quetta Gladiators, who finished runners-up in the inaugural edition of the PSL earlier this year, to the virtues of teamwork, making special mention of coach Moin Khan and manager Azam Khan.

“Some circles were not much impressed with the line-up we had chosen. But we had done it with purpose and conviction. We had trusted the abilities of our team and they proved their mettle. Obstacles did come in our way during the journey but we were able to overcome them with our spirit and commitment,” Nadeem Omar declared. 

He expressed great confidence in his emerging players, hoping that the likes of young gun Hassan Khan, a product of Inter-School cricket, will turn out to be the stars of future. 

On a personal note, Nadeem Omar, whose company Omar Associates has been one of the most consistent supporters of sports in Pakistan over the years, observed that it felt quite differently to be sponsored for the first time. 

“Yes indeed the feeling is quite different at the moment because we have been accustomed to sponsoring all along rather than being sponsored,” he added. 

Later talking to the media, Moin Khan echoed similar sentiments and he too was looking forward to exciting performances from the franchise youngsters in the upcoming PSL. 

Tabish Javed, Managing Director, Pakistan Lubricants, looked forward to a long-term relationship with Quetta Gladiators. 

“For over five decades our brand Master Oil has exemplified trust and the PSL presents us the opportunity to reach out to our last base of customers and further promote the passion for cricket. It is the first step in what is intended to be a long journey,” he remarked. 

The ceremony was also attended by the key officials of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), including its President, Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, and Secretary, Shafiq Kazmi.

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November 30, 2016

SSUET to raise boxing team


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Besides some other sports, the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, is now raising its boxing team.

According to the SSUET Director Sports, Mubbashir Mukhtar, the work has started on preparing the university's boxing team of eight to 10 members. 

So far, he said, 35 students got themselves registered for induction in the team. 

Mubbashir Mukhtar said that the trials for selection of team members have been conducted and required number of team members selected. 

He added that these selectees will undergo training for which a 10-day training camp, planned to be organized at some reputed martial art club in the city. 

The trials were conducted under the supervision of boxing coach Nasir Khaleeq and witnessed by the SSUET Registrar, Syed Sarfraz Ali. 

The university already has teams in cricket, hockey, football, volleyball, basketball, swimming, judo, taekawndo, table tennis, badminton and bodybuilding.

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November 16, 2016

PVCA board includes three Test cricketers


Pakistan News & Features Services

The Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA) has elected new board members and officials during its annual general body meeting held in Karachi and Lahore by video conferencing on November 14.

According to a notification issued by the PVCA, there were a total 16 directors, including three Test cricketers, Intikhab Alam, Ejaz Faquih and Kabir Khan, having been nominated by the four provinces and Islamabad. 

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Nadeem Omar, Alamgir Ahmed, Amjad Islam Rishi, Salman Butt and Ejaz Faquih have been elected as the PVCA Directors from Sindh while Ashiq Hussain Qureshi, Intikhab Alam,Mujahid Hamid, Asad Ali Khan, Zahid Hussain and Rizwan Nisar are the elected Directors from the province of Punjab. Kabir Khan and Tariq Khan Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shariq Hasib Khan (Balochistan) and Najeeb Sajid (Islamabad) are the other PVCA Directors elected from the respective territories.

Meanwhile Fawad Ijaz Khan and Ashiq Hussain Qureshi were unanimously re-elected as the new Chairman and Chief Executive of PVCA respectively for the three year term of 2016-19. Nadeem Sarwar was nominated as the Honorary Secretary and Rizwan Nisar was appointed as the Honorary Treasurer. 

The PVCA, which came into being in 1998, has emerged as one of the most proactive sports bodies, having organized numerous events. They have attributed the success to their consistent policies and the democratic set-up which they have had since its inception. 

Besides organizing cricket for the veterans, which remains its core objective, the PVCA has also played its role in promoting the game at the grassroots level, having organized eight editions of high-profile Inter-School cricket tournaments in Karachi, the last one of which concluded only a couple of days ago.

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