September 8, 2022

Double-edged JK bridges gap between PBSA, KC


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

It took long time coming but finally there’s a thaw in relationship between the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) and the Karachi who worked together for decades before parting ways. 

Not surprisingly Jawed H Karim, the Honorary Secretary of the Karachi Club for the current year, who is also the President of the PBSA, has seemingly played the key role in breaking the ice which obviously augurs well for the future of Pakistan snooker. 

Recuperating after a successful surgery recently, Jawed Karim, also affectionately called as JK by his friends and colleagues, has set the ball rolling once more. Under his leadership, the Karachi Club has once again ventured into doing bigger things. 

The club has already acquired as many as four snooker tables of the famed Riley Aristrocrat brand for which a fitter will be flying in from England later this month. The Riley tables are being fitted and installed with all accessories at our historic Latif Amir Bakhsh Snooker Hall and they will be ready for use next month. 

The next edition of the prestigious Haji Abdul Karim Dhehdi Inter-Club Snooker Championship, offering record high prize money, as well as the Karachi Club League Championship will now be contested on the new tables in November-December this year. 

The Karachi Club, it may be recalled, had become the headquarters of Pakistan snooker when its charismatic President, Ali Asghar Valika, set off to revive cue sports in the country after taking over the leadership of the PBSA in 1988. The club gained prominence at the global level as it hosted flurry of national and international snooker events regularly for the next couple of decades. 

Then the tragic episode of allegations and politicking took place which caused rift between the leadership of the two bodies and the club, having become synonymous with snooker, suddenly shut its doors to the PBSA. 

Jawed Karim, elected unopposed as the PBSA President in late 2020 and also voted to the key position of Secretary of the Karachi Club for the year 2022, has stepped the move to restore the relationship in the larger interest of the sport. 

Pakistan snooker will benefit a great deal with this reunion as the PBSA will have the luxury of availing the club’s unmatched facilities for holding national and international events as was the case during the days of Asghar Valika. 

The PBSA did survive the interim period by holding their events at alternate venues because they didn’t have the option of going to the club which historically had been the home to Pakistan snooker. 

Let’s see if the PBSA and the Karachi Club will revive the annual Latif Masters Championship which used to be the most prestigious national ranking competition of the year. With so little time left they may not be able to do it during the current year. Now the question is whether the new set-up at the club in the coming year will be eager to continue supporting snooker.

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June 30, 2022

Khalid Mahmood’s hard-hitting speech highlights National Sports Conference


Pakistan News & Features Services

While almost every other speaker condemned the previous government, headed by Imran Khan, a former cricket captain, and blamed the outgoing premier for bringing about the downfall of sports in Pakistan, the noted journalist and author, Syed Khalid Mahmood, did not mince words in declaring that the so-called administrators and organizers, holding office for decades by hook or by crook, were chiefly responsible for the steep decline in country’s sporting standards. 

The occasion was the National Sports Conference, organized by Sports Journalists Association of Sindh (SJAS), at the Scouts Headquarters in Karachi on June 29. 

“Why criticize any Prime Minister or Head of the State for the debacle in sports when the entire system has flopped due to the mafia which has controlled sports for 75 years now? Prime Ministers come and go but the vast majority of these office-bearers of federations and their affiliated units occupy the chair for lifetime which is indeed a pity,” Khalid Mahmood felt. 

The speech, in which he critical of the role of the long serving officials of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), was hailed as the one which brought to light the real facts instead of just talking about the departments and their role over the years. He talked more about the leadership aspect in sports and expressed the hope that better sense will prevail in future as far as running the sports bodies was concerned. 

The Chairman of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, hockey Olympian Islahluddin, former Test left-arm spinner Iqbal Qasim and ex-President, Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, were among the speakers besides senior journalists Rashid Aziz, Mirza Iqbal Baig and Waheed Khan. The proceedings were conducted by Asghar Azeem of the SJAS while the Secretary, Shahid Saati, proposed the vote of thanks. Shields were presented to the speakers at the end of the session of speeches.

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June 2, 2022

Railways annual sports gala kickoff at Lahore on June 4


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Shoaib Adil, General Manager of Railways’ Welfare and Special Initiatives and President Pakistan Railways Sports Board, has described sports as world’s most powerful moral and social power whose utility and importance has always been in every era since the ancient eras. 

He made these observations on the eve of Railways annual sports gala which start from June 4 at the Railways Sports Complex located in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu. He pointed out that while food, work and comfort were the necessities of life, sports were like a pillar which guaranteed the strength and stability of life.

“In every part of the world, people of all ages, gender and all status of life have been participating in sports whether collectively or individually,” he stressed. 

Shoaib Adil observed that in today’s era, while mobile phone or the smartphone was the source of wide relations and acquisition of knowledge, it had affected the human health as well and it’s imperative to divert the energies towards healthy activities overcoming the unnecessary utilization of cellular phones. 

The sports, he viewed, while serve as mean of providing peace, comfort and delight on one hand, these refresh the human mind on the other.

“In the field of sports, people make their practical lives successful and in view of this they have introduced 12 new sports academies in its Sports Complex where any person of any gender or age can take admission and make their living happy and healthy,” he said.

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April 23, 2022

40 teams contesting Ramazan Futsal Festival


By Iqbal Jamil

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

As many as 40 outfits, having both men and women, would be seen in action in the three-day Futsal competition which commences at the Cedar College, DHA Phase-VIII, in Karachi on April 23. 

According to the details shared by the organizers there would be participation from various schools, colleges and universities with the age group of 15 years and above allowed to take part in the event. 

The prize money of the Futsal competition, being organized by Guideistan, will be Rs 120,000 and it will be distributed among winners and runners up. 

The officials of Guideistan, Tariq Baloch, Hassaan Sohail and Faiz Bukhari, expressed their desire to promote healthy activities among the youth so that they could become good citizens and contribute to the betterment of the country. They hoped sporting spirit to be displayed during the three-day festival.

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March 17, 2022

DHA’s EDE praised for bringing college teachers to cricket field


Pakistan News & Features Services

The Executive Director Education (EDE) of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Brig Muhammad Arshad Khan, was lavishly praised by chief guest, Syed Khalid Mahmood, an eminent journalist and author, during the presentation ceremony of a cricket match played between EDE XI and DHACSS United held at Rahat Ground, DHA, on March 15.

“What a pleasant sight it is to watch the educationists flexing their muscles in a cricket field! So much used to covering and reporting competitive cricket for a number of years, it really feels like breathe of fresh air coming across such events where cricket is being played for fun and recreation rather than professionally,” the chief guest observed in his speech after presenting awards to outstanding performers of the game. 

“First and foremost I must compliment Brig Arshad Khan for having taken up this novel idea of engaging teachers and professors in cricket activities. This is a great initiative by all means which will have multiple benefits for all of you. This makes much more sense in his digital era when dependence on gadgets has curtailed outdoor movements of people of all ages,” Khalid Mahmood, noted.

"It's really fascinating to be playing a game or two once in a while despite our preoccupations on various fronts. As you would have discovered it allowed you rare moments of joy. It provided you the opportunity to interact in a sporting environment. Such events should be organized regularly," he suggested.

“I salute the wisdom of EDE for having chosen cricket as the sport for this purpose. Because hockey is indeed our national sport officially and football may be the most popular sport in some segments but cricket is the sport here and almost everyone loves it. I am not sure how many of you played cricket seriously in the past but I am confident that almost all of you must be enjoying these little opportunities of playing together in cricket field. Trust me these stints will help you in many ways,” he added. 

The organizer of the ceremony and the match, Prof Syed Zulfiqar Ali, Principal, DHACCS Degree College, was also recognized for having successfully implemented the visionary plan of EDE. He was responsible for putting the extra efforts to ensure the event to be conducted in a befitting manner.

Meanwhile EDE XI prevailed over DHACCS United in the festival 10-overs-a-side game which was enthusiastically contested and thoroughly enjoyed by the galaxy of Principals, Vice Principals, teachers and other staff members of various educational institutions, who watched the action. 

The 125-run opening partnership between Muhammad Sultan and Muhammad Arif for DHACSS United was trumped by the EDE XI’s duo of Major Atif Saeed and Major Ejaz Bashir whose flurry of sixes enabled their team to win the match comfortably. 

The EDE himself, Brig Arshad Khan, batted brilliantly while skipper Prof Zulfiqar Ali also chipped in with an unbeaten contribution. Major Atif Saeed was adjudged Man of the Match.

All the participants in the field tried to give their best and a few of them came up with rather impressive performance as they seemed to have played competitive cricket in the past.

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February 12, 2022

DHA college teachers flex muscles in cricket field


Pakistan News & Features Services

The college teachers of the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Karachi, flexed their muscles in the cricket field and they produced a thriller of sorts as the DHACSS United edged out EDE XI by five wickets on the last ball of the T-10 match at the DHACC Creek campus on February 9.

DHACSS United’s Kamran Qazi, who scored hard-hitting 51, was declared Man of the Match as well as the best batsman while his teammate, Hafiz Rizwan, who claimed four wickets in an over, was adjudged the best bowler in the closely fought encounter which went to the wire. 

Batting first, after winning the toss, EDE XI, led by Syed Siraj Munir, posted an impressive total of 94 for seven in the allotted 10 overs. EDE XI fought back after Kamran Qazi’s half-century and it was anybody’s game when DHACSS United needed two runs for victory on the final. A boundary was struck on the last ball took the batting side home, which was being captained by Junaid Farrukh Siddiqui. 

Holding a match between the college teachers, above the age of 40, was the brainchild of the DHA’s Executive Director Education, Brig Muhammad Arshad Khan, as he desired to boost the fitness and health of the staff members. He also participated in the game. 

Dr Farhat Agha, Pricipal, DHACSS College for Women, was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony while the welcome address was delivered by Prof Syed Zulfiqar Ali, Principal, DHACSS Degree College. The head of the 16 DHACSS institutions were present on the occasion while the game was also witnessed by a large number of teachers.

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December 22, 2021

Imran as fast bowler: Sizzling pace yet innocuous


By Syed Khalid Mahmood 

(Pakistan News & Features Services)
Besides being acclaimed as one of the greatest-ever cricketers to be produced by Pakistan, Imran Khan also belonged to the category of the fastest bowlers of the world who succeeded in taming even the most solid batsmen of the generation with his ferocious pace which was combined most skillfully with extravagant swing. 

He himself was an outstanding batsman, technically correct with sound temperament, to be recognized as one of the rare genuine all-rounders of the game. Despite career-threatening injuries, he outperformed even his three illustrious contemporaries; Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee and Kapil Dev, with his incredible consistency throughout the 1980s in particular. 

Long before the advent of speed guns, which have now become common in modern television coverage, Imran had sent down the third fastest delivery in a competition of fast bowlers held in Australia in 1979. Only Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding had delivered faster balls than Imran with the dreadful names like Colin Croft, Andy Roberts, Dennis Lillee, Len Pascoe, Wayne Daniel and Garth Le Roux falling behind. 

Unlike quite a few of his fast bowling contemporaries, who became infamous for attacking the batsmen’s body, Imran was hardly ever engaged in any such act. Despite being blessed with red-hot pace, he concentrated in getting the batsmen out instead of terrifying or terrorizing them. 

Although the fast bowlers of his era were known and feared for being blood-hungry, he was able to focus solely on his own skill set to outsmart the batsmen. His approach to the bowling crease was athletic and his bowling action a treat to watch, besides being unique and different from others. 

Unlike others, Imran never appeared inclined towards causing harm to the batsmen or hurting them physically. A few batsmen, most famously Mohinder Amarnath, did succumb to one his bouncers at Lahore during the 1978-79 series, but that was basically attributed to their own faults and misjudgment of balls. 

His reverse-swinging yorkers and in-dippers brought him the bulk of his wickets with dignity and pride. He swung the ball prodigiously at express pace to bring about the demise of the greatest of batsmen. 

His devastating spells during the post-tea sessions in Test matches at the National Stadium, Karachi, when sea breeze used to pick up, remained unforgettable. The sight of India’s ‘Little Master’ Gundappa Vishwanath shouldering arms to a delivery swinging in almost a yard to castle him would cling to memory of everyone who was fortunate enough to witness that terrific spell of Imran which literally blew what was deemed to be a batting powerhouse. 

Imran always advocated for fair play and justice throughout his long international career spanning more than a couple of decades. He was the man who convinced the country’s cricket administrators to take up the case of neutral umpires with the game’s governing body (ICC) and he was captaining Pakistan’s team in the home series against the West Indies in 1986-87 which was supervised by the third-country umpires for the first time in the history of the game. 

As a captain, he was dominating, disciplined and decisive, yet sporting. During the 1989-90 home series, the visiting Indian captain, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, appeared dismayed at being given out by the umpire. The dashing opener, undergoing a lean patch with the bat, openly showed his displeasure and disgust when leaving the crease. Imran, after consulting the umpires, called him back and he was allowed to resume his innings. Such kind of instances could rarely be found in the Indo-Pak matches where emotions run so high. 

Despite commanding the respect from his teammates as he led the side by example, Imran generally didn’t argue with the umpires and he was hardly ever involved in controversies on the field. He was not into sledging the opponents either. In fact, more often than not, he calmed his boys and let them focus on their job which was to overpower the opponents and not to create unruly scenes. 

It’s also a reality that, as a captain, he had a decisive say in selection matters much more than usual and the selectors were sometimes overruled. He had the knack of picking his team for which he had set his own parameters. He preferred bold and courageous cricketers who could play for win. He dared taking risks which often yielded results. His preference was based on sheer merit devoid of any regional or provincial bias. He was an open admirer of wicketkeeper-batsman Saleem Yousuf because of his brave instincts. 

Off the field, he was hardly ever observed in any politicking or violating discipline anywhere. Possessing a shy nature, he didn’t like to mingle with his teammates after office hours. It was indeed his prerogative to lead social life of his own choice. Imran has been a success story in cricket all the way. Besides the glowing figures and statistics, there’s ample evidence of him having left larger than life footprints. His sporting nature has been talked about with awe. 

His resilience was second to none. He was known never to have deviated from the widely accepted ethics and principles of the civilized world. One can safely conclude that he was as much a great person as a highly respected and honoured cricketer to be hailed as an undisputed legend in his own lifetime.

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Rameez commends Saqlain’s role in T20 World Cup


By Ehsan Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Rameez Raja, Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has commended the role of interim coach Saqlain Mushtaq in the ICC T20 World Cup as well as during the Bangladesh tour. 

The PCB helmsman reckoned that Saqlain, a former Pakistan off-spinner, filled the vacant role from behind the scene quite admirably and he merited accolades for having created a sense nationalism. 

He also applauded the batting and bowling consultants, Matthew Hayden of Australia and Vernon Philander of South Africa respectively, who also rose to the occasion. 

"I don’t have fixed mindset and approach on this issue like short or long contracts,” he observed while commenting on appointment of foreign or local coaches for Team Pakistan. Rameez stressed that they were looking to improve Pakistan batters’ power hitting, adding that he was looking to see Pakistan getting better in Tests and ODIs. 

He would like specialists for different tours and conditions while indicating that Hayden may be retained with the team until the 2022 T20 World Cup to be held in Australia. 

The PCB Chairman pointed out that the team came up with improved performances in the T20 World Cup after the pressure they came under following the sudden and mysterious move of New Zealand to run away during the tour of Pakistan and then England cancelling their visit at the eleventh hour. 

“The boys fought hard in the T20 World Cup to come up with incredible performances which paid dividends and we were also awarded the Champions Trophy 2025 besides the Asia Cup,” the PCB Chairman concluded.

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