October 30, 2008

Jahangir Moghul desires greater support for Ahmed Mustafa's Cricket Coaching Centre

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Mr Jahangir Moghul, Vice President, Cricket Coaching Centre (CCC), firmly believes that their institution deserves greater support from the cricket authorities in order to further its cause.

“All credit to Mr Ahmed Mustafa, a former opening batsman, for having established and run the CCC on self help basis for over two decades now. He has done a great service to the game. Now the ball is in the court of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) who should come forward to lend their support to the CCC,” Mr Jahangir Moghul, a renowned social figure and philanthropist, remarked.

The CCC has already completed two decades of its existence. In fact it has been there for more than 21 years now. Mr Ahmed Mustafa has kept the institution afloat with the support of his like-minded friends.General Tauqir Zia was the first head of the board to have recognized the services rendered by Ahmed Mustafa and it was during his tenure that the CCC was finally allowed to use the practice facilities in the outer area of the National Stadium, Karachi.

It was a very good decision of the PCB Chairman, who accorded great respect to Ahmed Mustafa’s efforts. Gen Tauqir Zia remained appreciative of the project and the CCC had got into life with its shifting of base to the NSK. Ahmed Mustafa and the CCC enjoyed their best time in the days of Gen Tauqir Zia.

Things went from bad to worse when Mr Shaheryar Khan took over as the chief of the PCB. Ahmed Mustafa is a soft person who doesn’t like to complain. He may not say it in public but the fact remains that the CCC didn’t get the recognition and support from the PCB during the tenure of Mr Shaheryar Khan. The days of Dr Nasim Ashraf didn’t bring any joys for the CCC either. People close to the PCB chief were not sympathetic to the cause of the CCC.

The new leadership of the PCB can take the CCC on board in their own training and coaching programmes. The Board should extend fullest support to the CCC because their proactive relationship would be mutually beneficial. And most importantly it would be helpful to the larger interest of the game.

Although quite a few coaching academies have come into prominence in the country during the last five to eight years, it’s the one set up by Ahmed Mustafa in 1987 having pioneered the idea.Ahmed Mustafa, who narrowly missed playing for Pakistan because of a tragic road accident, has made a name for himself by setting up the CCC that has already produced Test and one-day cricketers.

Like any other project, the CCC was also off to a modest start. A few nets here and there at the Aga Khan Gymkhana attracted much more youngsters than Ahmed Mustafa or any of his friends had anticipated The response was terrific as this was for the first time that coaching was being provided and that too free of cost.

The CCC had to be shifted to a nearby location where the Alam brothers were generous enough to allow Ahmed Mustafa and his team to install the nets at their residence where proper coaching sessions were conducted.56 Depot Lines remained in the news for years as cricket celebrities from the country as well as abroad kept visiting and appreciating Ahmed Mustafa’s venture. Even the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharduddin paid a visit to the CCC and passed a few coaching tips to the trainees.

The legendary Imran Khan spent hours at the nets of the CCC to guide the enthusiastic youngsters. The great Javed Miandad also visited the CCC more than once. The master tactician Hanif Mohammad spared his time for the CCC.

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Cricket Coaching Centre greets Ijaz Butt

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The functionaries of the Cricket Coaching Centre (CCC), founded and run by Ahmed Mustafa, a former opening batsman, have expressed their delight at the appointment of Ijaz Butt, a former Test cricketer, as the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The CCC has already completed two decades of its existence. In fact it has been there for more than 21 years now. Ahmed Mustafa has kept the institution afloat with the support of his like-minded friends.

Ahmed Mustafa, with his contemporaries Asif Ahmed and Mahmood-ul-Hasan, has been working with missionary zeal to contribute their bit in the cricket development by running the CCC with limited resources at their disposal.

“We are thrilled at the appointment of Ijaz Butt as the new PCB Chairman. Besides his known qualities of administration and management it’s his background as Test cricketer that gladdens our hearts. He knows the Pakistan cricket inside out. He can make a difference,” the trio of former cricketers,Ahmed Mustafa, Asif Ahmed and Mahmood-ul-Hasan, said in a joint statement.

Jahangir Moghul, Vice President, CCC, has also greeted Ijaz Butt on assuming the charge as the PCB Chairman.

Although quite a few coaching academies have come into prominence in the country during the last five to eight years, it’s the one set up by Ahmed Mustafa in 1987 having pioneered the idea.

Ahmed Mustafa, who narrowly missed playing for Pakistan because of a tragic road accident, has made a name for himself by setting up the CCC that has already produced Test and one-day cricketers.

Like any other project, the CCC was also off to a modest start. A few nets here and there at the Aga Khan Gymkhana attracted much more youngsters than Ahmed Mustafa or any of his friends had anticipated The response was terrific as this was for the first time that coaching was being provided and that too free of cost.

The CCC had to be shifted to a nearby location where the Alam brothers were generous enough to allow Ahmed Mustafa and his team to install the nets at their residence where proper coaching sessions were conducted.

56 Depot Lines remained in the news for years as cricket celebrities from the country as well as abroad kept visiting and appreciating Ahmed Mustafa’s venture. Even the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharduddin paid a visit to the CCC and passed a few coaching tips to the trainees.

The legendary Imran Khan spent hours at the nets of the CCC to guide the enthusiastic youngsters. The great Javed Miandad also visited the CCC more than once. The master tactician Hanif Mohammad spared his time for the CCC.

It was General Tauqir Zia, Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board, who realized the importance of the services being rendered by Ahmed Mustafa and the CCC was finally allowed to use the practice facilities in the outer area of the National Stadium, Karachi.

It was a very good decision of the PCB Chairman, who accorded great respect to Ahmed Mustafa’s efforts. Gen Tauqir Zia remained appreciative of the project and the CCC had got into life with its shifting of base to the NSK. Ahmed Mustafa and the CCC enjoyed their best time in the days of Gen Tauqir Zia.

Things went from bad to worse when Shaheryar Khan took over as the chief of the PCB. Ahmed Mustafa is a soft person who doesn’t like to complain. He may not say it in public but the fact remains that the CCC didn’t get the recognition and support from the PCB during the tenure of Shaheryar Khan. The days of Dr Nasim Ashraf didn’t bring any joys for the CCC either. People close to the PCB chief were not sympathetic to the cause of the CCC.

The new leadership of the PCB can take the CCC on board in their own training and coaching programmes. The Board should extend fullest support to the CCC because their proactive relationship would be mutually beneficial. And most importantly it would be helpful to the larger interest of the game.

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Draws of IBSF World Snooker Championship cause confusion

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

While the International Billiards & Snooker Association (IBSF) has notified a strict dress code for the upcoming 2008 World Snooker Championships but they seem to have a missed a trick or two while compiling the draws of the men’s event.

The officials of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) were perplexed at receiving a copy of the draws in which the participating 104 cueists from 52 countries have been divided equally in 13 groups in World Men Snooker Championship being staged in Wels, Austria, from October 27 to November 5.

“The draws don’t indicate how many cueists from each group will be qualifying for the knockout stage of the annual event. It has been a practice over the years to let four cueists from every group move ahead to the next phase. The total number of cueists in the knockout stage must be divisible by eight,” the PBSA official explained.

“In the draws having reached us there are 13 groups having eight cueists each. We won’t get a figure divisible by eight if equal number of cueists are to progress to the next round from each group,” he wondered.

“Another confusion in the draws, not having any footnotes, is the title of groups. We have 13 groups starting from A to N with the exception of I. We are not sure how have these lapses occurred in the compilation of the draws of such an important tournament on the IBSF calendar,” he added.

The PBSA, meanwhile, has approached the IBSF to seek clarification on the draws of the World Championship in which Pakistan will be represented by the country’s top two cueists, Saleh Mohammad and Khurram Hussain Agha.

Interesting the IBSF has issued a strong directive to the participating countries as far as the dress code for the World Championship is concerned.
“Please advise your players that the dress code will be strictly adhered to. All players must wear a waistcoat whilst playing. This includes lady players. Lady players must wear a blouse that is worn in or over the pants. No short shirts or blouses are accepted,” the IBSF handout said.

“Evening dress or dark-suit together with waist-coat shall be worn in all sessions of the matches. Long-sleeve shirts buttoned at the wrist, waistcoats and bow-ties, shall be worn for all matches, save when the venue conditions are hot and humid, and, in which case, certain relaxation to dress-code requirements may be decided thereupon by the Championship Committee.”

“Players will be allowed to wear a sponsor’s logo on the waistcoat with a maximum size of 100 mm x 40 mm or 80 mm in diameter. The Host Association will inform players if their logos may be worn during any televised stages of the Championship and that players wear them belonging to the Host Association sponsor(s) at no cost to the players. The Host Association will also decide the appropriate dress code for any official functions.”

The IBSF has warned that the failure to comply with the prescribed dress code may result in the forfeiture of the match by the players in default.

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Pakistan Sports Trusts’s investment on juniors starts yielding results

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Pakistan’s medal winning performance in the recently held 3rd Commonwealth Youth Games in the Indian town of Pune has gladdened the hearts of the people once more. The performance of the young wrestlers deserves to be lauded.

The Pakistan Sports Trust (PST), having invested heavily on the youth development programmes eversince its inception, also deserves special mention on the success of the country’s wrestlers in the Commonwealth Youth Games.

It was the PST who sponsored their training in Iran for over a month and they have produced the results. Their success has indeed proved the point that their investment in youth is paying off. It has also highlighted the fact that if the resources are provided, results could be produced.

General Syed Arif Hasan, Chairman, PST, and President, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), should be a very happy and relieved man with the results of the Commonwealth Youth Games. Time and again he has proved himself a man of outstanding qualities. His leadership holds the key to the revival of sports in the country.

He and his team must be extended the heartiest congratulations on Pakistan's medals winning performance in the Commonwealth Youth Games. The decision to sponsor their training in Iran for over a month has paid off and yielded results.

More importantly their theory of emphasizing on youth has been proved right once more. The PST has been doing a fabulous job by investing in youth and the results can only be accomplished if the funds are made available to them.

Pakistan’s wrestlers won a couple of silver medals and one bronze medal in the Commonwealth Youth Games. The silver medallists were Salamat Ali (42 Kg) and Haider Ali (46 Kg) whereas Muhammad Shoukat Mushtaq (54 Kg) claimed bronze medal.
The 24-member Pakistan contingent took part in five disciplines wrestling, athletics, swimming, table tennis and weightlifting.

Meanwhile hosts India shed their tag of poor performers at Olympic sports and pulled off a major upset at the Commonwealth Youth Games that concluded in Pune on October 18 by topping the standings with an impressive haul of 76 medals.

India betterd their last edition’s medals tally by leaps and bounds wrapping up the seven-day extravaganza with 33 gold, 26 silver and 17 bronze. In the previous edition of the Games at Bendigo four years ago, India could lay their hands on only 10 medals (two gold, four silver and four bronze medals) to settle for a poor eighth place finish.

Last edition’s champions Australia finished on the second spot with 24 gold, 19 silver and 22 bronze, while England with 18 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze secured the third spot.

Shootingfetched the hosts six gold and three bronze medals. The Indian athletes were a revelation finishing with six golds, seven silver and six bronze medals. In athletics, India, as a matter of fact, finished second behind England who topped with seven gold, three silver and three bronze. The Australians with five golds, six silvers and eight golds finished on third place.

The Beijing effect was clearly visible in wrestling where India made a clean sweep claiming all the seven golds up for grabs. The Boxers also sizzled in the ring with three gold, one silver and one bronze. One of the gold medals was bagged by Beijing bronze medalist Vijender Singh’s brother Balwinder Beniwal.

This was the third Commonwealth Youth Games in the series but it was for the first time that all 71 Commonwealth countries participated in this event that was also considered as rehearsal to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. The next edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games will be hosted by the Isle of Man in 2011.

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Brotherhood Society remembers late Zulfiqar Ahmed

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Tributes were paid to former Test off-spinner Zulfiqar Ahmed, who passed away earlier this month, in a condolence meeting organized by the Brotherhood Sports Society of Pakistan (BSSP) at the Karachi Gymkhana on October 12.

Mr Waqar Hasan, a former Test batsman and President BSSP, recalled that Zulfiqar Ahmed had played all his nine Tests in which he was also playing for the national team under the captaincy of Abdul Hafeez Kardar between 1952 and 1956.

‘Little Master’ Hanif Mohammad, another illustrious contemporary of his, described Zulfiqar as a very skilful spin bowler who possessed the variety to test the finest of batsmen.

The other speakers that included Messrs Razaullah Khan, Munir Hussain, Siraj-ul-Islam Bokhari, Zahid Bashir and Qamar Ahmed, recalled that Zulfiqar was a very lively character on and off the field who took pride in keeping his teammates and friends entertained with his sense of humour.

A large number of cricketers, administrators and organizers attended the condolence meeting.

Zulfiqar, a member of Pakistan's first official cricket squad, died in Lahore on October 2 at the age of 81. He was Pakistan's first specialist off-spinner.
Born in Lahore in 1926, he received early education at the Islamia High School before studying at the Islamia College. In his early days he played for Sandha and Crescent, both of them famous clubs of Lahore.

Zulfiqar made his Test debut against India in the second match of the 1952-53 series at Lucknow. His inclusion in the playing eleven turned out to be a good omen as Pakistan defeated India by an innings and 43 runs to register first ever win in Test cricket.

Zulfiqar could not achieve much success with the ball against the Indians, known for handling the spinners well, but as a tail end batsman he scored unbeaten 63 at Madras adding 104 in just 85 minutes with Amir Elahi for the last wicket that stood as world record for many years.

The story was not much different on the tour of England in 1954 either. He had limited success with the ball in conditions more suited to the swing bowlers but he made a handy contribution with the bat once more.

Zulfiqar's aggregate of 50 runs was more than the first four batsmen, Hanif Muhammad, Alimuddin, Waqar Hasan and Maqsood Ahmed in the fourth and final Test at the Oval which Pakistan won against the heaviest of odds to level the series.

His off-spinning talents were unfolded in the home series against New Zealand in 1955-56. In the first Test at Karachi, he baffled the Kiwis with the figures 11 for 79 to earn the first-ever Test win at home for Pakistan.

He played nine Test matches for Pakistan in which he took 20 wickets and scored 200 runs. He also held five catches.

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October 29, 2008

Customs Academy hail Ijaz Butt’s appointment

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Ijaz Butt’s appointment as the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been warmly welcomed in the cricket circles. He was being tipped to take over the moment Dr Nasim Ashraf’s resignation had been accepted in the third week of August. But his position was notified until the mid of October.

The Customs Cricket Academy (CCA), that has proved itself as a model institution to groom the cricketers, has hailed the appointment of Ijaz Butt, who is himself a former Test cricketer.

Jalaluddin, the Head Coach of the CCA, believes that Ijaz Butt has all the desired credentials to manage the cricket affairs of the country.

Jalaluddin, who performed the first hat-trick in One-day Internationals way back in 1982, has reckoned that a lot has to be done to promote cricket from the grassroots level and a man of the vision of Mr Ijaz Butt could do wonders.

Jalaluddin’s CCA, in a relatively short span of time, has produced the results and more importantly built an infrastructure for coaching that had been lacking for the last many years. Being the highest qualified coach in the country nobody could understand the importance of coaching than him and he has continued to deliver.

One hopes that the PCB, with Ijaz Butt at the helm of the affairs, will utilize the expertise of Jalaluddin and the academy he has set-up with the support of his like-minded friends.

The CCA has set an example for others to follow. They have flourished with negligible, if any, help of the their organization the Pakistan Customs. They have had the moral support of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) but not in the manner one would have liked to see. It would be a mutually beneficial deal if the PCB actively supports the CCA.

On paper the cash-rich PCB is giving the impression of working as a corporate body but in practice they have left a lot to be desired. The inconsistent policies have hurt them badly. Ijaz Butt, it’s expected, would rise to the occasion as is being widely anticipated.

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Pakistan Sports Trust comes to PBSA’s rescue once more - Pakistan Sports

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The Pakistan Sports Trust (PST) has come to the rescue of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) once more by approving a substantial grant for the participation in the IBSF World Snooker Championship starting later this month.
Col Mohammad Azhar Dean, Director Finance, PST, has confirmed that a grant of Rupees six lacs has been approved for the PBSA to cover the expenses for sending the team for the World Snooker Championship to be held in Wels, Austria, from October 27 to November 8.

Pakistan’s top two cueists, Saleh Mohammad and Khurram Hussain, who are currently training at the Karachi Club for the past one week, now appear certain to board the plane Austria for trying their luck in the World Championship.

The PBSA had turned to their most trusted friend, PST, last week seeking financial assistance on an urgent basis following the regret of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB).

Mr Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, President, PBSA, acknowledged the prompt and positive action of General Syed Arif Hasan, Chairman, PST.

“The Executive Committee of the PBSA wishes to thank the Chairman of the PST, General Syed Arif Hasan, for sanctioning the amount thereby making possible Pakistan’s participation in the IBSF World Championship,” he said in a statement issued on October 19.

The PBSA officials recognized the fact that the participation of Pakistan’s cueists in the global event would have been jeopardized, had the PST not acted swiftly after the inability of the PSB to release the special grant that was promised for this purpose.

The PBSA had never missed participation during the past 20 years in the Asian or World Snooker Championships but they would have been in serious trouble had the funds were not approved by the PST.

It’s not the first time that the PST has come to rescue the PBSA from a tight corner. It was a special PST grant of Rs 350,000 that had enabled the PBSA to hold the inaugural 6-Red International Snooker Tournament here only a couple of months ago.

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Khurshid Hadi happy with Pakistan’s full representation in WMSG

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF), encouraged by the performance of the youngsters in the recently concluded World Bridge Games in Beijing, is thinking in terms of facilitating their participation in more international tournaments in future.

Khurshid Hadi, President, PBF, believes that it’s about time now to plan for the future participation of our youth in international tournaments.

He has extended congratulations to all the participants, both players and officials, for giving their best in the global mega event.

“I am so glad that Pakistan had a full representation and that the experience will prove valuable for the future. The performance of the youngsters augurs well for the future of the sport in the country. Their efforts deserve special mention because they were competing in such a competitive environment for the first time. Holding on to their nerves and playing to the potential need special qualities that our talented youngsters seem to be possessing,” the PBF President observed in a recent statement.

The Under-28 squad, whose average age was around 22 years, finished at the 40th position among the 74 participating countries, a performance considered quite satisfying in their maiden outing abroad.

Mohammad Mubashir Puri, a 25-year-old national player, captained the Pakistan Under-28 side whose other members were Dosti Zahra Jafri, Anam Iqbal Tebha, Faraz Hyder and Arslan Mansoor,

The Pakistan Under-21 team, featuring Oosman Bashir, Haider Ali Malik, Zain Mohammad Khan, Mirza Asfandiyar Hussain Shahzeb Nasir Butt with Fehmina Shauq Hussain being the Non Playing Captain, finished 13th among the 18 participants.

The Seniors remained a source of inspiration for the youngsters by reaching the knockout phase of the in the World Bridge Games, a part of the inaugural World Mind Sports Games.

Pakistan Seniors squad, comprising Tariq Rasheed Khan, Rashid-ul-Ghazi, Pervez Mirza, Hasan Akhtar Zaidi, Hasan Jawwad and Masood Mazhar, crashed in the pre-quarter-finals against Australia.

The Pakistan Open team having Nauman Khalid Butt Yasser Rahim, Farrukh Liaquat, Jahangir Ahmed, Zia Hyder Naqi and Ahsan Javed Qureshi finished at 11th position among the 17 participating countries. Zeenat Azwer fared well in the individual bridge championship for women securing 10th position.

Zeenat Azwer, who was also a member of Pakistan’s women bridge squad, excelled in the individual championship. She was among the top four until the final stages but some dramatic developments near the end saw her slip to the 10th position among 34 participants from different countries. She secured an impressive score of 50.70 percent.

Khurshid Hadi, who is the Founder President of the Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP), had every reason to feel pleased with the heartening performance of Pakistan’s players.

Being the motivational force behind the launch of the MSAP, he had also played the pivotal role in organizing the first-ever National Mind Sports Games (NMSG) staged in Karachi during the month of August.

Khurshid Hadi has the ability to do things which others may find hard even imagining. The word impossible seems missing from his vocabulary. He is prepared to undertake challenges against the heaviest of odds and he has delivered consistently. He has done a great service to the game of bridge in particular that’s probably the dearest to his heart.

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Mahmood Lodhi, Amir Karim perform consistently in WMSG chess

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Mahmood Ahmed Lodhi and Amir Karim came up with exceptional performance against tough opponents in the rapid chess team event during the inaugural World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) that concluded in Beijing, China, on October 18.

Mr Tariq Rasheed Khan, Pakistan’s chef de mission during the WMSG, revealed upon his return from Beijing that Mahmood Lodhi and Amir Karim gave very fine account of themselves in the chess championship against the toughest of opponents in the team championship.

“The other three members of the Pakistan chess squad, Mohammad Waqar, Hasib Ahmed and Khalil-ur-Rahman did not match the consistency of Mahmood Lodhi and Amir Karim, however,” he remarked.

In the rapid chess team event, Pakistan lost to Brazil 1-3 in the first round with Mahmood Lodhi winning the game against Alexander Fier. Pakistan was beaten 0.5-3.5 by Austria in the second round with Mahmood Lodhi having drawn his game with Markus Ragger.

Pakistan drew with Norway 2-2 in the third round as Mahmood Lodhi and Amir Karim overpowered Espen Forsaa and Ostebo Lasse Lovik respectively. Japan was also held to a 2-2 draw by Pakistan in the fourth round with Mahmood Lodhi and Amir Karim emerging triumphant once more.

Khalil-ur-Rahman Butt’s win over Abdullah Mohsin helped Pakistan overpower Iraq 3-1 in the fifth round after Mahmood Lodhi and Amir Karim had toppled H A Hussain and Ahmed Ali Laith respectively.

Spain overcame Pakistan 3.5-0.5 in the sixth round with Mahmood Lodhi managing to draw his game with Kaido Kulaots.

Mahmood Lodhi suffered his first defeat in the seventh round at the hands of Mongolia’s Cegmed Batchulun as Pakistan lost the match 1-3 despite Amir Karim’s win over Namhai Battulga.

Pakistan salvaged a 2-2 draw against South Korea in the eighth round even after shocking defeat of Mahmood Lodhi at the hands of Kiyul Lee. Amir Karim and Hasib Ahmed won their games to earn an unlikely draw.

Pakistan suffered a 1-3 defeat at the hands of Israel in the ninth round with Hasib Ahmed emerging as the lone winner.

Pakistan signed off with a crushing 4-0 win over Macau in the tenth and final round in which the quartet of Mahmood Lodhi, Amir Karim, Mohammad Waqar and Hasib Ahmed outwitted their respective opponents.

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Korangi Al Fatah clinch Irfan Shaikh Trophy - Pakistan Sports

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Korangi Al Fatah recorded an exciting two-run victory in the final over Nazimabad Gymkhana to clinch the Lion Irfan Shaikh Inter-Clubs Cricket Tournament 2008 at the Asghar Ali Shah Stadium, Karachi, on October 21.

The tournament, contested by 150 clubs of the metropolis over a period of four months, was organized by the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), with the collaboration of the Karachi Galaxy Lions Club, in the honour of its livewire Vice President, Mr Mohammad Irfan Shaikh, who is also a central figure of Lions Club, the famed international voluntary service organization

Mr Malik Khuda Bakhsh, International Director, Lions Club was the chief guest in the final that was followed by the prize distribution ceremony. He recognized the role of Mr Irfan Shaikh for earning goodwill for the Lions community by supporting the cause of cricket, the most popular game of the country.

The ceremony was presided over by Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Mohammad Ali Shah, who also happens to be the President of the KCCA.

Mr Irfan Shaikh, Director, Marketing & Sales, Hinopak Motors Limited, he has emerged on the scene during the past couple of decades as one of the most proactive social personalities, having made special contributions to the field of sports in general and cricket in particular.

As the Founder Chairman of the Hinopak Sports and Recreation Club, he had launched the Hinopak Trophy Inter-Firms Cricket Tournament that has gone on to become the leading annual event on the calendar of the KCCA.

Similarly he is credited to have launched the Lions Trophy Inter-Clubs Cricket Tournament during his tenure as the Charter President of the Karachi Galaxy Lions Club.

It was in the fitness of things that the final of the Lion Irfan Shaikh Trophy turned out to be a fascinating contest between two evenly matched outfits and the fate of the game was decided by the narrowest of margins.

Batting first, after winning the toss, Korangi Al Fatah scored 196 for the loss of eight wickets in the allotted 45 overs. Nazimabad Gymkhana appeared coasting towards a comfortable victory when they were 165 for three but they lost their last seven wickets for only 29 runs to be bowled out for 194.

Korangi Al Fatah got off to a sedate 38-run opening start but they lost three quick wickets to concede the initiative. Nazimabad Gymkhana kept the pressure by taking wickets at regular intervals and they were on top having reduced their opponents to 152 for eight.

The 44-run unbroken ninth wicket stand between Anis Shaikh (29 not out) and Asim Uqbal (33 not out) enabled Korangi Al Fatah to stretch their total to a respectable 196 at the end of the stipulated overs. Mansoor Ahmed (3-26) and Ali Mubashir (2-41) were the pick of the Nazimabad Gymkhana bowlers.

The 148-run fourth wicket partnership between opener Owais Rahmani (88) and Faraz Patel (80) put Nazimabad Gymkhana in commanding position after they had lost their first wickets for only 17 runs.

Off-spinner Iqbal Imam’s four-wicket haul sank Nazimabad Gymkhana once the marathon partnership was broken. The dramatic batting collapse saw Korangi Al Fatah snatch an incredible win from the jaws of defeat.

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October 27, 2008

Ijaz Butt to head PCB

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The appointment of Ijaz Butt as the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has come as a welcome relief to the supporters of the game in the country. He was being tipped to take over the moment Dr Nasim Ashraf’s resignation had been accepted in the third week of August.

The delay in his appointment fuelled many speculations and it also allowed ‘noteworthy’ people from every nook and corner of the country to self-portrait themselves as the most suitable person for the job.

A lot has changed, however, since Ijaz Butt was associated with the Board as its Honorary Secretary in the 1980s. In the interim period it was only the tenure of General Tauqir Zia in which the Cricket Board was run in a professional manner and monumental contributions were made in the field of infrastructure development.

Unfortunately General Tauqir Zia’s successors, Shaheryar M Khan and Dr Nasim Ashraf, could not sustain the momentum. In fact, for reasons best known to themselves, both of them were guilty of undoing the great work of the General.

Now the ball is in the court of Ijaz Butt. He has remained actively involved with cricket for nearly half a century now. He was a very courageous opening batsman having negotiated the fastest of bowlers the game ever has seen.

Following his retirement from the game, he helped the cause of national cricket by volunteering as an administrator. He has been the manager of the national team, besides having headed the national selection committee.

He was elevated to the post of the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) when it was being headed by General Safdar Butt. Both of them had done more than satisfactory job as Pakistan succeeded in hosting the World Cup for the first time in 1987 with great success.

Ijaz Butt had proved himself a visionary administrator and he had formed a team of like-minded fellows who worked with him with missionary zeal. Some of the members of his team were also the core members of the team that helped General Tauqir Zia in accomplishing his cherished goals.

Ijaz Butt faces greater challenges now than ever before. The Pakistan cricket is in turmoil. The mismanagement in the PCB during the past few years has brought disrepute to the country. Now he has to handle the grim situation.

He must be in the process these days to form a team of tried and trusted campaigners who could help him out in clearing the mess in front of him. It’s essential to have a loyal team that could work out the strategy for the damage control.

On paper the cash-rich PCB is giving the impression of working as a corporate body but in practice they have left a lot to be desired. The inconsistent policies have hurt them badly.

Ijaz Butt obviously needs time to implement his plans, after having completed the fact-finding mission. One hopes that he would rise to the occasion and deliver, as is being widely anticipated.

He deserves the support of the cricket fraternity who need to be a little patient as well. Let Mr Ijaz Butt, whose integrity is beyond doubt, bring in his own team and start working on a plan. It will be a matter of time before the results start coming.

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Aziz Memon: From a Table Tennis Champion to Legendary Rotary Leader

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Mr Aziz Memon, rewrote the history of Rotary during his tenure as the District Governor in 2007-08, is acclaimed as a man with the Midas touch. His accomplishments in the field of business and social sector are truly inspirational. He has proved his mettle in the Rotary arena by setting new records.


Records are nothing new for Mr Aziz Memon who derives great inspiration by following the sporting events and reading about the success stories of the top athletes of the world.
Mr Aziz Memon, District Governor, Rotary International, District 3270 (Pakistan and Afghanistan) for 2007-08 has had a great passion for sports from his childhood. In fact he played quite a few games himself and excelled in some of them. He was the school champion in table tennis.

“Sports is an important part of just about every society, every country, every part of our planet. In one way or another, everyone is involved in sports or some sort, whether they are playing or watching or just knowing someone who does either,” he said in a recent interview.

“Sports may come in many sizes. And every game has its own charm. Golf is an individual sport. Even though golfers play on the same course, they are really competing against one another only with their scores. Unlike tennis, in which one player must beat the other to finish a match, golf features each player against every other player, with the one who takes the fewest strokes to sink the ball into 18 holes declared the winner,” Mr Aziz Memon pointed out.

“Football, cricket and hockey are team sports. Teams of eleven are off against each other, with team members helping each other to win as a team,” he added.

“Sports bring people together and also set people apart. They bring together in that a team can inspire many fans to cheer for that team. And each team has its own set of fans. So, when two teams compete against each other or two individual athletes go at each other, the fan base is divided in two. Such classic rivalries as Pakistan-India in hockey and Australia-England in cricket can last for decades with fan traditions being passed on from generation to generation,” Mr Aziz Memon emphasized.

Among the famous sports quotes that came readily to his mind were that of Roger Bannister and Mohammad Ali.

“Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead,” Roger Bannister had said after becoming the first person to break the four-minute mile in 1952.

“Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision,” were the words of US heavyweight boxer Mohammad Ali.

Mr Aziz Memon also agrees with the observation of sprinter Carl Lewis who once said:
“My thoughts before a big race are usually pretty simple. I tell myself: Get out of the blocks, run your race, stay relaxed. If you run your race, you'll win... channel your energy. Focus.”

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October 24, 2008

Dhoni: The Toughest not The Luckiest

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood

I can’t agree with the theory that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a lucky guy as some people are portraying him after India’s fabulous win over Australia in the second Test at Mohali where he got the opportunity to lead his country in the absence of regular skipper Anil Kumble, who failed to pass the fitness test.

Rather I am convinced that Dhoni is the toughest person around. He is one of those persons who believe in making their own luck. Having watched him play and conduct himself in and outside the arena over the last few years there is no doubt in one’s mind about him being extraordinarily gifted and immensely talented.

Leading the Indian cricket team has been the toughest of propositions for cricketers as great as Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. They featured among the all-time greats but neither of them could prove to be a successful captain. There were a combination of factors that didn’t allow them to lead by example and hence the desired results could not be achieved.

It’s different with Dhoni. He has proved himself the tough guy in the field in the limited opportunities that have come his way so far. He won the Twenty20 World Cup for India. He captained India to victory in the three-nation ODI series in Australia earlier this year against heavy odds.

He has so far led India in only two Test matches and his country emerged victorious on both occasions. It’s not fluke. Dhoni has to get the credit for delivering even while doing the job on a temporary job. It’s not at all easy to be motivated in such circumstances. But he has done it to prove the point that he considers problems as opportunities.

The champion wicketkeeper-batsman has shown that he has the rare ability of withstanding the pressures of all kinds. Leading India at home is probably more difficult because of the high expectations that grip the cricket-crazy country.

He was the man who created the window of opportunity for India at Mohali and made sure that the mission was accomplished with precision. The result was a massive win for the home side on a track that was good for batting even on the fifth day.

The Australians were still in the game when night watchman Ishant Sharma was dismissed early on the second morning. A couple of more wickets with the second new ball hard and shining at that stage and the hosts would have struggled to reach a total of 350.

Enter Dhoni and he took the game away from the Aussies with his aggressive display. His hooking was imperious and productive. It sent the message across quickly that he had a plan to unsettle the opponents. He was unlucky to be dismissed in the nineties but his attacking knock had done the damage.

The Australians, who believe in dominating, could not recover from the shock of getting dominated themselves. Their batting was blown away like house of cards and India moved in to push the issue beyond doubt.

Dhoni’s decision to promote himself to number three in the second innings was another masterstroke. His unbeaten 68 ensured that India put on the board the runs they needed in quick time to leave ample time for their own bowlers to complete the rout.

Aggression is not only word in his dictionary. He also has more than enough patience that makes him an outstanding captain. That’s why he is more likely to succeed than not in Test cricket after having proved his mettle in the shorter versions of the game.

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