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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