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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