October 29, 2008

Customs Academy hail Ijaz Butt’s appointment


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


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


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


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


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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