January 31, 2010

City of Karachi honours Jan-e-Alam Fazli


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Jan-e-Alam Fazli’s contribution as one of the most prolific bridge players of his time has been recognized by the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) by means of dedicating a street after his name.

Tariq Rasheed Khan, President, Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF), broke the good news that Jan-e-Alam, who holds the distinction of being the highest ranked Pakistani player at the international level, has been honoured by the City of Karachi by naming with the street where he lived in his early days after him.

“It’s a matter of great pleasure and pride for all of us. It’s a moment to cherish for every bridge player of the country. We are delighted to have the Jan-e-Alam Fazli Street in Karachi,” Tariq Rasheed remarked.

The sentiments of the bridge players are very clearly reflected in those remarks of the PBF President. It’s not often that the bridge legends of the country have been recognized in much manner at the governmental level.

Jan-e-Alam happens to be the only player in South Asia and Middle East Zone to have been conferred the rank of International Life Master by the World Bridge Federation (WBF).

He was an integral part of the national team in the golden era of the 1980s when Pakistan had reached the final of the Bermuda Bowl World Championship two times within six years. He was nominated for the coveted Presidential Award but the change of guard in 2008 deferred his case.

When contacted the modest and unassuming veteran bridge player explained that the city government has named the road housing his childhood residence in Block A of North Nazimabad as the Jan-e-Alam Fazli Street.

“I feel really honoured and elevated by this gesture of the city government. This is an acknowledgement of my contribution to the cause of sports. I thank the concerned officials for having taken up this initiative. I am sure the whole fraternity of sports will welcome this move,” Jan-e-Alam observed.

Jan-e-Alam very rightly reckoned that the athletes do get inspired by their recognition like these and they try to payback by performing even better.

He has been acclaimed one of the greatest sportsmen of Pakistan, having contributed significantly for putting on the bridge map of the world. He was one of the illustrious contemporaries of the great Zia Mahmood, a World Bridge Federation (WBF) and American Contract Bridge League (ABCL) Grand Life Master.

The City District Government Karachi (CDGK) has made a praiseworthy move by honouring the bridge legend. Now the authorities in the federal capital should also expedite his case for the Presidential award.

The Pakistan Bridge Federation (PBF) should also try to pursue his case in Islamabad because he thoroughly deserves the award. It would be another major boost for the development of the mind sport in the country should he get it.

One hopes that the red tape or the political considerations would be overcome by the saner elements in the Federal Ministry of Sports who must be aware of Jan-e-Alam’s massive contribution to the sport of bridge.

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January 30, 2010

Arthur replaced by teammate van Zyl


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Yes Mickey Arthur and Corrie van Zyl used to be teammates as they played together for Free State in the 1990s. Little would have they known those days that they would be replacing each other as the national cricket coach many years later.

Arthur resigned from the position a few days ago announcing that his vision for the national team differed with that of Cricket South Africa (CSA).

"It was clear that the vision I had and CSA’s vision are different. I am disappointed, because when I started there I said I wanted to get South Africa to No. 1 in both forms of the game, I wanted to be the first South African coach to win in England, and the first to win in Australia. The only thing I didn't achieve was an ICC trophy,” he remarked while making the decision.

“I'm not going to be jumping into anything too soon and I might dabble into a few other things and see where that takes me. I think I will consider anything that comes down the line. I will sit and wait for the right opportunity and the best opportunity where I can make an impact,” he added.

Arthur’s resignation was followed by the sacking of the selection panel and then broke the news of a structural overhaul of the CSA to take place during their meeting on February 19.

The interim selection committee, replacing the one led by Mike Procter, comprised the CSA Chief Executive, Gerald Majola, high performance manager Corrie van Zyl, who was also appointed as the interim coach, and former captain Kepler Wessels, having the addition responsibility of being the team's batting consultant.

"Cricket South Africa is looking at the entire structure the team operates under and there are still consultations going on. Some of these are about selection too and the whole process by which the team is selected,” Majola revealed.

"In the last few years, the coach has been able to appoint his own staff, but after speaking to the players, the board felt changes were necessary. Mickey did not believe that if these changes were made, he'd be able to choose his own people, so he moved on," the CSA chief added.

"We believe as a board that Mickey has been very successful. His resignation came through the normal stock-taking process which followed the England home series and against the backdrop of the disappointing results of 2009. As this process unfolded and remedies were sought, Mickey expressed the very honest and humble view that he did not believe that at this stage he could continue as coach of the Proteas,” Majola disclosed.

"In the circumstances, he tendered his resignation and it is with much regret that the CSA Board accepted it. We have accepted Mickey's view that a change at the coaching helm is needed, and we have made this as seamless as possible by bringing in on a caretaker basis the considerable expertise of Corrie van Zyl, who is doing outstanding work as CSA's High Performance Coach," he stated.

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January 29, 2010

Donkey cart race thrills


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The donkey cart race is a spectacle of another kind. It has many of the ingredients of a thrilling sporting event and the participants as well as the spectators are into it by all means.

The Government of Sindh’s sports department recently organized yet another exciting donkey cart race in Karachi that was thoroughly enjoyed by the people residing in the old city area.

An added incentive for the participants was the handsome monetary rewards. All of them were assured of taking home Rs 5,000 each even if they didn’t finish among the top three. It was a wise move to keep all of them interested and ensure a decent turnout. Obviously the idea behind staging the event was to encourage people in healthy activities.

The Sindh Sports Minister, Dr Syed Mohammad Ali Shah, and the Secretary Sports and Youth Affairs to the Government of Sindh, Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, had planned the event as part of their drive for the revival of the traditional sports of the province. Both these gentlemen are making great contribution in engaging the youth of the province in particular in the sports arena.
The donkey cart race organized by the provincial government on January 24 witness tremendous buzz and excitement as a total of 25 riders took part in the race that started from Railways Sports Ground located on I I Chundrigar Road and completed the cycle after passing through KPT Bridge, Sultanabad, PIDC and Shaheen Complex.

Abdul Hussain emerged as the winner of the race while Syed Asghar Ali Shah and Shakeel Ahmed finished second and third respectively.

Abdul Hussain, who clocked 11.35 minutes, received a purse of Rs 20,000, the runner-up Syed Asghar Ali Shah, who covered the distance in 11.45 minutes, was presented Rs 15,000 while Shakeel Ahmed, having finished third after doing it in 12.50 minutes, collected Rs 10,000.

The Director Sports, Sindh, Mohammad Hanif Mirchiwala, was the chief guest in the colourful presentation ceremony held at the Railways Sports Ground in which cash prizes of Rs 170,000 were disbursed.

It may be recalled that donkey cart racing was acclaimed as the pride of the city during one of the cultural festivals organized last year. It was announced by the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) to proactively support the sport being kept alive by the youth of Lyari.

A donkey cart race was organized as a part of the Hamara Karachi Festival 2009, which started from Gul Bai in Keamari Town and ended at the Jahangir Kothari Parade in Clifton. The participants had covered a distance of seven kilometers.

Pir Muhammad had won the race after reaching the finish line in just 13.2 minutes. He was followed by Saleem Japani and Asghar Badshah who finished second and third respectively among the 35 participants.

There are numerous donkey carts visible in the streets of Lyari town that serve a dual purpose. Besides being a mode of transportation it also provides them an avenue for recreation in the form of donkey cart races. The donkeys used for these races are usually younger and are believed to be much more expensive than the locally manufactured motorbikes. Lyari wears a festive look whenever donkey cart races are held there.

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Ahsan Javed crowned as national junior champion


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Sialkot’s highly promising teenager, Ahsan Javed, staged a magnificent comeback to defeat Mohammad Ishtiaq of Sindh in the final to win the NJI 8th National Junior (Under-21) Snooker Championship 2010 at the Karachi Club on January 28.

Ahsan, who was trailing 1-3 in the best of nine frame contest, fought back resolutely to win the match 5-3 with the scores of 20-67, 59-45, 36-60, 30-55, 70-26, 64-2, 54-47, 59-54.

The 19-year-old Ahsan gave a far more impressive account of himself under pressure while turning the tables on Ishtiaq, one of the upcoming youngsters of Karachi, in the battle for the national junior crown.

Ishtiaq, having looked quite confident in his earlier matches, got off to a flying start in the final too but he was unable to sustain his dominance when Ahsan got into his elements in the second half, notching breaks of 32, 39 and 29 in successive frames to seal the fate of the match. He had previously fired a break of 31 in the second frame. Ishtiaq’s highest break in the final was 30.

Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, New Jubilee Insurance (NJI), was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony soon after the conclusion of the final. Cash awards of Rs 120,000 were disbursed among the top performers of the six-day event.

Ahsan Javed collected a handsome purse of Rs 50,000 with the winner’s trophy while Mohammad Ishtiaq had to be content with a reward of Rs 25,000 with the runner-up trophy.

Mian Mohammad Shiraz and Qamar Zaman Khan, the losing semifinalists, received Rs 10,000 each while the quartet of Rizwan Hashmi, Asjad Iqbal, Yasir Rahman and Ayaz Khan, got Rs 5,000 each for being the losing quarter-finalists.

The tournament witnessed quite a few upsets, reflecting the popularity and growth of the game in the cities of Punjab. Asjad Iqbal and Hamza Akbar, the winner and the runner-up respectively of the last year’s tournament, were knocked out in stunning fashion before the semifinals.

Both Asjad and Hamza, having gained international exposure by representing the country in the World Under-21 Championship last year, were unable to make the cut in the presence of the new crop of talented cueists.

The cueists from Punjab dominated the tournament with five of them making it to the quarter-finals although the highest participation was from the host province of Sindh. The cueists from the NWFP and Balochistan could not make much of an impression this time round.

The emergence of cueists like Ahsan Javed, who had made his debut in the national junior circuit a couple of years ago, augurs well for the future of the sport. He showed remarkable qualities and the manner in which he handled in the pressure-cooker situation in the final spoke highly of his skills and temperament.

The performance of Mohammad Ishtiaq was commendable as well. He also has the potential to go places if he is provided the support he deserves.

Now the ball is in the court of the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) having the responsibility of arranging the desired facilities and taking care of the immensely talented youngsters.

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January 28, 2010

Islah urges Pakistan to boycott World Cup in India


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Former Pakistan captain and one of the legendary hockey forwards, Olympian
Islahuddin Siddiqui has advised the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to boycott the upcoming FIH World Cup Tournament 2010 to be staged in India next month.

"The strained Indo-Pak relations and the security threats from different extremist groups in India present a very grim scenario at the moment and it would put Pakistan players under pressure if they play there," Islahuddin, a respected name in the international hockey circles, said in an interview in Karachi.

“I don’t think it would be advisable to let Pakistan play in India. The sports-loving public of both the neighboring countries are very much eager to watch their stalwarts in action but a few elements across the border have become proactive in trying to sabotage sporting ties," he felt.

"What’s the point in sending our players when we are aware of the fact that it might be very difficult for them to concentrate and excel," he believed.

"Pakistan’s hockey team has shown definite signs of improvement of late but let us not them put to that kind of test. They should be forced to take the field in such hostile atmosphere,” Islah, who led Pakistan to the World Cup triumph in 1978, warned.

“It’s not fair to send our hockey team to India as performing well under adverse conditions could be terribly difficult for them," he reckoned.

“When the hugely resourceful franchises could not pick the Pakistan cricketers for the Indian Premier League (IPL) because of the security concerns how will be the hosts providing security to the big Pakistan hockey contingent in the tournament of a profile as high as the World Cup,” Islah, having served the national team as coach and manager, questioned.

"Not picking Pak cricketers in the IPL auction has sent a negative message to the Indo-Pak sub-continent and the world. They themselves proved the point that the conditions were not conducive for sporting action in India," he added.

“The Pakistan Hockey Federation must take a note of the situation and they should assess all the factors before making the decision. They should not think twice of participating in the event if they are not fully satisfied with the security arrangements,” the widely traveled Islah suggested.

Interestingly Pakistan, having won the World Cup a record four times, are scheduled to take on hosts India in the opening match of the 12-nation tournament to be staged in at New Delhi from February 28 to March 11.

It may be recalled that the World Cup hockey tournament was a brainchild of the visionary PHF President, Air Marshal Nur Khan. The inaugural event could not to be hosted in Pakistan but they managed to win the trophy when it was launched in Spain in 1971.

Not surprisingly it was the tension between the two arch-rivals that had cost Pakistan the chance of staging the first-ever World Cup. It was after 19 years when the World Cup was finally held in Pakistan in 1990.

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Zaheer’s 10-wicket haul standout effort on a batting paradise


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan produced the kind of fast bowling in the second Test that would be needed more regularly if India are to retain their place at the top of the tree. The bowlers have to do the business nearly every time because 20 wickets are there to be taken for winning a Test match no matter how heavily you score.

Nobody can doubt the greatness of the present Indian batting line-up but their bowlers haven’t attained the kind of consistency which the world beating West Indians had in the 1980s or the Australians possessed in the 1990s while dominating every opposition.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did the right thing by having credited Zaheer Khan and the other bowlers for the thumping ten-wicket victory over Bangladesh that enabled India to wrap up the two-Test series 2-0.

It’s always very nice of the captain to acknowledge and recognize the key performers. Dhoni has seldom put a foot wrong and he has been found very positive in backing his teammates.

The batsmen had certainly played their part by putting runs on the board but there was hardly anything to worry for them. The pitch was friendly and there was not much venom in the Bangladesh attack either. The Indian batsmen were bound to score heavily if they didn’t commit suicide.

But the Indian bowlers were very much pressure when they came out to bowl a second time. With key batsmen Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh on the injury list they had to ensure that there wasn’t a testing target set for them.
Well with Zaheer returning his career-best figures Bangladesh could get only one run in front and the Indian openers, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, were not even needed to put bat on ball to get the couple of runs that completed the clean sweep of the Test series.

Zaheer’s outstanding spell at the stroke of lunch brought about the relief Dhoni needed. There must have been some cause in the skipper’s mind with the hosts had progressed to 290 for three. Even the nightwatchman was not getting dislodged and there were possibilities that Bangladesh could pose more problems.

But the Indians hit back before it took to their minds and the home side had no answer to the sensational bowling for Zaheer losing their final seven wickets for 22 runs.

"It was a difficult task to get wickets in this track, both for spinners and pacers. But all credit goes to the bowlers. They really put their best to get those 20 wickets, especially Zaheer's spell,” Dhoni reckoned.

"The ball was getting old and the wicket was getting slower and slower. This is a reason we decided to bowl first in this wicket. If you bat first you need to score 600 plus or else you have to again come and bat. So it was tough but I think the bowlers did a terrific job,” the victorious captain added.

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January 26, 2010

Bangladesh skipper, Board President lock horns


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The skipper of the Bangladesh cricket team, Shakib Al Hasan, and the President of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), A H M Mustafa Kamal, have been in the news lately for the wrong reasons. Both of them appeared to be guilty of going overboard in a ceremony recently that was actually being held to celebrate their cricketing triumph.

It’s so easy to get carried away when provoked and you need depth of character to absorb remarks or comments that are not to liking. Both these gentlemen were found wanting in conducting themselves and their acts caused embarrassment instead in the hour of glory.

At the function organized to felicitate the team for its triumphs against the West Indies and Zimbabwe last year, BCB chief AHM Mustafa Kamal, should have avoided bitterly criticizing his team for losing the first Test of the ongoing home series against India. He didn’t have a point in questioning the commitment and sense of responsibility of the players after Bangladesh lost in Chittagong.

"You have to be more responsible and have to give your best. As a professional, I always want hundred per cent from the players and you have to be habituated with triumph and it will be not acceptable if you go down one day after winning a match the previous day," he was quoted as saying.

It was really unfair of the Board chief to have raised the issue in the ceremony even if he felt let down by the team. In any case his criticism looked totally unjustified. If he considered Bangladesh’s performance in the first Test as dismal or below par then I am afraid he needs to some crash courses on understanding the game.

Probably the BCB President was unaware of the fact that India are the top ranked Test side in the world and their batting line-up is hailed as one of the greatest of all-time. If the Bangladesh bowlers succeeded in routing them for less than 250 in their first innings they needed to be applauded not criticized. Then they very nearly equaled India’s first innings total.

The BCB President should have looked at the positives from the first Test rather than humiliating his players for losing the game in the final session.

Then the young Bangladesh skipper, Shakib-ul-Hasan, could not control his emotions and gave a befitting reply to the Board President by saying:

"No cricketer plays for defeat and we always try to give our best in the field. In order to get consistent success both players and the coaches should work together, no one can win on his own. Everyone should speak responsibly and assist us in our job. We will not win everyday, no one does. But our integrity should not be questioned.”

The BCB President had committed the first mistake and the Bangladesh skipper made the second mistake by taking on the former. Two wrongs don’t make one right. Shakib should have absorbed the remarks of the Board chief in the sporting spirit.

It didn’t stop there. A local newspaper, Kaler Kantho, posted a picture of Shakib kneeling in front of Mustafa Kamal after the function, reportedly to apologize for the comments. It was also reported that Shakib was also threatened with dire consequences by the BCB.

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January 22, 2010

Sindh Government activates sports relief fund


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The Sindh government has activated the Pakistan Sports Foundation Relief Fund (PSFRF) for the specific purpose of providing financial assistance to the athletes facing financial hardships due to physical disabilities or protracted ailment.

Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Secretary Sports, Government of Sindh, has revealed that besides helping the deserving athletes in need, the Regional Committee of the PSFRF was also taking care of the legal heirs of the deceased ones.

“The seven-member Regional Committee of the PSFRF was formed in November 2008 with a revolving grant of Rs 500,000 at our disposal with the objective of helping the deserving sports-persons of repute and to legal heirs of those stalwarts who have died. We have been providing financial assistance in the form of monthly scholarships as well as lump sum grant-in-aid,” he disclosed.

Shoaib Siddiqui himself is a member of the Regional Committee of the PSFRF that also includes former Test cricketer and present chief selector, Iqbal Qasim, besides, Mir Haider Ali Talpur, Shah Riazuddin and Rahat Ali Shah.
“The families of former Pakistan hockey captain, Munawwar-uz-Zaman and former Test cricketer, Taslim Arif, were provided financial grant of Rs 50,000 each. Similarly a payment of Rs 50,000 was made to the family of cricket coach Khushi Mohammad,” Shoaib Siddiqui disclosed.

“Footballers Mahboob Khan and Turab Ali were paid Rs 20,000 each to take care of their illness. Boxer Mahboob Khan and hockey player Khwaja Wasimuddin were also extended financial support to the tune of Rs 20,000 each while judo player Sajjad Hussain Baloch was paid Rs 15,000,” he added.

“The athletes and coaches having been extended monthly assistance of Rs 3,500 each include Lal Mohammad Baloch, Nazar Mohammad, Mohammad Ali Shah, Mohammad Wasim, Mahboob Khan, Noor-ul-Haq, Zaki Anwar, Shabbir Hussain, Abdul Rauf Qureshi, Abdul Rasheed, Shaikh Hasan Mohammad, Abeera Ali Shaikh, Abdul Ghafoor and Ismail Rosho,” Shoaib Siddiqui said.

It’s indeed quite heartening to note that the government has started taking care of the unpriveleged athletes who certainly deserve the monetary support after having spent their life in the sporting arena.

Numerous sporting greats have had to struggle to make their ends meet because only a few of them had the luxury of jobs and that too during the peak of their career. The majority of them couldn’t save for the rainy day and life has remained tough for them generally.

Sports has become an industry worldwide but the same cannot be said about Pakistan with cricket being the sole exception. Under the circumstances the state does have the responsibility of looking after the athletes.

The amount being disbursed by the Pakistan Sports Foundation Relief Fund (PSFRF) at the moment certainly looks peanuts but it’s a mighty big move in the right direction. As they say it’s never too late to do something good.

The government should allocate more funds to this scheme in order to assist greeater number of athletes. This will go a long way in encouraging more youngsters to take to sports.

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Tendulkar stars in unimpressive triumph


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

India played nowhere close to their potential in their first game after becoming the top ranked Test side in the world. Ironically it was their batting that let them down and it needed yet another classy knock from master craftsman Sachin Tendulkar to save them from embarrasment against Bangladesh in Chittagong.

India’s strength became their weakness in the first Test as their legendary batting line-up flopped after yet another promising start. It was amazing to find the likes of Virender Sehwag, also leading the team in the absence of the injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Gautam Gambhir to have given it away on the opening day after having got their eyes in.

Equally shocking was the failure of Test specialists Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, neither of whom stayed at the crease long enough to worry the hosts. The dasher Yuvraj Singh couldn’t fire either and then the massive hole created by the non-presence of Dhoni at number seven made things more difficult for the visitors.

You can’t expect to reduce this Indian batting order to 200 odd for the loss of eight wickets in any form of the game irrespective of the conditions or the quality of bowling. It was mind boggling to see them crashing to 243 all out despite the brilliant unbeaten century from Tendulkar.

It wasn’t the kind of start India needed to start their campaign being the No. 1 Test team in the world. To have folded against an inexperienced bowling attack didn’t reflect their mental strength.

India’s task of staging a comeback after the horrible first outing was made even more difficult by the gloomy weather and there were doubts if there would be substantial play to let them bowl out Bangladesh two times.

Thankfully from their point of view the bowlers didn’t disappoint in the manner their batsmen had otherwise India could well have been beaten. Had Bangladesh been allowed to run away with a sizeable first innings lead it might have been curtains for India whose unpredictability always keeps their fans guessing.

The final result, however, brought relief for Sehwag. "It has been a good start to the year. It's important to start well I guess. Everybody chipped in to make it happen. We didn't bat well first time but the bowlers have helped us win this game,” he observed.

"It happens with every team. Australia got out for around 120 in the Sydney Test against Pakistan but they won. We managed to score 250 because of Sachin, but we did bat well in the second innings and our bowling did the job for us," he added.

He was particular pleased with the performance of fast bowler Ishant Sharma who was returning to the side after an injury. ‘He bowled really well. It's good for him and good for Indian cricket,” the skipper acknowledged.

The Indians would be looking forward to an improved performance in the second Test in Dhaka and the focus will be on their champion batsmen once more.

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January 21, 2010

Tahir Ahmed lauds role of sports journalists


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, New Jubilee Insurance (NJI), has recognized the role of the working journalists in the promotion of sports in Pakistan.

He made a particular mention of the media in keeping sports afloat in the country despite the inconsistent performances of the athletes in various events from time to time during the launch of the NJI 8th National Junior (Under-21) Snooker Championship 2010 at the Karachi Club on January 20.

“It’s very heartening indeed that the media professionals of our country are playing a proactive role in keeping the nation engaged in healthy activities. Our people get depressed quickly by the odd setbacks but our knowledgeable media makes them realize that odd losses are part and parcel of life,” he observed.

The Pakistan Billiard & Snooker Association (PBSA) was assured the sponsorship support by the NJI who have been supporting the National Junior Championship for the past three years besides having lent financial assistance to quite a few national and international events during the last few years.

“I would urge the PBSA to invite foreign cueists in our country in near future so that the sporting activities could be revived in difficult situations. The NJI is proud to play its part in the promotion of cue sports and we look forward to a long term relationship to take the game to another level,” Tahir Ahmed remarked.

The NJI 8th National Junior (Under-21) Snooker Championship 2010 will be staged at the Karachi Club from January 23 to 28. It will be offering Rs 120,000 in prize money with the winner to take home an enhanced purse of Rs 50,000.

The runner-up will be presented Rs 25,000 while both the losing semifinalists and all the four losing quarter-finalists will be getting Rs 10,000 each and Rs 5,000 each respectively. The highest break of the tournament carries a cash award of Rs 5,000.

An added incentive for the participants will be the qualification in the international event later this year. Both the finalists of the National Junior Championship will be representing Pakistan in the 11th Asian Under-21 Championship to be held in India from April 7 to 15.

“The total number of participants will be 32. Originally it was desired to have equal representation from all the four provinces but the inability of the NWFP and Balochistan to register eight cueists each will allow us to field more contestants from Sindh and Balochistan,” Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, President, PBSA, revealed.

“As far as the format of the event is concerned the participating cueists will be divided equally in eight groups. At the end of the league matches the top two cueists from each group will advance to the pre-quarter-finals. The league matches will be best of five encounters while the pre-quarter-finals and quarter-finals will be best of seven affairs and the semifinals as well as the final will best of nine contests,” Alamgir Shaikh explained.

The PBSA President acknowledged the overwhelming support of the former Federal Sports Minister, Pir Syed Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani, who had approved special grants last year.

Ali Asghar Valika, Chairman, PBSA, in his brief remarks, expressed the hope that the young Pakistan’s cueists will come up with better performance in the future events after having gained the recent experience and exposure at the international level.

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January 19, 2010

Yousuf’s negative captaincy makes it easier for Ponting


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

There’s absolutely no element of surprise in finding Pakistan whitewashed at the hands of Australia in the just concluded three-Test series. The Australians were nowhere near to their best but still they were good enough to emerge triumphant on all three occasions.

There wasn’t hardly any contest in the first and third Tests with the home side dictating terms in the manner expected of them but they had a great escape in the second Test at Sydney.

The negative mindset of Mohammad Yousuf made things easier for his opposite number, Ricky Ponting who must have wondered how his team got away with it in the second Test after having conceded a massive first innings lead.

Ponting and his deputy Michael Clarke failed miserably in the first two Tests as did Marcus North, having given an impressive account of himself in his earlier games. While Ponting and Clarke rediscovered their form in the third and final Test, North just couldn’t do it even in conditions that were not demanding to say the least.

Yousuf, whose defensive approach perplexed everyone, was not able to put the Australian batsmen under any kind of pressure. He probably seemed to have taken it for granted that his team would be blasted in all three games.

Yousuf, having been handed over the leadership only after when the team members had revolted against Younis Khan during the series of One-day Internationals against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi, looked completely out of focus in the Test series in New Zealand as well as in Australia.

Pakistan were at a great disadvantage due to the weak captaincy of Yousuf. They were extremely lucky to have got away with in New Zealand where the rains prevented the hosts from completing a series win on the final day.

Pakistan obviously needed heavy dose of luck once again to compete when they crossed the border to exchange fire with the Aussies. As expected the Australians proved to be a tougher opponent than the Black Caps, who were handicapped by the loss of champion fast bowler Shane Bond in the last two Tests.

With a fragile batting line-up and an inexperienced bowling attack Pakistan had to face the music in Australia. But they found the hosts below their best and the eventual scoreline not withstanding they didn’t fare all that badly either.

Ponting’s adventure of electing to bat in the second Test at Sydney would be talked about for a long time. Australia could have wrapped up the game inside three days, had the skipper just inserted the opposition into bat. Instead the hosts remained in danger of losing the game until winning it narrowly in the end.

The Australian off-spinner, Nathan Hauritz, turned out to be the highest wicket-taker in the series. Not a great turner of the ball, he benefited greatly by the tendency of the Pakistan batsmen to have a go at them after being contained by the faster bowlers.

Rains threatened Australia’s bid to complete a whitewash in Hobart but Ponting’s sporting declaration on the fourth day covered up the odd stoppages.

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January 18, 2010

Pir Aftab Jilani declares PCB elections as illegal


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Federal Minister, Pir Syed Aftab Hussain Shah Jilani, has declared the ongoing elections being held under the auspices of the sitting officials of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as illegal.

Pir Aftab Jilani, who is himself the Co-Chairman of the PCB Constitution Committee, did not mince words in stating that the present officials of the Board were not authorized to hold the elections.

“The elections that they have been holding recently are against the rules. Only the newly appointed election commissioner would be entitled to organize the election process in accordance with the new constitution of the PCB,” Pir Aftan Jilani, Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, remarked in an interview the other day.

“I am really surprised to find the resources of the PCB being wasted on a futile exercise. The PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt, must be aware of the fact that the present management didn’t have the authority to these elections. Yet they are going ahead with it thus engaging themselves in illegal activities. As a matter of fact the PCB is flouting even its own constitution by holding these elections,” he reckoned.

Pir Aftab Jilani, who remained the Federal Sports Minister for over a year, also expressed his disappointment with the working of the PCB resulting in the poor performances by the national team.

Pakistan’s cricket team has just been whitewashed in the Test series in Australia, after having shared the honours with the lowly-rated New Zealand a little while earlier.

“The Federal Ministry of Sports, which is the supreme body, advised the PCB on numerous occasions but they have continued to do things according to their own whims and wishes which caused embarrassment for the whole nation,” he stated.

Pir Aftab Jilani, himself a former first-class cricketer, believed that cricket in the country will flourish with the incorporation of the new constitution of the PCB worked out on democratic lines.

“Our goal is to strengthen the institution. Cricket is the most popular game of the country and it should be run in professional manner so that we could make most of the enormous talent that we have been blessed with,” he said.

Pir Aftab Jilani’s comments bring to light the inefficiency and bias in the affairs of the PCB. He agreed that the PCB has been a victim of dictatorship of late with Ijaz Butt calling the shots on his own.

It’s an open secret that the PCB Chairman has been making decision arbitrarily and he has often been summoned by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sports headed by Jamshed Dasti.

There’s a feeling that Ijaz Butt has continued to survive at the helm of the affairs, despite the criticism by the media in particular and the public in general, because of his influential brother-in-law, Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, Federal Minister for Defence, and a central figure of the ruling party.

It remains to be seen for how long Ijaz Butt will be stay there because there are signs of pressures from within the government for a change.

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January 16, 2010

National Accountability Bureau summons Cricket Board official


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned Razaullah Khan, veteran cricket organizer and a former councilor of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), to appear in person next week.

Razaullah Khan, presently serving the PCB as the Coordinator for Grounds in Sindh, has confirmed that he has been directed to appear in person at the NAB office in Rawalpindi on January 19 at 9.30 am.

“My complaint number 34/09 was submitted to the NAB a few months ago and after thoroughly scrutinizing the matter they have now summoned me to find an answer to some missing elements and to resolve certain queries. I have also been asked to bring along relevant documents to support my allegations,” he revealed.

“I had submitted a request to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for taking a suo motto action against the officials of the PCB found by the Auditor General of Pakistan to have been involved in the embezzlement of funds to the tune of Rupees seven billion,” Razaullah Khan, one of the most outspoken cricket personalities of the country, revealed.

“Alongwith my application to the Chief Justice I had submitted a copy of the report of the Auditor General of Pakistan that details the corrupt practices of the PCB officials. I had also brought the matter to the notice of Chaudhary Nisar Ali, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, by sending him a copy of the same report,” he added.

Razaullah Khan, who has been associated with the game of cricket in various capacities for nearly half a century now, did not mince words in stating that he has had to approach the Chief Justice after having failed to get any response from the government agencies.

“I communicated to the Chief Justice that I approached him after having knocked at the various doors without any response. The people in the government have their own reasons of not initiating action against the former PCB officials even though the report of the Auditor General of Pakistan has found them guilty,” Razaullah Khan said.

“The Auditor General of Pakistan had compiled the report after being assigned the task by the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the Patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board,” the former PCB Council member stated.

“Exemplary punishment must be given to the PCB officials for having misused the public money and having derived huge personal benefits besides having obliged their near and dear ones,” he pleaded.

Razaullah Khan didn’t expect the present officials of the PCB to move against their predecessors because in his opinion there still were quite a few employees in the Board having sympathy with their former bosses.

Razaullah Khan has been known and feared for calling a spade a spade. He has had the knack of bringing to light the facts that generally were concealed by the people with the vested interests. He has not been afraid to blast his own colleagues if he found any fault in them.

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January 15, 2010

POA chief regrets inadequate preparation for South Asian Games


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The top functionary of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has regretted inadequate training and international exposure to the athletes ahead of the 11th South Asian Games scheduled to commence in Dhaka later this month.

General Syed Arif Hasan, President, POA, in a recent chat, observed that Pakistan would have stood a chance of claiming many more medals if the athletes were provided the desired training and exposure at the international level.

“For reasons beyond our control we were unable to execute the plan that would have helped improve our record in the upcoming regional Games in which our athletes had fared rather well in the past,” he stated.

He described the current year (2010) as one of the most important ones for Pakistan during which the country has to participate in as many as three multi-sports events are to be held. The South Asian Games would be followed by the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.

When inquired about the problems, the POA chief singled out the lack of funds as the biggest obstacle in carrying out their plans.

“Obviously we are not in a position to implement our plans in the desired manner due to scarcity of funds. We have had to contain our activities that didn’t help in making advancement in the field of sports,” he said.

He looked forward to the governmental support in future in order to accomplish the cherished goals of the national Olympic body.

“Making the use of the available resources we are putting together our strongest possible squad for the upcoming South Asian Games and we are hoping that our athletes will come up with encouraging performance in Dhaka,” the POA chief added.

The 2010 South Asian Games is scheduled to take place from January 29 to February 8. This will be the third time that the Bangladeshi capital hosts the Games, thus becoming the fourth city to host the Games multiple times after Colombo, Kathmandu and Islamabad.

Besides Pakistan and hosts Bangladesh the athletes from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives and Bhutan would be taking part in the 11-day extravaganza.

It’s indeed a pity that Pakistan’s athletes have been denied the opportunity of gearing up for the mega events. Whether it’s the lack of coordination between the concerned bodies or any politics involved between them it’s the country that’s going to suffer more likely than not.

The Federal Ministry of Sports and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) have their own set of priorities and for the time being at least they don’t seem to be in any mood to proactively make things happen.

The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on their part should also shoulder the blame for not having taken the measures to arrest the decline in standard of sports in the recent past. They were not short of funds until their marketing arm, the Pakistan Sports Trust (PST), was feeding the federations.

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January 14, 2010

Jalaluddin being victimized by PCB once more


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Former Test fast bowler, Jalaluddin, is not new to victimization or injustices. He and his department, Pakistan Customs, have been at the receiving end on the numerous occasions in the past as well.

Jalaluddin’s career as a fast bowler was cut short due to non-cricketing reasons. He wasn’t provided the opportunity to do justice to his talents even after having stolen the limelight by becoming the first bowler to perform a hat-trick in One-day Internationals.

He has learnt to live the hard way. Instead of feeling disheartened or demoralized he has continued to work with fierce determination. Despite the obstacles he has been in the thick of things. His Customs Cricket Academy (CCA) is a living example of his dedication and commitment.

By sheer hard work he has managed to become the most sought after cricket coach of the country. He has been given odd assignments but he has not yet been granted the recognition he deserves.

Lately he is crossing swords with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over the issue of departmental representation. He has accused the PCB officials of wrongdoings while blocking his election in their Governing Board.

Speaking in a hurriedly called press conference at Karachi’s Days Inn Hotel on January 14, Jalaluddin alleged that his department, Pakistan Customs, as well as Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGCL), were intentionally kept out of the PCB to be held in Lahore the following day (January 15).

He produced the letter of the PCB’s Election Commissioner, Abdul Sami Khan, in which only seven departments, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), have been extended the invitation to attend today’s meeting to elect one representative of the departments.

Jalaluddin, verifying his claims by documentary evidence, asserted that he had already been elected as the representative of the departments to the Governing Board of the PCB, following the expiry of the tenure of the previous member, Abdul Raqeeb of HBL, who is currently accompanying the national cricket team as manager on the tour of Australia.

“There were nine departments who held the voting rights. Five of them, NBP, SNGPL, Pakistan Customs, SSGCL and KRL, issued letters to vote for me. Therefore I was elected to be the representative of the departments in the Governing Board of the PCB by virtue of having the support of the majority of them,” Jalaluddin stated while circulating the copies of the letters of the concerned departments to this effect.

“Instead of accepting the verdict of the departments, some elements in the PCB began conspiring against me for reasons not known to me yet. Even members of the Governing Board, whose tenure has already expired last November, started played dirty game with me and they also persuaded the Chairman of the PCB, Ijaz Butt, to be a part of this campaign,” he contended.

“When I was already nominated as their representative by the majority of the nine departments there was no logic whatsoever in convening a meeting to hold the elections in which my own department has not even be invited,” he complained.

Jalaluddin has approached the Federal Secretary of Sports, Anis-ul-Hasnain Musavi and the Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports, Jamshed Dastti, to intervene in the matter and ensure justice with him.

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January 13, 2010

Prof Ejaz Farooqui crowned as Super Chairman


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

In recognition of his momentous services to the game of cricket, the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA) proudly declared Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui, Chairman Zone II, as the Super Chairman.

Prof Siraj-ul-Islam Bokhari, Honorary Secretary, KCCA, minced no words in stating that Prof Ejaz Farooqui has turned out to be the standout chairman as far as the seven zones of the Association were concerned.

Speaking in the reception held in the honour of Prof Ejaz Farooqui on his recent election as the Vice President of the Arts Council of Pakistan, Prof Siraj Bokhari recognized the most significant contribution towards the cause of cricket at the grassroots level made by the KCCA Zone II during the past three years.

“It’s very gladdening to note that the KCCA Zone II has been the hub of cricket activities in the city eversince Prof Ejaz Farooqui was elected as their chairman. His outstanding leadership skills have brought about a distinct change and there have been more tournaments in their zone than anywhere else,” the KCCA Secretary noted.

The founder of Urdu cricket commentary and a former President of the KCCA, Munir Hussain, also paid glowing tributes to Prof Ejaz Farooqui, describing him as the man of the moment.

He acknowledged that the club cricket, having remained alive in Karachi over the years, has graduated to another level with the proactive approach of devoted personalities like Prof Ejaz Farooqui.

Munir Hussain backed Prof Ejaz Farooqui for the post of the Vice President of the KCCA urging its council to incorporate the necessary changes in their constitution to get him on board without wasting any more time.

The other speakers who showered Prof Ejaz Farooqui with praise in the reception held at the KDA Officers Club on January 12 were Mahboob Shah, a former international umpire who stood in the final of the 1987 World Cup, Senator Prof Saeed Siddiqui, Chairman, Sindh Board of Technical Education, and Mohammad Ahmed Shah, Honorary Secretary, Arts Council of Pakistan.

It was only three years ago when Prof Ejaz Farooqui had been elected as the Chairman of the Zone II of the KCCA in the elections held under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

He has been chiefly responsible for bringing the Zone II to life during the last three years.

What he has done for the zone in particular and for the cause of cricket in general is truly exemplary. He has led the zone admirably and his great personal interest in promoting the game has brought about a revolution of sorts at the club level.

He had had a vision to carry out development work in every nook and corner of the zone. He has been concentrating for creating more facilities in Surjani Town and Khuda Ki Basti.

The good work carried out by the zone during the past three years has been yielding results and they continue to be motivated by their chairman who urges the need to work with greater zeal to accomplish more success.

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January 11, 2010

Record participation expected in Dreamworld Car Rally on Jaunary 17


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Over three hundred entries are expected in the tenth edition of the Dreamworld Treasure Hunt Car Rally 2010 to be held in Karachi on January 17.

The car rally is being organized by the Team Dreamworld for the tenth year running in what has gone on to become one of the most sought after annual events of the metropolis in which over 1800 cars have participated in its decade-long history.

The rally comprises of a 70-kilometer lap crossing almost all popular locations of Karachi, one of the largest cities of the world, and the lap is distributed among eight check points to let vehicles follow the concept of safety through limited speed.

The time check points are established at different locations in the city with each check point providing the contestants with a clue or a puzzle which should be solved in order to discover the next checkpoint for ultimately reaching the fortune at the Dreamworld resort. Each check point registers the time for each car in for which the points are awarded to the contestants for efficient time management.

The final destination of this treasure hunt would be the Dreamworld Resort where, after a ceremony of fun and entertainment, the final winner would be announced on the basis of the time management points awarded with dozens of prizes.

Handsome cash rewards to the tune of Rs 150,000 await the outstanding performers while there would be consolation prizes for every participant of the car rally.

The best driver award carries a purse of Rs 50,000 while the runner-up would be becoming richer by Rs.25, 000. The best lady driver will be presented Rs 15,000 while there would be a cash award of Rs 15,000 for the youngest driver.

The oldest model as well as the latest model cars will be given Rs 15,000 each with another Rs 15,000 purse reserved for the best decorated car.

Every participant would be getting a share in the numerous discount vouchers on offer while complimentary meals, soft drinks and energy drinks will also be arranged for the participants besides gift hampers containing various items for every car.

It may be recalled that a record number of 254 families had participated in the Dreamworld Treasure Hunt Car Rally 2009 that was hailed as one of the most memorable sporting extravaganza in town. The event was aired on ATV in 2 episodes of 40 minutes each.

Dreamworld Resort has emerged as one of the leading sports clubs of the country besides offering numerous other facilities to its members. It’s located adjacent to Gulshan-e-Maymar, off Super Highway. It is indeed accessible from all parts of the city and the driving time has reduced substantially with the construction of so many flyovers and underpasses of late.

It’s very heartening indeed to find so many sporting events being held at the Dreamworld Resort from time to time. From car rally to cricket and from cue sports to mind sports they remain on the lookout for bringing in more life at the resort. Their golf course is also a centre of attraction.

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January 8, 2010

Spirit moves mountains


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The present England side led by Andrew Strauss demonstrated once more the virtues of commitment and determination. For the third time in eight Tests they managed to save the game with the skin of their teeth.

England don’t have too many flamboyant characters at the moment who could take the fight to the opponents but they are certainly blessed with iron-willed individuals whose never-say-die approach is truly inspirational.

When you have the likes of Paul Collingwood in your ranks you can be rest assured that the team would not go down without fighting. Not surprisingly Collingwood has been instrumental in saving all the three Tests that have gone to the wire. His level of concentration and the ability to withstand the pressures have served the England cause immensely in the recent times.

Cricket is obviously a team game and Collingwood alone cannot be expected to the job. The credit must also be given to their captain Strauss for having kept his boys motivated all along. It’s a tougher job to give your best when the chips are down and strong leadership skills are needed to get the best out of the teammates.

Strauss, as I have emphasized on many questions, is the man for the job. He has been chiefly responsibly for turning it around for England despite not being in possession of a world-beating unit. He has provided a classic example of doing his best with the available resources.

England can now look forward to the fourth and final Test with high hopes of pocketing the series. They have retained the one-nil lead meaning they can’t lose the series even if South Africa bounce back to end the series on a winning note.
Graham Onions has been England’s batting hero in two of the last three Tests.

Although fast bowling is his forte and he comes in to bat at number eleven he has shown the reslience that would make even the seasoned batsmen proud.
Mind you it’s not easy negotiating the deliveries when surrounded by so many fieldsmen and the bowlers going for the kill. It tests the technique of the greatest of batsmen when they are pushed into that situation.

Number 10 and 11, James Anderson and Monty Panesar, had saved a Test match against Australia in Cardiff last summer. The great escape had lifted the morale of the home team and they went on to regain the Ashes.

Onions has now done it two times. Like the first Test of the ongoing series he had the responsibility of seeing off the last six deliveries of the match. On both occasions he came up trumps.

South Africa were earlier frustrated by the pair of Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood who batted for well over four hours on the fifth and final day. Their 112-run partnership lasted no less than 57 overs and as Graeme Smith found out once more it was broken just too late to force the issue.

England, having won the second Test handsomely sandwiched between the two hard-fought draws, can now look forward to a rare series win abroad.

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January 7, 2010

Pakistan unable to make most of Ponting’s suicide


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Ricky Ponting must be wondering what else he had to do to lose a Test match against the present Pakistan line-up devoid of mental toughness of international standard. The Australians were much below par in the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground that they managed to win by 36 runs against the heaviest of odds.

Only Ponting would be able to throw light on it why did he choose to bat first on the greenest pitch of the SCG in many years with the overcast conditions making batting the toughest of propositions on the opening day.

The kind of fast bowling attack the Australians possessed they would not have taken long to dispose of the tourists on the first day. They would have brutally exposed Pakistan’s weaknesses in the batting department.

There was not a single logical reason that would have prompted any captain winning the toss to bat first in the prevailing circumstances. As I said it’s only Ponting who would have known it. May be it was a team decision and the team management who desired putting their own boys instead of the opponents to test.

It was being believed that Ponting has stopped inserting the opposition after one of his such moves had backfired a few years ago. Well can we expect him to give playing hook shot after getting caught in the deep in the first innings of the Sydney Test. Certainly not. Therefore I don’t find any justification in not having put Pakistan into bat.

As it turned out the Australians were routed on the first day and as the weather improved on the following day Pakistan managed to post a much higher total than they would have been able to do a day earlier.

For all practical purposes the Australians had forfeited their first innings. Then they dropped catches to let Pakistan secure a lead that was into mammoth proportions. Or were they experimenting on winning a Test match after having conceded a first innings lead in the excess of 200.

The kind of batting form Ponting and his deputy Michael Clarke have been in during the summer there were remote possibilities of the hosts responding with a gigantic total as they used to do until a few years ago.

Not surprisingly Pakistan’s bowling had lost the bite when the Australians started their second innings with 206 runs in arrears. The solid opening stand between Shane Watson and Philip Hughes had laid the foundation for a big total but the failure of Ponting and Clarke undid their good work.

It’s not often that the Australians lose the plot so easily but they succumbed against the run of play to put themselves in a disastrous situation that was only retrieved by Michael Hussey who somehow found the desired support from tail-ender Peter Siddle.

Pakistan were always expected to struggle while chasing any target over 150 and there was not much element of surprise when they collpased on the fourth afternoon to surrender the series before the third and final Test.

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January 5, 2010

Naeem-ul-Haq urges ICC to invest more for grassroots development


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

While appreciating the efforts of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in globalization of the sport, Naeem-ul-Haq, a former cricketer from Pakistan having relocated in the United States of America (USA), firmly believes that better results could be accomplished if more funds were allocated to the grassroots development.

“The ICC would be better off investing in the infrastructure development in countries where cricket remained a minority sport. I believe that in order to fast track their efforts they should enhance their grants to the member countries,” Naeem, one of the coaches of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), observed in an interview during his recent visit to Pakistan.

“I must say the ICC has been doing a fabulous job by funding the national cricket bodies of their member countries but I have a feeling that the results would start coming faster if they could directly take care of the various coaching programmes aimed at engaging the youngsters in particular,” he opined.

“The countries like USA, Canada, UAE and Hong Kong certainly need more funds to carry out their development programme. Since it’s not easy to get sponsors attracted to cricket in these countries, the ICC is expected to be more generous in extending financial support to them,” Naeem, who is the coach of the South East of the USACA covering the states of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, reckoned.

“I think cricket can flourish in these countries in particular if more work was done in promote the game at schools, colleges and universities. Cricket has a potential and a lot of hard work is needed besides deep pockets,” he added.

Naeem himself is one of those individuals having made standout contribution in the promotion of the sport in USA. Having started his career in his hometown Karachi, he played first-class cricket for his employers Pakistan Customs before who having relocated on the outskirts of Miami in Florida.

Naeem has been working hard for the promotion of the game from the moment he reached there. His passion for cricket kept growing and he undertook courses to become a qualified coach.

He, alongwith Raza Jaffri, has been instrumental in setting up the Florida Cricket Academy in Fort Lauderdale. They are being provided the technical and advisory support by the famed Karachi-based Customs Cricket Academy, founded by Jalaluddin, the first bowler to have recorded a hat-trick in One-day Internationals, who has also distinguished himself with his coaching skills on modern lines.

Naeem has also been actively involved with the Michigan Cricket Association (MCA), having worked closely with its President, Shahid Ahmed, who has also moved there from Karachi.

Both these gentlemen have been chief responsible for the success of the Diversity Cup that they have been able to hold successfully in Michigan for the past few years. It has become an annual event in which teams from different communities take part every summer. They have already finalized their plans to hold this year’s Diversity Cup in early July.

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