October 30, 2010

South Africa on course of whitewashing Pakistan


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

I incline to agree with the observations of the former South African coach, Mickey Arthur, that Pakistan, being at an absolute low, stand no chance whatsoever of coming to terms with the Proteas in the ongoing series in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

South Africa, after having overwhelmed Pakistan in both the Twenty20 Internationals, cruised to a most comfortable victory in the first of the five One-day Internationals at Abu Dhabi on October 29.

Unless and until something very dramatic happens or the external factors come into play in a big way, South Africa should be winning the remaining four ODIs and both the Test matches that follow without much botheration.

“I can't see us having any trouble beating them. Our real test will come when we play against India at home at the end of the year," Aurthur, now coach of Western Australia after he resigned from the Proteas job in January, said while mentioning the problems surrounding the Pakistan team at the moment.

I don’t think anybody will argue with Arthur at this stage. The momentum is with South Africa and they have a balanced and strong outfit for every format of the game while Pakistan find themselves in an exactly the opposite situation.

Thanks to Ijaz Butt and his cronies, Pakistan have had problems in finding a regular captain besides fielding a settled team for the last couple of years. Far too many changes with total disregard to merit have pushed the Pakistan cricket to a corner from where they can only dip further.

If we talk purely in terms of cricket, there’s a huge gap between the two teams. The South African outfit is not only super-fit and agile but they seem to be playing with purpose. They have a goal in their mind and they are executing their plans accordingly.

The World Cup, less than six months away, is very much in their minds and they are doing their best to raise the level of their game. They have had the problem of choking in the big tournaments in the past and I am sure they would be working overtime to overcome this chronic weakness of theirs.

The South African youngsters have come to the party in a big way which augurs well for the future of their cricket. The young guns will certainly keep the veterans on their toes and there will be pressure on the seasoned campaigners to perform consistently or be replaced.

The performance of Jacques Kallis, returning to the side after a layoff, would delight their team management and his all-round expertise would be immensely helpful to their cause. It’s quite extraordinary how Hashim Amla has transformed his game, having become a dasher top of the order.

A B de Villiers, as he showed in the first ODI, has no problems in keeping the scoreboard moving as will while Graeme Smith and J P Duminy also have also hit form without wasting time.

The pace of Morne Morkel can frighten the best of batsmen and he’s going to be a major threat for Pakistan. With another genuine fast bowler in Dale Steyn raring to go at the other end it can only mean further trouble for their opponents.

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October 28, 2010

Shoaib Siddiqui inaugurates Sindh bowling tournament


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The sports department of the Government of Sindh has been taking keen interest in carrying out its responsibilities and ensuring healthy activities for the youth of the province on a regular basis for the last couple of years.

Having proactively supported the regular as well as the indigenous sports, it’s very heartening to find them promoting the newer games that don’t generally get recognized at the government level.

Bowling is one of the most popular games among the youth of the urban areas and boys and girls are passionate about it in a big way. Even the elders are into it as well. It may not be entirely classified as an elite sport but it’s commonly practiced mainly at the big social clubs.

The Sindh Tenpin Bowling Association (STBA) took the initiative of organizing the Sindh Inter League Bowling Tournament 2010 at the Thunder Pins housed in Karachi’s famous Millennium Mall located on Rashid Minhas Road, Guslshan-e-Iqbal.

Tremendous enthusiasm was witnessed as the tournament was inaugurated by the popular figure of Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Secretary, Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of Sindh, who was the chief guest in the opening ceremony.

In his brief speech on the occasion he acknowledged the massive following of bowling and expressed the hope that the organizers will continue to work with the same zeal to hold competitions in future.

“The government remains committed to patronizing healthy and sporting activities in the society. We are more than glad to extend our support to the game of bowling,” Shoaib Siddiqui added.

“We have been promoting bowling and we are discovering bowling stars. We have had to face tough challenges in launching the Sindh Inter League Bowling Tournament 2010 which is a major initiative and accomplishment of a milestone of sorts in the history of bowling in Pakistan,” Romis Ali, General Secretary, STBA, said in the welcome speech.

Meanwhile 70% of the players qualified for the second round in both amateur and master categories. Robert was on the top with 739 points with Aleem Agha placed at position with 730 points. Naseem Ahmed claimed third position with 697 points.

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October 27, 2010

South Africa draw first blood unconvincingly


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Can you imagine chasing a target of exactly run a ball for the entire length of a T20innings on the flattest of pitches in conditions near perfect for batting with so much of hassles and uncertainties?

The South Africans certainly won the first Twenty20 International against Pakistan by six wickets in the end with quite a few deliveries left in Abhu Dhabi on October 26 but it wasn’t the kind of chase that would have lifted their spirits.

The only way Pakistan could have won the match, after being dismissed for 119, was to bowl South Africa out. That looked very much a possibility when South Africa had crashed to 26 for three after 5.1 overs.

It was really amazing to find the South African top-order looking like novices against a bowling attack that wasn’t high in confidence either. Shoaib Akhtar, whose fitness always remains a cause of concern, was spearheading the attack after sometime and Abdul Razzaq was entrusted with the new ball a bit surprisingly.

Neither of them would have been operating with the new ball if Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer had been there. Yet the credit goes to the South African batsmen to have kept the contest alive until the very end.

If the likes of Graeme Smith, Loots Bosman and A B de Villiers were found demanding in conditions devoid of any pressure then one can understand what their fate could be in a closer or more significant match.

That explains why the South Africans have been proving as chokers in nearly every major event. They have had a better record as far as bilateral series are concerned but the uncertain manner in which they overcame Pakistan while chasing the easiest of targets leaves a question mark about their abilities.

The pace of Lonwabo Tsotsobe and the spin of Johan Botha combined excellently to send Pakistan crashing to 119 all out inside 20 overs. It’s not often that any team gets bowled out in T20 game but you can never rule out such possibilities when experimentations are being carried out rather senselessly.

Pakistan’s batting has let them down on so many occasions and the kind of combination they fielded in the opening game there’s little doubt that a lot needs to be done to enhance their efficiency.

South Africa remained on top of the Pakistan batsmen and even Shahid Afridi’s typically agricultural shots didn’t derail them. The returning Misbah-ul-Haq struggled to get his timing right and there was not much he could have done against a balanced and potent bowling attack.

The match was won and lost in the first session and there were very few people who thought in terms of Pakistan staging a comeback. The failure of Smith, Bosman and de Villiers prevented the match from becoming a totally one-sided affair.

The 66-run fourth wicket partnership between Colin Ingram and JP Duminy brought the South Africans back in control and even the dismissal of the latter couldn’t change the course of the proceedings.

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Naqvi brothers excel in Sindh Swimming


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Brothers Mazhar Naqvi and Mustafa Naqvi came up with standout performance to guide the Karachi Club to title victory in the 50th Sindh Swimming Championship 2010 staged at the Karachi Gymkhana.

The Naqvi brothers displayed their brilliants skills at the Karachi Gymkhana Swimming Pool which brought to an end the 15-year-old dominance of the famous Habib Public School.

The teenaged Mazhar in particular was absolutely brilliant grabbing as many as seven gold medals. He emerged triumphant in 50, 100, 200 freestyle and 50,100, 200 meter in open category besides being a component of the winning 4x100 Relay medley relay. He was the unanimous choice for the award of the province's best men swimmer.

Mazhar, who also broke a few long-standing records, was easily the most versatile all-round swimmer in the two-day gala and was adjudged the best swimmer in the open category. He broke as many as four records during the course of the championship held over the weekend.

"My first ambition is to win a gold medal in men nationals in freestyle and later desire to represent Pakistan in South Asian Games and Asian Games," Mazhar, a 17-year-old student of Lecole School of Advance Studies, remarked after his terrific performance.

He complimented his rival and friend Aneeq Anwar for his outstanding performances in the competition.

"We are desirous of improving the overall standard of Sindh province in swimming. We are also eager to make our presence felt in a big way at the national level,” Mazhar added.

Deriving inspiration from his elder brother, Mustafa stole the limelight in the Under-16 age category by grabbing as many as four gold and seven silver medals. He won the gold in 50, 100 meter butterfly 200 meter freestyle and 50-meter breast stroke.

Mazhar and Mustufa faced some challenge from the immensely talented Aneeq Anwar, who also displayed superb performance in open as well as Under-16 contest. Aneeq and Mustafa were jointly declared the best swimmer in U-16 competition.

Aneeq, a student of Defence Public School, pocketed five gold medals and as many silver medals to also emerge as one of the stars of the championship.

Karachi Club dominated the event as they accumulated 198 points to lead over 300 swimmers contest. Karachi Grammar School secured second position with an aggregate of 167 points pushing the holders Habib Pubic School to the third position with a tally of 139 points.

Mazhar Naqvi (Open), Aneeq Anwar and Mustufa Naqvi (U-16), Saad Amin (U-12), Muhammad Bilal Qasim (U-14), Reza Munir (U-10) and Mirshah Pasha (U-8) were declared as the best swimmers in their respective categories.

Member National Assembly and famous television personality, Khushbakhat Shujaat, was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony and she distributed medals and trophies among the outstanding performers.

The President of the Karachi Gymkhana, Younus Rizwani, was also present on the occasion alongwith the top officials of the Sindh Swimming Association, Shahbaz Qureshi and Mohammad Ali Shishmahal.

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October 26, 2010

Return of Younis to bolster brittle middle-order


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

If Younis Khan is fit and the form has not deserted him totally he would walk into the Pakistan side any time. He has been one of the very few consistent batsmen in the line-up that had generally struggled for runs.

More than form and fitness it were his differences with Ijaz Butt, the proprietor of Pakistan cricket for the last couple of years, that kept the prolific number three batsman out of the national team for so long.

It has been the hallmark of the Ijaz Butt era during which the national interest has been compromised repeatedly for the pleasure of just one individual who considers himself above the law.

Yawar Saeed and Intikhab Alam, the principal advisors to Ijaz Butt, have left no stone unturned in damaging the cause of the national team in order to get closer to their master. In return they have been getting the joyrides one after the other.

Ijaz Butt and party experimented with various options but they could not find replacements for the likes of Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan in particular with the inexperienced and less skilled youngsters faring as miserably as one would have expected.

Yousuf, a former captain, had to be recalled in the middle of the summer, albeit with the intervention of a political heavyweight, but he has been ruled out the Twenty20s and One-day Internationals against South Africa after rupturing his abductor muscles.

There was continuous pressure for the recall of another former captain Younis Khan and finally he was selected for the South African series after successfully negotiating a deal with Ijaz Butt.

Younis had received an indefinite ban in March for conflicting with Yousuf during the ill-fated tour of Australia at the start of the year. An arbitrator lifted the ban in June and it was manager Intikhab Alam who declared publicly that Younis has resolved all outstanding issues during a meeting with PCB chairman Ijaz Butt.

“It's very good news that Younis is back. I am happy that all the issues are resolved and he is available for Pakistan. He is an experienced player and he would definitely strengthen the team,” Intikhab reckoned.

The diplomatic character that he has been all along, Intikhab didn’t care to explain why Younis was kept out of the side when he was available. Instead he passed the impression that South Africa were tougher rivals than Australia and England against whom Pakistan played earlier this year.

“We have to look forward as South Africa is a very tough team. Batting has been our main problem for quite some time, but if our batsmen played five-six sessions in a Test match, we have the bowling to restrict the South Africans. The experienced players have to take responsibility and put enough runs on board for the bowlers to defend,” he remarked in the familiar tone of his.

“I am happy to be back and eager to play for my country. I am available to play in all three forms of the game and it's up to the management to play me whenever they want,” Younis, having earlier quit T20 Internationals, stated after his recall.

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October 25, 2010

Dhoni makes waves of all kinds in Goa


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Reports indicate that Mahendra Singh Dhoni happens to be the most popular cricketer in the world after that man called Sachin Tendulkar. While Tendulkar has had an international career of 21 years now Dhoni is just 29-year-old not having been on the horizon for full six years even.

And there’s an area of the game where he has already overshadowed the Grand Master, who has numerous world records under his belt. Dhoni has proved to be an outstanding leader and his success record at all levels has simply been incredible so far.

No wonder he has been hailed as the best captain in the world at the moment, having accomplished conquests with consistency. No discredit meant to the feats of Tendulkar of late but Dhoni’s inspirational captaincy has been the key factor in the continued success of Team India.

Dhoni has been such a calming influence on a team that has the vast experience as well as the raw talent to come good in all conditions. He has been chiefly responsible for taking India to the top of the ladder in the Test rankings. The manner in which he is moving there’s very little doubt in one’s mind that his team would become the leaders in the other two formats of the game as well.

I had written the first-ever article on this blog exactly a couple of years ago captioned ‘Dhoni: The toughest not the luckiest.” He has proved me absolutely correct although it’s very difficult to the extent of next of impossible to predict about the success of any Indian in any given field with so many external factors involved.

Dhoni, I maintain, is an extraordinarily gifted soul who has perfected the art of concealing his emotions. Seldom does he react adversely in the grimmest of situations and commands complete respect from the seniors as well as the juniors.

I don’t know how many management books has he read or what else he does to enhance his own mental toughness the fact remains that he is the single greatest motivating factor behind the success of the new-look Indian team.

He knows better than anybody else than nothing could be taken for granted. He’s very much aware of the fact that you have to do the basics right first before thinking of further progress. He has set very high standards for himself but I get the impression that he’s not traditional hard task master who would scare any of his teammate.

Dhoni’s modesty has also had a role in ensuring the boys and elder statesmen in the side remain in peace and complete comfort under his leadership. He’s not willing to put undue pressure on any of them with everyone assigned a definite role.

The cool head of coach Garry Kirsten must have helped Dhoni considerably in extracting the best from the team in every situation. I think they represent an improved version of John Wright and Sourav Ganguly.

With the wet outfield preventing any play in the third and final One-day International against Australia on October 24, Dhoni availed the opportunity of celebrating the series win by spending time with wife Sakshi on Goa beaches.

The happy couple visited the Benolin beach where they were spotted splashing and canoodling together. It was a rare sight for the other visitors, who didn’t miss to capture the moment in their cameras and mobile phones.

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October 24, 2010

What’s more important Team India or IPL?


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Isn’t it strange to learn that the movers and shakers of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the virtual owners of Team India, have become so particular in taking care of their star players of late?

Isn’t in funny that they have decided in principle to field second string side for the upcoming home series against New Zealand in order to preserve the energies of some their key players?

I can’t understand the double standards of the BCCI. They have become so much careful and concerned for their cricketers all of a sudden during the middle of an international season.

Forget the World Cup. What about the Test and ODI series at home against New Zealand? What about the tour of South Africa which starts just a few days after the conclusion of the home series against the Black Caps?

Who had chalked out their plans? Who had finalized their itineraries? Who was responsible for ensuring adequate rest for the players besides ensuring that they fielded the strongest side in the park?

When the BCCI have so much influence in the affairs of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and all the member boards appear to be at their beck and call they had a duty to protect the interests of their own cricketers and the paying public.

What’s the fun in letting all the top guns participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Champions League, both of them being the babies of the BCCI, at the expense of their cricketers who should rather be motivated to give their sweat and blood for the national team?

I think the BCCI functionaries are playing around with the emotions of the millions of fans of Team India by compromising on their interests. There’s certainly no need now for having an IPL or Champions League when they already have a crowded international calendar.

Every country is more than eager to play with Team India for commercial reasons. India have had a formidable combination for every format of the game for quite sometime now. Their cricketers are crowd pullers in every continent of the world.

Besides minting money, which they can very well do by hosting more international matches, they have to think in terms of protecting the interests of the people of their own country. It are the people who have made the BCCI rich. It’s payback time.

Isn’t it a pity that the cricket-crazy towns will be denied the pleasure of watching the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh who are more likely to be rested for the ODIs against New Zealand?

Don’t the spectators deserve to see those legendary cricketers? The cricket matches have immense entertainment value and it’s the duty of the BCCI to strike a balance somehow.

I know they are more focused and interested in the television rights rather than worrying for how many people who turn up at the grounds but I reckon it’s unfair to field below strength teams in international matches.

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October 23, 2010

Kohli makes selection committee proud


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Well it’s an established fact that the selection committee gets all the flak when their team fails to deliver but they seldom get praised or even recognized when the boys picked by them succeed beyond expectations.

The chairman and the members of the selection committee are in the firing line for the slightest of mistakes but they are hardly mentioned when their tactical moves pay rich dividends.

India’s national selection committee, headed by Kris Srikkanth, deserve to be complimented for have reposed confidence in Virat Kohli who made them proud by a match-winning century in the second One-day International against Australia in Visakhapatnam.

Srikkanth, who was a rare attacking batsman in the Indian line-up of the 1980s, described the victory as a confidence-booster ahead of the World Cup. India's highest successful chase against Australia in the absence of five first-choice players, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh, certainly gladdened the hearts of the selectors.

"It was an important win in the context of the World Cup because it creates confidence in the team. When you win against the number one one-day team in the world chasing a record total, it is all the more satisfying,” he remarked in an interview.

“The way we approached the game was fantastic. The good sign is that the youngsters are putting up their hands and taking up responsibility. It has proved that we have strong bench strength. It's always heartening to see youngsters winning matches for you. It is a good sign for any country," Srikkanth said.

“We have held meetings with the captain, coach, team management and the BCCI. We know what they are doing with the board. We have drawn up a beautiful plan in coordination with all sides concerned. We're on track," he reckoned.

Kohli, in particularly, batted exceptionally well to guide India to a resounding five-wicket victory with plenty of deliveries remaining.

“Honestly I was struggling to get runs. I had not scored in last six-seven matches. I was under pressure. I was not hitting in the gaps. It was very satisfying and it gives you a lot of confidence when you score chasing under pressure. I will not say my place is cemented. I have to keep performing well in few more chases,” Kohli conceded.

“You try to learn from the mistakes. You tend to fail sometimes. This is part and parcel of the game. You do the basics right and train hard, it pays back. I didn't perform well in last two series. I could not convert my scores into big knocks. There was a struggle for a place," the youngster felt.

Well Kohli has to keep performing in order to stay in the team. With so much competition for the batting slots he needs to score prolifically in whatever opportunities that come his way. He also has to prove his worth on the livelier pitches that greet the Indians away from the comfort of home.

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India’s rare triumph in battle of young brigade


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

It didn’t look like a true Australia-India game with both the countries packing their sides with an eye on the future rather on present. I don’t agree to the theory of both the nations having fielded a second eleven with the World Cup 2011, to be played in the sub-continent, in just a few months time.

The Indians have had this habit of obliging the visitors by not picking their strongest available side but the Australians have not been known for giving away caps cheaply. Therefore I was little surprised when they chose to enter the second ODI in Visakhapatnam with three inexperienced fast bowlers.

That seemed one of the reasons why the Indians got away with it this time round. Otherwise their young sides have often fared miserably with the disaster in Zimbabwe having taken place just a few months ago.

The Aussies proved too fragile themselves to contain the flamboyant duo of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina while defending a total of 289. Stand-in captain Michael Clarke didn’t have the ammunition to come good on the flattest of tracks.

I was under the impression that the match had gone Australia’s way once they had plundered 84 runs in the last five overs of the innings. Cameroon White continued to be India’s nemesis and the experienced Clarke had no problems in milking the bowling.

Australia, having been jolted at the start of the innings by the seasoned left-arm quickie, Ashish Nehra, seemed to have done a great job by setting target of 290 in the end because at no point one foresaw them crossing the barrier of 250.

As we have become accustomed to watching over the years the Indian bowlers were taken for far too many runs in the final overs after having exercised control in the earlier part of the innings.

But there was an unusual story when India began the chase. Having depended heavily on the tried and trusted trio of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir for kickstarting their innings they had three new faces with two of them, Murali Vijay and Shikar Dawan, failing not unexpectedly.

The third one, Kohli, turned it around with the knock of his life yet. His magnificent century lifted the home side and his productive partnerships with Yuvraj Singh and Raina settled the issue decisively.

It was one of the rare occasions when the youngsters had done it on their own for the home side who were prone to crashing in the absence of their star performers. Kohli proved many critics wrong with his technique and temperament.

There was not much element of surprise in the half-century of Yuvraj, having had to struggle for form and fitness for the past many months, but the knock of Kohli was something of a sensation.

Raina’s onslaught took the pressure off the limping Kohli, who celebrated his ton with a series of boundaries to seal the fate of the game. Ideally he would have liked to stay until the end but he was caught in the deep once more while attempting to clear the fence. We have seen him so many times getting dismissed in such a manner.

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October 19, 2010

ICC warning should serve as wake-up call for Ijaz Butt and protagonists


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Ijaz Butt has strong connections in the corridors of power and he has appeared least bothered about managing the affairs of Pakistan cricket in a professional career throughout his two-year tenure.

New records of nepotism and corruption have been created in his era and yet he has the burning desire to seek extension. He has brought the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) at the brink of disaster. If he’s allowed to rule a little longer it will come as little surprise to find Pakistan touching new lows.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has issued a strict warning to the PCB to implement a series of measures to solve problems faced by the country’s cricket or risk sanctions.

“The PCB must act and be seen to be acting to uphold the zero-tolerance attitude to corruption in sport and conduct a thorough review of players’ integrity, educate them, implement a process and introduce an anti-corruption code in their domestic cricket,” the ICC said in a statement after their recent two-day board meeting in Dubai.

“If the PCB fails to carry out the above to the satisfaction of the board within the next 30 days, the board will consider what further action (including, if appropriate, sanctions) is required in the circumstances,” it said.

The Pakistan cricket was rocked by allegations of spot-fixing in during the recently concluded tour of England, resulting in two separate inquiries. The ICC has ruled there was no evidence of spot-fixing in the third one-day international between Pakistan and England last month but another inquiry, relating to the Lord’s Test against England in August, is pending.

The trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohamnmad Amir was provisionally suspended by the ICC after alleged to have taken money from a book-maker to deliberately bowl no-balls in a Test match.

A couple of the top former Pakistan cricket administrators were critical of the ICC for having warned the PCB to take extraordinary measures to avoid sanctions over alleged corruption.

“It is damning. It means that the ICC has publicly called that PCB has to regain confidence of the ICC, and put them under pressure to take serious steps,” Ehsan Mani, a former ICC President, was quoted as saying.

Khalid Mahmood, who headed the PCB for a brief period in 1999 when the organization had as many as five different chiefs, described the ICC warning was an insult to Pakistan.

“The ICC warning is an insult to the whole nation. This step of the ICC is an evidence of inability and incompetence of the PCB officials and they have clearly mishandled the whole situation,” he remarked in an interview.

“ICC has cleared Pakistan of any corruption in the Oval one-day, Scotland Yard has yet to level any charges on the Lord’s Test inquiry, under these circumstances the ICC warning is biased and unjustified,” he felt.

Both these gentlemen appeared justified in defending the integrity of the nation but they should also have publicly condemned Ijaz Butt to have brought Pakistan to this stage where anything could happen.

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October 13, 2010

Tendulkar’s magic earns emphatic series win


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Sachin Tendulkar seems to be in the form of his lifetime and more importantly he desires to make it count. He has the same hunger for runs as he had 21 seasons ago while breaking into the international arena at the age of 16.

His brilliant knocks earned India a convincing seven-wicket win over Australia in the second Test at Bangalore. If India’s victory in the first Test at Mohali was a narrow one in what had remained anybody‘s game until the very end, they confirmed their superiority over the visitors by whacking them in the following game to be deserved winners of the series.

Tendulkar starred in both the innings. His double-century allowed India to surpass the huge Australian first innings total of 478 while his unbeaten half-century in the second outing ensured a hassle-free triumph for the hosts.

With the hero of the first Test, VVS Laxman, ruled out of the game due to injury and the prolific left-handed opener, Gautam Gambhir, also missing from the line-up, there was greater pressure on the shoulders of the tried and trusted trio of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar to take up the responsibility of piling up the runs.

Remember India are the only team in the world who register victories at the strength of their batters. It are primarily their top batsmen having been instrumental in taking them to the number one position in the ICC rankings.

Sehwag threatened briefly before disappointing the big crowd and Dravid lived to the reputation of failing on his home turf. The Indians were in a spot of bother and Ricky Ponting exerted pressure in a bid to square the series.

The one man who upset Ponting’s plan was none other than Tendulkar. He outthought the Australian skipper with his brilliant batting and none of the Australian bowlers could contain him. His total control inspired Murali Vijay and together they added more than 300 for the third wicket after the early departure of Sehwag and Dravid.

Another collapse followed after the fall of Tendulkar’s wicket on the fourth morning but not before he had completed a wonderful double-century to take his team ahead. India squandered the opportunity of registering a big lead as all the four bowlers failing miserably with the bat.

The Indian bowlers, however, made amends by dismissing Australia cheaply in the second innings and the home side had all the time in the world on the fifth and final day to chase down the target of 207.

Sehwag disappointed once again and Dravid was demoted in the batting order in order to let the young debutant Cheteshwar Pujara at number three. Vijay played another superb knock but the match was far from over when Tendulkar arrived at the wicket.

It was the third wicket partnership between Pujara and Tendulkar that brought India at the threshold of victory. Dravid had very little pressure when he walked in at number five with Tendulkar in full cry. They completed the job in a clinical fashion.

Tendulkar was very rightly adjudged Man of the Match as well as Man of the Series. He would have also collected Man of the Moment award if it was on offer. He will remember the Bangalore Test for a long time during which he also completed 14,000 runs.

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October 12, 2010

Lady luck now smiles on Misbah


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Everybody knows that the strangest of things happen in Pakistan. Be it national politics or the most talked about game of cricket one is never tired of watching the most unlikeliest of events taking place.

I mentioned politics and cricket in particular because these are the prime areas of interest for the common man in Pakistan. Every newspaper and television channel covers the minutest of details of cricket because that’s the sport having a massive following in the urban as well as the rural areas of the country.

Yet the game of cricket is governed most controversially. In other words it are the emotions of the people being played with. But who cares here. The present Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Ijaz Butt, has broken all records of indecency and his adventures continue unabated despite the consistent and loud media criticism.

The latest from Ijaz Butt is the appointment of Misbah-ul-Haq, who was not even a member of the national team for quite sometime because of the loss of batting form, has suddenly been elevated to the rank of the captain.

Misbah should not be believing his luck. He hardly deserved to be there in the team and now he would be leading it during the upcoming Test series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

There are rumours that Misbah won the nod upon the recommendation of an influential politician, who is also believed to have facilitated the return of Mohammad Yousuf during the Test series against England a few months ago. The stories were also doing rounds that Shoaib Akhtar’s comeback in the team was also made possible by another high-profile political figure.

Such possibilities could not be ruled out because Ijaz Butt has been ‘ruling’ Pakistan cricket for the past couple of years primarily with the support of the politicians who get their work done with the blink of an eye.

Former captain Wasim Akram didn’t take time in having expressed shock at the appointment of Misbah as Test captain.

"I was surprised when I heard that Misbah has been named the Pakistan captain. He has been out of the team since the beginning of the year and to bring him back as a captain was a bit shocking," he remarked.

"They did not have too many choices. Kamran Akmal is there but he is inexperienced. They have also tried Shoaib Malik. Mohammad Yousuf is making a comeback after a long time and he should just concentrate on his batting at the moment. If they have named him the captain for one series, it's okay. He is already 36 and the PCB needs to find a long-term solution to this problem. I do not know the vision of the selectors," he added.

Wasim reckoned that Misbah will have a key role as a leader in the South Africa series, “He will be under pressure. He will have to improve the image of Pakistan cricket. For Misbah handling the media and getting runs himself could be demanding. The wickets in Dubai might suit his style of batting, but you cannot take the South Africans lightly. They are a very tough opposition under any conditions. Misbah needs to work hard and make sure he earns the faith of the team. If he gets runs, everything else will take care of itself," the former captain felt.

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October 9, 2010

‘Tiger’ Pataudi also bids farewell to IPL


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi has become the latest casualty of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which has witnessed monumental shift in policies following the unceremonious exit of its Commissioner, Lalit Modi.

There were three former Indian captains, all of them enjoying legendary status for their exploits in the cricket field, on board with the charismatic yet controversial Modi, who had proved himself a go-getter of the highest order.

Two of the former Indian greats, Sunil Gavaskar and now ’Tiger’ Pataudi have withdrawn from the IPL Governing Council and the only one left is Ravi Shastri, who has somehow agreed to work voluntarily.

Interestingly Gavaskar had played under the captaincy of Pataudi in the 1970s and Shastri arrived on the international scene when Gavaskar was leading the Indian team at the start of the 1980s.

Modi, whose organizational capabilities were awesome, must have considered many factors before inducting the trio of Pataudi, Gavaskar and Shastri in his team to kickstart the IPL. The council obviously became heavyweight with the inclusion of these former greats and there was no harm in remunerating them for their services.

At least it appeared a transparent deal with no hidden benefits or anything of that nature. Paying these former cricketers in lieu of their services was a fair deal for all practical purposes. Even the figure of Rs one crore for each of them didn’t look astronomical in context of the status they enjoyed in cricket and the value they added to the council.

With Modi out of the equation, in controversial circumstances, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now pushing for total control of the IPL which is more likely to have as much red-tape as the Board itself.

The BCCI has had its own ways of operating. The IPL, under Modi, looked an independent entity, even though it was working under the umbrella of the BCCI. The situation has become different now and the IPL by the look of things would be governed at the whims of the influential office-bearers of the Board.

The one decision which has caused them to lose Gavaskar and now Pataudi is the recent BCCI decision that the council members would not be paid henceforth. Gavaskar was first to refuse a post on the IPL's governing council with Pataudi following suit just a few days later.

"I have written a letter to the BCCI which states that I do not wish to continue with the governing council. Earlier I was on a contract with the IPL, but the new changes are unacceptable for me. So, I have decided to move on," Pataudi was quoted as saying.

Gavaskar had immmediately turned down the BCCI's offer to be part of the governing council clearly stating that the IPL was a commercial enterprise and those working for it should be remunerated.

Pataudi and Gavaskar have walked out. Let us when Shastri decides to part ways with the IPL or may be he’s not much concerned about the financial matters.

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October 8, 2010

Intikhab's reappointment another nail in coffin of Pakistan cricket


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The appointment of Intikhab Alam as manager of the national cricket team for the upcoming series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is another step in the backward direction.

While the other nations remain on the lookout for better personnel who could add value to the team the story seems completely different altogether in Pakistan cricket where nepotism and favoritism are the deciding factors.

By the look if things Intikhab has been brought back as manager to maintain status quo as Ijaz Butt, the man calling the shots, has blind faith in him. They needed someone to protect their interests and replacing Yawar Saeed was just an eyewash.

Ijaz Butt, the older he gets, probably feels uncomfortable with the idea of opening up things. He rather prefers to have men of his choice at the key posts who provide him all the inside information to satisfy his ego.

Be it Yawar Saeed or Intikhab Alam their duties will be the same. Disciplining the team or working on the improvement of performance in the field will hardly ever be in their agenda. After all they get paid hefty sums basically for ‘spying’ for Ijaz Butt and there’s no point in thinking toward the welfare of the team.

What Yawar Saeed did as manager Intikhab Alam could probably do better. Ijaz Butt could get comprehensive report about the activities of all the members of the squad in order to enable him to form his opinion which of the team members speak in his favour and who are opposed to his policies.

It goes to the credit of Yawar Saeed to have paved the exit of Younis Khan. The most prolific Pakistan batsman of the recent years, who was also the captain of the team, became a victim of the intrigues of the manager during the tour of Sri Lanka last year leading to the revolt against him just a few weeks later.

Let us see who’s going to be trapped by Intikhab whose record as captain was far from satisfactory with his teammates accusing him of over bowling himself against the interests of the team.

Intikhab, despite his poor record as a leader, has been a part of the management primarily because of his standout quality of being a yes-man to the establishment. His role as manager and coach in the past was as disgusting as his tenure as captain.

Intikhab has remained acceptable to all kinds of Board’s helmsmen because he never dared compromising on their interests. Be it Arif Ali Khan Abbasi or Ijaz Butt,they are fond of the ever-smiling ‘Inti’ who will never disobey his masters come what may.

Ijaz Butt has caused irreparable damage to the Pakistan cricket already and the reappointment of Intikhab as manager can be described as another nail in their coffin. It’s a hugely controversial decision because there were innumerable better candidates, having the desired administrative and managerial capacity, who could have proved asset at a stage when each and every move of the Pakistan cricketer is monitored.

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October 7, 2010

Yet another feather in Tendulkar’s cap


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged the Cricketer of the Year, receiving the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy during the 2010 ICC Award ceremony in Bangalore on October 6. He also received the People's Choice Award.

The kind of form Tendulkar has been in during the last season in particular he was tipped to clinch every award on offer. During the period under consideration for the award (August 24, 2009 to August 10, 2010) he Tendulkar scored 1064 runs at an average of 81.84 in ten Tests.

He made 914 runs in 17 ODIs at 65.28, and also scored the format's first double-century against South Africa in Gwalior. Tendulkar is presently third on the ICC's rankings for Test batsmen, and tenth in ODIs.

He faced stiff competition from Virender Sehwag, Hashim Amla and Graeme Swann, the other nominees in the Cricketer of the Year Award. Tendulkar joined the elite club of the Cricketer of the Year winners having Rahul Dravid, Andrew Flintoff, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Mitchell Johnson.

He, however, lost out in the other major categories he was nominated in. Virender Sehwag won the Test Cricketer of the Year award while AB de Villiers was declared the ODI Cricketer of the Year.

"This last season has been really special for the entire team. I think right from the start of the season, when we won in Sri Lanka and I scored a hundred in the finals, and from there on the season took off for us. We became No. 1 in the Test rankings, something we all wanted to achieve, and we've been able to maintain our performances in the last ten months," Tendulkar remarked on the occasion.

He recognized Gary Kirsten, the Indian coach, for played an important role in the success of all the batsmen.

"He has been instrumental in making all the batters play plenty of deliveries in practice sessions, he himself throws thousands of deliveries. Gary has been able to keep us in the right frame of mind, whatever areas we needed to work on, he is making sure we are addressing that," Tendulkar reflected.

India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni was named captain of the Test team of the year, which featured Sehwag, Kumar Sangakkara, Swann, Tendulkar, Amla, Simon Katich, Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis, James Anderson and Doug Bollinger.

Australia’s Ponting earned the honour of captaining the ODI team of the year, having Tendulkar, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, de Villiers, Paul Collingwood, Dhoni, Daniel Vettori, Stuart Broad, Bollinger and Ryan Harris.

New Zealand’s explosive wicketkeeper-opener Brendon McCullum won the award for the best Twenty20 Performance of the Year, edging out Hussey, Mahela Jayawardene and Ryan McLaren, the others nominated for the Twenty20 award.

The Netherlands all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate won the Associate Player of the Year Award. While Steven Finn, the England fast bowler, won the award for Emerging Player of the Year.

New Zealand won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for the second year running as did Aleem Dar, the Pakistani umpire, who won the Umpire of the Year Award for the second time in a row.

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October 5, 2010

Spectacular opening ceremony proves critics wrong


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Contrary to what was being anticipated worldwide the opening ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. on October 3 turned out to be a magnificent earning appreciation from the international media.

The newspapers having been critical of the Games preparations earlier carried headlines like 'An ancient land opens its heart to the world', 'India opens doors to the world at opening ceremony' to describe the two-hour cultural extravaganza catching the imagination of the spectators as well as the millions watching it live on their television sets.

The respected British newspaper The Guardian described it was a moment of national pride for India.' India has arrived: spectacular ceremony opens Commonwealth Games,' read the newspaper's headline.

"This was the moment that 1.2 billion people – there are few in India who were still unaware of the event – had been waiting for," it added.

The Daily Mail was also lavish in its praise of the ceremony which showcased the centuries-old Indian culture to a packed crowd..

"The XIX Commonwealth Games crawled up off the canvas last night with a display of pageantry and technical wizardry that, finally, projected the image India craved on to two billion television sets around the world.” the newspaper said.

"India put on its best face on Sunday night and pulled off a brilliant opening ceremony that was extraordinary in its ambition and execution. It was everything the organisers had promised and more - an energetic celebration of all India has been and all it intends to be," wrote The Daily Telegraph.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the ceremony as "A vibrant celebration of 5,000 years of Indian culture with just a hint of Bollywood showcased in a performance involving more than 6,000 artists.

"India has won the first unofficial gold medal of the Games - for best team uniform, The Indian athletes looked like royalty in their smart traditional maroon tops with gold braided scarves. Slick and sensational," it added

The President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, who witnessed the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, hailed the arrangements for the Games and dismissed the criticism that preceded it as creation of 'old and established' media which failed to judge 'new' India.

"It is difficult for some of the people specially media, old and established, to judge India...I think it is their difficulty to understand how India has evolved," he said, adding some people have to "certainly understand that new India is different,” he remarked.

"The opening ceremony was very spectacular and very beautiful. I am sure the Games are going to as perfect as any games," he thought.

Meanwhile the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, reckoned that a successful Commonwealth Games will provide India the foundation to think about a future Olympic bid.

“I think everything will be fine. Of course you can only judge the organisation at the moment of the closing ceremony but I think it’s going well. There is still a difference between Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. The size of the Olympic Games is bigger, there are more athletes and more sports,” he explained to the media after attending the glittering opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

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Zaheer, Laxman script another fabulous Test win


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Man of the Match, Zaheer Khan, and Man of the Moment, VVS Laxman, played the pivotal role in guiding India to their narrowest win in Test cricket at the PCA Stadium, Mohali, on October 5.

The match, lasting four and a half days, went to the wire and it lived to the reputation of being another grueling battle between Australia and India. In fact as Ricky Ponting acknowledged in the presentation ceremony it was the closest of all Test match he had played in over the last many years.

Who says Test cricket is dead? I hope the functionaries of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would feel proud of their belated decision to include a two-Test series instead of having just limited-overs games during Australia’s visit to India.

The cricket enthusiasts could not have desired a closer Test match. Both the teams came up with wonderful performance to stay afloat and there was plenty to cheer about for the spectators throughout the game.

India did well to stage a comeback after shocking fielding display on the first day. Skipper Mahandra Singh Dhoni was the chief culprit, having floored as many as three catches. No matter what he might say the experts believed that the disease of continuous cricket was taking its toll and Dhoni’s poor wicket-keeping was a result of the very little time he got to spend in Mohali because of his preoccupations in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament.

Zaheer, who reversed the ball brilliantly, was chiefly responsible for not allowing Australia to build an imposing total despite the generosity of the Indian fielders. Bowling the visitors out for 428 after spilling half a dozen catches wasn’t a bad effort. Mind you they had to pay heavy price for dropping those sitters.

India, with Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina in full control, appeared poised for a decisive first innings lead on the third afternoon but an amazing collapse found them 23 run short of Australia’s total.

Many people thought that the match was heading towards a draw as the first innings of the two teams had consumed full three days. But I always thought that the game was on because the Australian batting lacked the strength to compile runs on the wearing track.

Ishant Sharma bowled his heart out on the fourth morning, despite carrying an injury, to rock the Australians. Then the spinners also did their job and Zaheer’s fiery spell cleaned the tail to set the home a rather comfortable target of 216.

As they say no fourth innings target is small the Indians made a mess of it in the final session and the loss of four key wickets tilted the balance towards Australia. India were still 161 away from victory when the stumps were drawn after a dramatic fourth day’s play.

India’s hopes rested on the shoulders of Tendulkar on the fifth day. But not surprisingly he fell short of expectations again. Dhoni was as miserable with the bat as he was behind the stumps.

Laxman changed the complexion of the game with his elegant stroke-play and the Australian bowlers ran short of ideas. He found an able partner in number 10 Sharma who was not afraid to watch the ball till the last moment.

With tension mounting as India inched closer, the game opened up with Sharma’s dismissal. But Laxman drove India home in what must have been one of his greatest knocks yet.

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October 4, 2010

Imran Shahzad lifts Del Monte Snooker Cup


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Imran Shahzad finally accomplished his mission of winning a national ranking tournament when he edged out Sohail Shahzad in the final of the Del Monte Snooker Cup at the Karachi Club on October 3.

Just like a few of his illustrious contemporaries he needed over a decade to pocket a title after having come close on numerous occasions. Khurram Hussain Agha and Naveen Kumar Perwani had endured similar fate for a number of years before finally laying their hands on a trophy.

The Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Sports, Iqbal Mohammad Ali, was the chief guest in the presentation ceremony, presided over by Anjum Nisar, a former President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), and Managing Director, Del Monte.

The chief guest presented a cheque of Rs 50,000 to Imran along with the glittering trophy while runner-up Sohail collected a purse of Rs 30,000. There was another cash award of Rs 5,000 for Imran for having recorded the highest break of the tournament.

There was more reward for Imran as Anjum Nisar offered him a one-year contract of Rs 8,000 per month Another good news for both the finalists was their qualification in the IBSF World Snooker Championship 2010 to be held at Damascus, Syria, in December.

The Lahore-based Imran has remained one of the top cueists of the country for a while but a tournament win was eluding him until he finally produced the kind of performance that was being expected of him for a long time.

The 35-year-old Imran had to work extremely hard to earn the title and it needed a special effort to overcome Karachi’s Sohail Shahzad 8-6 in the best of 15 frame final that lasted close to six hours.

He compiled a couple of century breaks, including the highest of the tournament, while overpowering Sohail with the frame scores of 23-75, 94-15, 16-86, 68-21, 34-86, 127-1, 72-58, 50-60, 56-27, 54-81, 78-44, 49-68, 69-44, 103-0.

It was a final to remember as the fortunes kept fluctuating dramatically and the outcome was in doubt until the very end. It was one of those very few contests that remained locked at 4-4, 5-5 and 6-6 before Imran finally pressed home the advantage.

After having chalked up a break of 123 in the sixth frame he sealed the fate of the tournament with another classy break of 103 in what turned out to be the last frame of the marathon duel.

It was the first outing in the final for the 28-year-old Sohail who also has improved in leaps and bounds during the last couple of years to be ranked among the top cueists all along.

Earlier in the semifinals Imran had edged out Shahram Changezi 6-5 in three-and-a-half hour battle with the frame scores of 50-55, 57-17, 78-33, 72-46, 68-49, 63-75, 46-60, 35-78, 57-60, 59-24, 75-16.

Sohail had created a minor upset by toppling third seed Mohammad Asif Toba 6-4 with the frame scores of i47-55, 60-45, 30-64, 43-77, 69-33, 45-54, 103-0, 57-44, 116-0, 74-5 in the other semifinal.

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PBSA denied foreign coach for Asian Games


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Obviously the officials of the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) are feeling bitterly disappointed at being denied the permission to acquire the services of Sanjay Sawant as Pakistan coach for the next month’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

The PBSA President, Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, considered the non-issuance of NOC for Sanjay Sawant of India as a major setback to their plans adding that it’s also a big blow to their medal hopes in the Asiad.

Alamgir Shaikh informed the media in Karachi that the PBSA had received a communication in this regard from the Islamabad-based Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) explaining that the hiring of a foreign coach was examined in consultation with the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The PBSA President stated that they have been informed by the PSB that the Ministry of Interior has regretted issuance of NOC in this case.

Alamgir Shaikh didn’t mince words in stating the the PBSA desperately needed a foreign coach in preparations for the Asian Games camp starting in Islamabad from October 15.

“The PBSA is due to name a five-member Pakistan squad next week. We were hoping that the PSB and the Interior Ministry would issue NOC to the PBSA for hiring the services of Sanjay Sawant as coach but all our efforts went in vain,” he said.

The PBSA had been under fire in the past for not having engaged a qualified coach in order to prepare and fine tune the promising youngsters in particular for the various regional and international competitions.

When the PBSA finally made up their mind to acquire the services of a coach now they have been denied the permission by the concerned authorities.

The PBSA authorities have repeatedly spoken about their shrinking resources following the ban on cigarette sponsorship, prompting them to seek governmental support besides knocking the doors of the corporate sector.

Since Pakistan’s cueists had bagged medals in the Asian Games in 1998 as well as in 2002 their case was stronger case to urge the government to financially support the PBSA.

Alamgir Shaikh has been running from pillar to post to let the end meet but the support from the government side has declined after the departure of Pir Syed Aftab Shah Jilani as Federal Minister of Sports.

Pir Aftab was himself a sportsman and he was more than willing to promote the bodies having the potential to earn glories and medals for the country. The PBSA also benefited greatly during his tenure as the Federal Sports Minister.

Things have changed since then and the PBSA has not been able to secure grants from the Federal Ministry of Sports or the Pakistan Sports Board despite continued correspondence and follow-up.

The Federal Sports Ministry had committed to foot the bill for the foreign coach the PBSA was planning to hire as the basic objective was to train the cueists for the Asian Games. With the non-issuance of NOC to Sanjay Sawant the PBSA functionaries have very little time to get hold of a coach from any other country.

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October 1, 2010

Ijaz Butt should also apologize to whole nation


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The man having played around with the sentiments of the whole nation for nearly two years, Ijaz Butt, owes a public apology for his haughty attitude and irresponsible behaviour in running the affairs of the Pakistan cricket.

He has issued an apology for the comments he made during the recently concluded one-day series between England and Pakistan when he charged that the hosts' players had taken "enormous amounts of money" to lose the third One-day International at The Oval.

The England players have reportedly accepted his apology and withdrawn the threat of legal action which had loomed since the outburst.

Ijaz Butt, known for talking senselessly, admitted that he had no evidence to back up his claims and that he regretted the "misunderstanding" that followed even though he initially refused to back down from his comments. Well he had not only leveled the allegations just one time but did it repeatedly.

"I wish personally and on behalf of the Pakistan Cricket Board to withdraw the comments I made concerning the England and Wales Cricket Board and each of the England players who played in the one-day International at The Oval on Friday 17 September. It is regrettable that there was a misunderstanding arising from my comments,” he observed in the letter of apology.

"I would like to make it quite clear that in the statements which I made that I never intended to question the behaviour and integrity of the England players nor the ECB nor to suggest that any of them were involved in any corrupt practices or in a conspiracy against Pakistan cricket,” Ijaz Butt added.

"In particular, I wish to make it clear that I have never seen any evidence of any wrongdoing by any England player or the ECB at any time," he added.
"I deeply and sincerely regret that my statements have been interpreted to cast doubt upon the good names of the England players and the ECB and hope that this public withdrawal will draw a line under the matter," the PCB Chairman stated.

So far so good. Ijaz Butt has set the record straight by issuing the apology that had always seemed on the cards for mending fences with the ECB.

Shouldn’t the PCB Chairman now be asked to apologize to the people of Pakistan for his continuous misdeeds and mischief. He has been guilty of ruining the image of the Pakistan cricket and it may take many years to clear the mess he has created in two years time.

Ijaz Butt has had the knack of losing his cool during conversations with the media. He gets offended whenever a probing question is hurled at him and instead of giving an answer he tries to take on the interviewer.

Doesn’t the PCB Chairman know that he’s holding a public office and cricket is the game of the masses in Pakistan. People only wish that some accountability system was in place and Ijaz Butt should be tried for having caused irreparable harm to the national interest.

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