May 25, 2018

IPL thrills but kills; Kohli’s injury jeopardizes India’s chances of overseas success


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Only time and honest assessment will tell if the Indian Premier League (IPL), launched with great fanfare by Lalit Modi and company in 2008, has done more good to the Indian cricket in particular and the game of cricket in general or has it inflicted more harm.

11 seasons into the IPL and the damage caused has been phenomenal. 

It has certainly boosted the bank balance of the already cash-rich Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) but this has come at a huge cost. 

India’s performances in the international matches, most notably in Tests, have suffered immensely despite the fact that they are currently ranked number one team in the ICC ratings for the longer version of the game. 

They were already the top ranked Test side when the IPL thing occurred in 2008. They had already won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 which resulted in the establishment of the IPL. They were already among the top performing ODI sides, packed with megastars around that time, having won the triangular series in Australia in 2007-08.

Isn’t it ironical to note that since the advent of the IPL, India have not won a single edition of World T20! India’s title triumph in the 2011 World Cup at home was made possible by the players who already were stars in their own right before the IPL had come into being.

So what good has the IPL done in improving India’s performance in international matches across all formats? 

Hasn’t the BCCI done a disservice to have bound all its cricketers for a couple of months to play for cash at the expense of national interest? 

The latest casualty is none other than the indomitable Virat Kohli. 

Although the BCCI had tried to downplay it, the fact of the matter is that the Indian got injured while playing the ongoing edition of the IPL and he has become a doubtful starter for the all-important tour of England starting next month. 

While all his foes and their cronies have struggled to find a way to dislodge Kohli, over the years, the BCCI has done the trick by getting him on verge of being sidelined. 

If Kohli, the Indian captain, misses any part of the upcoming England tour it will be another slap on the face of the BCCI officials who must be tried for having committed a serious offence. 

Since the Supreme Court appointed committee has been looking after Indian cricket of late it has become their responsibility to try those who have played foul and compromised on national interest.

The damage has already been done. Kohli’s county stint, which was aimed at giving him a better chance to acclimatize to the English conditions prior to the challenging tour, has been cancelled with a neck injury suffered during his penultimate IPL on May 17. 

It has been announced officially that Kohli will not be training for the next three weeks with a BCCI press release saying he will only resume on June 15 at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. 

He will then undergo a fitness test before he flies out for the tour of Ireland and England in late June. India’s chances of succeeding in England will be seriously jeopardized in the prevailing conditions. 

Even if he makes it to the team, he will be out of match practice for long and expecting him to regain the Midas touch right away will be a bit too much.

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May 16, 2018

Asghar Valika urges for enhancing snooker rewards


By Ehsan Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The pioneer and key promoter of snooker in Pakistan, Ali Asghar Valika, has called for enhancing the prize money in the national circuit and take it to millions so that the country could sustain its supremacy in the international arena.

“The manner in which the game has progressed and the consistency with which the Pakistani cueists have performed at the world and the Asian level the prize money of the national events merits considerable enhancement to keep them motivated,” Asghar Valika, a former President of the Asian Confederation of Billiards Sports (ACBS), observed in an interview at the Karachi Club on May 15. 

“There is no major increase in the incentives and prize money for almost a decade now. We must offer at least Rupees one million as prize money in every event to make the circuit more competitive and thus raise the standard of the game,” he suggested. 

Having headed the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) for a couple of decades from 1988 to 2008, he didn’t mince words in stating the enhancement of prize money of national tournaments was the need of the hour. 

“Our brilliant cueists have achieved excellence in the game with a couple of world individual titles besides two team titles. They are a force to be reckoned with at the Asian level,” Asghar Valika, under whose leadership took the game to new heights in Pakistan, remarked. 

The legendary Muhammad Yousuf had made the major breakthrough by winning the IBSF World Championship in South Africa in 1994 before clinching the Asian title at Karachi in 1998.

Asghar Valika was of the opinion that the PBSA should curtail their administrative expenses and only one official should accompany the team and also manage the team and being the delegate. 

He also advised the PBSA to make money through televised matches. He dispelled the impressions of disharmony in PBSA Executive Committee after Munawwar Hussain Shaikh took over from Alamgir Anwar Shaikh after his two terms as the President. 

Asghar Valika said that Pakistan desperately needed a permanent coach who should train, groom and tactically prepare our cueists for international level. 

“Our cueists are doing well at the international level and international coach can further harness their game and mentally toughen them,” he added. 

Responding to a question, he said he doesn’t need recognition from anyone and feels proud and satisfied with whatever he contributed for the game of snooker in Pakistan. 

“I don’t need any reward or award because achievement of players during my era and now make me happy and satisfied that they brought honor and glory to the country,” Asghar Valika said. 

He made it clear that he was elected as the Life Chairman of PBSA by General Body and not by the executive committee. 

Asghar Valika showed his disappointment over the fact that no national snooker activity was taking place at Karachi Club’s Amir Bakhsh Billiards Hall which used to be the hub of Pakistan Snooker in the past. 

“Snooker activity at Karachi Club was stopped due to misunderstanding and efforts are afoot for it revival there. The Latif Masters should also be revived as it was a major event held in memory of Pakistan’s greatest billiards player, who finished runners-up in world championship in India,” he continued. 

He recalled that PBSA struggled in early 1980s but sponsorship and support of Red & White and its marketing head, Shahid Ahmad Khan, changed the destiny of Pakistan snooker. 

Asghar Valika, who remained the boss of Asian body for six years, said that holding of Asian Snooker in Karachi in 1991 and later staging of IBSF World Snooker Championship made Muhammad Yousuf, Yasin Merchant, Pradit Chuchat (Thailand) household names after matches were nationally live televised. 

He wanted the PSBA to must open up and induct peoples from other provinces in their fold and also hold a couple of event outside Karachi. 

“Snooker should not be confined to Karachi and events should be held in other provincial capitals as well on rotation basis,” he concluded

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May 10, 2018

President-elect Nadeem Omar set to take KCCA to higher level


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The President-elect of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Nadeem Omar, has already set the ball rolling by getting in touch with the concerned quarters for implementing his plans aimed at reviving the game in a big way.

He has been elected unopposed as the KCCA President as he enjoyed overwhelming electoral support prompting his predecessor and challenger Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui to withdraw his candidature the other day. 

The notification in this regard from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is being awaited and it may be delayed until polling for the slot of the KCCA Secretary is held in a few weeks. 

Nadeem Omar, a veteran sports promoter and a cricket administrator, having founded and managed successful cricket teams like Omar Associates, Omar Cricket Club and Capricorn Discount Cards, besides Quetta Gladiators, has begun his journey of transforming the KCCA into a bigger entity than it was ever before. 

The KCCA President-elect shared some of the exciting plans he has worked out to revolutionize the KCCA. He has already started making moves towards his strategic plan, covering nearly aspect of the game. 

The development of a new structure of cricket for Karachi features prominently on his agenda as he plans to have the KCCA managed as professionally as any other modern cricket association anywhere in the world. 

“First and foremost I have set the goal of reviving the KCCA Stadium in North Nazimabad. I plan to install floodlights at the ground besides improving the condition of the stadium. This would be the home of Karachi cricket,” he declared. 

“Secondly I have already spoken to the PCB to let the KCCA gets its share of space at the National Stadium where I intend to build a library and museum of Karachi cricket apart from setting up the High Performance Centre with the KCCA Academy. There are vacant spaces within the compound of the National Stadium and the KCCA is interested in using it,” Nadeem Omar disclosed. 

He has the plans for revitalizing the club cricket, with the help of its seven zones, on a war footing. He’s equally eager to launch proper cricket tournaments for schools, colleges and universities with the collaboration of the local education departments in order to engage a larger pool of students. 

“I would be interested in exposing the youngsters to matches of longer duration from an early age so that they face no problems when graduating to first-class cricket. We will have annual tournaments of three-day matches as well as T20 events,” he added. 

His plans include the development of news complexes containing a full-fledged cricket grounds where first-class matches could be played besides reviving the historic grounds like the Karachi Parsi Institute (KPI) where the legendary Hanif Muhammad played that epic knock of 499. 

Nadeem Omar emphasized on quickly developing and uploading a state-of-the-art website of the KCCA, to be updated on a daily basis, which would have details about coaches, umpires, scorers, clubs, departments, grounds, rules, women’s tournaments besides other features of general interest.

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May 1, 2018

Efforts to promote baseball in Sindh


By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB), working for the promotion of baseball at grassroots level, has lately shown interest in development of sports in the province of Sindh. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, has recently undertaken a tour of Karachi for the purpose of promoting the game in Sindh. 

He met with Vice Chancellors of different universities in Karachi to introduce Baseball game at university level. Prof Dr Sarosh Hashmat Lodi, Vice Chancellor, NED University of Engineering and Technology, appreciated the efforts of the PFB for the promotion of baseball in Sindh.

He assured his full support to prepare his university baseball team for the participation in Inter-varsity Baseball Championship. 

He requested the PFB President to organize an exhibition match after Eid-ul-Fitr in Karachi to introduce baseball among students. 

The PFB President offered to provide baseball equipment as well as a coach to the NED University. 

Prof Dr Muhammad Afzal Haque, Vice Chancellor, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), was also appreciative of the efforts of Pakistan Federation Baseball for the promotion of baseball in Sindh.

He assured his full support to prepare his university baseball team for the participation in Inter-varsity Baseball Championship. 

The PFB President volunteered to provide baseball equipment and a coach to the SSUET. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah also met with Muhammad Altaf Tai, Chairman, Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD), Southern Region. 

The ABAD official vowed to support and help in the promotion of baseball particularly its national and international events in Pakistan. 

The PFB President also donated baseball equipment to the Sindh Baseball Association (SBA) to encourage them for working more proactively for the promotion of the game in the province.

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