September 11, 2018

Arif Abbasi better choice than Ehsan Mani to head PCB


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The challenges to Imran Khan, the Prime Minister, are far too many. As he has been saying it repeatedly and publicly, he’s fast becoming sick of the problems coming to his knowledge during the presentations he has been taking from the various Ministries and departments after assuming office.

The one area where Prime Minister Imran Khan is most likely to deliver is cricket, the game which earned him fame and fortune. 

Arguably the greatest and the most gifted cricketer ever to have played for Pakistan, his passion for cricket is known to everyone. 

Najam Sethi, instead of going to courts, chose to resign as Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) as Imran Khan prepared to take oath as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. 

All eyes were then on the Prime Minister himself as he was to decide the successor to the outgoing PCB chief. Imran Khan, after being sworn in as the Prime Minister, also got the constitutional right to nominate the Chairman of the PCB.

He opted for Ehsan Mani, who has also been a former President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) besides having represented the country in the game’s governing body for a number of years. 

Ehsan Mani can be considered as a good choice but given the current situation it would have been advisable to have gone for Arif Ali Khan Abbasi instead, if the idea was to recover the lost ground and conquer new frontiers. 

Arif Abbasi looked the most suitable person to lead the revival of Pakistan cricket in the current scenario when a lot of additional qualities are required besides mere experience of handling the affairs of the game. 

Having proven track record and possessing the contacts in the concerned international circles, Arif Abbasi would have stood a better chance of restoring the image of Pakistan cricket, which was severely dented during the last one decade in particular. 

Interestingly it was Arif Abbasi who had played the pivotal role in having Imran Khan installed as the captain of the Pakistan cricket team in 1982. It was a bold move which made immediate dividends.

Imran Khan was handed over the captaincy when many of the senior members of the team had revolted against Javed Miandad. 

The Pakistan cricket was facing a crisis those days but it went to the credit of Arif Abbasi, the then Honorary Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP), to have converted the problem into an opportunity and the rest is history. 

Something of that sort is the need of the hour once more. The Pakistan cricket needed a go-getter like Arif Abbasi to turn it around at this time. 

Imran Khan should have opted for Arif Abbasi, instead of Ehsan Mani, if he desired implementing his own ambitious plans of overhauling the cricket system in the country. 

The Prime Minister may still involve Arif Abbasi in some capacity but when and how it remains to be seen. It will be in Pakistan cricket’s interest to have been in the leadership role somewhere.

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Jubilee Insurance Ranking Snooker Championship 2018 underway


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The third edition of the Jubilee Insurance Ranking Snooker Championship 2018, featuring the 24 top cueists of the country, has got underway at the Karachi Gymkhana on September 11.

The media launch of the one-week event was held at the Gymkhana’s Banquet Hall on September 10 in which the salient features were shared by Munawwar Hussain Shaikh, President, Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA), and Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, Co-Chairman, PBSA. 

The PBSA top functionaries acknowledged the support of the sponsors and the hosts, besides the electronic and print media for having brought cue sports to such high levels. 

They announced that the top two cueists of the country in the national ranking chart, to be issued after this event, will represent the country in the IBSF World Snooker Championship 2018 scheduled to be staged in Myanmar later this year.

Like the last few years, the PBSA has decided to retain 12 cueists for the next year’s National Championship whereas the remaining slots will be filled on the basis of the performances in the upcoming provincial cup tournaments. 

Tahir Ahmed, Managing Director, Jubilee General Insurance, reckoned that snooker has now become the most popular sport in the country, after cricket. 

He described the PBSA as the best performing national sports body on the basis of its performance over the past couple of decades. 

Akbar Iqbal Puri, President, Karachi Gymkhana, recalled that the club has been the hub of snooker activities in Pakistan since 1987 when his father, Mazhar Iqbal Puri, had revived the cue sports by laying the foundation of the PBSA of which he was the first President.

Meanwhile the 24 participants have been divided equally in four groups for the preliminary rounds which will continue for four days. 

Top seeded and defending champion Muhammad Asif (Punjab) has been placed in the Group A in the company of eighth seed Asjad Iqbal (Punjab), Sohail Shahzad (Sindh), Asif Toba (Punjab), Agha Bilawal (Sindh) and Sirbuland Khan (KPK). Second seed 

Babar Masih (Punjab) and seventh seed Aakash Rafique (KPK) feature in the Group B alongwith Khurram Hussain Agha (Sindh), Sharjeel Mahmood (KPK), Muhammad Naseem Akhtar (Punjab) and Muhammad Shahbaz (Punjab).

The Group C comprises of third seed Muhammad Majid Ali (Punjab), sixth seed Zulfiqar Abdul Qadir (Sindh), Rambail Gul (KPK), Muhammad Ahsan Javaid (Punjab), Abdul Sattar (Sindh) and Umair Alam (Sindh) while the Group D contains fourth seed Muhammad Bilal (Punjab), fifth seed Muhammad Ijaz (Punjab), Sultan Muhammad (Sindh), Shahid Aftab (Punjab), Haris Tahir (Punjab) and Ali Haider (Punjab). 

At the end of the league matches, the top two cueists from each of the four groups will be advancing to the knockout phase of the competition starting with the quarter-finals on September 15. 

Both the semifinals will be taking place on September 16 with the final and the prize distribution to be organized on September 17. The semifinals as well as the final will be beamed live on Geo Super.

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