January 10, 2020

Five-day Test should continue unabated


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has done a fantastic job by having finally launched the World Test Championship last year. It has already been hailed as a success story as it seems to possess many ingredients to become a permanent feature in the future. 

Instead of waiting to reap harvests from the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship, due to conclude in the summer of 2023, the governing body of the sport has dropped a kind of bombshell by showing inclination towards having four-day Tests. It’s obviously nonsense of the highest order. Such an idea never merits discussion in an ICC meeting. 

The announcement that the ICC cricket committee will consider making four-day Tests mandatory, as part of the World Test Championship from 2023, has come as a shocker to say the least. 

How dare could the ICC even think of committing such a heinous crime? They have been guilty of doing so many odd things disrespectful to the game and its stature in the past, but contemplating four-day Tests is something beyond ethics. 

Well everyone knows about the priorities of the ICC. There is no element of ‘news’ or anything like that in them thinking about commercialization or more commercialization. 

But ‘killing’ Test cricket in order to free up a calendar, thought to be cramped with too many fixtures and T20 leagues, is something which can only be condemned in the harshest possible way. 

How do the movers and shakers of the ICC lose sight of the fact that its Test cricket which sustained the game since it became global in the 19th century? The limited overs versions arrived much later in the second half of the 20th century. 

And now the ICC, having become a commercial powerhouse, is prepared to temper with Test cricket, which is well and truly disgusting. 

Whoever, within the ICC, has masterminded this idea of reducing the duration of Test matches from five days to four days, is certainly not a friend of the game. Neither that person or may be a group of persons, who are pleading this, could be regarded as the well-wishers of cricket. 

Those having turned millionaires, or even billionaires, because of cricket, should not try to stab the game which is a source of recreation to global audience. 

The Test playing nations, who constitute the ICC, have a rich history of the game and, more than any other format, its Test cricket, yes Test cricket, whose glories have mattered the most to them. 

If the ICC has run out of ideas otherwise for the maximization of their profits, they would be advised to refrain from tabling such horrible proposals which will only be opposed bitterly by the cricket-loving fraternity. 

The marketers or even the administrators pursuing the move at the ICC appear oblivious of the charm and beauty of the fifth day of Test matches. The cricket followers should not be deprived of the rare pleasures of witnessing action-packed fifth day thrillers for financial or commercial reasons. 

Hopefully better sense will prevail at the ICC cricket committee and they will shoot down the proposal even without deliberating on it.

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January 1, 2020

Jubilee General’s new boss pledges to carry on legacy of predecessor’s sporting legacy


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The newly installed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Jubilee General Insurance, Hassan Khan, has pledged to carry out the sporting legacy left by his predecessor, Tahir Ahmed, whose illustrious career at the company came to an end on December 31, 2019. 

On the very first day of taking over the leadership of the company on January 1, 2020, Hassan Khan was needed to deliberate on his sports policies during the media launch of the new snooker season, with as many as five national snooker events, being sponsored by Jubilee Insurance, taking place during the next one and a half months. 

“Jubilee has been the major sponsors of Pakistan snooker for the past 13 years. We are proud to have played our due role in uplift of cue sports, resulting in glories for the country at the international level. We look forward to continue extending the support to snooker in future too,” he declared while speaking at the luncheon media briefing at the Karachi Gymkhana Banquet Hall on the New Year Day. 

When specifically questioned whether he would continue the policies of his immediate predecessor, Tahir Ahmed, who was proactive in the promotion of sports over the years, Hassan Khan replied in the affirmative and announced his desire to perpetuate the legacy. 

He acknowledged that the modest prize money, being offered to the outstanding performers of the various tournaments at the moment, merited enhancement in the future. 

Replying to another question, he, however, ruled out the possibilities of offering employment to the cueists at his company, explaining that no such policy had ever been under consideration in board meetings. 

Jubilee Insurance, it may be recalled, had joined hands with the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) in a big way, by having sponsored the 24th ACBS Asian Snooker Championship at Karachi in 2007 when the national snooker body was being led by Ali Asghar Valika. 

From the following year onwards they took up the sponsorship of the national ranking tournaments as well and the relationship became stronger and wider with the passage of time. 

They have been the major sponsors of snooker in Pakistan for the past one decade and during this period they have been motivating force in launching the tournaments for the teenagers and schoolboys in particular in the recent past. 

Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, Co-Chairman, PBSA, recognized the overwhelming support of Jubilee Insurance, whose continued patronage, he added, helped enormously in raising the standard of snooker. 

"Both the twin companies, Jubilee General Insurance and Jubilee Life Insurance, have been extremely supportive to the cause of snooker for the past 13 years and they deserve to be credited for the glories our cueists have earned for the country over the past decade and a half,” he added. 

"The new helmsman of Jubilee General Insurance, Hassan Khan, is also very eager to support the cause of snooker and the sponsorship budget for the current year (2020) has been approved by him," Alamgir Shaikh disclosed.

Meanwhile the new snooker season will dawn with the Jubilee Insurance 2nd Under-16 National Snooker Championship 2020 on January 4 and it will be followed by the Jubilee Insurance 5th Under-18 National Snooker Championship 2020, the Jubilee Insurance 12th Under-21 National Snooker Championship 2020 and the Jubilee Insurance 4th Over-40 National Masters Snooker Championship 2020. 

All these events will be staged at the PSB Sports Complex in Islamabad while the Jubilee Insurance 45th National Snooker Championship 2020 will be taking place at the Karachi Gymkhana from January 31 to February 12.

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