October 16, 2023

Shan best bet to replace Babar: Anwar-ul-Haq


Pakistan News & Features Services

Anwar-ul-Haq, a former cricketer turned commentator, seems absolutely clear in his mind that Babar Azam, following inconsistency and incompetence, should be removed from national captaincy across formats and the baton should be passed on to none other Shan Masood, the prolific opening batsman.

“I had been advocating for the removal of Babar long before this World Cup had started. It would be in the interest of the team if he is relieved of the leadership role and be allowed to focus on his batting which has obviously slumped in the recent past. He has been unable to do justice to his talents as a batter, having caused immeasurable harm to the Pakistan side,” Anwar, respected for his candid thoughts, remarked in a conversation with PNFS soon after Pakistan suffered an embarrassing loss against hosts India at Ahmedabad on October 14. 

“Irrespective of the fate of upcoming matches, Babar, unquestionably a world-class batsman, should be allowed to do his primary job of hitting centuries instead of dragging him in a role which doesn’t belong to him. The administrators of the game have already done great disservice to the country by having him lead the national team despite his unsuitability for the job,” the former cricketer reflected. 

“I think it’s about time to take decisions in the national interest instead of personal whims. Babar’s tactics as a captain have often been under the scanner and his insistence on shielding players of his own camp has led to chaos to numerous occasions,” Anwar felt. 

When questioned about the possible replacement for Babar, he didn’t mince words in asserting that Shan, the tall left-handed opening batsman, looked the best candidate to take over the captaincy in all three formats on the basis of his talents and record.

“In the limited opportunities having come his way over the years, Shan has proved himself to be a capable leader who is blessed with the desired qualities to take fight to the opposition. We need a captain like him who could lead from the front,” the former opening batsman emphasized. 

“I firmly believe that Shan has been victimized by people with vested interests. On the basis of his strengths, he certainly deserved to play more often for the national but he was discarded once too often after a brief dip in performance which was certainly unfair to him in particular and to the country in general,” Anwar added.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had installed him as vice-captain for the ODI home series against New Zealand but the evil forces within the team conspired to keep him out of the playing eleven. The conspirators prevailed and Shan was not allowed the space to perform,” he recalled. 

Anwar, who is credited to have mentored quite a few illustrious cricketers like the great Younis Khan, urged the PCB to appoint Shan as the captain of Pakistan team in the larger national interest as he possessed the rare potential to extract the best out of his teammates, both seniors and juniors.

"We have had enough for Babar as a captain. His record is far from satisfactory and he has to be sidelined without further delay," Anwar concluded.

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October 3, 2023

Inaugural MCW Over 40s Cricket Global Cup signs off with impressive closing ceremony


Pakistan News & Features Services

The curtain fell on the inaugural MCW Over 40s Cricket Global Cup, after a couple of weeks of fun and excitement, with an impressive closing ceremony at Hotel Pearl Continental, Karachi, on October 2. Nadeem Omar, owner of Quetta Gladiators, was the chief guest on the occasion. The tournament, contested by eight countries, had kicked off on September 19. 

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman, Pakistan Veterans Cricket Association (PVCA), in his welcome address, observed that, having participated in all four previous editions of World Cup, Pakistan got the opportunity to host the Global Cup for the first time and we tried our level best to excel in every single organizational aspect to make it a memorable event for all participants and stakeholders.

“We had to change name from World Cup to Global Cup at the eleventh hour because of a special request received from the International Cricket Council (ICC). Moving forward, the ICC will not allow use of word World Cup in any future Veteran Tournaments,” he shared.

The PVCA Chairman congratulated the Pakistan team on winning the tournament, making special of five Test cricketers, Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Muhammad Sami and Hassan Raza for being part of the home squad. 

 He thanked his colleagues at the PVCA as well as the support staff for having worked tirelessly to make the tournament a success story. He acknowledged the contribution of the sponsors, the government officials and the ground authorities in making the arduous task of hosting an event of this magnitude possible despite the numerous challenges. 

Earlier in the day, the prize distribution ceremony was conducted at National Bank Stadium soon after the conclusion of the final in which Pakistan defeated West Indies by 152 runs to be crowned as world champions. Australia took third position while United States of America (USA) finished fourth. United Arab Emirates (UAE), unable to qualify for semifinals, emerged the plate champions with Hong Kong taking sixth position. Canada and Nepal ended seventh and eighth respectively. 

Fawad Ijaz Khan, Chairman, PVCA, presented the winners’ trophy to the Pakistan skipper, Misbah-ul-Haq, who was adjudged Player of the Match in the final for his brilliant century. Muhammad Farrukh, who captained United States of America (USA), was declared Player of the tournament for his consistent all-round performance. 

Among other individual awards, Pakistan’s left-arm spinner Abdul Qadir was chosen as the best bowler of the tournament and Nepal’s opening batter Rabin Joshi was adjudged the best batsman of the tournament. Steve Paulsen of Australia and Randy Thomas of West Indies were voted as the best fielder and the best wicketkeeper of the tournament respectively. 

Pakistan’s chief selector, Ajaz Faqueih, announced a team of the tournament on the occasion which comprised of Abdul Razzaq (Pakistan), Amjad Ali (Pakistan), Rabin Joshi (Nepal), Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan), Narsingh Deonarine (West Indies), Muhammad Farrukh (USA), Randy Thomas (West Indies), Tassawar Abbas (Pakistan), Ankur Vasishta (Hong Kong), Ajay Sharma (USA), Mark Leard (Australia) and Abdul Qadir (Pakistan). Abdul Razzaq was chosen as captain with Muhammad Farrukh being his deputy. 

Nadeem Omar, owner of Quetta Gladiators, and Sameet of MCW Sports, were also present in the presentation party alongwith the PVCA functionaries Fawad Ijaz Khan (Chairman), Amer Ilyas Butt (CEO), and Amir Sarfaraz (Secretary) besides its Directors Alamgir Ahmed, Fazal Jilani, Haji Ashraf, Dr Asjad Ali and Amjad Islam.

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