Archive for February, 2010
I wasn’t planning to write a new thread so early but, the news about new allegations on match fixing scandals against Pakistan cricket team has resurfaced after a decade and reportedly two of the players from the current team are involved in it has prompted me to write a short but, a bold note against a system that is corrupt. Until and unless that system is not changed and those responsible are not removed from the important positions they are holding such allegations will keep on surfacing again and again.
1. What was the need to appoint Ijaz Ahmad as the coach for U-19 team and then he was appointed as a coach for the Pakistan national team for 2 matches in the UAE? He is not only incompetent but, he is one of those players who was banned by the judicial commission headed by Justice Qayyum. Then, very recently he was jailed for issuing a dud cheque of 1.3 million rupees against a property scam. Now that Waqar Younus has been appointed as the national coach for the Pakistan team, Ijaz will take over the job of a fielding coach, as if he was Jonty Rhodes of Pakistan team?
2. Yesterday’s thief is today’s policeman? Wasim Akram is also one of those players who was fined by the judicial commission for match fixing and he has been appointed as one of the members of the inquiry commission to investigate the Pakistan team’s dismal performances on their recent tour of Australia.
First of all Wasim Akram should never be allowed to enter in any of the offices of the cricket board let aside representing them as a coach, manager or even a committee member. His past is very tainted and he carries a taboo, a man with no credibility and no respect for his own country. He is spending all his time in India, he has no love for the country except for money. When all the Pakistani players were ignored by the IPL, he is hired by them as the bowling coach for Kolkata Knight Riders. He should have resigned in protest for the honour of the country and he should not be doing any TV shows or accepting their sponsorships. But, he is dying to be in the limelight in India. So, what is the need of calling him from India? He did not attend the first two sessions of the committee meetings but, he came back for the third. What knowledge does he have about what happened in Australia while he was sitting in India?
This ad-hoc and off the cuff management from the PCB is not only hurting the game of cricket in Pakistan but, it is tarnishing the nation’s image internationally. Ijaz Butt is the biggest disgrace in the cricketing world. He does not commit mistakes, he makes blunders and on top of that he is such a thick skinned person that he would not resign. Most people thought that when there was a terrorist attack in Lahore on the Sri Lankan team, it was his moral obligation to resign. Au contraire, he did not even apologize to the Sri Lankan players and he had the audacity to give threats to the ICC official Chris Broad who complained about the lack of security. Butt, accused him of suing, the Urdu expression “Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Daantay” befits in his case.
The PCB has officially announced a list of 30 probables for the upcoming T20 WC in the Caribbean next month but, they have not announced the Captain yet. Which shows the intentions of Butt & Co. to make sure they accommodate Shoaib Malik, rather consolidate his place by making him Captain of the team. Otherwise, Shoaib Malik has no place in the team on the basis of merit, neither as a batsman nor as a bowler. Yet he self proclaims that he is the best all-rounder in the country? An all-rounder who knows how to play dirty politics in the team, he knows the art of disuniting the team by creating regional differences and by creating groups and by enticing them to under perform, in short he is a pain in the neck.
It is for the people of Pakistan to raise a voice against the PCB management and its unethical and unprofessional attitude and get rid of Butt & Co. Shouldn’t you be echoing these sentiments and creating ripples to get your voice heard? Please do that and do your team and your country a big favour. Write against them. Thanks.
Every single staunch supporter of Shahid Afridi got shocked and embarrassed after the news and seeing Afridi biting the ball. That was a moment of madness and he did that in front of 20 odd cameras, without realizing that he was being focused, in fact some of the cameras are keeping a focus on the ball wherever it goes. Then Afridi not only apologized to everyone but, also added a blunt comment on top of that like, a “Teep Ka Bandh” that all teams do. That enraged many of his haters and they are demanding to ban him from 5 years to life. Little do they have the knowledge that you cannot be punished twice for the same offense.
As they say, “innocent until proven guilty.” Afridi never denied, he couldn’t have otherwise he would have looked a bigger fool because the proof was right there and he knew that he did that. There is a much better saying in Urdu, which says: “Chor hum sab hain, pakray jayen tab.” Thieves we all are, until we are caught.
Now, look at this video, Indian medium pacer Manoj Prabhakar is caught biting the ball. Check out this video, its not doctored, it is real, the only difference is he was not in focus as Afridi is and Indian players are saints they don’t do anything unfair, they are holier than cow, unlike Pakistanis who are famous for being trouble makers and labeled as cheaters. But, it is right here on this video in black and white or in colour, as you like it:
I was reading on the internet an interview by one of the Indian players called SANDHU, who was critical of Shahid Afridi biting the ball and quoting Imran Khan has taught the whole world how to tamper the ball, as if the whole world were living in stone age and Imran Khan is the torch bearer who brought them the light, especially the Indians who never cheated or tampered the ball. Perhaps Sandhu was not aware of a player called Prabhakar?
Now wait a second, who can imagine a gentleman like Rahul Dravid can tamper the ball? Well it is a known fact that in 2004 in Brisbane he was caught by the TV cameras rubbing a cough lozenges on the shiny side of the white ball and it was reported to Clive Lloyd and he was fined 50% of his match fee. Here is the link:
Not just Rahul Dravid but, Bhagwan Sri Romesh Sachin God Tendulkar was also handed a 75% match fee fine and a one-match suspended sentence by Mike Denness for a similar offense at Port Elizabeth in 2001-02. Since Tendulkar is god and he is above others, his fans, supporters and Indian media tried to hush hush it by saying Tendulkar is innocent, he wasn’t pulling the seam off, he was actually removing pieces of grass stuck to the ball, his only mistake is he should have taken umpire’s permission. Right, Shahid Afridi should have taken umpire’s permission that he is going to bite off a piece of grass from the ball?
I had to write this as a retort against some of the Indian Blogs I was reading which are constantly accusing Afridi also, ridiculing Imran Khan, Ramiz Raja and others who have said that ball tampering is not new and Afridi’s case has been blown out of proportion. Therefore, I suggest them to look into their own GIRAYBAAN before accusing others. Since Prabhakar has chewed the ball it was before Afridi’s time it goes to prove that India is the leader, the only difference is they tried to hide the dirt under the carpet and are happy in mudslinging on Pakistan.
Stupid are those Pakistani Senators who are demanding a life ban on Shahid Afridi, it proves that they have no knowledge or any clue about the history of the game and are simply raising their voice to get some attention. Shame on them.
Now, lets turn towards those Gora Saabs or the so called gentlemen who made these rules and are so proud that they are above the law and cannot be punished. Before we come to the recent events lets see how long have they been breaking the law and since when they have been tampering the ball?
Legendary Australian leg spinner Arthur Mailey admitted in his 1958 autobiography, that he kept powdered resin in his pocket and regularly lifted the seam for the quick bowlers during the 1920-21 Ashes series. See they are so proud of their history. One day Mike Atherton will write a book and talk about the dirt in his pocket that he used to rough out the ball. John Lever, applied Vaseline on the ball to shine it.
There is long list of controversies related to ball tampering. Some people believe that it is part and parcel of the game. But, the My Baaps of cricket or the politburo called, The ICC has different plans to tackle this dangerous crime. They want to clamp a deterrent against such activity, and for doing this, they have made certain laws. Law 21.3 (The Result): Umpires awarding the match; Law 42.3: Award five penalty runs to batting side and Law 42.1.2: Umpires shall report the incident to the ICC match referee. We all know how Inzamam’s team suffered at the hands of Adolf Hair?
According to the ICC Code of Conduct correctly, ball tampering is a ‘level 2’ offence (Article 2.2.9) complaints can be made by the team officials or the umpires to the Match Referee (article 3.1). The match referee cannot instigate action in such cases (article 3.1.4) I am referring to the recent case of Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson’s case where Broad was seen using his spikes to scratch the ball and Jimmy was lifting the seam, both were caught on the camera, but no action was taken because SA did not report and Mahanama’s Roshandan was hapless meaning his hands were tied. Someone needs to register a complaint.
Here is another classic case of reporting and not reporting. In SA when Afridi raised his bat against a spectator who abused him, the matter was not reported by anyone and no one expected that any action would be taken. But, surprise, surprise, surprise one insider of the ICC who must be dying to see Afridi’s back and damage Pakistan’s reputation made a copy of the video and sent it to the Chairman of the ICC Malcolm Speed, who was in the Caribbean and suggested him to ban Afridi for 4 ODI’sand he was banned, that was one of the reasons that Pakistan performed so poorly in that world cup. Had he played against Ireland things would have been different.
It is important to know why they all rub the ball to make it shine on one side and and scuff the other? Basically it is done to make the ball swing. The ICC law is very stupid here, if it allows the bowler and 10 other players to lick it, rub it on the groin, on the thighs, on their hips and, apply saliva to shine it more — is also tampering the ball. The ball is not a coin that one side it is tails and the other side is heads, both sides are equal and same and so must be the law. There cannot be two set of rules besides, this not a rule of thumb but a law that has been made and approved, hence it must be be clear and applicable in all situations. Therefore, people are asking for changing the law, after all it is a man made law and it is not flawless, in fact it is a stupid law and must be changed.
Einstein wasn’t born in Pakistan nor Newton to think about how to reverse swing a cricket ball? The British may have created this game and gained supremacy in the beginning by beating their opponents Australia, West Indies and India. It was a game of the Lords and then the lords had to play with their slaves and convicts and then, they lost the supremacy as others got better and better. What the Pakistanis discovered to reverse swing the cricket ball is they realized that when one side is smooth and the other is rough it causes a pressure difference between the two sides of the ball. The air pressure depends on the flow of air over each side of the ball.
Normal swing is generated when bowlers, by accident or intent, disrupt the flow of air over one side of the ball by keeping one side of the ball polished smooth and shiny, and delivering the ball with the polished side forward, and the seam angled in the direction of desired swing. As we all know the out swing delivery moves away from the right-handed batsman, while the in swing delivery moves in towards him. Reverse swing is very different from conventional swing.
Although the seam is oriented in the same way as for an outswinger and the action is the same, the rough side of the ball is to the fore, and the ball moves in to the batsman like an inswinger. Reverse swing is achieved when the ball is bowled very fast. In this case the air flow will become turbulent on both sides before it reaches the seam. It was only the Pakistani fast bowlers who realized it first and also had the ability to bowl it fast and accurate. Doosra is also a Pakistani invention when others use this technique they are not as good as the inventors – hence there is and will be a difference between the original and the imitation.
Finally, my point is for those who accuse others, first try to dig out more information more facts and see whether you are justified in accusing others or you are also a culprit and not knowing that you are a culprit and then you are exposed, you look like an idiot. So, follow the rules of a good diplomat who thinks twice before saying nothing. On this blog we support Shahid Afridi a lot, but that does not mean we trust him blindly or consider him a god or some deity we do criticize him and call him Akhroat when he does something stupid.
This time, we were not in a hurry to defend him, we too were shocked at his stupidities but, come to think of it, YES its not a big deal, there are more sinister things that have happened, there are more sinister players in the team who have tried to ruin this game by playing dirty politics, by dividing the team, by deliberately getting out, by way of match fixing for money or for self pride or for the sake of regionalism and personal vendetta, they need more punishment than someone who tampers the ball.
Pakistan suffered one of its worst tour defeats at the hands of Australia. Pakistanis were completely outplayed in Tests and ODI’s and the tragedy was that they could not even win the lone T20. Chaos ensued during and after this forgettable, yet unforgettable series and grievous flaws were identified right from the top of PCB’s management to the Pakistan team’s on-field behaviour.
There are reports of turmoil within the PCB as Ijaz Butt has failed to change the culture of the PCB and in fact internal strife, mismanagement and incompetence levels have increased. Butt is under immense pressure to resign as it is alleged he is too old, incompetent and more concerned about running his private business than managing the cricket situation in the country. Since Butt has appeared on the cricket scene, the team has gone from bad to worse. There is no vision, no planning, and like his appointor, Asif Zardari, Butt is spending more time facing flak and responding (unconvincingly) to criticism than actually doing something positive to remedy the affliction the Pakistan team is experiencing.
On one hand Butt said that Yousuf was the wrong choice as captain of
the team for the Australia tour, but on the other hand he said there was no alternative. What kind of decision-making is this? Why was a younger player not appointed as a temporary captain? Yousuf proved to be a worse captain than anyone thought. Not only was he completely negative in everything that he did- batting, field placement, bowling changes, managing team morale etc, he also failed to win the respect of his team-mates, unlike Inzamam who was at least senior enough to obtain some respect from the juniors. It was also disheartening to see Yousuf openly condemning Butt’s running between the wickets and Manzoor’s technique. Interestingly, Butt proved to be Pakistan’s best batsmen in Tests and Manzoor probably played the best knock by a Pakistani in the Test series.
At the same time as Butt’s inept management and Yousuf’s maladroit captaincy, there were reports of team disunity. Some reports went as far as suggesting that two camps were created in the team- the Karachi camp (thought to be led by Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi) and the Sialkot/Punjab camp led by Shoaib Malik. In fact some news suggested that the team manager had created a report on Shoaib Malik using politics to advance his camp’s interests. Whether any action is taken against Malik for this remains to be seen. Indeed, Malik captained Pakistan’s T20 match and although it was known Pakistan would provide a tough challenge to Australia in any circumstance, Malik’s captaincy has been hailed as “inspirational” and “attacking” by his misled supporters. The truth is that a club T20 team from Pakistan can provide a tough challenge to Australia in T20, yet somehow Malik’s supporters have forgotten this.
In such dire times, Pakistan needs a completely new and revolutionary strategy. As far as team
performance is concerned, in Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam Pakistan found their best 2 ODI batsmen. This firstly proves that the much maligned Pakistani domestic structure can still produce good players. Secondly, this proves that for some reason or the other, the team’s main batsmen- Younis, Yousuf and Malik, are not up to the mark and must make way for juniors. When your best ODI batsmen are not your 4 or 5 most experienced batsmen, you know something is wrong with your team.
The horror seen in Butt’s time shows that a former cricketer is not necessarily a good administrator. Pakistan should appoint a management expert with good cricket acumen to lead the Board. In fact, the best way forward is probably to fire all former cricketers who are involved in running the show as all of these cricketers seem to have shady motives and personal grudges against each other, and an organisation cannot run successfully in this way.
A younger, fitter coach should be appointed. Pakistan should look beyond people like Intikhab Alam and should opt for a relatively low profile coach, perhaps from some regional academy. Pakistan has suffered too much and too long under Intikhab- his failure reflects in the fact that no improvements have been seen in the players. All the technical weaknesses remain, the standard of fielding is still poor, the bowlers are still getting injured relatively easily. The worst aspect is that mentally the Pakistan team has worsened under Intikhab, whereas when Inti was appointed he said mental strength would be one of his main areas of focus. Pakistan is losing Test matches from winning positions and it is looking increasingly vulnerable when chasing even modest targets.
Mediocrity is prevalent across the squad. Being mediocre is in some
ways worse than being pathetic, because a mediocre player makes 30 runs with some consistency to cement his position in the team, but is always focusing to remain in the team because he finds it so hard to make sizable scores, especially when the situation demands some character from a batsman. Similarly, bowlers like Rana and Rao survive on picking up 1 or 2 wickets here and there, or keeping the economy rate to under 4.5. Whereas, a pathetic or substandard player gets booted straightaway from the team. Shoaib Malik must not be tolerated anymore in the lineup. Similarly, Rana and Rao must be permanently banned from playing international cricket.
Afridi’s ball tampering incident was regrettable. However, whereas it has caused anger for many, many also see Afridi as someone who would be willing to think outside the box and who would be desperate to win matches for Pakistan. Although Afridi is not the brightest cricketer in the squad, he is very unlikely to tamper with the ball again. Afridi has received his penalty from the ICC and he must now be forgiven by the PCB and Pakistani public. Pakistan needs Afridi’s passionate captaincy and fighting spirit, and the fans should persuade the PCB to experiment with Afridi in all formats. Otherwise, Malik or Akmal will be appointed captain and Pakistan should not reward their consistently poor performances any longer.
Now the PCB must use their initiative and build a Test team with Younis, Yousuf, Afridi, U Akmal and Fawad Alam in the middle order. In ODI’s, Afridi, U Akmal and Alam must be the main batsmen and perhaps Butt will also improve his ODI form and become a significant cog in the wheel. In Umer Akmal and Fawad Alam Pakistan has found two exciting and talented players and now the PCB must look for more players like them.