Archive for May, 2010


John Howard former Australian Prime Minister

John Howard former Australian Prime Minister

While the PCB is playing Butt politics and trying to clear up the mess they have created after the comical and farcical banning and imposing fines on their key 7  players  who were touring Australia a couple of months ago and, now the COO of the PCB – Wasim Bari – once a very trusted man of Ijaz  Butt is placed under the microscope on the suspicion of leaking or, selling the information to the media, a local TV channel, there are a couple of series going on in the UK and across the Atlantic and neither of them are hitting the headlines.  But once again it is Butt who is gyrating his Butt at the international level as well too.

Perhaps most of us are aware of Australia’s former Prime Minister John Howard’s nomination to the ICC for the post of “president designate” which is hitting road blocks at the moment because, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and South Africa have decided to block Howard’s nomination and to do that 4 member countries are needed. Already three are determined and only one country’s boards’ decision is needed.

India is not going to vote against because, it is BCCI’s Pawar, who will take over as president in June 2010, backed the process that threw up Howard as a candidate so neither Australia nor, England or even the West Indies (because of being a common wealth country) will oppose his nomination.  So, Butt is left alone and he cannot take this important decision without the Pakistan’s government approval, if he does then Butt would be on Surgeon Asif Ali Zardari’s table for a colonoscopy.

The main issue for Pakistan or the PCB is to view this process from a higher ground and look into the consequences that will affect its future position as a member board within the ICC.  As far as Pakistan’s foreign policy is concerned, be at the official diplomatic front or, at the sports level it has been very pathetic. They take irrational, emotional and erratic decisions where people’s sentiments are always running very high and emotional. Pakistan is quick to take a stance and supports the underdogs especially those who were considered as villains by others become heroes for Pakistan, e.g., Saddam Hussain and Osama Bin Ladin.

We all know that the former Australian Prime Minister is an ardent fan, a great supporter and lover of cricket and he called, Murali a Chucker not once but twice.  For that reason Sri Lanka is opposing his nomination and the South Africans are opposing on some other political reason but, what has Pakistan to do with it? Why do they need to alienate themselves from Australia? Especially in view of the fact that, a few years ago when there was a  massive earthquake in Pakistan, John Howard visited the earthquake effected areas and met the victims.

Pakistan’s relationship with the ICC is also not so rosy especially when BUTT opened his mouth and challenged to sue the ICC not once but twice, once when the venues were taken away from Pakistan for hosting the ICC WC 2011 and also when Chris Broad the ICC official complained about the serious lapse in security in Lahore when the Sri Lankan players were attacked by gunmen and Chris Broad narrowly escaped he blamed the PCB for not providing adequate security and, Butt did not apologize to anyone instead he threatened to sue Chris Broad and the ICC.

Whether Murali is a chucker or not is another issue, from Bhishen Singh Bedi to a few hundred million others he is. Still, India is supporting Howard’s nomination. During the Oval debacle between Inzamamul Haq and Darrel Hair, BCCI’s Niranjan Sharma was quick to reply to the media that whatever happens we are with the ICC.  There was a clear message to Pakistan that we are not on your side but, we are with the ICC.  However, things changed when Geoff Boycott and others ruled out the ball tampering as baseless and Hair lost his air like a hot-air balloon and the BCCI changed their stance.

Instead of me giving my opinion here on this thread, I would like our bloggers to give their views on whether John Howards should be nominated for that post in the ICC or not? If not, why? And, how his nomination would affect the other boards in the ICC management affairs?  Whether the PCB say YES or NO, it is a question that most of us would be waiting to see whether Ijaz Butt is a diplomat or not?  A good diplomat thinks twice before saying nothing.  Ijaz Butt says twice before thinking nothing. So, what do you expect here? Yeah or Ney?



When it comes to leadership, he is serious

When it comes to leadership, he is serious

The reason Pakistan cricket team’s performance is inconsistent is because, the PCB, its chairman and selectors themselves are incompetently inconsistent and they are a bunch of incapable bureaucrats who do nothing except “wagging their tongue” and Ijaz Butt especially has a forked tongue. Ever since he became the Chairman he has been prevaricating and equivocating his statements, deceiving and telling lies, denying what he has said earlier and then he loves to create uncertainty, suspense, drama and the outcome is always a bad result.

Apart from banning Yousuf and Younus for no reason he is now creating this captaincy issue and turning it into a drama for no reason.  The captaincy issue is the only card that the PCB keeps playing after every series, every tournament, every quarter if not every month.  In good old days, captains were made for a good number of years and the role of leadership is well defined.

If the PCB creates this suspense and drama each time before a tour or a major tournament then, there will always be disunity within the team. The younger players or, those who want to take revenge against others deliberately under perform to make the existing captain a failure. They know that if the team loses, perhaps they will get a chance to step in or get someone in his place who is more dear to them. If this kinda atmosphere is allowed to breed within the team, there will no end to it, because grouping and creating trivial politics within the team is a disaster recipe.  By now we all know that there were groups in the team and a group of players vowed and pledged to ouster Younus Khan from his captaincy by deliberately under-performing and Rana Naveed has confirmed this.

Shoaib Malik is the key figure or, it wouldn’t be wrong to say the father of creating trivial politics within the team especially since he has a history of doing such things at domestic and international level.  At domestic level he himself agreed on losing the match deliberately and was fined, at international level the coach, captain and manager of the team have given their statements in front of the inquiry tribunal that he was like a termite in destroying the team spirit and team unity.

Kamran Akmal dropping Husseys’ catches or missing a run out may not be the result of match fixing or betting but, it is very likely that it is due to the pact or the oath they took to ouster Mohammed Yousuf as a captain.  For this he definitely needs to be penalized and the reason must be given by the PCB instead of denying, delaying or keeping such decisions in pending. It is not good for the player and it is not good for the team.

It is good to see that Salman Butt was batting well after a long time. By appointing him captain it is very likely that he may not perform with the extra burden.  Besides, a player is not a Dolphin or a Whale that needs a treat after every performance.  Now, Salman Butt performed well lets give him the captaincy role.  The PCB is sitting there with a carrot and a stick all the time. They need to give time for the captain to breathe and lead for a few times. You cannot judge a player’s performance from one appearance be it as a bowler, batsman or a captain.




How the Australians get this "Never Say Die" attitude is just as inexplicable as how Pakistani players can be so unpredictable

Millions of Pakistan cricket fans were left astounded by the events that occurred on 14 May 2010. Australia snatched the World Cup T20 semi final from Pakistan’s grasp and did the impossible.

One must wonder whether Australia’s miraculous victory was a product of good luck or a certain mental resilience that has defined global cricket domination for more than a decade. To say whether sheer skill, or sheer luck plays a part in T20 is a moot point that can lead to heated arguments between fans of the format, or purists who view it plainly as entertainment. One devles into arguments of philosophy regarding how “skill” is defined, or whether the ability to slog, constantly vary line and length, and create new shots can be considered as “skill”, too.

Apparently the Pakistan Cricket Board has attempted to employ the same techniques used by the Australian board as regards psychological coaching of players in order to inculcate some form of mental strength. However the PCB has missed a trick. Why is that Pakistan is always so vulnerable against the Australians? Ever since the 1999 World Cup final, Pakistan loses to Australia consistently even from winning positons.

Most Pakistanis are satisfied with the team’s performance and are commenting that, Pakistan reached the semi finals and put up a competitive show against a good team, Australia. But, I am not as optimistic. We seem to have forgotten that Pakistan is the best T20 team in the world with great T20 players like the Akmal brothers, Razzaq, Afridi, Ajmal etc. It must not be forgotten that Pakistan lost to teams like England and New Zealand but they were able to beat South Africa. T20 is more about luck than anything else, although we can argue the skills of players like Ajmal, Razzaq and Afridi are more suited to T20. I still feel that if Pakistan was mentally strong they could have reached the final.

Pakistan was playing with so many T20 specialists. It is worrisome now to consider that teams like England and Australia have demonstrated so much improvement in this format. Pakistan is unable to compete with these teams at Test level, and will we now see a situation that Pakistan will be relegated even in T20’s? People might accuse me of being sceptical but one must not forget that Pakistan just scraped through in the semis because of good luck. In the next World Cup if we see Pakistan performing the same way then it is fair to say that Pakistan will be completely marginalised from international cricket and will be accorded the same status as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, teams the ICC does not take seriously.

England and Australia have picked up upon how T20 is played. Going back into history, T20 originated in Karachi, at the Nazimabad ground in the 1970s. It spread like wildfire across the whole of Pakistan and then other countries took notice and played the format informally. T20 suited Pakistanis because the way cricket is played on the streets in Pakistan, slogging the ball is encouraged and no one wants to see batsmen who take singles and doubles or who plan think too much about their statistics. Also, Test cricket required discipline and good facilities which you cannot find very commonly in Pakistan. So, it was natural that Pakistanis excelled at this short format.

Shahid Afridi’s captaincy has evoked mixed reactions. Some people comment that he was too defensive, some people did not understand his constant shuffling of the batting order and bowling options. Yet, what Afridi has proved is that he is able to experiment and constantly try something new. This is a good quality and it must not be undermined. With time Afridi will improve but for now the PCB must continue with him as captain. The reason why Pakistan did not perform ideally in the first few matches was because of poor fielding and batting performance of Misbah, Umer Akmal, Hafeez and Afridi himself. Whether Pakistan’s performance in this Cup was good or bad, they must continue to work on their fielding as most of their fielders are still not world class.

This Cup was yet another failure for Misbah

Misbah ul Haq went into this Cup one of Pakistan’s 2 batting order backbones. Yet, his performance was pathetic. Even before this tournament the Legslip management criticised his selection (and have been doing so for 2 years) but Misbah somehow keeps being selected repeatedly. On the other hand, Fawad Alam is still not being provided with opportunities. Hopefully this Cup is a message for the PCB never to select Misbah, Hafeez and K Latif again. How many more matches will Misbah lose for Pakistan?

In conclusion, this Cup represents Australia’s resurgence in world cricket glory. The difference between the winner and loser in that memorable semi final was one team’s complacency and mental weakness and the other’s “Never Say Die” attitide. Australia took a dip for a few years in international cricket and many people commented that without McGrath, Warne, Hayden etc the team’s status would wither, yet the Aussies have shown that there is no alternative to mental strength. There is a certain level of self-belief, a certain mettle that can cause humans to create miracles.

And we witnessed a miracle at St Lucia on 14 May 2010.

A sight all too familiar in world cricket

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