Posts Tagged terrorist attacks
Cricket fans received some positive news yesterday, that the England players decided to resume their tour of India. For those who need reminding, the tour was temporarily called off in the wake of the terrorist attack in Mumbai. What’s more, Flintoff, a key England player, also returned to India. There were some initial doubts regarding whether Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison would be returning because of the terrorist threat, but almost everyone is applauding the England team for making the right decision. This can only be good for world cricket.
An interesting series looms ahead. India most certainly starts as favourites, due to its in-form opening pair of Sehwag and Gambhir (both average 62 and 64 respectively, this year) and in form strike bolwers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. With Harbhajan Singh leading the spin attack, India also appears convincing from the spin front. Hence, England will have to play out of their skins to match India in this series. When England plays as a unit, it can pose problems for the opposition and it has players like Pieterson and Flintoff who are proven match winners. Yet, the England side misses that spark that results in competitive psyche and consistent positive results. England’s openers lack consistency, its pacers are too prone to injury and it does not have a quality spinner who can turn things around on spin-friendly pitches. If that is not enough, most England players are replaced very quickly as soon as some decline in performance is noticed. Some would say Pakistan and Indian cricket administrators should adopt this line of strategy as well with a few players, but the answer is to find the right balance.
The recently concluded ODI series between India
and England showcased just what is so brilliant with India and what is so lacking with England. India dominated England completely and seemed like it was thrashing a minnow team. Three out of the top 5 batsmen were Indians, and 4 out of the top 5 bolwers were Indians, too. India were revitalised with the return of Yuvraj Singh, who tore the England bowlers apart, smashing 325 runs at an average of 108. On his day Yuvraj seems as dominating and as majestic as any Tendulkar or Lara. He has been an enigma for Indian cricket, monstrously talented, yet has been unable to make a name for himself in Test cricket. Ganguly’s exit gives Yuvraj the chance of a permanent place in the Test side, and he must capitalise it because he certainly has the talent to become a consistent match winner for India.
India should win this series without many problems, but must be aware of the
ability of a few England players to surprise. Pieterson and Flintoff seem the obvious threats, but Owais Shah’s ODI performance and county cricket reputation means India should not take him lightly. Similarly, Harmison and Anderson, although suffering from inconsistent form of late, can be destructive on their day. Nevertheless, Dhoni has transformed India into a winning unit and India currently ranks no 3 in ODI and Test cricket, only marginally behind South Africa, the 2nd placed team.
To conclude, it was great news for cricket fans that the tour is being resumed and a full strength England side is playing. Cricket is ultimately the solution, regardless of all politics and terrorism. England have taken a positive step and Pakistani cricket fans will hope India makes the same sane and encouraging decision to tour Pakistan for the January series. Hopefully we see some calm, some peace and some excitement now from this series. The terrorists who wanted to destablise proceedings have suffered a huge setback because fans are looking forward to cricket, and if and when India tours Pakistan, the terrorists will receive a further blow. We can’t fight them with bombs and bullets, but we can thwart their intentions by thinking logically, reasonably and by encouraging peace and stability.
Finally the PCB Chaudharys have decided to go to Dubai. They raised the decades old slogan “Dubai Chalo” after being bullied by the ICC and the SNPC’s (super nations playing cricket ).
In the past too they had to move the games to neutral venues to accommodate Australians and played against them in Sharjah. But, since then they have more options and Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium has already hosted a few ODI’s but, the state of the art Dubai Sports City has built a 25,000 seating capacity most modern cricket stadium in the world. They can play night cricket in Dubai.
I am not sure how many of you remember my comments on Pakspin when Kamran wrote that thread “ICL – IPL What the Hell?” I wrote that very soon you will be seeing “Arabian Nights Cricket in the UAE.” The Dubai government has now announced that the Sports City will be ready in early 2009 and already hosting an international hockey tournament. But, the most important news is about the PCB signing a three 3 year agreement with Dubai to host their ODI and twenty20 Internationals.
Here is the latest news right from the horses mouth. It has not even appeared on cricinfo yet.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has signed a three-year agreement to play its home one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches at the new Dubai Sports City.
The move comes with teams remaining reluctant to tour Pakistan because of concerns over terrorist attacks.
Pakistan, who have not played any Tests or ODIs against major teams this year have also invited West Indies to play two Test matches in Abu Dhabi.
The Emirate will also host three ODIs against the Windies in November.
Only minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have played in Pakistan in 2008, while their last home Test series was against South Africa in October 2007.
The PCB has lost millions of dollars in revenue from the cancellation of matches and believe it is vital for cricket’s financial well-being to make use of the facilities in the Emirates.
Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer of the PCB, said the new £4.8m deal with Dubai Sports City “gives us the option of playing international cricket and also improves our financial health.”
The new 25,000 stadium in Dubai will initially host a series involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh next April and a series of Twenty20 matches against various teams.
The deal comes after failed attempts by Pakistan to convince teams to tour the country after a spate of bombings in recent months.
Pakistan had sought new opponents after the postponement of a Test tour by Australia and the ICC Champions Trophy, both because of security concerns, but had no takers.
Reuters news agency quoted “informed sources” who suggested the PCB will be paid £800,000 for each event in Dubai, as well as a £53,000 appearance fee to each player for every tournament played. ” Unquote.
Has the PCB done any good for the future of Pakistan cricket or not is a question that we all need to discuss here. So, please go ahead and write your comments.