Turbulent Times for our Nation’s Cricket Team

The Pakistani cricket has been reeling under the continued onslaught of vindictive umpires, in-house intrigues and players’ indiscipline. On the 20th of August at The Oval on the fourth day of the final Test match, umpire Darrell Hair awarded 5 runs and a change of ball to the England side as a penalty for ball-tampering by the Pakistanis. There was no evidence of any tampering, but crucially the Pakistani side continued to play the remaining 15 overs till the tea break. During the tea break, captain Inzamam who leaves his brains at home when out touring it seems – suddenly made the whole issue into a matter of prestige and refused to go back to play. He was asked twice by the umpires whether he was coming out or not but on both occassions he asked to see the ball which the umpires are not obliged to do so. Finally the team was led out onto the field by Inzi but by then the umpires had whipped the bails off and awarded the match to England-the first time in the 130-year history of the game that a match had been forfeited by any side. So we will go “down” in history once more. 

Inzi was subsequently cleared of the ball-tampering charge but found guilty of the charge of bringing the game of cricket into disrepute, and banned for 4 one-day matches. For these matches the vice-captain Younis Khan was nominated captain. But on  October 5 he impetuously announced in a press conference that he would not be a “dummy” captain and said he would not lead Pakistan in the Champions Trophy 2006 for which the team was to leave two days later. Apparently this happened because he was asked to wait 5 minutes when he came unannounced a little while earlier to see the Chairman! These hot-headed Pathans also leave their brains at home – in the tandoor I think.

The Chairman Shaharyar Khan totally frustrated by this avalanche of players’ misbehaviour announced his resignation on 6 October. The same day Dr Nasim Ashraf was named Chairman and Younis Khan reinstated as captain. Dr Ashraf was a US-based physician who ran an NGO in the Washington DC area when he was asked by Musharraf – reportedly on the recommendation of Maliha Lodhi, HC to the UK and who had known him when she was ambassador to the USA- to set up a National Commission for Child and Human Development in Pakistan, and is now an advisor to the President with the status of a Minister of State . Doctor Sahib belongs to Mardan (another Pathan but perhaps mellowed by his years in the USA) and in 1969 played a few first-class matches. So he is no stranger to cricket. He was also a member for the past two years of the adhoc committee managing the affairs of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

On October 16 Pakistan cricket was rocked by another bombshell when its two leading fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Asif tested positive for using a banned performance-enhancing drug and were hurriedly called back from India just a day before Pakistan’s first match against Sri Lanka. Pakistan won the match – without Inzi, Shoaib and Asif. These players are getting too big for their boots, and they should be punished and sidelined so that they realise they are not indispensable, and that matches can be won without them as well.

Fahad Punjwani FY

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  1. #1 by Asher Gilani on October 24, 2006 - 5:46 pm

    I think that inzi did what he had to do to protect his team from a pretty severe accusation. Asif and Shoaib I feel made an error of judgement when they took the steroids(that is if they did it deliberately). It was clearly to help them recover from their injuries. Hence you can’t say that they are getting to ‘big for their boots’ which might have been the case had they taken recreational drugs. Also Younis Khan’s refusal to be a dummy captain had to do mainly with the fact that he wasn’t allowed to take part in selection meetings. Also it was said by selectors chairman Talat Ali that should Pakistan reach the final Inzi would be flown over though that technically isn’t allowed by the ICC. This clearly hurt Younis Khan’s dignity and pride as well as having downgraded him.

  2. #2 by Abdul Basit on October 24, 2006 - 6:30 pm

    Fahad you seem to be over-reacting to everything thats going around with the Pakistani team. Lets go in order –
    1) Inzi’s act to not let the team to get into the field and play was the most perfect one, as we had been attributed as cheaters by Umpire Hair, and believe me or not, on an interview on Star Sports 2, inzi himself told Wasim Akram that he didnt even know that they had been regarded as cheaters when they had resumed play for a short-while after being accused. So as soon as he got to know about it in the dressing room, he didnt allow the team to play.

    2)I agree with Asher about the Younis’s crap, but I think that he wasnt waiting for a mere 5 minutes, it was prolly half an hour, but i am not sure about it.

    3) About the Shoaib and Asif thingie, I seriously think that if PCB wouldnt have taken action by itself, then ICC would have come into action and banned our fast pacers for more than 2 years, then all your worldcup dreams would have been completely trashed. We atleast have some hope of them coming back into the team, what would have happened had ICC interfered into the matter.

    Well thats all what I think, with a little positive point of view to the whole matter. Its like a series of unfortunate, unpredictable events striking Pakistan suddenly.

    Warm Regards,
    Abdul Basit

  3. #3 by Uzair M Younus on October 25, 2006 - 5:34 am

    Well Fahad I think that Inzi was absolutely right to stand up and make it known that he would not take any of the ‘cheating’ labels that umpire Hair was putting on the Pakistani team. In fact, the outcome of the ICC hearing showed that Inzi was completely right, and while he was banned for bringing the game into disrepute, the ban was the minimum, which again shows the fact that the ban was placed because thats what the rules say.
    Secondly, I found Younis Khan’s action to be as amazing as Inzi’s. The fact is that for years the PCB and its management structure has bullied players around and shown favoritism to those who have accepted what the top management says. This has led to many talented cricketers suffering, and if you take a look, Waqar Younus was the one who sufferred alot because of this. In Younis Khan I saw a person standing up for his rights, and coming out as the victor. In fact, cricket was the victor as we saw the top management of the PCB going out after this debacle.
    While these events have been unfortunate, they have been motivating for the team as well. The Pak Cricket Team is more united than ever, and lets hope that they beat New Zealand in a few hours’ time!!!

  4. #4 by Fahad Punjwani on October 26, 2006 - 10:35 pm

    It was just my point of view. Inzi might have made the right move by chosing not to play but didnt he just take too much time to decide wheather his team should continue playing or not?
    And when it comes it matters so important ego should be ignored! Younis Khan didnt want to lead the team in just a few match (be a temporary captain) but wanted to lead the team as a permanent captain. In a crucial time when the whole board of directors was changing and the team had to get ready for the ICC Trophy, he was given the honour of being asked first to lead his team but he intially refused!! A player like Younis Kahn is expected to put his responsibility infornt of his so-called “ego and diginity.”
    Shoaib Akhter has always been my favourite. But I will still strongly keep to my opinion of punishing him for what he did. The world is already waiting for our Pakistani team to do something foolish so that it can be pinpointed. Our players should realise the pressure our team is in and should restrain from doing anything that could be held against them. In these circumstances our players used steroids, and that also in INDIA!?!!?!!!
    Then again, this is just my point of view dood 🙂

  5. #5 by Asher Gilani on October 27, 2006 - 10:07 am

    Shoaib didn’t take the steroids in India. The tests were taken by the PCB before the tournament started some 4 weeks ago.

  6. #6 by Uzair M Younus on October 28, 2006 - 1:06 pm

    And reports have come out that Younis was ready to take the captaincy up until Inzi came back. But put yourself in a situation where your captain is banned, and you are in line to be captain and no proper press conference is held to announce your appointment as captain. would you like this sort of thing from the PCB? I would not like it one bit, because when I am being made captain, I expect some respect and dignity in return, which Younis never got.
    And well, Pakistan lost yesterday, so we now look forward to the West Indies tour of Pakistan. Lets hope that things settle down now.

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