Archive for category Sports

Cricket Scandal

The cricket stars, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have been accused of match and spot fixing, causing much distress to the people of Pakistan, and to all cricket lovers worldwide. This accusation has done more than shatter people’s hopes; it has made them lose interest in cricket. I feel that for a team that was working towards its peak, it has completely demoralised those few cricketers who actually wanted to continue with a fair approach to the game.

In my opinion strict action should be taken against the guilty players including the mastermind behind the fixing- Mazhar Majeed. A sting operation was carried out by the a newspaper News of The World in the UK which quoted him as saying,

“This is exactly what’s going to happen, you’re going to see these three things happen. I’m telling you, if you play this right you’re going to make a lot of money, believe me!”

Now this being quoted in a tabloid newspaper does kindle some hatred and anger to say the least. Is this country not suffering enough? Has it not been through trauma after trauma (i.e. a plane crash, devastating flooding, rioting, use of performance enhancing drugs and most of all terrorism) that it is now being stabbed by delinquents in the want for money?

Apart from the disgrace and shame that was thrust upon the country, it also presents a very damning image of Pakistani morals. They were ambassadors of Pakistan, they were supposed to possess the qualities of dignity, prestige and honesty— but they quite venally accepted illegal sums of money and had to be release was based on regonisance. I’ve come across people saying that Mohammad Amir is a juvenile and could be easily manipulated. Now this and other explanations are just excuses and it shocks me to the core, that even after such substantial evidence (i.e. tape recordings, bespoken witnesses, videos, undercover footage as part of the sting operations) has been given, some are still finding loopholes and are quite oblivious of the consequences. This is not being the first time that such allegations have been put forward. In fact in 1994 allegations were put forward against some other cricketers that eventually led to a conviction in 1999 by Justice Mohammad Qayyum after a detailed investigation. The cricket captain at the time, Salim Malik, and fast bowler Ata-ur-Rehman were banned for life along with penalties imposed on Pakistan’s star cricketers, Waseem Akram, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Waqar Younus, Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq. Although, severe action was taken Pakistan has still not been able to rid itself of this menace. India, our neighboring country, with their at that time cricket captain, Mohammad Azharuddin and players Ajay Jadeja, Sharma and Nayan Mongia all received life bans for similar offences. Also, South African captain at that time, Hansie Cronje, was also convicted and placed under a life ban. Taking into account these examples where prompt and effective action was taken  resulting in no further convictions since, Pakistan continues dealing with incessant charges for other illicit activities such as altering the shape of the ball, the use of drugs for a better performance etc as our efforts are incomplete and ineffective.

There is a litany of scandals in Pakistan that the world media has fed on,  and now it is  time when prompt and decisive action must take place and Pakistan’s name should be cleared and put back in its place of dignity, where it rightly belongs!

Shanzeh Javed Agrawala                   X-K

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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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Premiership Predictions

Two weeks ago Omar got 3 results right and 1 perfect score.

Bolton 0-1 Liverpool WRONG (2-0)
Charlton 0-3 Arsenal RIGHT (1-2)
Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa PERFECT
Everton 1-1 Manchester City WRONG (1-1)
Sheffield United 2-2 Middlesbrough WRONG (2-1)
West Ham 1-0 Reading WRONG (0-1)
Blackburn 0-0 Wigan WRONG (2-1)
Manchester United 1-2 Newcastle WRONG (2-0)
Tottenham 2-1 Portsmouth RIGHT (3-1)
Watford 0-1 Fulham WRONG (3-3)

Here are his predictions for this weekends matches.

Saturday

(1645) Wigan 1-1 Manchester United
(1900) Arsenal 4-1 Watford
            Aston Villa 1-0 Tottenham
            Liverpool 3-1 Blackburn
            Middlesbrough 0-1 Everton
            Portsmouth 1-1 West Ham
(2115) Reading 1-2 Chelsea

Sunday

(2000) Newcastle 1-1 Bolton

Monday

(0000) Fulham 2-0 Charlton

Omar Akhtar FY-K

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ICC Champions Trophy 2006

The ICC Champions Trophy 2006 is already underway in India. The tournament is in its initial phase i.e. the qualifying round. The main Round will commence on 15 th of October. The tournament which is also called the “Mini World-Cup” will involve all the best teams in the World. Great cricket is expected from these countries in the coming days. The following article gives an overview of the participating teams, their chances in the tournament and the players in each side that can make a difference.

Pakistan

With a fine blend of youth and experience, Pakistan look a formidable side for this year’s tournament. The absence of the skipper, Inzamam-ul-Haq, will definitely dampen Pakistan’s chances of winning the trophy for the first time. Even then, Pakistan are a dangerous side with depth in the batting and a fiery bowling attack. The likes of Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi, batting down the order at number 7 and 8, can demolish bowling attacks in a matter of a few overs. The bowling is spear-headed by the fastest bowler in the world, Shoaib Akhtar. With him is Pakistan cricket’s newest star, Muhammad Asif. This duo of pace and discipline is good enough to trouble any batting line-up in the world.
Players to watch: Shoaib Akhtar, Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Yousuf

Note:Shoaib and Asif tested positive for a banned anabolic steroid-nandrolone and were subsequently sent back to Pakistan where they face a tribunal and if found guilty could face a ban of up to 2 years. Pakistan however with a depleted bowling attack went on to beat Sri Lanka in their opening match.

Australia

The world-champions Australia go into the Champions Trophy as the hot-favourites. Surprisingly enough, the Aussies have never won this tournament previously. The 3-time world-cup winners will be determined to set the record straight, by winning the trophy this time. Their team like always is very strong, with a few new faces. There is a rock solid batting line-up which can easily take the game to the opposition by using its attacking prowess. If there is a weakness in the team it is in their bowling purely because of lack of big names apart from Brett Lee and Glen McGrath.
Players to watch: Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey

India

Having the advantage of playing at home, India are definitely one of the top contenders to lift this year’s Champions Trophy. India, as per tradition, have a batting line-up that is second to none. The bowlers of other teams will have their work cut-out against the Indians especially on the flat tracks. In the bowling department, India will rely heavily on spin. India have not had a great run of form of late but writing them off would be a big mistake.
Players to Watch: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, M.S.Dhoni

South Africa

Team South-Africa, ranked second in the ODI-ratings, will be a strong force to reckon with in this edition of the Champions Trophy. Having beaten Australia at home after a thrilling one-day series, the South Africans have proved that on their day, they can beat any side in the world. South Africa will field a well-balanced side with all-round capability in both bowling and batting. Flamboyant stroke-players like Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher can always be a handful on Indian wickets. In the bowling area, the pace of Makhaya Ntini and the precision of Shaun Pollock can cause trouble to many a batsman. Personally, they are my favourites to win the trophy.
Players to watch: Herscelle Gibbs, Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis

New ZealandThe winners in 2000, New Zealand will go into the tournament as underdogs. The Kiwis have not had a lot of cricket in the last season. Furthermore, the fact that they don’t have an impressive record in India will seriously undermine their chances to win the Champion’s trophy 2006. However, the gutsy Kiwi team with their never-say-die approach can always pull off surprises. Led ably by the ever-reliable Stephen Flemming, they have a good chance of making it to the semi-finals at least.
Players to Watch: Stephen Flemming, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Vettori

Sri Lanka

The fans’ favourites, Sri Lanka are another strong team. The conditions suit perfectly to their type of play. Spin bowling will, like always, be their ‘weapon of mass destruction’. Their team is full of potential match-winners including the explosive Sanath Jayasuria who can tear bowling line-ups apart and Muttiah Muralitharan, the greatest off-spinner ever. They are captained by Mahela Jayawardane who is gaining a lot of respect as a leader especially after white-washing England in England.
Players to Watch: Sanath Jayasuria, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakara

England

Currently 8th in the ICC ODI-ratings, England have had abysmal one-day form recently. They have won just two of the last 12 one-day internationals. England have been hurt badly by injuries after their heroic Ashes triumph. Their skipper Michael Vaughaun has been out for more than a year now. The side has a lot of inexperience especially after opener Marcus Trescothick pulled out of the tournament for personal reasons. It will be a great surprise if last time runner-ups make it to the semi-finals even.
Players to watch: Andrew Strauss, Steve Harmison

West Indies

The West Indies come into the tournament as defending champions but have an uphill task ahead of them. They will take confidence from the fact that they beat Australia and India in the tri-series at Malaysia and made it to the Final. The team heavily relies on skipper Brian Lara. The batting is pretty strong but they have a modest bowling attack which may prove costly in the long-run.
Players to watch: Brian Lara, Chris Gayle

Ashmal Khan FY-S

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The Final Word with Mr. Sohail

The World Affairs Society recently interviewed our very own Mr. Sohail on his beloved Manchester United Football Club.

Why Man Utd?

(after “umming” for a minute) Well, it happened about 20 to 30 years ago actually. PTV used to only show the FA Cup semis and final live, not the rest of the leagues. It was the FA Cup final between Arsenal and ManU which Arsenal won 3-2 that did it. Arsenal were 2-0 up but ManU fought back to 2-2 but eventually lost 3-2. I see that match as my initial inspiration towards supporting ManU- the way they fought back. The second inspiration to me is the aura Manchester United have about themselves- there really is no description in words for that sought of emotion. No other club is like it. What I also like about this football club is the emphasis they put on their academy. For example, Arsenal FC is also a brilliant team and I really enjoy the way they play, and they could be regarded as one of the best clubs in the world; but there is nothing there go inspire the fans, and nothing English or British about Arsenal. ManU also did have foreigners such as Cantona, but the emphasis was always on the academy with the likes of Beckham, Giggs, Scholes and the Nevilles to name a few coming through. The 1999 treble winning team really played as a team and had no hereos as such, except for Giggs perhaps, but otherwise they always gelled together which is another important feature of ManU. What has also made ManU what they are today is that they have stuck with the same manager(Alex Ferguson) for the last 20 years. Even years earlier they had the great Matt Busby, who lead them to their first European Cup triumph in 1968, for decades.

What would your all time favourite Man Utd moment be?

Thats an easier one… Champions League Final 1999′ Bayern Munich 1-2 Manchester United. That was an unbelievable moment as they scored 2 goals in the last 2 minutes. No words can describe that. The Giggs goal in the FA Cup semis against Arsenal (also in ’99) was  pretty special.

What do you think of the teams’ start to this season?

Well, I would say that it’s arguably their best start to a premiership campaign to be honest. I feel they have a good chance to win the Premier League this year.

Were you satisfied with the transactions made during the transfer window?

I did expect Owen Hargreaves to come and was disappointed that he didn’t. But at the same time, I’m satisfied with Carrick. I would like Roy Keane’s place taken in the team soon as you need at least one holding midfielder in the centre of the park. I prefer Hargreaves over Mascherano and Senna because of him being British, they seem to have more fighting qualities than the other nations.

What is your favourite strike partnership for the club at present?

Rooney and Saha. They are the best under the circumstances and compliment each other. They create the goals they score and are not poachers like Van Nistelrooy. I am also a big fan of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, but in a deeper role in midfield as I feel that he would gel well with Scholes.

There’s talk of the mercurial Fernando Torres joining the club next summer. Would you like to see that happen?

No not really. I dont think he’s that great a player. Like i said before, I would prefer some one British for example Aaron Lennon or Stewart Downing to come in.

Who is your favourite Manchester United playr of all time?

They tend to change over generations. Not one single player though. Earlier on however it used to be Bryan Robson. Now its Scholes and Giggs who I think have the biggest impact on the team. Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel were also very influential, Eric perhaps having the greatest impact at the club. But honestly I would prefer a great team and not just great individuals.

And finally Sir, what are your end of season predictions for Man Utd?

I feel that they will end up with 2 major trophies at least though I don’t think they have the depth to make a Champions League run this year. I hope they end up with the Premiershiip and FA Cup come May but it will be 2 trophies.

Asher Gilani FY-S
Rustom ZBirdie FY-K

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The Passion for Sports is there, All we need are the Facilities

The only sport in which Pakistan seems to excel internationally is cricket. Gone is the time when Pakistan were world champions in hockey; they came sixth in the Hockey World Cup 2006. What is the reason for that? More and more people embrace cricket as it can be played almost anywhere. How many fields do we have in which people can freely go and play hockey?

The worrying issue is that the government is paying absolutely no attention to the many complaints that have already reached Dawn and Daily Times. Why then do we still declare Hockey as the national sport of Pakistan when nobody is willing to devote himself or herself to it? Even cricket has been undergoing a slight but steady decline. Whilst people play cricket very often, ninety nine out of hundred times one will see them playing with a “tape ball” (this needs no explanation) on the streets. Playing cricket with a tennis ball is very different from cork ball cricket, which is played internationally(not to mention at high grades of club cricket as well as first class cricket). Playing cork ball cricket requires a field and, of course, we have very few people who can afford daily or even weekly practice in such fields to attain mastery in the sport.

 

Let us move to the growing sport of football. Sure, a lot of us can access the Khayaban-e-Rahat ground ground very frequently and enjoy the sport more than cricket. But what of the rest (and I dare say majority) of us? There are only three local football grounds in Karachi: The Rahat Stadium, the Aga Khan Football Ground and the KMC Football Ground. All of these three grounds are quite expensive to book. Besides this, due to the lack of fields these grounds are almost always booked and thus not only is it tedious to arrange a football match, but the grass is worn out due to over-usage.

 

Athletics is another area where Pakistan may prove to be very good at but seeing that there is only the National Coaching centre available to the entire population of Karachi, the chances of Pakistan excelling are very dim. Even swimming is difficult to access. Public swimming pools are so dirty that many are afraid to use them in fear of a skin infection, if not anything worse.

 

Undoubtedly private clubs such as the Karachi Club or Karachi Gymkhana have excellent sporting facilities. Yet the question is: How many of us have access to them? Membership costs can go up to an incredulous one million Pakistani Rupees(not to mention monthly fees etc) and due to Pakistan being a developing country a small minority can afford it.

 

The Government must do something about this increasing problem as the population grows each day. Sporting facilities can not only serve as a source of revenue to the government but can also produce sportsmen who can raise Pakistan’s stature in the world of sport as well as providing local people a better, healthier society to live in. If the government does not make such facilities available to all, then many potential world champions will die as commoners which will be a great loss for everyone. 

 

Hasan Abbas FY-M

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