ISLAMABAD: A group of Pakistani Olympic hockey greats protested in front of parliament in a desperate bid to revive the former world-beating country´s struggling fortunes.
About a dozen former players demonstrated in Islamabad Thursday in the hope that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will step in and help reverse the team´s decline. Pakistan are three-time Olympic champions and four-time winners of the World Cup, an event they introduced in 1971. They failed even to qualify for next year´s edition.
"We thought of staging a protest at the parliament because this is the place where our voices can reach the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif," said Shahnaz Shaikh, a member of Pakistan´s 1978 World Cup winning team.
"We will protest again early next month at the parliament and continue until the prime minister addresses the situation," he added.
Pakistan, winners in 1960, 1968 and 1984, finished seventh at last year´s London Olympics, and they were 12th and last at the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi.
The future also looks bleak as Pakistan finished ninth in the Junior World Cup in India last week.
"The federation officials are politicised... hockey should be free from politics," said Sami.
"It is high time that we save our national game and we request the prime minister to take stringent measures to restore the pride in the game," said Sami. AFP Courtesy www.geo.tv
ICC to include Waqar Younis in its 'hall of fame'
DUBAI : The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the inclusion of Waqar Younis in its ‘hall of fame’, Geo News reported.
According to reports, Waqar Younis will be included into the ‘hall of fame’ on Wednesday when Pakistan will its first T20 match against Sri Lanka.
Younis will become the fifth Pakistani cricketer to be included in the ICC ‘hall of fame’ which includes Imran Khan, Jawaid Miandad, Hanif Muhammed, and Wasim Akram. Courtesy www.geo.tv
Misbah denies revolt in Pakistan team
KARACHI: Under-fire Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq has denied suggestions of a revolt against his leadership after his teams poor performance against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates.
Misbahs position as one-day captain was seen as under threat after Pakistan suffered a 4-1 ODI defeat in the UAE, but he will retain the position for a short limited-overs series in South Africa.
In a rare television interview in which the countrys cricket board chief also grilled him, Misbah denied that his team lost because some players were at odds with his captaincy.
"I dont believe in that. If I have done bad against anyone, then I can expect (dissent), but if I am honest with them and help them then I dont think such a thing will happen," he said on a Geo television programme.
Najam Sethi, appointed in June as interim chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board in June, clarified that he was asking questions as a TV anchor and not in his capacity as chairman. His role as a television moderator has been widely criticised as a conflict of interest by Pakistani media.
Misbah defended his captaincy style which has been widely criticised as too defensive."Every player has his own style. Inzamam-ul Haqs general posture was never aggressive, he never looked aggressive but that doesnt mean he never hit sixes, he was an aggressive batsman. Dont I hit sixes, dont I use aggressive fields?" he questioned.
Misbah, whose 1,119 runs makes him the highest scorer in one-day cricket this year, refused to accept criticism of the pace at which he scores his runs.
"My strike rate is okay. I have scored most runs this year but they still criticise my style and my strike rate," he said.
Misbah will join the team in South Africa on Monday.Pakistan play two Twenty20 on November 20 and 22 and three one-dayers on November 24, 27 and 30. (AFP)
Record-setting Shehzad leads Pakistan to victory
HARARE: Ahmed Shehzad hit the highest international Twenty20 score by a Pakistani to lead his country to a second win in two days over Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
Shehzad smashed 98 to follow on from his 70 on Friday which had set Pakistan up for a 25-run victory in the first game of the tour.
On Saturday, he followed that up with 98 not out as the tourists clinched a 19-run win and 2-0 series sweep.
The right-hander struck six sixes en route to the highest score by a Pakistani batsman in the Twenty20 format, but missed an opportunity to reach three figures when he could only manage a single from the final ball of the innings.
After Pakistan finished on 179 for one, with skipper Mohammad Hafeez unbeaten on 54 from 40 balls, Zimbabwe mustered 160 for six in reply.
Although Pakistan made a circumspect start after being put in to bat, scoring 37 for one in the opening six overs as Nasir Jamshed was dismissed for 23, Shehzad opened up beautifully from the ninth over and regularly found the boundary.
At the other end Hafeez rotated the strike effectively as the pair built an unbroken 143-run stand, and then went to his half-century with a huge six over midwicket off Shingirai Masakadza.
In reply, Zimbabwe raced to 44 without loss in the first five overs, but the introduction of the spinners saw the home side strangled as the next five overs yielded just 21 runs for the loss of Vusi Sibanda and captain Brendan Taylor.
Both batsmen fell to Hafeez, who then had Hamilton Masakadza caught in the deep for 41 to finish with figures of 3 for 30.
Once Zulfiqar Babar had removed both Sean Williams and Timycen Maruma in the following over, Zimbabwe's chase was dead in the water as they were left needing 71 from the final five overs.
Elton Chigumbura and Malcolm Waller hit three sixes to narrow the margin of defeat, but as in the first match, Zimbabwe were unable to threaten the Pakistani total.
The two sides begin a three-match one-day series at the same venue on Tuesday. (AFP)
Misbah leads from front to give Pakistan ODI series win
ST. LUCIA: Pakistan scrambled a four-wicket victory off the penultimate ball in the fifth and final one-day international against the West Indies at the Beausejour Stadium on Wednesday. Replying to the hosts’ total of 242 for seven, skipper Misbahul Haq’s innings of 63 again piloted the visitors to their target although they made heavy weather of it at the end, Kieron Pollard missing the stumps at the non-striker’s end and Saeed Ajmal dashing home for the winning run to the relief of his teammates.
Pakistan take the five-match series 3-1 with one tied and now both teams shift focus to the two Twenty20 internationals to be played on Saturday and Sunday in St Vincent Misbah, who was dismissed at the start of the final over with the scores level, took both the man of the match and the man of the series awards. Not for the first time over the five matches, the fate of the match hinged on his contribution with the bat.
But from the West Indies standpoint, they were left to lament a controversial moment when they were convinced that the Pakistani captain was caught off the glove by stand-in wicketkeeper Lendl Simmons off a fiery Tino Best. On 49 at the time, and with the score standing at 190 for four in the 43rd over, his dismissal then with 53 runs still needed could have been pivotal. West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo challenged umpire Paul Reiffel’s not out decision but the Decision Review System (DRS) upheld the on-field verdict, much to the dismay of the Caribbean players on the field. “A key decision went against us and that was the turning point in the game,” said Bravo at the end of the match in a less-than-veiled reference to the Misbah incident. “I don’t think 3-1 for Pakistan was a fair reflection of the balance of power in the series.”
Ahmed Shehzad contributed a top score of 64 at the top of the order, but after being becalmed in the middle of the innings by some determined bowling from the West Indies, Misbah found an able ally in Umar Akmal, the same pair who had taken Pakistan to victory in the rain-shortened fourth match three days earlier. They put on 66 for the fifth wicket and tilted the balance of the match decisively Pakistan’s way only for Akmal to fall to a persevering Best for 37 just as an unexpected light shower swept across the ground. A washout at that stage with the score at 226 for five off 47.4 overs would have given the tourists victory anyway for they were ahead on the Duckworth/Lewis method.
However, the skies cleared and when they resumed after 20 minutes, Pakistan just managed to get across the line despite Misbah’s dismissal, the key blow being delivered by Shahid Afridi when he hoisted Bravo over square-leg for six in the penultimate over. “We really wanted this victory to finish the series off strong after all the disappointments earlier this year,” reflected a delighted Misbah. “This was just my turn to have a really good time with the bat but it was the bowlers who kept us in these matches throughout. That really is our strength.” The loss was especially hard on Bravo who had belted 48 off just 27 balls to give his team’s innings a late surge with 62 runs coming off the final five overs. His effort, together with a quickfire 29 from Darren Sammy, was essential to get a competitive total on the board despite earlier contributions from middle-order batsman Marlon Samuels (45) and opener Johnson Charles (43). Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan shared five wickets in underlining their excellent performances during the series. afp
Pakistan beat West Indies by 126 runs in first ODI
GEORGETOWN: All-rounder Shahid Afridi returned to international cricket with a blistering half century and a career-best 7-12 as Pakistan recorded a thumping 126-run victory over West Indies in the first one-day international on Sunday.
Afridi, recalled after missing last month's Champions Trophy due to poor form, scored 76 off 55 balls to pilot Pakistan to 224-9. Afridi then skittled West Indies out for 98 in 41 overs to record the second-best ever bowling figures in one-day internationals after Sri Lanka's Chamina Vaas' 8-19 against Zimbabwe in 2001.
It was also West Indies lowest ever ODI total against Pakistan.
West Indies had Pakistan on the mat at 47-5 before Afridi and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (52) featured in a 120-run stand against some inconsistent bowling which saw the home team bowling 23 wide balls.
The second one-day international of the five-match will be played at the same venue Tuesday.
``It was the most difficult pitch on which I have ever played,'' Misbah said. ``The ball was seaming and stopping, but it was Afridi's day, the way he batted and bowled.''
West Indies never looked to threaten Pakistan's total from the onset once 7-foot-1-inch fast bowler Mohammad Irfan clean bowled Johnson Charles with a low full toss and had Darren Bravo caught behind down the legside.
Chris Gayle, who wanted to make his 250th ODI appearance a memorable one, was run out in a mix-up with Marlon Samuels for just one run as West Indies slumped to 7-3 in five overs.
Lendl Simmons and Samuels batted at a snail's pace before Afridi started the slide in the 23rd over.
Afridi had Simmons stumped and trapped captain Dwayne Bravo leg before wicket off the next delivery. He went on to claim the wickets of Kieron Pollard, Samuels and Kemar Roach in his opening spell of eight overs before he returned to finish off the innings by claiming the last two wickets of Sunil Narine and Holder.
``I just try to keep it simple, sometimes I get good turn off the pitch and if I don't get turn I try to bowl straight ones for leg before wicket decisions,'' Afridi said.
Afridi also reached 350 wickets in ODIs to become the third Pakistan to achieve the feat after Wasim Akram (502) and Waqar Younis (416).
Earlier, Afridi dominated Pakistan's record-breaking sixth wicket stand against West Indies of 120 runs off 113 balls with Misbah holding the innings together with a sedate 52 off 121 balls.
Afridi holed out in the deep in the 39th over which helped West Indies to hit back but its bowlers were guilty of giving away too many extras which swelled Pakistan's total.
Holder broke through early after Dwayne Bravo won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat at Providence Stadium _ hosting its first international match after two years.
Ahmed Shehzad (5) and Mohammad Hafeez (1) were clean bowled while attempting to leave Holder's incoming deliveries but Nasir Jamshed (6) was unlucky to be adjudged leg before wicket by umpire Joel Wilson as the television replays suggested the ball was missing the off stump.
Asad Shafiq was brilliantly caught behind by makeshift wicketkeeper Johnson Charles after West Indies opted to leave out regular `keeper Dinesh Ramdin for at least first two games of the five-match series.
Pakistan stuttered at 23-4 and it could have been 24-5, but umpire Wilson again erred when he could not hear a clear edge off Umar Akmal's bat that would have earned Holder his fifth wicket.
However, West Indies did not have to wait long as Akmal got a leading edge off Roach and was caught by Dwayne Bravo at mid-on after struggling to score 19 runs.
Afridi then revived Pakistan's innings with Misbah, who gave the flamboyant all-rounder most of the strike.
The introduction of spinners Narine and Samuels eased the pressure on the batsmen as both spinners bowled a dozen wide balls among them and gave away 56 runs between them off six overs.
Afridi raised the 100-run stand with a flat six off Samuels over long on before he holed out off a slower delivery from Pollard.
Misbah raised his half century off 119 balls with only one boundary but added some valuable runs with Pakistan's tailenders to take the team's beyond the 200-run mark.
The Pakistan captain was caught behind in the 48th over when he got a thick edge off Bravo, who also conceded 14 runs in his last over with No. 10 Asad Ali hitting a big six over mid-wicket.
Najam Sethi takes charge of PCB
LAHORE: Newly appointed acting Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Najam Sethi has taken charge of his office at the PCB headquarters.
He was given briefing on different issues by the selectors and is likely to announce squad for West Indies tour.
Sources said that Shoib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Imran Farhat would be dropped from the team while Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Haris Shoail, Adnan Akmal and Muhammad Rizwan area expected to be included in the squad.
Sethi was appointed acting PCB chief on Sunday after the prime minister gave approval in this regard.
Misbah slams Pakistan batsmen after latest defeat
BIRMINGHAM: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq turned on his "totally lost" top order after another poor display with the bat left his side struggling to qualify for the Champions Trophy semi-finals.
Pursuing, in Misbah's words, "a gettable" target of 235 against South Africa, Pakistan collapsed to 167 all out during a 67-run defeat by the Proteas in a day/night clash at Edgbaston on Monday.
This followed their slump to 170 all out in an opening two-wicket Group B loss to the West Indies at The Oval last week.
Now even victory over arch-rivals India at Edgbaston on Saturday may not be enough to take Pakistan through to the last four.
The 39-year-old Misbah made a career-best 96 not out against the West Indies and was again Pakistan's top-scorer on Monday with 55.
Nasir Jamshed followed up his 50 at The Oval with 42 at Edgbaston but Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik again all fell for single figure scores.
And bringing in Umar Amin for Asad Shafiq, out for nought against the West Indies, made little difference with the newcomer only managing 16 on Monday.
Misbah was jeered by an overwhelmingly pro-Pakistan 25,000 capacity crowd at the post-match presentation ceremony, not that he had any complaints about his reception.
"One day it is 'Pakistan Zindabad' (long live Pakistan), the next day it is boos," Misbah told reporters.
"When you produce these sort of performances, they (the fans) have the right to say this. The players need to take responsibility.
"If you are not delivering as a player, the team will suffer. At the moment, no-one is justifying their place in the team. No-one is getting runs.
"You think about selection after the tournament. We thought these were the best six batsmen in Pakistan when we came here.
"Again, it is about application and batsmen applying themselves. All the responsibility lies with the players.
"It's really difficult when your batting is performing like that. It's really disappointing."
What made Misbah really upset on Monday was that the condition of a dry pitch, far from being typically English, was akin to those his side played on at home.
"Even in mid-innings, it was less than six-an-over and it was very much like a Pakistan pitch," he said.
"We've played time and time again on these sort of pitches. You can't say the wicket was difficult."
The one consolation so far this tournament for Pakistan has been their performances in the field, with aggressive bowling backed up by keen fielding.
Pakistan's attack nearly bowled the team to an unlikely victory over the West Indies and they again did well to hold South Africa to 234 for nine when the Proteas, who had four batsmen run out, were eyeing a much larger total.
"I think the positive is our bowling. They really, really are bowling very well," said Misbah. "Our fielding is really improving. That is the biggest positive.
"But as a batting unit, I think you can say it's totally lost," he added.
Misbah picks positives from narrow loss, praises bowlers
LONDON: His team is facing a do-or-die battle against South Africa after losing its Champions Trophy opener, but Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq remains unruffled, choosing to highlight the fine performance of his bowlers in the narrow loss. Pakistan lost their opening group B match against the West Indies here Friday. Misbah, scored 96 not out after coming in at No. 5 against West Indies, who almost made a hash of a 171-target and won with just two wickets to spare.
“I think the biggest positive from this game was our bowling. All the seamers bowled really well and bowled their heart out and took wickets. And at one time we were really in the hunt, so it’s really a big positive, and it just creates pressure on the opposition,” Misbah said after the match. “They bowled really well against South Africa (in the practice game) and even today. So I think it gives confidence to the team and also to the batsmen that if they can go and just give them a good total, our bowling attack can win the matches for us,” he added.
Monday’s match against South Africa will be a shootout of sorts. In Cardiff on Thursday, South Africa lost their tournament-opener against India by 26 runs and now faces the challenge of playing Pakistan without two of their main strike bowlers. Dale Steyn is still doubtful and Morne Morkel is back in South Africa after suffering a groin injury in the India match. The close defeat against West Indies has upset Pakistan fans here. In Birmingham, Pakistan are expected to enjoy more ‘home’ support and Misbah wants them to keep faith in his team. “I think it’s almost now a good state for us to just go there and try to win every game, and it is possible. Pakistan did it many times before. So just be positive as supporters of the Pakistan team. Go there and try to play positive cricket and try to win every game,” Misbah said.
It is unlikely that Misbah will bat higher up in the order against South Africa. He urged his top order to bat with more responsibility and play out the entire 50 overs. Against the Caribbean’s, Pakistan were all out in the 48th over for 170. “It’s too early after one game (to change the batting slots). You can’t just change things here and there to create panic in your camp. I think what we need to do, as a batting unit is to execute our plans. Go in there and try to play our 50 overs and that’s what normally in these sort of conditions you can do. ... Even after losing three wickets (for 15 runs) at one stage, the game was under control, but then we made mistakes. So it’s just taking responsibility and taking the games to the end. The batsmen need to be more responsible and just carry on,” said Misbah. Pakistan travelled to Birmingham Saturday and did not train.
Pakistan win CT warm-up against South Africa
By Mushtaq A Subhani
LONDON: Pakistan beat South Africa by six wickets in a Champions Trophy warm-up match here at The Oval on Monday.
Chasing an easy target of 203, Pakistan completed the victory with 27 balls to spare.
Opener Imran Farhat and one-down batsman Mohammad Hafeez hit half centuries to pave the way for Pakistan win.
Imran made 56 with five fours and Hafeez retired out after scoring 54 with eight fours. Both added 85 runs for the second wicket partnership.
Later, captain Misbah-ul-Haq and young batsman Umar Amin added 51 for an unbeaten fifth wicket stand to see Pakistan reach the winning target in 45.3 overs.
Misbah remained not out on 24 while Umar was 27 not out.
Earlier, Pakistan seamers restricted South Africa to 202-9 after putting them into bat.
The Proteas were in immense pressure losing seven wickets for only 83 runs before lower-order batsmen Jean-Paul Duminy (43) and Ryan McLaren (55) saved them from an embarrassed situation with a 94-run eighth wicket partnership.
For Pakistan, Asad Ali and Wahab Riaz both captured three for 30 each while Junaid Khan claimed two wickets.
Aisam, Rojer cruise into third round
PARIS: Pakistan’s tennis ace Aisam-ul-Haq and his Dutch partner Jean-Julien Rojer, playing their third match in two days at the French Open, showed no signs of fatigue as they reached the men’s doubles third round on Saturday.
The sixth-seeded duo, and last year’s semi-finalists, proved too strong for the Slovenian pairing of Aljaz Bedene and Grega Zemlja as they prevailed 7-5, 6-1 in their second round match.
Aisam and Rojer, who won their first-round match against Russians Evgeny Donskoy and Dimitri Tursunov on Friday, were also in action in the mixed doubles event later in the day with their respective partners Zimbabwean Cara Black and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia.
If they were tired on Saturday, they didn’t show much as they cruised past Bedene and Zemlja in an hour and twenty minutes. A close first set saw the Slovenians take early charge but Aisam and Rojer battled back to draw level at 5-5 before winning it.
With momentum on their side, the second set proved a one-sided affair with the Pak-Dutch duo in sublime form to set up a third round-tie against the South American pair of Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina.
Cuevas and Zeballos won 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) against the ninth-seeded Indo-Austrian duo of Leander Paes and Jurgen Melzer in an intense game lasting two hours and 26 minutes.—Agencies
Olympics: Pakistan and Ecuador threatened with IOC ban
SAINT-PETERSBURG: Pakistan and Ecuador have been threatened with suspension from the Olympic family due to political interference in their national Olympic Committees.
Neither country has been suspended but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released a statement on Thursday saying they wanted to see changes in both countries to avoid an eventual suspension.
“The EB (Executive Board) noted with great concern that the situation of the Olympic movement in Pakistan has deteriorated due to the creation of a parallel body to the NOC (National Olympic Committee) by a group of federations supported by the government authorities, in particular the Pakistan Sports Board,” said the statement.
“If this parallel body continues to disrupt the operations of the legitimate POA (Pakistan Olympic Association), in particular by organising new elections outside the POA and by preventing the POA from exercising its activities as foreseen by the Olympic charter, Pakistan will be suspended from the Olympic movement with all consequences this implies.”
Ecuador has also come under the microscope due to planned elections in the sports organisations that make up the national Olympic committee.
The IOC is trying to safeguard the elections to ensure they are not manipulated by Government officials.
The IOC previously suspended India last December for Government interference while the situation in Sierra Leone, where the country's sports minister suspended the local Olympic Committee, is under surveillance. (AP)
LAHORE: Pakistani umpire, Asad Rauf has dismissed all allegations of match-fixing and spot-fixing against him, adding that he strongly condemns such acts.
The Pakistani umpire said that these allegations were made by the Indian media, adding that he is only answerable to the International Cricket Council (ICC) as he receives his pay-check from them.
Asad Rauf further said that if the ICC and BCCI's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) decide to launch an investigation against him, he will be happy to answer their questions.
It is pertinent to mention that Asad Rauf’s name is still present in the list of ICC’s elite panel of members, however he has been removed from the Champion’s Trophy to be held next month after the Indian media alleged his involvement in the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf to brief media about spot fixing scandal
LAHORE: Pakistan’s international cricket umpire Asad Rauf will hold a press conference to brief the media about the spot fixing scandal, recently revealed in India during the Indian Premier League matches, also involving some Indian cricketers.
He remained tight-lipped despite reaching home, even before the emergence of the scandal.
Sources closed to the umpire told that he was avoiding media apparently due to ICC restrictions.
However, the sources said that Rauf had requested the ICC to allow him to hold a press conference to clarify his position on spot fixing charges.
Now he will hold the press conference on Wednesday at 3:00 pm here at a wedding lawn in Shad Bagh to brief the media after the ICC allowed him.
Asad Rauf dubs spot-fixing allegations as ‘baseless’
LAHORE: Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf has rejected spot-fixing allegations, dubbing them as ‘baseless’ on Sunday night, Geo news reported.
Speaking at a dinner hosted in an honour of newly elected members of Punjab Assembly Ghazali Butt and Chaudhry Shahbaz, Asad Rauf said that the spot-fixing allegations are unfounded, adding that if there is any evidence unavailable against him then it should be presented.
The Pakistani umpire said that he should be allowed to express his position. He further said that he would hold a press conference after getting permission from International Cricket Council (ICC).
Ireland, Pakistan tie first ODI
DUBLIN: The first one-day international between Ireland and Pakistan at Clontarf ended in a thrilling tie on Thursday.
Ireland finished on 275 for five chasing a uckworth-Lewis amended target of 276.
Pakistan had earlier made 266 for five off 47 overs in the rain-affected match. (AFP)
Pakistan roaring to go against Ireland
DUBLIN: Pakistan are keener than ever to get back on the field for the first of two one-day internationals against Ireland on Thursday after their second ODI against Scotland on the weekend was a wash-out.
As Ireland are the strongest team outside the Full Members - they are five places below sixth ranked Pakistan - it promises to be a more searching examination for the team as the countdown to the Champions Trophy starts in earnest.
Although Scotland caused Misbah ul-Haq's side early problems in both
innings of the first game, reducing Pakistan to 115 for five and then racing away to 50 for one in 12 overs, a captain's knock doubled the tourists' score in the last 20 overs and three wickets each from Junaid Khan and Saaed Ajmal hurried Scotland to a 96-run defeat.
But as Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer admitted after the match, from a
similar position Ireland would likely to have gone and won the match and that is the difference that Pakistan should notice at Clontarf on Thursday and Sunday.
Seven of the Ireland team are regulars in their county line-ups and the other four, including Kevin O'Brien, the man who almost single-handedly
defeated England two years ago with the fastest ever century at the World Cup finals, are likely to have more than 230 one-day international appearances between them.
Indeed, O'Brien is one of five survivors from the game that put Ireland on the world map, their victory over Pakistan at Sabina Park, Jamaica. Also still around and arguably playing better than ever are winning captain Trent Johnston, Niall O'Brien, Andrew White and current skipper William Porterfield.
Pakistan still have three players from that infamous day six years ago: Kamran Akmal, their top scorer and who has previous experience of club cricket in Ireland, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez.
Hafeez disappeared from the Pakistan Test team after the 2007 World Cup but after a three-year exile he has not only returned to the fold but is now considered the captain-elect when Misbah decides to step down.
He is also now the No 1 all-rounder in one-day internationals - the fourth ranked bowler and needing just three for 100 wickets.
After the new ball partnership of Junaid and the giant Mohammad Irfan, it is Saeed Ajmal, the No 1 ranked bowler, who will cause the teams below the very top class the most problems as the Scots found to their cost.
The batting has been too reliant on Misbah in recent series and it is no
coincidence that the captain has hit half centuries in the last three ODIs which Pakistan have won. Conversely, the three games they lost in South Africa in March was when he didn't.
The low, slow pitch at Clontarf may not be ideal for batsmen to express
themselves but it time for others to come to the party. (AFP)
Pakistan need batting coach not bowling: Zaheer Abbas
ISLAMABAD: Former legendary cricketer Zaheer Abbas advised the Pakistan Cricket Board to immediately appoint a batting coach for the national team instead of focusing on the bowlers ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in June.
Zaheer also called on the selectors to take a few risks and drop those players from the Champions Trophy who had not performed during the tour to South Africa urging the selectors to look for new talent in the batting department, reported a private news channel.
"What is more urgent to my mind is having a specialized camp for the batsmen or hiring a batting coach as soon as possible because it is in batting that the team has struggled badly in recent times," he said.
Zaheer said Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Nasir Jamshed had not performed up to the mark in recent times.
It is pertinent to mention here that PCB had hired former captain and bowling great Wasim Akram to supervise a 10-day camp for the top 19
pace bowlers in the country including those named in the 30-member
probables list for the Champions Trophy. (APP)
Pakistan, Scotland match abandoned due to rain
EDINBURGH: Pakistan’s one-day international against Scotland was abandoned on Sunday due to a waterlogged playing surface in Edinburgh. The match was due to start at 0945GMT but heavy rain in the Scottish capital in the preceding 24 hours had left the outfield sodden. Match officials Mark Hawthorn and Ian Ramage ordered five pitch inspections, while Grange ground staff were given until almost 1400GMT to address the problem but it was eventually decided the pitch was in no condition for play. “It’s really disappointing. We hung about for quite a while today hoping to get even a T20 match in but it wasn’t to be,” Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer said. Pakistan, who won the first one-day clash with Scotland on Friday by 96 runs, are using the double header and another two matches in Ireland next week as preparation for the Champions Trophy, which begins in England on June 6. agencies Courtesy www.dailytimes.com.pk
Pakistan’s Champions Trophy preparations on track
LONDON: Pakistan cruised to a 96-run victory over Scotland in Friday's limited overs international in Edinburgh despite the record-breaking efforts of Majid Haq.
Scotland spinner Haq went into the clash at the Grange level with John Blain on 41 one-day international wickets and he shattered that record as he dismissed three Pakistan batsmen to move himself clear on 43.
However his efforts were in vain as Pakistan, who won the toss and chose to bat, made 231 for seven and then bowled out Scotland for just 135.
Pakistan were using the fixture as a warm-up for their Champions Trophy campaign, which begins against the West Indies at the Oval in London on June 7.
And the tourists enjoyed some useful batting pratice as captain Misbah-ul-Haq top-scored with 83 not out, while opener Imran Farhat made 49.
Saeed Ajmal and Junaid Khan both took three wickets for Pakistan as Scotland were skittled up in reply.
Nasir Jamshed went for 20 before Scotland's Haq claimed his first wicket of the day when Josh Davey caught Mohammad Hafeez at backward point.
Farhat moved to the brink of a half-century, only to be bowled by spinner Matt Machan when he miscued an attempted slog.
Haq claimed the wickets of Asad Shafiq for seven and Umar Amin for three, before Kamran Akmal fell lbw to Neil Carter for 12.
Misbah and Ajmal steadied the boat with a 51-run partnership for the seventh wicket, but the latter fell for 28 when he misjudged a scoop shot off Iain Wardlaw and the ball skidded into his stumps.
The match had been Northamptonshire batsman Kyle Coetzer's first as Scotland skipper after he was named Gordon Drummond's replacement earlier this week.
And he led by example as he top scored for the home side with 32.
But in the end it proved to be a simple job for Pakistan to rattle through Scotland's lower order, with Rob Taylor falling at the death as Ajmal claimed another lbw.
The teams will meet again in the second leg of their one-day international double-header on Sunday. (AFP)
Skipper says Pakistan fresh for Champions Trophy
Missing IPL a blessing in disguise, says Misbah
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Misbahul Haq feels missing the Indian Premier League (IPL) could be a blessing in disguise for his team’s players as they would enter the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy relatively fresh compared to those who are participating in the T20 league. “The IPL is a long event and the travelling can be taxing for players. We go to England fresh after a short break. The good thing is that we play one-day matches in Scotland and Ireland before the Champions Trophy and that will allow us to test our young players and settle on combinations,” Misbah said. Pakistan players have not competed in the IPL after the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.
Talking about the Champions Trophy, Misbah said if his team can get past India, South Africa and the West Indies to qualify for the semifinals, they had the potential to go all the way to win the title. “Our group is very tough and all teams in our group are title favourites. Playing against India anywhere is always a high pressure game and in England the atmosphere is similar to what we see in Pakistan and India when we play against each other,” he said before the team’s departure to the United Kingdom Tuesday early morning. “India have a good one-day side and their batting is strong and support for both teams will be high as they are large number of Pakistanis and Indians in England,” he pointed out. “Besides India the group matches against South Africa and West Indies will not be easy at all,” Misbah added.
The Pakistan captain also maintained that the players were well aware of their responsibilities while playing in England given the fact they were going there for the first time since the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. “The spot fixing scandal was a bad thing for Pakistan cricket but since than the players have made concerted efforts to play as a unit and try to produce good results. Because we know we can only improve our image abroad by doing well as a team and we have done that to a large extent,” he said.
The scandal during Pakistan’s tour to England in 2010 led to bans on then captain Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir as well as jail terms for the trio and their agent Mazhar Majeed. Misbah said manager Naveed Cheema and PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf had briefed the players extensively on the tour. “We will try to be the best ambassadors for our country in England,” he said. “The players have been told it is a sensitive tour and strict discipline is required to ensure there is no repeat of the 2010 controversy,” he added. Courtesy www.dailytimes.com.pk
National Under-16 Hockey Championship
Dar Academy studded Lahore side sparkles
By Ijaz Chaudhary
LAHORE: The recent National Under-16 Hockey Championship in Lahore featured 25 teams from across the length and breadth of Pakistan. The Dar Hockey Academy, the biggest colts’ factory of the country, supplied 19 youngsters to six teams. Lahore had the highest number of the Dar HA boys, six of them, including Sikander Mustafa and Adeel Anwar who were part of the Pakistan team that won the Under-16 Asia Cup a few weeks back. Moreover, Lahore also had the services of two coaches from the Dar academy, Mohammad Ejaz and Waqas Butt.
And it all paid as it was Lahore who were crowned the National Under-16 champions. They won the final against Sialkot on penalty shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in the stipulated time. The Lahore side twice trailed in the final but exhibited great character by levelling each time.
For good measure, the runners-up Sialkot team also had three Dar HA boys playing for them. Pakistan Hockey Academy (PHF) president Qasim Zia, who was the chief guest, had special words of praise for the Dar Academy for its services to the Pakistan hockey. Courtesy www.dailytimes.com.pk
Rashid to move court against Ashraf’s election as PCB chief
KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has said that he will challenge the manner in which Zaka Ashraf was elected Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman under the new constitution by filing a petition in the High Court. “After my first petition, the PCB introduced a few amendments to its constitution. However, it is not as democratic as it should be. There are loopholes (in the new constitution) which I want to rectify,” Latif said on Thursday. “I have decided to file a fresh petition in Sindh High Court against the unlawful election of PCB chairman. I am not against any individual; I just want a fair system,” he said.
Ashraf, the current chairman of the board, on Wednesday became the first elected head of the PCB after a rather hasty election process held in Islamabad. According to a press release of the board, the Board of Governors (BOG) under the new constitution of the board elected Ashraf, who was already serving as PCB chairman since November 2012.
The release said that after being elected, Ashraf would now serve for a four-year term under the new constitution. The PCB release said that the BOG elected two of its members Naveed Akram Cheema and Muhammad Rafiq Bughio to represent the BOG in the nomination committee formed by the chief patron of the board, who is the President of Pakistan. The chief patron had already appointed Justice (retired) Maulvi Anwarul Haq, consultant (legal affairs) President’s Secretariat and Qamar Zaman, secretary (education and training) as his nominees on the nomination committee.
The nomination committee held its meeting on Wednesday and interviewed the two candidates recommended by the Patron – Zaka Ashraf and Aftab Ahmad Khan, who is a former chairman of Lahore Stock Exchange. After deliberation, the Committee unanimously recommended the name of Ashraf for the post of PCB chairman, the board release said. The interesting thing is that at no stage was any announcement made by the board about the nomination committee or the BOG being held to elect a new chairman. Under the old system, the chief patron used to directly appoint the chairman of the board and President Asif Zardari had also directly appointed Ashraf in 2012. Courtesy www.dailytimes.com.pk
Zaka Ashraf to head PCB for another 4 years
LAHORE: The incumbent PCB Chairman Chaudhry Zaka Ashraf has been elected as the PCB Chairman for the next four years, Geo News reported.
This is the first time that a Chairman has been elected according to the Pakistan Cricket Board's new rules and regulations in line with the ICC.
Chaudhry Zaka Ashraf was unanimously elected during the session of the PCB’s governing body.
Saeed Ajmal targets Gayle in Champions Trophy
ISLAMABAD: Wily Pakistan off spinner Saeed Ajmal vowed Monday to target West Indian swashbuckler Chris Gayle when the two sides meet in the Champions Trophy next month. Pakistan is currently featuring in a tune-up camp in Abbottabad, a hilly town, hoping to match conditions in England where the eight-nation Trophy will be played from June 6-23.
The 35-year-old Ajmal anchors Pakistan’s spin department in the tournament where they face the West Indies in their opening group B match at The Oval on June 7. The match is seen as an encounter between Gayle and Pakistani bowlers, and Ajmal hopes to rein in the Jamaican who is in great form in the ongoing Indian Premier League, having smashed a world record 175 not out. “We are practicing and the way Gayle has been playing it is amazing,” Ajmal told reporters. “We are looking at the videos of his batting because we have a match against them and hopefully we will have no problems.”
Pakistan will also face South Africa on June 10 and archrivals India on June 15 – both at Birmingham. Defending champions Australia, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand feature in-group A. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals. “Whether the batsman is a left-hander or right-hander, the ball is in our hand, the bat is in their hands. We have to bowl them out to go forward and we are going there with a positive mind. There are eight teams and, hopefully, we will win.”
Ajmal who has 71 wickets – the second best in all Twenty20 cricket behind countryman Umar Gul (72) – hopes to perform in the English conditions. “I have to work hard because batsmen hit hard from the word go so its important to bowl well and I am working hard on that,” said Ajmal. “I have overcome pain in my lower abdomen and doctors have said it will go with medicine, but I will go for a check-up in England as well,” said Ajmal, who was initially diagnosed with a hernia. Ajmal said Pakistan would miss paceman Umar Gul (injured) and leg-spinner Shahid Afridi (left out of the squad). “Afridi is a legend and no doubt we will miss him and Gul but the team is balanced and we have good bowlers in Junaid (Khan), Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan and Abdul Rehman,” said Ajmal. Courtesy www.dailytimes.com.pk
Amir Atlas wins Asian Squash Championship, ending 14 year long hiatus
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ended its 14 year long hiatus having ruled the roost in the game of Squash with players like Jehnagir Khan and Jansher Khan who brought home titles and made the nation proud.
On Sunday, Amir Atlas defeated Muhammed Abdullah of Kuwait securing the Asian Squash Champion (ASC) title for Pakistan, ending the 14 year long gap between securing the top slot in the ASC. Courtesy www.Geo.tv
Pakistan-born batsman debuts for Zimbabwe
AFP BULAWAYO: Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl in the first of three one-day internationals against Bangladesh, as both sides handed out debuts in Bulawayo.
While Bangladesh’s new ODI cap was no surprise, with seamer Robiul Islam picked on the back of his 15 wickets in the two-Test series, Zimbabwe’s debutant was the Pakistani-born batsman Sikander Raza Butt.
The Sialkot-born Butt is a right-handed opening batsman and a part-time medium pacer.
The hosts also brought in Tinashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara, Sean Williams and Prosper Utseya from the pool of players not used in the Tests, while Abdur Razzak featured for Bangladesh.
Fast bowler Kyle Jarvis was rested by Zimbabwe after losing form in the second Test in Harare, which Bangladesh won to earn a share of the series.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (capt), Sikander Raza, Hamilton Masakadza, Regis Chakabva, Sean Williams, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Shingirai Masakadza, Tinashe Panyangara, Tendai Chatara.
Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Ashraful, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Ziaur Rahman, Abdur Razzak, Robiul Islam, Shafiul Islam.
Pakistan cricket teams training camp starts on Friday.
LAHORE: Pakistan cricket team’s training camp will get underway from Friday at Abbottabad. The players will be reporting to the coach on Thursday night.
Fast bowlers Ahmed Jamal, Zia ul Haq, Atta Ullah, Mohammad Aftab and Sarmad Anwar, who attended the camp held under the supervision of Wasim Akram have also been invited to the 6-day camp.
Pakistan legends Wasim Akram and Javed Miandad will also visit the camp to share their experience and give some important tips to players.
The training camp will continue till the 8th of May. Pakistan are scheduled to play the first ODI on May 17 against Scotland
Pakistani quests exit from Asian Snooker Championship
KARACHI: The journey of Pakistani quests in the Asian Snooker Championship ended here today as Mohammad Sajjad and Abu Saim were defeated in the quarter-finals of the event.
Sajjad was beaten by Aamer Sarkoosh of Iran 2-5 in the quarter-finals while in other quarter-finals, Abu Saim was ousted by China’s Zhao Zntong 3-5.
Now all quests from Pakistan were out of the race for title in the tournament.
Geo Super, Pakistan’s premier sports channel, is showing all the matches live in the Asian Snooker Championship being held in Karachi.
Woodhill to assist Pakistan batsmen during champions Trophy
LAHORE: Pakistan on Monday appointed Australian coach Trent Woodhill to help solve their perennial batting problems during June's Champions Trophy in England.
The 42-year-old was involved with the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League in Australia and is part of the Delhi Daredevils' support staff in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).
He was also New Zealand cricket team's assistant until last year.
Pakistan Cricket Board's director of international cricket Intikhab Alam said Woodhill brings rich experience as a batting and fielding expert. "We have appointed Woodhill as our national team's batting coach for a period of three weeks and he will help the team during the Champions Trophy," Alam told reporters.
The decision to appoint Woodhill followed serious concerns over Pakistan's fragile batting which flopped during their 3-0 rout at the hands of South Africa in the Test series in February this year.
Pakistan also lost the five-match one-day series 3-2.
Reports in Pakistani media suggested Woodhill's name was recommended by head coach Dav Whatmore, a former Australian batsmen who took over as coach in March last year.
Woodhill is credited with moulding Australian opener David Warner when he was assistant coach with the New South Wales squad.
Pakistan briefly hired former captain Inzamam-ul Haq as their batting consultant ahead of last year's tour to India but he left after a pay dispute.
Two other former captains Zaheer Abbas and Salim Malik had also applied for the post last year. (AFP) Courtesy www.Geo.tv
Selection committee agrees to Afridi’s exclusion: Source
LAHORE: A meeting of the national selection committee to finalize the names of the Pakistan cricket team for the upcoming Champions Trophy is under way at the Qaddafi Stadium Lahore.
According to sources recommendations of the team management to exclude Shahid Afridi from the final squad have been accepted by the selection committee.
Other members expected to be included in the final list are Misbah ul Haq, M.Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Imran Farhat, Haris Sohail, Asad Shafiq, Kamran Akmal, M.Irfan, Asad Ali, Shoib Malik, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Junaid Khan, Ehsan Adil and Aizaz Cheema.
The team could be announced on Monday as soon as its approved by the PCB Chairman. Courtesy www.Geo.tv
Khan beats Diaz on points to stay in title picture
SHEFFIELD: Amir Khan came back from a knockdown to beat a fast-finishing Julio Diaz by unanimous decision at Motorpoint Arena on Saturday.
Khan, trying to recover his reputation after successive losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia in the last 16 months, was cruising early against Diaz, the aging former two-time world lightweight champ.
Then Diaz exposed Khan's weakness by dumping him with a left hook in the fourth round, and staggered the former world light-welter champ with hooks in the eighth, 10th and 11th rounds.
But Khan (28-3, 19 KO) deserved his slim victory, judged 115-113, 115-112, 114-113. Diaz's record fell to 40-8-1. Courtesy www.Geo.tv
Life ban on Kaneria upheld
LONDON: Controversial Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria failed in his appeal to overturn his lifetime ban from cricket on Friday.
Kaneria was banned last year for his role in a spot-fixing plot, but denied all involvement and immediately indicated his intention to contest the decision.
The 32-year-old was found guilty of "cajoling and pressurising" former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield into accepting cash in return for trying to concede a set number of runs in an over during an English county Pro40 match in 2009.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said in July that Kaneria would be suspended from playing in his home country until the outcome of the appeal was known.
Westfield served two months of a four-month prison sentence last year after admitting spot-fixing and was banned from professional cricket for five years.
The 24-year-old was summoned to appear as a witness, against his wishes, at the appeal after the England and Wales Cricket Board obtained a witness summons order from the High Court to force Westfield to attend to give evidence against Kaneria.
During his criminal trial last year, Westfield named Kaneria as the figure who induced him into accepting 6,000 pounds from a bookmaker to under-perform in a match in 2009.
That evidence was key to the ECB's case in imposing their life ban on the former Pakistan leg-spinner but, feeling he was harshly treated in return by the governing body in terms of his own ban, Westfield refused to cooperate further.
With Kaneria's legal team arguing Westfield's original evidence was inadmissible at the appeal, the ECB took the last resort of an order to compel Westfield.
Kaneria's appeal hearing was due to take place last December but was postponed because Westfield did not attend. (AFP)
Junaid confident of doing well in Champions’s Trophy
KARACHI: Fast-rising Pakistan paceman Junaid Khan said Thursday he was confident that a county stint with Lancashire would help him perform in the June Champions Trophy in England.
The 23-year-old left-armer will spearhead Pakistan's attack in the absence of injured Umar Gul in the eight-nation event to be held June 6-23. Khan said his 2011 Lancashire stint introduced him to the conditions in England.
"I played for Lancashire and learnt about the conditions in England which are helpful for swing bowling, so that will surely come good when I play in the Champions Trophy," Khan told reporters at a tune-up camp for Pakistan pacemen.
Legendary Pakistan paceman Wasim Akram is supervising the 10-day Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) camp for 23 bowlers, some of whom currently play for Pakistan.
Khan said tips from Wasim, who introduced him to Lancashire, are a great help. "Learning is a never-ending process and in this camp Wasim told me how to improve my in-swingers and yorkers which are considered as the two best weapons for the left-arm bowler, so I am learning fast," said Khan.
Khan, who rose after playing first-class cricket in 2007 in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, said he was also developing aggression under Wasim.
"Wasim told us how to show aggression towards a batsman and I am developing that. I was the most aggressive bowler on the tour to India and then South Africa," said Khan of Pakistan's last two tours.
He said tune-up camps are good for burgeoning talent. "It is a very good initiative from the PCB and chairman Zaka Ashraf has shown interest in helping fast bowlers because Pakistan has always been known for its quality pace bowlers," said Khan.
Wasim praised Khan's talent. "He has the capacity to spearhead Pakistan's attack and after noticing his talent I recommended his name to Lancashire," said Wasim of the county he played for in the 1980s and 90s.
"As a young boy he did well for Lancashire and his ability to learn will help him in the Champions Trophy," said Wasim.
Pakistan will play two one-day internationals each against Ireland and Scotland in May before competing in the Champions Trophy. (AFP) Courtesy www.Geo.tv