Monthly Archives: June 2013

Article 6 in Cricket as well

Article 6 in Cricket as well

Muhammad Asif Khan

The most talked about issue in Pakistan lately is the implementation of the Article 6 of the country’s constitution which deals with forming a treason case against former President General Pervez Musharraf ®, however, the counsels of the man at the receiving end – Musharraf – argue on the clause 2 of the Article 6 which encircles the supporters of the accusedImage as well.

6. High Treason (2) Any person aiding or abetting or collaborating the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.

Anyway moving on to the Cricket affairs of Pakistan where interestingly the same clause of the same article but of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s constitution has become the centre of attraction.

Following is the Article 6 of the PCB constitution with all the relevant points highlighted in bold letters.

6. Chairman (1) There shall be a Chairman appointed by the Board of Governors (BoG) in accordance with Part IV for a period of four years. He shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Board and shall inter alia exercise and perform the following power and function, namely:-

(a)        Preside over all meeting of the board;

(b)        Summon the annual general meeting of the Board and the extraordinary general meeting;

(c)        Summon the meetings of BOG;

(d)        Adjourn the meetings;

(e)        Fix the date, time and place of all the meetings including adjourned meeting;

(f)         cast vote when votes are equally divided;

(g)        Control or oversee income and expenditure in accordance with the budget approved by the BOG;

(h)        Control and manage the affairs of the stadium, sports complexs, gymnasiaum and ground or those placed under its charge, directly or through management committees or officials appointed for the purpose;

(i)         Appoint the selection committee and other committees including their chairmen;

(j)         Take any other financial, administrative or management decisions as required for the functioning and operations of the Board;

(k)        Recommend to the BOG for addition, alteration or deletion of the region;

(l)         Decide with regard to representation from time to time of Regions and Service Organisations through rotation on the BoG

(2) During the absence of the Chairman for a period of more than forty five days or in the event the chairman tenders his resignation or in case of his death or in the event of the office of the Chairman falling vacant for any other reason, the BoG may elect and appoint an Acting Chairman from amongst it’s members, who may only exercise powers listed in paragraph 6(1) (a) to (e) during the absence or till the appointment of the Chairman.

Starting from the Clause 6(2) where the highlighted text clearly defines the procedure of the appointment of an acting PCB chairman. Moreover it also states the mandate [highlighted in the clause 6 (1)] of the acting PCB chairman.

Finally, let’s take a look at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) order of June 19th, 2013 (on writ petition no. 2242/2013), in which the Judge, Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, directed the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination with regards to the appointment of an acting PCB chairman.

The IHC directed to appoint some acting chairman of the PCB fully qualified to be appointed as the chairman of PCB, till final disposal of instant writ petition, with the authority to attend forthcoming meeting of the ICC so that Pakistan may be represented in the meeting.

The above mentioned facts lead to at least a few questions as follows.

  1. Was the appointment of the acting PCB chairman duly in line with the IHC directives?
  1. Wasn’t the appointment of the acting PCB chairman contradictory to the constitution of the PCB?
  1. The IHC, in its order, authorised the acting chairman to attend the ICC meeting, but is he authorised to take other important decisions in the cricket board such as financial, administrative etc as well?
  1. The PCB constitution also limits the authority of the acting chairman.

In this regard, the situation will surely be clear in the coming days, however, at the same time, the vague nature of the existing state of affairs in Pakistan Cricket also raises many eyebrows. May the Cricket future be in safe and able hands.


Two wrongs don’t make one right: Arif Abbasi

By Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The state of affairs at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) seems heading nowhere as Zaka Ashraf was barred, by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), to carry out his responsibilities as Chairman PCB.

ImageCommenting on the development, a former chief of the Cricket Board, Arif Ali Khan Abbasi has expressed reservation over the ‘overwhelming’ Government interference in country’s cricket affairs. “I have had objections over Zaka Ashraf’s policies, however the treatment, meted out to him [Zaka Ashraf] lately, was also uncalled-for”, said Arif Abbasi while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“The President is the patron of the PCB hence he should be consulted, why the government is dictating terms over the appointment of the acting PCB chairman. The recent IPL fiasco is an example. Did the India government interfere in the BCCI’s affairs?” asks Arif Abbasi, who held the post of the chief executive at BCCP [now PCB] between 1994 and 1996.

The former PCB chief also said the [PCB] constitution clearly defines the procedure to appoint an acting chairman however the lawyer’s probably had ‘failed’ to convince the IHC in this regard. “There is a clear procedure defined in the PCB constitution for the appointment of an acting chairman, however it seems that the PCB lawyers had failed to put their point across before the IHC, I am afraid”, maintains Arif Abbasi.

Responding to a query about the existing structure of the PCB, Arif Abbasi dismissed the presence of only limited departments and regions on the Board of Governors (BoG). He, in fact, added that the supreme authority should rest with the General Body.

“The existing composition of the BoG is solely aimed at buying votes to get elected. Instead, there should only be a General Body with all the departments and regions on board to review important matters”, concludes Arif Abbasi

Pakistan Cricket: Another debacle, what’s next?

By Muhammad Asif Khan

With high hopes the men in green embarked on a trip to Europe around a month before the historic Champions Trophy to get accustomed to the conditions. Even before leaving the country the boys were trained at Abbottabad – a relatively cooler place – to get the England like feel. However the first-leg exit from the prestigious tournament raised a lot of questions back home.

The selection for the Champions Trophy was dubbed as bold when experienced Younus Khan, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Akmal and Ahmad Shehzad etc were left out while players like Shoaib Malik and Imran Farhat were picked.

Before judging the inclusions and the ‘heavy’ exclusions lets get back to the time when the squad was actually being announced – before the champions’ trophy.

Younus Khan was terribly out of sorts, while Imran Farhat had scored 93 and 13 in the last two one-dayers he played against South Africa in March this year. Shoaib Malik, on the other hand, played all five ODIs in South Africa and managed 28, 19*, 4, 35* and 19.

In Younus Khan’s absence, the strongest contender for Malik’s spot was Shahid Afridi who had not been in a good run of form and afterwards, he did not turn up for the mandatory fitness test too. On the other hand, Malik, after sensing the situation may be, flew down all the way from Germany to go through the fitness test.

In Afridi’s case, he might have been informed about his fate in advance; hence he decided to stay away from the [unnecessary] fitness examination. (This is my assumption only).

I am just trying to read the minds of the selectors here. They might have preferred Malik over Afridi on the account that without Malik the middle & the later middle order [minus Younus & Afridi] would look less-experienced.

Again, please don’t jump to the post champions’ trophy situation, just stay at the time when the team, for the all important event, was being constituted.

Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad are the two men who were referred to the physiologist, by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) recently. The question was, were they cleared for selection by the PCB?

Now I have reached a point where the CT squad was finalised and the phase of preparation had begun. The bowlers, picked for the tournament, were given a better opportunity to gear up for the challenge. The assistance of Wasim Akram at the camp in Karachi and later in Abbottabad worked well with them but what was done for the batsmen? Instead of hiring Trent Woodhill (for the stay in England only) the services of Javed Miandad, Inzamamul Haq etc were snubbed for some strange reasons. Who persuaded the chairman Zaka Ashraf for this move should also be identified.

Inzamamul Haq’s services were utilised, prior to the India tour, but later he was sidelined for unknown reasons. Some media reports suggested a deadlock between the two parties over the money but even then if Trent Woodhill can be paid for a few days then why can’t Inzamam be treated in the same fashion?

Another guy is the legendry Javed Miandad whose skills are not hidden from anyone.  Mr. Miandad has repeatedly said that he was not utilised to his likings, then the question is that why had he been sticking to the post of the Director General for more than three years then? What plan had he prepared to groom young batsmen so far? If he had drafted some sort of strategy then where is the implementation? If his suggestions were not taken seriously then why is he on the post still?

The same question is for the in-charge of the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Intikhab Alam as well.

The champions trophy has ended for Pakistan as the men in green suffered back to back defeats. A lot has been written on the team’s performance and I have nothing fresh to pen, however my worry is the future where the selection committee will have to face a dilemma.

As per the ICC future tour programme, Pakistan has to host South Africa in October and the matches will be played in the UAE.

Will they [selectors] include the tried, tested and failed senior players again or will they take steps, by seriously keeping an eye on the future.

For the Cricket board, there is no other way but to put the act together. They have to separate Cricket and its management. If Miandad, Intikhab Alam or whoever in the set-up could server well for Cricket development then he should not be burdened with managerial business of attending meetings or finding coaches. The services of other former players including the wicketkeepers, fast-bowlers, openers must also be unitised.

The Board does have a Cricket committee but here again the outcome is next to nothing. The recent mismanagements at the domestic competitions were pretty evident of their progress. The recent domestic one-day cup was played at a below-par centre and the players were forced to bear a hectic 8-hour journey through bus. Teams from one province refused to play in the other hence the schedule was to be revised etc. These issues are irrelevant to the real topic hence I wouldn’t stretch future but my last word is that wherever the money is to be spent, it should be used-up adequately to gain as much as possible.

Right man for the right job should be the order of the day, otherwise more events ahead would bring more embarrassment. The wheel will keep on rolling, for sure, but without moving an inch I am afraid.

A chat with Pakistan Cricketer Khalid Latif

The interview was recorded in June 2013 in which Khalid Latif, expressed his views over the state of Pakistan domestic cricket & his tussle with the regional Cricket association, KCCA. His current form and future was also came under discussion.

ICC failed to spot the fixing?

By Muhammad Asif Khan
No society in the world is absolutely free of crimes and similarly no business in a society is entirely corruption-free however the custodians do put in place reasonable measures to curb the wrongdoing as much as possible.
Mainly two aspects are important to put a lid – somehow – on the malpractices in any system. (A) Strict check and balance mechanism (B) Stern punishments.
So it would be safe to say that like other systems – where corruption exists – the game of Cricket, which is indeed not free from wrongdoings, could also be safeguarded to a larger extent with effective measures and here also, the custodian – the International Cricket Council (ICC) – claims to have put in place a formidable mechanism to counter the malpractice then where have we gone wrong?
The flurry of corruption stories in Cricket is narrating a different account altogether. The ICC will probably not admit it but the frequent emergence of the corrupt practice is indicative of the fact that the system to safeguard the game of cricket was not up to the mark.
The two counter measures mentioned above needed to elaborate further.
(A) Strict check and balance mechanism:
Keeping an eye on any affair starts from the education of the relevant individuals, here the ICC seems up to the standard as they have provided all the necessary material to the players and officials. Theoretically, all are aware of the crime but what difference does it make? This literature is like the penal codes present in various countries but still crimes are being committed everywhere.
So, if education doesn’t work alone then move on to the next step of vigilance. In this scenario the ICC, with the help of its Anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU), strives to keep an avid eye, however the ACSU has hardly unearthed any kind of fixing in a cricket match thus far. This service was either done by the Police or by a media organisation through sting operations.
Does it mean that the ACSU has failed completely? This can’t be said with certainty. They might have busted a number of such bids but I have no knowledge of it.
I have been told that they do gather information from legal betting houses to evaluate the betting trends and irregular fluctuations but again betting is not legal in most of the cricket playing countries, so this effort is not entirely worth it.
The option left for the ACSU is to keep a watchful eye on the players and their movements because in the absence of a mandate they can’t review the bank accounts of the players neither they can tap phone calls or monitor emails etc.
At the end of the day, the ACSU is left with their experts to monitor the game and try to pick any irregularity in a particular match. Here comes their weakness, since they are neither cricketers nor are familiar with the technicalities of the game hence a deliberate effort on the field can go unnoticed. What will the ACSU do if a bowler, after setting an on-side field, throws the ball on the off-side?
With the frequent emergence of the wrongdoings, the ICC needs to strengthen it’s anti-corruption unit. Apart from providing them with more powers, the inclusion of technocrats in the ACSU could serve the purpose in a better manner.
(B) Stern punishments:
After investigations the phase of handing out the punishments needs to be looked at as well. Whenever such unpleasant event occurs the axe always falls on the players and that’s it. For instance, the Pakistani trio – Asif, Salman and Amir – were penalised and the chapter was closed. Similarly, the runaway wicket-keeper, Zulqarnain Hyder was also dumped. He might be lying all the way, but where were the investigation? The ICC or the home-board must have carried out a probe but nothing has come to the fore as yet. After every inquiry only a player is seen as the sole culprit, it is about time that the associates within, should also be taken to task.
Danish Kaneria, is also in the news for all the wrong reasons, he recently uttered a name from within the Cricket board set-up and claimed that he was introduced to the alleged bookie by a team official during a tour to the West Indies but again ‘all is well’ in the house and no-one is bothered.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) claims to have put in place a foolproof mechanism to stop the recurrence of unpleasant events but again the entire focus is on the players. Have the other staff members been given the same warnings etc?
In the notorious 2010 spot-fixing episode or the fleeing of Zulqarnain Hyder nobody other than the players were questioned. If someone succeeded in escaping then it was the failure of the managers too. Why the player preferred escaping rather than informing the team official is also a question to be reviewed. It shows the lack of trust in the team management for sure.
Coming back to the penalties and the powers, the cricket boards or the ICC has in this regard? Again the answer is unsatisfactory and the reason is simple. There is no such legislation in the penal codes of majority of the cricket playing nations.
In England the Pakistani trio was jailed because there is a law there to safeguard the rights of the legal bookmakers. In Pakistan, India, Bangladesh or elsewhere there is no such law available to sentence the perpetrators of a fraudulent act. I am not advocating legal betting, but laws, in the name of cheating on the cricket field, should be framed to make the penalties worth.
The ICC member boards can work with respective legislators to form such laws to put some sort of fear in the players’ mind. Otherwise everyone knows that they would get away with a maximum penalty in the form of a life-ban or a hefty fine, but on the other hand, they would earn a lot of money too in quick time. This huge amount of lust must be canceled out with fearsome consequences. 
In the end, with the fear that the malpractices in the game of Cricket will not probably end, I wish and pray that just and substantial actions will be seen in the future.
The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif

Is genuine fast bowling a fading art?

By Muhammad Asif Khan

Ever since I started following the game of Cricket the aspect fascinates me the most is the sight of a genuinely quick paceman running down from his bowling mark to rattle a batsman. I still remember the day when I entered a Cricket stadium for the very first time – early 2000 – only to witness the run-up of the legendry Waqar Younis. Although I observed the craftsmanship of Wasim Akram as well but, the swift yet smooth approach of the other ‘W’ mesmerised me the most.
I used to hook to the Television screen to see Waqar Younis running rather sprinting down to the bowling crease with a purpose to scare the hell out of a batsman, not only me but Waqar was in fact the source of inspiration for the World’s fasted-man, Usain Bolt also as the Jamaican athlete had himself revealed that he was enthralled by the lighting sprint to the wicket by the former speed-star of Pakistan.

Of course Waqar Younis was not the only one who struck the fear of God into many batsmen but the time before and after him is also studded with terrifying fast bowlers, but recently this high quality supply seems to have decelerated.

After Shoaib Akhtar, Australia’s Brett Lee has also hung his boots which left South Africa’s Dale Steyn as the sole fear factor on the Cricket field to terrify even an all-guarded opponent standing on the other side of the pitch. I am sure that the majority of the Cricket lovers weren’t happy with this state as they are also familiar with the impact of these ‘terrorists’ who treat cricket ball as a missile. Obviously the question would arise that what was the reason of this drought like situation and why not many people are getting inspired by the heroes of yesteryears?

Young bowlers with a speed of around 145 kph are coming to the fore pretty regularly but a rare breed is being missed. Even a 145 kph bowler fades away in a year or two. To understand the cause one has to be aware of the ingredients which transform a good bowler into a fearsome one. Apart from the athleticism, the physical hard work is a must to throw bomb shells at the batsman every time and here comes the need of top-class fitness and the regime to maintain the body to bear the exceptional amount of workload.

Indeed the newer lot of players is shying away from this beautiful yet demanding aspect but the authorities managing the game have also been contributing to this disheartening phenomenon. The rapid spread of the shortest version – Twenty20 – has made the pacemen most vulnerable because in this format a captain prefers an all-rounder than a specialist, also a faster, or any bowler for that matter, focus more on saving runs. Remember what Imran Khan used to tell Wasim Akram during the 1992 World Cup? “Bowl as fast as you can, don’t worry about the runs, I want a wicket from you” and now after 20 years, when we are breathing in a T20 era, I am sure no captain could exhibit the courage to push his fast-bowler like this.

The fright of going for runs is one of the main reasons why a fast bowler hardly experiments with his length during his spell. This is the very fact why bouncers and yorkers – the main weaponry of faster bowlers – are becoming a rare sight now.

Some people also blame the rules and the dead surfaces around the world as one of the major causes of killing a potential Express bowler, but I would say that rules for the bowlers were more or less same. Also like yesteryears the wickets – especially in the subcontinent – are in favour of the batsman or a spinner, yet Pakistan has been able to produced quality faster-men one after the other.

The amount of Cricket happening around is taking it’s toll on the players as well, this scenario forced a batsman even to be on his toes however this work-load has put a fear of injuries in Cricketers’ minds hence they are not opting for an extra yard during bowling especially. Avoiding runs and injuries is preferred on the pace to intimidate the opponents.

The T20 version also attracts a league of spectators who are more interested in witnessing towering hits and a flurry of strokes or in other words guys like Gayle and Afridi are more in demand but what about the thrill and the row created amongst the spectators by a fearsome fast bowler? This feature is neglected rather discouraged.

Coming towards the end, I feel, seeking short cuts is the main cause of concern. Currently playing Test cricket is not as enticing a factor than representing a T20 league I am afraid. Due to these lucrative leagues players, in the past, have not even bothered to skip Test Cricket over the shorter versions. Sad, isn’t? To preserve the art of Cricket in general the mushroom growth of T20 leagues should be checked otherwise we would not be able to witness the likes of Thomson, Marshall, Imran, Lillee, Donald, Akhtar and Lee again.

The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif

Tauqeer Zia calls for ad-hoc on PCB

Monday, 20 May 2013

Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: At the time when the incumbent management of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is celebrating the democratic transition a few former and current players and administrators casting doubts on the mechanism adopted by the PCB. The latest to join the bandwagon is the former chairman of the PCB, Lieutenant General Tauqeer Zia (R), who demands the imposition of ad-hoc on PCB. “If the country is run under an interim setup then why can’t the ImagePCB? Ad-hoc for at least three months is the need of the hour to fix issues”, said Tauqeer Zia while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“The recent election for the chairman [Zaka Ashraf] was also unconstitutional as major associations did not participate in the voting process”, added Tauqeer Zia, who headed the PCB in the early years of 2000.
Pakistan Cricket Board, earlier this month, held it’s first ever elections after which Zaka Ashraf took the reigns of the PCB as it’s first elected Chairman for the period of four years.
However, his [Zaka Ashraf] appointment was challenged by former captain Rashid Latif at the Sindh High Court and by the heads of the regional cricket associations of Faisalabad and Sialkot at the Lahore High Court.
Meanwhile, on Monday, The Lahore High Court allowed ad-hoc regional committees appointed by PCB to work till the election of regional cricket associations of Lahore, Sialkot and Faisalabad.
Legal adviser of the PCB, Tafazzul Rizvi said the PCB wanted to hold elections as per the constitution and it appointed ad-hoc committees for the purpose.
Tauqeer Zia also spoke about the recent spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL), saying that the BCCI was striving to reach at the bottom of the event. He added, however, that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should play more active part in curbing the malpractice in Cricket.
On a question, the former chairman paid tribute to the incumbent PCB management for its efforts against corruption in the game. “PCB has put in place a mechanism, in an effort to tighten the screws on corrupt practices, which is appreciable. The policy of zero-tolerance will work well”, hopes Tauqeer Zia.
The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif