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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cricket Special Report: Dark Clouds Hanging Over Pakistan Cricket

 Before Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, Pakistan cricket was struggling big time as no international team was ready to travel to Pakistan because of the security problems and the mismanagement of the affairs in Pakistan Cricket Board. If that was not enough, politics within the senior players of the team made the situation worse.
Nevertheless, the initial part of the England tour gave a lot of hope to the cricket fans in Pakistan, as a young Pakistani team defeated Australia in a test match after 15 years and levelled the series against the giant opposition. Then, Pakistan also won against England at the Oval to bounce back in the series. These performances were quite commendable considering that it was completely a young unit led by a young captain.
During the Lord’s test, the real nightmare started for Pakistan cricket through the spot-fixing controversy which completely destroyed Pakistan’s image in the cricketing world, although nothing has been proven yet. One should also keep in mind that the newspaper ‘The News of The World’ is known for yellow journalism and its controversial past.
Because of the media reports, Pakistan lost the services of its 3 main players immediately as the test captain, Salman Butt and the most dangerous fast bowling pair of the world, Muhammad Amir and Muhammad Asif were suspended by the International Cricket Council until the final hearing of the spot-fixing case.
The controversy came at the peak of these players careers. Salman Butt was made the captain of the test team recently and was hinted as the future captain of Pakistan in all formats of the game. Apart from captaincy, he was coming of age as a batsman in both test cricket and the limited overs format. In the absence of the senior players, he was emerging as the most reliable batsman for the country.
On the other hand, Muhammad Amir was proving to be one of the most dangerous fast bowlers in the world with some extra-ordinary performances in England. He was the Man of the Match in both the test victories against the Aussies and the English. Still in his teens, he was predicted to have a long and bright career ahead of him. The other pacer, Muhammad Asif has had a career that is full of controversies but not lacking extra-ordinary performances on a number of occasions. He has an immaculate control over his line and length and the ability to move the bowl in both directions make him a lethal weapon for Pakistan, especially in the longer format of the game.
In short, these 3 players were influential in whatever success Pakistan has tasted in recent past.
If the suspension on the players was not enough, because of some ridiculous management of the affairs, Pakistan Cricket Board has put itself in such a position that every measure taken by the PCB has a question mark hanging over it. The Zulqarnain saga has rubbed salt in the wounds of Pakistan cricket.
Already without 3 of their main players, Pakistan cannot pick some of the other senior players like Kamran Akmal, Danish Kaneria and Shoaib Malik as there is a shadow of doubt that they have also been involved in some wrong-doings.
With the ICC World Cup only two and a half months away, Pakistan cricket is under dark clouds right now. The need of the hour for Pakistan is to have a strong management which can put his house back in order and fight its case in front of the ICC in an appropriate manner. After all, Pakistan is a team which brings a different flavour with it in big events and has a big fan following all over the world.     
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