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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Off The Record with Kashif Abbasi Shahid Afridi's Exclusive Interview (Today)

Pakistan plan IPL equivalent

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan celebrates the dismissal of Usman Khawaja, New South Wales v Tasmania, Twenty20 Big Bash 2010-11, Sydney, January 19, 2011Pakistan's players have not been a part of the IPL since its inaugural season, but the PCB has plans to launch their own equivalent of the Twenty20 tournament, though they have admitted it will not be possible to host it in Pakistan. Instead, they want to host the tournament in Dubai, where Pakistan have played one-day internationals against Australia and South Africa, and the latter in a Test match.
Sultan Rana, the chief of PCB's domestic cricket department, told the plans had been in the pipeline for the last two years but the board had to delay it because of the attack on Sri Lanka's cricketers during their tour of Pakistan in March 2009.
"We first considered the idea a couple of years ago," he said. "The documents were complete and we were all set to go, but the attack on the Sri Lankan team meant that we had to shelve all of our plans at that time
"I recently went to Sri Lanka during the World Cup and spoke to many other countries' board representatives, but apart from Sri Lanka they are reluctant to send their players to Pakistan. So, that presents a problem for us. We simply cannot host the tournament in Pakistan if we want to attract the top players."
The IPL was also hosted abroad in its second season, when the tournament was shifted to South Africa after security concerns arising from the Mumbai attacks in December 2008 meant it could not be staged in India. Rana was confident Pakistan's board could do something similar.
"What we are trying to do is to organise a competition in Dubai. This idea was discussed in the past and has very much been in our plans and is still on the table. I'm sure we (PCB) can organise this tournament, which will run along the lines of the Indian Premier League."

UAE lift ban on Asif

Pakistani fast bowler Mohammed Asif, who was banned to enter in UAE due to possessing illegal drugs, has been cleared after three years.
Pakistan cricket board (PCB) filed an appealed against his ban. Now, the UAE government has informed the pacer through PCB that he has been cleared to enter in UAE states.
Mohammed Asif was arrested in 2008 at Dubai international airport by Airport Security Force (ASF) on recovery of illegal drugs while he was on his way back to Pakistan after playing Indian Premier League (IPL) in India, a private news channel reported.
He was kept imprisoned for many days in a Dubai jail. Later, the government deported Asif from Dubai and placed a ban on his entry for a lifetime in all states of UAE.
Now after lifting of ban as soon as he is acquitted from spot-fixing case, he is allowed to play in Dubai, PCB formally conveys the clearance to the cricketer.

Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan put on hold due to security fears

The security situation in the country continues to hit Pakistan cricket, with plans to launch a premier league and invite Sri Lanka to play in a series later this year being put on hold.
Officials in the PCB have confirmed that other boards had in recent meetings in Sri Lanka made it clear that their players were reluctant to travel to the crisis—torn country for the Pakistan Premier League (PPL) Twenty20 competition because of security fears.
“Sri Lankan authorities have also conveyed that they would prefer if the future tours program series scheduled later this year in Pakistan was held at neutral venues like Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” an official said.
The Pakistan board was optimistic about Sri Lanka agreeing to at least play some limited overs games in Pakistan and the remaining matches, including Tests, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Sri Lankan board officials had, during the World Cup, made some positive statements but at the same time, made it clear that the final decision would rest with their government.
“The position now is that even the Sri Lankan authorities are not very keen to send their players to Pakistan as the memories of the horrifying attack on their team is still fresh in the minds of the Sri Lankan people,” a source said.
Militants had attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March, 2009, injuring five players and killing at least six Pakistani policemen.
Since then, foreign teams have refused to play in Pakistan and the ICC shifted the World Cup matches from the country due to security concerns.
Sri Lanka are due to play three Tests, five ODIs and T20 matches later this year.
Sultan Rana, a PCB official, also confirmed that discussions were on to hold the proposed Pakistan Premier League in Dubai.
Rana said that the board wanted to launch its PPL series in Pakistan and plenty of groundwork had already been completed in this regard.
“But recently when we spoke to officials of other boards and even few players the message was that the time was not right for anyone to be willing to come and play the PPL in Pakistan.”
“Though there appears to be plenty of support for the PPL if it is held offshore at neutral venues,” he said.
He confirmed that the PPL was a pet project of the board but had to be shelved after the attack on the Sri Lankans.

Afridi should be made long term captain: Akram

Former Pakistan great, Wasim Akram, has called on the board to repose faith in Shahid Afridi by appointing him captain of the national team on a long-term basis.
“I think Afridi should be made captain for the long term so that he gains more confidence, because he is developing into a good captain,” Akram said.
He also backed the all—rounder’s demand for a batting coach.
“I agree the team needs a batting coach. Every team now has a full—time specialist batting coach with them and I have always believed that even at this level, the best players sometimes need to be given guidance and tips on batting issues,” he said.
Akram’s views are in complete contrast to Javed Miandad’s, who has rejected the concept of having specialists on the support staff.
Miandad turned down the Pakistan Cricket Board’s offer to accompany the team to West Indies as batting coach, on personal grounds.
But Akram pointed out that even in international cricket, a batting expert with loads of experience and background could make a big difference to the team.
“A batting coach can help batsmen sort out their technical issues and also guide them on different oppositions and conditions.”
Akram also felt the selectors did the right thing by allowing pacer Umar Gul to take a break from the one—day series in the West Indies.
“I think Gul has been playing non—stop cricket for a while now and needed this rest. It is not a bad idea to have a rotation policy in the bowling department because top pacers carry the risk of getting injured due to over—work,” he noted.
He hoped that his former pace partners Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed would be able to groom the bowlers picked for the West Indies tour.
“It is good they are trying out new pace bowlers because we have lots of talent in this area.
Akram, however, felt that there was a need to teach the Pakistani bowlers to bowl with discipline and cut down on the extras

Pakistan can beat Windies: Intikhab

 Intikhab Alam said on Tuesday that Pakistan team was capable of defeating West Indies, leaving behind the memories of their semi-final loss to India. 
Talking to newsmen during a short Pakistan team’s training camp here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday, he said: “Now team is embarking upon a new journey and if the players play to their full potential no matter we can beat the West Indies in their own backyard.”
Pakistan cricket team manager Intikhab Alam said the team needed a batting coach and Javed Miandad was approached for this assignment but he denied the job.
Intikhab said that fitness level of the team has improved while no controversy was found in discipline. He said efforts would be made to maintain the same standard in the team during the upcoming West Indies tour. 
The manager said the players were also disappointed on defeat in the World Cup semi-final against arch-rival India and added that he was grateful to the people and the government besides media for getting a favourable response despite defeat in the mega event and this was a good tradition. 
He said that the PCB selected several uncapped players for the tour to polish their talent and if they played to their potential then Pakistan would be able to replace senior players. 
He said that the Shahid Afridi also wanted to rest the senior members of the team while Coach Waqar Younis considers the tour of Caribbean as the perfect opportunity for young guns in the side. Pakistani Coach wants new players to take this opportunity to replace seniors. 
Younus said: “The tour will be important for youngsters and it will be a test for them.” 
Pakistan team started their two-day training camp at Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday. 
“We will have around four to five days before the series gets underway and that will be ample time for the players to adapt to the playing conditions in St Lucia,” Intikhab said. 
Team Pakistan will reach West Indies on April 16 and tour will start with a warm-up match on April 18. 
The only Twenty20 will be played in St Lucia on April 21. ODI series of five matches will start on April 23 and the Test matches will be played in the middle of next month.
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