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Sunday, April 17, 2011

I am The World Champion From Pakistan. Says Amir Khan

KARACHI: British boxing prodigy of Pakistani descent Amir Khan says as he considers himself a world champion from Pakistan and that his visit should also serve as an assurance that the country is safe for holding sporting activities.

 The 23-year-old believes the world community should stop portraying Pakistan negatively because of some incidents of violence. He feels that although there has been some violence in the country, things should not be blown out of proportion.

 ‘Pakistan is a beautiful country. It is a great sporting nation. The world must support it by coming here for sporting activities. If Pakistan is isolated then the talent here will not be groomed,’ Khan told a press conference on Thursday.

 Khan, also known as ‘King Khan’ for his sensational feat at the 2004 Athens Olympics where he grabbed the silver at the age of 17 after losing to Cuban hero Mario Kindelan in the final, said he will also try to convince English cricketers to visit Pakistan.

 Pakistan has seen a slump in international sporting activities since the attacks on the visiting Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore. Cricket being a high-profile sport was hit badly when International Cricket Council shifted the Champions Trophy to South Africa last years after several countries including England refused to play in Pakistan because of security concerns, while hockey is also suffering owing to violence in the country.

 Khan, who turned professional after the Athens Games and became a sensation in the UK and his country of origin Pakistan after winning the WBA light-welterweight title last year, defeating Ukrainian Andreas Kotelnik, is on a visit to Pakistan on an invitation of Pakistan Boxing Federation.

 The world champion will watch the Benazir Bhutto international boxing tournament finals on Friday, the first international sports tournament after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers.

 Raja Iqbal Amir Khan, commonly known as Amir Khan, also a cousin of England cricketer Sajid Mahmood, says he is proud of his Pakistani roots and even considers himself a Pakistani world champion.

 ‘When I was in London to support the Pakistani cricket team at Twenty20 World Cup final, there were two champions from Pakistan – the Pakistan cricket team and the second one was me,’ said Khan who says he never faced any discrimination or racism in England because of his Pakistani descent.

 ‘I have never faced any problem, discrimination or racism. People in UK love me and see me as a fellow Briton just like the way Pakistanis see me as their countryman,’ said Khan who is also known as the ‘Golden Boy of UK’ since he became the youngest British boxing Olympic medallist.

 Khan promised he will at least fight once in Pakistan in his career but it will not be before 2011 or 2012 because of his professional commitments.

 ‘I want to promote boxing in Pakistan and I will definitely have at least one fight here in my career but that cannot be expected before 2011 or 2012. But one fight in Pakistan is something I will surely like to happen,’ said Khan in an exclusive interview with

 The Briton, whose boxing idol is legendry former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, said although professional boxing was exciting, he missed the amateur version of the game as he cannot participate in Olympics being a professional.

 ‘I must say amateur boxers should come into professional boxing only after some experience, not before that,’ said Khan.

 Khan’s Dec 5 fight last year against Dmitriy Salita of the United States was seen in the Western media with much interest as he was a British Muslim while the American was Jewish. The Briton, however, says he never saw the fight as a clash between civilisations or religions.

 ‘It was all made up in the media. He (Salita) belongs to another religion but I took it professionally rather than making it a religious issue,’ said the world champion who successfully defended his title by thrashing mandatory challenger Salita in just 76 seconds in Newcastle, England, to break the unbeaten record of the American.

 Having an impressive record of 22 victories and a loss against Colombian Breidis Prescott, Khan he said would love to have Pakistani boxers train with him at his Bolton academy, adding that he expected enormous improvement in Pakistani boxing within a year.

 ‘With a younger president of Pakistan Boxing Federation and promotion of the game, I can see huge changes and vast improvement in Pakistani boxing. Boxing is a sport for the brave. You need a brave heart for boxing. Boxing is not poor man’s game in the UK. It is a rich sport. So my advice for Pakistani boxers is to work harder and aim high, and I am sure they will achieve success’ said Khan.

 Khan, however, did not agree that Britain can ever become the next Cuba in amateur boxing, saying it was not likely to happen as most of the British boxers turned professional.

 ‘No, I don’t think Britain can be what Cubans are in the amateur boxing because the British boxers usually turn professional, while Cubans don’t as they have restriction on joining professional ranks,’ said Khan attired in a white coat, jeans and boxing-style white leather shoes.

 Khan’s father Shajaad Khan said his son’s achievements came because of his hard work and his parents’ support.

 ‘We (Khan’s parents) are behind him. If he wants to box, we will never stop him. Whenever he says it’s over, we will never force him to box. But since he is into boxing, he has our support,’ says Shajaad Khan.

 ‘Amir has always been a down-to-earth kid. He replies each and everyone’s e-mails. Once he sent an e-mail to British champion Prince Naseem Hamed when he was just 11. Naseem never replied. When Amir had a chance to meet Naseem, he asked why he never replied to his e-mail. Now he (Amir) still remembers this and never forgets to reply to e-mails from his fans,’ Khan’s uncle Tahir Mahmood told

 Khan will leave Karachi on Saturday for his ancestral town Rawalpindi where he will spend some time before leaving for UK.

Pakistan promise attractive cricket

An untried but confident Pakistan arrived here Friday afternoon for the first leg of their Caribbean tour promising an exciting brand of cricket in the Twenty20 International and five One Day Internationals against hosts West Indies.
Speaking at a brief welcome ceremony, manager Intikhab Alam said while the unit included several players who would be representing the Pakistan for the first time, he expected them to play bold and attractive cricket.
"I have brought a very young side with me and I am quite sure you are going to enjoy the type of cricket we are going to play," Intikhab said.
The side arrived at the Hewanorra International Airport south of here and was met by officials of the St Lucia Cricket Association and series sponsors Digicel and Scotiabank.
Pakistan are missing four key players for the ODI leg of the tour with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Abdul Razzaq and Umar Gul all left out for varying reasons.
Intikhab said Pakistan were looking forward to the tour as they held great respect for West Indies cricketing tradition.
"On behalf of the Pakistan team I would like to thank you for the very warm welcome extended to us," said the former Pakistan captain who played 47 Tests between 1959 and 1977.
"It is always a pleasure to come to the Caribbean. I have been coming here since 1958 and played with your great cricketers like Sir Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, (Sir Clyde) Walcott and (Sir Frank) Worrell and I cherished their friendship.
"Whenever we met we talked about old times. I have great regard for your cricketers."
Pakistan will open their tour with a limited overs affair against the UWI Vice-Chancellor's XI at the Mindoo Philip Park here Monday.
SQUAD -- Shahid Afridi (captain), Misbah-Ul-Haq, Ahmed Shahzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Umar Akmal, Usman Salahuddin, Asad Shafiq, Hammad Azman, Junaid Khan, Tanveer Ahmed, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Salman, Sadaf Hussain.

Pak players ducking domestic matches must be omitted from national team: Sultan Rana

Those international-level Pakistan cricketers who do not make themselves available for their domestic teams, should also be excluded from the national squad, the Pakistan Cricket Board's Domestic Cricket Director Sultan Rana has said. 

When asked during an interview whether any players who are not making themselves available for their domestic teams should be ruled out from the Pakistan team, Rana said: I think that's the way it should be."

"I remember there were certain players who didn't play in the First Class circuit last year - and they were not considered for selection [in the Pakistan team]. So this policy is already in place and I think we need to be stricter about it. Only the players who participate in domestic cricket should be considered for the national team. I think this policy is being followed," quote Rana, as saying.

He said that the selection committee, who pick cricketers for the national squad, go and watch the domestic matches and have records of all the players. 

"They don't consider the players who have not represented [their domestic teams] or have not performed. That is why if you just take a look at the previous Pakistani team, in the last 3 years or so, they have been changed. So domestic cricket is providing them replacements for the players who are unfit, not performing well or on the verge of retirement - so that we have a backup. 

A lot depends upon those who are picked up as replacements to maintain their position in the team," said Rana. 

He also dismissed the impression that domestic cricket was not producing players at all as rubbish, saying that all players in the Pakistan team in the last ten years had come up from domestic cricket. 

"Right from the year 2000, all of them came through the pathway which we have here in Pakistan - a system where they come and then go on to represent Pakistan," he added.

Talking about Pakistan's dismal fielding performances, Rana said: "I think Pakistan team has never been a good fielding outfit. Look at our fifty years of history - they were all average, mediocre fielders but they still went on to play for Pakistan for years. So fielding was never an integral part of Pakistan cricket, which is very unfortunate."

When pointed out that some Pakistani batsmen have rather large and impressive averages in domestic cricket, but they tend to struggle against seaming deliveries or good spin bowling at the international level, Rana noted that since domestic cricketers have the experience of playing only inside Pakistan, they might struggle to perform on foreign pitches.

"Once the international teams start touring Pakistan, these players won't have to go to England, New Zealand, Abu Dhabi or Sri Lanka to play their home series. When playing a series at home, you are used to the pitches and the atmosphere there which definitely helps a lot," he said.

Pakistan likely to play India in a blind cricket tournament

 Pakistan's blind cricket team is likely to host a series against India in Dubai at the end of this year, an official said today. "We will be playing three ODIs and three Twenty-20 games in the series," said Pakistan's Blind Cricket Council secretary Bilal Satti. The series will be discussed at a meeting of the World Blind Cricket Council on May 12, he said. "As the nation is working to improve Pakistan-India relations, we too are not lagging behind...we want India and all other countries to tour Pakistan and revive international cricket here," Satti added. Pakistan has the most successful blind cricket team and is the only country that spends the most on the sport, he emphasised. "We get a grant of Rs 1.3 crore from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which has made it very easy for us to participate in many international events," the secretary said. Three Blind Cricket World Cups have been held so far, while Pakistan won the last two editions held at Chennai (2002) and Islamabad (2006) respectively, South Africa won the inaugural trophy at New Delhi in 1998.

Pakistan keen for a short ODI series against India

 Desperate to revive the Indo-Pak bilateral cricket ties, the PCB is trying hard to convince the BCCI for a short one-day series this year in Pakistan or at a neutral venue.
The Pakistan Cricket Board's Chief Operating Officer Subhan Ahmed said that modalities of the short series would hopefully be worked out in a meeting with BCCI officials in June.

Haider to head back to Pakistan, faces PCB grilling

Runaway Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider has withdrawn his application for asylum in Britain and will return home on April 24 to be grilled by the Cricket Board for "indiscipline and misconduct." After a meeting with Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik in London, Haider announced that 
he has withdrawn his application for asylum in the United Kingdom and would be returning home to join his family.
"He committed several violations of his players contract and the board's code of ethics for players and he will first have to appear before the PCB disciplinary and integrity committees before any decision can be made on allowing him back into the national fold and to play domestic cricket," a board official said. Haider shook Pakistan cricket in November last year when the national team was playing a one-day series with South Africa in Dubai.
Haider fled from the team hotel hours before a match and flew to London where he claimed asylum insisting he had left the team without informing the management as he was threatened by a man who wanted him to fix the one-day series. Haider later claimed that there were corrupt elements in the national team and he would soon expose them publicly.
A fact-finding committee of the PCB, after investigating the entire episode, said in its report that there was reasonable ground to conclude that Haider was not a mentally stable person and had taken an abrupt decision. Haider claimed he would sue the PCB for its findings and also for holding back his payments but didn't carry out the threat.
The wicketkeeper suffered a bigger blow to his chances of getting asylum in the UK when his wife and children had their visas cancelled by the British High Commission in Islamabad and they were stopped from boarding a flight to London to join him. "Rehman Malik met Haider in London and told him in clear terms that there were slim chances of his application for asylum in the UK being granted by the British home office and also assured him all security in Pakistan if he returned home," one source close to the keeper said.
Haider also confirmed from London that he had decided to return this week to Islamabad after the assurances given by Rehman Malik. "It has been six months since I saw my wife and children and I want to return home quickly and I am ready to face any inquiry from the board.
I want to be given a chance top play domestic cricket and for the national team again," he said. The source said that Malik had assured Haider the government would help him in sorting out his case with the Board. Haider said he had already sent a letter to the British interior secretary informing him that he was officially withdrawing his application for asylum

Shahid Afridi’s First Wicket in ODI Cricket vs Sri Lanka 1996 *Rare Footage*

0 Shahid Afridis First Wicket in ODI Cricket vs Sri Lanka 1996 *Rare Footage*

16 year old Shahid Afridi get’s Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga caught by Moin Khan for his first ever wicket in ODI cricket during the KCA Centenary Tournament in Nairobi 1996

Shahid Afridi with a Real AK-47 Gun (6 rare pics)

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