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Wednesday, April 20, 2011


England batsman Kevin Pietersen has expressed desire to lead the national side once again if Andrew Strauss steps down as one-day skipper.

Pietersen, who saw his first stint as England's Test and ODI skipper in 2008-09 end prematurely due to his poor relationship with then coach Peter Moores, said he would love to have another go at the captaincy.

"If the one-day job becomes available I would definitely be up for it. It's something I've thought about in the past few weeks since the rumours surfaced about Andy Strauss stepping down," Pietersen said.

"Second time around I think I could do a real good job as I'd be older and wiser, and would handle a few things a lot differently. So if the opportunity came up and I was asked I would say 'thank you very much, I would love to have another go'."

Talking about his first stint, Pietersen hardly had any complaints. "I didn't think I was too bad first time around - we had our moments against South Africa, and it took a century of freakish brilliance from Sachin Tendulkar to deny us a famous Test win in Chennai," Pietersen, who lost his job within six months, was quoted as saying by The Daily Mirror.

There have been reports in the British media that Strauss may step down as one-day skipper to focus on his Test duties.


 The President of the International Cricket Council, Sharad Pawar said on Tuesday that he will request the board's Executive Committee to reconsider its decision to allow only its 10 full members to participate in the next World Cup in 2015.

After receiving representations from the Associate and Affiliate Members of the ICC, Pawar said that the matter needed to be looked into again with careful consideration. "I have given this matter further serious thought and will request the Board to consider this topic once more," he said in a statement.

Emphasizing that he understands the views of the associate members, Pawar added that 'the matter needs to be resolved by the ICC in the best manner possible.'

Pawar said he will request the Board to revisit the issue during its annual conference in Hong Kong in June.

The ICC had recieved a lot of criticism for its decision to exclude associate nations from its plans for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The decision was taken in its meeting on April 4, at Mumbai


UBL 316 (Sharjeel Khan 133) and 154 for 3 decl (Sharjeel Khan 103*, Mughal 3-79) beat Medicam Group153 (B Khan 43, S Ahmed 4-35, M Irshad 4-65) on first-innings lead
After an absence of nearly 15 seasons from top-flight first class cricket, one of Pakistan's most famous domestic teams, United Bank Limited (UBL), is set to make a return in next season's Quaid-e-Azam (QEA) trophy.
On Tuesday, UBL won the PCB's Patron's Trophy Grade II final, beating Pak Medicam on first-innings lead in a rain-interrupted final at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. That win meant the side has now qualified to play in the QEA trophy division II next season. It will be the team's first appearance in top-flight cricket since January 1997, when, in their last match as a first-class side, they defeated another domestic powerhouse and long-term rival Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in the final of the Patron's Trophy to win it for the first and only time in their history.
UBL joined the first-class circuit in 1975, a decade in which a number of banks entered the first-class scene, offering players employment and an opportunity to play premier first-class level domestic cricket. The move was part of the BCCP's restructuring of Pakistan's domestic cricket, to involve departments such as banks and airlines in the domestic structure. UBL arrived on the circuit after a merger with the now-defunct Commerce Bank, which had been on the first-class scene since 1973.
From thereon, they proceeded to become one of the scene's giants, winning the QEA four times, the Pentangular thrice, and the Patron's Trophy once, in addition to several limited-overs titles. More importantly perhaps, they produced - or nurtured - a procession to talent that served Pakistan well over the years. Sadiq Mohammad, Haroon Rasheed, Sikander Bakht, Ashraf Ali, Ehteshamuddin, Mansoor Akhtar, Tauseef Ahmed, Mudassar Nazar, Basit Ali, Rashid Latif, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis and Azhar Mahmood, among others, all played for UBL at one point or another in the bank's time.
The privatisation of the bank and a subsequent change in management in 1997 brought an end to the bank's sports department, at a time when a number of other banks and organisations also pulled out for financial reasons. But their ground, the UBL Sports Complex, was kept on as a first-class ground in Karachi as was the academy. The former Test batsman Mansoor Akhtar, who now heads the bank's sports department, continued to push the management, however, to invest in sports again.
"I was involved with the UBL sports complex after the sports department shut down and the academy as well, and kept pushing for sports to re-start," Akhtar told ESPNcricinfo. Five seasons ago, the bank's management agreed and UBL returned to the second tier of domestic cricket, Grade II. This season, with a young side made up mostly of its own academy products, they have won the Grade II title and finally returned.
"We have eight players in our side from our academy and they have been exceptional this season," Akhtar said. "Guys like Sharjeel Khan [the young, left-handed opener who hit two centuries in the final] and Saad Sukhail [another left-handed top order batsman who came to the UBL academy when he was 10] have done really well for us and will be big prospects over the coming years."
The bowling is led by former Test fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed, who also captained the side this season, and includes one-time tearaway quick Mohammad Irshad and Rumman Raees Khan, a left-arm fast bowler Akhtar is particularly excited about. Though Akhtar is keen to keep the bulk of the side and a number of players, such as former U19 talent and Karachi regular Ali Asad, have sufficient first-class experience for regional sides, in any case.
But he realises a few big-name acquisitions may have to be made if UBL are to be competitive next season. "We will speak to the management about getting some big names because Grade II to Grade I is a big leap. But we have done it now and it's amazing. We're hoping that soon we can put UBL back on the path to those glory days that we are so proud of."

Pakistan tightens agent rules

Pakistan cricket chiefs on Wednesday released a new set of tighter regulations for the registration of players' agents in light of last year's spot-fixing scandal.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in future approved agents needed to have clearance from the police and the cricket board of the country the agent lives in."These regulations shall be applicable with immediate effect to all persons wishing to act as agents for the cricketers who have or are representing Pakistan at all levels or who participate in cricket organised by the PCB," a statement said.
The regulations follow a spot-fixing scandal involving three Pakistani players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif – and their agent Mazhar Majeed.
The three players have been handed lengthy bans on charges of corruption relating to last year's Lord's test against England in which the trio were alleged to have taken money from Majeed for deliberately delivering no-

Gayle's decision to opt out of Pak series for IPL angers WICB

Former captain Chris Gayle's decision to give the entire home series against Pakistan a miss for the lucrative IPL has angered the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), which described the opener's move as "unacceptable and disappointing ". 

In a statement, the WICB today confirmed that it had granted No Objection Certificate to Gayle to play for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL after "he had officially notified the board of his decision not to make himself available for selection for the Pakistan leg of the Digicel Series." 

"Gayle informed the WICB that he had received an offer to participate in the IPL and applied to the WICB for a No Objection Certificate to cover the entire duration of the IPL which clashes with the Pakistan leg of the Digicel Series," the statement read. 

"The WICB does not accept Gayle's reason for making himself unavailable but as he has already clearly made his choice and has travelled to India, the WICB does not wish to stand in his way. 

"The WICB is most disappointed in the manner in which Gayle has handled the entire situation, especially given the mature and cooperative manner in which two other players who refused contracts -- Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard -- made themselves available for selection and agreed to an understanding in the best interest of West Indies cricket," it added. 

Gayle, who remained unsold in the IPL 4 auctions earlier this year after attracting a base price of $400,000 was on Tuesday roped in by Bangalore as a replacement for injured Australian left-arm pacer Dirk Nannes. 

The WICB said that it was taken by surprise by Gayle's decision as it was under 4 the impression that the opener, who was rehabilitating an abdominal strain he suffered during the World Cup, was preparing for the Pakistan series under the supervision of a medical team in Jamaica. 

"At the conclusion of the Cricket World Cup, Gayle underwent a medical examination in the UK. Following Gayle's consultation with a UK doctor it was determined that he would require at least 2 to 3 weeks of rest before returning to training. 

"The WICB was surprised to learn that Gayle had been making arrangements to play cricket inIndia when the WICB was under the clear impression that he was recovering from injury and was undergoing rehabilitation work and about to resume training," the statement said. 

The West Indies board also made it clear that because of the injury Gayle was not considered for the first two ODIs against Pakistan. 

"After the resumption of training the WICB team management would have organised a fitness test to assess Gayle's fitness and decisions would have then been taken about his selection to the West Indies team to face Pakistan. 

"The squads for the third, fourth and fifth Digicel ODIs and the Digicel Tests have not yet been selected. It is therefore not accurate, as has been insinuated in some quarters, that Gayle was not selected for the entire Pakistan leg of the Digicel Series," the WICB stressed. 

Gayle had played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the first three editions of the IPL.

Pakistan cricket needs local not foreign coach

The World Cup 2011 having ended two weeks ago with India clinching the coveted trophy, the people’s interest in the outcome of the mega event is still alive. The reason seems to be a long spree of showering praise on our team for ‘losing the semifinals’. Awarding bags full of money by the Prime Minister, the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Sindh and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) totaling around Rs.2.5 million per player appears unjustified for the position they achieved. It shows a stark difference from Sri Lanka where the captain, vice captain and the selection committee resigned after losing the finals. Also compare it with the illustrious squad led by Imran Khan who brought the World Cup-92 to Pakistan. Since the PCB was not as rich as it is now and the government circles not as enthusiastic, the team did not receive even a fraction of this amount as reward. Our team has now focused its eyes on the World Cup 2015. Let it be clear that leaving good luck apart winning such a great event twice is not an easy job. India has achieved the honour after a lapse of 28 years. The glorious 1992 victory achieved under Imran’s valiant and highly commendable leadership left an ever lasting mark on the minds of cricket lovers. The team deserved much bigger honours and awards than the present ‘quarterfinal winning team’. To revive the glory of the World Cup 92’s great triumph and to honour the warriors I suggest that Imran’s victorious team should be invited in a grand function and each player given a monetary reward of a similar sum of Rs 2.5 million. With the PCB’s budget running into billions now the amount will be like a drop in the ocean but the act will be celebrated by the nation.

The selection of the Pakistan cricket team touring West Indies has drawn lot of comments. To win a big event or be successful on a tour a team must be the blend of youth and experience. Having defeated the West Indies by 10 wickets in the World Cup our cricket management took it as granted that the West Indies had perhaps lost their cricket prowess. The selection committee has thus stuffed the Pakistan team with all sorts of youngsters. Considering a highly talented all rounder like Abdul Razzaq having reached his end he was not selected. Despite the fact that Razzaq was not given the right place in the batting order he still performed better than others, especially as a bowler taking two wickets often. Similarly, Umar Gul was disheartened and mentally upset after a poor performance in the semifinals.

It was for the PCB to provide him some psychological treatment, encourage and assure him that he was the backbone of the team’s pace attack followed by motivating him to such an extent that he would sacrifice his ‘personal affairs’ for joining the team.

The consistent failure of our team’s batting has after all brought to focus the importance of a batting coach for the team. The cricket experts realized such a need long ago and expressed the same but the PCB did not care about it. It is sad that Javed Miandad, who was considered the best person for the job, has declined to accept the offer. I think he, somehow, has an adjustment problem with the younger lot. Otherwise too it was not proper to place him under Yaqar Younis, a player much junior to him. Since the education standards of our youngsters are pretty low I do not recommend the appointment of a foreign coach. The two top players I feel suitable for the job are Saeed Anwar and Inzamamul Haq. The PCB may try one of them.

The news of rebel Zulqarnain Haider returning to Pakistan after failing to get political asylum in Britain has rejuvenated the interest of cricket lovers in the sordid episode of his stupid act of abandoning the team in Dubai. With politics starting to poke its nose in national cricket he is coming back on the assurance of interior minister Rahman Malik who has promised to provide him ‘proper security’. With no bright prospects of a gainful occupation in Pakistan he would make all efforts to return to national cricket with all the apologies and requesting for pardon. The crime of putting Pakistan’s cricket in the worst embarrassment of all times that he committed is not pardonable. I suggest that the PCB should strictly adhere to its policy of ‘no compromise on discipline’ and shun him from entering the national cricket. Our cricket cannot accept any more pollution in its ranks and files.

When Indian cricket team was cheered from across the border

India's victory over Pakistan in the recently concluded ICC World Cup was celebrated not only across the country but also on the other side of the border by the Indian prisoners, who were languishing in a Karachi jail.
On March 30, jail authorities in Pakistan made special arrangements for screening of the match on a large screen following which about 300 Indian fishermen and 900 Pakistani prisoners sat together to watch the memorable semifinal in Mohali, said several of the Indian fishermen, who were released from jail as part of cricket diplomacy by Pakistan.
"It was the most exciting and memorable moment ever spent by me while languishing in the Pakistani jail non- humanitarian and unhygienic conditions," Karsan Kana, a fisherman from Vasar village of Kodinar taluka who spent a little less two years in prison, told PTI.
"The Indian fishermen were given Indian tricolours and Pakistani prisoners their national flags for cheering their teams," said Balu, another released prisoner.
The meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counter-part Yousuf Raza Gilani during the match gave us a ray of hope about our release, said Govind.
Prisoners from both the countries watched the match together and also prayed for our release and normalising of ties between the two countries, he added.
The fishermen felt that both the Indian and Pakistani governments must take a lenient view of the fishermen straying inadvertently as they are not criminals and are just trying to earn a livelihood.
Eighty-nine Indian fishermen, mostly from Gujarat, Diu and Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Bihar, freed from prison by Pakistan were repatriated across the Wagah land border last week.
India had earlier in the week released 39 Pakistani prisoners.

I don't have temperament to play Test cricket: Afridi

Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has defended his decision to quit Test cricket, saying he does not have the temperament to play the traditional format of the game. Afridi though feels that he should not have ended his Test career without completing the series against Australia in England last year My decision was absolutely the right one. I don't think I am a Test-temperament player, hence it's best that instead of me, players more suited to Test cricket are selected," Afridi said.
Afridi had quit the five-day format after Pakistan lost to Australia at Lord's, last year.
Afridi said he did not become the Pakistan Test captain by choice and he was pressurised to take up the job in the interest of the team.
"I didn't want to accept, but I was under pressure to accept it. I was advised that the unit that I had built [in ODIs] should be continued in Tests too. I didn't want to back out or let the team down. The team was going through a difficult phase and we were trying to re-build the team (hence I accepted)," he said.
"However, I had made it clear that if I didn't enjoy it, I would leave. I should not have quit after that first Test, but I realised that Test cricket is not for me," he told
Afridi said the ODI side need to learn to utilise the batting powerplay well.
"Quite a few teams have faced problems with regards to the batting powerplay. For us, when we take the batting powerplay, we start losing wickets, so then we thought it's probably best to delay the powerplay and take it right at the end to avoid losing wickets earlier.
"I do realise we have this problem. The coach and I have discussed this in detail and hopefully we will see some better results on this in the upcoming series in the West Indies."
Afridi said he was happy to play the role of a floater batsman and was focusing more on his bowling which had paid rich dividends in the World Cup in which he took 21 wickets.
"For the past three or four years, I am a bowling all-rounder. I have focused a lot on my bowling in this period and Alhamdolillah it has worked well."
"I should use my batting according to the situation. There should be no set position for me," he said

Afridi : Outclassing West Indies in WC is a part of past

The captain of Pakistan cricket team Shahid Afridi has said that outclassing West Indies in World Cup is a part of past now we have to face the challenge of defeating Caribbean side on their home ground. He was talking to media before departure to West Indies. He said that this series is golden chance for new players to show their abilities. He said that our team consists of young players and we don’t have experienced fast bowler in this tour.

 I will concentrate on my batting: Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi said that West Indian conditions are similar to Sub-continent which supports the batsmen. But in despite of this we have to give special attention on batting.
He said that I will concentrate on my batting. It is to be remembered that he took 21 wickets in World Cup but he failed to do something with bat.

Shahid Afridi hopes best from youngsters

Shahid Afridi said that we can’t do much preparation in two-day conditioning camp but it gave the chance for players to gather but we have some days to practice in West Indies. He said that I am hopeful that the young players will show their abilities in the tour. At the end Shahid Afridi said that this series will help us to prepare for Twenty20 World Cup.

Build stadium on Pakistan-India border Says Zaheer Abbas

Former Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas said on Tuesday that a new stadium should be built straddling the India-Pakistan border as a way of reviving cricket relations between the arch rivals.
Pakistan last month played their first match in India - the World Cup semi-final - since the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that left 166 people dead and which New Delhi blamed on extremists across the border.
The incident badly strained relations between the two countries and also stalled sporting ties.
But since the semi-final there have been suggestions that a resumption of cricket and other sports between the two countries could be on the cards.
Abbas, a Pakistani who - unusually - is also hugely popular in India for his batting exploits, which fetched him the title of "the Asian Bradman", suggested a shared stadium could play a vital role in improving relations.
"Build a stadium at Wagah border so that there are no problems of India not coming to Pakistan, and Pakistan not going to India," Abbas, a former Pakistan captain, told AFP.
"Half of the portion should be in Pakistan and half should be in India so that fans don't need any visa. Pakistani fans should support their team from their side and Indians from their side and this example could also be followed in other sports."
Abbas, who played 78 Tests and 62 one-dayers during an illustrious career, said sports should not suffer as a result of often tricky diplomacy.
"Sports of both the countries have suffered because of the politics, but people from both the sides want to see their teams playing -- be it hockey, cricket or any other sport," said Abbas.
Pakistan Cricket Board officials have said they are in discussion with their Indian counterparts for a short cricket series later this year, although security fears for travelling teams in Pakistan remains a stumbling block.
Pakistan have played games and series in neutral countries, but Abbas said that was damaging.
"If Pakistan and India play at a neutral venue, how will people of both the countries get to watch Indo-Pak series? It should be in India or Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan Make Winning Start To West Indies Tour

Pakistanis 287-7 (Mohammad Hafeez 101) beat
University of West Indies VC XI 219-8 by 68 runs
Tour game, Saint Lucia

Pakistan made a winning start to their tour of the West Indies by beating the University of West Indies Vice-Chancellor's XI by 68 runs in a 50-over tour game in Saint Lucia.
Stand-in captain Mohammad Hafeez scored a century, Umar Akmal hit 57 not out and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman took four wickets in a fine all-round performance from the tourists.
They begin against the West Indies with a Twenty20 International - for which bet365 make them 1/2 favourites - on 21st April before playing five One-Day Internationals and two Test matches.
Hafeez made 101 before retiring as Pakistan scored 287 for seven with Taufeeq Umar (44) and Ahmed Shehzad (49) also making useful contributions.
In reply, the West Indies XI closed on 219 for eight with Dwayne Bravo hitting 63 and Nkruma Bonner, who had earlier taken three wickets, making 43.
Rehman perfomed impressively to remove both of those batsmen as well as Chadwick Walton and Kjorn Ottley.
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