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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Afridi called Akram for advice before being sacked

Shahid Afridi had approached Wasim Akram for advice before being sacked as skipper in the wake of his outburst against coach Waqar Younis, the Pakistani fast bowling great has revealed.

However, the damage, by his comments, had been done as the PCB chose Misbah-ul-haq to lead the side in the ODI series against Ireland.

"Afridi called me to tell that he had spoken against Waqar and asked me what should I do? I told him do this... do that, (but) the next day he was sacked," the former left-arm pacer said during the launch of a book on Monday.

The book - The Winning Way - has been written by noted sports commentator Harsha Bhogle and advertising and communication consultant Anita Bhogle.

Afridi last week had spelt out his problems with Waqar over team selection issues after returning home from the West Indies.

Akram blamed both the PCB and the lack of consistency in the national team for Pakistan's failure to dominate world cricket despite having good players.

"Passion is not the reason (why Pakistan can't dominate). There is a lot of passion, but it is the lack of consistency from the team as well as the PCB. It affects the whole system."

"As a captain you have to know your players, but in Pakistan you also have to know the PCB chairman," he said sarcastically.

On whether he had spoken to Lakshmipathy Balaji, who was hit for 23 runs in the last over byMumbai Indians batsmen who needed 21 to win an IPL match, Akram, bowling coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, replied in the negative.

"I haven't spoken yet. I thought it was the field setting. There is no point in telling the youngster that there was something wrong," he asserted.

Sri Lanka officially refuses to tour Pakistan

Sri Lanka has refused an offer to tour Pakistan citing security concerns.

Pakistan has been starved of international cricketing action since 2009, when gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, killing six Pakistani policemen and two civilians.

The Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed Monday it had invited Sri Lanka for a series. But Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was not willing to send the team without security clearances.

The SLC has now confirmed that they will not be sending their team to Pakistan.

"We are concerned about the security and that's why we said no to them," said Sri Lanka Cricket chairman D.S. de Silva.

"Even the International Cricket Council has not given us security clearance. We are not going to send our team to Pakistan.

"I have asked the secretary to inform the Pakistan Cricket Board today (Tuesday) of the decision.

De Silva said they have, instead, asked Pakistan to arrange the series at a neutral venue.

"We have requested Pakistan to host the matches in Colombo or at a neutral venue like Dubai or Abu Dhabi," he said.

The PCB wanted to host three Tests, five One-day Internationals and one Twenty20 match in Pakistan in October-November


Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt believes the country is once again a "safe place" for international teams to tour.

Sri Lanka have turned down a PCB invitation to tour Pakistan in October, citing security reasons.

Speaking ahead of a three-match, one-day series between Pakistan's A team and Afghanistan, Butt said: "We want to send a message to the world that Pakistan is a safe place to play cricket and the people of Pakistan would welcome any team coming here.

"I take this opportunity to thank the Afghanistan Government and Afghanistan Cricket Board for sending their team.

"I hope this tour will pave the way for more such visits by foreign teams to Pakistan."

Pakistan has not hosted international cricket within its own borders - the nation was stripped of its status as 2011 World Cup co-hosts - since an attack on Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore left seven players and an assistant coach injured in 2009.

Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed in the attack, which occurred when gunmen ambushed the bus and opened fire.

The PCB had hoped to welcome Sri Lanka back for a tour in October, proposing a series comprising three Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20 match.

However, an attack at a Karachi naval base on Sunday prompted Sri Lanka Cricket to put the safety of its players first, deciding to reject the offer despite the PCB's security assurances.

Since the 2009 attack, Pakistan have been forced to play their home series on neutral territory, including the United Arab Emirates, England and New Zealand, with no cricketing nation willing to tour the troubled country.

Butt reckons Afghanistan's tour is a positive step.

He added: "The visit of Afghanistan cricket team is also a good sign for the game of cricket in Pakistan.

"Unfortunately, our cricket frenzy nation is being deprived of international cricket at home.

"Capacity-filled stadiums in domestic tournaments reflect how dear this game is for them.

"PCB, in this difficult time, has tried to keep the momentum rolling by concentrating more on domestic cricket and creating opportunities for the national team to play their home series at alternative venues.

"For the Afghanistan team tour, PCB has tried to ensure highest-level security and I thank the Government of Pakistan for providing that."

Using your head- funny cricket catch

Salman butt Edges the ball right to Trescothick's head and it Geraint Jones does the rest

Sachin-Kumble, Funny running absolute

Greatest Catch Ever! | video |

Niall O'Brien out of Pakistan match

Niall O’Brien’s unlucky run with injury has robbed the Northamptonshire player of the chance of putting Pakistan to the sword again the wicket-keeper was ruled out of the upcoming RSA series against the World Cup semi-finalists.
The 29-year-old from Sandymount was the hero of Ireland’s victory over Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup, with his innings of 72 helping secure a momentous three-wicket victory in Kingston.
The left-hander had started the English county season in exceptional fashion, scoring over 700 runs at an average of over 80, including a first one-day century last Friday against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.
It was early in that innings that he was struck on the left hand by a delivery from former England seamer Simon Jones and an X-ray today confirmed a fracture that is expected to keep him out for three weeks.
Ireland coach Phil Simmons has called up Clontarf batsman Andrew Poynter for the games on Saturday and Monday at Stormont, with Surrey’s Gary Wilson set to take over behind the stumps.
O’Brien missed six weeks last summer after surgery to the same hand and is frustrated that he won’t get the opportunity to transfer his good form onto the international stage.
“It’s annoying to have to miss these games, especially as I’m playing so well and hitting the ball so well,” said O’Brien. “I’ll have another X-ray in 10 days and would hope to be back playing in about three weeks.”

PCB mulls releasing Zulqarnain's dues

The Pakistan cricket Board is considering releasing the suspended payment of controversial wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider.
Well-placed sources said that the wicketkeeper had requested the interior minister Rehman Malik to help him in his case.
The PCB had held up all payments of Zulqarnain last year after he fled the Pakistan team hotel in Dubai last November during the one-day series against South Africa.
Haider landed up in London seeking asylum after he claimed that an unknown person had threatened him with dire consequences for not cooperating in fixing the one-day series against South Africa.
The keeper returned home in late April from London after withdrawing his asylum application with the British home office and after getting reassurances from Malik that he would be provided full security and safety in Pakistan.
"When Zulqarnain met with Rehman Malik he requested him to ask the PCB to release his payments from last year's series in England and in the UAE," one source said.
"Malik recently during his meeting with the PCB Chairman, Ijaz Butt told him that the board should consider helping out Zulqarnain as since he was not playing any cricket because of his case and was facing a financial crisis," the source said.
The board held up all payments to Zulqarnain after they held an inhouse inquiry into the entire episode and declared that the keeper had violated the team code of conduct by leaving the team hotel without permission of the team management.
The board has now formed a disciplinary committee to probe the case and record the statement of Zulqarnain who recently responded to the notice sent to him by the inhouse committee last year.
"The keeper is saying he is ready to face all consequences but the board should release him some payments as he is also not getting any help form his department who sacked him after he reached London," the source said.
The PCB has said that it would only take a decision on whether to allow Zulqarnain back into cricket after the disciplinary committee completes its proceedings.

Misbah-ul-Haq unlikely to last long as Pakistan ODI captain

The reign of Shahid Afridi as Pakistan's one-day international (ODI) captain was always expected to be a bumpy ride. The mercurial all-rounder had always been admired for his cricket, but it was his lack of application that was most disconcerting.
Apart from being indicted for pitch and ball tampering, he also had the penchant for routinely throwing his wicket away in a suicidal manner. If most followers and pundits of the game were wondering about the effect of his demeanour on his team, they were in for a pleasant surprise.
In the aftermath of the spot-fixing charges, Afridi led his charges admirably against England and South Africa. While both series resulted in 3-2 losses, the team had shown some fight. A series against New Zealand followed in which Afridi became the first captain to lead Pakistan to an ODI series win since November 2008.
What followed next was the 2011 World Cup in which not much was expected of the inexperienced cricketers from Pakistan. Confounding critics with inspirational captaincy, Pakistan exceeded expectations by topping their group and reaching the semi-final before succumbing to the eventual world cup champions, India. This was an exceptional achievement, for which Afridi deserves his fair share of credit.
A successful West Indies tour followed and in his short tenure Afridi had racked up 18 wins from 34 games in charge. Unfortunately for Pakistani cricket, the good news did not last long. Afridi duly shot himself in the foot by publicly criticising Waqar Younis, the team coach, thereby earning a rebuke and firm action from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
It came to light that while there had been strife within the Pakistani camp, the differences between Afridi, his teammates and coaching staff had always been placed on the back-burner in the interests of the team. With the quarrel between Waqar and Afridi coming out into the open, Ijaz Butt felt he had no option but to assert his authority and punish Afridi.
Afridi's public criticism of his coach is indefensible, but the severity of the punishment by the PCB also deserves scrutiny.
For starters, given the meagre resources at hand, the team had performed above expectations. It would make sense that such achievements should be encouraged and appreciated and players not punished for the slightest transgressions.
While Afridi may not come across as the most tactically astute player, his calming influence on the pitch has allowed the younger players to flourish.
Newcomers such as Asad Shafiq, Ahmed Shehzad and Wahab Riaz have excelled as they been embraced into the team and been given responsibilities. Change in leadership will certainly create doubts in these young talents as they will begin to watch over their back in case the new captain has other favourites.
As for the matter of differences between Afridi and Waqar, it is not unheard of in any organisation to have disagreements and it is usually the responsibility of the employer to facilitate affable compromise. While the details of the spat are not well-known, it is unlikely that the situation was without reprieve.
Instead of opening dialogue and listening to both sides of the story, the PCB decided to flex its muscles and send the message that as a captain Afridi had little say in team selection and should do as he was told.
Given that Misbah-ul-Haq, the new caretaker captain for the Ireland series, is not expected to last for long, one can only wonder when the PCB will do another about-face and bring "Boom Boom" back as captain. Or will we see some other ex-captain return?
Stability is certainly an unknown phenomenon in the PCB hierarchy and hence anything and everything is possible.

Af-Pak match Organisers ensure top class security measures

As cricket action moves here at the Diamond Ground, tight security measures are being taken to make the opening one-dayer between Afghanistan and Pakistan A on May 25 a big success.

Local civil, police administration and DGM securities are all geared up to provide foolproof security to the teams, officials and fans.

“CCTV camera, walk through gates, crowd management, metal detectors would be put in operation on the particular day and special technology will be used to monitor every movement in and around the Diamond Cricket Ground,” said Syed Nadeem Mansoor, chief executive DGM securities.

He mentioned that provision would be there to use jammers in case of any urgency.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in collaboration with Islamabad Cricket Association (ICA) is determined to make this event safe for all the participants.

“Almost 3000 tickets for general public would be made available for the opening matches and VVIPs and other government officials would be invited to watch the teams in action,” said Shakil Sheikh, president Islamabad Region.

“The ground provides the best possible atmosphere for the game. I hope visiting Afghanistan team and Pakistan A would like the ground.”

The Afghanistan team is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on Monday (today).

Afridi likely to miss Ireland series due to father's illness

 Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is considering skipping the two one-day match series against Ireland later this month due to his father's illness.

The flamboyant all-rounder wants to spend more time with his ailing father, who is receiving treatment in the United States.

"His brother is in the USA but Afridi wants to spend time with his father and might seek permission from the PCB in next few days," a source said.

Pakistan will be travelling to face Ireland in the two ODIs to be played on May 28 and 30.

Sources also added that Afridi, who left for the USA on May 17, was already depressed due to his shock removal as the captain of Pakistan's ODI team by the PCB.

Afridi was sacked by the chairman of the board, Ijaz Butt last week and replaced by senior batsman, Misbah-ul-Haq for the Ireland series.

Misbah is presently leading the team in the Test series against West Indies.

"Afridi is unhappy with the way he was removed as captain without being given any reason for the decision. He is all the more surprised since he led the team to the World Cup semi final and also to ODI series win over the West Indies," the source said.

Afridi was sacked after he criticised coach Waqar Younis for interference in team selection during the 3-2 one-day series win against the West Indies.
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