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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Shahid Afridi and PCB's legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi Addressing the media ..| video |

Indoor cricket will boost domestic scene

Dayle Hadlee (standing) and Mudassar Nazar

The Dubai Cricket Council's (DCC) initiative to stage an indoor cricket tournament will open a new era in domestic cricket.
With the International Cricket Council having one of the finest indoor cricket facilities in the world, this move will give a big boost to hundreds of cricketers in the UAE who have specialised in indoor cricket.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dayle Hadlee, Head Coach of the Global Academy who formulated the special rules for the tournament, said: "Indoor cricket is popular worldwide. There is [a] huge amount of interest and enthusiasm for it. It is also an opportunity for the cricketers to use the excellent facilities we have here."
Elaborating on the rules, Hadlee said: "Depending on the facility, rules too changes. In some places indoor cricket is played without much running between the wickets due to shortage of space, but here we have a huge facility that they will have to run to score runs."
Incidentally, even if a batsman hits a six or a boundary, it will be counted only if he runs a single.
All matches will be 16 over per side. Each batting pair will bat for four overs and five runs will be deducted for each dismissal. Until now, indoor cricket was confined to Insportz, which regularly hosted tournaments. Danube team has so far been the best.
Huge success
Former Test Mudassar Nazar, who conducted the draw, said: "The indoor cricket will be a huge success as we have excellent surface. I used to practice indoor while in England and improved my bowling a lot. The extreme weather in UAE will help cricketers not to lose out on practice."
Ekta Hutton, the Global Academy general manager said: "We were astounded by the response with over 25 teams wanting to play. For a start we had to restrain to 12 teams and will include more teams for Ramadan indoor tournament."

Hayden support 10-team World Cup, says it is for premium sides

Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden feels that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has taken the right decision in cutting down to ten the number of participating teams in the next World Cup.
Hayden, now a director of Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket, sympathised with Ireland and other associate members who were left out from the 2015 cricket World Cup, but said the World Cup should be for premium sides.
"I sympathise with the arguments but these competitions are about the world's finest and even though Ireland produced some outstanding cricket, which shows the support mechanisms for our developing nations are working, I still think the World Cup should be for the premium sides," Hayden, who won the World Cup twice in 2003 and 2007, was quoted as saying by The Cricketer.
In April, the ICC voted to exclude associate nations from a 10-team World Cup in 2015 but ICC President Sharad Pawar has since agreed to review the decision at the Executive Board meeting in Hong Kong later this month.
"I would like to see further changes to the World Cup because you do not want to disenfranchise a community. They need to be involved in the system that promotes and relegates. If Ireland are sitting in the top eight, there is a system where sides have the chance to miss out. It's not a Test-ranking competition, it's a one-day competition. I support a 10-nation tournament," he said.

Is Test cricket dead? Not by a long shot

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is desperately looking for ways to reignite interest in Test cricket. With the advent of Twenty20 cricket, which captured the fancy of cricket enthusiasts around the world, Test cricket is in danger of extinction. Ideas are aplenty including the introduction of a World Test Championship and holding day and night Test matches.
It appears as if administrators have lost faith in the traditional game’s ability to remain contemporary and feel that changes are necessary to keep it relevant. However, on closer scrutiny the game with all its nuances and idiosyncrasies is still loved by the diehard fans – if the game it top quality. Unfortunately, it is this aspect that the ICC and the respective cricket boards have failed to address over the recent years. There are a number of factors that have contributed towards the game’s decline.
It is important to recognise these factors and take corrective measures:
For the love of money
To start with, there has been far too much focus on quantity, and in the process, quality has been compromised rather ruthlessly. Money seems to have been the driving force behind the senseless surge in the number of matches held internationally.
The ICC’s Futures Tour Program (FTP) was developed with a view to keep a balance in the cricketing calendar. However, a look at the recent past reveals that it has miserably failed to serve its purpose. India is a case in point; the country has played as many as three Test series against Sri Lanka during the past two years and has played three series each, against Australia and South Africa, during the same period. The case of India-Pakistan rivalry also illustrates the point. The bilateral series held in 2004 after a gap of 14 years was a smashing success; as a result, the administrators got carried away and the two countries subsequently met each other four times in a matter of four years.  Not surprisingly, the novelty factor wore down and fans started losing interest.
Tired players and worn out pitches
Another adverse impact of excessive cricket is the player burnout. A number of top class cricketers have called it a day or have restricted themselves to the shorter formats of the game as their bodies cannot cope with the amount of international cricket that is being played these days. Cases in point are Shane Bond and Andrew Flintoff, two of the finest cricketers of the last decade. Sadly, the demands of excessive cricket took their toll and world cricket lost two of its greatest crowd pullers.
Too much cricket also means that the pitches are used excessively leaving them lifeless and contributing towards providing boring spectacles. For instance, the West Indian pitches, once known to be the friendliest for fast bowlers, are now totally dead and offer no assistance to the bowlers.
Inept boards
The officials handling cricket in the member countries have also not helped the matters by acting extremely irresponsibly. Their inept management has deprived Test cricket of some of its best players such as Chris Gayle and Mohammad Yousuf. Shoaib Akhtar continued to be a victim of his country’s administrators’ whims and fancies and could never represent his team on a sustained basis.
The so called ‘Asian Bloc’ also did a great disservice to the game by helping Bangladesh qualify as a Test team on purely political grounds. The progress the Bangladeshi team has made at the Test level in over a decade is for everyone to see; their inclusion among the elite has done nothing except bring the standard of cricket down.
Will day-night matches help?
The argument that day-night cricket will manage to pull back the fans will not stand true if nothing is done to revive the game’s standard. The example of the recently held series between Pakistan and West Indies proves the point. The series, despite being televised in the evenings, hardly generated any interest among Pakistani fans simply because the players representing the two teams and the quality of cricket were below par. Even the India-West Indies series is not getting the desired mileage because the top stars including Sachin Tendulkar have opted to skip the tour. On the other hand, day matches involving top players and offering high level of competition such as the Ashes regularly attract large viewership.
Corrective measures
The ICC should perhaps take the responsibility to restore the standard of cricket itself now. It should ensure that there are proper gaps in between two series played between the same opposition; the pitches are used optimally so that they retain their sporting character.
The ICC should also look to curtail the unlimited dose of inconsequential tournaments involving more than two teams which greatly contributes towards player burnout.
Lastly, the ICC should work in tandem with its member boards to guarantee that the top players, who are the real advertisement of the game, are handled properly in order to enhance the profile of this great game. Only then can the ICC hope to retain the followers’ interest in Test cricket.
Exclusivity has always remained cricket’s beauty. The fact that only 10 teams are allowed to compete at the highest level makes it different from any other game. The leisurely pace of Test cricket is unparalleled in contemporary sport. These are some of the facets of this game that the ICC should use to market it rather than trying to position it as any other fast paced sport such as football and basketball.
Rather than trying to tweak the game in order to attract a larger fan base, they should look to provide quality cricket to the diehards.

Yousuf, Misbah differ on impact of T20 on youth

Lahore: Former skipper Mohammad Yousuf and current Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq don't see eye to eye over the subject of the importance and impact of Twenty20 internationals on young cricketers.
While Yousuf told reporters in Lahore on Wednesday that young players need to stay away from the fastest format of cricket, Misbah feels T20 cricket was a reality that was here to stay in international cricket.
"I would advise young players in particular to stay away from T20 cricket because it does not allow them to develop or improve as proper cricketers," Yousuf said.
"The T20 format is such that there is no room for youngsters to improve or learn to play better cricket. To me it does not represent serious cricket," said Yousuf, who played 90 Tests and 288 ODIs but has featured in just three T20 matches for Pakistan.
Yousuf said he was concerned over the growing importance being given to T20 cricket in many countries and pointed out it was already affecting the careers of many players and forcing them to choose between cash and country.
He also advised the Pakistan board to just have one major domestic T20 event as it was popular with the people but said that should be the only T20 event in Pakistan.
Yousuf, who has not played for Pakistan since last November when he featured against South Africa in a one-day international in the UAE, felt that T20 didn't produce quality competition like Test cricket or one-day internationals.
However, Misbah, who has played 37 T20 internationals till now and even at 37 is still going strong in all three formats of the sport, told reporters that T20 cricket was essential for the better future of the sport.
"I would say that T20 cricket is here to stay because it is a huge entertainment for the people and television audiences and sports is supposed to entertain people," Misbah said.
He said that players just needed to adjust themselves to the different format and pace of the game.
"Any good player can do that and I think all three formats can co-exist together without any problems," he added.

Drop scene of afridi-PCB issue

Pakistani cricket all-rounder Shahid Afridi arrives for a news conference in Karachi, Pakistan on Monday, June 6, 2011. Lawyer of retired captain Afridi, Syed Zafar Ali says, the cricket board has not followed the due process. and has already suspended Afridi's central contract and has revoked all the No Objection Certificates of the enigmatic allrounder prior to the hearing on Wednesday.
The problem between afridi and PCB has been resolved.PCB will issue NOC to afridi.Due to violation of Board's code of  conduct, former captain will face penalty of 45 lac rupees.shahid afridi will appear infront of disiplinary committe headed by Sultan Rana.Lawyer of afridi says that penalty of 45 lacs has been imposed on afridi but he will get the  NOC to play county cricket.Afridi accepted that penalty with open heart.
 On one question he said that he has no intention to play international cricket .He will think on that issue and then he will decide.Remember that the deal between afridi and ijaz butt has made possible due to political pressure and now the problem between afridi and PCB has been resolved in the Afridi-Butt meeting.

Afridi's international future still uncertain

Shahid Afridi, PCB, Ijaz Butt, pakistan cricket

Shahid Afridi and the PCB may have reached a kind of compromise which sees both sides get what they want, but the issue of Afridi's international future remains shrouded in doubt still. After being removed as ODI captain, Afridi 'retired' from the international game, though he made it clear that it was a decision made in protest and a 'conditional' one; several times he said he would not play again under the current administration, but would reconsider if and when there was a change.
Under the compromise reached between Afridi and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt earlier this week, the formerwithdrew his petition against the board in the Sindh High Court and will face a board disciplinary committee hearing later on Thursday in Lahore. In return, he is expected to be granted the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) that allows him to play for Hampshire in the ongoing Friends Life t20 and later for one of the franchises in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL).
Increasingly as the dispute has escalated, Afridi has focused purely on being allowed to play for Hampshire and made little mention of his Pakistan future. Butt told ESPNcricinfo that Afridi's retirement "was not mentioned at all" during their meeting. "As far as the board is concerned he is still retired," Butt said.
A report in the leading Urdu daily Jang on Thursday suggests further that Afridi has not thought about his international future. At a function to mark the re-launch of the Jang group's sports channel Geo Super two nights ago - the channel has been off-air for nearly two months - the report quoted Afridi telling the audience that "the NOC was my right and nobody could stop him from getting it." When asked about his international future, Afridi gave no reply.
Further, the newspaper cited sources close to Afridi as saying at the same event that he has no immediate plans for a return and is only concentrating on the T20 events in England and Sri Lanka.
What has confused the issue, however, is a statement allegedly released by Afridi late on Wednesday night, in which he seems to suggest he still has an international future. "I have always served Pakistan and played cricket for my country and its people and the overwhelming love, honour and respect I have received in return is my biggest asset," part of the statement reads. "I have all the zeal and energy to play cricket for the nation for many years to come. I will be appearing before the disciplinary committee tomorrow, inshallah."
The statement has come from a close advisor of Afridi, but other sources insist that it does not convey the authentic sentiments of Afridi and that he has not owned up to it.
Afridi's desire for international cricket has come under scrutiny several times in the past. In 2006 he retired briefly from Test cricket - after his most successful phase in the format incidentally - to concentrate on the limited overs game. He took back that decision, however, soon after and even returned to play one Test - as captain no less - last summer in England. Immediately after leading Pakistan to a loss at Lord's against Australia, he resigned as captain and retired from the format again.
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