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Friday, June 24, 2011

Tendulkar loses top spot to Kallis in ICC Test rankings

Sachin Tendulkar today lost the coveted number one spot in the ICC Test rankings to South Africa's Jacques Kallis but Rahul Dravid, adjudged man-of -the-match for scoring a century in the first Test against West Indies, returned to the top-20 after jumping nine places.

According to an ICC media release, left-hander Suresh Raina, too, moved up 26 places to be placed 61st after his after his useful knock of 82 in the first innings against West Indies at Kingston.

Tendulkar lost the top after the iconic batsman decided to skip the series against West Indies. He is currently placed second.

As a player loses one per cent of his rating points for every Test he misses, Tendulkar will lose more points as he will not figure in the remaining two Tests.

However, the Mumbaikar will still enter next month's Test series against England as the number two batsman.

Dravid, who notched up a patient 112 on a difficult Sabina Park pitch, earned 45 rating points for his effort and is placed at the 20th spot.

This is Dravid's best position since November 2010 when he slipped out of the top 20 following the Nagpur Test against New Zealand.

The veteran batsman's seven-hour vigil at the crease set the platform for India's 63-run victory, and a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Dravid had won the ICC Cricketer and ICC Test Player of the Year awards in 2004. Other batsmen losing ground include VVS Laxman (13th), down by five places, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (38th), down by two places.

Among the bowlers, fast bowler Ishant Sharma has moved up three places to 11th position after returning with figures of 3-29 and 3-81 in the Jamaica Test.

West Indies opener Adrian Barath has rocketed 29 places to 62nd after his scores of 64 and 38.

But Shivnarine Chanderpaul, (8th), slipped by a place, Ramnaresh Sarwan (39th), by two, while Brendan Nash slipped down five places to be 52nd.

Wrist spinner Devendra Bishoo maintained his upward movement and is ranked 49th. He moved up 12 places after returning match figures of 7-140.

Dale Steyn of South Africa maintained his pole position among Test bowlers followed by England's Graeme Swann and James Anderson in second and third positions, respectively.

Styris retires from international cricket

Scott Styris, the New Zealand allrounder, has announced his retirement from all international cricket. Styris, who will turn 36 next month, had retired from Tests in 2008, but continued playing one-day and Twenty20 internationals for New Zealand, and was part of their run to the semi-final during the 2011 World Cup. With 4483 runs, Styris is New Zealand's sixth-highest run-getter in ODIs.

His retirement comes at a time when New Zealand have just appointed a new captain in Ross Taylor. Styris said he reflected on his future after the World cup and decided it was time for him to step aside as the team began a new era.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed representing my country," Styris said. "It has been an honour and a pleasure to play for New Zealand alongside so many quality players over the years and to have been a part of many key moments during that time.

"Not being on the international circuit means more time at home and I'm really looking forward to spending more time with my family."

After the World Cup, Styris flew to India to play for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. Despite playing just two matches in their season, he said he intends to continue playing Twenty20 cricket in domestic competitions. "I really enjoy the T20 format of the game and see it as a way to stay involved in cricket for another year or two if I can." He is currently playing for Essex in the Friends Life t20 in England and will play for Northern Knights in the HRV Cup in New Zealand later in the year.

Styris, an integral part of New Zealand's one-day side during the early 2000s, was in and out of the team between 2008 and 2010, but eventually made it to the squad for the 2011 World Cup. He could not however conjure up the form he had shown in previous World Cups; he averaged 45.75 in the 2003 edition, and scored a hundred and four fifties, in addition to taking nine wickets, in the 2007 edition.

Though New Zealand have had a disappointing run in the recent past, Styris has been part of some important successes. He noted winning the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000, in Kenya, and scoring a hundred on Test debut at Queen's Park, in a series that ended up being New Zealand's first Test series victory in the West Indies, as the highlights of his career. "Winning the Champions Trophy in Kenya was awesome given it was also the first time New Zealand won an ICC event. It was also memorable to score a hundred and take wickets on my Test debut, knowing it contributed to a historic series win."

New Zealand Cricket CEO Justin Vaughan said he was aware Styris' departure was imminent for some time, but the team would miss his consistency. "Scott has been one of our most consistent performers and a real go-to man in big games," Vaughan said. "He was someone who always seemed to play his best under pressure. His competitive attitude and the leadership he demonstrated while in the New Zealand team will be missed.

"However, we support his decision to retire from international cricket. It has been signaled for some time."

Styris played 188 ODIs for New Zealand, scoring four centuries and taking 137 wickets in addition to his runs. He played 29 Tests and scored five centuries.

DRS, end of rotation system top ICC's agenda

The usage of controversial Decision Review System in all Test and ODI matches and the proposal to end the rotational policy in the appointment of ICC presidents post 2015 will top the agenda in the annual conference of the world body beginning on Sunday in Hong Kong.

The five-day annual conference, which is expected to be a stormy affair, will begin with the meeting of ICC Chief Executives' Committee (June 26 & 27) followed by ICC Executive Board (June 28 & 29) and Full Council (June 30).

The ICC said the usage of the DRS in Test matches, ODI and Twenty20 series, has got unanimous approval from its Cricket Committee of which former Indian captain Ravi Shastri is a member.

"While acknowledging the broadcast contracts that currently exist, the ICC Cricket Committee was unanimous in its recommendation that DRS should be used in all Test matches and also unanimously recommended that DRS should be used in ODI and T20I series with each side allowed one unsuccessful review per innings," the ICC said in a statement.

"The suggestions were made following detailed technical analysis and supported by what the committee agreed was a successful application during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," it said.

Another controversial topic in the agenda would the proposal to bring in a constitutional amendment to end the rotational policy in the appointment of ICC president once the term of Sharad Pawar's successor Alan Issac (New Zealand) is over in 2015.

The move likely to face vehement opposition from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Under the existing policy, the two countries are to present their nominees for the post of ICC president and vice-president.

"The Full Council will also consider a further constitutional change to the process for the nomination and election of the ICC President. Under the new proposal, the Executive Board will decide the process and term of office from time to time, subject to certain qualifying criteria," the ICC statement said.

"This would remove the current rotational system of nomination and the fixed term of appointment as set out in the ICC Articles of Association," it said.

The ICC will also revisit its earlier decision to restrict 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand to only 10 Full Members, following protests from Associate Members and former cricketers. It said a Test play-off for the top four teams has been approved to take place in England in 2013.

"At its meeting in Mumbai on 4 April 2011, after having previously agreed a 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the ICC Executive Board agreed that the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 would comprise of 10 ICC Full Members. The Board also confirmed its decision taken in October 2010 that ICC World Twenty20 should be a 16-team event and that promotion and relegation would be introduced from 2019.

"These decisions were part of the package of strategic restructuring of bilateral cricket and ICC events aimed at providing greater context and content for international cricket. As part of this, a Test play-off for the top four teams was also approved to take place in England in 2013.

"Following decisions and responding to representations from various quarters, ICC President Sharad Pawar will ask the ICC Executive Board to revisit its decision to restrict the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 to the 10 Full Members."

Other important matters to be taken up first by the CEC before going to ICC Board include a study by Cricket Committee into day/night Test matches and amendments on the current code of conduct regulations to allow suspension of a captain after two offences for slow over-rate breaches (previously three).

The CEC will consider the recommendations of the Cricket Committee to use two balls in each ODI innings - one from each end. The step is aimed at improving the balance between bat and ball and to give 50-over cricket a distinct identity.

"Currently the ball is replaced after 34 overs. It also recommended that teams should only be allowed to take the batting and bowling powerplays between overs 16 and 40," the ICC said.

"The committee also suggested that trials of the following playing conditions be conducted in domestic cricket before being considered for international cricket -- removal of the restriction on the maximum number of overs each bowler could deliver; no compulsory close-catchers; a maximum of four fielders outside the 30-yard fielding circle during non-powerplay overs; the number of bouncers that can be delivered per over to be increased from one to two."

The CEC will seek to confirm and recommend the Future Tours Programme to ICC Executive Board for its consideration.

The Full Council of the ICC will consider another constitutional amendment aimed at ensuring free elections of Member boards and avoiding undue government interference in the administration of cricket, in line with the regulations of other major sporting bodies.

The ICC Executive Board and CEC will receive a detailed post-event report on the successful staging of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. Although the event was universally regarded as a success and one of the best cricket events in history, the report will highlight shortcomings around ticketing and stadia construction.

The report acknowledged the high standard of cricket and praises the excellent pitches and outfields. It also noted that the three host countries now have a legacy of excellent cricket facilities following the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

The ICC Board will also consider recommendations from the CEC, the ICC Security Task Force on introducing mandatory safety and security regulations and a final report from the Pakistan Task Team.

Afridi, Akhtar to play in Chicago Carnival T20

Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar are among four top international players, who have been invited to play in Carnival T20 cricket which is traditionally played on the USA Independence day July four in Chicago, according to information received here Thursday.
Other players who have received invitation from the organizers are Imran Nazir and Rizwan Cheema of Canada. An organisation called American Cricket Conference CEO Sohail Bari Khurram is organizing the event. The organizers have already started publicizing the event and big posters featuring photographs of top players have been placed at vantage points. Tickets are said to be on sale . The price of entry ticket is as high as US dollar 500.

PCB under fire from Lahore High Court

 Pakistan Cricket Board on Friday came under scathing criticism from Lahore High Court for failing to file a reply on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's petition against the ban imposed on him on disciplinary charges.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed lambasted the working of the Board for its failure to file a reply on a writ petition by Akhtar against the 18-month ban and fine of seven million rupees imposed on him by the appellate tribunal of the Board.

"The board is destroying cricket. I don't know how the board is operating and I am surprised at the failure to file their reply," the Justice remarked.

Akhtar had challenged the ban and fine that was imposed on him some two years ago. The Lahore High Court had suspended the ban and allowed Akhtar to play cricket but the Board has already deducted the fine of seven million rupees from the fast bowler's earnings with them.

Akhtar announced his retirement from international cricket during the recent World Cup and also pulled out of the Sri Lankan Premier League Twenty20 tournament owing to his personal and business commitments.

The High Court set the next date of hearing for September 27 while directing the PCB legal advisor to file his reply before that date at any cost.

PCB's legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi, however, claimed that the Judge had passed the remarks in a light mood.

"I told the Judge during recession that his remarks would be played up and give a negative portrayal of the board in the media," Rizvi said.

He said he had outlined the policy of the Board on the Akhtar case clearly.

"I told the honourable court that the Supreme Court had already ruled in another case in our favour that is similar to this one the writ filed by Shoaib should be dismissed," he said.

National Twenty20 explodes into action today

A tough battle between willow and leather is on the cards as fifth National Day and Night Twenty20 Cricket Tournament set to explode at the Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium from Friday (today).
Faisalabad Wolves, led by national team skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, will take on Multan Tigers (captained by fast bowler Abdul Rauf) in the opening match at 5:00 pm. An interesting battle is likely to be witnessed during the match as both the teams having good players in their fold.
Rawalpindi Rams (captained by discarded pace bowler Sohail Tanvir) will face Karachi Dolphins (led by discarded pacer M Sami) in the second match of the day to be started at 9:00 pm. Both teams also have good players in their squads and team that hold nerves will be winner of the games.
Sohail Tanvir while talking to this scribe said that his team has worked hard and would give tough time to opponents. He said that three players of his team including new opener Owais Zia, who played exceptionally well in the domestic tournament, Test discard Umar Amin and national team all-rounder Hammad Azam would be a treat to watch. Sohail said that he is fully fit and bowling with full pace and rhythm and will try to play a big part in his team's victory.
FAISALABAD WOLVES: Misbah ul Haq (Capt), M Hafeez, Asif Hussain, M Asif, Ali Waqas, Khurram Shahzad, Abdul Rauf, M Talha, Faisal Yasin, M Shahid, Zahoor Ahmad, Mustansar, Naveed Latif, Zulqarnain
MULTAN TIGERS: Abdul Rauf (Capt), Zeeshan Ashraf, Ali Moazzam, Zulfiqar Babar, Naveed Yasin, Gulraiz Saddaf, M Zahid, M Irfan, Zain Abbas, Taimoor Dogar, Rameez Alam, Yasir Arafat, Ansar Javed, Ahmad Raza.
RAWALPINDI RAMS: Owais Zia, Naveed Malik, Umar Amin (Vice Captain), Zahid Mansoor, Adnan Mufti, Hammad Azam, Sohail Tanvir (Capt), Jamal Anwar, M Rameez, Samiullah, Raza Hassan, Muzammil Nizam, Tayyab Riaz, Saddaf Hussain.
KARACHI DOLPHINS: Khalid Latif, Shahzaib Hassan, Asad Shafiq, Rameez Raja, Fawad Alam, Sarfraz Ahmad, Tariq Haroon, Misbah Khan, Azam Hussain, M Sami (Capt), Sohail Khan, Rameez Aziz, Tanvir Ahmad, Haris Ayaz.

10 reasons why Ijaz Butt should quit

Many have come and gone trying to present reasons for him to be sacked, but to no avail. I would also like to enter and ebb in the endless list of those who believe Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ijaz Butt should resign or be sacked.
Below are 10 reasons that I believe are enough for Mr Butt to vacate his post:
1. At 73, it’s time Mr Butt heads the PVCB (Pakistan Veterans’ Cricket Board) instead of the PCB. The manager of the PVC team can still be his long time friend from Hoshiarpur, Intikhab Alam who himself is 70 years of age.
2. The next cricket world cup isn’t scheduled to take place in Pakistan, so we don’t actually need someone (Ijaz Butt) to give it away, for at least four more years.
3. Since Shahid Afridi announced his retirement, there are no more superstars left in the Pakistan team for the PCB chief to humiliate.
4. Butt needs to realise that Mr Ahmed Mukhtar has other relatives too, who he needs to please. He should make way for them.
5. There are no more accolades lefts for him to achieve. U-turns on roads have already been renamed. They are now called ‘Ijaz Butts.’
6. It’ll be some time till the next Akmal grows old enough to join the Pakistan team so there won’t be anyone for Butt to pamper.
7. No cricketer in the present bunch is interested in becoming an ‘episodic’ captain.
8. A proposed amendment to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) constitution (if approved) would allow the governing body to suspend a member in case of government interference in the running of a national cricket board (I think they’re talking about you Mr Butt.I suggest you take the hint.)
9. The selection committee has become rather rusty. It’s about time we let it select teams.
10. The PCB head’s chair has finally said, “You resign, or else I will!”

Pakistan Blind Cricket team not less than the normal sportsman

when it comes to sports Pakistan Blind  Cricket team is no less than the normal teams as it also bring laurels to the country. Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) is the sole administrative  authority over cricket for the blind in Pakistan, also a member of  Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and founder member of World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC). PBCC was founded in 1997. According to the details provided by the PBCC, Pakistan Blind Cricket team reached in the final of all the three editions of Blind Cricket World Cup and won the last two World Cups consecutively besides this Pakistan won 9 International series out of played 10.

Recently, Pakistan Blind Cricket team whitewashed Australia at Adelaide (3-0 in ODI’s and 3-0 in T-20’s), South Africa (3-0 in ODI’s and 3-0 in T-20’s), England (3-0 in ODI’s and 1-0 in T-20’s) and Nepal 3-0 in ODI’s and 2-0 in T-20’s).
Pakistan scored the 517 runs against South Africa on 9th December 2010  (Cape Town) which the highest in One-Day Internationals and also attained the World record of highest margin win of 399 runs.
Pakistan also holds the record of highest total successfully chased of 439 runs against England (Sharjah April 2010), which is the highest total successfully chased in any form of cricket Pakistan also holds the world record highest score in T-20 cricket of 274 runs, set against England April 2010.

The Great Dangal

Professional wrestling on television is one of the most popular programmes internationally. It has all the thrills and excitement including rough and tough grappling, no holds barred punching which apparently should cause grievous injuries to contestants. In actual fact nothing of that sort happens and it is all a great drama staged for spectators and viewers. The style of these professional wrestlers is so original and spell binding that spectators stay glued to TV screens. The latest contest between PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, who definitely falls in the category of Pakistani grapplers, and former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was just developing into one such contest when it finished abruptly with the referee intervening to stop it as a draw without either party being able to floor the opponent. I had vowed to myself not to write about cricket affairs because it doesn’t make any difference. But the latest bout was so spicy that I can’t help indulging in commenting on the tactics used by the two parties. 

It all started when Afridi, after his return from West Indies, openly commented on problems of the Pakistan team during that tour and the differences he had to face with the team coach and manager especially over selection matters. This public outburst was indirect violation of the code of conduct, which Afridi had signed as a player. The PCB promptly issued him a show cause notice and followed it up by revoking Afridi’s NOC to play professional cricket in England and Sri Lanka where he had already signed lucrative contracts. This greatly upset Afridi because he was now in danger of losing millions if the NOC was not granted. He had earlier announced his retirement plans. Afridi immediately flew home from England where he was all set to play for Hampshire county. His return to Pakistan was converted into a big political venture with hundreds of banners supporting Afridi strung all over Karachi. (By the way, who paid for all those expensive colour posters and banners?) He was received by cheering fans and supporters like a political leader on his arrival at Karachi airport, some of his spectators going to the extent of carrying him on their shoulders. He vowed to fight the ‘Punjab-based PCB’ and promptly filed a case in Sindh High Court. His comments about the board being ‘Punjab based’ was downright stupid because it was the same ‘Punjab-based board’ that had elevated him to the status of Pakistan captain over and above many equally deserving candidates. 

He also failed to realise that once the court proceedings started, there was no guarantee of a quick decision in his favour and the longer the court battle continues, the lesser the chances of Afridi meeting the professional commitment he had made with Hampshire and the Sri Lanka Twenty20 League. Some personalities especially from Karachi jumped into this foray to grind their own axe. On the other hand the PCB had a fool proof case because Afridi had signed the code of conduct specified for all members of the Pakistan team and he had to admit publicly that he had violated it. The PCB was so confident of their ground that they were quite happy to contest this case in the court. 

Shahid Afridi's debut for Hampshire ( Pictures )

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