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Monday, June 27, 2011

England, Australia to play back-to-back Ashes

England and Australia will play 10 back-to-back Ashes Tests as part of the new future tours program agreed by cricket's world governing body on Monday.
Andrew Strauss's side face Australia at home in the English summer of 2013 and then will do it all again Down Under in the Australian summer.
The series form part of the Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the period from 2012 to 2020 finalised at a meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives committee in Hong Kong on Monday.
The back-to-back Ashes schedule is a result of Australia hosting the World Cup in 2015, when the return Ashes would normally be played.
The FTP contains an official two-week window in September for the Champions League Twenty20 each year and also leaves space for an unofficial IPL window in April and May, making it possible for players from most nations to participate in the money-spinning tournament.
England are scheduled to play 99 Test matches from 2012-20 while Australia will play 92 and India 90.
While England has two five-Test match series planned against India, Australia is yet to be able to squeeze in more than four games against the world's most powerful team.
India?s tours to England in 2014 and 2018 will include five Tests -- the only series of that length outside of the Ashes.
Sri Lanka and South Africa have 76 and 74 matches scheduled, the West Indies and New Zealand 66, Pakistan 65 with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe 42 and 41 games, respectively.
Pakistan, who are only allowed to play away from home following the 2009 terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, are scheduled to tour India in March and April 2013.
The Zimbabwean team has not played any Test cricket since 2005, after getting their Test status suspended by International Cricket Council (ICC), due to political turmoil in the country.
World Cup winners India have been scheduled to play 166 One-day Internationals, the biggest share and 102 more than Zimbabwe. All other nations will play between 100 and 160 games.
Most sides have been handed between 30 and 55 Twenty20 games in a move seen by observers as the ICC's attempt to rein in the format to keep 50-over ODIs alive.

ICC committee recommends banning of runners

The International Cricket Council’s chief executive committee (CEC) has recommended the use of two new balls from each end and the abolishing of runners in ODIs.

It has also recommended restricting the elective powerplays to between the 16th and 40th overs of each innings.

“CEC agreed with the ICC cricket committee’s recommendations for the further enhancement of international 50-over cricket with the restriction of the elective powerplays to between the 16th and 40th overs of each innings and also to the use of two new balls per innings — one from each end. This will come into effect from 1 October,” ICC said in a statement.

CEC agreed with the cricket committee’s recommendation to abolish runners in international cricket.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “Even though the success of 50-over cricket during the World Cup was universally acknowledged, the CEC rightly supported the enhancements recommended by the Cricket Committee to strengthen the format further, including encouraging members to trial some specific innovations in their domestic cricket.”

These innovations include a review of the maximum number of overs that a bowler can bowl; an increase in the number of short balls permitted per over from one to two; no compulsory requirement for close catchers; and a maximum of four fielders outside the 30-yard circle during non-powerplay overs.

The CEC, like the ICC Cricket Committee, was concerned at the slow over-rates in Test match cricket and agreed on stricter sanctions against captains for over-rate breaches.

“A captain will now be suspended for two over-rate breaches in a 12-month period in any one format of the game rather than the current position which is three breaches prior to suspension.”

Other cricket committee recommendations including the continued research into the use of different coloured balls to facilitate day and night Test matches and the directive that batsmen can be given out for obstructing the field if they change their direction when running between the wicket to block a run-out chance, were also approved.

ICC reviews ban on cricket minnows


THE ICC is reviewing its unpopular decision to limit the 2015 World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand, to the 10 full-member teams - excluding countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Kenya.

Cricket's governing body has begun its four-day annual conference in Hong Kong with all eyes on the controversial proposal, which caused outrage among the smaller nations.

ICC president Sharad Pawar has asked his board to discuss the matter at the conference, with the governing body looking to avoid a repeat of the seven-week World Cup, deemed by some critics as unnecessarily lengthy.

Officials are believed to be in favour of retaining a 10-team limit but may consider a qualifying tournament that would give minor nations a chance of reaching the event.

The conference will also consider moves, reportedly spearheaded by India and England, to scrap the two-year rotational presidency, although details of any new system remain unclear.

The proposal is expected to be met with vehement opposition from Pakistan and Bangladesh, who are scheduled to nominate the body's next but one leader to take power from 2014.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt told reporters before leaving for Hong Kong: "It's Pakistan's turn to nominate the president or the vice-president so we will not allow anyone to snatch that right.

"We have already shown our reservations on both the amendments and since the matter will be discussed at the meeting I am not going to make it more public."

Also on the agenda will be the issue of whether the ICC should adopt the controversial Decision Review System (DRS).

The ICC has announced its desire for the DRS, whereby teams will be allowed one incorrect referral per innings to the television umpire, to be used for all Tests, ODIs and International T20s.

Decisions would be checked using video, audio, ball-tracking and thermal-imaging technology in an innovation welcomed by most countries.

But powerful India, whose huge revenues give it a dominant position in the ICC, has never agreed to its use nor played a Test or one-day series when the DRS has been in operation.

The issue will be presented formally to the ICC's chief executives' committee.

"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," the ICC said in a statement released ahead of the meeting.

The conference kicked off with a low-key discussion on the ICC's rankings system, with the headline issues to be dealt with over the coming days.

Pakistan set to play India in 2013 under new FTP schedule

India have the major chunk of One-day Internationals with the World Cup 2011 winners getting 166 such matches in the new FTP.-AFP Photo

 Pakistan are scheduled to face traditional rivals India in March-April 2013, according to the draft of the Future Programme (FTP) for the period from 2012 to 2020 to be finalised at the forthcoming annual meeting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Hong Kong.
The FTP scheduling, however, neither mention the number of matches to be played nor the programme beyond the 2013 period. But the draft heavily favours major countries with England, Australia and India having more international games than other teams.
Pakistan, who have been now confined to play away from home following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore two years ago, are tentatively scheduled to play 65 Tests in the eight-year period although that number could change once the FTP is finalised by all stakeholders.
England have the most number of Tests with no less 99 five-day fixtures over the next eight years, followed by Australia (92) and India (90). Sri Lanka are slated to play 76 Test matches while South Africa have got 74 Tests scheduled. West Indies and New Zealand have 66 Tests apiece in the pipeline.
At the other end of the table, minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are allotted only 42 and 41 Tests, respectively.
India have the major chunk of One-day Internationals with the World Cup 2011 winners getting 166 such matches in the new FTP. Zimbabwe, in contrast, have been given only 64 ODIs while all other nations will play between 100 and 160 games.
On the Twenty20 front, the ICC have judiciously cut down the matches to keep Test and ODI formats alive, with most teams slated to play between 30 and 55 games. Here again Zimbabwe and Bangladesh are treated with scan respect as they have been allowed mere 11 fixtures each.
India, who financially overwhelmingly rule the ICC, will not play hosts to both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in either Test or ODI until 2020. In addition, the powerful Indian cricket board has managed to acquire unofficial window for the IPL in April and May.
Moreover, India will be the only team apart from England and Australia to play five-Test series in the new schedule. India’s tours to England in 2014 and 2018 will include five Tests. Apart from the Ashes series, no other team will get the chance to figure in a five-Test series.

PCB under fire for paltry allowances in Super Eight T20

 The players participating in the ongoing Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 have blasted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over a meagre daily allowance which has forced them to fulfill their daily needs from their own pockets.

All the teams participating in the event are being boarded at Serena Hotel in Faisalabad, which is very expensive, and the players are not impressed by PCB’s planning as they are being paid just Rs 750 daily.

“We can’t even afford proper refreshment from the daily allowance we are getting because if we order tea twice a day, it costs us Rs 700-800. Having lunch or dinner is out of question,” a Multan Tigers player told ‘The News’.

Meanwhile, another added that although the board has provided the players with a good stay, it counts for nothing because players cannot eat properly.

“I am not impressed by the poor planning of the PCB. They are terrible when it comes to boost our domestic cricket because they do not have any sort of vision on how to improve our domestic structure to attract top players of the country. Who would pay Rs 250 for a bottle of mineral water?” he said.

The complaints don’t end there as players are also paying more than they are getting for their laundry. Several players told ‘The News’ that they had given their clothes to the laundry and that cost them Rs 1000.

Top stars like Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Abdur Razzaq decided against playing in the T20 tournament and according to some players, their decision was right as the PCB is not good enough to facilitate them.

“I think people like Afridi, Razzaq and Ajmal did right by deciding to play in England because their allowance for a single day would be three times of what we will earn after playing the whole tournament,” a player of the Karachi Dolphins said.

The PCB has thought about introducing a top T20 league like the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL). PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt recently said that they are waiting to have the right expertise before which they will move forward with the league in which international players will also participate.

But the players and members of the team management rejected such plans as ridiculous.

“It is a joke that the PCB will introduce a lucrative league and international players would take part in it. One cannot see that happening in near future because the board has failed to satisfy its own domestic players while being unable to attract their centrally-contracted players in what is the biggest tournament of the country which is being beamed throughout the world,” said a player.

When ‘The News’ tried to contact Director Domestic Cricket Sultan Rana and Manager Umpires and Referees Shafiq Ahmed Papa over the matter, they did not receive the call.

Meanwhile, another senior player hit out at Dolphins’ sponsor Chawla Aluminum as they haven’t received even a single penny from them.

“The sponsors’ names are associated with us without any reason as they have not given a single penny to the players. The sponsors should understand their responsibility. They are more interested in their own publicity instead of facilitating the players of their team,” he said.

India wants to exclude Pakistan from every game: Mani

Former ICC president Ehsan Mani has termed Indiaan archrival and accused the neighbouring country of using its financial might to try and exclude Pakistan from every sport.
"India is an archrival of Pakistan which wants to exclude Pakistan from every game, especially in cricket, and to conquer major games of the world by investing money in them," Mani said.
Mani, who has represented the Pakistan Cricket Board in (PCB) the past, also accused BCCI president Shashank Manohar of ignoring players from Pakistan in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL).

Pakistan cricket team needs professional not self-centered manager

Last week wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider was let off with a small fine of Rs500,000 for violating the player’s code of conduct. Haider flew to London last year without informing the team management over alleged death threats during the Pakistan team’s series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates. Critics have lambasted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for ‘sparing’ the cricketer who gave a bad name to Pakistan cricket.
Haider fled the team hotel in Dubai last November while playing in a one-day series against South Africa and landed in London. He said he had been threatened by an unknown person who wanted him to cooperate in match-fixing during the series. He returned home in April after getting security assurances from Interior Minister Rehman Malik and was told to appear and face disciplinary proceedings by the PCB.
It is now an open secret that Haider ‘left’ for England to get ‘immigration’ there but had to return after his ‘efforts’ went in vain. Haider, who made his Test debut last year against England at Edgbaston scoring 88 runs, said he had no evidence to support his allegations or match-fixing claims. Haider withdrew all his allegations against the board or fellow players and also admitted he had no evidence to support his claim that a bookmaker had approached him in Dubai to fix matches.
Why manager Intikhab Alam handed over Haider his passport is a million dollar question. Though Intikhab said that the wicketkeeper wanted to get mobile phone SIM, but the manager should have applied his mind before handing over the passport to Haider who later put Pakistan cricket on the back foot. It has been a practice among all the previous managers to keep photocopies of the passports. Whenever players needed their passports, during the middle of a tour, to get SIMs or other facilities, they were given photocopies of their passports.
It would be no exaggeration to say that to some extent Intikhab was responsible for Haider episode. The ‘Haider soap opera’ could have been avoided had Intikhab acted in a sensible way. Intikhab has never been a good manager. His top priority has always been to be part of the cricket establishment and retain his job. His all tour reports about players show that what kind of a manager he is. Sometimes he described them as ‘mentally retarded’ and sometimes as ‘immature’. He has been playing with players’ careers for the last many years. But no inquiry has been launched against him. Pakistan is a strange country where retired people are given high profile jobs without keeping their age and mental capabilities in view.
Like Afridi, Haider acknowledged that he had erred. Haider had said he had accepted his misconduct before the disciplinary committee and would try not to ‘repeat the mistakes in future.’ “I did what I thought was right at that time,” he had said of his decision to leave the team on the day when Pakistan were due to play their fifth and final ODI against South Africa. “With the passage of time I realized that I committed a mistake. I should have informed the PCB, I should have informed my seniors.”
The disciplinary problems being faced by Pakistan cricket are not only due to PCB chairman Ijaz Butt, who has become a blot on the game, but also weak and incompetent managers like Intikhab. Pakistan cricket needs a strong and professional manager and not a stooge or self-centered person who is always dancing to the tunes of the 78 years old PCB chairman.

Public Service Message on World Drug Day (26 June) by Shahid Afridi

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