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February 16, 2007

Politics

Would Bob really say that?

Kamran Abbasi
Bob Woolmer talks to reports at a soggy Uxbridge, Middlesex v Pakistanis, Uxbridge, August 24, 2006
 © AFP
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Just when I thought it was safe to hibernate for a month, Pakistan cricket reminds us that its stupidity knows no bounds. This is a little tricky to write since I know the people involved but there are a few of points I can make quite clearly:

1 I know Bob. I find it difficult to believe that he is racist, even if he is would he call somebody a "Blackie"? The only people I've ever heard use that word I'm afraid are people from South Asia. It reminds of the time I was done for a driving offence and the policemen read out a statement that he said he had taken from me which used language I knew I would never use.

2 I know the sports editor of Dawn. I find it difficult to believe that he would publish a piece without something to back it up. The quality of Dawn's sports pages has improved no end over the last eight months or so.

3 I wonder then about Dawn's sources and assume that there can't be many people who were privy to that conversation and could state with conviction - genuine or not - that a racist remark was made. If the source turns out to be unreliable or untrustworthy then Dawn better apologise, and quickly.

4 To accuse a national coach of making a racist remark to one of his players is a most serious allegation. It is the kind of allegation that means at least one head will roll, the person who made the remark or the source of the claim, assuming that it has to be somebody inside the Pakistan camp.

5 It's also time that another head rolled. The shambles in Pakistan cricket has become a national disgrace. Who will take responsibility? Dr Ashraf or Mr Altaf? Perhaps one or both of them? It's time gentlemen. But guess what? I bet neither of them do.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by ali on (February 23, 2007, 11:35 GMT)

Economy rate in last 10 overs in ODIs since 2006 Bowling team Matches Runs/ wkt in last 10 Runs/ over in last 10 West Indies 31 20.02 5.85 England 20 22.09 6.21 India 32 22.21 6.25 Pakistan 20 20.25 6.26 South Africa 24 23.94 6.27 Sri Lanka 34 27.42 6.29 Australia 32 21.83 6.64 New Zealand 22 24.45 6.68

The next two tables provide further illustration of Australia's bowling woes - none of them figure among the top ten most economical bowlers at the crunch. Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh have the same economy rate, but Murali's wicket-taking ability - he averages 23 to Harbhajan's 60 - makes him far more lethal.

Some of the other names in the list are interesting too. Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle prove the effectiveness of firing the offies flat and fast in the last few overs, while their presence also explains West Indies' position as the best team at the death. In fact, the preponderance of slow bowlers also suggests that's the route more teams might opt for during the World Cup. Andrew Hall emerges as South Africa's best bet, but the entry that might perhaps surprise many is slotted three places below Hall. Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has struggled mightily for line, length, swing and control over the last one year, but with old ball in hand when the slog is on Naved is a transformed bowler - his average and his strike rate are, quite incredibly, less than ten. Compare those numbers with his stats in the first 40 overs of an innings - an average of 58.69, an economy rate of 5.36, and a wicket every 66 balls - and you know exactly how Pakistan should use him in an ODI.

Most economical bowlers in the last ten overs since 2006 (At least 150 balls; excludes ODIs against Zim, B'desh and all non-Test playing teams) Bowler Balls Bat runs conceded Wickets Average Econ Muttiah Muralitharan 263 209 9 23.22 4.76 Harbhajan Singh 151 120 2 60.00 4.76 Andrew Hall 244 220 17 12.94 5.40 Marlon Samuels 197 184 9 20.44 5.60 Lasith Malinga 206 202 14 14.42 5.88 Rana Naved-ul-Hasan 170 174 18 9.66 6.14 Daniel Vettori 163 161 4 40.25 5.92 Chris Gayle 266 277 7 39.57 6.24 Irfan Pathan 166 181 12 15.08 6.54 Shane Bond 208 224 18 12.44 6.46

And if you're wondering where all the Australian bowlers have vanished, have a look at the next table, which lists the most expensive bowlers during the slog. Stuart Clark is the second-most profligate bowler, conceding almost nine runs per over, while Nathan Bracken and Brett Lee both leak more than seven. Glenn McGrath doesn't quite make it into the list of most expensive bowlers, but his economy rate of 6.68, coupled with an average of 27.71 suggests he hasn't been the most effective slog-overs bowlers either.

It's also interesting to see Chaminda Vaas at the top of the table. His impeccable line-and-length stuff, coupled with his exaggerated swing, makes him a deadly proposition at the start of an innings, where he averages 27.17 per wicket and goes at only 3.63 per over. However, at the end of an innings he has tended to be far more predictable. If the ideal way to utilise Rana Naved is to bowl him at the death, Vaas will probably be at his best if Sri Lanka use him through the first 20 overs of the innings.

Most expensive bowlers in the last ten overs since 2006 (At least 150 balls; excludes ODIs against Zim, B'desh and all non-Test playing teams) Bowler Balls Bat runs conceded Wickets Average Econ Chaminda Vaas 181 243 9 27.00 8.05 Stuart Clark 145 191 6 31.83 7.90 Zaheer Khan 150 183 6 30.50 7.32 Dwayne Bravo 239 284 15 18.93 7.12 Nathan Bracken 282 333 17 19.58 7.08 Brett Lee 301 355 15 23.67 7.07

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinf

Inzamams captaincy is pathetic,unfortunately we are deprived of ppl with any decree of sanity in our team at present to replace him.younis khan would definately have been a much superior choice even though he could not capitaliseon the very few opportunties which were at his disposal. it would be very premature to asses his leadership skils from those matches.He probably would have needed a couple of more games to gain some respect and authority in the team. The only benefit of inzamams captaincy is the solidarity in the team which unfortunately is not good enough to win games ,It might improve the chances to some extent but stupidity has its price too.I fail to understand that it takes him a long time to make descisions , his descisions come too late and in a one day game that could cost you the entire match.I am surprised by the mere fact that we have been struggling to find a good opening pair for a while now and very litte effort has been made to over come those deficiencies.imran farhat is technically incorrect..hafeez seems to be better iof the avialble lot and is technically more correct than others but probably he lacks talent or simply his eye hand coordination is not correct because after taking so many starts he rarely makes a decent score.sulman butt is interesting and talented but lacks confidence ... anyways my point is that if our openers give us an average start of 10-15 runs what is the point in having specialist openers ..we should have rather reshuffeled our batting order and we would have atleast found ppl amongst them who could only have done better than the exisiting pairs but he seemed to be very reluctant and hesitant in experimenting anything..sometimes i feel that he has written everything down on the paper and doesnt make any ammendments according to changing situation..he doesnt have a plan b or plan c ..its plan a or nothing..rana was totally out of form ...his line and lenghth was pathetic in the entire series...heshould have opted for rao who is reltively a better contender specially in the start of innings atleast he could have groomed him into confidence in this series ,,but he stayed with rana all the way and rane sometimes has the ability to be very detrimental to the cause of the team .I mean if you know that you have a bowler who is out of form..first of all you shouldnt play him and if you do , use him wisely and dont dent his confidence further..he could have used rana in short bursts not because he is express pace but because when rana is on song...he can turn the game upside down..so why not rest him and use him in short bursts ..if he bowls very well than you could give him a couple . otherwise there is no point in bowling him out..stats suggest that rana is terrible with the new ball but is relatively much better in the death overs so he should probably use him to the right cause..only use him with the old ball...its very unlikely that shoaib akhter will be participating in the tournament and asifs exclusion from the squad could be a disater..well all we can do is hope for the best with our fingers crossed.I wouldnt play imran nazir as an opener though with an average of 20 and doesnt look reliable if that is the case why wouldnt i open with rana and experiment considering that he was an opener for his side..and he avearges close to 15 and what do we have to loose ..imran nazir and hafeez also make 20 ...and rana has showed some skills in his batting..his shots are pretty good he can drive like a batsmen and can play some attacking cricket as well and seems to be technically correct as well..and we could use him in the end of the innings as the stats suggest. if god forbid shaoib and asif do not play..this is my best pick of 11

1) rana 2) shoaib/hafeez 3)younis 4)youhanna 5)inzamam 6)akmal 7)razzak 8)afridi 9)gul 10)kaneria 11)rao

Posted by A. J. Ranjha on (February 23, 2007, 0:58 GMT)

Bob is a human after all. He might have picked a It is conceivable that Bob may have picked up a thing or two of the local slang by being with the team for over two years now. Christening some dark skinned person, though jokingly, a "Kaloo" or "Kaala" is common in Pakistan. In fact, sometimes these names are stuck with the person their whole lives. In a similar vein, “Mota” or “Fatty” is also very common nickname in Pakistan. The list is endless. I don’t believe Bob is a racist in any way, but, he could be guilty of this indiscretion that Shoaib is blowing out of proportion due to his own shortcomings. I remember one instance when Ramiz Raja was in the commentary box and Inzamam was batting – Ramiz referred to Inzamam as the “Big Easy Inzy” and both commentators (Ramiz + someone else) were commenting that Inzy was on the heavy side. Then the camera panned to Bob in the dressing room and Ramiz jokingly made a remark that Bob should reduce his weight as well. Bob clearly heard it as he was listening to same commentary and kind of shrugged it off. That in my opinion was an extremely insulting remark – especially millions around the world are watching.

Anyone who has either lived or lives in the West knows that calling anyone these names even jokingly is considered extremely disrespectful. Bob deserves all the credit and respect for sticking around through the thick and thin of the Pakistani cricket mayhem. One should commend his commitment that he is still with the team after all this insult is being hurled at him from all directions.

As far as Shoaib is concerned – he is still an important player and should get his act together for what maybe his last stint for his country.

Posted by M A ALAM on (February 22, 2007, 22:23 GMT)

Show---Aib, Give some respect to a gentleman's game and retire now because you will be unfit after one game and then clubbing. Learn cricket love from Kiwis and Englishmen

Posted by N on (February 22, 2007, 19:29 GMT)

Well the thing is that they should have a national coach like someone who have played with the team or one who knows the nature of the pakitanis man this guy is not a native of our country well i m in USA and i have never seen a coach from different country coaching and teaching players of USA sports teams because our country guys are more patriotic and will also work hard to make the team level up from every direction.

Posted by Rahil Khan on (February 22, 2007, 19:19 GMT)

Very well put Kamran. I just hope all concerned would use the same systematic approach and thought process that you have put forth in your article instead of the usual "he said, she said".

Posted by Billal Anwar on (February 22, 2007, 10:35 GMT)

I think bob has done an oustanding job with pakistan since his arrival, and has pushed pakistans test and ODI ranking to 3rd, to say he said certain things to shoaib akhtar is just plain dumb, as a great coach and principled man, i very much doubt he would say such thing, and im sure he isnt daft enough to do so. Also i think we should put all the problems behind us and focus on the world cup, comments by miandad are not neaded and i think the PCB Chairman is showing his lack of experience by trying to arrange pep talks from old stars. leave it to the coach and captain i say.

Posted by m a Alam on (February 22, 2007, 9:41 GMT)

Get rid of womaniser, and useless cricketer of the history...sho---aib

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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