February 12, 2009

Pakistan cricket

Miandad the diplomat

Andrew Miller

Even Javed Miandad’s most enthusiastic supporters would struggle to pretend that diplomacy is one of his strengths. Nevertheless, the nation’s favourite pugilist will shortly be given the chance to practice his dialogue with a global superpower, when he heads to China as a cricket ambassador, at the behest of the Pakistan Sports Ministry.

The fall-out from Javed’s latest acrimonious split with the Pakistan Cricket Board has barely settled – he squared up to the board chairman, Ijaz Butt, at a senate hearing earlier this week, following his abrupt resignation as director-general in January, after only a month in the role. But none of that matters to the sports secretary, Ashraf Khan, who regards Javed as the perfect man to take cricket across the Karakorum Highway.

“It will be an exploratory tour for Miandad which runs between March 9 and 15," Khan told reporters. "China did very well in the last Olympics and you can't underestimate their talent in any sport. We do hope that Miandad will assist them in improving their cricketing skills."

Miandad’s appointment was rubber-stamped by the Pakistan president, Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the patron-in-chief of the PCB. "I have no doubt that they could excel in the field of cricket,” said Miandad, “like they did in other sports.”

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Andrew Miller is the former UK editor of ESPNcricinfo and now editor of The Cricketer magazine

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