September 19, 2000

News and Views

An Adventure has its price.

The anxiety that prevailed about the alleged players sex scandal has ended. The teenaged heroes of the drama Shahid Afridi, Hasan Raza and Atiq uz Zaman have been fined Rs. 50,000 each and debarred from participation in the ICC Knock Out Tournament starting in Kenya in the first week of October. They have been punished for allowing "unauthorized persons" into their hotel rooms. To avoid undue publicity and possible distraction from the game, the offenders were allowed to accompany the team to Singapore. Coach Javed Miandad was asked to investigate and submit a report on the incident, who very rightly declined to do so on the plea that he was only responsible for "on the field conduct" of the players.

After the team's return from Singapore an inquiry was conducted by Manager Brig. Khawaja Nasir according to whose findings, the whole episode was grossly exaggerated. Finding no evidence except that some of the females followed the players and barged into their rooms, he recommended the case to be dismissed. The Chairman PCB Lt Gen Tauqir Zia who genuinely believes in the strict enforcement of discipline, however, considered the act to be a violation of the code of conduct and felt that the players should have acted with more responsibility and prevented the girls' entry into their rooms.

It is a queer case in which the boys were found not guilty but still punished severely. Either the findings were wrong or the punishment? In the legal terms the punishment was not commensurate with the findings of the inquiry but acceptable as a deterrent. There is a general feeling that the sudden flow of money and fame coupled with premature exposure to glamour were spoiling the youngsters especially those not well groomed at the time of entry in cricket. They are required to be strictly handled, their conduct and behavior closely watched and necessary guidance provided to them.

Establishment of Cricket Academies

Finding that the new crop of young cricketers was neither well educated nor properly groomed, the PCB has planned to establish cricket academies at Karachi, Lahore and other major cricket centers in the country. Cricket has spread such a craze among the people that a mushroom of youngsters are seen playing the game in streets, parks and other open spaces in the cities and barren fields in the rural areas. From amongst them some rise to the level of representative cricket eventually becoming stars. With no sense of discipline or good manners, these boys are not even aware of the dos and don'ts of life what to speak of the game. They are essentially required to be admitted and groomed in the academy before exposure to big cricket. Apart from technicalities of the game they need to be taught the essential ingredients of civilized behavior. It is also thought that the boys passing out from the cricket academies will be well polished, more confident and less prone to the acts of in-discipline.

The Analyst of the PCB, former Test cricketer Col (Retd) Shuja ud Din Butt along with an engineer from NESPAK ( a leading construction company ) visited Australia recently to see the functioning of a cricket academy run by Rodney Marsh at Adelaide. A meeting is likely to be held soon, in which the two officials will give a presentation to the Chairman PCB on the subject after which the work on the establishment of cricket academies in Pakistan will commence.

PCB to honor Wasim Akram

The Pakistan Cricket Board is planning to hold a reception in the honor of former captain Wasim Akram for crossing the 400 wickets mark in test cricket, being the highest wicket taker in one day cricket and the meritorious service that he rendered to Pakistan's cricket. The function is likely to be held sometimes during the visit of England's team to enable the visitors to also grace the occasion. Chief Executive of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharaf has been requested to be the chief guest. Honoring Wasim Akram, a player of outstanding merit who brought laurels to the country with his highly impressive performance, is a wonderful gesture on the part of the PCB. It will be appreciated if the practice continues and a grand function is held to honor all the distinguished players who retired from the game even without a souvenir from the Board.

Aamer Suhail aspires to stage a comeback.

Former captain and opening batsman Aamer Suhail who turned into a commentator when dropped from the national squad is said to have geared up his efforts to stage a comeback in the team. Opener Saeed Anwar's physical fitness problem and failure to perform well further aggravated by the inability of young openers to hold their ground has perhaps given Aamer the impetus to try his luck. Sources claim that former captain Ramiz Raja who is an important member of the PCB Advisory Council is taking keen interest and pleading Aamer'case for his inclusion in the Pakistan team. Aamer Suhail who has not been considered for the tour of Kenya has been an outstanding opener of his times. There will be no harm in giving him a chance to play against the visiting England team provided he is physically fit and in good trim for he game.