Players put in a quandary
The daily Dawn's report that the 6 players fined for alleged involvement in match fixing have been put in a quandary, is the correct assessment of a situation created by a recent move of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
It may be recalled that Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saeed Anwar, Mushtaq Ahmed, Inzimam-ul-Haq and Akram Raza were awarded monetary punishments in the above case and it was decided that the fine would be deducted from their match fees. In the wake of some requests received from the players the PCB, however, asked them to appeal to Justice Muhammad Qayum in case they desired any remission in the punishment. Other members of the punished squad apart, former captain Wasim Akram who was fined Rs. 300,000 (US $ 5000) expressed the firm intention of filing the appeal and instructed his lawyer to do so.
To save the players from mental tension during the ICC Knock Out Tournament in Kenya the matter has been deferred till October 15, but it has certainly created a queer situation. Justice Qayum who handled the case opines, "I have no further role to play in the case. I was asked to investigate the charges and submit the report with my recommendations. I have done it and that ends my job. Why should the players appeal to me? They should go to the authorities who penalized them". On the contrary, Mr. Yawar Saeed, Director Operations PCB insists that " the players will have to appeal to the judge because we only implemented his recommendations."
Mr. Yawar Saeed perhaps does not possess a clear vision of the subject. Although Justice Qayum made the recommendations, it was Lt. Gen. Tauqir Zia, who in his capacity as Chairman of the PCB Adhoc Committee awarded the monetary punishment to the players. He is in fact the right person to consider the appeals. It is, however, generally felt that any remission granted in the punishment which is supposed to serve as a deterrent, will destroy the element of fairness and judicious handling of the issue by the PCB. It may be noted that although none of the players were found guilty of match fixing, the Qayum report was critical of their behavior and lack of cooperation with the inquiry.
Quaid Trophy from October 11
Quaid-e-Azam Trophy the premier cricket tournament of Pakistan starts at different venues in the country from October 11. It is the top competition in Pakistan's Domestic Cricket system held between the best teams representing regional cricket associations. The tournament is played on a single league basis and the players performing consistently well generally catch the eye of the selectors for inclusion in the national camps for further consideration. In the Domestic Cricket schedule announced earlier 8 teams from Karachi, Lahore, Bhawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar were supposed to participate in the championship. According to a recent announcement of the PCB, 4 more teams, from Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Lahore and Karachi have been added to raise the total of participants to 12. The step may be right from the point of view of enlarging the size of the competition, but including weak sides in the country's premier tournament is bound to affect its stature, value and the charm that the championship has for the players as well as the spectators.
Selection of PU Cricket Team
A new tradition was set at the Punjab University Sports Complex Lahore the other day, when the authorities invited Pakistan's cricket icons, skippers Fazal Mahmood hero of the Oval and Imtiaz Ahmed to select the University cricket team. The team was to be selected from amongst the players seeking admission on sports basis. Previously the exercise was conducted by the selectors appointed from within the University. It was a nice gesture to provide this honor to the old stalwarts who dazzled on the Pakistan's cricket horizon till early 60's.
Both the former skippers highly appreciated the facilities and the environment provided by the University authorities for the promotion of cricket. We wish the University of Punjab good luck in its endeavors for the promotion of cricket. The fact, however, remains that gone are the days when players from the universities, schools and colleges ruled the country's cricket fields. Now the major teams are composed of boys who emerge from the streets and parks. Let us hope the education authorities realize their responsibilities in this respect by providing a boost up to cricket again and contributing their due share to the national team.