England has already arrived in India and Australia has announced that it will go ahead with its tour of strife-torn Zimbabwe. Only the West Indies Cricket Board, sitting thousands of miles away and without any first-hand knowledge , is convinced that the security environment is not conducive to playing cricket in Pakistan. They are not even prepared to take the word of their own Clive Lloyd.

One can only conclude that the West Indies, for whatever reason, did not want to play in Pakistan and security concerns were mere eyewash. The series has now been shifted to Sharjah.

Frankly, I am not happy about it and I would imagine neither is the PCB, the only difference is that I would have reported the matter to the ICC and cancelled the tour. The reasons for not playing in Pakistan are patently bogus and the West Indies Cricket Board should be told that.

I think that the CBFS should have been more accommodating to Pakistan's request to re-adjust the dates of its tournament so that New Zealand's tour of Pakistan could have been fitted in.

The CBFS owes a lot to Pakistan and Pakistan has stood by it all these years. I know it was difficult but unless I am wrong, I have a feeling that no serious effort was made. With Sharjah being awarded the West Indies tour, all the more reason for the effort to be made anew.

It is important to Pakistan that New Zealand tour Pakistan, not only financially but because New Zealand has emerged as one of the most exciting teams in cricket and a series between them and Pakistan will be a terrific one.

New Zealand's win against Australia in the opening match of the triangular was not the stunning upset that everybody says it was. New Zealand had earlier drawn the Test series and had it not been for the weather and a couple of poor umpiring decisions, would have won the series. New Zealand won the ICC Trophy at Nairobi.

Subsequent events show that it was no fluke. Australia may be placed as favourites for the World Cup 2003 but New Zealand is the dark horse, as Pakistan was in 1992 and it would not surprise me, at all, if the result was the same, the dark horse first past the post. New Zealand plays attractive cricket, whether batting, bowling or fielding. I would certainly like to see them play in Pakistan.

There were no glorious uncertainties of cricket at Dhaka and Pakistan won the test match against Bangladesh the way everyone thought it would, with facile ease, without hiccups and no resistance from Bangladesh, this, despite the fact that Pakistan looked laid back in the field. This is despite the fact that Wasim Akram broke down after bowling two overs and Shoaib Akhtar was either not picked or had some niggle.

The question has once again been raised whether Bangladesh was given Test status too early. I don't really think so. After all someone has to be at the bottom rung of the ladder and provided Bangladesh does not lose heart, it can only improve. Indeed take away Brian Lara from the West Indies team and it would be only marginally better than Bangladesh.

Younis Khan must be kicking himself for missing out and he dropped a catch in the bargain but Pakistan's main batsmen flourished, the pity is that only Abdur Razzaq went on to make a hundred and Rashid Latif was desperately unlucky not to do so but he played a loose shot and had shown signs that he was cramping up.

But the nature of the wicket was such that it provided no challenge and we will have to wait and see how the younger players will do when the ball is doing something on a track that is not a feather-bed.

The same applies to Danish Kaneria. He has yet to bowl against batsmen of Test class who are not afraid to use their feet. He shows great promise and is mixing them up, leg-spin, googly and topspin. But, obviously, has much to learn and I think time spent with someone like Abdul Qadir will be time well spent.

There is disappointment that Wasim Akram pulled up with a hamstring and he is getting injury-prone. There seems to be no point in being the world's best bowler if you keep breaking down. If we are looking to Wasim for the World Cup, then we have to ensure that he remains fully fit.

One way would be to get him play only a limited number of matches. The other way would be is to get some clued-up trainer to work with him and monitor his fitness. There is no doubt that he is our most valuable player but we wouldn't want him to limp off the field in a World Cup match.

The ICC has snubbed Jagmohan Dalmiya and gone ahead and appointed Mike Denness as the match-referee for the West Indies and Pakistan Test series at Sharjah. After what had transpired at Port Elizabeth in South Africa, one would have thought that the days of Denness as match referee were over.

The ICC has also gone ahead and chosen its own Referees Commission despite Dalmiya's recommendations. I think what happened at Port Elizabeth is dead and buried by now. I had backed the Indian position then because Denness had not been even-handed.

There was also the perception that white match referees tended to target players from the subcontinent. But what happened at Port Elizabeth was a wake-up call for the ICC. I don't think there was any danger that the cricket world was on the verge of splitting up on racial lines. This something that has been propagated by the white countries, an imaginary fear, or, hope, as some would want it. It won't happen.