ICC on Match Fixing

Although the ICC meeting is still in progress and the issue of match fixing has not been discussed in detail, its rousing concern about Pakistan while ignoring the other member countries has been strongly criticized by the people in Pakistan. The appointment of Sir Paul Condon's Commission to investigate into the evil practice may be useful but giving him the specific task of going into the two World Cup matches of the Pakistan team is not justified.

It must be realized that while the promulgation of Justice Qayyum's report has marked an end to the issue as far as it related to the Pakistani players, the other countries have yet to finalize the same. The cricket lovers in Pakistan want to know, why the commission was not asked to investigate the bribery charges on Shane Warne and Mark Waugh that the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) swept under the carpet. The new President of the ICC and its Chief Executive, both being Australians, the people feel that they are providing a special umbrella to their own country.

Glancing at the scene in South Africa, one feels surprised at Hansie Cronje's father EWIE Cronje's appeal to the nation to forgive his dis-disgraced son, giving him a chance to make a new life for himself.

Although Hansie's future will depend on the verdict of King's Commission, such an appeal looks amusing in view of the fact that Hansie admitted "Shame for his deeds but likened the greed that drove him to take money from bookmakers to an addiction to drink or tobacco." He had earlier confessed having accepted money from the bookies atleast four times.

Test status for Bangladesh

The award of ICC's full membership and test match status to Bangladesh has been widely hailed by the people in Pakistan. The cricket circles in the country are more jubilant to see the brother country of Bangladesh becoming the tenth test playing country of the world. It may be recalled that before its separation from Pakistan in 1971. Dhaka was a regular test match centre.

By winning the ICC Trophy and organizing a number of one-day tournaments on international level with tremendous success, Bangladesh had proved its merit for the award. Amidst the celebrations going on in the country, it is heartening to read a statement from Ms. Shikh Hasina Wajid the Prime Minister of Bangladesh that her Government has special plans for the promotion of cricket in the country which include the establishment of many more match centres.

Not only that the cricket crazy Bangladesh plans to go up to 5th or 6th position in the next 10 years, they also desire to host the world cup 2011 in cooperation with Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

Iqbal Qasim re-instated

The former test cricketer Iqbal Qasim who was suspended as a member of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Selection Committee has eventually been re-instated. Iqbal Qasim who is Officer Incharge sports in the National Bank of Pakistan was suspended from the committee for issuing a controversial statement regarding the abolishment of departmental cricket from Pakistan's system of domestic cricket. Although Chairman Selection Committee Wasim Bari was opposed to his ouster, it was generally felt that the Chairman PCB was rather too harsh in his action against the selector.

In a recent meeting with Lt. Gen Tauqir Zia Chairman PCB Adhoc Committee, Iqbal Qasim discussed the issue with him in detail. The mis-understanding having been cleared, Qasim was re-instated as member of the Selection Committee. Most observers of the game and cricket experts in the country, however, feel that the PCB has made a big mistake in recommending to the Government, the ouster of government departments and commercial organizations from the board.

Pakistan's 4 Centuries in one innings

The centuries scored by four batsmen in Pakistan's mammoth innings of 600 against Sri Lanka in the Galle Test was a feature of special historical significance. Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, and Wasim Akram scored centuries in this match.

It is quite common to see three batsmen into three figure marks in one innings but four centuries present a rare sight. In Pakistan's cricket history it was only the second occasion that four batsmen performed this glorious feat. The last time Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan and Saleem Malik had given such a performance against India at Faisalabad in 1982-83.

The four centuries innings of 600 by our team at Galle will, however, remain an event of historical value and pride for the whole Pakistani nation.

England's tour of Pakistan

The apprehensions and doubts about England team's tour of Pakistan in the coming winter have been cleared by a statement from Lord Maclaurin that England's tour of Pakistan would go ahead.

As the ICC meeting drew to a close, Lord Maclaurin, President of the England & Wales Cricket Board confirmed that "as far as the ECB is concerned we are fully committed to England's tour of Pakistan this winter. Our relations with the Pakistan Board remain entirely cordial and we look forward to entertaining the Pakistan team here next summer."

This is a very encouraging gesture for the cricket lovers in Pakistan who have not seen the England team playing in Pakistan for more than a decade.

Promotion of Junior Cricket

The current season has been a special era for the promotion of cricket at the junior level. The Pakistan under-15 team has departed for Malaysia to participate in the Asia Junior Championship. The team was selected after the country wide trials in which thousands of youngsters appeared from all nooks and corners of the country.

A camp for the final selection and training of the Pakistan under-17 team to participate in the forth coming ICC Asia Region Championship is in progress at Karachi. Short-listed from many thousand boys, the group of 30 is under training to be finally reduced to a 14 man Pakistan team by July 8.

Incidentally three youngsters from abroad i.e. Vinod Das from Nepal, Mohammad Usman of UAE and Al-Hawaria for Malaysia are also under training at the camp on special request from their respective cricket boards.

The 3rd group under training in a camp at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore comprises of 26 players, from whom the Pakistan "A" team to tour Kenya will be selected.

While the Pakistan team is in Sri Lanka, the future stars of Pakistan's cricket are in the process of selection and training at home. The current summer could thus be called the "season of the youngsters." Such a comprehensive cricket activity at different tiers of the game would show the tremendous wealth of talent that Pakistan possesses. It is for the PCB and its associations to harness them, and turn the talented ones among them into stars of the future.