By deciding not to participate in the tournaments not contained in the international cricket calendar approved by the ICC, India seems to be isolating itself from a lot of cricket activity.

First of all India backed out from its commitment of participation in the Singapore challenge cricket tournament alongwith South Africa and New Zealand, starting August 20, 2000. Pakistan had to fill in the gap, at a short notice.

Second, India is not sending its youth team to participate in the Under-17 Asia Cup Cricket Tournament being staged in Pakistan, under the auspices of the ICC from July 15.

Third, India has also rejected an offer by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to play a 3-match series with archrival Pakistan, in England in September this year. Impressed by the vibrant atmosphere in the matches involving the two countries during the World Cup 99, the ECB thought of staging the historic contest to seize on the massive Asian support. Adopting a policy of isolation in the backdrop of a climate riddled with match fixing enquiries, is considered detrimental to the progress of cricket. The national team apart, why are the upcoming youngsters being deprived of participation in prestigious tournaments, the cricket observers ask?

Under - 17 Asia Cup Cricket

The Under-17 Asia Cup Cricket Tournament will be held in Pakistan from July 15-25. Former test cricketer Nasim-ul-Ghani who is chief organizer of the tournament expressed his disappointment on India's non-participation in the event. He revealed that the organizing committee extended the invitation to the Indian Cricket Board but received no response.

The tournament which is being held for the young cricketers born on and after January 1983, is designed to promote cricket in countries where the game is in its infancy, by means of this youth competition, with an eye on the future to groom and train youngsters.

Teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain are participating. It was generally felt that India's participation would have made the event more exciting and interesting. While major part of the prized event will be held at Karachi some matches will be played at Hyderabad, Thatta and Quetta.

Countrywide trials to select the Pakistan under-17 team for the above tournaments were held in which thousands of young boys appeared. The players having been short-listed, the team is likely to be announced soon.

Pakistan Under - 15 Team

A 14 member squad of Pakistan under-15 boys has been selected to take part in the Asian Cricket Council Tournament being played in Malaysia from June 30 to July 9, 2000.

The team has been selected out of many thousand boys who appeared in the trials held at major cricket centres in the country.

The Team: -

1. Masood Asam Butt 2. Adnan Zaheer 3. Sabtain Raza Shah 4. Mohammad Fahim 5. Mohammad Naseem 6. Fahad Mohammad Iqbal 7. Kashif Mahmood 7. Mohammad Azhar Ali 9. Khawaja Raza Ali Dar 10. Talal Zia 11. Sheryar Khan 12. Omair Ahmad Rao 13. Shahid Yousaf 14. Akbar Ali

Reserves: -

1. Zulqarnain Haider Syed 2. Arun Lal 3. Fawad Alam 4. Burhan Javed 4. Adnan Raza

Officials: -

Brig. Munawar Ahmed Rana and Masood Anwar will be accompanying the team as Manager and Coach respectively.

To hold a tournament for Under-15 boys on Asian level is an excellent move on the part of the ACC. The competition will provide international exposure to the young boys and groom them for higher levels of cricket.

Ex Senator Criticizes Chairman PCB

Member suspended Senate Committee on Sports and Culture Zahid Khan, has demanded the suspension of Lt. Gen. Tauqir Zia from Chairmanship of Pakistan Cricket Board. The reason quoted by him is that the General unfairly influenced the Selection Committee to get his son Talal Zia selected for the Pakistan under-15 team in sheer violation of merit.

He stressed that the chairman needed to be replaced with some one who has some knowledge of cricket. He also lamented that the smaller provinces had not been represented on the Cricket Board.

Shoaib Akhtar's Injury

The Cricket lovers in Pakistan have been distressed to know about the cancellation of Shoaib Akhtar's contract with Nottinghamshire, for failing the fitness test on account of a rib injury. The medical test revealed that the known as "Rawalpindi Express", striving hard to become the fastest bowler of the world was suffering from an unusual rib-tip syndrome. Besides his county commitment, Shoaib's injury has also caused a big blow to Pakistan's cricket. Being the most fearsome among the present era fast bowlers he was expected to lead the Pakistan attack for many more years. Considered a precious commodity, the Pakistan Cricket Board is trying to obtain a second opinion on his injury from the Surrey Physio Dr. Dale Nayler.

Statham's Death

The cricket lovers in Pakistan, especially those who watched, listened or kept a track of international cricket in early 50s and 60s were deeply grieved to know about the death of Brian Statham. But for his leukemia, the age of 69 was not much for a sportsman of his stature.

A veteran of 252 test wickets, Statham was one of the great fast bowlers of his times, who will be remembered for his speed and accuracy apart from his gentlemanly behaviour on as well as off the field. Members of the Pakistan team who played against him will never forget his chivalrous approach to the game.