Saeed Anwar to Miss West Indies tour.

Pakistan's star opener Saeed Anwar having not recovered from the knee injury will not join the Pakistan team in the Caribbean. He is however, expected to be completely fit before Asia Cup beginning in Dhaka from May 28. This was confirmed by Chief Selector Waseem Bari.

Bari also said that Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq would not be available for the Asia Cup, because after the completion of West Indies tour, they will be leaving for England to meet their county commitments.

With Saeed Anwar's absence, the Pakistan's opening of the innings will continue to lack strength and stability. In case the young openers do not perform well, the burden will shift to the middle order batsmen.

Iqbal Qasim Sacked

Former test cricketer Iqbal Qasim, a member of the national selection committee has been sacked by the Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board for violating the PCB code of conduct. In a press interview Iqbal Qasim had commented on some of the proposed changes in the PCB constitution.

The PCB constitution is being revised to expel from the Board's membership, all government departments as well as commercial organisations and institutions. The change a brainchild of former captain Imran Khan would be highly detrimental to the promotion of cricket in the country. It will put at stake the careers of hundreds of players provided employment by these organisations. These organisations given great impetus to the game by raising teams, building grounds and stadiums, holding tournaments, offering awards and arranging sponsorship. Their ouster will also limit the size and quality of various domestic cricket tournaments.

Iqbal Qasim happens to be the officer incharge sports in the National Bank of Pakistan that very recently held a country wide tournament, participated by 22 teams. Qasim's comments were quite valid from the point of view of cricketers welfare and the damage that the change is likely to cause to the game. His views should have been heard and evaluated rather than taking a dictatorial action to remove him from the selection committee.

Selection of under - 15 Boys

The selection of boys for the under-15 national team to participate in the Youth Cup Cricket Tournament to be played in Malaysia from June 28 to July 9 is still in process. It started with 15000 boys appearing for trials held at 19 centers in the country where selection committees comprising former cricketers saw them in action. 70 boys have been short-listed for the final phase of selection taking place at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore. The number will be finally reduced to 22, fourteen of them forming the team while the rest will act as reserves.

The very appearance of such a large number of youngsters for trials indicates the enormous amount of talent that Pakistan possesses. These boys will form a nucleus for the future Pakistan teams of all grades and levels.

Justice Qayum's Report

The Justice Qayum's report on match fixing will be made public within the next ten days, it was announced by Lt. Gen Tauqir Zia, Chairman of the PCB.

Although he did not disclose the actual contents of the report, he hinted that there was no planned match fixing and betting as far as Pakistan players were concerned. He also felt that the present members of the Pakistan team will not be affected by the outcome of the report.

After discussing the report with President Rafiq Tarar who is also Patron of the board and making certain clarifications from Justice Qayum, Gen Tauqir maintained that "Pakistan's image will be at top of the world after publication of this report". He further added that "we will take every decision in the larger interest of the game and safe guard the image of the country besides cleaning cricket from such controversies in future".

After Hansie Cronje's confession, the match fixing has become the hottest subject of discussion in the cricket world. The allegations leveled on some Pakistani players a few years ago remained under investigation at many levels. Since such inquiries are in progress in most cricket playing countries, the eyes of cricket lovers are focussed on Pakistan's position in the matter. The announcement of the final verdict will end the suspense that prevails among the people, besides removing the Democles sword hanging on the heads of players. Cleared of the allegations, they will regain their confidence and perform better on the field.

Viv. Richards Creates a Row

West Indies great Viv. Richards added fuel to the raging match fixing row in cricket saying, he suspected foul play even in the mid seventies. He quoted a former Pakistan captain having forfeited the toss during the home series against the West Indies in 1974 -75.

Richard's statement gave a rude shock to the Pakistani cricketers, also causing a wave of resentment among the cricket lovers. Intikhab Alam who was the Pakistan captain at that time reacted violently, threatening to sue the West Indies masterio, if he has really said so! "A man of Richard's stature cannot issue a statement, but if he has said this, I will not spare him", Intikhab Alam said.

The remarks of other Pakistani players who were perturbed by Richard's remarks were as fol. Zaheer Abbas the former test captain felt that it was fine the ICC and member boards stopped all cricketers and officials from making such allegations in the press because the game's reputation was being damaged.

Sadiq Mohammad, an opener in the Pakistan team which played the 1974 - 75 series against the West Indies, made an outright dismissal of Richard's allegations. "I do not know what to make of this rubbish", he remarked.

Former skipper Rashid Latif said, "Viv. Richard's statement comes as a surprise because he is recalling something which took place 26 years ago". I think, Clive Lloyd who was captain of the West Indies team could be the right person to comment".

Tauseef Ahmed a former test cricketer feels that Richards statement was an act of malice. Basit Ali, another former test player also said that recalling an incident 26 years after its occurrence made no sense.

While the over all reaction in Pakistan is a combination of surprise and disbelief, the fact remains that Richard has triggered off a controversy that might have far reaching consequences. It shall remain so even if Clive Lloyd is said to have denied the occurrence of such an incident.