What about Umpire-fixing?

By Michelle Beckett

If the umpire gives a poor decision, it is usually considered to a human error, and the man responsible of upholding equality in a game of cricket is easily set off the hook. Sometimes these so-called human errors increase in frequency and occur at crucial moments that turn the result of important matches.

It is unfair why the referral system has not been introduced in the one-day international matches, and the on-field umpires are given the freedom to solely judge and give decisions.

In the tour of England, innumerable allegations were imposed on Pakistan regarding spot-fixing. Two of Pakistan top fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, under the captaincy of Salman Butt were alleged to have deliberately bowled no-balls in the test match against England at Lords. This news created shock waves around the world of cricket. It has been almost a month since the spot-fixing allegations brought forth by the British tabloid newspaper ‘News of the World’ came to light and not even a single piece of evidence has been found against the Pakistani players till date. Even then, they have been prematurely suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The British media and the ICC have focused a bit too much on the entire spot-fixing issue, but what about the blatant umpire-fixing that seems quite evident on television screens during the one-day matches?

Several poor decisions were given in the last one-day match between Pakistan and England. Most of them went in favour of England. The no-ball bowled by Amir and Asif were blown to crazy proportions by both the ICC and the British media, but what about the so-called no ball given by the umpire during the 5th ODI, which was clearly not a no ball. By giving this decision, the umpire allowed a free hit which could have proved costly for Pakistan, but fortunately for Pakistan, Umar Gul was able to bowl a good delivery which did not give any runs.

Secondly, there was a stumping appeal against Luke Wright but it was dismissed by umpire Billy Doctrove and was not referred to the third umpire despite repeated appeals by Umar Akmal (who had replaced Kamran Akmal as wicket-keeper due to Kamran Akmal’s finger injury). Shahid Afridi argued with Billy Doctrove furiously as he did not understand why the decision was not being referred to the third umpire.

And that’s not all. Captain Andrew Strauss, who was in top form and was the most dangerous player of the English side, was plum LBW (leg before the wicket) but was given not-out. It was the most crucial wicket for Pakistan as Strauss continued to attack Pakistani bowlers despite wickets falling on the other end. Mohammad Hafeez, the bowler, could just not believe it. Even Strauss was sure that he was out as he was heading towards the pavilion. But the umpire, who was British by nationality, closed his eyes and jerked his head. This was yet another shock for Pakistan.

So what would one call this? The two games that Pakistan did win were not dependent on the umpire’s rulings as most of the wickets were taken when the batmen was either bowled or caught.

It really makes one wonder that is the ICC taking a notice of this? Can they not see how the umpires turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s appeals? And what about the blatant no-ball decision given by the umpire when it was clearly not a no-ball? The spot-fixing no-balls were really noticed to the point that the poor players were suspended without proof. What sort of justice is this? The ICC has really proved to be a pure western body so far where most of the problems faced by Asian countries seem to go unnoticed. One cannot help but sense double-standards prevalent in the body which is there to support cricket for all.

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>>English Umpires Match Fixing Against Pakistan

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Tabloid drama makes ICC dance to its tunes

LAHORE – Pakistan team’s eventful tour of England will remain chiselled in the memories of national team players for the rest of their lives.

Cheaters if they win, fixers if they lose, they are now wondering what to do?

Amid all the tabloid drama that has made the ICC dance to its tunes, cricket is the ultimate loser. Though the Pakistan cricket is fast moving towards isolation, the game internationally is too dwindling into darkness. The ICC’s anti-corruption unit is only making itself a subject of ridicule by launching inquiries after every tabloid report.

They have suspended the three Pakistan players who are yet to be found guilty. But on the other hand, they have remained unmoved on reports of fixing in the IPL matches and the players alleged for involvement were not even called for questioning. It seems their focus is only the Pakistan team.

Instead of waiting for results of the inquiries already under progress, the ICC started yet another investigation on tabloid report without even taking the PCB and the ECB in to confidence.

The strained meeting of the PCB chief and ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat recently has also strained the relations between the PCB and the ECB with Ijaz Butt calling for investigation of a losing England team.

The British media declared that the South African players did not want to play against Pakistan in UAE, but the South African board clearly denied.

Just with one statement of the PCB chief, the ECB and its players have now reacted severely – one wonders Pakistan players have been facing this for quite sometime now. And even the on field umpires during the fourth ODI between the two sides acted quite differently leaving the Pakistan team high and dry on some confident appeals, which were declared even by expert commentators as umpiring errors.

Maybe those who control the game in the ICC have now decided to isolate Pakistan once for all. When Sri Lankan team was attacked, it seemed they had succeeded somewhat but Pakistan gave them a befitting reply by winning the ICC World T20 title.

But ever since the PCB alienated the powers that be by voting against John Howard’s nominations in the ICC, it was only a matter of time that Pakistan was taught a lesson. The News of the World is part of the group that controls a large part of Australian media which was also supportive of John Howard in his election campaigns.

This group, known for its bias towards Muslims in general and Pakistan in particular, is very influential in the USA and the UK. It is also worth a mention that former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was a close friend of US President George W Bush. Read more of this post

International Council of Clowns

By Khawaja Ahmad Ali

International Council of Clowns

It’s official. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has lost it. The ICC high officials don’t seem to have a clue as to what is going on in the world game yet they seem determined to damage the game beyond repair. What was the need to announce with great fan fair that they have launched an investigation into the third one-day international (ODI) between hosts England and Pakistan?

If they have any proof they should act and charge. Right now it seems that they are on the defensive and are trying to portray some sense of control that they obviously do not have. If they have to launch an investigation anytime it should be what in the world the ICC Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is doing? Do they only wake up when a tabloid releases garbage? Maybe the ICC should hire tabloid reporters to work in the ACSU!

It seems the ICC is hostage to some dark power. When the Indian Premier League (IPL) was launched Test players from around the world condemned the rush for money that was afflicting the sport. All manner of wrongdoing has been overlooked by the ICC in the IPL and yet it banned the Indian Cricket League (ICL) exposing its preferences to whoever paid the most. The involvement of Allen Sanford, the disgraced American billionaire, with the game is another sad documentary of the ICC overlooking ethics for monetary considerations.

The ICC was made aware of spot-fixing in 2003. What it has done? When South Africa’s Hansie Cronje died mysteriously the ICC never launched an investigation then. Only when Pakistan score victories the ICC goes to the press. It seems their pious officials think just attack Pakistan and all is well.

All countries have been targeted by bookmakers. Since the latest allegations surfaced nearly every country has reported that their players have been approached in the past. What rock the ICC was hiding behind? Why their officials are so incapable of even the basic responsibilities of a global governing body? How many people at the ICC have actually played cricket?

The ICC acted with blatant haste when it suspended three Pakistan players. Instead of trying to show some authority in the face of criticism the ICC officials just tried to save their own skins. ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat was on board with all the developments taking place. The PCB and the Pakistan High Commission in Britain had kept him updated yet he still jumped the gun and suspended the players despite the fact that no evidence existed.

Lorgat seems desperate to save his own job rather than work for the benefit of the game. Shouldn’t the ICC launch an investigation into why Scotland Yard searched player’s rooms and locked their dressing rooms without informing the individual boards? Was the ICC asleep then too? The world cricket body has failed miserably. They are unable to deal with the issues in modern cricket. It seems fat paychecks have detracted the ICC bosses’ ability to do anything progressive. The ICC needs to be reformed before it does any more damage to the world game.

A tight field for Pakistan

By Sohail Parwaz

It was probably the first week of January 2010 when a story, made the headlines in Indian and international newspapers. It was about Chris Cairns who announced his intentions to sue the Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi for making derogatory comments against the legendry New Zealander in relation to the IPL’s decision to withdraw Cairns’ name from the initial list of potential players. It’s a world known fact that Chris was suspended by his franchise Chandigarh Lions on disciplinary grounds and that was for nothing else but for the reason that he didn’t reveal that he had an injury. One of his colleagues and an Indian test cap Dinesh Mongia was also suspended for hiding Chris’ injury. The story was bent and buckled by few tabloid newspapers and channels that started reporting it as an outcome of some match fixing crime and with this hazy and far-fetched media stuff available the Indian Bully Boy, Lalit Modi levelled the allegation against the second generation all-rounder of the New Zealand cricket. When Modi’s comments appeared on his Twitter page and also in an interview with Cricinfo, Chris remarked dejectedly that, “The allegation made by Lalit Modi that I have been involved in match fixing is scandalous and it has caused me huge personal distress and professional damage”. That childish act of Modi made Chris think to sue him. On the other hand few weeks later Modi while watching IPL’s final in South Africa had a nibbling knowledge about the troubles waiting, back home, for him.

There was a complaint laid by an NGO that not all of the money promised in a cheque handover to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the victims of last May’s Jaipur terror blasts had come through. Modi was granted bail on February 27, but was banned from leaving India without the Rajasthan High Court’s permission which he violated. The 45-year-old Modi was in fact, in the dog box over two complaints which endangered his cap as the president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) and vice-president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The first case is about an alleged forgery over property the Mumbai-based Modi bought in Jaipur in September 2004 in order to qualify for the presidency of the RCA on the basis of residency. The crime was to produce fake documents in order to purchase the property. The other case is one which simply refuses to die, his conviction for cocaine possession, kidnapping and assault while studying at Duke University in the United States in 1985. Modi pleaded guilty to all charges, was fined $10 000 and was sentenced to two years in jail, which he never served as he was given probation instead.

One might ask that why I am giving this account about an Indian Casanova who had a trail of failed ventures and defaults till four years back but has a lifestyle now that includes a private jet, a luxury yacht and a fleet of Mercedes S class and BMW cars all acquired in the last three years? Well the reason is very simple because the muck starts right from here. The senior Majeed brother (Mazhar Majeed) who made the startling disclosures to a reporter of the local tabloid, ‘The News of the World’ about matches and spots fixing is in fact a chum of Lalit Modi. The both have thick ties and exemplary covert relations. They both watch each other’s back. The only difference is that Lalit Modi is the senior partner. Soon it will also be disclosed that why the Pakistani players, called for the second edition of the IPL, were totally ignored and were not considered worth bidding. That surprised everyone and there were many who bite their fingers. That story will also be disclosed but only after the investigations that revealed that Lalit Modi has permanent interest in three teams; Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab. There were quite credible reports that Modi has silent ownership in these three IPL teams, no matter these are owned by Manoj Badale, Shah Rukh Khan & Jay Mehta, (Juhi Chawla’s husband) and Akash Arora, the part-owner of the team along with Ness Wadia and Mohit Burman.  The role which Majeed Brothers have played in case of Pakistani cricket team is being played by Samir Thakral who is loyally working as a front man for Lalit Modi and whose phone records show conversations with bookies. The serious investigations are on into possible match-fixing and betting in IPL Season 2 which took place in South Africa. In fact the Indian income tax department has safely declared that the IPL teams were involved in the match fixing during the IPL second edition. The sources besides fearing that several IPL players could have been involved have also indicated that phone conversations have also been recorded and that possible questioning of IPL players could happen in this regard. Although the Income Tax investigation wing has filed a confidential report to the Indian finance ministry yet we all know that nothing will ever happen because Mr. Shard Pawar an Indian politician and a close friend of Lalit Modi is at the helm of the affairs in ICC. Read more of this post

Pakistan’s Naseem Hameed: Fastest Woman In South Asia

KARACHI: It is an undeniable fact that, mostly, the real talent in sports comes from the poor strata of the society.

Pakistan’s sports history is laden with numerous examples where youngsters, who are brought up in an appalling economic environment with no proper nourishment, equipment, and facilities, are able to carve their niche in international circuit mainly due to their amazing willpower and determination.

Khan family in squash, majority of star cricketers, major chunk of hockey Olympians in the country, footballers, boxers and athletes, who earned international repute, mostly, came from the poor families.

It is not strange in the country like ours, where sports is considered a least important faculty, player with an astounding talent performs amazingly at the international level.

Another star in the name of Naseem Hameed pricked the conscience of the dead authorities on Monday, when she turned out to be a queen of the athletic track of the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka where she emerged as the fastest woman of South Asia by clocking 11.81 seconds in the 100m sprint of the South Asian Games.

This was the career-best feat of the Karachi-based athlete, who was also part of the bronze medallist 4×100m relay team of the country in the 10th South Asian Games held in Colombo in 2006. Read more of this post

Pak skier Mohammad Abbas qualifies for Vancouver 2010

Abbas and almost all members of the team belong to the Northern Areas which is the home to the country’s top ski resort at Nalter, near Gilgit. -Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani skier Mohammad Abbas became the first man in the country’s history to qualify for the the Winter Olympics, to be held from Feb 12 in Vancouver, Canada.

A ceremony was arranged at the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad to honour Abbas.

Canadian High Commissioner Randolph Mank, office-bearers of the ski federation, Abbas, politicians and diplomats attended the ceremony in large number.

Abbas was part of a group of eight Pakistani skiers that undertook a nine-week advanced training-cum-competition tour of Europe early last year in a bid to earn points and qualification for the Winter Olympics. A skier automatically qualifies for the Winter Olympics if he has an average of 120 Federation de International Skiing points, something which was expected of at least half the team but only Abbas could manage.

Ski Federation of Pakistan (SFP), led by its President Air Marshal Shahid Lateef, had sponsored the trip and had in fact been providing financial, logistical and coaching support to the selected skiers for the past couple of years.

Abbas and almost all members of the team belong to the Northern Areas which is the home to the country’s top ski resort at Nalter, near Gilgit.

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Pak defeated India to win hockey gold medal in the South Asian Games

Pakistan hockey team defeated India in a sensational contest in the final to win a gold medal in the South Asian Games here on Sunday. Both teams played 1-1 draw in the allotted time and Wasif Siddiq made the only goal for Pakistan. However, no team could score any goal in extra time and the match was decided on penalty strokes. Pakistan made four against three goals and won the title.

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Cricket terrorism

Sultan M Hali | India has used every excuse possible to turn it into an instrument of terror. It has used coercive diplomacy, taking full advantage of the reconstruction opportunity in Afghanistan to launch terror attacks in Pakistan. 9/11 was used as a ploy to ditch its erstwhile ally Russia and join the US camp to take up cudgels against Pakistan. The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline was employed as a tool of intimidation and blackmail. The Confidence Building Measures by Pakistan were misused by India as a ploy for oppression and viewed as a sign of Pakistan’s weakness. Other nations including Pakistan make use of sports, culture and fine arts to enhance relations especially when tensions are rising. Pakistan’s president Zia-ul-Haq used cricket diplomacy to diffuse the chances of conflict between Pakistan and India when there was fear of war between the two during the Operation Brass-tacks era.

Unfortunately, India is exploiting the event of sports, especially cricket for terrorizing Pakistan. Earlier too Hindu extremists have threatened to attack and maim Pakistani cricketers in pursuance of their nefarious chauvinistic designs. They have dug up cricket pitches, created furor by inciting crowd vandalism to disrupt matches which appeared to be going against India. In the early days of Pakistan-India cricket fixtures, readers may recall an incident when Pakistan team was visiting India for a cricket series, Pakistan’s star batsman Hanif Muhammad was approached by an Indian fanatic posing to be a “fan”, who wanted to shake hands with the “Little Master” on the eve of the match. Innocently Hanif Muhammad extended his hand, but a blade concealed between the fingers of the “fan” cut his hand badly. That is another story that with a bandaged hand and three stitches, the master player went on to score 202 runs. Pakistani players playing for the Indian Premier League (IPL) who were stuck in Mumbai following the attacks on 26/11/2007 were threatened to be assassinated by Hindu militants as retaliation for the assault. Pakistani teams have time and again been threatened to desist from visiting India.

The forthcoming cricket “World Cup”, which is to be hosted by South Asia in 2011, with the venues to be divided between Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India was sabotaged for Pakistan. Initially India raised the specter of terror threats to visiting teams in Pakistan, which caused Australia, New Zealand and England to abstain from playing in Pakistan. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in a show of solidarity with us, decided to send their cricket teams to Pakistan. Reportedly, Indian intelligence agency RAW organized a deadly attack on the visiting cricket team at Lahore, sealing the fate of Pakistan as venue for the World Cup. This is not only going to deprive Pakistan of revenues and Pakistani fans the chance of witnessing exciting cricket matches, but also divest the national team of vital match practice, contributing to its dismal match performance in the recent past. The latest machination by the protagonists of Hindutva and Indian extremists, in humiliating Pakistani cricketers in the IPL is not only distasteful, but requires condemnation at the international level. Pakistani cricketers are not only the world champions in the 20/20 form of cricket, but have also rendered match winning performances in their various teams during the previous IPL tournaments. They should have been in demand by each and every team contesting in the IPL. Initially, problems were created in the issuance of visas for the Pakistani players, and then they were told to face the ignominy of facing auctioneering by different team sponsors/proprietors. Once the Pakistani players were placed for bidding, to their utter humiliation, not a single Pakistani cricketer was bid for. It has now emerged that the farcical auction was engineered by RAW and militant Hindus. Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Shilpa Shetty, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab Preity Zinta and Shahrukh Khan of Kolkata Knight riders have confirmed that the Hindu Extremist organization Shiv Sena and goons of RAW’s underworld mafia threatened the bidders to refrain from hiring Pakistani Cricket stars at the auction of the players for the 3rd session of IPL.

Without clearly naming Shiv Sena and RAW goons, the Bollywood sensations have expressed that they were threatened that if they would opt for hiring Pak cricketers, they (Pak Cricketers) would be badly harmed by them ( the Shiv Sena and RAW goons). Apart from the showbiz beauties who were amongst the bidder at the IPL auction some business tycoons at the auction, including Ness Wadia and Mukesh Ambani have also expressed the same while talking to media or commenting over the situation at private functions in Mumbai. The bidders have confirmed that the Pakistani cricketers were in great demand while some impartial and saner elements of the Indian media have disclosed opinion polls reflecting the choice of Indian fans who voted in the excess of 72% to see the star performers from Pakistani cricket playing on their soil.

On the other side, Indian belligerent leaders continue to threaten Pakistan with dire consequences if 26/11 type attacks are repeated. Indian threatening attitude has taken the extreme situation, where they see PAF’s preparations for war games at Sargodha as threatening for India. Sargodha is situated in the heart of the Punjab and is a Main Operating airbase, yet it is being described as a border city and the trenches and tunnels dug for war-games, have been construed as threatening postures. Indian Air Defence has gone so berserk that it mistook its own aircraft on the radar and declared them as hostile intruders and was preparing to take punitive action. Under these circumstances, Pakistan should boycott the IPL matches. No Pakistani cable operator should broadcast the IPL matches in Pakistan. During the Cricket World Cup, Pakistan should refuse to play any match on Indian soil. In one of the previous World Cup cricket tournaments, Australia had refused to play in Sri Lanka; we can adopt a similar policy for India. Such drastic steps will expose Indian belligerence and cricket terrorism and bear pressure on it from using sports fixtures for its nefarious ends.


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