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Subject: Some Thing about Pak cricket
chupooey    10/25/2006 6:17:49 AM
As the dust begins to settle at the Gaddafi Stadium, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is more to the Lahori chop than the childish squabble at The Oval; that the ex-Foreign Secretary was fast losing control in his interior ministry and embarrassment over the handling of PCB's foreign affairs. The doping episode has been an irritant in the opening spell of the new PCB Leadership and has saddled Nasim Ashraf with an unwanted, un-itemized point in his short term agenda. But if anything the incident has given his plan the impetus and backing it required in getting to the root problem quicker rather than later. And that is a two point plan — wrest back the power from the players and speed in the constitution. And there is the hidden single point agenda: deislamise the national cricket team. More about the first in another column. The necessity to bring in a constitutional PCB structure has never been more imperative. The patron of PCB being the President of Pakistan, the last thing President Musharraff wants is an unconstitutional body under him for the past 7 years leading up to election year. Worse, in the past four years especially, the ad hocism in the board has bred controversies like bureaucracy churns out committee minutes, and any disappointing exit from the ICC Champions Trophy or the World Cup next year would have provided ample fodder to the opposition. 'If this is how unconcerned the president is about running the greatest game in the country how unconcerned would he be in stymieing the erosion of our other institutions' would have been the rallying cry of the Bhuttos and the Sharifs. And I am pretty sure that the updating of a few clauses in the constitution over a period of four years had become an embarrassment for the government and the President was seen shielding a self rewarding usurper of what is the property of the cricket associations of the country. But what else is behind the rallying cry of "Around the constitution in 45 days"? (Which, by the way, is 53 days to the promised date of Nov 1, considering Dr Nasim took over on Oct 6.) Enter another chairman who gets his arithmetic wrong! Remember the famous plea by his predecessor at The Oval: "We were late by a few minutes." But there is something about the doctor that instills confidence in me that he will complete the job, and that includes the underlying agenda. You see, like all agendas there are the hidden items which normally only the chairman and a couple of the top man's confidants know. And this hidden agenda is to eliminate the growing Islamisation of the Pakistan cricket team. It has been clear over the last three years that Inzamam has been laying more stress on getting divine intervention than on selecting the right eleven. As Muslims we all crave for God’s blessings, yes. But there has been the growing influence of the visiting and resident tableeghis in the dressing room that the government fears can lead to bigger ideologies being unleashed on the playing fields that idyllically should be free of politics and religion. It is funny enough to hear Inzy start his presentation ceremony answering session with "First of all thanks to Allah" when the question often posed has been "What do you have to say for today's defeat?" But recently it got a bit out of hand when he and the proud recruit Yousuf spent many minutes extolling the virtue of namaaz and salat and team prayers to a rather bemused Wasim Akram in a talk show. You felt you were in Raiwind than in your lounge. It got more synthetic when any improvement in technique was diverted to Allah and all free time was said to be devoted to praying. What about indoor nets and helping out junior players with their techniques, I thought. It's something that is expected of senior players on a cricket tour or home series. What about spending maximum time discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition? True, God has asked you to pray but he has left you plenty of time to go away and gain and spread knowledge in your vocation. For many of our cricketers, that should come from reading Sir Don Bradman's The Art of Cricket or watching video after video of how Muralitharan can be best played. God has said to do justice to your employer and to strike a balance between work and pray. The work never ends and the prayers can be extended when there is no cricket. There are probably 50,000 fellow tableeghis to espouse the virtue of praying five times a day but only one Inzamam and one Yousuf to spend hour after hour with Imran Farhat, Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed getting their technique right outside the off stump, instead of pulling them up for Fajr prayers. And surely fifteen days spent with the 'A' team in a camp will help Islam more than seven days on a conversion tour. And how will that be, may ask, say Yousuf? Well, when the team roots out individual flaws in technique, the individuals play better and the team shows more discipli
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