Bravo, Greenshirts!


My letter in the NewsPost today :

‘We lost a whole series just before the World Cup. Our country was denied the right to host the World Cup. Our players were shunned by the IPL management. Three of our cricketers were convicted of spot fixing while we also had the honour of having a runaway wicket-keeper. We suffered humiliation at an international level and as a result, we had a demoralised team. Who would have thought that our team would make it to the semi-finals? This is called winning! We should all be incredibly proud of our team. Our captain should not have apologised. He may not have won the Cup but he has surely won the hearts of this nation.

Our journey ended at this year’s World Cup but our team managed to unite the whole Pakistani nation as one. A tremendous homecoming should be given to our players. Plus, I hope that the atmosphere of ‘Pakistaniyat’ that had been created in the country before the India-Pakistan match would persist even after it!

Hafsa Khawaja,

Lahore.’

My post on why we should be proud of Team Pakistan as it returns home.

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Fickle and Mausami Pakistani Cricket ‘Fans’, Take A Hike!


After Pakistan lost the Semi-Final of the T20 World-Cup to Australia, majority of Pakistanis started updating their Facebook statuses abusing and cursing our Team while blaming Afridi for the loss. While anger or depression is natural when you are such a nation that sees the face of depair as much as the rising of the Sun every morning and this game is a single reason for us to smile  but what was surprising was the sudden capricious change in the words and emotions of the Pakistani ‘fans’ who showed their despicable attitude of hurling harsh words at our Team players when only moments ago they were showering them with praises until the tide of the game turned against us.

Our people should have accepted the defeat with grace, remembering the blazing performances by the Akmal brothers and the excellent bowling of Muhammad Amir and Abdul Rehman.

As far as Saeed Ajmal’s bowling in the last over is concerned, then I believe he was the right person at the wrong time. Ajmal is being constantly being censured and being held responsible for the ‘win turned defeat’ at the hands of Australians. Let me also remind all those hurling insults at him to revive their amensia-striken brains about his fantabulous performance as a world-class spinner and an exceptional player, proving to be a lethal weapon for us in previous matches to be used against other teams.  He was the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in this tournament and the 3rd highest wicket-taker for the T20 WC 2010. He himself was considerably heavy-hearted and dysphoric in disbelief at the end of the match.

In my opinion and for me, Team Pakistan is and will always be the centre of my pride and adoration. Yes, our Team may not have performed upto our expectations in this Tournament and they did make mistakes that could have been avoided but no win is forever. Our team did not put up a fight with the Aussies but a battle. They fought like lions and tried their best. No one would ever want to lose on purpose and it should be realized by now that they are all humans and making mistakes is a component of a mortal’s life and so is loosing and winning entwined with a game as are two sides of a coin. We should all acknowledge their efforts and appreciate their attempts on trying to capture the place in the Final.

At the Presentation Ceremony, it was evident that all our players were crest-fallen and dispirited especially our Captain, Afridi. They have alot of mental pressure on them currently and as a nation we should back them and welcome them home warmly.

As for those mausami fans who rarely watch cricket and criticise the Team just for the sake of showing their involvement in the game and their analytical ability, assail national players with insults and those who have too much of an attitude of scornful or jaded negativity infused in them that they can’t take a defeat or appreciate the positive aspects of a picture, I say, take a hike because Pakistan has had enough of pessimists and cynics.

I admit our Team needs restructuring and organizing to be close to what we want them to be but at the end of the day, Team Pakistan will always represent us and at one time or another, be the source of joy and pride for this nation as it has been in the past. What was never meant to be by the will of the Creator can not be ascribed to people. Cursing or humiliating them means we are deriding our own country and our own selves so support your Team in every situation!

Team Pakistan forever!

– Hafsa Khawaja

Updated : Pakistan lost its first match in the Cricket World Cup 2011 today to New Zealand by 110 runs and all of a sudden, all the aforementioned Mausami ‘Fans’ began to pop up like popcorns. Just a few days before when Pakistan won from Canada, Sri Lanka and Kenya – they were screaming with support and this is a shame.

Fans aren’t those who appear when their team is winning but those who support their players in the worst and best of times. All the rest are those who watch the game for sheer entertainment or time pass.

I say, its not the end of the world that they lost. Our Team did not come into the WC with the guarantee of winning every match, we needed this loss to realize that we need to still be working hard. We already lost the World Cup Hosting rights and in just months saw a runaway wicket-keeper along with 3 players guilty of spot-fixing.

We should be proud of our Team who have struggled and performed well despite all the demoralising incidents.

Our Team needs US now!

BLAME KHATMAL BUT SUPPORT YOUR TEAM!

Its Not The Players, Its The Boards Stupid !


Since the arrival of 2010, Pakistan’s hockey and cricket teams have been sliding down a string of defeats. Our Cricket team’s Tour of Australia and our Hockey Team’s performance in the Hockey World Cup, both were indeed disasters. Not only did the shock the nation but crushed their hopes.We must wake up to the fact that there are many factors that contribute to the performances of our teams other than the players. Alot of debate has been going on to determine the reasons for such defeats and most of the time, the players of both teams are blamed and held more responsible than the the Boards who have contributed much to the failure than the players, PHF and PCB.

The PCB has recently stinged the major players of the Cricket Team with bans and fines as ‘punishments’ for the defeats on the Tour of Australia and PHF has sacked the management of the hockey team with the entire Hockey Team tendering their reisgnations after their performance at the World Cup.

While one already knows the situation and state of PCB currently, it is no surprise that PHF is also in a reflecting condition of the cricket board. Qasim Zia, President of the PHF was appointed at this position by the PM through a usual case of bringing relatives and politics in the stream of sports. Asif Bajwa, the Secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation, is highly reputed to have come into PHF through his links with an MNA from Sialkot of the ruling party. Bajwa seems to lack the vision to purge the national sport of the country out of its current decline and so far, nothing remarkable from his side has emerged to revive hockey except rumours of his ill-management. It is evident that the state of inertia still persisted in our hockey after the elevation of both Zia and Bajwa to these posts, it is also quite evident that they lack direction, skills and leadership qualities to head the PHF. and should have long resigned after the failures of our Hockey Team.

Shahid Ali Khan, a former Olympian and though a hard-working coach of our team was previously a goal-keeper which is quite a restricted role in the game of hockey. Mr.Khan can not be blamed for a goal-keeper can not have the acumen to coach and that too when the state of the team is already deplorable. Can we expect Salman Akbar, our current goal-keeper to coach the future hockey team of Pakistan? Certainly not.

Our Hockey Players, many of who were playing for a long time, were also decided to be awarded the Central Contracts THIS year, and to get it straight, no player plays to his full potential without the assurance of money to be granted to him to support himself and the deserved respect.

Coming to our cricket board and its famed management that has no such qualifications to be in the management of a sport that is the heart-beat of its nation. The PCB Chairman, Ejaz Butt who played 8 tests in his time from 1959 to 1962 was appointed as the Chairman by President Asif Ali Zardari who is the Patron of Chief of our cricket board [Pakistan is the only country where the President is the Chief of a sports board] on account of his relations with Defence Minister, Ahmed Mukhtar. Butt is neither efficient nor is he capable of running PCB. He seems to have absolutely no knowledge about the game and how to handle the players and the management itself is maladroit.

People like Tauqeer Dar and Abdul Qadir are running private academies for the game of hockey and cricket respectively.
Dar who hails from a family of fine hockey players runs his own ‘Dar Hockey Academy’ in Lahore where any youth can join free of cost and he provides them with all the hockey equipment himself. Coaches are always there to instruct the boys.
Last year, Pakistan’s U1-9 Hockey Team won a Cup of a mega tournament and that team consisted of players who were part of Tauqeer Dar’s academy.

Abdul Qadir also runs his own academy for cricket for youngsters and is a strong critic of those who run the PCB currently.

Both Abdul Qadir and Tauqeer Dar are doing more than just a commendable job for the future of cricket and the latter for the revival of hockey and in producing players that shall take the game to its glorious heights again but as long as the official boards of these games, PHF and PCB are run on the basis of nepotism and politics, the conditions of both hockey and cricket will remain stagnant and exacerbate because that is the result when players are mismanaged and handled by people who lack in skills and knowledge.

It should be realized by now, that to save sports in Pakistan, politics shall be thrown out of it and each appointment should be on the basis of merit.

Hafsa Khawaja

PCB Shifting Blame To Save Face?


After Pakistan Cricket Team’s Tour of Australia which began this year and was indeed a debacle, an inquiry was ordered into the causes of the defeats on Tour of Australia which was lead by a committee and sent a number of punishments for certain players to the PCB.
Yesterday, they accepted the those punishments :
*One year ban on Shoaib Malik and Rana Naveed and a 2 Million fine on both of them for unacceptable behaviour.
*LIFE BAN on Muhammad Yousaf and Younis Khan for their infighting that affected the team [according to the PCB].
* Fine of 2 million on the Akmal brothers for indiscipline.
*Fine of 3 million on Shahid Afridi dor the ball-tampering incident.

I fail to understand the reason, that where was the PCB Management when the Tour was ON-GOING and so much was brewing in the team? They were supposed to control and warn the players right on spot if they were getting out of hand. Why were the Akmal brothers and Shoaib and Rana not sent back from the Tour if they were indeed involved in behaviours that were unacceptable? If so was the case with Shoaib Malik, why was he made the Captain of the one T20 Match against Australia?
Younis Khan was not even part of squad that were beaten brutally by the Australian Team. Why has such a harsh ban been imposed on him?

The reason that the PCB stated for the life ban on Younis and Yousaf is their infighting that affected the team, if such is the basis of imposing a life ban, then what about the rivalry and disputes between Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram and Imran Khan and Miandad in their times?

Maybe because Yawar Saeed, with whom Younis had problems as a manager in his stint as the Captain, was part of the Inquiry Committee and wanted to settle personal scores?

Shahid Afridi was already given a Two T20 Match Ban by the ICC for the ball-biting incident as a punishment for ball-tampering and again the people in PCB and the Standing Committee on Sports in the NA demanded more punishment for him, when it is already known that a man can not be twice punished.

Jamshed Dasti, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Sports in the NAis a staunch critic of the PCB Chairman, Ejaz Butt whom he considers to be inept. This is equivalent to the pot calling the kettle black. Dasti himself was reputed to be a drug-seller and has no qualifications that make him worthy of his current position like Butt, both were made merely on the basis of nepotism and ‘links’ to the Presidency.
The entire PCB is marred with nepotism, maladroitness and failure. It is not that the Board is brimming with people of noble intentions and great adeptness.
Such bans have only been imposed by the PCB only to save their own face [and that too only a month before the T20 World Cup starting on this 30th of April] and have shifted the debris of the blame on the players, they should have long resigned after the Tour of Australia and it is time that they accept their inefficiency and go back to their homes.

Hafsa Khawaja