Pakistan will confer honorary citizenship on former West Indies captain Darren Sammy for his “invaluable contribution” towards the return of top-flight cricket to the country, its cricket board said.
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MUMBAI: Pakistan will confer honorary citizenship on former West Indies captain Darren Sammy for his “invaluable contribution” towards the return of top-flight cricket to the country, its cricket board said.
Pakistan successfully hosted two tests against Sri Lanka in December – their first at home since a militant attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six security personnel and two civilians and wounded six players.
While the international cricket community stayed away from travelling to Pakistan following the attack, Sammy has been a regular member of the Peshawar Zalmi side in the Pakistan Super League since its start in 2016.
The 36-year-old St Lucian captained the franchise to the PSL title in the second edition in 2017 and often advocated for the return of international cricket to the country.
Sammy’s last match for West Indies was the final of the Twenty20 World Cup in 2016, when he led the Caribbean side to the trophy against England at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
Pakistan President Arif Alvi will also confer the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the country’s top civilian award, next month on Sammy.
“President of Pakistan Dr @ArifAlvi will confer the highest civilian award and honorary citizenship to Darren Sammy on 23 March for his invaluable contribution to cricket in Pakistan,” the Pakistan Cricket Board said on its official Twitter handle.
Pakistan did not host any international cricket for six years after the Lahore attack, with the team playing their home matches in the United Arab Emirates.
It hosted a number of limited-overs internationals in recent years, with Sri Lanka playing three one-dayers and three Twenty20 matches there in September and October, though 10 key players opted out of that trip citing security concerns.
Following Sri Lanka’s test matches in December, Bangladesh also visited Pakistan recently for a three-match Twenty20 series and a test in Rawalpindi and will return to the country for an one-day international and another test in Karachi in April.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Kim COghill)
Jammu: Thursday was an unusual day in the city of Jammu – and you could hear the excitement everywhere. There was more traffic than usual on the roads leading to the Gandhi Memorial Science College grounds. Instead of the usual discussion on what reading down Article 370 will mean for the erstwhile state, people were talking about the Ranji Trophy – a premier Indian domestic cricket tournament.
Jammu and Kashmir was scheduled to host the star-studded Karnataka team, in J&K’s second-ever quarter-final since joining the Ranji Trophy in 1959-60. Luckily for cricket enthusiasts, the J&K Cricket Association decided to host the match despite Karnataka mulling over a venue shift, citing ‘logistical’ problems.
With security surrounding the ground, people from across J&K had arrived in large numbers to see their team in action against some of the biggest names in Indian cricket. However, the weather played spoilsport and bad lighting caused a delay in the coin toss. The spectators, however, were not perturbed.
“We came here to watch this exciting encounter. So waiting for the game to start is obvious,” said Nisar Ahmad, who had come all the way from Kishtwar.
Fans standing on chairs to get a glimpse of the players. Photo: Mohsin Kamal
Clouds and a cold breeze forced officials to keep the ground covered till 3 pm. Finally, when there was enough light, the two captains, J&K’s Parvez Rasool and Karnataka’s Karun Nair, came out for toss, greeted by thunderous cheering from the crowd. The visitors decided to bat first, and the cricketing action finally began.
As Auqib Nabi, J&K’s key fast bowler, began his run-up, the viewers couldn’t keep calm. Slogans like “Come on JK” filled the ground.
“I was very nervous when told to open the proceedings in this high-tension game. There was a bit of extra pressure in front of the home crowd,” Nabi, who has played a key role in the J&K team this Ranji Trophy, told The Wire after the end of day’s play.
Players from Karnataka, Manish Pandey and Karun Nair, practice in Jammu ahead of the match. Photo: PTI
“It was quite exciting to play in front of the home crowd and hear those loud cheers.”
Although only six overs could be bowled on day one, owing to bad light, the crowd looked elated. Karnataka finished at 14 runs for two wickets, with Nabi and Mujtaba Yousuf taking down a wicket each.
Hikmat Malik, a young cricket fan, had come from Srinagar on a flight just to see the match live.
“I had to come (to watch the match). I booked a flight costing Rs 4,500 to reach here (from Srinagar). I am looking forward to an exciting match. Of course I want J&K to win this game, but at the end of the day, the better team should win,” Malik told The Wire.
Multiple cultures and lifestyles co-exist in J&K, and the cricket game brought them all together. “Seeing players like Karun Nair, Irfan Pathan, Manish Pandey etc. is something one can’t miss. More importantly, we are supporting our team,” Tarandeep Singh, a Jammu student, said in jubilation.
Sitting next to him, Faisal Ahmad Bhat, who had come from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, termed this an event to ‘unite’ the multicultural erstwhile state. “We are all here backing JK, not J&K. Events like these are to unite people and enjoy the great game of cricket,” the youngster asserted, claiming that the ‘and’ in Jammu and Kashmir had been erased for a short while.
Lauding captain Parvez Rasool and mentor Irfan Pathan, Ranjeet Karla, J&K’s representative in the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said, “We are honoured to host this quarter-final in Jammu. Our team reaching the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy is a testimony to the hard work of players led by Parvez Rasool. The credit also goes to Irfan Pathan for his mentoring.”
Calling cricket a ‘unifying’ factor, Karla stated, “Thousands of cricket lovers had turned up for this match. I was glad to see that scores of them had come from the Kashmir Valley. Cricket really unites people.”
Mohsin Kamal is a sports journalist based in Kashmir.
Pakistan Railways has inaugurated a first-ever train service that would exclusively transport Afghan transit cargo from Karachi to the countries’ border.
Pakistan Railways Chairman Habib-ur-Rehman Gilani inaugurated the train on Saturday which departed from the Pakistan International Container Terminal in Karachi with 35 containers on board for the country’s southwest Chaman city bordering Afghanistan, from where the goods will be shifted across the border, reports Xinhua news agency.
The chairman said that according to the agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a total of five to seven trains will run on the route, shifting up to 500 containers every month but mainly depending on the availability of the cargo.
The chairman said the launching of cross border freight train is one of the major achieved targets by Pakistan Railways during the current year.
“The project will help increase the revenue of Pakistan Railways and will also reduce the heavy traffic flow from major roads and highways, besides providing cheap and smooth cargo services to traders with little loss risks in terms of damages,” said the official, adding that the cargo will reach the Afghan border in 48 hours.
Pakistan originally planned to start Afghan transit cargo train service in 2017, but the plan hit snags due to security issues, according to media reports.
At least nine labourers were killed and eight others injured when a marble mine collapsed due to landsliding in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, Official of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Informed.
The marble mine caved in in Bampokha area of district Buner of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Fifteen miners are still buried under the debris of the mine. Rescue operation with the support of the Army is underway to retrieve the miners.
Islamabad: Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Saturday directed Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send the matter related to stranded Pakistanis, mostly students in China’s novel coronavirus-hit province Hubei and rest of the country, to federal cabinet’s upcoming meeting.
The chief justice gave this order while hearing a petition filed by parents and relatives of the stranded Pakistanis in China.
The court in view of the sensitivity and concerns of the parents conducted hearing on an off-day (Saturday) as the matter was earlier scheduled for Friday but the judge being on leave the case was rescheduled.
The counsel for petitioners drew the court’s attention towards the government officials’ statement that it couldn’t bring their children back home.
Pakistani students are living in miserable conditions and facing problems like shortage of food and supply of essential items, he said.
He requested the court to direct the government to evacuate children from there on urgent basis.
A large number of parents and elderly relatives of stranded Pakistani students attended the hearing.
On this occasion Justice Minallah remarked if the government couldn’t take up the matter with the Chinese government that the Pakistani students and others might be taken out of that province and shifted to other parts of the country.
A number of countries had already evacuated their students from there, the chief justice observed.
He also remarked there was lack of communication between parents and the government.
An official of the Foreign office informed the court that Prime Minister Imran Khan had talked to his Chinese counterpart, who had assured the Chinese government would take every care of the Pakistani students and considered them their own children.
We have activated two phone lines for the guidance of the students and receiving many calls on those lines.
Besides Pakistan embassy sent its two officials to Wuhan city of Hubei province to meet and listen and address the grievances of the Pakistani students, he further said.
They will remain there until the area is cleared of virus, he said.
The counsel for Pakistani students upon this said they didn’t meet all the students.
Justice Minallah asked the Foreign Office representative if the matter was considered by the Federal Cabinet. On his ignorance regarding federal cabinet’s update the court directed the matter be placed before the cabinet as it was a policy decision and the court couldn’t give any direction.
India and Pakistan have not played bilateral cricket since 2013 and the two Asian giants have met only at major ICC and ACC tournaments in the recent past. They last played a Test series in 2008.
Despite the strain in bilateral ties between India and Pakistan over the years, Indian players like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have earned a lot of love from across the border. Several Pakistan cricket fans, in the past, have showcased their admiration for many Indian cricketers.
However, on Saturday, a group of Pakistan cricket fans in Lahore held up a banner, requesting the Indian team to come and play cricket in Pakistan. The fans were posing for a photo with the banner at the Gaddafi Stadium during a PSL match between Islamabad United and Multan Sultans.
A Pakistani journalist Saj Sadiq on Saturday tweeted the photo with the caption: “Lahori fans want the Indian team to vist #Cricket”
Earlier, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar had said it’s high time India and Pakistan resume playing bilateral cricket, keeping aside the political differences between the 2 Asian neighbours.
Stressing that India-Pakistan bilateral cricket is good news for fans, the rivalry and monetary aspects, Akhtar said the two teams should at least consider playing each other in a neutral venue if visiting the other country remains an issue.
In the PSL match, Former champion Islamabad United earned their first victory as they thumped Multan Sultans by 8 wickets on Saturday.
For Islamabad, the New Zealand pair of Ronchi and Munro smashed 63 runs in the first six overs and set an early tone to the chase by hitting legspinner Imran Tahir for 22 in the second over. The South African finished with 0-44.
Earlier, Multan’s Zeeshan Ashraf hit 50 off 29 and Vince made 42 off 31, but Amad had Moeen Ali (10) and Rilee Rossouw (0) in his second over to restrict the opposition.
Congress leader and veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha on Saturday called on Pakistan President Arif Alvi during which the two leaders agreed that there was a strong need to work for promotion of peace in the subcontinent.
Sinha, who is in Pakistan on a personal visit, called on President Alvi at the Governor House in Lahore and the two discussed Kashmir among other matters of interest, according to a statement by Alvi’s office.
Both Alvi and Sinha agreed that there was a strong need to work for promotion of peace in the subcontinent.
Just about two weeks ago Pakistan mourned the death of Waqar Hasan, the only surviving member of the playing XI which represented the country in its inaugural Test match in October 1952. The sad occasion in Karachi — where the late Waqar spent the better part of his life after moving from Lahore in the early 1960s — finally closed a glittering chapter of Pakistan’s cricketing history.
Statistically speaking, Waqar probably never really did any justice to his reputation as one of the most elegant batsmen to play Test cricket. He made an inauspicious debut against archrivals India at the Ferozshah Kotla Stadium, which was recently renamed after the late Indian politician Arun Jaitley.
Batting in both innings at No 8, the right-hander was dismissed for just 8 and 5 while Pakistan capitulated to an innings and 70-run defeat. Waqar remained a modest achiever who managed to make only 1,071 runs in his 21 Tests and scored just one century (189 against New Zealand in 1955-56).
But that debuting Pakistan team had several players who, with the passage of time, blossomed into world class cricketers. Prominent among the XI were Hanif Mohammad and Fazal Mahmood. One fascinating trivia to emerge from that game was that actually only nine players from the visiting side made their debut then at the highest level. Abdul Hafeez Kardar — who because of his Oxford University background and authoritative personality was named to lead the team — and Amir Elahi had both represented India at the Test level before Partition.
Kardar and Elahi were not the only cricketers — in that Test who would go on to represent both India and Pakistan; the diminutive Gul Mohammad — who was in the opposition camp — played eight times for India between 1946 and 1952-53 before switching his allegiance to Pakistan. He participated in one further Test, against Australia at Karachi in 1956.
The death of the distinguished cricketer Waqar Hasan, the last remaining member of Pakistan’s first Test squad, brings back memories of his illustrious team-mates and their achievements
The Lahore-born Gul, classified in that era among the finest fielders of that generation, was primarily a left-handed batsman but had modest returns with the bat. However, he was far more successful at the first-class level and scored 319 for Baroda against Holkar while sharing the highest partnership — 577 for the fourth-wicket with Vijay Hazare — for any wicket at the time during the Ranji Trophy final at Baroda during the 1946-47 season.
Kardar was a colossal figure. His no-nonsense attitude made everyone take notice of him wherever he went. No wonder Pakistan chalked up notable Test victories in their early years of going international, chiefly because of the dynamic leadership attributes this man possessed. Now when we think what it was like in those days, one can’t help but say that, without the inspirational presence of Kardar at the helm, Pakistan would have not made the rest of the cricketing world sit up and take serious notice of his team.
The most unique feature of Kardar — who later entered the world of politics and also served as a minister — was that he captained Pakistan in all of the 23 Tests he played for them, after representing India under the name ‘Abdul Hafeez’ in three Tests in the pre-1947 period. He is rightly acclaimed as the father figure of Pakistan cricket.
A gutsy left-handed batsman and a more than useful left-arm seamer, Kardar also plied his trade in the English County Championship for Warwickshire where he learnt the art of captaincy under astute brains such as Martin Donnelly and Tom Dollery. His CV as Pakistan captain speaks for itself — leading the side to victory in Pakistan’s second Test and also captioning the first team in history to defeat England in the latter’s backyard while drawing the unforgettable 1954 series 1-1.
Post-retirement, Kardar became a powerful administrator and headed the then Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) for a five-year period from 1972. He was the one who promoted departmental cricket because he believed the departments had a big role to play in inculcating the culture of professionalism which was clearly lacking at the time. Now it’s an irony the system initiated by Kardar has been put in the deep freezer for as long as Imran Khan rules the country.
Going to that famous win at The Oval, the architect was the charismatic Fazal Mahmood. A tall, well-built, handsome individual with blue eyes, he was the catalyst with the ball on whose broad shoulders Pakistan heavily depended. Fazal played havoc with the England batsmen in that game, picking up six wickets in each innings with his deadly assortment of leg-cutters and seamers. England were on course for a 2-0 series triumph at 109-2 while chasing a modest 168. But Fazal dashed their hopes in spectacular fashion as the hosts lost their final eight wickets for the addition of only 34 runs.
Fazal was virtually unplayable on matting pitches — a norm in Pakistan and to some extent in India then — and created havoc among the opposing teams. First up he destroyed India on the artificial pitch in Lucknow, to enable Pakistan to enjoy its maiden victory in only their second Test. And then Australia had no answers to his mixed bag of cutters and backbreakers during their first-ever visit here in 1956 and succumbed to the wily Fazal who finished them off with an incredible match analysis of 13 for 114.
A debonair character, Fazal — the first Pakistani to register 100 Test wickets (in 22 matches) — was easily identifiable wherever he went and was arguably the first ‘poster-boy’ of Pakistan cricket, who also featured prominently in commercials. Fazal also had great admiration for Alec Bedser, who had a distinguished Test career for England and a bowler who was remarkably similar in type. Some cricket writers used to refer to these two legends in funny ways. While Fazal was often mentioned as the Alec Bedser of Pakistan, the latter was occasionally addressed as the Fazal Mahmood of England whenever they claimed a stack full of wickets.
The batting equivalent of Fazal in the Pakistan side was a teenaged prodigy who later earned the sobriquet of ‘Little Master’. To this day, Hanif Mohammad is described as technically the greatest Pakistani batsman to play at the highest level. Hailing from a family of five cricket-playing brothers, of whom four played Test cricket, little Hanif was just 17 when he was picked for the inaugural Test as the wicket-keeper and the opener.
Hanif’s contribution of 51 in the first innings of the Delhi Test turned out to be the highest individual score for the visitors. His defence was akin to the wall of Gibraltar, according to many experts, because he was immovable and exhibited tremendous powers of concentration. Who can ever forget his Herculean achievement during the Test at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, when Hanif batted on and on and on for no less than 970 minutes after West Indies forced Pakistan to follow on. The slim right-handed opener accumulated 337 and eventually secured an honourable draw for his team. That stupendous knock still occupies the top spot in the list of Pakistan’s highest individual Test scores.
Hanif also held the record of posting the highest score in first-class cricket when he was run out for 499 after hitting 64 boundaries and batting for 635 minutes, while playing for Karachi against Bahawalpur at the Karachi Parsi Institute (KPI) Ground in January 1959, almost a year after his heroics in the Caribbean.
Another star player to make his debut in Pakistan’s inaugural Test was Imtiaz Ahmed, the nation’s first regular wicketkeeper who was equally proficient and daring with the bat as well. He had a great penchant for the hook, a difficult stroke which Imtiaz had mastered so well that even Majid Khan — that graceful batsman of the 1970s — often said he drew inspiration after watching Imtiaz taking on the West Indies pace legend Wesley Hall during the Lahore Test in 1958-59.
And although none of the Pakistan XI — which consisted of Nazar Mohammad (who scored Pakistan’s first century while carrying his bat for 124 in Lucknow), Hanif, Israr Ali, Imtiaz, Maqsood Ahmed, Kardar, Anwar Hussain, Waqar, Fazal, Khan Mohammad and Elahi — from the 1952 Delhi Test is alive, the majority of them left behind a legacy that will surely live on forever.