ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik filed an appeal Wednesday after being suspended for one year and fined by the Pakistan Cricket Board for ill discipline.
PCB legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi said Malik filed an appeal through his lawyer.
Malik was banned and fined two million rupees as one of seven players punished by the PCB for ill discipline, ball tampering or poor performance during Pakistan’s tour of Australia earlier this year.
The others are Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Rana Naved, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf.
Only Yousuf is yet to file an appeal and he has until April 16.
The PCB has formed a three-member tribunal comprising retired supreme court judges Munir Sheikh and Jamshed Ali Shah and former high court judge Irfan Qadir to hear the appeals.
PCB imposed the fines and bans on the recommendations of its inquiry committee formed to evaluate Pakistan’s woeful performance in Australia.
Pakistan lost the Test series 3-0 and was routed 5-0 in the one-day series. It also lost the only twenty20 game against Australia.
Rizvi, who said the appeals will be heard separately, was not sure how long they would take.
“It’s a lengthy process and will take some time,” Rizvi said.
KARACHI (Reuters) – All rounder Rana Naved has filed a formal appeal to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over a one-year ban and fine imposed on him after an inquiry into the country’s tour of Australia.
Naved was banned from international cricket for 12 months and fined 2.0 million rupees ($24,000) last month, one of seven players punished after the inquiry blamed Pakistan’s poor performance on infighting in the team.
“I have filed this appeal because I have always played clean cricket and given my 100 percent for Pakistan,” Naved told reporters in Lahore. “The ban and fine came as a big a shock to me and I want it cleared.
“I am confident I will get justice from the board because I want to know the reasons on the basis of which such harsh action has been taken against me,” he added.
Brothers Kamran and Umar Akmal also filed formal appeals against the fines imposed on them.
The board has also slapped indefinite bans on former captains Younis Khan and Muhammad Yousuf and banned another former skipper, Shoaib Malik, for one year.
Yousuf, who who captained the team in Australia, retired from international cricket late last month in protest at the indefinite ban.
“We have received their appeals in person and now it will be forwarded to an appellate tribunal,” Pakistan Cricket Board’s legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi told AP.
The PCB last month fined Kamran 3 million rupees ($35,200) while Umar was fined 2 million rupees ($23,500).
According to then manager of the team Abdul Raquib, the Akmal brothers spoke out in the media when wicketkeeper Kamran was dropped from the team due to poor performance after the second Test in Sydney.
Umar Akmal also complained of a back injury, which a medical check up could not detect.
A PCB inquiry investigated Pakistan’s poor performance in Australia where it was beaten 3-0 in the Test series and 5-0 in the one-day series.
The cricket board implemented all the recommendations of the inquiry committee last month, including putting Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi and the Akmal brothers on a six-month probation.
Afridi was also fined after the Australia tour for ball tampering during the one-day series while allrounder Rana Naved and former captain Shoaib Malik were fined and banned from the national team for one year.
Mohammad Yousuf, who last month retired from international cricket, and Younis Khan were barred from the national team for indefinite periods.
Rizvi said that the deadline for the remaining five players to file appeals was April 16.
The three-member appellate tribunal comprises two retired supreme court judges, Munir Sheikh and Jamshed Ali Shah, and a former high court judge Irfan Qadir.
By RICHARD LORD
Pakistani cricket is in turmoil. But then again that’s nothing new. The Pakistan Cricket Board’s harsh penalties meted out against several of the country’s top players on March 10 represent just the latest chapter in a long history of sackings, resignations and controversies that have haunted the national side for as long as anyone can remember.
Following a disastrous December-to-February tour to Australia during which the Pakistan National Cricket Team lost all nine matches to the home side, the PCB held no fewer than seven senior players accountable. Incumbent test match and one-day international Captain Mohammad Yousuf and former skipper Younis Khan, who also happen to be the team’s two best batsmen, were handed indefinite playing bans. The board then claimed a few hours later, in a characteristically confusing fudge, that these aren’t life bans. Mr. Yousuf’s sour-grapes rejoinder was a temporary retirement from the game.
Another former captain, all-rounder Shoaib Malik, along with fast bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, received one-year bans. Talismanic all-rounder and Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi, as well as brothers Kamran and Umar Akmal, wicketkeeper and rising batting star respectively, were given fines between $24,000 and $36,000 and put on probation for six months.
The list of their infractions was long, varied and in places rather vague. At least Mr. Afridi’s crime was obvious: He was caught by television cameras biting the ball during the tour’s solitary Twenty20 match. It was a particularly baroque example of ball-tampering, one of cricket’s cardinal sins.
As for the others: mainly they appear to have been banned for hating each other. The Australia tour was shot through with in-fighting, backbiting, feigned injuries and accusations against the team’s most senior players of deliberate underperformance. Just think about that last one for a minute: players who are actually prepared to throw a match for their national team, just to undermine a captain they don’t like. If that’s true, something is very rotten in the state of Pakistan.
The sad thing is that none of this comes as a great surprise. For years, Pakistani cricket has been bedeviled by barely-and-sometimes-not-at-all-concealed animosity among the players, ball-tampering, use of both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs, and match-fixing. Throw the hopelessly politicized nature of the Pakistan Cricket Board into the mix and you realize that it’s only the deep well of talent and passion for the game in the country that allow the team to ever win anything.
But ridding the team of troublemakers is unlikely to solve the problem. In recent years, its bad-boy-in-chief has been tear-away fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who was banned in 2007. The team hasn’t become appreciably more stable in his absence, so there’s little reason to assume the recent bans will make a difference either. Particularly as they mean that the team’s leading fast bowler is now Mohammad Asif, who has tested positive for steroids twice, gotten into a changing-room fight with Mr. Akhtar, and been caught with a recreational drug in his pocket at Dubai airport.
The cull has swept away so many senior players that the Pakistan Cricket Board was more or less forced, just two weeks after punishing him, to appoint Mr. Afridi as captain for the forthcoming World Twenty20—where Pakistan will be defending champions after claiming victory in England last year, one of the heartbreaking, periodic glimpses of what they’re capable of. The team were close to world-conquering as little as two decades ago, for a while competing with Australia to take over from the declining West Indies as world’s pre-eminent side. The divergence in the fortunes of the two teams since has been startling.
The real victims in all this, of course, are Pakistan’s remarkably loyal and long-suffering fans, who don’t even get to see their team play at home. Any prospect of that was abruptly shattered on March 3, 2009, when 12 terrorists, believed by Pakistani authorities to represent Kashmiri separatist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, opened fire on the Sri Lankan team’s bus as they were on their way to play at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. The first terrorist action against an international sports team since the attack on Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, it instantly swept away any chance of teams touring the troubled nation any time soon—the Sri Lankans had been the first international team to visit Pakistan in 17 months, after several tours had been cancelled on security grounds. It’s exactly the opposite of what Pakistani cricket needs, given all the other issues it faces.
So resigned is the Pakistan Cricket Board to not playing at home for the foreseeable future that it has agreed to play its Test-match and Twenty20 series against Australia in England this summer. The cities where the matches will take place, of course, have massive populations of Pakistani extraction who will pack out the grounds and provide the usual impassioned-verging-on-hysterical support, and the Pakistan board’s coffers will be swelled by their share of the fat English gate receipts. But for the players, contesting their home games 6,000 kilometers from home is roughly that many kilometers from satisfactory.
In sum: too dangerous to visit, paralyzed by internal strife, terrifyingly political and dominated by big, powerful egos. Poor old Pakistan. And the cricket team has its fair share of problems, too.
Mr. Lord writes on cricket for The Wall Street Journal Asia.
Fourteen cricketers have captained Pakistan in the last 17 years, some of them (Wasim Akram, Rashid Latif, Younis Khan), captaining more than once in their career. Mohammad Yousuf did lead Pakistan in two Tests in 2004, but that was as vice captain when skipper Inzamam sat out these matches in Australia.
As if four captains tried in last two years has not been enough, we now have four candidates for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup, three of whom will be first-time captains if chosen. Only one of them, Salman Butt, has captained Pakistan at the Under 19 level, but all of the candidates have captained their regional sides over the last few years.
I have already stated my reasons for thinking that Abdul Razzaq is the front runner. Still, the PCB chairman has gone for a smoke screen strategy and met with the four candidates as if he has yet to decide. The idea is to get to Razzaq through this process so that it appears a well-thought out decision during which Afridi was given another hearing as well.
Whatever has been said in that closed-door meeting is not known, but one newspaper has reported that Afridi has supported Razzaq as a choice if he is not chosen himself owing to a six-month probation. Obviously, something has been said to Afridi to prompt this statement (if the newspaper story is true) to show that Razzaq is a consensus candidate.
Meanwhile, I’d like to analyse the four candidates on merit. Let’s look at their strengths and weaknesses and then readers can weigh in on who they think should be captain.
The captain in T20 until he was brushed off for the ‘Toothgate’ scandal, he deserves the position on merit. He has the personality traits of fearlessness, motivating power, aggressiveness, energy and enthusiasm for the job. Over the last year and a half he has curbed his hara-kiri style for more selective strokeplay, considering what was once unimaginable with him—rotating the strike.
But it is the resurgence in his bowling that has propelled him as one of the most difficult bowlers to score off. Top spinners and faster deliveries are the major weapons in his armory. His fielding, especially off his own bowling, is up there with the best. He therefore has what it takes to make the ideal captain: leadership traits and current form with both bat and ball.
His weaknesses are that he is emotional, can lose control in front of media, and still plays too flamboyantly for a captain. He would be my choice for the captaincy, bite or no bite.
He has previous experience of captaining in the T20 format, having led the Lahore Lions to the final a couple of years back. He has the quiet resolve that can keep his focus on the game, has been bowling and batting well, and is a good finisher (but only on his day.
But he too has weaknesses. He takes omission badly, especially when justified, which shows immaturity and lack of self analysis. He has basically one boundary scoring shot that lands between, or goes over, long off and square leg. He has difficulty scoring when pitched short outside off stump at waist to shoulder height. He is also a loner on tours, is unfit most of the time, and his teammates will not look upon him with the same respect as a leader as they have for his cricket abilities.
He has captaincy potential in a long run, but only for Test matches. That said, he has to bat more consistently to be considered if merit is a factor, and not just the PCB Chairman’s whim. Butt has guts and a cheerful demeanour both on and off the field, and he’s more mature than any player in his age group. Importantly, he’s never been embroiled in any controversy of his own making. He batted solidly in the Test matches in Australia, which is always a test for any opener. Among his teammates since his debut in 2003, he remains the most composed and presentable in front of the media.
His weaknesses include constant swishing outside the off stump, lack of footwork against spinners, and irresponsible shot selection when well set. He has also been known to bat selfishly, especially in the limited over formats during which he often lets down his team at the expense of his personal glory. Moreover, Butt is still a shaky fielder and can be seen to be a lazy runner who will rarely dive.
Misbah should never have been dropped after his performance in ODIs against Australia in 2002 in Nairobi. His resurgence in 2007 proved what Pakistan had missed in the intervening years: his cool-headed batting, especially under pressure, matches Yousuf’s temperament. An orthodox batsman with reasonable technique, Misbah explodes suddenly and takes bowlers by surprise. He’s one of the safest catchers close up.
His weaknesses are to the shorter ball, but notwithstanding his form over the last year, he has tackled all bowling with prudence.
I would have opted for him as captain once Inzamam-ul-Haq retired and Younis was not interested in the captaincy. He is a great analyst of the game and has led Faisalabad and his department with success. More importantly, he stands tall among his teammates as a go-to man, boasting the steely steadfastness of a Steve Waugh.
So, in my opinion, if Afridi is not selected as captain, the post should go to Misbah. What do you think, people?