I came across this article in CricketEurope today. I realized that there is still a misconception about the exact nature of what happenned.
First of all, the following lines are in bad spirit:
“But Pakistan’s spoiled superstars were beaten fair and square by a dedicated Irish squad who were the better team on the day, and no amount of fiddling with the rules will save them if they and their masters don’t face up to the lessons of that match.”
One has to keep in mind that Pakistan was one of the 3 countries that actually supported the ODI status for the top 6 associates, and also convinced the others along with NZ and SA to this change. Secondly, singling out Pakistan, and refering to ‘masters’ is in fact objectionable. Also, singling out Pakistan, when it is very clear (and it should be VERY clear after the whole ‘monkey’ affair) about who calls the shots in ICC and International cricket, is also objectionable.
Pakistan can talk about a change in format all that it wants, but it would not really matter. It wouldnt matter even if they were the sole hosts. The loss to the ICC due to an early exit of Pakistan is no more than the loss it would face if it were SA, Eng or Aus who got elimated.
I can give it to anyone in writing, that even if Pakistan had been knocked out like it was, but India had made it all the way to the final, it would have been touted as a very succesful world cup. Secondly, when the Big8 talk about weak teams, they mention Zim and Bangladesh in the same breath. Its not that the criticism is ONLY against Ireland making it through BECAUSE its an associate. The criticism is against the concept that teams that actually have no chance of making the semis are pitched into a 28 game league.
I have discussed this topic and the possible formats etc elsewhere, so I will not go into that here. This posting was just to point out my surprise at Rod Lyall’s article, who usually is wonderful and insightful to read.
A 20 20 tournament before the championships. I would be interested in seeing the match up between Pakistan and Uganda. Uganda SHOULD be outplayed, but it would be interesting to see how they can cope with Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Mohammed Asif.
I think this is a good omen for Kenya….. once again….. They have not had any ODI since the world cup, but they have had some interesting tours. Uganda ofcourse have been benfitting a lot from Kenya’s increased cricket activity.
I understand that the Pakistani players are professional cricketers, and that they have the right to take the decisions that are in their best interests….. but I have a question in this regard…..
Lets say that the ICC did not have any player qualification criteria for the national teams….. anyone could play for any country. In that situation too, the players would still be professional cricketers…… the same logic should apply. Would it then be ok for say, Afridi to play for India against Pakistan if the BCCI gave him much better money? Should we only be judging cricket, which involves representing your country, and has a crazy following in Pakistan, in terms of finances?
I mentioned this before that the associates are different in this regard. Pakistanis playing in the ICL, effectively stating that would ‘rather’ play for ICL than for Pakistan cannot be compared with Ed Joyce, Morgan or Coetzer. In the case of the associates, it is all or nothing comparison. In the case of the test countries, you are talking about a difference of money, and the money that the Pakistani get by playing for Pakistan is still one of the best paying jobs in the country, nearly 20 times the average household income of the country.
For Azhar Mehmood and Inzi, I agree with their decisions because their chances of selection for national team now are close to nil. Imran Farhat, one can at least understand, he wasnt a definite choice in anything. But Razzaq and Yousaf, esp the latter, who are confirmed selections in the squad for almost any tour….. should one shrug off their decision on the logic that a man has to do what a man has to do?
The main reason why I consider this to be relevant to our discussions on this blog is because it loosely relates to the “Ed Joyce affair”.
Yousaf was a certainty in ODI and Tests for Pakistan. Razzaq needed to improve form, but the 3, Yousaf, Razzaq and Farhat had central contracts with PCB, and they either broke out of it, or chose not to sign it. PCB was very clear that they will not select the player to play for Pakistan if they do so, so these players essentially had to decide between money, and playing for Pakistan. These 3 chose money …..
There has always been the discussion amongst assoiate circles about Joyce, then Morgan, then Coetzer, perhaps Kervezee….. questions are raised about why they would choose to have a career in England instead of playing in their own countries. I always keep saying that their actions are very normal……. and that I myself have done the same thing by immigranting to the US to work as a Software Engineer here, rather than in my native country. Now we have an example of players from a cricket mad country, choosing to play for extra cash, which they think is more in their benefit than playing for Pakistan. Every man has the right to take the decision that he feels is in his best interest (of course, without infringing on the rights of others). These guys have done this, just like those associate players, who are in fact a much more desperate situation than the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis still had a very lucrative PCB contract to fall back upon, while the associate players had abosolutely nothing….. no money, no fame……
I say loosely related above, because unlike Joyce, Razzaq at least, and many of the others, were not the first choice for their team anymore….. except for Yousaf in ODI and Test………
I am no fan of 20 20 cricket, but I think the case for the world cup is going to be one of “any cricket is better than no cricket”….
PCB has just annouced the Pakistan team for the world cup….. it has 5 spinners: Afridi, Malik, Hafeez, Alam and Abdur Rehman……
What sort of a stupid selection is that for South African wickets? Lets see if we can make a team:
I understand that they wanted to try new people….. but Misbah over Yousaf is a little far fetched….. Yousaf is not a reliable player, but neither is Misbah….. and at least Yousaf has some confidence on his side, plus a lot of experience in South African conditions…….
Dropping Razzaq is understandable, and I am glad that the selectors have finally woken up.
The main problem is 5 spinners…. they could have easily selected an additional middle order batsman for Abdur Rehman…..
A lot of people have asked why Misbah, who is a year older than Yousaf, was selected…… this is an incorrect argument….. Imran Khan at 39 was 10 times fitter than Inzi was at 29…… Yousaf has been dropped, according to PCB, due to his lack of fitness, agility, and general sluggishness…… I dont know if that is the real reason, and even if so, whether that is really a good criteria….. after all, the fittest cricket team is the WI one…. it is arguably, fitter than Australia……..
There has been news circulating around, not sure if 100% confirmed, that 8 Pakistani players have been offered the Indian Cricket League professional contracts. The contract amount would be in the $1million-$1.3 million range, and the duration will be 3 years.
PCB has immediately reacted to it, saying that if the player accepts these contracts, then they cannot be selected for national duty. This has essentially made this into a Packer type situation all over again.
The 8 players who have been offerred are Inzi, Shoaib Malik, Razzaq, Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Asif, Yousaf and Younis Khan. Minus inzi, the rest are in the starting 11 for Pakistan, so if all accept the contract, it is going to be a very weird situation for Pak.
I thought that if some negotiations could be done, and the season dates figured out, then it should have been possible for these players to both play in the Indian league and also for the national team. After all, the PCB does allow players to play county cricket, sometimes even when tours are scheduled for the national team around that time. Younis Khan for e.g., didnt play against Sri in Abu Dhabi because he had county commitments, and the PCB still selected him for the Scotland tour.
I think the Pakistani players would probably think quite hard, because it is a lot of money. Inzi will accept, and Shoaib Akhtar may do so as well because he wont be able to play for more than a year, max 2, for the national team due to his ever green fitness issues.
Nonetheless, if the Pakistani players are thinking hard about it, why blame all those associate cricketers who have a much easier choice: either get nothing by playing for the national team, or get a good career by playing for county (and qualify for England)…..
Anyone knows whats the format for the ICL? Is it 50 over, or 20 20?
Anyone who has been involved in passionate discussion about the development of cricket, or the expansion of cricket beyond traditional boundaries over the last few years would have also encountered contrary opinions. Alas, on this St Patricks day, Ireland, who have 99% qualified for the super eights round of the world cup by knocking out Pakistan, have vindicated them all.
What you will see is that even Cricinfo was questioning the logic of minnow thrashings after SA beat Ned, but today, despite Ned going down to Aus in a similar fashion, the opponents of minnow inclusion are quiet.
Very frankly, the Irish qualification, and perhaps even the Kenyan or Bangladeshi qualification (this one looking more imminent), is exactly what the world cup needed; something fresh. Something that you would not see in a champions trophy or other tournaments.
Regarding the St Patricks day victory by Ireland, I must say that it was the most phenemenal victory by an associate against a test team. The only other time I have seen an associate dominate a test team for 8 hours was when Kenya beat Zimbabwe in 2003. Otherwise, it is about the test team missing the script in the last 25%, or at most the second innings. Ireland however had Pakistan down from the time they won the toss.