Waqqas Iftikhar

An economist who works in a foreign bank in Karachi. He writes about sports.

Zulqarnain did the right thing

Zulqarnain Haider has finally made it to the UK. This is a man who left a life of potential riches as an international cricketer on a principled stand of integrity. He was not ready to compromise his honesty and patriotism for a pile of money. He is not that great a batsman for One Day Internationals (ODI’s) anyway, so he could have easily taken the money and made a little less runs, dropped a stumping or two, or a run-out (I am looking at you Akmal, Kamran) and we would have been none the wiser. Taking the high road Instead, he has ...

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Gilani’s speech: Meet the obfuscators

On a Sunday night, Prime Minister Gilani came on prime time television at about 8:30 pm to deliver a much-anticipated address to the nation. It contained a half-hour of monotone sentences harkening to a few ‘golden eras’ in our country’s history and was delivered with as much gusto and verve as an anecdote by a comatose Mitch Hedberg. For the first time, we have had the prime minister address the nation while flanked by ‘representatives’ from all the provinces. The simple act of overdoing this show of unity and strength shows that the government has definitely been affected by the ...

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A bad start to Manchester United’s season

The premier league season is still green, each of the 20 teams have played about 5 games or so. Nonetheless, there has been something bothersome about one of the leading teams of English first tier football. Manchester United, of eighteen league titles and three European cups have shown a remarkable susceptibility to the last ten to fifteen minutes of the normal ninety minute period. What went wrong Twice, in games against Fulham and recently against Everton, United have thrown away the lead, particularly in the game against Everton where United were comfortable leaders with twenty minutes left in the game and ...

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Hockey – a global pariah

When the recent match-fixing controversy concerning the Pakistani cricket team broke a few days ago, a death-knell was sounded for the coverage of other, lesser mortals vying for some attention on the sports pages. This situation has me wondering about why other sports, which presumably have better commercial attributes and potential in this country have never been as popular as cricket. Take the example of our national sport, hockey. It is a team game which involves skill, poise and mental intelligence, not to mention quick reflexes and prime physical conditioning. A game of hockey usually takes 70 minutes while 70 ...

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Great footballers you never saw at the World Cup

There is a line of thinking in certain quarters of the football world that considers World Cup glory to be the pinnacle of achievement in the beautiful game. According to this hypothesis, you can only be a true great if you achieve great things in international football – particularly at the World Cup. But what of individuals who never played because their teams were too weak to qualify for these tournaments? Or did not have the national sanction of their countries to do so in spite of being the leading lights of a club football? I would like to explore ...

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