Dear PCB, when will you learn that it is not all about the money?

Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a 100% increase in the salaries of domestic players and coaches alike. Furthermore, the contracts of the players and coaches have been extended to a year-long period from the pre-existing six-month period. On the surface, this looks like a great move on PCB’s behalf, but this move alone will not improve the dilapidated state of Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Domestic players and coaches always complain that the greatest problem they face is a lack of funds and how this issue has severely hampered the development of cricketers. Now with this increase in salaries, the onus is on ...

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Did Neymar leave FC Barcelona because he was always playing second fiddle to Messi?

On Friday morning, Neymar completed his transfer from FC Barcelona to Paris St Germain (PSG) for a whopping €222 million. It has by far shattered previous records for being the most expensive transfer in history – more than twice the fee Manchester United paid Juventus last summer to lure Paul Pogba to Old Trafford. The question that comes to mind after this fiasco is done and dusted with is: Was it worth it? The level of scrutiny that will be aimed at Neymar over the course of his first year in Paris is bound to be incessant. On the field, every touch that he makes will ...

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What makes Fakhar Zaman a legend in the making?

We all know the story of how Fakhar Zaman left the Pakistan Navy to pursue a career in cricket. He was born to serve his country in one way or another. The left-handed batsman’s career shot to limelight during Pakistan’s successful ICC Champions Trophy 2017 campaign, most notably when he hit his century in the final against India. But how did he get there? What makes him the cricketer he is today? Fakhar Zaman exults after reaching his century, India v Pakistan, Final, Champions Trophy 2017, The Oval, London, June 18, 2017. Photo: AFP They say cricket is played 80% in ...

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Can Pakistan Hockey League muster the same popularity and support as the Pakistan Super League?

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore at the start of the year was a major milestone in present day cricketing history of our country. Peshawar Zalmi celebrate their PSL win over the Quetta Gladiators at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. Photo: AFP Firstly, it helped provide the local spectators with a major sporting spectacle at par with what the best of the world has to offer. Secondly, it was helpful in putting a stop to the worrying trend of international players avoiding Pakistan as a sporting destination. The recent staging of exhibition football matches in Karachi and Lahore made sure ...

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The age of Woods is over: There is no shame in throwing in the towel when nature and health are your opponents

With Jordan Spieth clinching the Open Championship 2017, many people were looking towards one of golf’s greatest players and wondering why his name was not a part of the starting draws. It would not be incorrect to say that one of golf’s most successful and loved players, Tiger Woods, has not been performing lately. Many are of the opinion that he should now be allowed to retire peacefully. Like many critics expecting child actors to remain young forever, we expected the legend to remain at the top for eternity. However, like all good things in life, the reign of Woods must also come to an end. [caption id="" ...

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England is home to international cricket, despite terror attacks, but Pakistan isn’t?

It will be difficult to forget Pakistan’s ascendancy in the recent ICC Champions Trophy, given the perpetual celebration that has ensued since the country’s improbable victory against India. Mohammad Amir will be one of Pakistan’s bowling mainstays in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. Photo: Getty In addition to waxing nostalgia about his personal prowess on the field, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif embraced the national cricket team in Islamabad with all the expected pomp and pageantry. This seems justified in a country whose cricketers flourished in England despite the limitations of the system that produced them. Thus, we revelled in Fakhar Zaman’s audacity to challenge premier pace attacks despite inexperience; in Hassan Ali’s guile ...

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Is PCB to be blamed for our abysmal performance in the Women’s World Cup?

I will admit I am not a big fan of women’s cricket. But the horror show by our girls on the same turf where their male counterparts recently made history, was a fascinatingly wretched chapter in the epic saga that is Pakistani cricket. While ending the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 without a single victory (with seven losses on the trot) might be shameful in anyone’s book, but being dismissed for 64 against our rivals India was a sin too huge to allow the tournament to fade away from our collective minds in a hurry. The rest of the report card is as bad, if not worse. The women in green started off ...

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Other than selfies, what was Ahmed Shehzad’s contribution in the Champions Trophy to deserve the cash prize?

Pakistan just pulled off an incredible victory against politically imposed nemesis India in the Champions Trophy final last month. The victory tasted so sweet that the government and media houses (don’t forget the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) too, they’re here somewhere) took it upon themselves to virtually term this win as the epitome and peak of Pakistan’s performance. Really? Wait, we’re still ranked sixth in the world? Hold on to your horses, people; it’s a great win but Pakistan cricket has a long way to go. The victorious Pakistan team lift the Champions Trophy, India v Pakistan, Final, Champions Trophy 2017, The Oval, London, June 18, 2017. Photo: ...

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#Wimbledon2017: Centre Court is Roger Federer’s canvas and he is the Leonardo Da Vinci of men’s tennis

Two weeks ago, when the most prestigious tennis tournament kicked off, I, along with most critics, predicted the greatest of this generation (Roger Federer) to further enhance his stature. It was one of these predictions that not only considered current form, but also incorporated past performances. Federer’s grass is Wimbledon’s grass, not the other way around; he has sole proprietorship over it. By dismantling the injured Croat, Marin Cilic, in yesterday’s final 6-3 6-1 6-4, the Swiss maestro added to his seemingly never-ending list of accolades. His eighth Wimbledon title, a standalone record, and his 19th Grand Slam has now ...

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Wayne Rooney to Everton, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it?

Intelligent, gifted, effective, powerful, at times slow, but brilliant. You name it and Wayne Rooney had it all. For 13 long years, Manchester United fans saw magic unfold right in front of their eyes at the Theatre of Dreams. They would have never thought that the 18-year-old boy who debuted for England’s biggest club with a hat trick against Fenerbarche would leave their club, his club, only to return to Everton where it all began. Wayne Rooney is the the all-time leading goalscorer for both Manchester United and England. Photo: AFP Rooney to Everton, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it? Once Rooney steps onto the turf wearing the blue ...

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