Pakistan will struggle without experienced players

Pakistan will struggle without experienced players

Wasim Akram – Pakistan’s opportunity to close the year on a winning note has been dashed. The T20 series loss in New Zealand just goes to show Pakistan are still not playing as a unit. Lack of experienced players and seaming conditions in New Zealand are certainly not helping their cause. I get the feeling that without the likes of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, Pakistan will always struggle against quality sides. There is lack of leadership and direction in the team

Losing captaincy key to Ashes win: Pietersen

SYDNEY – England’s Kevin Pietersen believes the rebellion that led to him losing the captaincy two years ago had been vindicated by the Ashes triumph in Australia.
Pietersen said the captain-and-coach partnership of Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower that replaced Pietersen and Peter Moores in early 2009 had played a key role in producing that triumph.
“You know what? I have never said this before – I lost the captaincy, I got rid of the captaincy for the good of English

Curtain down on 31st National Games

PESHAWAR – The 31st National Games concluded in a colourful ceremony at Khan Qayyum Stadium Peshawar on Friday evening. Khyber PK Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti was the chief guest of the closing ceremony.
The National Games started in Peshawar on December 25, 2010. Around 3500 players from 13 contingents participated in 28 games and seven games were exclusive for women.
Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti declared Games close when Pakistan Olympic Association

Polo matches postponed

LAHORE – The Lahore Polo Club has cancelled the Ciro’s Pizza Pomodoro Polo Cup here on Friday after two days of lull in polo activity. Omer Niazi,
LPC Honorary Secretary said: “The cancellation has come due to inclement weather. The final of the Cup, which was scheduled for Saturday, has been cancelled.” He said that the fresh dates of the event will be announced later, once room is created in the busy schedule of activities for the event.

MTFC appoint Khaled as coach

LAHORE – Model Town Football Club (MTFC) have appointed Khaled Khan, silver medalist for Punjab in 1992 National Games, as coach, replacing Qasim Raza (WAPDA) and interim coach Daniel Gill. “MTFC is well-equipped with infrastructure, latest facilities and have a scientific approach towards the game, and that will help me a lot.
I’m happy and grateful to be a part of the oldest club of Lahore,” said Khalid, who was a key player for Punjab, Lahore, Wohaib FC and MTFC from 1991 to

Woods still the game’s biggest earner despite 2010 woes

LOS ANGELES – Tiger Woods has once again ended a calendar year as golf’s top earner, despite suffering a pay cut of $48 million after losing his swing and his marriage and failing to win a single tournament.
The American world number two, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday, topped Golf Digest magazine’s annual list for 2010 with overall earnings of $74.2 million. Of that, only $2.29 million came from tournament purses with the rest accumulated off-course through

PFF announces Calendar for 2011PFF announces Calendar for 2011 – National Futsal makes maiden entry

LAHORE – The AFC A-Certificate Course, National Futsal Championship and National School Football Championship are set to be launched in for the first time ever in 2011, as Pakistan Football Federation President Faisal Saleh Hayat announced the PFF Activity Calendar 2011.
Domestic Events: Lyari U15 Championship (8-21 Jan), Club Championship in Districts/ Region (1 Feb-30 Apr), 13th National U13 Festival of Football (Feb), National School Championship (Mar-Oct), 21st NBP National

Big guns get set for Asian Cup

DOHA – Australia, Japan and South Korea head into the Asian Cup as clear favourities in a tournament that will test Qatar’s ability to host a major event after being controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup.
The three-week football festival, featuring the region’s top 16 teams, kicks off on January 7 when the hosts face Uzbekistan ahead of the final on January 29.
While 16 teams take part, the heavyweight trio of Australia, Japan and South Korea are expected to dominate as

Fergie expects closest title race of his career

MANCHESTER – Sir Alex Ferguson enters his 25th year as Manchester United manager this weekend anticipating the tightest title battle of his long and illustrious career.
Ferguson believes defending champions Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham all have realistic chances of being involved when the title race reaches its climax in May and it is a challenge which the Scot relishes. “I think the title is there for everyone to win or lose it,” said Ferguson, who celebrated

ICC rejects allegations against umpire Steve Davis

LAHORE – The ICC on Friday made it clear that it has not received any complaint from Cricket South Africa against umpire Steve Davis, reportedly spotted drunk by South African players on the eve of the second Test against India in Durban. “No allegations have been made. The CSA hasn’t told the ICC anything. It’s all nonsense,” Colin Gibson, ICC’s head of media and communications, is reported to have said.
CSA’s media officer Michael Owen-Smith also confirmed that CSA has not

City title talk just ‘kidology’, says Fletcher

LONDON – Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher has insisted talk from title challengers Manchester City that the Premier League is the Red Devils to lose as nothing more than “kidology”.
Appropriately enough, the comment was made by Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd, once deputy to United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who as a striker made his name at Old Trafford before also playing for City.
United, chasing a record-breaking 19th English title, head into the New Year


ABU DHABI – Tennis icons Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will contest the final of the Mubadala world tennis championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi after both won their Friday semi contests.
Whereas Nadal scored a straight sets 6-4, 6-4 success over Czech Tomas Berdych, Federer needed three sets to get past Swede Robin Soderling. World number two Federer conceded the opening set on the tiebreak but the 16-time grand slam winner then knuckled down and completed a 6-7

Sainz promises respect, modesty in defending Dakar titlev

BUENOS AIRES – Defending champion Carlos Sainz has vowed to show respect and modesty as he sets about his hunt for a second triumph in the gruelling 13-stage Dakar Rally which starts on Saturday.
The 48-year-old Spaniard, the world rally champion in 1990 and 1992 who converted to cross country rallying in 2005, led last year’s Dakar from the fifth stage to finish ahead of Volkswagen teammates, and chief rivals, Nasser al-Attiyah and Mark Miller.
“Following my career in the

Hunting Association introduces shooting licence‏

LAHORE – Conservation & Hunting Association of Pakistan (CHAP), with the collaboration of the Punjab Wildlife & Parks Department, has introduced aendly but also comprehensively informative.
Abid Tareen, Director Marketing of CHAP, stated that the new shooting licence has details in English and Urdu as well as picture illustrations for users who are not literate. It also includes the General Hunting Regulations & Code of Practice, specifying details covering license requirements,

McDowell and Webb cap 2010 with British honours

LONDON – US Open golf champion Graeme McDowell and World Cup final football referee Howard Webb were among the sports figures whose achievements were recognised Friday in Britain’s New Year’s Honours.
Northern Ireland’s McDowell, who also struck the winning putt in the final match as Europe beat the United States to win the Ryder Cup in October, was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire).
Just months before his Ryder Cup success, the 31-year-old McDowell had

Hodgson says sorry to Liverpool fans after rant

LONDON – Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson has apologised to the club’s supporters after criticising them in an angry outburst following Wednesday’s shock 1-0 defeat against struggling Wolves at Anfield. Hodgson was furious after sections of the Liverpool support showed their displeasure at his reign with a sarcastic chant of “Hodgson for England” before calling for Reds legend Kenny Dalglish to be installed as manager. The former Fulham boss,
who only replaced Rafael Benitez as

Roddick back to defend Brisbane title

BRISBANE – American Andy Roddick will put behind him a season dogged by illness to launch the new year with the defence of his Brisbane International title starting on Sunday. Roddick, 28, believes he is finally his old self again after fighting a bout of mononucleosis, an infectious viral illness, which restricted him to just two titles in 2010.
The 2003 US Open champion and three-time Wimbledon finalist flew into Brisbane four days before the other tournament top seeds to