Articles of the year 2006

The killing of a Star
Published on December 24rth, 2006

I would like to thank the PCB for its incompetence in banning Shoaib and Asif, in the first place. Incompetence made it that much simpler for the Appeal to overturn the ban.. I had said in an earlier piece that a superstar such as Shoaib is to be protected., and in Pakistan we have very few gifted with such talent.In Pakistan we have few heroes and this rare species is always under threat from the lesser beings, who not having the ability nor the achievement, make it their purpose in life to deny the high achiever from being able to enjoy the fruits of his hard earned labour. Does the PCB know how hard, and under what conditions Shoaib must have toiled, to become the fastest and the most feared bowler in the world?

In a similar situation recently in the US the great James Gatlin, the current World 100 meter record holder, and Olympic Champion has been banned for taking performance enhancing drugs. What is not known is how ferociously his Federation fought on his behalf. Even his old High school is having parades for his support. Today the BBC is doing a special on Shane Warne with Farokh Engineer praising Shane as the greatest spinner ever, and Shane having just come off a two year ban!. The Pakistani newspapers have almost a page today each, on the great Shane Warne, and some of the quotes are truly epic. "Test cricket's greatest bowler Shane Warne announced his retirement from international competition on Thursday, drawing the curtain on one of the most celebrated careers in the sport's history. The News Friday 22nd 2006." The two year ban was not mentioned!"The Sydney Daily Telegraph declared Warne's departure as the "End of an era" and the Australian newspaper hailed him as cricket's best ever bowler."

Whereas in Pakistan, Shoaib was thrown to the wolves immediately, by our own local board. No wonder we have such few heroes. It is indeed a sad reflection on the small minds that run our Cricket. In any other country he would have been worshipped by the people. What is more he should be considered as a role model for the youngsters. Today Sport is big business, and drugs are very much part of the system, and with every new drug there are ways to mask them. The job of the doctors is to catch the users, and punish them according to the law. It is a constant battle, and one can safely say that Gatlin's Gold medal at the Olympics, should have been awarded him not just for beating the fastest in the world, but also to his doctor for a superb job of masking.!

I want to make it very clear that I am against drugs whether performance enhancing, or pleasure inducing. They are all unnatural, and poison for the human body. But when such huge amounts of money are at stake then the temptation is also substantial. I do not believe that Shoaib knowingly took the drugs, but it is the PCB that should have been more vigilant. Surely the drugs would do more damage than the blonde as seen in the Pepsi Ad.

The main point is that Stars such as Shoiab are extremely rare, and we the people must stand by them as the other Nations do. Other sportsmen are protected from such mistakes, and this responsibility rests firmly with our Sports associations, who must not forget that without stars like Shahid Afridi and Shoaib, nobody would tune in to watch the game, nor would there be the funds for anyone's salaries! These are the men who work hard, and who deliver blistering performances, who create records for others to try and match, but mostly for the youngsters to dream of following.