Nov 17 - 23, 2003



QAMAR AHMED, a London-based free lancer, is a world class Cricket Writer and Broadcaster. He did his Masters in Journalism from London School of Journalism. A through professional, Qamar is passionately engaged with the cricket writing and broadcasting for over 30 years. Qamar is one of three cricket writers and broadcaster who have the credit of covering over 300 test matches and all the one-day matches (592) so far held around the world. Others two are including world famous Ritchie Benue, former Australian captain and John Wood Times correspondent. Tired with every day traveling, Qamar worked for Times, AFF, BBC and large number of dailies and satellite channels. Originally, Qamar hails from Hyderabad, Sindh. In his early days, he captained Sindh team in the Quaid Azam Tropy in 1961. He had been the coach for Holland team.


PAGE: Having a rich cricket background with international exposure, what are your comment about the arrival of Indian team in Pakistan and the matches between the two traditional cricket rivals?

QAMAR: The forthcoming cricket series to be played between India and Pakistan will be an international event and hopefully the world would enjoy exciting matches between the two cricket giants. The importance of this forthcoming series to be played in Pakistan can be adjudged that the world satellite channels are rushing to have broadcasting rights from BCCP. The economic side of the cricket is reflected in the fact that the host country of the forthcoming series should earn around $20 million by selling the coverage rights to the satellite channels. The series is much waited by the cricket fans because a very little cricket has been played between the two countries since 1989 because during that period only three test matches were played in India. Earlier there had been no cricket between the two countries during 1960 and 1978. This gap has generated much excitement not only in Pakistan but all over the world.

PAGE: How would you rank the present team and the stature of the players in Pakistan team?

QAMAR: To tell you the truth, the existing stuff is far from the class of game earned by Pakistani team in the past.

PAGE: Who should be blame for bringing deterioration in the team?

QAMAR: There are number of shortcomings on the management side as well as on the part of the players. The cricket in Pakistan is badly suffers from the lack of a system. The selectors are ineffective and have no say to assert. Another grey area in Pakistan cricket is the frequent change of the policies with the change of the government. Whenever there was any change in the government the cricket board also goes with the government. At least sports should be exempted from the politics if we have to earn respect in the world. Take example of India where an elected board governs the cricket affairs and continue to work for its term irrespective to the change in the political affairs. Pakistan lost a number of players having world class potential and talents due to poor selection and politics which is an ugly aspect of the cricket here. Loss of Shahid Afridi is the glaring example of the poor selection system in Pakistan. Afridi having great potentials had earned a place for himself as a thrill provider all over the world. This boy should have been given more time to mature and to become an asset for Pakistan team. This is not a single case but is the only example of such cases where we lose the talents.



PAGE: The match fixing has become a common affairs in the cricket world. What is the truth behind stories of match fixing and involvement of certain Pakistani cricket in that scandal?

QAMAR: There is always something even behind the rumors. As far as the allegation of match fixing was concerned, one should always keep in mind that a lot of money has flooded in this game especially after phenomenal growth of one-day matches. The money corrupts people and at least 50 percent of such stories are based on truth. However, sometime there are some unfounded allegation just destroy the game and the players.

The first victim of the match fixing charges was a journalist. He was Rama Swami Mohn, the correspondent of India's leading newspaper Hindu. All the charges of match fixing were proved against, the management tried to clip his feathers by asking him either to sit on the desk or resign. He went for the latter option and resigned.

PAGE: The one-day match craze which opened doors for huge money in the game has taken over the test cricket which is feared to phase out gradually from the game?

QAMAR: In fact, one-day cricket has not only destroyed the beauty of the game and also responsible for damaging the real skill of the game. The world cricket is not producing world class batsman or even bowlers due to short temperament of the game. The one-day trend is not only causing frequent injuries to the players but have various social implications. This is also responsible for other social ills such gambling and match fixing incidents.