on Thursday, February 07, 2013

Hashim Amla occupies the top spot in both the test and one-day rankings but would not call himself the best batsman even in the South African dressing room.
Amla’s 74 not out in the second innings of South Africa’s 211-run win over Pakistan on Monday elevated him above Australian Michael Clarke to the top of the test batting rankings.
 
It also made him the first man since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in December 2007 to top both the test and one-day batting tables.
 
The 29-year-old, however, remained characteristically modest.
 
“It’s been a great year for our squad, and to be honest I still don’t think that I am the best batsman in our team,” he said.
 
“What has been most pleasing though for us has been the all-round contribution from everyone in the squad, that has been the main reason for our success over the last few years.”
 
South Africa have two more batsmen in the top 10 – AB de Villiers in fourth and Jacques Kallis, who tops all-rounders’ list, seventh.
 
Their dominance in tests was reflected in the bowling chart as well with Dale Steyn extending his lead at the top following his 11-60 at the Wanderers, with Vernon Philander still second and Morne Morkel in ninth.






on Friday, May 04, 2012

on Saturday, April 28, 2012
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The decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in the desert of Qatar was always going to generate some heat. Since Wednesday the allegations of impropriety that have dogged the host nation decision last December now extend to Mohamed bin Hammam's presidential campaign.

Bin Hammam – like Issa Hayatou, Jacques Anouma and the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid campaign before him – has issued a categorical denial of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Sepp Blatter says Fifa "anxiously awaits" evidence of venality by the accused, the president refusing to rule out the "alarming idea" of a re-election to determine the 2022 World Cup hosts.

Whatever the truth, Blatter has evidently yet to acknowledge that the danger the corruption allegations pose is not to the 2022 World Cup alone but to the very institution of Fifa, and international football itself. For as the steady erosion of Fifa's moral authority continues on Blatter's watch, unseen in the background is a far more powerful threat, one that is preparing to seize the moment to achieve its long-frustrated aims.

Club football has always been in conflict with Fifa. The international match calendar gets in the way of league fixtures. A manager's rhythm is disturbed by mid‑season tournaments such as the Africa Cup of Nations and by the staccato interruptions of friendly internationals. To cap it all, players whose wages are maintained by the clubs during international "duty" risk returning tired, injured or both. Viewed through the eyes of the clubs, international football is parasitic.

International football is, of course, as much a part of the game as promotion and relegation. Over 150 years of football history, these have been the game's inviolable traditions. Yet traditions alone do not make money and there is now a new breed of football club owner who has invested billions in an alien sport chiefly for its prospects for profit.

Malcolm Glazer at Manchester United, John W Henry at Liverpool, Stan Kroenke at Arsenal and Thomas DiBenedetto at Roma have a common experience of sports investment in the United States. In contrast to the European model, the business of sport in north America is viable. There are no cliff-edge events like the loss of income that accompanies failure to qualify for the Champions League. There are no international iterations of their sports. Instead there is security of tenure in a closed, cartel league.

"Fifa will soon face a very serious crisis with the clubs," said one senior football figure in response to Wednesday's round of allegations of impropriety within the world governing body. "These new guys know two things: the first is that you can't run an open league and the second is you need a salary cap. It points to a closed European league."

Those who envisage this – and there are household names working to deliver the project even now – see it as a competition that would run in parallel with the clubs' existing domestic commitments. For now that outcome is impossible. There are simply not enough weeks in the year. But as Fifa's corruption scandals undermine its legitimacy, its capacity to protect the old world order over football shrinks.

Some say that at a time when European monetary union relies on a closer political union on the continent, international football that reinforces borders is an uncomfortable distraction. Europe's politicians and financiers might prefer to facilitate a game that concentrates only on cities, not sovereignties. Certain clubs feel that Europe's judges will favour them if they refuse in future to release their players for internationals. A European court award for payment of player wages would bankrupt Fifa. Seizing their chance, clubs are preparing to argue the world body is morally bankrupt already. [by Matt Scott]

on Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jordanians have voiced concern over the International Federation of Association Football’s (FIFA) decision which requires female players to replace their traditional headcover (hijab) with caps.

The recent step taken by the FIFA raised an uproar among the local female players, especially after three players were barred from joining the women’s team in the Round 2 qualifiers for the 2012 Olympics, which was hosted by Jordan.

FIFA has justified its decision by arguing that hijab threatens to cause a choking injury and allowed players to cover their hair with specially designed caps which covers their head to the hairline, but which does not extend below the ears to cover the neck, an outfit that is not accepted in Islam, players and clerics say.

In addition, according to FIFA’s Article 4, players are not allowed to wear clothes representative of religious and political symbols, and can penalise players for doing so.

Abeer Nahar, one of the players who could not join the team, said that she was shocked when she first learned about the development.

“Our culture does not accept this. Hijab, the way we wear it, is a red line in our community,” the 20-year-old told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Nahar pointed out that female players who choose to wear the traditional headcover will not think of replacing their hijab as it is a priority in Islam and her community.

“FIFA should respect our culture,” she noted.

Her colleague Misada Ramouniah agreed with her, noting that FIFA’s step gave them two options: either to respect their religion and their families’ wish by leaving the women team, or simply take off their hijabs and play according to FIFA’s terms.

“It is a hard choice since we had the honour to play in the national team and achieved good results for Jordan, but at the same time we cannot ignore our culture and religion,” the 28-year-old footballer said.

Describing the decision as harsh, Nahar’s father, Mahmoud, said: “I will not let my daughter take off her hijab to play football. Hijab is sacred,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone.

The new cap, which was recommended by FIFA, violates Islamic teachings, said Ziad Hudeib, an imam at Amar Ben Yassir Mosque in Sweileh.

“Islam stipulates that women are allowed to show only two parts of their body, their faces and hands,” he told The Jordan Times, adding that the new cap is not acceptable since it does not extend below the ears to cover the neck.

The step carried out by FIFA will also impact the future of female sports in Jordan, according to Amman Club President Mustafa Afouri, who expected the decision to discourage female players from joining teams that compete in FIFA’s tournaments.

“Jordanian society has its own tradition and they will not let their daughters take off their hijabs, so we will miss lots of gifted players,” he said, adding that 50 per cent of his players wear hijab.

Jordan women’s team former player Maysa Jbarah explained that the absence of the three players was one of the reasons behind the team’s disappointing results recently.

“They are important players who contributed to the success of the team during the previous competitions,” she noted.

Khalil Salem, Jordan Football Association’s secretary, said that the association has appealed to FIFA to cancel the decision.

“HRH Prince Ali explained recently that he will find a solution to resolve the controversy,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone on Saturday.

Recently, Prince Ali, the new FIFA vice president, promised that he will work with the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA to find a solution that respects the rules of the game and culture at the same time.

The players expressed hope that the issue will be resolved soon so that they can join their teammates again.

“I am confident that Prince Ali will put an end to this issue,” Nahar said.

on Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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on Friday, March 16, 2012

The cluster of mud and brick houses in the plains of Punjab, Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka (TGD) looks like a typical Pakistani village about 80 kilometres away from Lahore and 40 kilometres from Indus civilization ruins in Harappa. There is no gas or telephone in the village. No asphalt roads lead to it. Yet it is different, the beautiful dolls and other handicrafts made by the village folks are collectors' delight all over the world. Influencers from Indus civilization from nearby Harappa and modern techniques brought by the German volunteers can be seen in the village together.

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