Thursday, October 11, 2007

Interesting things noted.

I have noticed recently some action on the Pakistan front. Not the Afghan one, the cricket one. First the retirement of Inzamam ul Haq, the captain. He is 37, apparently, so that's not surprising in a way. Then the banning of Shoab Akhtar for 13 games for allegedly hitting a colleague with a bat.

Two of the most senior players gone in a matter of weeks.

Well, it's been around six months since the death of Bob Woolmer, in circumstances we were assured afterwards - long afterwards - were not suspicious.

Apparently Shoaib hit his fellow player Mohammed Asif on the thigh. Interesting- it's difficult to call that a serious act, since being hit there is not very dangerous and actually not so unusual in the ordinary course of cricket when fielding close to the bat. It's often worse then because the batsman is actually trying to wallop the ball and instead hits the close-in fielder- ouch!

13 games is an awful lot, but then Shoaib is a bit of a bad boy. He has had brushes with drugs for which he was banned for 2 years and then soon after reprieved, and was actually replaced in the Pakistani team just before the World Cup where Pakistan lost to Ireland and Woolmer died.

Shoaib was fined in January for a row with Woolmer. A fight between them had previously been denied.

Btw, in looking into this situation I found out that before he died, Woolmer had started a blog. In it he notes, shortly before the World Cup began "We also hear with pleasure that Sami and Yasir Arafat will replace Shoaib and Asif." With pleasure?

Shoaib is currently being disciplined for hitting Asif, it appears- both men restored to the Pakistani dressing room only to fall out, it would seem. Asif had also- like Shoaib- been found guilty of using the drug nandrolone, and his withdrawal from the Pakistan world cup team was rumoured to be about more than just an injury.

Ah, dressing room politics. It seems that there was just an extraordinary amount of that going on in the Pakistani one prior and subsequent to the death of the cricket coach.

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