Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Pakistan Cricket – 2008 highlights

As the year 2008 is ending, I have made an attempt to summarize the major happenings of the year in Pakistan cricket

  • Pakistan suffered a test-less season this year. However they managed to play 21 one-day internationals but mostly against minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
  • Punjab Stallions won the RBS Pentangular One Day Cup. In the final they defeated the Federal Areas Leopards by eight wickets.
  • India refused to tour Pakistan for its scheduled tour of January 2009 citing political reasons.
  • Lahore Badshahs won the ICL 20-20 Indian Championship in November 2008 beating Hyderabad Heroes in the finals. They lost to the same side in the finals earlier this year in April 2008.
  • NWFP won the RBS Pentangular Cup by beating Baluchistan in the final by 28 runs.
  • Pakistan comprehensively defeated West Indies registering a clean sweap in a three match one day series in Abu Dhabi.
  • Muhammad Yousuf signed up for the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL).
  • Geoff Lawson was sacked from his position of the coach of Pakistan.
  • Pakistan took part in a four nation T20 tournament in Canada where they lost to Sri Lanka in the finals. Zimbabwe and Canada were the other two teams featuring in the tournament.
  • Sialkot Stallions, captained by Shoaib Malik, won the RBS Twenty20 Cup by beating Karachi Dolphins by 7 wickets. In the process, they managed to earn a place in the Champions Twenty20 League.
  • Ijaz Butt, the former Test opener, was appointed the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
  • Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Pakistan in September 2008 was postponed due to security fears raised by most of the teams.
  • Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board resigned from his post soon after the resignation of Pervez Musharraf.
  • Mohammad Asif tested positive for a drug test that was taken while he was playing in Indian Premier League (IPL). Earlier this year he was detained in Dubai for almost 19 days as he was found possessing some illegal substance.
  • Pakistan was host to the 9th Asia Cup and first to be held in Pakistan. But they failed to take advantage of the home conditions and couldn’t even qualify for the final.
  • Pakistan participated and won the Kitply Cup 2008 – a short triangular series featuring Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
  • Sohail Tanvir was the IPL’s most successful bowler and helped guide his Royal Rajhistan team to the cup. He took 22 wickets in 11 games at an average of 12.09 and economy rate of 6.46.
  • Shoaib Akhtar and PCB were in a constant strangle for most part of the year with Shoaib being handed over a 5 year ban which was then temporarily suspended for IPL which was then reduced and finally as always the ban was revoked and Shoaib was allowed to play in all forms of cricket.
  • Bangladesh toured Pakistan in April for a series involving 5 one day internationals and a T20. Pakistan was victorious in all the matches.
  • Australia pulled out of their cricket tour of Pakistan due to security fears.
  • Defending champions Pakistan lost in the semifinals of the Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
  • Pakistan started the year with a 5 one-day international home series against Zimbabwe. The series proved to be an easy ride for the host and they clinched the series 5-0.

Sources
Cricinfo
Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan
Cricketfiles

Cricket Roundup

The second test match between England and India ended up in a draw but it was not the kind of finish expected from a team that is challenging the might of Australians. If you really want to be No. 1 then you have to play like them – trying to force a result (and not a draw) out of every match especially if you have an upper hand. But on the last day of the second test match, the Indian cricket team were not at all interested in producing a result out of it since they had already secured the series with a win in the first test match. Instead they opted for their batsmen – Yuvraj and Gambhir – to complete their centuries[1]. Couldn’t the same logic had been applied for their bowlers who possibly could have won the match for them especially considering the fact that Zaheer Khan was judged as the Player of the series.

Double standards in cricket were once again on display when ICC announced that it will conduct an independent security assessment of the country before appointing officials for Sri Lanka’s tour[2]. Why such assessment was not carried out in the recently concluded India-England test series when the terrorists attacks were not even 15 days old.Is it double standards or what???

Time – 2008 Top 100

Time magazine has published its fifth annual list of the world’s most influential people: leaders, thinkers, heroes, artists, scientists and more. Interestingly, it features General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as the only Pakistani in the list. Barack Obama is named as the Person of the Year.

Leaders & Revolutionaries
Dalai Lama
Vladimir Putin
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
John McCain
Hu Jintao
George W. Bush
Jacob Zuma
Anwar Ibrahim
Kevin Rudd
Bartholomew I
Ben Bernanke
Muqtada al-Sadr
Robert Gates
Michelle Bachelet
Sonia Gandhi
Baitullah Mehsud
Evo Morales
Ma Ying-jeou
Ashfaq Kayani

Heroes & Pioneers
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
Oprah Winfrey
Oscar Pistorius
Mia Farrow
Andre Agassi
Lance Armstrong
Bob and Suzanne Wright
Peter Gabriel
Kaká
Sheik Mohammed al-Maktoum
Yoani Sánchez
Madeeha Hasan Odhaib
Randy Pausch
Lorena Ochoa
Tony Blair
Alexis Sinduhije
Aung San Suu Kyi
George Mitchell

Scientists & Thinkers
Michael Bloomberg
Craig Venter
Jill Bolte Taylor
Larry Brilliant
Jeff Han
Mehmet Oz
Nancy Brinker
Harold McGee
Peter Pronovost
Eric Chivian & Richard Cizik
Mary Lou Jepsen
Paul Allen
Nicholas Schiff
Mark Zuckerberg
Wendy Kopp
Shinya Yamanaka & James Thomson
Michael Griffin
Susan Solomon
Isaac Berzin

Artists & Entertainers
Lorne Michaels
Miley Cyrus
Robert Downey Jr.
Herbie Hancock
Joel & Ethan Coen
Bruce Springsteen
Peter Gelb
Mariah Carey
Khaled Hosseini
Elizabeth Gilbert
Rem Koolhaas
Judd Apatow
Alex Rigopulos & Eran Egozy
George Clooney
Tim Russert
Suze Orman
Stephenie Meyer
Tyler Perry
Tom Stoppard
Chris Rock
Takashi Murakami

Builders & Titans
Indra Nooyi
Ali al-Naimi
Rupert Murdoch
Steve Jobs
Radiohead
John Chambers
Jeff Bezos
Jay Adelson
Steve Ballmer
Jamie Dimon
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Lou Jiwei
Neelie Kroes
Jeffrey Immelt
Karl Lagerfeld
Lloyd Blankfein
Carlos Slim
Mo Ibrahim
Ratan Tata
Cynthia Carroll
Carine Roitfeld
Michael Arrington

Important Links
Pictures of the Year 2008
People Who Mattered
Fond Farewells

IRI – Pakistan Survey

The International Republican Institute (IRI) released its survey of Pakistan public opinion on 18 December 2008. The poll was conducted from 15 to 30 October 2008. As per the news release,

The randomly selected sample consists of 3,500 adult men and women from 223 rural and 127 urban locations in 50 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan. The margin of error for the national sample will not exceed + 1.66 percent in 19 out of 20 cases. IRI has conducted surveys in Pakistan since 2002. The goal of the program is to both gauge public opinion and to use this information in IRI’s work with Pakistan’s political parties.

Here are the surveys

IRI Pakistan Index
Charts and Graphs

Shoes traced out

Got this interesting email(joke) today:

The pair of shoes which was thrown at Mr. Bush in Iraq has links to Pakistan, said a statement from Pentagon. They have the following proofs:

  1. The journalist had visited Pakistan earlier this year. There he was inspired by the shoe throwing at former CM Arbab Ghulam Rahim and Sher Afghan Niazi.
  2. He received his training of throwing shoes by a Pakistan based Jihadi organization.
  3. The DNA sample of leather has revealed that the animal whose skin was used for manufacturing the shoe had traces of grass which is grown in North of Pakistan and this skin was collected by a Jihadi organization on Eid-ul-Adha this month.

Hearing this, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani have decided to ban the Jihadi organization and launched a country wide crackdown against all the cobblers in Pakistan.

Since his first presidential election, Bush has always remained in the news and to top on that his farewell is no different. Following the shoe-throwing incident, people round the world are sharing videos, flash-games, emails, joke, etc on this very topic to make Bush’s farewell a memorable one.

Bush’s Farewell

George W. Bush on his farewell visit to Iraq was not received warmly by everyone. Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, greeted Bush by firing two shoes at him which, unfortunately for him, didn’t hit the target.

Here is that brave young man presenting the gift and shouting out loud “This is a farewell kiss, dog”

Muntadar al-Zeidi

And here is the video

Coutesy

KSE – Karachi Stopped Exchange

From one of the best performing markets[1], Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) had turned into a dead market and that too for more than three months mainly due to the implementation of Floor-Price-Level limit on 27th August 2008. Since then the trading volumes have touched the record low figure of around 3700 shares[2] and the KSE-100 index has mostly hovered around its Floor-Price-Level which is 9144.93 points. The decision to implement the floor was a combined effort on the part of KSE board and SECP and the first of its kind in the history of KSE. The initial reason cited for such a step was to prevent a possible flight of capital from the market. But according to some unofficial sources, a number of brokers were on the verge of default and they had a high influence behind this decision. The KSE board was also anticipating a bailout from the Government and as per the initial plans the floor was to be lifted in a week or two upon the announcement of the support fund. But constant delays and now a complete back out by the Government from its promise of a “market support fund” of Rs 20 billion and another “put option” of the value of Rs 30 billion,[3] mainly due to the pressure of IMF, left the market in a stale state for such a long period of time. It was not until MSCI Barra (NYSE: MXB) announced on 10th Decenber 2008 that it will remove the MSCI Pakistan Index from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index as of the close of 31st December 2008, that SECP issued a directive to remove the floor from Monday 15th December 2008. Here is the excerpt of MSCI press release

MSCI Barra to Remove the MSCI Pakistan Index from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index

Geneva – December 10, 2008 – MSCI Barra (NYSE: MXB), a leading provider of investment decision support tools worldwide, including indices and portfolio risk and performance analytics, announced today that it will remove the MSCI Pakistan Index from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index as of the close of December 31, 2008. MSCI Barra will maintain the MSCI Pakistan Index as a stand-alone index after its removal from the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. As a reminder, the MSCI international equity indices are constructed and managed with an objective of being fully investable from the perspective of international institutional investors. The deterioration of investability conditions in the Pakistani equity market since the imposition of the “floor rule” at the end of August 2008, which has resulted in the practical shutdown of the Pakistani equity market, and the continued lack of visibility regarding a potential re-opening of the market and its impact on investability have made the continued inclusion of the MSCI Pakistan Index in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index untenable.

The stock market, being one of the most liquid markets, is a strong component in an economic system especially in Pakistani economy where it has a number of stakeholders like mutual funds, brokerage houses, banks, investment firms, listed companies, traders and above all the investors. Evidence from the previous stock market crashes suggests that no one has ever considered the interests of the investors and things were not different this time round too. This enforcement of the floor was merely to protect the interest of the brokers and not the investors. But as more and more time elapsed the stakeholders pressed harder for the removal of floor and the resumption of trading since the more it was delayed the more troublesome it got. Following are just few of the problems that occurred over the past quarter:

  • An ever growing number of investors looking to pull out of the market.
  • Increasing chances and numbers of the defaulters – both brokers and investors.
  • Businesses associated with stock market recording zero revenues and therefore decreasing profitability.
  • Higher unemployment – due to the default of brokers, mutual funds, etc.

With the resumption of trading analysts are assuming that over the next few days the market could go down by more than 30%[4] and would stabilize only when the share prices in off market transactions equals the share prices in the stock market. With economy already on a downturn and people running out of cash, most of the investors would be entering the reopened market with an outlook of looking for a good price and an exit at the earliest. But for some of them out there it would be the best time to invest – when would you get such an opportunity to buy high dividend-yielding shares of OGDCL, NBP, PSO, etc at such a cheap price.

Indians – Beware

News just came in that Indian fighter planes have violated Pakistan’s air space at two locations namely Kashmir and Lahore. Pakistan Air Force (PAF), which was already on high alert, entered the scene and ruined the Indian party by forcing their jets to leave Pakistan’s air space. According to geo, the Indian planes were fully equipped with warheads. It was also reported that a loud blast was heard in Arabian Sea between Badin and Jati cities.

The action was a clear sign of a weak enemy and a display of an old Indian habit of “stabbing from the back”. But be careful India – Pakistani forces have the full capability to answer any such aggression on their soil and the results can be more damaging. And just to remind India – YOU are no where close to America, so don’t try and imitate them.

Notepad2

If you are a Windows user, by choice, by fate or by any other way, then you must be aware of the notepad application –  a very handy tool for any computer user. But honestly speaking, notepad has a very limited set of features and functionalities and is not that useful when it comes to advanced text editing. Users generally tend to switch to wordpad or ultraedit for more advanced text editing. But this comes at a cost of losing their traditional notepad and the ease with which it could be accessed (Win + R, notepad).

For me, Notepad2 offered a perfect solution/replacement for notepad. Its a freeware and can be downloaded easily and in a few simple steps (listed below) it can replace the traditional notepad on your Windows operating system. Notepad2 comes with a rich set of features:

  • Customizable syntax highlighting: HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, CSS, Perl/CGI, C/C++, C#, Java, VB, Pascal, Assembler, SQL, Python, NSIS, INI, REG, INF, BAT, DIFF.
  • Drag & drop text editing inside and outside Notepad2.
  • Basic regular expression search and replace.
  • Useful word, line and block editing shortcuts.
  • Rectangular selection (Alt+Mouse).
  • Brace matching, auto indent, long line marker, zoom functions.
  • Support for Unicode, UTF-8, Unix and Mac text files.
  • Open shell links.
  • Mostly adjustable.
  • Auto indentation.
  • Bracket matching.
  • Encoding conversion between ASCII, UTF-8 and UTF-16 formats.
  • Multiple undo/redo; rectangular block selection.
  • Newline conversion, between DOS (CR/LF), Unix (LF) and Mac (CR) formats.

Other variations and extensions of notepad2 also exist that add further functionalities.

Talking about replacing notepad with notepad2, the following steps worked for me on Windows Vista:

  • Download and extract Notepad2.
  • Rename Notepad2.exe to notepad.exe.
  • Find %windir%\notepad.exe and %windir%\system32\notepad.exe and set the owner to ‘Administrators’.
    • Right click on notepad.exe
    • Select Properties
    • Select Security tab
    • Click on Advanced
    • Select Owner tab
    • Click Edit
    • Select the Administrators group in the Change owner to list
    • Close all dialogs with OK
  • Find %windir%\notepad.exe and %windir%\system32\notepad.exe and grant ‘Administrators’ full control.
    • Right click on notepad.exe
    • Select Properties
    • Select Security tab
    • Click on Edit
    • Select the Administrators group in the Group or user names list
    • Activate the Full control Checkbox in the Permissions for Administrators list
    • Close all dialogs with OK
  • Optionally, if you want to preserve the original notepad, rename notepad.exe to notepad-original.exe (or any other name) in %windir% and %windir%\system32.
  • Copy paste the renamed notepad2.exe to %windir% and %windir%\system32.

For Windows XP, try the following steps:

  • Download and extract Notepad2.
  • Rename Notepad2.exe to notepad.exe.
  • Change Explorer view options to show system files (Tools->Folder Options->View uncheck Hide protected operating system files).
  • Optionally, if you want to preserve the original notepad, create a backup of the original notepad.
  • Copy paste the renamed notepad2.exe to %windir%\system32\dllcache, %windir%\system32 and %windir%  in the specified order.
  • Recheck Hide protected operating system files in the Folder Options dialog box.

Cricket returns to India

So its finally there – no no I am not talking about cricket or the England team in India but the double standards that have finally made its way into the cricket fraternity. Even after witnessing the recent terrorists attacks in Mumbai and knowing the fact that these especially targetted foreign nationals, the England cricket team is back in India within 15 days as if nothing had happened. What if it had been Pakistan instead of India – England team and in fact all the others would have drained cricket out from the Pakistani soil for God knows how many years. This was witnessed a few months backs when almost half the cricketing world refused to take part in Champions Trophy 2008.

But why??? India is quite different from Pakistan when it comes to cricket:

  • India has huge commercial and social attractions for the foreign teams and their players.
  • The matches involving India have the highest attendance of live audience meaning heavy sponsorship and lucrative TV rights.
  • Last and most important, there is BCCI which is now de facto ICC. While ICC failed to stop Champions Trophy boycott, BCCI managed to bring back cricket on their soil within 15 days.

Having said all this, I am in no way criticizing the England team for touring India. I am writing just to highlight the double standards. I sincerely wish that the series goes ahead as planned and all the matches prove to be a treat for the audience. This series has at least highlighed a strong message that cricket can continue in the toughest of conditions. The same spirit now needs to be adopted for the resumption of cricket in Pakistan and India could be the first one in this regard by not opting out of the Pak-India series in January 2009.