It’s the winter of 1978 and Pakistan and India head for an ODI decider in Sahiwal.
Pakistan posts 205 runs in 40 overs. In response , India cruises to 183/2. They require 23 runs in the last three overs, as Sarfraz Nawaz runs to bowl to a six-feet-tall Anshuman Gaekwad, who is batting on 78 runs.
The ball is short and goes high over Gaekwad’s head, and straight into Wasim Bari’s gloves. All eyes are on Pakistani umpires Javed Akhtar and Khizer Hayat, but they remain unmoved.
Sarfraz repeats the act on the following three deliveries. Indian captain Bishan Singh Bedi is furious, and he waves to his batsmen to return to the pavilion.
This became the first ever ODI to be conceded. The next one took another 22 years, when England’s Alec Stewart cited pitch invasion and walked off Headingly, Leeds. Pakistan needed 4 runs off 61 balls to win that match.
Pakistan won the 1978 series against India 2-1 and Sahiwal never hosted another international game.
Pakistan’s first cricketing ruffian
It is hard to imagine that the unruly enactment by Sarfraz was without the consent of his captain Mushtaq Muhammad, or the complicity of Pakistani umpires. Whatever the case, it was Sarfraz who volunteered to become Pakistan’s first cricketing ruffian.
In fact, he thrived on his bad boy image and basked in the glory of an outlaw, a reputation that would forever stick to him.
As a kid, Sarfraz never considered playing cricket. At 17, he joined his family business and was involved in the construction of the cricket ground wall at Lahore’s Government College.
Explore: Pakistan cricket: A class, ethnic and sectarian history
But the 1965 war broke out and the construction was halted. Sarfraz joined a group of boys playing cricket on that same facility — and the rest, as they say, is history.
He made his first-class debut in 1967 and was picked for a county stint, before making his international debut in 1969.
His predacious swing in the nets had impressed Roger Prideaux, a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) touring side and captain of Northamptonshire.
Sarfraz blossomed under Mushtaq Muhammad’s captaincy, as the latter was altering Pakistani cricket’s psyche in the mid-70s.
Breaking away from his predecessors by bringing an aggressive and combative style of play, Sarfraz was becoming the perfect spearhead of this new Pakistani outlook.
In 1975, during the pre-helmet era, when Australia’s Jeff Thomson hurled a bouncer at Sarfraz in a game at Northampton, Sarfraz shouted back, “There is a grave vacant in the local cemetery”.
When Thomson came out to bat, Sarfraz dismissed him off a bouncer. At the time, Mushtaq was Sarfraz’s teammate at Northants and soon to be his captain.
In 1976, Pakistan embarked on a historic, year-long twin tour of Australia and West Indies. Mushtaq had realised that to beat Australia down under, Pakistan had to play on an even keel. Sledging was as important as cricketing skills to counter the Aussies.
Related: Of highs and lows: How Pakistani cricket changed forever
Pakistan had been beaten and bruised throughout the tour as they went into the final Test at Sydney.
Dennis Lillee, in his book Menace, recalls that he faced a Pakistani side with “a much tougher attitude, more aggressive in every area.”
Lillee and Gilmour fired bouncers and verbal abuses at the Pakistani batsmen. One of Lillee’s deliveries struck Sarfraz hard in the ribcage. He threw away his bat, walked to the leg-umpire to complain to him in an x-rated rant.
When Pakistan came to bowl, it was payback time. Imran Khan and Sarfraz brought out their own symphony of sweet chin music.
Mushtaq placed 19-year-old Javed Miandad at silly point, where he kept repeating to the batsmen, “Now he will kill you”, as Sarfraz and Imran bowled. Miandad would then sing songs from Urdu films.
Lillee complained, and the umpire warned Mushtaq of excessive aggression, but Mushtaq gave it a cold shoulder.
Imran and Sarfraz shared 18 wickets in the game, as Pakistan recorded their first win on Australian soil.
Later that year, Mushtaq joined five other Pakistani players to play for Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket (WSC) in Australia.
Forays in politics, commentary
Sarfraz was the first to start the trend of multiple retirements in Pakistan cricket. He became an outspoken commentator and critic once he finally retired in 1984.
Read more: Pakistan’s only cricket museum — Guarding the wicket for the Gentleman’s Game
He was a member of parliament under Ziaul Haq’s rule in 1985. He also served as vice chairman of the Punjab Sports Board under then chief minister Nawaz Sharif, who was also chairman of the board.
Later on, Sarfraz contested the election with a PPP ticket during Benazir Bhutto’s comeback trail in 1988. In 2011, he joined MQM.
WASHINGTON: With the arrival of a vanguard team in the US capital on Sunday, Pakistan launched a major diplomatic campaign to establish early ties with the Trump administration.
Some media reports claim that as part of these efforts, Pakistan is also considering the possibility of sending Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend US President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural ceremony on Jan 20.
Officials at the Pakistan Embassy, however, say that while Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi’s visit to the United States is the first of several planned in the early days of the Trump administration, it’s “still too early to talk about the PM’s visit”.
Mr Fatemi, who begins his official engagements in Washington on Monday, will also visit New York early next week for meetings with members of the Trump transition team. In Washington, Mr Fatemi will meet members of the new US Congress, elected last month, and officials of the outgoing Obama administration.
Kafa Jawish hadn’t slept in days, daydreaming of seeing her home in east Aleppo for the first time in four years, but when she arrived she found little more than rubble.
The 36-year-old was among hundreds of Syrians returning to east Aleppo in recent days after the army recaptured large swathes of the city from rebels and encouraged residents to visit neighbourhoods and homes they left years earlier.
She could barely contain her excitement as she sat on a government bus heading to her neighbourhood of Haydariya in northeast Aleppo, recaptured by the army earlier in the week.
Kefa Jawish (R) and her husband Tajeddin Ahmed check their house for the first time in four years in Aleppo’s northeastern Haydariya neighbourhood. ─ AFP
“I left my house four years ago and I’m just so happy to be going to see it, I haven’t slept for three days because I’m so excited,” she told AFP as the bus wound its way from western Aleppo.
“I want to ululate with happiness when I see my house safe and sound,” she said, dressed warmly in a black coat and headscarf that framed her smiling face.
Stuffed into a bus crowded with other passengers, she and her husband Tajeddin Ahmed discussed their plans to return home, after years living in the Syriac Quarter in central Aleppo.
Tajeddin Ahmed takes a picture of his wife Kefa Jawish walking past burnt-out cars as they head to check their house for the first time in four years in Aleppo’s northeastern Haydariya neighbourhood. ─ AFP
“I’m going to go back to living in my house no matter what condition it’s in,” she said firmly.
“We’re tired of paying rent, we miss our house and our families and our neighbours.”
The couple fled Haydariya in July 2012, when rebels entered the city, leaving at dawn one morning without any of their belongings and moving into the ancient Syrian Quarter.
Kefa Jawish (L) and her husband Tajeddin Ahmed take pictures of a heavily damaged street as they head to check their house for the first time in four years in Aleppo’s northeastern Haydariya neighbourhood. ─ AFP
More than half of Syria’s population has been displaced internally or abroad by the conflict that began with anti-government protests in March 2011 before spiralling into a war that has killed over 300,000 people.
“I want to go back to the house that I lived in with my family and go back to living together safely and happily,” said Ahmed, 45.
“I’m really hoping we’ll find the house in good shape.”
His phone rang as they talked: an old neighbour who couldn’t leave work asked Ahmed to check on his house too.
Kefa Jawish takes pictures of the rubble as she heads with her husband Tajeddin Ahmed to check their house for the first time in four years in Aleppo’s northeastern Haydariya. ─ AFP
As the bus set out, Jawish expressed hope that her neighbourhood might be relatively untouched, reasoning it was far from the frontlines that saw the worst fighting.
East Aleppo has seen some of the worst violence of the war, and has been pounded by the army since it began an operation to recapture the city in mid-November.
Russia’s increasing military activities around the world have unsettled top US military officials, who say they are reshaping their budget plans to better address what they now consider to be the most pressing threat to US security.
“Russia is the No 1 threat to the United States. We have a number of threats that we’re dealing with, but Russia could be, because of the nuclear aspect, an existential threat to the United States,” Air Force Secretary Deborah James told Reuters in an interview at the annual Reagan National Defence Forum.
James, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and Pentagon chief arms buyer Frank Kendall, all voiced growing concern about Russia’s increasingly aggressive behaviour in interviews late on Saturday.
Their comments come as the Pentagon finalises a classified security assessment for President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised to both pump up US defence spending and build closer ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
European diplomats fear Moscow could use the time before Trump’s inauguration to launch more offensives in Ukraine and Syria, betting that President Barack Obama will be loathe to respond forcefully so soon before he hands over power on Jan 20.
Kendall said US policy had been centred on threats in the Asia-Pacific region and Middle East, but was now focused more on Russia. “Their behaviour has caused us … to rethink the balance of capabilities that we’re going to need,” he said.
None of the officials gave details about how the concerns would affect the fiscal 2018 budget request, but defence officials have pointed to the need to focus on areas such as cyber security, space, nuclear capabilities and missile defence, where Russia has developed new capabilities in recent years.
Pentagon officials have nearly completed work on a fiscal 2018 budget request, but it is likely to be reworked substantially once Trump takes office. Officials expect that budget to be submitted in April at the earliest, and possibly later. Typically, budgets are submitted in early February.
Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told the conference that Russia’s goal was to counter Nato, undermine its credibility and limit the ability of the US military to project power around the world.
“They are operating with a frequency and in places that we haven’t seen for decades,” he said, adding that the buildup should be viewed in the context of its actions in Ukraine, Crimea and Syria, where they have already stepped up air attacks on eastern Aleppo.
Richardson said the Navy was seeing increased Russian naval activities around the globe, including its unprecedented deployment of a carrier strike group to the Mediterranean, the firing of missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea, increased submarine activities in the north Atlantic, and a growing naval presence in the Pacific.
He said there were continuing incidents involving Russian aircraft buzzing US vessels, with some coming as close as 30 feet, and other cases where ships were behaving “erratically.”
“It’s all for public consumption,” Richardson said, noting that Russian ships often filmed such encounters and edited them to make it appear as if US ships were at fault.
Russia and the United States have an agreement to limit and discuss incidents at sea, but the accord appeared to be having little impact on curbing such incidents, he said.
Dialogue between US and Russian navy officers has ceased since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, in contrast to the days of the Cold War, when US and Russian officials were in more regular contact, he said.
“More communication with Russia would be a valuable thing,” Richardson said, noting that he had regular contact with his counterpart in China, but not with those in Russia or Iran.
James echoed his concerns, citing what she called “very worrying” incidents of “very dangerous airmanship” and cyber attacks by Russian hackers on US institutions.
Richardson also said he was concerned about a report by Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide that Russia now had the ability to cut off resupply routes to Europe through its activities in the Arctic region.
Army Secretary Eric Fannning told a panel at the conference that Russia was clearly acting “in a destabilising way,” and said the United States was learning from how the Russian military was behaving in Ukraine.
courtesy: dawn news