Vol. 4 Num 113 Tue. September 16, 2003  


The Gaddafi Stadium in the Pearl City of Punjab became famous in the cricketing world when it staged the World Cup final between Australia and Sri Lanka in 1996.

The venue, which had been holding the Test matches since November 1959 and one-day internationals since January 1978, attired a new look ahead of the sixth World Cup.

It was completely renovated under a new design of Pakistan's famous architect Nayyar Ali Dada, who combined Mughal architecture with the traditional red bias of the city.

The 35,000-capacity venue had staged 36 one-day internationals until yesterday with Pakistan being involved in 29. The last match played here was in April 2002 between New Zealand and Pakistan with the latter winning by 66 runs.

Out of the 29 matches, the home side have won 18 and lost ten. The other match against West Indies was tied in the 1991-92 season.

The headquarters of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is also located at this imposing stadium.

There are two good press boxes in two corners of the main pavilion and one has been named after famous commentator and writer Omar Qureshi.

WHY NOT BANGLADESH?Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka under-23 teams are set to take part in the Emerging Cup in Sri Lanka later this month.

But despite being a full member of the ICC Bangladesh has not been invited to compete in the competition by the organisers Asian Cricket Foundation (ACF).

The event was originally designed for the academy teams of this region and understandably Bangladesh was not drafted since the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) does not have any cricket academy.

But once the ACF made the competition an under-23 affair many had expected Bangladesh would be invited to take part.

BCB advisor and cricket committee chairman Mahbubul Anam, who came here early yesterday morning, said that he was not in a position to explain anything. The bearded BCB official also looked unprepared to handle any questions.

TOUGH TOSS LUCKCoach Dav Whatmore was understandably looking for a change of fortune in all department including the toss.

He was anxiously waiting outside the boundary line when his captain Khaled Mahmud walked into the middle with Pakistan skipper Inzamamul Haq to have a call of the coin.

Whatmore was looking for a place to hide his frustration when Mahmud lost the toss for the third time in a row.

Whatmore, who was bowling to a Bangladesh batsman when the toss was going on, threw the ball at the ground and then pressed his head against a billboard for a minute before storming off towards the dressing room.

The Australian was obviously thinking of batting first on a flat Gaddafi wicket but only to be denied by the Mahmud curse once again.

RAMEEZ ON A DIFFERENT MISSION The chief executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Rameez Raja will fly to India on Tuesday night to attend an ICC Cricket Committee (Management) meeting to be held in Mumbai on September 18-19.

This is the first time a PCB official will be visiting India since 1999.

Rameez, a former Pakistani opener, will also hold a meeting with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Jagmohan Dalmiya to discuss a proposed tour of Pakistan next February.

"I think the ice has started melting. The BCCI is very much interested to send a team to Pakistan to resume cricketing relations between the two countries. Hopefully, I will get a clearer picture from Dalmiya once we meet this week," said Rameez while speaking to a group of reporters at the Gaddafi Stadium yesterday.

The last Test series between the two countries was held in 1999 when Pakistan toured India and played three Test matches.