"The issue of age-fudging has been a problem for many years" : Yasir Arafat


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  1. #1
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    "The issue of age-fudging has been a problem for many years" : Yasir Arafat

    In his latest blog for PakPassion.net, former Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat writes about his quest to become a top-level international coach by completing ECB's prestigious Level 4 certification, his thoughts on what makes a good coach, why it’s important for Haris Rauf to play domestic cricket before selection for Pakistan’s ODI and Test teams and how PCB should tackle the important issue of age-fudging.




    Three-week coaching spell with the Perth Scorchers was very enjoyable

    I recently spent almost three weeks with Perth Scorchers at the Big Bash League which was a very enjoyable and fruitful experience. As many will recall, I spent 2 wonderful seasons with the Scorchers as a player where I played alongside current Australia Head Coach, Justin Langer which was also a great learning experience in itself. I have now taken a similar path as Langer and am putting into practice what I saw of him during my time as a player in particular, how he prepared before the game and his behaviour with his juniors and seniors, as well as his man-management skills.

    This time around, Adam Voges who was also a former player at the Scorchers, is the Head Coach there and obviously his style of coaching is different from that of the previous coach. Whilst coaches may have different ways of approaching their task at the Scorchers, what hasn’t changed is the overall professional atmosphere and how the team trains for games. In particular, what impressed me the most was the mantra that the Scorchers adopt which is to train hard during practice. This makes the players mentally tougher and they find it easier to perform during actual game time. During my stay with the Scorchers, I also had the opportunity to work with the juniors which was very nice of the management as they already had their own bowling coach, but still let me interact with the side. What this allowed me to do was to get a feel of the coaching role and more importantly, to pass on my international and domestic experience to the junior side which I am sure will be handy for the youngsters.


    Looking forward to coaching after completion of ECB's Elite Coach Development Programme

    Coaching is something I am very serious about and in this regard, after having completed all requisite ECB badges for coaching over the past 4 years, I am currently enrolled in ECB's Elite Coach Development Programme which consists of the Master Coach Award (Level 4) at Loughborough University. In fact, I had to come away from my recent stint at Scorchers to ensure that I was back in time in England to attend the latest coaching courses for this program. During the past 2 years, I have worked as a bowling consultant in Hong Kong and also spent one year at Surrey coaching their T20 side. So, what I am trying to do now is to ensure that all my coaching qualifications are complete before I enter into coaching as a full-time profession.

    I fully understand that playing the game yourself and coaching others are totally different things so to have ECB’s highest coaching qualification which is widely recognized as the best in the world, is vital for me if I wish to pursue this path in my career and that is what I am currently busy with. To gain this qualification is a very tough ask but I have started the 2-year course 5 months ago. The course includes a number of modules which I will do during the summer and I also get to work with Counties during the season as part of the curriculum. The reason I am so interested in doing this is because during my playing days and especially since my retirement from international cricket, I have been fascinated by the idea of coaching players. To me, being a coach is similar to being a teacher as the satisfaction one derives by watching one’s student succeed in life based on what you have taught them is a feeling that cannot be matched by anything else.


    The Late Bob Woolmer was in a class of his own as far as expertise in coaching is concerned

    I have had the honour of speaking about the art of coaching with some of the top coaches around the world during my time. I would say that the Late Bob Woolmer was in a class of his own as far as knowledge of the game and expertise in coaching is concerned. And the results proved it too as was shown by how he turned South Africa into a world-beating combination during his tenure with them. In addition, I have also spent time with the likes of Justin Langer when he was a player, Dav Whatmore, Geoff Lawson and also spoken with some of Pakistan’s top coaches as well.

    What I have learned from observing all these coaches is that they make sure that they treat all members of the squad with equal importance. If that is not done, then it’s unlikely that a coach will succeed in his role. And I say this based on my own experience where one of the coaches I was playing under would just concentrate and spend time with a few players, and pretty much ignore the rest. This is where the Late Bob Woolmer was amazing as he would ensure that after nets for the main players were done, he would take time out to spend with the rest of the players as well to ensure that they were also prepared. He would put them into the nets and do throwdowns with them so that they would be ready whenever they got a chance to play.


    Haris Rauf must play domestic cricket before being selected for ODI or Test sides

    There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Haris Rauf’s recent performances at the BBL have been excellent and to me he is turning out to be a superb Twenty20 bowler with a great future ahead of him. He has pace, is accurate and has aggression and a great attitude about him which are all the ingredients for a good fast-bowler. What he needs to do now is to keep on performing and improving himself, and he can do that with the upcoming PSL in Pakistan. I am sure the selectors will be keeping a keen eye on his performances and he will be a good choice for Pakistan in Twenty20s, if he does well in that tournament. I will at this point sound a note of warning and say that we should not be carried away with his current performances and ability to bowl fast and that he should be only given a chance in ODIs or Tests if he performs well in domestic cricket.


    PCB needs to tackle the issue of age-fudging as it is embarrassing for Pakistan

    The issue of age-fudging has come to the fore in recent times due to numerous examples but let me assure you that this is not a new phenomenon but has been a problem for many years, especially amongst Asian countries. The way this seems to happen is that lets suppose there is a player eligible to play for the Under 19 side and is aged 17 or 18. He is unable to get into the side as other players who are older than him are already in the side. By the time his chance comes, his age has exceeded the Under 19 limit so what he does is somehow understate his age to give himself a chance to play in the Under 19 team.

    If I look back at the time when I played in the Lombard Under-15 Challenge Cup in 1996, a few of the players in the squad turned out to be overage despite being listed as below 15. The way this came to light was that all 22 Pakistani players chosen for this tournament were sent to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital for bone age assessment scans to confirm our ages. These scans by their nature are not accurate measures but give a good indication of a person’s age within a 5-6 month range. The results of the tests were startling and showed that 11 out of the 22 players were overage with only the likes of Taufeeq Umar, Faisal Iqbal and myself being adjudged as truly being below age 15. I am not sure what techniques are being employed today by the PCB for determining player ages but I am hoping that the process is much better now and this whole issue is sorted very quickly as it’s disgraceful and embarrassing for Pakistan.


    Five-Day Tests cannot be matched in terms of quality and excitement they provide

    There seems to be popular misconception that Test matches hardly last for five days and can therefore be replaced with four-Day Tests. No better example of the folly of this sort of thinking can be found as demonstrated in the recently concluded 2nd Test between South Africa and England which lasted for five days. The quality of cricket witnessed on the final day of this game where the game ebbed and flowed is a fine example of how two good teams competing on a proper playing surface can provide top quality entertainment for all five days. In addition, a fifth day also provides a buffer in case one or two days get rained-off. In my mind there is absolutely no reason to reduce the traditional five-day game to a four-day version.


    The problem of not detecting front-foot no balls can be solved by using the third-umpire

    The number of front-foot no balls being missed by umpires in matches seems to be growing in almost every series being played at the moment. It is true that there is a lot on an umpire’s plate where he has to watch for a number of things on the field including where a bowler’s foot lands at the point of delivery. With the presence of so much technology, it is high time that such modern techniques be put to use, and the third-umpire be tasked with ensuring that each no-ball is called as it happens. Technology has done a lot of good in cricket, including exposing some bad decisions by umpires so I feel that there is absolutely no harm in using science to ensure that the correct decisions are made and the services of the third-umpire are also utilized efficiently.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 10th January 2020 at 13:45.

  2. #2
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    Good to see a player highlight the age fudging problem we have in Pakistan cricket.

    We can blame the players but we know PCB is complicit in all this.

  3. #3
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    Age-fudging will remain a problem in Pakistan as long as PCB facilitates it.

    The Naseem Shah drama clearly demonstrates that age-fudging is part of PCB’s plan to market its players.

    While Naseem Shah is clearly a talented young bowler, the major driving force behind his hype is his fake age.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Age-fudging will remain a problem in Pakistan as long as PCB facilitates it.

    The Naseem Shah drama clearly demonstrates that age-fudging is part of PCB’s plan to market its players.

    While Naseem Shah is clearly a talented young bowler, the major driving force behind his hype is his fake age.
    hes around 19 i think, even if he was listed as such there would be similar hype. hes a special talent, has the pace, seam positioning and control of a mid 20s (age wise) bowler, jst needs to develop match awareness which will come with time

    age fudging needs to be sorted out tho. sameen gul jst as a random example among many is just taking things too far.
    Last edited by ElRaja; 11th January 2020 at 01:04.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRaja View Post
    hes around 19 i think, even if he was listed as such there would be similar hype. hes a special talent, has the pace, seam positioning and control of a mid 20s (age wise) bowler, jst needs to develop match awareness which will come with time

    age fudging needs to be sorted out tho. sameen gul jst as a random example among many is just taking things too far.
    The Australian commentators would call him a 16 year old every time they would say his name, so his fake age has definitely increased the hype.

    He is probably around the same age as Shaheen but PCB has marketed him as some bowling version of Tendulkar who is a Test class player at the age of 16.

  6. #6
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    I remember watching the U16 Final v India...

    Other players in the team were...

    Hasan Raza
    Shoaib Malik
    Kamran Ahmal
    Bazid Khan

  7. #7
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    Good comments on rauf, no need to get carried away and select him too early like with musa.

  8. #8
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    Sensible stuff from Arafat.

    The age-fudging issue is huge and embarrassing. How the players keep getting away with it is just farcical and beyond belief. The Boards and Regions have to take responsibility and cut this out.

    Also how good to see a former Pakistani player studying for ECB level 4 coaching certification. However to coach teams in Pakistan, it's all about who you know, not what you know.



  9. #9
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    On this topic, some of the Afghanistan Under 19s look like they could be nearing retirement in a couple of years time.



  10. #10
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    39 years old - Happy Birthday to Yasir Arafat.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  11. #11
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    Tremendous professional - shame he never really cut it at international level.

    Hope his coaching career takes off and who knows, he might coach Pakistan one day?

    RE the age fudging, with introduction of digital birth certificates this is an issue which will naturally resolve itself over the next 15 years or so.

  12. #12
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    He is due to finish his level 4 course this summer. Does anybody know if he is still doing this course, or has it been suspended due to the pandemic?

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    LAHORE: Despite announcing the squads for the ongoing National U-13 and U-16 tournaments after conducting wrist tests of the participating players, the Pakistan Cricket Board went for a second round of tests across the weekend.Wrist tests of players of 12 teams — two each of six provincial cricket associations — in the U-16 event being held in Multan were conducted on Sunday, while players of six U-13 sides in Karachi were tested for their ages a day earlier.

    The tests, Dawn has learnt, have impacted the players’ mental health, while also burdening the PCB exchequer. “The tests are being redone to streamline the process further and make it tighter,” a PCB spokesperson told Dawn.

    “This is a part of ensuring the protocols are further stringent for the events ahead as most of these players are going to progress to junior cricket tournaments and High Performance Centres.”

    Most players participating in the U-16 event have already featured in the previous U-13 events and if any of those are tested to be overage, it would question mark over the officials responsible to ensure the accuracy of wrist test results. It is also yet to be seen, how the PCB decides to penalise the people involved if players are proven overage after the recent tests.

    Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2022


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  14. #14
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    Good work PCB.

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    I'm afraid it's getting no better.

    Look at some of the so-called 20 year olds in the current PSL.

    They look at least mid 20s.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I'm afraid it's getting no better.

    Look at some of the so-called 20 year olds in the current PSL.

    They look at least mid 20s.
    Yes I agree with you with every Pakistani player you have too add 4 or 5 years on to get the original age
    Last edited by MenInG; 5th February 2022 at 22:36.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I'm afraid it's getting no better.

    Look at some of the so-called 20 year olds in the current PSL.

    They look at least mid 20s.
    like dahani / zalmaan


    TGK 237.1 owner

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I'm afraid it's getting no better.

    Look at some of the so-called 20 year olds in the current PSL.

    They look at least mid 20s.
    And it gets worse.

    ==

    LAHORE: The medical panel of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has declared 19 junior players overage, national U19 player Rizwan Mehmood also included.

    In an attempt to determine the true age of the players, the PCB took the X-rays of the players’ wrists, elbows, spines, and hips and found 19 junior cricketers from Sindh to be overage.

    The U19 player Rizwan, who represented Pakistan in the recently held ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022 and the U16 player Aaliyan Mehmood, who represented Sindh in Pakistan Cup 2021, have also been declared overage by the PCB.

    It is pertinent to mention here that the PCB declared players born after September 1, 2003, eligible. Whereas, the International Cricket Council (ICC) recognize the B-form or Passport of the players instead of medical tests for eligibility criteria.

    A-sports


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  19. #19
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    Good work by the PCB. Age fudgers need to be named and shamed then banned from junior cricket to prevent this from happening. If it doesn't prevent age fudging completely, atleast it will reduce it to maybe 1 or 2 years of fudging instead of 3 or 4 to prevent themswlves from getting caught in the Xray tests.


    Aanay do!

  20. #20
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    To provide a level playing field to all teenage cricketers, the Pakistan Cricket Board conducted age verification tests on as many as 2,976 players with the help of latest scientific techniques ahead of the City Cricket Association U19 50-over tournament, which begins on 21 May.

    Top radiologists in the country were consulted and scientifically validated methods were used to radiologically estimate ages. In these tests – on which PKR 10million were spent – x-rays were conducted on multiple body joints to increase accuracy. These were then reviewed by leading radiologists. This was different from previous practice where only wrist x-ray were assessed.

    It has been observed in the previous seasons that players have manipulated their ages to gain unfair advantage in the age-group competitions, which has not only hurt the spirit of the game but also put deserving teenage cricketers at a position of disadvantage, hampering their growth and development.

    This initiative is part of PCB’s efforts to encourage teenage cricketers to declare correct biological ages when participating in the age-group tournaments, and follows an extensive activity it undertook in January to determine correct ages of the participants ahead of the U13 and U16 Cricket Association tournaments.

    Director – High Performance, Nadeem Khan: “The participation of overage players in age-group cricket is a menace and has proved to be detrimental in the growth and development of cricketers at young level.

    “It was extremely important we took this profound step to inculcate transparency in the upcoming season. We have borne a significant cost for this extensive exercise as we remain committed to ensure credibility of our pathways cricket to produce Pakistan future stars.”

    The PCB has also introduced lower age limit for the first time to discourage players from reducing their ages on the official documents. Players born on or after 1 September 2003 or before 1 September 2007 are eligible for the upcoming CCA U19 tournament, which will run from 21 May to 4 June.


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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    And it gets worse.

    ==

    LAHORE: The medical panel of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has declared 19 junior players overage, national U19 player Rizwan Mehmood also included.

    In an attempt to determine the true age of the players, the PCB took the X-rays of the players’ wrists, elbows, spines, and hips and found 19 junior cricketers from Sindh to be overage.

    The U19 player Rizwan, who represented Pakistan in the recently held ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022 and the U16 player Aaliyan Mehmood, who represented Sindh in Pakistan Cup 2021, have also been declared overage by the PCB.

    It is pertinent to mention here that the PCB declared players born after September 1, 2003, eligible. Whereas, the International Cricket Council (ICC) recognize the B-form or Passport of the players instead of medical tests for eligibility criteria.

    A-sports
    "found 19 junior cricketers from Sindh to be overage".

    This clearly states the reason for Sindh's dominance at the u19 level in Pakistan and a complete flop show in National T20, QeA and Pakistan cup.

    They play overage players in age restricted cricket tournaments to gain unfair advantage and in open tournament they get caught off-guard when no such restrictions are there.

    This malpractice needs to be completely stopped ans strict action should be taken against the club/coaches for selecting these overage players and at times even encouraging them to cheat.


    Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness

  22. #22
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    Good step. But the thing is over 80% of our population has different date of birth than their original one. For some, some could be overage just a few months while others could be as overage as 5-6 years. It's a common evil of our society. Even the guys imposing this policy might have different dates of birth than their original ones.

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