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  1. #1
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    Ode to a magazine

    Wow... that is soooo sad. This magazine was a cricket icon in Pakistan. I started buying this magazine when I was in 5th grade.... and had 100+ consecutive issues saved in mint condition until I came to USA and gave them to my nephew.

    Ode to a magazine
    Thirty-six years after it first began publication, Pakistan's best loved cricket publication closed its doors this April

    Osman Samiuddin
    September 22, 2008


    The cover of the final issue © The Cricketer, Pakistan

    Quietly, in April this year, the Cricketer (Pakistan) breathed its last. To the month it was 36 years old, and the 432nd issue was its last. Through that time it was comfortably the leading cricket monthly in Pakistan. With it goes a piece of every young, English-reading, cricket-mad Pakistani.

    The Cricketer (no relation to the Cricketer International) was first published in April 1972. It was an appropriate time for cricket was stirring again in the land. The 60s had been dark and empty. Hanif Mohammad had played his last Test two months before the start of the 70s and a new decade and era were upon the country.

    Pakistan Tobacco was still five years from becoming the first national sponsor, but Pakistan Television was beginning to show an interest. The domestic scene had been given fresh impetus with the entry of some departments. Others would come in a few years later, bringing with them financial benefits. The club scene had yet to be totally eclipsed, and more importantly Pakistan's first superstars - the early holy trinity of AH Kardar, Hanif and Fazal Mahmood were stars - had just arrived. A few years later the "professionals" crisis would erupt, when increasingly emancipated players would, for the first time, ask for pay commensurate to their skill. It was a fertile period.

    Other magazines had been around before, like Sportimes, but the Cricketer blew them away. Riaz Ahmed Mansuri brought it up, brought it together and brought it out. He has built a publishing mini-empire of sorts now, with seven magazines in his stable, but the Cricketer remained his baby. "Whatever I am today, I am because of the Cricketer," he says. He remains a ridiculously hardworking man, one in whom resides the true shrewd, sharp, entrepreneurial spirit of Karachi.

    He started with nothing in 1971, just an idea that hit him at a crowded bus depot where the most popular magazine at a hawker's was an old edition of the Cricketer International. "I knew students and friends of mine were devoted to keeping scrapbooks with pictures and articles, so I thought why not?" remembers Mansuri.

    There was no doubt ever that it would be in anything other than English, the language of "authority". The first issue came out after Mansuri sold home-made subscriptions to his colleagues on the social circuit, eventually raising Rs 2500. But the genius was to hire Hanif Mohammad as chief editor, for it brought credibility and promised financial reward.

    Mansuri had seen that Sir Pelham Warner was editor at the Cricketer International, and so decided to rope in a big name as editor. As Omar Noman noted in Pride and Passion, "not many people were going to refuse an ad for a magazine brought out by Hanif Mohammad". Asif Iqbal was approached first but he was still playing and recommended Hanif instead. It took, Mansuri reckons, 30 meetings to convince Hanif, though the "Little Master" apparently later admitted to him that he was convinced from the off.

    Even now, reading those early issues, a real spirit is apparent, a desire to, among other things, properly document the scene as fully as possible. In a region of the world where history is poorly kept, it is something to be cherished. Interviews, comments, match reports, diligent documentation of the club scene, no-holds barred comment, profiles and interviews of older, lesser-known players; if it wasn't in the Cricketer, it really wasn't worth worrying about.

    It brooked little crap and was clever and populist in siding with players, and not the establishment's Kardar, in the professional and Packer crises. Soon it introduced its "Five Cricketers of the Year", thereby investing the domestic scene with more value and prestige than any board ever did.



    The Cricketer was where cricket started for this writer. Old copies were borrowed from a neighbouring uncle and read from page to page, sometimes kept for months at an end, until a subscription was organised. Countless others have similar tales



    Rare is the Pakistani hack who hasn't contributed to its pages - Omar Kureishi, Qamar Ahmed, Waheed Khan, Shahid Hashmi, Sohaib Alvi, Abdul Rasheed Shakoor, Abdul Majid Bhatti, Afia Salam, Fareshteh Gati. International writers were regularly roped in. But probably no journalist came to be as closely associated with the magazine as the indefatigable Gul Hameed Bhatti, guru of stats before Statsguru came out, and eminently better company.

    He was, for many years, the man responsible for bringing the magazine out every month. Where Mansuri was the business head, Bhatti was its driving editorial force, whether with the innovative "Figures Are Fun With GHB" column, the devoted monthly round-up of the "Lahore (club) Cricket Scene", or any number of interviews, meticulously researched profiles, or match reports.

    The Cricketer's circulation was never massive, for Pakistan has never really been a big market for English monthlies, but what loyalty it had was solid and true. At its peak, from the 1978-79 series against India until the early 90s, estimates suggest it touched 20,000 copies a month. Its impact was greater: Mansuri recalls a leading cricketer, featured on the cover during the 1982-83 series against India, demanding money from him "because you are selling the mag off my back".

    As a youngster in Saudi Arabia, a country where cricket was less understood than it is in the USA, the magazine was where cricket started for this writer. Old copies were borrowed from a neighbouring uncle and read from page to page, sometimes kept for months at an end, until a subscription was organised. Countless others have similar tales.

    From its start till even the early- to mid-90s, it was a significant cog in Pakistan cricket's wheel. Its success was evident in the number of cricket magazines it indirectly spawned: Cricket World Quarterly, Cricket Herald, Akhbar-e-Watan, Cricketstar, Sportsweek, Imran Khan's Cricket Life, and even an Asian edition of the Cricketer International. Mansuri's magazine outlasted them all, but eventually the times changed, the spirit wavered and finances tightened. Long before it ceased publication, the significance had gone. The Urdu version, started in 1978, is still going strong.

    The morose temptation is to say that the magazine died at a fitting time, when cricket in Pakistan is truly in the doldrums. But Mansuri insists it is not a permanent state. He is looking for an editorial team to come and start up the magazine again. The Cricketer is dead, long live the Cricketer.

    Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo
    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/maga...ry/369973.html

  2. #2
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    lol there was such a thing called cricketer... wow i never have even heard of this magazine... it kinda shows why they stopped making their magazines.. i mean no one knows that they are even there.... still it's sad to see something go down especially since it was there for such a long time... hopefully something even better will come and replace it...

  3. #3
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    sad....i used to reading "the cricketer" when i was in pakistan....till the year 2000

  4. #4
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    The Cricketer was part of my upbringing in Karachi and has remained so for my entire life. The last issue I bought was last year highlighting Inzi's final test. Fitting I suppose, it being the last issue I buy.

  5. #5
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    Was a regular reader (and saver) in the 1986-1989 era. It was a magazine of the highest quality. It was first class in all three categories: stats, analysis and opinion, and photographs.

    In those pre-internet days, there was really no substitute for it in Pakistan. I guess the advent of internet (and cricinfo) must have reduced its utility quite a bit. That may have eventually led to The Cricketer's ultimate demise.

  6. #6
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    waoo i am shocked at this news, i didnt see it coming. I guess when cable is in every house and there are always more than one channels broadcasting cricket matches almost all year along, the magazine lost its readers. I used to buy all three major cricket magazines in Pak for 8 years. I just didnt feel satisfied if i missed reading any one of the three magazines in any month. I am going to try to find out through Gul Hameed Bhatti why has cricketer ended.

  7. #7
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    It was a good magazine up to the 80s and 90s but lately it had gone downhill in terms of quality, content etc and guess with the advent of the internet which most English speaking Pakistanis have access to it just couldn't compete.

    Hope it makes a comeback one day but it will have to improve to become viable. Maybe it can come back in conjunction with Pakpassion - "the Pakpassion Cricketer" anyone???

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingusama92
    lol there was such a thing called cricketer... wow i never have even heard of this magazine... it kinda shows why they stopped making their magazines.. i mean no one knows that they are even there.... still it's sad to see something go down especially since it was there for such a long time... hopefully something even better will come and replace it...
    ummm, no. Quite a few people knew about it.


    'Ya of course'

  9. #9
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    what is this magazine cover trying to show? Steps to training
    tehlna or some dancing to warmup - Inzi
    walking - next guy
    jogging - Rana
    Running - Farhat

    I don't remember reading it. The article says "The Urdu version, started in 1978, is still going strong."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12thMan

    what is this magazine cover trying to show? Steps to training
    tehlna or some dancing to warmup - Inzi
    walking - next guy
    jogging - Rana
    Running - Farhat

    I don't remember reading it. The article says "The Urdu version, started in 1978, is still going strong."
    next guy=Arshad Khan

  11. #11
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    Reading the article has brought memories back. Like Osman, my memories of the magazine were from my childhood in Saudi. My dad had quite a few of them but I remember one summer holiday when we were moving to Dubai I managed to find his whole stockpile. Dont remember what happened to them since - must have thrown them out or given them away but I would have read them all.

  12. #12
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    Its funny how people who flood the forum with their expert opinions on cricket like they know they game from before it started are not seen in this thread.

  13. #13
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    We used to have the magazine ''The sportstar '' in the older times as the only source of cricket news back then .I guess this particular magazine was pakistan's favourite like our sportstar.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by siddharth
    We used to have the magazine ''The sportstar '' in the older times as the only source of cricket news back then .I guess this particular magazine was pakistan's favourite like our sportstar.
    Thats another one I used to enjoy. It was about all sports but their cricket section was quite extensive. It also did help that the state of cricket at the time that I was reading it - mid 90s was quite high too

  15. #15
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    Was an avid reader of "the cricketer" from around 1992-1993 to 2001

  16. #16
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    Seems like this magazine had quite a following... but these days you really can't run a cricket magazine business and expect to make tons of profit.. .due to the fact cricinfo and other websites along the same lines have overtaken magazine and have made the same info written in the magazine easier to access and the news is posted much faster...

  17. #17
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    I was an avid reader of the cricketer 1991 to 2002. Its quite sad that it had to close down.

  18. #18
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    Before the Internet revolutionised things, 'The Cricketer' was a must buy for all Pakistani cricket fans. I always enjoyed following the end of year stats. I bought, borrowed and read it at stands between 1985-1997.

    Imran Khan, though gave it a try with 'Sporting Life', which was a top cricket magazine launched in 1991. I bought every issue until it stopped after a few months.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daoud
    Like Osman, my memories of the magazine were from my childhood in Saudi.
    Me too
    Last edited by 1137moiz; 25th September 2008 at 06:51.

  20. #20
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    I just started following cricket recently, just a while before the T20 World cup. I'm an addict now, and new to the site. Anyway, I got hold of a couple of copies of the magazine and it was pretty decent.

  21. #21
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    Sad news. My first memories of reading this magazine were dragging my father around Bradford just to find some copies of it after I had seen it at a friends house. Growing up in the North East of England, the magazine was not available in any of the local shops so we had to travel to Bradford or Manchester to obtain copies. We’d bulk buy past copies and I’d spend hours if not days scrolling through each and every article again and again.

    The quality of the paper and the black and white pictures were awful. In fact in some of the smaller pictures linked to the articles, the players were almost unrecognisable.

    However it was my favourite read and kept me up to date with what was happening in the world of Pakistani cricket. I’ll always have a soft spot for this magazine – some happy memories indeed.



  22. #22
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    does anyone have any copies of this magazine with them? I found this site where they have listed its covers for different editions. http://saim.000a.biz/cricketer.htm

  23. #23
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    I'll always have a soft spot for the magazine. The first time I read it was at an airport in 1995 as I was waiting for the flight. Never really picked up a subscription, but I've always had tender thoughts for it.


    "I tried to count the stars while in bed. To keep the thoughts of monsters from my head."

  24. #24
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    Anyone?

  25. #25
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    what kind of Cricket fans are you that you don't have any copies of the Cricketer magazine?

  26. #26
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    My dads got a few at home I think. I used to enjoy reading it as a kid.

  27. #27
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    Isn't 'The Cricketer' an English publication? Head Editor = Andrew Miller?

    Or is it another one that I'm thinking of?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyVenom View Post
    My dads got a few at home I think. I used to enjoy reading it as a kid.
    could you please scan their covers and mail them to me?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshland View Post
    Isn't 'The Cricketer' an English publication? Head Editor = Andrew Miller?

    Or is it another one that I'm thinking of?
    yes this is another magazine. it was the pakistani version of the english cricketer

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by srkamal View Post
    could you please scan their covers and mail them to me?
    I go back home next week and will have to look around and hope they haven't been thrown away.

    No guarantees but will let you know this time next week

  31. #31
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    I use to borrow the magazine from friends , i would love to read them now. i wish somebody would restart a pakistani cricket magazine.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyVenom View Post
    I go back home next week and will have to look around and hope they haven't been thrown away.

    No guarantees but will let you know this time next week
    any progress?

  33. #33
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    Is akhbare watan still being published?


    Privatize PCB

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