was when tournaments held at other than the 'traditional' venues
were viewed condescendingly as feeble attempts to make a show of
the 'global' appeal of the game of cricket. Sharjah was the first
venue to change that attitude, and the aggro that went into marketing
the annual event there
tugging on the heartstrings of the
soon made it a part of the mainstream.
and Bangladesh were soon to make clear their intent, and, in time,
gained acceptability. However, somehow, the tournaments held in
South East Asia, in places like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia
took a long time in shedding the non-serious tag. This has happened
to a great extent, hence the acceptance of invitation to participate
from countries whose calendar is already chock-full, despite muted
sounds of warning from people who feel that participation in such
tournaments 'exposes' the players to risks of injury that might
render them unavailable for the more serious, scheduled stuff.
that as it may, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Africa proceeded
to Singapore during the hot and humid month of August, to participate
in the Godrej-Singapore Challenge.
was led by Waqar Younis, New Zealand By Stephen Fleming and South
Africa by the still-in-the good books Hansie Cronje. Rain began
the proceedings, and reduced the first match between Pakistan and
New Zealand to a 25 over slam bang affair
batsmen like Shahid Afridi, Ijaz Ahmed and Chris Chairs to put on
their dancing shoes and indulge in a characteristic blitzkrieg
skipper must have had tremendous confidence in the ability of his
bowlers to make short work of the Pakistanis to have put them in to
bat upon winning the toss. The score at 1-26 made it seem justified,
but then Shahid Afridi and Saeed Anwar flexed their muscles after
the long wait for the match to start, and made up for lost time. By
the time both of them departed, the score was 76, in 10 .4 overs
a good situation for Ijaz Ahmed and Yousuf Youhanna to make their
. And they did that with aplomb and style.