Ball Tampering – The accusers are the accused!

For decades, British cricketers and their press has been trying to implicate (quite unsuccessfully) Pakistani great fast bowlers like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis into ball tampering. These and other such great fast bowlers were able to mesmerize their batsmen for decades. Match after match, the English batsmen would fail miserably against their style of attacking fast bowling.

However, a revelation by Marcus Trescothic (a former English batsmen) in his recently published autobiography reveals that he used mint induced sliva to shine the cricket ball so that it would swing ominously. This “tampered” ball was able to let England win back the Ashes after over 21 years from Australia in a tightly fought battle in 2005. Now, however, we know, it was not all fair play.

Angus Fraser reacted this revelation saying,

“To me it is a total hypocrisy on what is deemed to be ball tampering. When Pakistan were accused of ball tampering it was built into something that was abhorrent. Ball tampering is ball tampering whether you scratch the ball or whether you deliberately put in sugary saliva on it to aid its shine so I don’t see any difference between one and the either.

Somehow, it does not feel right. When Pakistan is blamed for ball tampering, a whole match gets awarded to England and players get banned. The press cries foul and blames everyone in Pakistan. And when Englishmen do the same and admit to the guilt, nothing happens.

The Australians were asked of their opinion of Englismen using illegal methods to defeat them during the Ashes battle, they simply brushed it away. Which is quite odd, as they were up in arms against Pakistan when the same thing was accused on them.

If English Cricket Board choses not to take action against its players who were involved in ball tampering then it would be a clear message to the cricketing world.

It is ok for us, the Englishmen to cheat, as long as we can win.

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Cricket or Not!

So as it boils down to whether the “white” nations (Australia, England and New Zealand) will make a trip down to Pakistan to play in the forthcoming Champions Trophy is now up in the air. From the messages being received here, it is evident that they will probably not come, which is really a pity. However, teams from all other nations including India, West Indies and Sri Lanka among others see no issue with traveling to Pakistan and pleasing the crowds with a fiercely fought Champions Trophy competition.

Here in Pakistan, 160 Million people are anxiously awaiting to see some action on the cricket field. The nation has been deprived of it for the most part of this year due to various tour cancellations and reschedulings.

My question to the cricketers from Australia, England and New Zealand is, “Are your lives far more important than the lives of Pakistanis? We can venture out to watch you play and guarantee your safety. But you are still too insecure!”

If you do not want to come, then don’t, but don’t make a big fuss about it either. Let us enjoy the cricket tournament here in peace while you stay in doors at home and watch it from your TV screens.

>Some Things I Expect From My Team

>I have been asked many times what do I expect from my team. Here is a quick snapshot.

  1. Don’t just work hard, work smart.

  2. Act like a leader not follower.

  3. Don’t just promise, deliver.

  4. Don’t be reactive, be proactive.

  5. Don’t let yourself be ruled by excuses. It’ll get you no where.

  6. Suggest solutions rather than just point out problems.

  7. Make it a point to contribute positively. Too much negativity will cause productivity losses.

  8. Stand up and be counted, especially in times of crisis.

  9. No one will mouth feed you, so get up and and get it done.

  10. If you wake up in the morning and dont feel like coming to work, then it is time to quit. No need to drag yourself around.

  11. Blaming others will get you nowhere. If you see a problem, fix it.

  12. Set goals that you want to achieve and then work like a maniac to achieve them.

  13. Don’t expect others to tell you what to do. Figure it out and do it.

  14. Don’t wait till someone asks you if you have done the task assigned. Just do it and let your superiors know.

  15. Leave your personal issues at home. You are not the only one with personal crisis.

>The Fast Growing IT industry In Pakistan

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Pakistan’s IT Industry was stagnant till the beginning of this decade. A meager sum of US$22 million was being brought in as export revenue up till 2002 in Pakistan. An IT enterprise with more than 50 employees was generally considered one of the bigger software houses in the country. A survey in 2004 by PSEB (Pakistan Software Export Board) indicated there were only a handful of companies with over 100 employees. To make matters worse, a software house formed in the 1990s or earlier would probably not survive its first five years and would most likely close its operations.

However, this past four years has brought about a big change. Since 2004 we are witnessing a phenomenal success and very high growth rate (averaging 50% growth rate annually) for the IT industry in Pakistan. Not only are the companies able to survive longer but are thriving in the national and international markets. And some of them have truly become great success stories worldwide.

I have been associated with the Pakistani IT industry since the mid 1990s when I decided to settle back in Pakistan from the USA. One of the biggest and probably the best change that I have witnessed in Pakistan in recent years has been the emphasis on developing indigenous products and intellectual property rather than just being a typical offshore software house that offers competitive rates as compared to the shop next door. Dozens of local enterprises are not only building some really exciting products here but are also creating waves in the international market. And yes, quite a few are getting funded as well from Venture Capitalists as far away as the Silicon Valley. We even have numerous tech blogs to cover them as well including the popular Green & White that I reviewed earlier this year. So if you want to find out more about the startups and the products in the market check them out.

PASHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association) estimates that today Pakistan’s IT industry is worth over 2 billion dollars. PSEB just came out with numbers that shows that the exports of IT related services and products are now over 170 million dollars (as reported by State Bank of Pakistan). By 2013 it is estimated to grow beyond 1 billion dollars. There are over 1,100 companies registered with the PSEB and over 100,000 people are employed by the industry. The biggest companies now boast a workforce of over 1,000 employees or thereabout. That’s a remarkable change from just a few years back when the biggest could hardly muster 100 employees. For more details about the IT industry and the PASHA survey, check out their website.

This is definitely a very exciting time for the IT industry in Pakistan. And also the best time to invest in a startup in Pakistan. I too left the cozy life of a salaried employee and became an entrepreneur in 2001 to co-found Cogilent Solutions that launched Pakistan’s first job hunt portal, BrightSpyre. Today it boasts over half a million job seekers from across the country and page views in many millions. It is still growing and will probably cross a million unique job seekers before any other job portal in Pakistan sometime soon.

My blogs getting Blogged

Yes, that’s true. It always surprises me when someone quotes one of my blogs in their blog. And then a stream of hits starts pouring into my blogworld. It’s always fun to read what others think about what I write. And also how wide the audience is becoming with each blog that I write. So keep reading and linking back to me, and I will continue to add new and interesting blogs out here.

>PASHA-BrightSpyre Host a Successful Career Fair

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Once again PASHA and BrightSpyre have collaborated together to host yet another extremely successful job fair in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This time thousands of potential job seekers streamed through the door of Pearl Continental Hotel in Rawalpindi. The traffic flow, was surprisingly, well managed and everything seemed well ordered and not once anyone felt that it was a “fish market”.

The event also featured numerous focused sessions as well for the benefit of job seekers. This included such important and critical sessions as Resume Writing, Presentation Skills, Hiring Fresh Graduates from an employer’s perspective. And last but not the least was the Startup Insiders Session which was attended by over 150 eager youngsters. There were numerous questions asked by young minds who wanted to make the leap from salaried life to unpredictable world of entrepreneurship. The questions were very extremely good and thought provoking. This was the 4th such session in Islamabad/Rawalpindi and 10th in the series so far. And yet, the interest of the individuals and the content of the sessions just gets better and better. It is definitely a must attend event for every budding entrepreneur in Pakistan.

I met quite a lot of interesting people during the event, as this was a great event for networking as well. I was also impressed by the dedication of the student Ambassadors from the local Universities who worked tirelessly all day to make sure everything goes as planned. BrightSpyre (one of the company’s that I have co-founded) team also pulled off a great show in collaboration with PASHA. Thank you guys for doing all the hard work and putting together a great event! Thank you PASHA and Jehan Ara for organizing this event in Rawalpindi.

Such events are critical to the growth of the nascent Pakistan’s IT industry. Currently, there are over 1,000 such companies registered with Pakistan Software Export Board with a total market size of US$2 billion and a phenomenal growth rate of 50% annually (source PASHA).

BrightSpyre, which is currently the biggest job portal in Pakistan and boasting over half a million unique registered job seekers, also played a critical role of inviting the right mix of job seekers to the event. It was pleasing to see Bearing Point, Cisco, Scrybe, Ultimus and many other enterprises (seeking job seekers) happy and satisfied with the quality of the candidates at the event.

Here is a link to the photostream on flickr of this event.