2007: A Year in Sport

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All the major stories that made The Asian Today

From Shoaib Akhtar’s disciplinary problems to the sudden death of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer. We bring you a rundown of all the major news stories that made the pages of The Asian Today in 2007.

 

January

Top Story: The year does not begin well for our South Asian cricketing nations. Forever the bad boy, Shoaib Akhtar seems to have fallen out with everyone including captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and coach Bob Woolmer. While Inzy and Shoaib deny accusations of a rift, a spat between the bowler and Woolmer makes its way onto television. Akhtar is fined by the management after a TV crew film him having a heated moment with his coach during the side’s tour of South Africa. For India meanwhile, they beat West Indies 3-1 in their ODI Series, but coach Greg Chappell is slapped at an airport in India by a man claiming the national side ignores talented players from the state of Orissa.

Other News: Australia drub England 5-0 in the Ashes with Sajid Mahmood – once an integral part of the England set-up – being forced to watch from the sidelines.

 

February

Top Story: Boxing promoter Frank Warren puts an end to Amir Khan’s hopes of fighting for a world title in 2007 despite the young boxers 45 second demolition of Mohammed Medjadi at Wembley Stadium. Warren admits any world title shot would hinder plans which include making Amir a ‘legend’.

Other News: With the Cricket World Cup just a month away Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi finds himself out of his teams first two matches after being banned for four ODI’s for brandishing his bat at a spectator during the first ODI against South Africa in Centurion.

 

March

Top Story: Cricket’s biggest showpiece of the year was meant to highlight all that was good about the game. But it turned into something quite different. Just hours after watching his team being dumped out of the tournament by lowly Ireland, Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer is found dead in his hotel room. A shattered Inzamam-ul-Haq calls a press conference a few hours later where he announces his retirement from one-day cricket and resigns as Pakistan’s Test captain. A post-mortem on the body of Bob Woolmer has inconclusive results and an inquest into his death is ordered. His death stuns the cricket world after it is alleged he was murdered.

Other News: India join Pakistan as they too crash out of the World Cup after losing in the opening stages to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is their worst campaign since 1979. Meanwhile the International Football Association Board ban Muslim female players from wearing the Hijab in a move which draws criticism from Islamic nations.

 

April

Top Story: Despite failing to lead his team to glory in the World Cup Rahul Dravid survives the chop as Indian captain and is given another three months to prove he is the man for the job. One member of the team who decided enough was enough is coach Greg Chappell who ends his 22-month tenure by saying that he will not seek an extension to his contract.

Other News: Youngster Shoaib Malik is named captain of the Pakistan team after Inzamam-ul-Haq’s resignation. He receives the backing of a number of ex-players including the great Imran Khan. Meanwhile in football Tamworth’s Rikki Bains jumps to the defence of former Fulham defender Zesh Rehman, telling The Asian Today the later is right to say British Asian footballers should give up hope of representing England at international level. Rehman put an end to any hope of a call-up from England after pledging his allegiance to the Pakistan football team.

 

May

Top Story: A report into Pakistan’s disastrous Cricket World Cup campaign places the blame on the shoulders of the then captain Inzamam-ul-Haq. The report, headed by a three-man panel, referred to Inzamam as a ‘dictator’ adding he should not have been captain of the side during the campaign. The player himself hits out at the report.

Other News: Dav Whatmore emerges as the favourite to take over the helm as coach of Pakistan, while former England wicketkeeper Alec Stewart urges outcast Sajid Mahmood to prove he has what it takes to be a success in the England team.

 

June

Top Story: Sachin Tendulkar becomes the first batsman to score 15,000 runs in ODI’s during the course of his fifty in the second ODI against South Africa.

Other News: Monty Panesar breaks into the worlds top ten bowlers after a scintillating performance against the West Indies. The 25-year-old Northamptonshire left-arm spinner claimed 23 wickets in England’s series win over the West Indies.

 

July

Top Story: With just two months until the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa, England name a provisional squad which surprisingly does not include Birmingham-born Kabir Ali. The talented bowler hits out at the England selectors for the snub accusing them of making him a scapegoat for the side’s poor results.

Other News: Finally, a British-Asian makes it back into the Premiership! Michael Chopra of ex-Newcastle fame is signed by Roy Keane’s newly promoted Sunderland FC. Elsewhere Aussie Geoff Lawson lands the vacant coaching job for the Pakistan cricket team and Amir Khan is crowned the Commonwealth Lightweight Champion after disposing of Willie Limond in a hard fought fight.

 

August

Top Story: The Football Association launch an inquiry after Egyptian striker Mido is racially abused by a section of Newcastle fans. The striker was forced to endure chants of ‘Mido, he’s got a bomb you know’ as his team Middlesborough battled a 2-2 draw at the Riverside.

Other News: Shoaib Akhtar is given a final warning after walking out of his teams training camp ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup, and there is further trouble for the Pakistan Cricket Board after it emerges Mohammed Yousuf – snubbed for the Twenty20 World Cup – is on the verge of agreeing a deal to take him to the controversial Indian Cricket League (ICL). The ICL does not receive backing from the International Cricket Council and the PCB declare that any player who signs up to the league will be banned from Pakistani cricket. They are forced into a precarious position and risk losing the services of Mohammed Yousuf should he take the ICL offer.

 

September

Top Story: The Twenty20 World Cup comes to town and it throws up a whole lot of tantrums and triumphs. Throwing a tantrum is none other than Shoaib Akhtar who allegedly strikes fellow bowler Mohammed Asif with a bat just days before they kick off their campaign. He is omitted from the squad and his future as an international player are thrown into doubt. The first triumph of the tournament goes to lowly Zimbabwe who produce the biggest shock when they beat world champions Australia. The second triumph lands at the feet of Yuvraj Singh who enters the record books as the first batsman to hit six sixes as he smashes England’s Stuart Broad for 36 runs off 6 balls. The final triumph goes to India who beat Pakistan in a thrilling final.

Other News: Just months after his vote of confidence from the Board of Cricket Control in India, Rahul Dravid resigns as Indian captain and Mahendra Singh Dhoni takes over as ODI captain. Elsewhere Mohammed Yousuf cancels his ICL contract and returns to the Pakistan fold.

 

October

Top Story: Inzamam-ul-Haq brings an end to his illustrious 15-year career with Pakistan cricket after retiring from the Test fold after the second Test against South Africa in Lahore. He can only manage 17 runs to finish two short of Javed Miandad record as Pakistan’s highest run-scorer in Tests. He thanks past and present players as well as his loyal fans for his ‘golden years’.

Other News: Australia’s Andrew Symonds is the victim of racial abuse during the fifth ODI against India in Vadodara when he is subjected to monkey chants by a section of the crowd as he fields by the boundary. The monkey chants are repeated in the seventh ODI.

 

November

Top Story: Pakistan lose the ODI series against India leaving captain Shoaib Malik open to criticism. Former player Wasim Akram criticizes Malik saying he has no future as the leader of the team, while former wicketkeeper Rashid Latif says he lacks the leadership qualities to take the team forward. Nasim Ashraf of the Pakistan Cricket Board however has an entirely different view saying they will back the young star.

Other News: A six-week long hearing into the death of Bob Woolmer the jury records an open verdict after deciding there was insufficient evidence of either a criminal act or natural causes. Elsewhere Sachin Tendulkar declines an invitation to become Test captain. The job eventually is taken up by Anil Kumble who leads his side to a 1-0 Test series victory against Pakistan.

 

December

Top Story: Muttiah Muralithiran becomes the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket breaking Shane Warne’s record of 708 Test wickets.

Other News: Amir Khan ends the year as Commonwealth Lightweight Champion and stronger than ever after defending his title against former champ Graham Earl in 72 seconds. His shot at a world title looks very much on the cards.

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