Sunday, 2 January 2011

Raising the Team

"Why do we have to raise a Team. We have to first settle our people, identify the identity of Jinnahpur" said the Cultural Minister Abu Latif on the suggestion of former cricketer Wazir Hussain. Wazir replied, "My dear sir, seeing their cricket team play and inshallah doing good, would start making the awam think on other issues besides the development and corruption issues of Jinnahpur". "How can you be so sure on this" replied the minister very much interested by the logic given. After all it was hard times for the government. "Sahib, look at me. In my times I was a great cricketer. We had so many Muhajir playing cricket. Karachi was always a important center for cricket. It is in our blood. It helps us take out all the daily frustrations and makes us enjoy. I have no doubt it will go that way". "Hmm go ahead. You have my blessing, you can have the stadium, but a budget no more than 1 crore rupees". "1 crore but but that" said Wazir but was cut by Abu Latif "We have to feed people, that is the maximum I can do. I already gave you the stadiums. Talk to some multinationals they will give you some money too". "Ok Janab, atleast I have the stadium" Wazir said somewhat satisfying himself.

Wazir in his old days was a star player for Pakistan Cricket Team, who had a clean image away from all controversies. Whole of country liked him and not just the Mohajir's. Then when the civil war broke out and Pashtun right outside Hyderabad and both Mohair and Sindh forces defending, he decided it was enough and left for Dubai. After 5 years and 1 year after formation of Jinnahpur he came back.

Jinnahpur was a challenging task from beginning. It was primarily based out of Karachi with a few districts around it. Karachi contributed towards a large percent of GDP of Pakistan, and Jinnahpur got that in legacy. But it had to give some remunerations to other 4 landlocked states for getting the big chunk, in return the landlocked nations pledges certain volume of trade through Karachi, the old way. Yes Jinnahpur was the gateway to Sindh (Who were now about to develop their port though), Seraikistan, Punjabistan,Pakhtunistan, Afghanistan and even central Asian ports. However lately it got great competition from Indian cities of Amritsar and Ferozepur, Jaiselmer which served as Inland ports from India. With so many people in the city state, and a challenge on mainstay of Trade, things were looking challenging. Having the highest urban population and high literacy rates of Muhajir, they had started to make some way in the Service industry

Wazir went ahead thinking on a plan. First he needed to form a Board. He was deciding on the list of his former friends who would help him. Many were dead thanks to the civil war. Some were abroad, and some so busy just to have daily meals. He could not pay them. He virtually had no budget, but just love for cricket. Thanks to his stint in Dubai, he had got enough money and with his son working in USA, he had a decent amount of money coming, so that he did not have to worry on income.

Sitting in home, he took out all his old contacts. He tried to set dates with as many industrialists, cricketers, news agencies. He kept calling them to have meetings with them. After forming a board was his priority. Alone he could never do it. Then one day he met Coxjee, the Parsee Businessman in the city. He had a wide range of Industry and thanks to Indians was able to recover back many of his factories, who were turned into rubble. With him he talked on forming cricket, and how it could bring back Coxjee his lost reputation, due to closeness of His team. "Well Wazir, I can give you money, not like old days but yes can give you, but I want complete control of the Board". Shocked Wazir, not trying to be rude "It would be a board for Jinnahpur Cricket Team and not Coxjee team sir". "Then what is the use of me investing money in it. I put in the money, you run it and politicians have the profit". "No no sir. You got me all wrong. As I told you, biggest benefit is that you would be known as reviver of the Cricket Team, and as a shareholder in the Board, which will be another company, a share of the profit's". "You plan to have the board as a company" replied the surprised Coxjee."Oh yes sir, we Mohajir's are professional and will be here too. It would be a company" and then taking out the structure he had thought "It would be a company with 50% shareholding of a Trust and 50% of the investors, and the Board would comprise of 6 Members of regional boards, all cricketers and 1 president again a cricketer besides 1 government and 3 member of the 50% shareholders". "You have been doing a lot of thinking" chuckled Coxjee "But with such a structure no one will invest. You have cricketers running the business. They will want to have more tests rather than 20-20 for the pure cricket. No sir" said Coxjee. "Then what structure do you want sir". "Have 50% private stake of investors and have 5 representation from board" said Coxjee realizing whoever owns he will make profit. "It all depends on how much you invest. I can agree to 50% of investors and maybe 4 members of Corporate board representing anyone who has more than 10% stake, but cricketers will run it" with a commanding voice said Wazir.

Hence the deal was struck. The lengthy discussion resulted in Coxjee agreeing to pay six regional squads their salary, besides agreeing to let 4 more corporate house investing provided he had the title sponsorship of the team. He agreed to invest 10 Crore Rupees which was roughly 500 000 USD. Wazir continued to knock the doors of rich people. He worked hard. Just kept meeting. Some met him, many refused, but still he kept trying. With loads of haggling wrestling the lone soldier was successful. He had now got loads of Money. Now it was time for real action

He was already contacting the cricketers. When they met him, most of them were in bad state. He now could promise them some hope. He then found people willing to spread his cause. Carefully selecting the 6 people whom he intended to be regional representatives without telling them. He off course assumed he will be the president of the Board. He though that he was justified to be that much selfish.

Finally and his team managed to have 6 teams for the regions he had thought without telling anyone. He then called all the teams to his gardens and then informed people willing to leave their jobs will get a yearly contract worth 2 Lakh. Most of the people were poor. They had come with such hopes itself. He then introduced the lawyer send by Mr Coxjee and he came out asking people to take their cheque and sign the contracts.

It was a dream come true for Wazir. He then along with the six representatives went to Coxjee office where they were provided a space for JCB or Jinnahpur Cricket Board. Joined by Aly Mitha the government representative and 4 other board members all the details were discussed. The domestic tournaments, ICC recognition, when will team start playing, how will future talent come and so on"

The local league had started and after a short visit the ICC happily gave them Associate Status. Test was a little far away. Only Punjabistan and Paktunistan had got the same.

Then one day sitting in office Wazir got a call. His face got red. When he put down the phone, asked Rehmat the board member what happened. "We have got to arrange a team soon. I had asked Kenyan to come, they have agreed to come provided we cover all the traveling and staying costs" said Wazir. "But they should do it" protested Rehmat. "It is the start, don worry I will get it done" smiled Wazir.

Emergency board meeting was called. A performance of players was discussed and a team was formed.

Finally the day came. The stadium was a house full. The Kenyans were known to be strong. The match developed a lot of interest. Sitting in the executive area was Coxjee, Wazir and the Minister Abu Latif. "I always told him it would be hit, encouraged him to go ahead, and gave all the support" said Abu Latif. "Oh yes sir without it could never have been possible" said Wazir, with Coxjee giving a smile, but wazir din feel sad. He had got what he always dreamt of- A Jinnahpur team playing and it was right in front of his eyes. He smiled and enjoyed the match.

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