Wednesday, 30 December 2009

MCG Test Analysis

Reasons why we lost this test:

1) Drop catches on day one. This put us on the back foot and was influential in the difference in margin between the two sides.
2) Pakistan’s tail not “wagging”.
3) Simply the brilliance of Mitchell Johnson, Shane Watson and Nathan Hauritz. Just were too good for us at the end of the day.

But then again there were some positive signs:

1) Aamer bagging the 5 for in the second innings. This was a record and personal best.
2) Umar Akmal’s 50 in the first innings. His intent throughout was promising.
3) Kamran Akmal’s batting. He was looking in splendid touch and played some wonderful shots. His day may come soon.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Today@The Test MCG 1st Test, 2009 , Day 4

I am curious to know if Ricky Ponting regrets the early declaration. The thought of a Pakistani victory must be a scare ringing through the brain cell of the Aussie skipper overnight. The pitch is still good enough for batting and hasn’t deteriorated a great deal but ultimately the approach and positive intent didn’t really allow Australia to dominate their superior situation. Pakistan have shown determination and fight today which is a positive to take away into the next match regardless of what happens on the final day. I said it before the series that a victory would be a bonus. Hard fought action , moments of brilliance and positive intent should be our ultimate vision against the Aussies and Pakistan have shown many colourful glimpses of that in this test match.

If Pakistan pull off the further 252 runs required that would be heroic and historic. But that should be their goal. They should go for it. A draw is not going to happen. Pak have to go out there and build partnerships, play their shots and put up a real fight which is what they did today. They shouldn’t be put off by the mammoth requirement as records and there to be broken.

However, having said that all, Pakistan’s batting can collapse like a pack of domino cards. But as an optimist I back Pakistan to achieve the target. What drama that would be.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Today@The Test MCG 1st Test, 2009 , Day 3

Pakistan’s chances of saving this test are difficult but not impossible. Shane Warne and Bill Lawry raised an interesting point during the commentary stints that Pakistan shouldn’t get too bogged down or muted in their approach because it’s not their natural flare. I agree with this. Firstly you shouldn’t do something which is too unnatural but more importantly Pakistan should keep playing their shorts and keep the scoreboard ticking over regularly because then the pressure is released which should naturally make it easier for one to stay at the wicket and occupy the crease which is the overall goal. However, if the batsmen are too muted in their approach the bowlers tend to develop into a dominant rhythmical mood which makes a dismissal more likely. So Pakistan shouldn’t go into a nut shell and play how they would naturally but obviously don’t do anything stupid or out of proportion because that is the last thing which is required. Someone needs to play a champion knock. Who will it be if anyone?

But above all good to see Pakistan showing some fight and magic on the field today, that’s what we want to see on a more regular basis during the series. I adored that counter attack from Umar this morning. He has immediately created an impression down under. He has immense talent at a tender age and in my enlightened opinion could become the next Ponting or Tendulkar. His determination and positiveness is truly admirable and his career is only in its infancy.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Your Predictions For The Australian Series ?????

Ramiz Raja and Waqar Younis have stated that Australia is "beatable". I agree with their statements since even WI can compete with them and what a mediocre side they are in this day and age. Some have questioned whether they should even have test cricket status, their that weak.

Also since the absences of Warne, Gilchrist and McGrath Australia have lost their dominance and ruthlessness on the international stage. They are going through a re-building process in test cricket. England beat them in the ashes and SA beat them last year in a test series so surely Pakistan isn’t a million miles off.

BTW,Why on earth is Muhammad Sami recalled? His average in test cricket is 51 runs per wicket which is very expensive. He is another of those tried and tested players. Why do the PCB keeping going backwards instead of forwards? A diabolical decision like that of recalling Misbah. Sohail Khan and Talha should be given chances instead. Anyone with me?

Anyway back to the positiveness former fast bowler and Pakistani coach, Geoff Lawson has also backed Pakistan’s bowlers and in particular the "new Kaneria". I personally feel Pak should play 2 spinners, both Ajmal and Kaneria because the wickets tend to spin at the MCG and SCG.

My Prediciton is 1-1. Good luck Pak. As Imran Khan said under his famous motto: " Our team has cornered tigers" ! Watch out U Aussies !

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

2009, The Year Pak Won T20 Gold.


" Unforgettable scenes for many"


2009 is coming to an end. With the schedule of the traditional MCG test match taking place between Christmas and New year I will be unable to review the annual affairs. 2009 includes the death of MJ which took the globe by shock, the Susan Boyle saga, an Ashes victory for England, the catastrophic Lahore attacks, Usain Bolt’s world record and Pakistan’s T20 triumph. I would like to review, reflect and cherish back my favourite and most memorable of the T20WC victory which was a significant rejuvenation for the nation’s image.

Pakistan started as losers. They were clearly struggling and several bloggers and writers were bragging on about how un-innovative and lacking of flavour this side consisted of. They insisted for a change of stance for the PCB by recalling the ICL cronies. During the warm up matches Pak were comprehensively defeated by SA and India. The team morale had melted as if cricket was never born and many fans were extremely doubtful about Pakistan’s overall chances in the competition. They were expecting another flop or national humiliation of which this decade had done to the country’s image. It was declining in leaps and bounds as social and political problems descended as if the past was forgotten. I even wanted a Pak defeat so the board would realise their pathetic infra structure and make some major alterations for the better and foreseeable future. I wanted a drastic PCB realisation otherwise the lows would have continued to occur and further isolate the country’s image. After all cricket is or has been the only method of igniting and uniting for the matter, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s nation. It was one of the only ways one could realise the beauty of patriotism which used to be a wonderful thing at this instance, not any more. The lyrics of “Hum Hain Pakistani”, “Dil Dil Pakistan” and “Pakistan Zindabad”were looked upon as meaninglessness at the time and not with the bounty of pride, unity and patriotism. In fact one may exaggerate to saying veritable disgrace. There were levels of prejudice taking place in the Western nations but yet arts couldn’t or didn’t look like rescuing the reputation of the 62 year old nation dominated by troublesome acting’s.

The first match came against England at the Oval. The anticipation was of abundance as people were gathering around in groups next to TV- sets to watch this encounter. There was a great “buzz” about it. Pakistan was struggling but England was no better which revived some hopes, kind of mine as well. Gul and Ajmal bowled well but England mastered a good total. Pak were always playing catch up with the required run rate and were unable to get hold of the England bowlers. There was certainly firepower lacking in the batting department which was a necessity for the T20 format. Adil Rashid and Graeme Swann bowled tightly in tandem and the scenario was all “too little-too late” for Misbah to come in and drive us home. A disastrous start. I for one speculate that this led to Qadir’s resignation from being the board’s selector. The lion of the nation, Imran Khan also slammed the team’s performance. Step in Wasim Bari who was temporally fulfilling the role and what change he brought in the June aftermath.

So the team morale was on a low as Pak took on the minnows Holland who had just made a major upset by beating the hosts, England. Pak couldn’t afford for one minute to take the game lightly as they had been eliminated by minnows, Ireland in the depressing 07WC. There were flashbacks of upsets in the supporters’ minds. But Pak ensured there wasn’t a repetition of 07s early elimination as they beat Holland comprehensively in a one-sided affair. Pak hit several sixes during their innings with the captain hitting 3 of them . Kamran Akmal stole the headlines with his half century but there were contributions from everyone. Meanwhile, with the ball it was Afridi who dominated the show with his canny legspin claiming figures of 4-11. He was supported by Ajmal who claimed 3 and also Malik who joined the party with one. This suggested spin was bound to be a key strength for the side as they took 8 wickets between them. The victory restored heaps of hope and really boosted the morale in the camp. Everything clicked smoothly and the victory was a fantastic “team performance” as everyone contributed and made an impact. They went out there and played expressive cricket which was impressive! I for one was feeling much better and knew that Pak may have turned a screw. I was hopeful this was a turning curve of bigger things to come. The spinners I greatly admired and knew this was an area where Pakistan could excel.

However, the aftermath of this victory was short lived as 3 days after Pak lost to Sri Lanka. Pak were on track for victory but lost wickets in quick succession towards the latter stages of the innings. Therefore, the next day was full of significance. It was a do or die situation for Pak and they took on the Kiwis. Younis Khan said that phrase with a smile on his face at the toss as if it was somewhat of a motivating analogy. This game also marked the return of Abdul Razzaq who’s all round credentials provided a balance to the side. He took 2 wickets early on but it was Shahid Afridi’s catch in Umar Gul’s opening over which really “turned the tables”. It was utterly astonishing as the ball went high and handsome and seemed to be sailing into a no man’s territory but the manner in which Afridi plugged that off was outstanding. This transformed Pakistan’s whole competition in the long term of events. From that moment onwards the magic and uniqueness started to blossom and suddenly Pakistan became an invincible and consistent unit whom dominated proceedings. I feel psychologically this had a major impact on the team because from that moment onwards the players were motivated, showing self belief, encouraging one another and showing determination to go the distance. We could tell this was to be the case as implemented by their body language and expressions. The team seemed to be united and pumped up.

The invincibility of course all commenced with Umar Gul’s spell of 5-6. He bowled with firepower and consistency and those figures he claimed certainly speak for themselves. Such a performance demolished the Kiwis for just 99. From there Pakistan eased to victory. Against Ireland in the following encounter Pak dominated the scene. Kamran Akmal notched up another half century but it was the bowling and fielding which stole the headlines and really caught the eye. Every bowler contributed and took wickets at regular intervals with Ajmal claiming 4 of them as the Irish men were clueless to his well disguised doosra. Consequently, Pakistan entered the knock out stages as they progressed to the semi finals with some big players really beginning to come to the party.

So then came the semi finals against SA who appeared to be by far the tournament favourites. They were strong in all 3 disciplines but had somewhat of a reputation of choking when it came to the big stage. Pak had to play out of their skins to beat them. Pak clearly seized the initiative in the opening overs as Kamran Akmal got the innings off to a flyer with his flourish of boundaries. He was looking in great knick as Pak were 28-1 after just 2.2 overs. But then Shahid Afridi came to life with his batting and played a gem of an entertaining half century which included 4 consecutive boundaries but after his departure the tempo had slowed down as Pak concluded with 149-4 in their 20. Kallis was looking in tremendous form as SA were cruising when batting but when the score was 40 Aamer brilliantly caught and bowled Smith. Afridi followed it up by bowling Gibbs and De Villiers in quick succession. Suddenly, Pakistan had the squeeze on the game. Kallis was batting well but wasn’t being provided with support on the other end. Umar Gul although wicketless produced an outstanding and thoroughly economical spell as the SA batsmen were unable to get hold of him which really pushed up the required rate. Kallis departed and Pakistan fielded with tremendous intensity as SA fell short in Nottingham. The Pakistani supporters celebrated largely and were absolutely overwhelmed as were the players. They new this could be their moment of triumph. From Zero they were about to become heroes.

Sunday 21st was the date of the final played at the picturesque Lords venue, the home of cricket. The support Pakistan had was of abundance. The intensity and anticipation was astonishing. Everywhere Pakistani’s gathered to watch the game all around the globe. They wanted a victory and knew the significance behind it. Aamer bowled the first over and seized the initiative. 4 dot deliveries were followed by a wicket. His tactical plan of bowling short was a well thought one and payed dividends as the dangerous in-form player, Dilshan departed when it mattered most. Abdul Razzaq showed his class and claimed 3 wickets in his opening spell. Sri Lanka were 32-4, Pak were on top. Although the likes of Kumar Sangakara repaired the damage it wasn’t enough to defend against the immense depth of Pakistan’s batting. Kamran Akmal played another effective cameo to set the innings tone. But it was the partnership of Afridi and Malik which guided Pak home. They played a very mature innings but as the same time played the big shorts when required. It was amazing to see how Afridi could actually control his instincts but he did and did it superbly. When he hit the winning leg bye it was a sight of sheer satisfaction as if he was at the top of the world. He ran to the non strikers end and lifted his bat in one hand and the helmet in the other with his arms held up in delight for a finishing photograph. Pak expressed their emotion openly as the players charged on the playing arena as overwhelmed individuals. The lyrics of “Dil Dil Pakistan” played out jubilantly in the background. Lords was a sea of green. What drama and what scenes! An unforgettable scene for many. The story was full of irony and meaningfulness. Back in Pakistan people celebrated as if there was no tomorrow as they did in Pakistani community areas in UK and many other locations around the globe.

This victory and T20 triumph was significant because:

- It rejuvenated the nation. Previously it was in a state of political and social turmoil and the centre face of terrorist threats. The triumph finally provided the people with happiness to savour upon and united the country again with patriotism. This showed there was “light at the end of the tunnel” in a difficult period for the troubled nation. It was a dedication to the people of Pakistan.

- It was a long time since Pakistan won a major world competition. In fact a gap of 17 years.

Overall, the significance of the victory speaks volumes due to the situation of the country on a political and social front. Therefore, probably would be in the reckoning for one of most meaningful and significant achievements in sporting history which made it such a special triumph it was.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Pakistan U19 , Source : Cricinfo

The Pakistan Cricket Board has announced their 15-man squad for the ICC Under-19 World Cup, which takes place in New Zealand from January 15-30, 2010. Talented batsman Azeem Ghumman, who lead the side to the final of a tri-series in Sri Lanka involving the hosts and Bangladesh recently, will continue to captain.

The bi-annual tournament involves 16 teams with Pakistan facing West Indies, Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh in the group stages. Pakistan's first match in the group stages will be against West Indies on January 15, followed by Papua New Guinea on January 18 and Bangladesh on January 20. The top two teams in each group will progress to the quarter-finals.

The squad will leave for New Zealand on December 30. Prior to that it will assemble for a training camp at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore from December 16-27 under the supervision of coach Ijaz Ahmed.

Pakistan's best result at the U-19 World Cup was in 2003 when they defeated West Indies to win the tournament and then in 2006 when they trumped India in a thrilling final.

Squad: Azeem Ghumman (capt), Babar Azam, Ahsan Ali, Ahmed Shahzad, Rameez Aziz, Mohammad Naeem, Mohammad Waqas, Hammad Azam, Sarmad Bhatti, Anop Ravi, Raza Hassan, Usman Qadir, Shahzaib Ahmed, Kaleem Sana, Fayyaz Butt.

Bold for the key players. Good luck to our young and energetic tigers !



Above is Azeem Ghumman whereas below is Usman Qadir.

If U Like Rana Naved Watch This !



Thriller......................

http://www.cricinfo.com/indvsl2009/engine/current/match/430886.html

1-1

Pak appear to be extremely lucky to have drawn this test match and consequently the series with this being a deciding encounter. The rain came to the rescue when NZ were giving us a scare. Nonetheless, the scoreline reads 1-1 which is a respective result when taking into consideration Pakistan were trailing the series having lost the first match and the lusty deficit they had to defend here in Napier. I feel the scoreline is a fair reflection of where the two sides stood in the series. It was a very competitive and compelling test series in which both sides very neck on neck.

I feel Pakistan can take several positives and lessons forward into the Australian series. The bowling attack is certainly one of the positives as has been Umar Akmal’s sparkling batting. The omission of Misbah should be a lesson the selection committee have been taught. How long more are we going to accept mediocrity at international level? Only the PCB can tell us that.

All in all I feel Pakistan can be satisfied with the overall series outcome.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Today@The Test, Test 3, Day 3

What a fantastic turn around!! Have the Pakistani openers turned a new screw? Is this the answer to our continuous endless problems at the top of the order? They batted for 56 overs and have consequently rescued the teams overall chances in the ending series result. With Kaneria in form and Pakistan having all ten wickets in tact I’m optimistic of a victory. Farhat and Butt way to go.

Friday, 11 December 2009

3rd Test Reviewing..........................

On day one the honours are held firmly with NZ who are in a driving commanding seat position. The platform to seal a victory to bid Ian’O Brien a fond farewell and win a compelling test series victory has been set up nicely. With the exception of Imran Farhat’s ton which came at a time in which he had to click gave as a positive along with some gutsy lower order contributions to get Pakistan to something respective from 51/5 which must have inevitably been a gloomy patch in the away Napier ground dressing room.

The failure of the middle order speaks volumes and kind of summarises Pakistan’s amazing capability to collapse under the spotlight. The ducks came from MY, Umar and Misbah. We can forgive Umar because he has been splendid and adorable during the series and must have just been an “off day” for him. But what has Misbah’s return brought thus far? Many a man will say Jack all. One really has to question PCBs decision to bring him back to the fame when he was virtually ditched. He is already a tried and tested player. My preference would have been a younger batsmen player, even Safraz Ahmed. Why are we going back to Mr Medicore? This just highlights the ridiculous mindset and planning of the PCB selection committee. They are too indecisive in decision making. If u have dropped Misbah you just stick with it. He had a long enough run to prove himself as a player and was clearly inconsistent and just “hanging around in the set-up”- not respectable.

Pakistan had a chance to redeem themselves with the ball and restore some pride and hope before they departed to the hotels overnight. However, they were wicketless as the NZ openers played cautiously and sensibly to accomplish NZ situation for the day. Therefore, I would like to conclude by saying I’m a disappointed supporter with what the scorecard speaks today for Pak.

Misbah is the culprit whereas today’s heroes are Farhat and O Brien. He of course will be renown for his swash buckling explosive bowling action which resulted in the flourish of skid pace which was able to defeat the very best in the business such as Dravid, Vaughan and Yousuf. But also for his blogging credentials, being one of the few players that had the time to do such things.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Maz's 3rd Test Perspective.

The pitch at the Napier venue has had a reputation of not being conducive to enforce an outcome. It 8 matches there have been 2 away victories and 6 draws. This suggests a draw is the likelihood.

However, in despite of those stats one has to remember the vast bowling strength both of these sides in recent times which can overshine the likelihood and be constructive in assisting a result which is what the supporters want. Also both of these sides have had a reputation of their batting flopping or collapsing. This further supports an outcome possibility. Pakistan has the winning momentum and the bowlers are in-form. I back their chances with every penny regarding the weather doesn’t cause too much interference. Moreover, a win will give the team a huge psychological boost before they go to Australia which I feel will be beneficial in the long term of events.

I agree with the PCBs decision to pro-long MY'S duty as captain. It is only logical. If no commitment was being shown by YK he has no right to lead the team or even be in the team for that matter. However, I wanted Shahid Afridi as captain of the ODI squad. I hope Afridi is captain at the 2011 WC. He is a good innovative person in the field who fathers a good team atmosphere. He is also the team talisman which can be argued a successful choice for captaincy.

However, as my friend HR pointed out yesterday Afridi will never be captain unless he is within the test team as well otherwise there will be means of selfishness to just captain the side in ODI cricket and not even participate in tests. It’s kind of like a punishment for Afridi if he’s not going to play tests. He needs to realise this.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Chuck De India Aur Pakistan !

Congratulations to team India and supporters on beating the Lankans and gaining the NO 1 test spot. What an achievement. Simply outstanding !

Pakistan has also leveled the series with a healthy victory. Asif way to go. Surely he is on track for man of the series award with 17 wickets in just 2 tests. Asif is on fire !

If I remember correctly this is the first Pakistani test victory since over two years. Therefore, it’s a cause for celebration as I don’t think Pakistan has won a test since such a lusty margin of time.

I wonder how YK is feeling…………

Friday, 4 December 2009

Zabardast Sehwag Aur Kaneria !

To ignore the Sewhag special is very hard to do so. This innings deserves heaps of recognition and applause and therefore I have decided to dedicate a thread towards it.
Today he fell agonisingly short of another triple century which must have been a tad frustrating for a personal triumph. But in the circumstances one can’t take anything away from the brilliance and sheer carnage of this phenomenal innings played at a breathtaking rate.

This puts India in a driving seat position to seal the 2-0 series victory set up by the flamboyance of a Sewhag spectacular.

The Sewhag Formula= S + W + VS4 (Where S and W represent short and wide)

Wagon Wheel. Bowling a fraction wide to Sewhag is criminal. He excels on width and is the king of the cut which he gives a mighty crush. He is also quite majestic of his legs through the mid-on and midwicket area.



A masterblaster exhibition .A genius.

Meanwhile Kaneria was back at his best today. The figures are astonishing and speak for themselves. This is what the Stani fans want him to do on a more regular basis.
Is this the turning point for Kaneria? Hmmmmm I wonder……………...............


Danish U beauty !

How could I miss out Dwayne Bravo. A 100 is always memorable but even more so when it comes up against the might of Australia.

BTW, has anyone seen Chris Martin's professional batting ability ? LOL people !!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

2nd Test Build Up

The second match of The National Bank Test Series between Pakistan and New Zealand will be played from the 3rd of December till the 7th of December 2009 at Basin Reserve, Wellington. The match is scheduled to begin at 12:00 local, 23:00 GMT. New Zealand is leading the series by 1-0 after a fist match that contained plenty of excitement and come backs from both the sides, in the end it was Pakistan’s batting that couldn’t hold there nerve and were outclassed by the elegance of Shane Bond who was able to bag 8 scalps to earn himself the Man of the Match award.

The second test however will be played on an historic ground which hosted its first test match back in 1930. Pakistan Vs New Zealand first played on this ground in 1965, since then both the teams have faced each other 5 times with Pakistan having the upper hand of two wins and the Kiwis are yet to register a victory against the majestic lions at The Basin Reserve. There is a 10% chance of a rain and the temperatures will be around 10 to 15 Degree Celsius. Both the teams will have to play under overcast conditions with the fast bowlers enjoying themselves whereas the fielders will have a difficult time in overcoming the nippy weather. The strong cold breeze will provide great help for Pakistani pacers since they rely on reverse swing to get wickets.

Bond has been ruled out for the 2nd test due to a torn abdominal muscle and with him out of the equation the situation is tailor made for Pakistan to make a come back, Jesse Ryder is another injured member of the team that was sorely missed in the 1st test match but with Ross Taylor in great form the Kiwis has a slight advantage in batting department, Mohamad Yousuf has asked for Misbah Ul Haq to bolster the weak middle order and there is a fare chance that he might play in Wellington, there were rumors that the selectors has questioned his commitment after he backed out of the ongoing Quaid E Azam trophy to play in a Lucrative Bangladesh League, Misbah has just hit a career best of 284 in the Quaid E Azam trophy match against Lahore Shalimar but on a flat dead track after he was axed from all forms of the game. Shoaib Malik is more likely to be dropped from the match to accommodate Misbah Ul Haq. Saeed Ajmal bowled with great control in the first match but was unable to grab many wickets, he managed only two wickets in the match and now we can expect a toss-up between Kaneria and Ajmal for that spot. Pakistan may also make changes n the opening department which has been the story for a long time. Sarfaraz Ahmed is knocking the door for quite sometime now and can be tried as an opener, also it is important for Pakistan to hold on to there catches, the four dropped catches in the previous match made a great impact on the result of the match.

With more and more results being produce around the test cricket arena, it’s good to see test cricket back in action. Just like the previous 3 test matches played last week with Australia winning against West Indies, India beating Sri Lanka, and the mouth watering contest between New Zealand and Pakistan where New Zealand won by a close margin it is likely that this next contest will produce a good result due to the quality of bowlers that both these teams possess and the balance between them. Let’s hope for the rain to stay away.

Good Luck Pakistan.

My Starting XI for the 2nd Test match:

1. Sarfaraz Ahmed
2. Salman Butt
3. Mohammad Yousuf
4. Misbah Ul Haq
5. Umar AKmal
6. Fawad Alam
7. Kamran Akmal
8. Mohammad Aamer
9. Umar Gul
10. Saeed Ajmal
11. Mohammad Asif

By HR

Saturday, 28 November 2009

1st Test Review

The first test was a hard fought contest in which both sides had their moments of magic as well as their moments of shambles. Many people will be over critical of Pakistan losing a test match to a side like NZ who are by no means minnows but at the same time no means one of the best in the world. However, I am not so as one has to fundamentally remember that the side is rather inexperienced as many of the players are alien to the conditions and climate. At the same time the defeat was a very narrow one standing at 30 odd runs so the margin of difference was nothing to write hom about for NZ. Pakistan is also a little rusty as they haven’t played many test matches in the last couple of years. Therefore it is only expected that they will gradually improve as the winter progresses in a busy test programe. Call me stupid but I would like to remark this defeat as a respective one as Pakistan can take several positives and lessons forward with it.

This includes:

- The emergence of Umar Akmal who was adorable for a 19 year old. The debutant top scored in both innings for the touring side. His strokeplay was impressive as was his temperament and intelligence. We can only hope this is the start of something big to come.

- Asif’s return has catalysed the bowling attack’s outlook. His 8 wickets suggested he’s back into business.

- Aamer was very impressive. He moved the ball both ways and was looking really striking and feared with the new ball.

- The bowling unit as a whole was good and attacking. They captured 20 wickets rather easily and all bowlers contributed. This looks a promising matchwinning attack regarding they stay fit.

However, looking at the negatives I have to slam the openers who failed with their techniques and put Pakistan on the back foot when batting. They need to be able to see of the new ball and set the platform for consolidation by the middle order. I feel the openers were partly responsible for this defeat. Similarly the middle order collapse on day 3 could account for why Pakistan were left trailing. After all the stats always oppose batting in the 4th innings. The middle order and openers needs to click in the second test.

Expect a fierce fight back from our majestic lions in the second test................

By Maz

Monday, 23 November 2009

Pak VS NZ Preview

Each time these two equally balanced sides compete one can always expect good competition but the level of excitement for a series involving Pakistan & New Zealand lacks a bit of flavor and looks like a mere formality to complete a future tour program. Nevertheless this series will be particularly important for Pakistan because they will be playing there second full series in two years, the series is also vital for the newly appointed Mohammad Yousuf who will want to cement his position as a captain of this young Pakistani side for the upcoming season.

If we look at the line up of the Pakistani team it seems as if each player is fighting for his spot including the captain himself. This test series is a perfect preparation for a tough season ahead of them with matches against Australia & England. Pakistan is currently placed 6th in the ICC rankings with 84 points & New Zealand is placed 7th with 80 points. Folks don’t forget that New Zealand has been only able to beat Bangladesh in the last 11 series since the 2006/2007 season, this says a lot about New Zealand.

Both the teams will be banking on their bowlers to get then 20 wickets, Pakistan is blessed with young Mohammed Aamer who seems to be stealing the spotlight more often & has just begun his career, Mohammad Asif, Shane Bond & Darel Tuffey will be making come backs much for the relief of their captains & fans. Both teams are also blessed with good spinners in Daniel Vettori & Saeed Ajmal. Mhammad Yousuf will be particularly targeted by Daniel Vettori as we are well aware of how suspect Yousuf can be against the left arm spinners, and it was evident in Sri Lanka where Herath got his wicket on 3 occasions & the Lankans were also able to run him out twice. Pakistan will be missing Younis Khan not only for his captaincy but for his world class test batting, slip catching & the recently discovered Seam Bowling, just like Pakistan the kiwis will be short of a coach although they won the ODI series convincingly but modern day cricket always demands for a coach who can give his input on vital moments of the game.

The pressure will be more on Mohammad Yousuf as compared to Vettori, it will be a test of character for Mohamad Yousuf of how he will come up with the extra responsibility of a captain on his shoulders. Shoaib Malik, Salman Butt & Fawad Alam will hold the key for Pakistan by playing sensible innings and occupying the crease for long times this will allow Kamran Akmal & Umar Akmal to play there natural aggressive game, although Pakistan is blessed with plenty of talent in the batting department but has always been suspect of a collapse, same is the case for New Zealand who can collapse on any day, Peter Fulton is called back to the New Zealand squad to strengthen the batting and he will have to occupy the crease with Daniel Flynn and Tim McIntosh to allow the likes of Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori show some aggression.

I would conclude by saying that Pakistan has a more talented team and if they can handle the pressure they can beat any team on a given day, the records is also in Pakistan’s favor since they have won the last 4 out of 5 series against New Zealand in their own backyard, the last win for the kiwis came way back in 1984/1985 in hard fought series where they won by 2-1. Lets hope for the best for our Majestic Lions.

New Zealand team:
Strengths: Bowling, Captaincy and fielding.
Weaknesses: Batting, No Coach.

Pakistan team:
Strengths: Bowling.
Weaknesses: Batting, Captaincy & Slip Catching.

Posted by HR

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Selection

What should Be The Team For The First Test VS NZ?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My preferred team would be :

Butt
Farhat
Alam
Yousuf
Malik
Iqbal
Akmal
Aamer
Gul
Ajmal
Asif

I'm missing Mr Nazir !!

Analysis

Ajmal should be Pakistan's premier spinner. He is attacking and always maintains pressure in the sense that he doesn't leak runs easily and become predictable like Kaneria. Kaneria can produce some magical deliveries but doesn't dominate and win enough matches. Actually most of his wickets come in vain circumstances. Ajmal will be threatening and economical.

Asif was a huge prospect when he emerged on the scene in 2005/06 and good to see him back with the red cherry despite what he’s done in the past. He can extract amazing seam deviation of the pitch and produce some astonishing deliveries bowling in that “corridor of uncertainty channel”.

But above all Pakistan must maintain the same opening pair for a sufficient period of time. Chopping and changing will never settle the players or team balance which is bound to result in inconsistency.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Broadcasting Dilemma

Free aired TV or Sky TV? This article shall explore the disputable matter and take into account the different perspectives.

On first analysis free aired TV will not be 100% committed like Sky which is simply and frankly a matter of fact. Sky are fully dedicated to the game and show many matches which include the U19 level and women’s cricket. They also present additional programme’s like cricket am and cricket writers on TV. In the off season they telecast matches from Australia, SA, New Zealand, India and the Caribbean. Surely if they are showing this level of commitment all year round and for years on end they deserve to be showing arguably the biggest bounty of all?

However, from a statistical perspective people will be affected. The differences in audience will be noticeable. In genuine the free aired broadcaster’s gain more publicity and can make people who don’t watch the game get into cricket as a result of being free aired. The successes of channel 4 and BBC in the past had been overwhelming. Wouldn’t one love to live those times again?

In despite of that vision one must remember highlights are provided on a regular basis and now internet TV enables sport to be watched online. Therefore the dependency won’t be that gr8 especially in today’s ever expanding world. Imagine 2016?

On the whole I feel mixed supportive towards both sides of the dispute. But from an administrators vision I’m sure they will want the most viewers to watch the game as possible which is what Sky limits whereas free aired provides.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Afridi For Captaincy !

I am anti Younis. I hope to get your support on this too! Younis Khan and captaincy has been an episode of comedy and irony. From the high of winning a world cup to the lows of wanting to resign as a result of media pressure and a few silly statements made by influential people.

Yet now he is asking to take a break in a big series. What kind of responsible and keen captain would want to do that? This and more before suggests captaincy is too much of an emotional, psychological or conscientious challenge for him to deal with as he has unleashed on several occasions. This surely is unacceptable for a responsible captain and someone who wants to be captain in the future? Captains are meant to be a leading role which have the highest conscious levels and don’t release emotion for petty things like a sympathetic attraction.

This annoying part of it all is that of Mr Ijaz Butt, the over aged chairman’s not letting Younis go and instead providing him full support and confidence for continuation when after all it’s only evident that Younis is unable to cope with the pressure of captaincy. That has been the case since the conclusion of the upsetting 2007 WC when he rejected it. Perhaps after that one should have never asked him to do it as he denied/ missed the golden opportunity. It's mean't to be privilege for leading a nation. Never shall it be acceptable for one to act foolishly over such a role.Shall it ?

Moreover, Afridi has captained in 3 T20’s and won all. May not been a sufficient sample to count for but that is a perfectionist record of 100%. In those matches Afridi has shown impressive leadership credentials like a true “Pathan” character.



The true leader
But it doesn’t take an idiot to figure out that there has been some conspiracy flirting in the camp. The team has been partially divided under Younis but with Afridi there appeared to be more comfort for players (in particular the younger ones) and the boys appear to really gel well together. In other words the team morale seems better as a whole.

Afridi for captain :)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Boycs !

Geoffrey Boycott recently made some interesting statements which I would like to gather and review.

First he said that Kallis and Pointing were the best of the decade. That is a humbled opinion in my view. However, he also bracketed other big names that can’t be forgotten and unnoticed before coming to his opinion. As a result I have conducted a poll on the top right hand side to represent what our audience feels.

Geoffrey is a highly admired and respected individual. He will be joining the commentary set up in Abu Dhabi/Dubai. I look forward to hear his expertise if I get time.

Also he commented that Shahid Khan Afridi was the best all-rounder in the modern game. I agree with this. He is at the top of the game in the bowling department for certain and he’s improved drastically to the extent where he’s recognised as a strike bowler, wicket-taking bowler, reliable bowler and even the side’s premier spinner by some. His batting has improved in terms of concentration and focus and he can still play that pinch hitting role. But I have to mention that he’s in the side as a bowler/ bowling all-rounder/ wrist spinner. Batting now is a bonus as far as I’m concerned. Some say it always has been the case but I have to disagree because 5 years or so ago his batting was more consistent whereas his bowling was mediocre. It’s only been in the last couple of years where his bowling has really taken off as something matchwinnining and striking.

Nevertheless, he is still equally gifted and capable in both departments if he puts his mind to it. He in my opinion is the best T20 player there has ever been. But in regards to ODI cricket he's also right up there with the very best. The two most important events for him right now are the T20WC 2010 and the WC 2011. One wonders if he can he achieve glory in both or at least one of them ? Shahid, u are a unique and enterprising asset to the game. I salute your capabilities with both and bat ball.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

RIP David Shephered........

My deep condolences lie with his family and close friends. He was a fine umpire with an amusing sense of humour. Please share your condolences and memories.

Monday, 26 October 2009

My Expectations Of Pakistan This Winter !

Pakistan have a busy schedule in prospectus this winter. They play the down under sides in an important series for the country who haven't won a test series in a long time. Here below are my personal expectations of the side this winter. Feel free to share yours !

To beat the Kiwis in both formats of the game. Nothing but should be accepted.

To be competitive with Australia at least.The win might be a stiff task but they certainly should be a challenge to the Ricky's side and not a laughing stock like last time they went.

The U19 team to win the world cup in January. They should as always continue to flourish with their formidable success in the youth structure.

Win a large amount of their T20 fixtures eg 85%. Afterall, they are champions so they should play like one.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Why The Stani's Are The Real Champs !

NSW winners - Doesn't mean Australia have the best T20 structure !

New South Wales may have won the CLT20 but surely it's only evident that Pakistan are the kings of the format. If Sialkot Stallions were in the reckoning I'm sure they would have been a frontline force with their unique and flamboyant style.


T20 comes as a synthetic format for the country. In fact it originated long ago for the talented and gifted cricketing nation when people used to play "Ramadan tournaments" and specifically 20/20 matches with tape balls etc. Therefore it's nothing new and comes very naturally to the people. The interest within the nation is of abundance and the structure is one that really motivates the players.

Here below is rock hard statistical evidence as to why I regard Pakistan as the real champs of T20 format !



Unofficial T20 Team Ranking

Until ICC introduces an official T20 Ranking system, lets go ahead and rank teams based on their performance so far in this format...

* Ranking are based on winning percentages on total matches. Exceptional world cup performance fetches more recognisation though.

** Ranking updated after T20 two match series between NZ vs SL & Aus vs Eng

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Rank 1
Pakistan- Its a no brainer with 2 consecutive world cup final apperances & current world cup holder as well as winning 19 of their 25 T20 matches so far.
Overall Record= played 25, won 19, lost 5, tied/no result 1
Overall Winnning percentage= 79%


Rank 2
South Arica
Though dissapointing in both world cups, they have a consistent overall record of winning 16 out of 24 matches.
Overall Record= played 24, won 16, lost 8, tied/no result 0
Overall Winnning percentage= 67%

Rank 3
Srilanka
With an ever improving T20 record of 14 wins out of 23 matches as well as latest world cup final apperance, they deserved no.3.
Overall Record= played 23, won 14, lost 9, tied/no result 0
Overall Winnning percentage= 61%

Rank 4
India
Maiden world cup winner India, slides down due to a disasterous second world cup where they failed to win a single match in super 8. Also the overall record of 9 wins & 7 losses in 18 T20 matches lack consistency.
Overall Record= played 18, won 9, lost 7, tied/no result 2
Overall Winnning percentage= 56%

Rank 5
West Indies
A semi final apperance in second world cup is no mean achievement and overall 50% record of 8 wins/8 losses in 18 T20 matches justifies their position.
Overall Record= played 18, won 8, lost 8, tied/no result 2
Overall Winnning percentage= 50%

Rank 6
Australia
Former ODI & Test no.1 team & 4 time ODI World cup winners didn't like the format apparntly and are langusihing in the bottom tier. After a decent first world cup, where they reach semis, they bowed out in the first round of the second. Overall record of 11 wins/12 losses in 25 games is quite average.
Overall Record= played 25, won 11, lost 12, tied/no result 2
Overall Winnning percentage= 47%

Rank 7
Newzealand
They flopped in both world cups and has a weak 12 wins /14 loss in 28 games.
Overall Record= played 28, won 12, lost 14, tied/no result 2
Overall Winnning percentage= 46%

Rank 8
England
ODIs whipping boys is also T20 whipping boys. Overall record of 8 wins out of 22 games proves that. they have the lowes percentage of winning of all 8 top teams.
Overall Record= played 22, won 8, lost 12, tied/no result 2
Overall Winnning percentage= 40%

Rank 9
Netherland
World Cup surprise team did their ranking no harm by beating Eng. Overall record 3 wins/2 loss in 6 games ( but must have played against minnows as well)
Overall Record= played 6, won 3, lost 2, tied/no result 1
Overall Winnning percentage= 60%

Rank 10
Ireland
Surprsingly ireland has a 50% record with 4 win 4 loss in 9 matches...quite good for a minnows but then they must have played T20 aginst another minow as well..
Overall Record= played 9, won 4, lost 4, tied/no result 1
Overall Winnning percentage= 50%

Rank 11
Bangladesh
They are doing no better than in ODIs or Tests and are at bottom. Overall record of 3win/10 loss is pathetic.
Overall Record= played 13, won 3, lost 10, tied/no result 0
Overall Winnning percentage= 23%



Notice that Pakistan have played more matches partly because they have qualified for the knockout stages in each eddition on the T20WC ! So the data is all but fair and trustworthy indicator.

Also have a look at this link which outlines the domestic strength: http://www.cricket20.com/db/power_rankings/default.asp

Sialkot as many may say would have been leading had they played more frequently ! It must also be that Lahore Badshahs aren't recognised otherwise inevitably they would have been in there I'm sure.






Players like Rana Naved (a personal favourite of mine and stani) and Imran Nazir can be both of high quality when it comes to T20 ! It's helped them with their cricketing careers and both of them have thrived remarkably in it. Noticeably, they are both from Sialkot !

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Future !

Pakistan squads

Test: Younus Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Khurrum Manzoor, Imran Farhat, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Fawad Alam, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal (wk), Danish Kaneria, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Arafat, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamir, Abdul Rauf, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmad.

One-day: Younus Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal (wk), Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamir, Rao Iftikhar, Wahab Riaz.

Twenty20: Shahid Afridi (capt), Khalid Latif, Imran Nazir, Umar Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal (wk), Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamir, Rao Iftikhar, Saeed Ajmal, Imran Farhat, Fawad Alam, Sohail Tanvir.

Selection Analysis

There in no Mohammad Irfan. Why ?
Misbah's time had come.It was time to move on from this middle order mediocrity.
But on the whole a good and flexible selection.The committee have realised player specialism for different formats, an innovative theme.

Welcome back Salman Butt and Imran Farhat :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYrB91X9n0U

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Pakistan - The Semi Finalists !

Pakistan have lost against New Zealand in the semi final, a heart breaking time to depart for any side. As a passionate and patriotic Pakistani supporter I’m disappointed but also all congratulatory to New Zealand who simply were the better side overall.

Nonetheless I oppose YK’s decision to bat first considering the statistical results of doing so at the venue. Also I will have to name and shame the influential “sitter” he dropped. He appears to be the centre of fame when ditching.

Looking ahead to the final I can only back Australia’s depth and style to be the difference.

The Kiwis have thrived during this event. They won it in 2000. But this time I'm sure it would be a bigger thing if they do . They have done brilliantly to come this far when considering the "group of death" they were initially put into. Also they outplayed Pakistan, an inform unit which must have been an overwhelming achievement for Vettori's side. It will be great to see them win the competiton.

Friday, 25 September 2009



Ajantha Medis has been a mysterious operator who’s bamboozled several batsmen since his emergence on the international stage. His style of operation has been full of uniqueness and fascination, leaving one in a scrambled mindset to indicate actually what he does with the ball and does so well.

His stats speak volumes but one can question, are certain teams beginning to get used to what he does and for those sides is his unpredictability previously now becoming “readable” as Ian Chappell raised during a commentary stint yesterday. Well earlier in the year he appeared to be harmless against Pak. Whether more teams start finding this ease when playing him can only take time to figure out. However, it is only expected that he will go through some difficult patches as many classy professionals do or have. But whether he will be able to repeat the heroics he did in mid 2008 remains a question many will raise. This will really test his character and ability.

However yesterday RSA a team who hasn’t seen much of him still seem to encounter uncertainty when facing his mixture of unorthodox but effective variations. He picked up some big scalps and bowled his overs at priceless rates. As a result Sri Lanka have started their CT campaign with a “bang”. They as a whole seem a flexible in-form unit whom have a worthy shout of winning the competition as Dilshan continued to flourish with his limited overs success.

Meanwhile yesterday Pak cruised to victory against an inexperienced weakened WI side. The seamers operated with skill and frontline initiative to rattle the WI top order. Hats of to Miller whose lower order contributions helped WI achieve something reasonable from a situation of disaster. Despite this late order flourish and slight top order struggle Pak won end of story: “All well that ends well”. But undoubtedly they will need to brush up in some aspects to beat the big powers in Aus and Ind i.e. top order will need to “click”. Nazir should be used lower down the order and not against the new ball. This must be stressed that his technique is not advanced enough to open at international level but lower down he will simply be able to dominate proceedings in his free scoring manner such as when the ball has lost its movement and the platform has been set. Here he will be a handful and be able to emulate that approach of sheer uniqueness like he did in the 2nd edition of the Icl and other domestic competitions where he simply became a mouth-watering dominant prospect. This is wear an adjustment needs to realised. He is only a valid opener in T20 and nowhere else.

Umar Akmal showed good temperament and maturity along with the new watchful style of Afridi to help Pak cross the line maturely. Now as Sept 26th approaches let the battle of the titan’s excitement unleash in a virtual knock out scenario.

I must also mention that the shortness of the tournament is all but positive as it maintains the excitement and competitiveness throughout rather then dragging on pointlessly for several weeks. The introduced structure makes each match seem full of meaning.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Ashes Urn is England's Once More


The Ashes triumph has been an overwhelming achievement for people in the UK and made their summer a memorable one. The result of a 2-1 conclusion has been a repetition of 2005. But yet the quality of play and team strength of both sides greatly differed. Although the series wasn’t as attractive as that of 2005 no one can exclude the meaningfulness of an Ashes victory from an English point of view as so much historical context and national pride goes into that precious urn and the fact that they regained it once more in such a minor margin of time sparkles a cause of celebration especially when taking into consideration the mammoth margin of time Australia retained beforehand.

The series produced some magical moments that swayed the game in the different directions each time. This promotes an advert for the need and existence of test matches in the foreseeable future.

Australia’s decline from world domination was further demonstrated in this series. They had no such ruthless individual that could dominate proceedings single handily. This suggests contests are beginnings to become more competitive and therefore more interesting to view.

Freddie's Career


Andrew Flintoff has now officially retired from the bounty of test match cricket with 2 Ashes victories under his legacy. He has been renowned as iconic figure of inspiration for younger cricketers. His all-round credentials have been astonishing as has his on field anticipation. However many would label him as an "underachieved" cricketer who should have achieved more but was bogged down with several injuries to halt his career. Additionally his off field behaviour was shameful with that Caribbean scenario in 2007 to name one. One can't fundamentally ignore his failings as captain with that humiliating 5-0 whitewash down under in the 2006-07 season. But all in all he is now retired and therefore we should look upon the positive aspects of his illustrious career or "larger then life " personality.

The immense power he had to loft shots over the rope with the simplest ease was a gifted but admirable art. He will be right up there with the "king of sixes". Technically he was correct, right out of the coaching manual some shall say.

His hands were as comforted like a circular bucket. This enabled him to become a valuable slip fielder. His bowling probably was the one that suffered the most from his ankle injuries but nevertheless he sustained a fine track record and produced some breath taking spells to change round the whole emphasis of a game. This came under as an admirable attribute. He had an invincible run of years in 2004 and 05 , this is when he really began to rise to the fame and was unarguably at the peak of his prime then.

So in conclusion Mr Freddie was an entertaining and talented cricketer but also had his down sides. We need more of these modern all-rounder's in the game as they provide the ultimate source of entertainment for spectators. Stuart Broad's records thus far with bat and ball has been rather impressive and he sooner then later could be ready to step in those heavy shoes. Is he capable of coping with the pressure and expectation of the fine all-rounder in order to become Fred's successor ? Only time shall tell......

Friday, 21 August 2009

Pakistan's Champions Trophy Fixtures

Wed 23rd Sept VS West Indies (DN)

Sat 26th Sept VS India (DN)

Wed 30th Sept VS Australia (D)


Fri Oct 2nd , A1 VS B2 (DN)

Sat Oct 3rd , B1 VS A2 (DN)

Mon Oct 5th , ICC CT FINAL (DN)

Firstly Ramadan Mubarak to the Muslim blogging colleagues. Here are the dates for the diary posted above. Let me just highlight the "D DAY" of 26th September when we have our patriotic neighbourhood rivalry.

The dating of the final is a poor one as its a week day just like that of the 2007 T20 WC final..... This need an explanation one shall feel..............

I wonder how we all rate our chances ! I feel we have a rather strong squad and believe as long as our players rise to the accasion like they did in the T20 WC then we have to potential to go the distance ! Talent wise we have all the ingredients required to become a champion unit btw consistency and individual form holds the key .Can we go one step further and capitalise on our T20 champions status in order to make this 2009 a glorifying year of tournament success for the cricketing mad nation ?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Time For Heroes !

The Ashes series is poised at 1-1. Evens Stevens is the phrase! In one sense we could regard this as the “perfect finale” to conclude a thoroughly eventful 2 months of rivalry.

However, one has to remember that a draw is of no use to the home side as that will result in Australia retaining the urn. From a statistical perspective the Oval isn’t renowned as a “result” ground as pitches in recent times has been rather flat and therefore not assistive to enforce an outcome. Furthermore the victorious momentum is flowing with Australia so unless England produces something out of the ordinary they could have missed their opportunity to repeat the heroics of 2005. Brett Lee’s return to the frame will also strengthen the in-form Australian attack. The speedstar was amongst the wickets in the recent lion’s fixture.

Looking at the optimistic side of proceedings let’s see how England can maybe upset the odds.

- 2 spinners – the pitches tend to be dry and after all England simply need to take the magical 20 scalps one way or another.
- Winning the toss and batting first=crucial. England needs to draw first blood and set the tone.

If there is ever a time for heroes to stand up and deliver, now it is!

Monday, 3 August 2009

Sledging !



"Chin Music" has to flourish through the words.

Is sledging in the limitations of the sports spirit? During this thread I would like to look into various perspectives.

On the one hand cricket is a non-contact sport and therefore some on field banter shall be acceptable as it adds that extra spark to the game. It can really pump up one’s body language and provide him with the motivation to deliver the credentials as a player will be eager outclass his opponent in a contest especially if some words have been exchanged. Or in other terms a player will be keen to prove him better then what might have been spoken of him. Therefore the banter provides some challenge for a player to relish upon and makes cricket rivalry’s seem more meaningful to watch.

But for the players fielding can get dull and dim in patches as one may experience. So consequently some banter may just increase a side’s liveliness in the field. Australia have had some tendency of doing this for decades so one can ask “why can’t other sides join in with the fun and games” and seek somewhat of a psychological boost from “words”.

However cricket is a combination of 3 departments in batting, bowling and fielding so ought one not to let the cricket do the talking as opposed to the mouthy stuff. Also it kind of causes distractions for batsmen so why shall one want to seek such a large advantage from this so called sledging phrase because as highlighted previously cricket should let the action do the talking not the words : “Actions speak louder than words”.

I am too indecisive to be able to weigh up the factors over this topic so I’ll stand on the fence and let the bloggers voice their thoughts on this debatable gamesmanship issue.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Ashes Roundup !

KPS injury has come as a lusty blow for team England. To miss any match comes as a shame for a player as cricket is their profession in which they earn their livings through but ultimately it gives them a thrill and symbol of achievement almost as an addictive activity. However, this injury comes as even more significant due to the Ashes being labeled as the "battle of the titans" in the sense that it's the most meaningful sporting rivalry one can regard.

Nevertheless England is leading the series at 1-0. This is something which has motivated everybody in UK. Freddie was superb and once again demonstrated his credentials as being one of the best all rounder’s in the modern era. He managed to get the crowd right behind him which comes as a boost for any player.

I also feel that the way England dug out in the climax of the Welsh test came as a psychological advantage because it perhaps frustrated Australia whilst overwhelmed England because having been outplayed for 5 days they managed to pull of with something substantial. Most probably the inspirations was provided for the home side as they concluded with the finishing honors and were eager to consolidate upon the crowd’s jubilant reactions. We saw them continue from that jubilance when they held the honors on day one of the 2nd test with Captain Strauss leading from the front. This just highlights how essential holding first honors is especially in a well publicized contest such as the Ashes as it really gets a side's motivation and confidence driving !

Friday, 17 July 2009

Nelson !

The curse of nelson has been a superstitious theory which has been raised in this Lords test. A wicket has occurred several times when a score has reached the palindrome figure. This reminds us all of the former international umpire, David Sheppard and his hopping movements whenever the landmark had been silenced in the anticipation that something unusual was going to happen !

Losing = Negative .....

Pakistan’s two defeats at the hands of Sri Lanka has been a shambolic performance. In both matches Pakistan found themselves in a commanding position, in the sense that they were ready to seal victory but made some school boy errors especially when batting. Psychologically I feel there was a lapse of concentration in the batting department but at the same time Sri Lanka bowled very attackingly and was able to exert a squeeze of pressure on the Pakistani batsmen.

With the exception of Fawad Alam’s sparkling emergence it must be gloomy times in the touring side’s camp. The final test is now a “dead rubber” so the board should take the opportunity to experiment with the line up in order to find some sort of winning combination and restore pride and confidence for both players and supporters.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Ashes Roundup

Yesterday’s finale was what test cricket is meant to be about- a thrilling contest which examines one’s ability. Monty demonstrated his batting credentials and dealt with the pressure handling along with Jimmy to grant England a well dugout draw from the jaws of defeat.

You could feel the adrenalin pumping in the crowd as each defended delivery was greeted with a cheer. This was the perfect start to what promises to be an eventful 5 match contest.

I am proud to announce that Ashes fever has ignited Britain. Business sponsorships, passionate approach and media reaction has been overwhelming and it’s only just been heated up!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Ashes To Ashes !

The Ashes commence this week and both sides seem equally balanced this time round, making it difficult for one to actually predict any such favourite. Cardiff will host the first of the traditional 5 test matches in a series. A good start is highly significant for both sides.

On a kind of separate note I would like to remark that Anil Kumble was an excellent addition to the commentary box during the concluded T20WC. Equally it will be interesting to see Shane Warne bantering with the English men in the Sky Sports coverage team during the Ashes series !

Friday, 26 June 2009

Mr Khan

Younis Khan’s resignation from T20 captaincy has generated mixed views. During this thread I would like to explore the different perspectives.

In one sense this was a un logical decision as Pakistan has just had a world cup triumph to savour upon. In other words everything is singing and dancing with abundance of jubilance for the patriotic public. To further emphasise many have hailed the way he had captained. His credentials have been impressive and seen as “captaincy material” for one to praise. Here I’m talking of the way he geared up the boys. Younis’s determination, fighting spirit and on field tactics was really something to write home about.

Historically speaking there was some resemblance of the way Imran Khan led the cornered tigers to glory in Melbourne and IKs leadership skills as a whole with YKs style. There may be that superstition theme of appointing KHAN as a winning option. Ought we not to maintain this?

However, Younis self admitted T20 wasn’t his cup of tea and he was more suited to the longer lasting formats. Personal preference has to be considered. Some speculate he was attempting to emulate Imran Khan in announcing his stepping down immediately when the nation was feeling at the top of the world.

Overall I feel we have to accept Younis’s future plans and comfort zone. He will still be a key feature in the longer formats – probably being one of the best batsmen and captain in the modern game. But surely nothing can be taken away from the way he led Pakistan to glory or his leadership qualities.

Let me just mention: if England win the Ashes that would have been a perfectionist summer for me to accomplish Pakistan's T20 triumph from a British-Pakistani's point of view.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Stand Up For The Champions !


I was proud to have the opportunity to witness it. The climate was scorching , the venue was first class, the line ups were an idealist script for this unique occasion especially when taking into consideration all the troublesome times the county has faced, the teams arrival in the final had brought back a spark of patriotism and unity.

Anyhow let’s progress to the match and moments of the day itself. The atmosphere was electrifying. The crowd was largely populated by energetic Pakistani supporters, here with a determined desire of getting across the line and repeating that magical day in 1992. “ Afridi Afridi” they chanted away and oh boy he didn’t fail to live up to the expectations as Pakistan clinched glory to the pleasure of the entire nation. This is a cause of celebration and acknowledgement. The reaction back home has been fulfilled with happiness. Certainly this is a moment one shall cherish for a long time to come.

A few reasons why we emerged as champions !

Captaincy determination – He looked so strict in the field towards the latter half of the competition. This showed desire and fighting spirit. We could see that this was a pumped up unit.

Effective combinations – We found the winning formula in the New Zealand match such as when to turn to Gul and when to utilise Afridi in the batting line up. We were able to maintain this winning strategy from that game onwards.

Spinners – Enable to apply or restrict a “squeeze” on the opposition with their guile in the middle period. They consistently performed, claiming a handful of wickets and bowling economically

Akmal’s cameo - Set the tone and momentum for further consolidation. Utilised the fielding restrictions and played freely. Really put the opposition on the back foot frequently.

A good blend of experience and youth- Builds a good team morale.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

T20 semi Final Preview !

Although we should congratulate and appreciate the on field heroics demonstrated by the side in this competition, they will have to play “out of their skins” to beat RSA and graduate to the final almost as a matter of fact. RSA have been the in-form team through out, with an invincible undefeated record at stake. Their fielding is immense and they arguably have the most intelligent captain in Graham Smith.

Pak have produced mixed performances. Sometimes we have witnessed sheer brilliance whereas other times we have been thoroughly undone. The bowling attack will hold the ultimate key in this climaxing encounter as we can take nothing away from the performances of Gul and Ajmal, the tournaments leading wicket takers.

To conclude on a high it feels as if we have the bounty of Waqar Younis’s art and Saqi’s mystery back in operation in resemblance to the threat posed by Gul and Ajmal and this outstanding bowling combination as a whole . Certainly Pakistan holds the advantage in this aspect.

I wonder if we can make it to another final but go one step further this time round, something Pakistan hasn’t done since the golden era of 1992!

Monday, 15 June 2009

T20 ROUND UP !

India’s elimination was an unexpected exit by the previous champions. Many supporters and fans would have been heartbroken by this performance. But no excuses can be made other then the team’s defeats against 2 sides they would have fancied there chances against in England and West indies. Those 2 of course meet today for a contest which has been repeated numerously throughout this year but this time in a do or die situation.

The tournament as a whole has been an unpredictable one thus far with several tight nail biting climax encounters and surprises. But now the action is steaming up as the competition approaches the knock-out stages in the most thrilling heat absorbing format one can experience.

Strap your seat belts fastened for meaningful action packed drama from Britain’s 3 most picturesque venues ………………………….

T20 WE LOVE IT!

Although many argue that this can be a dicey lottery structure i.e. the chasing side requiring a boundary of the final delivery. This usually is a case by sheer fortune as suggested by events this month because no team really deserves to lose in the circumstance as no one has really won convincingly like a test match in which we can clearly differentiate why a side emerged victorious due to a longer course of play and technical requirements as opposed to just holding your nerve in the crucial moment.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Usman Qadir Interview From Pak Passion.

It's makes a good read from an interesting future prospect:

http://www.pakpassion.net/articles/Usman_Qadir_Interview

PS : Any feedback will be gr8 !

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

T20 WC PREVIEW !

This June contest is one which shall be watched with abundance of excitement around the globe. The dynamics of this T20 format has been a sporting revelation ever since its first introduction in June 2003. The publicity and fascination this format has attracted has been resounding to say the least. Majority of encounters result in close tense climaxes. Additionally the duration is ideal for entertainment value. Therefore I would like to remark that this is where the games future lies. The combination of skill, uniqueness and intensity is there for one to express passion let it be playing or watching.

Prediction: Should be a competitive and anticipated competition on the whole. India are the current holders and have the balance of experience and youth to go the distance. Also they have the captaincy enterprise enhanced by MS dhoni which proved influential in RSA 07.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

The 2011 WC Decision

Yes I agree that Pakistan isn't a hostile environment for holding such global events. People have always been raising eyebrows but the March atrocities have firmly demonstrated those above implications. It’s a nation simply in social turmoil and the centre face of terrorist threats.Although I feel for the patriotic fans to lose out on such an opportunity, the governing bodies had to give security and safety of player’s and fans priority. Therefore I agree with Abbasi's viewpoint on pakspin.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

County Cricket 2009

On Thursday the county season 2009 commences with the traditional curtain raiser between county champions (Durham) VS MCC side at Lords. The summer as a whole shall be an interesting and anticipated one as England are hosting the T20WC and of course it’s an Ashes summer and with England having flashbacks of 2005 home glory and considering the decline of the Australian empire they shall certainly fancy their chances of regaining the historical urn. Arguably the biggest cricket feast summer there has ever been!

Firstly let’s remind ourselves of the current holders of the 4 main county trophies.

County Championship= Durham
T20= Middlesex
Friends Provident=Essex
Pro 40= Sussex

The success for Durham’s glory last year was a fiery and fit Steven Harmison . Generally they had a lot of firepower in there seam bowling attack and consistently managed to capture 20 wickets and bowl out oppositions rather cheaply. Fitness is the key if they want to repeat the success.

Other than that Sussex seemed to have dominated the headlines in county cricket in the last years or so. However we shall find out what an impact the absence of Mushtaq Ahmed and Chris Adams will play in their performances. Those 2 names were certainly influential and instrumental candidates in the trophies the Sharks captured.

Also Yorkshire is a team on the rise and competitive force with many exciting experienced and young players in their ranks. Adil Rashid and Azeem Rafiq are the spin twins to watch out for. Also they shall benefit from Michael Vaughn’s presence as well as Matthew Hoggard . Mushtaq Ahmed may have left the county scene but still we have another mysterious leg spinner capturing scalps and operating away in Imran Tahir. He was awesome towards the end of last year for Hampshire, capturing bags of wickets. I wonder if they will be boosted by this overseas signing. He will be the ultimate overseas prospect to look out for this year. Finally I must admit that just a single overseas player is a loss for the English game and not a gain. They create excitement to watch and generally players benefit from their experience and expertise in the background. It produces challenges to relish upon for players when they get to play an international player . Also raised the standard of play which is probably why county cricket was considered the next big thing after international affairs and to accuse them of blocking player pathways is utter nonsense.

Here are my predictions on what shall be an interesting and lively summer of play:

County Championship – Yorkshire

T20- too tough to call but it may well lose its significance and meaning this year and be overshadowed by T20WC and IPL.

FP- Again it’s unpredictable as this one day tournament has been since the decline of the GLOS kings which is a positive aspect suggesting it's a very neck of neck scenario.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Fate Of Pakistan Cricket


Consolidating on the ICL lifting, Pakistan shall certainly benefit from their experience and expertise gained in the T20 format. But above all the ultimate feature which stands out is that they have the uniqueness, flamboyance and intensity to go the extra mile and re-light Pakistan cricket’s image on the global scale. In the last year Pakistan cricket seemed to be a lost soul which lacked valuable talent and that extra spice they were renowned for in order to become a competitive force.
Jump for Joy has been a rarity

Although I applaud the ICL kilari to SCRAP their ICL contracts I still nevertheless would like to see the league receive international recognition as it’s another great advert for the game and development of youth. I don’t blame the Pakistani players to sign the ICL in the first place as the board was treating them as an utter disgrace and of course there were many internal disputes amongst players at the time. But now with a new captain and management the team is looking a much better resource for respect of elderly greats and upbringing of star studded youth. The balance of experience and youth shall be there in dressing room as well as the player unity and energetic determination to succeed.

On that note I would like to name my preferred side against Australia:

Imran Nazir

Imran Farhat

Younis Khan

Mohammed Yousuf

Fawad Alam ( young blood)

Shahid Afridi

Kamran Akmarl / Humayn Farhat

Rana Naved

Sohail Tanvir

Umar Gul

Yasir Shah / Tahir Khan

Yeah I agree all the way about Nazir . He is a stylish attacking opener and seems to be one of those players that once gets going can be invincible ,undefeatable and simply dominate proceedings single handily which is a true pleasure to watch and admire. As a bowler u tend to feel your teeth chattering and nerves shaking when you face up to an aggressive batsman of such madness as much as it can be an overwhelming sensational feature when u dismiss them and claim a mighty break though. But I’m in the view that your require uniqueness and intensity to be successful and therefore he would appeal as an automatic selection in my books.

However with cricket moving out of Pakistan the future is looking bleak for the patriotic public and foreseeable future. Now a good first class structure is essential in which u have maximum of six regional sides. This will make the standard raise and as there are a less number of sides the tournaments shall be more competitive and compelling. Currently we have no clear talent indication from this bank and association set up as there is a lack of professional surroundings and perhaps too many minnow or underrated sides. This is a backbone for clear player pathways along with academies. If cricket wants to survive this is the way forward.

Additionally people need to invest in school and club hard ball cricket as a well as providing academy contracts for the abundance of hidden talent there is so they can fulfil their potential by bonding with professional coaches and utilise the facilities in order to raise their game and even make it to the top of the tree. Certainly club and schooling structures are fundamentals for creating opportunities and maintaining cultural participation. Furthermore when the country is becoming a victim of terrorism and social turmoil certainly one shall acknowledge arts which can rescue its image globally.

Finally here is a YouTube link which will be a brand new feature on majority of my threads. It’s a quick 2 minute video reflecting on the golden moments of Pak Cric -featuring legends. Hope u enjoy as they bring back some brilliant memories.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUcK-yfmWdM

Please comment on the video and share your preferred sides or any other general related opinions.

Friday, 20 March 2009

TV REFERRALS ???????????

The most recent legislation introduced of TV referrals came as a debatable move. Players, experts, commentators and fans are widely divided upon the move. During this thread I’d like to forward my recommendations on the matter but firstly allow me to take this opportunity to analyse the various disputes surrounding the dilemma.

The regulation stated: “If there was enough convincing evidence the on field decision could be over turned”. As M . Atherton so correctly mentioned on commentary if we wanted to invest in technology we must trust and rely on the devices available to the full and make the decisions accordingly to the technology and simply ignore the disturbing evidence theory.

However one has to consider the amount of time lost in the match. Also in a way it takes the authority of the standing umpire making their position a laughing stock which is rather pointless.

But we have to take into account that the sport industry is modernising and therefore why shall cricket not utilise the variety of resources available? Plus don’t we want to make decisions correctly to satisfy everyone’s needs and prevent a dismissal frustration which could be constructive in the overall outcome?

Overall I would like to draw a conclusion that players should not have any input what so ever on decision making as their function is to play and not question the gestures of umpires. Also with players input its taking valuable time out of the game. Although there is a limit this can be considered unfair as an obvious fault in decision making may have occurred and players weren’t able to refer. I feel that it should either be a private consultation with standing and 3rd umpire to double check decisions as that will be more logical and time saving i.e. the third umpire wants to double-check if the ball had pitched outside the line. Otherwise I don’t see the purpose and would want it to be scrapped by the administrators. It's going to be highly controversial otherwise and develop into a nightmare for one to dispute upon.

Monday, 16 March 2009

England VS Westindies ODI Preview !

Adil Rashid has been waiting patiently for his England debut. Now the time is ripe for him to be granted with the honour as England’s woeful winter descends further calling for a fresh and promising change. Especially with such an eventful and anticipated summer around the corner England should have no hesitation to experiment in youth and open the doors for player competition.

Although Adil’s bowling performance in the recent practice match was nothing to write home about surely the threat and mystery of a leg spinner operating overweighs an orthodox off spinner claiming casual figures of 10-0-1-40. To consolidate my point England should plan efficiently for the future rather than focusing on short term replacements. Also Adil can bat and field very well which is a factor that has to come into consideration in the limited over’s format.

On the whole he is a unique prospect who’s got the potential to turn the tables on the fate of English cricket. Therefore I recommend the ECB and Andrew Strauss to invest and provide him with a worthwhile run in the international arena. So that’s where I stand on the Rashid situation. Yes groove him in ASAP.

Elsewhere, Owais Shah is going through a rough patch of form but we should remain faithful over his position as we all know of the brilliance he can offer in the limited overs format. KP seems to be encountering technical difficulty against the drift of left arm spin. Presuming Prior returns he should bat where he belongs and that is in the opening slot with skipper Andrew Strauss. Ian Bell and Stuart Broad don’t strike me as “ one day material” in my books. I certainly approve of Dimitri Masceranas inclusion as he’s one of the most destructive onslaught forces in the world and his dibbly dobbly medium pacers and shuttle variations come as an effective alternative in the bowling department.

Here is my preferred side :

Strauss ( C)
Prior ( WK)
Shah
KP
Colly
Dimi
Rashid
Batty
Khan
Harmison
Anderson.

The ultimate secret success behind the whitewash against the Proteas last summer was the opening seam bowling combination of Anderson and Harmison and therefore back England to continue with that strategy. Like many of our fellow bloggers I’m unsure about Khan but would still experiment in him. I will be tempted to play 2 spinners but regarding England go along with one than Rashid should be given priority.

I am not the best with predictions but although Westindies are carrying the winning momentum back England to win the series 3-2. (Regarding Rashid and Harmison are selected).

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Spinners Analysis

When looking to define a quality spinner we need to consider two aspects......................

1) They need to be skilful in the sense that there has to be the threat of some mystery and uncertainty attached to their bowling.

2) They have to be able to make an impact and the ability to dominate and turn the tables ie spinning a side to victory in the last innings of a test match or picking up some astonishing figures like 6-45 in which us bloggers have something to write home about.

Saqlain , Muhsy and Warne were ideal examples of a quality product in which they had the skills and self determination to change the outcome of a game.

Danish Kaneria may have had 200 + wickets next to his name but what really matters inside is how many times had Kaneria been able to dominate proceedings and turn a match on it’s head because many of the wickets Kaneria captures arrive in meaningless circumstances ie 4-175 . He seems to be more of a container than a wicket taker as his poor average and strike rate has shown. No wonder people are losing patience and trust in him. He ticks the first category of being skilful for certain but hasn’t got the mental ego to dominate in the same manner as Shane Warne and be able to change the outcome of a match.

Alternatively Imran Tahir is an excellent prospect. He is not only more mysterious in terms of having a better leg break , vicious googly and some of his own inventions but has the ability to turn the tables and dominate proceedings like a true “matchwinner” . In fact the amount of first class records were Tahir has been able to turn the tables and claim astonishing figures is uncountable. This highlights the vivid impact spinners can bring to a team and clarifies the difference between a quality and average spinner.

Generally speaking Tahir is a true pleasure to watch in the county arena. There are shades of Abdul Qadir in his cunning approach to the wicket and the way he can bamboozle batsmen with his magic is an admirable art. However, he seems to be unable to play for Pakistan due to him spending majority of his time in Southafrica and England which is a real pity as in my opinion he was the best spinner Pakistan has had in the locker since Mushtaq Ahmed . But he has set his desires on playing for Southafrica and all the best for him.

Not trying to be biased to Sialkot but talking from a technical quality perspective I recommend Mansoor Amjad and Abdul Rehman for the national side. Yasir Shah seems to an interesting prospect but from the little I’ve seen from him he seems to be another “Kaneria”. The offspinner Ajamal seemed to be another fascination but was highly ineffective in the 10 odd ODI matches he’s played. Usman Qadir has been tipped for the next Warne in international cricket but 5 years or so will have to be awaited for his arrival. But one thing has to be established for certain and that is Pakistan must utilise at least 1 specialist in every format because specialists are the ones who are claimed to be “matchwinners” not bits and bobs like Malik and Afridi etc.

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