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 :


I'm missing Mr Nazir !!


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.

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