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

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