Monday, 8 March 2010

Cricket is Still Alive in Pakistan

Sialkot Stallions have once again created history by winning the RBS T20 Tournament for the 5th time in a row. Around 30,000 fans occupied the National Stadium seats with hundreds pondering on the rooftops and outside the stadium trying to get a piece of the action, whereas millions watched from the comfort of there house. Who would have expected this much attendance for a domestic tournament in Pakistan. The star studded Stallions were clear favorites before the beginning of the tournament, the reason behind was the inclusion of 7 International Pakistani cricketers in the team. That is a little too much for a domestic team and once again they proved it by showing there dominance in the countries most competitive T20 tournament. Some adjustments are definitely required to be done in constituting the squads of these teams.

Faisalabad won the toss and elected to bat first, it took 1 ball for Mohammad Asif to warm up as he blew away the stumps of Asif Hussain on the 2nd delivery of the match. Then came in the most recent acquisition of Sialkot Stallions Abdul Razzaq who had just severed ties with his home team Lahore Lions. After being demoted by the Lions Razzaq was happy to move to the powerful team of Sialkot Stallions, after all who doesn’t want to be a champion. Abdul Razzaq showed his worth throughout the tournament and was one of the major reasons for the dominance shown by Sialkot Stallions. In the final match Razzaq was able to bag two important early breakthroughs that sent Faisalabad tottering into deep trouble with 3 wickets down and just 19 runs on board. The trouble never seemed to cease and eventually Faisalabad ended up with 109/9 thanks to two little cameos by the in form Mohamad Hafeez and Captain Misbah Ul Haq. All of Stallions bowler were disciplined and got fruit for it, Asif ending up with figures 1/9 off 4 overs at an economy rate of just 2.25 was simply outstanding considering it was a T20 match.

Sialkot started the chase in an aggressive manner when Imran Nazir hit the first two balls for a six & a four. Wanting to hit the 3rd Ball out of the National Stadium Karachi Imran Nazir was caught by Asif Hussain at cover only slimming his chance of selection for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the Caribbean. Rana Naved was promoted to number 3 position due to his form with the bat but also took the credit of running out his partner at the other end making it to 18/2. Stallions were never found in trouble up until Shoaib Malik’s dismissal when they were sent to 56/4. The always reliable Razzaq kept a cool head and ensured that Stallions reach a comfortable position. The Sialkot Stallions became champions for the 5th time in a row with 3.3 overs to spare and 5 wickets remaining.

Abdul Razzaq was declared the man of the match for his all-round performance whereas Mohammad Hafeez was declared the Batsman of the series for his outstanding form throughout the tournament, Hafeez was stupendous in making a statement to the chairman of selectors for the openers position in the upcoming T20 World Cup. The failure of Imran Nazir who was just able to score 54 runs at an average of 13.50 in the 4 innings that he played has definitely set out an alarm in the heads of the selectors and there might be a contest between Mohammad Hafeez & Imran Nazir for that opening position in the National side, statistically & honestly speaking Hafeez deserves that spot ahead of Imran. Naved Ul Hassan surprised with the bat as well by becoming the second highest scorer in the tournament just shows the class of the opposition bowlers in the tournament that Sialkot had to face. Aizaz Cheema won the award for the best bowler in the tournament by taking 11 wickets in four games. Saeed Ajmal was second to him who had a great tournament and was able to grab 9 wickets at an economy rate of just 4.25 which is exceptional in T20 Cricket.

There has been talk in the PCB of replacing and possibly expanding the current RBS T20 tournament with Pakistan Super League where foreign players might be included. Monetary awards are expected to be bigger. The negative aspect being the tournament might not be held in Pakistan, as we are well aware of the security concerns shown by foreign players. The success of RBS T20 2010 might have definitely given second thoughts to the PCB management, nevertheless this tournament has proved that Cricket is alive in Pakistan.



Maz said...

Good thread HR. RBST20 was a very successful event this year. I don't want it to expand because :

1) The people of Pakistan won't be able to watch any cricket on home soil.
2)It will block the pathways of some young cricketers because they will be overshadowed by overseas pro's. They won't get their chances.

However :

1) The Pakistani players might benefit from playing in different conditions.
2) Playing with overseas pro's may be a very useful and inspiring experience. It will improve the standard of cricket for sure.

Maz said...

Stallions are too good and invincible. The best side in the world for T20. Hopefully, they will be able to participate in the CLT20 edition 2 and show that is the case. To win any sporting comp for 5 times consecutively is a phenomenal achievement. Hats off to them !

Maz said...

My Team for T20WC following RBS tournament


Raza Hasan

Please share yours !

HR said...

My Team for T20 WC is:

1. Hafeez
2. Akmal
3. Khaled L
4. Afridi
5. Umar
6. Malik
7. Fawad
8. Razzaq
9. Asif
10. Aamer
11. Ajmal

12. Umar Gul
13. Yasir
14. Raza Hasan
15. Shahzaib Hassan

My problem with your team:
Nazir : Very inconsistent, got so many chances
Yasir Arafat: No need for so many allrounders when your attack bowler Aamer can hit it big a 3rd genuine bowler like Asif is a must.

Rana Naved: You can't take him in the reserve when you have Arafat, Razzaq 2 fast bowling all-rounder are enough for a single tour. Rana is too expensive & cannot handle pressure

My Solutions:
Your team has got only two specialist bowlers we need at least three specialist bowlers thats why I brought in Asif for Arafat. I have replaced Nazir with Khaled Latif keeping in mind the performances in the RBS T20. I have brought in Shahzaib Hasan as a reserve player instead of keeping Nazir as a reserve I prefer Shahzaib.

Stani Army said...

I think this tournament was credit to Pakistan cricket (apart from some sections of the crowds).

We should try to invite some foreign players for the next one. This is looking the most likely route of trying to get cricket back to Pakistan.

Maz said...


You need to have all- rounders in T20 cricket otherwise there will be no depth in batting, this is an important apsect for run chases.

Hafeez was the batsmen of the tournament in the RBST20. He is also a very athletic and ace fielder. A more than useful bowler, better than Malik.

Nazir had scores of 4,1,38,10 in the competition but, is a proven performer in this format. I want him in my team although others would question his liability and unpredictability. But, in T20 you need to have aggression and uniqueness and Nazir provides this. A good fielder also.

I didn’t include Shahzaib because he gives his wicket away too easily. In all the matches I saw him play it was the same old scenario. Such a wasteful player, all he needs to learn to do is to control his instincts and then he is undefeatable in T20 especially. But, hopefully he would have learnt his lesson.

Khalid Latif on the other hand, played very well in the KCL and Quarter final virtual game against Lahore Eagles. We can’t write him off. He can play for sure.

Maz said...


The behaviour of the crowd was shocking. I agree with you.

Wasim said...


They should go ahead with PPL even if they have to organize it offshore. But they should also keep RBS t20 the only way they can make it more interesting if they increase the number of matches and make all the sides balanced or eliminate second string teams, I think ten teams will be more than enough and if they all play each other at least twice in the first round and the top four teams play the semi finals the tournament can become more interesting. It might also generate more revenue for PCB.
The Players from Zebras be merged into Hyderabad and Quetta. The players from Abbottabad should be merged into Peshawar to make that team strong and competitive.
Lahore Eagles players should reinforce teams like Leopards and Rawalpindi.


Wasim said...

Maz Nazir, Rana and Malik are not going to get selected and I think Sami and Gul are better options than Yasir.

Maz said...


I agree with you on the RBST20 structure.

The sanctions on players like Malik and Rana look severe. Certainly will dent Paks chances in the forthcoming T20WC.

Its the "great captaincy dilemma" !!
Misbah is the man for captaincy. He is experienced(played in both T20 WCs) and educated. He led his domestic team, SNGPL to glory in RBS 50 overs comp and led the Wolves to the final of the RBST20. He is a smart choice.

Ideally, it should be Afridi but that looks unlikely now.

Maz said...

I will have to re-structure my team following this critical inquiry. The squad gets reduced to 21 members next week anyhow.

Imran Nawaz said...

Muhammed Hafeez find of the tournament for me

Maz said...

Yes he had a very good tournament Imran. He is now going to play in the Bangladesh version.

Maz said...

Correction:It is confirmed that 14th March will be the day when the final squad is announced.

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