Monday, 29 November 2010

Pak-Ind vs Eng/Aus

Personally I have an equal affiliation with both rivalries being a British Pakistani and therefore will clearly be fair and unbiased in analysis:

Why Ashes is bigger and better

1) More organised and systematic. Happens every 4 years in both locations. Everyone can understand where and when it will happen. Is planned more specifically and purposefully and therefore is much stronger administratively.

2) Historical context stretches for longer as the first series commenced in 1882. Plenty of history and tradition and it epitomised the popularity of cricket in they early days. Perhaps cricket would not stand where is does nowadays had this not been in place. This adds all to the meaningfulness and fascination for such a global spectacle.

3) Better conditions and pitches which are most conductive or conducive for the 5 day game which inevitably makes it undoubtedly more lively and interesting to watch or play in for that matter.

4) Anticipation and build up is second to none. For these two sides every thing with planning and feats are built towards this more or less. Whether this is healthy or not is certainly an argumentative or debatable like issue, however it all adds towards the fun in the overall equation when making contrasts.

5) Crowd and popularity/attendance for Tests is appladuable. It is considerably higher. Both countries on the whole show tremendous appreciation and acknowledgement towards the 5 day game which other countries supporters could take a leaf out of.

It would be reasonable to say that on the Test front Ashes is clearly the bigger and better affair. However, don't get me wrong, Pak-Ind rivalries are of also of high and well anticipated significance and a special encounter when ever and where the two sides clash in what ever format. On the ODI front, they are the biggest ecnounter in cricket which is followed with admirable intensity combined with a heart of passion, however the Ashes clearly remains the daddy when it comes to Tests.

In conclusion, both are needed to promote the interest, liveliness, beauty, enjoyment, history, patriotism and uniqueness of the beloved sport in this day and age. Both have done it previously, but as cricket fanatics we can only hope this great legacy continues for generations to come.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Today At The Test, Brisbane Day 4

Score: England 309/1 lead by 88 runs

England are on top at the Gabba on Day 4 thanks to centuries from skipper Strauss and an unbeaten century from vice captain Cook

They are going into the final day with confidence and the match very much looks like its heading towards a draw

England will be much happier with a draw then Australia for two reasons

1) They only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes. Thats how it works of course as they won the urn previously

2) Defeat seemed inevitable and the situation was ominious as Australia were in total command, yet they battled hard and managed to save the Test

I may be speaking too soon in all probability, however it will be very surprising if Australia can turn this one around from here and heavily disappointing on England's part if that happens

Player Of The Day (England): Strauss and Cook both were on song and led from the front. It was highly important that they batted with some responsibility and they did exactly that

Player Of The Day (Australia): As only one wicket fell, no one really. They struggled and plundered miserably

Ball Of The Day: North to Strauss. Of course it was the only wicket of the day, but a great delivery nevertheless from the part time off spinner which beat Strauss both with the flight and turn for an easy stumping by Haddin to complete the job

Photo Of The Day

^The two left hand English openers were centurions who dominated proceedings on day 4 with an opening stand of 188

Looking Ahead

Just keep going and batting for as long as possible. Its more or less just a matter of time. If KP, Collingwood and Prior can get in amongst the runs that will be brilliant from an English perspective as it would then mean that all batsmen have struck form in this all important Ashes opener at the Gabba. Most of the hard work has been done, now its just about ensuring they get the wanted result and the invaluable momentum going into Adelaide on the 3rd of December

Friday, 26 November 2010

Today At The Test, Brisbane Day 2

Score: England 260/Australia 220/5 at stumps (Hussey 81*+Haddin 22*)

Player Of The Day (Australia): Michael Hussey aka Mr Cricket. Stamped his authority and played good cricketing shots all over the wicket. Demonstrated professionalism and variety in approach.

Player Of The Day (England): Anderson got two crucial scalps either side of Lunch. There was a passage of play where he was really getting the ball to talk and deviate off the seam. Was really interesting to see.

SessionsMorning: Australia
Afternoon: England
Evening: Australia

Ball Of The DayAnderson to Watson. The perfect "in between" length creating uncertainty in the mind of Shane Watson whether to go back or forward, there was some movement off the seam, found the edge and Strauss accepted a catch in the slips to get England's first wicket of the series following an opening stand of 78.

Photo Of The Day


^An ecstatic Jimmy Anderson following the dismissal of Watson at the Gabba

Looking ahead....................

If England can strike a few early blows on day 3, they can bowl out Australia for not too much above what they got or even better I say with a sense of optimism. They need to believe they can make things happen in a flash and would and should believe that they can still win this match. I am backing them as a Pom to do it! They are still very much in the hunt if they bowl well and insert the pressure in the morning session, otherwise it could be a long and stiff task which lies ahead for them. I feel after they get Hussey, Swann will be able to rattle through the tail. There are signs of appreciable turn or purchase on this wicket and therefore if England can get some runs on the board, they stand a chance of making life tough for the Aussies as, if and when they come to bat in the 4th innings.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Pakistan vs SA Test Series Review

Ali has been a true revelation for the Test Side with his mental toughness and hard work. He has shown consistency and character in a highly successful career advancing series with scores of 56, 63, 90 & 28* against a potent bowling attack which contained a world class pace combination and decent spinners in order to help Pakistan draw the 2 Match Test Series 0-0 against the 2nd Ranked side in the world . A promising and deserving outcome for the men in green under Misbah Ul Haq who also demonstrated a great deal of determination and consistency and led from the front with his experience.




1)Trivia of the day: Azhar Ali played 632 balls, most by any batsman in series. None other than him played 600 balls. This represents his application with is applaudable.

2)We have drawn against SA, but wait and see what will happen now. SA will own India in the forthcoming 3 Test Match series. India are an overrated Test side in the bowling and fielding department specifically and I expect SA to win the series 2-1.

3) Out of a possible 80 only 52 wickets fell in the series. The pitches were lifeless, flat and not conducive from a bowling perspective. UAE is new to Test Cricket but nothing can beat England as a "home" for PK purely from a cricketing perspective in terms of quality and standards.

It's just a shame that the players can't behave themselves and the management don't take as much care of them that they always are seen indulging in controversies whenever they go along with some biased media coverage. UAE is a decent venue and a less controversial one. Both are special in their own ways nonetheless.

4) Pakistan in 2010 have played 10 Tests under 4 different captains in Yousuf, Afridi, Butt and Misbah. Both our wins came under Butt whereas our draws came under Misbah. Overall. Played 10: won 2/drawn 2/lost 6.

Overall, not bad considering the circumstances. We have had some historical moments in Tests this year as well as some shockers. The future is looking good on the whole.

Its our second Test Series we have drawn this year and we have also lost two. My most memorable cricketing moment in Pakistani Tests this year would be Gul hitting the winning runs in Leeds to give Pakistan victory after 15 years of continuous losses against Australia. That was certainly a special victory in several different shapes and forms.

5) It will help boost Pakistan's Test Ranking. They gain 5 points whereas SA gain only 3. Pakistan will undoubtedly be the happier of the two sides whereas SA would be potentially disappointed and frustrated as they were in commanding positions both times, but were unable to go on and finish the business by any stretch of the imagination.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Ashes Final Thoughts

The winning moment at the Oval in 2009. What scenes and what a series.

England go into the Ashes down under with excellent preparation. Two significant wins against Western Australia and Australia "A" and a draw which was largely influenced by bad weather against South Australia. The signs are looking positive for Andrew Strauss's men as they search for their first Ashes win down under since 1987.

On 23rd August 2009 when Graeme Swann got one to bounce and pop up from the rough to gift a catch to Alastair Cook at short leg, the nation of Britain erupted once more just like it did on the 12th of September 2005 when Bowden and Koertzen dislodged the bails to symbolise a draw at the Oval and subsequently the fact that England had won the Ashes. Since that memorable day at the Oval in 2009, things in cricket have gradually changed for both sides.

Since the 2009 series

Australia played 12/won 8/lost 3/drew 1
England played 12/won 8/lost 2/drew 2

Prediction beforehand: 3-1 Australia
Revised Prediction: 2-2 and therefore England retain the Ashes

Why Revised?

1)Australia's record in their last 8 encounters across all formats: L/L/L/L/L/L/L/W
2)Last time England's preparation in their Australian tour was poor, not winning a single tour match prior to the first Test at Brisbane and that infamous wide ball from Steve Harmison to commence the disastrous series from an English perspective. This time it is considerably better.

Key Players

England

Graeme Swann. The off spinner has been phenomenal in the last year or so and is highly regarded as the best spinner in the world currently. His tendency to pick up a wicket in his first over is an amazing habit as is his ability to produce unplayable deliveries, become a nagging customer and be a true demon against left handers which Australia possess in their middle order. It is reasonable to say on balance that he is bound to do well and will need to perform like he has been doing in order for England to have a successful campaign.

Australia

No one really stands out for me. However, in the batting department Mr Cricket aka Mike Hussey has got the ability to turn around matches with his craftiness and experience. As a bowling attack, it's important they bowl as a unit and support each other. They lack experience and genuine quality in the spinning department which is an area England could capitalise on.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Pakistan's Women Cricket Team Are Asian Champions!




Congratulations to our Women's Team who beat BD comprehensively by 10 wickets in the final of the Asian Games! They finish in 1st place. What a great achievement this is. A proud moment for Pakistan Cricket. This could be the beginning of bigger and better things to come for women's cricket in Pakistan.

Scorecard: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/485173.html

Comprehensive Victories throughout



Round of 16

Pakistan vs Thailand

Won by 8 wickets

Quaterfinals

Pakistan vs China

Won by 9 wickets

Semifinals

Pakistan vs Japan

Won by 9 wickets

Finals

Pakistan vs Bangladesh

Won by 10 wickets


India did not participate in this event, which was Pakistan's gain and India's loss as Pakistan victoriously claimed the ultimate prize in the Women's cricketing event to the delight of the whole nation.

Pakistan Men's Team are also participating and will start their first match in due course. Khalid Latif who successfully led Pak U19 to WC glory in 2004 will captain the young and talented side which includes the likes of Usman Qadir, Raza Hasan and Azeem Ghumman. India is also not involved in the Men's tournament either. Pak have a relatively strong side they have sent and should win the tournament in my eyes. This could be a double whammy for Pakistan in the Asian Games Cricket Event! We will have to wait and see................



Express Quotes

Link: http://tribune.com.pk/story/78782/pakistan-beat-bangladesh-to-win-asian-games-final/

Nida Rashid, star of Pakistan's Asian Games' gold in cricket, says her inspiration was Shahid Afridi's World T20 '09 performance. - Express

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari congratulated the women’s cricket team for making history by beating Bangladesh and winning the first Asian Games women’s cricket gold. - Express

Cricket gold boosts battered Pakistan’

“The way the women’s team has played and the way they have handled themselves on and off the field is really wonderful for Pakistanis living in Pakistan and abroad,” she said.

Sana, who took two wickets ...for 23 runs, said the media often focused on the problems besetting Pakistan but the nation “must be proud of us.”

“There are lot of good things happening in Pakistan and this is one of them,” she said.

Sana denied the women’s team was breaking new ground, saying it was thanks to powerful female role models such as the late former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto that they were able to play cricket.

“We are not the pioneers. We are just following in the footsteps of the strong women of Pakistan,” she said.

The 24-year-old said it had become more acceptable for men to watch the women’s game and the women’s team improved by playing against under-19 and under-25 men’s teams.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Come and Join Our Ashes Fantasy League

We are doing an Ashes Fantasy Competition here on BBK. This will be our 2nd Fantasy competition. We also did one for the 2009 ICC World T20. Hopefully we get as many participants as possible for this well anticipated illustrious cricketing rivalry. Let's see how good a selector you are!?

Usual rules apply. Select 11 players combined from both Ashes sides. You have a maximum budget of 125.

Deadline to join is only the 24th of November

The key to join our competition is: 1289142249 under "user comp join"
http://www.cricketweb.net/fantasycricket/index.php

This is how points can be scored

Each Five Runs Scored 1 Point
Scoring Rate 100+ 4 Points
Scoring Rate 80.0 - 99.9 2 Points
Scoring Rate 70.0 - 79.9 1 Point
Notes: Scoring Rate - Only batsman scoring 15+ runs

Each Wicket Taken 5 Points
R.R.P.O: 3.50 or Less 5 Points
R.R.P.O: 3.51 to 4.50 3 Points
R.R.P.O: 4.51 to 5.00 1 Point
Notes: Econ. Rate - A minimum of 3 overs must be bowled.

Per Catch 3 Points
Per WK Catch 2 Points
Per Run Out 3 Points
Per Stumping 4 Points
Notes: If applicable all players involved in a run out score points

50 Runs 5 Points
100 Runs 10 Points
150 Runs 15 Points
5 Wicket Haul 10 Points
Not Out 2 Points
Notes: These bonus points are on top of the standard points

Duck -5 Points
Golden Duck -10 Points
Bowler Concedes >= 60 Runs -5 Points

Have fun and best of luck. Should be interesting to see what happens both in the series and fantasy league.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

A Fan's Insight Into The 4th ODI at DSC

Perfect view of the stadium is displayed below. Taken by HR.

HR aka Harry was lucky enough to be able to witness the 4th ODI at DSC which Pakistan narrowly won by 1 wicket thanks to a brilliant knock from the number 3 batsmen Younis Khan who scored a patient and hard working 73 as Pakistan successfully chased down 275 with 1 wicket and 1 ball to spare for the second time in the series. Without further a do here is Harry's insight.

http://www.cricinfo.com/pakistan-v-south-africa-2010/engine/match/461569.html

Watching the match at DSC was a great experience, the crowd was fantastic but what you see is the inside picture, shit happens outside the stadium, you gotta park your car 1 KM away from the stadium because there is no space anywhere near the stadium they have made special arrangements for VIPs and Royals who get the best parking space close to the stadium, after a walk of 30 minutes once you reach the stadium doors and if you have bought your tickets already from somewhere outside the stadium then it would take you 1 hour to enter the Cheap stands, but if you will buy the ticket from the stadium then it will take you like 2 hours to enter the stadium because as you know Pakistanis does not know what a queue is or for that matter they don't know what manners are or what discipline is. Well, in the last few series the crowd was less because the tickets were very expensive, they have reduced the price of the tickets by 50% and that’s the reason you saw this much crowd in there. The crowd was really loud and supported both the teams which I really liked about them, every South African boundary or good shot was really appreciated, but when Pakistan was batting then for every single the crowd gave a roar, Shoaib Akhtar still got it! People love him each time he runs in to bowl the crowd goes crazy and it seems they just came to watch him bowl and Afridi bat, I wonder what cricket will be without them. I also observed the teams, Pakistan fielders were really all over the place, the thing is that Afridi does not settles the field always, most of the time it is the bowler who does this job, I even noticed some fielders yelling kahan jaon Kahan jaon, Fawad Alam was very vocal and used to direct the fielders which was nice to see, Afridi was really not doing much in this, he also over bowled, shouldn't have really bowled 10 over's because he knew he wasn't performing well and being captain does not mean you become a dictator and do what you want. Whereas on the other hand Smith was really great to see, he seems to be not playing cricket but in a battle or something because the way he was giving those speeches during intervals was really amazing to see and the way he showed his disappointment at bad fielding was really a learning experience. During the innings break and the start of the match, I saw the South Africans and the Pakistanis practicing, the difference was really evident, Saffers were using modern techniques and nets and some really cool equipment during practice, whereas Pakistanis where scattered all over the place no proper practice Younis bhai practicing alone, some players just running around catches being practiced but really not up to the mark compared to the South Africans and yes Harry Potter did his magic to help Pakistan win. (Harry)

Zulqarnain Haider scored 19* to guide Pakistan to victory and keep the series alive as its now sitting very nicely poised at 2-2 with one to go and all to play for as they say. The series decider will be on Monday at 11am GMT. It's about time Pakistan win a meaningful ODI series after such a long time. Will Monday be the day this happens?

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