Thursday, August 11, 2011

Leading the national side

There has been a lot of confusion around for who should lead the national side? It's the 5th or 6th time in current administration's tenure people are talking about captaincy change. PCB thinks Misbah-ul-Haq is the best choice, fans like Shahid Afridi and team coach Waqar Younis wants to groom young captain. Waqar believes that he [Misbah] is very fit and has done very well as captain but age usually catches up, so we need to groom a young captain. “Every cricketer who leaves is missed, like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and then myself were missed and, of course, Afridi will also be missed,” Waqar said. “But there are other youngsters who will take their place.”
Mr. Consistent ! © AFP

First of all, let's talk about Shahid Afridi, who was the captain of one-day until recently, refused to play under the administration of chairman Ijaz Butt. He is fan's favourite only. Nothing else ! I also talked about his callowness in the past. The former skipper has got nothing, but fans' backing. Shahid Afridi has played 325 ODIs scoring 6695 runs at an average of 23.49. For fans, he is a spellbinder due to his ‘combative’ style against every bowler of World Cricket and sometimes in captaincy as well. And latter is the reason why I hate him.

Misbah-ul-Haq took over that captaincy of Test after the dramatic exits of Shahid Afridi, who retired in Australia Test, and Salman Butt, who was involved in spot-fixing scandal in England tour in 2010. With Afridi refusing to play under the current administration headed by chariman Ijaz Butt, Misbah-ul-Haq is set to lead the national side in all three forms of the game from now on. Misbah-ul-Haq has appeared in 78 ODIs scoring 2225 with highest of 93* at an average of 42.78; much better than braggart Shahid Afridi. I agree Misbah-ul-Haq played too much slowly in World Cup semi, but what Shahid Afridi did there? Fans like the idea of one captain for all formats of the game, and Afridi can't be the captain of all the formats. Whereas Misbah-ul-Haq has the ability to lead the national side in all  formats of the game. So, Pakistan must continue with a mature captain and he is one and only, in the current national squad, Misbah-ul-Haq.

Geoff Lawson, Pakistan former coach, believes that Misbah-ul-Haq is the only one who has the superlative capability to lead the national side. “He has a statesman-like demeanour which so many Pakistan captains have lacked and he handles adversity analytically not emotionally. He knows how to get the best out of players and he is a winner, note his outstanding domestic record as a leader.” Geoff Lawson on Misbah-ul-Haq, October 2010

Misbah leads from the front, and to do so for a feeble team, it is admirable. Pakistan former captain, Wasim Akram, has also acknowledged Misbah-ul-Haq's ability to lead the national side saying "Though Misbah has just a year or a half left in his career, but he is better choice for the captaincy".

I don't know why people hate such a wonderful guy? It's not Misbah's fault of what happened to Shahid Afridi or how Afridi behaved in the crunch moments. Misbah is a man with such wide ranging qualities (also holds a MBA in business management) that he could easily take up the coaching role or a board position once he retires form playing. There is no reason to hate your own player, and a player with matchless capabilities should be backed up to the hilt.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bet on Sports

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wahab, Asad break social silence

Fast bowler Wahab Riaz and batsman Asad Shafiq break the social silence by using their Twitter accounts. For a moment, they might have thought that Twitter wasn't a social site :), but It'd be a bitter pill to swallow for both as Twitter is also a social website with more than 58 million monthly visits.

This photo was uploaded by Wahab Riaz on Twitter. © Twitter
The new contract include a clause for 'no use of social websites while on tour'. "There was no fine or anything, they were just told to not tweet anything. There is a ban on social networking tools under the revised player code of conduct on tours so both were breaking it in a sense. But as they weren't tweeting cricket-related stuff it wasn't a big issue," a board official told ESPNcricinfo, cricket website.

PCB actually barred the players in the aftermath of Zulqarnain Haider controversy. Haider fled to UK to seek an asylum, though largely untraceable, kept the public informed through this status at one of the social networking site, Facebook.

Wahab Riaz even uploaded his photo from the team bus, but It was later removed from his twitter account. Under the new central contract, PCB has strictly prohibited the players from using social websites (Facebook, Twitter, Orkut e.t.c)

"Since it was their first offence they were reprimanded but if they do it again they will face heavy fines and may be suspension from some matches," the source said. Riaz and Shafiq have been the leading performers for Pakistan so far in the series.

No More Tweets....!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Betting Sports

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Friday, March 25, 2011

B-Bye Rawalpindi Express !!!

Gutsy Shoaib Akhar will retire after World Cup 2011 © AFP

In-n-Out, fitness problems, scandals, controversies, devil-may-care attitude, triumphs, bans and reversals is all Shabby has witnessed in his 14-years long career. He is Pakistan's maverick paceman and world's fastest bowler fans have ever witnessed in the cricket world - enigmatic Shoaib Akhtar, praised as 'spellbinding' by world's top batsmen, started his career with full-throttle but lost his beans in the twilight. The guy who was never scared of little-master Tendulkar and prevailed over him on many occasion due to his ability of bowling with full power.

Now Shoaib Akhtar has announced his retirement from the International Cricket and he won't be available to serve Pakistan after World Cup 2011.

“Yes, I will quit international cricket after the World Cup” the 35-year-old told AFP. “I have taken this decision after much thought. Pakistan’s last match in this World Cup will also be my last. I hope that will be the final on April 2.”

Some peoples believe that Kamran Akmal is responsible for Shoaib’s early-retirement. He would not have announced his retirement too early if Pakistan had not lost against New Zealand. Many also believe that Akmal is also responsible for his ‘resting’ after New Zealand game.

Akhtar, who made his international debut in 1997, took 178 wickets in 46 Tests, the last of which was against India at Bangalore in 2007. He is three wickets short of 250 in 163 one-day internationals and has taken 19 wickets in 15 Twenty20 internationals. He holds the record of cracking world's fastest delivery at 161.3 km/h.

Praised by allmost every batsmen who faced his music and every avid fan of cricket. Shoaib Akhtar dismissed Indian greats Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid off successive deliveries in the Calcutta Test which Earned him the nickname of “Rawalpindi Express”.

“We feel sad for Shoaib as he has been a very nice team-mate and we’ll always remember him as someone who always tried hard for the team and every player thanks him,” said skipper Shahid Afridi.

Former captain Ramiz Raja said he would like to remember Shoaib as a fighter.

“I would like to remember him as a tearaway bowler who with his strike-rate was a match winner on his day. He battled through injuries and controversies with a lot of heart throughout his career,” said Ramiz.

Intikhab also praised Shoaib’s decision. “He has done a fantastic job for Pakistan and bowled his heart out. I feel sorry for him today but he chose a graceful way, we need characters like him on the field,” he stated.

Coach Waqar Younis praised Shoaib’s decision. “I played with him and then coached him. He has been a great bowler for the country and served the team well. It is a nice way to leave the place for youngsters and that’s something we must appreciate,” he said.

Sarfraz Nawaz, another former Test pace bowler, said: “There is no doubt that Shoaib is one of the best bowlers of all times. He won many matches for Pakistan and was a nemesis even for the world’s top batsmen.”

Shoaib Akhtar career timeline

Shoaib Akhtar’s career timeline after the Pakistan pace bowler on Thursday announced his retirement from international cricket after the World Cup:


Removed from the team for the Sahara Cup against India in Canada on grounds of indiscipline.


Akhtar makes his Test debut against the West Indies in November at his home ground in Rawalpindi, taking two wickets.

February 1999

Akhtar dismisses Indian greats Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid off successive deliveries in the Calcutta Test, which Pakistan win to lift the Asian Test championship. Earns nickname of “Rawalpindi Express”.

December 1999

Akhtar’s action called for the first time, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) allows him to carry as only his bouncer causes concerns.

March 2000

Banned for one ODI and fined for reaching team hotel late in Pakistan.


Akhtar’s action called for second time after taking five wickets in New Zealand.

November 2001

Shoaib Akthar earned the nickname of 'Rawalpindi Express by his fans © AFP
Action called for third time in Sharjah, after which Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) carries out examination at University of Western Australia which concludes his action is result of “unique physical characteristics” which form basis of him being cleared to continue.

November 2002

Reprimanded for ball-tampering and banned for one ODI after throwing water bottle at a spectator in Zimbabwe.

May 2003

Banned for two ODIs and fined 75 per cent of match fee for ball-tampering during a tri-series in Sri Lanka

March 2003

Akhtar bowled at 100mph in Pakistan’s match against England at Cape Town, becoming the first bowler in the history of the game to break the 100mph barrier.

October 2003

Banned for one Test and two ODIs for abusing Paul Adams in the first Test against South Africa, after taking eight wickets in the match to help Pakistan win. In second Test against New Zealand, helps Pakistan win with seven-wicket burst (11 in the match).

March 2004

Akhtar accused of feigning injury after Pakistan lost Test series to archrivals India 2-1.

October 2006

Akhtar and Mohammad Asif test positive for banned steroid nandrolone. Akhtar banned for two years and Asif for one year, bans which were lifted on appeal.

September 2007

Akhtar hits Asif with a bat, two days before the World Twenty20 in South Africa. A month later the PCB fine and ban him for 13 one-day matches

January 2008

Excluded from list of central contracts. A fuming Akhtar criticises the PCB. A disciplinary committee bans him for five years. Punishment reduced to 18 months on appeal, but fine imposed

May 2009

PCB drop him from World Twenty20 squad.

January 2011

Selected in Pakistan’s World Cup squad, despite coach Waqar Younis saying he is not 100 percent fit.

March 2011

Akhtar announces he will retire after the World Cup

Career Timeline by E. Tribune 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My World Cup XI for Pakistan

Pakistan has played their 4 group matches and are at number 2 in Points Table with Kiwis leading the table. Though Pakistan have almost qualified for the the Quarter-final, but their squad selection has been pretty ordinary. I’ve selected my own Pakistan team; a pretty good one which can defeat any biggie in the World Cup.

These two are struggling with the bat in World Cup © Getty Images
My first opener is Ahmed Shehzad because of his aggressive attitude which is required by all most all openers in One-Day game. Above all, he is a young dashing opener from the city of Lahore. He recently scored his maiden ODI century against Kiwis at their home turf, but unfortunately induced the collapse in World Cup group match.

He will be joined by Muhammad Hafeez because he is only other regular opener in Pakistan side. Kamran Akmal can’t play here. So, just go with Muhammad Hafeez. He can get you off to a good start. Not only, he commence the innings, but can bowl as well; a pretty good option for an all-rounder.

At number 3, you need a competent batsman who can rotate strike consistently with his team-mate at the other end. None other than Younis Khan comes at at one-down. He is one of the finest batsman in current Pakistan squad at number 3, who can disturb any opponents by his consistency no end.

At number 4 comes one of my favourite batsman, Misbah-ul-Haq. He is one of the unflappable batsman, I've seen in Pakistan side since I joined The Cricket World in West Indies tour of Pakistan in 2006/07. He has got the technique to keep the the man at scoreboard busy by rotating strike no end. Two in one package, who can bat long without losing his enormous wicket.

Umer Akmal comes at number five slot because he is suitable for all conditions, whether It's a crunch time against big team or playing against minnow, he enjoys his game. His go at the every ball shows that he doesn't lack bottle. He just needs to avoid hook shots on spinners.

I first gave this slot to Kamran Akmal, but his feckless performance with that bat and gloves against New Zealand dropped him to 8. Then, I thought of Afridi at number 6, but Abdul Razzaq's thunderous 109 against South Africa last year in UAE earned him this slot. His gutsy 109; the innings which convinced me that he can halt the collapse of team. So, one must keep him at number 6 to keep batting line vehement.

The skipper Shahid Afridi gets number 7 because he is playing as a bowler rather than as batsman. He has proven his form, too, though not in batting but in bowling by taking 15 wickets in the tournament so far and is leading the top-wicket takers list. He can help the team in crunch times by his batting too through his violent batting style.

The only culprit left in Pakistan team © AFP
After that comes butter-finger keeper, Kamran Akmal; elder brother of Umer Akmal and ne'er-do-well guy. A player who is more like a kamikaze pilot than player these days; seems to be indulge in hara-kiri while batting. So, he will slot in at six. I hate him, but he is in my playing XI for the team is without any specialist wicket-keeper; not like him.

Umer Gul is my only choice to share new ball with Akhtar. A guy full of beans whose yorkers don't respect the batsman facing the music, a man experienced in rattling the wood-work behind batsman. He can play a vital role in the first 10 overs of the innings.

Shoaib Akhtar known as the Rawalpindi Express is the obvious choice to lead pace attack for my Pakistan playing XI. He holds the record of bowling world's fastest ball at 161.3 km/h. A full throttle guy who deceives the batsman capriciously. He, alongwith Umer Gul can win us the World Cup in absence of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

Saeed Ajmal will join the skipper in spin department, because of his variation in every delivery he bowls. His main weapon is 'doosra' which he uses to chafe his opponent team batsmen.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

World Cup defining moment for Pakistan - Shoaib

Shoaib Akhtar has called the upcoming World Cup his last, claiming it to be defining moments for Pakistan Cricket and perhaps of his own career. In a characteristically free-wheeling chat, Shoaib reaffirmed that he wanted to stay fit throughout, and end the tournament with the trophy in hand.
"I want people to realize that still, very honourable people play for our country."
© Getty Images

"Is this the twilight of my career? Yes. It is very special, playing in the sub-continent's World Cup," Shoaib said in Dhaka. "I am not sure about how long I'm going to be playing, but I will try to make sure it is full of memories". 

"My personal target is to play every match and to leave 45-50 days after winning the World Cup," Shoaib said. "Obviously there's a huge difference between being 26 and 36. I have experience now but at the same time, I'm still bowling very quick, touching 145-150 kph easily." Shoaib used several adjectives to explain his team ranging from "dangerous", "the most balanced" and the one having the cause it needs, but what stood out was him using the word "hurt" to describe the side. 

"Obviously we are a very hurt side, whatever has happened in the last year or so. Pakistan needs a situation to gather themselves, and playing in India and Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals, that is going to really motivate us. I think the crowds, the situation, what happened to us, whatever the team has been through for the last six-seven months, that will inspire us. We are a very dangerous side but a very hurt side."

"We need to win at any cost, the team needs a situation, and what better situation than the World Cup. I think this is a defining moment for Pakistani cricket. 

Shoaib's personal motivation for this tournament comes from proving people wrong, not just about himself, but the team too. "I wish Mohammad Amir was playing right now, I would have retired easily but it is not happening." 

"That's what motivates me to come and play my last World Cup. I want people to realize that still, very honourable people play for our country."

Shoaib said that Pakistan's ability to swing old and new ball both ways is their strong point. The main advantage for us is reverse swing, that's where I think Pakistan team's strength lies. We have the best combination of reverse swing and new-ball fast bowlers. I think we can manage to put it out right," Shoaib said, adding that the slow nature of the wickets might yet hamper the fast bowlers but will assist the batsmen. 

The 2009 Twenty20 World Cup triumph was perfect for the situation at the time in Pakistan, but shoaib firmly believed that if they can do it again this time, it could provide the fans of Pakistan Cricket with more than just heroes or a trophy. "Pakistan needs to win this World Cup to bring back cricket to Pakistan, the charm back to country. People of Pakistan are missing cricket, they are dying to watch players from all over the world playing against Pakistan."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

United Pakistan seek World Cup glory

Shahid Afridi has laid down the markers for those who would underestimate Pakistan in this World Cup. They are, he said, the 'most dangerous side in the World Cup', and has pointed to the mix of youth and experience that has drawn parallels, however tenuous, with the side that won the tournament almost 20 years ago.

Shahid Afridi : "We played well in New Zealand" © Getty Images

"We all know how important the competition is for my country," Afridi said in his first World Cup press conference in Mirpur. "This is a message for the other teams: No one can underestimate us. And when I said dangerous, [I meant] don't underestimate the Pakistan team. We are with a very good bunch of youngsters and experienced players. It is good to see Kamran Akmal back in the team, Misbah [ul-Haq] too is in good form and so is Younis [Khan]. We also have two genuine spinners and a fast bowler like Shoaib Akhtar."

While Imran Khan did not have to rebuild a side ravaged by controversy, there are a few similarities between this Afridi-led team and the triumphant side of 1992. Imran was missing a devastating opening bowler in an injured Waqar Younis, and his team also had a mix of young talent and experience.

Afridi, though lacking Imran's tactical nous, is capable of firing up his side and after their twin success in New Zealand last month (1-0 in Tests and 3-2 in ODIs); they are high on confidence and team spirit. "Pitches around the world are very similar. I think as we performed well in New Zealand conditions, we'll feel more confident on Asian tracks.

"We've gone through a very tough situation. As a captain I'm very happy because we were trying to rebuild the team and boost its morale. The team has gelled. We keep these (controversial) issues out of the team and we are focused on the cricket … We played well in New Zealand and the boys are united and they feel hungry."

Afridi also offered praise for the job done by the team's coach, Waqar Younis, and manager, Intikhab Alam, in keeping everyone together. "I, Inti bhai and Waqar Younis are trying to keep the team as a unit. Our dressing room atmosphere is much better. We are trying to keep the boys as close as we can and Alhamdulillah, we are being very successful."

In the same way as the 1992 team was practically built for Australian conditions, the 2011 version has enough versatility to conquer the subcontinent. But after the country was stripped of their rights to host the World Cup in 2009, it is an easy question to ask Afridi. Is the team happy playing in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and possibly India? Afridi didn't hesistate: "We have very good support in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. [And] if we win the World Cup, it would be a good message for world cricket that we want to play cricket, and maybe next time it will be held in Pakistan as well."

He admits being named World Cup captain just two weeks before the event (exactly one week ago) was difficult, but Afridi said he was "focusing on my performance. I am always enjoying my role as a captain and as a player so I didn't take it very seriously."

When the possibility of playing a certain opponent in the final was raised, his jaded face broke into a smile. "It would be great to see Pakistan and India in the final." If things go the way Pakistan expect, he will be asked this one question over and over again.

© Cricinfo

Friday, February 11, 2011

PCB general body meets after 10 years

Pakistan Cricket Board held its first meeting of general body in over a decade, on Friday. The meeting was held at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore as per clause 17 of the constitution of the PCB.

Ijaz Butt talked about improvements in women cricke© Associated Press

The board said it was the first time the general body had met since 1988, but one was held in Tauqir Zia's tenure in early 2000. A total of 73 members, made up of 18 full members, 53 associate members and two honorary members - former board chairmen Khalid Mehmood and Zia - attended the meeting.

General Body meeting discussed the PCB's annual report, as well as the audited accounts and budget estimates, and recommended to the governing board various measures to improve the standard of the game. Ijaz Butt also talked about the need to continue developing the women's game in Pakistan, given the achievements of Pakistan's team recently. Representatives of deaf and blind team were also involved in the meeting.

The general body is a larger, more representative body of stakeholders from around the country designed to ensure development and representation in areas such as interior Sindh and Balochistan, where the game is not as developed as in other provinces and regions. It is supposed to meet once or twice a year and acts as the parliament of the board, where the governing board is the senate.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crunch Time for Pakistan Cricket

Shahid Afridi or Misbah-ul-Haq? Who will lead the side in upcoming mega event of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011? Still, Pakistan 15-member squad is without its skipper. Fans are supporting Afridi, while critics think Misbah is mature; they won’t forgive Afridi for giving ball to Saeed Ajmal in last over of semi-final of Twenty20 World Cup 2010 where Pakistan awarded Australia with a win inevitably in last over. Zaheer Abbas thinks that appointing captain should not be a big issue for Pakistan cricket board, showing satisfaction over Misbah’s captaincy.

Most of the players in the team were young and Misbah as a captain did remarkable job. He deserved a lot of credit for the way he handled his team besides himself performing as a player.

Shahid Afridi has played 307 ODIs scoring 6446 runs at an average of 23.78. He is spellbinder among the fans of Pakistan cricket due to his ‘combative’ mood against every bowler of World Cricket and sometimes in captaincy as well. After Younis Khan saying ‘B-Bye’ to Twenty20s, he was appointed as new skipper for T20s, and became ODI captain very soon in Asia Cup 2010. So far, Pakistan haven’t won One-Day series under Afridi’s captaincy neither the skipper has had played the remarkable innings so far, other than 124 against Bangladesh and 109 against Srilanka in Asia Cup 2010. But, It was all futile as far as Pakistan is concerned because It couldn’t help Pakistan to win Asia Cup.

Misbah-ul-Haq has shown maturity so far in ODIs, having played 59 ODIs scoring 1604 runs with an admissible average of 38.19. The main reason to support him as captain is his icy-cool character with ‘maturity’ in his decision; what Afridi lacks in. Misbah was appointed captain of the Test team after the eruption of spot-fixing controversy, when Salman Butt was sacked for being allegedly involved in the controversy. Misbah-ul-Haq led the controversy-hit team to a 0-0 draw against South Africa in UAE and 1-0 win against New Zealand down under. Not only, he led the team to a win, but also he performed by scoring 6 consecutive fifties in Test matches.

So, I recommend PCB, like Zaheer Abbas, to appoint captain who is “a performer and not an entertainer.” The on-going series between Pakistan vs New Zealand is not less than a scrutiny for Shahid Afridi. If he performs himself, he will get a role of skipper. If he doesn’t, he will enjoy the privileges of Misbah’s deputy. Best of Luck Lala!. I hope he will lead the team to 5-1 win down under.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bet on Sports

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Test for everyone

Pakistan are playing their last Test series before the World Cup 2011. It’s really an important series for Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, because PCB is considering him to replace Shahid Afridi as limited overs captain. To my mind, It would-be a spellbinding alternative as far as Pakistan cricket is concerned. Though Afridi has had a plenty of fans in his friend list although his career, but he is not a ace captain. To the contrary, Misbah-ul-Haq since his appointment in October last year, has shown maturity in leading the side.

Kiwis on the other hand, have not managed to vanquish Pakistan in Test series for the last 26 years. It is a good chance for them to beat Pakistan, but so far they have not been able to do so. Kiwis who were thrashed in Sub-continent last year, would be hoping for something good, this year. New Zealand lost 4-0 to Bangladesh and 5-0 to India in 2010. After those inevitable loses New Zealand changed their coach, but even after that, they were crushed by Pakistan in first Test; a bad start to a new year.

While in Doha, Suspended trio is fighting legal case against ICC. Salman Butt is very likely to get a life-ban while other two are expecting 5-year or 2-year ban.

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