Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
2)It has been exactly a year since the under 19 World Cup final between Australia and Pakistan 2010.
3)It has been a year since Afridi decided to physically bite the cricket ball at Perth.
Maaz says Predict the placings of Group A in the World Cup. Teams include:-
Maaz says Predict the placings of Group B In The World Cup. Teams include:-
Pakistan effectively only need to beat Canada, Kenya and Zimbabwe to progress to the quarter finals in the World Cup. They can actually afford to lose to Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia without harming their prospects of reaching the knock out stages as long as they beat the minnows. Nonetheless, you'll expect them to beat New Zealand and if they could win their encounter against either Australia or Sri Lanka as well, that will put them in an excellent position to get the momentum, psychological edge and in-form confidence to deliver when it matters. Also, will give them an easier fixture in the quarter final against a lesser in form outfit. There are absolutely no excuses for not reaching the quarter finals. Reaching the semis should be the target and where I think they will be, come 26th March! The tournament structure certainly suits Pakistan as it is all about easing your way into it and peaking at the right time. In short, a very open World Cup where Pakistan stand a good outside chance in all seriousness.
Well it's the same for every Test Playing Nation in their group. The ICC purposefully changed the structure to make it more favourable for Pakistan and India after their early elimination in the 2007 WC. Usually, we all sit here criticising the ICC, but this goes to show they really genuinely care about Pakistan.
Shahid Khan Afridi demonstrated his unique nature today which made great viewing. When he fires with the bat like we saw today, he has the capabilities to take any attack to the cleaners and become a true world beater. Never has one doubted that. Although it may only happen in rate proportions, when it does happen, it feels so damn good. Well played BOOMBOOM. That was a breath taking 65 from just 25 deliveries which absolutely dominated proceedings. Nonetheless, I reserve my judgement about him NOT being the best man to lead Pakistan as our chances of success and playing more consistently are significantly easier under a more cool and composed figure. However, individually we must give utmost credit where its due and if the team performs like they did today and makes the equation straight forward, then his mediocre captaincy limitations can be compensated for.
Additionally, the skipper bowled beautifully. He beat the bat on numerous occasions and his variations were coming out really nicely. One can only hope that he has regained his effectiveness and venom in the bowling department which could be a key factor in Pakistan's World Cup prospects.
Umar Akmal also came to the party which was a refreshing sight. His 29 ball 44 helped the innings acceleration at the death. His involvement in the field was fantastic with 3 cool catches and one crucial outstanding run out which probably sealed New Zealand's fate. Pakistani fans and followers can only hope this young tiger has re-discovered his international cricketing brilliance after a sparkling display today. Is this the Umar Akmal we all know? The star teenage attraction which took the world by storm in 2009?
Credit also has to be given to the middle order anchor role stability Misbah Ul Haq provided. Not every player in the team has to be a match winner and we have to notice the contributions of structured methodical players and the underappreciated significance they bring to the team. Misbah played a significant hand and engaged in an important partnership which battled through the potential difficult patches. This enabled the big star power houses to play with freedom, positivity, intent as soon as they arrived at the crease rather than them being exposed earlier in the piece where things would not have been easy without a platform set where they could unleash.
Pakistan will now be looking to consolidate on the good work by winning 2 of the next 3 ODIs which are to be held on the 1st,3rd and 5th of February respectively and subsequently win the series too. Will this thrilling tour come to a series decider on the 5th at Eden Park? Watch this space and watch out for the cornered tigers!
Good News: Pakistan's premier spinner Saeed Ajmal will be fit and fully available for selection in the 4th ODI. He is a key part of our plans. It's important they draft him into the starting line up somehow. Squad rotation perhaps?
Cool and collective Umar reminded us of his outfielding usefulness
Friday, January 28, 2011
Domestic updates 28/01/11
In the ongoing domestic National one day competition between various cities and departmental sides here are some of the key individual performances worth highlighting in the various matches which were contested around the country today.
-Imran Farhat scored 150 for HBL.
-Fawad Alam scores 78*captaining NBP.
-Young emerging fast bowler Mohammad Talha claimed excellent figures of 6-38.
-Young future all round prospect Hammad Azam scored 54 for NBP to add to his 93* in the previous fixture he played in.
-Imran Nazir scored 51 and claimed 3 wickets.
- Highly rated Ghani scored 105* for PIA.
|The Future is Safe Man|
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Yasir Arafat, the Pakistani seam bowler who has been a key member of past tours was interviewed by a friend of mine called Shaikh Zain who is an administrator of a Pakistan Cricket Team Fan Page on Facebook which is closely affiliated with this blog.
Yasir Arafat was at my place yesterday (26-01-2011) had a great time with him. He was not allowed to give a video interview by PCB, so I asked few questions which were post by some of our members in the group and ofcourse MAAZ and Kalim Khan also posted their Questions too. The members include:
Shaikh Zain [SZ]: Yasir bhai thank you so very much for time you taken out for the dinner. As you know im the admin of the Pakistan Cricket team page on facebook along with KK and Maaz, there are some questions asked by our members and would like to know about yourself.
Yasir Arafat [Y.A]: I would love to answer them “minus” anything about PCB which im not allowed.
S.Z: You’ve done brilliant in domestic matches and as a result you were the highest wicket taker in the T-20 Format. Why are selectors ignoring you?
Y.A: There are lots of reasons and as I told you im not allowed commenting about anything regarding PCB. But I believe in Allah and jo Allah ki marzi ho.
S.Z: This season, Rana was signed by Sussex and how about you?
Y.A: Surrey approached and today they confirmed the media. Before leaving to England, I’ll be joining South Africa for a week to play T-20 league for Dolphins on feb 2nd along with Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir.
S.Z: What do u think about Imran Tahir?
Y.A: We’ve played together in under 19 and few league matches. Goras never approach asian players to play for their national side but imran tahir is a fantastic bowler and dangerous for the opposition team and as a result of his ability he is now playing WC for S.A.
S.Z: You’ve played under waqar, Inzi, Younis, malik, and Afridi. Under whoz captaincy you’ve enjoyed a lot?
Y.A: I think each of the above captains were different and great in many ways. I actually loved playing under Younis Khan. Brilliant and intelligent.
S.Z: Which county stint you enjoyed the most?
Y.A: Sussex, brilliant and great team mates.
S.Z: Your prospects of playing for the national side again?
Y.A: Performances in domestic and county seasons will INSHALLAH help me to be in national side again.
S.Z: Your Role Models growing up?
Y.A: Imran khan as a cricketing role model and Waqar younis as a bowler.
S.Z: Your Great achievements up till now?
Y.A: Representing Pakistan itself is a great achievements but recently I was booked in gunnies book of world record, 90 wickets in 69 matches which is the achievements which I will never forget.
S.Z: Your Views about the captaincy policy and WC?
Y.A: Zain you will put me in trouble as I told you I can’t comment on PCB issues. But I would want Afridi to take charge atleast for the WC. But this is Pakistan everything is Possible [Laugh]. Play with unity and concentrate and give 100 percent will make us qualify for semi finals. I wish them Best Of luck.
S.Z: Your Close friends in Pakistan national side and who has helped you most in your family?
Y.A: IM very close to Shoiab Bhai [Shoiab Akhtar] along with Younis, Malik, and kami.
My father helped me a lot and still supports me for every single match I play.
S.Z: If given a chance, which batsman would you like to bowl most?
Y.A: I would love to bowl Saeed Anwar, Majid khan and Viv Richard and ofcourse Sachin Tendulkar.
S.Z: Were You named after Palestine Leader [ Yasir Arafat]
Y.A: [ Smiles] Yes that is right.
S.Z: Yasir bhai anything to your fans?
Y.A: Thank you very much for supporting me and keep praying for me and Pakistan. And I would like to add something. Ive got no id on facebook. So guyz better don’t follow that fake Yasir Arafat.
S.Z: Yasir bhai, on behalf of our admins and members of Pakistan Cricket team, we wish you a very best of luck for future and hope to see you soon in the national side.
Y.A: Thank you very much
31/0 4.2 overs
New Zealand lead the series 1-0 with 4 to go
Ahmed Shehzad scored 25* from 16 balls before rain took over at Queenstown
Ahmed Shehzad epitomises the beauty of controlled and calculated aggression. This is something Umar Akmal could/should take a leaf out of. He demonstrated glimpses of genius in whatever play which was possible in today’s wash out. Loved the intent and positivity. This was not the first time either! In short, both Umar and Shehzad have the capabilities to take the world by storm in the forthcoming fast approaching World Cup with their fearlessness, flair & exuberance of youth. Pakistan continues to thrive, lead the way, pride & flourish in producing and throwing in young gems and Ahmed Shehzad is no exception. I have always backed, hyped and rated this youngster since he was catching the eye in the domestic arena and will continue to do so in the future. What a mouth watering prospect in the making, probably one of the most talented teenage batsmen on the planet. He is someone I have felt needs to be utilised at the top of the order instead of inconsistent, overrated, unnecessary, unreliable and to a large degree tainted performers like Kamran, Nazir, and Shahzib to name a few. AS from Lahore, give us more, the sky is the limit.......
Monday, January 24, 2011
However, his statement has no seriousness and is not credible for obvious reasons. He is after Afridi purposefully. He may not be, however considering how things have fared this is a strong front line possibility. Nonetheless, I totally agree where Butt is coming from, but his tainted view is not one to be taken with any seriosity at the moment considering the deep hot water he currently lies in with allegations of extreme magnitude lying against his name and many cricketing socieities worldwide convinced about the reality.
The captaincy dilemma is simply coming down to:
Potential negative political effects (without Afridi) vs. more organised, controlled, composed, structured, collective, professional, responsible team effort (with Misbah).
I am not underestimating the importance of unity and spirit in the long term, however when looking at Pakistan's best bet to go further in a global tournament my eyes are firmly attracted to the second thought. Screw unity and spirit. Performance matters on the field and you can bank on Misbah to hopefully keep things under control off the field with his education and experience. He is the way forward as far as I'm concerned, if he gets the chance the results should show and certainly have the potential to do so.
KARACHI, Jan 22 (APP): Former Pakistan Captain Aamir Sohail and legendary leg-spinner Abdul Qadir on Saturday lashed out at captain Shahid Afridi for highly irresponsible behavior in the first One-Day International against New Zealand at Wellington earlier in the day.“How a captain can ask other players to show responsibility if he himself is guilty of such horrible strokes to let the team down”, former Chief Selector Abdul Qadir said in his comments at Pakistan Television.
It seems as if Lala has provided details against him when he appeared before the tribunal. Good on Lala. Clean cricket, save Pakistan.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
View from one of the stands
Autographs of Anwar Ali & Faisal Iqbal below:
Meanwhile, in the division 2 final contest which was held earlier, SPB beat KRL to take the honours in a largely rain affected innings reduced timeless fixture.
Top 5 run getters Division 1
Rameez Raja 801
Shoaib Malik 799
Mansoor Amjad 784
Kamran Sajid 781
Kamran Akmal 767
Top 5 wicket takers Division 1
Sadaf Hussain 64
Abdur Rauf 63
Mohammad Khalil 61
Nasrullah Khan 61
Aizaz Cheema 57
Top 5 run getters Division 2
Usman Saliuddin 927
Asif Zakir 797
Raheel Majeed 673
Wajid Ali 716
Top 5 wicket takers Division 2
Sohail Khan 50
Saeed Altaf 50
Riaz Afridi 49
Mohammad Irfan 45
Atif Maqbool 40
Top 3 WKs
Ahmed Said 50 dismissals
Jamal Anwar 41 dismissals
Kamran Akmal 33 dismissals
Saturday, January 22, 2011
The amount of catches he has dropped (34 at last count) in the last few years make him one of the worst wicket-keepers to have played in this era. No WK has ever been retained after such miserable showings but the man with "The Teeth" has made numerous comebacks just like a Pakistani salesman who refuses to go away after being shunned numerous times.
|AFP PHOTO/ADRIAN DENNIS|
|Afridi - Contemplating hi ball-biting skills|
Friday, January 21, 2011
Pakistan have only won 12 out of 34 ODI matches they have played in New Zealand. Last time they toured New Zealand they lost the series 4-1 in 2004. Last time they played an ODI series against New Zealand they lost 2-1 in UAE November 2009. They have not won an ODI series in New Zealand since 1994. New Zealand are not be underestimated, but in all fairness Pakistan should definitely win this ODI series rather comfortably.
Overall Pakistan have won 48 out of 82 ODI encounters against the Kiwis.
Younis Khan has never played an ODI in New Zealand!
Team announced for 1st ODI at Basin Reserve. 6 AM PST and 1 AM GMT: Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Misbah ul Haq, Umer Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rehman, Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Akhtar
Gul is rightfully being rested as is Wahab.It's perfectly reasonable as they deserve a rest to re-charge their batteries. Plus gives us an opportunity to tinker with the line up and look at other options available too. Look at the depth in the batting. Spin will be a key factor too. Definitely a bat first strategy should be in mind.
SA certainly have a mouth watering attacking spin option up their sleeves now with his inclusion and presence. Something they have always lacked and dreamt of having in their armouries.
He thoroughly well deserves his selection and opportunity. A proud moment for him and his family.
Best wishes to him. Probably one of the greatest bowler Pakistan produced that unfortunately did not get to play for them for various reasons which included having so many world class spinners at the time such as Saqlain, Mushtaq Ahmed & Danish Kaneria. Additionally, one has to feel for him as the selectors did not take enough noteworthiness of his statistics and ability when he was available for selection and lived in Lahore. Moreover, he married a South African women and upon her recommendations settled in South Africa and played his cricket there at the domestic level with overwhelming success over a number of seasons.
I have been extremely impressed by the cunning spinner each and every time I have had the pleasure to see him bowl in County Cricket fixtures, big or small. He has many lethal variations with the ability to bamboozle many a batsmen. He has been highly praised and rated by legendary artists like Warne and Qadir. This just goes to show, how effective and exciting he is. Additionally, he can be a useful lower order batsmen and add some contributions in the batting department as well.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Azhar Ali 6/10
Younis Khan 9/10
Misbah Ul Haq 10/10
Asad Shafiq 6/10
Adnan Akmal 7/10
Abdur Rehman 8/10
Umar Gul 9/10
Tanvir Ahmed 5/10
Wahab Riaz 5/10
Did not get a game: Umar Akmal, Sohail Tanvir & Khurram Manzoor.
PKs next Test assignment isn’t until May where they will tour the West Indies for another brief 2 match series. In their last 10 Tests they have played they have won 30% and drawn 30%. In their last 20 they have played they have lost 50%. Progression and Test form rejuvenation is being made. I will like to set PK a target that by January 2012 they are in the top 3 on the ICC rankings system for Tests and also Misbah remains undefeated as skipper in the format before he retires. In summary, enjoy the moment but this should only be the beginning.
The Tactics in the final session were debatable to an extent, however I strongly urge people not to take this with any concern or seriousness as the final outcome is what ultimately matters and it’s the greens that emerge as the final victors. It is better to be safe than sorry. A Pakistani win was least expected anyhow . A draw was the wanted outcome. A draw was we got. Moreover, we are not used to winning a series so we wanted to fully guarantee we were able to comfortably take the series honours as the wait had been a long, painful and miserable process rather than playing with risk and giving the opposition even the slightest of sniffs to get themselves back in the game and consequently level the series. It was an excellent effort which demonstrated great character, professionalism, responsibility, application, composure and gutsiness.
This current Test Team is a pleasure to watch. PCT are finally showing encouraging signs of becoming a “good” Test Unit. The batsmen are showing responsibility, determination, character, temperamental solidness and the bounty of consistency which makes them a respectable fighting professional outfit. The bowlers continue to discover new ways and new disciplines. I really rate this Test Match outfit personally. They have the ingredients to do wonders and I am proud to be following and supporting them. Test Cricket should be the long term priority and I prefer watching this line up then the ODI and T20 one by some distance. It’s a refreshing blend of top class characters and individuals, experienced and young who are stepping up on the responsibility ladder and stamping their authority in a controlled manner.
Misbah Ul Haq lifts the Series Trophy. He continues his magnifient form as skipper with a 6th consecutive half century. Pakistan remain undefeated under his leadership.
So far 2011 is proving to be a successful year. Long may this continue........?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Some of them would rather have Pakistan lose and draw the test series then to DRAW a test match from a winning position so shamelessly. The legacy of the cornered tigers they say has been disgraced by the utter nonchalance Misbah ul Haq displayed in the afternoon session chasing 274.
|Image Courtesy: Marty Melville/Getty Images|
Only 3 things are certain in life, taxes, death and a Pakistan batting collapse. Could the team think tank really risk losing a series, that too after 4 long years just to win one test match? Would you have done the same, considering that only a keeper who is playing his 4th test match and the tailenders were left behind?
|Younis - Pak Crickets hottest commodity|
Sure we all want some entertainment out of it, but this is REAL TEST CRICKET. The still relatively inexperienced team cannot slog their way out to a win when they do not have the necessary experience to deal with a collapse. This is test cricket we are talking about folks, not a gulli danda T20 slog-fest.
Misbah Ul Haq
*Just to clarify guys NO captain has been announced for the World Cup when the 15 man squad was announced today. Afridi has been given the message that he has to perform now in the forthcoming series and lead well, otherwise he will be sacked. For now let's get behind him, however if the worst comes to the worst we always have a highly suitable alternative option. Let's see how our beloved Lala responds under pressure. Desperate times require desperate measures.*
*Guys IF Afridi gets an injury before the World Cup, there is a high chance it will be deliberately faked in order to try and save his reputation. I hope even if he is not captain for the mega event, he realises the value and importance of himself in the team and plays in the starting line up nonetheless. For now though he still has the captaincy in his hands for the forthcoming ODI series which commences on Saturday. Waqar Younis has strong disputes and rifts about him as a leader and to a large extent, so do I. At the end of the day we want what is best for Pakistan Cricket in the short and long term vision.*
New Zealand 356 & 293
Pakistan 376 & Require 274 to win the series 2-0
274 is on my mind! It is what Pakistan need in order to successfully whitewash New Zealand and win a monumental Test Series. The series is fascinatingly set up for a thrilling climax at the Basin Reserve. The match is wide open with all 3 possibilities in the bag.
Here below is my proportional verdict at this moment in time:
New Zealand: 40%
Finishes the series with 13 wickets. Has coped well and responded with his added responsibility of leading the attack and done it superbly. He has bowled with good aggression, energy and whole heartedly given his best for the skipper and team. Certainly deserves some praise and recognition. Hopefully, for his sake it will be in a winning series cause.Younis Khan
Champions are made for moments like these! The Pathan Tiger has the credentials and toughness to come good. Perhaps he can notch up a memorable ton to guide us to victory? I am backing him all the way personally, but doubt Pakistan can actually win this one as much as I would dream optimistically for it to happen, unless he gets going with his class, experience and authority.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
New Zealand 356 & 11/0
Azhar Ali reached his 6th Test Match half century in his 10th Test after scoring a well played 67 in the first innings.
The young lad continues to impress and grow in stature.
Finally since dropping Malik, Farhat, Butt and Kamran and all these tried and tested Test Match failures, Pakistan’s batting is finally showing guts, determination, stability and authoritativeness. We are now successfully posting totals in excess of 300, something which was virtually unheard of during the English summer and before. Forget all this exaggerated aggression, stylishness and free scoring values in Test Cricket. Of course you might need the odd spark from time to time as if and when Umar Akmal returns, but I can now happily say that Pakistan’s batting is finally learning the art how to play Test Cricket the good old way which deserves our admiration and appreciation. The bowling may not be as potent as before, but will always stand a chance of being competitive and replaceable over time.
The venue for the 2nd Test is a wonderful picturesque sight
The Test at the Basin Reserve is interestingly poised. All 3 results are very much still possible. Here is my tactical input ahead of what is to follow on what should be an exciting day of proceedings.
Plan A) Attacking field setting trying to entice early wicket taking opportunities and still giving Pakistan a good shout of winning this. Seamers will need to come charging in with good intent, energy and motivation.
Plan B) Containment. If New Zealand get away early on and start pushing on, quick action is needed with a change mindset to uphold their advance and tie things up. Here Rehman would be handy with his guile, accuracy and nagging line and lengths. By all means do not go defensive too early on, but if this scenario occurs precision and thoughtfulness is required from Mr MBA Graduate.
Pakistan will feel confident and comfortable at chasing anything under 250 which is realistically achievable. Ideally, under 200 would be better as the visitors look to chase their first Test Series win in 11 attempts.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Batsmen are instructed to get in the way of the ball while running between the wickets; Misbah-ul-Haq made all the right moves before blowing a fuse at the last moment on the second day of the Delhi Test. Patting to point, he took off for a quick single and just needed to ground his bat at the non-striker's end when he chose to jump and evade the throw instead. Dinesh Karthik's effort from point found its way onto the stumps and Misbah was out when in mid-air.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
|© Arun Ramkumar for Cricinfo|
|Produced using Cricinfo's StatsGuru|
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Pakistan batting legend and former captain Javed Miandad has once again offered his services as a batting consultant prior to the World Cup. In a refreshing development which will be beneficial to Pakistan’s chances in the mega event.
Miandad is said to be encouraged by the patience and determination showed by the Pakistani batsmen during the win against New Zealand in the first test. He spent a few days coaching Pakistani batsmen before they went on to tour New Zealand and his advice seems to have helped the test batting line-up.
The previous move came after various attempts by the PCB to play down the need for a batting coach for the national team amidst numerous batting failures on the tour of England during the summer.
The media and former players criticized the PCB for having Waqar Younis & Aaqib Javed as a part of the coaching staff when the real need for the team was for a batting coach.
Miandad has served the PCB in various capacities after his retirement and is currently holding the position of Director Operations. He has held the head coaching position on the famous tour to India in 1999 and was keen to replace Intikhab Alam earlier this year after he was relieved of his head coaching duties.
It will be curious to see whether Waqar Younis & Javed will establish a healthy working relationship once more or will there be another clash of egos between the two men. One thing is for sure though that our young and upcoming batsmen will definitely learn a few tricks from the finest batsmen the country has ever produced.
What the postponement tells us is that the ICC is not willing to destroy the career of the 3 players but in fact is willing to listen to the suggestion of Mohammad Aamir’s lawyer, by carefully deliberating over the case before passing the judgment and potentially leading to small time bans/fines.
Missing the World Cup is a sacrifice I’m willing to make if it makes sure that (if the players are innocent) they will be available for selection as soon as possible.