Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 Results Stats And An Amazing All Time W/L Ratio Captaincy Record From Pakistan's Current Leader

Pakistan just behind England with 3 tests to go. England are done and dusted for the year. 2 victories are expected against Bangladesh in December.

Pakistan have 8 ODIs left to play yet.

13 matches across all formats left including a 6 match tour of Bangladesh. Surely Pakistan will maintain the lead by a significant difference across all formats of the game? 2011 has been a top year.

The highest W/L ratio ever by an international captain across all formats of the game. Wins is how a captain should be judged ultimately.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brilliance From Pakistan Under Captain Misbah

Misbah over takes Zaheer Abbas as Pakistan's most successful test captain in terms of W/L ratio

He will be the 12th most capped Pakistan test captain by the end of the series out of 29 leaders

With 4 monumental and comprehensive test victories and 1 narrow defeat in 9 tests as captain he has achieved this feat

What makes it even more special is:

- He took over after the spot fixing scandal where Pakistan lost their 2 premier fast bowlers. He took over the leadership and helped keep Pakistan Cricket alive and well in its darket hour
- He hasn't played any test series on home soil or in the sub continent during the process
- He led Pakistan to 2 test series wins outside Asia. This is something they failed to achieve for 7 years in 2004-2010 under several different captains
- Before he took over Pakistan had lost 10 out of their last 15 tests all after the 2009 ICC T20 WC euphoria
- He has managed to captain for an extended period of time and hold on to the test captaincy for more than just a series or two. His previous 5 captains were unable to do that
- During the process he was nominated for ICC cricketer of the year. Considering Pakistan's relations over the last year with other international cricketing communities have been living on thin ice, this was a key achievement in re-establishing Pakistan's respect as a test force in challenging times
- He was awarded the overseas test cricketer of the year by a leading UK cricketing publication
- In 60% of his innings as test captain he has scored a 50+ score. Many times he was not out and given out wrongly when he did not.
- During his time as captain there has been stability and direction in the camp. No controversies which is highly refreshing
- He is in the top 6 leading test run scorers in 2011
- He has captained in 5 test series consecutively with an undefeated series record
- Pakistan stand a chance of registering the most test victories in the 2011 calendar under him with 3 tests to go.
- There has been continuity and consistency in batting performances. We have only played 7 different batsmen in the top 6 for the last 9 tests and there is a sense of responsibility and a settled camp. The batting line up is certainly solid and gritty. They value their wickets and can bat for an age to post large totals and wear out the bowlers.

Truly the Saviour of Pakistan Cricket

Personally, I have been following Pakistan Cricketing intensely since 2004 and I don't think I have come across a better captain to lead the team as far as personal form, statistical track record in results, stability in the camp and reputation and tactical credentials in knowing how to identify strengths and weakenesses and plan out the opposition with depth study and technical awareness.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cricket Web Pak vs SL (Test) 27/10/11

Catches Win Matches

The opening test in Abu Dhabi has concluded with a moral victory for the Sri Lankans who batted with utmost character, spirit and heart to prevent an embarrassing loss after being outplayed on the first 3 days by Misbah-ul-Haq's Pakistan team. The seasoned campaigner Kumar played a blinder at number 3 to notch up his 8th double century in an illustrious career. Since he has given up the gloves, his batting has gone from strength to strength. The 34 year old batted for 153 overs to ensure Pakistan did not have the necessary time they required in order to chase down the 4th innings target which was 170 from 21 overs in the end. Pakistan decided not go ahead with the chase and ensure safety in order to get the test match done and dusted with a draw and 2 tests to follow in Dubai and Sharjah (first test will be played there in 9 years). Maravan Attapatu, the Sri Lankan batting coach and past great would have been delighted with the "application" his batsmen displayed on show. It was the key phrase he mentioned to Tony Greig in his interview. The visitors battled with resilience, controlled game sense, gutsiness, clear mindset and a tight defence to see out the bowling and survive for lengthy periods and get out of jail from a disastrous position. The comeback would have done wonders for the camp knowing they can dig themselves out from a mammoth hole. The 3 day gap is an opportunity for both camps to regroup and reassesses as well as relax after a challenging 5 days in the scorching UAE sunshine. Dilshan mentioned his team will be watching the RWC final from Auckland between New Zealand and France on Sunday as their so called relaxation at the post match presentation ceremony where Kumar was awarded the player of the match award also. Misbah praised his batsmen and bowlers and vowed to work with the fielding. He defended his decision to close the game down rather than having a dart at the 9RPO target due to no fielding restrictions, day 5 rough, no leg side wides and so forth.


All the last 3 tests in the UAE have seen Pakistan bowl first with the match ending in comfortable draws.

Just like last November only 27 wickets fell in the test at Abu Dhabi.
3 double centurions in 2 tests in Abu Dhabi.

Only l loss in 8 tests for Misbah. Before he took over Pakistan lost 10 out of their last 15 all after the 2009 ICC WT20 euphoria.

Sri Lanka have drawn 4 out of 6 tests under Dilshan this year.

Saeed Ajmal needs one more wicket for 50 international wickets in the calendar year across all formats.

Azhar Ali has 4 50s in his last 5 completed innings (where he has been dismissed) ever since the St Kitts test match which was played in the latter half of May this year.

Both teams went two sessions without losing a wicket. Both teams saw their 2nd wicket stand do one of these sessions.

Umar Gul struck twice in the 3rd innings on the very first delivery with the new ball each time. Both times the batsmen was removed by an LBW with the new cherry and proud seam on the first delivery of the 1st and 81st over.

In comparison to Pakistan's 20 wickets. Sri Lanka could only manage 7. 2 of their pacers went without a wicket: Lakmal and the debutant and recent birthday boy Pradeep.

- The last time there was a test match in Dubai YK scored an unbeaten 4th innings century. This was also YKs last century at test level.

-Pakistan posted their highest 4th innings total in Dubai last year.

-Sangkarra and Jaya have the 4th highest run aggregate partnership in cricket history at an average of 50.

- Herath is the 3rd leading Sri Lankan wicket taker of all time at test level. He over took Lasith Malinga with the unlucky caught behind of Misbah in the first innings.

-4 current Pakistan players are in the top 13 averages test averages in the country's cricket history as things currently stand.

-Aizaz Cheema has taken his last 4/10 test wickets all caught behind by AA.

-In the last 12 tests Pakistan have had 4 of each result whereas Sri Lanka are still searching for their first win since Murali's retirement. It's been 12 tests since.

-The only result produced between Pakistan/Sri Lanka in neutral tests was the 1999 Asia Test Championship Final in Dhaka.

Taufeeq 9.5/10: The highest score by a Pakistan opener since 1992 was a record he achieved during this test match. Taufeeq has the 11th highest Pakistan test average of all time following his marathon 236 in the first innings where he spent 496 deliveries at the wicket to place Pakistan in a commanding position in this Abu Dhabi test match. He was knocked over cheaply in the 2nd innings for yet another LBW (5 in his last 9 innings) which is an area he'll need to address.

Hafeez: 4/10. Dropping catches on that surface was criminal. The professor was a letdown in the slip cordon and was having a nightmare. Additionally, he got through plenty of overs (31) without a wicket and when considering his previous first class appearance after his surgery which saw him miss the Faysal Bank Twnenty20, gave him a match winning tally of 11 wickets it was a disappointing return. He did score a first innings half century nonetheless as well as successfully seeing out the 10 overs in the final session on Saturday to earn the draw, but catches win matches and Hafeez was a disappointment in this aspect.

Azhar Ali: 8/10. He engaged in his 6th stand of 100 during the course of the test match to go along with 12 50 stands. The 160 2nd wicket partnership was a key contributor to Pakistan's grand total of 511/6 declared. Azhar should be able to reach 1000 test runs during the Dubai test match and should be targeting 300+ aggregate in this series with an average in the high 40s at least. Azhar also was involved in 3 second innings dismissals including taking his maiden test wicket with a beautifully pitched leg spinner which saw the end of Kumar.

YK: 5/10. It wasn't the most fluent first innings knock with a SR in the 30s and he missed out on a track where he was expected to score big. Nonetheless as always the man with the most catches by a fielder in Pakistan cricket history was active and involved with his fielding. He will be hoping to make it count in Dubai.

Misbah: 6/10. A superb counter attack in the first innings as well as a good decision to insert Sri Lanka into bat which worked extremely well. The pitch tends to flatten out in this part of the world as the game progresses. Whatever little assistance is available for the seamers is at the beginning. His lack of killer instinct in the 4th innings chase was debatable as was the fact that he was not fielding in the slip cordon, but by and large he should be pleased with the performances of the batters and bowlers. He will want to have a word with the fielders for sure. He will be backing himself to maintain the 2nd highest average by a captain in Dubai and for his team to put on a similar show, but with the catches held this time.

Asad Shafiq: 2/10. A bizarre knock in the circumstances and he has come under a lot of criticism, but due to the insecurities surrounding his place in a way it is understandable. Asad will want to put this behind him and prove a point or two to his critics. He definitely should be retained.

Adnan Akmal: 6/10. 6 dismissals. The catch in the first innings to remove Kumar was a blinder. He didn't get the chance to bat as Gul was promoted above him for the declaration. They sad when a keep is not being mentioned, he is doing a good job.

Umar Gul: 7/10. 6/101 were brilliant match figures on that particular surface. He struck at crucial times in the 2nd innings. Only criticism if any is he struggled to strike when it mattered in the opening hours of day 5 when Pakistan were pushing for victory and could have added a few with the bat as opposed to the duck he bagged. 19 wickets in 4 tests for Gul this year.

Junaid Khan: 10/10. He bowled his heart out in his 2nd test on a cruel venue for bowlers and if it wasn't for the diabolical catching he could have easily claimed a memorable 10 wicket match haul. He produced the ball of the test match in the first innings against the Sri Lankan wicket keeper. It was unplayable first up. You have to sympathise with him for all those chances which went down from his bowling. He produced the sparks and bowled with firepower and energy. He surely has cemented his place for the remainder of the series. Pakistan can take a lot of encouragement from his impressive showing.

Aizaz Cheema: 5/10. He put in the effort and gave it his all, but he was ineffective in the 2nd innings and struggled to back up the brilliance we witnessed in Bulawayo. Nevertheless, he bowled some excellent surprise deliveries which on another day could have easily got him many wickets. He did have trouble with his footing which seemed to disturb his rhythm and was warned twice. He may well be replaced in Dubai by Rehman or Wahab depending on the wicket.

Saeed Ajmal: 3/10. For a bowler of his class and calibre he struggled in the 2nd innings and failed to live up to expectations. He was economical in the first nevertheless. There is a possibility that Rehman might play in his position in the 2nd test. The ball he bowled to remove Jaya was a beauty though, it cut back sharply from a length. Nonetheless, credit to the Sri Lankans who played him well and did not allow him to settle. On batter friendly surfaces Ajmal has been a bowler who has suffered to get the results.


'Our fielding let us down' - Mohsin

Raja - Disappointed with Pakistan's lack of aggression

Misbah's words more positive than deeds - Kamran Abbasi

“Slip catching is all about confidence, just like batting. We are really looking forward to doing a lot of practice, and forget the fielding effort in the first match and just go out for a win,” said Misbah.

"Pakistan should go with two specialist spinners": Iqbal Qasim

"Pakistani Bowlers were Exceptional" - Mudassar Nazar

“I think it’s (draw) a huge advantage for us. We were well behind in the match and we survived and since this is a long series we have to come strongly in each match,” said Dilshan

Azhar Ali: One Of The Quickest Pakistan Batsmen To 1000 Test Runs

Fastest Pakistanis to reach 1000 Test Runs. Azhar Ali at 10th Position out of 20:

Latest Updated Fixtures For HK 6s, Bangladesh Tour, England's Tour In UAE, Asia Cup 2012, ICC WT20 2012 Group Matches.......

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011: A Golden Year For Saeed Ajmal

Congratulations to Saeed Ajmal.

50 international wickets this year.

This includes:

25 wickets in the Caribbean tour 8 matches.

5 CWC wickets in 3 matches he played.

7 wickets in 2 matches against Ireland.

9 wickets in Zimbabwe over 5 matches.

6 wickets so far in test series against Sri Lanka after half of the innings.

Bring on the battle for the ultimate off spinning king with Graeme Swann come January

Friday, October 21, 2011

Asia Cup 2012

The Asia Cup will be held between 12th and 22nd March 2012 in Bangladesh with the hosts, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India featuring. Both India and Sri Lanka will be coming into this tournament on the back of the completion of the Triangular series down under. All matches will be played in the capital city of Dhaka. A Pakistan-India match has been scheduled for Sunday 18th March 2011. India are the most successful team with 5 titles in 10 events. They are also defending champions after winning the competition on June 24th 2010 after beating Sri Lanka in the final on their home turf. The last time the event was held in Bangladesh was in 2000 and Pakistan won their only one of the 10 editions then under Moin Khan’s captaincy. He was awarded MOM in the final against Sri Lanka and led from the front. Misbah-ul-Haq will want to repeat the same and I back him to do so with his outstanding record as a leader.

2012 ICC U19 WC

The 2012 ICC U19 CWC will be held in Australia August 2012. 16 teams will be participating in the tournament. Pakistan have been paired in a pool which consists of Scotland, New Zealand and Afghanistan. Pakistan will be looking to go one better than they did in 2010 under Azeem Ghumman’s leadership where they reached the final after defeating the Indians and West Indies teams. Pakistan won this tournament in 2004 and 2006 under the leadership of Khalid Latif and Safraz Ahmed respectively. They have also reached the final twice. Pakistan’s players will include the likes of Babar Azam who is a cousin of the Akmal household and a batting all rounder. Usman Qadir, the son of Abdul Qadir who claimed 236 test wickets and revived the art of leg spin in a fast bowling dominant era should also be in action. Usman played for NBP in the domestic 20/20 tournament which Moin Khan organised during the holy month of Ramadan. It is the 9th time the event is being held and the 2nd time the venue will be Australia. The last time it was hosted in Australia Pakistan were runners up in 1988 with Australia securing the title. Australia is defending champions and the most successful team with 3 titles.

King Sanga's Century Brings SL Back In The Game

Mohammad Hafeez dropped 2 regulation chances in slip off the bowling from Junaid Khan in consecutive deliveries (the last ball of his previous over and then the very next delivery of his next over). On a placid track, you really have to make the most of what comes your way. These costly misses could come back to daunt the hosts on day 5 if they make it overly difficult for themselves or are unable to enforce a victory from the position of superiority they have got themselves into with a sizeable 314 first innings lead. It was bitterly disappointing for the left arm young pacer, who got the ball in the right areas, made it talk, found the edge and it was spilled not once BUT twice. It was literally unbelievable because generally Hafeez has a decent pair of hands. Also, to add to his woes he nearly dropped 1 in the first innings but managed to hold on in the 2nd or 3rd attempt.

Kumar Sangakkara’s artistry batting was on show. The former Sri Lankan captain stood up and played a blinder at number 3. His off side stroke play is as pleasing on the eye as it can be. His aggressive running to scamper those quick singles also helped him accumulate with fluency and take the pressure of his lesser experience opening partner who was dropped 2/2 as mentioned in the above paragraph. Kumar is always up for a challenge and he won’t give it away easily. He has a fine average against Pakistan and achieved plenty of success against them over the years. I wasn’t surprised a touch to see him perform here. The pitch was still playing well and he tends to step up when the going gets tough.

Further observations

Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s captain played a fluent counter attack yesterday and really accelerated the rate as well as injecting some impetus and momentum into the innings with a declaration in mind. Scoring 46 with a SR in the 90s including 4 fours and 1 mighty sixer from the left arm spin of Rangana “the low round arm workhorse” Hearth. He got a rough decision which prevented him from reaching yet another 50+ score as captain which he deserved with his intent and positivity.

Asad Shafiq played a strange hand considering the situation with an unbeaten 26 from over 90 deliveries with only 2 boundaries when the hosts were looking to up the ante, nonetheless with 511/6 on the board we shouldn’t be too fussed and complains about these minor events. Shafiq who was playing only his 6th test would have wanted to cement his place considering the competition he has from Umar Akmal who is currently captaining SNGPL in the ongoing QEA trophy with Misbah on national duty.

Mohammad Hafeez and Taufeeq Umar average 35 as an opening pair with 2 century stands since last November.

More About TAs 236......

Highest score by Pakistan batsmen since March 2009

2nd highest score by a Pakistan opener

Highest score by a Pakistan opener since Aamir Sohail’s double century in 1992. Aamir of course has highly rated and backed Taufeeq over the years and worked a great deal with him which seems to have paid off big time

4th Pakistan batsmen to spend 700 minutes at the crease in a test match after Hanif, YK and Shoaib Mohammad

He is now 5th in leading test run scorers this year and the highest from Pakistan over taking Misbah. He is behind the likes of Ian Bell, Cook, Dravid and KP who have all played 2 more tests in the calendar year thus far

He has the 7th highest crease occupation per innings per minutes in Pakistan’s proud batting history even prior to this test from Abu Dhabi

Looking ahead: The match is open and Sri Lanka has the potential to save this match if they bat over half the day or more like it up to tea. Pakistan is likely to have to bat again, but will not want to chase more than 150/200. Kumar is the key. As things currently stand Pakistan will be disappointed not to go on and win this, but still there is work to be done. Sri Lanka has had a top day 4 and is definitely still in it. Defeat is not inevitable for them. I would say it would be 53% Pakistan win/42% Sri Lanka draw/ 5% Sri Lanka win in terms of a proportional verdict. It's all set up for a fascinating final day from the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. King Sanga just does NOT looking like getting OUT. I won't be surprised to see Sri Lanka hold on here

Day 2 and Day 3 Review: Marathon Batting Effort From Taufeeq Umar Places Pakistan In A Commanding Position.

Day 2

Score: 259/1 (98 overs)

Looking ahead: Pakistan will be looking to battle through the first 40 minutes of day 3 and then kick on with some steady accumulation and consolidation through the course of the day. Considering the position of strength they have got themselves in a lead of 250-300 should be a minimum they should be targeting and having in mind with the experienced duo to follow.

Player of the day: Taufeeq Umar who batted the whole 90 overs with patience, concentration and top notch judgement against the quicker men as well showing as a neat defence to trap out the spinners. He battled hard and kept at it throughout the day. This was top quality resilience and solid top order batting we witnessed as Pakistan thoroughly dominated the day with only 1 wicket lost in 3 full sessions.

Ball of the day: Only 1 wicket fell, but it’s worth a mention. Herath prevented Hafeez from reaching his 2nd successive test century by trapping him in front just after the lunch break. The slow left arm spinner toiled hard and bowled just over 30 overs in the humidity.


Taufeeq Umar and Azhar Ali have been involved in 3 100 and 3 50 stands in 8 innings together.

Azhar Ali averages over 40 overnight on 19/10/11 as does Taufeeq Umar.

Taufeeq scored his 2nd century in the space of 4 test innings.

All 3 batsmen registered half centuries during the day.

Azhar Ali 60 (176) needs 60 more for 1000 test runs and reached his 10th test 50 in 26 innings.

Sessions: 3-0 Pakistan

242 runs were added to the overnight total for the loss of only 1 wicket

Day 3

Pakistan 511/6: lead of 314

Sri Lanka 41/1 (11)

Moment of the day: Gul dimissing the Sri Lankan opener for a golden duck on the very first ball of the Sri Lankan innings and trapping him LBW with a moving delivery. Tony Greig who was on commentary at this moment in time with Waqar Younis called it out straight away from where they were sitting. It looked plumb in real speed. It summarised how Misbah’s side were so on top.

Ball of the day: The Sri Lankan left arm pacer W for short getting rid of Azhar Ali with a beauty to deny him his much awaited maiden test century. It was a peach of an inswinger which rattled the stumps and broke a 2nd wicket left right combo stand of 180. Finally Dilshan and company could see the back of one of them.

Player of the day: Taufeeq Umar once again continued from where he left off from to make a double century. He batted for over 5 sessions in total. The opener who former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail highly rates continued his superb form since resurrecting his international test career against South Africa last November. He covered all the major qualities you look for in a “proper” test opener to add over 100 to his overnight total. It was a pity he couldn’t carry his bat to the end and was run out by a very thin margin.

Looking ahead: Pakistan win=75%/Sri Lanka draw=25%. Pakistan will be looking to get through the big fishes tomorrow and even finish the job off. Sri Lanka will be looking to go into the final day near to Pakistan’s lead with wickets and experience in hand. On a placid track they have the capabilities to avoid defeat in going 1-0 down here. Pakistan are on course for victory, even perhaps by an innings or a brief chase of day 5. I reckon it will be a 10 wicket win.

Sessions: 3-0 Pakistan.


Taufeeq Umar’s 236 was the highest score by a Pakistan test batsmen since Younis Khan’s triple century at the NSK against the Lankans in the first half of 2009

Azhar Ali scored his 10th half century in 26 innings

Both captains, Misbah and Dilshan were dismissed incorrectly and victims of no DRS

Pakistan have only lost 107 out of a potential 150 wickets in their last 8 tests

Kumar S averages 79 in the 3rd innings against Pakistan

First time since against Sri Lanka in 2009 has Pakistan posted 500 in a test match when cricket was played in Pakistan (24 tests)

2nd time in 3 tests Pakistan have declared the innings

Taufeeq Umar has the 7th highest stats occupation per minutes at the crease prior to this test match in Pakistan’s proud batting history. He gave us an ideal demonstration of why he is in that list here in Abu Dhabi during the first of 6 tests to be played in the UAE this winter. He also has the highest average by a Pakistan test opener since Saeed Anwar. According to many, he was dropped and treated unfairly throughout his career. In the test arena he always had the ingredients required to flourish, although his game was less suited to the shorter formats. The Lahore left handed opener is a gritty and mentally strong occupier of the crease.

Pakistan has won all 9 sessions in this match as far as I’m concerned which the scorecard reflects. The first session on the opening day was a debatable one, but nonetheless Pakistan did control the flow of runs and received a break through before lunch as well as winning the toss and getting to do what they wanted up front.

Further observations: Just a mention that the former New Zealand fast bowler Danny Morrison is also part of the commentary team here which I forgot to mention on day 1. Danny is an individual who comes across as a humorous and enthusiastic follower of the game to say the least.


Junaid: "When I went to Lancashire, Wasim used to call me and tell me how to bowl, how to use the conditions," Khan said. "That stint was very helpful. There I learnt how to seam, how to swing the ball, how to bowl a yorker."

Taufeeq: “Partnerships are the key”

Waqar: “Captain and coach trust is very important. The captain and coach should also be good friends.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 1 Review: Pakistan Right On Top Straight Away....

Commentary team: Sanath Jayasuria, Rameez Raja, Waqar Younis, Russel Arnold, Tony Greig were just some of the people involved. It was interesting to hear Waqar back in the commentary box just exactly 1 month after completing his tenure as coach. It was fascinating to hear his insightful views as he has been around the camp. It’s nice to see him going strong and still being involved in the game and more specifically with his country. His passion and enthusiasm for Pakistan Cricket never runs out. I look forward to hearing more from him throughout the course of the series with his knowledge and experiences more than the comical grammatical errors in tone of voice. Tony Greig of course is from channel 9 in Australia and a familiar voice to many.

Pitch and Conditions: As always in the UAE the weather is humid and it becomes a test of stamina as much as it is to do with skill. The conception was the pitch would be a batting paradise once more in the Middle East dessert.

Toss: Misbah won the toss and elected to insert the Sri Lankans into bat due to the moisture in the wicket. It was a brave and courageous decision on the UAE wickets which are renowned to be placid. The man with the best cricketing intellect and decision making credentials in the country certainly got his assessment spot on and thoroughly justified his decision with the performance and backing from his bowlers who responded extremely well against an experienced Sri Lankan middle order. Without a doubt the day belonged to Pakistan who are placed in a commanding position. I can understand why Misbah wanted to bowl first because Pakistan batters tend to be slow starters in new series schedules. Therefore, he wanted to give them more time to have a look and get settled. Also, the other 3 times he has won the toss and bowled he achieved a superb draw and 2 comprehensive victories. He had confidence in his bowlers to get the early breakthroughs and batsmen to chase in the 4th innings which speaks a lot about him and his team. It was a tremendous outside of the box decision from him which many captains would have been very reluctant to do. The results are there for one and all to see.

Team selection: Pakistan left out Wahab Riaz and Abdur Rehman. They decided to play 3 front line pacers. Junaid Khan was the surprise selection and the Lancastrian overseas player was sensational during the afternoon session where he claimed 3 wickets in quick session in his first proper test against a major test force. It was an incredible spell of left arm pace. As expected Shafiq got preference at number 6 with the omission of Umar Akmal. Is Pakistan’s lack of batting a concern? Gul, Ajmal, Junaid, Cheema in the absence of Rehman and Wahab who both can be handy down the order.


-This is the 7th time in 8 tests Pakistan is in the field on day 1.

-Misbah has won 5 tosses in 8 tests and decided to bowl first on 4 occasions.

-Pakistan has 2 bowlers who are playing only their 2nd test in the current attack.

In other news today Afridi has officially announced his return to international cricket putting an end to the conditional retirement following his removal from captaincy after the ODI series against the West Indies in May. Whether he will be selected for the Sri Lanka ODI series remains to be seen.

Sessions: All 3 belonged to Pakistan. 3-0.

Score Line: Sri Lanka 198 AO Junaid Khan 5/38. Pakistan 27/0 (8).

Ball of the day: Junaid uprooting the stumps and giving the SL keeper the death rattle early in the piece. He was overwhelmed. Pakistan had turned the tables. It was magical viewing.

Player of the day: Junaid Khan. He made a bold statement in his first international match of any kind within Asia and against an Asian team. He wasn’t expected to play by any stretch of the imagination, but Mohsin and Misbah included him and backed him all the way. The Abbatobad youngster produced some excellent deliveries and was having a great time of it. He came out with a 5 for. The first bowler to get one at Abu Dhabi (a venue where it’s only test produced 27 wickets). Adnan Akmal was also worth a mention with 4 dismissals.

Looking ahead: Pakistan batsmen will be looking to get stuck
in, apply themselves at the wicket, work their socks off, dig in long and deep,
pile up the runs, wear out the bowlers and gain a sizeable first innings lead
to put the visitors under pressure. They can afford to take their time. Grit,
application, solid temperament, determination, mental toughness and the ability
to value their wicket and scrap hard for their runs is the strength of the
current Pakistan top 6 which they will be looking to portray again here. They
should be rewarded for this discipline, stamina, patience and sound defences. A
total of approximately 400 will be very pleasing. They’ll be looking to bat to
around lunch time on day 3 and really tuck into this inexperienced bowling
attack. They’ll be looking for a centurion or two.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stats: Crease-Occupation - Who spent more time at the crease

Minutes/Inning in Tests (Qualification 5000 Career Minutes - Pakistani Players)

Bank Alfalah presents Mobilink Jazz Cup Pakistan versus Sri Lanka Cricket Series.

Current Test Batting Line Up Is Quality

They have posted Pakistan's highest ever 4th innings total. They have successfully survived and defended on day 5 wickets 3 times when they were up against it. They have posted totals of above 340 6/11 times. They have only been bowled out once in the 2nd innings in 7 tests. They have maintained the same opening combination for 4 series in a row and it's still going. In the line up they have a player who was a nominee for emerging player of the year, a captain who was voted overseas test cricketer of the year by a popular magazine, a prolific all time run getter in YK and a player who MoYo regarded as the most technically correct batsmen he has seen in ages in Asad Shafiq down at #6. They exceeded expectations against South Africa and New Zealand. They came back hard in the 2nd test at St Kitts during the Caribbean tour and despite misreading the pitch and conceding 412 in the first innings in Bulawayo still managed to score 450 and enforce a result when a win was looking improbable during the first couple of days.

The batting line up is settled and stabled. The batsmen are in form and dependable. There are many grafters and workhorses who can wear out the opposition , dig in long and deep, have a sound technical basis and can grind out the bowlers as well as engaging in long partnerships and providing the stability, consistency and responsibility for each other to feed off. Classical and steady is doing wonders. It's refreshing to see batsmen getting stuck in and working their socks off. Hopefully more of the same.... The line up is that good that we can still easily ignore a class act in Yousuf when he is still available for selection...this is the measure of the strength of the current crop

Misbah Targets A Test Series Win

Sri Lanka have gone 11 tests without a victory since
Murali’s retirement. Dilshan will be batting in the middle order instead of
opening up. Sri Lanka have a 4-2 record in the last 10 tests against Pakistan.
Pakistan have not beaten a higher ranked test team for a considerable amount of
time. Should Pakistan win this series 1-0 they will narrow the 9 point gap
between 5th and 6th position on the ICC test rankings
significantly. A victory for Misbah before he next loses will give him the
highest W/L ratio by a Pakistan test captain of (4). This will be a sufficient
sample to illustrate as he will be 12th most capped Pakistan test captain
out of 29 leaders by the end of the series.

The dilemma Pakistan are facing going into this test match
is whether to play 3 front line fast bowlers or 2 specialist spinners. Rehman
was named in the test team of the year and has been the leading wicket taker
under Misbah’s captaincy with 29 wickets in 6 tests. He also adds depth in the
batting and helps the tail wag. He has a test match half century next to his
name and can attack and defend in equal proportions. In my opinion, he should
make the starting line up alongside Ajmal for the aforementioned reasons.

The other dilemma is the number #6 spot. Shoaib Malik is
widely regarded as not test match material even by his most diehard fans;
however he is in the 15 man squad and possesses an average of 60 against Sri
Lanka including both his test centuries as well as providing the calm and
composed Misbah with another spin bowling option should they decide to play 3
front line pacers. Therefore, there might be a temptation to play him ahead of
Asad Shafiq. However, in my view Shafiq should have priority. Although he only
averages 27 from 5 tests, he did start his career with 2 half centuries in his
first two test innings against the number 2 ranked South African side as well
notching up a half century in the New Zealand alien conditions in just his 2nd
innings. He also played a match saving cameo in the 2nd test of the
same series. It was just in the West Indies where he struggled, but in the ODI
leg of the same tour he notched up 2 50s. His composure, temperament and
elegance are ideal for test match cricket.

Under Misbah’s captaincy Pakistan’s average first innings
total is 332 with an average innings duration of 118 overs. Previously in the 9 tests before he took over Pakistan’s average first innings total was 214 with a 71 innings duration. This
statistic clearly illustrates how things are moving in the right direction for
a team eyeing a spot in the inaugural world test championship in England for

Pakistan have left out Umar Akmal from the test squad. As
far as I’m concerned, this move was justified with Umar only scoring 2 50s in
his last 22 test innings. Plus, he will benefit from competitive cricket at the
domestic level rather than carrying the drinks on the side lines. Asad Shafiq
who Mohammad Yousuf regards as one of the most technically correct batsmen he
has seen flourish through the ranks should have priority at the number 6
position. He has fluent stroke play and a better temperament. Meanwhile, the
surprise omission was that of Tanvir Ahmed who after taking 6 wickets on a
pancake wicket in his debut and making some invaluable contributions lower down
the order with his hard hitting has been ignored after being rested for the
Zimbabwean tour for experimentation with new comers. Tanvir has been hard done
by and should have made the squad ahead of Junaid. Nonetheless, he is in the
reserves category. Mohsin Hassan Khan will be taking over as interim coach for this series which provides the PCB with more time to decide about the new coach to succeed Waqar Younis after he
stepped down due to personal reasons.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Round Up

-Zaka Ashraf replaces Mr Butt as the chairman of the PCB. Ijaz Butt considers the eradication of player power to be his leading achievement. His replacement has affiliations with ZTBL.

-Shahid’s “conditional retirement” only lasted 5 one dayers and 2 T20s against Ireland and Zimbabwe. It’s hardly as if he missed anything major.....

- Misbah and Rehman are named in the test team of the year in the annual awards of a leading sporting publication. The former more specifically is even the overseas player of the year. Both these players have been the leading run getter and leading wicket taker over the last year in the whites for the side.

- Peshawar pacemen Nauman Habib was kidnapped and murdered after round 1 of the QEA. This major tragedy was announced on the same day of the end of Mr Butt’s tenure. The bowler has taken 7 wickets in the last first class game he played and was the 2nd leading bowler during the Faysal Bank T20 is Karachi where he played a key part in the major upset to eliminate the star studded Karachi Dolphins in the group stages including taking the wicket of the former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi after he was MOM the previous day against Islamabad Leopards for his 3-20 and 58.

- Pakistan was victorious at the Titans event at the 02 arena in London. The event was organised by former West Indies skipper Jimmy Adams. The event consisted of 5 challenges. The players participating were Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Yasir Arafat and Azhar Mahmood. The event will be televised on Sky at 18:30 on Monday evening for a 90 minute highlights show.
- Misbah and co will be departing for the UAE on the 15th ahead of the first test against Sri Lanka at Abu Dhabi. DRS will be in place during the one day series which the Pakistan skipper is pleased about and backs.

- Azhar Ali is targeting a spot in the ODI team. He has made 5 List A centuries and averages in the 40s. Azhar feels that unlike in a test with men around the bat and a ring of fielders surrounding him, with the field spread out he will find it easier to score in ODIs and is hopeful of getting opportunities here in the future. Azhar was awarded his ODI cap during the tour of Belfast in late May and made a hard fought 39 in his first innings before receiving a gem of a delivery from the strong and tall Rankin which jumped from a length to take the outer edge.

- Zulqarnain has resumed his FC career with ZTBL after his disappearance antics which he was fined for in June. The wicket keeper fled the team hotel during the one day international series against South Africa and was seeking political asylum in the UK to ensure his safety. The 2004 U19 WC winning team member has made scores of 0 and 10 in his first 2 innings of the 2011/12 QEA season. His domestic captain is Imran Nazir.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The greatest Pakistan test innings of all time...

Hanif Mohammad's 337: 970 minute stay at the wicket for 337 against West Indies following on with a deficit of over 450. The 'little master' batted for over 16 hours to save the match from a highly unlikely position. The longest ever stay at the crease in test history, batting for effectively 2.5 days. A demonstration of a watertight defence, immaculate concentration and admirable stamina. A knock full of character and spirit.

I know none of us saw it, but can you imagine that?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Predictions + Wants Against Sri Lanka

1) Not losing the test series. Not losing a test.

2) No controversies.

3) 3/6 LOI wins and therefore winning either the T20 or ODI leg of the tour.

4) Posting totals above 330 every time in the 1st innings minimum. Innings duration should be at least 125 overs.

5) 3 centuries from Pak preferably from Azhar/Asad.

6) Maintaining the Hafeez, Taufeeq, Azhar, YK, Misbah, Shafiq combination throughout the 3 tests successfully.

7) The tail WAGGING. Seeing totals of around 100+ for the last 4 wickets consistently.

8) Playing 2 specialist spinners in all 3 tests with the idea continuing to work as it has been doing. 25 wickets between them. Economy of below 3 combined.

9) Adnan – maiden test 50 and tidy before behind the stumps.

10) Seeing out around 4/5 full sessions in the series without losing a wicket. We will be on track shall this happen. Batsmen putting a price on their wicket and batting for long periods of time. Getting stuck in and digging in deep which they are fully capable with the current mould of players.

11) 2500 BF between numbers 3 and 6 in the 3 tests. Azhar Ali achieving a 750 BF as his speciality is his patience and grinding out the bowling. The middle order demonstrating their solidity, application and determination to spend extended periods of time at the wicket and work over the Sri Lankans with their discipline, mindset, attitude and mental toughness. Showing plenty of grit, stamina, concentration and resilience which are the leading strengths of this gutsy middle order. Working their socks off to frustrate and tire out to their opponents with their commanding structures and temperament. Giving them some tough days out in the field even if this means it won’t be the most eventful in terms of scoring. Basically, winning the sessions gradually by playing the hard fought waiting games as opposed to trying to play the enforcer role. That’s when they have been playing their best. I would like to see more of that here.

12) Several hundred partnerships/stands. More than the Lankans in this aspect.

13) Rehman racking up 40 maidens and keeping the Sri Lankans under control with his perseverance and nagging lengths.

14) 3 Pak batsmen scoring 300 odd in this series from the top 6. This will be another reflection that we are on track.

15) Herath having a SR in the 90+ region. Making him work and toil. Wearing him out. Reduce his impact and seeing him out. He is the dangerman and we will do well to keep him quiet from making inroads in the context of the match. Blocking him out firmly and watchfully to an extent where his wickets will barely have an impact in changing the complexion of the match. Making him bowl the marathon spells.

16) Captain averaging above 50 in the series. All the top 6 with averages of above 35. Hafeez is a concern, but could compensate for it if he chips in with the wickets and breaking partnerships.

17) Preventing Dilshan from averaging above 35 with bat and below 40 with the ball. Keeping their skipper on the quiet side of proceedings which will affect the team’s body language and emotions. Making life tough for the opposite number and going hard at him.

18) Preventing Jaya+Sanga putting on 150 together should the 2 bat together whereas Misbah and YK do as and when they bat together. These are the influential partnerships to break for both teams. Experienced and statistically high achieving batsmen who tend to bat well in pairs with their understanding of each other.

19) Taking more wickets combined than their pacers by a margin of around 5 at least. There is little doubt we have a stronger pace battery despite the losses of AA combo for obvious reasons.

20) Crossing 450 mark at least once during the series. Batting for the best part of 2 days when we bat first.

21) 50+ opening combo from openers at least twice during the test series and doing better than the Lankans in this aspect.

22) 50 from batsmen 8-11 at least once i.e. Wahab, Rehman.

23) Hafeez showing he is not a minnow basher throughout the course of the tour. Proving his credentials against his Asian rivals. Adding a few more to his 8 MOM tally this year.

24) Cleaning up their last 4 for approximately 60/70 consistently max during the tests.


25) Coming to terms with the new playing conditions in ODIs, especially the use of BPP between overs 15-40. Get a head start over other nations.

26) Posting an ODI total of 280+ during the series.

27) Average score of above 40 in BPP at the expense of 2 wickets most.

28) Malinga countering. Keeping him under 8 wickets during the 5 match ODI series. Using the depth in the crease, trapping the late swing, picking the slower ball, seeing him off in his initial spells not allowing him to settle or get his confidence high. Avoidance of a 2/2 which he is able to do frequently. Wahab to shatter the furniture more times than him during the series!

29) Winning an ODI by 100 runs or 5 wickets.

30) 45+ in first 6 during the 20/20 for a maximum of 1 down.

Tests Prediction

Most runs Pak: Azhar/Misbah

Most runs Sri Lanka: Sanga/Jaya

Most wickets: No idea but probably Ajmal

MOTS: A Pak 3-6 batsmen


Most runs Pak: YK

Most runs Sri Lanka: Thranga

Most wickets Pak: Wahab/Cheema

Most wickets Sri Lanka: Malinga

MOTS: Mohammad Hafeez/Thranga


MOM: Dilshan/Gul/Umar Akmal/Ajmal/Malinga

Most catches throughout tour by Pak player: YK/Misbah

Thursday, October 6, 2011

05/10/11 Round Up

Training camp starts on the 10th-13th.

Leaving for the UAE on the 15th.

Stallions clinch the 20/20 title for a 6th time in 9 events. No other team has won it even twice. The regain their crown after not winning in October 2010 and June 2011. Previously they had won it 5/5 during a 25 match winning streak which is the highest ever.

Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf both umpired the final at the NSK.

MHK is appointed interim coach for the Sri Lankan series.

Dean Jones is a front runner for the coach position it has been rumoured. 5 candidates have been shortlisted, but not disclosed. Aqib Javed and Demrot Reeve are also said to be in contention.

Umar Akmal is axed from the test squad.

Tanvir Ahmed is overlooked and ignored.

Razzaq will lead in HK 6s.Squad includes Umar Akmal, Sharjeel Khan, Yasir Shah, Ramiz Raja JNR, Sohail Tanvir, Hammad Azam.

Imran Tahir is in the ODI squad against Australia. With 14 scalps in just 5 games will he be one of the quickest to 50 wickets? The record is 19 matches by Sri Lanka’s Mendis.

The 2011/12 QEA starts on the 6th of October. HBL are defending champions after beating PIA during the first ever first class, day night final in January this year with the orange ball experimentation. It was a televised fixture.

Members of the 15 man squad will be participating in the opening QEA fixture for their respective departmental institutions before the camp.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pakistan V Sri Lanka Test Series Preview

Sri Lanka have not won a single test in their last 9 played whereas the green shirts have won 4 in the same period of time. Sri Lanka have had 7 draws in that period of time, however they have lost 2 series during the process against England away and playing host to Australia at home which concluded on the 20th of September. Both teams have only lost 2 in their last 9 and drawn a series against the West Indies during the year. Dilshan and Misbah both have led their side for only 12 tests between them. Sri Lanka have a higher standing on the rankings, but Pakistan go into this series as the more in form and prepared with an undefeated record in their last 4 test series and back to back wins currently for the first time since 2005. In 37 tests against Pakistan Sri Lanka have won the 9 with 13 draws. The last time these two sides met in a test series was in the summer of 2009 where Sri Lanka won 2/0 in a 3 match series. Earlier during the same year Pakistan's home hosted series was interrupted as a result of the terrorist attacks.

Sri Lanka’s bowling attack has struggled to take 20 wickets since the retirement of the off spinning champion Murali and swing expert Chaminda Vaas. The lethal Yorker machine Lasith Malinga has retired from the 5 day game and therefore is not an option. Herath has 100 test scalps under his belt from 29 tests at a very tidy economy rate. He will be the key man they will need to look out for. He is accurate and extracts a fair deal of drift as well as getting a few to kick and skid on. He has a round arm action from wide of the crease and angles the ball into the right handers. He gets a high amount of LBWs and many times batsmen play for the spin when really he’s more of a roller if anything. It should be an interesting matchup between him and Pak’s SLA Abdur Rehman who is another wily old fox with an impressive track record with 40 wickets in 8 tests. His repetitiveness to bowl a nagging line and length is formidable. He is a real workhorse who applies the pressure, racks up the maidens and entices mistakes from the batsmen. He ties them down with his control and perseverance. Meanwhile the danger man will be Saeed Ajmal who is Paks leading wicket taker this year across all formats. The unorthodox finger spinner will be in business against the Sri Lankans with all the left handers they have in their team. Ajmal has had some flat tough days with the ball in the 5 day game, but other times he has run through sides single handily. Overall he has over 50 wickets in less than 15 tests including an 11 wicket haul this year and is beginning to develop a reputation as a test bowler which some had raised doubts about previously. There will be a lot of pressure and expectation on him as the strike weapon and this series should provide a good test of his skill and character against his Asian rivals. His brilliantly disguised and executed doosra has the potential to bamboozle one and all. He is ably supported by a good set of bat pads in Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq who aren’t fussed about doing the gritty chores and demonstrating their reflexes. His captain was the one who recommended him for selection back in 2008 and knows how to use him well and extract the best out of him. Ajmal and Rehman bowling in tandem should be an intriguing contest.

In the pace department the 2011 world semi finalists have the upper hand. Gul is a senior bowler who when in form is unstoppable with his pace, aggression and ability to bowl the heavy ball. The grade A centrally contracted quickie has had a mixed year. He claimed 13 scalps at an average of 20 in New Zealand and in each and every innings claimed at least a 3 for during the successful tour which gave the tourists their first series win in over 4 years. He was named in the ODI team of the year and during the group stage campaign in Sri Lanka had 13 wickets from 6 outings including 3 consecutive 3 fors against New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Australia within a fortnight. Wahab Riaz who one of the nominees for emerging player of the year will have a key part to play with his reverse swing as well as the strength and depth he adds with the batting. He has potential to transform into an all rounder and he himself has voiced aspirations of doing so. Aizaz Cheema had a dream debut in Zimbabwe where he claimed the 2nd best figures by a Pak bowler in his debut match with his 8 wicket match tally in Bulawayo. Although the pitches in the UAE will inevitably provide limited assistance, Pak bowlers have the edge over the inexperienced and largely ineffective up to now Sri Lankan new comers.

The batting is looking solid, dependable, settled, stable, in form, determined and responsible which is heavily refreshing. They are really demonstrating a great deal of guts, grit, patience, heart, application, mental toughness, concentration, sound temperament, strong defence/judgement and a better technical basis to work from. Slow and steady is doing the trick as opposed to playing rash shots and subsequently brain farts. There is a sense of resilience, pride, willingness, sheer hard work and fighting spirit to get the results as opposed to the exaggerated flair and stylishness, but inconsistency with the liability of collapsing like a pack of domino cards and the bowlers continuously being called to come to do the rescue job. In the last 11 test innings since Misbah took over scores of 340 have been posted on 6 occasions. The captain has led the way and set the example with others following suit. They have only lost 101 out of a potential 140 wickets. They have only been bowled out once in the 2nd innings since he has taken over which was on a really tough wicket to survive. The can now reliably bat out for 125+ overs and post scores in excess of 330 odd with regularity. They are looking better and stronger the more they are playing. A classical old style method is doing wonders. 4 solid sessions of batting can be counted to be played out. They can make the opponents sweat, frustrated and simply tire them out with their attitude. Structured, watchful and composed in their works even if this means they go in to their shells at times and take their time before coming to terms with proceedings, but in that time not losing their scalps and therefore really getting to the bowlers in the mind from where scoring becomes a formality. They play controlled shots, squeeze or nudge the odd single here and there, eliminate risk attached completely, bat for long periods of time and show they are true test contenders who mean business and are prepared to work hard and dig deep. On helpful batting surfaces they know full well to how to make the most out of it which is a skill in itself. Complacency is never a safe option. Sri Lankan bowlers could have some testing days in the field against this significantly improved Pakistan test batting outfit which is up there with the best I have seen over the last decade in terms of getting the results. The beauty about it is there is a nice blend of experience and youth. There are a lot of players from the similar mould, but this is what is required.

Azhar Ali who was one of the nominees for emerging player of the year has been a revelation at the one down position with his solid technique and temperament. He has played every single match in Pakistan’s last 6 test series with only 1 series loss and has consistently been knocking on the doors with match winning and match saving half centuries. He holds the innings together, grinds out and closes an end. Such a treat to watch, for proper test cricket appreciators. Plays the ball on its merit with exceptional patience, concentration and stamina. Yet to register 3 figures, but with his attitude and maturity surely this will only be around the corner for someone who is a rare species in modern day Pak cricket. One to be groomed as vice captain. A regular in the side, who has impressed with his contributions, refrained from getting into any mess at all, has captaincy experience and comes across as a responsible and settled operator. He is bound to go far. A Dravidsque approach, he surely will be one key rock wall to dislodge in the years to proceed. Flawless, thoroughly controlled, steady and continuously growing in confidence of his ability and game plan in simple terms. I would rate him as our best young batsmen.

Younis Khan is one of the 3 Pakistanis who has scored a triple century which came against Sri Lanka in 2009. As the most capped player in the side a lot will be expected of him. You usually associate fighting spirit and a brave heart with him. As an accomplished player of spin he'll fancy his chances to perform. Currently Pakistan have not lost a test since he resurrected his career after being banned indefinitely following the winless tour of Australia in 2009/10. Moreover, he has 3 consecutive ODI half centuries so seems to be in good touch. With an average of over 50 in 24 innings against Sri Lanka the former Pakistan captain will be one to watch.

Pakistan have successfully maintained the same opening combination for 4 consecutive series which is some kind of modern day record as Pakistan have struggled to produce a reliable opening pair since the days of Anwar and Sohail and tried endless combinations ever since. Both Hafeez and Taufeeq have scored match winning centuries in their last 3 innings. Taufeeq is a solid batsmen who takes his time and sees off the new ball. He is strong off his legs, plays a superb straight drive and has some aggression in those hard struck drives. Hafeez gets after the bowling and scores at a quick speed. His technique is sound, but tends to lose his temperament at times with an inability to control his instincts. This tends to bring his downfall.

Pakistan's test fielding unit nowadays is also vastly improved with very few weak links or donkeys as Nasser would say. Taufeeq is a capable slipper and tremendous outfielder. Misbah and Younis are both have superhuman fitness levels for their respective ages. It's hard to keep them out of the action when it comes to the catching. Asad Shafiq is sharp and alert. Hafeez is switched on. Furthermore, they don't have a shoddy keeper to daunt them behind the stumps. Adnan Akmal is tidy and the best keeper in his household. He's hardly put a foot wrong behind the stumps. On flat wickets where limited opportunities will be presented Pakistan can be rest assured their fielding shall not let them down. They should be able to capitalise and capitalise well. On such wickets dropping catches is unaffordable.

In conclusion, Pakistan should not lose this series and more specifically should not lose even a test match during the process. They have the potential to come out on top, but priority should be not to lose. They cannot afford carelessness or complacency. I back Pakistan to come out victorious with a 1-0 scorecard. For the sake of cricket fans around the globe, I hope to see a result orientated pitch at one of the venues.

Faysal Bank T20 Stats (25th September-2nd October 2011)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rams Or Stallions?

The 9th domestic Twenty20 final will be held shortly between Stallions and Rams. Stallions are 5 times winners of this competition whereas the Rams are defending champions of the Faysal Bank Super 8 tourney which was held in Faisalabad during the summer. 3 months ago to the weekend they defeated the Karachi Dolphins in the super over to clinch the title. Both teams are undefeated on their road to the final in this competition. Sialkot have won all their 3 games chasing targets. The Rams are playing their 5th game in 5 days. Young left arm spinner Raza Hasan will be in action against his former team which he was an instrumental part of earlier in the year. Rams eliminated the Stallions and broke their 25 match winning streak in 2010 which was the last time the two sides met.

Which Major Sporting Spectacle Are You Most Looking Forward To in 2012?

Which Major Sporting Spectacle Are You Most Looking Forward To in 2012?

Which one are you most looking forward to?

There are several.

List includes as follows:

London 2012 Olympics 27th July-12th August (how many of you have tickets?)

European Championship 2012 Ukraine/Poland (first time England will be in since 2004)June 8th - July 1st

Asia Cup 2012 in Bangladesh or bilateral series between Pak/Ind should the former not go ahead in March

U19 CWC 2012 in Australia around July/August time (PP loves to see young blood in action) Can we go one better than last time? Usman Qadir, Babar Azam, Zain Abbas etc

2012 ICC T20 WC in September(first time it’s being held in the sub continent. Can we regain our crown and be the first team to win the title twice? I think Sri Lanka have a good shout of going the distance on home soil)

I may have missed out some.....

I have a feeling we will bag the Asia Cup in 2012. Conclude as finalists of the T20 WC. Reach the latter stages of the U19 WC. Will be nice to see the hockey national team do well in the Olympics and put on a good show. Should receive good support in the UK from the Pakistan contingent.

Imran Tahir 2011/12 Season Thread

The Pakistan born South African will be a key part of South Africa’s plans against Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the forthcoming season.

Considered by many experts and pundits as the best leg spinner in the world which I would no doubt agree with. It’s an exceptional circumstance with him as he was unable to play on the international scene due to problems with qualification, changing citizenship as well as being over looked back home in the sub continent too unfairly in many ways. Nonetheless, he is a quality product who has proven his class as a champion bowler all over the globe for many teams in many domestic tournaments coming up against some top class players and bamboozling them with his variations. Rated highly by the likes of Qadir and Shane Warne as the best in the business during the current era. He was that good that he was selected for South Africa in their WC campaign when previously he wasn’t even a capped player, at the last minute and replaced a player who was previously named in the squad. That’s how confident they were in his abilities and oh boy he didn’t fail to live up to expectations capturing 14 wickets in his first 5 international outings including 11 in his first 3 at one point which was some kind of record. He was always bound to perform well at the international scene and it came as no surprise. Now that his qualification is completed he should be debuting in tests and perhaps even 20/20s as well.

I predict he will end up with at least 200 internationals scalps under his belt minimum. He has over 500 FC wickets. He’s no new kid on the block. He has been capturing the attention where ever he has played with resounding success. In all honesty he was probably the most dangerous and feared leggie worldwide way before his first cap for SA at all major levels with his skill level, stats etc. Unfortunately he had to wait a long time for his cap, but nevertheless he would have turned the tables in a game context and run through sides had he been playing. If you have followed the guy as closely as I have live you will know the destruction he is capable of causing and that too in pressure games in front of the cameras against players who have played international cricket, the deliveries he is able to bowl and the impact he can create. There are very few who are up to his level nowadays. Plus he played an instrumental part to winning the one day cup in the county arena for Hampshire and Warwickshire in 2009 and 2010.

He’s an animated character, fierce competitor and skilful bowler with a vicious googly, sharp flipper, and reliable control. He’s always fired up for the challenge. He celebrates each wicket as if it’s his last. He goes berserk. He’s an attacking option. South Africa has a dream mouth watering option up their sleeve which they have struggled to produce in their own circuit. This type of spinner is what they have always lacked, not anymore.

Follow his performance in this thread.