Thursday, December 27, 2012

ODI XI of 2012

My one

Cook (C)
Hafeez - for balance, going at under 4 with the ball from 144 overs

12th man - Narine

Big Omissions: Sangakkara and Dilshan (been harsh on these two)

Test XI of 2012


My one

Alastair Cook - form vs India
Azhar Ali - 3 tons in 6 tests
Hashim Amla - run machine, shortlisted nominee for player of year
Kallis - run machine, 5th bowler
Michael Clarke (C) - most test runs
Chanderpaul - 2 MOTS awards
Matt Prior (WK) - Joint MOTS in the high profile series vs SA
Veron Philander - over 40 wicket in 9 tests
Rangana Herath - leading wicket taker
Dale Steyn - MOTS vs England
Saeed Ajmal - demolition of world number 1s

12th Man - Graeme Swann (2nd most wickets with 59 in 14 tests, dropped at Leeds vs SA for 4 man seam attack)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Doff My Cap To Captain Cook

I’ve been following his carer since he was captaining the U19s in Bangladesh 2004 and scored a double century in a side match vs. Australia before 5th Ashes test 2005 at the Oval where Michael Vaughan lifted the urn in the greatest and most thrilling test series of our generation. It’s phenomenal to see how far he has come.

5 centuries in 5 first 5 tests as captain

Youngest player to 7000 test runs

Only Englishman to score 23 test centuries

Won 12 ODIs as captain this year and lost 2 with 3 centuries

First England captain to win in India in around 30 years

Player of the series in last Ashes series that England won down under for the first time in 24 years

Already tipped to be the 2015 World Cup winning captain

Unflappable concentrator, man for a crisis

Top close in fielder as well and the best ball shiner in the game!

Uncomplicated, organised, methodical in approach

Defends and plods on the front foot, scores and attacks on the back foot

Far from being gracious or an attacking player, but his defensive game is impenetrable and is busy at the wicket

Already an English great, probably will end up as a world great

Next major challenge for him: Champions Trophy on home soil and retaining the Ashes in 10 back to back tests home and away

Thoroughly professional at his job like Strauss, refraining from the celebrity circus

Stamina, concentration and a willingness to work on faults in his game is the key to his brilliance in the longer format

Shot selection and knowing when to sit back and score is the key to his recent brilliance in one day games

Textbook forward defence, productive cut shot, well placed sweep, glorious drive, and keen worker into the on side by getting across to off stump to tuck away neatly with a push or gentle closed faced nudge

He’s one of those players who is hard to criticise

You can never underestimate his quality anymore; you do so at your peril

Nagpur must be a special place for the Essex man. Made his debut in style here 6.5 years ago and today wins his first series as full time captain here against the odds.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Misbah vs Smith 2013

The most capped leader in test match history vs. the captain with the highest win/loss ratio record in test matches and an individual batting average in excess of 60 as captain. Those 2 stats alone tell you all one needs to know about the 2 skippers on show who are very special in their own right. They have both performed formidably and have brought a sense of calm and reassurance to camps which have been inflicted with some of the biggest corruption scandals in sport following shameful acts of their predecessors, Cronje and Salman Butt. Smith is the better batsman in terms of natural ability although never too wise comparing an opener to a middle order player and their averages are not too far apart. Both have improved their side’s ranking, both have won 4 series in a row in recent times, both are out of favour in T20 internationals, despite being available for selection, both have won and been unbeaten against Andrew Strauss’s side in a 3 test affair.

 Misbah has outperformed the likes of Vettori, Dilshan, and Strauss in past series as captain who are big names in the world game so can’t count him down, particularly with his determination and self belief which have played a vital part in him prospering above many as a player and leader, despite the technical issues, limited top level experience and restricted talent. We are currently experiencing a phase of phenomenally performing batting skippers, Clarke, Cook, MJ, Misbah have all relished and thrived with added responsibility since coming to the helm. This can only inspire those around them.

This isn’t the first time they are going head to head as they met for a brief affair in the UAE during the November of 2010. Misbah averaged over 100 with 3 successive half centuries, two of them unbeaten, during that as his solidity and perseverance come to the fore. It’s never easy captaining a side when you haven’t had previous international playing experience in those conditions, but with his mental attitude and spirited character you wouldn’t think that would have bothered the Mainwali Barrier much, if at all. Smith knows his side better as he has been in the job for what seems like ever, however, there has been continuity in Misbah’s side and he has captained many of the players in the domestic circuit before captaining them internationally.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ajmal Fact – Record Breaking Stat Potentially

9 Wickets Away From Concluding 2012 with the Most Wickets by a Pakistan Bowler in a Calendar Year
Saeed Ajmal needs 9 wickets in the remaining 3 internationals the Pakistanis play this year during the Indian tour to end the year with the most international wickets by a Pakistan bowler in a single year, overtaking the record of former off spinner and the inventor of the doosra, Saqlain Mushtaq who got 101 wickets in the 1997 calendar year across Test and ODIs. Murali holds the record for the most international wickets in a calendar year for all countries. Ajmal also just needs 5 wickets to overtake Dirk Nannes’s tally of 27 international Twenty20 wickets in 2010 which was the most in the format. Ajmal will have a maximum of 8 overs in Twenty20s during the tour and 18 overs overall in the remaining 2012 internationals to achieve the above landmarks, including the opening ODI on the 30th in Chennai. With the manner in which he has mesmerised batters, one after the other this year; who’s to put it past the Pakistani magician who was clearly inexplicably and unfairly overlooked for ICC player of the year 2012 against many people’s surprise and disappointment.
 Ajmal currently is the leading wicket taker this year across all internationals just like he was last year. Since the beginning of January 2011 the late bloomer has spun out as many as 182 players with his mixture of off break, doosras, top spinners, arm balls, drifters, non spinning darts and quicker ones. You can never count out Pakistan’s most feared weapon who is undeniably one of the toughest opponents to face in the modern game. With age the toughest is also getting cannier in his game, making him all the more potent. Ajmal is yet to play a full series in India, the only experience he has had in India was during the unforgettable World Cup semi-final in March last year. Unfortunately for him, he won’t have the opportunity to play the Test series and prove his worth against them in the ultimate form of the game against the calibre of Indian batsmen as the tour is restricted to limited over matches only, during the Christmas break for the England tour.
Ajmal this Year
39 wickets in 6 Tests
31 wickets in 17 ODIs
23 wickets for 14 T20s

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Keep Realistic Expectations Against India

India At home over Last 3 Years in ODIs

Won 2-1 vs. SA
Won 1-0 vs. Aus
Won 5-0 vs. New Zealand
Won World Cup
Won 5-0 vs. England
Won 4-1 vs. West Indies

Pakistan will do well not to get whitewashed in the ODIs.

If they can win 2 of the 5 games on tour including the T20s I’ll be satisfied.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Squad for India Tour


Ahmed Shehzad
Nasir Jamshed
Mohammad Hafeez (C)
Haris Sohail
Umar Amin
Umar Akmal (WK)
Sohail Tanvir
Umar Gul
Saeed Ajmal
Raza Hasan
Junaid Khan
Reserves: Asad Shafiq, Yasir Shah, Ehsan Adil, Safraz Ahmed


Nasir Jamshed
Azhar Ali
Mohammad Hafeez
Misbah ul Haq (C)
Umar Amin (6th bowler)
Umar Akmal
Safraz Ahmed (WK)
Umar Gul
Saeed Ajmal
Raza Hasan
Junaid Khan
Reserves: Yasir Shah, Asad Shafiq, Aizaz Cheema, Anwar Ali

List of Future Candidates Players With 'Natural Captaincy Material'

After the remarkable success of Misbah it's time PCB start to appoint future captains based on credentials like 'specialist captains' rather than players on seniority in the side or individual playing ability over an extended career. Instead they should appoint players with experience in the job and players who have been identified as leaders for a long time. Captaincy is one of those things that can't really be taught. You either have it or you don't. Those leaders tend to make the best captains. I do believe there are enough of them in Pakistan.

Azhar Ali (highly regarded, speaks well, free from controversies, permanent fixture in side)

Babar Azam (Captained the U15s and U19s since 2008, captained for most his youth career)

Umar Amin (Captained the SAARC U-25 winning side 2011, educated player, speaks well)

Asad Shafiq (another potential candidate, not as highly thought of as Azhar, but high enough)

Bazid Khan(Educated player, has had experience of captaining U19s etc)

Khalid Latif (U19 World Cup winning captain)

Safraz Ahmed (U19 World Cup winning captain, 'A' team captain)

Sohail Tanvir (Captained Pindi Rams to glory, Captained 'A' side)

Umar Gul (Domestically captained, permanent fixture in side)

Hasan Raza (Highly experienced and successful domestic captain)


Wahab Riaz
Azeem Ghumman
Shoaib Malik
Taufeeq Umar

Monday, December 3, 2012

LAHORE, Dec 1: Pakistan Cricket Board women’s wing on Saturday announced the following 30 probables for the ICC Women’s World Cup to be held in India from Jan 26 to Feb 17.

Probables: Sana Mir, Bismah Maroof, Syeda Nain Fatima Abidi, Mariam Hassan Shah, Nida Rashid, Rabiya Shah, Qanita Jalil, Asmavia Iqbal Khokhar, Masooma Junaid Farooqi, Javeria Wadood, Syeda Batool Fatima Naqvi, Almas Akram, Sania Iqbal Khan, Marina Iqbal, Ayesha Qazi, Sidra Amin, Zeba Manzoor Hussain, Sumaiya Siddiqui, Aliya Riaz, Sidra Nawaz, Sadia Yousaf, Nahida Bibi, Sana Gulzar, Jaweria Rauf, Kainat Imtiaz, Aimen Anwer, Namra Imran, Komel Feroz, Diana Baig, Elizebath Barkat.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Pool of 30 players for Pakistan in ODIs moving forward


Misbah ul Haq
Azhar Ali
Asad Shafiq
Umar Akmal
Haris Sohail
Nasir Jamshed
Babar Azam
Sami Aslam
Ahmed Shehzad
Imran Farhat (cannot be totally axed on form)

Right Arm Pace Bowlers

Umar Gul
Aizaz Cheema
Anwar Ali
Ehsan Adil
Asad Ali
Mohammad Rameez

Left Arm Pace Bowlers

Junaid Khan
Wahab Riaz
Sadaf Hussain
Mohammad Irfan
Sohail Tanvir


Saeed Ajmal
Abdur Rehman
Raza Hasan
Yasir Shah

Batting All-Rounders

Mohammad Hafeez
Hammad Azam
Umar Amin
Sohaib Maqsood

Wicket Keepers

Safraz Ahmed
Umar also capable