Sunday, 27 February 2011

India-Batting Alone Wont Win You The World Cup! by Tim Holt

Two Indian games in this World Cup both like instant replays of each other.
In respect to India batting first and truly dazzling with the bat by getting well over 300 against the hapless Bangladeshi and English attacks
The heroics of Sehwag in the first romp replicated by the immortal Sachin Tendulkar in the second blitz of the bowling
Through in the rest of the dazzling batting from the style and class of Kohli and Gambhir to the brutality of Dhoni and Yuvraj. You have the near perfect batting line up for this form of the game.
So we all should be trembling in our respective boots and attaching blue ribbons to the World Cup trophy.In honour of a dominating India taking all before it in this World Cup culminating in the ultimate glory
Indeed we should-shouldn't we???????
Maybe not...hold on a sec...put away your adulation for everything to do with batting blitz's.......
For there is the little point of the other sides of the game in regards to bowling and fielding
In this regard the Indian's are somewhat lacking as seen by the assault by the Bangladeshi's in the 1st game and the current English onslaught as I type.
The Tigers came up short, but gave India tremors and the English though still involved in a chase will more than likely come up short.Due mainly to the brilliance of Zaheer Khan who got ride of Ian Bell and Andrew Strauss when India was well and truly on the rack...
The key in saving India on both occasions was the lack of depth in both Teams batting.
Though this won't be the case against a South Africa,who would have A.B.DeVilliers walking in at 5 and J.P.Duminy at 6.Or a Pakistan with Afridi and Razzaq in the lower order to pillage bowling.
Even against the batting of the Aussies or Sri Lankan's they'd struggle to defend totals.
So unless India can find some support for Zaheer Khan with the ball they are very much long shots to win this World Cup

Importance of Pakistan to International Cricket

Importance of Pakistan to International cricket.
After the match fixing allegations on Pakistani fast bowling opening pair and test Captain by the News of World, the environment in world of cricket changed dramatically as expected. Fixing, the ugliest head of cricket became the hot topic once again. Even though nothing is still proved against the players and still just are allegations by the rubbish tabloid, former players fired many comments on bans and punishments. Most rude was Ian Botham’s comment, who called for a ban on Pakistan cricket, similar comments were made by former ICC Chief Malcolm Speed and Darrel Hair. Speed is burning in heat of discarding the former Prime Minster Howard as ICC Vice President and his past behavior against Asians is not admirable either. Hair is a man who was main character of cricket’s saddest episode, when charged Pakistan of ball tempering which any solid avoidance and then it resulted in forfeit of one great test match in prospect at the Oval. After it he asked ICC for heavy money to give up International Cricket. They are the two men which always had issues of personal nature or they took so, but Pakistanis were greatly hurt by the comments of Beefy. Beefy is one of the greatest cricketers of all times. No one has any doubt about his abilities and greatness as cricketer. Beefy played the game in that era when there were many great all-rounders were playing the like of Imran, Kapel Dev, Richard Hadee. Everyone wanted to be best than the other and outperform the rival all-rounders. Beefy at start was best of them but in mid-80’s, he was not so great which used to early in his career and there was little dip in the high standards of his. On the other hand, in Pakistan Imran was improving his skill. So, there was a great tussle in both of them for being the best but sadly, Beefy translated it in negative way. To start with 84’s tour of Pakistan, he came to Pakistan with touring England and was injured , went back without playing and commented Pakistan as a disgusting place and he would not even want to send his mother in law to Pakistan. This was first show of Beefy’s venom for Pakistan. Although, he apologized for his mocking remarks later. Every Pakistani was hurt , Amir Sohail remembered his comments pretty well who asked Beffy after he got a peach from Wasim in 92’s World Cup final, “who is coming next , is your mother in law??? “ In 92’s Pakistan’s tour England, Wasim and Waqar simply just destroyed the English batting lineup time and time again with a magic which is the reverse swing. Sarfraz may have invented reverse swing, Imran may have pampered it but Wasim and Waqar mastered the reverse swing. England already jolted by the World Cup final defeat got another thumping blow. They did not know what to do because high bowl control and yorkers at extreme pace of Ws’ were next to unplayable. All of the sudden, everyone in English media was pleading the case of ball tempering to get reverse swing. Botham again tried to show down Imran on his statement that everyone did it in past. Beffy took Imran to court then after a very high profile hearing in the court, Imran won the case and once again showed why is he the favorite son of land called Pakistan? Reverse swing which was a myth to Botham and whole English media then, suddenly become “the great art” in 05 Ashes, without that “ball tempering” of 92 England would have surely got similar beating that of 01 Ashes. Flintoff and Jones were heros in 05 whereas Wasim and Waqar were cheaters in 92. Beefy did not stop here, he degraded the Pakistani nation by calling a mocking nation in Natwest series of 01 after the incidents of crowd running on to pitch after the match. As everyone knows that, it had been the part of English Cricket for decades but Beffy did not fall shy one bit to hit Pakistan again. Latest of Beffy’s disgusting comment is banning Pakistan from international cricket. If anyone wants to know what are the contributions of Pakistan to world cricket and cricket itself? I can tell him. Warne may well be greatest leg spinner of the world but it was Qadir and captaincy of Imran who made art of leg spin fashionable in early 80’s. Leg spin was dying and there were hardly any leg break bowler left in the world but it was Pakistan cricket which showed the world what to do with leg spinners.
Invention of reverse which is already discussed earlier, it is purely a Pakistani product; now see what a change it has made in world of cricket on these flat wickets of today. Now imagine a cricket of today without reverse swing, just batsmen would be cricketers now. Murli might have picked up 800 test wickets but Saqlain’s contribution for tha game of cricket is far greater than that of Murli or any other spinner. People started to pad even Murli who used to a turn a mile but without much of success. Saqlain a great Pakistani invented the “doosra” in 94 and which given the new life to off spinners. By learning doosra Murli made people play and was far more effective than ever. Now days, an off spinner is just incomplete without it.

World has not seen a left arm finger spinner who turns the ball into right hander for a variation delivery rather just arm bowl which comes straight on without any turn with arm but Pakistan has one called one called Raza Hassan. He is all set to debut and stun the whole world in shock as did Saqlain in 94. It is matter of just time what urdu word does he or Pakistani Keeper names that very delivery? Has any other team invented anything new in recent history of cricket? All thanks to Pakistan cricket for these things again. Fast bowlers which Pakistan has are unique in the whole world; the way thinking, using the worst of conditions and lengths and everything is so different to other fast bowlers. In fact, it is very safe to the most talented country in cricket world is Pakistan and if anyone has any doubts, see the young teams play each other and feel difference between Pakistan and others at U-19 level. Pakistan cricket has most following in masses of neutral countries i.e. which do not have their team playing, its all due to flair and charm that Pakistanis play attract auditions of billions. After all these reasoning can anyone imagine cricket world without Pakistan? Answer is loud and clear, no, no, certainly not. As far as, match fixing is concerned everyone who is shouting big words of banning Pakistan cricket due to it should look into their own past and their living legends who have been involved in it because certainly, do not want to name them here. Each and every one who has any doubts regarding Pakistan cricket should know one thing very clear that it is neither Zimbabwe nor South Africa that it could be banned. For Botham himself, he should not do at least commentary in Pakistan cricket because a commentator should not be as biased as he is. Sky Sports should take some action; he is great of the game but if he makes same mistakes again and again he should not be getting away with them.
I may well be bit harsh and rude in my words, but these are the feelings of true Pakistan Cricket after what has happened. My each and every word represents the state of my heart and billions other Pakistan cricket lovers after hearing these ridiculous comments.

Pakistani and Indian Dreams Can Come True!

We Want To See This In The World Cup Final!
The World of sport is about rivalries and indeed being such a sports nut.I could list many bitter and hotly disputed rivalries...
Though in truth none could come close to the rivalry between Pakistan and India....
Some might come close...some might boast there as big...but none are a patch on it!
This bitterness and tension between the two always heightened when the two are kept away from each other through the whims of the respective Governments of the two fine Nations....
Going on the the mistrust that is nurtured by the two through fear mongering for tension represents money for governments and takes away from issues of greater importance..........
Granted their is an underlying tension between the citizens of both Nations based on tragedies of the past,but for the most part they just want Peace.
Also outside of that desire,they want cricket between the two to resume.As all us cricket fans do!
Though that is another article and another set of connotations to look at,but here in this World Cup. Fate might conspire to make this happen...
And if it word would we have a spectacle at Mumbai for the Final!
In truth its not so far fetched either in the face on Pakistan looking very unlike Pakistan in regards to being a very unified and composed unit.To go with their already truck loads of skill and magic.Which makes them a very hard foe to slay.
Then you have India,who is an irresistible batting juggernaut,who has no peer in that regard.Though the emergence of lesser lights in their bowling such as Munaf Patel to aide the mainstays like Zaheer and Harbhahjan is like gold.For it makes their bowling adequate enough to compliment their awesome batting strength.
So all this amounts to is this....
The very real chance of both Nations finishing on top of their Group which would pave the way for a meeting in the World Cup Final.This in the wake of Pakistan beating Sri Lanka, you can be reasonably confident of Pakistan achieving this (though yes it is Pakistan and they could lose to Zimbabwe!).The only real road block might be the Aussies,but they aren't the threat their being made out to be.
In the Indian Hyderabad,Group B and South Africa sadly might be the road block for this sweet dream coming true............
So were all hoping for a few hamstring twinges for Steyn,DeVilliers,Kallis and the like so India can finish top.
Giving the chance for an India versus Pakistan World Cup Final and a spectacle that would have no compare!

World Cup Group A Springs Into Life! by Tim Holt

There is an old saying in life that goes like this....when you assume-you make and ass out of u and me...
Which in the reading of Group A in this World Cup is about as true as it gets!
We all just assumed that Sri Lanka,Australia,Pakistan and New Zealand would qualify out of the group after seeing the weakness of the minnows in the Group.
This indeed will more than likely happen,but after that its anyone's guess as to how they qualify...
For you can reasonably expect that New Zealand will finish 4th in the Group
Though after that it's up for grabs for the other three Teams.....................
For one reason.............
This after we all just thought the quality of the Sri Lankan Team would inevitably lead it to finish on top of the group.Up steps this strangely unified and composed group of players under the banner of Pakistan to upend the Sri Lankan's...
(yes Pakistan unified and composed.......I need to pinch myself too..........!)
Then in the rear view mirror are the Australian's looking very competitive as well....
So how will it all end?
Lets start by looking at Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka
The weaknesses in the Sri Lankan side were exposed by a very fine performance by Pakistan yesterday.Though this is easier said than done.For you'd be reasonably confident that both Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara wouldn't both have off days as they did yesterday.Thus if they are their normal prolific self it takes away the pressure from the somewhat fragile middle order.Which would breed greater confidence in them to perform.Also the inclusion of Lasith Malinga will make Sri Lanka a considerably better side.For they have a strike bowler who can cause carnage any time he has the ball in his hand.Also with him in the line up the other bowlers walk taller and are more effective
The remaining matches are kind too with Kenya,Zimbabwe,Australia and New Zealand to play.
So only Australia could threaten an upset out of those game.Though going on recent history you'd expect Sri Lanka to win that game
Still looking good but questions are being posed against there lofty standing in this World Cup

I must own up to the fact that ive been waiting for Australia's bubble to burst and though they have accounted for a terrible Zimbabwe side and an equally shocking Kiwi side.They have been impressive in doing so.This on the back of a rejuvenated Brett Lee and a very impressive Mitchell Johnson.Though you can't knock their performance. The question arises as to whether they can do the same against the big boys in the group.Namely Sri Lanka and Pakistan.If they can they are a huge show.Though also a factor against these sides for the Aussies will be how they go against spin.This could be impacted if common sense prevails and Mike Hussey is announced as Doug Bollinger's replacement.
Though id have more faith in a pyromaniac sitting on a haystack,than of the Australian Selectors getting it right.So we can expect Hauritz to get the call.
I still can't see Australia troubling the stronger sides for too much relies on too few...
So with Pakistan and Sri Lanka still to play.I can see them not lasting the distance

Has Pakistan put the cat among the pigeons by beating Sri Lanka
They did so in such a composed manner too with the batting being solid and always threatening.Then the bowling was high class with both pace and spin covered.
The old timer Shoaib Ahktar looked great and Shahid Afridi looked like he was on a mission to bring the ultimate glory to his beloved 180 million fellow Pakistani's
Logically it being Pakistan you would think they might conspire to shoot themselves in the foot and lose to Canada in the next match
Though for some reason this group of Pakistani players make you believe in their threat in this Tournament.
So cant see them slipping up against anyone in qualifying

Prediction of Group
2.Sri Lanka
4.New Zealand

The Meaning Of Shahid Afridi To Pakistan....... by Tim Holt

As the great Pakistani win passed yesterday so was an individual milestone.That of 300 wickets for Shahid Afridi in Limited Overs Cricket.This to go with his 6600 runs all scored with the speed of light and with the crowd standing on their feet engrossed at his every move.
Though unlike other players,Shahid Afridi seems to transcend figures to the point that they become irrelevant.....
For he is one of those individuals that just has such meaning to so many....
And its Universal, a bit in the manner that Imran Khan has oozed for near on 60 years now...
You can just see the peoples faces in the wake of the presence of Afridi.
The women want him....the youth exalt BOOM BOOM in honour of his rocket launches...then us old folk might be critical of his 'failings,'but in our begrudging manner of giving praise.
We acknowledge the pied piper with people he is
You can't underplay this quality either. For it's a bit like catching lightning in a bottle and with the same grandeur and might of this.Then when it's achieved in regards to Pakistan.You can't help but be in complete awe of the accomplishment.
This World Cup has shown that intrinsic Afridi magic in making Pakistan from a team that always makes people be fearful into the juggernaut of this Cup.
For he has lead this Team through the inspiration of his play.Whether it be as seen in yesterdays game through his bowling that had Sri Lanka on the hop or through his fielding or batting...
In whatever he did on the field you could feel one thing whether you were near or far.That being Afridi's heart beating true for Pakistan.
The players have followed too.Making them into 11 players with claws like the moniker often attached to Pakistan-'cornered tigers'
All through the belief they have in Shahid Afridi
For they can feel his sincerity on the field for Pakistan and have duly brought into the campaign as well with their hearts.
Thus making Pakistan an irresistible for you have 11 men on the field beating 'green' in the quest for World Cup glory...
On viewing their performances you can see this quest being a distinct reality too.........

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Win or Lose:- we still love u

Pakistan's Fast Bowling Legacy Continues By Umer Rana

It was winter of 07 here in Pakistan; Pakistan cricket team was on South African tour and one nil down in the series of three tests. Everyone was talking about the Shoaib’s return in Port Elizabeth, as it turned out Shoaib was in team and he bowled one of his fiery spell to produce 4 wickets and as a result South Africa bowled out for 124 in just two sessions or so. I was following the game on the South African channel Super Sport and in lunch interval for review, there was a Black Zimbabwean commentator as expect (I do not remember his name but surely he was not Pommy, if any one knows his name please do let me know). Host asked him about the great Pakistani fast bowlers. In reply to my surprise, he described Shoaib Akthar as a last great Pakistani fast bowler, I just shouted spontaneously million miles away,”In your dreams son, what would you know about the factory of fast bowlers in Pakistan”. As it turned out, Asif bowled a canny skillful spell in second innings to set up the match. After little gap, Pakistan keep on bring out new youngsters with flying hair, knocking people over and causing real sensation in cricket viewers all over the world.
Indeed, Pakistan had been and is the real factory of fast bowlers, whereas India and Sri Lanka madly looking for even single quality fast man for support of Zaheer and Malinga, there are rows of young fast bowlers coming out from Pakistan. It has nothing to do with the conditions, pitches, domestic cricket in fact condition are so hot that never suited to bodies of fast bowlers just imagine bowling fast in mid 40’s, pitches are so bare and unfriendly that fast have to do everything with their own skills no response from deck like playing cricket on road and domestic structure is as poor as it can possibly can be anywhere around world but it has everything to do with culture of fast bowling that we have here in Pakistan. The mind set of fast bowlers and coaches is totally different from that in whole world. For example, everywhere in world, coaches tell the fast bowlers to maintain line and length by cutting down pace but here in Pakistan when a fast bowler emerges first thing people look at is his pace and it is general rule, if you are in Pakistan and you have no great pace, you have no place in Pakistan cricket unless or until you are not Asif. Another and most prominent feature of Pakistani fast bowlers is reverse swing and bowling at depth of innings. Everyone knows about the reverse swing in his modern age but no one able to use the reverse swing to the other than Flintoff and Jones that to only in one series. At a time, when world is looking for new inventions for death bowling slower bouncer and different sort of things. Even today, world’s best fast bowler Dale Steyn goes for plenty in death overs despite of using his all his armory of different type of slow ball and bouncers, but for Pakistani fast bowlers’ yorkers with plenty of tail in is way to go. Pakistan stands a mile ahead of world in death fast bowling and no one here in Pakistan accepts the excuse from any fast bowler that he cannot bowl yorker over and over again, as experienced lately Asif, who was evenly left out from the limited overs XI before English tour. If you see yorkers of other bowlers and Pakistani fast bowler straight away difference is realized. Even in best in business of yorkers Malinga does not have menace like that Waqar, Wasim or even for that matter Shaoib and Gull has. There is something special in yorker of Pakistani as compared to non Pakistani, plenty of reverse, a lot of effort and mostly getting stumps on the way to keeper.
Pakistan probably had the best fast bowling opening attack and certainly the best bowling fast bowling attack before the start of September last year and outbreak of spot fixing scandal which itself has not decided its fait even after 5 months. Even without the most skillful bowler of the world of the world cricket which stands head and shoulders above the other bowlers of his generation in Asif and one the brightest talents in the game of last two decades in Amir, Pakistan bowling attack comprising of Shoiab, Gul, Wahab and Tanvir looks better than the most bowling attacks in World Cup. There are rows of young quick men in pipe lines likes of Junaid, Talha, Rameez, Asad Ali and many more. Latest of Pakistani net picks Abdul Haq, who looks to be a fine fast bowler but probably needs a season or two before he is thrown into team. Many made their judgments in just two games about Irfan that he is not international material, which is not right at all. Two games are not good enough to judge a bowler; he was played when he was not 100% and I have seen him bowl in full flow and he was just unplayable, getting awkward bounce from length. He definitely deserves another chance but unfortunately, he found himself in the setup where there many fine fast men waiting for their opportunity and his next chance looks far away for the moment now.
What does catalyze this fast bowlers production? It is mystery to many because pitches, domestic and climate goes totally against them in big way, pitches are so dead that even once great Dennis Lillee called them grave yard for fast bowlers yet if you have under age group cricket trials anywhere in Pakistan, you will find more children willing to bowl fast than that with will to bat. Similarly, a Pakistani fan enjoys more a fast bowler charging in hitting people on heads and sending stumps for rides to keeper with toe crushers than a batsman smacking a sweet cover drive for a four. Fast bowling is the mentality of the whole nation, a prime example is that of Umar Akmal and Amir, both young guys of same age more or less made their debut at same time. Despite of the greater early success of Umar compared to Amir, fast bowler remained the masses’ favorite in Pakistan.
Pakistani fast bowling history has its deeps roots; to me it started all in 70’s when a young man made his debut in 71 called Imran Khan. All though, Pakistan had fast bowling heroes likes of Fazal and Sarfaz before him but Imran revolutionized the fast bowling in the Pakistan like no one has ever done in this world any field and probably no one ever will. Before him there was not no concept of all and all out fast bowlers in Pakistan but he introduced the raw pace by transforming himself and how use this pace to rattle the best in the business. Sarfaz may have discovered the art of reverse swing but Imran just perfected the art. He handpicked fast bowlers likes of Wasim, Waqar and Aqib who served Pakistan cricket for many years. Aqib was not lucky enough because of some more capable bowlers making inroads in the team like of Shoaib and Zahid. Imran passed his heritage of attacking fast bowling and reverse swing to W’s which is pretty much in its exact shape as it was two generations ago in Imran’s time. Most importantly, Imran with his charming personality left a glittering legacy which has lasting effect even now after two generations after him. That is the reason why, even today’s Pakistani fast bowlers think Imran as their mentor and role model. The difference in Pakistan and other Asian countries is that Pakistan had Imran Khan a hero, a role model and a guiding beacon which lighten the young fast bowlers. Imran is the truly the best thing a cricketing country can have because he has given his country what no one even Bradman has given to Australia, a complete culture of fast bowling. This is why to me; he is the greatest cricketer of the world. Once he, set the tone there were many to follow and take the torch forward likes of Wasim, Waqar, Aqib, Zahid and Shoaib. Now it has become a phenomenon which induces itself like virus. This virus is having more and more capable patients quick and fast.
Another important thing which is most fruitful for fast bowling culture is tape tennis ball cricket common known as tape ball cricket. Every Pakistani cricketer plays tape bowl cricket even before playing with regular cricket ball. Having played it for many years, I can tell it is really tough for bowlers. The thing most need in tape bowl is raw pace and it makes all the bowlers to use every bit of power and bowl fast. Even with pace if you do not have almost perfect yorker or well disguised slow ball you can go for as many sixes as many times you miss both these deliveries. I have seen people go for six sixes in over that to nearly bowling almost perfect yorkers that good are some hitters. As a result, tape ball cricket develops the pace of bowlers and minimum margin of error. It is perfect early development of the bowler who has to ball at pace. Tape ball is the reason why, Pakistan always had little bit more pace to work with it tank.
Faces may change but I can assure you Pakistani fast bowling reserves are in safe hands especially with Imran army’s favorite sons Aqib and Waqar in charge. Fast bowling has now found its place in the Pakistani blood; new upcoming young Pakistanis fast bowlers will continue to thrill the world with famous Pakistani reverse swinging yorkers and breathe taking bouncers. Every Pakistani is proud of this great fast bowling legacy and really has given the nation some of most glorious moments.

Beware The Cornered Pakistani Tigers!-By Umer Rana

Last two years have been forgettable for Pakistan Cricket, what has not went wrong in that time from touring team to be attacked to no cricket at home, from revolts in teams for captaincy to the spot fixing saga, losing Champion Trophy and World Cup hosting rights really it had been dread time for cricket in Pakistan. One after the other controversy jolted the team at regular intervals. This side can be best explained in a word “bruised”, when this type of word associated to Pakistan, mind rolls back all those years to famous King Khan interview of “cornered tiger”, which over the years has become the style of cricket of his successors. Truly, the circumstances are perfect for cornered tiger to be themselves, they have corned over the last two years and now no one fancying them for the World Cup. This is I’m talking about experts not fans like me who cannot help themselves waiting for the next game to start anxiously even after the worst of defeat as was the case in most of time in last two years. Expect opinion does not take time to change, does it??? It may well change in next two weeks time comes the 26 March.
There are plenty of things that go with Pakistan, first thing is Pakistani fast bowling. It is not as strong as it would have been had Amir been there but never the less, it is still formidable one, in my view best of world in given conditions that are for world cup. Many will raise eye brows on it and put the names of South Africa or Australia but matter of fact is that this World Cup is in sub-continent not in South Africa or England where bowlers can get help from wicket; here fast bowlers have to do everything by their own by their own skill like variation in pace and reverse swing. There is not much after Styen and Morkel in South African fast bowling tank though Tosobe has done well. Even Styen and Morkel are cut to halves to that they are when they have no help from track as it would be in sub-continent. Australia has good fast bowling attack but then again inability to use reverse swing as compared to Pakistanis leave them lag a bit. The most important thing in this World Cup would be death bowling to me, in this regard Pakistan have the tools to function very well under pressure in Gull and Wahab. Gull as we all know is the best exponent of reverse swing and bowling at death, no one has more unquenchable lust for toes or stumps then his guy but Wahab is not far behind his mentor either, he has made serious in roads in last two years and so. He does not have the confidence as that of Gull right now, bowl yorkers bit away from right hander’s toes but once he got the confidence that he eventually will have after getting through the defenses of some right hander then he would be lethal with slingy action targeting the toes. Shoaib may miss out on some games in playing 11 but he is not a bad option to be ready whenever needed. He can also perform the jobs of a Gull or Wahab with equal efficiency. Juniad is good inclusion sighting the bowling form of Sohail, he might not get many games but it would be a learning experience for this guy for future. Razzaq’s bowling is the major worry for Pakistan because his bowling has come down, he is not what he was used to but Pakistan do not need anything more than 5 or 6 good tight overs, stopping the batsmen onslaught in opening overs.
Spin will play a major role in his World Cup, Pakistan have an ever dependable leg spinner in Afridi, skillful off-spinner in Ajmal and steady left arm spinner in Rehman. To back them up, Hafeez’s canny like fox off spin. Ian Smith kept on ruing the fact that Kiwis have not gotten a part timer away in last series, someone should tell him any bowler who bowls in power play is not part timer. Hafeez continuously came to rescue the bowling attack in Dubai and England in mandatory and bowling power plays when ever called on, he did it pretty well. He is not like the part timers that India has, he thinks like a bowler and most importantly he bowls like a bowler. In my view, Pakistan should go with Ajmal, he is attacking one that can give wickets, Rehman is good bowler that has a lot control but when it comes to shoot out, it should be Ajmal with his skill of bowling in death and his variations. Another good thing for Pakistan is that Ajmal absence made Afridi to bowl in death and batting power play. It has opened another good option because more you vary in death and batting power play better it would be. Best thing of this bowling line is that it functions like well oiled machine when under pressure defending a score then Gulls, Wahabs and Ajmals get very deadly. Should Pakistan put a par score on board, it would be hard to chase against down.
Now, let’s take a look at batting side. Opening partnership looks to be taking shape at last after so many tries. Both the men are in good form, Hafeez looks always good for big one when he is stoking the ball brilliantly but he gets out to much in range of 20’s and 30’s too often. He should now take responsibility for big ones at up front. Ahmed is good inclusion, the best thing is that he is in form, when I first looked at this guy in U-19 World Cup in Malaysia 08, I straight away got a notion of something very very special. Kamran, Younis and Misbah form good middle order, middle order does not looks as strong as it used to a few years back but it has ability to do the job well most of the times. Putting Kamran in between Younis and Misbah would be a great idea because it will separate both same type of players the accumulators, but this deprive of Pakistan the quick runs of Kamran but I think after fall of wicket going for stability would be wiser idea. Then, the strength of batting line up, which is undoubtedly best is business the Pakistani power hitting. Three terrifying bashers can make any world class bowling like a club level bowling but they need to have a platform to make bowlers dance on which is to be provided by top 5. Umar is the key to me, he should be sent up in some games to give him confidence and he should be let to play 20 to 30 overs because using his great talent for just hitting will be huge waste he is much more than it. Razzaq also needs a good time in the middle, sending him up against minor teams or in warm ups would not be a bad idea. Shafiq will be the go to man in case of some injury for this batting side, he is not a bad player to has to have along, but he should be given a game or two to keep him in the groove, overall batting looks all ok but the major worry of this batting lineup is batting collapses, that have been happening too often in last two years. Other than it, it has every ingredient which is needed.
The most important thing that this team has in its favor is that team is united and not many Pakistan sides are so united as it is in past as it is. They have charismatic captain supported by cool headed vice captain. Team is full of genuine match winners who do not anyone else to win the game on their day. The other important thing that goes in the favor of Pakistan’s in big way is format of tournament, this time knock system around will suit Pakistan style of play. Pakistan over the years has developed habit of winning crunch game completely opposite to South Africa. I brought up watching it happen over years, “When it gets do or die, South Africa always die” but Pakistan is completely opposite way around. Pakistan over the years and this side in general has been very good winning the tight game by handling the pressure well. This is very important believe to have especially in the knock out games. This side is momentum oriented side; once they got the on role it will become deadly dangerous irrespective of the opposition to stop Pakistan from the glory. So, it would be very important that this team clicks first in start of tournament and gains momentum as league stage ends, that are the things will decide for me how far this team can go. One thing is for sure that no opposition would want to face Pakistan in knock outs. Expert may have not given cornered tigers a chase but I will have Pakistan is top three contenders along India and Sri Lanka. An all Asian final would not be a surprise to me.
An article by Umer Rana.

Kya Hum Ek Hain? (Are We One?) by Imran Asghar

What is Pakistan? What does it mean? What’s the purpose of it? These are the questions that many of us ask every day. The answer’s are not simple as the country has gone through alot in its 64 year history. Whenever we’ve been blessed with a bit of happiness, a controversy has been awaiting us. Today, Pakistan is awaiting something to happen so we can have a little joy again. As a nation we are fed up with the constant, infighting, and some propaganda, that has become a occurrence of everyday life. So what are the answers to the three questions above? In my view, Pakistan is Iqbal’s inception and Jinnah’s completion. In this simple words the country is illustrated. Just if we could love our country as much as we say we love it.

As we seek a glimmer of hope, a smile, happiness, what can it be? Maybe Pakistan winning the world cup? Maybe so. Pakistan has no divine right to win the tournament; we must remember there are 13 other nations that want to do the same. Each and every other team has travelled with the same expectation that we have. So what makes us different? Are we united? Are we one? Kya hum ek hain?

Lets think about it, lets think about it with a open mind. Lets look at the 15 man squad as our brother’s whom have gone to bring a smile on our faces. Lets look at it that these 15 brothers of ours have left their familys behind to give this country a beautifull gift. A gift that the nation can cherish for years to come.

Maybe they wont achieve their goal but be with me when I say, “Win, Lose or get Demolished; we are with u. We stand united. Haan hum ek hain!”

Pakistan Cricket Team Zindabad
Pakistan Paindabad


Pakistan have always been a nation that has not been afraid to throw Teenagers into the deep end of International Cricket. Some have been have a great success and some young players where arguably not ready and faltered away. Today il have a look at some young players that may go on to play for Pakistan in the future.
Babar Azam
Babar is a young opening batsman with great talent. Despite being only 16 years of age he has represented Pakistan at u-19 level. He was the leading run scorer in a Tri-Nation tournament and topped the scoring charts for Pakistan in the World Cup, with 298 runs.
Raza Hasan
A major hope for Pakistan when it comes to the future of spin bowling. Hasan is a left-arm slow bowler. He has the tactical sense of someone whom has played International cricket for years. Interestingly he bowls a ‘Doosra’, something unheard of for a left arm bowler. With this youngster its not if, but when will he debut for the senior team.
Junaid Khan
A former U-19 World Cup winner is a gifted left arm fast bowler who has a great line and length, with the ability to swing the bowl at good pace. He seems to be on the brink of a call up after an impressive domestic season.
Mohammed Rameez
‘Rambo’ is a young right arm bowler. Even though, not express pace, he bowls at a brisk rate. With great success at domestic level, the youngster will be pushing his claim for a call-up very soon. A player to keep an eye for.
Hammad Azam
The future all-rounder of Pakistan is Hammad. A good batsman in the middle order, who bowls good right arm fast medium. Looking at his ability, along with expectancy, he will be the long term replacement of Abdul Razzaq.
Mohammad Waqas
With fine tuning, Waqas can go on to secure the keepers gloves for Pakistan. Like Kamran, not a natural gloveman, but a convert needs a few years in the domestic circuit to learn the skills of keeping to go with the explosive batting.
The talent is out there, needs nurturing in the right manner.
Pakistan Zindabad!!!

Unforgivable Sin or a Bowler's Weapon? : Ball Tampering

It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets in cricket that ball-tampering is a common practice. From small-time club cricketers to the International arena, it happens all the time. Many high profile names have admitted to have ‘altered’ the ball in one way or another. Firstly let’s look at the cricketing law, in regards of, Ball Tampering.

Under Law 42, subsection 3 of the Laws of Cricket, the ball may be polished without the use of an artificial substance, may be dried with a towel if it is wet, and have mud removed from it under supervision; all other actions which alter the condition of the ball are illegal. These are usually taken to include rubbing the ball on the ground, scuffing with a fingernail or other sharp object, or tampering with the seam of the ball.

So under this Law, most actions to shine a cricket bowl to gain swing movement is outlawed; but a legal way is the usage of spit or sweat. The moisture of using spit/sweat, on one side of the ball, will make the ball heavier and therefore swing. The most common practice of polishing is rubbing the ball on the trousers. This is the legal way but takes effort and time, and on a dead pitch, might not give a desired result. This is where, the feilding team result to ‘illegal’ means to get assistance to get wickets. The most common practices are a fielder may apply a substance, such as lip balm or sweetened saliva, to shine one side of the ball or pick the seam of the ball to encourage more swing, or else one side of the ball can be roughened by use of boot spikes or other sharp objects. Former England Captain Tony Greig, has openly stated that "Some may choose to deny it but most bowlers have technically indulged in ball-tampering. Ball-tampering is one of cricket's most open secrets and it has been for at least 50 years." So now let’s look at some examples of when a player/team has been accused of Tampering with a cricket ball.

In Pakistan’s tour of England in 1992, the two W’s, Wasim and Waqar, were accused of altering the ball in a illegal manner. This was a result of reverse swing (very common in today’s game) that they were getting. Nothing was proved, and in 1996, Imran Khan won a libel case against Ian Botham in terms of these allegations. England Captain Michael Atherton, was caught on camera, applying a substance that had been hidden in his trousers to gain swing for his bowlers. He was fined. India's Rahul Dravid was fined after he rubbed a half-eaten lolly onto one side of the ball during an ODI. Such instances of using sweetened saliva are not uncommon, as many players claim that the sugary saliva caused by eating confectionery is more effective in polishing the ball than normal saliva. Marcus Trescothick claimed in his autobiography that England's players achieved their prodigious amounts of reverse swing in their successful 2005 Ashes series against Australia by using saliva sweetened by eating mints.

The biggest story was perhaps in 2006, when Australian umpire, Darrell Hair, accused Pakistan of Tampering and gave 5 penalty runs, Pakistan Captain, Inzamam-Ul-Haq refused to play after tea and the match was awarded to England. Other incidents include England opening bowlers accused of using their spikes and Indian great Sachin Tendulkar, suspended for apparently picking the seam.

In 2010 Pakistan limited overs captain, Shahid Afridi, was caught by the camera’s of biting the cricket ball in a bizarre attempt to readjust the seam of the ball. The ball was eventually replaced. Afridi, duly apologized and was suspending for two games. Interestingly, Michael Atherton declared “Shahid Afridi did nothing worse last week than 99% of professional cricketers have been guilty of doing at some stage of their careers. His mistake was to get caught. Every cricket team I played in discussed, at some stage, how to scuff up a pitch on a spinner's length”. Another comment from a former Indian Test cricketer, turned writer, Akash Chopra said “I have realised that ball-tampering does not happen randomly. It is more often than not part of the game plan ". He added "Some do it discreetly, while the rest, like Afridi, are either brave or foolish enough to do it blatantly”.

There has been many other former player/pundits whom have openly talked about Tampering. Imran Khan admitted to have used a bottle cap in a club game. Whereas Former England Captains Nasser Hussain and Micheal Vaughan, respectively said after the Anderson and Broad incident said ""Stuart Broad and James Anderson were wrong to behave in the manner they did and I've no doubt that if a player from another country did the same we'd have said they were cheating”, and “What would we have said if it was Pakistan?”.

The major problem is the game has turned into a batsman’s paradise, the pitches are flat, the ball gets changed after 34 overs in a ODI, The bowler is allowed to bowl one bouncer in a over and many others. Why is it when a bowler reverses the bowl it raises eye brows but a batsman is allowed to play the switch hit? Common let’s face it, you may as well use bowling machines as they would be just as effective.

Shoaib Akhtar in his autobiography, named Controversially Yours, openly admitted to have tampered with a Cricket ball in his career and also suggested that players from all around the world do it. He also suggested the legalisation of such practise.

The calls to legalise ball tampering has started to take shape with high profile cricketers such as Ian Chappell and Alan Donald in support. In fact, Donald made a remark when asked if he thought ball tampering should be legalised,"The ICC would shoot me for saying it but, with the wickets that we play on and the dying breed fast bowlers are becoming on these flatter wickets, I would say we do need some sort of defence mechanism, something to fall back on to say 'Right, we can do this. We can now prepare this ball to go”. Harsha Bhogle probably made the best when he said "Cricket allows you to "maintain" the state of the ball but not to "alter" it. You can therefore rub the ball on your flannels to ensure the shine stays longer, but you cannot rub it on the ground, for... example, to ensure it goes faster. But in either case you are altering the natural condition of the ball. By maintaining the shine a bowler prevents the ball from deterioration. And yet the worsening of the ball, and the ensuing implications, are at the very heart of our game. Either action seeks to make the two halves of the ball unequal, so why should one be allowed and the other outlawed? Is it because one helps conventional swing and the other encourages reverse swing, which has always been looked upon as the naughty child in the family? Or, let's face it, is it because batsmen don't like reverse swing? “
Tampering has been prevalent for an age now. It is indeed something that is taboo in 'conventional' circles, and yet practiced. It is a secret weapon of a bowler, that is often seen as an 'unfair' means of doing so. It is done by bowlers, but depending on rather biased and uneven discrimination, set by the governance itself, it rarely is brought into limelight. Newspapers also play an integral part in 'making' an issue out of nothing, as observed after the 5th ODI Vs. England in summer of 2010.
Many notable cricket gurus, and analysts have indeed said that tampering is almost impossible to track in many cases. The number of cases that have received highlight, are either based on the back of a backdrop of ridicule and controversy, humiliating series for the accusing party or the referral by officials of the match. The standard set as per laws are not enough to make sure that this practice either stops, or is regulated. On-field umpires, also at times, are taken over by biased intentions (case in point, The Oval Test of 2006) or just plain 'evidence'. It is notable though that many fast bowlers call for the legalization of tampering, as the conditions are becoming more and more suitable for batsman. Placid tracks also play a role in tampering. But one must also keep note of the thin line between its legalization and misuse.

Why should the batsman have it all their way and bowlers have to suffer? How about evening it up a touch? How about allowing the fielding team to alter the bowl? I am not saying let them use bottle caps and spikes but the use of some dirt or sun cream will allow a bowler to compete. Or otherwise bowlers and fielders will carry on in indulging in illegal means to get wickets.