Faras Ghani

Faras Ghani

Sports editor of The Express Tribune who is also the author of the book "Champions, again" farasghani.com/championsagain.html

Dearth of international action in Pakistan is killing our sports writers

Unable to host international teams has many repercussions — your players are always on the road; the budding ones don’t get enough chances to impress; the closest the crowd can get to the action depends on the size of the TV screens, and the federations’ cash-flow is heavily affected. The many biryani wallahs, chat wallahs and rickshaw wallahs miss out on their third Eid, too. However, going through the many emails and articles on a daily basis, it has been discovered that the dearth of international action in Pakistan is also destroying the future of its sports writers. While domestic players lose out on ...

Read Full Post

Adnan Akmal: Chirping away towards success

For all the banter that Adnan Akmal parts with behind the stumps, he comes across as a rather shy, no-nonsense individual away from the cricket field, unlike his siblings that have played for Pakistan. Adnan doesn’t ooze defiance and arrogance like Umar and hasn’t mastered the smooth flow of the bat that Kamran often offered. He doesn’t have a bag full of big hits and isn’t likely to attract an IPL or a BPL contract anytime soon. But he does approach every outing with the dedication – however limited and unappealing his talent might seem right now – and conscientiousness of ...

Read Full Post

The outrageous cricket that Pakistan played

Outrageous would be an apt term to describe Pakistan’s show on the fourth afternoon in Abu Dhabi. How the team produces such cricket when you least expect them to is beyond belief. Pakistan were expected to stir up a few surprises – on the cricket field this time – against England but a series-win, despite the home-like conditions, remained a hope rather than an aim. Die-hard optimism notwithstanding, it was always a push from God that the team management and the captain sought considering the gulf that existed between the two sides prior to the series. Pakistan’s batting line-up remained meek – ...

Read Full Post

Mohammad Hafeez: The sweetly timed turnaround

About 18 months ago, Mohammad Hafeez was wondering where he had gone wrong — he probably hadn’t seen himself play cricket. His comeback series after almost three years in the wilderness – the 2010 World Twenty20 – lasted six matches, 39 runs and two wickets. So when he was selected for the limited-overs squad to take on England that summer, shock prevailed. He hadn’t scored a half-century since December 2006 and despite an all-rounder’s tag, failed to get more than three wickets since October 2003. He averaged 18.6 with the bat after 48 ODIs. There was a huge uproar following his selection ...

Read Full Post

Spot-fixing: Not even an iota of delight

Covering cricket as a journalist snatches away the innocence and exuberance instilled into one’s life as a fan, in the days preceding the time when you don’t have to pay for tickets anymore or when the very figures you’d yearn to meet and speak to, become your friends. You call each other by name, handshakes don’t have the same value anymore, food and drinks are shared and, perhaps a minor glitch of the job, the holiness of a player tones down to a meek normalcy, an act unimaginable when it all started. You forget that once upon a time, in front ...

Read Full Post
August 2, 2011
TOPICS

The Nottingham tea party

Courtesy should fall flat in front of the rules. The state of affairs, in sports is run by a system agreeable to the ones who need to follow it to earn their living. Some just follow it for the sake of righteousness but either way, the convention exists to guide and contain, and to reduce digression if not stop it altogether. Lewis Hamilton didn’t become a world champion and one of the most exciting drivers by moving over to the dirty side of the track and allowing his rivals an easy pass. Similarly, Amir Khan plays for a knockout, not the 12th ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s World Cup strategy: Win the toss

In Sri Lanka, the locals warn all tourists to be aware of the oncoming traffic. Despite various road markings and signs, overtaking at will on even the narrowest of single lanes is a common sight. For that reason alone, you need to be on guard at all times, be wary of even the innocuous Tuk Tuks (rickshaws) and sit prepared for a sudden manoeuvre. It seems as though the welcoming committee failed to inform Pakistan cricket team of these trends on the streets. The rigidness of their plans oozing from their on-field show, the refusal to budge from what was discussed ...

Read Full Post

While others fade away, here’s to Umar Gul

The wicked world of Pakistan cricket ensures its batsmen are not given enough room, there are thorns sticking out of the popping crease for the bowlers and the fielders are positioned at short-leg with no protective gear. Knives, axes and effigies are readily available for every failed performance and new warnings, slogans and calls for swift omission become louder after every dismissal, slaughtering or a drop. Shahid Afridi, Misbahul Haq, Younus Khan, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Akhtar. The list is as long as the numbers Pakistan have tried. Performance, fitness, attitude, the reasons exist aplenty for the stakeholders – which happens to ...

Read Full Post

Tatenda Taibu: Boy turned into a man

Teen debuts, controversies, early retirements and reversals are traits often found in the subcontinent. Talent, brimming on the surface and visible in short bursts, defies age and experience as laurels pour in from all corners, predicting a bright future. No sooner comes a revolt, threats by external influences and the decision to call it a day arrives as easily as a cross-batted squat followed by a scamper for a couple. That has been the story of the 27-year-old former Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu. Plucked from obscurity, still in his teens and having no first-class experience, Taibu’s ascent to not just captaincy, ...

Read Full Post

Akhtar trudging along, at his own pace

They say your life flashes in front of your eyes as death approaches. The good, the bad, the best moments you lived through are replayed in a short burst that makes you realise the worth, the joy and the sheer existence of it all, the reasons behind who you were, are and could have been. The last few months of Shoaib Akhtar’s career have followed the same pattern. His early worth paved way for injuries – of various types at numerous points in his life – and age got the better of his speed. He was shot down throughout his career, ...

Read Full Post