As captain, can Sarfraz Ahmed steer Pakistan to victory in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy?

Pakistan’s archaic style of ODI cricket is up for a stern test in this summer’s Champions Trophy. The team is grouped with South Africa (ranked number one in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings), arch-rivals India, and Sri Lanka. A realistic assessment might be for the team to win at least one out of these three games – more likely to be the one against Sri Lanka – but that would also mean having to do away with the optimism of a Pakistani cricket fan. Regardless of how bad we think our team is, almost every fan will, as always, ...

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Did Chelsea win the title with little or no fight from their competitors?

On Friday, May 12, 2017, upon beating West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns, Chelsea confirmed mathematically that Tottenham Hotspur will not be able to catch up with them, thus confirming their second Premier League title in three years. If I were a Chelsea fan, which I’m not, this win wouldn’t feel right for a number of reasons. Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi (R) scores the opening goal during their English Premier League match. Photo:AFP This season built a lot of promise; it began with confirmation that six of the best managers in the world would all be plying ...

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Life after Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq – what does it look like?

Growing up in a perpetual shadow of conflict and turmoil, Younus Khan and Misbahul Haq were two beacons of calmness that you could count on to somehow make things better. We are fortunate enough to be in the same era as them, watch them steady the ship on countless occasions and reach new heights in the process. Younus and Misbah were deeply engrossed in a storyline that was full of emotions, more lows than highs, and the highs underappreciated. When Misbah went down at Lord’s, he picked up Pakistan’s crest that had been lying in the dirt since 2010 and proudly placed it on the honour boards for upcoming generations ...

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Islamabad has what it takes to set football standards for Pakistan, do you?

Football and Pakistan  don’t usually go together, especially Islamabad and football. However, despite Islamabad’s unwanted perception of going to sleep early, the capital is home to a thriving football scene and an ever-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem of football facilities. Though the concept had been introduced a decade ago with the advent of the F-6 multi-purpose facility, things really took off after 2014 when Total Football ventured into the market. Photo: Facebook “I was enamoured by the concept during my days as a student in London,” said Hamza Kayani, who launched Total Football in late 2014. Born and bred in Islamabad, Kayani claimed that the city lacked in the entertainment department, leaving eating out or ...

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Three underrated and uncapped players who impressed us during the Pakistan Cup

Pakistan Cup is organised as the country’s premier List A tournament where only the best domestic performers compete in five teams to prove their ability and plead their case for a national call-up. Last year’s Pakistan Cup highlighted the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Fahim Ashraf, all of whom are currently part of Pakistan’s squad for the ICC Champions Trophy. The Pakistan Cup is being established as the pipeline for players to be fast-tracked to List A and national sides, and like last year, we did witness some performers and performances that would boost Pakistan’s confidence with ...

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Virat Kohli gifting Shahid Afridi a jersey proves that cricket transcends boundaries

The thing about sports is that it is always at the mercy of politics. However, individuals always find a way out. It is hard to believe but Indian and Pakistani cricketers don’t really get involved in slanging matches off the field, although between players from India and Australia, it is a possibility these days. So when we hear that Virat Kohli and the Indian cricket team gifted Shahid Afridi a jersey as a farewell gift on his retirement, it was a gesture that even the tough-to-please Twitterati applauded. “To Shahid Bhai best wishes, always a pleasure playing against you,” wrote the Indian ...

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Dear Pakistani selectors, why do you keep picking the same old, tried and failed players?

In sporting terms, as with perhaps all aspects of national life, Pakistan is probably amongst the few unfortunate nations that have regressed, not progressed, with time. There was a time in the 1992, when Pakistan was the World Champion in not one, but four different sports – cricket, hockey, squash and billiard. But as merit started taking a backseat, and mediocrity, incompetence and favouritism reigned supreme, today we see the former champions finding it hard to even directly qualify for the cricket World Cup. Oh what a fall! Pakistan lost the first ODI against West Indies, raising a lot of questions about our nonsensical selection policies. You ...

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Bidding farewell to the stalwart heroes of Pakistan Test cricket

The upcoming Test series in West Indies will be the last time we get to see Misbahul Haq and Younus Khan sporting the colours of Pakistan, as both these players will bid farewell to Test cricket after the series ends. The series will provide both players an ideal opportunity to conclude their respective careers on a high note. Misbah has great prospects of becoming the first Pakistani captain to win a Test series in West Indies, whereas Younus is at a hand-shaking distance from becoming the first Pakistani player to reach the 10,000-runs mark in Test cricket. I hope to see both players achieve their respective milestones ...

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Six reasons why wrestling will never be the same without The Undertaker

Recently, on April 2nd, Mark Callaway called it quits after 27 years of service to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). For those who do not know, Callaway is the man behind one of the biggest characters in sporting history, The Undertaker. Like Tiger Woods, Diego Maradona, Lance Armstrong or Muhammad Ali, it did not matter if you were an avid watcher of their respective sport, you just knew them. For those who didn’t and for those who did know him, it was an emotionally surreal moment. Be it video games, the silver screen or the internet, Taker, for the last 30 years, has been a media icon, and regardless ...

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Misbahul Haq, the man who broke cricket beyond repair

As ungentlemanly as it is to castigate someone in the aftermath of a retirement, such is the rage I harbour for the man named Misbahul Haq that I’ll break this sporting code. Before I tear into my vitriolic rant, I’ll start by saying that I have nothing against Misbah ‘the person’. In fact, as a captain, he did a stellar job staying clear of any controversies a la the Salman Butts and Wasim Akrams of these shores. I’ll give him that. Statistically speaking too, Misbah, I’ve come to know, was better than some of our better ones. He also deserves some ...

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