Dear ICC, so what if Wahab Riaz blew a kiss at Shane Watson?

Wahab Riaz and his legendary bowling spell against Shane Watson have touched a chord with cricket fans all over the world. Riaz has made us realise that, in this world of powerplays and fielding restrictions, bowlers can also put on a show that “oohs” and “aahs” hundreds of millions of viewers. The fast-bowler needed just a few overs to demonstrate that a well placed bouncer is just as entertaining as a well timed sixer. The aggressive interaction between Riaz and Watson also showed how there is so much more to cricket than just bowling and batting. Pakistani cricketer ...

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Wahab Riaz can fill Misbah’s shoes

Pakistan’s World Cup campaign came to an end yesterday, and while many expected the Aussies to emerge victorious, very few had expected Wahab Riaz to put up a fight the way he did. Photo: AFP Pakistan’s batting and fielding proved to be the biggest shortcoming yesterday, yet again, and defending a measly total of 213 proved too much for the bowlers this time. While Australia managed to dominate most of the match, there was a short spell of 12 overs or so when this was not the case. In a single spell of six overs, Wahab showcased an epic display of fast-bowling which had ...

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#ThankyouMisbah and #ThankyouAfridi – You will be missed!

“It looks bad. Who will save the middle-order now?” “Don’t worry, Misbah is still about to play.” “Oh man! The strike rate is so low! We are definitely losing this.” “I am counting on Afridi. He can save the game.” These are some of the many conversations that take place between Pakistani cricket fans during any important match. But sadly, it will not happen anymore. Misbahul Haq and Shahid Afridi will no longer accompany our heated discussions. They will no longer dominate our debates. And I wonder if there will ever be another duo about whom we would be as passionate as we are ...

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Pakistan vs Australia: This was clearly not like the 1992 World Cup

If you have ever fallen in love, the kind of love that makes you feel the blood rushing through your veins for the first time, then you know what it is like to be a Pakistani cricket fan. We all have our afflictions, and for Pakistan it is cricket. Cricket is our choice of drug. No matter how much it hurts, the next time it is on, we will be watching for our fix. Every World Cup, I promise myself not to get my hopes up too high. I rationalise it in my mind. Even if all the statistics, the form, ...

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Sweet revenge is on its way with Pakistan vs Australia

Pakistan has finally managed to drag itself past the group stages and reach the quarter-finals of the ICC World Cup 2015… and what a ride it has been! The last time Pakistan was expelled from the tournament during our first rounds was  in 2007. The same happened in 2003. Therefore, fans have been susceptible to Pakistan’s progress in this tournament. And losing the first two matches of the group stages did little to improve the team’s image. However, they did recover soon from the initial blows and developed a better team combination – which led them to winning four consecutive matches and ...

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Pakistan vs Australia: Without Irfan, our romance with fast-bowling continues

As we qualify for the quarter-finals (the super eight) in the most unobjectionable style possible – keeping in mind how we lost our first two matches – it makes me wonder how phenomenal our team’s journey has been. Looking back at how things were about a month ago, and how they are now, it was nothing less than an emotional roller coaster ride for the 180 million people of this country. Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz (L) runs to his teammate Mohammad Irfan (R) as they celebrate their 29 run win over South Africa. Photo: AP For the first week or so, our performances were ...

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Pakistan can stand tall against Australia without Muhammad Irfan

The tall and towering Muhammad Irfan is out of the World Cup, due to a stress fracture in the pelvis. But there is no time for remorse. The Pakistan team is in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, after they changed their fortunes and came back from a very dismal start to end the group matches on a high note with an easy win against Ireland. But now there, is no room for error and no time to cry over spilt milk. Muhammad Irfan. Photo: AFP Muhammad Irfan was supposed to be the spearhead of our bowling attack against Australia but so ...

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4 reasons why World Cup 2015 is nothing like World Cup 1992

Yesterday’s win against Ireland allowed Pakistan to wiggle their way into the quarter-finals. The match not only secured us a place in the top four but also allowed Sarfraz Ahmed to score his first ODI century. This century was not only important for him, but for Pakistan as well since it broke the dry spell our batsmen were suffering from since the 2007 World Cup.  Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz (2nd L) celebrates with team mates after dismissing Ireland’s Ed Joyce (2nd R) for eleven runs during their Cricket World Cup match at the Adelaide Oval March 15, 2015.Photo: Reuters THANKSGIVING ...

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How I came to own the sweater Wasim Akram wore at the 1992 World Cup final

Neatly folded away in a box at the back of my study is a short-sleeved sweater. It is fluorescent lime-green, with red, blue and white stripes across the shoulders. It is undeniably hideous. Whoever was in charge of its design was either having a bad day or a good laugh. It is, though, one of my most treasured sporting possessions. It is the sweater that Wasim Akram wore in the final of the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia and gave to me in the dressing-room of the Melbourne Cricket Ground just minutes after Pakistan had won the final against England and ...

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Pakistan vs Ireland: Will St Patrick’s Day be Ireland’s lucky charm?

St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. The Irish, as well as the non-Irish in Washington, are looking forward to celebrating and partying all night long. One of my several bosses, a third generation Irish-American, Mr O’Brien, is a stocky little man who talks to no end and although we are not in the business of selling, he sounds like a perfect auctioneer. The other day, I stopped him in the middle of one of his verbal onslaughts and asked if he knew about the game of cricket. “No, I don’t,” followed by a long, speechless pause was the answer. I ...

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