Pakistan vs South Africa: It’s time for some smart cricket, boys

Pakistan is in a decent run of form and finds itself sitting not-so-pretty at the fourth spot in the World Cup. In relation to the Pakistan-South Africa match, which is to take place tomorrow, countless people in Pakistan believe that the team is not capable of winning against the Porteas, the only side in the history of the game to score 400 plus in two consecutive innings. Only the top four teams will make it to the quarterfinals and looking at the ranking right now, Pakistan either needs to move up the rank or maintain their fourth position to qualify. However, there is a lot ...

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Going ‘Botham-esque’ in Napier

One advantage of the Napier downtown is its close proximity to the area hotels, lodges and motels and with two World Cup games within a week’s span, the area is currently the base camp for four teams, journalists, commentators and broadcaster’s crew. The TV broadcasters have recruited some stars of the game as commentators for the World Cup and the Pakistan-UAE game was no different with the panel also including the tormentor of Australia, legendary all-rounder Sir Ian Botham – the former England captain, nicknamed Beefy for both his bulk and brawn. While flying in from Brisbane, I had the opportunity ...

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Pak vs UAE: A cornered tiger’s only way forward is to attack

What do you do when all hope seems lost and there seems to be no way out? What do you do when all that can go wrong does go wrong? What do you do when those who support you turn on you? What do you do when you are backed in to a corner? Just what is it that you do? These are some of the questions that the Pakistani cricket team in Australia and New Zealand were confronted with almost a week ago. After two harrowing defeats against India and the West Indies, Pakistan finally seems to be gathering some much needed steam while ...

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Miandad’s last-ball six and the Indian team: A statistical analysis

The history of Pakistani cricket is incomplete without discussing the contributions of Javed Miandad, undoubtedly the greatest batsman produced by the country. Similarly, the history of ODI cricket is also unfinished without highlighting the impact of Miandad’s last-ball six on the game. The Wounded Tiger – a masterful book written on Pakistani cricket by Peter Oborne – declared it the most famous shot in cricket history. The six from that Sharjah match not only haunted Chetan Sharma and the Indian cricket team, but also the entire nation for the 10 years that followed. Before Miandad’s wonder in Sharjah, India had an impressive record in ODI matches ...

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Rock beats scissors, Hashim Amla beats Virat Kohli

The headline of this piece says it all about the sheer batting class of Hashim Amla, whose silent presence on and off the field for the Proteas has brought them great stability in their batting line up in the past few years. After the departure of an extremely talented opener-cum-captain Graeme Smith and a majestic middle-order batsman Jacques Kallis, Amla became the team’s ‘rock’ – as AB de Villiers puts it. A symbol of perseverance and resolute on which team South Africa relied on to take the opening spot. He yielded the willow like a weapon with which he ripped apart ...

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A ‘Mauqa Mauqa’ to celebrate – Pakistan finally wins a match

A match that both teams were trying their level best to lose, Pakistan failed to shoot themselves in the foot for a change and managed to beat the might of Zimbabwe. The day was set for Shahid Afridi to shine on his 35th birthday. Hey, if Meera is still 25, why can’t Afridi be 35? I am still 16 by the way. Afridi’s age is a great metaphor for the entire country; it is stuck in reverse. The day started with news that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was going to play for the team, sending the entire nation (or just me actually) in a ...

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Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: It’s time to pull up our socks, boys

If you’re dreading having a sleepless night right before your team faces Zimbabwe, there is either something terribly wrong with your team, you, or both. What will keep me up is not how well my team will execute its strategy, but if it even has one. When I first saw the list for the World Cup, I could not help but notice that the last of all pool games is slated to be played between Pakistan and Ireland. My instant fear – would this become a pre-quarter final round? My second thought – is it St Patrick’s Day by any ...

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My interview with Misbahul Haq, Waqar Younis and Moin Khan

For the third time, I check my voice recorder to make sure the device is in operational order.   Yes, it is fine. Of course it is fine. I wipe away my sweaty palms on the fabric of my jeans and allow myself a few deep breaths. This will be the biggest interview I’ve ever conducted. I am sitting in a small conference room at the Pakistan cricket team hotel in Brisbane, Australia, waiting for captain Misbahul Haq, coach Waqar Younis, and chief selector Moin Khan. Determined to put my admiration for these three individuals aside, I try to focus. After all, a cricket ...

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An autopsy of Pakistan’s World Cup blues

It has barely been a fortnight since the inauguration of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australasia and team Pakistan has already found itself in a position where a group stage exit looks probable. As expected, Pakistani fans have wasted no time in expressing their anger and disappointment at the team’s dismal and lacklustre outings against India and the West Indies. Criticism is on display in its many forms; from bashing Misbah and his boys on social media to burning effigies and staging mock funerals in the streets of Multan. Former players including Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have expressed ...

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It’s time for the ICC to revamp the World Cup format

The cricket World Cup 2015 is underway. Teams are strategising their wins, contemplating their losses and trying to find a way to be in the quarter-finals. Cricket followers around the globe are following this extravaganza match-by-match and it gets even more intense for them after every match ends. This is a flagship event of the International Cricket Council (ICC) but considering the importance of this tournament, I do not agree with its format. I think in its current state, the qualification of the top eight teams to the next round is a foregone conclusion, well before the tournament event starts. The format of the first four World Cups was ...

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