Stories about New Zealand

How else must Fawad Alam prove his worth, PCB?

Fawad Alam has been left out from the ODI squad, again. And right before the World Cup, again. The last time when he was dropped, in November 2010, his batting average was just below 40; currently his career average is more than 45 runs per inning with a decent strike run rate of 75.04 – despite batting under immense pressure most of the time. Leaving him out of the national team is something I just can’t understand. Not only has he performed above average, he has also given Pakistan some much needed wins over the past year. He is the second highest ODI ...

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After Ajmal, Hafeez takes a hit – will Pakistan be able to bounce back?

And so the ICC’s purge against off-spinners continues, with Mohammad Hafeez being the latest victim. It has come as no surprise given the recent suspensions of off-spinners globally and the warning Hafeez himself received when he was reported during the Champions League T20 in September with Hafeez due to be tested at Loughborough on November 24, 2014. In fact, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) itself has been pro-active in this matter, forming a five-member committee which included ICC Elite Panel Umpire Aleem Dar and Pakistan’s spin bowling coach, Mushtaq Ahmad, to weed out suspect actions before they reach the international stage. However, the news of Hafeez ...

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Hafeez and Taufeeq need to go!

While the nation rightly celebrates a long awaited Test series win over Australia, one as dominant as unexpected, it would be unadvisable to start getting complacent. They say the best teams in sport are those that strengthen while at the top and we must not fall into the trap of overlooking areas which need improvement. The last time we whitewashed a world number one in UAE, we followed it up with a highly uninspiring series loss in Sri Lanka in 2012. Many reputations lived off that series for far too long, and we must make sure that the same mistakes are not repeated ...

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Has Indian Test cricket suffered under Dhoni?

The venom of glamour and entertainment infused with cricket has made a cascading impact on its purest format, as it seems to lose its essence in this fast-track age of madness. As always Indian cricket has struggled to cope with any kind of fast bowling overseas. The superstars that Indian cricket has produced over the years have managed to excel on slow tracks of the subcontinent but succumbed to the fast bouncy tracks elsewhere. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team have suffered humiliating defeats in Test matches over the past four years. After surrendering to complete wash-outs in England in 2011, his lacklustre side suffered ...

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Injustice prevails at Aitchison College

The headmaster of Senior School, Mr Peter Giddens, a tall man from New Zealand, joined Aitchison College in September 2013. During his first assembly, he said, excitedly, “I do not like the number one thousand and seventy, so I’ll make every effort to bring that number down to only a thousand.” His intentions were clear. Everyone in Senior School eventually became acquainted with his arrogance. He would never accommodate a friendly complaint and would often greet it with comments like “get out”, “I’m busy”, “am I here to solve this?” and sometimes he would not comment at all. Soon after, Mr Giddens, for unknown reasons, ...

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Hafeez, an unsung hero?

After the spot fixing saga in 2010, Pakistan was in desperate need of a solid opener to fill the gap left by Salman Butt. And it was none other than Mohammad Hafeez who took the challenge upon himself to work his way into becoming Pakistan’s next regular opener in all three formats. Before 2010, Hafeez had a questionable batting average and his inclusion in the team was criticised because he was never able to establish himself as a preferred player in our team. Despite that he worked hard on his techniques and scored numerous runs against competitive teams like England, South Africa and New ...

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ICC World Cup: When quantity dilutes quality

While browsing a leading cricket website, an ad for cricket jerseys caught my attention. The jerseys on sale were replicas of the 1992 World Cup ones that the nine competing teams wore. The promotional scheme was very aptly captioned, “The iconic cricket jerseys of the 1992 World Cup” As an overzealous follower of Pakistani cricket, I have absolutely zero issues with the jerseys being labelled iconic. After all, this was our World Cup. The 2015 World Cup, like the 1992 one, is to be played on the unforgiving cricket wickets in Australia and their neighbour, New Zealand. Cricket has come a long way since the 1992 ...

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IPL: Cheap Bollywood extravaganza, not a sport

Every year, from around April to the beginning of June, I go on a hiatus from cricket. This includes shunning every cricket website and sports channel with the zeal of a politician shunning honest work and disabling the Cricinfo app on my phone and tablet. At social gatherings and at work I religiously avoid conversations pertaining to cricket and if someone directs a cricket-related comment at me, I start to extol the virtues of the insect rather than the sport. This leaves the company rather befuddled considering that for the rest of the 46 weeks in the year, cricket is ...

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Five changes Pakistan cricket needs to make to save itself

On April 1, 2014, Pakistan produced one of the most embarrassing performances in recent memory, breaking like glass under pressure. At the beginning of the 17th over, the West Indies seemed like they were out of the game, having scored only 107 runs. Then, courtesy of Sammy and Bravo, came an assault which made the Red Wedding in R R Martin’s A Storm of Shadows seem like a friendly tea party. 45 runs came off the last three overs in this knockout game. It was an assault which reminded me of Ajay Jadeja’s battering of Waqar Younis in the 1996 World Cup quarterfinal, where the Pakistani ...

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Will the 2014 World T20 be the most competitive ever? Yes!

In 2012, West Indies won the ICC World T20 final after defeating host Sri Lanka. Irrespective of conditions, Pakistan considers it its birth right to play in, at least, the semi-final of every World T20. Conditions are ideally suited for Asian champions, Sri Lanka and the ODI World champions, India. The Aussies and the Kewis (New Zealand) are in hot form, especially in limited-overs cricket. South Africans are looking for their first ever title in world cups. England, down, dilapidated, desperate and defeated in recent times, will be looking to repeat their heroics from the 2010 World T20, when they lifted the ...

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