Stories about New Zealand

Misbah isn’t Imran Khan, Afridi, or Wasim Akram – he’s better

He made Pakistani cricket boring, but our team became predictably consistent with their performances under his leadership. Fortunately, the flamboyance that rode on erraticism is now missing from our Test team. They have started playing methodically and there seems to be a plan and a strategy being followed in each game and situation. Misbahul Haq changed the way Test cricket is played by Pakistan. Misbah ul Haq scored his maiden ton on Lord’s against England. Photo: AFP The captain of the number one Test team in the world did not always enjoy a smooth terrain though. It has ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan Cricket Board’s case of the missing Usmans

Unpredictability is the word that best describes what drives the daily operations in Pakistan cricket. Players touted to be “the next big thing” get sucked into doldrums of financial constraints or fitness issues, inevitably resulting in them having to give up cricket entirely. Three players with similar names and twists of fate came onto the scene with great intent and promise but eventually went missing without logical reasoning. Usman Khan Shinwari When the selection committee announced his name in the T20I squad for the series against Sri Lanka, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates, Usman Shinwari was a name unknown to many. Hailing ...

Read Full Post

From Kakul to Hampshire: Will our team finally reap the benefits of the army boot camp?

The Pakistan Army and the game of cricket have one thing in common; both unite the country but while the soldiers are ‘revered’ from Karachi to Khyber our cricketers have in recent years brought the country together by their comical ineptness which makes us scoff at them in unison. Of late, the cricketers have had their fame replaced by infamy as they continue to hog the headlines mostly for the bad and ugly causing widespread outrage. The flak is not restricted to our cricketers alone; the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is easily the most maligned sporting body in the country but ...

Read Full Post

The B-side: Junaid Jamshed and untold stories behind the controversies

After leaving a lucrative career as a pop singer, Junaid Jamshed (JJ) has evolved into a preacher and poster boy for the austere deobandi group, the Tableeghi Jamaat. He once jokingly remarked, “When I was a singer people use to throw rose petals at me, since I came into Islam they throw stones at me.” This simple statement does more to highlight Pakistan’s state of affairs than explain how someone, who has been referred to by his musician friends, and in his Islamic circles, as “the nicest person one can meet”, can be party to one controversy after another? Some say, he is ...

Read Full Post

Will Sarfraz Ahmed prove to be Pakistan’s very own Batman?

Last night, whilst watching The Dark Knight Rises, yet again, I realised the city of Gotham has a lot in common with the Pakistan cricket structure. Batman ends up saving Gotham city. Even when he was completely down and out, he did not surrender; and if the Dark Knight didn’t give up, why should Pakistani cricket fans? In the movie, the mayor of the city was as powerless as the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shahryar Khan, whereas the bureaucratic structure was as inefficient and incompetent as Intikhab Alam. It was natural, therefore, for every Pakistani cricket fan to look for ...

Read Full Post

Nine lessons Pakistan can learn from the other 2016 World T20 teams

The World T20 finished on an exhilarating note. What seemed to be a hopeless match for the West Indian team, turned out to be a miraculous victory when Carlos Brathwaite hit four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes last over. While Brathwaite will be hailed as a hero in West Indies, the same cannot be said for Stokes. His reaction after his expensive over, 19 runs on four balls, was truly upsetting, but with everything said and done, England played brilliantly as well. With Joe Root’s 54 and two wickets for just nine runs, England started off great, but Marlon Samuels 85 ...

Read Full Post

It’s down to India, West Indies and England, who are you betting on?

Amidst the pandemonium of leaked reports, press conferences, media bashing and, most importantly, Kulbhushan Yadav, the World T20 tournament in India is quietly and swiftly moving towards its conclusion. Not many Pakistanis tune into sports channels these days considering D-Chowk and Numaish Chowrangi are more entertaining. But ardent fans find their way to their TV sets to watch cricket being played in its truest form at the T20 World Cup. No adrenaline rush is equivalent to the thrill of watching cricket. A few days ago, I was quite disturbed after Pakistan crashed out of the match against Australia. My disturbance further transformed into diarrhoea while watching ...

Read Full Post

Why is it such a big deal that Afridi thanked the people of Kashmir for their support, India?

During my visit to Azad Kashmir, I came across a truck on the road that was unusually bereft of any truck art; it’s exterior was all plain apart from a few words boldly painted at the back, clearly stating “Boom boom Afridi”. It proudly exhibited the truck owner’s love for the Pakistani cricket player, Shahid Afridi. This immediately reminded me of the first scene from the Bollywood film ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ , showcasing Pakistan’s side Kashmiris cheering for Team Green, a lady among them who was even willing to name her new born after Afridi. On the Pakistan cricket team’s ...

Read Full Post

The era of Shahid Afridi comes to an end

How do you define Shahid Afridi? Do we talk about the man who when he bats, brings an entire nation to a standstill? Do we talk about the man who when swings at the cricket ball, a whole nation holds its breath while waiting for the ball to sail over the boundary line? Do we talk about the man who with his trademark star man pose instils hope into a nation? Do we talk about the man who has one of the highest numbers of ducks in international cricket? Do we talk about the man who ...

Read Full Post

Why has Pakistan forgotten how to bat in the shorter formats?

Some say, it’s a confidence issue. Others say that it is the lack of international cricket at home. Fingers are pointed at the flawed domestic setup or the nepotism in selection. Whatever the case may be; as far as ODI and T20 cricket is concerned, Pakistan batting is indeed at its lowest ebb ever. After watching the recently concluded ODI series between Australia and India, I was mesmerised by the batting at display. It was aggressive, belligerent, but at the same time poised and full of confidence. Chasing or posting scores in the proximity of 300 and above was the ...

Read Full Post