Stories about shoaib akhtar

Love in the time of World Cup 1999

If you ask Pakistanis about their favourite cricket World Cup, most will mention the ’92 version. The reasons are obvious and manifold. Pakistan became world champions in typically dramatic fashion and unearthed stars which were to dominate world cricket for years to come. The 1992 World Cup had aging stars and new ones, Imran Khan and Ian Botham rubbing shoulders with Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. It had a testing format in which each team played each other at least once and was played in superb grounds. An entire nation yearns to relive the tournament which produced several nuggety moments including the ...

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The excruciating experience of watching Pakistan bowl

As I write this, Pakistan has just conceded 369 runs against the New Zealand batting side. Maybe this would not be so hard to take if I had not grown up watching legends like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. The current state of our fast-bowling makes the heart grow even fonder of Mohammad Sami. Let that sink in, Mohammad Sami. A man who once bowled the longest over in ODI with 17 balls, including seven wides and four no-balls. I will even go to the extent of saying Ataur Rehman was a better bowler than ...

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Is sledging tarnishing the reputation of the gentleman’s game? I think not

How long does it take to become proficient in the art of cricket, the gentlemen’s game? It probably varies from person to person, depending on how well they perform under pressure. My focus, however, is on its nickname – ‘the gentlemen’s game’. The name came about because, in addition to the rules and regulations, players have to abide by the spirit of the sport as well. The standard of sportsmanship in cricket has historically been considered so high that phrases like “it’s just not cricket” have been coined to describe the fair behaviour players are expected to exhibit on the ...

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This is for Hobart

The morning of November 22, 1999 was nippy and blustery, typical Karachi winter weather. I woke up early with an air of expectation. Christmas was coming early this year and Eid was going to follow. Pakistan was finally going to beat Australia in a Test match on their home turf and I was ready for school early to savour as much of the moment as possible. The Test series was following after Pakistan had been blanked by Australia in the World Cup final earlier in the year and was billed as the ‘badla’ tour by the press. Wasim Akram, the Pakistan team ...

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It’s time we chuck the ‘chuckers’ from Pakistan cricket

Few weeks ago, Pakistan cricket received a severe blow when it’s most prominent bowler, Saeed Ajmal, was banned from bowling in international cricket due to suspected illegal bowling action. This news shocked many Ajmal fans and a lot become extremely angry at this decision. Some die hard cricket fans have also termed this ban a conspiracy of the Big Three against Pakistan. Although the ban imposed on Ajmal may put his career in jeopardy but this step may also serve as a blessing in disguise for Pakistan’s cricket and for international cricket on the whole. The ban on Ajmal triggered a ...

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What? Why? How?! Saeed Ajmal…

As I sit here, I type this in disbelief.  Saeed Ajmal has been banned. Read that statement. Allow it to sink in. Have you managed to wrap your head around it? Does it hurt? If you’re a cricket lover you can feel the loss. If you’re a Pakistan cricket fan, your world has just been ripped apart and any semblance of world cup victory dreams have now been shattered in front of your very eyes. Where is the justice in this world? How did the International Cricket Council (ICC) clear him in the past only to go back on their previous statements? Are we ...

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Value their lives, honour their deaths, Pakistan

The day after the legendary Mehdi Hassan died, I was at a restaurant where live ghazals were being sung by a budding singer. He was entertaining requests and invariably all the requests being made were of the ghazals sung by Mehdi Hassan. It was as if the people could not think of a better singer. I sat pleased for a moment that the star has truly been recognised. But then it ached deep down, wasn’t it too late? For weeks Mehdi Hassan had laid bedridden and yet, there had been no calls for prayer, no fans thronging his premises and no government officials ensuring ...

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The history of the ‘doosra’: Spinning cricket the other way

Two decades ago, when Pakistan was playing Australia in the deserts of Sharjah, the young spin wizard, Saqlain Mushtaq, broke the traditions and started spinning the ball the other way from the conventional off-spin to deceive the batsmen. The wicket-keeper, Moin Khan, would often shout from behind the stumps, “Saqi Bhai, doosra abhi karna hai.” (Bowl the other one now, Saqi Bhai) Tony Grieg picked it up from a stump microphone and eventually likened the word to the delivery after confirming it with Saqlain in a post-match interview. Thus, the term became a part of cricketing culture. Over the years, the same unconventional delivery ...

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Can Saeed Ajmal break the ‘curse’ of being the best bowler of Pakistan?

Over the course of several decades, one constant factor in Pakistan cricket has been the quality bowlers it has produced. From masters of reverse swing to the fastest bowler in the world, and from subtle drifters to the inventor and master of the ‘doosra’, Pakistani cricketers have added magic to the art of bowling. Cricket would be a much different game without the bowling contributions of our players. It would have been more of a batsman’s game with much less flair. But at the same time, to be the best bowler of Pakistan is a truly cursed position. Our masters ...

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You have to risk it to get the biscuit, Team Green!

Another Test match, another humiliating batting performance and another defeat. Forgive me if I am not surprised. It would be a lie if I said that I am at a loss of words when in reality I sort of saw it coming. The only benefit I’ve gained from such disappointing batting is that my vocabulary has improved significantly because now I have to explain just how bad their performance was. This embarrassing show of batting from the Pakistani team is nothing new but, unfortunately, just like our beloved Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), our cricket team has not shown any inclination in identifying ...

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