Stories about world cup

Mediocre coaches give mediocre results

Saudi Arabia’s dismal run at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup campaign resulted in the mid-tournament sacking of their national football team coach Jose Peseiro, who was replaced by the world-renowned Frank Rijkaard. We see a similar trend in Iran, where Afshin Ghotbi was replaced by Carlos Queiroz, while Qatar fired their long-serving coach Bruno Metsu and appointed Serbia’s Milovan Rajevac in his place. In fact, wherever ‘the beautiful game’ is followed with passion and sincerity, failures on the field are taken seriously by both the fans and the concerned authorities. Football federations leave no stone unturned to rectify their errors and go ...

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Afridi out, rhythm broken

Shahid Afridi might be a heartthrob who stars in fancy Pepsi commercials, and flaunts his hair in a shampoo ad campaign, but he is much more than that. Our nation loves him because he is bold. He violates conformity, embraces flamboyance and transmits synergy characteristics found in successful leaders. He led Pakistan to a laudable campaign in the 2011 World Cup, given the instability and chaos that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was in. We lost to archrivals India in the semi-finals in Mohali. We hated it. But we forgot that it was just not Afridi’s fall to take. Yesterday the ...

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The ‘fixed’ price of World Cup 2011

Modern cricket has been tainted with controversy of match/spot fixing and corruption scandals. But despite the drama, the sheer volume of viewers tuning in and fan interest has only increased. When this month’s issue of Sports Illustrated (SI) India hits stands, it will trigger much debate, deliberation and a wave of “I told you so” comments among followers of cricket all over the world. The cover story “Dirt in Cricket” deciphers 400 minutes of conversations between SI journalists, bookies and politicians in India. The story was shared with Yahoo Sports, a few days before it is to appear in SI, and promises ...

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Bye bye Ireland: What the ICC doesn’t see

With its decision to exclude Ireland from the 2015 World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is hearkening back to the days when it was called the Imperial Cricket Council – when the ‘natives’ had to prove themselves to stand at the top table of world cricket. In those times, it was India and Pakistan who had to fight for the right to have legitimate Test tours and deference was given to other Test teams. This time around, it is the Emerald Isle who is the victims of the ICC’s Ejaz Butt-esque levels of incompetence. Unfair ICC Instead of encouraging Irish cricket ...

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Five things I hated about the Pakistan vs India match

My love-hate relationship with cricket began a few weeks before the fateful World Cup of 1999, and ever since that horrendous final match that had me and all Pakistanis pulling their hair out, I kept my distance with the sport. However, this year was different. But I confess that I caught this cricket fever again. While we lost the “historic match”, there were a few things that bugged me while I was actually watching the game (besides the result). Here are five somewhat irrelevant things that continued to irritate me as I watched the big match tonight: Cheering for the Pakistani team with ...

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An open letter to Shahid Afridi

After helping this nation come together for over a month in support of the one element that we all feel pride in, and even an honourable concession speech after the semi-final, you managed to flush away all the goodwill you and the team earned. Your comments were racist, insensitive and childish to the extreme. So what if the Indian media treated you differently? So what if Rehman Malik played to the gallery? So what if Gautam Gambhir said something that was undeniably stupid? The Indian media was always going to be harsh with you, lest you forget that you are ...

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Boring Powerplays not aiding ODI cricket

The World Cup completed its first phase witnessing enthralling drama, a few upsets and some boring one-sided games. It now enters the stage where a small mistake can confirm a ticket home. Herschelle Gibbs can bear testament to this fact when his dropped catch prompted the batsman, happening to be Australia captain Steve Waugh, to reportedly tell the South African that you’ve dropped the World Cup. Pakistan play the West Indies today and after 42 matches of the event, one still cannot safely say that teams have truly mastered the art of utilising the batting Powerplay. Pakistan have no idea when ...

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ICC World Cup 2011 is wide open

Australia entered the last two editions of the World Cups as sole favourites. It’s not very often that a World Cup is so wide open that any of the top five teams can clinch it with equal probability. Pakistan stand tall, striking a perfect balance in their batting line-up and their bowling depth. With the tournament wide open, it provides a rare opportunity which should not be lost without a fight. But I want to emphasise on the need to improve their fielding. If Pakistan are to win the Cup, they must make rapid improvements in their fielding. Ground fielding is looking strong ...

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World Cup 2011: The batsmen must click

With the World Cup taking place in the subcontinent, batting will play a key part in how Pakistan fares in the event. The duo of Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad performed reasonably well in New Zealand. Shehzad is quite raw and inexperienced but remains talented and has an array of strokes at his disposal. However, whether he stands tall to pressure at the biggest stage in world cricket remains to be seen. If he manages a big innings early in the tournament, I believe he should have a good World Cup. Hafeez has been around for quite some time without cementing ...

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Ahmed Shahzad: Rising in the ranks

Ahead of the cricket World Cup this month, the timely arrival of Ahmad Shahzad into the Pakistan cricket team has made me very hopeful . The teenager’s century inspired Pakistan to a 41-run win over New Zealand and wrapped up the six-match series with a game to spare. The Lahore-born opener who attended Cathedral High School began his cricketing journey at the age of seven and has never looked back, representing Pakistan at the under-13, under-16 and under-19 level. He is a true example of someone who has risen in the ranks based solely on merit, and is fast becoming the solution to ...

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