umair.qazi

Umair Qazi

An investment advisor in Dubai who blogs at www.wellpitched.com/ and tweets @WellPitched

Time for some Sharjah magic!

It was a Pakistan vs Australia series in 2009 that was the launchpad for the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The ground was showcased to the world with that series three years ago. Its life will come a full circle when it hosts Pakistan and Australia again in a three-match T20 series starting September 5. But before that, Pakistan and Australia take part in a three-match ODI series that starts today in a stadium that is slowly making its way back to the international arena ─ Sharjah! I grew up watching matches at the Sharjah stadium; it is the first cricket ground that I ...

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To hell with ODIs and T20s; it’s Test cricket that matters!

When the ICC made the annual adjustments to its Test team rankings to reflect the recent form, a couple of days ago, the Pakistani fans were in for a pleasant surprise. Pakistan was ranked at number four, which is the highest ranking it has achieved in the past five years! There was a time when Pakistan was ranked third in Test matches. It was not that far back and till the first half of 2007 Pakistan maintained this rank, behind Australia and England. When the annual revision came around in 2007, the new rankings showed Pakistan at number six – its lowest ranking ...

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Salman Butt, you don’t fool us

I have thought and thought and have failed to understand what Salman Butt hoped to achieve through his interview on Express News on Thursday and his press conference on Friday.  “I am innocent” “It was Mazhar and Amir” “I did not get justice” “I want the Supreme Court to look into this.” Phrases like these make me want to yell out in response, “Save your breath, Butt!” Seriously. I can’t believe that he is still trying to fool his Pakistani fans and trying to meddle with their already bruised sentiments. Our seniors might have gotten away with screaming the ...

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Younis Khan, the real King Khan

The last time I wrote about Younis Khan was four months ago, when he had just knocked up a century against England in Dubai. It was a fantastic innings, and right after that I wrote a post titled “Why Younis Khan is king“. In that post, I wrote a comparative analysis, highlighting how Younis Khan fairs better than those batsmen who are popularly referred to as the ‘modern greats’ of the Test arena. What I didn’t happen to touch upon was the area where, in my opinion, Younis Khan really does reign ...

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Thank you Younis, but I think it’s time to go

It is a norm amongst Pakistani fans to incriminate our players after a couple of failures in the sport. We have no patience for our cricketers and for that matter; we have no patience with anyone from politicians to entertainers to sportsmen. My recent Twitter feed has been overflowing with people calling for Younis Khan to be axed from the ODI team. General discussions on the online cricket forums and Facebook are revolving around the same ‘Drop Younis Khan’ topic as well. Umair Qazi (@WellPitched) Time for Asad Shafiq to replace Younis Khan (YK) in the #pakistan Odi squad? Not yet. A ...

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Remembering the summer of 96

I’m not sure how many of you remember the Lombard Challenge from 1996, but those of you who do will remember it as the U-15 cricket World Cup that was held in England during the summer of 96. Called the Lombard Challenge U-15 Cup, the competition was contested by 10 teams including all the nine Test playing nations at the time and Canada. I was in Pakistan for my summer holidays at the time when the tournament was being played and I remember watching all the games live on Star Sports. It was quite interesting to watch potential future Pakistani stars ...

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Making sense of Pakistan’s new squads

The Pakistan Cricket Board press conference to announce the squad for the tour of Sri Lanka started well. Misbahul Haq stepped down as T20 captain, and Zaka Ashraf announced Mohammad Hafeez as the new T20 captain – well-played by the PCB in ensuring that Misbah ‘stepped down’ and was not pushed out. It is up to Hafeez now to demonstrate his leadership potential, which we all have heard of, and make that role of captain his very own. After this revelation came the announcement of the new squad. No wait – the new squads. The dream that PCB was contemplating regarding three different ...

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Virat Kohli: A boy among giants?

He averages over 50 runs in ODIs, has 11 ODI centuries (10 of which have come in victories), averages over 65 in ODI wins and is only 23-years-old. Virat Kohli has not even completed four full years in international cricket. Yet, he already has achievements to boast about that some ODI greats haven’t even attained yet. Kohli has as many ODI centuries as Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, and Aravinda De Silva managed in their entire careers. In addition to this, he has  scored more ODI centuries than Gautam Gambhir, Matthew Hayden, Inzamamul Haq, Kevin Pietersen, Javed Miandad and Dean Jones to name a few. One can’t ...

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Did you buy Mohammad Amir’s story?

I want to. I really want to. I want to believe that Mohammad Amir is an innocent 18-year-old boy who was set up by his friend and captain – his fixer. But I can’t. There are a lot of things about Mohammad Amir’s interview that are bothering me. I feel like we are being told a story that is not true. I feel like we, Pakistani cricket fans, are being lied to… again. Since the interview aired, I’ve heard a wide variety of thoughts from the general public and Twitterati. One section feels sorry for the kid and believes that he was truly ...

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Good riddance to Imran Farhat!

When Mohammad Ilyas announced his resignation following the series between Pakistan and England, I was a content man. Not because Mohammad Ilyas wasn’t going to be part of the PCB selection committee going forward, but because his resignation signaled the end of Imran Farhat’s career. It has been cause for suspicion that Farhat’s inclusion in Pakistan’s squads has been due to dear daddy-in-law, and with him no longer selecting the team now, Farhat was likely to be dropped. This was made official when Pakistan’s new chief selector, Iqbal Qasim, announced Pakistan’s squad for the upcoming Asia Cup. I was doubly satisfied when not only Farhat, ...

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