Hamza Junaid

Hamza Junaid

The author is an avid cricket follower and plays for a team called Gladiators based in New York. He tweets as @hamza_junaid1 (twitter.com/hamza_junaid1)

There is more to Mohammad Amir’s retirement than meets the eye

Traditions are a funny concept. We preserve them for the sake of history but in doing so we sometimes run out of reasons as to why they are relevant anymore. Much like South Asia’s overblown marriage ceremonies, Test cricket is also a tradition that is now being questioned. It goes without saying that Test cricket is the toughest form of the game, where only the best can survive. Any player that chooses to opt out of it severely dents his chances of being remembered as a legend of the game. But having said that, who are these players trying to ...

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England won the Cricket World Cup without winning the final

Breathtaking, gripping, electrifying, thrilling and miraculous. I copied these terms right from the dictionary but no matter how I jumble them together, none of these words can do justice to the greatest World Cup final ever. All I can tell you is that England and New Zealand battled to the point that a law which had been sitting rotting in old cricketing books had to be pulled out to declare a winner and force a loser. The irony is that the final had everything one could ask for, yet it ended in a manner which disregarded everything. After a thrilling ...

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Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s unsung World Cup hero

Pakistan needed 22 off 20 balls with three wickets in hand against Afghanistan. How Pakistan got themselves into that situation is a whole other story, but at that moment desperation had kicked in. World Cup dreams, pride, honour and reputation were all hanging by a thread for Pakistan as a defeat at the hands of Afghanistan, handcrafted by Pakistan’s players, seemed inevitable. Out came Wahab Riaz with a fractured finger to rescue Pakistan on a pitch that offered turn from the east coast to the west. This sounds exaggerated, almost like something out of Bollywood’s lacklustre flicks, but it’s not. ...

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The night before Pakistan’s World Cup game

After four years of waiting and 27 years of reliving our past glory, now the moment to repeat history is finally here. I lie in my bed, engulfed by the darkness and silence. Sleep should be around the corner but it’s not. I can hear the clock ticking. Each tick is a second closer to the start of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign and that will keep me awake for the rest of the night. I am one of ‘those’ fans. Pakistan cricket has beguiled us for years and our love affair with the World Cup began in 1975. Our foray ...

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Why selecting Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali for the World Cup is the right move

Given that there are millions of supporters of the Pakistan cricket team, there are bound to be millions of variations of Pakistan’s World Cup squad floating around on social media. Everyone has a different personality, and so each individual will tailor the Pakistani line-up according to their liking. The recent report that Mohammad Amir and Asif Ali are set to be included in Pakistan’s World Cup squad has thrown these predictions into a flux. Although not officially confirmed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yet, I believe that their inclusion is an absolute must and will prove to be ...

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Pakistan is not ready for a tourist influx

They say that desperate times call for desperate measures. Pakistan is in an economic crunch at the moment, and with limited options available to bail itself out, the tourism industry could be the much needed light at the end of the tunnel. The recent surge in travel bloggers visiting Pakistan on sponsored trips shows the eagerness of the current government to refurbish Pakistan’s international image. However, this begs the question, does the government have any concrete plans to support the tourism sector beyond just charging a drone and flying it over the mountains? Like any other industry in the world, ...

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Why did our political talk shows turn into a nightly circus?

As the sun sets in the evening, news anchors start to gather their crops for the circus to begin. Different channels, different names, different logos but the same concept: four boxes occupying the corners of the screen with unprofessional individuals locked inside them, alongside an anchor who holds the whip to control their interactions.  This is the prime time to learn about the ethics, morals and values (or lack thereof) Pakistani society portrays each day during the peak hours of screen time. Broadcast media loves to be the moral police of society in Pakistan, but what it does during peak ...

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The PSL4 final was just a formality – the trophy already had Gladiators engraved on it

The rest of us had to wait till March 17th to know who will ultimately be crowned the champions of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019, but in the Quetta camp, it seems victory was already foreseen. Soon after qualifying for the final, Dwayne John Bravo was already humming to: “Quetta Quetta, we the Gladiators!” “Quetta Quetta, we the Gladiators!” Best Batsman of the tournament & player of the #HBLPSL 2019, @ShaneRWatson33.Winning captain, @SarfarazA_54.Man of the Final, Muhammad Hasnain.Champion Gladiators 💜#KhelDeewanoKa pic.twitter.com/0fy4vLgL6e — PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) March 17, 2019 I must confess, I sang along those lines too even though I felt guilty because I was ...

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Bad luck, sheer incompetence, Aqib Javed: Lahore Qalandars’ story of pain and sorrow

Everyone knows how much pride Lahoris have for their city. So much so that they claim:  “Jine Lahore ni vekhya O jamiya hi nai.” (Those who haven’t seen Lahore haven’t lived yet) After watching four seasons of Pakistan Super League (PSL), however, I think we have all seen enough of Lahore. I would rather say: “Jine Lahore nu support kita O dubara hasiya hi nai.” (Those who supported Lahore never laughed again) Lahore’s story is of pain and sorrow. If you are weak-hearted then proceed at your own risk. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Lahore Qalandars; from sheer bad luck with injuries ...

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Umar Akmal vs Asif Ali: Who deserves to play in the 2019 World Cup?

I know the first thing that comes to mind when I mention the name Umar Akmal is, “Why are we talking about him again?” Yes, perhaps we shouldn’t be. It is certainly a dangerous thought that lurks in my head, that I perhaps should have let go of the very instant it popped up. That is, however, difficult to do because right now we desperately need a power hitter to fill the number six spot as part of our team’s line-up at the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The only two players that currently fit the criteria are Akmal and Asif Ali. I already know that neither ...

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