Haroon Ahmed

Haroon Ahmed

The author is a sports writer from the United Kingdom. He tweets @hazharoon (twitter.com/hazharoon)

So close yet so far: what happened, Pakistan?

A quintessentially ‘Pakistan’ performance. Going into this match, there was a lot of talk about the role rain would play in the proceedings and I saw just how green the pitch was beforehand. These two factors led me to believe that whoever wins the toss should bowl first. That’s exactly what happened. Pakistan won the toss and bowled first, but what followed was hours of terrible bowling. I feel as if Shaheen Afridi was the root cause of it initially. While Mohammad Amir built pressure at one end, Afridi released it at the other by consistently bowling too short. [caption id="attachment_84197" ...

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They don’t call Pakistan ‘unpredictable’ for nothing

If in the match against West Indies Pakistan played in reverse gear, then their match last night against England saw them shift into fifth gear. After Pakistan lost the toss and were sent in to bat, I was a bit apprehensive about our chances. I felt that the only way we could beat England was if we bowled first, given that the strong English batting line up can chase down any total. And I was almost proven right. Lose 4 nil to the Worlds No1 team coming into the World Cup. Get demolished by a team that had to qualify for the ...

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A day to forget: Can the ‘unpredictable’ Pakistan turn it around?

Pakistan’s encounter with the West Indies yesterday marked the advent of Pakistan’s World Cup campaign. While fans of Pakistan cricket are always wary of the threat the West Indies pose, most people expected Pakistan to emerge victorious. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. To call it a ‘game’ would be undervaluing the effort by the West Indies, and overvaluing Pakistan’s performance. Pakistan was totally outclassed, with the match virtually ending within the first 10 overs, courtesy of some great bowling by the West Indies, coupled with some atrocious Pakistani batting. Pakistan were sent in to bat on a ...

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Why did Karachi Kings retain Usama Mir if they were going to waste his talent?

In 2015, Sialkot’s Usama Mir shot to fame after an impressive T20 tournament, where he regularly took wickets for his team, enabling them to win the Haier T20 Cup. Mir had played some T20 matches a few years prior to this, but 2015 was his real breakout season. He was then rewarded with a place in Pakistan’s premier T20 tournament, the Pakistan Super League (PSL), with the Karachi Kings. In the 2016 season, Kings played their first game, and made a mistake of not having a specialist spinner on their side. They rectified this mistake the next game by selecting Mir. Mir ...

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Gladiators vs Zalmi: When the best of the best come face to face

Quetta Gladiators versus Peshawar Zalmi: the two finalists confirmed after a month of enthralling cricket. All the ebbs and flows of the tournament bow down to one game, the final, which is to be played on Sunday, March 17th. Gladiators have previously been part of two finals, yet have come out short on both occasions. I believe the reason is their key players leaving them once the tournament was shifted to Pakistan. This year they will not be facing such a problem, having secured the services of T20 megastar Shane Watson. Watson was part of the previous Pakistan Super League ...

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#PakVsSA: After losing all three formats, is there an end to Pakistan’s ‘bad luck’ streak?

As another game on this tour of South Africa passes by, another series has been lost by Pakistan, this time exactly where it hurts – the T20 format. The most frustrating part about this tour is that Pakistan has been competitive throughout the series; it was just at the key moments that Pakistan ended up losing the game. The second T20 against South Africa is the perfect illustration of this. Initially, our bowling was decent; all the bowlers bowled relatively well, besides Usman Shinwari. On a pitch where slower balls were required, Shinwari conversely tried to increase his pace with every delivery. ...

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After South Africa’s thrashing, it’s evident that Pakistan’s Test team needs a major reshuffle

Pakistan last played a Test series against South Africa in 2013 and lost 3-0. Five and a half years later, nothing seems to have changed. Another series defeat, another series full of poor planning. When will the Pakistani management learn? Winning series in the UAE against the likes of Sri Lanka and Australia isn’t the most difficult feat to achieve. For me, the biggest test of a team’s competence is playing away from home in tough conditions. And South African conditions are exactly that. The toughest place for Asian teams to play is generally England and South Africa. Ironically, these ...

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Do we have the right squad for the #PakvsSA Test series?

The last time the Pakistan Test team toured South Africa was in 2013, the year Pakistan, to everyone’s surprise, lost the Test series. The main problem was with the batting which seriously failed to live up to peoples’ expectations. Almost six years later, not much has changed, aside from the exclusion of Younis Khan and Misbahul Haq. This time, Pakistan has a slightly younger squad, with Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman at the forefront. In spite of the younger players, the Pakistan team batting line-up still remains a major concern. Pakistan’s recent Test form hasn’t been great. In Pakistan’s last two ...

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If you didn’t believe Shane Warne when he said Yasir Shah is ‘something special’, well, now you know

After years of toiling away in the domestic circuit, Yasir Shah finally made his Test debut for Pakistan in late 2014. He impressed immediately by taking wickets against Australia, most notably the wickets of Australia’s top batsmen David Warner and Steve Smith. His initial success signalled great things to come. Since that moment, he has been spearheading the Pakistani attack and his presence has made Pakistan’s bowling more secure and has added more substance. Whether he is bowling in the first innings or the fourth, the first over of the day or the 90th, he has a bubbly attitude and is always ...

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Another season of waiting: The (mis)treatment of Aamer Yamin, Pakistan’s answer to an all-rounder

We often hear of the injustices served to many players in Pakistan cricket, but no one really speaks about the way Aamer Yamin has been mistreated by the board thus far. I’ve always been a big fan of Yamin. He caught my eye a few years ago after he scored a double century in domestic cricket. At the time, Pakistan hardly had any fast bowling all-rounders, and I felt he was the man to fill the void. His batting first-class average has always hovered around the 40 mark, and his bowling average has always been under 30. Both are good ...

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