#20YearChallenge: 5 ways cricket has changed since the 90s

Cricket is known as the gentleman’s game, and what else could it be, given all the symbols and standards that distinguish it from all other sports? The signature leather ball, the chiselled bats, the pads, and of course, the helmet with grills! For me, sitting in my father’s lap, watching cricket matches, echoing his every applause (and occasional profanities every time a home wicket fell) was my earliest memory of the sport. Though I fell in love with the international version of the game a bit later – after a fair amount of investment in both English and Urdu ...

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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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Dear PCB, are Pakistani artists not good enough for PSL?

As a nation, it is unfortunate how easily we tend to get swayed by anything foreign or international. From music to movies, from sports to popular culture, a white person or foreigner is all it takes for us to get excited and worked up to buy whatever product or message is being sold.  Perhaps this is a manifestation of our colonial hangover that just doesn’t seem to end, or perhaps this represents a deep-rooted inferiority complex within us. Regardless, this sort of a mindset has become deeply ingrained into our nation’s psychology, and is now reflecting in our preferences as well. Lately, the ...

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Australian Open 2019: Can anyone match Novak Djokovic’s conviction?

Mental toughness is a massive factor behind success in sports; something which has separated the best from the rest, time and again. The game of tennis is no different in this regard. Every champion is different in their own right – it may come about from the class and finesse of someone like Roger Federer, the pure athleticism of Novak Djokovic, or the physicality of Rafael Nadal – but they all have one thing in common: conviction, a trait that stems from mental toughness. Conviction fuels the firmness of purpose and gives a person the energy to knock down the hurdles ...

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Out with Sarfraz, in with Shoaib

This tour of South Africa seems to be a moment in Sarfraz Ahmed’s life where everything goes haywire. The rise and fall of Sarfraz and the emergence of Shoaib Malik from within his own ranks months prior to the World Cup, is a tailor-made story with enough grief and sorrow to hit the shelves and be sold out in its very first week. If we are to skip a few pages back, Sarfraz, standing in an oddly designed white coat, was lifting the Champions Trophy amidst cheers and celebrations on the streets of London. Sarfraz was on top of the world, ...

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#PakvsSA: 4 reasons why we messed up, 4 ways to turn it around

It has been more than a month yet Pakistani batsmen remain unable to find their feet in South Africa. Thus far, our performance can only be described as a horror show, particularly from the batsmen who continue to be haunted by short balls. During the Test series, it was Duanne Olivier who tested our batsmen, and this torment was perhaps to be continued by the rest of the South African bowlers during the ODI series. As of now, the series stands at 2-1 in favour of the hosts, with only two games remaining in order to decide the fate of the ...

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“Abey kaale”: It’s not only Sarfraz Ahmed

I grew up in a neighbourhood near Civil Hospital. Being a government hospital, it was always thronged with people – most of them belonging to the poorest segment of the society – who come in bereft of hope to get their loved ones treated for free. Civil Hospital was more frequently visited by residents of Lyari, a squalid area that is home mostly to the middle, lower-middle and poor segments of our society. Now, if anyone has seen the denizens of Lyari, they know that most of them differ from others in their looks in certain ways. Their complexion ...

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Andy Murray: The fighting heart of the British

He’s the first of the big four to fold as he heads into probable retirement but Sir Andy Murray will always be remembered as one of the greatest of all time (GOAT). The former world number one recently admitted how his career would be shortened due to the chronic hip problem that has been troubling him since 2017. That announcement was the cue for a series of glittering tributes, all of which were rightfully deserved. After all, he is one of the greatest British sportsmen ever. Three Grand Slams, back-to-back Olympic gold medals, 14 Master 1000s, 45 Single Titles, and ...

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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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The struggling champions: After Zidane and Ronaldo, time is running out for Real Madrid

Over the years, Real Madrid have established themselves as a club which is synonymous with success. But sustained success comes at a cost in terms of regular big money signings. Real Madrid players celebrate the victory after winning against Liverpool FC in the UEFA Champions League final football match at the Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26, 2018. Photo: Getty Bearing in mind the dynamics of modern day football, it is increasingly evident that in order to survive and thrive amongst the footballing giants, all the top clubs tend to chalk out a transfer policy ...

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