Stories about Australia

We could have been the number one Test team a while back if it wasn’t for our poor domestic structure

Domestic cricket is the budding ground that provides national teams with young talent in order to keep them abreast with the rest of the competitive cricketing nations. In this piece, I will discuss the basic components that make a successful and spectator-oriented domestic cricket structure. We begin with the teams system. Pakistan is probably the only country in the world where the main national cricket tournament involves teams representing state departments. Nobody wants to go the stadium to watch PIA face off against WAPDA. This is the most obvious (and yet persistent) problem of our domestic leagues. ...

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Pakistan Cricket Board’s case of the missing Usmans

Unpredictability is the word that best describes what drives the daily operations in Pakistan cricket. Players touted to be “the next big thing” get sucked into doldrums of financial constraints or fitness issues, inevitably resulting in them having to give up cricket entirely. Three players with similar names and twists of fate came onto the scene with great intent and promise but eventually went missing without logical reasoning. Usman Khan Shinwari When the selection committee announced his name in the T20I squad for the series against Sri Lanka, scheduled to be held in the United Arab Emirates, Usman Shinwari was a name unknown to many. Hailing ...

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Which of these young talents will become the next batting legend?

There is nothing better than watching a brilliant cover drive or a solid defensive push from a high-quality batsman. But it seems cricket has lost all its excitement and enthusiasm with the retirement of world-class batsmen such as Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis , Rahul Dravid, Michael Clarke, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. There are exceptions, of course, such as Younis Khan, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers who still know how to swing a bat impeccably. But all hope is not lost. A few noteworthy youngsters have repeatedly proven themselves and may end up becoming some of the best batsmen ...

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The B-side: Junaid Jamshed and untold stories behind the controversies

After leaving a lucrative career as a pop singer, Junaid Jamshed (JJ) has evolved into a preacher and poster boy for the austere deobandi group, the Tableeghi Jamaat. He once jokingly remarked, “When I was a singer people use to throw rose petals at me, since I came into Islam they throw stones at me.” This simple statement does more to highlight Pakistan’s state of affairs than explain how someone, who has been referred to by his musician friends, and in his Islamic circles, as “the nicest person one can meet”, can be party to one controversy after another? Some say, he is ...

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Will Sarfraz Ahmed prove to be Pakistan’s very own Batman?

Last night, whilst watching The Dark Knight Rises, yet again, I realised the city of Gotham has a lot in common with the Pakistan cricket structure. Batman ends up saving Gotham city. Even when he was completely down and out, he did not surrender; and if the Dark Knight didn’t give up, why should Pakistani cricket fans? In the movie, the mayor of the city was as powerless as the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shahryar Khan, whereas the bureaucratic structure was as inefficient and incompetent as Intikhab Alam. It was natural, therefore, for every Pakistani cricket fan to look for ...

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Why is it such a big deal that Afridi thanked the people of Kashmir for their support, India?

During my visit to Azad Kashmir, I came across a truck on the road that was unusually bereft of any truck art; it’s exterior was all plain apart from a few words boldly painted at the back, clearly stating “Boom boom Afridi”. It proudly exhibited the truck owner’s love for the Pakistani cricket player, Shahid Afridi. This immediately reminded me of the first scene from the Bollywood film ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ , showcasing Pakistan’s side Kashmiris cheering for Team Green, a lady among them who was even willing to name her new born after Afridi. On the Pakistan cricket team’s ...

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Baby Asha’s struggle signifies the divide between the rich and poor

The CNN headline: Australian hospital refuses to discharge asylum seeker baby. The details: “Nepalese baby, while at a detention centre in Nauru, an island in the South Pacific 2,000 miles away from the hospital in Brisbane, suffered severe burns. Now that she had recovered, though, the hospital didn’t want her to return to the abominable conditions in Nauru.” To morph a cliché attributed to Joseph Stalin – individual tragedy moves us; millions of tragedies become statistics. This signifies either that humanity cares nothing about humanity, or that we cannot process mass atrocity. I’ll take the latter. The story of one life, disseminated to millions, can ...

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Why has Pakistan forgotten how to bat in the shorter formats?

Some say, it’s a confidence issue. Others say that it is the lack of international cricket at home. Fingers are pointed at the flawed domestic setup or the nepotism in selection. Whatever the case may be; as far as ODI and T20 cricket is concerned, Pakistan batting is indeed at its lowest ebb ever. After watching the recently concluded ODI series between Australia and India, I was mesmerised by the batting at display. It was aggressive, belligerent, but at the same time poised and full of confidence. Chasing or posting scores in the proximity of 300 and above was the ...

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355 mass shootings in 340 days: We cannot ban guns, but we can control and regulate

In the spring of 2001, while in Copenhagen, I went to Gun Nation, an exhibit by British photojournalist Zed Nelson. Nelson’s opus, with book of same title, intertwined Americans’ love of weapons with carnage:  victims’ photos juxtaposed with images of domestic bliss, say, a man holding a pistol in one hand while cradling his infant in the other. Guns, mass shootings, and gang violence have been a part of America for decades. So why does every shooting generate incredulity in this Sisyphean landscape? Recently, on December 2, 2015, two heavily armed persons entered a community centre for the disabled in San Bernardino and killed at ...

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Why Uber should stay far away from Pakistan

Uber, a company worth around $50 billion has decided to launch its operations in Pakistan – wonderful news for our developing nation, is it not? Well, in actuality, not really. Uber is a controversial private taxi service currently based in over 60 countries, and is notorious for the numerous legal, safety, regulatory as well as privacy issues it faces. Before I expand on these risks and issues, let me first brief the readers on what Uber is and how it operates. Uber is a web-based service through which you can ask strangers in your vicinity to arrive at your destination and give you a ...

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