Stories about ball

Through the eyes of a fanatic: Pakistan, the World Cup enigma

Cricket is a game for the fanatic. You don’t like the sport, you love it. You sacrifice sleep, plead for divine intervention, wield undying beliefs and hold faith that despite needing eight runs of the last ball, a simple wide can make magic happen. Such is the power of a bat and ball. Such is the nature of the game that despite our efforts to turn predictions into facts and to drown ourselves in a frenzy of statistics, the sport remains as unpredictable as it was in 1992. It has been four years since India won the World Cup, 23 since Australia ...

Read Full Post

A blistering de Villiers delivers again

South Africa always had the audacity to produce a batsman who could plunder a bowling attack of its confidence with a sweltering knock. AB de Villiers has very ably registered his name in the list of those batsmen in the last couple of years. He has converted himself into a player, who on his chosen day, could drift into a savagery with the willow striking the cricket ball so hard and perfectly that even the opposition is awestruck of his magnificence. The 30-year-old prodigy was dearly welcomed by Herschelle Gibbs and Lance Klusener in the club of Proteas’ most aggressive ...

Read Full Post

A lethal weapon or a regular red leather ball?

Cricket, the gentleman’s game, has seen so many changes since its inception, from coloured kits to batting power-plays, from mongoose bats to LED stumps, but one thing that has remained unchanged over these years is the hard, solid, weighing 5 3/4 ounce red cherry – the cricket leather ball. And once again, the hard round ball has delivered a fatal blow which has plunged the cricketing fraternity into darkness and has also raised a question on the safety of the cricket ball. Once again it has been proved that it will hit harder than the stroke of any bat – the ...

Read Full Post

The history of the ‘doosra’: Spinning cricket the other way

Two decades ago, when Pakistan was playing Australia in the deserts of Sharjah, the young spin wizard, Saqlain Mushtaq, broke the traditions and started spinning the ball the other way from the conventional off-spin to deceive the batsmen. The wicket-keeper, Moin Khan, would often shout from behind the stumps, “Saqi Bhai, doosra abhi karna hai.” (Bowl the other one now, Saqi Bhai) Tony Grieg picked it up from a stump microphone and eventually likened the word to the delivery after confirming it with Saqlain in a post-match interview. Thus, the term became a part of cricketing culture. Over the years, the same unconventional delivery ...

Read Full Post

Marking the end of tiki-taka in football?

There are games that shape the future of the sport; moments which pass us by with no warning of the transition they bring with them. It was only about five seasons ago that Barcelona under the steering of Josep Guardiola introduced a style of play by the name of ‘tiki-taka’ that took the world by storm. Messi’s Hat-trick keeps Barca on top.Photo:AFP All of a sudden, any team that was not emulating their model of quick passing and precise running was living in the Stone Age. The Barcelona team won many laurels under Guardiola’s management before he went on to implement ...

Read Full Post

5 cricket shots that make us love the game!

All of us watch cricket for a reason. For some that reason is the sound of a cork and leather ball hitting the three stumps while for others it’s the sound of a piece of willow taking out all its anger on that very ball.  As for me, I’ve compiled a list of five of my favourite cricketing shots. This list is in no order of importance and I’ve only included Pakistani batsmen whom I’ve seen playing live in the five years that I’ve been passionately following the sport. Some of you may not agree with any of these and may ...

Read Full Post

Afridi the hero and Misbah the villain

Pakistan needed six runs of four balls. The previous ball had scored a perfectly-timed six. A rather slim and unperturbed Misbahul Haq was the last man standing on the pitch. Jogendar Sharma was one of those spin-bowling all-rounders from India who would disappear just like many of his kind. Misbah had played the cheeky flick so well throughout the tournament that he decided to bank on it again. In my opinion, he batted it well enough; the ball remained airborne for some torturous seconds and then we saw Shanthakumaran Sreesanth running around in glee while Misbah sat down in agony and distress. Needless to say Pakistan lost the ...

Read Full Post

The psyche of a Pakistani cricket fan and the shameless vanity of passion

To understand the psyche of a Pakistani, you first have to understand what it means to love and hate at the same time. This is not semantics. It is truly a reality. To understand the degree of pain our hearts have already endured, you have to understand the depth of hope our hearts are still willing to go to. Finally, if you want to understand the paradox that is Pakistan, you will have to take the leap of faith and understand that one cricket field with a few men in green has the capacity to undo more mental damage than all the ...

Read Full Post

Thank you Faf du Plessis for showing us that the ICC cares… about you!

Dear Faf du Plessis, First of all, one must congratulate you for imparting a unique idea of utilising the trouser zip for tampering with the cricket ball. In the past, some ‘enthusiasts’ had tried Pepsi bottle tops, dirt/dust in the pockets, finger nails, and even teeth, but none had used a trouser’s zip before. Once upon a time in Australia, our Afridi “Lala” had tried to chew and/or bite the ball in frustration after several defeats, but he couldn’t hide it from any of the cameras installed across the ground. As a result, he was fined for two T20 matches. ...

Read Full Post

SuperOver thriller: Pakistan vs Australia

Roars erupted within crowds on the streets and mixed emotions of tension and excitement filled the air in my room just as the last over of yesterday’s hair-raising match began. With Razzaq picking up the ball and looking at it, the nation knew that they were in for something truly special. Pakistan had won the toss and elected to bat in this super over of the 2nd T20 against Australia. After scoring 151 for four, they handed it to Australia who managed 142 runs by the 19th over. They needed, thus, 1o runs to win in six balls. Just as Razzaq began to run-up ...

Read Full Post