Stories about batsman

The Gilchrist revolution and the role of a keeper

Before the 21st century, as you may already know, cricket was very different. T20s did not exist; neither did free hits or power plays. The sight of a 300 plus score in the 50 over game was rare and on the few occasions that it would occur, to chase it down was a fantasy. However, a few years before the millennium, the cricketing world was introduced to a new playing role which proved to be pivotal to the way the game is played now; the role of a wicket-keeper-batsman. The pioneer of this role was England’s most capped wicket keeper, Alec Stewart. ...

Read Full Post

ICC Champions Trophy: Will Gayle be Aj-mauled?

In cricket, rivalries go way back; Miandad-Lillee’s and Imran-Botham’s conflict are a few examples worth mentioning. I have also witnessed the same between Wasim Akram and Brian Lara; Wasim Akram got the best of Brian Lara at least seven times. Similarly, there was a rivalry between Glenn McGrath and Brian Lara where McGrath got Lara out on 15 occasions. Although, this might not be interesting to some of us, this is something spectators invest their time looking upon. However, in recent years after the emergence of domestic T-20 leagues, players have gelled in well with each other and that dangerous yet ...

Read Full Post

Tony Greig: More than the sum of the parts

The first time I heard of Anthony William Greig I was listening into a Test Match special in 1972 – the first Ashes test at Old Trafford. The voice of John Arlott describing Greig scoring a 50, when England was in need of runs. He scored another 50 in the second and then took a few wickets in Australia’s last knock. The match is remembered for a late assault by Rod Marsh, when Australia looked down and out. It did not win the match, but for us serial non-England supporters created last session excitement. In those days live television was rare and when I ...

Read Full Post

Michael Clarke: All hail Australia’s golden boy!

The ‘pup’, as he was affectionately known as in the Australian cricket circles during his early days, Michael Clarke has matured into an enforcing bulldog who knows no fear. Clarke was marked for greatness from a very young age but would often gift away his wickets to the opposition while looking to play strokes. There was and still is no stroke that he cannot play, but the difference from back then is that he now has a more calculated approach and is the prized wicket in the Australian line up as his second successive double hundred against South Africa showed. This ...

Read Full Post

Let Hafeez bat in peace!

In his blog in Dawn, entitled “Time for Hafeez to realise his true worth” Mazher Arshad discusses the true worth of Mohammad Hafeez. He basically says that like Shahid Afridi, Hafeez should realise that he is primarily a bowler. According to Arshad, Hafeez’s 30s and 40s will be more useful if he does this. The author also talks about Hafeez’s batting averages against stronger teams, in difficult conditions, and during this year, all of which are in the low to mid 20s. There is a valid point, undoubtedly. If it were any other opening batsman, he would have been dropped already. The fact that ...

Read Full Post

On bringing Akmal back

To most, the name ‘Kamran Akmal’ brings back bitter memories of some of the most embarrassing defeats our national cricket team has ever faced. The worst of these was the Sydney Test of 2010. Four dropped catches and a run-out missed enabled the Aussies to snatch victory out of the jaws of a certain defeat. To me, however, the name brings back memories of when I sat in the National Stadium, Karachi, and saw our three prime batsmen being dismissed in the first over of the match; a defeat lingered on our heads and we were only to be redeemed ...

Read Full Post

Mohammad Hafeez: The real Boom Boom

When Pakistan cricket was hit by the spot-fixing scandal two years ago, many thought it was going to be the cause of demise of cricket in the region. We felt humiliated when two of our best bowlers and the captain were found guilty of deliberately bowling two no-balls against England at Lord’s. However, soon after that Pakistan not only managed to reach the semi-finals of 2011 World Cup but also managed to destroy the number one Test side England by white-washing them 3-0. Pakistan’s success in the World Cup has been attributed to the sharp but sometimes erratic leadership of Shahid Afridi, ...

Read Full Post

Afridi’s dilemma: Play to your strength

Shahid Afridi has been representing Pakistan for the last 15 years but he is still unsure about his role in the team. Afridi joined the Pakistan cricket team as a leg spinner, when Mushtaq Ahmed was injured and the former was asked to join immediately to replace him. At that time, Afridi was one of the highest wicket-taking bowlers at the under-19 level. As a result, he was considered a reliable spin bowler but no special attention was given to his batting. However, this changed soon, for Afridi, in his second One Day International (ODI) and his first international inning, ...

Read Full Post

The Pakistan team is playing one batsman too many

Pakistan’s batting goes down till number eight and that, in the playing-eleven, is tolerating one batsman too many. A formidable side must have a perfect mix of bowlers and batsmen as inefficiency in the team-mix can cause problems for the best of sides in the World Cup. Given that Pakistan enjoy the experience of stable batsmen like Misbahul Haq and Younus Khan, who form the backbone of their line-up, the team can increase the efficiency by eliminating a batsman and adding a specialist bowler. Umar Akmal, a stable and potentially dangerous batsman, came at number six in yesterday’s match. What the captain needs ...

Read Full Post

An open letter to Shahid Afridi

Dear Skipper, We have witnessed you brutally thrash bowlers out of the park; we have seen you dismiss the best in business with your shooters, flippers and googlies and take the most difficult catches on the cricket field. You have been our darling for more than 14 years. Every time you whack the cricket ball into the open skies, we hold our breaths. You gave us reason to dance on the streets of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta with your performance in the Twenty20 Cup, 2009. And you made us proud as you went on to score the fastest one day ...

Read Full Post