Stories about Muhammad Hafeez

Does ringleader Salman Butt deserve a second chance?

Pakistan Super League (PSL)’s credibility took a massive hit when the spot-fixing scandal involving Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif broke out in season two. According to Salman Butt, he was being considered for the West Indies tour following that PSL season, but the spot-fixing scandal forced the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to reconsider their decision and exclude Butt from their plans to avoid any controversy. With Butt replacing Muhammad Hafeez in the Lahore Qalandars’ squad, many people have raised apprehensions about the 2010 spot-fixing scandal’s ringleader’s inclusion. Some of the arguments made against his inclusion range from setting a wrong ...

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The PSL frenzy: With 7 matches down, which team looks promising so far?

Pakistan Super League (PSL) has played a pivotal role in the restoration of international cricket in Pakistan, albeit partially. This year, eight matches will be played in Pakistan and hopefully after their success, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be able to convince more players around the world that Pakistan is a safe country to host cricket matches. The fourth season of PSL commenced on Valentine’s Day. Till now, every team has shown their muscle on the field. The tournament is still in its early stages, with only seven matches played; however, we can still try and predict each team’s future ...

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Three underrated and uncapped players who impressed us during the Pakistan Cup

Pakistan Cup is organised as the country’s premier List A tournament where only the best domestic performers compete in five teams to prove their ability and plead their case for a national call-up. Last year’s Pakistan Cup highlighted the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Fahim Ashraf, all of whom are currently part of Pakistan’s squad for the ICC Champions Trophy. The Pakistan Cup is being established as the pipeline for players to be fast-tracked to List A and national sides, and like last year, we did witness some performers and performances that would boost Pakistan’s confidence with ...

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Dear Pakistani selectors, why do you keep picking the same old, tried and failed players?

In sporting terms, as with perhaps all aspects of national life, Pakistan is probably amongst the few unfortunate nations that have regressed, not progressed, with time. There was a time in the 1992, when Pakistan was the World Champion in not one, but four different sports – cricket, hockey, squash and billiard. But as merit started taking a backseat, and mediocrity, incompetence and favouritism reigned supreme, today we see the former champions finding it hard to even directly qualify for the cricket World Cup. Oh what a fall! Pakistan lost the first ODI against West Indies, raising a lot of questions about our nonsensical selection policies. You ...

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

The alarm bells were not ringing in the desert heat; they were, in fact, ringing aloud in the immediate aftermath of the Pakistan team’s recent achievement; drawing the Test series 2-2 in England. On the back of a resounding victory at the Oval, Mickey Arthur stated that the plan that won Pakistan that Test was, in fact, a plan that Pakistan would adopt moving forward and is seen as the long term solution for the batting line-up. But did it really win us with that Test? After much deliberation, when Arthur was appointed, it was seen as a step in the right direction to modernise ...

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Is it fair for England to blame pitch conditions for their performance?

Historically, cricket pitches in Asia had the tag of ‘lifeless’ and ‘flat’ associated with them. They’re usually considered as batting paradises where scores of 500 are considered as decent and taking 20 wickets is akin to climbing Mount Everest. While this may be true in some cases, despite the notion that they’re flat, some non-Asian touring teams have often been found struggling in these batting-friendly conditions. Pitches on which Pakistan is able to score in excess of 500, touring parties like England and Australia have repeatedly been bundled out for less than 300. For instance, when both these teams were ...

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Banning one bowler after the other, what is PCB doing wrong?

Yet another dejecting news story regarding one of our new off-spinners, Bilal Asif, was published recently. Bilal was reported for suspect action during the third ODI match against Zimbabwe in Harare. The series ended on a high note for our cricket team, but for Bilal, the series cast a gloomy shadow over his future career growth. Thirty-year-old Bilal performed exceptionally well in his second ODI match against Zimbabwe, during which he bagged five wickets and contributed 38 runs as an opener, which helped Pakistan sail towards a seven wicket win. These statistics proved that Bilal is a force to reckon ...

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Pakistan vs Australia: Without Irfan, our romance with fast-bowling continues

As we qualify for the quarter-finals (the super eight) in the most unobjectionable style possible – keeping in mind how we lost our first two matches – it makes me wonder how phenomenal our team’s journey has been. Looking back at how things were about a month ago, and how they are now, it was nothing less than an emotional roller coaster ride for the 180 million people of this country. Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz (L) runs to his teammate Mohammad Irfan (R) as they celebrate their 29 run win over South Africa. Photo: AP For the first week or so, our performances were ...

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Pakistan can stand tall against Australia without Muhammad Irfan

The tall and towering Muhammad Irfan is out of the World Cup, due to a stress fracture in the pelvis. But there is no time for remorse. The Pakistan team is in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, after they changed their fortunes and came back from a very dismal start to end the group matches on a high note with an easy win against Ireland. But now there, is no room for error and no time to cry over spilt milk. Muhammad Irfan. Photo: AFP Muhammad Irfan was supposed to be the spearhead of our bowling attack against Australia but so ...

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Pakistan cricket’s comic side, explained in Pak-India matches

There are two ways of approaching an India-Pakistan cricket match being played in the World Cup. You can lose yourself in unbridled passion and get set up for either rapturous joy or deep gloom. Or you can see the funny side and embrace the hilariousness. From 1951, since the first India-Pakistan Test match, much has been made of their rivalry in cricket. Australia Wallabies and New Zealand All Blacks in rugby? Brazil and Argentina in football? Ali and Frazier? India and Pakistan’s cricket encounters put them all in the shade with the background of four wars, numerous skirmishes, disputed borders ...

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