Stories about Saeed Ajmal

Misbah in the context of Pakistan’s lifesavers

A few days ago, I read a blog by a passionate Misbahul Haq fan, thanking the Pakistan captain for all that he has achieved, and asking his forgiveness on behalf of the fans who have harangued and disrespected him for so long. Photo: AFP Like almost all other reflections on Misbah, this one described him by describing Shahid Afridi first, and explaining that Misbah was all that Lala is not. When I asked some Misbah fans why he is not contextualised in Pakistani society the way Afridi is, someone answered that it is because honest and hardworking people never get anywhere in Pakistan. [caption id="" ...

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Pakistan vs Australia: This was clearly not like the 1992 World Cup

If you have ever fallen in love, the kind of love that makes you feel the blood rushing through your veins for the first time, then you know what it is like to be a Pakistani cricket fan. We all have our afflictions, and for Pakistan it is cricket. Cricket is our choice of drug. No matter how much it hurts, the next time it is on, we will be watching for our fix. Every World Cup, I promise myself not to get my hopes up too high. I rationalise it in my mind. Even if all the statistics, the form, ...

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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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South Africa was a milestone, not the destination

This was the moment the World Cup came alive. Until now, Pakistan and its fans had sleepwalked through the World Cup. The team had, until now, been doing a fairly good job of alienating its fan base. The mood back home was as sour as one can remember in recent times, after facing humiliating losses to India and West Indies followed by a narrow win over Zimbabwe. But this team has a habit of roping you back in just when you think you are done. Pakistan entered the match having never beaten South Africa in their previous World Cup meetings, and having won only four of ...

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An autopsy of Pakistan’s World Cup blues

It has barely been a fortnight since the inauguration of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australasia and team Pakistan has already found itself in a position where a group stage exit looks probable. As expected, Pakistani fans have wasted no time in expressing their anger and disappointment at the team’s dismal and lacklustre outings against India and the West Indies. Criticism is on display in its many forms; from bashing Misbah and his boys on social media to burning effigies and staging mock funerals in the streets of Multan. Former players including Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have expressed ...

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As a Pakistani fan you will go through these 7 stages of grief

I have been following the Pakistan cricket team ever since I can remember. After the stinging loss against India in the 1996 World Cup quarter-final, I felt a personal duty to rectify the wrong. The defeat did not dishearten me; on the contrary, it reinvigorated my love for the game. Throughout my youth, I would pretend I am Aamir Sohail and point to the bowler where I was going to hit him next. A strategy that worked for me because I was only good playing shots on the leg side – so regardless of the bravado, I was going to ...

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Pakistan vs West Indies: The unpredictable duo

When you walk into the world famous wax museum Madame Tussauds in London, there are only two cricketing figures standing – Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara. There is no Wasim Akram, no Ricky Ponting, no other cricketer deemed worthy enough to be immortalised for all of history. Such was the grandeur of the West Indies team in years past that references are still made, records still intact and trophies still proudly on display. Much like the Pakistan cricket team, their glory days are behind them and the young men on the pitch are falling to shambles relentlessly trying to emulate that which is no more. Enigmatic and ...

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Has Pakistan forgotten its sense of humour?

Pakistan lost against India in their opening World Cup match, but that did not affect the love I have for my team. My support does not depend on them winning or losing. Having seen all the criticism directed at our team, I couldn’t help but wonder what the morale of our team must have been. I mean, realistically speaking, three of our key players, Saeed Ajmal, Muhammad Hafeez and Umar Gul aren’t playing. That will obviously affect the outcome of our team. That isn’t an excuse, the fact that until the very beginning of the World Cup, our team was relying ...

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Paint the town green and feel the jazba! This is our World Cup

It is a match for the irrational, those bitten with the bug of insanity, ravaged by their all-consuming need for victory. There is nothing quite like it. No game this emotionally invested. No rivalry this heated. For nine hours of your life, time stops, blood pressures rise, friendships are formed and broken, and everyone from a six-year-old to an 80-year-old is an all-knowing cricket pundit. This is Pakistan versus India; this is ODI gold. Tomorrow, February 15, 2015, Pakistan and India will face each other in the opening match of their World Cup campaign. India is currently ranked second whereas Pakistan seventh on ...

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