Stories about Saeed Ajmal

To the Pakistan cricket team: Baby, you’re a firework!

Never in my life have I quoted a Katy Perry song. Never. Until today. Why? Because Saeed Ajmal mentioned a patakha. And because I’m really, really cheesy. But so are you. We all are. Everyone who has lived and loved Pakistan has grown up in hyperbole, the pink-eyed (I’m referring to gulaabi aankhein) optimism of love songs, the ministrations of our mothers, soap operas that would make Swiss cheese feel impotent and, of course, World Cup songs that companies and people happen to come up with that contain more sugar than the actual product being advertised. I do, however, try very hard not ...

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World Cup 2015 – May the best team win

The 2015 World Cup in Australia will be nothing short of exhilarating, as the stadiums in Australia are the finest and would produce thrilling cricket. This will be the 11th edition of the World Cup. After the round matches, the real test will begin as the quarter-finals and elimination rounds start. Let’s have a look at the eight probable teams for the quarter final: Australia (host) It is by far the most successful team in World Cup history, having won four World Cup trophies and reached the finals in two. Playing at home will bring a lot of pressure to the team but still they have ...

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Pakistan is not even prepared for New Zealand, let alone the World Cup

Openers getting out early, slow run rate, batsmen getting starts but not converting them into something substantial, a false ray of hope in between – pretty much run-of-the-mill stuff for Pakistan’s batting in ODI cricket. However, the more worrying factor is Pakistan’s fragile bowling attack at the moment. For years Pakistan’s batting has been spared its blushes by the bowling department, but, heading into the World Cup and the second ODI versus New Zealand, the bowling side looks as feeble as the batting one. With Saeed Ajmal banned, Muhammad Hafeez unable to ball, Junaid Khan injured and Yasir Shah as an unused weapon so far, Pakistan’s bowling side looks as flimsy as ...

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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 ...

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After Ajmal, Hafeez takes a hit – will Pakistan be able to bounce back?

And so the ICC’s purge against off-spinners continues, with Mohammad Hafeez being the latest victim. It has come as no surprise given the recent suspensions of off-spinners globally and the warning Hafeez himself received when he was reported during the Champions League T20 in September with Hafeez due to be tested at Loughborough on November 24, 2014. In fact, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) itself has been pro-active in this matter, forming a five-member committee which included ICC Elite Panel Umpire Aleem Dar and Pakistan’s spin bowling coach, Mushtaq Ahmad, to weed out suspect actions before they reach the international stage. However, the news of Hafeez ...

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This is for Hobart

The morning of November 22, 1999 was nippy and blustery, typical Karachi winter weather. I woke up early with an air of expectation. Christmas was coming early this year and Eid was going to follow. Pakistan was finally going to beat Australia in a Test match on their home turf and I was ready for school early to savour as much of the moment as possible. The Test series was following after Pakistan had been blanked by Australia in the World Cup final earlier in the year and was billed as the ‘badla’ tour by the press. Wasim Akram, the Pakistan team ...

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The king of comebacks

Cricket is a love story, a baffling relationship, one that tugs at your heart, crushes and then serenades you all over again. The love you try relentlessly to give up on, the one you know you’re always going to run back to. Pakistan cricket has shattered us and then put us back together more times than I can remember. Misbahul Haq is our messiah, a patient captain, a world class player who took over the team when our hearts were irreparably broken from the spot fixing scandal and nurtured us back to health. And every few months, he finds himself ...

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Younus Khan runs riot!

Younus Khan silenced all conjectures. The doubters have been taught the consequences of tickling Mardan’s sleeping dragon. He probably broke the record for breaking records in this two-match series. Stats have brought him head to head with some of the galactic greats of the game but the hero chooses to remain in the shadows of conflicting egos, serving our cause with what little is left in him. Younus is indeed an odd hero. For a fan base that dwells on little moments of glory, the progress of his tons and Pakistan turning tables has been soporific to many. The exploits ...

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Defeating our demons

On January 6, 2010, I sat with my head in my hands as I tried to make sense of what had just happened. Some brilliant (read: not) captaincy and some strange fielding – attributed largely to Mazher Majeed’s influence on the team – meant that Pakistan squandered a 206-run lead and, with it, the chance to beat Australia on home-ground. For Pakistani fans, this was a hard pill to digest and that can largely be put down to Australia’s complete dominance of Pakistan over a number of years – basically our entire cricket-following age. At Hobart in 1999, Australia chased down 369 against a ...

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The fault in our (cricket) stars

I walked into the house to the sound of my father yelling and shouting. 99 out of a 100 times, it’s usually because of something my brother had done. But when I entered the house hearing both of them bellowing, it could mean only one thing – the Pakistan cricket team had failed… yet again. And what a time it was to lose. With the World Cup only a matter of months away, the Pakistani team could not have chosen a worse moment to be whitewashed, literally, by the host team of the forthcoming tournament. The issue is not that they lost, rather the manner ...

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