Stories about shoaib akhtar

Sledging in a gentleman’s game: It never helps the batsman

“Sledging” is a controversial activity that takes place on the cricket ground. It means teasing the opponent by exchanging harsh words, abusing or ridiculing him. It normally works for bowlers since distracting the batsman can make him nervous and help get his wicket. Only Australian cricketers believe it is an art and that their players must know how to tease the opponent. They ridicule the opponent and test his nerves so he gets annoyed and loses his wicket. Although all teams use it as a wicket-taking tactic, the Australians have mastered it and use it effectively. Apart from the Kangaroos, Indian cricketers like ...

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Shoaib Akhtar: A farewell to the Rawalpindi Express

As a boy, I was an avid athlete who played basketball, table-tennis and did sprint running.  But it was my passion for cricket that defined me. I started playing first-class cricket at the age of 16 and made it to the under-19 Karachi squad when I was 18-years-old. I always imagined myself as a cricketer. Nothing else appealed to me. Unfortunately, I sustained a major knee injury in a practice session which tore my ligament. This meant I could no longer play the game I love so dearly. When a sportsman gives up his career, no matter how big or small, it’s ...

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For the Pakistan team, the hardest battle is of the mind

As any die hard Pakistan supporter can attest to, sport can be full of hope one week and result in complete misery and disarray the next. It can be a cruel business. After a hard fight, against all odds, a win can take you to cloud nine and a feeling of being invincible can follow. You get on the team bus and Pehli Nazar Mein (my favourite song) is playing at full volume. But before you know it, a few days later this feeling is followed by a swift kick to the stomach that makes all air leave your body and ...

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Mistakes will not go unpunished now

After the crucial game against Australia, Pakistan enter the knock-out stages. They enter a territory where mistakes will not go unpunished. It will be naïve on part of the Pakistan players and team management to hope for their opponents to make mistakes so Pakistan can taste victory – a theme predominant in our World Cup campaign this time. Pakistan had Zimbabwe, Canada and Kenya in their Group A to experiment with. However, it will not be unfair to suggest that the team management did little to make use of these opportunities. I say this because before a team heads into the ...

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Pakistan’s World Cup strategy: Win the toss

In Sri Lanka, the locals warn all tourists to be aware of the oncoming traffic. Despite various road markings and signs, overtaking at will on even the narrowest of single lanes is a common sight. For that reason alone, you need to be on guard at all times, be wary of even the innocuous Tuk Tuks (rickshaws) and sit prepared for a sudden manoeuvre. It seems as though the welcoming committee failed to inform Pakistan cricket team of these trends on the streets. The rigidness of their plans oozing from their on-field show, the refusal to budge from what was discussed ...

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Akhtar’s presence vital for Pakistan

Saying goodbye to someone who has served the country with great distinction and valour is always a sad moment. It is even more painful for the individual who is bidding farewell to a glittering career. Shoaib Akhtar’s retirement is indeed a time for reflection for all those who had the good fortune of seeing him in full flight. The world will certainly miss the sight of the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ bowling his lightning-quick yorkers and his clever slower balls that bamboozled the best of batsmen. Considering the immense amount of experience and skill that Akhtar possesses, I found the decision to drop ...

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Pakistan’s World Cup weapon: Bowling

Pakistan’s bowling attack will have to step up if the team is looking to do better than the previous two editions of the World Cup. Historically, Pakistan have done well when their bowling has lived up to expectations and this time would be no different. The conditions will assist only those who are willing to exploit them. The pitches in Sri Lanka are slow with low bounce therefore bowling has to be spot on. The warm conditions will wear out the ball quicker, assisting reverse swing, but at the same time dew will set in. It’s difficult to grip and ...

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Akhtar trudging along, at his own pace

They say your life flashes in front of your eyes as death approaches. The good, the bad, the best moments you lived through are replayed in a short burst that makes you realise the worth, the joy and the sheer existence of it all, the reasons behind who you were, are and could have been. The last few months of Shoaib Akhtar’s career have followed the same pattern. His early worth paved way for injuries – of various types at numerous points in his life – and age got the better of his speed. He was shot down throughout his career, ...

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Pakistan beat Sri Lanka: Victory is sweet!

After having made two wins in two games, the Pakistan cricket team has given the country a reason to rejoice. For most of us Pakistanis, the World Cup has in fact just begun. We are beginning to believe that Pakistan are a force to reckon with after defeating Sri Lanka, one of the favourites. However, as extensive praise is being heaped on the team and congratulatory messages being sent across, we mustn’t forget that this was just the second game of a fairly long tournament ahead. We must cheer the boys on, but ensure that complacency doesn’t creep within the ranks, as ...

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Beating Sri Lanka: Junaid must play today!

Pakistan take on Sri Lanka in the teams’ first high-profile clash after both disposed of minnows Kenya and Canada with ease. The two teams face each other in Colombo where the pitch offers more assistance to the bowlers than other venues in Sri Lanka. And no matter how much both former world champions want to rely on spinners throughout their campaigns, fast-bowlers will play a crucial role in the campaign. Pakistan had a three-man pace attack in their first match comprising Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq. But that was because the pitch in Hambantota was known to be a ...

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