Stories about spot-fixing

Money, fame, respect and glory – it was all there for Sharjeel Khan, but it still wasn’t enough

It’s the last ball of the 22nd over. Pakistan is chasing a mammoth total against Australia in the fifth ODI at Adelaide. Sharjeel Khan is standing strong and handsome at 70 with Pakistan’s hopes of winning resting on his shoulders. Adam Zampa throws a tossed up delivery outside the off stump, Khan has a good look at it before he powerfully swings his bat across the line and sends the ball sailing over the wide-on boundary for a six. Sharjeel Khan pulls, Australia v Pakistan, 5th ODI, Adelaide, January 26, 2017. Photo: AFP The ball I just recalled could ...

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Well done, Misbahul Haq!

Lord’s Cricket Ground is the home of cricket and it’s every cricketer’s wish to be able to play and perform exceptionally at this historic venue. The incentive to perform well at Lord’s is having your name written on the honour board, which is erected inside the pavilion of the cricket ground. How can a cricketer have his name included in that list? Simple, a batsman has to score a century and a bowler has to take five wickets in an inning or 10 wickets in a match. There is a long list of players on this board, but unfortunately, the world’s greatest players such as Sachin ...

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Four reasons to watch the Pakistan-England Test series

Only halfway through the summer of 2016 and the average sports fan is already having the time of his life! Starting off with the much anticipated Euros, which the Portuguese won rather unconvincingly, to the green grass of Wimbledon where familiar faces triumphed again, both in the men’s and women’s category. Only if you thought this was too much to handle, wait till the Pakistanis step onto the Lord’s cricket ground after almost five long years. Yes, that’s right. In case you have forgotten, a lot of sports is still left and interestingly enough, it’s Pakistan who takes on a ...

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Why was Danish Kaneria banned for life but Mohammad Amir restored?

When it comes to cricket, Pakistan has something or the other for everyone. Cricket is food for soul for a majority of Pakistanis, so it is understandable when the populace reacts to unjust happenings to cricketers who have held important places in not just the Pakistan cricket team but also in the hearts of thousands of Pakistani cricket fans. On a similar note is the story of Danish Kaneria. The right-arm leg-spinner ranked fourth in most number of wickets taken in international matches following the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan, is currently living under the ban ...

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Misbahul Haq is Pakistan’s greatest asset in this age of slings and arrow

Two thousand and six. That’s when Pakistan were last ranked second in Test cricket. Back then, in the English summer, under the calm command of Bob Woolmer and Inzamamul Haq, Pakistan cricket was powered by skill and a degree of missionary zeal – blessed, you might say, by Bob and God. But the bank of blessings emptied soon after Pakistan got to England that year. Next, a forfeited Test, Woolmer’s death, terrorist attacks, and spot-fixing. An unprecedented four-year spell of curses. Four years with little blessing. By 2010, Pakistani cricket was more dead than alive. It would do well to exist. In 2015, Pakistan cricket ...

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Pakistan vs Zimbabwe: It’s time to pull up our socks, boys

If you’re dreading having a sleepless night right before your team faces Zimbabwe, there is either something terribly wrong with your team, you, or both. What will keep me up is not how well my team will execute its strategy, but if it even has one. When I first saw the list for the World Cup, I could not help but notice that the last of all pool games is slated to be played between Pakistan and Ireland. My instant fear – would this become a pre-quarter final round? My second thought – is it St Patrick’s Day by any ...

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Not forgotten but forgiven: The prodigy returns

It was on a typically overcast London afternoon that the nation saw its first glimpse of young Muhammad Amir, who had just turned 17 a few months earlier. It took him all of two balls to win over the thousands of Pakistani supporters at The Oval and the millions at home watching their side take on England in the 2009 World Twenty20. Ravi Bopara’s uppish drive was well held by Shoaib Malik at backward point and Amir wheeled away in joy, baring all of his uneven teeth. That was the moment the nation fell in love with the precociously talented ...

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Misbahul Haq for 2015 World Cup Captain!

November 3, 2011 was arguably the darkest day in the history of Pakistan cricket. Former Test captain Salman Butt, along with the sensational pace duo of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif had packed their bags to complete their respective times in prison after being caught cheating the gentleman’s game by means of spot fixing. Considering that team Pakistan was already deprived of the luxury of playing at home, it seemed highly likely that cricket had lost one of its most enigmatic sporting nation. However, the cricketing god’s had other plans for the men in green. Fast forward to November 3, 2014, ...

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Learn from the BCCI, Pakistan, don’t hate on it!

High school is all about hierarchy. You have the cool kids who set the trends and everyone else is a follower. And then you have the drama geeks, the science club and the kid with the braces and the asthma pump who watches as teams are picked and groups are made but he is left watching from the sidelines.  Welcome to the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Pakistan cricket team and the wonder of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). This year marks the seventh season of the IPL, six of which have excluded Pakistan. The BCCI has tactfully managed ...

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IPL: Cheap Bollywood extravaganza, not a sport

Every year, from around April to the beginning of June, I go on a hiatus from cricket. This includes shunning every cricket website and sports channel with the zeal of a politician shunning honest work and disabling the Cricinfo app on my phone and tablet. At social gatherings and at work I religiously avoid conversations pertaining to cricket and if someone directs a cricket-related comment at me, I start to extol the virtues of the insect rather than the sport. This leaves the company rather befuddled considering that for the rest of the 46 weeks in the year, cricket is ...

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