Stories about strategy

#PakvsSL: Pakistan played like Pakistan of the past, but is Sarfraz Ahmed to be blamed?

Mediocre. Average. At times brilliant, but mostly lethargic. Dare I say Pakistan cricket at its finest? There was a time not long ago, when two men anchored the entire cricket team to unimaginable victories, not just through impeccable performances but through charisma, style and discipline. The men who famously go by the names of Misbahul Haq and Younis Khan played a pivotal role in sending the Pakistan cricket team to the top of the Test rankings. Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan became owners of Pakistan’s most prolific partnership in Tests. Photo: Getty Images Although really short-lived, it was ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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Pakistan needs a permanent source of dollar inflows

The state of affairs prevalent in Pakistan’s currency market can be considered analogous to that of a bathtub. Just turn the tap and water will start flowing into the tub. Assuming the plughole is properly covered, the tub would start accumulating water. However, if the plug is removed, all the water flowing in from the tap would immediately flow out of the tub. The equilibrium point would arrive when the water flowing in from the tap is sufficient enough to compensate for the water going down the drain. And Pakistan’s currency market is just not able to maintain this equilibrium. The Pakistan Muslim ...

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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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High time Pakistan gets a European football coach

The arrival of Portuguese Carlos Queiroz as the head coach of Iran’s football team is an important development on the Asian football horizon. The versatile tactician has signed a three-year contract with the country renowned for great football credentials, a proud history, talented individual and a good infrastructure. However, there must be reasons that provoked the established football nation to hire a European coach instead of local one. Iran, once a powerhouse of Asian football, is witnessing a decline at international level. It failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup and has not won the Asian Cup since 1976. Even ...

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The battle of ideas: Reform the militant

One is not born a terrorist. One doesn’t wake up on a Thursday morning with an epiphany of being the next Mullah Omar or Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. A desire to resort to terrorism doesn’t take place overnight. It is a process of indoctrination; a change of thought and mindset. And all changes can be reversed when there is a plan. Today, what’s important for Pakistan is the need to devise a strategy of de-radicalising, rehabilitating and reintegrating militants back into society. I don’t mean to undermine military measures being taken against violent extremists, but the military alone cannot eradicate a group of ideological ...

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Young cricketers: Sowing the seed for a better future

Over the past three years, despite the team being anything but consistent, the Pakistan team has managed to perform quite well in tournaments. Of the three World Twenty20s, we have reached two finals and narrowly missed out on a place in the third. A semi-final appearance in the Champions Trophy and now a last-four finish in the World Cup is quite a record. When I signed on as Pakistan’s strength and conditioning coach three years ago, my aim was to try and change not only the fitness culture of the team but also to leave a legacy. I had hoped that ...

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No more Butt and Butterfingers

As Ramiz Raja put it, though Shahid Afridi could not win the World Cup, for 30 days he united the nation. However, though we must unreservedly praise the performances of Team Pakistan, a few heads must roll to ensure that the strides we have made are capitalised to the fullest extent. Butt needs to go The system governing the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), effectively a one Butt show, has to be revamped. The PCB needs a much more effective, efficient and vibrant administrator – someone who is in touch with modern day cricket – to govern the way the game is played ...

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I am proud of you, Lala!

Even though Pakistan cricket has been kicked in the gut for the last few years, our players are ever-ready to put up a fight. Afridi and his men gate-crashed in to the semi-finals against all odds, topping their group and sending home West Indies with a 10-wicket win – the first ever in the knockout stage of a World Cup in the process. No sane person ever writes Pakistan off. The semi-final against India saw vintage Pakistan. Our bowlers restricted a strong Indian batting lineup to a below par score despite six dropped catches! The Mohali crowd was stunned into silence when ...

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Jazba just wasn’t enough

Pakistan lost the much-hyped match against India, just as they lost on previous four occasions where they came up against India in any World Cup game. They say history never repeats itself, but it did in this case. However, folly always repeats itself. We made the same mistakes that we always do. Pakistan felt they could go into the game and pull off a win even after fielding like they always do, leaking runs and dropping catches. But one can ride luck just so far. Eventually, reality catches up and the men are separated from the boys. Let’s hope Kamran Akmal is ...

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