Stories about Test cricket

The curious case of Shoaib Malik

Shoaib Malik has had one of the most intriguing cricket careers. He made his debut in 1999 – in 16 years of international cricket, we still don’t really know what his role exactly is. He is one of the very few cricketers who have played in every position from one to 10 in ODIs. Is he a batsman? Is he a bowler? Is he an all-rounder? He is definitely one of the best fielders in the Pakistan team; no one makes a catch in the outfield look as easy as Malik does. But what his role exactly is in the Pakistan ...

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Shoaib Malik’s Test retirement is anything but ‘graceful’

Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik, who was recently recalled to the Test side after a gap of more than five years, has announced his retirement from the longest format of the game following the conclusion of his comeback series against England in the UAE. Malik, who was not part of the team as a first choice, was drafted at the side as a replacement for the injured batsman, Azhar Ali. He was included in the playing 11 for the first game and with a bit of luck, went onto score a double century. His total ended up being 245 – a career best – and he also contributed with ...

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Dear Shahryar Khan, let go of India and hold on to Misbahul Haq and Yasir Shah

Dear Mr Shahryar Khan, Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), I write to you today in the wake of Pakistan’s monumental triumph over England in the recently concluded Test series in the UAE, not as a critic, but as an enthusiastic sports writer who happens to be an ardent cricket follower and more importantly, a passionate Pakistan cricket fan. There is no secret to the age-old Pakistani adage, “cricket runs in our blood”; a phrase which you can very much relate to having served as PCB Chairman in the past and being the author of Cricket: A Bridge of Peace. Cricket has long served as ...

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The Cult of Sarfraz Ahmed – Doing more harm than good

It started during the World Cup 2015. What was first a dialogue from an extremely popular and recent Indian movie, took over nearly all Pakistani TV stations. It was simply inescapable. Any news channel you surfed through, you would hear it, “Sarfraz dhoka nahin day ga!” (Sarfraz won’t betray you!) Photo: Reuters In the midst of an inauspicious start to the World Cup campaign and the team management’s baffling decision to persist with the woefully out of form Nasir Jamshed, a state of frenzy engulfed the nation over the perceived injustice done with Sarfraz Ahmed, Pakistan’s hero of the previous ...

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Five reasons not to miss the Ashes clash

Cricket is a cranky game. It does not get along with anyone, not even the best. Australia can relate to that more than anyone else. Stepping into England with all the momentum, they were the favourites, full of aplomb. Five-zero in the last Ashes encounter, two-zero against India earlier this year, two-zero against West Indies in the Caribbean. Winning came naturally and effortlessly to the Aussies. And then they landed in Cardiff. Since then onwards, it has been a spectacular series, a roller-coaster ride indeed. It has defied what most of us had prophesied at the start – England at Cardiff, Australia at Lord’s, England at Edgbaston. [caption id="" ...

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It is time we stop glorifying Shahid Afridi

On Monday, during the Pakistan versus UAE game, Shahid Afridi became the fourth Pakistani and the 27th cricketer overall to score 8000 runs in ODIs. Photo: Reuters Among the 27 batsmen, Afridi has the highest strike rate of 116.86. He is the second player to have completed the double of 8000 runs and 300 wickets, joining Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya. Without a doubt, Afridi is considered a national hero all over Pakistan. No batsman gets a louder roar from the crowd as he does while walking from the dressing room to the pitch. He has managed to garner the love and adoration of ...

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Rock beats scissors, Hashim Amla beats Virat Kohli

The headline of this piece says it all about the sheer batting class of Hashim Amla, whose silent presence on and off the field for the Proteas has brought them great stability in their batting line up in the past few years. After the departure of an extremely talented opener-cum-captain Graeme Smith and a majestic middle-order batsman Jacques Kallis, Amla became the team’s ‘rock’ – as AB de Villiers puts it. A symbol of perseverance and resolute on which team South Africa relied on to take the opening spot. He yielded the willow like a weapon with which he ripped apart ...

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Afridi’s retirement: An overdue but wise decision

When making a decision, in nearly all aspects of life, timing is very important. If one fails to take a decision at the right time, his or her decision may back fire or people at the helm of affairs may take the person to task and shun him out of the system. “I didn’t know that painters and writers retired. They’re like soldiers, they just fade away.” – Lawrence Ferlinghetti In Pakistan, soldiers retire at an appropriate age but players show a stubborn approach and eventually, just fade away. The sportsmen of Pakistan, unfortunately, are not ready to adhere to this ...

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India needs to stop complaining

The second Test match between hosts Australia and India was another tale of flop for the Indian captain MS Dhoni, outside their home grounds. The wicketkeeper-batsman, leading the men in blue, wrapped up a box of complaints and presented it in the post-match press conference by saying that the Decision Review System (DRS) is not accurate, umpiring decisions were not consistent and the practice pitches at Gabba were ‘uneven’ for practice which resulted in Shikhar Dhawan’s injury on the fourth day of the match. While pointing out the not-so-important stuff, the Indian World Cup winning captain forgot that his team has a habit of falling like ...

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Why can’t we invest in better helmets for our cricketers?

On November 10, Ahmed Shehzad considered himself to be the unluckiest of cricketers when a bouncer from Corey Anderson not only deprived him of his maiden double century in Test cricket, but also knocked him out of the Test series when he was in the best form of his life. But just a couple of weeks later, he was forced to pull away his thoughts when a similar delivery, hitting the same spot on the body, knocked Phillip Hughes out of this world. Both these openers were hit by a cricket ball carrying a momentum of 350, on either side of their foreheads, Shehzad on his right temple while ...

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