Stories about Test cricket

To hell with ODIs and T20s; it’s Test cricket that matters!

When the ICC made the annual adjustments to its Test team rankings to reflect the recent form, a couple of days ago, the Pakistani fans were in for a pleasant surprise. Pakistan was ranked at number four, which is the highest ranking it has achieved in the past five years! There was a time when Pakistan was ranked third in Test matches. It was not that far back and till the first half of 2007 Pakistan maintained this rank, behind Australia and England. When the annual revision came around in 2007, the new rankings showed Pakistan at number six – its lowest ranking ...

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Azhar Ali: A crutch to a feeble batting contingent

The winter of 2009-10, brought public shame and disgrace to Pakistani cricket; the Aussies did not let us taste victory in any format, mainly due to the alleged in-house fighting. The tour was followed by bans and fines, which meant that Pakistan’s touring contingent to England was bereft of Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan for obvious reasons. Hence, the mantle of responsibility was on the feeble youngsters. Much to our delight, Shahid Afridi was made captain of all three formats, bringing him out of a self-imposed abeyance from Test matches. The Test team included some new faces like Umar Amin and ...

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Give international cricketers a break

Salam and greetings. Being in Sydney while enduring my first winter for some time makes me think about last year’s World Cup where our Pakistani boys made us proud. But it was sad to see Shoaiby hang up his boots. Rahul Dravid followed suit later that year and, most recently, Kevin Pietersen said he only wants to play Test cricket. It makes me wonder if the schedule wasn’t packed, could legends like Brian Lara and Adam Gilchrist still be playing. The rotation system has had its lovers and haters and was introduced in order to help players cope with the physical demands ...

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Thank you Younis, but I think it’s time to go

It is a norm amongst Pakistani fans to incriminate our players after a couple of failures in the sport. We have no patience for our cricketers and for that matter; we have no patience with anyone from politicians to entertainers to sportsmen. My recent Twitter feed has been overflowing with people calling for Younis Khan to be axed from the ODI team. General discussions on the online cricket forums and Facebook are revolving around the same ‘Drop Younis Khan’ topic as well. Umair Qazi (@WellPitched) Time for Asad Shafiq to replace Younis Khan (YK) in the #pakistan Odi squad? Not yet. A ...

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Making sense of Pakistan’s new squads

The Pakistan Cricket Board press conference to announce the squad for the tour of Sri Lanka started well. Misbahul Haq stepped down as T20 captain, and Zaka Ashraf announced Mohammad Hafeez as the new T20 captain – well-played by the PCB in ensuring that Misbah ‘stepped down’ and was not pushed out. It is up to Hafeez now to demonstrate his leadership potential, which we all have heard of, and make that role of captain his very own. After this revelation came the announcement of the new squad. No wait – the new squads. The dream that PCB was contemplating regarding three different ...

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Mohammad Hafeez: The real Boom Boom

When Pakistan cricket was hit by the spot-fixing scandal two years ago, many thought it was going to be the cause of demise of cricket in the region. We felt humiliated when two of our best bowlers and the captain were found guilty of deliberately bowling two no-balls against England at Lord’s. However, soon after that Pakistan not only managed to reach the semi-finals of 2011 World Cup but also managed to destroy the number one Test side England by white-washing them 3-0. Pakistan’s success in the World Cup has been attributed to the sharp but sometimes erratic leadership of Shahid Afridi, ...

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Why we hate Misbah

First of all, let me apologize for the misleading headline. This is not a hate article about Misbahul Haq, nor is it one which supports him. When Pakistan lost to England, almost all of us decided to blame him for the defeat. Like all of our country’s misfortunes and losses, we decided to make our captain the scapegoat. Let us recall the events that culminated in Pakistan’s defeat. We had an opener (Hafeez) who didn’t score a single run, Afridi who got run out for three and didn’t take any wickets, Umar Gul who got hit around by Pietersen, a pitch as dead ...

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Why Younis Khan is king

The Pakistan – England Test series finally witnessed a century, and it came from none other than the most reliable batsmen out there – Younis Khan. I had been waiting for a Younis Khan century throughout the series and last week, he made it happen. Younis’ performance was most satisfying because I had been anticipating it for some time and to top it off, I was at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium to witness it. I don’t remember a Test series that Pakistan has played that has not involved a match-winning or match-saving century by Younis. Calls to drop Younis from the Test squad prior ...

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Pak vs England: Fantastic stats for Team Green

It still hasn’t sunk in that Pakistan have not only won the second Test, but also won the series; if that is how I am feeling then I can’t even begin to imagine what the critics and doubters are going through right now. Believe it or not, Pakistan are up 2-0 and the prospects of a whitewash are truer than ever. Pakistani magic against low totals This was only the second time that Pakistan successfully defended a total below 150 in a Test match. The last time this happened was against New Zealand in 1993 when Wasim and Waqar took five wickets apiece and ...

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Team Misbah did us proud

Victory against any opposition is sweet. But when you win against the world’s top Test team, it is memorable. Pakistan beating England by 72 runs last week has to go down as one of the best successes of the Pakistan cricket team. Defending just 145 against one of the best batting line ups of the world would have been a tough job in any case, but Pakistan never let England off the hook. Surprisingly, the chief destroyer was Abdur Rehman who grabbed six wickets for 25 runs in just 10.1 overs. Saeed Ajmal supported him well with three wickets for ...

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