Stories about Umar Akmal

What was the real reason for snubbing Sarfaraz Ahmed, Waqar Younis?

In every field, humans invest in certain objects to get a desired output from them. In cricket too, teams invest in talented players before important tournaments, give them a maximum number of matches to play and work on their weak points so that they can help the team bag victories. A year before the cricket World cup 2015, almost all teams, including Pakistan, invested in certain players. Australia gave a chance to Glenn Maxwell, developed his skills and turned him into a brilliant match finisher. Photo: AFP Shikhar Dhawan played for India in Australia, which got him used to ...

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South Africa was a milestone, not the destination

This was the moment the World Cup came alive. Until now, Pakistan and its fans had sleepwalked through the World Cup. The team had, until now, been doing a fairly good job of alienating its fan base. The mood back home was as sour as one can remember in recent times, after facing humiliating losses to India and West Indies followed by a narrow win over Zimbabwe. But this team has a habit of roping you back in just when you think you are done. Pakistan entered the match having never beaten South Africa in their previous World Cup meetings, and having won only four of ...

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A ‘Mauqa Mauqa’ to celebrate – Pakistan finally wins a match

A match that both teams were trying their level best to lose, Pakistan failed to shoot themselves in the foot for a change and managed to beat the might of Zimbabwe. The day was set for Shahid Afridi to shine on his 35th birthday. Hey, if Meera is still 25, why can’t Afridi be 35? I am still 16 by the way. Afridi’s age is a great metaphor for the entire country; it is stuck in reverse. The day started with news that Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was going to play for the team, sending the entire nation (or just me actually) in a ...

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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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My interview with Misbahul Haq, Waqar Younis and Moin Khan

For the third time, I check my voice recorder to make sure the device is in operational order.   Yes, it is fine. Of course it is fine. I wipe away my sweaty palms on the fabric of my jeans and allow myself a few deep breaths. This will be the biggest interview I’ve ever conducted. I am sitting in a small conference room at the Pakistan cricket team hotel in Brisbane, Australia, waiting for captain Misbahul Haq, coach Waqar Younis, and chief selector Moin Khan. Determined to put my admiration for these three individuals aside, I try to focus. After all, a cricket ...

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An autopsy of Pakistan’s World Cup blues

It has barely been a fortnight since the inauguration of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australasia and team Pakistan has already found itself in a position where a group stage exit looks probable. As expected, Pakistani fans have wasted no time in expressing their anger and disappointment at the team’s dismal and lacklustre outings against India and the West Indies. Criticism is on display in its many forms; from bashing Misbah and his boys on social media to burning effigies and staging mock funerals in the streets of Multan. Former players including Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have expressed ...

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Four reasons why sending Younus Khan as an opener is justifed

We have been seeing a lot of undue criticism directed towards the decision of choosing Younus Khan as an opener in the matches against India and West Indies. But if we were to take a moment and try to understand the decision, we would see that the management had sound reasons to choose Younus. His experience Younus was included in the squad on the basis of his Test performance, his overall experience and his ability to deal with pressure. All of these traits were needed to defeat India. Pakistan had to find an effective combination for its openers, so sending Younus ...

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Pakistan vs West Indies: Haaray haaray hum toh dil se haaray

First of all a moment of silence for everybody who woke up at 3am to watch this match. Photo: Shehzad Ghias Another moment of silence for everybody involved in our team selection. At this stage, one must wonder what Younis Khan has on the team management. Photo: Shehzad Ghias Despite losing out on Kohli’s wicket in the match against India, we continued to persist with Umar Akmal behind the stumps. Photo: Shehzad Ghias The extremely defensive decision to go to with eight batsmen, including Afridi, was compounded by negative tactics employed by Misbahul Haq in the field. [caption ...

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As a Pakistani fan you will go through these 7 stages of grief

I have been following the Pakistan cricket team ever since I can remember. After the stinging loss against India in the 1996 World Cup quarter-final, I felt a personal duty to rectify the wrong. The defeat did not dishearten me; on the contrary, it reinvigorated my love for the game. Throughout my youth, I would pretend I am Aamir Sohail and point to the bowler where I was going to hit him next. A strategy that worked for me because I was only good playing shots on the leg side – so regardless of the bravado, I was going to ...

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Pakistan versus India: And the jinx continues…

Well it was 8am that the subcontinent started to get abuzz with the excitement surrounding the clash between Pakistan and India in the World Cup. There always is a different kind of excitement whenever the two teams face off. Sometimes it ends in player’s houses being attacked in India and sometimes it ends in brawls in Sydney. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain – there are a lot of emotions involved in the clash of the titans of the subcontinent. (I highly doubt that Pakistan can be called a titan as of today but it sounds catchy ...

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