Stories about Zimbabwe

Pakistan vs Ireland: Will St Patrick’s Day be Ireland’s lucky charm?

St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. The Irish, as well as the non-Irish in Washington, are looking forward to celebrating and partying all night long. One of my several bosses, a third generation Irish-American, Mr O’Brien, is a stocky little man who talks to no end and although we are not in the business of selling, he sounds like a perfect auctioneer. The other day, I stopped him in the middle of one of his verbal onslaughts and asked if he knew about the game of cricket. “No, I don’t,” followed by a long, speechless pause was the answer. I ...

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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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Pak vs UAE: A cornered tiger’s only way forward is to attack

What do you do when all hope seems lost and there seems to be no way out? What do you do when all that can go wrong does go wrong? What do you do when those who support you turn on you? What do you do when you are backed in to a corner? Just what is it that you do? These are some of the questions that the Pakistani cricket team in Australia and New Zealand were confronted with almost a week ago. After two harrowing defeats against India and the West Indies, Pakistan finally seems to be gathering some much needed steam while ...

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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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ICC World Cup: When quantity dilutes quality

While browsing a leading cricket website, an ad for cricket jerseys caught my attention. The jerseys on sale were replicas of the 1992 World Cup ones that the nine competing teams wore. The promotional scheme was very aptly captioned, “The iconic cricket jerseys of the 1992 World Cup” As an overzealous follower of Pakistani cricket, I have absolutely zero issues with the jerseys being labelled iconic. After all, this was our World Cup. The 2015 World Cup, like the 1992 one, is to be played on the unforgiving cricket wickets in Australia and their neighbour, New Zealand. Cricket has come a long way since the 1992 ...

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Can Saeed Ajmal break the ‘curse’ of being the best bowler of Pakistan?

Over the course of several decades, one constant factor in Pakistan cricket has been the quality bowlers it has produced. From masters of reverse swing to the fastest bowler in the world, and from subtle drifters to the inventor and master of the ‘doosra’, Pakistani cricketers have added magic to the art of bowling. Cricket would be a much different game without the bowling contributions of our players. It would have been more of a batsman’s game with much less flair. But at the same time, to be the best bowler of Pakistan is a truly cursed position. Our masters ...

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#SavePalestine: Why can’t our sportsmen be political?

When Dwight Howard tweeted #SavePalestine, he drew, in equal amounts, plaudits and condemnation from social media. He soon deleted his tweet, called it accidental and issued a retraction. Soon enough, #Howardthecoward started trending on Twitter. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t! A prominent sportsperson had aired his views on a sensitive political subject, and by issuing a retraction, had later on failed to stand by it. Dwight Howard (R) Back in 2003, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga had worn black armbands during a World Cup, mourning the death of democracy in their native Zimbabwe. Not only were they not criticised, they were lauded for ...

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Asia Cup 2014: Is Kohli the ideal replacement for Dhoni?

Many might not know this but the upcoming Asia Cup series is not the first time that Virat Kohli’s skills as a captain will be tested. Kohli led the Indian Under-19 (U-19) team in a series in Malaysia in 2008 and it was there that he earned his merit as a leader for the first time. Similarly, he led the Indian team in a series against Zimbabwe in 2013 and was also captain for a few matches against West Indies in the same year. On both occasions, he further reiterated his value as a skipper. India is one country which makes the best use of ...

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Misbahul Haq, only second to Imran Khan and Javed Miandad as captain!

On January 14, 2013, I wrote a piece stressing the fact that Misbah is very much a necessity for Pakistan’s One Day International (ODI) cricket. I argued that Misbah has been far better than his colleagues and should not be dropped, predicting that he will fine tune his game-plan and will improve as a batsman. Well, as it turns out, Misbah has indeed stepped up his game since then. Misbahul Haq of Pakistan bats during the ODI match between South Africa and Pakistan at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on March 21, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. Photo: AFP Almost a year ...

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When Pakistan beats the world’s best, you know Misbah is captain

September 14, 2013 was the day when Pakistan faltered in a Test match, succumbing to a shocking defeat against Zimbabwe. This was Pakistan’s first loss to Zimbabwe in almost 15 years. Scenes of joy in Harare, and of despair and humiliation in Pakistan were prevalent. Whatever could have gone wrong did go wrong and all the blame and acrimony fell on the shoulders of Pakistan’s beleaguered Test captain, Misbahul Haq. The daggers were out. The hyenas were moving in to slay the aging lion once and for all. This time there would be no way back. The defeat would leave a definitive ...

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