AN EXERCISE IN FUTILITY?



The current ABN AMRO Pentangular Cup being played in Pakistan is generating significant interest in the country and beyond. For the first time a domestic competition is being broadcast live on television. The aim of the Cup is for the national selectors to identify the topmost talent in the country.

However, therein lies the problem. The selectors have utilised these types of tournaments recently to pick players for the national team but the plan has not worked for most of the time. Salman Butt is a classic example of this assertion. Butt averages 42 in first class cricket and 41 in LIST A. Yet his performance in international cricket has been pathetic, averaging 29 in Tests and 32 in ODI’s. Of the 32 he averages in ODI’s, his average in the Subcontinent is 37, which indicates a dismal record playing on greener, bouncier and livelier pitches. Butt’s dominance is domestic cricket can be exemplified by his average in the Pentangular Cup, which is 160.

Another such specimen is Mohammad Hafeez, who averages 33 in LIST A cricket, but only 19 in ODI’s. It would be hard to imagine a domestic game where Hafeez is fit and not playing- such is his significance to domestic cricket. In international cricket, however, he is almost a forgotten entity. Many names can be added to this neverending list of under achievers in international cricket, most notably Faisal Iqbal, Hasan Raza, Yasir Hameed, Rana Naved, Mohammad Sami etc

This begs the question as to why the same strategy is applied. Pakistan cricket has faced countless failures since 2003, yet the PCB cannot manage to fathom a pattern, find the source/sources and remedy the crisis?

A simple yet potent argument has been sidelined. The pitches in Pakistan are amongst the driest in the cricketing world. There is a common ground amongst most of Pakistan’s failed openers- too much impulsiveness, either over confidence or under confidence, short attention span and absence of mental strength. Yet the PCB seems obsessed with recruiting the same type of individual! This type of individual is incompatible with playing on foreign pitches.

Anyhow, the problem or problems cannot be remedied by staging a litany of these so called talent hunting contests, which result in the same players emerging victorious. Rather, this time and money can be better spent at school level or U-19 level, or actually improving facilities at first class level so players at first class level can be competent enough to have a realistic likelihood of succeeding at international level. What Pakistan cricket fans do not need, is for another opener to be gambled with, with the eternal excuse, “Let him play international cricket against top teams and in foreign conditions- he will learn how to bat only through those means”. This formula has not worked with Butt, Nazir, Hameed, Umar, Farhat or Hafeez. It is a botched formula that is the bane of Pakistan’s continued failures since 2003.

Hence, this “Pentangular Cup” can reasonably be termed “an exercise in futility”. It will not change anything as Cups like these only exist to reinforce the status quo. It might unearth useful middle order batsmen or lethal fast bowlers- but Pakistan over the years has managed to produce some anyway and there are already hopefuls lined up in those respective departments, such as Misbah who has taken Inzamam’s place (and players like Fawad Alam who can replace any specialist batsman if need be), and any of Sohail Khan , Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Kamran Hussain etc can become greats for Pakistan, fitness and discipline permitting.

Today was a historic day in Pakistan’s political landscape, with the Murree Declaration being signed by Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari. This might trigger a political and social revolution in Pakistan. Pakistani cricket fans will hope that the future is brighter for Pakistan cricket, too. Lately the PCB has identified certain problems and has promised it will endeavour to remedy them, such as the abysmal state of first class cricket and the lack of lively pitches in Pakistan. However, if history is anything to go by, Pakistanis may as well stop hoping, as the PCB has still not produced many results it promised years ago.

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  1. #1 by hamza on March 9, 2008 - 9:50 PM

    finally a new thread.contrary to my earlier belief the match today was between ahmedabad and chandigarh. ahmedabad won! i wasnt expecting that but they did. about this topic, well pakistan is in a cursed state at the moment. i agree that pentangular cup will not change much, but it is a step ahead and at least we will get a few players to try out in the future matches. god knows when they will be! and i agree with javed a khan about australins. they are NOT coming so i dont know what all the tension is about. pcb should spend this time trying to rearrange series with lesser teams. if the players are just sitting there doing nothing, they wont learn anything to begin with. i hope a series can be arranged with bangladesh after these ODIs with south africa.

  2. #2 by awas on March 9, 2008 - 11:21 PM

    I watched the match between Ahmadabad Rockets v Chandigarh Lions in the ICL league. There didn’t seem to be much interest as far as the crowd attendance was concerned. Hence my point that unless countries are playing against countries, the players do not have the same passion and neither can you have a large fan following.

    ICL did a good thing by making a team out of retirees and rejects in Lahore Badshahs. It’s a good move as it will create more interest because of national fervour. You will see many more Indians at the ground as the match will be against a Pakistani team.

    As I mentioned before English County cricket is loaded with international stars but the grounds are usually empty at county games until the one day championship reaches the final stages. The 3 or 4 days county championship does not attract many crowds.

    My point was that club football in UK and other European countries is very territorial thing which evolved over many centuries. The supporters’ allegiance for their clubs has developed into like mini countries within a country. It is true cricket will never take over football but that is only when it is not played at international level. The atmosphere in summer suddenly changes when England hosts a series against another country. Neither can Rugby compete against football at club level but it transforms into a completely different category when played at international level. Non-team sports like Golf or Tennis cannot overtake football either but nevertheless whenever there is an international tournament like Wimbledon or Golf at St Andrews people go and watch in their droves even though many Brits exit in early rounds. St Andrews for example has a history of golf playing tradition going back some 600 years. So the buzz words are tradition, history and international all lacking in IPL/ICL.

    Once the novelty of ICL/IPL is worn off the local interest will soon vane. I am not saying that because the competitions are being run in India. It would be the same scenario even if it was held in UK, Australia or Pakistan for that matter. Soon, I believe, it will evolve into Middlesex v Mumbai, Calcutta v Karachi, Sydney v Sialkot Lahore v Hyderabad, and so on or better still countries against countries.

  3. #3 by Az on March 9, 2008 - 11:25 PM

    da 1st thng paks gotta do is 2 follow da indian example.-hav courage to get rid of senior players on a temp basis

    they cud offer some sorta performance related reward scheme,meanin they cud reduce da basic wage they pay 2 da playerz (match fees) and increase da amount of bonuses 4 gud performance,but da greedy playerz wont accept it. theyll go on strike 🙂

    oda than tht i dont think they cud do nethin in the near future. the best way 2 do it, asap they shud improve pitches & first class structure

  4. #4 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL CANADA on March 10, 2008 - 3:45 AM

    I like chimps
    I like them all
    I like them from A to Zee 😉

    Nice theory but it won’t work buddy thats not the way it will work. Besides the PCB is not short of any money.

    Even Shoaib Actor who had a tiff with Afridi in SA and was against him since then, has spoken in his favour by saying the PCB is using arbitrary use of authority and for no reason they have demoted Shahid Afridi from level A to level B.

    On Zee TV I saw the interviews of a few Indian players, viz. Harbhajan, Tendulkar, Dhoni etc., and its the euphoria that has gotten them and they are all talking BIG. There is no humility, no humbleness and no nobility. Winners should be more polite rather than mudslinging even after returning home.

    As regards series with Bangladesh I don’t think its a good idea, they are being thrashed by the SA and the level of their national side can be compared with the U-19 team of Pakistan. Ashraful is totally out of form these days and he needs a break. And their team needs a break and Pakistan team too needs a break.

  5. #5 by Rohit on March 10, 2008 - 9:33 AM

    looks like no one came to watch the ICL match! plus the organisers were slapped by a notice. oops, that aint a brilliant start.
    i dont know that much about pakistan cricket but it looks like pcb will have to just keep on trying new youngsters until they get someone with good temperament. i like Az’s views, they seem they can work cuz money is a good motivator.
    javed khan,i dont think anyone needs a break. if you look at it pakistan team had a quieter 2007 than most other teams-they were having frequent breaks in cricket but that didnt help did it? the idea is to make them keep playing so that good players can be identified and used for the future.

  6. #6 by awas on March 10, 2008 - 10:43 AM

    Cricinfo states “Australia set to decide on Pakistan tour this week”.

    What’s the point of this dramey-bazi? They must have made up their mind by now and are just going through the motions. They should really now spit it out and say “no”. Enough is enough.

  7. #7 by Anonymous on March 11, 2008 - 6:07 AM

    I must appreciate the Management of CJ for writing such a beautiful article.

    This is hardcore fact that some of the players are not being succeeded at the International level. I always believe that before selecting anyone at the international level there should be check list and some criteria such, technic, mental strength, passion, fittness and ability to adopt in tough situation etc.

    Let us pray to God that democracy survives in Pakistan and cricket too and we will not have too many doctors to diagnose the same disease.

    Is there any news about CA touring Pakistan??

  8. #8 by awas on March 11, 2008 - 8:52 AM

    After the latest blast in Lahore, Australia have finally called off the tour. So, dramey-bazi is finally over.

  9. #9 by CJ Management on March 11, 2008 - 8:49 PM

    Results of the CJ Poll:

    Gautam Gambhir was voted as the most impressive cricketer in the CB series, and garnered 37% of the votes. Dhoni and Ishant tied in 2nd place with 25% votes each. Tendulkar got 12% of the vote, while no one voted for Irfan Pathan or Praveen Kumar.

  10. #10 by awas on March 11, 2008 - 9:55 PM

    I think Pakistan has suffered a double whammy with the Australians pulling out. Postponement most probably also means no insurance payout either as it’s not a cancellation. Thank you! Australia for fighting this “war on terror” together with us.

    Osman Samiuddin endorses my view by saying “in all probability that decision had been made some time ago” as I said the same thing “they must have made up their mind by now and are just going through the motions”. It doesn’t take a genius to suss that out as it was pretty obvious by not even bothering to send a security team out.

  11. #11 by awas on March 11, 2008 - 11:27 PM

    Lahore Badshahs defeat Chennai Superstars.

    Needing 158 to win they made it look easy in the end achieving the target with an over to spare, mainly due to the heroic innings played by their skipper, who stood there till the winning runs were scored with an unbeaten half-century.

    ICL is looking a little interesting by creating an international team. I would have liked to see Inzi’s knock and wish that match was on Sunday.

  12. #12 by CJ Management on March 12, 2008 - 12:44 AM

    Cricinfo’s round up of today’s game in the two matches of the Pentangular Cup:

    Punjab 173 for 9 (Raza 45, Sohail 4-57) v Sind

    Sohail Khan, the right-arm fast bowler, continued a dream run in his debut first-class season; in the 61 overs of play possible in Karachi, he took 4 for 57 as Sind restricted Punjab to 173 for 4.

    Three of the Indian Premier League’s latest signings – Salman Butt, Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq – came a cropper after Sind choose to field. Sohail did the damage early on, and Anwar Ali and Abdul Ameer took one apiece as Punjab lost wickets at regular intervals.

    Adnan Raza top-scored with 45, but he fell to the legspin of Rizwan Ahmed, who picked up two wickets in his two overs. Shahid Afridi, the Sind captain, also bagged one wicket in an economical spell of 8-3-15-1.

    NWFP 36 for 0 (Hameed 19*, Mohmand 11*) Baluchistan 308 (Saeed 149*, Maqsood 60, Waqar 4-47) by 272 runs

    On a high-scoring day in Peshawar, Saeed Bin Nasir’s unbeaten 149 received little support at the other end as Baluchistan were bowled out for 308 against North West Frontier Province. Left-arm opening bowler Waqar Ahmed followed up two early wickets with a couple at the end as Baluchistan squandered the advantage; they were 211 for 5 at one stage.

    NWFP made early inroads after deciding to field. Waqar struck twice as they were reduced to 73 for 4, before a 88-run stand partnership between Saeed and Sohaib Maqsood. The duo scored at a brisk pace; Maqsood made a 69-ball 60, with 12 fours.

    However, after he departed, Saeed didn’t get much support. His innings included eight sixes, and also 17 fours, but he was left stranded on 149 as Baluchistan were bundled out in 80.4 overs.

    Waqar took 4 for 47, while Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Nauman Habib and Yasir Shah chipped in with two wickets apiece.

    NWFP’s openers played out the remaining overs of the day, and reached 36 at stumps.

  13. #13 by Tauqeer Malik on March 12, 2008 - 1:24 PM

    good article but pakistan is always facing problems with openers? in pakistan crickets history there have been only 2 or 3 world class openers. the article should have concentrated on the other problems more such as fitness problem of bowlers. why dont you write an article focussing on fitness of bowler? look everyone is unfit from asif, gul to shoaib. i think so that pakistan batting can made scores of 250 in ODI because they have talents, but its bowling that has been letting us down. also think about pakistan fielding, good fieldings team like australia can save 25-30 runs every match because of excellent fielding but pakistan cant.

    although maybe we have to consider a bigger problem now, which is whether our country is safe environment to play international cricket. after lahore bomb i dont think so.

  14. #14 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 12, 2008 - 2:36 PM

    Punjab were finally bowled out for a meager 184 with Sohail Khan doing most of the damage on the first day. In reply Sindh scored 303 for 6, a lead of 119 runs and more is expected if Fawad Alam and Sarfaraz continue to put on a decent partnership.

    In the previous match Kaneria gave away 157 runs to get 2 wickets. The decision of replacing Kaneria with a young all-rounder Rizwan Ahmad in Kaneria’s place is a good one.

    Rizwan not only took 2 good catches and two wickets, but also he is the top scorer so far with 79 runs. And he has proved to be a very good all-rounder. Imagine Kaneria’s batting and fielding. I think the credit goes to Shahid Afridi for handling his resources very well.

  15. #15 by Rehan Khan on March 12, 2008 - 3:12 PM

    Sindh/Karachi has a good record of performing under Afridi’s captaincy. He is a good motivator and he has the leader personality. Plus in Sindh or Karachi he is a very popular figure and default leader.

    A captain does his job better when he knows that players are supporting him, that he has respect and everyone is on his side. Afridi has that benefit captaining Sindh or Karachi but that is obviously absent in the presence of players like Malik,Asif,Yunus,Yousuf or Shoaib. I have seen so many interviews and talk shows where majority of people are supporting Afridi to captain Pakistan. But it is a mystery why Malik is being persisted with.

    I remember in 2007 we were talking about whether we need to stick with one captain or we need to try a few experiments to make sure we have the right man. I wasnt supporting afridi last year but i am losing patience with Malik and PCB, mainly because Malik is working off an agenda and lacks planning (this was mentioned by the author a few posts back.)

    but PCB made a fatal mistake because malik is captain until end of 2008. Whether Afridi has a permanent place in Test squad is a difficult question, but I dont understand how a default/consistent captain of one province/city cant captain the national side if he has been captaining karachi for so many years?

    Maybe a change of leadership will revive fortunes of the sick condition of PCB and Pakistan cricket.

    RK

  16. #16 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 12, 2008 - 4:27 PM

    Afridi is not only a motivator but, on the field he is very dynamic and he communicates with other players. With Shoaib Akhtar gone with the wind, barring Mohammad Yousuf, Afridi is THE SENIOR MOST player in terms of international experience. And, I wonder why would he be lacking in confidence if he has to deal with Asif, Yousuf, Younus, Malik etc?

    The players back up their captain when the management or the administration is 100% behind the captain and the captain is also performing good.

    In case of Malik, when he was first appointed as the captain of the national side, he had backing from the PCB and full support from his players including Afridi.

    And, Afridi was the player of the T20 WC also, played reasonably well after that. Prior to that his performance in 2006 and 2007 in test and ODI was much better than many and yet he was dropped by Malik in the last ODI against India and was sent back home for the test series.

    With continuous setback in his leadership qualities Malik seems to be off-colour and he has no backing from his players, only the PCB have to stick to their decision.

    Besides, Malik also knows that despite the fact that he is declared to captain the side till the end of 2008, the chances are he might be thrown away with the change in the political arena in Pakistan.

    Like people say, if Mushy goes then the doctor goes too and, if the doctor goes there is all the possibility that Malik would be axed from captaincy and that will be the end of his weak, meek mediocre captaincy era.

    There is also a rumour that Malik has deliberately avoided the Karachi tour to play against Sindh. Although his mother is sick but not so much that he would miss this crucial match that will decide his future, but going to Karachi and playing there and also losing the match would be like hitting the last nail on his own coffin. So, he is using the same old ploy.

    His injury rumour that progressed in India that he is faking it as it was not that grave to sit back in two test matches, he did that on purpose, because after that he was suddenly 100% fit to play against Zimbabwe? This rumour too has wings and it can fly, whether Malik likes it or not he has to accept that he is not a good captain and it would be better if he himself steps down in favour of Afridi.

    The only reason Malik is holding this post under his teeth is, if he is removed from the captaincy post, with his current form he may not be able to retain a place in the team. Therefore, he wants to be there by hook or by crook.

    Afridi did not score much in this match, just 14 runs of 13 balls, but he lead his side very well and bowled very tight to get 2 wickets. But, Rizwan Ahmad has impressed me with his all-round performance not only in this match, but he has been very consistent in the domestic matches.

    He has so far scored close to 3700 runs at a decent average of 35 with 6 hundreds and 20 fifties, he is an outstanding fielder he took 35 catches and got 121 wickets in 60 odd matches. At 29 he seems to be a late bloomer or may be a victim of regionalism. But, he is still a very promising player and must be in the national team.

  17. #17 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 12, 2008 - 4:49 PM

    Yasir Hameed unbeaten at 265

    Can he carry this form into the international arena? His international career started with 2 centuries on his debut but those were against Bangladesh and he was dropped time and again more for other reasons than inconsistencies in batting.

    His average of 35 in test and 37 in ODI’s is not bad at all, in fact it is better than others. When he started his career he was praised for using the correct technique, good timing, style and elegance rather than power slogging. But, something happened to him later on that he started to throw away his wicket in his early 20’s and that lead to his downfall.

    The pressure to perform can kill the basic instincts of even the best players (like tendulkar fails in his 90’s – a pressure he takes on his nerves unnecessarily) and Yasir was included in the last ODI against India in Jaipur in place of Afridi and scored only 1 run. This kinda decision to experiment or replace a player at the wrong time ruins two players at the same time. In this case they shattered Yasir Hameed’s confidence and also demoralized Afridi’s motivation.

    Back to the Pentagular Cup, the most surprising package came from Baluchistan’s Saeed Bin Nasir who remained 149 n.o. with 17 fours and 8 sixes! He scored almost 50% of the runs the whole team scored.

    He is also from Karachi and for some reason he was placed in the Baluchistan team. His performance at the first class level matches is also very noticeable in 90 odd matches, 149 innings he has scored 5300 odd runs at an av. of 41 and scored 12 hundreds and 26 fifties. Like Rizwan Ahmad he is about 28 and yet to get a chance to play at the international level.

  18. #18 by CJ Management on March 12, 2008 - 7:00 PM

    Cricinfo’s round up of today’s game in the two matches of the Pentangular Cup:

    NWFP 503 for 2 (Hameed 265*, Shafiq 181) lead Baluchistan 308 by 195 runs

    A mammoth 431-run second-wicket partnership between Yasir Hameed, the Pakistan opener, and Asad Shafiq powered NWFP to 503 for 2 against Baluchistan at stumps on day two in Peshawar.

    NWFP, resuming on 36 for 0, lost Rafatullah Mohmand early to Abdur Rauf, but from then on it was all toil for the Baluchistan bowlers. Hameed smashed an unbeaten 265, with 43 fours and six sixes, while Shafiq made 181 off 251 balls, with 33 fours and six, in their stand of 431.

    Rauf struck again much later to remove Shafiq, but Hameed was unbeaten at stumps, with his 265 coming off 309 balls.NWFP finished the day with a lead of 195. Rauf conceded 122 off his 21 overs, while Sohaib Maqsood’s 16 overs went for 108.

    Sind 303 for 6 (Rizwan 79, Iqbal 65, Riaz 4-71) lead Punjab 184 by 119 runs

    Sind needed 2.5 overs to take the final wicket in Punjab’s first innings, before their batsmen secured a 119-run lead for the loss of six wickets.

    After Punjab were bowled out for 184, Sind were reduced to 86 for 3, but a 138-run stand between Rizwan Ahmed and Faisal Iqbal took them into the lead.

    Rizwan made a patient 79, while Iqbal chipped in with 65. Wahab Riaz was the key bowler for his team; he removed both Rizwan and Faisal after having snared Khalid Latif and Naumanullah earlier.

    Shahid Afridi, the Sind captain, fell for 14, but Fawad Alam and Safraz Ahmed remained unbeaten in the 20s as Sind closed the day at 303 for 6. Riaz took 4 for 71 from his 22 overs.

  19. #19 by CJ Management on March 12, 2008 - 10:27 PM

    The following news has been pasted from Cricinfo:

    Bangladesh have agreed to tour Pakistan next month for a series of five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international following Australia’s decision to postpone their tour of the country over security fears.

    “We have accepted Pakistan’s proposal to play five one-day matches and a Twenty20 match in Pakistan in April,” Gazi Ashaf Hossain, the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s chairman of cricket operations committee, told AFP. “We will meet soon to fix the dates and venues of the matches.”

    Cricket Australia made its decision based on an independent review of the circumstances prevailing in Pakistan. The security situation deteriorated further today when two suicide blasts rocked Lahore, killing at least 20 people. Lahore was among the main venues for Australia’s tour, and the latest developments jeopardised any chances of the series going ahead as scheduled.

    The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had already made contingency plans for a possible Australia pull-out, approaching the Indian board for a short tour. However, India backed out, owing to a cramped international schedule, compelling the PCB to look at other options. Bangladesh conclude their home series against South Africa on March 14 and don’t have any international commitments till the Asia Cup in June, incidentally in Pakistan.

  20. #20 by CJ Management on March 13, 2008 - 10:32 PM

    Cricinfo’s round up of today’s game in the two matches of the Pentangular Cup:

    Sind 417 for 7 (Sarfraz 82*, Rizwan 79, Iqbal 65, Riaz 4-99) beat Punjab 181 (Sohail 4-58) and 202 (Misbah 51, Anwar Ali 4-45) by an innings and 31 runs

    Sind wrapped up an innings-and-31-run win over Punjab thanks to some smart lower-order batting and a tidy bowling display on day three at the National Stadium in Karachi.

    An unbeaten 82 from Sarfraz Ahmed, the wicketkeeper with international experience, in a 79-run eight-wicket stand with Anwar Ali, the former Under-19 star, extended Sind’s total to 417 before the declaration. Then it was over to the bowlers, lead by Ali and Shahid Afridi. Afridi dealt three blows to account for Punjab’s top order and Ali, bowling his sharp swingers, ran through the lower order.

    Punjab could only manage 202 in 55 overs, with captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s 72-ball 51 being the best of the innings. Ali picked up 4 for 45 to cap his unbeaten 33 from 59 balls.

    Baluchistan 308 and 243 for 4 (Bin Nasir 118*, Maqsood 70) trail NWFP 664 for 6 (Hameed 300, Yasir Shah 51*) by 113 runs

    Riding on a mountain of runs, NWFP finished day three of their match against Baluchistan in a comfortable position. Thanks to a career-best 300 from Yasir Hameed, who earlier added 431 with Asad Shafiq, NWFP rattled up 664 for 6 and then reduced Baluchistan to 243 for 4. Still behind by 113 runs, Baluchistan’s hopes were pinned on Saeed Bin Nasir, unbeaten on 118 as stumps were drawn in Peshawar.

    Hameed resumed the third day on 265, and duly reached his maiden first-class triple. His brisk innings required just 367 deliveries and included 49 fours. He fell just after reaching the landmark but Younis Khan, with a run-a-ball 44 not out, and Yasir Shah, unbeaten on 51, maintained NWFP’s dominance.

    Baluchistan’s second innings started poorly. Opening bowler Waqar Ahmed grabbed two to reduce them to 14 for 2, which became 53 for 3 when Yasir removed Gulraiz Sadaf, the wicketkeeper-batsman. It took a 121-run stand between Bin Nasir and Sohaib Maqsood to stem the rot. Maqsood was next out at 173 after hitting 70 from 69 balls but Bin Nasir went on to notch up his 13th first-class hundred. He was unbeaten at the close, adding a further 69 with Nasim Khan, his captain, but Baluchistan have plenty to do stave off defeat on the fourth day.

  21. #21 by khansahab on March 13, 2008 - 10:39 PM

    Excellent performance by Sindh and superb captaincy by Shahid Afridi who helped rout Punjab for a miserable score.

    This match was like the final of the Pentangular Cup as there will be no matches after this and Punjab and Sindh were the top teams in the Cup anyway.

    This match clearly shows that Punjab batsmen (who form the bulk of Pakistan’s batting attack) need more batting practice on lively pitches.

  22. #22 by Anonymous on March 14, 2008 - 9:24 AM

    This site is becoming as if it has been created to praise Shahid Afridi and his manners .

  23. #23 by Rohit on March 14, 2008 - 11:02 AM

    thats a very weird thing to say by “anonymous”. i dont think this site has only been created to praise shahid afridi- why would it!? i think this is one of the best cricket blogs on the net, even though its quite new. i like the idea that it covers only pakistan and india. and congrats to the management because its getting good publicity apparently- im also advertising this blog on other platforms. more and more people are voting on the poll, so thats an indication of the growing success of CJ. well done CJ management, your intentions are appreciated and im with you!

  24. #24 by Anonymous on March 14, 2008 - 2:57 PM

    LOL @ creations!

    There is another creation of God called Show-Aib Mule-ick and he is worshiped on another blog. But, only by a solo devotee who is like a Domnee of Mule-ick. If you say anything against Malik you get booted out.

  25. #25 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 14, 2008 - 3:23 PM

    BREAKING NEWS:

    Pakistan hope to play five ODIs v Sri Lanka

    Friday, March 14, 2008
    By Khalid Hussain

    KARACHI: Pakistan are hoping to add five more One-day Internationals (ODIs) to their home season that was left in tatters following Australia’s decision to avoid the violence-hit country earlier this week.

    A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official told ‘The News’ on Thursday that efforts are on to convince World Cup finalists Sri Lanka to visit Pakistan in April to play a five-match ODI series.

    This of course is separate from Bangladesh visiting Pakistan to fill in the gap created by Aussey’s sissy-ism ………. read the whole article in today’s THE NEWS at Jang News.com

    The losers got some consolation, Butt for scoring highest number of runs in the tournament and Akmal for dropping highest number of catches……….oooops for taking 15 catches and scoring ducks BOTH got Rs.50,000 each – a reward for best batsman and best wicket-keeper. What a farce. In my opinion they should have given this award to Baluchistan’s Saeed Bin Nasir for scoring centuries against better bowling attacks.

    However in the bowling department Sohail Khan from Sindh stands heads and shoulders above the rest.

    The winning captain of the tournament is undisputed the best but, only thing is he is the uncrowned captain of Pakistan team.

    Shouldn’t the PCB realize this now and make necessary changes for the benefit of Pakistan team in general? They are hypocrites, they won’t do anything. The weak-meak miskeen captain will be back again with his baby looks in parayshaan haal. What a shame!

  26. #26 by awas on March 15, 2008 - 12:48 PM

    “Cannot process request” keeps coming up on the poll. I wonder how many have actually tried to vote and failed. The final tally would otherwise be much higher if they all succeeded.

  27. #27 by Mohamed Anfaal on March 16, 2008 - 10:54 AM

    Pretty late in posting this one but better late then never,
    CONGRATULATIONS to SIND,
    For winning the Pentangular cup, and to their Captain in leading a successful campaign against the erstwhile power house of Pakistan cricket and I simply do not understand why do they make up the majority of the national team? when it is quite obvious now that the real talent lies else where, Ok Biases of all kinds exist every where be it regional or any other, Be it nepotism and/or sycophancy but this is taking it a bit too far, it is now slowly killing Pakistan cricket and sooner something done about it the better and it could begin with a change in guard on the field plus right up to the top management,

    Let the captain of the SIND side leader of the successful campaign be at the helm of national unit,
    And I stress on UNIT,
    Come on, how much worse can it get? we are going nowhere in the present scenario as it is.
    As I see it the only way now is up, unless they find a newer and better way of sinking further which I hope not, but for anything else to happen, a change is required at the helm.
    I guess the establishment has it’s reasons too persist with Malik since he accepted the crown of thorns when every one else threw their hands up causing embarrassment to them and in a way now wants to teach the others a lesson in sticking with Malik, come what may,
    That’s a childish way to deal with the situation; it’s killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

    Pakistan cricket is in turmoil and it needs all the help it can from its friends, we have to ensure that the forthcoming ASIA CUP happens there, paving the way for the champions trophy,

    India needs to take the lead in that and show the way and back Pakistan cricket as it has done so in the past as well, case in point the Oval fiasco.

    Pakistan also needs to put the money where the mouth is, in terms of getting the infrastructure right, laying new turfs in the outfield especially near the ropes up to international standards and dive able, sprucing up the pitches , practice pitches and facilities et all
    It’s sad but a fact that the cricketing world is split into two lobbies.

    Remember a strong and stable Pakistan cricket, both financially and competitively is the need of the hour for our block to challenge and keep the white hegemony in constant stupor.

  28. #28 by JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 16, 2008 - 12:40 PM

    Anfaal

    This is too much to say:

    I guess the establishment has it’s reasons too persist with Malik since he accepted the crown of thorns when every one else threw their hands up causing embarrassment to them and in a way now wants to teach the others a lesson in sticking with Malik….”

    Do you think Younus Khan is “everyone else?” Oh, come on, Mohammad Yousuf was also ready but they didn’t talk to him Afridi was not considered at all because they thought he is too childish and immature to lead.

    And to correct the earlier wrong doings would be childish? I think they are being not only childish but stubborn like a thoroughly spoiled brat. Malik doesn’t deserve to be the captain.

    Some of the Sindh players have confirmed that they are better than many and one of the all rounders is Rizwan Ahmad. We all know that Fawad Alam was kept on the sidelines for whatever reasons and now Rizwan will never get a chance and so will Saeed Bin Nasir of Baluchistan.

    Bin Nasir is anytime better than Nasir Jamshed. If you look at that bloke playing he doesn’t rush or jump out to hit every ball like Nasir Jamshed who perhaps emulates Afridi and Imran Nazir.

    Saeed Bin Nasir scored century in each innings against NWFP and he hit a total of 8 sixes and 40 fours in his 2 innings and none of them could be called a slog. It goes to prove that he has a balanced head on his shoulders and he treats the ball according to merit. Besides he is not 18 or 19 but 28 so there is enough maturity that he possesses.

    I agree with you that this Pentagular Tournament has cleared the air and the doubts about Sindh players who were being neglected over Punjab players and a majority of them are from the national team.

    The deliberate ploy of Shoaib Malik to stay out of the final will give him and those who support him some leverage to argue that Punjab’s star the baby of Pakistan was not in the team so you cannot justify this win.

    Remember last year in one of the domestic tournaments similar to this one, Afridi’s side was winning through out and for the final he had to go for Hajj and his team lost the final and when one of the sports writer wrote after the WC cup that Afridi’s absence cost his team lost the domestic tournament and also his absence from the WC owing to the ban cost Pakistan the WC.

    Those who bash Afridi for no reason, said Afridi’s presence or absence in the team doesn’t make any difference he comes and goes and once in blue moon he scores. Or he scores once and fails ten times.

    But, it is a fact that his presence against teams like Zimbabwe and Ireland or even India creates a lot of fear in the minds of the opposition and his wicket is celebrated like a festival. Anyways, there is no point in supporting him as the bunch of jokers will choose IF’, BUTTS, mutes and mules.

    Never before in the history of Pakistan, the national team that lost test series in India is so weak as it was and it is under the leadership of Shoaib Malik.

    Finally a tribute to Taslim Arif:

    A couple of months ago I had written something about his achievements on cricinfo blog. And just last week we talked about Taslim Arif here on this blog and it is indeed very sad to hear that just 2 days ago he passed away. In a couple of months from now he would have been 54, too young to die. Like life, death is also a reality and we all have to face it. May God bless him and give courage to his family to bear this irreparable loss. Amen.

  29. #29 by Rehan Khan on March 16, 2008 - 2:03 PM

    Mohd Anfaal and Javed Khan,

    Really good posts by both, I particularly like Javed’s justifications. I give 100% support to Afridi because his leadership & unbiased mind is what Pakistan needs. His leadership has been winning Sindh the tournaments because in terms of talent most Sindh batsman and bowlers still dont compete with Punjab. afridi has been captaining karachi for a long time, before his appointment as captain sindh always lost against punjab. malik and afridi are 2 opposite personalities, completely different mindsets. afridi gave 100% support to malik in the first few months, but now he has seen that malik is not the right man because of his regionalism-specific psyche and lack of professionalism in captaincy.

    TASLIM ARIF was a true champion for Pakistan cricket. It is a national loss he has died. I have seen his presentations on GEO Super and he was always very passionate about the betterment of Pakistan cricket and encouragement of youngsters in the team. In fact I heard he recommended Sohail Tanvir to Salauddin Sallu for selection into national team. Taslim was a very decent and highly respected individual. Pakistan cricket will miss him.

  30. #30 by Rehan Khan on March 16, 2008 - 2:28 PM

    Javed,

    I dont know if you saw Anwar Maqsood’s program on ARY when he went to Afridi’s house for an interview. He said that Afridi is the only one to lead Pakistan because of his charisma and leadership. He also said with reference to Malik, “Shahid aap ki ek soch hai aur aap kissi key saamney nahi jhukna chahtey. aap STRAIGHTFORWARD hain aur ek leader ki yehi pehchaan hoti hai ke woh apni soch rakhta hai aur team morale ko buland rakhta hai.”

    I agree Afridi is not a perfect player and his performance in Test cricket is questionable. but so is Malik. we are already in an imperfect state- why not try and different formula and change captaincy? But PCB is already preparing Misbah or Salman Butt for future captaincy.

    About Taslim Arif, i dont know Javed if you saw ABN AMRO Cup in Canada, in pakistan it was shown on GEO SUPER. Taslim Arif was one of the commentators. A commentator said, “Taslim aap key saath bari nainsaafi hui thi kyun key aap ki double century (vs australia) key baad aap ko team sey nikaal diya tha”. so taslim arif said, “nahi meray baad wasim bari aaye they jo mujh se behtar keeper they”. but the commentator said again, “nahi taslim, woh waja nahi thi, waja koi aur thi jo hum TV par nahi keh saktay”. in response to this Taslim remained quiet and didnt say anything, but he changed the topic. he could have said, “haan meray saath nainsaafi hui thi” and he would have got away with it. but he remained silent, which tells us of his refined and decent nature.

  31. #31 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL CANADA on March 16, 2008 - 4:29 PM

    rehan khan

    i am agree

    with all what you say except for

    ‘afridi’s place in test is questionable’

    this is incorrect, check his test averages, he is in fact a better test player than most and the way he played this 4 day pentagular tournament is more like a test match – you definitely cannot call it a one day or a twenty 20 right? So in a 4 day match his team has benefited most from his talent.

    about tasleem arif, he was a very humble person and may God bless him.

  32. #32 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 16, 2008 - 5:59 PM

    Also

    Afridi as a bowler proved that he is better than Danish Kaneria. Its a pity that a player is not judged on his over all performance or in totality but he is judged in bits and pieces.

    If I am the Captain and given a chance to choose between Afridi and Kaneria, I won’t hesitate for a moment in choosing the former.

    As a batsman, as a bowler and as a fielder he is better than Kaneria. And Afridi’s presence in the team motivates and inspires his team mates, if he will lead the national team, it will be a whole different scenario. When Kaneria goes into his wicket less marathon bowling sessions he not only carries a depressed look on his face but makes others feel depressed and dejected. Because, when Afridi is not in the test team there is no bowler except for Kaneria who can bowl long spells.

    This happened in South Africa and this happened in India where all the fast bowlers were exhausted and only Kaneria was bowling and getting thrashed. Recently in this Pentagular tournament against the Federal team he gave away 157 runs and took 2 wickets in a total of 323, whereas, in the same match Afridi took 5 for 55.

    Btw, that Ichara ka Choora must be fuming after reading this and he needs some Burnol in his extremities. 🙂

  33. #33 by awas on March 16, 2008 - 6:47 PM

    A good discussion going on, not necessarily agreeable to all but that’s not the point. Quite right…Afridi haters and Malik lovers would be fuming ;)-

    In the only test series going on at the moment, it looks like England is on the brink of victory in the second test against Kiwis. After the defeat in the first test, this is a real good come back for England especially with the new inexperienced bowlers.

    With this complete change of fortunes within a space of two tests shows most test playing nations are at par with each other. Even Australia once invincible is looking vulnerable at the moment. For the first time in their history India is looking like a formidable cricket nation. This is good for Asia. They would however have some problems when suddenly Tendulkar & Co call it a day.

  34. #34 by khansahab on March 16, 2008 - 7:28 PM

    I saw the Lahore Badshahs’ match today. It was nice to see Pakistani players wearing black armbands in memory of the late Taslim Arif.

    I don’t know much about him, except that he made a double century against Australia and that his exclusion thereafter from the team was questionable.

    There isn’t much going on in Pakistan and Indian cricket, except ICL and IPL which we have already covered. I will consult the co managers as to what the next thread should cover, but if anyone has any suggestions, the CJ Management is all ears.

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