CRICKET IS THE SOLUTION

Cricket fans received some positive news yesterday, that the England players decided to resume their tour of India. For those who need reminding, the tour was temporarily called off in the wake of the terrorist attack in Mumbai. What’s more, Flintoff, a key England player, also returned to India. There were some initial doubts regarding whether Andrew Flintoff and Steve Harmison would be returning because of the terrorist threat, but almost everyone is applauding the England team for making the right decision. This can only be good for world cricket.

Why should cricket suffer?

Why should cricket suffer?

An interesting series looms ahead. India most certainly starts as favourites, due to its in-form opening pair of  Sehwag and Gambhir (both average 62 and 64 respectively, this year) and in form strike bolwers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. With Harbhajan Singh leading the spin attack, India also appears convincing from the spin front. Hence, England will have to play out of their skins to match India in this series. When England plays as a unit, it can pose problems for the opposition and it has players like Pieterson and Flintoff who are proven match winners. Yet, the England side misses that spark that results in competitive psyche and consistent positive results. England’s openers lack consistency, its pacers are too prone to injury and it does not have a quality spinner who can turn things around on spin-friendly pitches. If that is not enough, most England players are replaced very quickly as soon as some decline in performance is noticed. Some would say Pakistan and Indian cricket administrators should adopt this line of strategy as well with a few players, but the answer is to find the right balance.

We don't see them celebrating a lot these days

We don't see them celebrating a lot these days

The recently concluded ODI series between India

When he gets going, he is unstoppable

When he gets going, he is unstoppable

and England showcased just what is so brilliant with India and what is so lacking with England. India dominated England completely and seemed like it was thrashing a minnow team. Three out of the top 5 batsmen were Indians, and 4 out of the top 5 bolwers were Indians, too. India were revitalised with the return of Yuvraj Singh, who tore the England bowlers apart, smashing 325 runs at an average of 108. On his day Yuvraj seems as dominating and as majestic as any Tendulkar or Lara. He has been an enigma for Indian cricket, monstrously talented, yet has been unable to make a name for himself in Test cricket. Ganguly’s exit gives Yuvraj the chance of a permanent place in the Test side, and he must capitalise it because he certainly has the talent to become a consistent match winner for India.

India should win this series without many problems, but must be aware of the

Karachi-born Owais Alam Shah has shown tenacity and guts playing for England

Karachi-born Owais Alam Shah has shown tenacity and guts playing for England

ability of a few England players to surprise. Pieterson and Flintoff seem the obvious threats, but Owais Shah’s ODI performance and county cricket reputation means India should not take him lightly. Similarly, Harmison and Anderson, although suffering from inconsistent form of late, can be destructive on their day. Nevertheless, Dhoni has transformed India into a winning unit and India currently ranks no 3 in ODI and Test cricket, only marginally behind South Africa, the 2nd placed team.

To conclude, it was great news for cricket fans that the tour is being resumed and a full strength England side is playing. Cricket is ultimately the solution, regardless of all politics and terrorism. England have taken a positive step and Pakistani cricket fans will hope India makes the same sane and encouraging decision to tour Pakistan for the January series. Hopefully we see some calm, some peace and some excitement now from this series. The terrorists who wanted to destablise proceedings have suffered a huge setback because fans are looking forward to cricket, and if and when India tours Pakistan, the terrorists will receive a further blow. We can’t fight them with bombs and bullets, but we can thwart their intentions by thinking logically, reasonably and by encouraging peace and stability.

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  1. #1 by Varun Suri on December 8, 2008 - 10:08 PM

    So, Finally after a short break we will get to see some hopefully exciting Cricket, I am sure English Test side will have something more to offer than their One-Day side. Krikat as is the Opium of our masses just like Religion, will also help in relaxing and calming people down after what happened in Bombay few days back. The onus is on the Indian team to not to disappoint it’s fans and instead cheer and lift their sprits by performing upto the best of their abilities.

    Another through and well-researched preview by the “Yudhishtra” like khansahab, with as accurate details as the averaje of the Delhi Boyj in the last year, it will be interesting to see how they tackle Monty, that is if he plays.

    On the other hand some eyes would be on Yuvraj to see whether he can fill in the shoes of Ganguly and achieve the dream of his father by becoming an established Test Player. Although age is on his side, but maybe he needs to control some of the the ‘Daaru’ te ‘Murga’ as it is effecting not only his Concentration but also his fielding abilities. He also looked a bit overweight in the recent series which reminded me of Shoaib Akhtar the last time i saw him on TV!

    Although the recent events might have taken the spotlight away from Cricket in India and maybe we might not get to see the kind of enthusiam crowd showed during the One-Day series. Both the Security checks and the Test Matches would put away some fans but i am sure the diehard fans would atleast keep an eye on the score.

    The first test match is in Chennai which is the adopted hometown of ‘Hamar Dhoniyaa’ so he should not disappoint his home fans and as usual in India the right way would be to Win the Toss and bat first and say Dilli(Delhi) Chalo!!

    More latersss

  2. #2 by Awas on December 8, 2008 - 10:20 PM

    Eid Mubarak to all

    It will be good to see some competitive cricket. I hope England don’t just give up like they did in the ODI’s. Good write up by the way.

  3. #3 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 9, 2008 - 3:40 AM

    Finally, the England team has arrived in Chennai amid high security and I hope they play cricket without any fear of any kind.

    Yes, “Cricket is the solution” and personally I want India to play against Pakistan in Pakistan because, if they bow down to the pressure of terrorism they will be losing a lot. Its not just financial loss but a great loss to the game of cricket and a moral victory for the terrorists, although cricket was not their target but if they win in every sector then they will feel that they have done a good job.

    So, in a way its a good decision that England has arrived and by the time the tour is over and the dust settles the BCCI must think it over and persuade the political pundits to approve their tour to Pakistan.

    Let the New Year open a new chapter in the relationship between the two countries. Pakistan is trying its best to nail down the terrorists and India must understand and appreciate it.

    Once I get back into my mental cricket gear, I will be writing more about the game. The Mumbai attacks took every single person and every other blog by storm and our focus shifted from cricket to the current affairs. Now its a good decision that has been taken by our blog admin and khansahab has written a nice thread, so lets pour in some interesting stats and make some predictions about the results and see who scores most and who succeeds in the bowling department etc.

    Varun, I think England will play test matches differently as opposed to the ODI’s. The main problem is their openers and the other key players like, Ian Bell and Collingwood have not been clicking. Ovais Shah is in good nick and I think if he plays sensibly he can do well.

    Flintoff also needs to keep his focus on the game, but he is one of those ‘darphonk’ players who may not be able to concentrate on the game after this Mumbai incident. I remember he once complained that in Delhi some spectators shot him with air gun and he found those pellets on the ground which could not pierce into his body!! I doubt about that, to me it seems like a cooked up story. Anyways, like everyone else I am keen to see the test match.

  4. #4 by khansahab on December 9, 2008 - 3:26 PM

    Corporate interests triggered England return

    Tuesday, 09 Dec, 2008

    LONDON, Dec 8: The decision by England cricketers to tour India within a fortnight of the Mumbai mayhem was not driven by their urge to stand by a terror-stricken country but by a business deal, according to media reports here.

    Apparently, it took a lot of deliberation and persuasion on England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) part to convince Kevin Pietersen and his men to tour India for the two-Test series.

    But according to a report in The Independent, the joint effort by the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is actually a marriage of convenience and hinged on mutual benefit.

    ‘Let us not be fooled by the idea that this cause is entirely noble,’ the report said. ‘The BCCI, sensing how much cricket means to their people, has moved heaven and earth to make the [England team’s] tour possible.’

    But India also have other assets to protect in the form of Indian Premier League (IPL), and England need India on their side to make a success of their own so-called England Premier League starting in 2010. ‘There are commercial imperatives at play,’ the report added.

    By agreeing to tour India, the report claimed, players were increasing their stake for the next edition of cash-awash IPL. ‘By going to India now should they ever get there to play two Test matches, England’s players will be doing themselves a favour when new multi-million dollar IPL contracts are handed out in February,’ it added.

    Former England captain Tony Greig said had the BCCI failed to host England for the Test series, many foreign players would have developed cold feet and skipped next year’s IPL.

    ‘The Indian authorities are painfully aware of what could happen to their business plan if they don’t get England [squad] back there now,’ Greig was quoted as saying. ‘If England don’t go then there is a distinct probability that many of foreign players won’t turn up for IPL in spring, and that would have a dramatic effect.’

    ECB’s eagerness to befriend the BCCI is understandable, said Greig, since the ECB was facing a potential revolt from its players who are keen to join the IPL.

    The move by both the boards to move on after the Mumbai incident also drew flak from the report, which said: ‘So consigned to history is the Mumbai massacre that those who suggested a period of calm reflection and sober remembrance before whatever passes for normal life resumes have been casually dismissed.

    ‘It is as if that period has already passed. In corporate speak, especially important in this context, it is time to move on.’—Agencies

  5. #5 by khansahab on December 9, 2008 - 3:33 PM

    Dabbling with drugs

    Martin Williamson and Andrew Miller

    Drugs in sport are becoming increasingly commonplace, although it’s rare that cricket finds itself in the eye of the sort of media storm that is currently engulfing Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif. Here, Cricinfo recalls 11 previous drugs-scandals, most of which have been of the recreational, rather than the performance-enhancing variety

    Shane Warne
    Sex ‘n drugs ‘n rock’n’roll. That’s been Warne’s tumultuous career in a nutshell, for his onfield heroics have been matched almost step for step by his off-field scandals. Few moments, however, can match Warne’s disgraced departure from the 2003 World Cup. He had been Man of the Match in both the semi-final and final of the previous tournament and so this could have been his finest hour. Instead, he flew home on the eve of Australia’s opening match against Pakistan, after failing a test for a banned diuretic. In his defence, Warne claimed he had been given the substance (which promotes weight-loss but can also be used as a masking agent) by his mother, so that he could look good in front of the cameras. Predictably the excuse didn’t wash, and Warne was banned from all cricket for a year.

    Dermot Reeve
    “I have no recollection of seeing the ball on Saturday and Sunday. I had to watch the match video to hear what I said.” That was Reeve’s frank admission to the Mail on Sunday in May 2005, as he owned up to a cocaine addiction that had led him to resign from his position as a Channel 4 commentator. The match in question was England against New Zealand at Lord’s in 2004, when Reeve had arrived late and bedraggled for his stint. Not that anyone seemed to notice, mind you. “They just said I was my usual self but more chirpy – and kept doing Imran Khan impressions off-screen. They said it was the funniest commentary they had ever heard.”

    Phil Tufnell
    Tufnell was never far from the headlines in the course of his stormy career, and so it came as little surprise when, on England ‘s tour of New Zealand in 1996-97, rumours surfaced that he had been busted for cannabis use. The unseemly centre of the row was the disabled toilet of a Christchurch restaurant, out of which Tufnell was alleged by the waiters to have emerged in a haze of marijuana smoke. The restaurant, however, had a reputation for leaking stories about celebrities, and Tufnell was cleared by the England management after sticking vehemently to his denial. Later that year, however, he was fined 1000 pounds and given an 18-month suspended sentence for failing to turn up for a random drug test after a Middlesex Championship match.

    David Murray
    Murray was considered one of the best glovemen of his generation and a sure-fire successor to namesake Derek. But by his own admission he had been smoking marijuana since he was 11 or 12, and by 1978 he had moved onto cocaine. He admitted smoking pot before and after the day’s play – “But never in the breaks – you can’t do that” – and his habit was fuelled on a tour of India when he found drugs easy to come by. “A waiter at the team hotel started the whole thing,” he said. “There was a market there, near the Gateway of India, where you used to get anything, good African marijuana, everything… it’s a great place.” In Australia in 1975-76 he would have been sent home after his secret was discovered but he was given a second chance after the intervention of Lance Gibbs. His career ended early in acrimony, and he was given a life ban after touring South Africa with a rebel West Indies side. He now lives in poverty in Barbados.

    Ian Botham
    After a wretched tour of West Indies where almost as much was written about alleged activities off the field as anything which happened in the middle, Botham was quoted in the Mail on Sunday admitting that he had used cannabis despite previous denials of such claims. The tabloids led a witch-hunt of remarkable moralistic hypocrisy, with some calling for him to be banned for life. Veteran Guardian journalist Frank Keating, however, suggested Botham be paid for “bringing the game into repute”. In the end the ECB spluttered righteous indignation and banned Botham for 63 days. In his absence England slumped to Test defeats against India and New Zealand, before Botham returned with typical bombast, first equalling then breaking Dennis Lillee’s world Test-wickets record in the space of 12 balls of his comeback at The Oval.

    Stephen Fleming, Dion Nash and Matthew Hart
    Fleming, Hart and Nash were all banned for smoking cannabis at a barbeque after an investigation into New Zealand’s dismal performance in South Africa in 1993-94. While Fleming and Hart admitted their part in proceedings, Nash claimed he had “merely simulated” using the drug. Fleming later claimed that “more than half the squad were involved” but that the three of them had taken the rap after Danny Morrison had reported the incident to the management. The trio were fined $175 but Fleming admitted it had cost him tens of thousands in legal fees and lost sponsorship. Peter McDermott, chairman of NZC, lamented that “their behaviour is endemic of the malaise that appears to have infected the game … this has been one of the darkest weeks in the history of our sport.” Steady on.

    Paul Smith
    Warwickshire’s allrounder admitted in 1997 that he was “on cocaine on and off during my 12 years playing for Warwickshire,” adding: ” There are drug tests in the sport, but they never really concerned me.” He claimed that blockers he took fooled the authorities. His troubles started when he went on a sporting scholarship to Johannesburg. “In South Africa drugs were a whole new ball game. Soon I was downing 15 cans of lager and topping it off with grass. I was introduced to drugs like cocaine and speed and discovered they are commonplace in all sports.” He also told the Sunday Mirror: “At private parties all over the world I have seen top cricketers, international Test stars, take drugs. Cannabis is the most common. Well-known personalities on cocaine and heavier gear don’t go around broadcasting it, because the penalties for getting caught are high.” By the time he made his confession he had retired from first-class cricket but was nevertheless banned for two years by the ECB. A few years later he applied for the role of Warwickshire chief executive.

    Keith Piper
    Double trouble for Warwickshire’s stalwart who, in an earlier era where glovework was considered more important than batting ability, might have gone on to represent England. He failed an internal drugs test in 1997 and served a one-match ban. In 2005 he was again found out and was banned for the remainder of the summer. But most of the media flak which followed was aimed at Warwickshire, who had repeatedly seen their players hauled up for taking illegal substances and yet who repeatedly failed to take any substantial action to address the situation. It then emerged that an external consultancy firm had been hired to come up with proposals six months earlier, and these had not even been discussed.

    Various South Africans
    There’s nothing wrong with a party after winning a match – but six of the South African squad who had just clinched the Test series in Antigua in 2000-01 rather overdid things and were fined $1300 after admitting smoking dope. Roger Telemachus, Andre Nel, Paul Adams, Justin Kemp and physiotherapist Craig Smith admitted the charge, as did Herschelle Gibbs, whose six-month ban for conspiring with Hansie Cronje to fix matches had only ended months earlier. Gibbs was the only one to face additional punishment as he was already serving a suspended three-match ban for breaking a team curfew in Australia a year earlier. The headline writers had a field day: “Gibbs makes a hash of it” was a favourite, while references to Justin Hemp were commonplace.

    Wasim Akram
    Wasim’s great career was often tainted by controversy, not least in the Caribbean in April 1993, his maiden tour as Pakistan’s captain. During the team’s stop-over in Grenada, he was arrested along with three team-mates – Waqar Younis, Aqib Javed and Mushtaq Ahmed – and two female British tourists, and charged with possession of marijuana. The Pakistan management strongly protested the charges, claiming that the players had been “set up” in a bid to unsettle the squad. The row reached diplomatic levels as Grenadan cricket officials lobbied the Prime Minister, Nicholas Braitwaite, and asked him to intervene on the players’ behalf. In the end the storm blew over, but the start of the first Test in Trinidad was postponed by a day to allow the players to recover from the mental stress.

    Ed Giddins
    A talented county seamer in the summer and a Christmas-Tree salesman in the winter, Ed Giddins was one of the more colourful characters in the English game. On top of earning four Test caps between 1999 and 2000, he was no-balled for throwing, suspended for five years for betting on his county, Surrey, to lose, and sacked by his former employers, Sussex, for cocaine use. Like so many others in a similar predicament, Giddins claimed that his drink had been spiked at a party. Since retirement, however, he has decided to embrace his high-rolling public image, and has sought to make a living as a professional poker player.

  6. #6 by khansahab on December 9, 2008 - 11:58 PM

    Nasim Ashraf tried to ruin my career: Akhtar

    KARACHI: Back to his old ways, controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf, accusing him of trying to ruin his career.

    Shoaib said on a television show that Ashraf, who resigned in acrimonious circumstances in August, had ruined the game in Pakistan and was bent on destroying his career.

    “This previous board ruined cricket and spent board money like kings. And at the same time cricketers were treated unfairly and without respect. I don’t know what problem the former chairman had with me,” he said.

    Shoaib said Ashraf had tried to insult him by offering a monthly retainer of Rs 75,000 whereas players who were much junior to him were given central contracts with monthly retainers of Rs 250,000.

    “What was he trying to prove after all the years of service I had behind me for Pakistan cricket?

    “I have been representing Pakistan and performing for last 10 years. What contribution has Nasim Ashraf made to Pakistan cricket which gave him the right to come and decide about my career?” Shoaib questioned.

    Shoaib, however, admitted that he had more fitness issues before the start or in the middle of series in his career than any other fast bowler but insisted whenever he did play for Pakistan he gave quality performances and won matches.

  7. #7 by Cricket Rules on December 10, 2008 - 9:07 AM

    Very interesting details. I heard that England were returning and also heard they were donating half their match fees to Mumbai victims. I thought this to be very honourable and worthy of praise as I could not see Australia doing the same even though I wish it would be the case. However it appears from reports highlighted that the motivation may have been less sincere. I was not naive enough to think that money would not have been a large contributing factor but did not realise the extent it seems if some of these reports are true.

  8. #8 by Varun Suri on December 10, 2008 - 11:02 AM

    Well, The motivation is pretty clear. English players want to be within the frame-work of IPL and if they had not toured this time then maybe they could have missed out yet another time in the next Year’s edition. There is nothing to lose in doing some good now by donating some fees and to earn the big bucks later

    Anybody complaining about the double standards displayed by the English Team, as to why they are touring India and not Pakistan irrespective of the similarity in the Security situation could learn a thing or two from “Tau Uddham Singh” from Haryana who once remarked “Jiski Lathi, Uski Bhains”.

    So as Shoaib Malak has said already if PCB wants to own the different “Bhains”‘s then they have to arrange for their “Lathis” as soon as possible or they would miss out on this game of MONOPOLY!!!

    As far as Rawalpindi Express is concerned, another saying by “Tau” is apt for him,

    “Ab kya pachhtay, jab Chidiya chugh gayi Khet”!
    Regarding the fears of some English Cricketers like Flintoff and Harmison, I wonder if they would be able to soak in all this Security Tension and give in their best! As is remrked already there is “Unprecedented” Security in Chennai from tomorrow. I wonder how many people would bother to pass through this “Unprecedented” Security to watch the Game’s proceedings.However Indian Team is at home and cannot give any such excuses for their Performance.

    Somehow i do not have that kind of excitement prior to this Series as compared to maybe Ind-Pak,Ind-Aus or even Ind-SA. Hopefully, my interest would also be re-newed as the match progresses. I just cannot understand on what basis do they decide how many matches they should play. A two test match series is ideal if you are playing minnows like Banglaland or Jim-Bab-Vay, but between more Competitive sides, a 2 Test-Match series is a Big-Joke. In this case 7 One-Days and 2 Test Matches! What a mess, I am sure many people were relieved to hear that England won’t play the last two one-day matches. Of-course a 7-0 drubbing would have been ideal but we’ll take 5-0 for now!

  9. #9 by khansahab on December 10, 2008 - 6:57 PM

    India’s tour to Pakistan seems impossible: Gavaskar

    CNN-IBN

    Posted on Dec 10, 2008 at 23:28 | Updated Dec 10, 2008 at 23:47

    New Delhi: Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar told CNN-IBN that India’s tour of Pakistan scheduled for next moth looks “impossible” in the present scenario.

    “I think under the present circumstance, when at the highest political and diplomatic level there has been a fallout because of what has happened, I think cricket would not be an exception.

    “Cricket would be affected by all that unless the signals come from the highest political level. I don’t see why cricket won’t follow the suit and so at the moment it is impossible to go ahead with the tour,” said Gavaskar.

    Gavaskar also said that the much talked about security has taken focus away from the game so far but it won’t be a distraction for the players from either side.

    “I think what has happened in last few days, security has taken precedence over cricket. Cricketers being professionals would focus on the next ball. They have got to undergo these things because it is for betterment of everybody. So I don’t think thats going to be much of distraction for them,” opined Gavaskar.

    “The dressing room is sanitised anyway and probably it would mean there would not be many people around to throw their autograph books and probably little less noise as you walk out to bat. Over a period of time you get used to this fact of life that when you play in India, there is always going to be somebody around you just to make sure that you are safe,” he added.

    The former skipper also lauded the England team for returning to India for the Test series.

    “The show must go on and one has to commend the English team which has come back to that spirit. Often wonder how do players adjust to this overwhelming security around them and focus on the game and only the game,” Gavaskar stated.

  10. #10 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 11, 2008 - 1:14 PM

    The disappointing thing about the India / England test match is:

    1. The crowd: There aren’t any spectators! In India if you don’t see spectators in the stadium, means? It’s a rare sight. Probably there are a few reasons.

    2. They may have considered England as a weak team, they already bashed 5-0 in ODI.

    3. Too much security on the ground and the stadium.

    4. People might be weary with “WHAT IF” i.e., considering what happened in Mumbai, could happen here! The teams do get a lot of attention, security wise but, what if a bomb goes off somewhere? It is very highly unlikely that it could happen, but that could be one of the reasons keeping the spectators at home in front of their TV sets.

    5. I lost interest after watching a few overs because of the slow scoring. They were scoring at about 2 runs per over.

    Strauss scored a ton and Cook a fifty but, then their top middle order failed again, especially Bell & Collingwood. Pietersen either scores a century or is out cheaply.

    They made a big mistake by dropping Ovais Shah he was in such a good form, he should have been in the team. I would have dropped Bell for his poor form. Anyways lets us see if Flintoff scores or, he goes down cheaply?

    I am agree with Varun #8 This is indeed a very stupid idea of having only TWO TEST MATCHES whoever decides such series is a real horse hole.

  11. #11 by khansahab on December 11, 2008 - 4:15 PM

    Looks like England want to draw both matches which is why they batted at 2.50 runs per over. How pathetic.

    That just shows the negative mindset of this team. Fine, I am OK with the openers starting very slowly but the middle order should have accelerated.

  12. #12 by Abdul on December 11, 2008 - 4:36 PM

    Well just looking at the scorecard and cathcing half an hour of the action with my nashta before leaving for school shows that it was a rather dull day on the whole. England were scoring at old fashion run rates and the spin was to slow to trouble the batsmen. Andrew Strauss stole the headlines and dug in hard while a few of the others gave there wickets away and lost concentration as the light became dimm.It maybe to early to tell but from my observations so far the match is well and truly heading for a draw.

  13. #13 by Varun Suri on December 11, 2008 - 5:29 PM

    Well, although i could not keep a track of the Match as it progressed due to WORK, but going by the scorecard and reading peepal’s views here makes me wonder i did not miss much!

    khansahab, Middle order would have accelerated only if they were able to stick in there for some more time. After getting out for a Century, Strauβ respectfully handed over any advantage the English Openers had given to their Middle Order. of Course we should not oerlook the wrong dismissal of Collingwood, but he is out of form anyways!

    Tomorrow promises to be a bit more exciting day as i think either in the 2nd Session or the 3rd, Indians are sure to bat and once again Delhi Boyj, if they get going can pull in some more crowd as well compared to today’s audience. It also remains to be seen if Flintoff has it in him to ‘Chaperone the Tailenders’ and help in England in posting a competitive Score.

    It is too early to say whether it would end in a draw or a win for either of the sides, but England will have to Bat better and faster to produce any chance of a result out of this one.

  14. #14 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 12, 2008 - 12:23 AM

    Other than cricket, if someone wants to post comments on Mumbai Attack, please use the MUMBAI page, see above on the menu bar and post it there. Thanks.

  15. #15 by khansahab on December 12, 2008 - 12:39 AM

    Miandad hopes to make China a cricket powerhouse

    By Imran Ali Teepu

    Friday, 12 Dec, 2008

    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will extend all possible support to the Chinese government for the promotion of cricket in their country, Javed Miandad said Thursday.
    Director General Pakistan Cricket Board Javed Miandad told Dawn on Thursday: ‘China is already an associate member of International Cricket Council and Asian Cricket Council and with our expertise in the game of cricket they will learn a lot,’ Javed Miandad, the Director General Pakistan Cricket Board, said Thursday
    Former Test cricketer Javed Miandad was recently nominated by the government as the Cricket Ambassador to China.
    For the last two years, he said, former Test cricketer Rashid Khan was already working with the Chinese sports authorities for the promotion of game. Former medium-fast bowler Rashid, 48, has been China’s national cricket coach since November 2006 and is working with the Chinese Cricket Association.
    ‘We will extend our expertise in developing cricket infrastructure in China and train them in bowling, batting and fielding’ said the former great. Miandad pointed out that Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were at the same level as China is presently before they emerged on the international cricket map as strong test cricket playing nations.
    The game of cricket, he added, was currently being played at school level in China.
    When asked about the development plan of the game in China, Miandad said: ‘I have an idea prepared for the development of the game and I will initiate it very soon.’ It would be easier, he said, to train and coach the Chinese players here in Pakistan due to the availability of better facilities. ‘I am very grateful and honored that the President and the board has nominated me as the cricket ambassador to China’ he added.

    Meanwhile, a sports Ministry official said that China was already supporting Pakistan in training and coaching our players in badminton, volleyball, table tennis athletics and other Olympic games.
    The official said: ‘Country’s major multi sport facility – Pakistan Sports Complex was also a gift by the Peoples Republic of China to Pakistan’.

  16. #16 by khansahab on December 12, 2008 - 7:48 AM

    Malik hopes to get back Shoaib, Asif

    Friday, December 12, 2008

    KARACHI: Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik believes his team can become a potent force in world cricket with the return of strike bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.

    Pakistan have been missing the services of both Shoaib and Asif in recent times as they sat out in most of the matches in the last few seasons either due to injury or suspension.

    Shoaib is on a comeback trail after settling some issues with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and is recovering from injury problems.

    Asif’s return to international cricket remains under a dark cloud considering the fact that he is currently battling against a possible two-year ban after testing positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone during the inaugural IPL season in May.

    Shoaib, 33, was included in the Pakistan team for a couple of international assignments but he so far has been unable to find the sort of rhythm that once made him the most feared bowler.

    However, Malik is confident that both Shoaib and Asif will soon make a comeback.

    “Both Shoaib and Asif are determined to come back in the (Pakistan) team and I’m confident that they will,” said Malik. “The two players have been training hard and I’m sure they would be a great asset for Pakistan once they come back,” he stressed.

    Malik also praised Shoaib for the hard work he has put in recent weeks. “I myself train at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore and see Shoaib practicing their daily since seven in the morning. It’s evident that he (Shoaib) is ready to give everything he has to make a successful comeback and that’s a good sign for Pakistan,” he concluded.

  17. #17 by Varun Suri on December 12, 2008 - 8:43 AM

    Interesting Info from Cricinfo:- Has anyone else noticed that A.Mishra is an anagram of I.Sharma!!

  18. #18 by khansahab on December 12, 2008 - 2:37 PM

    Exemplary to the end

    He may have been the least successful of the great modern trio, but his worth ought to be measured by how he raised the bar for Indian spin

    Kumar Sangakkara

    December 12, 2008

    The retirement of Anil Kumble was the second exit among what has arguably been the greatest trio of spinners to have played the game. He will be remembered for generations to come, having left a wonderful legacy.

    Personally, I am extremely fortunate to have played in the era of Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble, true greats all. They varied in style, technique, turn, and tactics, but what they had in common was that they made an impact on the game and influenced its very fabric.

    Of the three, Anil may have been last in the final wickets tally, but he was by no means less important than the other two. Ever since his glorious and heady entrance into Test cricket – he claimed 99 wickets in his first 20 Tests from 1990 to 1994 – expectations were high. Unlike many others who sparkled initially, burnt incandescently, or flickered and died with time, Kumble burned brighter and ever stronger.

    He was not a classical legspinner by any means, and didn’t have the slightly round-arm delivery arc, massive spin, and curved flight that deceives the batsman in the air and off the wicket, all tools of the traditional legspinner. Attack through flight and guile was not Anil’s way. His style was more physical, direct and aggressive.

    A tall man with a gangly run-up and a high-arm action, he bowled at a very quick pace, almost like a medium-pacer, and imparted more top spin than side spin. He rushed batsmen into playing their strokes, and frequently surprised them by getting the ball to skid towards them faster than they anticipated.

    He relished attacking the stumps directly. His relentless accuracy and incredible stamina ensured there was no respite at all. Every delivery, he was aiming to burst through your defences or hit you on the pads. Once the batsman narrowed his focus to defending his stumps or avoiding an lbw, he was vulnerable to the slow, flighted legbreak.

    Kumble was at his deadliest on a skiddy, low pitch or a crumbling wicket. On those tracks he could effectively use the variations in bounce. On most wickets he could get incredible bounce thanks to his height and biting turn. The energy and venom of his bowling at such times demanded batsmen and wicketkeepers wore helmets.

    Many are the times that Sri Lanka prepared to face Kumble in a one-day international or a Test match, and we discussed the merits of playing him like a medium-pacer. The plan was to use the bat as much as possible. With time we learned to become more aggressive against him, using attack as the best form of defence.

    In this regard, the likes of Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardene and Matthew Hayden played him superbly. Like his friend Murali, Kumble didn’t like it when runs came easily off his bowling, and by pushing him on to the defensive it could become easier to survive.

    Kumble evolved his strategies with time. His tactics from the early days, of bowling fast and straight and bursting through the defences of the batsman, were refined. He adapted to various conditions. His stock delivery was mixed in with slower legbreaks and a flighted or faster googly, which was signalled by the raised little finger of the bowling hand just before delivery. He also started to move his angle of delivery more often – and to great effect; he was unafraid to go round the wicket to left-handers and right-handers, to exploit the rough and the possibilities that a different line offered.

    Anil was quite a cerebral cricketer, always thinking, talking to himself, reminding himself to stay ahead of the game. His intelligence and hardworking attitude shone through in his captaincy, especially during the last series in Australia, and also in India’s first home win against Pakistan for 27 years, in 2007.

    Some have argued that his captaincy style could sometimes be too defensive. However, considering he inherited the leadership after his 37th birthday, his tenure was too short for us to be able to pass fair judgment on his leadership skills. Had he more time in the job, with his intellectual capacity, unquestionable integrity and good personal skills, it seems like he would have been a fine leader.

    Anil’s greatest contribution to Indian cricket in my mind was not his superb on-field exploits – most memorably the ten wickets in an innings he claimed against Pakistan in Delhi – but the fact that he pushed an entire generation of Indian spinners out of their comfort zones, forcing them all to improve every day in order to have any chance of breaking into the national side. His example laid down a challenge to his fellow spinners that enriched Indian cricket.

    Leaving aside his skill and worth ethic – another similarity he shares with Murali – his mental strength was inspiring. He followed a courageous path, playing through injury, criticism, and enormous pressure. He understood only too well that he had a responsibility to millions of Indian cricket followers, and demanded complete commitment from his team.

    He is a true gentleman, a wonderful role model and a great cricketer. I will miss his irritated muttering and chuntering from the non-striker’s end. I will miss the battles we have shared over the years. I will always be grateful for having had the privilege to share the field with this living legend.

  19. #19 by khansahab on December 12, 2008 - 2:50 PM

    Pakistan should give up hope about this Indian tour. If India were coming to tour they would arrive in Pakistan sometime in the first week of January. The PCB needs to ask itself seriously whether under the current situation it can envisage India touring in 2-3 weeks.

    I saw Rajiv Shukla’s interview yesterday and he said, the tour is on “for the moment”. When he was asked whether this will be the situation after 2 weeks, he avoided answering. Shukla is a broad minded and fair individual who will try his best to ensure this tour goes ahead, but the writing is on the wall. I am sure at the moment 99% of the Indian public would be wishing for this tour to be cancelled.

    Hence, where does that leave Pakistan? PCB should stop begging BCCI and immediately arrange a Test series with ANY Test playing nation at ANY venue. It doesn’t matter if Pakistan has to play Bangladesh or the West Indies. The bottom line is, they have to play cricket because the overall standard of the team will deteriorate if they are not exposed to international cricket.

  20. #20 by Abdul on December 12, 2008 - 4:31 PM

    After the evnts of day 2 Engalnd hold the hounours with debut Graeme Swann holding the healdines withg his madien test match 2 wicket over trapping the batsmen infront with wripping off breaks. A much more lievly and constructive day of test match cricket to talk and analyse about with 11 wickets falling as opposed to just the 5 falling yesterday. Despite Priors efforts Engalnd couldn’t reach the gloden 400 and rattled over for just 316 runs with the being shared amongst the 2 spinners and seamers.

    Engalnd bolwe well and Indian batsmen didn’t find runs to come by easy.Now after a much more evntful day of test cricket we are much more likely in favour of an outcome and relfetcing on the situation currently it should be an English victory.

    Meanwhile, who saw the debate about bollywood in Pakistan on Live with Talat on prime tv . Did u hear about the xtraordianry tale of Nasir.

    In my opinion Bollywood blockbusters aren’t inteffering and abusing Pakistan tradition.
    You need entertainment in your lifesyle and Bollwyood movies provide that and maybe provide the younger generation with morals to follow and entertainment to chill to accomplish hard study.

    In my opinion there is nothing ethically wrong about watching Indian movies as Pakistani’s can understand them and the tradations between the 2 neigbours are similar.

    Regarding pornotogarphy and abusive langauage yes u can consider that to be inappropriate and vital and interferring with Pakistani culture but I’m afraid that seems to be a fact of this world in any movie.

  21. #21 by Abdul on December 12, 2008 - 4:31 PM

    Khanshab,do u read your emails or am I wasting my time.

  22. #22 by Abdul on December 12, 2008 - 4:32 PM

    ?

  23. #23 by Awas on December 12, 2008 - 4:48 PM

    !

  24. #24 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 12, 2008 - 5:14 PM

    On the second day, I watched the match till lunch, it was already very, very late for me and it was very dull and boring as they scored only 18 runs in the first 13 overs. The only reason I was watching was because of the fact we were a few friends sitting and chatting and the match was on the TV, in between we flipped channels to watch the news.

    Later, today when I saw the scores, it seems like the match is even now, it all depends on how Dhoni bats, if he can score some runs with the tail-enders then India can be at par otherwise, giving England a lead of 70 -80 runs would be disastrous. If Bell doesn’t score in the second innings then he should be dropped in favour of Ovais Shah for the second test.

    Btw, whats that ZAHEER IN TROUBLE NEWS? The Chennai police has had some problem with Zaheer Khan’s behaviour. Anyone knows about what happened?

  25. #25 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 12, 2008 - 5:21 PM

    I got the link:

    http://sify.com/sports/cricket/fullstory.php?id=14816248

    Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj both went out without security and later Zaheer’s guest created a fuss when the hotel security asked questions and reportedly Zaheer too, used abusive language at the security guards.

  26. #26 by Awas on December 12, 2008 - 6:16 PM

    When George Bernard Shaw once didn’t hear anything for a long time how his new book was doing, there was the briefest of correspondence in the history between them. George Bernard Shaw just wrote in his letter to him:

    “?” (meaning how is my new book selling).

    The publisher wrote back:

    “!” (meaning, its doing well)

    Abdul

    khansahab is like that…he does the same to us with our emails 😦 What do you expect from high flyers!!!

  27. #27 by khansahab on December 12, 2008 - 7:11 PM

    Abdul

    I do read my emails but at the same time, you might be wasting your time, too.

  28. #28 by khansahab on December 13, 2008 - 11:49 AM

    Pakistan to switch to SL if Indians don’t come

    Saleem Altaf hopes that ‘back channel diplomacy’ will help save the series against India like it did in 2004

    Saturday, December 13, 2008
    By Khalid Hussain

    KARACHI: Pakistan are considering the option of playing Tests and One-day Internationals against Sri Lanka next month in case India refuse to visit here for a series scheduled for January-February.

    Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told ‘The News’ that playing a series against Sri Lanka either at home or abroad will be the only reasonable option left for Pakistan if MS Dhoni’s men decided against coming here next month.

    No major Test-playing nation is free of international commitments during January-February when the Indians were scheduled to visit Pakistan for three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International except for Sri Lanka, who could be available after hosting Bangladesh.

    A senior PCB official, however, made it clear that the Board was still hoping that the home series against India will go ahead as scheduled.

    “Our standard operating procedure is in place for the home series against India,” Saleem Altaf, the PCB’s chief operating officer, told this correspondent from Lahore on Friday.

    “The series is not yet cancelled and we will only work on alternatives once a final decision is taken by India,” he added.

    India were scheduled to begin a six-week-long tour of Pakistan from January 4. But the tour that was already under a cloud because of security apprehensions is unlikely to take place in the wake of last month’s terror attacks in Mumbai that left 172 people dead.

    The Indian government has blamed elements in Pakistan for the attacks.

    However, Altaf hoped that ‘back channel diplomacy’ will help save the series against India like it did in 2004.

    “The situation was very tense back in 2004 and all the wrong signals were coming (from India),” he recalled. “But diplomacy helped save that series and India toured Pakistan back then. I’m hopeful that it will happen again this time,” he added.

    Altaf, a former Pakistan Test pacer, refused to comment on the tough stance taken by India’s sports minister Manohar Singh Gill over his cricket team’s tour of Pakistan. Gill was quoted as saying by media reports on Friday that he was not in favour of the Indian team playing in Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai killings.

    Altaf was non-committal when asked whether the PCB has made any back-up plans in case India refused to tour Pakistan. He made it clear that the Board will cross the bridge when it comes to it.

    But Altaf agreed that playing against Sri Lanka is an option but made it clear that the cash-starved PCB might not be able to make much profit out of a hurriedly-arranged series against Sri Lanka.

    “But our cricketers need to play cricket and we will try our best to get them some good games,” he said.
    Saleem Altaf hopes that ‘back channel diplomacy’ will help save the series against India like it did in 2004.

  29. #29 by khansahab on December 13, 2008 - 11:50 AM

    Rashid Latif urges players to boycott India

    Former Pakistan captain and wicketkeeper batsman Rashid Latif has urged his compatriots to boycott the Indian Premier League and the Indian Cricket League due to “baseless allegations” made by Indian authorities following the terror attacks in Mumbai.

    Latif’s comments come amid rising anger in India over reports that the terrorists came from the Lashkar-e-Taiba group which has in the past been linked to Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service.

    He said: “I know it’s very important for a cricketer to play in professional leagues and tournaments in India are excellent platforms, but there are times when you have to sacrifice everything for the sake of your country. What happened in Mumbai is wrong but Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism. It is so unfair the way they are trying to drag us into this incident.”

    Latif also urged the Pakistan Cricket Board to stop pleading with India to send their team for a three-Test and five match one-day series early next year.

    “If they can’t come to Pakistan then we shouldn’t also go there for any cricketing activity,” he added.

    “The security situation in India is the same in Pakistan.”

  30. #30 by Abdul on December 13, 2008 - 12:01 PM

    Well its Ebgalnd who are drifting the game away from the Indians with the crucial and sencible partnership between Strauss and Collingwood who dug in hard and occupied the crease and also played accordingly towards the situation.Englands lead has passed 250 and with the odd ball becoming aukward and unplayable England are in the driving seat and with 7 wickets in hand they have got plenty of time to consolidate in their lead .

    Meanwhile, elsewhere good to see Pakistan’s cricket board looking for cricket to fulfill the empty schedule the add to the frustration of supporters. Let us hope we can play India at any venue possible because some cricket is better than none and good to see alternatives on the menu such as Srilanks incase India stick with there plans not to tour.

  31. #31 by khansahab on December 13, 2008 - 2:25 PM

    Malik leads from the front for Punjab

    Cricinfo staff

    December 13, 2008

    Punjab Stallions 305 (Azhar 75, Malik 86) beat Federal Areas 208 (Raheem 55, Amjad 3-14, Malik 2-51) by 98 runs
    Scorecard

    Shoaib Malik turned in a captain’s performance to lead Punjab Stallions to a solid 98-run win over Federal Areas Leopards in Lahore. Punjab set their opponents a challenging 306 to win but only Afaq Raheem took up the challenge, cracking 55 from 67, as Malik and his spinners tied down Federal Areas.

    Punjab’s innings was constructed around Azhar Ali’s carefully made 75 from 90 balls. He and Salman Butt put on a useful opening stand of 91, and though Sohail Tanvir was a consistent threat, Malik took over the role of enforcer from Azhar to crack 86 from just 60 balls with eight fours and a six.

    Tanvir finished with 4 for 54 as Punjab’s innings rather fell away at the end, but their bowlers ensured their side remained on top with two early blows. Raheel Majeed was caught by Butt off Mohammad Talha (2 for 23), but it was the spinners who really turned the match Punjab’s way: Malik grabbed 2 for 51 while Mansor Amjad stole 3 for 14 as Federal Areas were dismissed for 207 in the 43rd over.

  32. #32 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 13, 2008 - 3:21 PM

    The 80 plus runs lead will prove costly for India. The wicket is playing differently now, it was kinda slow but now the spinners can move it sharply. If Mishra and Harbhajan cannot control England batsmen then they can put on more runs and a lead of 380 for India would be extremely difficult to score on this pitch which is wearing off.

    BELL must be dropped for 2nd test and Ovais Shah must be in. Also, Harmison is not doing any good so the new fast bowler should be given a chance. Pietersen either scores a big hundred or is out under ten.

    The only hope for Enland now remains from Collingwood and Strauss if they can increase the lead thats fine, because Flintoff is not going to play his natural game he has become very defensive i.e., he is avoiding stroke play instead he should be hitting the ball aggressively only then he will succeed.

  33. #33 by khansahab on December 13, 2008 - 3:48 PM

    I wonder if India is missing Anil Kumble? A shrewd and pressure-imposing bowler like him could have given England a few problems.

  34. #34 by Pawan on December 13, 2008 - 5:21 PM

    The greats of India have again shown how great they are. Dravid scoring 3 of 24 balls was I think the turning point of the match. Had Laxman come in instead of Dravid, you never know, it could have been a different game altogether. Laxman would have been positive, transmitting that energy to Gambhir and together they could have jelled like Sehwag-Gambhir agressive partners.

    Dravid should recognize this and for the good of team and nation, take a decesion to retire. Enough is enough. Why would you struggle so much if you are “the world class” player people are talking about? Realize that the time is up for you and make way for some deserving youngster. Same thing happened with Anil Kumble. Agreed Anil was the best spinenr India has ever produced, but there is time and limit for everything. He stretched the string until it broke. It is so dissapointing to see “former” greats like Dravid and Kumble to play like this. At least Sachin, Laxman and even Ganguly score at a decent chip and healthy average, still Dada retired. What is Dravid waiting for? To re-learn batting? and for what? what does he want to prove? I could understand if there is no one to replace him and team despartely needs Dravid to keep playing on, then Dravid could have a reason to say that I don’t wanna leave my national team high and dry. But thats not the case. In fact his confidence-less batting is giving confidence to the opposition and making your teammates cringe at such ridiculous strokes. Dravid, please retire. You are not only helping the opposition, but also is the sole reason for loss of momentum of run-scoring. And then he also drops a few catches here and there. I dunno why people want to do something that is over for them. Instead spend energy positively in something else, where you will enjoy doing it.

    Ever since he gave up captaincy, his form has not fluctuated, but has been consistently poor. Thats one good thing about Dravid, one can always predict what he is going to do. Gramme Swann, playing his first ever test match, gets you out leg b4 with not even a great delivery, is an indication that you must stop playing now. Look at Gilchirst, the moment he dropped that catch, he decided, that he is not going to be a liability to the team and that he is gonna retire. Thats called a sportsman-spirit. Gilchirst could have easily carried on for 2-3 years, but he knew he wouldn’t be “that” Gilchirst. Now he will forever be remembered as “that” person who completely metamorphized the concept of wicketkeeper-batsman allrounder. He is a team man! Dravid should immediately recognize this and hand over his resignation. Every good thing comes to an end. Yeh duniya ka dastoor hai mere bhai! There is no point is “sticking” around. What are you going to learn now by discussing with Gavaskar at the fag end of your career. Please be selfless, retire and for once “play” for the nation!

  35. #35 by khansahab on December 13, 2008 - 5:32 PM

    Pawan

    Your views on Dravid are most welcome and well founded. There is a little rumour going round that he has decided to retire after this England series.

    He should retire after this match, regardless of whatever score he makes in India’s 2nd innings.

  36. #36 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 2:19 PM

    Sind vs Baluchistan, Pentangular ODI Cup

    Afridi struck a superb 54-ball 114 with 10 4’s and 7 6’s. He didn’t spare any bowler and smashed everyone around the park. It was almost like this was is reply to Malik, who made 86 yesterday. I am saying this because of the rivalry between Afridi and Malik.
    Yet in a last ball thriller, Baluchistan won courtesy of a great innings by Saeed Anwar junior.

    Sind is really feeling the heat because apart from Punjab, Baluchistan and Federal Areas both have experienced Punjabi players. Although you sometimes wonder what the point of a Baluchistan or Federal Areas team is, if no or negligible Baluchis or Pathans are playing for these teams. I suppose one could say the same thing about Sind, because it’s made up of Urdu Speakers and Pathans and no Sindhis!

  37. #37 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 3:16 PM

    Blistering innings by Sehwag.

    The match has been set up wonderfully for the final day.

    India can win if they don’t lose early wickets.

  38. #38 by Varun Suri on December 14, 2008 - 5:18 PM

    Well, Only one man could have ended the day’s play with this kind of Optimistic feeling that India can chase the 4th largest total within India on a 4th day pitch in Chennai. But Unfortunately Sehwag could not survive till tomorrow morning.

    One needs to be well set to score and read the bowlers better in Chennai so it is always difficult for a new Batsmen to adjust and survive, leave alone the quest for the win. Dravid has to just be able to rotate the strike regularly and not go back to his shell and continue defending.This way Gambhir will grow in confidence and then could play his regular shots. If they can put around 60-80 runs together then India just needs Laxman or Dhoni to see them all the way. Sachin does not have a lot to boast about in 4th innings so i do not have high expectations from him tomorrow.Whatever it is India still needs atleast 2 decent partnerships (or 1 big one) to win or save this one.

    On the other hand, nobody knows how much more the pitch will deteiorate during the course of play. Of course maybe this could be the deciding factor in the result of this Game.

  39. #39 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 6:05 PM

    Varun

    You are right in saying that Tendulkar and Dravid will be under some pressure. Tendulkar has been scoring every now and then and he just needs to play his natural game. But I don’t have great expectations with Dravid.

    You are right that two players who can ensure a victory in this match are Dhoni and Laxman.

    I don’t know why the team management is not pressuring Dravid into retiring?

  40. #40 by Pawan on December 14, 2008 - 9:02 PM

    Regarding Australia/SAF series, I think its a very well-matched contest.

    Openers:

    1. Hayden vs. Smith: Both burly bold agressive batsmen. Well matched contest.

    2. Katich vs. Mckenzi: Both relatively new in the openeing position and play second fiddle to their partners. Again well matched contest.

    3. Ponting vs. Amla: Well Ricky is no doubt the world’s best batsman, but his form has not been all that great currently, while Amla has really come up with some great knocks recently, so this could also be termed as a good contest between the no.3’s. May be slightly tilted towards Australia…

    4. Hussey vs. Kallis: Delicious contest here. Hussey is the mainstay of Aussie line-up and Kallis was at one point of time the mainstay of SAF line-up. Can he revive his career?

    5. Clarke vs. Prince: The battle of vice-captains! Although Clarke can be agressive if need be, the contest is indeed well balanced here as well.

    6. Haddin vs. Boucher: Haddin’s latest big century ensures that the contest here is indeed something to look out for. Both definitely good behind the stumps.

    7. Lee vs. Steyn: Spearheads! The clash of the titans – the fasties? Something to look out for definitely.

    8. Johnson vs. Morkel: The new support staff in bowlign department. Both steady and sensible. Again good contest.

    9. Clark vs. Ntini: The seasoned, have-beens. If Clark recovers, then it will be a good contest.

    10. Krejza vs. Harris: New kids on the block. Ready to prove themselves.

    11. Watson or Symonds vs. AB De Villers: Agressive batsmen, can up the ante when the need be and also can become the saviours for their team.

    So its a quite even contest I should say!

  41. #41 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 9:38 PM

    Wow

    Pawan that is a very intelligent and sharp analysis.

    Yeah you’re right, both teams are very evenly matched. I just feel Australia have the edge though, maybe because of mental strength.

    They have an edge in the sense that Ponting has a better record than Amla, and Hussey has a higher average than Kallis etc. Although I accept Amla is in imperious form.

    Even though on paper both teams are very evenly matched, Australia go away with the honours most of the times because South Africa have the propensity to choke whereas it’s in the Australian psyche to fight till the last ball.

  42. #42 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 9:49 PM

    Actually one similarity between Australia and SA is also that they don’t have a good spinner now. But which team does, anyway?

    I’d say apart from Murali, Mendis and Harbhajan, there are no world class spinners in cricket. Amit Mishra may have a bright future, it’s too early to say.

    Kaneria if he can get back in form, will probably be the world’s best leg spinner.

    Apart from that there are Panesar and Vettori, but they are not great bowlers. Both of them pick 1 or 2 wickets regularly but they don’t get 4 and 5 wicket hauls which bowlers like Warne, Murali and Kumble were used to getting.

  43. #43 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 10:20 PM

    Yousuf may be selected on good performance: Shoaib Mohammad

    HYDERABAD: Member Pakistan Cricket Board selection committee Shoaib Mohammad said that Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat, who displayed better performance in the controvercial ICL, may be considered to be included in the Pakistan team.

    He said that Mohammad Yousuf may also stage a comeback in the national team if there is no disciplinary action against him in the way but the board policy has to be considered.

    He was talking with media on the occasion of the inauguration of the sixth All-Hyderabad Naeemuddin Memorial Cricket Tournament at the Akbari Ground, Lateefabad on Sunday.

    Shoaib Mohammad said that he is not in the position of saying anything about the future of Mohammad Yousuf but there were some differences regarding the ICL and the PCB due to which he is currently not in the Pakistan cricket team. However, he may be included in the team if he performs well.

    Replying to a question, Shoaib said that holding the series between Pakistan and India is looking difficult.

  44. #44 by wasim on December 14, 2008 - 10:27 PM

    Khansahab:

    You forgot about Afridi:))
    He is undoubtedly the best spinner in the limited version of the game.

  45. #45 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 10:32 PM

    Wasim sahab

    Yes Afridi is very good in limited overs cricket.

    But I was talking about Test cricket!

    🙂

  46. #46 by wasim on December 14, 2008 - 10:37 PM

    India are poised to win this test,England had no plan for Sehwag and apparently they had no plan regarding the target and the time they were going to allow India for the chase, they played negative cricket and will now pay the price.Only a miraculous spell by Swann on the fifth day can save them.

  47. #47 by wasim on December 14, 2008 - 10:39 PM

    I know.

  48. #48 by wasim on December 14, 2008 - 10:41 PM

    Good to see Afridi back in form with the bat I hope he retains his form for a longer period this time.

  49. #49 by wasim on December 14, 2008 - 10:43 PM

    I think Dravid is done, he is dropping easy catches in every match which shows that his reflexes are not there anymore, either he should take some time off to regain his form or should simply retire.

  50. #50 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 10:48 PM

    “Negative” cricket- exactly right to sum up the England team.

    There is no comparison today to England’s unduly defensive and negative approach. If one or two batsmen of theirs score a century or they dismiss the opposition for less than 300, they become very defensive.

    There are so many recent examples when they have been in a good position on the 2nd and 3rd days but have completely lost it on the 4th and 5th days.

    They lack mental strength and whereas they gel together and produce good team performances sometimes, someone needs to instill more aggression in them. After they beat Australia in the Ashes a few years ago they had a very good chance to become the no 1 team in the world, but failed to capitalise on that chance. Australia had suffered a huge setback because of losing the Ashes after a decade and many Australian players thought they were invincible and could not be defeated. That was the right time for teams like England and South Africa to break this Aussie dominance.

  51. #51 by khansahab on December 14, 2008 - 11:29 PM

    Sri Lanka Cricket Board demand $1 million fee for Tri-Series

    Sri Lanka Cricket has demanded an appearance fee of $1 million from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to send its team for the unscheduled One-Day series in South Africa.

    Pakistan is trying to organise a tri-series with Sri Lanka in South Africa to make up for the postponement of the Champions Trophy in Pakistan, which was to be held from September 12.

    Sources said Pakistan had offered a fee of $300,000 to the cash strapped Sri Lankan board to take part in the tri-series, but it had asked for $1 million.

    “The interesting thing is that even the Pakistan Board is close to a financial crunch and not in a position to shell out one million dollars for this one series,” one source said.

    Sources also say that PCB is doing all what it takes to make the series happen.

    “Pakistan is now trying to first rope in sponsors and broadcasters for the series and have asked them to up their prices to meet Sri Lanka Cricket’s demand,” the source said.

    However, it is not only the monetary hurdles, but the internal administrative problems which the PCB is countering in orgainsing the series.

    “The fact that the Pakistan board is presently operating without a Chairman has not helped matters,” the source said adding “obviously before committing such a huge amount to the Sri Lankans the board officials have to get the approval of the international cricket committee and the governing body members.”

  52. #52 by wasim on December 14, 2008 - 11:39 PM

    Sri Lankans have done the same in the past ICC has set a fee for schedule for different forms of the game and PCB should pay nothing in access no black mailing should be accepted.
    They should also tell the Lankans that they should expect no favors in future from PCB.

  53. #53 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 12:22 AM

    ECB to monitor Mushtaq`s phone calls

    London: Under pressure from the ICC to keep an eye on Mushtaq Ahmed during his stint as England`s spin bowling coach, the ECB may have to monitor the phone calls of the former Pakistan player, who was implicated in the 2000 match-fixing scandal.

    According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, ICC and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have agreed upon a monitoring system for Mushtaq, who was found guilty of having links with bookmakers during an inquiry in Pakistan.
    “Monitoring procedures for England`s new spin bowling coach Mushtaq Ahmed have been agreed after discussions in Chennai between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council,” the newspaper reported.
    “On Saturday the ICC`s chief executive Haroon Lorgat and the managing director of English cricket Hugh Morris, verbally agreed on the monitoring procedures for Mushtaq, which can be expected to include extra surveillance of his mobile phone calls,” it added.
    Mushtaq was to join the English squad during the ongoing Test series against India but he couldn`t, reportedly because the ICC had objected to his appointment due to his tainted past. The ECB, however, maintained that the reason for the delay was that he had not received his work permit, a claim that was refuted by the Home Office, which stated that the Pakistani had been granted a work permit on November 26.

  54. #54 by Mohammed Munir on December 15, 2008 - 6:20 AM

    England – India first test is evenly poised at the lunch session of the fifth and last day of the match.

    The balance is only slightly tilted toward India with them needing another 174 in 66 remaining overs with 7 wickets in hand.

    Nevertheless, cricket is definitely coming out “winning” and it seems Indian cricket fans have their interest back in the games after a tough preceding Mumbai saga.

  55. #55 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 9:52 AM

    National players must play domestic cricket – Qadir

    Cricinfo staff

    December 15, 2008

    Abdul Qadir, Pakistan’s chief selector, has said penalties could be imposed on international players who skip domestic tournaments without genuine reasons. Most of Pakistan’s leading players have participated in this season’s four-day and one-day Pentangular tournaments and Qadir felt it gave them the opportunity to stay fit and in form.

    We will look to have penalties for such players,” Qadir said while attending a Pentangular one-day match in Karachi. “And I can tell you that the director general of cricket, Javed Miandad, is not going to tolerate any such absences from domestic cricket.”

    Qadir said the domestic tournaments will help Pakistan improve their bench strength even though there was little international cricket on offer. “Our primary objective is to help raise a strong second string. It’s important for domestic cricket that all our star players are involved in such events. I believe that such contests should take place regularly.”

    Pakistan have not played any Tests in 2008 and their last one-day series was against West Indies in Abu Dhabi in November. With India’s tour in doubt, Pakistan players are likely to keep themselves busy with domestic cricket.

    However Qadir hoped India would tour for what he felt would be a ‘memorable series’. “It’s the one series that is passionately followed by millions of fans around the world and should not be cancelled.”

  56. #56 by Awas on December 15, 2008 - 10:02 AM

    India are on course for a wonderful win. What a super team its proving to be!!!

  57. #57 by Mohammed Munir on December 15, 2008 - 10:32 AM

    India won … Mubrook (congratulations) to all Indian fans, specially our own LS guys 🙂

    MS Panesar remained wicketless even on forth and fifth day 😦

    While MS Dhoni celebrates as a lucky captain again 😀

    What’s with the MS one have to guess then 😉

  58. #58 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 15, 2008 - 11:39 AM

    Congratulations India and Indian supporters and bloggers on winning this test match in style. It was a difficult one, but ONE MAN changed the whole complexion of the game and that is Sehwag. He deserved the Man of the Match Award. I would have given him the MoM award too. Obviously if England had won it would have been Strauss for his back to back centuries in each innings.

    I hope the committee of selectors for MoM must maintain this standard or the criteria to judge the MoM.

    The last test match in Chennai which the commentators were referring to – the 1999 match played between India and Pakistan – Tendulkar scored a century but, India lost to Pakistan by 12 runs, (today Tendulkar was more happy because of the fact that India won) in which the MoM award went to the losing team i.e., Tendulkar for his hundred.

    Whereas, in the same match it was Shahid Afridi who scored a century in the second innings just like Tendulkar’s second innings century (and he scored more runs than Tendulkar and at a better run rate too) but, he was not awarded the MoM.

    Also, in the Bangalore test which Pakistan won, Afridi played a similar innings like Sehwag played in this match by blasting a quick 58 in 34 balls in the second innings and that changed the complexion of the game which otherwise would have ended in a draw. Younus Khan for his double hundred got the MoM award.

    Anyways, this is not an issue but, the criteria must be consistent.

  59. #59 by Abdul on December 15, 2008 - 11:54 AM

    India heroic victory shows signs of a “champion team”. Only top sides can pull of victories of such and this victory proves my statement that India are now looking like an invincible outfit and at the moment are by far the best in world cricket. Unbelievable test match and great advert for the game on the whole. At the moment you can certainly chant “chuck de India”.

  60. #60 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 15, 2008 - 11:54 AM

    Is Mishra showing attitude?

    When the chips are down and luck is not on your side, everyone seems to be insulting you and thats what happened in Dravid’s case. He isn’t scoring runs and he dropped a couple of regulation catches in the first innings and prior to that in the ODIs.

    During the second innings when Strauss was on 95 he sweeped Mishra and the lone legslip Rahul Dravid tried his best by jumping up, but the ball was still a feet or two above his hand. That wasn’t a dropped catch, it wasn’t even a chance but, the way Mishra reacted at Dravid was totally unacceptable. Not only that, Mishra even cursed at Dravid by saying B.C. to him and shook his head in dismay as if it was Dravid’s fault. Bowling with passion and aggression is something else but, cursing your seniors when their chips are down is totally unacceptable, at least for me.

    What Mishra failed to recognize is Dravid’s contribution to the Indian team. Mishra will never be able to achieve or surpass Dravid’s record in fact he will never be anywhere near that record. Dravid’s strength is not just in his batting and fielding or even his captaincy but, his sound and solid CHARACTER. And I don’t see any Indian player including Tendulkar who is as decent as Dravid is — a true gentleman. I have always respected him for his on and off the field behaviour.

    I hope they allow him to play the final test and I wish him good luck so that he retires in style.

  61. #61 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 2:13 PM

    Superstar Tendulkar writes the perfect script

    He’s 35-years-old and owns practically every batting record in the game, but you couldn’t escape the feeling that this was probably Sachin Tendulkar’s finest hour

    As Graeme Swann prepared to bowl the second ball of his 29th over, more than 20,000 people in the stands abandoned their plastic chairs. They were on their feet, creating the sort of bedlam and noise I last witnessed at this very venue seven years ago, when Harbhajan Singh’s squirt past point clinched the most famous of India’s series victories. Swann bowled. The batsman came forward and patted the ball back with almost exaggerated flourish. The crowd was momentarily quieted but the primal scream started again as Swann went back to his mark.

    Again, there was sharp turn, but the paddle-sweep that greeted the ball was emphatic. As it streaked to fine leg, the batsman ran down the pitch and punched the air in celebration, before being held aloft by his equally delighted partner. He’s 35-years-old and owns practically every batting record in the game, but you couldn’t escape the feeling that this was probably Sachin Tendulkar’s finest hour.

    To score the winning runs in a record-shattering chase was special enough, but when that last stroke also brought up your 41st century, it became ineffably so. Boyhood dreams are made of this, and it says a lot about Tendulkar that he has never lost that child-like passion for the game.

    Even in a world where cricket was played in isolation, this would have been a breathtaking effort. Given all that’s gone on over the past three weeks though, this was so much more than just a match-winning century. Kevin Pietersen said it best after the game. “Who can write Sachin Tendulkar’s scripts any better?,” he asked. “The man from Mumbai came in and scored a sensational hundred. He batted like a superstar.”

    Those that reckon this will heal the wounds of the past don’t know Tendulkar well enough though. The scabs of Barbados 1997 and Chepauk 1999 will always be there, especially given he had done so much in both games to take India towards victory. As the years passed, theories and opinions came and went, with people pointing to the absence of a defining fourth-innings knock from the Tendulkar repertoire. Brian Lara had the peerless unbeaten 153 at the Kensington Oval. What did Tendulkar have to offer as response?

    An awful lot really, but those intent on nitpicking will inevitably find a way. As the afternoon progressed though, the feeling intensified that we were witnessing something extraordinary. With Pietersen not inclined to crowd the batsmen with close-in fielders, Tendulkar was more than happy to pick off the runs with a nudge here, a deflection there and the odd paddle-sweep for variety.

    The contrast with Virender Sehwag couldn’t have been more acute. Sehwag’s 83 contained 11 singles and two twos, whereas 61 of Tendulkar’s runs came in singles (45) or twos. It was a consummate innings. He defended purposefully, especially against the always menacing Andrew Flintoff, but there was no getting bogged down either. Every time there was a lull, either he or Yuvraj Singh would pierce the field.

    Though dehydration became a factor as the afternoon sun beat down, he continued to scamper between the wickets with the same urgency he showed as a teenager. It’s that enthusiasm that’s so infectious. Sitting in the stands for an hour this afternoon, there was no doubt what the only people that really matter – the fans – think of him. His every stroke was cheered as though it was a century, and the chants of “Sachin, Sachin” reverberating around were an illustration of an adulation-obsession that sport has never seen, not even when Diego Maradona was playing at La Bombanera.

    Vijay is a doctor who was in Chennai on a short trip. On Sunday night, he found himself with a pass for the final day’s play. With a late-afternoon train to catch, he wasn’t sure whether to go or not. There was another reason for his hesitancy too. Like millions of other sports fans who have been scarred by defeat, Vijay was afraid that he might jinx his team and his favourite player. But after watching the first session on television, he decided to take his chances.

    Over the next three-and-a-half hours, he didn’t leave his seat, not even for food and water at tea time. He made his train with 10 minutes to spare. “I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself if I had given it a miss,” he messaged me later.

    Those that aren’t Indian struggle to fathom exactly what Tendulkar means to so many millions, and it’s doubtful whether even those that live here really comprehend just how much a part of the national consciousness he has become. He is such a unifying force, a personality capable of stirring the emotions in every nook and corner of a vast land. And in these times of distress and anger, it was so very appropriate that it would be Tendulkar who put the smiles back on at least a few faces.

  62. #62 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 5:16 PM

    Malik heroics help Punjab extend winning run

    Shoaib Malik continued his solid form with both bat and ball, as he led the Punjab Stallions to their second win in a row over the NWFP Panthers. Far from the fireworks of yesterday’s spectacular last-ball thriller, this was a slow-burner: an NWFP side weakened by the absence of captain Umar Gul and Younis Khan pushed hard, their challenge fell away over the last ten overs as Punjab’s spinners, with Malik to the fore, applied a mid-innings choke.

    Malik had first played his part with the bat. Having been put in by NWFP, Punjab were off to the worst possible start, losing Azhar Ali early. Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed may have been one of the few bright spots for Pakistan this year, but they were soon gone to, on a sluggish pitch. That left Punjab 36 for 3 and Malik with a headache.

    But in his typically unruffled way, Malik went about looking to put some respectability to the total. Good running helped as a number of singles and doubles were picked up and some support emerged in the shape of Umar Akmal, the tyro younger brother of Kamran.

    The pair steadied matters with an 86-run partnership but the dismissal of both in quick succession, and Kamran Akmal to boot, left Punjab pretty much where they had started – in some strife. Thereafter, Mansoor Amjad, Abdur Rehman and the tail scraped and scratched their way to ensuring a defendable total. Samiullah Khan Niazi and Shakeel-ur-Rehman, with three wickets apiece, made sure it wouldn’t be easy.

    The start to the NWFP innings was similar, as Adnan Raees was caught behind off the wiry, impressive and pacy Mohammad Talha. Yasir Hameed took a cue from Malik. Leading NWFP in Gul’s absence, the former Pakistan opener got down to some serious graft.

    Though not timing the ball fluently, or finding gaps readily – a blip that has lately emerged – Hameed hung around. Rafatullah Mohmand chanced his arm at the other end and kept up the rate and at times in their partnership, the total appeared a doddle.

    But Malik, helped by Rehman, then made his second vital impact on this match. Junaid Zia had already sent back Mohmand when Malik trapped the impressive Khurram Shehzad and almost immediately after, beat Hameed with a beautifully looped delivery. Thereafter the chase was up, the spirit gone.

    Rehman bowled a wonderfully restrictive spell of left-arm spin, supporting Malik. Amjad came on late in the show, getting appreciable turn and bounce, and further stifling the rate. During this choke, NWFP crashed from 142 for 3 to 183 for 9, including three panic-struck run-outs. They went down fighting at least, with Mohammad Aslam unbeaten on 24. Talha came back for another quick, yorker-ridden spell at the end, to finish with two wickets and Pakistan’s selection committee would’ve taken note. Malik, it was however, who deservedly received the Man-of-the-Match award.

  63. #63 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 5:42 PM

    Inzamam calls on India to tour

    Two former Pakistan captains, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Imran Khan, have urged the Indian team to go ahead with their tour in January. Inzamam was not in favour of the tour being called off. “In fact all said and done cricket has always served as a good tool to lower temperatures between the two nations in the past whenever relations have been tense or strained,” Inzamam told the News.
    He also said it would be a setback for the subcontinent if India decided not to play in Pakistan. “When these two neighbouring countries can’t play against each other then why should we expect other teams to come and play in the subcontinent? That is why I feel England took the right decision to return to India.”
    Imran Khan believed Indian players would be safe in Pakistan, and said they should take a cue from England’s decision to return to India for the ongoing series. “Sportsmen are in absolutely no danger from terrorist attacks, I’ve always maintained that,” he said while speaking on BBC’s Sportsweek programme on Radio Five Live.
    “Yes, the atmosphere would be tense and not as friendly as when India toured previously. But cricketers, of all sportsmen, would never be attacked by terrorists simply because the public opinion would turn against whoever the terrorists are.
    “Remember, terrorists rely on public opinion and winning the hearts and minds of the people,” he said. “They want to be considered freedom fighters rather than terrorists. If they are perceived as terrorists by the masses, then they have lost. So in my opinion, they would not target cricketers ever.”

  64. #64 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 5:45 PM

    No Imran you haven’t “always maintained that”!

    When Musharraf was in power you ALWAYS MAINTAINED that Pakistan is NOT safe for any foreign player. You said it yourself that you “don’t blame” the Australians for not wanting to play in Pakistan.

    This is what I mean when I talk about Imran Khan, he has completely forgotten his principles. He sounds as hollow and dumb NOW as any other politician in Pakistan.

    A child can tell you the security and terror situation has worsened now in Pakistan after Musharraf left.

  65. #65 by Awas on December 15, 2008 - 6:00 PM

    khansahab

    Imran has actually made both kinds of statements before that “he doesn’t blame the Australians” etc and “Sportsmen are in absolutely no danger…”

    The politicians are always like that…whether you are a man of steel or not. Even the Iron Lady Maggie Thatcher once said “this lady is not for turning” and then she took a U turn. Even Mush said there would never be a deal with BB as long as he the president but that changed too.

  66. #66 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 11:00 PM

    Asif seeks neutral venue for doping case hearing

    LAHORE: Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Asif wants the hearing for his doping offence to be held outside India because of its strained relations with Pakistan in the aftermath of the recent attacks in Mumbai.

    “We are considering asking for the hearing to be held at a neutral venue because of the tense conditions,” Asif’s lawyer Shahid Karim told foreign news agency.

    Asif failed a dope test while playing in the Indian Premier League in June, his third drugs-related offence in two years. He tested positive in 2006 and was detained in Dubai earlier this year for carrying a banned substance.

  67. #67 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 11:01 PM

    Vengsarkar opposes Indian tour of Pakistan

    15 Dec 2008, PTI

    MUMBAI: Former Test captain and ex-selection panel chief Dilip Vengsarkar on Monday joined the chorus of people who oppose Indian cricket team’s scheduled visit to Pakistan in the new year to play three Tests and five ODIs.

    “India must not tour Pakistan at least for the next one year after what has happened in Mumbai (which faced terror attack by Pakistan-based groups last month),” Vengsarkar said categorically when asked for his opinion.

    Already his one-time captains Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have expressed their opinion that the tour cannot take place now in the aftermath of the terror strikes in India’s financial capital.

  68. #68 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 11:14 PM

    BEST NEWS I’VE HEARD IN WEEKS:

    SL willing to tour Pak if India pull out

    Colombo: Sri Lanka Cricket has expressed its willingness to fill in as replacement to play a Test and ODI series in Pakistan, if India pull out of the scheduled series following the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
    An authoritative official of the Sri Lankan cricket board told cricketnirvana.com that the Sri Lankans are willing to fill the void created by India.

    “We haven’t heard anything so far from the Pakistani board, but if they approach us, we are more than willing to help them,” a top Sri Lankan official told Cricket Nirvana.

    “Like India, Pakistan has been a great alley for us over the years and we are willing to help them at this hour of need,” the official added.

    “Sri Lankan cricket too has been affected by terrorism over the years and like India, Pakistan has been there to help us out all the time and it’s only fair we help them back when they need our support,” the official further said.

    The Sri Lankan team doesn’t have any overseas assignment after the upcoming Bangladesh series until next July and the board has been trying to fit in reciprocal series in the period.

    Apart from the just concluded ODI series in Zimbabwe and a two Test and tri-nation ODI tournament against Bangladesh, the Sri Lankans will not have any competitive cricket for sometime and the offer by Pakistan will help them too.

    Recently, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene too spoke of the need of the team playing competitive cricket against stronger opposition.

  69. #69 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 11:23 PM

    Dravid retains Grade ‘A’ contract

    Even as Rahul Dravid continues to struggle with his lean patch, the BCCI reposed its faith in the middle-order batsman by retaining him in the Grade A of the central contracts announced on Monday.

    Dravid has been offered Grade ‘A’ along with eight other players, increasing the number to nine in the top grade as against seven in the last season.

    Joining Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in the top grade are Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, VVS Laxman and Harbhajan Singh.

    The quartet was offered Grade B last season. Besides, Ishant Sharma has taken a big leap into Grade B from Grade D on the back of his wonderful showings during the last one year.

    Dinesh Karthik, on the other hand, has slipped to Grade ‘D’ from Grade ‘B’.

    Those losing their contracts include Joginder Sharma, Manoj Tiwari, Ranadeb Bose, Aakash Chopra, Ajit Agarkar and Ramesh Powar.

    The new recipients include Virat Kohli, Ashoke Dinda, Wriddhiman Saha, Chetnya Nanda, M. Vijay, R. Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Sudeep Tyagi, Manpreet Gony, Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra.

    While most of the new players have been accommodated in Grade ‘D’, Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha have been offered Grade ‘C’.

  70. #70 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 11:24 PM

    Varun/Amit/Kunal/Pawan

    You might help me with this, but is this Dravid’s worst form in his career?

  71. #71 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 11:44 PM

    Terrorist attacks leave Pakistan cricket in a critical, unstable condition

    Jamie Pandaram

    December 16, 2008

    OSAMA BIN LADEN has done more damage to Pakistan cricket than ball-tampering, match-fixing and forfeited-Test controversies combined.

    Since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001, six tours and series hosted by Pakistan have either been cancelled or postponed, relegating the nation to cricket’s backwaters – a destination deemed too dangerous for Western players.

    Now, the man dubbed “India’s Osama”, Dawood Ibrahim, threatens to destroy the remaining hope Pakistan cricket has of re-emerging by dismantling the crucial relationship between the boards of Pakistan and India.

    Ibrahim, a notorious gangster who reputedly funds his terrorist activities through a billion-dollar drug trade in Afghan opium, is blamed by India as the mastermind of last month’s Mumbai blasts that claimed 172 lives. He is also held responsible for India’s worst terrorist attack, the Mumbai attack of 1993 that killed 250 people.

    He is associated with Pakistan cricket’s director general, Javed Miandad, through the marriage of his daughter Mahrukh to Junaid, son of the batting legend.

    India’s government is demanding that Pakistan hand over Ibrahim, who is believed to have hidden himself in luxurious palaces for 15 years in the world’s second-largest Muslim nation. India suggests that Pakistan is actively involved in shrouding Ibrahim and – retaliatory or not – cricket has become a pawn in the game.

    Once Pakistan’s most powerful and important supporter, India is threatening to pull out of a tour starting later this month. “If India doesn’t tour, it will be a total disaster for Pakistan cricket,” said former PCB chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi. “It’s very important for cricket, not just in Pakistan but in the world, for India to come. If they don’t, it would relegate Pakistan further into isolation.

    “If India doesn’t come, I can’t see New Zealand coming even though their tour is at the end of next year. Australia is supposed to tour in April but I can’t see that happening. Unfortunately, this Mumbai thing has triggered a political dimension.”

    India’s sports minister, MS Gill, asked: “Is it possible for one team [the terrorists] to arrive in Mumbai and indulge in mass murder, and have another team go and play cricket in the winter afternoon sun at Lahore, immediately after?”

    Having been ousted by the recently appointed regime, Naghmi – now working for the Pakistan government – also sees worrying trends from the new board including the ravaging of domestic programs designed to improve the skills of youngsters.

    Another source said PCB chairman Ijaz Butt lacks the skills to handle the crisis. “I don’t think he has the ability to develop the rapport with the Indian board,” the source said. “It’s your personal rapport with other boards that really counts – these relationships can transcend political issues. And Miandad keeps talking about formally recognising [the blacklisted Indian Cricket League tournament]. These things do not go down well with the BCCI.”

    Butt was appointed by Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, whose government denies any knowledge of Ibrahim’s whereabouts or link to the Mumbai attacks.

    Pakistan, as a cricket destination, has already lost the faith of the west. To lose that of its subcontinental neighbour would be paralysing.

    TROUBLED TOURS OF PAKISTAN

    2001 POSTPONED New Zealand, on the way to Pakistan for a tour, turn around at Singapore Airport and return home after hearing of the September 11 terror attacks in the US.

    2002 CANCELLED The Kiwis agree to a tour – but on the morning of the second Test, a bomb explodes outside the team hotel in Karachi, killing 11 people. The team immediately returns home.

    2002 RELOCATED Australia refuse to tour because of safety concerns and the series is moved to Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.

    2003 CANCELLED South Africa cancel a tour of Pakistan following another bombing in Karachi.

    2005 England consider returning home after a bomb is detonated opposite a Karachi hotel they were booked to stay later in their tour. The team decides to stay and plays three Tests and five one-dayers.

    2008 POSTPONED Australia refuse to tour in March, claiming to have knowledge of a direct threat to players from a terrorist organisation. Australia decide to postpone their tour until 2009.

    2008 POSTPONED The Champions Trophy one-day tournament is postponed after Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand express serious concerns about the safety of their players. The competition has been pencilled in for October next year, although some officials believe the series can not go ahead in the country.

    Upcoming tours

    . December 2008/January 2009 India look likely to cancel the tour to Pakistan following the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which have been blamed on rogue elements operating within their neighbouring nation.

    . Cricket Australia has yet to decide if it will play the postponed tour next year in Pakistan.

    . New Zealand are due to tour Pakistan in December 2009 and January 2010, while England are supposed to play up to four Tests and five one-dayers there in February/March 2010.

  72. #72 by khansahab on December 15, 2008 - 11:55 PM

    Pakistan’s missed opportunity

    If the PCB had capitalised on its marquee team in the 80s and 90s, Pakistan would perhaps not be world cricket’s outcast today

    Ramiz Raja

    December 15, 2008

    India and Pakistan are creatures of extremes: only yesterday they were all set to get betrothed; today they are at each other’s throats. At one moment in transports of joy, at another in transports of grief. Sadly, such has been their brief.

    Is the India-Pakistan cricket relationship on the verge of a break-up or will it survive the latest turbulence? Can bat and ball act as balm for the pangs of hurt?

    In this tug of war of opinions and emotions, there are sections of society on both sides that are pulling against cricket diplomacy in favour of a show of antagonism toward each other. The other side is keen to give cricket a chance to break the stalemate of hate and promote the live-and-let-live theme. Conditions are in such a state of flux that it is difficult to commit too deeply in this affair. What about the PCB, though? Has it taken a position yet?

    Reports confirm that while India is reticent, Pakistan is bending backwards to lure them into a contest, even at a neutral venue. I guess the prospect of a cash stimulus has got Pakistan thinking excitedly. Agreed, an Indian series is too lucrative to pass over, but is making overtures and running after India with a begging bowl the way to conduct cricket business? Doesn’t the PCB get the message that India is not yet emotionally ready to play Pakistan?

    This desperate state of dependency on others for funds is not a new phenomenon. Years of unimaginative and passive management have reduced Pakistan cricket to permanently searching for funds at the cost of honour and pride.

    Isn’t it madness to pin your hopes of getting rich on a source of revenue that you do not control? The odds of getting rich are as favourable as those of a blind man being able to walk a rope without falling down. Why, till today, has the PCB not unearthed a winning plan that would make it self-sufficient?

    Over the years Pakistan’s cricket administrators have had opportunities to position Pakistan cricket powerfully in the world theatre. Throughout the 90s, when the Pakistan team was the cynosure of all eyes, its administrators could have milked the advantage to develop international clout. They didn’t.

    In this regard, it is wrong to say that it is the size of your market alone that gets you respect and status. In fact, it’s your cricket strength that provides you power and effectiveness. Australia is a cricket powerhouse today not because of its cricket commerce but because of its cricket performance. West Indies in the 80s used to demand exorbitant amounts of cash to tour countries on the basis of its great team. And during that period no country or law was able to challenge West Indies’ slow over-rate tactics. On the other hand, Pakistan’s glorious period was lost due to mismanagement that allowed player politics and player power to manifest. During all this internal strife, the value of voice and presence at cricket forums was lost.

    It is time for Pakistan cricket to wake up and smell the coffee. If India and the rest of the world are to be engaged on equal terms as partners, and not as masters, the PCB will have to get its priorities right. To earn respect it has to develop a strong cricket team, an independent cricket mind, and a tough presence at the ICC. It must look inwardly to create a domestic revenue stream that it can have control over. For instance, a Pakistan Premier League can help to not only generate funds, the money may also induce international players to play in Pakistan. It may in the process unlock doors for bilateral series to resume in Pakistan.

    Right now, India-Pakistan cricket is caught in a whirlwind of emotions and politics. For cricket between the two countries to resume, there has to be time and space. Let the clouds of mistrust lift and the dust settle before we broach the subject of cricket.

    During cricket matches there are moments when tempers flare and hot-headed players on both sides clash with each other. But at the end of the day the handshakes arrest the angst, and teams make up. Cricket always wins.

  73. #73 by khansahab on December 16, 2008 - 12:06 AM

    I agree with Ramiz.

    PCB is always improving domestic stadiums. They should hold more domestic leagues and tempt national players into playing for their respective regions with higher salaries. This is important because otherwise players will feel tempted to play for English counties or Australian or Indian teams.

    The matches should be organised in Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad, Pindi, Karachi etc; the cities.

    If foreign teams don’t tour Pakistan at least domestic cricket will keep the revenue stream running. But at the same time PCB has to keep investing in ground conditions. They will have to be innovative. For example, many families in Karachi don’t want to go to the National Stadium to watch cricket because traditionally Karachi’s crowd has been uncouth. They will have to think of ways so that everyone can come and enjoy the game and leave with the feeling that they would want to regularly visit grounds and watch matches.

    It’s good domestic matches have started being telecast in Pakistan; this will create more awareness of domestic cricket in Pakistan and will also provide PCB with some extra funds.

    This might be a start and Ijaz Butt needs to seriously think about this issue. My guess is this strong domestic system is more likely to produce competitive and fit players as opposed to the existing system where young and inexperienced players are expected to learn their cricket while playing abroad.

  74. #74 by khansahab on December 16, 2008 - 12:23 PM

    Malik not worried about captaincy future

    Cricinfo staff

    December 16, 2008

    Shoaib Malik has said he is not weighed down by thoughts about the future of his captaincy, a decision on which will be taken by the Pakistan board in the next two weeks.

    Malik chose to instead focus on his performance within the team. “For me the more important thing than captaincy is how I perform for my team as one of its members,” Malik said after leading Punjab Stallions to a win against the NWFP Panthers in the Pentangular one-day tournament in Karachi.

    Malik was appointed captain following Pakistan’s first-round exit from the World Cup in 2007. He led them to the final of the Twenty20 World Cup in September that year but that was followed by Test series defeats against South Africa and India. His next major win came at the Kitply Cup in June this year, in the face of immense pressure to hold him accountable for Pakistan’s string of failures. But Pakistan didn’t make the Asia Cup that followed at home.

    Malik’s stint as captain also coincided with security concerns in Pakistan which forced the ICC to postpone the Champions Trophy, prompted Australia to push their tour to the to 2009 and put India’s tour in January next year in doubt; Pakistan did not play any Tests in 2008. Malik hoped 2009 would be a better year.

    “We have Australia coming here and then several tours and the Champions Trophy at home. I’m confident that the team will do well in 2009.”

  75. #75 by khansahab on December 16, 2008 - 2:28 PM

    Amin and Raheem smash Leopards to victory

    Cricinfo staff

    December 16, 2008

    Centuries from Umar Amin and Afaq Raheem in an unbeaten 251-run partnership scored the Federal Areas Leopards a convincing seven-wicket win at the National Stadium in Karachi. Set 276 for victory by the Baluchistan Bears, Federal Areas had slipped to 25 for 3 but Amin and Raheem rattled up brisk centuries to settle the affair in the 46th over.

    Raheel Majeed, Babar Naeem and Sohail Tanvir all fell for single-digit scores to give Baluchistan a real shot at a win. But they had no answer for Amin and Raheem’s stellar partnership. Both batsman scored at over a run-a-ball and denied Baluchistan any further success.

    An unbeaten 125 from 121 deliveries was a first limited-overs century for Amin, the Pakistan Under-19 batsman, while Raheem’s unbeaten 122-ball 129 was a career-best.

    Having chosen to field first, Federal Areas had done well to nip out three wickets for 32 thanks to the new-ball duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Tanvir. Tanvir nipped out the openers and Shoaib dismissed an in-form Saeed Anwar jnr.

    A 114-run stand between Fahad Iqbal (68) and the captain Misbah-ul-Haq (63 from 64 balls) resurrected Baluchistan’s innings, but they proceeded to lose three wickets for five runs once the duo were dismissed. Another brace of wickets at the death – Shoaib finished with 4 for 57 and Tanvir took 3 for 57 – hurt Baluchistan further, but Kamran Hussain’s 56 from 34 balls appeared to have boosted them to a competitive 275 in 49. 3 overs.

  76. #76 by khansahab on December 16, 2008 - 10:40 PM

    PCB strapped for cash

    Mohammad Yaqoob

    Tuesday, 16 Dec, 2008

    LAHORE: The cash-strapped Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) suffered a blow as no bidder came ahead to purchase title sponsorship and billboards rights for the next four years.
    Dawn learnt that the last date to submit the bid was Dec 12, but the authorities were disappointed when its marketing department informed that no client showed any interest for the rights.
    The PCB, which managed to sell TV broadcaster rights to a Dubai based channel Ten Sports for a high price of $140 million, last month, was expecting another good offer for the title sponsorship and billboards right to support its declining financial resources.
    Sources said that the unclear situation over the home series against India was the main reason behind this shocking scenario.
    Though Indian are to tour Pakistan from Jan 4, but as 18 days are left, there is no final confirmation from the BCCI that whether they are coming or not.
    Sources said that no bid for the billboard right must be an alarming one for the marketing department of the PCB, which cost in more than 10 crore of rupees, annually.

  77. #77 by khansahab on December 16, 2008 - 10:42 PM

    PCB’s ties with Dawood affecting relations with India

    SYDNEY: Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) director-general Javed Miandad’s family ties with Karachi-based underworld kingpin Dawood Ibrahim are affecting cricketing relation between India and Pakistan, believes cricketer-turned-columnist Peter Roebuck.

    Dawood, whose daughter is married to Miandad’s son, is alleged to have played a key role from his base in Karachi in providing support to the perpetrators of last month’s terror attacks in Mumbai.

    Roebuck wrote in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald that the relation has the potential to drive an even deeper wedge between the cricket communities of Pakistan and India and to add to the sufferings of a game facing the worst crisis in its history.

    The Englishman adds that suggesting Miandad’s involvement in the attacks would be ridiculous but his link with the don is certain to raise a few eyebrows.

    “But in this volatile environment, his links with Dawood and his seniority in Pakistan cricket have caused consternation among eminent Indian cricket officials, some of whom lost friends or family members in the attacks. It does not bode well for relations between these cricketing strongholds,” he said.

    Dawood is described by the US State Department as a “global terrorist with links to al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba”, the latter group responsible for the Mumbai massacre that claimed more than 170 lives.

    “Dawood’s reputed involvement in the latest evil might seem a solely political matter. Obviously, his alleged activities and continued liberty anger the Indians beyond measure, but that does not reach across the boundary. He has also been linked to the latest match-fixing scandals surfacing in the Twenty20 leagues, which is nothing new,” said Roebuck.
    Roebuck feels that in this climate of political intrigue and distrust, even a tenuous and innocent connection can be a problem.

    “Specifically, he (Dawood) has close connections with Javed Miandad, Pakistan’s greatest batsman and now among its most senior cricket officers. His connection with Dawood goes back a long way, and was cemented by the marriage between his son and one of the don’s daughters,” he added.

    Roebuck said that inevitably cricket has been caught in the backwash.
    “Already, India’s sports minister has spoken out against sending the national team to Pakistan, and Sunil Gavaskar has backed him up. Barring an unexpected outbreak of enlightenment, the forthcoming tour will not take place, increasing Pakistan’s cricketing isolation,” he said.

  78. #78 by khansahab on December 16, 2008 - 11:06 PM

    Look at England getting confused!

    Pieterson said England lost mainly because India were so good.

    Most of the England fans said they lost because of defensive approach.

    But the ECB officials and some journalists are saying England lost because of security fears living in India!

  79. #79 by khansahab on December 16, 2008 - 11:37 PM

    India world’s most improved team: Misbah

    Karachi: Pakistan vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes that India is the most improved side in world cricket and if they tour Pakistan next month, the series will be exciting.

    Misbah , however, warned that Pakistan will be no pushovers if the six-week-long series take place.

    “India is the most improved team in world cricket right now,” Misbah told reporters here at the National Stadium Tuesday. “It has a very, very solid batting line-up but I must say that our bowling is stronger with the return of Shoaib Akhtar. So I’m sure if the series is played, it would be an exciting one,” he said.

    India are to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 game during Jan-Feb. But the tour is in serious doubt in the wake of last month’s terror attacks in Mumbai that has strained the relations between the two neighbours.

    Misbah said he and his teammates are hoping that the series goes through. “We haven’t played any Test cricket this year and are desperate to play against leading teams like India,” he said. “All of us are really hoping India play here.”

    He said in the worst-case scenario, Pakistan should line up a series against Sri Lanka. “Playing against Sri Lanka is also very good because they are a strong side,” he said.

  80. #80 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 8:12 AM

    Shoaib Akhtar vows to play 2011 World Cup

    KARACHI: Despite persistent injuries problems, Pakistan’s expressed fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was looking to play in the 2011 Cricket World Cup. “I believe I still got three to four years international cricket left in me,” he told reporters at National Stadium on Tuesday. “I have fully gained my fitness and looking forward to serve the country,” he said.

    Dubbed as “Rawalpindi Express” Shoaib Akhtar, who is leading Federal Areas in the Pentangular Cup, said bowlers like him crossing the barrier always have chances for injuries. He said great fast bowler Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus, Brett Lee, Bishop other all faced injuries problems during their careers.

    Shoaib, who crossed the record of100-mile barrier, said he had worked very hard on his fitness and cut down his weight to around 15 kilos. “I am now much stronger. But I needed some matches to regain my rhythm,” he said.

    Shoaib informed that after missing the opening ODI against West Indies in Abu Dhabi due to calf problem, he regained fitness but skipped remaining matches just not to disturb the winning combination. Shoaib said despite being senior player, he was never interested to lead the team.

    33-year-old Shoaib, who took 219 wickets in 138 ODIs, said his ambition is to complete 400 wickets in One-day Internationals.

    He said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials are treating him well and selectors are using him with planning to cut the burden on him to extend his career. “I would like to play in selected matches,” he added.

    Showing very friendly attitude with the media, Shoaib Akhtar said he was transferring his knowledge to the youngsters and Pentangular Cup was allowing him to spend more time with youngsters and pass on the few tips to them.

  81. #81 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 2:04 PM

    Shabbir blames Ashraf for Pak cricket mess

    Karachi: Banned Pakistan fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed has blamed former PCB Chairman Nasim Ashraf for destroying the country’s cricket set up and endangering the livelihood of players.

    Shabbir, who has been banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for joining the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) said on a television interview that he was appalled at the way the Ashraf had treated players who decided to join the ICL.

    “At times it seemed as if Nasim Ashraf had some sort of personal agenda against the ICL and some interest in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and allowing players to sign contracts with it,” Shabbir said.

    Earlier, pacer Shoaib Akhtar had also accused Ashraf of taking commissions from the IPL for which he had to face a libel suit.

    Shoaib later had to retract his allegations and apologise to Ashraf for making unsubstantiated and baseless allegations.

    Shabbir was of the opinion that if the PCB didn’t change its policy towards the ICL, other players would also defect to the rebel league in future.

    “The same people who are now criticising us for joining the ICL as they term it illegal had played in the Kerry Packer cricket circus despite opposition from other cricket boards. They did because they were getting good money. We have also gone to the ICL to safeguard our future,” he said.

  82. #82 by Abdul on December 17, 2008 - 4:56 PM

    Pakistan fans have been granted promising news that Srilanka have approved their offer incase India pullout.I am hopeful that India are still going to tour but if so, Pakistan will have to play out of their skins to match them following their invincible form of late.

  83. #83 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 7:06 PM

    Malik and Butt star for unbeaten Punjab

    Punjab Stallions, led by twin centuries from Shoaib Malik and Salman Butt, marched to their third successive win in the Pentagular One Day Cup with another commanding six-wicket over the Baluchistan Bears at the National Stadium in Karachi. Solid contributions from Saeed Bin Nasir and captain Misbah-ul-Haq had led Baluchistan to what seemed a competitive 284. Malik and Butt made the total seem far less daunting.

    It shouldn’t have been for Punjab began their reply on a poor note, losing openers Azhar Ali and Nasir Jamshed with the total just 24, and then Umar Akmal at 70. But like the Federal Areas pair of Umar Amin and Afaq Raheem yesterday, Butt and Malik began to swiftly repair the damage.

    Malik’s contributions to the national side may often inspire less confidence, but he is in the midst of the purplest of patches currently. In Punjab’s previous two games he has been outstanding allround and he was here again. Though the boundary count wasn’t high – only ten -some driven down the ground and slapped through cover were pretty in that typically efficient way. Gaps were easily picked in the wide spaces of the National Stadium and as is the norm with him, he ran hard through out. Thoroughly unhurried, Malik ended 108 not out, at considerably better than a run a ball.

    Butt was grace itself, the timing that had so deserted him in Pakistan’s recent Abu Dhabi jaunt, back in its rightful place. Repeatedly he pierced areas between point and cover. The recent improvements in his leg-side game were also evident in some fine flicks and pulls through midwicket. The pair had put on 130 when Butt went hoicked Danish Kaneria to midwicket, the leg-spinner a little better today than he has been thus far.

    At that point, a collapse wouldn’t have been unthinkable, but the other main man in the Punjab line-up – Kamran Akmal – eased the situation with a boisterous 48 from only 29 balls. Three massive sixes, pulled over midwicket and lofted over long on, proved further that his batting at least is back to somewhere near his best.

    Malik had impressed with the ball earlier as well; an economical 2 for 37 means he now lies third in the wicket-takers’ table and is leading the run charts. Still, Bin Nasir has been in good touch and a fine unbeaten 97 held Baluchistan together. Either side of him solid efforts from the top and middle orders boosted the total.

    The openers Mohammad Hafeez (48) and Shoaib Khan jnr (36) added 75, and a 94-run partnership for the third wicket followed between Saeed Anwar jnr (25) and Bin Nasir. Misbah, hair shorn and beard visible, almost capped it with a typical finish, his 49 coming from 47 balls, but with just one boundary. He was out just when Baluchistan were looking to push, however and despite a valiant charge from Bin Nasir, who just failed to reach his century, Baluchistan’s total just wasn’t enough.

  84. #84 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 17, 2008 - 7:14 PM

    I am responding to wasim‘s comment here about DNA, he said on the politics page in response to my statement that the PCB constitution was written during Musharraf’s era. And Wasim said, it took 3 years to write it, whereas it could have been done in one month?

    Three years to write a constitution for the PCB? Is it true that DNA’s tenure was for 3 years? I guess it was much less, can anyone confirm on this? Pls.

    Even if it was 3 years, Pakistan is playing cricket since 1948 as Pakistan. Since then not a single Chairman of the PCB ever thought of writing the constitution for the PCB.

    When Butt Saheb came gyrating his Waddee Butt, the first thing he said was, I am going to make amendments in the PCB constitution, its 3 months now and nothing has been done, yet!

    Btw, who gave a Danda to DNA and why? Was it Mush or Zardari? I think we need to straighten out the facts here and discuss it cleanly rather than mudslinging on every other individual.

  85. #85 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 17, 2008 - 7:19 PM

    khansahab

    Misbah has just woken up from his deep slumber and hoping that India will come and play the series! Its over, there will be no match between India & Pakistan not even on a neutral ground. The politicians don’t want it anymore.

    Shabbir on DNA

    Shabbir is not even a bowler he is a CHUCKER and that too a failure and on top of that he is a simpleton who doesn’t know what he is talking about? Like, Asif he got a chance to speak in front of the media and he vented out his frustration against DNA. You have to simply ignore such blokes it wasn’t worth posting that news on LS.

  86. #86 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 7:28 PM

    Javed A Khan sahab

    Yes maybe I should not have posted Shabbir’s trivial comment, but I wanted to show how cricketers are making DNA the scapegoat for this mess, most of which is due Pakistan’s economy and instability.

    DNA wasn’t sacked by anyone, he resigned a few hours after Musharraf resigned because the establishment was very much against him chairing the PCB. His biggest mistake was that he was Musharraf’s friend; if he was unrelated to Musharraf I don’t think people would have been so harsh on him.

  87. #87 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 7:54 PM

    If India don’t come, snap cricket ties: Zaheer

    Karachi: Former skipper Zaheer Abbas has urged Pakistan cricket authorities to think about suspending ties with India if they don’t agree to tour the country next month.

    “If India does not agree to tour our country then the board must think about having cricket relations with them. If they don’t want to play us we should think likewise,” he said on Wednesday.

    The 61-year old former batsman said he was keen to see India retain their cricketing ties with Pakistan.

    “They must tour. It is good for relations between the two countries. But if they don’t want to come then we should also not go after them to convince them,” he said.

    Known as the ‘Asian Bradman’ for his batting exploits, Zaheer said India had been trying to escape touring Pakistan even before the Mumbai terror attacks.

    “What happened in Mumbai was tragic and horrifying. But even before that the Indian board had started raising security issues with touring Pakistan,” he added.

    The former captain said he didn’t agree with the board’s insistence that if India didn’t want to play in Pakistan they could play at neutral venues.

    Though a number of former players supported the PCB’s view, Zaheer objected saying Pakistan had to take a stand on this issue sooner or later.

    “Why should we play at neutral venues when the security situation is same all over the world? Why should we only be penalised for it? Tell me when has there ever been any terrorist attack during a cricket match or against any touring team,” he asked.

    Zaheer said the PCB needs to act tough with other cricket playing nations and stop pleading with them to play in Pakistan. “As it is we are not getting international cricket at home so better we have a uniform policy on this issue.”

    Zaheer said he had always cherished playing against India and recalled that for him the 1977 home series against India was the most memorable.

    “I have fond memories of India and have many friends in India. But they are being unfair in not supporting Pakistan at this crucial stage,” he said.

  88. #88 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 17, 2008 - 8:02 PM

    khansahab

    I am sick of this teep ka bandh which our journalists quote whenever they write about Zaheer Abbass (The Asian Bradman) ufff it sounds so horrible. Also, that Pakistani McGrath when referring to that druggie. Can’t they simply avoid using such analogies and comparisons?

  89. #89 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 8:05 PM

    Javed A Khan

    Apart from statistics which are good but not “Bradmansque”, and apart from the fact that Zaheer Abbas is a dull “simpleton”, I don’t know much about him. I know he has a very good record against India.

    But Asif is definitely no McGrath. There is no comparison. I don’t even find his action similar to McGrath’s.

  90. #90 by Wasim on December 17, 2008 - 9:16 PM

    Javed

    It was a bit less than three years i didn’t calculated the exact months, he was not grilled by Mush he was protected by him we all know that and at times you have also said that on other platforms, it was a senate committee which gave him the dunda.

  91. #91 by Wasim on December 17, 2008 - 9:18 PM

    Anybody following Aus V SA?

  92. #92 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 9:28 PM

    Asian Cricket ’08: India rule but Sri Lanka top

    NEW DELHI: India changed cricket’s landscape in the year gone by with its commercial power and heady on-field success, but Sri Lanka claimed the honour of being Asia’s top team.

    As Pakistan went through 2008 without playing a Test due to security concerns by visiting teams and Bangladesh continued to struggle, India and Sri Lanka carried Asia’s flag at the top level.

    India flexed its might as the world’s cricketing superpower by launching the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League that promised to change the fabric of what was once a leisurely afternoon sport.

    The first edition of the franchise-based Twenty20 competition kept an entire nation enthralled for six weeks as top players from around the world justified their huge salaries with attractive slam-bang cricket.

    At the end of the glittering 59-match extravaganza, the crown went to Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals, the cheapest of the eight franchises at 67 million dollars partly owned by Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan.

    In traditional Test cricket, India secured coveted wins over Ricky Ponting’s stumbling world champions, first in the rivals’ favourite den of Perth in January that preceded a memorable 2-0 series win at home in November.

    It was Australia’s worst series loss since a 3-0 drubbing by Clive Lloyd’s all-conquering West Indies in 1983 and indicated the balance of power was finally shifting away from Ponting’s men.

    Cricket survived a bloody seige by armed militants on India’s financial capital of Mumbai in late November as Kevin Pietersen’s England returned to play a two-Test series after cancelling a one-day series and flying home.

    India dramatically won the first of those Tests, Sachin Tendulkar gleefully hitting the winning boundary and notching his 41st century into the bargain.

    Former captain Sourav Ganguly and recent skipper Anil Kumble bade goodbye in November, leaving Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Venkatsai Laxman to fly the flag of India’s ‘fab five.’

    Tendulkar, 35, showed he was not going anywhere yet as he surpassed retired West Indian Brian Lara to become Test cricket’s leading run-getter and became the first batsman to cross the 12,000-run mark.

    The baton passed from Kumble to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, one of the world’s busiest cricketers in his multiple role as wicket-keeper, batsman and captain in Tests, one-day and Twenty20 cricket.

    It was, however, not all smooth sailing for the Indians.

    Mahela Jayawardene’s Sri Lanka beat India 2-1 in a Test series at home in August and also defeated Dhoni’s men in the Asia Cup one-day final in Pakistan.

    India’s bugbear was 23-year-old army officer Ajantha Mendis, an unorthodox spinner who claimed 26 wickets in three Tests, the most by a debutant in a three-match series surpassing Englishman Alec Bedser’s 24-wicket haul in 1946.

    Mendis, not a big turner of the ball like compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan, remained equally unplayable with his unique style — flicking the ball with his fingers to bowl off-breaks or leg-spin with one action.

    Strife-torn Pakistan was reduced to a pariah of world cricket as Australia refused to tour in March and the International Cricket Council cancelled the eight-nation Champions Trophy in September due to security concerns.

    Even though the six-nation Asia Cup passed off without incident in Lahore and Karachi, teams continued to shun Pakistan, who played only one-day cricket in the year.

    Shoaib Malik’s men won 18 of their 21 matches, 12 of them against lowly Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and ended 2008 praying the new year will bring them Test matches against top teams.

    Bangladesh, meanwhile, continued to flounder at the Test level, losing seven of their eight matches in the year and survived only a rain-affected draw against New Zealand.

    Bangladesh have now lost 50 of their 57 Tests, 33 of them by an innings, their lone win coming against fellow wooden-spooners Zimbabwe.

  93. #93 by Pawan on December 17, 2008 - 10:19 PM

    I really appreciate Khansahab’s committment towards cricket. Whenever I visit this site I see that Khansahab has posted really good articles. To see such kind of enthusiasm is really heart-warming especially when Pakistan cricket team is devoid of any international cricket due to no fault of theirs. Keep ’em coming Khansahab, great job!

  94. #94 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 10:21 PM

    Pawan

    Thanks, it’s appreciation by nice people like you that keeps me going!

  95. #95 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 10:50 PM

    Dravid can’t afford to be dropped: Akram

    Press Trust Of India

    New Delhi: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels that it would be difficult for out-of-form Rahul Dravid to return to the Indian team if he loses his place.

    Akram, however, felt that Dravid was going through a prolonged slump and hoped that the batsman will recover his form soon.

    “I had earlier said that Dravid is a top-class player and he is just going through a lean patch. I also hoped that because his defence is so strong, his basics are in place, he will bounce back. But of late he has been feeling the pressure himself. He wants to get runs desperately, and the pressure is showing on him when he is playing his shots,” Akram was quoted as saying by Mobile ESPN.

    Dravid has been going through a bad patch. In 14 innings, Dravid has scored 305 runs at an average of 23.46. In his last six innings Dravid has failed to cross 11.

    “In the present scenario, even if a player like Dravid loses his place, it’s very difficult to get back in the squad. India have got a strong back-up now and one cannot afford to rest on past laurels. I hope he realises that if he does not get runs in Mohali, he may never play for India again,” said Akram.

    But Dravid has retained his Grade A retainership contract worth Rs 60 lakh with the Indian cricket board.

  96. #96 by khansahab on December 17, 2008 - 10:52 PM

    Wasim Akram as usual doesn’t know what he is saying.

    On the one hand he is saying the reason for Dravid’s slump is because he is “applying too much pressure on himself”.

    On the other hand he is saying, he hopes Dravid realises if he doesn’t score in Mohali, “he may never play for India again”.

    He is probably putting more pressure on Dravid than Dravid himself!

  97. #97 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 18, 2008 - 12:04 AM

    khansahab

    Wasim Akram should pack his bags and get back to where he belongs before he too get threats like Adnan Sami Khan is receiving. I am so glad that Jagjit Singh shook him up and asked him to go home. Adnan Sami has 4 bouncers and 4 body guards in Mumbai after the Mumbai attack because he is receiving constant threats from the fundos asking him to go home or his body will go home. How much more disgrace he wants to bring to himself and to Pakistan by being there for the sake of money?

  98. #98 by Mohammed Munir on December 18, 2008 - 9:42 AM

    Khan Sahab @ Comment No. 87 …

    Regarding your general comment, that “DNA wasn’t sacked by anyone, he resigned a few hours after Musharraf resigned because the establishment was very much against him chairing the PCB. His biggest mistake was that he was Musharraf’s friend; if he was unrelated to Musharraf I don’t think people would have been so harsh on him”.

    Well actually, if Dr. Nasim Ashraf was unrelated to Musharraf, HE WOULD NEVER HAVE BECOME PCB’s CHAIRMAN AT ALL.

    Otherwise, how come you bring in a simple urologist with limited exposure of human resources and a B-grade cricketer directly from USA and make him chairman of PCB, one of the high profile and highly moneymaking institution of Pakistan ?

    Why not Kamran Abbasi, Javed A. Khan, and so many other educated authorities on Pakistan Cricket, who are more suitable than DNA ??

  99. #99 by Mohammed Munir on December 18, 2008 - 9:44 AM

    I like this new word we have started seeing around more often, “simpleton” , which is replacing the earlier word ………. 😀

    Although it still is an ‘offensive term’, but nevertheless, very good improvements by LS 😉

  100. #100 by khansahab on December 18, 2008 - 10:31 AM

    Munir sahab

    Anyone can be a simpleton or paindoo. These words can be used to describe Mohammad Asaf as much as they can be used to describe Javed Miandad.

    Given the opportunity I am sure Javed A Khan would chair the PCB with competence, integrity and fairness but that is the very reason why people will want him to step down.

    I don’t know why you felt the need to emphasise that DNA was Musharraf’s friend, when we all know this? We know it’s because of this special relationship between the two that DNA got the post. But we actually support what DNA did for Pakistan cricket; well, most of it anyway.

  101. #101 by khansahab on December 18, 2008 - 10:36 AM

    BREAKING NEWS

    India have officially called off the Pakistan tour, today.

    LS reported to you more than a month ago that this tour was not going to happen, even before the Mumbai attacks.

  102. #102 by khansahab on December 18, 2008 - 11:26 AM

    Don’t fiddle with action, Qadir tells Kaneria

    Press Trust Of India

    Posted on Dec 17, 2008 at 22:32

    Karachi: Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has been told by chief selector Abdul Qadir to stop fiddling with his bowling action to suit one-day cricket and concentrate on prolonging his international career.

    The former leg-spin great said he was disappointed with Kaneria’s bowling in the ongoing Pentangular one-day tournament and felt the player was facing problems since he was changing his action and style for one-day cricket.

    “Since he has tried to switch his action he is not bowling as well as he can or he does in Test cricket,” Qadir said.

    Kaneria had a disappointing time in the Pentangular tournament going for runs in all three matches.

    “I have just recovered from a finger surgery and have only recently returned to active cricket so I am taking time to find my rhythm. But I am facing no problems with my action,” Kaneria said.

    He said he would talk to Qadir to find ways to improve his bowling and be effective in one-day cricket as well.

    “I have never shied away from taking advice from former greats and Qadir bhai is one of my favorite bowlers. I learnt a lot from him,” he said.

    “I am short of international cricket that is all and it is very frustrating. This year we have not played a single Test. And the injury was also very disappointing as it cut short my season with Essex,” he said.

    Kaneria, 28, who has taken 220 Test wickets in 51 matches, said he was looking forward to the tour by India which now seems like a distinct possibility.

    “The players are still hoping they come but nothing is in our hands or that of our board,” he rued.

  103. #103 by khansahab on December 18, 2008 - 1:14 PM

    Former Pakistani cricket stars disappointed

    Dec 18th, 2008

    Karachi, Dec 18 (IANS) India’s decision to cancel their tour of Pakistan attracted mixed response from former Pakistani Test cricketers here Thursday.

    Former Test leg-spinner Abdul Qadir, now chief selector, said the cancellation of the series was a huge setback for cricket in the region.

    Former Test players Basit Ali and Jalaluddin also expressed similar views, saying the decision has sent a wave of disappointment among cricket fans all over the world.

    But former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif has taken a more aggressive stance, saying that the decision was not unexpected and asked the Pakistani cricket authorities and players to break ties with India.

    ‘We have been too apologetic in trying to save the series,’ Latif told a television channel, reacting to Indian government’s decision to cancel the tour which was to begin Jan 4.

    ‘The way the Indian government and their media have been acting after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan should have itself called off the series,’ he said.

    Latif urged Pakistani cricketers to break ties with lucrative Indian Twenty20 leagues as a show of solidarity.

    ‘It is very important that our cricketers break ties with the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian Cricket League (ICL),’ he said.

    ‘The cricketers are our ambassadors and if they don’t react (to the series cancellation) and scrap their deals with the Indian leagues then who will act on our behalf,’ he stressed.

    Around 20 Pakistani cricketers are hired by the breakaway ICL while several top cricket stars like Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi and Sohail Tanveer are contracted to play in the IPL.

    Legendary Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas agreed with Latif saying PCB should snap ties with India and should invite other leading teams for the sake of cricketers.

    Qadir described the Pakistan-India series as bigger than the Ashes and said he is disappointed over the cancellation. ‘The whole world watches whenever Pakistan and India play against each other because the series is even bigger than the Ashes,’ he said.

  104. #104 by khansahab on December 18, 2008 - 1:15 PM

    We will survive the setback, says Pakistan cricket chief

    Dec 18th, 2008

    Karachi, Dec 18 (IANS) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ijaz Butt said Thursday that Pakistan will try to move on from the shock of India series cancellation, saying that he is personally leading efforts to fix Test and one-dayers for his match-starved cricketers.

    Butt told IANS his Board will face major financial losses and cricketers some action because of the decision to cancel the series. But he vowed that Pakistan cricket will survive the setback.

    India Thursday refused to give the go-ahead to its cricket team’s tour to Pakistan from Jan 4-Feb 18 because of last month’s terror attacks in Mumbai. The Indian government says the terrorists involved in the attacks came and operated from Pakistan.

    India was supposed to play three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 International during the tour.

    Butt said the cancellation of the series was a setback for cricket in the region. The former Pakistan Test opener said the cricket boards tried their best to save the series from becoming a victim of the strained relations between the two countries.

    ‘But in the end, it was a decision taken by the Indian government as the matter was out of the hands of the two boards,’ he said.

    Butt, 71, said the cancellation of the much-awaited series will not affect the cricket ties between the two countries.

    ‘We tried our best to save the series,’ he said. ‘I went to India myself to discuss the matter with my Indian counterpart and know for sure that the Indian cricket board was also very keen on playing the series. But in the end it was a political decision,’ he said.

    Butt is confident that Pakistan-India cricketing ties will resume once the political situation between the two neighbours improves.

    The PCB chairman said Pakistan will suffer ‘huge losses’ because of the cancellation.

    It is estimated that Pakistan will lose almost Rs. 1.55 billion because of the cancellation.

    Also, the PCB will lose a huge chunk of $140.5 million television rights deal with Gulf-based Ten Sports channel.

  105. #105 by khansahab on December 18, 2008 - 7:53 PM

    Manzoor and Iqbal steer Sind to easy win

    Cricinfo staff

    December 18, 2008

    Khurram Manzoor’s unbeaten 107, supported by a run-a-ball 83 from Faisal Iqbal, steered Sind Dolphins to their first win of the tournament, over North West Frontier Province Panthers in Karachi. Set 235 to win, Sind lost two quick wickets but the 159-run stand between Manzoor and Iqbal put them on course for a comfortable five-wicket win with five overs to spare.

    Sind chose to field after winning the toss, and opening bowler Anwar Ali struck twice to reduce NWFP to 40 for 2. Yasir Hameed anchored the innings, but he was dismissed three short of a century by Sohail Khan. Sohail was the pick of the bowlers, with 3 for 32 off his ten overs. Anwar and Farhan Ayub took two wickets apiece, while Aamer Sajjad was the only one besides Hameed to go past 25.

    Umar Gul and Samiullah Khan had Sind in trouble at 8 for 2, but Manzoor and Iqbal overcame the shaky start. Iqbal was the more aggressive of the two, scoring 83 in a stand of 159 with Manzoor. He was eventually caught behind off Junaid Khan, after hitting ten fours and a six in his 87-ball innings.

    Shahid Afridi, the Sind captain, upped the run-rate with a brisk 25 off 13 balls, but he was dismissed by Samiullah. Fawad Alam was run out for a duck, but Sarfraz Ahmed and Manzoor, who made 107 off 136 balls, took their team to victory.

    Sind move to second place in the points table with the win. They had suffered a narrow one-wicket loss to Baluchistan Bears in their first match of the tournament.

  106. #106 by khansahab on December 18, 2008 - 7:56 PM

    So finally Faisal Iqbal played a decent knock after God knows, how many failures?

    Both Faisal and Miandad are simpletons, but there is a world of a difference between them as batsmen. Miandad is only the 2nd batsmen (the 1st is Wally Hammond) who never averaged below 50 in his entire career. His nephew though is a sore loser.

  107. #107 by Pawan on December 18, 2008 - 10:32 PM

    I think its a big mistake India is making by not touring Pakistan. Look at England, and learn from them. The ECB sent their team to India at a time when conditions were much worse than now. There is no legitimate reason I can fathom for not touring Pakistan. The civilian Gov’t of Pakistan needs to be supported at a time like this. If the Gov’t is weak, then all sorts of attrocities will surface and the terrorist organizations will eventually win over Pakistan and that is teh last thing the world needs. Instead of being stern and at every opportunity reprimanding the Pakistani Gov’t, the world leaders should instead encourage the Pakistani Gov’t and help them in any possible way to find the roots of terror organizations. We want Pakistan to be with us in this war against terrorism and not against us. By cutting up cricketing ties, India has in a sense approved of the terrorists purpose and shown its vulnerability.
    If the world wants to progress and grow, it needs to get rid of such pervert terrorism. The only way to get rid of terrorism, no matter where, no matter from which community, all sane minded people need to stay together and fight it out, for the sake of our mother Earth. If you say that “pathar ka jawab eent se”, then no one will survive. Eventually this destructive attitude will kill everyone. Staying together and fighting for a common cause is the only way out of this terrorism disease. Blaming other person will only lead to downfall of everyone.

  108. #108 by khansahab on December 19, 2008 - 12:14 AM

    Pawan

    Your views are very fair and completely sensible. This is not the time to act emotionally and hit Pakistan where it hurts.
    India should have toured Pakistan, to show it is open to reconciliation and peace, if nothing else.

    Looks like more minnow bashing is coming Pakistan’s way. The Sri Lanka tour will end in February and to Pakistan’s dismay, all top teams are very busy playing international cricket up to the middle of April. In fact the only two teams that are not busy in this period from February-April are Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

    Even though there won’t be any competition, Pakistan should look to arrange a Test and ODI series against Bangladesh in March/April next year. Surely Bangladesh will be willing to tour Pakistan? But PCB must use this series to utilise new talent and try and find openers with good technique, try and find spinners wicket-taking spinners who can work in Test cricket and try and find fit and committed fast bowlers who aren’t prone to injury.

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