A JUSTIFIABLE SELECTION POLICY?

Pakistan squad: Younis Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal (wk), Fawad Alam, Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar, Yasir Arafat, Saeed Ajmal.

The reaction to the 15 man squad for ODI’s against Australia has generally been positive with most fans approving the selection of Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Akhtar, Ahmed Shahzad and Saeed Ajmal. However, this thread argues that the some players should not have been selected.

Is it Younis who is running the show?

Is it Younis who is running the show?

There were reports that Younis was against the selection of Ahmed Shahzad in the Sri

Why was Ahmed Shahzad chosen over Khalid Latif?

Why was Ahmed Shahzad chosen over Khalid Latif?

Lanka series earlier this year. It is very strange hence that Ahmed has now been selected for this series, and that too against one of the best sides in the world. For those who are not aware, Ahmed Shahzad is a 17 year old aggressive opener from Lahore who has only played 12 List A matches at domestic level. With such inexperience, why was he selected over the likes of Khalid Latif and Khurram Manzoor?

Khalid Latif is a 23 year old opener from Karachi who has played 34 List A matches and averages 54 whereas Shahzad averages 45. In the recently concluded RBS One Day Cup, Latif averaged 114 with a highest score of 204 not out. Latif has a phenomenal conversion rate too, with 8 hundreds and 2 fifties which shows that when he gets going, he tends to score big.
It is accepted that Latif had a poor debut against Zimbabwe last year when he made 19 runs. However, many players have had lacklustre debuts. Surely Abdul Qadir or Younis Khan could not have made their decision based on one sole innings?

After his aggressive 50 against Sri Lanka at Lahore in Pakistans last Test, Manzoor should have been selected for this series

After his aggressive 50 against Sri Lanka at Lahore in Pakistan's last Test, Manzoor should have been selected for this series

Since Younis is known to prefer experience over youth, it is just mindboggling why he

Khalid Latif had an outstanding domestic one-day tournament but has been overlooked in favour of Ahmed Shahzad

Khalid Latif had an outstanding domestic one-day tournament but has been overlooked in favour of Ahmed Shahzad

would prefer to play Shahzad over Latif or Manzoor. Manzoor has so far shown inconsistent batting technique. His debut was impressive, but in his next few matches he struggled with shot selection. However, largely he impressed and in the 2nd Test vs Sri Lanka at Lahore, he played more confidently than Salman Butt. Is this how PCB wants to reward performance?

One could argue that recent domestic tournaments have little bearing, or should have little bearing, for international selection but it would be wrong for someone to say that. Abdul Qadir stated at the start of the RBS Cup that players who perform will be considered for the series against Australia. Selectors around the world use domestic tournaments to decide who should feature in a given forthcoming international assignment. It is not that case that Nasir Jamshed or Ahmed Shahzad are established players, if one wanted to argue that one poor domestic tournament should not affect their chances of playing against a top team.

Speaking of Nasir Jamshed, we have always spoken in support of him on LS. However, as a matter of principle he should also have not been selected and his place should have gone to Khurram Manzoor who as stated earlier, has so far performed adequately (this is on the basis that Shahzad’s place should have gone to Khalid Latif). Nasir was out of form in the RBS Cup and only scored 153 runs in 7 matches, whereas Manzoor had a much better tournament, scoring 246 runs in 6 matches.

The reason why is it submitted this selection is diabolical is because the opposition team is Australia, not Zimbabwe or Sri Lanka. There are reports that a second string team will be sent to play Pakistan, but even a third string team will be tough for Pakistan to handle. It seems as though there is a conspiracy to favour Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shahzad, whilst depriving Latif and Manzoor. This is because you only need to score 1 fifty in 5 matches against Australia to build a reputation as a formidable international-level opener. Salman Butt went through his worst form after his century against Australia in one of his earlier Tests, but he was constantly picked on the pretext of being the batsman who “scored a century against Australia”. So this series is a tremendous confidence booster and a golden chance in all respects for Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shahzad. The only problem is that there were other players who deserved this golden chance more than them.

Saeed Ajmal is seems to be a useless selection

Saeed Ajmal seems to be a useless selection

Saeed Ajmal has been satisfactory so far, but is he really useful to the team? Shoaib Malik has recently improved his bowling and seems to be bowling just as effectively as Ajmal. Ajmal is a pretty mediocre fielder and further, he failed to impress in the RBS Cup. Qadir had suggested selecting Yasir Shah, a young legspinner from NWFP who has been in good form over the past year or so. It is strange Qadir chose the ostensibly useless spinner Ajmal and ignored Shah, who is an attacking legspinner and shows considerable promise. With Malik and Afridi containing the batsmen and attacking them too occasionally, it would have been much more useful playing the attacking Yasir Shah, his inexperience notwithstanding.

Shoaib Akhtar and Kamran Akmal are other controversial selections. Whereas Akhtar is likely to be injured or unfit, Akmal’s batting performance is the RBS Cup was average. We have discussed both Akhtar and Akmal many times previously. One has to wonder that if Younis Khan is supporting the constant selection of Akmal, can he guarantee Akmal will stop dropping catches? Whoever has been responsible for the unfair selection of this squad should come forward and explain his choices. This series is all-important because the opposition is Australia and hence it was very crucial that the most in-form players should have been selected.

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  1. #1 by khansahab on April 6, 2009 - 7:12 PM

    I have pasted two articles on the previous thread but since they pertain to this thread directly, I will say in my own words what they were about.

    The first one was about Salahuddin, the former Chief Selector, saying that Shahzad’s place should have gone to Khalid Latif. The second article was about the former PCB Chairman Khalid Mahmood disapproving the selection of Shoaib Akhtar.

  2. #2 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 6, 2009 - 9:27 PM

    khansahab – anyone but the PCB jokers can say that Actor is a good for noting idiot. I have also said that people like I. Butt and A. Qadir if they stay longer in the PCB they will completely kill the game of cricket in Pakistan, right now the board and the team is langree, loooleee.

    I agree with your point about the selection of a 17 year old against Australia is it jingoism or what?

  3. #3 by khansahab on April 7, 2009 - 12:07 AM

    Javed A Khan

    Jingoism or not, it is definitely striking. Many people say that if the inclusion of the 16 year old Mohammad Aamer or 17 year old Ahmed Shahzad is premature, then why did Afridi make his debut at 16?

    The answer is that Afridi was playing primarily as a legspinner, then as a good fielder and then as a pinch hitting batsmen. Age does not matter so much when it comes to bowling because bowling is a different art to batting, where patience and temperament in necessary. A hot headed or immature person can become a great bowler (Dennis Lillee, or Sarfraz Nawaz) but he can never become a great batsman.

  4. #4 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 7, 2009 - 2:03 AM

    khansahab, I dunno if you remember how Afridi came into the limelight? He was playing for under-19 and he was in the Caribbean when the so-called great, pseudo Moulvi Mushy got injured in Kenya while playing and for the next match against Sri Lanka they were looking for a replacement leg spinner and, someone mentioned to the Pakistani team manager about a kid called Shahid Afridi who is in Caribbean so, they got him by the next flight. Even before he bowled, he had to bat, he was sent one down or at number 3 and hammered a 37 ball 100 which is still a world record since the last 12 years. The funny side of the story is, Saeed Anwar who was at his peak at that time was at the other end and could not add more than 10 runs to that partnership. The same happened in Kanpur when Salman Butt stood there like a spectator and Shahid Afridi scored a 45 ball 100 against India. So, there is a big difference between the quality of Shahid Afridi vs. Ahmed Shahzad or Mohammad Aamer. Whatever command, respect and popularity Shahid Afridi achieved, they will not be able to achieve it even in their wildest dream – the most they can do is dream about Natalie Portman and then eat Tuna fish sandwich for the rest of their lives. 😀

  5. #5 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 7, 2009 - 2:09 AM

    The New Zealand / India series is coming to an end, with India winning the 3rd test convincingly and it is a matter of few more minutes or hours before Vittori gets out and they wrap up the innings. There have been a few very bad umpiring decisions in this series and, here is a quote from the cricinfo commentators:

    Darren: “Not wanting to harp on about bad decisions, but surely this test match series shows that a referral system is required. Can’t remember the exact number of bad decisions, i.e. non-edges that are given, edges that aren’t given. but there must be about one from each innings of a test match, count that up and you get 12 (maybe an over-exaggeration) poor decisions.”

    I haven’t kept a count but yeah I have no doubt that the referral system will be used all over, for all matches, pretty soon. If McCullum’s decision was referred, he surely would not have been given out. In fact, even Ross Taylor, in the first innings, would have survived, despite his feeling later that he had edged it. Hot spot didn’t pick anything there as well. But of course, the question is, in that case, whether Taylor would have gone for the review as he felt he had edged. Poor McCullum seems to be at the wrong end of the decisions in the recent times.


    “I am agree”
    with that baKaoz, I have seen those matches live on TV and I have already mentioned a couple of days ago that Ross Taylor was not out in the first innings. He is in brilliant form and could have scored a hundred in each innings. He missed it in the first innings due to the poor umpiring decision but he made one in the second innings and last night I saw him playing some glorious strokes against the bowling of Ishant Sharma. I think Ishant Sharma is one bowler who was thrashed by all the NZ players and he even had a row with Rider. Ishant Sharma needs some introspection, internal audit and self-assessment too much too soon has gone into his head and he is in the making of another Actor.

    PS

    My bad the Rain Gods helped NZ in a draw to make the lost test series look 1-0 instead of 2-0

  6. #6 by Mohammed Munir on April 7, 2009 - 6:18 AM

    Khan Sahab … Very good and a balanced new thread !! 🙂
    PCB … Well as expected the selection was a joke !! 😦

    On the other hand, now that India have won the test series in New Zealand after a long time, my heartfelt Congratulations to All Indian Fans on their Team’s Great Series Win !!

    That reminds me, where are our Indian LS guys, Varun Suri, Amit P, Pawan, Dr. Shukla, 420, Kunal Sabherwal and others.

  7. #7 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 7, 2009 - 9:35 AM

    Munir – on your using the phrase…….. heartfelt congratulations to All Indian Fans…..

    The moment I read the word, heartfelt, the next thing that came to my mind was the word “condolence” and not congratulations. Bakaoz in the “Aam Fahm Zuban or Roze Marrah ki baat cheet may or, in daily usage we seldom say “heartfelt congratulations.” Most English speaking scholars, if you ask them whether it is OK to use the word heartfelt with congratulations? They would perhaps say: “No”. However, according to the Oxford Collocations Dictionary, it is all right to say, “heartfelt congratulations.”

    One should remember that, the meaning of the word “heartfelt” is “sincere” and it is used when we are deeply stirred or moved by something emotional. It is usually associated with emotions linked with sadness, sorrow or unhappiness. One can talk about “heartfelt sympathies” and, “heartfelt condolences”, etc. Like it is also possible to say, “heartfelt thanks” and “heartfelt joy”. The word, “Hearty”, on the other hand, suggests the state of being high spirited, full of vigour and energy. You can talk about “hearty laughter”, “hearty appetite”, “hearty meal” etc. You cannot say “hearty condolences” or “hearty motion”. 😀

    And, Oh yeah were are these people, especially Varun?

    Varun, Ranjish hee sahee dill hee dukhanay kay liyeh aa
    Tu hum say khaffa hai tou ho, laikin cricket kay tawassus say tou aa
    Kuch tou meray Pindaar-e-blog ka bharram rakh
    Tu sab say khaffa hai tou duniya hee dikhanay kay liyeh aa

  8. #8 by Awas on April 7, 2009 - 6:05 PM

    Hi All

    Not that I’m in a good enough state (due to various problems) to write as frequently as I would like to but would add a few words here.

    India is definitely fast becoming a team to watch under Dhoni’s leadership. Well done India on away series win.

    Khansahab, as always a good write up on the new thread. I agree with your analyses. I don’t have much to say on the new names such as Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Khalid Latif etc as I don’t really know enough about them but I trust khansahab’s following of the domestic game enough to have faith in his preference. I’m glad though that Fawad Alam got picked; I just hope he gets the nod in the final 11.

    And as you say whether it’s due to “Jingoism or not, it is definitely striking” and may I add…rather inexplicable. “Inexplicable” is something that is common expectation from most Pakistanis no matter who is at the helm. Personally speaking, I would be perfectly happy if all 11 players in the team come from Layri or Korangi as long as they are street fighters like Javed Miandad and show that fighting and winning ability on the cricket field…or for that matter if all 11 players are rigorously trained by Talibans in the caves of Malakand just to play good cricket. Not just me, I’m sure a winning team will make the whole nation happy.

    On the question of youngsters making a name for themselves at tender age, it has been more common in subcontinent than other countries. Names like Hanif Mohamed, Tendulkar, Inzi etc were class above the rest and then in the category of Afridi there may have been some hidden talents that were never discovered. Who knows! I wonder where one would rate Abdul at his age?

  9. #9 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 7, 2009 - 8:28 PM

    I wonder where one would rate Abdul at his age? Awas

    I would rate him at the top …………… of a coconut tree ! 😀

  10. #10 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 7, 2009 - 8:38 PM

    Pakistan acting like an “EAGER BEAVER” by announcing a squad of 30 probables for the World T20 by including some bogus names like, Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Hafeez, Danish Kaneria, ABDUL REHMAN CH2SO4 ……….. come on these guys should not be in any team for Pakistan.

    I don’t know about the potential of a few new names, but I won’t even include Salman Butt and Saeed Ajmal in the squad for obvious reasons. Salman is no good for T20 he is very slow and ruins the tempo of the game. And Saeed Ajmal has no place in the T20 team with Afridi and Malik in the team and they can do the job better than him with bat and ball both. And you don’t need a specialist spinner. Besides, Ajmal is a KHADDA fielder. You cannot afford to have him or Kaneria in the fielding side, dropping catches.

    http://content.cricinfo.com/wt202009/content/current/story/398773.html

    ICC World Twenty20 2009

    Pakistan drop ICL players from World Twenty20 list

    Cricinfo staff

    April 7, 2009

    The Pakistan Cricket Board has backed out of a potential face-off with the ICC and the BCCI by dropping three ICL players from its list of 30 probables for the ICC World Twenty in June.

    In a face-saving measure, the PCB has placed Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan on standby pending ICC approval. They have been replaced by Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Jan and Mohammad Hafeez. However, it’s understood that the ICC is highly unlikely to grant any such approval when its board meets in Dubai on April 17-18 to decide on the issue.

    “We have written a letter to the ICL to get status of their contracts, whether these [contracts] have been rescinded permanently or rescinded temporarily, but we have yet to get any reply on that,” said the PCB chief operating officer Salim Altaf

    The PCB on Monday officially broke ranks with the Indian board, a traditional ally, by naming the three ICL players without approval from the ICC, the tournament organisers. The 17 ICL-contracted players from Pakistan were allowed to participate in domestic cricket after the Sind High Court temporarily lifted the ban in February.

    Wicketkeeper Zulfiqar is the only uncapped player among the three replacements. Ajmal, the offspinner, last played in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Lahore this January while batsman Mohammad Hafeez hasn’t represented his country since October 2007.

    Pakistan Squad: Younis Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Nasir Jamshed, Khalid Latif, Shahzaib Hasan, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Amin, Misbah-ul-Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Fawad Alam, Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat, Kamran Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar Anjum, Aizaz Cheema, Mohammad Aamer, Wahab Riaz, Imran Ali, Danish Kaneria, Abdul Rehman, Yasir Shah, Kamran Akmal (wk), Sarfraz Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Zulfiqar Jan, Mohammad Hafeez

    ICL players initially included: Abdul Razzaq, Naved-ul-Hasan, Imran Nazir

  11. #11 by M. Y.. Kasim on April 7, 2009 - 9:37 PM

    Khansahab,

    As usual, an excellent article. What can you expect from a bunch of idiots? Or are they scheming thugs? By reading the names 30 probables for the T20 WC, my suspicions are growing that they are not as dum-wits as they look.

    As soon as Miandad is re-instated, Faisal Iqbal is among the probables!! The poor kid, Mohammed Talha’s name is nowhere. Once you have given him a chance, give him an extended run, dont drop him like a hot potato, it will ruin his confidence and career. Even keep him in the news as a probable to have his hope alive.

    Wah..Wah.. Wah.. Javed A. Khan @ #7

  12. #12 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 7, 2009 - 10:09 PM

    Kasim sahab; you are right they are not as dim as they appear, they are more sinister in their selection approach. Every move is a crafty move. Talha is he the fast bowler? He could not get a place because of the Maal Gaari.

    They are doing Miandad’s LULLO CHUPPO because, right now Miandad has connections to the top (zardari) and the day his Vasta is gone, he too is gone! (with the wind).

  13. #13 by M. Y.. Kasim on April 7, 2009 - 10:16 PM

    Another victim of their contitued jingoism is Abdur Rauf. Despit performing consistently over the years, he has been harshly treated by the selectors, including the nine times “chief” Mian Sallu, who is now talking sweetly.

    And I also did’nt see the name of Sohail Khan in the list of probables. Are these boys not worth a mention in the list? while Abdul Razzak, Rana Nved-ul Hasan, Mohammed Hafeez and thier ilk occupy top positions?

    Where is Pakistan heading??????????

  14. #14 by khansahab on April 7, 2009 - 11:49 PM

    Omer

    If Ahmed Shahzad was as good as Miandad or Inzamam, he would already have made his debut. His name has been on the cards ever since he was 15, when he had only played 3 List A matches. When you spot talent like Tendulkar, Miandad etc you just thrust them onto the international platform regardless of what age they are. If Shahzad was like Tendulkar or Miandad at 16, Younis would not have expressed reluctance earlier this year to include him in the squad against Sri Lanka.

    Saeed Anwar made his debut when he was 20 odd and he failed to make a mark. He improved and came back strong after a few years. Same goes for Ganguly and Misbah. Saeed Anwar and Ganguly are great players in their own right. So your argument is not entirely correct that you can only be a batting superstar if you start playing cricket at 16. I think you just skimmed through my comment because I said fast bowling does not require as much patience or maturity, which is why I gave the example of Lillee and Sarfraz Nawaz. I’m just mentioning this because you commented about Wasim and Waqar starting young.

    As regards Fawad Alam, I have been the one who has been supporting him passionately, even before most people knew who he was.

    I talk about extent and degrees, whereas you like to talk about black or white and not shades of grey. That is why you consider Musharraf to be bad for Pakistan and that is why you keep thinking I like Shoaib Malik.

    Malik bowled better than Ajmal in the recently concluded RBS Cup. You can see the leading wickettakers’ names and Ajmal’s name is not even in the list:

    http://stats.cricinfo.com/pakistandomestic/engine/records/bowling/most_wickets_career.html?id=4981;type=tournament

    (I know Malik is at the bottom of the list, but I never argued he deserves to be higher up.)

    In 2008 Malik took 16 wickets with an average of 35 and strike rate of 46. That is like, 1 wicket per less than 8 overs. His economy rate was 4.6. I don’t contend these are excellent stats, but they are OK and I don’t see Saeed Ajmal or Abdur Rehman bowling much better than that. That was my argument.

  15. #15 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 8:25 AM

    Australia squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin (wk), Nathan Bracken, Callum Ferguson, Brett Geeves, Nathan Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, David Hussey, Ben Laughlin, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson.

    The Australian squad has been announced. We can debate what a second string squad actually is, but without Ponting and Johnson, arguably Australia’s 2 best players, it is definitely not Australia’s best side.

    It does still have some good players and Pakistan will find it very tough to beat Australia.

    Michael Hussey is also not present in the squad. Symonds whose international career was on the line has also been given a final chance against what Australia are considering to be a very weak team. Pakistan players should now commit themselves totally to defeat Australia.

  16. #16 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 8:49 AM

    Awas

    Nice to see you comment after such a long time. The “preference” is not and has never been to see 11 players from Korangi or Nazimabad or Malakand. The preference has always been to give chances to those who deserve them most.
    I understand why you said that because a winning team will make the whole nation happy, but I am just elaborating on my psyche.

    I have seen Nasir Jamshed’s batting on Youtube many times to analyse his technique. Nasir is a humble and ambitious kid from Lahore and he has a good attitude. I have supported Nasir thoroughly and even said he should be in the team ahead of Khurram Manzoor, who has better domestic credentials.

    However, Nasir was out of form in the recent one day cup and I don’t understand how an out-of-form player can be preferred over someone who was generally consistent. Especially when the opposition is one of the top teams in the world.

    When I saw Nasir’s batting technique, the only thing that struck out was his clean hitting prowess. Apart from that I did not find anything remarkable with his batting. My word is not the Holy Gospel but he has very limited footwork and only seems comfortable playing airy shots. He reminded me of Sehwag in a way, because of bad footwork and preference for clean hitting, and he can still succeed if he bats like Sehwag- using excellent hand to eye coordination and placement.

    However, when it comes to Ahmed Shahzad, there is no doubt this was a clear case of unfairness. I don’t know if it was jingoism and even if it was, I don’t want to mention it, but considering Khalid Latif’s amazing form he definitely deserved a place. What my point to Omer was that this is Australia you are playing against, so you need to be sensible about your choices.

    I saw Younis’s interview just before he was awarded captaincy and he said that Pakistan needs to try more mature players in the future. He gave the example of Australia and said that the average age of a player is 28 when he enters into international cricket. Keeping this is mind it is even more unbelievable he would suggest the selection of Ahmed Shahzad.

  17. #17 by Awas on April 8, 2009 - 9:41 AM

    khansahab

    Thanks! I hope to comment more but it all depends on my personal situation.

    Just to clarify…I’m not saying you were but I was never critical of your choices on which youngster is more deserving to be given a chance. I had rather wished to add, which I did, that “inexplicable decisions” from the top that we see are not uncommon no matter who is at the helm. We will all love to see the likes of Miandad, Imran, Inzi, Two W’s etc no matter where they come from. Whether all 11 are just from one corner of Pakistan or not it doesn’t really matter. We know that in reality it’s never likely to happen as talent is never concentrated in one place only. The most important thing is they are all Pakistanis and that’s what matters.

    The worst thing for me though in the selection of the team is picking Shoaib Akhtar and Kamran Akmal for various reasons that we all know. I’m most critical of these two but as far as youngsters are concerned they haven’t played consistently enough to be given a resounding no or yes. I do however agree with you that to begin with the youngsters should be picked based on their recent performance.

    LOL @ “skimmed through” comment on Omer. According to my observation, I think there is some truth in it 🙂

    PS: After your “welcome comment after such a long time” now it’s two in a row. Was it your Sazish to suck me in? Thanks! 🙂

  18. #18 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 12:23 PM

    Younis banking on Shoaib, Afridi for success against Australia

    Karachi, April 08: Pakistan captain Younis Khan is banking heavily on the experienced duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Shahid Afridi to fire in the coming series against Australia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

    Younis said he was happy to see injury-prone Shoaib back in the side for the five one-day internationals and Twenty20 game.

    “He has worked hard and I am confident he will play out the full series. His return is a good sign for us as he is a very experienced performer,” Younis said today.

    The senior batsman pointed out that both Shoaib and Afridi had this habit of performing well against top opposition.

    “I am banking a lot on them although we require a complete team effort to beat the Australians,” he added.

    Younis pointed out that Pakistan had some top all-rounders in Shoaib Malik, Afridi and Sohail Tanvir and felt the trio would have to make significant contribution if Pakistan were to win the series.

    “It is going to be a tough series and we need to put in a collective effort. Even though Australia will be without their regular captain Ricky Pointing and inform all-rounder Michell Johnson, the return of Andrew Symonds is a big plus for them as he has always been a successful performer against us,” Younis said.

    He said the selectors had named a balanced side for the series and the inclusion of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal was a well thought out plan.

    “The Australians normally have problems against quality spinners and Ajmal is a very experienced and mature performer who has improved a lot. He now has a chance to show his worth against a top side in demanding conditions,” Younis said.

    The Pakistan captain said despite not playing too much international cricket, his teammates were enthusiastically looking forward to the series.

    “After the problems Pakistan cricket has faced in recent times due to security issues, this series is a good chance for us to give our people something to be happy and joyous about,” he said.

    Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam also described the team as a balanced one and said Shoaib Akhtar was back after proving his fitness.

    “The Australians are a top side and they will be coming into the series after another tough series in South Africa. But the conditions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai suit us and that will give us the edge,” Alam said.

  19. #19 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 12:25 PM

    Rameez opposes ICL players’ inclusion

    Karachi, April 08: Former captain Rameez Raja opposed the inclusion of Indian Cricket League players in the Pakistan national team, saying such a move would set a wrong example.

    “What sort of message will we send out to those who didn`t go and play in the unauthorised league? That they can also go play in an illegal event and then come back and play for their country?” Rameez asked.

    The former captain said he didn`t have much sympathy for the players who aligned with the Indian league. Rameez said they knew what they were doing when they decided to sacrifice their Pakistan careers and play in a tournament not recognised by the ICC or its member countries.

    “I don`t sympathise with them. If we allow the ICL players to play again for Pakistan then we are telling everyone go and play in illegal tournaments for money and you can always comeback we will take you back,” the cricketer-turned-commentator said.

    The Pakistan Cricket Board yesterday dropped three ICL players — Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved and Imran Nazir – from their provisional squad of 30 players for the Twenty20 World Cup in England after surprisingly naming them for the tournament.

    The board has said it is waiting for clearance from the ICC and ICL before reconsidering these players for selection.

    Rameez who also of the view that the selectors took a risk by including controversial pacer Shoaib Akhtar in the series against Australia.

    “I don`t know but last year also he went to Abu Dhabi and got unfit and he has already said the heavy ground conditions there are not ideal for fast bowlers,” Rameez said.

    “I think his fitness is still not 100 percent perfect and it is a big risk selecting him,” he said.

    He said the team would have to play with lot of passion and aggression to beat the Australians in what is going to be a very tough and hard series in demanding conditions.

    “I see the batsmen flourishing in the conditions there which are very demanding on the pace bowlers,” he added.

  20. #20 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 12:31 PM

    Wasim: India favourites for T20 WC

    Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram spoke to Mobile ESPN and said that India are the favourites for the T20 WC.

    “The way this Indian team is playing, it shows that Indian cricket is on a high, the team is on a high and since the T20 World Cup starts in a couple of months, I would say India who are also the defending champions start favourites for the trophy,” said Akram.

    Wasim Akram had maintained throughout the Test series against New Zealand that India are the favourites and the results were testimonial to that. The former left-armer said that he had no doubt about who would be winning because India definitely had the better side.

    “As a team India were better. They are continuously improving, their leader is also improving a good deal,” Akram said.

    Other teams way behind Ind, SA, Oz

    He then said that India, Australia and South Africa are creating a power house in the cricketing fraternity and the other teams have been left behind because they are nowhere close to the quality of these three sides.

    “What I am doubting is that the situation might turn up similar to that of Women’s cricket. There also four teams are strong and the others hardly catch up.

    “Australia, South Africa and India are in the same league in the men’s format. They are on the top and there is a ever widening gap that is being created because of the mismatch between the quality of these three vis-à-vis other teams. I hope other countries also play good cricket and match up so that the difference goes down,” said Akram.

    Speaking on the just concluded third Test, Akram said that according to him whenever the tail of a team wags and scores runs, that shows the true spirits of the team.

    “I have said it before and I would repeat that when the tail of a team scores runs, this shows the team is in high spirits and everyone in the team believes they can defeat any team and can come back from any situation. Here also, Dhoni came back and hit a good half century batting with the tail. Harbhajan hit a brilliant 60 and Zaheer also scored runs,” said the left-armer.

    Akram hailed Zaheer, Gambhir

    Akram was all praise for Zaheer Khan whom he again hailed as the best fast bowler in the world as of today. Akram also praised Gautam Gambhir saying he is in the top league, and can be compared to some of the best newcomers of recent times.

    “As far as Zaheer is concerned, I have already said that he is the best fast bowler in the world. He is picking up wickets everywhere. He can bowl reverse swing and has a lot of ammunition up his armour. He did well in the last Test as well wherein he picked up seven wickets.

    “Gautam is also batting very well. He is in the same league as that of some top class newcomers in the world such as Jean Paul Duminy,” concluded Akram.

  21. #21 by Awas on April 8, 2009 - 12:31 PM

    Wisden selects a test 11 of the year:

    THE WISDEN TEST XI OF 2008
    V. Sehwag (India)
    §G. C. Smith (South Africa)
    R. T. Ponting (Australia)
    S. R. Tendulkar (India)
    K. P. Pietersen (England)
    S. Chanderpaul (West Indies)
    *†M. S. Dhoni (India)
    Harbhajan Singh (India)
    M. G. Johnson (Australia)
    D. W. Steyn (South Africa)
    Zaheer Khan (India)

    Good to see that half of the team is comprised of players from India including captain but disappointing to note that not a single player from Pakistan. This must be first ever for Pakistan that there is not a single player of international recognition. Pakistan is definitely ranked somewhere at the bottom these days. It’s a great disappointment for the fans.

  22. #22 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 12:37 PM

    Awas

    Interesting list. I think all the Indian players on the list deserve to be there, except that Gambhir should be there instead of Sehwag. Both Gambhir and Sehwag were amazing, but Gambhir averaged 70 in 2008 whereas Sehwag averaged 56.

  23. #23 by Awas on April 8, 2009 - 12:39 PM

    khansahab
    Yeah…I agree on Gambhir.

  24. #24 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 1:21 PM

    Omer

    I won’t go into a tirade of verbosity, I think you took my criticism too much to the heart. I am sorry if it offended you because you sounded very incensed.
    Also, we perhaps have a different way of looking at technique and performance but it would be more civil I think if you consider things that way instead of hinting that I don’t know what I am talking about?

    I never said Yousuf was a bad player. I said he can’t play T20. To play T20 you need to learn how to run first. I’ve said before on many occasions he is a must in Test cricket. And I have also accepted that Malik’s attitude was not good, however Yousuf is quite greedy and uncooperative himself.

    We all know what the reaction of the public was when Akhtar and Yousuf couldn’t play and we also saw the (lack of) reaction when Razzaq signed with ICL. Nasim Ashraf gave Rs 12 million or something like that to Yousuf, to persuade him to cancel his ICL contract but he did not do the same for Razzaq. Razzaq can’t field, his bowling lacks any serious threat and he can’t bat properly. I don’t need to provide any statistics to prove that. As far as I’m concerned it’s pretty obvious. On the one hand you say Malik lacks quality to succed in Test cricket because he can’t hold the bat properly etc, but on the other hand you think Razzaq is a Test player on the basis of 2 or 3 under-pressure innings.

    When I said Anwar and Ganguly are great players in their own right, I chose not to include Misbah’s name in that sentence for a specific purpose. The purpose is that I don’t consider Misbah a great player. I mentioned Misbah because he debuted when he was in his early 20’s, but he lacked temperament and was dropped. He returned as a much better player. So I don’t know what made you think I consider Misbah a great player, more so because I have been saying millions of times that Misbah needs to start batting like Yousuf, otherwise he should be replaced.

    I was supporting Hafeez when his bowling and batting form was good. He was always a good fielder. I look at the overall utility of cricketers. So if Razzaq makes 30 runs per innings but concedes 10 runs per match because of misfielding, bad throwing, dropping catches etc, then for me the net utility of that player is 20 runs and he is only worth 20 runs.
    As for Hafeez, in 2007 I started opposing him on Pakspin when his form dropped. Hafeez in his prime was a better player than Malik- he could score 30-35 runs in 25 balls and he was always a better spinner than Malik.

    You are also totally wrong when you say I just look at numbers. Younis averages 34 odd in ODI’s and Afridi averages 24 odd, but I support them because I know they can do brilliant things when the going gets tough. I would not support Afridi if his overall utility was not good. I see him as someone who can take 2 or 3 wickets, take good catches, and then make 20 quick runs if and when needed. Similarly Younis is a good fielder and I take that into account when I support him.

    About Gambhir and Sehwag, I thought of explaining my decision for a while but then decided to leave it. Gambhir can play just as attackingly as Sehwag, he can play in different modes according to the needs of the situation, he has much better technique, he is also more fearless because he comes out of his crease against 90mph bowlers. Gambhir can play shots all around the park and unlike Sehwag he is not usually restricted to the cover-point region. Sehwag has problems with footwork, he also lacks Gambhir’s mental strength. You talk about character but in one of the recent Tests against New Zealand Gambhir made his 100 in over 350 balls and saved the match for India. Sehwag is incapable of doing that. Sehwag has been playing for 3 more years than Gambhir and despite this Gambhir in my books has shown he can do much more. He has only started his onslaught, you will see him becoming a legendary player in a few years’ time and I am sure he will overtake Sehwag in every possible way.

    About Rana, he is a terrific T20 player, a mediocre ODI player and poor Test player. If he gets a chance in the T20 World Cup, you will see what I mean when I say that. His bowling has too much variety. It doesn’t matter whether he performed in ICL or IPL, because in T20 cricket a club level team can beat a top Test side. Such is the nature of the beast.

    Now you will look at black and white, and also pink, blue and yellow and say, “Khansahab how can you say Rana is a great player……..” etc etc 🙂 To prevent you from saying that, I reiterate that I consider Rana to be a good TWENTY20 player, not a good TEST player.

  25. #25 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 2:16 PM

    Omer

    It is the mark of an educated man to entertain a thought without accepting it, and it is also the mark of an educated man to say “I am agree” to another.

    🙂

    That was just a joke.

    I will entertain your thoughts definitely, without accepting all of them. I will also dare to say I am agree with the aspects which I agree with. Remember, I am agree is very important if you I am agree with someone.

    I think Yousuf is greedy because he took Rs 12 million (he himself accepts this) but reneged on his commitment with Nasim Ashraf. Other than that I am done with this argument!

  26. #26 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 2:20 PM

    Intikhab welcomes Shoaib’s return

    Karachi, April 08: Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has welcomed the return of Shoaib Akhtar in the Pakistan line-up for the one-day series against Australia in UAE, saying that the pacer will be a useful member.

    A former Pakistan captain, Intikhab told reporters on Wednesday that Shoaib has proved his fitness and will add more firepower to the team`s pace battery in the April 22-May 7 series to be played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

    Shoaib, 33, was dropped from the Pakistan team this January after failing in the first two One-day Internationals against Sri Lanka at home. He was later diagnosed with a knee injury.

    Intikhab, who spent a week in UAE to inspect the pitches and playing conditions there, said that he is confident that Pakistan will do well in the series that includes five One-day Internationals a Twenty20 game.

    “We have named a very balanced team and with the conditions in UAE suiting us, I`m hopeful that the boys will do well in the series,” he said.

    Intikhab said that he is satisfied with the conditions of the wickets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

    “We saw a few matches being played on those wickets and they look very good,” he said.

    Pakistan had sent special soil from a place near Sialkot for the pitches made at the Dubai Sports City Stadium that will host two ODIs between Pakistan and Australia and a Twenty20 game during the series.

    Intikhab said that good one-day wickets have been prepared for the series.

  27. #27 by khansahab on April 8, 2009 - 8:05 PM

    The PCB is a joke and the ODI squad is a joke as well. They are all tried and tested players and they will have to pull a miracle to even win one match.

    Younis and Gul are the only two consistent performers whereas Afridi will be tested as the lead spinner in the squad. In my opinion Afridi can inflict more damage than Ajmal because Afridi is aggressive and more dominating mentally. I hope Younis treats Afridi like his main spinner, because using Ajmal will be like using a defensive option.

  28. #28 by Mohammed Munir on April 9, 2009 - 6:10 AM

    Khan Sahab …

    PCB is a joke !! For sure, and there isn’t any whiff of doubt in that.

    Nevertheless, out of a full squad of 15 players, you are pinning your hopes on only two or three (Younis, Gul and Apna Afridi), is it not a bit harsh on the rest of the guys ?

    The 15 member squad has 11 players from Punjab, and it seems none of them is ‘worth-a-mention’ for you, what a coincidence 😉

    Anyways, at least you could have included Fuwad Alam in possible performers, if no one else 😆

  29. #29 by khansahab on April 9, 2009 - 10:02 AM

    Munir sahab

    None of the Punjabi players are reliable in this squad. In fact Malik is probably the most consistent out of all of them.

    As I said I don’t think Ajmal will make a huge difference; depends how much support he’s getting from the pitch. Tanvir is still a rookie, who experienced an initial phase of consistency and then he developed attitude problems which affected his bowling.

    Shoaib Akhtar is also unreliable. I didn’t say Afridi is reliable, I said Gul and Younis are. All I said regarding Afridi was that Younis should use him as an attacking option rather than Ajmal.

  30. #30 by khansahab on April 9, 2009 - 11:31 AM

    Rana Naved seeks guaranteed central contract from PCB

    Karachi, April 09: Pakistan`s banned pace bowler Rana Naved has sought guarantee from Pakistan Cricket Board before he snaps his ties with the Indian Cricket League.

    Naved told reporters in Lahore he was keen to play for the country once again, but he wanted to be sure that if he left his ICL contract he would be given a central contract.

    “I am not asking them for guarantees to play me in the national team. That is for the selectors to decide and it also depends on my form and fitness. But I want some financial protection and that can come in the form of a central contract,” Naved said.

    Naved along with all rounder Abdul Razzaq and opener Imran Nazir were initially named in Pakistan`s provisional squad of 30 for the Twenty20 World Cup this week but then dropped on second thoughts by PCB which has sought clarification from the International Cricket Council and the ICL on status of these players.

    “I still have a contract with the ICL and I don`t think they have ended contracts with any of our players. But I definitely want to play for Pakistan but I don`t want to find myself in no-mans land neither here or there,” Naved said.

    Naved made it clear if the PCB assured him a central contract he would end his ties with the ICL permanently and also convince them to do this in an amicable manner.

    “The ICL has been good to us and they have given us financial protection. I don`t think they would object if we wanted to end our contracts,” Naved added.

    The PCB at present has given out central contracts to 28 players who are divided into three categories and get paid monthly salaries, with those in the highest category getting 250,000 Pakistani Rupees a month.

    Naved noted that cricket was his livelihood and he wanted to secure the future for himself and his family.

    Saleem Altaf, the chief operating officer of the PCB, said the ICL players would have to first end their contracts to be considered for Pakistan again.

    “We have asked for clarification from the ICL but our legal advisors have told us that under the terms of the contract these players have signed with the ICL, only the organisers can release them and terminate their contracts,” Altaf said.

    He said PCB would look ahead on the ICL players only when they got clarifications from the ICL and also when ICC gave a clear ruling on whether these players can be selected in national teams immediately or will have to spend some time before returning to international cricket.

    A PCB official said the letter was sent directly to Kapil Dev the head of the ICL operations.

  31. #31 by khansahab on April 9, 2009 - 1:02 PM

    Pak skipper, coach contradict on pitches

    Karachi: Pakistan’s coach Intikhab Alam may be laying lot of stress on the advantage of having ‘home’ pitches in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but captain Younis Khan believes it does not decide the outcome of any series.

    Alam, who visited the two venues in the Emirates to inspect the pitches and ground conditions, said they were similar to what one found in Pakistan.

    “The wickets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been prepared keeping in mind our own strengths,” Alam said on returning home.

    “We want to retain some kind of home advantage,” he added.

    The Pakistan Cricket Board sent special soil from Nandipur and its curators to help prepare the pitches at both venues one of which the Dubai sports city is hosting an international match for the first time.

    “I am sure the pitches at both venues will produce high quality cricket as they are good for one-day matches. We expect them to be batting wickets but sporting ones,” he said.

    Younis, however, was blunt in stating that too much was made out of the pitches and home conditions by the media and experts.

    “I don’t think the conditions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will give us any big advantage over Australia. Now a days pitches for one-day cricket are more or less the same all over the world,” Younis said on the Geo Super sports channel. The skipper said any team had to play to its optimum level and well to win against any team or on any pitch.

    “Look even if we play badly against Bangladesh we will lose. I don’t think pitches or conditions have that much influence on the outcome of a match it is how you play the match that matters the most and to beat the Australians we have to be play at a higher level then our normal levels,” Younis said.

    The captain and coach, however, agree on one thing and that despite the absence of captain, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey and the in-form, Mitchell Johnson the Australians remain a formidable side.

    “The Australians are very professional and they have enough bench strength to overcome the absence of any player,” Alam a former Pakistan captain said.

    Younis also made it clear that he was not expecting miracles from fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar who returns to the side for the important series.

    “I am not going to put any extra pressure on him and expect him to perform miracles. But I do want him and all the other players to just give their 100 per cent and play with commitment,” he said.

  32. #32 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 9, 2009 - 1:07 PM

    LOL @ Rana Nayeee’s demands. He needs guarantees from the PCB for his central contract now. What he is forgetting is, he was dropped from the team after his pathetic performance in the WC and then he knew that his career is over, he joined the rebel ICL, rather he jumped at the first offer he got. And then, after achieving some degree of success by bowling at the second string of Indian batting, rather club level rookies and a few international retirees he thinks he is the real LAHORE KA BADSHAH? Oh, come on Nayeee ji, you aren’t that great that you would be selected automatically and your demands would be met at any cost. UNLESS, you have a Senator or a Minister behind you or you are a derailed Maal Gaari, which you are not, so tusi jao apna Nayeee da kaam kero, Dukaan kholo tay aish kero!

    Munir

    What is this Apna business with you? The other day you called me Apna Javed and today you are calling Apna Afridi. Is it a co-incidence or am I am very observant? Now, don’t tell me “I was expecting this was coming from you” because that would be a cliche and you can do better than that.

    Lagta hai

    Apnao nay gham diyeh tumhay tou hum yaad aagaye
    Zinda hain kitnay log WHATEVER kiyeh baghair ….

    Balkay

    Ghairaon ki baat nahee hai, yae qissa hai apnaon ka!

  33. #33 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 9, 2009 - 1:17 PM

    Why does Intekhab Alam have to deal with the media so much? Everyday this old fart is giving a new statement. His job is to coach the team and not give stupid statements to the media. They should gag him with a few old and smelly pair of socks to shut him up.

    Mr. M. Y. Kasim

    Remember I mentioned earlier that there was news about Ponting and some key players will not be playing? So, it is correct that Ponting, Mike Hussey and Mitchel Johnson all of these players are in terrific form will not be playing against Pakistan. OK, I know that they have called Symonds in the team who has always played good against Pakistan, but he has not been playing cricket for a while. However, the name of Australia is enough for Pakistani players to put their tails between their legs when there is a slide i.e., when wickets start tumbling and they crumble like a cookie under pressure.

  34. #34 by khansahab on April 9, 2009 - 1:28 PM

    The cricketers don’t realise that the country has given them fame, glamour and money. Their first priority should be the country and nothing else.
    I’ve seen Razzaq and Yousuf say that they are professional cricketers and hence will play for whoever is offering them a contract (i.e. money). This contradicts their other statements that Pakistan is their top priority and that they are loyal to Pakistan.

    They have to make up their minds whether they are professionals or whether they are patriotic countrymen. In today’s world it is difficult to be both.

    The truth is that both these players were under threat of being dropped. After Inzamam’s departure Yousuf was expecting to be made captain but the PCB ignored him. He was dropped for the T20 World Cup and question marks were being raised about his commitment and fitness.

    Similarly Razzaq was performing poorly since 2005 and it was necessary to drop him.

    So they joined ICL to save their own skins and whatever their problems with Shoaib Malik or the PCB might have been, money was their foremost priority. This whole talk of “representing your country” and “taking pride in representing your country” is bullshit.

    Malik also claimed many times during his captaincy that he is a professional and he is still learning. Whenever Pakistan got hammered by India he always said the same thing, “It hurts to lose to India but we are professionals so we need to learn…..” bla bla bla.

    If they are professionals, the first thing they need to understand is that discipline and commitment is the key. Team unity is also very important. When you are working in a professional environment, regardless of what personal problems you may have with individuals, you never let that affect the performance of your unit, or organisation, or whatever.

    Pakistani cricketers don’t even understand the meaning of “professionalism”; all they care about is money.

  35. #35 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 10, 2009 - 2:39 AM

    BUTT GYRATES AND ROARS A FART AGAIN

    Ijaz Butt, Intekhab Alam and Saleem Altaf,
    these three combined with the leap frog spinner cum selector Abdul Qadir are making too much noise, they have some kinda verbal diarrhea and they simply cannot control it. I guess they need Immodium Extra Strength.

    Here is what Butt has once again blabbed out, check out the link and read the article also, this is just a preliminary plan just like loud thinking and Butt cannot digest this news, he wants to show to the entire Pakistan that he is “hardly” working to get rid of his constipation instead he is splattering excreta all the time.

    http://content.cricinfo.com/pakistan/content/current/story/398984.html

    Malaysia, Ireland and Scotland among Pakistan’s offshore options

    Cricinfo
    April 9, 2009

    Malaysia, Ireland and Scotland have emerged as surprise contenders to host future Pakistan “home” series. Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, confirmed that those nations, along with England and the United Arab Emirates, could become the Pakistan team’s foreign base while the domestic security risk remained high.

    While stressing his desire for cricket to make a prompt return to Pakistan, Butt said his board would announce in the next month neutral venues for impending international series. Butt has already held discussions with Giles Clarke, chairman of the ECB, regarding the feasibility of England hosting next year’s Test series between Pakistan and Australia, and will soon decide where other matches will be based.

    “We have a number of alternatives before us, and we are investigating their suitability as host venues,” Butt told Cricinfo. “We have spoken with the ECB, and we will speak again with Giles Clarke when we all get together for the next ICC meeting in Dubai. There are other alternatives too. Kuala Lumpur, Ireland and Glasgow are among those. Nothing has been finalised at this stage but we will hope to make a decision in the next month.”

    Pakistan will return to competitive cricket this month when they play Australia in a five-match one-day series, followed by a one-off Twenty20 match, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They have not played since the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore on March 3, and now face an uncertain future with teams unwilling to tour in the immediate future due to the security risk.

    England and the UAE have previously been discussed as potential foreign bases for the Pakistan team, but Malaysia, Ireland and Scotland emerged as new contenders. In 2006, Kuala Lumpur’s Kinrara Academy Oval hosted a triangular one-day series featuring India, Australia and West Indies. Ireland and Scotland, meanwhile, host international cricket on a more regular basis, as their respective national teams attempt to ascend from the Associate ranks.

    “Some have contacted us, and others we have inquired about,” Butt said. “We are investigating all possibilities. We want teams back in Pakistan as soon as possible, but for now it is important that we ensure matches still progress.”

    Warren Deutrom, the chief executive of Cricket Ireland, confirmed he had held preliminary discussion with the PCB’s chief operations officer, Salim Altaf, and was amenable to the idea of hosting Pakistan matches.

    “Our aim is to heighten interest in cricket in Ireland,” Deutrom said. “We are trying to build an argument that we are a sufficiently viable cricket nation to make the step up to the elite level. To be able to host Pakistan in limited overs and even Test matches could only help us in attracting more interest in the sport. We would be more than happy for Pakistan to play here.”

  36. #36 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 10, 2009 - 2:45 AM

    khansahab

    I agree with you that ALL these players, their whole talk of “representing your country” and “taking pride in representing your country” is bullshit. Their main aim is MONEY their priority is MONEY. They should keep their mouth shut and earn money rather than trying to fool people by saying I take pride in representing my country. It goes to prove that they think the whole nation is fool and will believe in whatever they say or blab and everyone will accept it and believe it. That’s a real load of cow manure.

  37. #37 by khansahab on April 10, 2009 - 11:00 AM

    Intikhab Alam planning spin trap for Australia

    Islamabad, April 10: Australia`s vulnerability to spin against South Africa has encouraged Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam ahead of this month`s One-day series against the world champions.

    “What I saw yesterday on television, is a good sign for us because we do have three quality spinners,” Alam said.

    “If the wickets assist spinners a little, we do have a good chance against Australia.”

    Left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe took three key Australian wickets in South Africa`s 25-run victory in the third ODI on Thursday. Two other slow bowlers JP Duminy and Johan Botha also chipped in with a wicket each.

    Pakistan has included experienced leg-spinner Shahid Afridi and off-spinners Saeed Ajmal and former captain Shoaib Malik in the squad for the five-match series against Australia, beginning from April 22 in Dubai.

    “We may go with an additional spinner, but it all depends how the wickets respond,” Alam said.

    Pakistan`s squad gathered at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday for three day`s training before flying to Dubai on Sunday.

    The Pakistan Cricket Board will also send a `B` team with the senior squad for a practice match on April 15 at the newly built cricket stadium in the Dubai Sports City, which will host the first two matches of the Australia series.

    The series moves to Abu Dhabi for the remaining three games before returning for a Twenty20 international in Dubai on May 7.

    “We are going to play the practice game on the same wicket on which we play the series opener against Australia,” Alam said.

    “It will give us a fair idea about the conditions.” Alam, who also coached the Pakistan team which won the 1992 World Cup in Australia, visited Dubai last week to see the pitch preparations with bowling coach Aaqib Javed.

    The Pakistan coach said dew at night might affect the team`s fielding under floodlights.

    “There was lot of dew during one of the matches which I saw there,” Alam said.

    “They have planned to use chemicals to counter the dew during the innings break, but we have to wait and see how it works out during our practice match.”

    Pacemen Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee both will make comebacks to international cricket in the series.

    Lee has not played for Australia this year after surgery on his foot but has traveled to South Africa to train with his team-mates.

    Akhtar made an unimpressive comeback to international cricket in January. He was dropped after taking just one wicket for 88 runs over two limited-overs games against Sri Lanka at home, failing to complete his quota of 10 overs in either.

    “Akhtar has passed a tough fitness test and if he stays fit, it will be good sign for Pakistan.”

  38. #38 by khansahab on April 10, 2009 - 11:38 AM

    The following link is of an article on NDTV India about Lahore’s Chief of Police saying that the authorities in Pakistan have found evidence of Indian involvement in the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team.

    http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090090367

    My question is, why are the Pakistani authorities so reluctant to present evidence? They have been saying for decades that they have evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism in Karachi, Afghanistan, NWFP, Baluchistan etc, so why is it never presented?

    Until some substantial evidence is presented, I don’t blame the world for thinking that Pakistani authorities are just blaming India for the sake of blaming India. It’s simple logic, not rocket science.

  39. #39 by khansahab on April 10, 2009 - 11:43 AM

    How very ironic that as soon as I posted the above comment, I visited Dawn and found the following article:

    Police arrests Indian, four others in Sihala

    Friday, 10 Apr, 2009

    RAWALPINDI: Police arrested four more suspects in Sihala on Friday, after an Indian national arrested earlier in the day confessed to planning an attack on Police College Sihala, DawnNews reported.

    Interrogation of the four arrested was underway. They were seized on a tip off by the arrested Indian.

    The earlier arrest was made in the jurisdiction of Police College Sihala, near Rawalpindi, DawnNews reported.

    He was arrested on suspicion after being seen in the area, officials said.

    An investigation team has been set up to question him, Deputy Inspector General of Police and commandant of the college Fateh Sher Joyia told DawnNews.

    However, sources said the alleged Indian spy admitted that he and others were planning terror attacks on Police College Sihala, DawnNews reported.

    The alleged spy has been handed over to secret agencies for further investigation, sources told DawnNews.

    Officials declined to give the name and other information on the Indian saying details could be shared only after the investigation process has been completed.

    However the DIG confirmed that maps of important Pakistani cities along with some phone numbers were recovered from his possession.

    The Indian was wearing five thick shirts and a belt, a police official said.

  40. #40 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 10, 2009 - 11:57 AM

    Didn’t I say that Intekhab Alam, Ijaz Butt, Saleem Altaf et al have gone bonkers? Now, Alam’s new discovery of Australian players vulnerability against spin and Alam’s plans to introduce trio spin to attack the Aussies is negating the selection of Rawalpindi Maal Gaari. So, why is he keeping him in the team? Only to scare the Australians, WTF? Why are they talking so much to the media? Every day there is a new statement and every statement negates the other one. It reminds me of Gen. Zia ul Haq CMLA (Chief Martial Law Administrator) which people later changed CMLA to Cancel My Last Announcement. But, here there is no cancellation of any previous statement, they keep piling up their verbose which stinks.

  41. #41 by khansahab on April 10, 2009 - 2:54 PM

    Shoaib Akhtar on ICC’s dope testing scanner

    Karachi, April 10: Pakistan`s controversial pacer Shoaib Akhtar can be specifically targeted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) if it opted to carry our random dope tests during the one-day series between Pakistan and Australia starting in Dubai from April 22.

    According to the media reports Friday, some of the cricketers featuring in the one-day series can be asked to undergo dope tests by the ICC in line with the new anti-doping regulations adopted by the game`s governing body.

    If such tests are carried out, Shoaib will be an ideal candidate because of his past track record and the fact that he mysteriously became fit just weeks after suffering from a serious knee problem.

    Shoaib, 33, tested positive for banned anabolic steroid nandrolone during the 2006 Champions Trophy in India. He has been mostly out of international action since then either due to injury or suspension.

    But he made a stunning comeback to the Pakistan team for the April 22-May 7 series against the Aussies earlier this month after passing a series of fitness tests.

    Reports suggested that the bowler may find himself in trouble during the series against the Aussies if asked to undergo dope tests.

    The ICC has toughened its anti-doping policies. In February, a team of ICC experts had briefed the Pakistan players, backroom staff and officials on the new ICC Anti-Doping Code (2009) which came into effect Jan 1.

    The code has several changes from the ICC`s previous anti-doping regulations, including the adoption of the International Registered Testing Pool (IRTP), made up of the leading players from each of the top eight ranked ODI teams.

    Those players selected in the IRTP are required to provide additional information about their whereabouts throughout the year in order that the ICC can implement an effective out-of-competition testing programme in line with the requirements of the WADA Code 2009.

    The ICC became a signatory of WADA in July 2006 and the ICC Anti-Doping Code (2009), unanimously incorporated by the ICC Executive Board, indicates an overwhelming level of support for a zero-tolerance approach to drugs within the game of cricket.

  42. #42 by khansahab on April 10, 2009 - 3:22 PM

    The biggest problem with the Pakistani squad is that apart from Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shahzad, they are all tried and tested “nothing” players. And the problem with Ahmed and Nasir is that they are out of form, as evidenced in the RBS One Day Cup.

    What is the point of selecting people like Rao Ifthikar and Yasir Arafat on this pitch? Arafat is a good bowler, but his style is more suited to pitches that assist pace bowling. He is more like a replacement for Abdul Razzaq rather than a genuine fast bowler. Tanvir so far has been OK if you look at his overall career, but he will be played like a genuine all rounder, especially if Ajmal is playing because Ajmal is likely to be played in all matches unless he bowls horribly in the first 2.

    So having 2 bowling all rounders in Tanvir and Arafat is likely to weaken the pace bowling. They might go with Tanvir and Gul opening the bowling (on the assumption that Akhtar will be unfit going forward in the 2nd or 3rd match), then Rao and Ajmal restricting the run rate in the middle overs and Afridi and Malik providing the support to Rao and Ajmal. This is the problem I have, Afridi should be Younis’s 3rd or 4th bowling change, not his 5th or 6th bowling change.

    I have not seen the UAE pitches but Sohail Khan or Mohammad Aamir should have definitely played instead of Rao. The pitches are unlikely to produce a prolonged period of swing or seam, so pace would definitely have helped.

    I don’t think Fawad Alam will get any chance. They already have 3 spinners in Malik, Afridi and Ajmal, so they don’t need another one. Batting wise, the middle order will undoubtedly be Younis, Misbah, Afridi and Malik.

  43. #43 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 10, 2009 - 3:50 PM

    khansahab

    Saeed Ajmal is a nonsense player just like Abdul Rahman and, he is there because he is Malik’s friend he came in to the team because of Malik and the Punjab Cricket Board wants to retain him. Fawad Alam can not only bowl better than Ajmal but, his batting is pretty useful and you need someone who is like Fawad Alam, a genuine all-rounder with excellent fielding skills, whereas, Ajmal is a butter fingered Khudda fielder.

    I seriously doubt that the Actor will play more than 2 matches. Or, if he is tested positive for drugs then he is gone, this time for good. So, the chances are they will play Rao Ifti over Arafat. Rao, at times bowls sensibly and doesn’t give too many runs, but in the last few matches against SL he was thrashed all over the park. Arafat is like what Abdul Razzaq used to be in his last few matches i.e., mediocre and he skids the ball for that he needs different kinda wicket not the UAE glass top pitches. Otherwise, he is a handy batsman too. Tanvir not only needs to correct his line and length but also his attitude. After the IPL success, he has become very arrogant and ineffective as well as expensive. Like I’ve said before he is in the making of another Mohammad Asaf. The sooner he throws that attitude the better it is for him.

  44. #44 by khansahab on April 10, 2009 - 6:20 PM

    The problem with this plan of using 3 spinners is that only 1 spinner is experienced and aggressive enough to pick important wickets (Afridi).

    So apart from that who else remains? Tanvir may or may not perform, it depends how he can manage a batting-friendly pitch and what kind of mental strength we see from him.

    One thing is certain, if Australia score more than 250, there is no way Pakistan can reach that target with bowlers like Lee, Bracken and Watson. Against Pakistan, Lee has taken 33 wickets in 19 matches at a strike rate of a wicket per 31 balls. So Pakistani batsmen need to attack him from the outset. Whereas Bracken is a very crafty bowler who will force Pakistanis to make mistakes.

  45. #45 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 10, 2009 - 7:46 PM

    Its not just Lee and Bracken, they have Tait and Symonds too.

  46. #46 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 12:37 AM

    Omer

    I think we would all drop Malik if we could. But he has a fixed status in the team. Even if he averages 25 this year, he will still stay in the team.

    Your claims of dropping Malik may have some merit, but they are too ambitious. Plus, he is now a “former captain” and he is kind of like the 2nd most senior player in the team after Younis. PCB officials, fellow players speak his name with respect.

    I would drop Butt, Malik, Misbah if I could, but I know that won’t happen for whatever reason. Similarly, I have followed Fawad’s performance for the past 2.5 years. In my books the way he has played makes him appear a “near-genius”. Sadly for whatever reason there is no place for him in the team. There is a major body of opinion that considers Malik and Misbah as reliable players and they have statistics and reasonable arguments to back their support. Now we may not agree with statistics or their arguments, similarly they will not agree with our arguments and statistics.

    Keeping this dilemma in mind, I consider it appropriate to include Malik and Misbah in my line-ups. They are not like openers or Akhtar whom we can discount with more conviction.

  47. #47 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 11, 2009 - 1:01 AM

    khansahab

    There is no way they would drop Malik for obvious reasons and you have already mentioned a few, btw he is not the second most senior player after Younus, actually in terms of international cricket seniority right now Afridi is the senior most player, more senior than Akhtar and Younus. But, its not the seniority that matters.

    Misbah’s T20 WC performance and a test century in India against India are the only feathers in his cap, other than that he has not performed, in fact he has performed the way he has been performing ever since he made his debut and that is the reason he was out for such a long time. His current form makes him look like a mediocre player and it is also a known fact that he is not a finisher. In fact he dies just before he is dead. 😀

    Butt, slows down the tempo of the game in T20 and ODI, and against Australian attack if he survives for 15-20 overs and makes 20 odd runs then he is not worth to be in the team. Younus Khan in ODI’s is not a dependable player. Malik might score a 50 and that is the max he can do. You need someone to score big and play fast, someone like Sehwag and that you won’t find in Pakistan’s team of today. Afridi hasn’t been scoring in any form of the game, it is his bowling that is keeping him in the side.

    If it was a T20 series or, for the future T20 WC, I would send, Afridi and Imran Nazir to open the innings in every single match irrespective of what the result would be. Because, in a tournament both of them will not be out for a duck in the first round of 6-7 matches. If 4 times out of 6-7 matches if one of them scores, Pakistan can not only win that match but, they would be on top of the table, because the rest of the players will also contribute something, so a good start for Pakistan is very important.

    If you look at India’s team, Sehwag and Gambhir score very fast, Gambhir is slower than Sehwag but, he is much faster than Salman Butt, so whenever Sehwag scores 50-60 odd runs in 25-30 balls the game is over and Gambhir continues. In the final of the last T20 WC, it was Gambhir who played the anchor role and scored 70 odd runs and in the end it was Irfan Pathan and Rohit Sharma added quick 30-40 runs to make their total a respectable one and that was enough to add pressure on Pakistan’s unreliable batting line up.

  48. #48 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 11:03 AM

    This is unbelievable. Is Younas asking for trouble?

    Confident Younus says Australia will be whitewashed

    LAHORE: Pakistan captain Younus Khan predicted a 5-0 whitewash of Australia in the upcoming series and said that paceman Shoaib Akhtar did not need any advice from him as he was not a child.

    The captain talked to reporters after concluding the first day of the training camp at Gaddafi Stadium on Friday. Responding to a reporter’s comment that the experts predict that Pakistan would face a whitewash at the hands of world champions Australia, a smiling Younus said it would no doubt be 5-0, but in favour of Pakistan.

    ‘Our former coach Bob Woolmer (late) had always been considering every series as 50-50 and we will start it from 50-50 and will improve the chances by giving better performance on every day,’ he said.

    Pakistan and Australia are to play five One-day International and one Twenty20 in Dubai and Abu Dhabi from April 22 to May 7. A short three-day camp has been started at the Gaddafi Stadium from Friday, amid tight security as a good number of policemen had been deployed in and around the stadium to provide safety to the players.

    Younus admitted that it was the fact that Pakistan lacked international cricket exposure, but the boys had the potential to overcome the drawback.

    ‘Our last series against Bangladesh has been postponed and furthermore the home Test series against Sri Lanka was also incomplete due to a tragedy, therefore, we lack in international cricket,’ Younus said.

    ‘But remember how Pakistan defeated England in 2005, who came here after beating Australia in the Ashes series,’ Younus said.

    Asked about maverick Shoaib Akhtar’s poor performance in the training camp, Younus said he though Shoaib might not have been in good form in the nets, the media should watch Shoaib in the match as that was the real platform to examine the performance of a player.

    Asked if he had given any advice to Shoaib, Younus said: ‘Who am I to give him advice, as he (Shoaib) is not a child and very well know what the team expect from him.’

    ‘Like other players, Shoaib is also duty bound to play for the country and the team and not for himself. I feel no difference between Shoaib Akhtar and upcoming Ahmad Shahzad as far as performance of a player is concerned. Everyone has to play for the country and perform and only those who will not come up to the expectation will be my target,’ he said.

    Younus said it was bad luck that three key players of Australia (Ricky Ponting, M Hussey and Mitchell Johnson) were not touring.

    ‘We will be glad by giving good performance against the Australian best side, but in the absence of three players Australian team may have shaken’, he said.

    Younus said Pakistan had a best opening pair in Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed adding that third opener Ahmad Shahzad was the fittest player of the Pakistan team.

    He asked the media and public to support Pakistan team as a victory against Australia would help a lot to revive Pakistan cricket, which had been badly affected due to terrorism.

    ‘We are going with our best side to play against Australia, and people and media should support their team even our success rate will be 40 per cent,’ he said.

    ‘It was the public and media support which helped us a lot in giving tit-for-tat reply to Sri Lankan’s big total in the two Test match series,’ he said.

    ‘Some (of our) finest players like Mohammad Yousaf are also not available for the team due to their affiliation with the ICL, as with them Pakistan can field a more strong side (sic),’ he said.

    Meanwhile, Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam said that Nasir had twisted his ankle in the camp, but the injury was not serious as enough time was remaining to start the series. Fast bowler Umar Gul was also little limping as a ball struck on his foot, but the injury is not serious.

  49. #49 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 11, 2009 - 1:56 PM

    LOL @ YK’s pre-match interviews and comments. Remember when England was visiting Pakistan and Pakistan had beaten them 3-0 in a 5 match ODI series, Inzi was captain and in the 4th match Inzi did not play for some reason and YK took over the captaincy and at the toss interview just before the start of the match, when asked to comment, YK said, “I am going to win, because winning is my habit.” This is called poor choice of words and over confidence, Pakistan lost that ODI.

    May be YK was trying to say that Australia might beat Pakistan 5-0 and that will be a whitewash. 😀

    And, read this stupid comment from him: “Younus said Pakistan had a best opening pair in Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed adding that third opener Ahmad Shahzad was the fittest player of the Pakistan team.” ****

    Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed????? Younus must be having too much of Niswar or he is on crack to say that. And talking about fitness, Nasir Jamshed has already twisted his ankle during practice, hope he wasn’t playing soccer with Shoaib Malik? And Gul has a knack of getting unfit just like Grand Pa Actor. So, this team already is on crutches and hoping to beat, not hoping but roaring to beat Australia 5-0 ?? There is an expression in Urdu, i.e., when you say such stupid things, someone says: “Mian Aqal kay Naqoon lo.” I hope they go to the nails shop and buy some 😀 And Malik will say I wanna buy the Pink ones. 😀

    Ps.

    Why is anyone not hitting a ball on Intikhab Alam’s face? At least that will make him Shut Up for a while.

    PPs. **** May be Younas meant, Butt and Jamshed are the Best opening pair of “Gully Cricket,” which they play with a tape ball.

  50. #50 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 11, 2009 - 2:17 PM

    Younus Khan must stop this Biblical quotes of Bob said this and Bob said that. There is no more Bob, that is “theend of the estory.” Learn to live without remembering Bob and play like a man and not like a sissy. I don’t want to be harsh on Younus Khan, but I am against his choice of words and expressions that are coming through the media.

    He says: “Everyone has to play for the country and perform and only those who will not come up to the expectation will be my target.” What if he couldn’t come up to our expectations and not perform well?

    First of all as a captain he needs to pick up the right team for the match and secondly, he needs to inspire them. If the Actor is in the playing XI he too needs inspiration and motivation and not given a cold shoulder by saying: “‘Who am I to give him advice, as he (Shoaib) is not a child and very well know what the team expect from him.”

    Younus Khan you are the bloody Captain, do we need to remind you? So, you better behave like one, instead of starting your sermon with “BOBlickAll Quotes” and diss one of your senior players and then warn everyone of hellfire like a Mullah and then warn ALL of them by saying you will be my target.

    To be very honest, I am very disappointed by his comments. The only thing that will save his ass now is by playing well and winning the series.

  51. #51 by Awas on April 11, 2009 - 4:58 PM

    Lets look at the bright side too…optimism is a good sign 🙂 We all live in hope. After Sri Lanka sad incidence this is a long overdue major series under our new captain, so let’s support him and give him some encouragement. Not much cricket to come after that which is another problem. Go Younis Go!

    2009 may be the year that Afridi shines with bat too and I hope brings best out of him as an all rounder under Younis. A lot depends on our three Pathans Younis, Afridi and Gul as without doubt they are our best players at the moment in the absence of Mohammed Yousuf who succumbed to greed.

    Javed, I don’t agree that “Younus Khan in ODI’s is not a dependable player”. He has played some wonderful knocks in ODI’s whenever he is able to settle. Not too long ago our batting revolved around just the three batsmen, Inzi, Yousuf and Younis. Others were in the main just hit and miss. As far as bowling is concerned there isn’t much to talk about after Gul and Afridi. Shaoib would again prove to be nothing but hot air.

  52. #52 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 5:34 PM

    No Indian hand in Lahore attack, says Pak Interior Minister

    A day after the Police chief of Lahore claimed that India was involved in two militant attacks in the city last month, Pakistan Interior Minister Rahman Malik today denied any Indian link to the attack.

    Ruling out any Indian link to the Lahore attacks, he warned Taliban and said they must lay down arms.

  53. #53 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 6:07 PM

    Ashraf lashes out at Pak ICL players

    Karachi, April 11: Former PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf lashed out at Pakistani cricketers aligned with Indian Cricket League for crying hoarse on their ban, saying that the board had to follow ICC rules.

    “Some of these players have made incorrect statements about their discussions with me and the board. As far as the PCB is concerned our position was clear since the ICC didn`t recognise the ICL we had to ban the players,” he said.

    “These players joined ICL for good money and PCB has no problems with that. But now they should not behave as if the PCB did injustice to them. We had followed rules,” he added.

    Ashraf wondered how former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq can criticise PCB for dropping three ICL players from Twenty20 World Cup provisional list.

    “The criticism is unjustified. ICL is an unauthorised tournament. The ICC or member boards can`t allow anyone to organise private tournaments.”

    He also defended his decision to appoint Shoaib Malik as national team captain when he was PCB chief.

    “I was the first person to offer captaincy to Younis Khan after 2007 World Cup. But it was after he refused to take up the challenge that we turned to Malik and it was the correct decision at that time,” said Ashraf, who resigned as PCB chief in August last year.

  54. #54 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 6:16 PM

    Awas

    Good comment from you offering an alternative to analysing Younis’s strange comments. My opinion is that optimism is OK when it is said within the bounds of realism. Saying Pakistan will win the series 5-0 is too ambitious a claim.

    I don’t know what curse hangs over Pakistani players and officials when they get promoted to positions of responsibility. Malik arguably made the most stupid and careless statements. We have Inthikab Alam who gives at least 1 useless interview everyday and Shoaib Akhtar also blabs nonsense which always comes out wrong. Akhtar behaves like a smartarse but recently he gave a statement saying Pakistan will beat Australia easily, but the next day he completeley changed his statement and said Australia are going ahead as favourites.

    Maybe it’s the fact that Shoaib Akhtar passed his fitness test that led Younis to say these strange comments.

    I agree with Javed A Khan that now Younis needs to respond with his bat. All of a sudden there has been an overwhelming responsibility on Younis’s shoulders- a responsibility that was absent only two years ago when Inzamam and Yousuf, both were present in the team.

    Younis commands respect, has a good batting record, is one of the few players or perhaps the only player who is uninterested in the financial rewards of international cricket, and is a team man and pillar of support for seniors like Malik and Akhtar. He can do better than give these “Malik-and-Inthikab Alam-like” statements.

  55. #55 by Abdul on April 11, 2009 - 7:48 PM

    Pakistani Players Featuring In County Cricket 2009 ……………….

    Rana Naved-Yorkshire

    Yasir Arafat- Sussex

    Azhar Mahmood-Kent

    Danish Kaneria-Essex

    Imran Tahir-Hampshire

    Murtaza Hussain-Surrey

  56. #56 by Abdul on April 11, 2009 - 7:56 PM

    Why was Ajmal chosen ahead of Yasir Shah? Ajmal is a container and can’t really make any constructive impact, turn a match on its head etc. If not Shah, Mansoor Amjad should have come into consideration as he is another attacking option. A very disappointing team selection it has to be said.Pak management lack genuine enterprise to be flexible in selection and think outside the box.

    REVISION IS TOO STRESSFUL!

  57. #57 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 9:21 PM

    Abdul

    I am agree with you insofar the selection of Ajmal who is likely to fail to make a constructive impact. I also feel the Pak management lacks star trek enterprise to be flexible in selection.

    I am not too sure about Amjad. Amjad has been suffering from many injuries and lately he has been playing as a batsman for Sialkot region. Many people say his international career is over because he is not picking up wickets.

  58. #58 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 9:34 PM

    Omer

    They are not world champions anymore, but they are still a top 3 side. Johnson is being rested so he will not trouble Pakistan. In any event he is more destructive in Tests. But I agree regarding Bracken.

    Yousuf playing instead of Malik or Misbah would definitely have been an advantage. I was surprised to see Yousuf averages 40 against Aus in ODI’s; that’s incredible according to Pakistani standards. Conversely Younis only averages 16 against Aus.

    Btw Ponting is also being rested which is why I said earlier that the main threats are Lee, Bracken, Clarke etc. Symonds, Watson- they are also useful players. I won’t call Tait a threat because his career has been haphazard due to injuries. But with pace he can definitely trouble Butt and Jamshed.

  59. #59 by khansahab on April 11, 2009 - 11:13 PM

    Omer

    Misbah is OK I guess, just needs to start finishing matches and stop playing stupid shots. I said before once that he is the best at T20, OK at ODI and then worst at Test level.

    What I have been disappointed about which I guess is understandable, is that he has not been able to provide the stability that Yousuf provided. However, this seems to have had good effect on Younis because now Younis is batting as well as anyone else in the world.

  60. #60 by Mohammed Munir on April 12, 2009 - 10:11 AM

    Javed Khan …

    Regarding the “Apna” business, well it was bit of both as it sure was a ‘coincidence’ and you are definitely very ‘observant’ also 😉

    As Khan Sahab has very clearly and categorically said above that, “None of the Punjabi players are reliable in this squad”, and moreover it is also mentioned in between the lines somewhere that Afridi too is not consistent, while Gul have a knack of getting injured before the all important games, so it seems we are not left with much of options are we? Whereas Younis Khan is a very moody player and nothing really motivates him much, so he will perform only when he ‘wants to’.

    So with this background, we sure have a good chance of a 5-0 whitewash, as pointed by the captain himself 😉

    “I am agree” with your comments no. 58, Younis Khan talks too big for his shoes and there was absolutely no need to boast about a 5-0 whitewash. Secondly, Bob is gone and there is nothing that can be done abouit it, but I guess Younis was a very attached to Bob and he is still finding it hard to come to terms with Bob’s death, I mean what was the need for qouting him.

    Younis Khan certainly is the most dependable batsman, or rather the only dependable batsman, in our team and he is very athletic, a good fielder and a team player, but I consider him a bit too lenient with the ‘boys’ and he does not command the kind of authority which Imran Khan had over his team. What is the need to take the entire team to watch an Indian movie, I guess it was Devdas, if the very next day you loose a match to India? In my opinion, and for our part of the world, a dominating and a strong character like Shahid Afridi would have been more suitable and also helpful in controlling a bunch of youngsters.

    On PCB and our ICL players issue, well I have a difference of opinion with most of the above comments. Just like anyone else, our ICL players have full right to earn their livelihood and in the best possible way suitable to them, weather it comes through PCB or ICL. PCB comprises of a bunch of jokers and they are making absolutely contrasting statements and actions over the last few weeks. As during February 2009, Sind Court overturned the PCB ban on the ICL players and at that time there was a talk that PCB would disregard the ICL ban and allow all it’s players to play internationals games. Now, as always, PCB went back on their words and these ICL players are in a mess now.

    If PCB does not have the guts to stand against BCCI, then why should these player be penalized by neither playing for PCB nor for ICL, considering that many of them have already reached the twilights of their career.

  61. #61 by khansahab on April 12, 2009 - 12:04 PM

    Munir sahab

    Another good analysis from you. I will disagree where you have said that Younis is a moody player and only performs when he wants to. Also, Gul’s injuries are genuine and being an express fast bowler, one can excuse him for being injured so often. However, the rate at which he gets injured is definitely alarming and I think the bowling coach and PCB are to be blamed for this.

    Gul’s injury problems are not the same as Akhtar’s. Akhtar has been overweight for a long time, probably during half his career. Akhtar does not follow the advice of doctors and does not look after his attitude and fitness. Also, Gul does not have a discipline problem and his commitment to the team and the country has never been in question. He is aggressive without being a bully.

    Coming back to Younis, saying that he is a team player but only performs when he wants to, is a contradiction. I have criticised Younis because he used to have a habit of playing airy or careless shots when there was a need for him to stay at the crease, but I have noticed he does that very less now. As I said, he has become a much more mature and responsible player since the departure of Inzamam and Yousuf.

    If Shoaib Akhtar was more committed, if Misbah did not play stupid shots at crunch siutations, if Malik had better first-class credentials, then there was no need for me to say that none of the Punjabis in the squad are reliable. The Younis and Gul of the past two years are definitely reliable. And I only made that comment about Punjabi players being unreliable because you commented that you are “not surprised” that I did not include a Punjabi in my reliable players’ list.

  62. #62 by Awas on April 12, 2009 - 1:14 PM

    khansahab

    Very well said and I totally agree with all you said here. As I said before, apart from Younis, Gul and Afridi (in that order) there isn’t much to talk about in the current team right now. Any other player whichever region he came from was justly criticised and I endorse your views there.

    Younis’ attributes that you describe are precisely the reason I said “Let’s look at the bright side too”. It is natural for enthusiasts to criticise every word that we hear about cricket from the people that matter but criticism for criticism sake can also become unconstructive. There is no doubt Pakistani enthusiasts are unique in how they criticise their team 🙂

    After reading again what Younis said, it seems to have been taken out of context as what he said was this:

    “Responding to a reporter’s comment that the experts predict that Pakistan would face a whitewash at the hands of world champions Australia, a smiling Younus said it would no doubt be 5-0, but in favour of Pakistan”. Whish is a whole lot different to saying “Pakistan will win the series 5-0”.

  63. #63 by Abdul on April 12, 2009 - 2:15 PM

    I agree with Munir. BCCI and ICC continue to develop extreme biasness against the PCB. They are looking to destroy its future by blocking player pathways. Without their inclusion Pakistan cricket will always be a lost soul which lacks excitement and “buzz” to watch and the firepower and expertise to become a competitive force.

    PCB should stop acting like a scapegoat rebel and stand up for its future. Why shall we allow Pakistan cricket to suffer and neglect such extraordinary talent from participating in the national side at the expense of pleasing some governing bodies?

  64. #64 by Mohammed Munir on April 13, 2009 - 4:15 AM

    Javed Khan …

    On ‘definitely’ and ‘each time you do that I catch you’ …

    So at least I was right about you being “very observent” 😉

  65. #65 by Abdul on April 13, 2009 - 9:02 AM

    Younis: Pakistan will win 5-0.

    Either this is a “slip of tongue” or failure to convey across the wanted message. Or this is an exaggerated optimistic approach. In that case he’s talked the talk, now walk the walk Mr Khan.

  66. #66 by Abdul on April 13, 2009 - 9:29 AM

    As regards to this age tendency of blooding in teenagers to play for the national side has been morale of the nation. However, this is unreliable data. The nation’s sports industry has been one with many fake birth certificates and age misreading due to lack of awareness on the subject matter. As a matter of fact wrist tests were conducted in both the U15 and U19 WC’s and several players were found overage. Furthermore the player’s physical appearance always looks suspicious from an age perspective.

  67. #67 by khansahab on April 13, 2009 - 10:46 AM

    Waqar doubts ICL players’ commitment

    Cricinfo staff

    April 13, 2009

    Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis has questioned the commitment of the Pakistan players who were keen to be part of the national team after featuring in the unofficial ICL. The players have been critical of the international ban, but Waqar said they should have put their country ahead of the ICL.

    “I am a strong believer that a cricketer should be permitted to play anywhere, but in this (ICL) case I think somewhere there is a doubt,” Waqar said. “It means country was not dear to you before [joining the ICL].”

    Currently, all the ICL players are ineligible for their national teams as the league is in direct conflict with the officially recognised IPL organized by the BCCI. However, the future of the ICL players will come up for discussion when the ICC executive board meets in Dubai on April 17-18.

    Last week, the PCB had named three ICL players – Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir and Naved-ul Hasan – in its list of 30 probables for the World Twenty20 in England, only to replace them the day after. While Razzaq played for the Hyderabad Heroes, Nazir and Naved helped Lahore Badshahs win the ICL 20-20 Indian Championship last season.

    The dramatic flip-flop by the board highlighted the confusion regarding the status of the ICL players, which led to the administrators considering a “cooling period” ranging between six to 12 months for players who wished to return to the national fold from the unauthorised league.

    The move from the PCB drew criticism from Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain, and Lahore Badshahs skipper who slammed the board’s “unprofessional thinking”. He said the Pakistan board and the selectors should have shown more respect to the three players who have represented the country.

  68. #68 by Ibrar Choudhary on April 13, 2009 - 11:17 AM

    yaar pakistan is gona win. why you losing hope so quickly? we have potential and players are going through good morale.

    by the way yaar abdul, what exactly are you trying to say in comment 78? my english is not great so i need some explanation plz…..hope you dont mind!!

  69. #69 by Abdul on April 13, 2009 - 4:23 PM

    LOL at Waqar Younis remarks about ICL players betraying the bounty of national pride. That is quite frankly nonsense. Most international sides will openly recognise, utilise and support such talent with both hands as a god gifted blessing. PCB needs to get a grip and consider the wider picture for the benefit of players, fans and team morale as a whole. They need to appeal against this policy otherwise it will be a mighty regret of formidable talent lost.

    As highlighted by many bloggers already the inclusion of the likes of Rana and Nazir will certainly make Pakistan a grand attraction in the T20WC with the potential to go the distance in terms of restoring cricket pride in the nation and winning the tournament. This just underlines the influential impact these names can bring on the nations fate.

    Without these iconic names Pakistan will lack the ego, credentials and experience to succeed on the international stage.ICC should clear up this petty regulation once and all otherwise our T20 glory hopes could be a distant dream or will be shall I say.

  70. #70 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 13, 2009 - 4:29 PM

    Intekhab Alam blabbed again. His daily splattering has become a routine. This time he believes that “on his day Shoaib Akhtar can be a deadly bowler.” Yeah, on his day! Those days have gone jab Khaleel Khan faqta uraya kertay thay! He is a Maal Gaari and a big liability in the team. He will be injured or unfit after two overs and then not only him would be sitting in the dugout but, the team would be limping towards a certain defeat with a bowler short and low morale.

    Right now the morale of the Australian team is very low after being thrashed by the South Africans and Pakistanis will give the Aussies the energy boost drink that is needed – batting and bowling practice – and the Aussies will go back home after whitewashing the series against Pakistan.

  71. #71 by M. Y.. Kasim on April 13, 2009 - 11:37 PM

    Javed Khan,

    With due respect, I was shocked to read you included Zaheer Abbas as a match-winner? He was nothing more than a flat-track bully and has never contributed a single run which has significantly helped in saving or winning a match. All his big ones have been scored either on sub-continents or docile English wickets, not seaming or traditional ones.

    Check his statics, Australia, New Zealand or West Indies has never seen this so-called “Asian Bradman” performing!!

    Asif Iqbal, Mushtaq Mohammed, Majid Khan and Younus Khan, were and are the real heroes alongwith those mentioned by you and even Mohammed Yousuf sometimes had some part but Zaheer Abbas, Never, Ever.

    I am sorry, I dont mean to offend you but feel stongly about it.

  72. #72 by JAVED A. KHAN on April 14, 2009 - 1:35 AM

    Mr. M Y Kasim; no offense taken, I quite agree with you about Zaheer Abbass, I realized that later that he has not won matches for Pakistan but scored a few double hundreds. So, I stand corrected. I thought of Asif Iqbal and Mushtaq Mohammad too, but other than Asif’s Oval innings of 149 with Intekhab Alam, I have no clue if he has made any significant contribution to win a match for Pakistan. Younus Khan’s big double hundreds have helped Pakistan and he won the man of the match award for that twice.


    In Bangalore
    Younus Khan’s double hundred and Inzi’s 189 on his 100th test match which Pakistan won against India was mainly because of Shahid Afridi’s quickfire 59 in 27 balls that gave the time for the Pakistan team to bowl out India, and Afridi took 3 crucial wickets of Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly.

    In Karachi,
    Younus Khan scored a double century in the second innings or, he was out on 199 I am not sure and he was man of the match, whereas imo our wicketkeeper KHATMAL should have been the MOM because he was the only one who stood there and scored a century in the first innings to give Pakistan that 20 odd runs lead in the first innings, otherwise Irfan Pathan took a hatrick and those out were Salman Butt, Younus Khan and Mohammad Yousuf. So, Younus Khan’s contribution is more like Zaheer Abbass’s and you cannot ignore that because making 200 plus runs a few times is not easy.

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