RETURN OF THE KING

King Yousuf

King Yousuf

Michael Jackson’s tour of the UK scheduled for this year was being hailed as the “Return of the King”. Jackson was the King of Pop and unfortunately, his fans will not see his much-awaited return. But there is another King, and his fans did see his fantastic return where he silenced all critics and cemented his status as a legendary batsman.

If consistency is the criterion, then no Pakistani batsman can match Yousuf. Since 2000, Yousuf has never averaged under 40 in a given year in Tests.  What makes Yousuf different to Inzamam and Younis is that Yousuf has somehow garnered 24 Test centuries without being noticed. That very fact makes Yousuf seem less significant to the team at the same time; indeed, Inzamam and Younis generally made/make centuries to save or win matches for Pakistan.
Yet, that should not make one think less of Yousuf. Tendulkar, probably the greatest batsman of all time also does not have a reputation of being a match winner for India. But he has scored plenty of runs at amazing consistency, something he shares with Mohammad Yousuf.

The century Yousuf made in his comeback Test is more than just an addition to his glorious statistics. It has demonstrated a side of Yousuf we don’t see regularly- or perhaps we don’t notice when we ought to. Such is Yousuf’s meek and introverted personality that as an individual, he often fails to get himself noticed. Yet, his bat has done the talking, and his statistics don’t lie. In this comeback Test we have seen Yousuf’s mental strength, we have seen his “revenge” on certain team mates or PCB officials who thought he was redundant, and most important of all, Yousuf has made us realise how much the team needs him and how much the Pakistan cricket fans need him.

Yousuf fought to get this century. He survived many close LBW appeals. He ran hard and he persisted in humid conditions. The determination was visible on his face and his body language. Only a great player can arrive on the crease with such contrivance, and have the guts, skill and tenacity to see it through. Every run he obtained was through careful, workman-like execution. His trademark lazy and effortless drives were barely seen. However, there is a certain charm and a certain elegance to the way Yousuf makes his many runs, whatever the circumstances and however the execution thereof. So much so that even an innings that features only a handful of boundaries seems like a spectacle.

Pakistans most consistent batsman

Pakistan's most consistent batsman

Consistency has not been the strength of Pakistan’s batsmen. Inzamam was a great player, but he was inconsistent. Similarly, Younis is also very talented, but batting at no 3 has affected his consistency. Yousuf is an anomaly in this regard. It is difficult to recall the last time when Yousuf did not perform in a few consecutive series. That has probably never happened in his career. We give Inzamam the credit for being a matchwinner. We give Younis the credit for making huge centuries and being a fighter. Perhaps we ought to appreciate Mohammad Yousuf for his consistency, which has been a rare trait in Pakistani batsmen. Consistency may not win you many matches, but it makes you a very skilled and professional player. The return of the King has been phenomenal, and now fans hope the King will rule the world once again with aplomb and make plenty of runs for Pakistan.

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  1. #1 by Q on July 6, 2009 - 8:43 PM

    King he is!

    He scored on a track on which not many could.

    And ur right abt the consistency.. his 24th 100 in his 80th test proves all that.

  2. #2 by khansahab on July 6, 2009 - 10:35 PM

    Javed A Khan

    On the previous thread you have spoken about Murali and I will agree. Pakistan has always found playing Murali difficult. But they had no problems with Mendis because a lot of bowlers in Pakistan use Mendis’ grip when playing tape ball cricket.

    Everyone finds Murali difficult because of his profuse spin. Tendulkar/Inzamam/Lara, anyone will find it difficult. If the ball is cutting a yard how can a human being play it with ease?

  3. #3 by khansahab on July 6, 2009 - 10:47 PM

    Ex-cricketers laud young Aamir

    KARACHI: Former cricketers on Monday praised young paceman Mohammad Aamir for his magnificent bowling in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle and expected a strengthened Pakistan bowling line-up in future.
    ‘Aamir wants to bowl fast and take wickets. He bowls with passion. I think he will be a great bowler in the coming time,’ former Pakistan Test fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz said.

    Aamir, who made his Test debut in the ongoing Test at Galle, captured three wickets in each Sri Lankan innings, helping Pakistan secure a commanding position in the match.

    Sarfraz cautioned that Aamir must not lose his concentration on his bowling as other bowlers did. ‘He has a long way to go. He is similar to Wasim Akram but Wasim proved himself and he is a legend. So Aamir must focus to follow in Wasim’s footsteps,’ Sarfraz added.

    ‘Aamir has a good line and length and he will gain pace with the passage of time. I think he has potential to become an established bowler,’ Sarfraz stated.

    Iqbal Qasim, former Pakistan spinner, said young Aamir has great potential, predicting he would prove himself to be a great bowler.

    ‘Aamir has bowled brilliantly in World Twenty20 Championship and he proved himself in his debut [Galle] Test. He has been bowling with great precision, so I think this young bowler will go far,’ Iqbal added.

    He said he expects Pakistan’s bowling line-up has been strengthened with the emergence of Aamir.

    ‘With Shoaib Akhtar’s fitness problem, and the ban on Mohammad Asif, Pakistan’s bowling line-up was weakened, but now Aamir and Umar Gul has filled the gap,’ Iqbal said.—

  4. #4 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 6, 2009 - 10:56 PM

    khansahab

    The problem with India Pakistan ex-cricketers is, they live in the past glories and they want 100% attention in their present, hence they blab whenever there is an opportunity to see that they are in the news. That’s one of consoling yourself. But, their unnecessary and too early praise spoil the minds of the young cricketers and worst is when they sign big contracts and make big money. Sohail Tanvir, Asaf are the two examples. Lets not talk about the Rawalpindi Maal Gaadi.

  5. #5 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 6, 2009 - 11:03 PM

    khansahab

    Good timing and nicely written thread, Mohammad Yousuf deserves the recognition and the applause for scoring a century in his first test match, rather first international match he played after the ban. He has silenced his critics with his bat.

    The way he got out cheaply in the warm up match with a paltry 20 runs total in 2 innings, me too, I was skeptical that he may not be able to score as he used to because long absence from international matches affects everyone and Yousuf is after all a human being, hence no exception. But, he played with such determination and grit that he went past the 100 milestone. And he is playing well in the second innings too. So, lets hope he carries the bat through and Pakistan sails safely and create a record at Galle Cricket Ground.

  6. #6 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 5:00 AM

    My bad, its happening and its happening the way I said, Butt and Yousuf both got out on the same score the left last night and the NOTHING PLAYER called SHOAIB MALIK added nothing to the total and was out on a DUCK.

    And the match is in Sri Lanka’s pocket as opposed to Munir’s belief that the match is our bag. Read my comment #151 in the previous thread, “Lasith Da Malinga.”

    It is true that Pakistan has the ability to self-destruct itself from a winning position to a losing position.


    Both, Butt and Malik should be dropped. PERIOD.

    Instead they should get Ahmad Shahzad and Fawad Alam in the team.

  7. #7 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 5:10 AM

    Now Kamran Akmal has gone BRAVO, they are playing a twenty20 game and are in a hurry to go. Abdur Rauf is in and Misbah the champion who lacks the finishing touches is there with him. Can they both do that? Score another 89 runs? No way, more than half the team is gone (80/6) it means all the champion batsmen are out so how can you expect from the bowlers to score more than them? Its not possible. Like I said, the history is in Sri Lanka’s favour, Murali or No Murali, any bowler can play a real Mulari, like Younus Khan played a Murali at Galle. Murali = Muralia……

    Madhuban may Radhika Naachay Ray
    Giridhar ki Muraliyaa Baajay Ray….

    Similarly

    Galle may Pakistan naachay ray
    Sri Lanka ki Muraliya baajay ray

  8. #8 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 5:14 AM

    It is 1:15 a.m. now and I am yawning like a hippo and the best I can do is go and sleep and dream that Pakistan will win. And, dreams seldom come true, still you have to have a dream. “If you have no dreams, how you gonna make your dreams come true?”

  9. #9 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 5:20 AM

    This is how it happened:

    “Pakistan have committed harakiri here. The game was theirs for the taking, and thanks to some disciplined bowling and some appalling batting, they have all but conceded a 1-0 lead.

    27.5

    Thushara to Misbah-ul-Haq, OUT, run out, this is going nowhere for Pakistan, the decisive blow I think, went across the line to glance it fine, deflected off his pads and rolled down to Dilshan who scored a direct hit at the striker’s end to find Misbah just short of his ground, had walked down too far and should never have attempted the single there, was too late while trying to make it back


    Misbah-ul-Haq run out 7 (41m 24b 0x4 0x6) SR: 29.16 “

    That is why I said, Misbah is Champion who lacks finishing touches committed suicide like a Samurai.

  10. #10 by Awas on July 7, 2009 - 7:33 AM

    A shameful performance.

    I had a feeling that batting in the fourth innings for Pakistan would be a problem. A lead of 50 in the first innings useful though it was but never enough. A target of 168 was still gettable though. They need a serious overhall by inducting proper batsmen and I agree with Javed that Butt and Malik need to be discarded.

    Pakistan always have trouble playing left arm spinners even against some innocuous ones.

  11. #11 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 8:49 AM

    Wow. I’m lost for words. I’ve just woken up thinking that Pakistan would have won by 4 or 5 wickets.

    I think this proves a few things:

    1) Pakistan is not a good Test side. They don’t have the mental strength and killer instinct that can last 5 days.

    2) The batting is a worry. Time to eradicate nothing players and play specialists in their position.

    3) What is the point of playing Malik and Misbah if they can never take responsibility? T20 is a different ball game altogether. Why is Malik playing if he can’t play a decent, responsible knock in Tests? Why does Pakistan still depend on Yousuf and Younis only?

    4) Fawad Alam is Malik’s replacement in all formats of international cricket. Enough of Malik- only an idiot can support his inclusion in international cricket now.

    5) I hinted that the spin might play some tricks on the 4th and 5th days, and that is exactly what we saw.

    Younis is such a dud sometimes. In the post match presentation he again spoke about “partnerships” and that Pakistan lost because no one could build a partnership. Why can’t one person take responsibility and why does it always have to be a “partnership” for Younis Khan? Pakistan has won plenty of matches just relying on one batsman. The onus is on the middle order batsmen. Younis should demote himself in the order because he doesn’t realise that if he gets out cheaply, there will be too much pressure on less able batsmen who come after him.

  12. #12 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 9:09 AM

    I’ve made the following comment on the different blog where a paindoo participates:

    If you kick Malik out and play Fawad Alam these debacles will happen less frequently.

    When Malik fails, people don’t criticise him that much because they think Younis, Yousuf and Misbah should have performed too.

    If Malik is playing as a batsman what is the point of having him in the Test team if he can’t ever take responsibility?

    There is a problem in our psyche. All of a sudden when there is a batting collapse the cannons are turned towards Younis and Yousuf, whereas we conveniently overlook Malik because he is not a proper batsman. Yet, when it comes to selecting squads, Malik is an automatic selection because of his “batting”. You can’t say his bowling because in Tests his bowling strike rate is 130 or something. A club cricketer can bowl better than him.

    It doesn’t make sense. To an unbiased, logical and educated mind, it does not make sense.

  13. #13 by Mohammed Munir on July 7, 2009 - 10:10 AM

    Javed Khan …

    What I said about the game in the bag and all that, well what I meant was that the game was in our bag but it was ‘stole’ by the Sri Lankans 😉

    We lost and there is no logical explanation for such a defeat, simple as that. Believe me, it is not easy being a Pakistani fan and it hurts when such thing happens. It’s not about loosing a game, but it is in the way how we loose it.

    What it proves is that our batting is pathetic and if we can’t score 168 runs in the last innings minus Murali, then we are no good a team and batting have to be revamped NOW.

    On the other hand, you are so damn right about most of our Asian ex-cricketers seeking some attention in twilight years of their life, and I fully agree with you that all this extra appreciation could hurt Aamir. Yes, we have almost lost Asif, Tanvir and earlier Saqlain Mushtaq also to some extent and many more youngsters to such rowdy behaviors and overdose of celebrity-status too early in their life. A majority of our players come from small towns and unknown villages with limited or no education (how can they study, if they have to play cricket so well?) and therefore, they are not good at improving and grooming themselves. Sudden fame, lots of attention, fan followings, glamour, media attention, overnight success, and off course loads of money are the major reasons which can spoil any youngster.

    I still remember, during the early days in his career in one of the games when Irfan Pathan performed well, the media guys went to his home back in India and interviewed his father who was an Imam in a local mosque and they were asking him what does Irfan eat? what he drinks? what he does? how he lives? etc. etc. Similarly, in an ODI against England in England, when top Indian batsmen collapsed, Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj (who were both new at time) played so well and their long partnership won India the match. After this there were live interviews and TV programs for Kaif and Yuvraj’s families on Indian channels.

    This media frenzy gets to head of these young players and they start thinking of themselves as ‘invincible’, much before their time and it ultimately bring about their downfall.

    Coming back to Aamir, he have already started ‘flying’ (literally that is) as after taking any wicket, he imitates Shoaib Actor’s style running toward the batsmen or slip squadron with his arms wide-open in a airplane fashion. Plus he have also started using a bit too much of tanning-crème which does look so nice on face of a 17 year old young lad. I must say that Aamir is good and have been impressive so far, but I think it is way too early to go into such antics.

    I think Aamir should keep his feet firmly planted on the ground and concentrate on improving his bowling and learn a few more tricks form our experienced bowlers. Aqib Javed is a decent and sober person and was a good bowler in his time, as our bowling Coach, he should take Aamir under his wings and help him not only with his game but also with his personality development and grooming to keep him under check in these early years of his career.

    Khansahab …

    Excellent new thread and it would have been even nicer to read it, if we had won 😉

    Mohammed Yousuf is definitely a class apart of our existing batsmen and even though he may not have played many ‘match-saving’ innings, but he is much better then all others. It’s surely not easy coming back to International cricket after such a long gap and play an absolutely marvelous innings. It’s unfortunate how often Yousuf is getting run-outs and I think if you minus his run-outs form his record, he must be averaging well above 60.

  14. #14 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 11:25 AM

    Ex-cricketers lambaste team selection after slump

    ISLAMABAD: Sarfraz Nawaz and Moin Khan were among a host of former test cricketers who blamed bad team selection for Pakistan’s stunning 50-run loss to Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first test at Galle.

    ‘Where was Abdul Razzaq, where was Fawad Alam, where was Danish Kaneria?’ asked ex-test fast bowler Nawaz.

    All three of those Pakistan players watched from sidelines as the batting order succumbed to disciplined Sri Lankan bowlers for a paltry 117 in the last innings – chasing modest 168-run for victory on Tuesday.

    Pakistan was in sight of victory when play resumed with two days remaining, needing just 97 runs to overhaul the victory target with eight wickets in hand.

    However, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath (4-15) and seamer Thilan Thushara (2-21) hurried the Pakistan collapse and the visitors lost their last eight wickets for meager 47 runs to be bowled out in the second innings.

    ‘I was watching the (batting) collapse on television and told myself ‘maybe its just a dream, the real match will begin afterwards,’’ Nawaz said.

    ‘It was unbelievable the way our batting collapsed, I was not expecting such a performance.’

    Pakistan captain Younis Khan, who led his country to victory in the Twenty20 World Cup in England last month, had to come on to bowl before lunch on the first day of the test match. The move surprised Nawaz.

    ‘It shows that you haven’t done your homework and left out two of your key bowlers,’ Nawaz said, referring to Kaneria and Razzaq.

    Another former test captain, Moin Khan, blamed poor team composition and said left-handed batsman Alam should have been included in the XI.

    Alam ‘scored 80 odd runs in the warm-up game, he’s also an excellent fielder and a player who can also bowl left-arm spin, I fail to understand why he was left out,’ Khan said.

    It could have been highest run-chase at Galle International Stadium in 14 test matches as the teams have struggled batting fourth at a venue which was completely rebuilt after the Tsunami struck Sri Lanka in 2004.

    ‘There is some psychological problem with our batsmen as we have struggled to achieve small totals in test matches for quite a long time now,’ another former test batsman Ijaz Ahmed told a private television channel.

    Ahmed suggested Pakistan’s batting needed to be fine-tuned and the Pakistan Cricket Board should hire a specialist batting coach.

    Presently Pakistan team coaches are former test leg-spinner Intikhab Alam and ex-test medium fast bowler Aaqib Javed.

    ‘Both coaches are bowlers so it leaves only captain Younis Khan and somewhat vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq to guide other batsmen,’ Ahmed said. ‘I think we should have a batting coach who can teach the finer points of the game to our batsmen.

  15. #15 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 12:43 PM

    Shameful performance, the fear, apprehensions and doubts that were on my mind at the close of the 3rd day’s play that when the batsmen will come in the morning of the 4th day they will have to focus more, tackle the swing and the dampness in the wicket and it will not be easy. And, that is exactly what happened, both batsmen were out without adding any run to the total and Sissy Malik can never perform under pressure. He is one of those clowns who would come and kick a dead body to say, I knocked him off. And, prior to that he is hiding behind a post.

    khansahab, I agree with you that it is Younus Khan’s lame excuses about partnerships. If one analyze Pakistan’s wins, it will tell you only one story and i.e., IT IS ALWAYS A ONE MAN SHOW, whenever an individual has played a great knock be it a batsman or a bowler, Pakistan has won that match. Whereas, Pakistan shows a good team effort when they lose. They ALL perform badly. I will exclude Yousuf’s performance here because it would be asking too much to score another century or a match winning innings for a second time in the same match. What about the other 10 players?

    Not only Younus Khan should change the batting order but, he MUST bring a change in the playing XI and get Fawad Alam in by kicking out Malik. Also Abdul Razzaq must be included in the team and Kamran Akmal should open the innings with Khurram Manzoor or Ahmad Shahzad.


    Awas:
    About wicketkeeper being an opening batsman in the test matches, I had given a few names the other day in the previous thread and here is one more point i.e., these are professional players and they have to have that much energy level to keep themselves fit, if they are getting spoiled because of 50 overs and 20 overs matches then they should not play test matches. Some teams have different wicketkeepers for different formats and that makes sense.

  16. #16 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 12:51 PM

    Ex-cricketers lambaste team selection after slump

    Like, I’ve said earlier, the ex-cricketers have nothing else to do, they live in their past and they want to be at the center, hence they keep blabbing and the media also needs to create some sensationalism so they go to them.

    And, khansahab in your comment above in point number 4 you have mentioned about an idiot, who is that? And why are you rubbing salt on his wounds? 😀

  17. #17 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 12:59 PM

    Javed A Khan

    Sarfraz Nawaz is very quick to blow the whistle on team politics and corruption, but at the same time he doesn’t know his limits. Today in his interview with ARY he said that Gul only got to play in this Test because of his friendship with Younis Khan. In Nawaz’s opinion, Gul was not match fit.

    I know Younis and Gul are friends, but when Gul has been the leading strike bowler and one of the best bowlers in T20, there is no point in making comments like that.

    I feel happy and sorry about Aamer at the same time. I feel happy because he is so talented, but it will be a miracle if he turns out like Gul. After 2 or 3 series I feel like he will become another Sohail Tanvir, Shoaib Akhtar and Asaf.

    People form all kinds of theories about why Pakistan doesn’t produce Wasims and Waqars anymore. They blame the coaches, the management, the pitches etc, but why don’t they blame the players themselves? The story of fast bowling in Pakistan cricket is that a kid comes from a village who surprises everyone, and then after 6 months his commitment and passion for the country becomes zilch and he is lost in oblivion.

    I wonder what is happening with Sohail Khan’s action and Mohammad Talha’s rhythm. Hopefully both of them are still fit and willing to perform for the team.

  18. #18 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 1:02 PM

    Cricket-Younis blames pressure on youngsters for defeat

    Tue Jul 7, 2009 5:47pm IST

    GALLE, Sri Lanka, July 7 (Reuters) – Pressure got to Pakistan’s young team as they slumped to a 50-run defeat by Sri Lanka in the first test on Tuesday, said captain Younis Khan.

    “It’s all about pressure,” he noted after Pakistan crumbled from 71-2 to 117 all out in just 44.3 overs.

    “Before this series I was saying that both teams had youngsters and the team that takes pressure well will win the game,” Younis added.

    “(Kumar) Sangakkara’s captaincy (of Sri Lanka) was fantastic this morning — if somebody else had captained they’d have come straight with a fast bowler and I was surprised when he opened with (Rangana) Herath.”

    “Our batsmen tried to play across the line and that is why they got into trouble,” said Younis.

    He was also unhappy that Pakistan had only secured a 50-run first innings lead despite at one stage being 294-5 in reply to Sri Lanka’s 292.

    NOT SUFFICIENT

    “Our lead of 50 was not sufficient. We had (Mohammad) Yousuf and (Kamran) Akmal batting and we should have got a lead of 100 to 150,” said Younis.

    “It was the turning point that let them back into the game and gave Sri Lanka a chance.”

    However, despite his obvious disappointment, Khan backed his fledgling team to learn from the experience.

    “The main thing is that we have a young team and it is not right to give them stick right away,” he said.

    “Because of the inexperience our team has not handled the pressure well, but we will pick up in the next two games.”

    He urged people not to burden exciting prospect Mohammad Aamer with high expectations after the 17-year-old’s impressive debut with the ball. He took six for 112 in the match.

    “Aamer is a young guy, but please don’t compare him to Wasim Akram,” Younis said.
    “This is the problem in our country where whenever someone bowls well he is compared to Akram and then it becomes hard for me and for the player.

    “Give him two to three years and after that we will talk about him,” he added.

  19. #19 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 1:10 PM

    Younis is so inconsistent with everything he does. I don’t know if it’s a Pathan trait? At the same time they say Pathan ka zabaan ek etc. In the above mentioned interview he is very right to say that Aamer has only just started and should not be compared with Wasim Akram.

    http://www.sindhtoday.net/news/1/28038.htm

    Now he is saying that Pakistan lost because of lack of Test cricket. Teams like Bangladesh also play hardly any Test cricket but does that mean they can’t play consistently? Younis believes too less in individuals and too much in processes.

    When he was asked in the past why Pakistan is so inconsistent, he also said that they are NOT inconsistent, but they play too much cricket which is why the fans think they lose too often. So in Younis’s opinion, for one to be consistent, they have to play a certain number of matches a year- if they play too much or too less, then they will become inconsistent.

    Younis should start identifying the problem players- inconsistent Khurram Manzoor, “nothing” Shoaib Malik, ineffective Saeed Ajmal etc.

    There is also a different angle to all this. Younis will not admit he picked the wrong players. Why? Because he knows he will be in trouble for doing so.

    Ideally Pakistan should replace Malik with Alam and replace Ajmal with Kaneria. I am not in favour of dropping the openers just yet. I think Manzoor will be very unlucky if he sees curtains to his career if he has not even played 10 Test matches. Imran Nazir, Butt, Farhat etc have all been persisted with so much despite having no temperament, then why must Manzoor be sidelined? He needs a chance to establish himself. These knee jerk reactions only affect confidence of players- they don’t improve the status quo. I don’t understand why Butt, Farhat etc were given so many chances to establish themselves but the same does not apply to Yasir Hameed, for example.

  20. #20 by Sana on July 7, 2009 - 8:57 PM

    RIP Michael Jackson (i know the post is about something else…which i have no interest in).

    Love you and can empathise with your fucked up upbringing, which made you the adult you turned out to be.

  21. #21 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 9:42 PM

    Sana

    In what subject are you interested? Gossip? Why don’t you start a gossip column here for us?

  22. #22 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 9:44 PM

    Sana

    You sound like you’re pleading mitigating circumstances for Jackson’s paedophilia?

    I have no sympathy with someone who abused kids like that. Michael could have got any woman he wanted. Women are so fit- why did he have to do it with kids?

  23. #23 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 7, 2009 - 9:46 PM

    khansahab

    Why is Younus blaming the youngsters for defeat? The pressure should be on Butt, Malik and Misbah. They are the three seniors who are not performing. He should just kick their ass and get the others who are performing.

    Butt with Ahmad Shahzad
    Malik with Fawad Alam
    Misbah with Abdul Razzaq

    Its very simple solution. Apart from that, he needs to put his act together and also contribute runs, not just 25-30 but big scores, at least 70 – 80 or may be a hundred.

  24. #24 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 9:57 PM

    Javed A Khan

    I agree totally. Younis says some great things but at the same time he comes with some disappointing and inconsistent statements. Honestly, I have seen him make such wise comments that sometimes you feel like he is an educated person. But then there is also this goofy side to his character.

    Pakistani society and Pakistan cricket are embroiled in one massive vicious circle. For example, in the Pakistan team other players have an excuse not to perform when the captain is not performing. People (rightly so) ask why the captain is criticising his players when he himself is not performing. It happened in Malik’s time and it is also happening in Younis’s time.
    Yet, the captain needs support from his players sometimes. Younis can’t always come to bat in the first 10 overs in an innings, and then make a century to inspire other batsmen after him. There is a serious problem with, which player carries which role? Batsmen keep batting in different positions so there is no stability. It is another vicious circle, because, the very reason batsmen keep switching positions is because they can’t perform in their previous positions, or they have to make way for someone who is not performing in his given position.

    That is why I keep saying that in Pakistan individuals matter more than processes. The team needs responsible individuals who play for the country and do not play politics. They must not play politics to keep themselves and their friends in the team. It is like, covering your weakness by playing politics.

  25. #25 by Q on July 7, 2009 - 10:04 PM

    Unfortunately we don’t have another opener in the squad so Salman butt will play all 3 tests…

  26. #26 by khansahab on July 7, 2009 - 10:17 PM

    Q

    I think the openers should be pardoned, more so because there are no other openers in the squad. Instead the blame must shift on Malik and Misbah. The reason why I don’t mention Yousuf is because he exceeded expectations in the 1st innings. I don’t blame Younis because he is the captain and he can’t be removed. Plus he is already under a lot of pressure because the openers have been falling cheaply.

    Javed A Khan

    It’s a bold and agreeable statement that Razzaq should replace Misbah. Unfortunately that can never happen because Misbah Bhai is vice captain. Younis Bhai will not drop Misbah Bhai.

    I don’t know why but I get a little feeling Manzoor will be dropped and Younis will open with Butt and Malik in the 2nd Test. We might see Faisal Iqbal playing at no 6. If only Fawad Alam could play there.

  27. #27 by Q on July 7, 2009 - 10:17 PM

    I don’t think YK will drop either of the openers.. and Misbah should not be dropped.. he got a valuable 50 in the 1st innings.. he’s been fine..

    Malik is the problem at 6.. I won’t mind either of Fawad or Faisal replacing him…

  28. #28 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 8, 2009 - 12:40 AM

    Q

    There is a limit on how many chances you give to Salman Butt. And, he is not invincible, after all Kamran Akmal has the capability to open the innings, and he should open it with Khurram Manzoor. Although I am not impressed by Khurram Manzoor but, he needs to be tested more, whereas Butt got enough chances. So, if you replace Butt with Akmal, there will be room for Abdul Razzaq to fit in. And, Abdul Razzaq’s bowling and batting experience are needed. If Angelo Mathews was able to swing the ball, Abdul Razzaq is any time better and more experienced.

    And Malik can easily be replaced by Fawad Alam, the time has come that Malik should be dropped without any hesitation. If he is the previous captain, doesn’t mean he has a license to play all his life with such pathetic performance.

    And, OK I agree with you that Misbah needs another chance not just because of his 56 in the first innings but, you need a batsman in the middle order besides Y&Y but, to be very honest Misbah’s performance is not that good at all and he is not dependable. If he continues to play like this, he needs to be dropped too.

  29. #29 by Varun Suri on July 8, 2009 - 5:34 AM

    khansahab@26,

    Regarding Michael Jackson, i recently read that the Child/Dad who had filed this paedophile case against Michael Jackson agreed on a out of Court settlement of around 22 Million Dollars!!!

    The very next day the dad disagreed to co-operate with the Kanoon. It is highly possible that Michael must have been framed in all this whatever it was as someone has rightly said:-

    Innocnent until proven Guilty

    So without being judgemental and sentimental about what bad things he did in his life, I would only say that some of the things he did were a revelation and this made him truly unique and that’s how he has carved a place for himself in the HIStory.

    After all Why do we expect all these Public Figures to be morally sound and having good integrity? They have all the more opportunities to break all the rules and be a maverick most of the time they have dual personalities one what they actually are and the other one is in front of the Camera.

  30. #30 by khansahab on July 8, 2009 - 8:54 AM

    Hanif Mohammad feels sorry for Pakistan team

    KARACHI: Former cricketers say that Pakistan missed a great opportunity in the first Test to have an upper hand over Sri Lankans and will now have to work very hard to make a comeback in the three-match series.

    Pakistan needed only 97 runs with eight wickets in hand to beat Sri Lanka on the fourth day of the first Test match. However, Sri Lanka bounced back to record a stunning 50-run win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

    Pakistan’s legendary batsman Hanif Mohammad said that he felt sorry for Pakistan as they lost the first Test after coming within striking distance of winning it. “A target of 97 runs with eight wickets in hands on the fourth day, should have been achieved by Pakistan. However, Sri Lankan bowlers bowled exceptionally well and making most of the home advantage — they won the match,” Hanif told PPI.

    Hanif said that Pakistan shouldn’t have let Sri Lanka score 292 runs in the first inning as the pitch was helpful to the seamers. “Mohammad Yousuf and Misbah-ul-Haq played exceptionally well to give a lead to Pakistan over Sri Lankans on a difficult wicket,” he added.

    Another Pakistani cricketer Tauseef Ahmed said Pakistan will now face a tough task in the series. “Now they have to work very hard to make a comeback in the series,” said Tauseef.

    “However, Pakistan always start their campaigns as underdogs and later make remarkable comebacks as we have seen it in the World T20 Championship. So I hope Pakistan will make a comeback,” the former spinner said.

    Pakistan ex-Test spinner Iqbal Qasim said that Pakistani batsmen batted irresponsibly on the fourth day when they were almost in sight of the victory.

    Their shot selection was poor. Salman Butt after settling down should have played with more responsibility,” Iqbal said.

  31. #31 by khansahab on July 8, 2009 - 8:57 AM

    Muralitharan ruled out

    Sri Lanka will be without spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for the second Test against Pakistan after he ruled himself out with a knee injury.

    The 37-year-old picked up the injury in a practice session and was removed from the Sri Lankan team only a couple of days before the first Test in Galle.

    “I have not yet recovered from the injury,” Muralitharan told DNA.

    “I don’t think it will happen before the second Test, so I won’t be available.”

    Muralitharan will be looking to make sure his recovery is done properly to make sure that he can be at full strength to fight for his place in the team. Especially after his replacement Herath produced a man-of-the-match performance, claiming four second-innings wickets, helping to bowl out Pakistan for 117 runs.

  32. #32 by khansahab on July 8, 2009 - 9:01 AM

    I don’t know whether Murali ruled himself out because he is really injured or whether he had no option because Herath and Mendis bowled well and cannot be dropped?

    Meanwhile on the Pakistan front, Kamran Abbasi has done a thread about Yousuf being a great player- but Abbasi has rightly stated that Yousuf needs to score more match winning centuries to enter into the category of Inzamam and Miandad.
    Whereas I have the deepest respect for Mr Abbasi, who is one of the most balanced writers, I think someone should also direct the blame to Malik and Misbah. I don’t know what is so special about the duo that they are above blame and condemnation?

    Even former cricketers are blaming Butt, Yousuf, Younis etc without mentioning Malik and Misbah’s irresponsible innings. If PCB does not expect so much from Malik and Misbah why are they automatic selections in the team?

  33. #33 by Awas on July 8, 2009 - 9:47 AM

    khansahab

    I think someone should also direct the blame to Malik and Misbah. I don’t know what is so special about the duo that they are above blame and condemnation”.

    I don’t think anyone considers them “so special”. The fact of the matter is that other than the only two world class batsmen that we have the rest are just mediocre batsmen. It’s futile to compare mediocrity with class. With class batsmen when they fail one gets rightly frustrated as we know they are capable of much more. The question that comes to selectors’ and captain’s mind is whether to replace them with less experienced mediocres or persevere with them still further because of their so called experience.

    I agree that there comes a time they cannot continue to sideline talented players such as Fawad Alam and give him as much chances as Butts, Maliks and Misbah’s have had.

    Javed

    You gave good examples from the annals of history of keeper batsmen opening the innings. Unfortunately, in modern day cricket they prefer not to do so despite the fact that they are expected to be super fit. So, I doubt they will use Akmal as an opener. Instead, khansahab’s hunch that in order to keep Malik they might use him as a makeshift opener with Butt is perhaps more palatable for management as Malik did that once (I think). I would rather see Malik out than accommodate him somewhere.

  34. #34 by Awas on July 8, 2009 - 12:29 PM

    Just to clarify my point about keeper opening. Let’s say Pakistan were fielding for over day and a half. Then when their turn comes to bat in the last session on day 2, Kamran Akmal who has been keeping strenuously for 5 sessions now suddenly comes out to bat too. It’s not difficult to ponder the rest but I can just imagine the commentator saying: a lethargic prod by Akmal and he is out first ball plumb LBW, what a silly move by captain to send his tired keeper to open the innings 🙂

  35. #35 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 8, 2009 - 1:02 PM

    Awas

    Contrary to the belief about what the commentators say: what a silly move by the captain to send his tired keeper to open the innings…….. Yes, that comment will come if he is out on the first ball. But, imagine if he starts pulling a few fours and scores a 50 in no time, the same commentator would be saying: That’s a very good decision by the captain to send Kamran Akmal in because, as a keeper he was watching the ball from behind the stumps and he knew exactly about the swing, spin, bounce and movement and he didn’t take more than a moment to settle in.

    Therefore, I don’t take the commentators views seriously especially today’s commentators like, Wasim and Ramiz.

    Agreed that modern day game has changed and, test matches are no more played like they used to play three decades ago. They go for a result and stats have proved that there are more result oriented test matches than before. And, that is due to the influence of 50 overs game. And then, the 20 overs game has also influenced and changed the 50 over game where they score more runs than one could ever imagine 20 years ago.

    The pitches, grounds (fast outfield) power plays, power hitting and free hit on no balls etc., have also played a role in producing high scoring matches. Therefore, most test matches like this one have ended in 4 days instead of 5 days hence, the players spend less time on the ground and are not as tired as their predecessors. Haven’t we all suggested and agreed upon restricting the test matches to 4 days only?

    The other problem that they are facing in test matches is their span of attention, patience, endurance have gone very frail and their attitude has changed. Batsmen wants to play at a fast pace, the bowlers cannot bowl marathon sessions, they get tired very soon. The test culture is changing hence it is imperative that they reduce the number of days from 5 to 4 days.

  36. #36 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 8, 2009 - 1:21 PM

    Before I proceed further, I want to clarify this, I am not Michael Jackson’s fan and, neither I hate him or like him. But, I agree with Varun on his comments about how people perceive him. Yes, there are people like, that kid’s dad who took advantage and money both. There are people who will always come forward to the media and speak against the celebrities only to get popular and also to grab some money in settlement if they can.

    Unfortunately, the media is so powerful that it can make someone very famous or infamous and make people look guilty or innocent and that is because the readership or viewership is like that, we all tend to believe whatever the media presents or portrays. Therefore, it is better not to jump to conclusions. I hate sensationalism and cheap thrills that once restricted to the evening newspapers and Tabloids but, now the big TV companies and media giants also do the same. What a shame, there are no morals, no ethics and no professionalism but, money and fame has priorities over everything. That is why they say that people who believe in God and fear Him, have morals and ethics, indeed it is true.

  37. #37 by Q on July 8, 2009 - 1:48 PM

    Javed,

    I don’t think opening with Akmal will be a good option because in test matches I think he is very valuable at number 7, plus it gets very difficult to open after keeping in an innings..

    I agree abt Fawad instead of Malik.. as for Razzaq, he is a great allrounder, but right now you just can’t fit him into the XI…

  38. #38 by JAVED A. KHAN on July 8, 2009 - 4:38 PM

    Q

    “A mind can only see what it is prepared to see.” If people have this bent of mind that you can’t fit Abdul Razzaq in the team then you can’t, I don’t see why you can’t fit him in the team if there is an open slot, or you create a slot by spotting the weak-link that is creating a negative impact on the team. That number 7 slot you think is very valuable for Akmal, it is the same for Abdul Razzaq. He has played at that number for many, many years.

    And, Pakistan has shuffled their batting order more than any team in the world to find an opening pair after Saeed Anwar and, right now they have limitation due to the unavailability of players in the squad and they do not want to call someone from home, they can ask Akmal to open the innings. You jettison Butt and Malik and get in Abdul Razzaq and Fawad Alam.

    In order to survive in the team, Malik would like to play at any number in any capacity. Remember during Inzamam days they shuffled him up and down and he used to say that he is flexible and can play at any number. Keeping Salman Butt in the team after repeated failures is a blunder after blunder, Pakistan is losing matches because of him. The moment they dropped him in the WC T20, Pakistan started to win matches.

    If an aircraft is carrying a drag it consumes more fuel and it cannot attain the desired speed hence it creates a double negative effect and the same goes for the team. Malik and Butt are a drag, they are making Pakistan lose and they are killing the spirit of the other young players.

    As regards Kamran Akmal opening the batting in test matches, I have said enough in my previous comments in this thread and in the previous thread hence, I do not wish to add anything further on the subject and my views are still the same.

  39. #39 by Sana on July 8, 2009 - 6:12 PM

    Javed – in all the time you have known me “virtually”, i doubt for one second you can assume i am interested in Gossip! What i want to talk about would end up a one way conversation with myself on this blog, hence my absence on here. I just saw the title of the “king”, and assumed the entire post was about MJ, but when i read further down, it obviously wasnt.

    Khansahab – giving you factual information re. the “alleged and apparent” abuse MJ bestowed on kids is something i have no interest in doing. Let your mind run rife with opinions of the great guy, for which you obviously have zero knowledge of.

    Til next time – mwah! xox

  40. #40 by Sana on July 8, 2009 - 6:21 PM

    Varun darling – just read your post, and you echoed my sentiments re. MJ. Thank God for those who exist with a questioning mind.

    As someone who works as a lawyer and deals with abuse cases, i can say that those who are alleged abusers dont have a “break” as such, which is what happened with the first abuse case in 1993, and then another one years later. If MJ was REALLY a “kiddyfiddler” (as we criminal lawyers call them) then where were all the abused kiddies coming out of the woodwork once charged were made? Nope, none.

    If i had a child who had been abused, i wouldnt settle out of court. Heck i’d want the “alleged” peadophile to be convicted so that other kids wouldnt suffer the same as mine. But that didnt happen did it? Sure some might say the parents didnt want the kid to go through the ordeal of cross examination and to be made out as a liar, but give over….puh-lease! Principles were obviously cashed in, if there were any in the first place (!)

    First charges settled out of court, second charges…acquitted.

    Sure the guy was eccentric, he put his eccentricity on display, and others cashed in on this, as well as his vulnerability and exploited the poor guy, including his own father.

    He did a lot for kids, for Africa and for the black/white issue (despite becoming white later on in life, lol) as well as black music world over.

    RIP Michael Jackson – i’m sure you’ve gone to a better place inshaAllah.

  41. #41 by khansahab on July 8, 2009 - 6:45 PM

    Sana

    Michael Jackson was gay.

    🙂

  42. #42 by khansahab on July 8, 2009 - 6:57 PM

    I was fit for the T20 Cup and I’m fit now: Akhtar

    LAHORE: Mavrick fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has said that he was fit when he was dropped from the T20World Cup squad, and is still fit now.

    Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Shoaib, who had made many ins and outs due to fitness and indiscipline problems in the past, said that he was dropped on medical grounds even though a fitness test was never taken.

    ‘I think it was the desire of the PCB not to select me for the T20 World Cup,’ he said.

    He said the PCB also did an illegal and immoral act by announcing the name of his disease through an official press release.

    ‘I have the right to move the court of law at that time but decided not to do that because of the central contract, and I did not want to create any trouble for the national cricket ahead of the mega event’ he said.

    Despite complaining about the PCB attitude, Shoaib was more critical against manager of the national team Yawar Saeed and head coach Intikhab Alam for dropping him from the squad. Shoaib said he could file a legal case against them.

    Shoaib said he could play Test and ODI cricket and he would be more useful if the PCB used him in Test cricket after breaks.

  43. #43 by khansahab on July 8, 2009 - 6:59 PM

    Inzamam roots for Afridi as T20 captain

    KARACHI: Former skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq believes flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi should succeed Younis Khan as Pakistan’s next Twenty20 captain.

    Younis announced his retirement from Twenty20 cricket after leading the country to the World Cup last month in England and Inzamam felt Afridi would be the right replacement.

    “I would back Afridi because he has performed outstandingly in the World Cup and he enjoys this form of the game. Plus, he has proven himself leading the Karachi and Sindh teams in domestic cricket,” Inzamam said.

    It was very important that whoever led Pakistan was a good performer himself and led by example, he said.

    “Don’t forget we just nine months to prepare for the defence of our title in the World Cup in the West Indies next year,” Inzamam added.

    Afridi has said he is not running after the captaincy but if he got the chance it would be a big honour for him to lead the country.

    On Younis’ decision to quit Twenty20, Inzamam said his decision must be respected.

    “I would not say whether he took the right decision or not. But the fact is it is his decision and it must be respected,” Inzamam said.

  44. #44 by Varun Suri on July 8, 2009 - 9:42 PM

    Sana, Javed and khansahab,

    Although i was never a fan of Michael Jackson in the past few years as compared to the many diehard fans he has all across the Globe but I have to admit that just like many other kids growing in India and all over the World I did grew with him and infact Michael Jackson’s last good/decent album Dangerous was the first English Album i ever purchased when i was around 11 Years old so in a way i was a fan of his but when i discovered more music later on in life i moved on and also his addiction to antidepressives and drugs also led him to lose some of his fanbase.

    The reason why I still respect Michael Jackson is because i see him purely from his music point of view and just like Beatles(although i dont agree) and Elvis before him did produce something which could be said New and Innovative or ahead of its times similarly Michael Jackson’s combination of Lyrics,Music and unforgettable Dance Moves makes him truly a Legend as far as Music goes whether he was an Angel in real life or not that is not my concern, what is more important is that he was the best at what he did and i will always look up/ be impressed by such people because there are very few people who know at a very early age as to what their destiny is and maybe deep down inside somewhere i am also looking for that one thing in which i can excel, whether it is Cricket, German Language or for that matter anything else but if one finds that One Thing which when you do, doesnt feel like a job and at the same time you give your best shot then and only then one can find eternal happiness or as some say achieve Nirvana.

  45. #45 by Varun Suri on July 8, 2009 - 10:03 PM

    Talking about Nirvana, I remember a while ago there was a discussion going on the Band called Nirvana on the V-Talk page and on this subject of Michael Jackson I would like to quote something written by Kurt Cobain the Lead Guitarist/Singer of the Band Nirvana, He wrote the following two lines before commiting suicide in his twenties and at that time being at its Peak:-

    “It is better to burn out, than to fade away “

    Maybe Mai-Ka-Lal Jai-Kishen ( as he is known in Rural India) also believed in the same Philosophy.

  46. #46 by Varun Suri on July 8, 2009 - 10:11 PM

    AS some of the readers/bloggers are based in the UK i wonder how many of you have followed the BBC series Goodness Gracious Me . As I wrote the Indianised name of MJ I suddenly was reminded of one episode where this Indian Uncle (Sanjeev Bhaskar) who has this habit of calling anything and everything British as Indian comes across a statue of William Shakespeare and seeing the spelling of his name he suddenly shouts:-

    “Walli-Miah Shakker-Piye” ..that sounds like an Indian name, He is INDIAN!!!!!!

  47. #47 by Sana on July 14, 2009 - 8:33 PM

    Varun – GGM comedy was aired in the UK in the 90’s (i think). It started off good and funny, but then the stereotypical “jokes” ran dry and were repeated too often, so they wore thin.

    I remember the episode you mention of everything being Indian. The best bit about that was Sanjeev saying the Royal Family were indian as Charles still lived with his mother and they had arranged marriages 😉 Class!

    Back to MJ – for UK viewers, his interview with Bashir is on ITV on Thursday (watch it on youtube at your will).

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