Archive for April, 2010
THE COUNT DOWN HAS BEGUN, it is hardly a week left now for the first match to start. A few teams are already there and some are about to fly and reach the Caribbean to play the 3rd T20 WC tournament. Pakistan are title holders and champions of the world in this format. Its no fluke that they’ve won the championship last year in England, they were the finalist in the first T20 WC in South Africa and lost to India in a tense final.
This time Shahid Afridi who played the vital roles in the previous two tournaments is Captain of the Pakistan team and is very confident of retaining the Cup. But, there are many a slip between the lip and the cup, so lets see what happens next.
He is looking ahead and seems more determined than ever. In his interview he has asked the media to remain positive and also asked the nation to pray for the team’s performance. But, that is not the only criteria that will make them the world champions, they have to play like professionals and take every game seriously. They are already without their ace bowler Umar Gul due to an injury. The injury could have been avoided if the coach, trainers and selectors have not gone for such rigorous training before a big event. This was bound to happen that a few players would be left out due to injuries. India is without their ace opener Sehwag. There are rumours about his injuries which may or many not be true that he is once again in conflict with Dhoni.
Like most people say that T20 is more like a lottery and any team can win this game. It may be true but, Pakistan can prove it wrong if they win the Cup again. Because, the odds of winning a lottery for the same team again and again are very minimal and they can justify by saying that they play this game with a lot of passion and emotions. If it is just a lottery then, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe can also win or at least reach the finals, but that doesn’t happen. There has to be a certain level of professionalism, quality, skills and temperament that is needed and not just luck. Luck may play its part but, only to a certain extent when the match is very, very close. Once again it is the nerves of steel that wins the game.
Australia has started taking this T20 game more seriously than it used to and they have a very good and balanced team now. Especially their fast bowlers are the best in the world. Shaun Tait, Mictchel Johnson, Bollinger, and Watson are in good form. Its a shame that Harris couldn’t find a place in their squad. Their openers, Werner and Watson have been doing wonders, their middle order is also very stable in MJ Clarke, Cameron White and the two Hussies and not to mention the agile wicketkeeper Haddin. It is very likely that they will win the cup this time or at least reach the finals.
India has always been a very good team on paper but, they have been playing too much cricket and like last time they might end up somewhere even before reaching the semis. Especially since Sehwag is not there and Gambhir et Yuvi both not in good nick, I wonder how many times Raina and Yousuf Pathan would be able to pull out a magic card out of their sleeves to take India home? Vijay, Rohit, Jadeja et all cannot be the same as Sehwag.
Pakistan may not win the cup this time, although I want them to win but it is like if wishes were horses…….? The reason is not because of the law of averages but, because the team is not balanced. I would have never included Salman Butt in the side, instead I would have opted for Shahzaib Hasan Khan or even Imran Nazir.
South Africa have the most balanced side but, there is one word that separates them from the rest and that is they carry the “Chokers” tag.
Sri Lanka and New Zealand are playing the first match and it is good that they are in the same side both teams are similar at the moment perhaps Sri Lanka has an edge. But, NZ on their day can beat any team in the world. The out of form Jacob Oram is roaring to go and play big shots but, it is Taylor and McCullum who will be dominating their batting prowess and a lot depends on them.
England are not so good in this T20 format but, they can surprise many a teams even Pakistan i.e., if they play against them, I can be sure that they will win. But, it all depends on KP and Collingwood.
West Indies may not win the cup as no host country has ever won the cup be it ODI or T20 but, their three players, Chris Gayle, Bravo and Pollard are in great form and they can destroy and ruin the opposition.
Now it is up to the bloggers to decide and predict which team will win the cup and who will be the semi-finalists and finalists etc.
Danish Kaneria is the most recent addition to the ever-growing and ever-prominent list of Pakistani players whose names have been mentioned in any sort of wrongdoing. It has been alleged that Kaneria and one more Essex player were involved in match fixing in a county match
Are Pakistani players really involved in these shady dealings or is this just some kind of scheme contrived by haters to demean and demoralise Pakistani cricketers and fans? Will we ever know the truth?
Kaneria has had ups and downs in his career and invites a range of opinion about his value to the team. Statistically he is amongst the best bowlers Pakistan has produced, yet there have been innumerable occasions where his control and accuracy have been substandard and calls have been made to drop him from the team. Kaneria’s golden period came under Inzamam’s time when not only was Kaneria the team’s “trump card”, Inzamam also fed off Kaneria’s successes and Kaneria made Inzamam appear a better batsman than Inzamam actually was, as Kaneria kept taking 4 and 5 wicket hauls in those matches in which Inzamam scored heavily. However, after Inzamam’s departure Kaneria has seemed unable to control his bowling and frequently releases pressure off the batsmen after bowling a few good deliveries.
This shocking news comes against the backdrop of PCB penalising Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved for alleged match fixing (although no official reports have emerged as to why these players were actually banned). Previously, almost all of the players who played under Wasim Akram (Inzamam, Malik, Ijaz, Saqlain, Waqar, Ata-ur-Rehman)- all of these names were mentioned in the Qayyum Report which was the first judicial enquiry into sport of its kind in the world. In fact Qayyum in his interview said that, normally boards that run sport have to conduct an internal enquiry but it was considered that the PCB was itself involved in match fixing at the highest level, which is why a judge was asked to conduct an independent enquiry.
This raises many questions, about the integrity of Pakistani cricketers and the people of Pakistan in general. Strangely enough, Sohaib Alvi of Dawn wrote an article yesterday citing that character has disappeared from modern cricket and the cricketers are uneducated and arrogant with no regard for the country or pride. Yet, how far are we, the observers of this unique drama, expected to take this statement? Is match fixing so prevalent that we have to assume it is just a part of Pakistan cricket which cannot be eradicated? What ramifications does this have on the morale of the Pakistani people, and the future of sport in the country?
Although match fixing is associated mainly with Pakistani players, it is considered that its origins lie within the Mumbai underworld. Although we hear of Lahore bookies and Karachi bookies, the roots of modern-day match fixing are in India. Yet, it is surprising how Indian players are generally not suspected of this evil, but almost every Pakistani player has been associated with it. Why is it that the bookies find it so easy to approach Pakistani players? Why does the PCB not do anything about this? And why is it considered that senior officials like Shafqat Rana, Yawar Saeed and Ijaz Butt themselves are involved in corruption?
This thread raises more questions than answers, because the concept of match fixing is something that remains clouded in mystery. There is no smoke without fire and the players and Board officials will have to be more forthright about this. The Pakistani public deserves to know about what actually happens behind closed doors and why the links between Pakistani players and bookies are so inextricable that we keep hearing the words “match fixing” with the word, “Pakistan”.
PERCEPTION can always be deluded by misrepresentation of facts. I always love to quote this expression in situations were there is any doubt in understanding a problem or a situation, “A mind can only see what it is prepared to see.” This is so true, because most of us are reactive type and we react according to the information that is presented to us and this way the facts are obscured from the mind and the mind can only see what is presented to it. We sometimes jump to conclude without analyzing the facts and pass judgments accordingly.
In case of Shoaib Malik’s so-called, so-far the first marriage, there are certain facts that are there but, there are certain things that have been exaggerated, changed and blown out of proportion. I feel the need of writing a thread to clear off the doubts and bring out the facts and realities to whatever extent we can by thrashing out this debate which is so hot at the moment that in Pakistan Shoaib and Sania Mirza’s news has taken over Asif Zardari’s political fiasco. In India too, it is stealing headlines on all TV channels and newspapers.
The initial statements given by the Siddiqui’s were pretty decently presented by their family as victims and they got all the sympathies from the majority and Shoaib Malik stood there like a simpleton paindoo, whatever. And, for that Shoaib Malik is paying a price for not sorting out the unsolved problems because he has once again poked his nose in the same den and this was bound to happen.
However, this time the Siddiqui family is not all that decent, in fact they have crossed the boundaries of decency and behaving like the sly fox that cannot reach some grapes on a high vine and announces that they are sour. However, Ayesha is not giving up yet she sounds bitter and full of vengeance based on the presumption that ‘vengeance is a food that must be eaten cold.’ Well, she is not only creating some funny stories that Malik offered her $1,000,000 to keep her mouth shut, but also threatened her. This is laughable because, no matter how much of a Paindoo Malik may be he cannot do this. Neither he has that kinda money nor, he is capable of carrying out threats. So, my straightforward reaction is – Ayesha is lying.
Another story that has been created by the Siddiquis is that Malik had physical relationship with Ayesha hence the marriage was consummated and there was even a miscarriage! This is even more ridiculous because, they never came up with this before. How can they hide such information for so long? This is definitely a matter of sour grapes.
Earlier, the Siddiquis claimed that Malik married her on telephone – to which Malik denied but, later accepted – this is wrong on part of Malik, he should have accepted it then and finished it off. They also produced a marriage certificate (nikahnama) which Malik once again denied that he did not sign it and later accepted it by saying he was too immature at that time. In my opinion he is still not matured enough but, that is another story. Why did Malik created these controversies? That is why I am saying that he is paying a price for his mistakes.
Ayesha Siddiqui has alleged that, ” Malik married her several years ago and consequently needs her permission to marry again or to grant her a divorce.” According to the Indian law Muslims are allowed to marry more than one wife. And, the husband does not need a written permission from his wife, he can only advise her that he is marrying another woman. But, Malik is not even Indian he is a Pakistani hence the law is not applicable. Secondly, Malik can also deny divorcing her (although he denied marrying her but, accepted signing the marriage certificate and claims that he has been cheated as he was very young and pressurized by the Siddiquis) there is nothing that can stop Malik from marrying Sania Mirza as long as Sania is willing to marry him.
The Indian police in Hyderabad said: ” there were some legal complications involved in the case and they would have to examine whether a foreigner committing an offence on foreign soil comes under the purview of Indian law. “ Absolutely not because he is not Indian, besides I have quoted above that the Indian law permits Muslim to marry and have more than one wife. So, how come they took Malik’s passport? This is harassment and the Pakistan Embassy must take up this matter at a higher level.
If the Siddiquis have filed a fraud complaint then, Malik should also do the same by saying that he was cheated and they showed the photograph of another girl and trapped him. If Malik still has the photograph of that girl who is not Ayesha then he should bring it out and show it to the media. Reportedly, Malik refused by saying that the girl has since been married it is not nice to ruin her married life. That is again a very stupid notion because, that girl must either be Ayesha’s friend or a victim. If she was a friend and played a deliberate ruse to trap Malik, she deserves to be exposed. And, if she is a victim and Ayesha used her photograph without her consent then she should know the truth and she should expose Ayesha. So, Malik trying to be nice and kind is a mistake. It is he who needs to clear his name and he should not hesitate in speaking the truth, if it is the truth. ” If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Mark Twain.
Sania Mirza’s appeal to the Indian media is excellent, she asked them to think before what they are talking or publishing about Malik whom she is going to marry in the next ten days or so. She was serious, firm and straightforward. She did the job which the Pakistani authorities must have done through a press release or by talking to the media and advising the Indian police to stop harassment.
What are your views? Feel free to express them. This is just a cricket blog and for the first time we are writing a thread on their personal lives because, it is a matter of national interest for both countries, India and Pakistan.