WORLD CUP 2011 PAKISTANI PERSPECTIVE

Pakistan cricket team has never been great, but definitely they are the greatest unpredictable side in the world. Having won one World Cup in 1992 under Imran Khan’s captaincy they have proclaimed themselves as, “The Cornered Tigers.” I would say they were lucky to have escaped from the jaws of defeat in the earlier round matches and managed to win a couple of crucial games before reaching the semi-final.  I am not sure how many of  our bloggers have watched that entire 1992 WC live or even seen it on video. Perhaps most of our bloggers were either toddlers (it is 19 years now) or, they were not big enough to remember it very well. Therefore, I would like to recap some of the facts for our readers which will help them in understanding the Pakistani perspective about this 2011 ICC WC.

Imran Khan Niazi - The 1992 WC winner

Imran Khan Niazi - The 1992 WC winner

During the 1992 WC, one of the most crucial matches that earned Pakistan a single point was against England in which they were all out for 74 in forty overs. Lucky for them, the rain gods saved them from a certain defeat, the match was abandoned and both teams got a point each.  Pakistan lost a few other matches against India, (so far Pakistan has never beaten India in any of the world cups) South Africa and West Indies. Against WI, despite Ramiz Raja’s pathetic 102 runs they were comprehensively beaten rather butchered by Haynes and Lara who won the match by 10 wickets.

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.  Sri Lanka during those days were not so fearsome as they are today but, that WC did a lot of good to that team that the next WC in 1996 was won by them. Zimbabwe were considered as minnows 20 years ago and they are still minnows. The only other well known top team that Pakistan beat in the 1992 WC was Australia.  But, Australia in that WC despite having the Waughs, Boons, Jones, Healys, Marshs and Borders were off colour and out of form and the Kangaroos lost most of their matches except for the most crucial match from Pakistan’s perspective and that was against their arch rivals West Indies.  The result of that match was so important for Pakistan that their loss against the West Indies meant, Pakistan the so-called cornered or wounded tigers would have been caged and dispatched back home.

New Zealand played all their round matches at home and they won every single match against every single team that they played in that tournament except for the last round match that they played against Pakistan. And, Pakistan were fortunate not to play against New Zealand earlier on because, they were unsettled which is so typical of them to start as losers.  The last round match they played was with some authority and conviction. First they undid the New Zealand aggression plan by getting them out for only 166 and then, despite playing a slow innings Ramiz Raja’s second hundred of the tournament and Javed Miandad’s crafty innings they won the match easily.

The win against New Zealand worked like a tonic for the team and New Zealand had to play the semifinal at home. And in the semifinal it was Inzamam ul Haq who announced his arrival in the world with a swashbuckling 60 and Miandad once again played the anchor role with a fifty plus and remained not out. And, Moin Khan’s couple of sixes did the rest to end New Zealand’s short lived euphoria of beating almost all the teams at home and losing against Pakistan and exiting out of the tournament.

England was one of the most consistent sides in that tournament and they were beating their opponents with ease except for the shocking defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe but, they had more wins to reach to the semis and in the final they started on a very solid note with Pringle sending back both the openers, Amir Sohail and Ramiz Raja (between the two of them they scored 3 centuries in the tournament) and suddenly Pakistan were facing an uphill task with 2 wickets down for only 24 runs.  It was Imran Khan who took the initiative and came at number 3 and Miandad at number 4 and between the two of them they took the total to 163 before Miandad getting out after scoring another solid 50 plus and Imran remained top scorer of the match with his priceless 70 runs and exceptional batting at the time when it was needed most.

The partnership of Imran and Miandad was indeed very slow, first 100 runs were scored in 30 overs and the next 149 runs the team scored came only in 20 overs. The effect of the solid partnership resulted in boosting the confidence of Inzamam and Wasim Akram, between the two of them 52 runs were scored in the last 5 overs. A total of 249 doesn’t appear as a dependable or a total to defend but, in those days it was just about average.  (The highest total of the tournament was by Sri Lanka against Zimbabwe, the later scored 312 and set a target of 313 to win and Sri Lanka won that match. England had earlier scored 280 against Sri Lanka and beat them by 106 runs.)

After setting a target of 250 for England, the biggest dent that Pakistan made on England’s psyche was getting Ian Botham out on a duck in the second over that put England on the defensive. Hick, Stewart and Gooch also departed early and Pakistan were on the top but, Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb were threatening and only to be outsmarted by Wasim Akram who got Lamb and Lewis on two consecutive balls which are the hallmark of Wasim Akram’s bowling. Not only him, but the whole nation remembers the two beauties that he produced.

The summary of 1992 may sound like the summer of 1942 the only difference is Pakistan had a lot to talk about it even 2 decades after it happened whereas the poor kid of the movie may not have talked about the soldier’s wife who left him behind abruptly and all of a sudden by making his dream a reality and then leaving him to crash for the rest of his life in memories that only he can cherish. But, that is only a movie.

Coming back to the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent and talking about the game of cricket from Pakistan’s perspective, it would be a folly to expect an encore or a repeat performance from the team with so many combination and permutations at stake.  Pakistan’s best chance to win the WC for the second time was when they were in the final in 2003 but, they threw away the match and, whatever the reasons may be I do not want to discuss them here now. So, expecting Shahid Afridi’s team to surprise all other teams is a “fishful” thinking.

AFRIDI MUST THINK BEFORE HE BLABS

AFRIDI MUST THINK BEFORE HE BLABS

Afridi is boasting about his side as, dark horses or “the most dangerous side in the world” is another example of brainless blabbering and a complete braggadocio.  At a time when he has to keep his mouth shut and display humility by under playing with words in front of the media, he is boasting about the unpredictable future. Everyone knows that Pakistan are underdogs and they should keep that to their advantage and surprise the teams rather than claiming to be dangerous and capable of winning the cup. He can talk whatever he wants to in the dressing room to raise the morale of his team but, not in front of the media. If Pakistan fails like they did against Ireland in 2007 they will be a laughing stock once again. This time the format is different but, the team is just the same they are capable of losing two or three matches in succession to find an easy way to exit out.

My suggestion to Pakistani fans is, DO NOT keep any hopes from Pakistan winning the world cup, just hope that they take each match seriously and try to win it, take the first step and then the second and so on rather than trying to take a leap all at once. They must consider every match,  be it against the minnows very seriously and win with a big margin. They can achieve this if they do not lose their focus from the game. Improve their fielding, play aggressive cricket and play their natural game.

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  1. #1 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 20, 2011 - 9:23 PM

    Dear friends, we have a new thread now, please write your comments here. Thank You.

  2. #2 by Varun Suri on February 20, 2011 - 9:27 PM

    Submitted on 2011/02/20 at 9:12 PM

    Hello Friends,

    Now that the World Cup has started I could not resist writing in here.

    I am back in India for good…umm for now…and in the process of settling down after 8 years of a (what it feels now) Vacation abroad.

    A lot has happened since i last wrote here but I had been following most of the threads here.

    In this World Cup I would love to see an India-Pakistan Final because they might not meet each other earlier!

    But I am not a man of predictions so may the best team win the Cup!

    It was good to see Sehwag trying to bat out 50 overs, I hope he can do it more often, Kohli seems to be in the form of his life but still the only weak link in Indian Team is their bowling which could let them down during key moments.

    I can sympathise with the Bangladeshi fans because it could be quite frustrating to follow a team who is still struggling to make a mark in Cricket after so many years of playing it.

    I have never been to a Cricket stadium in India but “I am agree” with khansahab in that the Northern India is more agressive as compared to South or even Central when it comes to Crowd behaviour. Our extravagant and over-agressive behaviour is not only limited to Cricket but also to much wider aspects of life from Driving on the roads to Wedding Ceremonies or to show off in whichever way you can!

    I do not know much of the east as I have never been there but it seems the Bangla fans being such Football crazy fans also bring that kind of behaviour into Cricket. In Calcutta there is a very celebrated rivalry between two Football Cubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Everyone remembers what happened when Kambli cried in 1996 the bongobandhu were at their best, having said that my fav player Ganguly is also a bengali and I am fully agree with whatever he said.

    Contd

  3. #3 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 20, 2011 - 9:33 PM

    Varun

    The chances of India Pakistan meeting in semi-final are more than it is in the final. I don’t know how and why but, I have a feeling. It is good to see that you are back and hope to see your comments more frequently. All the best.

  4. #4 by khansahab on February 20, 2011 - 11:44 PM

    Pakistan’s key players are Shahid Afridi, Hafeez and Younis Khan.

    Afridi has to be consistent whereas if Hafeez can consistently score 35 and take 1-2 wickets in every match, he will be performing his role.

    Younis will have to play some quality knocks because I don’t have any hopes with Misbah who cannot win matches.

    Razzaq is the wildcard player. Razzaq may win Pakistan 1-2 matches (hopefully they will be the important matches) but I don’t see him performing in more than 3 or 4 matches.

    The player other teams need to watch out for is Ahmed Shahzad who has lately shown promise. He has shown he can attack and he might take some teams by surprise.

    Spin will be Pakistan’s strength and the trio of Afridi, Ajmal and Hafeez should perform in every match.

    The let downs are Shoaib Akhtar who is unfit. Umar Gul needs to play the spearhead role and he is inconsistent. Misbah’s negative batting will affect the team in the important matches. Younis, Afridi, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal- they can all be very inconsistent.

    Pakistan needs to play as a team with everyone contributing, OR its all rounders who are talented (Afridi, Razzaq) need to perform consistently with bat and ball if Pakistan are to reach the semis. Once they reach the semis it will be about mental strength and not merit on paper. I will play:

    Hafeez
    K Akmal
    A Shahzad
    Younis
    U Akmal
    Shafiq
    Afridi
    Razzaq
    Gul
    Ajmal
    Riaz/Junaid Khan

    Pakistan’s biggest advantage is that its natural XI contains 3 spinners who are all reasonably good ODI spinners- Afridi, Ajmal/Rehman or Hafeez.

    In pace bowling, provided Razzaq can control his line and length, Umar Gul and Wahab RIaz/Junaid Khan can do some damage. I believe that if Gul will maintain disclipline in bowling the junior pacers will follow suit.

    As i have said earlier, another advantage is that Pakistan has two players- Afridi and Razzaq who are unpredictable and can single handedly win a match. These 2 will cause some worry to the opposition because when they get going they are unstoppable.

    I would start the WC campaign resting Misbah and Tired Bull because these 2 players are negative influences in the team.

  5. #5 by khansahab on February 20, 2011 - 11:52 PM

    Hafeez’s bowling in the years 2010 and 2011 is as below:

    Average: 45

    Strike rate: 50

    Economy: 4.75

    So even though he has not taken a lot of wickets he has kept the flow of runs down. This is useful. If he carries the same form in the WC he will make the captain’s job easier.

  6. #6 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 21, 2011 - 3:41 AM

    khansahab

    I think it would be better to drop Asad Shafiq and try out Junaid Khan because, Shafiq has been very inconsistent whereas Junaid being a bowler needs to strengthen the bowling department. A good bowler taking 3-4 wickets is anytime better than just a batsman who is not even sure to contribute 20-25 with the bat. Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul can add a few runs with some big hitting. So keeping seven dependable batsmen/all-rounder and 4 regular bowlers including three all-rounders (already) is a better option than 8 batsmen and 3 bowlers. In any case Shafiq’s case is just a thought because you have dropped Misbah from your team and there is NO way they will drop Misbah. So, the option of 4th bowler will be in jeopardy if Misbah is playing.

    In ODI’s and T20 if you have 7 good batsmen, you seldom need the 8th one, it makes batting department superfluous, therefore a balance team is needed but due to politics, Misbah being vice captain and recently scored a few fifties and a hundred shall remain in the team albeit he is a negative contributor still he is irreplaceable by any other player.

  7. #7 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 21, 2011 - 4:07 AM

    RAMIZ RAJA’S ARTICLE IN DAWN — READ THE HIGHLIGHTED TEXT, HE IS SAYING WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SAYING SINCE LONG.

    The Pakistan team are a happy bunch of cricketers. It’s such a good state of mind for the players to be in ahead of the big event. As we know, a management’s energy and precious time is mostly spent on keeping the team on track and making the dressing room a liveable place. With that worry over, Pakistan can look to focus on its cricket skills and express itself like never before.

    A healthy, peaceful dressing room environment is critical to the cause as it not only facilitates winning performance but also the will to rebound after a loss. We built that heavenly sanctuary in the 1992 World Cup which encouraged us to coexist peacefully, enjoy each others performance and learn to face adversity with dignity. Afridi’s men will have to create such a Shangri-La, a restful dwelling, to have a successful campaign in the World Cup.

    People say we are the dark horse! The instability and unpredictability of our cricket in fact portrays us to be that fractious horse that, when kicked and bucked, can unseat its rider.

    If unpredictability is part of our make-up then let us project it as strength and not a weakness. Let it play on the minds of the opposition. Fear of the unknown can be difficult to defeat. Admitting and owning to the tag can be good tactics: ignore us at your peril!

    There are things to like about this team. They are catching the ball beautifully and look fit and fired up. The openers have remained engaged in laying solid floors for a platform and the all-rounders are capable to snatch the momentum swing.

    The worrying bit is Younis and Misbah being yoked as a pair in the middle overs. It is high risk as they tend to slow down the tempo of the flow achieved by the top order. It’s true that at times they have looked promising in the run chase, but they can give you the shakes when setting up one.

    The two when compared to the other teams’ middle order talent like Yuvraj and Raina, Bell and Morgan or Hussey and Clarke give you a feel of everydayness that opponents can tame. The duo need to be split with a buffing wheel in the shape of sharp Umar Akmal, who can infuse the mundane middle-order with a splash of unorthodoxy and aggression.

    Bowling in the batting power play and at the death needs clarity and thought. Reactionary bowling to the charge causes confusion and frustration and possibly a loss. Every delivery length produces an angle off the bat. The more the variations, the more the angles to cover and the harder the task to stop the leakage of runs.

    As long as you can keep it simple without becoming too predictable, chances are that you can cut your losses and go home without being maimed. Umar Gul can be a safe bet during such times, provided he shuts his mind to extravagant variations except for his trusted weapon — the yorker.

    Pakistan are clearly a hot team in this race to the Cup. They will always have flair and fans on their side. If they can top it with method and passion, their run could be confidently smooth.

    To win the ultimate prize, besides cricket heroics you need the lady luck to smile on you like she did on us in 1992. I wish I could give the team her number!

  8. #8 by Sagaat on February 21, 2011 - 7:58 AM

    I’d say Pakistan’s key players are Razzaq, Afridi, and Ahmed Shehzad. In fact for Pakistan to do well in the world cup, Ahmed Shehzad would be the key. This is because Pakistan would consistently need a solid foundation to build upon, and Pakistan would end up with a meagre total having a very defensive middle order should the top order not fire.

    Not only should Umar Akmal bat between Misbah and Younis, but Razzaq should also come up the order as he needs time to settle. Down the order either it is too late or the match is already lost. There is no point in wasting such an impact player.

    The bowling seems very average on paper and it seems the inspiration this time needs to come from batting. Umar Gul is not consistent. In one match he bowls very well, whereas in the next match he goes for too many runs. Being the strike-bowler, he needs to be much more consistent. If Saaed Ajmal would play, then he could be somewhat influential if he is able to spin the ball. Meanwhile, Afridi should be attacking and flight the ball to focus on taking wickets.

    This brings us to the crucial point of taking wickets. So far Pakistan have been very defensive under all the captains they have played in recent history. If Afridi sits back and waits for wickets to fall during the middle of the innings, then the opposition will get 270-280 runs minimum even if they start from an average position. This would mean that Pakistan would very likely lose the match, as if we add the averages of batsmen, we get around 230-250 runs per match. That is the score that Pakistan can realistically expect to chase or score consistently (or at average). The only exception to the rule would be that a wildcard like Ahmed Shehzad has an exceptional tournament.

  9. #9 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 21, 2011 - 12:35 PM

    Zimbabwe, especially their spinners bowled very well today to restrict Australia for 262. At one point Australia were 225 in 46 overs, they got two good overs and managed to reach that total. It is innings break now and I am not sure whether their batting would be as good as their bowling to beat Australia. The spinners were dominating the Australians who were looking truly off-colour today.

    The presence of UDRS helped small teams like Zimbabwe especially when both the umpires gave a wrong decision each in favour of the Australians and on both counts the appeal from Zimbabwe changed the decision in Zims favour. Had there been no UDRS (already hot spot and snicker is not there) Australia might have piled up 300 plus runs. Therefore, it is imperative to have the UDRS with full support system to give all the teams a fair chance. Humans can make errors but, technology can help them to revise and make correct decisions.

  10. #10 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 21, 2011 - 12:50 PM

    In this new thread on this blog, I have written, “almost 20 years ago Zimbabwe were minnows and they still are minnows.” I may have to chew my words IF they beat Australia today and move head threatening other teams. Pakistan should worry most because, they are aiming at number 3 spot behind Australia and Sri Lanka to qualify for the quarterfinals, hoping that they will beat Kenya, Canada and Zimbabwe. May not be Kenya or Canada but, Zimbabwe can shock and surprise them and leave them behind. So, Pakistan better be very, very careful when playing against Zimbabwe because, their spin attack is very good and I know their batting is not bad either. One bad performance from Pakistan and one good one from Zimbabwe can leave Pakistan miles behind in the race.

  11. #11 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 21, 2011 - 6:15 PM

    Zimbabwe’s batting flopped, they could not stand in front of the Aussies speedsters. Australian team does not have their specialist spin bowlers in their squad, Nathan Haurtiz was one but he is missing, but their fast bowlers did a good job and I reckon they will trouble a lot of sub-continent batsmen for sure i.e., including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. India i.e., if they meet them in the next KNO rounds.

    Is it me or someone else has also noted that Shaun Tait too chucks when he bowls a faster one? Please express your views on this. Thanks

  12. #12 by khansahab on February 21, 2011 - 7:57 PM

    Sagaat

    You have highlighted a good point about Pakistan’s weak batting. This is why I have been saying that Afridi and Razzaq need to play above average if Pakistan are to win.

    Pakistan can’t win on the basis of their specialists. At the moment India has a better pace attack than Pakistan because of Zaheer Khan who does not make any mistakes these days. Batting wise Younis will need to average 40+ in this Cup whereas Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Akmal need to produce big runs.

  13. #13 by khansahab on February 21, 2011 - 7:59 PM

    Basit Ali suggests Spot Fixing in Australia v Zimbabwe game

    On ARY news ex cricketer Basit Ali accused Australia of Spot fixing. Brad Haddin and Shane Watson took cautious approach against Zimbabwe and scored 29 in first 10 and 64 in 20 overs.

  14. #14 by khansahab on February 21, 2011 - 8:00 PM

    Sagaat

    I don’t think the captain or management has the guts to play Razzaq at no 3 or even 4 because he is their “proven match winner” at no 7 or 8.

  15. #15 by khansahab on February 21, 2011 - 8:05 PM

    World Cup will be ours – Afridi

    Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi believes that his side will win the World Cup and emulate the stars of the 1992 side.

    Imran Khan led the Asians to World Cup glory 19 years ago, when he ordered his charges to “fight like caged tigers” after they were on the brink of elimination in the early stage of the tournament.
    Imran has subsequently admitted that he always felt that his side would win the World Cup on that occasion and they went on to beat England by 22 runs in the final to lift the trophy for the first time in their history.
    And Afridi spears to have a similar mindset to the Pakistan legend although whether or not he has the players to back up his thoughts is open to question.
    The Pakistan squad is full of talented stars but they were easily beaten by England in their final warm-up game ahead of the showpiece event and are inconsistent.
    But ‘Boom Boom’ is in no doubt about his side’s chances, with everything seemingly falling into place at the right time.
    “I’m never comfortable with making predictions but I must say that my heart tells me that it is going to be our World Cup,” he said.
    “That’s because the team is playing well and the boys are fully motivated and really hungry for World Cup glory.”

  16. #16 by khansahab on February 21, 2011 - 8:08 PM

    ‘One Of The Asian Teams Will Lift The Title’ : Mohammad Akram

    With the 2011 edition of the biggest event in international cricket – the ICC Cricket World Cup – just days away, PakPassion.net got in touch with ex-Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Akram for his views on Team Pakistan, and other contenders for the coveted trophy.

    When asked to rate the Pakistan team’s chances at the 2011 World Cup, Akram stated, ’The way the Pakistan team played versus New Zealand in the recently concluded ODI series, I feel they have every chance to get to the semis. The conditions will suit Pakistan, and the way the boys have gelled together, they look good at the moment, especially since what happened in last year or so.’

    ‘They look like they want to prove a point to the world, and if not the final, they have every chance to make the semis.’

    The WC squad has a significant mix of seasoned campaigners and young players determined to make their mark, and the lanky pacer from Islamabad was pleasantly surprised to see them performing so well so soon, and liked the balance of the squad.

    ‘Amir and Asif were a big loss, but the way they [the team] are recovering, it is amazing, and was completely unexpected. The conditions will suit our fast bowlers, the ball will reverse, and I’m sure they will do well over there.’

    Ahmed Shehzad is one of the youngsters in the side that has really made a mark, with 2 blistering 100s against New Zealand and recently against Bangladesh in Pakistan’s first warmup match. Akram was glowing in his review of Shehzad and stated ‘He’s really impressed me and is a very good cricketer. You need someone ruthless up the order, and both Hafeez and Shehzad seem to be forming a really good partnership.’

    Akram was then asked to predict his good friend Shoaib Akhtar’s performance in WC 2011, and the veteran of 9 Tests and 23 one day internationals was cautiously optimistic.

    ‘I’m not too sure about his fitness, although I wish him all the best. He will always give 100% and try to bowl quick. If he can play 5-6 games at the WC, I think he will make a big difference to the Pakistan team, He is Mr. 100%, and always gives his best.

    Resting Akhtar in the matches against the lesser teams was suggested, but Akram quickly shot that idea down. ’He would be eager to play against them,’ said Akram. ‘Shoaib will get more wickets and gain confidence. In my opinion, Shoaib Akhtar should play every game.’

    Abdul Razzaq’s role in the side is also one that is quite unclear. Many keen followers of Pakistan cricket have suggested that he is wasted at the no.7/8 position and should bat higher up the order, but Akram did not seem convinced of that strategy.

    ‘We all know Razzaq is best suited to those kinds of match conditions. I would bat him at 7.’

    Misbah-ul-Haq and T20 World Cup winning skipper Younis Khan now form the backbone of the Pakistan batting lineup, yet their similar styles and cautious approach have been a cause of concern for the Pakistan team. Akram though, did not feel it was such a big issue.

    ‘At this stage, you need that experience in the middle. I would have both senior players in the middle order. It is a very young side, and the team will bat around them, and you need these kind of guys who can stay at the wicket and occupy the crease.’

    The 2011 World Cup promises to be one of the most hotly contested in recent memory, and Akram named two teams that he felt were the main challengers for the coveted title.

    India’s doing very well; they’re number 1 for me. One also cannot rule out Sri Lanka. I think that one of these Asian teams, India or Sri Lanka, will lift the title.’

  17. #17 by M . Y. Kasim on February 21, 2011 - 9:00 PM

    I watched the match between A and Z and could not hide my surprise at the way Tait was bowling- or rather chucking his fast- ones. I was ready to bring this to the notice of other readers but JAK beat me to it 😀

    Another thing that I noticed is that Whab Riaz is a big mouth 😦

    He and other members of the team should learn to talk with their performance and avoid making tall claims 🙂

  18. #18 by khansahab on February 21, 2011 - 9:35 PM

    Two no-balls should not be given five years’ punishment, and I wasn’t expecting it

    This is what Mohd Aamer said after his ban.

    Shame on these MF’s.

  19. #19 by newguy on February 21, 2011 - 11:28 PM

    Hi Guys,

    This is a good thread. I was wondering when you were going to start a thread on Pakistan’s perspective, so it came right on time.

    I am in the minority group that believes Pakistan has the chance to move up the ladder. So far the only positive non Pakistani “expert” opinion on Pakistan team has come from Indians. People like Harsha Bhogle and now Saurav Ganguly are openly telling Pakistan can win and they are a force to reckon with. I understand the nationalistic comments from ex-Pakistan players, they need to get behind the team and do this, and they are doing this. I think the reason some Indian experts believe Pakistan can do this is because they understand Pakistan better than anyone else, knowing that they have match winners that are quite moody and need a spark to unleash the potential within. I am talking about the likes of Afridi, Razzaq, Umar Gul, one match winning performance in the knockout stage from any one of these gentlemen could change the history for Pakistan in this WC once again. But they need to get that motivation going and get everything right, just like a young Inzamam did in that semi final against the Kiwis.

    BTW, I watched the whole 1992 final live, almost every single ball of it except the short duration of that partnership between Lamb and Fairbrother, I was watching live when Akram bowled those two magical deliveries and was thinking WOW what a ball .. what a ball, it was that good. From then on I knew as everyone else that Pakistan is lifting the cup. But even before that it did not look like that partnership will blossom into a match winning one for Pakistan, since they had Akram to come back, along with Imran had some overs left, so did Mushtaq, and Aaqib Javed who all bowled well.

    Anyhow, Pakistan was not a really good team up until that semi final in that tournament, they lost to India chasing a 220 odd target, and they were lucky as Javed Khan said by getting a point through a match that they would have lost, and they were lucky to have WI win the last game even though WI had no benefit from it but it helped Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan was a better team in 1987 WC and they had all the chances of winning then, only they lost to Aussies in semis, surprising it may be to many people today but Aussies were the underdogs then and them beating Pakistan in Lahore was considered a huge feat.

    Back to 1992, even that semi final looked lost since Miandad was batting slow in building an innings and they needed a power performance, which Inzi delivered, but that came out of no where since Inzi did not perform well in that tournament before then, I don’t even recall his scores before then or if he played all matches. But he came to scene with that performance and then again in the final.

    So Pakistan always have had some guy who will step up in big matches, it may happen this time too, you can’t plan for it. But no one should rule out the possibility.

    All that said, I still don’t see the magic in this team that was there for the teams from late 80’s to early 90’s, they somehow does not seem organized and their game looks like stuck in the late 80’s or 90’s. The power packed batting that need to take out opposition is not coming from the top order, this could be a serious flaw for Pakistan.

    Like many have suggested, I have also said before that Younus and Misbah in the middle together is not good for Pakistan for building momentum, they need one anchor paired with some power performers, may be Younus at #3 for top order stability with Misbah coming at #6 to offer later order stability with some power performers in between will to the magic to a winning team combination.

  20. #20 by newguy on February 21, 2011 - 11:37 PM

    Hi Guys,

    The feeling one had when watching those two deliveries from Akram was like a jolt, literally, I still remember where I was and the exact position I was sitting when that happened. I never saw 1983 Final or any footage, I was too young and we had no TV back then, first time I saw live cricket was 1985 Benson and Hedges World Championship that India won.

    Back to those deliveries, it came out of the blue, everything was peaceful and quite till then since the partnership was going in singles and twos and they were quietly building, no one knew where the game would go.

    Then Imran threw the ball towards Akram, it was his first over of second spell I think, and that first ball to dismiss Lamb was the jolt, there was that quick release then ball curving through air and a thwack sound when it hit the stumps, Lamb was shocked, and everyone else was.

    One reason Wasim Chakram still goes around raking money with his expert blathering is because of those memories people have. He was on air during SL-Can match and was praising Sri Lankan team to the sky, for a complete performance against a club level team like Canada. He sure knows where to put the butter, when in Sri Lanka praise them without limit and when in India praise Indians without limit.

    But those two balls were something.

  21. #21 by Varun Suri on February 22, 2011 - 12:09 AM

    I also believe tait was chucking, he seems to be throwing it with a sudden jerk and i am surprised none of the experts said anything about it.

    Javed,

    If Pakistan stands second behind Srilanka and ahead of Australia & New Zealand then there is a good chance of India-Pak final but if Australia comes ahead of Pakistan in 2nd place then we might meet in Semi-Finals of course all this is assuming India is no. 1 in their group. One thing is for sure one of us has to meet Srilanka in the semi-finals assuming they also reach there and I also have a feeling that one of the Asian teams is only going to lift the cup this time maybe I will be proven wrong but I am sure all of us here would not like me to be proven wrong!

  22. #22 by newguy on February 22, 2011 - 4:03 AM

    Hi Guys,

    On Shaun Tait chucking the fast ones, it is nearly impossible to bowl at 150 kmph without some form of bending the bowling arm. No surprise there then, how can anyone bowl that fast, if it is possible then why are there so few bowlers in history of cricket who can bowl at that speed. Malinga chucks, Tait chucks, Murali chucks, Bhajji chucks, and Akhtar chucks. Who else? I guess there are a few more. The point though is that with so much of camera around these days and with so many rules around how much you can bend the arm, it is legal to chuck.

  23. #23 by Mohammed Munir on February 22, 2011 - 9:17 AM

    Wah Javed Wah, Kia Baat Hai Aap Ki…

    When I read the heading of this new thread, I said to myself, “here we go with another analytical article trying to justify Pakistan’s chances of winning the cup”.

    But I was pleasantly surprised with a dosage of nostalgia about Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup win.

    Javed Minadad’s contributions, Imran Khan’s innings of 70 where he took responsibility and came at no. 3, Wasim’s gem of deliveries, and then Inzi, Ramiz, and all others. It was a time.

    I was getting all emotional and charged up reading this thread and it was as if we relived the 1992 win.

    Although, it was a bit of an anticlimax reading the last two paragraphs of the thread, however, unfortunately, it shows us the hard reality of the team today.

    I absolutely agree with Javed Khan, where he correctly advises the Pakistani fans “DO NOT keep any hopes from Pakistan”.

    But then again, there is a logical thinking of the brain and contrary to that there is a wishing of the heart … and … Dil Tu Bacha Hai Jee. 😉

    PS: Photos of both Imran Khan & Shahid Afridi are looking very beautiful.

  24. #24 by Mohammed Munir on February 22, 2011 - 9:19 AM

    World Cup Round I ….

    From what I understand, all the teams have to play at least six games in the first round of the WC, and then the top four teams from each group will make it to next round. There are no bonus points, however, NRR may come into the picture, that is if points are tied.

    Now what I would like to know is that with so many working formula, at least how many minimum matches a team should win to squeeze a berth to Quarter Finals stage ❓

  25. #25 by Mohammed Munir on February 22, 2011 - 9:22 AM

    And Finally, something other and cricket … 😉

    39 Wives, 94 Children and 33 Grandchildren … What a M.A.N. ❓ 😆

    This is called, One Big Happy Family.

    Read more:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1358654/The-worlds-biggest-family-Ziona-Chan-39-wives-94-children-33-grandchildren.html#ixzz1ETOg2xvZ

  26. #26 by khansahab on February 22, 2011 - 7:09 PM

    On Cricinfo there is a picture of Misbah with the caption,

    “Misbah symbolises Pakistan’s spirit”.

    If that is true then God save Pakistan.

    Unless someone is like a run machine like Tendulkar, a batsman needs to perform when it matters and Misbah seems incapable of doing that. If he was a newcomer or junior player I would not give him so much flak but he is playing as the 2nd best batsman in the team and therefore Pakistan needs him to do more than just make runs for himself.

  27. #27 by khansahab on February 22, 2011 - 10:12 PM

    Shoaib Akhtar’s shoe “theft” in Sri Lanka

    Pakistan cricket team management found themselves in an interesting position when they found speedster Shoaib Akhtar screaming at team members and support staff “oye merraa joota kithey hai”

    Eye witnesses say that pacer showed his frustration when he failed to find his shoes in kit bag, he first yelled at support staff and then called all the ground staff to inquire about his shoes.

    Situation turned funny when Shoaib decided to run without shoes and he was seen “NANGAY PAAO” during the training.

  28. #28 by khansahab on February 22, 2011 - 10:23 PM

    Write them off at your own peril

    Amit Gupta

    That was October 1996 and this is February 2011. Shahid Afridi was 16-year-old then and he is a week short of celebrating his 31st birthday now. In Afridi’s case, as the cliché goes, these years have been nothing more than numbers.

    Whether he matured as a batsman since debuting with a whirlwind 37-ball ton that included 6 fours and 11 sixes, isn’t really substantiated by his current average of 23.93 in 312 ODIs.

    The same goes for Afridi’s maturity as an all-round cricketer and no one needs better evidence than the incident in Perth during an ODI against Australia in February last year, where he was caught on camera biting the ball’s seam. His explanation that he did it to help his team couldn’t have sounded more laughable.

    But yesterday, as Afridi blinked his eyes and wiped the sweat from his forehead after a 70-kilometre drive from the Pakistan team hotel to the ground, he knew that he has a golden chance to set things right at the World Cup.

    Approaching the end

    Afridi is playing his fourth and perhaps his last World Cup. He is leading a group of volatile cricketers and hoping against hope to emulate the feats of Imran Khan and his cornered tigers in 1992.

    Pakistan’s first match against Kenya today may be an ideal opportunity to get a hang of things before sterner tests, but Afridi realizes that the team cannot take the Africans lightly. “I don’t think we will be relaxed in any way. The first match in any tournament is always important. There are a number of examples when big teams have lost these kind of matches and I want to play with a full strength side,” he said.

    Two of the examples that Afridi was referring to were their loss to Bangladesh in the 1999 World Cup and to Ireland in the 2007 edition which led to their exit and all the turmoil that followed resulting from coach Bob Woolmer’s death in mysterious circumstances.

    Prone to controversies

    What makes his task tougher is the ease with which the Pakistan team attracts controversies. The latest to hit them, the spot-fixing episode, has meant that the team has not only lost its best bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif; Afridi’s men are now constantly under public scrutiny and almost all their activities are tracked closely.

    Maintaining the team’s balance and perspective in these tough times is not easy but Afridi feels things are settling down gradually. “It was difficult in the beginning, when we had all those issues. We had to rebuild, we had to lift the team again.

    “That was affecting my performance, but now a situation has come where our team is settled and we now have a good combination. People now have hopes that this team can do something,” Afridi said.

    Leading Pakistan has never been an easy task for the best of cricketers and Afridi admits it in no uncertain terms. “It’s difficult to handle it. You have to make sacrifices. I think in my 13-14 years in international cricket, we have not worked as hard as we are working now. Irrespective of the results, we are doing our best. Players in the team support me.

    “No one is looking at us as contenders for a semi-final berth but I want to see my team in the semis.” The semi-finals may still look like a distant dream, but pundits will write them off only at their own peril.

  29. #29 by Mohammed Munir on February 23, 2011 - 7:44 AM

    Shahid Afridi … Please Stop Boasting !!

    Javed Khan have rightly mentioned in the above thread about Shahid Afridi’s “brainless blabbering and a complete braggadocio”.

    The big occasion (World Cup) is getting to him and I guess he can’t believe that he is being made captain. So in his excitement of it all, it seems our man has gone bonkers. 😦

    Pakistan is known to be a country full of uneducated emotional-fools who are all passionate and diehard fans of cricket. Whereas with his such boastful and over-optimistic comments, Shahid Afridi is only fuelling their passion and playing with their emotions, because as a result of his mindless speeches these fans will not settle for anything less then a dramatic World Cup win.

    Afridi is making a big mistake by slowly and gradually making us all (rather then his team) believe that Pakistan can do it. The problem is that with this buildup of high unrealistic expectations, when the jolt of reality will hit us hard, the very same Pakistani fans who are today supporting Afridi will go for his head.

    I think the best tactics, for Pakistani team, would have been to keep a low-profile and give your one hundred percent performance on the ground. Everyone knows that we had been through so much of problems and so even if we didn’t win it but tried and rebuild a good team sprit and give a good show, then the public would have understood it, as initially no one was hoping us to win it anyways. Nevertheless, with captain’s comments and repeated reassurances, the public shall start falsely believing and that will be when they will get hurt the most.

    Afridi has played enough cricket for Pakistan and he should know the public behavior very well to make such comments. An educated and diplomatic captain would never had played with people’s emotions and preferred to let his performance speak.

    From what I can see, Afridi has at least 5/ 6 more years of cricket left in him and he can play even beyond that, but he seems to be hell-bent to shorten or rather finish his career along this World Cup with his antics.

  30. #30 by Mohammed Munir on February 23, 2011 - 7:45 AM

    Quote Of The Day …

    After the game is over, the ‘King’ and the ‘Pawn’ go into the same box.

  31. #31 by Mohammed Munir on February 23, 2011 - 7:57 AM

    Khansahab …

    Referring your comment no. 26 above.

    Although you have mentioned that “Misbah is playing as the 2nd best batsman in the team”, but I am yet to see you giving any real flack to the, so-called, best and number one batsman in the team and that too when is totally out-of-form and off-colour to say the least. While on the other hand, I hardly saw you appreciating Misbah even when he scored 4/ 5 consecutive fifties and one or two centuries.

    Please forgive me for saying this, but you seem to hold Misbah responsible for taking place of your favourite, Fawad Alam.

    Although, I am not a very big fan of Misbah and I don’t like his rather slow batting style, but the fact remains that Misbah is performing and this is the most important thing from Pakistan’s prospective.

    Another point is that many peoples consider Misbah senior on the bases of only his age (36 year), while we should not forget that he started his career too late, for whatever reasons, and have played only 63 ODIs till date. Whereas we have many other players who may be younger in years to Misbah but have played much more international games. For example, Afridi 312 ODIs, Younis Khan 213 ODIs, Razzaq 254 ODIs, etc. are they all not senior to Misbah in the team ❓

    Secondly, I am unable to understand how you rated Misbah as “2nd best batsman” because on ODI averages, he is way ahead of Younis Khan and also on your criteria of age he is older than Younis. 😉

    Younis Khan who had played over 200 ODIs and is a specialist batsman in the team is averaging only 32, whereas even Razzaq, who is an all-rounder, is averaging 30.

    I think Misbah is not “2nd best” but “The best”, because the 1st best batsman in the team, Younis Khan, is averaging much below Misbah, who has an average of 39 in ODIs.

    Now finally without prolonging this Misbah debate any further, let’s hope and pray that Younis Khan, Misbah and Gul as well as all the other guys starting performing to the best of their abilities and win us some games.

    BTW, seeing the way Netherlands played yesterday against England, I am a bit worried even from Kenya.

    Good luck for today’s match.

  32. #32 by khansahab on February 23, 2011 - 6:55 PM

    Wasim Akram has offered his services to Pakistan

    Former skipper Wasim Akram has offered his services to the Pakistan team management in the World Cup to help groom two left-arm pacers in the side – Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz.

    Akram, considered to be one of the best left-arm fast bowlers in the history of cricket, has been spending time with the Pakistani players and chief coach Waqar Younis in Sri Lanka.

    “Yes I have told Waqar and Shahid Afridi that I am available to help Wahab and Junaid whenever they want me because I have a lot of spare time on hand in Sri Lanka,” he told the Geo Super channel.

    Akram, now a noted TV commentator and cricket expert, said so far he has not seen rookie pacer Junaid bowling but heard good things about him from the coach and captain.

    “I love working with the younger bowlers especially if they are left armers. I would love to help the Pakistan team in this World Cup by working with Wahab and Junaid,” he added.

    The legendary pacer said it was a wrong impression that while he had time to help out Indian bowlers, Irfan Khan and Zaheer Khan, he didn’t give time to the Pakistani youngsters.

    It is a totally wrong impression because I conducted a fast bowling camp two years back for the Pakistan board and Muhammad Amir was among the trainees in that camp. When I have time I have no issues helping out our players and passing them on some of my own experiences,” he said.

    Akram said he doesn’t think that reverse swing would be of any effective in this World Cup.

    “The ball is changed after 34 overs and between the 40th and 50th overs I think bowlers must now depend a lot on slow yorkers, bouncers and variation in length. You must keep the batsmen thinking all the time,” he said.

    “The good thing is that Paksitan have quality spinners, all-rounders as well as good pace bowlers in this World Cup,” he noted.

    Akram said he expected enigmatic fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar to fire in the showpiece event despite reports of him not being fully fit doing the rounds.

    “I think Shoaib will do something because even he knows this is the swansong for him on such a major platform. I think he himself is eager to deliver for the team and if he is used properly in short spells he can be a match winner for the team.”

  33. #33 by khansahab on February 23, 2011 - 6:56 PM

    “Shahid bhai has tipped me for Player of the Tournament”: Umar Akmal

  34. #34 by khansahab on February 23, 2011 - 7:06 PM

    Munir sahab

    Quality matters, not quantity.

    The quality of Younis’s runs is better than Misbah’s.

    I am not impressed by Misbah because his recent good performance just appears to be motivated by cementing himself in the team.

    Whenever the time has come to deliver he has always failed.

    Younis Khan scores when it matters and in one of the warm up games he was Pakistan’s highest scorer for miles.

    Misbah is not a technical genius like Tendulkar and doesn’t make runs against quality sides which is why I can’t commend his run making ability.

    I’ve forgotten Fawad Alam actually- I don’t blame Misbah for taking his side because Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq can also be argued to have taken Alam’s side. I know Alam is a better player than Misbah and his 168 on debut proved that. If statistics matter so much then Don Bradman should be everyone’s favourite batsman.

    In my opinion Younis is the best batsman in the squad, followed by U Akmal, Shafiq/Shahzad and then Hafeez.

  35. #35 by khansahab on February 23, 2011 - 9:09 PM

    What a bowling performance from Afridi, surely he is one of the best ODI bowlers in the world.

    With this type of bowling he can trouble the best teams of the competition.

    Strangely enough Afridi is a very highly regarded cricketer around the world, but in Pakistan the senior players and critics (Imran, Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim etc) have never praised him. In fact Zaheer Abbas openly criticises him.

    Michael Holding, Geoffrey Boycott and Ravi Shastri have all praised Afridi to no end.

  36. #36 by khansahab on February 23, 2011 - 11:37 PM

    Since 2007 Afridi’s bowling average has been 32 and strike rate has been 41- which is very good.

    His stats are better since 2007 than Harbhajan’s and Vettori’s entire career stats.

  37. #37 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 23, 2011 - 11:37 PM

    Hey guys, just one win and that too against Kenya doesn’t make Pakistan team the best or their players any better. If Afridi performs like this against big teams then I am impressed otherwise I am not. Yeah, he bowled well today but, these players have no idea about his bowling and he is very good in surprising in-experienced players.

    Ramiz Raja is enough as a commentator and he was accompanied by Wasim Akram to give us earaches and even nausea with his nasal blabbering. He was constantly saying, The Kenya, The Kamran Akmal, The Umar Akmal – he even said The Umar Akmal needs to improve his wicketkeeping (he meant Kamran Akmal). How can he say that? I can accept if it is Michael Holding or any other non-Pakistani commentator saying that but, for Wasim to say Umar Akmal must improve his keeping is ridiculous.

    When Misbah dropped a regulation catch of the bowling off Shahid Afridi, both Ramiz and Wasim said, “It was a great effort by Misbah” Ramiz in fact said it before he dropped the catch, he said, Misbah will accept the match with those bucket like hands and, he caught the ball, dived and then the ball popped out of his hands. Its a shame that these two oldies were praising his efforts for dropping a simple regulation catch in the deep.

    Wasim Akmran should be a PIA air hostess because with his nasal “min minaowing” he sounds like one:

    “Peeen Aaaiyee Ainnn keeN Parwaaz PeeN KaiN, Chaar SiNfer Teen (PK-403) Rawangee kay liyeh TaNyaar hain.
    MuNsafiraon say darkhowNst haiN kay wo apni apni PaiNtee, Apni Apni KamraoN say baNd laiN.”

    I used to think that their nasal voice is because of the “Nuthnee” or Long Gavacha they wear, but What is Wasim Akram wearing? 😀

  38. #38 by 420 on February 24, 2011 - 1:00 AM

    khansahab
    i have never checked stats in particular, but i know that for last 2-3 years afridi-ajmal combo is the best spin dept in ODIs. this WC is going to be a tough one for all the teams

  39. #39 by newguy on February 24, 2011 - 3:34 AM

    A good win for Pakistan, and an excellent warm up for many of the batsmen and bowlers.

    I don’t want to say too much on this win since these games against minnows are sort of warm ups in my view for the full member teams.

    Real game is when the top teams clash with each other. I am looking forward to Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka and India vs. England, and to a lesser extend SA vs. WI tomorrow.

    Game against Sri Lanka will tell where Pakistan team stands, same for India vs. England, in fact India vs. South Africa will be a better measure if they end up beating England.

  40. #40 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 24, 2011 - 4:36 AM

    Chris Gayle has eyes on Tendulkar’s record, he said, if he can bat for 50 overs he will definitely break Tendulkar’s record. Well, he can do that playing against the minnows for sure. In fact most big hitters can do. I wonder how Sehwag missed that opportunity, if he gets a second chance he should go for it. Neither Afridi nor Razzaq opens the innings any more so there is no way they can break that record. The only other person who is definitely capable of break that record is Tendulkar himself. Because, he knows how to pace his innings.

  41. #41 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 24, 2011 - 4:39 AM

    On Man of the match award, it is good to see a youngster (Umar Akmal) getting that award but, I met a friend today and he said, these days anybody can score 70 odd runs in a 50 over match especially against the minnows. But, taking 5 wickets is not everyday affair. Afridi got those 5 wickets at a very decent economy rate and he also created a world record by surpassing Wasim Akmram’s 28/5 against Namibia. So, in his opinion he deserved that award. Those who chose or vote for the MoM award should remember this.

  42. #42 by Mohammed Munir on February 24, 2011 - 7:46 AM

    Pakistan won and that too with very good margins, which is a good news, but more importantly I am happy that the Captain lead the team from front and gave his best individual performance, because with this he can now pull the players up and enforce his authority on them. As usual, we had a bad start but thanks god we recovered well and went on to score 300 +.

    I fully agree with Javed Khan that Shahid Afridi should have been awarded the MOM because he took 5 wickets giving only 16 runs in 8 overs with 3 maidens. Umer Akmal’s 71 runs was nothing special because we had 4 players who all scored fifties and Misbah scored 65 which was only 6 runs short of Akmal’s score. Secondly and more importantly, it is surely much easier to score runs on Asian pitches then taking wickets.

    BTW, was this MOM award adjudicated by either Raja or Wasim by any chance ❓ 😉

    Coming back to the match, I think the worrisome point for Pakistan is that both their openers failed plus we don’t have many batting options with only Asad Shafiq sitting outside, whereas we have three more bowlers (Ajmal, Wahab & Junaid Khan) in our squad.

    LOL @ Javed Khan’s “Peeen Aaaiyee Ainnn” storey.

  43. #43 by Mohammed Munir on February 24, 2011 - 8:13 AM

    Khansahab …

    Quality and Quantity is an intangible notion in cricket. I wonder how would you like to prove that “quality of Younis’s runs is better then Misbah’s”. This is more of an individual opinion which is never right or wrong.

    Coming back to your comments, you said, I am not impressed by Misbah because his recent good performance just appears to be motivated by cementing himself in the team.

    Misbah is Vice Captain of the ODI team (he was very close to be Captain) and current Captain of the Test side, besides he is also supposedly in the good books of Waddi-Butt, so I don’t know if he still needs ‘cementing himself’.

    You also said, Younis Khan scores when it matters and in one of the warm up games he was Pakistan’s highest scorer for miles.

    So you mean to say that it was very important to score in that warm-up match which we lost ❓ 😉 If it was so, then Misbah also scored run-a-ball century in our first warm-up which was better then Younis because at least we won that game. (Now you may again start comparing the “Quality” of the opponents) 😀

    BTW, I was surprised to notice that yesterday was Younis’s first ever fifty in any World Cup, and he is playing in 3 or 4 WC. Moreover, that 50 also came in 67 balls at the lowest strike rate of 74.62 from entire Pakistani team, bar the two openers who got out for 9 & 1.

    You further said, Misbah is not a technical genius like Tendulkar and doesn’t make runs against quality sides which is why I can’t commend his run making ability.

    So you think that Younis is like Tendulkar ❓ Please note that there can’t be a Tendulkar in every other team, because players like him are born once in a while. So it is grossly unfair to compare anyone with Tendulkar. Even Australia and SA doesn’t have players like Tendulkar, let alone poor Misbah.

    You finally said, In my opinion Younis is the best batsman in the squad, followed by U Akmal, Shafiq/Shahzad and then Hafeez.

    Actually, you are contradicting yourself here because you said that Misbah is the “2nd best batsman in the team”. Remember ❓ 😛

  44. #44 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 24, 2011 - 1:06 PM

    Munir

    Afridi has pointed out in his post match comments about the openers, he said, you have to take chances otherwise the bowlers will keep on bowling in the same area and restrict you from taking runs. What I don’t like about Hafeez is, he starts with leaving the ball alone many a time in the first few overs. This is not a good thing to do in a 50 over match which is not a test match. You have to play a shot instead of leaving the ball to go to the keeper’s gloves. It shows a defensive intent and the bowler immediately starts attacking in the same area. I fully agree with Afridi that you have to disrupt the bowler’s strategy and make him uncomfortable and force him to change his line and length which gives you the opportunity to play more shots. They should remember that they are not playing a test match.

    They need to resolve this issue otherwise they will have real big problem against the big teams. The new fast bowler from Sri Lanka, TC Parera impressed me in the game that he played against Canada, he took 3 wickets but, he was bowling fast, accurate and rattled down the Canadian batting line up. And, Pakistan must remember they have to deal with 2 spinners and one of them would be Murali. So, if the openers don’t do it well, then the middle order won’t be able to negotiate well with the spinners. Also, Sri Lanka has explosive openers in Dilshan. They need to get rid of their big four i.e., two openers plus Jayawardene and Sangakara to control them from exploding. Their middle order in Samaraweera, KapuraGurda and Mathews are also dangerous and can take the score to any lengths. “Billi Maaray Bina Kaam Nahee Chalay Ga Pakistan Ka.”

  45. #45 by M . Y. Kasim on February 24, 2011 - 9:27 PM

    I have been watching and listening to the EXPERTS 🙂 😦 panel on Geo Super 😀

    Plus, I read today Mr. Kamran Abbasi’s article, Pak Spin in CSPNCrickinfo.

    The gist of all is that: Pakistan are short in their bowling fire-power. Different person has opined different solotion.

    Let me put in mine 😀 Drop one of the opener (in this case, Mohammad Hafeez) and push Kamran Akman to partner Ahmed Shehzad. Again, send Misbah at number three. He is old enough 🙂 experienced enough 😦 and smart enough 😀 to know what to do if a wicket has fallen earler and/or what to do if the openers have given a good flying start.

    Bring in Wahab Riaz and/or Junaid Khan to add fire -power. In any case, you will have to bring both of them sooner or later, depending on how long The Rawanpindi Express last : ( and finally, bring back Saeed Ajmal after the days of “Iddat” have passed 😀 in place any non-perming bowler 😦

  46. #46 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 24, 2011 - 11:27 PM

    Mr. Kasim

    What you are saying is exactly what we have been saying on this blog since the time the Pakistani squad was announced and we have chosen a team that in our opinion would be the best. We have been saying that Pakistan doesn’t need so many batsmen as you can see that Abdul Razzaq did not get a chance to bat, if your top order and middle order performs then the lower middle order doesn’t need to bat, therefore you can play with the batting order and promote the big hitters up, that way you can improve your strike rate and run rate.

    Hafeez is there because of his recent performance but, in this WC he is not playing upto the mark, he has been very slow and even against a team like Kenya he was hit for a few sixes and fours and on top of that he was laughing, he should have taken it seriously rather than laughing. I think, you are right about promoting Akmal as opener with Shahzad and then Umar Akmal can come at number 3 or, even Abdul Razzaq so that the 15 overs power play is fully utilized after that we know the two test players namely Misbah and Younus Khan slows down the tempo. So, it is important to change the batting order, drop a batsman and include Saeed Ajmal.

    Also drop Maal Gaari and give Junaid Khan a chance he is young, fast and accurate. In my opinion Wahab and Junaid should open the bowling and Gul should be the number 3 bowler. I am not sure how long Saeed Ajmal’s iddat period will continue and why is he in iddat? Kon murr gaya? 😀

  47. #47 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 25, 2011 - 11:27 AM

    Australia won the match easily, the onus is on Pakistan to beat New Zealand in their group match otherwise they will be in trouble. Beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka with this Pakisani team is very difficult. But, the same team has beaten New Zealand last month albeit it was only 3-2 yet it was a series win, however here it would be different, one loss and they will be in hot waters. If they win against SL, then their confidence would be very high and they can even challenge Australia, and they look in good form and likely to stay as the top team in the group.

    Bangladesh at the moment is struggling against Ireland and their home support, home crowd, home pitches is not helping them unless they bowl out Ireland.

  48. #48 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 25, 2011 - 11:37 AM

    NAGPUR: Australia fast bowler Doug Bollinger has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup with a left ankle injury and is returning home, it was announced on Friday.

    http://www.geosuper.tv/news_detail.asp?id=38479

  49. #49 by khansahab on February 25, 2011 - 6:30 PM

    South Africa made a statement by unleashing Imran Tahar, who took 4 wickets. He is a highly regarded spinner and will be crucial to SA’s plans. In fact this time it appears SA have something which they did not have earlier in any World Cup- a dangerous spinner.

    Australia have beaten NZ easily to show that they are a top team in the contest.

    If first signs are anything to go by the following teams appear the most impressive- South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka.

    The pace trio of Tait, Johnson and Lee is not too far behind SA’s trio of Steyn, Tsotsobe and Morkel.

    I would like to know what Newguy, 420 and Varun think about India’s chances against England?

  50. #50 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 25, 2011 - 6:39 PM

    Bangladesh finally beat Ireland in a low scoring match. I had a feeling when they scored the magical 200, their spinners will tie down the Irish players and they did. Something for the BD fans to cheer about and keep their hopes alive. Their main concern would be beating West Indies and England. They have already lost to India and they cannot beat SA for sure.

    Sri Lankan players are wary of Pakistan, Sangakara and Jayawerdene both expressed their concerns about a team which most people have written off, they say that the team has not one but, quite a few potential match winners. They may be showing their concerns but, I think SL is still a more balanced side than Pakistan and they are more consistent. Their fast bowlers in TC Parera, Kulasekara, Malinga and Mathews are good and their spinners duo of Murali and Mendis are more economical than Pakistani spinners. Pakistan needs to post a big total batting first if not, they cannot restrict SL by scoring 260-270.

    My concern is Hafeez
    who is very slow to start and then he throws away his wicket. His bowling against SL may not be that effective because they play better spinners at home. So, Pakistan can drop him and take the fast bowler Junaid Khan as a surprise weapon and strengthen their bowling attack, their batting without Hafeez will not be a problem. I wonder what is wrong with Saeed Ajmal? Whatever I may be suggesting here, Pakistan will perhaps keep the same team which played against Kenya and that is because of this stupid superstitious attitude of keeping the same winning combination. If that notion comes true then a team once winning a match should never lose. The important point is, to see and analyze the weakness in that winning combo and try to improve it further. But, they cannot see that wearing blinkers.

  51. #51 by newguy on February 25, 2011 - 6:48 PM

    Bangladesh won against Ireland with a good performance in the field after a poor display in batting. This is the exact opposite of what England did against Netherlands, compensate with batting a poor performance in the field.

    My own impression so far is also that South Africa and Australia have excellent bowling units, although SA are well balanced in batting too. That said, SA always have been a top team in WC and they were always decisive in league phase. So nothing new here and nothing can be taken from it.

    Talking about Imran Tahir, it’s too early to rate his performance based on a 4 wicket haul against a sorry West Indies side that lacks any motivation. I understand this guy Tahir could not qualify to play for Pakistan and so he went around the world and finally qualified for SA. They were hiding him from Indians so that he does not get exposed before WC. Anyhow, he will be useful against non asian team, but teams like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will take him to the cleaners based on what has happened to even legendary leg spinners like Warne.

    What are India’s chances against England? I have no idea, one would think that India has upper hand? But I don’t know how Indians will turn out, since they are not consistent in bowling or batting. Not as much as Pakistan, but they are still uncertain at times. Also a lot will depend on Bangalore pitch which offers assistance to bowlers.

    I am looking forward to Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka tomorrow, which is like the first match so far between major teams. I don’t think NZ and WI are much more better than minnows these days.

    Sunday of course is the India – England game, and already Indian media is hyping up team so much, fans are stampeding for tickets in Bangalore and getting into fight with Police. At this rate media frenzy is whipped up in India, some fans think there are no other teams participating.

    But my feeling is that this Indian team do not have all-round strength to win a tournament like WC. They are likely to fall at the knockout, most likely semi-final, let’s wait and see. Fans will surely be disappointed to no limit and there will be effigies burnt on the streets. Gary Kirsten is a smart man since he is already stepping down as coach after WC regardless of the result.

  52. #52 by Sagaat on February 25, 2011 - 8:30 PM

    Javed Khan,

    I agree with you that Hafeez makes too few runs as an opener for the strike-rate that he plays with (a batting average in the early 20s). In fact it also makes sense that the bowling is very weak and it may be worth it to play Junaid Khan in place of Hafeez. The difference, in terms of averages is that, where Hafeez would make 20 runs, Junaid Khan would make 7,8 runs. In terms of bowling it could prove a big difference though, if Junaid Khan can take wickets. Besides, there is no better time to experiment with the line-up than the earlier stages of the tournament. They should change the team now rather than be unsure of which 11 to play at the quarter-finals stage. Actually, this stage should be experimented with, so that the playing 11 is certain by the time the quarter-finals begin.

  53. #53 by M . Y. Kasim on February 25, 2011 - 9:55 PM

    JAK,

    Koi naahi mora, magar Hussey ka bora bhai itna maara, itna maara ke hum dar ki vaze se chhup gaya. Hum ko bohoot saram aayaa 😦

    Samja?

    Doosra baat……sub expert bolta Afridi ko, Baat suno,,,,amal karo, Bichara do ball tak sunta…phir amal karta to kaich pakra jaata, woh bichara kiya korega?

    Haaaaan?

  54. #54 by khansahab on February 25, 2011 - 11:23 PM

    Munir sahab

    It is easy to distinguish quality vs quantity in cricket. The 25 runs a batsman can make against Steyn and Morkel have better quality than the same batsman making 40 against a minnow team.

    This is not to say that Younis is excellent against good sides, but he tends to score when the team needs him to. He develops a foundation for the team and is not afraid of taking risks. He is positive in his approach.

    Against a good side, Misbah would just play to accumulate runs and then he will get under pressure and play a stupid shot and get out. He appears extremely vulnerable when the ball is swinging and unlike Younis he becomes very defensive and doesn’t play shots.

    I said “recent good performance……cementing himself”. That meant that he was playing to cement his place in the team. You can interpret it to mean that his performance has not been cemented yet, but that was not my point. Whether his place is cemented or not (and I was actually alluding to fact that his place is NOW cemented) his past performance showed that after he became a renowned middle order batsman, his performance started deteriorating.

    Why have you asked me the question about Younis and Misbah’s respective scores in the warm up games, when you have answered the question yourself? Younis performed when no one else did, Misbah performed with Shahzad who scored more than Misbah. One opposition was Bangladesh and the other was England. Misbah and Shahzad batted in the 1st innings, Younis batted when Pakistan was chasing. So, there is a world of a difference in quality and quantity over here.

    Actually, I never said Misbah is the 2nd best batsman in the team. If you read carefully you might notice I said, “Misbah is playing as the 2nd best batsman”. That is because after Younis, Misbah is widely perceived to be Pakistan’s best batsman. This is because of many reasons- age, position in the batting order (middle order), recent form etc.

    Is is not clear from my persistent criticism of Misbah that I can’t consider him to be one of the better batsmen in Pakistan?

  55. #55 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 1:19 AM

    Bollinger, Bravo and who is next in the injured list? Pakistan needs to be very careful and play cautiously because they cannot afford injuries to any of their players.

    After seeing TC Parera against Canada, I wrote he would be a threat and today on cricinfo either Osman Samiuddin or in the match preview report they have put his picture and called him a potent threat to all teams.

    Pakistan nay agar BILLI NAHEE MAREE tou gaye kaam say, they have to start very aggressively against Sri Lanka and that is the only way to counter them.

    I hope they play a few aggressive players on the top instead of going with Hafeez and then Younus and Misbah. They should have Umar Akmal at number 3 or Abdul Razzaq at number 3 and UA at number 4. Then go for the defense i.e., if wickets start tumbling. But, opening with Hafeez is NOT a good idea.

  56. #56 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 8:36 AM

    I was watching Mohsin Khan’s interview and he made the following points:

    – If Pakistan had taken stern action against the match fixers of the 1990’s then this problem with Asif, Aamer and Butt would not have happened. India took strict action against Azharuddin, Jadeja and Prabhakar and there was never any match fixing after that.

    – Afridi and Waqar are open to playing youngsters in the team.

    – Honest players in the team are Afridi, Younis and Gul and a few others.

  57. #57 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 10:06 AM

    Hafeez out on 32, I had said that he is a key player for Pakistan and if he scores 35 the team will greatly benefit from him.

    I have spoken about this concept of “net utility” and in my opinion Hafeez’s net utility to the team is 40-45 runs if he consistently scores 30 runs.

    That makes him a more useful player than many in the team.

    I don’t have high hopes from Hafeez when the team plays Australia or South Africa, but then I don’t have high hopes from other batsmen too.

  58. #58 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 10:17 AM

    khansahab

    Hafeez is only a 25-30 player and once in a while he scores over fifty and he has his first 100 after playing 60 ODI’s. Today he got run out all because of his own mistake. He should have run instead of watching the ball. As you must have seen when the batsmen put the fielders under pressure the throws are not accurate, even a player like Sangakara threw the ball over Murali’s head and that would have been the chance for Hafeez to survive. But, he paid the price for being negative.

    It is not a bad start from Pakistan but, now they need a partnership and I have no hopes from Younus Khan, if he stays there and Kamran Akmal scores at a brisk pace then the chances are that the run rate can be maintained. Right now the momentum has shifted in SL’s favour. Shahzad played a poor shot at the bowling of Parera. Murali and Herath are definitely going to put brakes on Pakistan run making at a good strike rate.

  59. #59 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 10:24 AM

    This is the way I see the players’ respective “net utilities”:

    Hafeez: 40-45 runs (reliable bowling, fielding, significance of good start by opener)

    Shahzad: difficult to say because new

    K Akmal: 35 runs (uplift because of keeper, but downgraded because of historically poor keeping)

    Younis: 45 runs (positive gameplay, ability to play good bowling)

    Misbah: 25 runs (negative gameplay, match loser, historically associated with political mafia)

    U Akmal: 37 runs (attacking mindset, effect on opposition, consistent)

    Afridi: 50 runs (fielding, morale booster, consistent bowling, quick runs with the bat, effect on opposition)

    Razzaq: 32 runs (ineffective bowling, poor fielding, inconsistent batting, but match winning ability and effect on opposition counts in his favour)

    Gul: 35 runs (inconsistent, but takes 1-2 wickets here and there)

    A Rehman: (difficult to say because new)

    Shoaib Akhtar: 35 runs (fitness problems big morale destroyer for team, uncertainty with his form is also a morale destroyer, but match winning ability counts in his favour. If he was younger and fitter his net utility could be 50+)

  60. #60 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 10:31 AM

    Javed A Khan

    Hafeez is a more useful player than Razzaq and Misbah.

    Hafeez’s fielding and bowling makes him an attractive option for the team.

    Afridi is useful to the team for many of the same reasons as Hafeez- fit, good fielder, good bowler although Afridi is obviously a better bowler.

    I am okay with dropping players like Hafeez if players like Razzaq and Misbah are also dropped. I don’t see how Hafeez is a worse player than those 2.

    25 runs coming from Hafeez’s bat should mean 35-40 runs coming from a middle order batsman’s bat- this is because a good opening start makes the middle order batsmen’s job so easy. You can see how Hafeez’s 32 runs have had an effect on Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan and now it is likely Pakistan will post 280+ unless a disaster happens.

  61. #61 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 11:16 AM

    Wasim Akram just said, “Misbah has scored 26 in 36 balls, almost run a ball.” Wasim please go to school and learn the basics.

    Earlier he also said when Herath bowled a dot ball he said, ” He just bowled a maiden ball.”

    Now Ramiz Raja and Wasim Akram are boasting about Misbah, saying his confidence is oozing out since the last 6 months.

  62. #62 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 11:27 AM

    34th over has just finished and they will replace the ball, so the scoring must improve from now. These two needs to score at least 40 runs in the next 6 overs to lay a useful platform for the so-called fire power of Pakistan. Sometimes the fire power backfires and there is a total crash, so one should be cautious in not getting carried away assuming the total is 210 in 40 overs with only 3 wickets down. So many times it has happened that the remainder of the players got out in the next 30 odd runs. If that happens it would be a disaster for Pakistan.

    Right now both Wasim and Ramiz are boasting about the dressing room atmosphere being so nice rather excellent.

    Younus Khan has scored his second fifty of the world cup.

  63. #63 by Sagaat on February 26, 2011 - 12:11 PM

    I don’t know what is going on in the 44th over. Afridi should have come before Umar Akmal. Misbah is playing a test match out there. They have taken the powerplay too late. What seemed like 300 now seem like 270-280.

  64. #64 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 12:12 PM

    Some one please tell Misbah to accelerate NOW.

    Choot*a, HIT NOW not later.

  65. #65 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 12:44 PM

    Normally when your openers give you a start like this, scoring at 6+ runs an over, you capitalise on it and score in excess of 300.

    But Pakistan unfortunately had Misbah ul Haq, who accelerated only at the 11th hour.

    How many matches have we seen when Misbah’s negative batting has prevented Afridi and Razzaq from settling and going for the big hits?

    Unfortunately we are blind and have difficulty seeing beyond averages. Misbah’s average can be 50 but he is highly overrated.

  66. #66 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 12:46 PM

    Easily 300 and now only 277, which in my opinion is gettable, Sri Lanka has the batting line up and if Pakistan get early wickets then they can hold them from scoring at a brisk rate. First 4 batsmen of Sri Lanka are very important.

    Oh, I hate this Indian song they have made especially for the WC, dhool urra kay, chutki baja kay, bat ghuma, bund marakay, blah, blah, blah.

  67. #67 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 12:49 PM

    I have said this before, either Shafiq or an extra bowler should play in Misbah’s place.

    Shafiq may only achieve 20-30 runs but he will not be a burden on the other batsmen.

    Umar Akmal, Afridi and Razzaq can be responsible batsmen in their own right and they should bat higher up.

    Misbah should either bat below Razzaq or he should be dropped.

  68. #68 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 12:50 PM

    khansahab

    a majority of the people only see the obvious, they do not have the ability to see beyond it. Misbah has impressed a lot by scoring runs, no one cares about the run rate or the strike rate. Umar Akmal was a disappointment today. And, nothing was coming from the bat of Abdul Razzaq, he needed a few overs to settle down, therefore, he would be better batting up the order.

    Pakistan needs to think out of the box and play Abdul Razzaq up the order. His utility in 49th over is Zero. Even Afridi came in at 45th over managed to hit only 4 fours and no six because the ground is big. The only six Pakistan scored was by Mohammad Hafeez.

  69. #69 by Sagaat on February 26, 2011 - 12:53 PM

    Khansahab,

    Do you notice that his first goal is to remain not out to inflate his average?

    Misbah does a good job building the innings, but if he gets out in the 38-40th over, then only can Pakistan get 300+. Otherwise he plays at a strike rate of 90 in the last 10 nd then he plays the whole 10 overs, such that other batsmen capitulate under pressure as there is zero momentum. On the other hand Younis Khan tries to hit and gives his wicket away in the process. That is precisely what Misbah should do, but if he remains not out, and his average jumps. He is a good player of spin and slow-medium bowling, but a very selfish player nevertheless. The sad irony is that Pakistan simply can’t do without him, they need someone scoring runs as there is not many to produce big runs.

  70. #70 by newguy on February 26, 2011 - 2:01 PM

    Hi Guys,

    I am watching the big game – SL vs Pak. In my opinion Pakistan has done really well to put up 277 on the board. It is not easy to chase and so far Pakistan is bowling well, not giving up anything freely.

    I also think Misbah batted very well contrary to what many of you are saying here. He finished with nearly run a ball and remember this is ODI cricket, so 270+ is a very good score if you bowl and field well. It’s easy to say they should have score 300+ and blasted the opposition, but SL is a top side and their bowlers are not just there to hit around for too many runs unlike the minnows.

    Overall, this match could go either way, but in this ground team batting first and putting a good score has the advantage. Pakistan has to take their chances and keep pressure on, otherwise no point later blaming this and that. SL has a good batting side, but they are also thin down the order.

  71. #71 by newguy on February 26, 2011 - 2:08 PM

    I have been in the minority in supporting Pakistan’s chances in this WC, and so far they are looking like a top side. Many pundits have sidelines Pakistan and this is a big mistake. They have the strategy worked out it seems, it is to build the innings and keep wickets in hand then go for runs in the last 10 overs. So far it is working well. With Younus and Misbah in the middle order coming up with good performances they have the solid look in the middle. Then the big hitters like Umar Akmal, Afridi, and Razzaq are down the order. Opening is weak, but they are making up for it with middle order performance.

    At the moment, SL is gaining momentum slowly, this is where I said Pakistan need to attack now and keep the pressure back on SL. Otherwise they will get away with a partnership and they have two classy guys in Sangakkara and Mahela to follow. SL should be put under pressure and get the lower order in with at least 100 runs to get, otherwise the top order will win it for SL.

    But long way to go still.

  72. #72 by Varun Suri on February 26, 2011 - 2:29 PM

    I have just come home and switched on the TV and Tharanga got out! Pakistan has a chance to win this Game as it could prove to be a difficult chase on this ground although in the warm up game Srilanka chased down 285 against WI on the same ground.

    Now comes the key man Sangakkara and if Pakistan gets him and Jayawardene quickly it could be quite close in the end. Dilshan also looks settled and also due for a big score.

  73. #73 by newguy on February 26, 2011 - 2:56 PM

    Big wicket for Pakistan as Mahela goes, excellent bowling from Akhtar, whatever said and done he is still pulling his weight in the team and what a wicket to get.

    As I said before Mahela and Sanga are the two key players for SL, their lower order cannot handle pressure. Mahela is a cool player if he gets going and getting him early is advantage Pakistan.

    I expect Pakistan to win this game by 30 – 40 runs now.

  74. #74 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 6:43 PM

    Afridi is not the best spinner in a world: Sidhu

    Star sports analysis of Pakistan vs Sri Lanka match, Navjot Sidhu said:

    ” I do not rate Afridi as a best spinner in a world”

    “Bhajji deserves this title as he won more matches for India than what Afridi has done for Pakistan”

    “Overall not impressed by Pakistan, Sri Lanka just had a bad day”.

  75. #75 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 9:06 PM

    All is well that ends well. Pakistan won the match despite pathetic fielding, dropping catches, missing run outs, missing crucial and dolly stumping chances, giving away runs by not picking up cleanly or fumbling time and again. How could Kamran miss that Sangakara stumping? I have no clue whether it was deliberate or a real fumble.

    The rumour is that Pakistan played a big first 10 overs gamble in their first match against Kenya. No one noticed but, according to bookies they made millions and when you look back and see Pakistan scored 21 runs in 9 overs against Kenya whereas, against Sri Lanka they scored 61 runs in 10 overs. I dunno whether to believe or not, but someone told me that the odds against Kenya in the first ten overs were 3:1200

  76. #76 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 9:07 PM

    Khansahab Navojot Sidhu is a crackpot, that’s all I can say about him.

    He said “A” world? Wah, he considers himself as a linguist and boast a lot.

  77. #77 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 9:09 PM

    After seeing Chamara Silva’s performance Misbah must be happy that he scored at a better run rate. 😀 Had Abdur Rahman not taken his wicket, he would have been cursing himself for dropping a simple catch of the bowling off Gul. After that he added almost 40 odd runs. Had Pakistan accepted the chances given by Sri Lanka, they would have got them out around 210-220.

  78. #78 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 26, 2011 - 9:19 PM

    Wasim Akram was spitting venom against Afridi, he did this in the previous match against Kenya also. Whenever Afridi was talking to his bowlers he was saying, “Afridi is putting undue pressure on his bowlers by talking to them after every ball. You don’t need to talk to the fast bowlers after every ball, just discuss one time about the field and let him do his job, I would get very upset if someone talks to me after every ball.”

    He is such a big hypocrite and a JHOOTA, the other day he was buttering Imran Khan and remembering the 1992 WC win and then he was saying: “Imran Bhai was a true leader he used to guide me after every ball, he used to come to me and tell me where to bowl for a particular batsman. And, that really helped me a lot.”

    I remember seeing Imran seeking help from Javed Miandad after every ball and each time when a new batsman used to come Imran used to ask Miandad for his advise. And in the 1992 WC not only Imran but Miandad also used to talk to Wasim Chakram.

    After the match was over today and seeing that Pakistan has won because of Afridi’s bowling and him being declared MoM, Wasim said, Afridi bowled superbly and led from the front. Because, he had no choice to mince his words.

    About the Man of the Match award, what I don’t understand is, in the Kenya match Umar Akmal scored 71 runs and Afridi took 5 wickets for 16 runs, (he created a world record breaking Chakram’s 5/28 against Namibia) and Umar was adjudged MoM.

    In today’s match Misbah scored 83* and Afridi took 4 for 34 and today they declared him MoM. What is the criteria here?

  79. #79 by newguy on February 26, 2011 - 11:38 PM

    Hi Guys,

    Congratulations on a superb win for Pakistan against a top side like Sri Lanka at their own turf in WC. SL was clearly the favorites to win and they were also touted as one of the favorites to win the WC as per the Cricket pundits. Well, the pundits can eat their words. I have been saying for a long time that Pakistan will be a dangerous side and they cannot be sidelined. This win will turn the tables in Group A. Let’s see how much Pakistan can carry on to the next matches from here on. But my gut feeling is that they are not going to give up and will be a very hard team to beat. Especially if they have runs on board to defend.

    Fielding was a comedy of errors, as a neutral watcher I was laughing out at some of the school boy like mistakes they made, there were too many to talk about. The missed stumping of Sangakkara, two times in fact, looked deliberate, how can anyone miss it, he was half a mile down the pitch. I don’t know if there is betting involved after all that has happened, are they that stupid? even after knowing that if they get caught their career is going to end, knowing what happened to their compadres? Who knows.

    Also the missed catches were unbelievable, Rahman and then Younis missed dollies, first one was almost like ball coming down in slow motion, there is no way to drop it, but he did.

    Because of all that they let SL come to 11 runs close, other wise they surely would have run by 50 runs, if not 40 runs as I expected early.

    If they play like this with a low total to defend they will not win, to state the obvious, this is where they are going to be weak in the knockout stage.

  80. #80 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 11:39 PM

    I am not reading too much in today’s victory because Pakistan let Sri Lanka off many times by dropping catches and the general ground fielding was ordinary. Kamran Akmal is back to his old tricks again behind the stumps and hopefully this will not affect his batting.

    The best thing about today was the ease with which Pakistanis played the SL spin attack although Herath gave a few scares.

    Afridi appears to be in excellent bowling form.

    Pakistan have shown that they can take on the Sri Lankans and counter their spin attack. They now need to prove they can handle world class pace bowling. The fielding needs improvement too- with this fielding they are not going to go far in the WC.

  81. #81 by khansahab on February 26, 2011 - 11:48 PM

    Sagaat

    I think because Misbah was dropped early in his career and then ignored for so many years, he has pledged to do all it takes to remain in the team and he is prepared to play selfishly and fool others by doing this.

    I have been saying this for a long time that, if Umar Akmal or another youngster plays like that, even that should be criticised but when such a senior player who plays as one of the most dependable batsmen in the team, plays like that, it is disgraceful.

    In fact I am sure Younis could have adopted this strategy and his average would have been 42+ if he had been batting like that.

  82. #82 by newguy on February 26, 2011 - 11:49 PM

    Afridi was standout today, and he was the MoM clearly because the wickets he took at crucial times turned the match. First, Dilshan’s wicket was a big breakthrough, we all know what kind of player Dilshan can be if he is let loose. A 70-80 plus from Dilshan would have set SL on course with run rate. Then he took Sangakkara when it looked like Sangakkara was looking to cut loose, that was another turning point in the game, in fact if SL were to win at that point Sangakkara needed to be there till the end. Chamara Silva and the lower order will never get job done.

    Afridi was the MoM for all these reasons, because end of the day the score was gettable if not for those crucial strikes.

    In the Kenya match, his 5/16 made sure Kenya lost badly, but there was no way they would have won anyway chasing a huge score like that.

  83. #83 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 27, 2011 - 6:03 AM

    I would like to know which bowler holds the record for highest number of wickets in ONE world cup? I know that over all it is McGrath with 71 wickets and Murali has just broken Wasim Akram’s record of 55 by taking a wicket today against Pakistan. But, what is the number of wickets taken by a bowler in any ONE WC? Please, if any one can find this I would like to thank him for the effort.

  84. #84 by Mohammed Munir on February 27, 2011 - 7:19 AM

    Pakistan, somehow won, and that it that.

    Missed stumps (twice of same dangerous Sangakkara), dropped catches (some of them dolly), pathetic fieldings, missing run-outs, while getting their own run-outs in most stupid way, etc. were all part of the bloopers of the day.

    Frankly speaking, Pakistan doesn’t fully deserve to win this one with so many mishaps and silly mistakes. But the fact is that out of a total of 70 + matches, over forty games were won by the team batting first on this ground. Secondly, the highest ever target chased successfully here was 270, and Sri Lanka needed a record performance to beat Pakistan after they reached 277. Another point, Sri Lanka has never beaten Pakistan in any of the World Cup games. 😉

    Shahid Afridi bowled his heart out and his involvement, worry and passion for a win was obvious from his efforts and emotions. I am most happy to see Afridi leading from the front in both the games so far. Afridi took 9 wickets in two matches and I think he should have been MOM both times.

    Although, Pakistan were looking good for 300 at one time but they could only reach 277, and in my opinion, Murali, who gave away only 4 runs in 2 overs of Batting-Powerplay was the turning point. Umer Akmal, “tipped-to-man-of-the-tournament”, 😉 scored only 10 in 15 balls and he didn’t know what to do with Murlai who was toying with him. Pakistan managed only 36 runs in 5 powerplay overs.

    In think Pakistan should have taken the batting-powerplay earlier and there was no need to delay it till 43 overs when they had so many wickets (specially the hard-hitters) in hand. Pakistan team management is a “Lakeer-Ka-Fakeer” and they unnecessary delay the powerplays till 44/ 45 overs. This way, we never get tempo, even when we have wickets in hand. Javed Khan I would like to here your thoughts on this.

    Hafeez was looking good, until he got into that stupid run-out, and it was unfortunate to see that neither Hafeez nor Kamran offered to go voluntarily, and they were standing far-apart looking obviously upset with each other. Finally, the third umpire ‘forced’ Hafeez to leave.

    Pakistan played with only 3 specialist bowlers and I hope they test their remaining three main bowlers before the start of next round. Umer Gul was not at his best yet and hopefully he saved it for another day. Shoaib Akther was good and took important wickets, whereas, I wonder why Razzaq was not allowed to bowl more then 5 overs when he seemed fine. It was a bold decision by captain to bowl Hafeez in the 49th over.

    On Misbah …

    I am sure we will never see any Australian, SA or England cricket fans to criticize their highest scorer of the day and that too after winning the game. Even Indian fans, who are as much passionate about their cricket as Pakistanis, if not more, will not do something like that. But in Pakistan, the most unfortunate situation is that instead of a single word of appreciation, our players are faced with undue and baseless criticism. 😦

    If wicket was so easy and Misbah deliberately played slow, as many have suggested here, then can someone explain, what could be the reason for explosive players like Dilshan, Sangakara, and Tharanga being unable to score freely

    This is how the Sri Lankan players scored:

    – Tharanga 33 runs in 43 balls @ 76.74

    – Dilshan 41 runs in 55 balls @ 74.54

    – Sangakarra 49 runs in 61 balls @ 80.32

    These are all natural stroke players who were chasing a big total and their openers played within 15 overs (power-plays) without any wickets down. But in spite of all this no one could score fast.

    Misbah scored 83 runs in 91 balls @ 91.20, whereas
    Younis Khan scored 72 runs in 76 balls @ 94.73 (marginally higher S/R then Misbah).

    The fact, which every one seems to have complete ignored, is that pitch was getting slower all the time and batting later in the day, as well as second innings was very difficult.

    It hurts to see that not even a single person have appreciated the player who was highest scorer of the day from both teams. In Pakistan, this is how we thank our performers, by abuses and swearings. 😦

    I am sure this is not only cricket related; this is more like a personal vendetta against a single target.

  85. #85 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 9:58 AM

    Javed A Khan

    The record holder is Glenn McGrath with townty six (26) wickets in 2007 WC.

  86. #86 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 10:00 AM

    Munir sahab

    If Misbah gets removed from the team and Asad Shafiq is played in his position, then you will see the effect on the team’s performance and then you will get the answer of whether this is only “cricket related” or whether some people have a “personal vendetta” against Misbah.

    If Misbah was not playing yesterday Pakistan would have got 300+. This is because I believe Umar Akmal, Afridi and Razzaq had the potential to take Pakistan beyond 300.

  87. #87 by Mohammed Munir on February 27, 2011 - 10:05 AM

    Khansahab …

    You were saying similar comments about Malik, and now the same old storey is put against Misbah.

    Asad Shafid … huh … Hope on. 😉

    Still better, let’s bring back Fawad Alam, the 168 not-out guy. 😆

  88. #88 by Mohammed Munir on February 27, 2011 - 10:08 AM

    Oops … sorry I missed it.

    That 168 not-out was on a “Seaming” Sri Lankan wicket.

  89. #89 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 27, 2011 - 11:28 AM

    Great start by India against England, especially Tendulkar still batting on 90. Sehwag gave a flying start hammering Anderson and it is not his lucky day today because even Gambhir thrashed him for 14 in one over reaching his fifty and getting out at Swann’s deceiving spin bowling. Even Swann got beating by the Indian batsmen but, some consolation for him to get wickets. India are 190 for 2 in 32 overs and are likely to post 330 plus runs today.

    Munir, thanks for the info on highest wickets in one WC. As regards my comments on the game against SL, I have already given my views and you may scroll up and read my comments. On batting power plays, I am always of the opinion that there is no point in delaying it because in slog overs you always hit out it is in the earlier overs that you need to accelerate the run rate.

    Tendulkar now is only one boundary short for his 47th. And, he is going to score it in this over hopefully. He is out 18 times in the nineties. So, I guess he is nervous and will play a big shot……………………………. let us see.

  90. #90 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 27, 2011 - 11:32 AM

    Tendulkar got his 47th and his over all 98 international hundred. Two short of a 100-100

  91. #91 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 12:29 PM

    Munir sahab

    I think you have a soft spot for Mianwali and people of surrounding areas 😉

    I know you have a very high opinion of Fawad Alam, but he was out on 168 on a seaming pitch, he was not “not-out”.

    Did you even see the match?

    Your favourite Misbah scored 0 and 3 in that match by the way and I can assure you he was “out” in both innings, not “not-out” 🙂

    This is what you said after Fawad’s 168 “not out on a seaming Sri Lankan pitch”:

    #4 by Mohammed Munir on July 14, 2009 – 6:27 AM

    A very emotional and well written thread by Khansahab !!

    I fully agree with Javed Khan, it will be absolutely wrong to credit Younis Khan, Manager, Coach, or anyone else form this team for Fawad Alam’s achievements. Rightly said by Javed that if “Peer Mohammed Younis Khan Sahab Darbari” was such a spiritualist forecaster then why the F… did he not play Fawad in the first Test after he scored 83 n.o. in a four day game ? Plus did Younis also knew that Fawad can only score a century as an Opener and thus he send him to open the innings and not on his regular position ?

    I am really surprised as to how Younis Khan himself and some of his diehard fans are now trying to credit him for Fawad’s marvelous performance. If it was so, then Shoaib Malik can also claim full credit that because he did not open the innings and planned to send Fawad instead is that Fawad scored a century. So can Salman Butt say that because he did not play, Fawad had a chance to open and so on and so forth.

    This is so wrong, it is even worst then Wasim Akran taking credit for Aamir’s good performance, because at least Wasim had spotted him first and he did guide him, but here it is not the case for Fawad.

    #15 by Mohammed Munir on July 14, 2009 – 9:18 AM

    My my, I have been away from my office for some client meetings and so did not follow it, and now I think, I was lucky not to have followed it while it was happening.

    Shame on the entire fcuking middle-order, specially, Yousuf, Malik and Misbah.

    I swear to god, it is bloody so fcuking difficult being a fan of such a disgraceful team. It’s performances like these that make you feel guilty and one is not even able to see into the poking eyes of his Indian/ Sri Lankan colleagues.

  92. #92 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 1:11 PM

    “Shahid Afridi is arguably the best spinner in the tournament”: Harsha Bhogle

  93. #93 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 1:47 PM

    Varun/Newguy/420

    Bharat ki team mai anubhavi khiladi hain aur yuva khiladi bhi. bahuth prayog kiya hai aur ground ki seema rekhaon par prashasan kiya. tendulkar ka shatakh aur gambhir aur yuvraj ka ardh shatak laga hai. yadi iss match mai achi bhoomika nibhai hai.

    kaptaan dhoni ko thhosse nirnai lena para gaa, parantoo Piyusah Chawla sey bowling karani chahiye? keval chaliss over reh gaye hain is paari mai. tendulkar key shatakh par bahuth shubkhaamnaaein.

    bharath ki junta bohot abhaari hai. bulle baazi kartay waqt dhisha ka sahi nayam aur timing ka uppyog karna hoga.

    Bhashan hamara aap ney suna, bahuth bahuth dhanevaad.

  94. #94 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 3:36 PM

    What a knock from Strauss, England is taking the match away from India. Harbhajan has kept the runs down but he is the only bowler to have done so.

    India will be disappointed with Zaheer Khan. Dhoni has used Yuvraj a lot and I think this is to exploit England as they are considered to be weak against left arm spinners. However Yuvraj has been very expensive.

    If England beat India it will be an enormous upset and India will have to seriously consider where their WC campaign is going because their margin of victory against the opposition in their last match was not great.

  95. #95 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 4:00 PM

    “Win or lose, India’s bowling has been exposed”, HARSHA BHOGLE

  96. #96 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 4:06 PM

    Dhoni should have continued with Harbhajan there, he made Harbhajan bowl only 2 overs.

    This is defensive captaincy.

    Harbhajan could have bowled one more over to keep the pressure on.

  97. #97 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 4:22 PM

    Zaheer strikes! Two wickets from two balls.

  98. #98 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 27, 2011 - 5:06 PM

    What a match, a tie.

    I will write a more detailed comment on this match laters. But, it was so far the most exciting, nail biting match of the tournament, such a high scoring match and yet a tie.

  99. #99 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 5:54 PM

    I was watching an expert’s analysis on TV after this match and he said that this is a moral victory for England and a defeat for India.

    He said that India will find it very difficult to pick themselves up from this.

  100. #100 by newguy on February 27, 2011 - 6:03 PM

    Hi Guys,

    I will write on Ind-Eng match later, but will say one thing, what a performance by England! India deserved to lose but escaped with a tie, and I agree they have been exposed thoroughly. One thing clear from this is that India do not have the team to win this WC. They will advance at best to semis. End of story. India team is highly overrated and today they have been exposed bare.

    Teams with strong bowling are: Australia, South Africa, Pakistan. These are the balanced teams with chance to win the cup.

  101. #101 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 6:34 PM

    Newguy

    With Pakistan there are many “ifs and buts” because if Tired Bull is unfit then Afridi is the only reliable bowler.

    I won’t say Pakistan is a top contender because it depends on how they play Australian and South African pace.

    You shouldn’t lose heart about India because their batting is still an asset and Zaheer Khan was just too expensive early on. This is the worst he will perform.

    India is playing one or two minnow teams soon and they have the chance to build their confidence.

  102. #102 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 27, 2011 - 7:07 PM

    newguy

    India is exposed from its bowling point of view. Other than ZAK there is no fast bowler and even ZAK couldn’t do much earlier in the game, but he came back in the batting power play very forcefully and almost pulled the match out of the jaws of defeat. Yes, India is lucky to end up with a tie. Despite Tendulkar’s heroics and a score of 338 on board if they cannot defend such a huge total, it means they do not have the right bowlers. And, Dhoni’s captaincy was appalling. Even his batting was not up to the mark, 31 runs from Dhoni? I would have expected him to score 50 plus and he should have taken that total to 360.

  103. #103 by Varun Suri on February 27, 2011 - 7:44 PM

    Congratulations to Pakistan for an excellent win over Srilanka and now with this tie between India-England already there is slight confusion about the quarter finals!

    India will have to sort out it’s bowling soon or i don’t see them qualifying beyond quarter finals.

    Shahid Afridi had 9 wickets in 2 matches and at this rate he would end up with 50 wickets if Pakistan reaches the finals!!

  104. #104 by JAVED A. KHAN on February 27, 2011 - 8:11 PM

    There is a new thread on the blog, so please continue writing on the new thread, we plan to write more threads at a frequent interval during the WC. Thanks

  105. #105 by khansahab on February 27, 2011 - 8:43 PM

    we have a new thread

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