Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Tag

Akhtar’s new enemy

Shoaib Akhtar is one character in world cricket who has to have at least one active enemy and incidentally it has to be the skipper of the team. After Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik is the new entry in this list. After losing the second ODI against Sri Lanka in Karachi, Malik openly critisized his fitness and commitment and rightly so. In the two ODIs that Akhtar featured in, he failed to complete his quota of 10 overs in either of the matches and gave away 88 runs in the 13 overs that he bowled grabbing only a single wicket. He also appeared sluggish in the field showing signs of the same old  fitness issues.

Malik’s argument centered around the fact that to stay in the team a player’s fitness has to be no less than 100%. Akhtar may be a match winner for Pakistan in the past but if he is not 100% fit and cannot survive two consecutive ODIs how can he manage a test match or a full-blown ODI tournament. Additionally, by giving him opportunity after opportunity, Pakistan is unable to give any chance to the new talent that has shown their capabilities in the domestic circuit. Its time to look beyond and target the future rather than cherish the past and opt for a bleak future.

So far no outcry has been witnessed from Shoaib Akhtar but his axing from the third ODI and Pakistan’s dismal performance in the last two ODIs may prompt one especially against Shoaib Malik. Even if Akhtar doesn’t come out with a statement, he has to do some decision-making. The choice (play or retire) is simple but how to get it is tough – either he has to improve his fitness and perform at his best or again indulge in a war of words with the skipper. May be following Waqas’s advice may help and do some good.

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Pakistan Cricket – 2008 highlights

As the year 2008 is ending, I have made an attempt to summarize the major happenings of the year in Pakistan cricket

  • Pakistan suffered a test-less season this year. However they managed to play 21 one-day internationals but mostly against minnows like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
  • Punjab Stallions won the RBS Pentangular One Day Cup. In the final they defeated the Federal Areas Leopards by eight wickets.
  • India refused to tour Pakistan for its scheduled tour of January 2009 citing political reasons.
  • Lahore Badshahs won the ICL 20-20 Indian Championship in November 2008 beating Hyderabad Heroes in the finals. They lost to the same side in the finals earlier this year in April 2008.
  • NWFP won the RBS Pentangular Cup by beating Baluchistan in the final by 28 runs.
  • Pakistan comprehensively defeated West Indies registering a clean sweap in a three match one day series in Abu Dhabi.
  • Muhammad Yousuf signed up for the unauthorised Indian Cricket League (ICL).
  • Geoff Lawson was sacked from his position of the coach of Pakistan.
  • Pakistan took part in a four nation T20 tournament in Canada where they lost to Sri Lanka in the finals. Zimbabwe and Canada were the other two teams featuring in the tournament.
  • Sialkot Stallions, captained by Shoaib Malik, won the RBS Twenty20 Cup by beating Karachi Dolphins by 7 wickets. In the process, they managed to earn a place in the Champions Twenty20 League.
  • Ijaz Butt, the former Test opener, was appointed the new chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
  • Champions Trophy scheduled to be held in Pakistan in September 2008 was postponed due to security fears raised by most of the teams.
  • Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board resigned from his post soon after the resignation of Pervez Musharraf.
  • Mohammad Asif tested positive for a drug test that was taken while he was playing in Indian Premier League (IPL). Earlier this year he was detained in Dubai for almost 19 days as he was found possessing some illegal substance.
  • Pakistan was host to the 9th Asia Cup and first to be held in Pakistan. But they failed to take advantage of the home conditions and couldn’t even qualify for the final.
  • Pakistan participated and won the Kitply Cup 2008 – a short triangular series featuring Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
  • Sohail Tanvir was the IPL’s most successful bowler and helped guide his Royal Rajhistan team to the cup. He took 22 wickets in 11 games at an average of 12.09 and economy rate of 6.46.
  • Shoaib Akhtar and PCB were in a constant strangle for most part of the year with Shoaib being handed over a 5 year ban which was then temporarily suspended for IPL which was then reduced and finally as always the ban was revoked and Shoaib was allowed to play in all forms of cricket.
  • Bangladesh toured Pakistan in April for a series involving 5 one day internationals and a T20. Pakistan was victorious in all the matches.
  • Australia pulled out of their cricket tour of Pakistan due to security fears.
  • Defending champions Pakistan lost in the semifinals of the Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
  • Pakistan started the year with a 5 one-day international home series against Zimbabwe. The series proved to be an easy ride for the host and they clinched the series 5-0.

Sources
Cricinfo
Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan
Cricketfiles

Cricket Roundup

The second test match between England and India ended up in a draw but it was not the kind of finish expected from a team that is challenging the might of Australians. If you really want to be No. 1 then you have to play like them – trying to force a result (and not a draw) out of every match especially if you have an upper hand. But on the last day of the second test match, the Indian cricket team were not at all interested in producing a result out of it since they had already secured the series with a win in the first test match. Instead they opted for their batsmen – Yuvraj and Gambhir – to complete their centuries[1]. Couldn’t the same logic had been applied for their bowlers who possibly could have won the match for them especially considering the fact that Zaheer Khan was judged as the Player of the series.

Double standards in cricket were once again on display when ICC announced that it will conduct an independent security assessment of the country before appointing officials for Sri Lanka’s tour[2]. Why such assessment was not carried out in the recently concluded India-England test series when the terrorists attacks were not even 15 days old.Is it double standards or what???