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Monday, November 28, 2011

Cricket overhaul 10 years overdue: Ponting

The radical policies adopted by Cricket Australia in a bid to reclaim the world No.1 ranking were demanded 10 years ago by John Buchanan, Ricky Ponting says.

However, Australian captain Michael Clarke believes they have already taken the first step towards being the world's best with their dramatic second Test win in South Africa.

Former skipper Ponting, 36, is under even more pressure to perform after new selection chief John Inverarity earmarked a change in direction with youth and rotation policies applied to the Test team.
But Ponting fully backed the new stance, saying cricket should have adopted it years ago.

"I think it's the way the game should have gone a long, long time ago," Ponting said on Monday.

"I think the way things have turned out at the moment is what (former coach) John Buchanan was asking for 10 years ago.

"It's a much more professional approach."

Preparing for his 157th Test this week against New Zealand in Brisbane, Ponting also supported Clarke and coach Mickey Arthur's appointment as selectors - a dual role he also wanted when he replaced Steve Waugh as captain.

He felt Clarke was in a better position as a selector as he would have more control of the team to go along with the amount of responsibility that captaincy brought.

The new CA stance is the blueprint for getting Test No.4-ranked Australia back on top in all formats.

Clarke said the two-wicket win in Johannesburg showed Australia had all the hallmarks of a No.1 team.

"What I did take out of South Africa was the courage and the character of the blokes in this team," Clarke said.

"It shows the group the hard work is starting to pay off.

"We know we have a lot of work to do get back to being the No.1 team in the world but I think we have started that."

Clarke did not believe the youth policy put any extra pressure on the likes of Ponting, despite speculation he could retire after the second and final Test against the Black Caps in Hobart.

"I don't think you can look at a number (age) and say, if you are above this, you shouldn't be playing cricket for Australia - that's not fair at all," he said.

"It's about performance and the combination of youth and experience (in the team)."

Arthur said he would consider any player if their form warranted selection - even outcast Simon Katich.

Asked if the youth policy spelt the end for Katich, he said: "I don't think the door is closed on anybody - it is what you need at one given time.

Meanwhile, Arthur said variation would be the key when the rookie pace attack was finalised - but wouldn't be picking NSW youngster Mitchell Starc "just for the sake of having a left armer".

A look at the Gabba deck on Tuesday will help selectors decide whether Starc, James Pattinson or Ben Cutting will carry the drinks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Those who heckled Ravi Rampaul shamed Mumbai and India

Ravi Rampaul (C) is elated after dismissing Sachin Tendulkar on 94 on the fourth day of the third and final Test match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

“When I went back to the boundary it was not all that nice,” Ravi Rampaul said about being heckled by the Mumbai fans. That statement was more saddening than the fact that the widely-anticipated Tendulkar hundred didn’t materialise.

The hype and the expectations built around the much-awaited 100th international hundred was given a further boost as Tendulkar started majestically. There was nothing uncertain as he drove, flicked and cut boundaries with supreme authority. That he was stopped in his tracks by Rampaul, if anything, should have been applauded by the crowd. Getting your star batsman who is in such wonderful nick takes effort and intelligent cricket, which exactly was what happened at Wankhede Stadium.

Boorish behavior by a small section of the crowd is a sad commentary not only on the spectators present or even Mumbai but a shame on the entire nation. One recalls the standing ovation given by the spectators at Chennai in 1999 after arch-rivals Pakistan defeated India in a tense game where Tendulkar played a valiant innings of 136. We once had the situation of the Indian captain recalling a batsman who had been declared out in a Test match, since he held the spirit in which the game was played as more important. Recalling some of these landmark instances, one could take some comfort that we are not an unsporting cricketing nation, be it the spectators or the players.

There have been instances galore of games being disrupted by crowd behavior but for the most part this has been owing to some situation of the game. There have also been instances where players have been taunted as it happened with Andrew Symonds copping abuse again, unfortunately, at Wankhede Stadium.

Where damage is done, the best course is to engage in acts that could redeem the situation to the extent possible. One wishes that the Indian team, or even better Tendulkar himself, conveys a message to Rampaul expressing regret over the behavior exhibited by some mindless morons - clearly not true blue cricketing fans. That may assuage any ill feelings that the abused player suffered, who incidentally is of Indian origin.

More importantly the ground authorities now need to have in place security people who watch the crowd and not the game, and eject anyone disrupting the game or bringing disrepute to the county by their behavior.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Saeed Ajmal ranked number-one ODI bowler in the world

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal has rocketed to the top of the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers following an impressive series performance against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates.

Ajmal took 11 wickets at an average of just 16.27 and an economy-rate of less than 4.00 to help his side to a 4-1 series win. That effort won him five places on the latest rankings and puts him at the top, just ahead of two other spinner, Daniel Vettori of New Zealand and England’s Graeme Swann.

In what has proven to be a very successful series for members of the Pakistan attack, two other bowlers – Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez – have shot into the top 10 with Afridi now occupying seventh position and Hafeez one place further back.

And it’s not just the Pakistan bowlers who are making moves up the rankings. With an average of 53.66 for the series, Umar Akmal has gained six places on the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI batsmen and now sits in 11th spot. There is no change, however, in the top 10 of the batting chart with South Africa’s Hashim Amla still leading the way followed by his team-mate AB de Villiers in second.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jayasuriya praises Pakistan`s spirit

ABU DHABI: Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya was in awe of Pakistan`s show on the field that saw them clinch the Test and One-Day International series against the opposition at a time when three of the country`s players were found guilty of spot-fixing last year.
While the trio met their fate, Pakistan players kept their focus on the field against Sri Lanka.

“Pakistan played brilliantly under the circumstances,” said Jayasuriya. “Their youngsters have been impressive in all departments and have shown good team spirit.”

Jayasuriya added that the verdicts should be a lesson for players all over the world. “It’s a lesson for everyone, not only for Pakistan.”


Top 10 fast bowlers of 2010-2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shahid Afridi 75 From 65 Ball Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka 4th ODI 2011 Full Inning

Westbourne House boys are good cricketers - and great ambassadors

Westbourne House cricketers with their hosts in Treverton

YOUNG cricketers from Westbourne House School enjoyed a successful cricket tour to Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

In a series of seven games, all the squad were given the opportunity to contribute. Results were good against strong opposition, with most teams including state players.

The boys were hosted by their various opponents and this became one of the highlights of the tour.

Friendships were formed and the boys remain in touch through Facebook and Xbox Live.

Westbourne House head of sport Kevin Smith said: “One highlight was a visit to a township school where the children had very little. A high percentage of the students are affected by HIV and live in poverty.

“Every boy took with them a number of football shirts and after an impromptu match the mementoes were handed over – to the delight of the youngsters. Their smiles will live long in our memories.”

The boys also spent two days on a game reserve, seeing most of the big five. A visit to a crocodile farm gave everyone the opportunity to hold a four-year-old croc and all the squad were called into action to support a 15ft python.

“Spending a day and night in a Zulu camp was another highlight, learning their culture and even how to fight and dance like Zulus,” added Mr Smith. “A boat trip on Lake St Lucia introduced the boys to hippos while at the Sharks Board we learned about the predators and saw a large ragged tooth shark dissected.

“The boys enjoyed a tour of the Moses Mohiba stadium – the new national venue following the football World Cup. To let off steam we visited Ushaka, a wet and wild theme park, and the boys were also given the chance to learn to surf.

“The trip was a huge success and importantly the boys were great ambassadors for the school and country. The tour company, Bundu Bashers, have never had so much praise for a touring group.

“The boys so impressed a traveller on one flight, he offered all the boys a free lunch at a Nandos restaurant.”

Tours don’t happen without much hard work and the school thanked Mr Smith and his wife for their efforts.

Enabling the group to look the part was Paul Heber and his company Savoy Management Investments.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Second Test slips from Australia's grasp

Australia snatched at the second Test one last time at the Wanderers yesterday, then watched it slip forever from its grasp.
Just before lunch, South Africa was 3/90 in its second innings, a lead of merely 60. This was because of a combination of the sort of impetuous batting that has characterised the series - as if both teams were trying to fit three matches into two - and inspired mini-spells from Australia's two least experienced bowlers, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.

Each in his own way worked over a senior and vastly more seasoned opponent. Cummins softened Jacques Kallis in the course of two maiden overs, after which Kallis played a most un-Kallis-like dash and was caught at slip. Previously, Cummins had disposed of Jacques Rudolph, who top-edged an ambitous pull.
Meantime, Lyon tethered South African captain Graeme Smith with two maiden overs. Impatiently, Smith made room to cut Lyon for four, but when he tried to repeat the shot, he succeeded only in sending a gentle catch to backward point. So did five Tests worth of bowling put it over 238 worth of batting. Test cricketers around the world have forgotten the art of hastening slowly; it is either one thing or the other.
Visions of victory danced before Australia's eyes. But over the next three hours, Hashan Amla and AB deVilliers brought them back down to earth, sharing a partnership of 139, halted only when the light dimmed and a thunderstorm swept in, ending the day's play. 3/229 overnight, South Africa leads by 199. No team has made more than 294 to win in the fourth innings on this ground.
Quickly, the truth about Australia's attack was exposed. Without Ryan Harris and Shane Watson, it is threadbare. On Thursday, 18-year-old Pat Cummins joined it for the first time. Today, he led it. For the future, that is exciting. For now, it imposed an impossible burden.
There is pace and there is pace. Mostly, Cummins bowled at the same speed as Mitch Johnson and Peter Siddle, hovering at 140kmh. But Cummins looked threatening in a way the other two did not. Johnson bowled this day off an experimental shortened run, an unusual manoeuvre in the middle of a Test match, puzzling the South Africans, but not imperilling them.
He lost no pace, and gained a little control, but still scarcely moved the ball. Nor did Siddle. For both, there are implications when the team for the first Test against New Zealand in a fortnight is picked. It is uncertain that hamstrung Watson will be available. ''I am going to get a scan done after this Test to see the extent but hopefully it wont be a real significant one that (will) put me out for a little while,'' he said. ''When I've done hamstrings in the past, its taken a little bit of time to build up my work before I can begin bowling again. So, hopefully, it wont be too long.''
Yesterday, Cummins caused the ball to tail in and away, not as lavishly as did Dale Steyn, but enough to concentrate the batsmen's minds. Unlike in the first innings, he used the short ball as an effective deterrent. Admirably, he sustained his effort, not something for which 18-year-olds generally are known, physically or mentally, unless it is at schoolies'. The day was breathlessly hot, and captain Michael Clarke, mindful not to ruin in the long term him, bowled him in short spells.
Clarke's next best hope was his imagination in trying to mock up the illusion of a replete attack. He made whirlwind changes, using himself, Mike Hussey and as failing light became an issue, even Ricky Ponting. He experimented with field settings, some meant to seduce, others to harass. He remained spirited.
But Amla and deVilliers are not the type to be budged by mere subterfuge. Amla is not a batsman who depends on presence. Rather he carries himself as if he hopes no-one has noticed he is in, so that he can just get on with making runs. Australia could not help but know: he has 223 runs alread in this micro-series, with power to add tomorrow.
deVilliers is orthodox, busy and assertive. Between them, they won this day not feats of derring-do, but through qualities rarely displayed in this series: concentration, patience and restraint. It made for even-paced cricket and fewer fireworks than a Saturday crowd with a boisterous disposition not unlike the MCG's in the 1980s might have liked, but they were also glad of the absence of wickets. Siddle and Johnson were, of course, re-baptised as wankers.
Australia had only half chances. Cummins might have caught and bowled deVilliers from a thumping drive immediately after lunch. Later, deVilliers was almost run out. Cummins also had Amla technically lbw. His appeal was rejected, Clarke referred it and technology showed that the ball notionally was clipping the stumps, but by such a fine margin that it made no determination. Thus, the standing umpire's decision stood.
''Hopefully we can get a few early wickets in the morning to be able to try and keep the run chase down as low as we possibly can,'' said Watson. ''There's no doubt it's going to be a big challenge no matter what.''

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pakistan Vs Sri Lanka Highlights Of 3rd ODI Pakistan Batting 2011

Pak blind team beat India in first T20

LAHORE - Pakistan blind cricket team scored thumping 71-run victory over visiting Indian side in the first Twenty20 match here at the Bagh-e-Jinnah cricket ground on Friday to go one up in the series.
The second match will be played at the same venue today (Saturday).
Put into bat first, Pakistan side scored 202 runs for the loss of nine wickets but the target was revised to 214 as the Indian team faced a penalty of 12 runs for slow over rate. The highlight of Pak innings was a superb knock of 89 runs from man of the match M Jamil including four fours for the entertainment of a big gathering which generously praised the performance and skills of blind cricketers. Masood Jan (46) and M Zafar (16) also played well.
Indian captain Shakhar took three wickets while four of Pak players were run out.
Indian team could manage to score just 142 runs for the loss of nine wickets in the allotted quota of overs with major contribution from Parkash 75 as four of their batsmen were run out due to superb fielding display on part of Pakistan blind cricketers.
Muhammad Jamil was declared man of the match. Manager PCB Domestic Shafiq Papa gave away the prizes to the players.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wasim Akram Career's Best Bowling

Cricket: Mentor backs banned Pakistani Amir

Muhammad Aamer

After earning himself a career-threatening, five-year ban and a prison sentence for match fixing, disgraced Pakistani paceman Mohammad Amir has at least one supporter who believes he can return to international cricket.

The 19-year-old Amir, along with team captain Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were sentenced to jail in London earlier this month on corruption charges for spot-fixing by bowling predetermined no-balls in a test against England last year.

But despite the massive setback to a once promising cricketing future, Asif's mentor Asif Bajwa is right behind his student.

Bajwa, a former domestic cricket wicketkeeper, was the man who honed the skills of promising youngsters at his academy from 2003-2007, around the time he brought in the talented Amir from a small village outside Rawalpindi.

"I want to see him playing for Pakistan again and I am confident he will make a comeback," he said.

The International Cricket Council had already said that it would not reduce the suspension of five years, but the big question is whether a convicted cricketer would ever be considered by the Pakistan Cricket Board?

There's no doubt Amir was rated as the next Wasim Akram the legendary Pakistan left-arm fast bowler before those two dreaded deliveries he chose to bowl at Lords in London last year.

Amir was reportedly paid just 1,500 British pounds for his efforts, discounting greed as his motive and leading many to speculate the youngster was pressure but Butt to become involved in the scandal.

The then captain's pressure on Amir could easily be gauged from the fact that when coach Waqar Younis had asked Amir "what the hell" he was doing bowling a huge front foot no-ball, Butt was quick to respond that it was his order.

Amir, who became the youngest player to take 50 wickets in just 14 test matches, he was neither spared by the game's governing body nor judge Jeremy Cooke was impressed with the acceptance of fast bowler's guilty plead.

While their families and friends continue to protests the crickets' innocence, the sentiment of fans on the streets of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad Pakistan's three largest cities was unanimous in the belief that they got a deserved punishment.

"It's a shame," says Hamza Sultan, an Islamabad high school student. "I don't care whether we lose Amir, Asif or Butt, the bottom line is that our cricket should be cleaned from this menace of fixing."

Cricket writer Abdul Majid Bhatti, who works in Pakistan's leading media company, Jang Group of Publications, also said there should be no opening for the trio.

"On moral grounds these three should not return to international cricket," Bhatti told The AP. "In the past we have suffered a lot because we didn't take any action against any player.

"Now it's the right time to send a strong message and move on," he added. "I have no doubt that we will get lots of Amirs and Asifs in the near future. ... You just wait and see in two year's time we will have at least three more."

While the international careers of Butt and Asif seem to be over, there appears to be some sympathy for Amir.

Pakistan great Imran Khan says he has not seen such a talented cricketer and it was sad for Pakistan to lose such a promising player.

Pakistan cricket is no stranger to scandal, with cricketers detected taking banned steroids and being fined for throwing bats at each other in dressing rooms.

Former captain Salim Malik and Ataur Rehman were banned for life by Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum in 2000. However, Malik got his ban overturned by a civil court in 2009.

Well known cricketers like Akram, Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed were fined by Qayyum for not cooperating with a cricket commission.

Whether Bajwa's protege makes a comeback after five years only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Best last over by Imran Khan 1990 vs Australia

Pakistan Women lead Group B table on ICC World Cup Qualifiers

Pakistan Women have managed to mark the summit of their Group B table, after handing over an impressive 8 wickets rout to the Ireland Women, during the competition’s 6th game on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at the Narayanganj Osmani Stadium, in Fatullah, Bangladesh.

The victory comes as the side’s second consecutive one, since their tournament opening outing against the Bangladeshi hosts, where Pakistan Women sealed a 73 runs triumph, complements to the team’s off-break bowler, Nida Dar, who bagged an imposing haul of 4-wickets, reducing the opponent’s batting roster to fall short of the chase.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s top order batter, Bismah Maroof, came out with her share, after batting a top score of 79 runs, leading her roster to pile up 197 runs, after losing all wickets in 50 overs.

As for the squad’s recent fixture against team Ireland, Pakistan Women, under the imperative Captaincy of Sana Mir, came out with another impressive show, under each department, snatching a worthy win at the Fatullah venue.

The bout began after Ireland’s Skipper, Isobel Joyce, won the toss and regrettably opted to bat first, sending in top order batters, Cecelia Joyce and Clare Shillington, against Pakistan’s new ball bowlers, Qanita Jalil and Masooma Junaid.

Unfortunately for the batting side, Ireland lost Shillington in the opening over of the game, thanks to Qanita’s well constructed delivery, forcing the batter to produce an easy catch for fielder, Kainat Imtiaz.

The top order batters managing to stall the early session for past the ten overs mark, Pakistan Women came out with another swift blow, snatching some consecutive Irish wickets, thanks to the prime damage delivered by the side’s orthodox bowler, Sadia Yousuf, who led the squad to wrap-up the opponent’s line-up, snatching a superb haul of 4 wickets – leading the Ireland Women to post an accessible chase of 141 runs.

With a fair task ahead of them, Pakistan’s opening order responded with a steady batting stance, earning an tally of runs, after losing Qanita Jalil in the 10th over.

Suffering their second and final loss on the line-up, the match-winning partnership of Javeria Khan and Bismah finally steered the Ladies in Green to earn an 8 wickets triumph, in 32.2 overs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

We have to present right image of Pakistan cricket: Misbah

KARACHI: Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq has admitted that there was added responsibility on the national team players to present the right image of Pakistan cricket after the spot-fixing trial.

"What has been going on in London is difficult, but we are all mentally very tough and we will not let it affect our performance," Misbah said.

He said that Pakistani cricketers had shown mental strength and resolve in the last one year to put spot-fixing issues at the back of their minds and focus on playing good cricket.

"Pakistani cricketers now have an added responsibility and we must ensure that we are sticking to the responsibilities that one would expect of an international cricketer. We have to perform well and ensure that we present the right image of Pakistan cricket," he told told ' website'.

Misbah who has now led Pakistan to Test wins over New Zealand, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka since being appointed captain last October, said he had told the team that the most important thing is to focus on performance.

"The team must focus on our cricket and only on our cricket. The last year and a half the team has done very well in all formats of cricket. The priority and attention has to be on playing good cricket and that is what we have been trying to achieve. All the players are putting other things to the back of their minds and concentrating only on cricket."

Misbah also conceded that he would have liked to see his team win the Test series against Sri Lanka by a better margin than 1-0.

"We played some very good cricket in the first Test and it was disappointing not to come away from the three-match series with more than a one-nil margin. We were on top for large periods of the first Test match but fielding lapses cost us."

Misbah also conceded that Sri Lanka had suffered because of the retirements of Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.

"It is bound to affect a team when you lose bowlers who have served the team for more than 10 years. It's very difficult to replace those sort of bowlers and you do not see bowlers of that class very often.

"Pakistan found that out when Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis retired. However with Pakistan we just keep on producing good bowlers. I'm not saying that we are producing bowlers of the calibre of Wasim and Waqar regularly, rather we are producing bowlers who are very good and can perform well in international cricket, take wickets and maintain pressure on the opposition.

I think when comparing with other teams around the world, Pakistan continue to have this habit of producing very good bowlers."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pakistan Under 19 cricket team- beating india under 19

Afridi helps Pak to thumping win

Leg-spinner Shahid Afridi capped an excellent return to international cricket with three wickets as Pakistan thumped Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the first ODI on Friday.

Afridi took 3-27 in his first match since returning from a six-month exile, helping Pakistan dismiss Sri Lanka for a paltry 131 in 40.3 overs before Younus Khan and Imran Farhat hit fifties to anchor the chase at Dubai stadium.

Pakistan lost Mohammad Hafeez (five) in the second over of their innings but Farhat added 103 for the second wicket stand with Younis Khan (56 not out) to ensure a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Farhat hit leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna for his seventh boundary to reach his ninth one-day fifty but with only 17 needed he was trapped leg-before wicket by paceman Suranga Lakmal for 50.

Younis, whose fifty was his 45th in one-dayers, took the team past the target in just 21.5 overs. He hit seven boundaries during his 57-ball knock.

Pakistan were on course for a comprehensive win thanks in large part to Afridi, who finished with 3-27 and was ably supported by Saeed Ajmal (2-21) and Mohammad Hafeez (2-24) as Sri Lanka lost their last seven wickets for 54 after opting to bat.

Dinesh Chandimal top-scored with 28 while opener Tharanga Paranavitna (25) and Mahela Jayawardene (24) were other notable scorers but none went on to make a big score against some lethal spin bowling.

Sri Lanka lost Tillakaratne Dilshan in the second over of the match, bowled by paceman Aizaz Cheema for four.

With their captain back in the pavilion, Sri Lanka did not recover as wickets continued to fall, in-form Kumar Sangakkara falling for five after struggling through 24 deliveries.

Chandimal and Paranavitana added 30 for the third wicket before Pakistan's spinners ran riot, grabbing the last seven wickets for a mere 54 runs.

Afridi, who only last month decided to go back on a decision to retire from international cricket in protest at being sacked as one-day captain, struck in his first over of the match.

Chandimal hit him for a six off his fourth ball, but the leg-spinner had him leg-before the very next ball. Chandimal hit two sixes and a four off 31 balls.

The 31-year-old Afridi then dismissed Prasanna (five) and Lasith Malinga (11) during his incisive 9.3 overs spell.

Jayawardene and Paranavitana were the others to provide some resistance but they too departed to spinners.

The second match will also be played in Dubai on Monday. The remaining matches are scheduled for Dubai (November 18), Sharjah (November 20) and Abu Dhabi (November 23).

The teams will also play a Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi on November 25.

Friday, November 11, 2011

1st ODI: SL choose to bat as Afridi returns

Dubai: Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan won the toss on Friday and chose to bat first in the opening one-day international against Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium.
The Sri Lankans included two experienced fast bowlers in Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando, as well as giving a debut to all-rounder Kosala Kualsekara.
Pakistan, fresh off a 1-0 win in the three-match Test series, brought back seasoned all-rounders Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq.
Afridi, the former captain, returns after a brief retirement while Razzaq is back for the first time since the World Cup.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younus Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdur Razzaq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema, Saeed Ajmal.
Sri Lanka: Tillakaratne Dilshan (c), Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Dinesh Chandimal, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Kosala Kulasekara, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Suranga Lakmal.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Herschelle Gibbs hits six sixes in one over

Philander, Tahir add youth and flair to Proteas

Proteas took a leap of faith with the selection of fast bowler Vernon Philander and leg-spinner Imran Tahir to play the first Test against Australia at New lands.

THE Proteas took a leap of faith with the selection of fast bowler Vernon Philander and leg-spinner Imran Tahir to play the first Test against Australia at Newlands yesterday.

Not only did the pair earn their first caps, they are also both attacking bowlers. In an SA dressing room that has tended to value experience and consistency over youth and flair, that represents a significant departure from the norm.

The inclusion of Philander and Tahir marked the first time that a Proteas Test team has featured two debutants since Wayne Parnell and Ryan McLaren cracked the nod in the fourth Test against England at the Wanderers in Johannesburg last January, which was 11 Tests ago.

That, in turn, highlights a point that is particularly pertinent in the modern SA. Unlike Parnell and McLaren, Philander and Tahir are both players of colour although the latter hardly counts because he was born and raised in Pakistan.

Tahir’s selection has been perhaps the worst kept secret in South African cricket.

Philander’s was greeted with doubts and questions.

That is despite his 94 wickets in 19 first-class matches in the previous two seasons. In fact, no player at the moment with 250 first-class wickets to his credit anywhere in the world has a lower average than Philander, who went into the Test having claimed 251 scalps at 20,04.

The raised eyebrows did not escape the attention of former Proteas fast bowler Roger Telemachus.

"You’re only going to play Test cricket when you deserve to, and he does," Telemachus said. "It’s not about his colour. It’s about the skill, the knowledge and the passion he has for the game. I was selected because I was good enough; Vernon was selected because he is good enough. Transformation is all about giving a guy his opportunity because he is good enough."

Philander was good enough on the day to dismiss Phil Hughes, Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris. But there was no such happy beginning for Tahir, who rarely threatened the batsmen in six wicketless overs in which the runs flowed at more than one per ball.

Former Test batsman Peter Kirsten said Tahir was a victim of circumstances. "Michael Clarke and Shaun Marsh really batted well in the hour that he bowled, and unfortunately Morne Morkel wasn’t up to his usual good standard at the other end. I think Graeme (Smith) was probably forced to bring Tahir on too early. There was no real spin, and he over- pitched and got smacked.

"If the sun comes out tomorrow and the wind keeps blowing, this pitch will certainly turn on Saturday — perhaps even Friday afternoon."

Philander, Tahir add youth and flair to Proteas

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pakistani Leegends

DUBAI: Recalled Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi Tuesday showed confidence to hit his turbulent past six months for a big six, saying he wants to per

The 31-year-old all-rounder was recalled in Pakistan squad for the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka, starting in Dubai with the first game on Friday.

Both teams will also play a Twenty20 international in Abu Dhabi. Pakistan won the three-Test series 1-0 on Monday.

The popular hard-hitting batsman said he is set to put aside all his problems.

“I think its all about cricket, its time to play and I don’t want to involve myself in any other thing other than cricket,” said Afridi, who in May this year had a fall out with then coach Waqar Younis over selection issues.

Afridi’s outburst after the one-day series against the West Indies prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to sack him as captain, a punishment which led Afridi’s self-imposed retirment from international cricket.

When he retired, the PCB suspended his contract and revoked his NOCs to play abroad, an action which Afridi challenged in the court.

But the matter was finally settled after Afridi appeared before a PCB disciplinary committee which fined him $53,000 and revoked his NOC to play for English county Hampshire.

After Waqar quit and PCB chairman Ijaz Butt replaced, Afridi announced his comeback last month.

Afridi said he felt great and will try to come up to expectations.

“It feels great because I have come back after a long time, a lot of people want me to perform and everyone has supported me, so this is the time to play cricket,” said Afridi.

“I definitely missed Pakistan team, it’s my first priority and after I missed two tours I am back and will hopefully do well,” said Afridi.

Afridi has so far played 325 one-day and 43 Twenty20 internationals for Pakistan. He retired from Test cricket last year after playing 27 Tests.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pakistan .. Titans of Cricket Winners 2011

The Shoaib Akhtar story

This is the Age of Scepticism. How much of what one reads and hears is one to believe? Can sportsmen really hide or distort the truth behind nicely-worded autobiographies penned by named ‘ghosts’?Shoaib Akhtar’s much-publicised autobiography Controversially Yours(with Anshu Dogra, Harper Sport, 2011, price: Rs 499) gives rise to such thoughts.

First off, this is an extremely readable account of the life of a paceman who rose from penury and virtual illiteracy to a position where, for some years he was regarded as the fastest bowler in the world, self-taught himself to speak the English language, to live the high life and to hold his own in any company, however exalted.

The book is an engrossing read, thanks as much to Anshu Dogra’s ability to tell a story — or as Shoaib himself puts it, “ for giving me the words” — as to Akhtar’s colourful and varied life experiences, where his “in your face” attitude invariably landed him into trouble, not always of his own making.

Page after page of the Shoaib story glows with his professed love for things Indian. His dearest friend, Sudesh Rajput is from Delhi. He loves Indian crowds and fans: “I have discovered over the years that Indian cricket fans are warm and generous and know their cricket. As a result, I love playing and touring in India...... I have really been touched by the Indian crowd....”; he admires the cricket set-up in India; he is a great fan of Salman Khan and Bollywood movies: “.... Salman is straight after my heart, he is generous, likes to help people, is a straight talking guy.....”.

He praises the two contemporary giants of Indian cricket, Tendulkar and Dravid but criticises their earlier approach, believing that they were not aggressive enough and not match-winners. In this, he is wrong, for figures prove the contrary. But as a great votary of the constitutional right of ‘free speech’ once said, “He is completely wrong in what he says, but I will defend to my last breath his right to say it”.

Shoaib believes that the induction of aggressive players like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Gambhir and Kohli, benefited the two great older stalwarts. Tendulkar, he believes, is “more at ease” now, where earlier “the poor man carried the entire burden on his shoulders”. Dravid, he writes, “has a great technique” (how perceptive, Mr Akhtar) “but has never been a match-winner” (wrong again, Mr. Akhtar!).

He also makes an unwarranted remark about Tendulkar, then handicapped with a tennis-elbow, “walking away from” a particularly fast ball which “he didn’t even touch” in a match at Faisalabad. If the comment was meant to convey that Tendulkar was “running away”, it is so utterly incredible that it can only be described as an untruth, a lie. More likely — in this Age of Scepticism — it’s a throw-away line, intended to boost sales?

Yet, despite an occasional demonstrable untruth, strangely, Shoaib comes across on the whole, as an honest, shooting straight-from-the-shoulder, god-fearing, loyal, brash young man.There is something almost childishly naive in his early self-belief that he would become a great cricketer one day, with a touch of emotional ‘teary-eyedness’ in his friendship with Aziz Khan, the tongawala outside Lahore Railway Station.

Akhtar, penniless and forlorn, sought some food and help from thetongawala. “He looked at me and said, ‘tu hai kaun?’ (Who are you?) I remember him smiling and asking why he should oblige me. Because when I joined the Pakistan team one day, I would come back to meet him, I said.In this manner, I managed to convince Aziz Khan, the tongawala, to share his bedding and sleeping space with us, and that night we slept peacefully on a footpath in Lahore”.

Shoaib kept his promise, when he returned from his debut series in India in 1999.

Though now famous and in an elite league, “I headed towards the railway station to look for Aziz Khan, the tongawala who had given me shelter six years ago.”

An emotional re-union took place. The crowd gathered around them. Aziz Khan pointed to them and said, “Look how many people recognise youand are dying to take you to their homes now”. I said: “Yes, but you were the one who gave me shelter when I was unknown, so I recognise you alone and am here to meet only you”.

His everlasting regret is that he did not play in the Imran era. He hero-worships Imran: “The Pakistan team is mostly made up of players who have come from economically challenged backgrounds and have been deprived of an education. So we learn everything from cricket; it is our educational institution. We learn to speak English, drive cars and conduct ourselves. Therefore, we are very vulnerable and need good, strong mentors to protect us and take us in the right direction. Somebody like Imran khan, for instance, who in my opinion has been our greatest captain. He was a fabulous bowler and all rounder who nurtured talent.... was selfless and hardworking and was an example to all of us.”

Almost everyone and everything else in Pakistan cricket earns a caustic tongue lashing. The PCB and its various Chairmen:“uncaring, incompetent and self-obsessed guys” (except Khalid Mahmood and Tauqir Zia); the captains he played under, (except Amir Sohail), the worst being reserved for Shoaib Malik: “a ghulam, a slave who would jump through hoops for them”;his coaches, especially Intikhab Alam and Wasim Raja. Sample this: “In general, our coaches have had nothing to offer, apart from playing dirty politics. They just want to earn some money and travel in their old age — bas! Take Intikhab Alam: he is the most illiterate man you could meet. He has no clue what coaching is all about and can’t distinguish an in-swinger from an out-swinger, but he gives us advice!”. Strong words.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Funny Cricket Moment: Runner confuses fielding team


Shahid Afridi claims banned trio were just like his own brothers – Cricket News Update
Former Pakistani skipper, Shahid Afridi claims that the Men In Green trio, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were just like brothers to him after the convicted men were handed jail sentence by Justice Cook.

In a sad day for cricket, Butt was sentenced for 2 years and six months for his involvement in spot-fixing, while Asif suffered a 1 year jail sentence. Amir, the youngest of the lot faced 6 months in prison after the court failed to offer any leniency in their verdict.

The left-hander ex-skipper, Butt was charged for conspiracy to cheat, accept and obtain corrupt payments, while Asif was jailed on accounts for conspiracy to cheat, after no money was found under his possession when the event took place.

Amir, along with bookie, Mazhar Majeed, who earned the maximum jail sentence of 2 years and 8 months, had pleaded guilty which resulted in a reduced sentence.

Afridi, who played with all three of the banned trios was dejected by the whole incident; however, felt that such verdict was necessary for the sport to remain clean forever. He somewhat blamed the Pakistan Cricket Board for not taking the initiative of defining boundaries for players, while also claimed that the players do not earn as much as they should.

The all-rounder also added that he considered the trio just like his own brothers and claimed that young players are enticed into wrongdoings due to lack of awareness.

"The players were like brothers to me. I have never been approached by a bookie but I know that young players are trapped into it (spot-fixing)," said Afridi.

Earlier, the player announced his conditional retirement from cricket after a public row with former coach, Waqar Younis and ex-chairman, Ijaz Butt. However, with the two men gone from the helm, he made himself available for selection and was immediately recalled for the national team’s forthcoming ODI assignments with Sri Lanka.

Finally the flamboyant star also commented that spot-fixing is not simply associated within Pakistan as such menace is spread throughout the cricketing world. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope that the sport learns from such depressing event.

Majeed tried approaching me too: Afridi

KARACHI: Pakistan's former captain Shahid Afridi has claimed that jailed bookie Mazhar Majeed tried approaching him several times but he kept the players' agent at arm's length as he suspected him of being involved in betting.

Former Test captain Salman Butt and pacersMohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer have been sentenced to jail in UK after being found guilty of conspiring with Majeed to fix parts of a Test match last year.

Afridi said Majeed tried getting friendly with him too but he ignored the London-based agent.

"He always tried to contact me personally in the hotel and wanted time to meet me. His brother Azhar also wanted to meet me. But I avoided them all the time because I had my suspicions that they were not trustworthy and involved in betting," Afridi said.

Afridi also rebutted Majeed's claim that some Pakistani players were willing to throw matches to undermine his position as captain.

"I never felt that any player was doing something wrong and deliberately trying to let me down."

Speaking on spot-fixing scam that has shamed Pakistan cricket, Afridi said he feels sorry for the 19-year-old Aamer.

"He is a great talent and I believe because of his age he was trapped into this scandal," he said.

Afridi accused former Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt of disrespecting and humiliating players.

"Ijaz Butt didn't finish players power he humiliated the players," Afridi said on a talk show on the "Express" news channel.

The all-rounder said his differences with Butt developed because of the way he treated players.

"I won the ODI series in New Zealand and West Indies and we reached semi final of the World Cup and yet I was removed as captain by him without any justification. That is the way he treated the players which was unacceptable to me," he said.

Afridi, who is set to make a comeback in the coming ODI series against Sri Lanka in the UAE after taking back his retirement decision, said Butt didn't know how to respect players.

Afridi had announced his retirement in protest in late May after Butt removed him as captain after the West Indies tour.

Afridi claimed that Butt had also mistreated former coach Waqar Younis, who stepped down as coach after the Zimbabwe tour in September citing personal and health reasons.

"I don't think Waqar had any health problems he was removed by Butt. If he (Waqar) had health problems than how is he doing commentary in the series against Sri Lanka."
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