Ads 468x60px

Monday, March 21, 2011

Umar Akmal defies Sydney Test fears

Umar AkmalPakistan’s hard-hitting young and aggressive middle order batsman Umar Akmal played a responsible innings on Saturday to steer into the Quarter-Finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as Group A leaders at R Premadasa Cricket Stadium against the might of Australia.Chasing 177 runs for the famous victory, 
Pakistan were looking dented hard by Brett Lee at 142 for the loss of six wickets when Shahid Afridi once again played a brainless shot to gift his wicket away to the Aussies.
This was the time when Umar Akmal was looking good at one end but was in desperate need of a partner and Abdul Razzaq proved just the man to do the job with him.
The pair helped Pakistan cross the line and enter into the knockout stage as Group A leaders. Umar Akmal scored 44 runs from 59 balls on a wicket which wasn’t conducive for stroke-play. He hit four boundaries and a six.
In the end, Pakistan completed the target in 41 overs for the loss of six wickets but it was Umar Akmal who provided the impetus and very rightly was declared Man of the Match.
The Sports Encounter presents its cricket-crazy fans the highlights package, compiled by ESPNSTAR, show-casing the brilliant shots played by Umar Akmal.

Pak players pay rich tribute to Bob Woolmer

Former Pakistan foreign coach Bob Woolmer may no longer be in this world but some of the players still have happy memories of the times spent with him and believe the Englishman was the best coach to be associated with the national side.
Three days after Woolmer's fourth death anniversary was observed with memorial services in Karachi and Lahore churches, Pakistan's one-day skipper Shahid Afridi paid glowing tributes to him.
"I still remember him a lot and have happy memories of working with him. I credit him for my comeback to the Pakistan team," Afridi told Geo News in Sri Lanka.
"Woolmer was a top coach and it is not possible to fill the vaccum created by his tragic death," he said.
Woolmer died in mysterious circumstances in the team hotel in Jamaica at the 2007 World Cup, a day after Pakistan lost to minnows Ireland in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, a defeat that sent Pakistan crashing out.
"I still miss his guidance and commitment to the Pakistan team. He was totally dedicated to seeing Pakistan cricket reach greater heights," Afridi said.
The Pakistan captain, like many of his teammates, believed that if his team could go on to play the World Cup final, it would be a fitting tribute to the late Woolmer.
"He always felt that our team had the potential to win the last World Cup. Unfortunately, we went out of the tournament early. This time we are working hard to reach the final," he added.
Pakistan's in-form pace bowler, Umar Gul said the team wants to dedicate the World Cup win to him and the people of Pakistan, who have gone through tough times in recent years.
The Pakistan cricket Board has named its national cricket academy after the late Woolmer in Lahore.
Pakistan's banned pace bowler, Muhammad Asif also credited Woolmer for his comeback into the national side in late 2005 against England.
"I remember how Woolmer told me I would play regularly for Pakistan after watching me bowl in just one first class match," Asif told a cricket website in London.
"Working with Bob was an absolute honour for me. To be taught and coached the finer arts of cricket by such a fantastic person and coach was something that I will always cherish and I would just like to pay my personal tribute to Bob Woolmer.
"I had a lot of respect for Bob as a person and as a professional and I believe that he did a fantastic job for Pakistan cricket and took it to unforeseen levels during his time as coach. He was a great man - humble and approachable.
He was always available for advice and help," Asif said.

Shoaib unlikely to play any role in World Cup

 Enigmatic fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar is unlikely to play any further role for Pakistan in the ongoing World Cup.

Shoaib, 35, announced on Thursday that he will retire after the tournament.

The bowler seems to have lost favour with the team management, including skipper Shahid Afridi, after conceding 28 runs in a single over in a league match against New Zealand and, according to sources, is unlikely to feature in Wednesday's quarterfinal against the West Indies.

"Shoaib basically has lost favor of the captain, coach and some of the other players after the game against New Zealand," a well-informed source said.

"Some of the players are not happy with the way he reacted after the New Zealand innings in Pallekele and behaved with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal," the source added.

The "Jang" reported from Sri Lanka that Shoaib, apparently, had argued with Kamran soon after he dropped two catches, one of his over, and than pushed him.

The source confirmed that after the New Zealand innings, Shoaib had a heated argument with Kamran over the dropped catches, leading to a tense atmosphere in the dressing room.

Pakistan lost the match to New Zealand, but the source said that the team management later spoke to the PCB chief, informing him of the incident. The PCB chief, reportedly, told the team management that if fast bowler was not behaving he should not be played again.

"Subsequently, Shoaib was fined $2000, and also told by the management in clear terms that it is better if he decided to retire from international cricket," the source said.

According to the source, Shoaib now hardly have any friends left in the team.

"Practically, Shoaib's career is over and the management has decided to at least give him the honour of retiring gracefully by remaining with the team and not going public with his feelings," the source said.

Shoaib has had a controversial and colorful career since his debut in 1997. He has been being fined and banned several times during a 14-year-long career.

However, after making a comeback to the team last year, he appeared to have reformed himself, but the source said he remained at loggerheads with the management on disciplinary issues in recent months.

"As it is there is an emphasis now on inducting and reposing more faith in the younger players and to quietly sideline some senior players, including Shoaib and Mohammad Yousuf," the source said.

He said both coach Waqar Younis and Afridi were in favour of inducting new faces, the reason why they had been showing confidence in players like Asad Shafiq and Wahab Riaz.

The source also stated that a recent statement by Shoaib that if he had played under a captain likeImran Khan it would have helped his career as Imran knew how to use fast bowlers, has also not gone down well with the management.

Manager, Intikhab Alam, however, has maintained that their was no major fight between Shoaib and Kamran, and that was not the reason behind Shoaib announcing his retirement.

"I think Shoaib had decided before the World Cup it was time for him to retire and he consulted his family members who are in Sri Lanka before announcing his retirement. It didn't come out of the blue. They are no issues within the team," Intikhab told a Pakistani newspaper.

Pak can beat any team in WC following impressive win against Aussies: Afridi

Following Pakistan's impressive four-wicket win against powerful Australia, captain Shahid Afridi is quite confident that his rampaging team will go all out to defeat West Indies and secure a berth in the last-four stage of the 2011 World Cup.
"With the way we have played against Australia, I'm sure that we are ready to play against any team in the quarterfinals and beyond," The News quoted Afridi, as saying.
Pakistan will take on West Indies in the first quarterfinal of the World Cup in Dhaka on March 23.
"I think the conditions there (in Dhaka) are going to suit us. We have a balanced team and our morale is high after beating Australia which is why I'm confident that we will book a place in the semis," said the flamboyant allrounder.
Afridi said that Pakistan's win against World Cup title-holder and top contender Australia has boosted his team's morale and confidence.
"Beating Australia is something that we've always cherished. They are a very tough team to beat, which is evident that from their unbeaten streak in World Cup. The fact that we have beaten them certainly adds a lot to our confidence because our belief that we can beat any team and can go on to win the World Cup is getting stronger with such results," he said.
When asked whether he was surprised with the way his team has bounced back after suffering a 110-run thrashing defeat against New Zealand at Pallekele last week, the skipper replied: "I don't think that I'm surprised because I've always believed Pakistan have the strength to beat any team. What we need is to play to our potential because if we do that, good results will keep coming."
Afridi also hoped that his team's impressive win against Australia would silence critics back home. "Some experts have been rejecting us as a poor team with no chance at the World Cup. I hope that they will change their minds now," he said.
He also praised his players, saying that Pakistan managed to conquer the Aussies due to good team work.
"It's because we played as a unit that we managed to beat them," said Afridi. "I must praise my bowlers, who did a great job. Umar Gul was fabulous, Abdur Rehman bowled impressively while Mohammad Hafeez bowled ten really tight overs." (ANI)

Sachin didn't have it in him to succeed as captain - Azhar

March 20, 2011 (CricIndian): Former Indian captain, Mohammad Azharuddin in a recent interview to GQ magazine has said that he doesn't want to talk about Sachin Tendulkar.
Replying to a question on why Sachin didn't succeed him as the captain of Indian team, he said, "I don't want to talk about him. There are some people I just don't want to talk about."
When reminded of reports which claimed he didn't support Sachin when the latter was captain, he said, "Not true. Check the statistics. When he was captain, I scored more runs than anyone else on the team, in both forms of the game." Azhar also added that, "Tendulkar didn't have it in him to succeed as captain."
Azhar, who was banned for life by the ICC after the match fixing scandal a decade ago, is now Member of Parliament from the Congress party. When asked about his present contacts with cricketers, he said, " I am not in touch with anybody. I have a different life now."
Azhar also denied that he never made a statement that he went through tough times during match-fixing scandal because he was a muslim. "No! I never said that. I was misinterpreted. At that time, everyone wanted a piece of the cake and they were writing what they felt like. People talk like that, and I can't help it. I was captain for nine years and I never felt that.," he said.
"No. I didn't do anything wrong. If I had, I would not have achieved so much. I played 17 years for my country. And I gave my best," Azhar said, about the match-fixing scandal.

Labors in Islamabad Paid Tribute to Shoaib Akhter

Labors in Islamabad paid tribute to Shoaib Akhter by making a giant billboard. Labors had a full dancing session in front of his picture. Surely everyone will be missing the fastest bowler of all the time.
Courtesy: Cricinfo © AFP


The soon to be retired Pakistan fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, shared his belief that he would have emerged as a good bowler and a better individual if he had played under legendary all-rounder Imran Khan.
“Imran was like a father figure. I have missed him badly in my playing days. Had he been there, I would have become a better bowler and a better person,” said Shoaib. “Almost every cricketer of his time and afterwards looked up to Imran as the ultimate leader and mentor and I am no exception,” the pacer added.
A few days earlier, the Rawalpindi Express communicated his plan to quit international cricket after the ICC World Cup 2011, ceasing a career full of colour and controversies. It was a sudden announcement though and the current Captain, Shahid Afridi, regarded Shoaib’s decision as the right one and just in time.
The off-field and on-field drama has always been a highlight of Shoaib’s career. He has recently been fined $2000 for his misbehaviour with wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal during the match against the Kiwis.
Responding to a question about his topsy-turvy career, Shoaib said, “The system made me quite an anti-establishment person. Ever since I started playing cricket, I was told that I wasn’t good enough. Whether at the club level or national or international level, I was told I was never good enough. That made me more determined.”
The Rawalpindi Express remained mum about his future plans after saying good bye to cricket. However, he vowed to follow the footstep of his cricketing mentor Imran Khan, and aimed to build a hospital.
“I want to build a hospital in Islamabad, somewhere in the remote hills where no one can imagine medical facilities. I will lay the first brick and then God will help me do the rest. My real life begins now, the life away from the spotlight,” the superstar said.
Imran Khan has always been a great admirer of Shoaib’s pace and ability to win matches. He has mentioned that Shoaibs career has been stunted by the fact that he was in the news for all the wrong reasons. He also attributed the frequent change of captains of the Pakistan side as another factor that effected the fast-bowlers growth.


Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar has revealed that he was never scared of bowling to India’s Sachin Tendulkar and in fact, it was Australia’s Adam Gilchrist and Brian Lara from the West Indies who intimidated him during his peak years in international cricket.
“Sachin would never scare me. Guys like Gilchrist and Lara would scare the hell out of me,” he said.
However, Shoaib said that he has great respect for Sachin as he believes that the Indian batsman is a great cricketer.
Akhtar praising Gilchrist admitted that he was awestruck by the persona of the Aussie and would not know where to bowl at him. Akhtar has been recorded to have bowled the fastest delivery in the world of cricket that clocked at 161.3 km/h (100.2 mph).
The flamboyant pacer said that had Pakistan’s legendary all-rounder Imran Khan been playing during his time he would have become a better bowler and an improved individual as well. Akhtar revealed that he has always idealised the victorious skipper of Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup triumph.
He expressed a desire to follow in the footsteps of his idol after retirement by building a hospital in Islamabad (Imran after his retirement built a cancer hospital in Pakistan which was Pakistan’s first hospital cancer hospital at the time of its construction).
Speaking on his constrained relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board, he blamed the system by which the board was being run. According to the speedster, the system made him an “anti-establishment” man.
Over the period of his blistering career, he was marred by injuries which kept him out of the national team. In the interview, he admitted that he was never the fittest of players but was always willing to play for his team even in pain.
“There have been days when five syringes would be inserted on each of my knees to draw out fluid. I would scream with pain because my knees would be swollen like melons and I would feel that someone was ripping off my thigh muscles. But next day, I would go there and fire the ball at close to 150 kmph or more,” he said while talking about his injuries.
Akhtar reiterated that there were many times in his career when he thought he will not be able to make a comeback and should retire but he never gave up and managed to bounce back better than before every time.
The pacer on numerous occasions was caught up in off-field controversies which landed him in trouble with the management, however, over the course of time he feels he has matured and learned to stay away from trouble.
Nevertheless, he reiterated that he played for Pakistan with his head held high. He pointed out the fact that he was never involved in a controversy regarding match-fixing as he would never indulge in practices that would cast a bad name on his country and on the sport itself.
Akhtar announced his retirement on Thursday in Sri Lanka where he is with the Pakistan team taking part in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2011.

It's hard to imagine Pakistan cricket without Shoaib Akhtar: Azhar Ali

Pakistan's top order player Azhar Ali has expressed shock over fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's decision to retire from international cricket after the ongoing ICC World Cup 2011, and said that it is difficult to imagine Pakistan cricket without him.
"I didn't know Shoaib bhai was going to retire beforehand, but on a personal level I did have a feeling that this could be his last World Cup. Especially if Pakistan went on to win. Despite that I was still shocked when I heard the news because in many ways it's hard to imagine Pakistan cricket without the fastest bowler in the history of the game," quoted Azhar, as saying.
Both Azhar and Shoaib play domestic cricket for Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and were also part of the ODI squad for the series against England in 2010.
Describing his experience of playing with Shoaib for KRL, Azhar was very positive about the Rawalpindi Express' influence on the team.
"Shoaib is a very charismatic individual and even fellow cricketers enjoy being in his company. We really enjoy having him at KRL and whenever he plays for us there is always an extra buzz about the team," he said.
"When one of the best bowlers in the world is running in to bowl for your domestic team, it lifts everyone and makes you feel invincible," he explained.
Azhar further said that Shoaib stood out even in international cricket, where every player is a star.
"I was with the Pakistan team during the ODI series in England and even though it was an International cricket match, Shoaib still attracted a lot of attention. What I liked about Shoaib was that he had time for everyone. He would come to me and the other players who weren't getting a game and make us feel part of the team," he said.
"I remember he [Shoaib] told me that I had a lot of potential and that as long as I worked hard I would play a lot of games for Pakistan. I know it's been said many times but Shoaib really does have a big heart and his retirement will be a big loss to Pakistan cricket," he added. (ANI)

Shoaib Akhter posing with Brett Lee and Shaun Tait | Video

Before Pakistan Vs Australia’s match, Shoaib Akhter was requested to have a little photo session with his fellow pacers Brett Lee and Shaun Tait. After the announcement of his retirement, this group photo was taken with his fellow fast bowlers as a memorable photo.

Hoping to Celebrate Pakistan Day in Bangladesh

On March 23, 2011 , the 71st Pakistan Day will be celebrated all across Pakistan. And hopefully it will also be marked gloriously in Bangladesh where the Pakistan cricket team will play in the Cricket World Cup quarter-final match against West Indies. If Pakistan wins – and one dearly hopes it does – Pakistan will then meet either India or Australia in the semi-final at Mohali in Chandigarh, India. No matter which, what a game that will be!
With the dream of an India-Pakistan Final no longer possible (although either one of them could make it to the Final) the only possibility of the two meeting in this World Cup is now in the Chandigarh Semi-Finals. The one team that must be rooting most strongly against that game ever being played must be Australia. And not just because that would require Australia to lose its Quarter-Final. Much more so because they would want to take on Pakistan again and avenge the defeat Pakistan handed them in their last group game.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...