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Monday, March 28, 2011


Pakistan Team Offering Namaz At Mohali Stadium | Video

Pakistan vs India Semi-Final | Psycho Mike Prediction | Video

Shahid ducks intense media hype

 Shahid Afridi changes the channel on his television set whenever the discussion moves to the Pakistan-India semifinal.

It’s proving to be quite an exercise for his thumb because all you can see on news channels in India these days is an intense pre-match coverage related to the March 30 encounter in Mohali.

“I’ve heard that the media here has created quite a hype around our World Cup semifinal against India,” said the Pakistan captain. “But I’m not watching it. Whenever they start flashing some story about it, I just change the channel and switch to something else. I have no time for it,” he told ‘The News’ here on Sunday.

Some of the Indian TV channels are portraying the semifinal as a ‘war’ between Pakistan and India on the cricket field.

However, Afridi believes that he and his team are in India to play a World Cup semifinal and that’s it. “There is no war, nothing like that. It’s a big cricket match for both the teams and I want on just focus on it,” he stressed.

The flamboyant allrounder said that he is also advising his teammates to do the same. “I’ve asked all the players to avoid watching news or discussions on TV shows and bulletins. It might distract them.”

Afridi is seen as a vital cog for Pakistan as they look to floor India in their own backyard. “I know that as captain and the team’s senior players I have a huge responsibility,” he said. “I’ve been really working hard and am confident that I’ll lead from the front against India. It’s a huge match not just because it’s against India but because a win in it will give us a place in the final.”

The allrounder, who is the tournament’s most successful bowler with 21 wickets, is pleased with the way his team’s preparations have been going in the lead up to the semifinal.

“We’ve had some really good training sessions here,” he said. “The boys are all focused and the best part is that they are all relaxed and not taking any pressure. How they will handle the pressure in the match is going to be the key and I’m confident that they will not face any problems in doing that. We are a good side and have the guts to face any situation.”

Afridi behind Pakistan's success

 Most of the Pakistan players believe that their team have reached the semi-finals, thanks to the shrewd and aggressive leadership of Shahid Afridi.
Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez gave credit to Afridi after a training session at the Punjab Cricket Association ground. "As a leader, Shahid has controlled the team very well. He has played a huge role in keeping the team together," remarked Hafeez, who looks up to his leader for guidance and gets inspired by his captain.
"The big positive about Afridi is that he controls and supports all the players to the hilt. For me, as a player, when you know your captain is supporting you, it is very easy to put in a 110 per cent effort," he added.
Regarding transformation in the team and how Afridi went about building confidence, Hafeez said: "We didn't know who our opponent would be at any time. We have reached here purely because of the hard work we have put in during the last seven months."
"Every individual knew that if we play as a team we are a very good side and capable of winning the World Cup. That strong belief is what we carried into the first match. It's the belief that is crucial to our making it to the semi-finals."
So what are his plans to tackle the huge pressure of an India-Pakistan match? "There is bound to be pressure while playing in the semifinal of a World Cup. Just because it is an India-Pakistan match does not mean that there is any extra pressure on the team."
"We are enjoying our cricket and supporting each other. It is that unity and backing we give each other that has been the key to our success."

Umar Gul joins calls for Shoaib Akhtar's recall for Pakistan in WCup semifinal vs. India

Two weeks ago, Shoaib Akhtar's international career looked finished, now there are increasing calls for the paceman to be restored to the Pakistan side for one of the biggest match of them all — Wednesday's World Cup semifinal against India.
Several high-profile former players have backed Akhtar's inclusion, and on Monday, Pakistan's frontline fast bowler Umar Gul voiced his support for the 35-year-old's return to the team.
"Shoaib Akhtar is an experienced bowler who has performed well against India," Gul said. "If he plays, it will take some of the pressure off me. When he was not there, there was a lot of pressure on me."
Akhtar was rested — to use the Pakistan team's words — after he conceded 28 runs in a single over in the group stage loss to New Zealand. He announced in the days leading up to Pakistan's last group match against Australia that he'd be retiring after the World Cup.
Pakistan has won every game since Akhtar was left out, but his replacement Wahab Riaz hasn't made an impact and has scant experience of pitches in India. Akhtar, a veteran of 163 ODIs, has taken 17 wickets in 10 matches in India, 14 of those against the host country.
Former captain Imran Khan began the calls for Akhtar to be recalled even before India won its quarterfinal against Australia to set up Wednesday's showdown with Pakistan.
Khan thinks Akhtar's all-out speed and aggression could trouble the talented Indian batting lineup. Javed Miandad, another ex-skipper who is now the director general of the Pakistan Cricket Board, agreed.
"If Shoaib Akhtar is fit and the team management thinks that the wicket will suit the fast bowlers at Mohali then they should include him in the playing XI," Miandad told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
"Shoaib could definitely make some sort of an impact if the wicket suits the fast bowlers and I think he should replace Wahab Riaz," Miandad said.
Akhtar's teammates have been quick to say that the decision is up to the team management, but experienced batsman Misbah-ul-Haq and now Gul have supported his inclusion.
"Shoaib Akhtar is a class bowler," Misbah said. "He has performed for Pakistan on a number of occasions including the 1999 World Cup. If he does play in coming matches, I feel it will give us a psychological advantage."
Wasim Akram, part of Pakistan's 1992 World Cup winning-team, conceded it might be a risk to include Akhtar but that the 35-year-old's love for the big occasion would make it a risk worth taking.
"I feel he deserves a place for sure," Akram was quoted as saying in the Pakistan media. "Wahab Riaz is bowling well but he is nothing exceptional. Shoaib's only problem in this World Cup has been his second spell. I have advised him to warm up before the second spell and that will help him.
"Shoaib against the Indians is always very dangerous. I know it is a big risk, but luck favours the brave."
In 28 matches against India, Akhtar has taken 41 wickets at an average of 26.78. At the 2003 World Cup, Akhtar claimed the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar on 98. Tendulkar has been dismissed by fast bowlers on four occasions at the current tournament.
"Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag are top-class players but against Shoaib it's a different duel altogether," Akram said. "He is an entertainer and he loves the big stage."
A consideration for Pakistan is how well the Indian batsmen handled a misfiring pace barrage against Australia last week, when Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson failed to get through the middle order.
Akhtar has taken 247 ODI wickets for Pakistan and bowled a world record 161.3 km/h (100.2 mph) delivery at the 2003 World Cup, but his career has been punctuated by fallouts with teammates and team management.
He said last week he would retire happy even if he didn't represent his country again.
"Even if I don't get my 250th wicket it is fine," he said. "It will be dream to reach that landmark, but if I don't get picked, there is not much I can do. I still remain the fastest bowler in this World Cup.
"Pakistan winning the World Cup is far more important that reaching personal goals. For me, nation comes first. That's the way I have been. So I will accept any team decision."

World Cup win will usher new era in Pakistan cricket: Intikhab

Pakistani cricket manager Intikhab Alam feels winning the World Cup could usher in a new era in his country's cricket.
Intikhab said Pakistan cricket had gone through one of its worst phases in the last couple of years and now they are looking ahead to restoring their pride and glory.
The Lahore terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 left them ostracized by the international cricket community and they were also dropped as co-hosts of the World Cup. Last year's spot-fixing scandal during the England tour involving three cricketers - Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - did not help matters either. The trio were then banned for 10, seven and five years respectively.
'It is no time to look back, though we can take inspiration from the good deeds of the past. We have gone through one of the worst periods in Pakistan's cricket history and we are trying to erase the dark chapter,' Intikhab told IANS from Mohali.
'The team is focussed on winning the World Cup and it will be the start of a new era in Pakistani cricket,' said Intikhab, who was the
coach-cum-manager of the 1992 World Cup winning Pakistan team. He was also the manager of the team that won the World Twenty20 in 2009.
Intikhab, however, was happy that there are three sub-continental teams -India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - in the semifinals.
'It is a great moment for Asian cricket. Before the World Cup there was a lot of talk about Australia, England and South Africa making the semi-finals, but the sub-continental teams have proved it wrong. I always believed that Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka would make the semifinals and will be happy to see an Asian team winning the World Cup,' said the former Pakistan captain.
Intikhab reiterated his unhappiness with the media hype surrounding the Wednesday's India-Pakistan semifinal and pleaded not to make it look like a war.
'This is just a simple game of cricket, we have to treat it like that, not war. There will be lot of emotions, but we must control them and stay calm,' said Intikhab.
Intikhab, who fondly remembers the two years he spent here from 2004-06 coaching the Punjab Ranji Trophy squad, wants people to remember that only one team can win and the other team will have to accept defeat gracefully.
The 69-year-old Hoshiarpur-born said less media hype will help both the teams prepare better and in less tension for the crucial tie.
'It is an important match for both the teams and we must allow them to prepare in proper cricket atmosphere. It is my request to all not to put needless pressure on the players,' he said.

Pak cricket team to win semifinal: Shahbaz

LAHORE, (SANA): Chief Minister Punjab Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has hoped thatPakistani cricket team will win the semifinal against India with the help of hard work and prayers of the nation.
He said that PML-N Quaid Main Nawaz Sharif is recovering very rapidly and is taking rest in London.
Talking to media persons after London visit, CM Punjab refused to comment on question regarding the release of Raymond Davis. He avoided the questions about Altaf Hussian statement by saying that it is not a suitable time for these kind of questions.
He thanked the nation for praying for the recovery of Nawaz Sharif‘s health. He hoped that Pakistan cricket team will come back after winning the cricket world cup with the prayers of the Muslim Ummah and whole nation.

Cricket mania all around, security water-tight in Mohali

Cricket mania has touched a crescendo in fortress Mohali as it gears up to stage the eagerly-awaited World Cup semifinal clash between India and Pakistan and even the ruckus over ticket sales has failed to dampen the fans' enthusiasm. The Wagah-Attari border has been flooded by fans on either side o 
f the border who raised slogans in support of their nations while at Mohali, where the two teams will face each other on Wednesday, water-tight security has been put in place.
During the retreat ceremony at the Wagah (Pakistan)-Attari (India) border yesterday, a huge gathering of fans of the two countries was seen waving flags of their nations.
Fans raised slogans like "Hindustan Zindabad, Hindustan Jeetega, Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Pakistan Zindabad" as cricket took center-stage and everything else was pushed in the background.
Multi-layered security has been thrown around the stadium, including the Special Protection Group, National Security Guard, Central and State police forces.
"Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan besides a host of VVIPs will be watching the match. We have made water-tight security arrangements," Mohali's Senior Superintendent of Police, GPS Bhullar said.
Anti-aircraft guns will be placed strategically and NSG commandos will join a large number of security personnel to guard the stadium, which will be primarily taken over by the elite SPG.
With the arch-rivals facing each other after a long gap as bilateral action between the two nations had been suspended in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, cricket mania has been touching new heights with each passing day.
Fans from Pakistan have also started to trickle in. Pakistan Cricket Board official Tariq Haqim arrived here with his wife and son Ibrahim.
"Everybody wants to rush to Mohali to watch the match, such is the craze among the fans about this match," Haqim said.
Haqim's wife, whose grandfather hailed from Jalandhar and served in the police force during the British rule, said that it was her second visit to India but this time it was an altogether different experience.

Imran rubbishes Malik's warning to Pak team on match fixing

Former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan has rubbished Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s warning to the Pakistan cricket team not to indulge in match fixing in their crucial World Cup semi-final against India.
Khan said he was more worried about the activities of Malik than of the Pakistan cricket team. He said he was confident that the national team would put pride before all else to try and beat India in Wednesday’s clash at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali.
Khan was giving a rejoinder to Malik’s warning that he (Malik) was keeping a "close watch" on the team’s activities.
Malik told media persons: "I gave a warning that there should be no match-fixing. I am keeping a close watch. If any such thing happens, we are going to take action."
Malik was speaking in Karachi days ahead of the game in Mohali that will showcase one of the world''s most intense sporting rivalries.

Pakistan Minister Warns Team Not to Cheat

In the run-up to India’s semifinal match against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday, the issue of match-fixing was bound to get an airing.But no-one expected Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik to be the one to bring it up.
The involvement of Pakistani players in a “spot-fixing” scandal last year has been a major embarrassment for the cricket-mad nation.
Former captain Salman Butt and two other players were handed lengthy suspensions in February by the International Cricket Council for accepting bribes from betting syndicates to alter certain periods of play in a match against England.
On Monday, Mr. Malik, who is known for his controversial comments, said the government would be closely scrutinizing play in the match against India in Mohali.
Gambling syndicates, some of the largest based in India, bet huge amounts of money on the outcome of certain overs of play, including how many no-balls are delivered or runs scored. (An over comprises six bowls.)
They try to persuade players to make small changes in play, like bowling a no-ball at a particular time, in return for money. That inside information can reap huge profits for gamblers.
Mr. Khan is part of a group of former cricketers who are campaigning on Indian television around the World Cup for a clean-up of the game. He said spot-fixing was a very difficult thing to detect.
Mr. Khan said bank accounts of players should be opened up to scrutiny. But this seems unlikely for now.
The Pakistani trio was implicated when The News of the World, a British tabloid, caught a 35-year-old British middleman on tape detailing his role in spot-fixing scandals involving the Pakistan team. The paper is owned by News Corp., which also owns The Wall Street Journal.
A light was shone into shady cricket betting in 2000 in a scandal similar to the one engulfing Pakistan’s cricket world today.
Both Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and South African captain Hansie Cronje were later forced to resign for their roles in taking money from betting syndicates in India to fix parts of play.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s top federal investigative body, found in a report on the affair that illegal betting on cricket, organized by syndicates, had boomed after India won the cricket World Cup in 1983. In Pakistan, illegal betting also thrives. Critics of the ban in both countries say legalization would help to stop match fixing.

“I gave them a warning yesterday that there should be no match-fixing,” Mr. Malik told reporters in Pakistan.
It’s unclear what role Mr. Malik plays in running Pakistan’s cricket team, which is overseen by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
His comments were met with scorn by Imran Khan, a Pakistan cricket legend turned politician.
“No one in the Pakistani team will even read that statement. They’ve much better things to do,” Mr. Khan said.
Mr. Khan, an opposition politician, could not resist having a dig at Mr. Malik, a leading member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party who is known for his verbal faux-pas. “My worry is not the cricket team. It’s him,” Mr. Khan said in a television appearance.
Still, spot-fixing has been a major scourge on the game.

Katrina will support Pakistani Cricket Team in the Semi Final

Katrina Kaif Modelled in Pakistani Cricket Uniform for CK
Popular bollywood model / actress Katrina Kaif recently modeled for a local sports magazine wearing Pakistani cricket teams uniform.  When asked the model turned actress said that she like Pakistani cricketers specially Shoaib Akhter and Shahid Afridi are her favorites and she will be supporting Green shirts on coming Wednesday in Mohali.
There is an uproar in India on this stance of the popular actress and protests have been recorded in many Indian cities right away this leak.  Critics are saying that this may dent Katrina’s career on the long run.  Lets see what gonna happen next.

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