Pakistan Victory is a Victory for World Cricket

22/06/2009
pic from Associated Press

pic from Associated Press

Pakistan’s victory in the T20 World Cup in England was a win for world cricket. The problems that the country is facing has meant that they have had the hosting of the next ICC World Cup taken away from them, no country will tour Pakistan,because of the volatile climate there but specifically because of the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team, the last team to tour Pakistan. Pakistan are in cricketing limbo, without a home and without a clear future. They needed this, and so did cricket.

Before the T20 World Cup began the favourites were seen as the defending champions India, and the always strong Australia and South Africa. After the first week the clear favourites were South Africa and Sri Lanka. India made it past the first phase but were on the whole disappointing. They failed to win any of their Super 8 games and were sent packing. The blame was put on IPL fatigue. Yet only Wayne Parnel from the South African starting 11 didn’t play in the IPL, and they seemed not to feel the effects. Australia didn’t get past the first phase, losing to Sri Lanka and the West Indies. Only South Africa coped with, and lived up to, the favourites tag. Pakistan weren’t talked about.

They did what was needed to get through the first two phases and onto the Semi Finals. And then they came alive like only Pakistan can. The best team doesn’t always win the tournament, the best team on the day does. South Africa were the best team in the competition. The team was well balanced, had defined roles for each player, and was consistent and ran like a well oiled machine. Pakistan were the spanner in the machine. The flair and talent available to Pakistan is amazing – the consistency is not. But when an individual comes off Pakistan will beat anyone. It is perhaps unfair to say that Afridi single handedly beat South Africa, but that’s what it would have felt like. His batting had been terrible in the first 10 days of the World Cup, but pushed up the order in a gamble that paid off spectacularly, he got Pakistan to a total that was just enough to send South Africa out of yet another semi final. This was no South African choking. They fought and battled to the very end, but on the day they were beaten by Afridi with the bat and ball, and Umar Gul’s death bowling. No other team would have gotten to within 7 runs of Pakistans total batting second on that pitch.

In the final against the other then unbeaten team, Sri Lanka, Pakistan bowled and fielded as a team. On the rare occasions that they manage to do so they are very affective. Again it was Afridi with the bat, having found his form and confidence, that took Pakistan a step further than they managed two years ago in South Africa.

While it may seem that Pakistan stuttered into the semi’s before awakening in time to march towards the title, a look at the stats shows that they were in fact the best bowling team in the World Cup, and ended with the best economy rate as well as the leading wicket taker. They didn’t start spectacularly but they the were effective and did the job in the end.

Pakistan cricket has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for the past year or so, let them revel in the limelight of a job well done – and deserved.

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Ten Most “Hilarious” Sledging incidents in World Cricket

28/01/2008

This is was posted on the blog http://www.cricketbuzz.org
The controversy surrounding the Sydney Test match between India and Australia once again brought “Sledging” into limelight. Sledging has become a part of world cricket and almost every team is doing that. Players resort to sledging in order to distract their opponents’ focus on the game. Sometimes, sledging and banters sound funny and interesting. But at other times, they just turn ugly.

We have listed the top ten sledging incidents from world of cricket, not necessarily in the order they were listed. Here you go:

1) Rodney Marsh (Australia) and Ian Botham (England)

Rodney Marsh to Ian Botham in an Ashes match: “So how’s your wife and my kids?” Ian Botham’s reply – “The wife’s fine. The kids are retarded !”

2) Javed Miandad (Pakistan) and Merv Hughes (Australia)

Javed Miandad called Hughes a fat bus conductor during a match. A few balls later, Hughes dismissed Miandad. “Tickets please,” said Huges, as he ran past the departing batsman.

3) Glenn McGrath (Ausrtralia) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies)

McGrath to Ramnaresh Sarwan: “So what does Brian Lara’s di*k taste like?”Sarwan: “I don’t know. Ask your wife.

McGrath (lost his cool): “If you ever F**king mention my wife again, I’ll F**king rip your F**ing throat out.”

4) Douglas Jardine (England) and Bill Woodfull (Australia)

England player Jardine complained that one of the Australian players called him a bastard. Australian captain Bill Woodfull turns to his team, points to Jardine and asked “Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?”

5) Mark Waugh (Australia) and Adam Parore (New Zealand)

Mark Waugh standing at second slip, Adam Parore played & missed the first ball. Mark – “Ohh, I remember you from a couple years ago in Australia. You were shit then, you’re ••••••• useless now”. Parore- (Turning around) “Yeah, that’s me & when I was there you were going out with that old, ugly slut & now I hear you’ve married her. You dumb ••••”.

6) Steve Waugh (Australia) and Parthiv Patel (India)

When Steve came (Steve’s last test match) to bat, Parthiv said, “Come on, just one more of the famous slog-sweeps before you finish” Steve-“Respect Me…for when i made my test debut You were still in your nappies”.

7) Glen McGrath (Australia) and Eddo Brandes (Zimbabwe)

Aussie paceman Glenn McGrath was bowling to Zimbabwe number 11 Eddo Brandes – who was just missing each ball. McGrath, frustrated, went to him and inquired: “Why are you so fat?”Quick as a flash, Brandes replied, “Because every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit.”

8) Ravi Shastri (India) and Mike Whitney (Australia)

Shastri hits the ball towards Mike Whitney (the 12th man in the game) and looked for a single. Whitney said, “If you leave the crease i’ll break your f***ing head”. Without battling an eyelid, Shastri retorted, “If you could bat as well as you can talk you wouldn’t be the f***ing 12th man”.

9) Sunil Gavaskar (India) and Viv Richards (West Indies)

To ease the pressure on himself, Sunil Gavaskar had decided to come lower down the order and bat at No 4 for that particular match. But, Malcolm Marshall fired out Anshuman Gaekwad and Dilip Vengsarkar for ducks, setting the stage for Gavaskar to walk in at 0/2. Viv Richards said “Man, it don’t matter where you come in to bat, the score is still zero.”

10) Viv Richards (West Indies) and Merv Hughes (Australia)

Viv Richards hit Merv Hughes for four consecutive boundaries in one over. Merv stops halfway down the pitch, farted loudly, and said to Viv: “let’s see you hit that to the boundary!” Viv was dumb-founded.

South African Cricket News

08/01/2008

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South Africa look set to recall veteran all rounder, and record wicket taker, Shaun Pollock, for the series deciding Test against the West Indies. The crucial Test, with the teams locked at 1-1 going into the final game, is the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, in Durban, Pollocks home ground. While many expected Pollock to be recalled at the expense of Dale Steyn, who bowled through injury in the final innings of South Africa’s 7 wicket win last week, it now seems that Pollock will replace spinner Paul Harris. Kingsmead has seldom offered anything for spin bowlers, and with the recent rainy weather, should have a bit off the deck for seam bowlers. Should Steyn not be fit to play his place will go to Monde Zondeki, the Cobra’s fast bowler who has claimed over 50 wickets in 8 matches this season. Herchelle Gibbs will return to the team, opening with Smith, after being dropped for last weeks match, with Neil Mckenzie, Gibbs replacement, tearing a muscle and ruled out for up to 6 weeks. The West Indies will be without captain Chris Gayle, through injury, and will be led by all rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Former South African batsman, and now commentator, Darryl Cullinan has been banned from commentating on any matches for the foreseeable future. Cullinan, who has worked for Super Sport since his retirement from the game has found himself in hot water as a result of taking up a coaching post in the rebel Indian Cricket League. The reason being given is that the ban imposed by CSA (Cricket South Africa) for any cricketers taking part in the rebel league, includes journalists. How Cullinans job as a journalist fits into the spectrum of CSA baffles me. The TV commentary will prove to be bland without Cullinans forth right and insightful views. It will be interesting to see how the Ausies deal with Tony Greg after his role in the ICL.

Following the political and social disruptions in Pakistan, there are now plans for the ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled for Pakistan in September, to be switched to South Africa. This follows security fears laid out by players, most recently Andrew Symonds of Australia, who are due to tour Pakistan soon. South Africa, who held a very successful T20 Championships a few months ago are on stand by and have the necessary infrastructure and plans to hold a successful tournament at short notice.


The Best and the Worst of the T20 World Cup

26/09/2007

Chris Gayle and the West Indies

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A tournament billed as the grave yard of bowlers, a batsman’s paradise, got off to exactly that start when Chris Gayle shrugged off his poor form of recent times and smashed the first T20 international hundred, scoring his 100 off just 51 balls, and finishing with 117 off 57 balls, including 10 sixes and 7 fours. However, once again the West Indies managed to disappoint, allowing South Africa to claim a record chase, over hauling the total of 205 with 8 wickets and 14 balls to spare. In so doing the West Indies provided a best moment and a worst moment of the T20 World Cup. Gayles scintillating performance was the best show of brute force and timing, and the West Indies general performance, they followed up this loss by losing to Bangladesh and being eliminated in the first round, was the biggest disappointment.

The New Guys on the Block

Every big tournament tends to offer the chance for the spotlight to be stolen by a new or previously unheralded star. The last few tournaments have sadly not offered us to much in this case, but rather just highlighted the gulf that existed between Australia and the rest. However this World Cup did throw out a few names for us to remember, none more so than Pakistans Sohail Tanvir, and South Africa’s Morne Morkel.

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Tanvir was called up to the Pakistan squad as a late replacement for the yet again disgraced Shoaib Akhtar, as a relative unknown to those outside of Pakistan. The left handed all rounder, with the unorthodox front on bowling style, has only played 19 first class games in 3 years and in domestic T20 games had yet to take a single wicket. Despite this he was a revelation with the ball throughout the tournament, taking 6 wickets at an economy rate of 7,00. While many have suggested that his success was due to his unusual action, and once batsman get used to him they will be able to play him better, for now he has undoubtedly been one of the stars of this World Cup.

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Morne Morkel. the tall fast bowler from the Titans in Pretoria, looks set to have a major influence on South African cricket in the near future. He has played one Test and a handful of ODI’s, and his inexperience was said to be a weakness in the South African bowling attack. However the young fast bowler proved to be one of the leading bowlers in the competition, and one that looks to have a very bright career ahead of him, with controlled aggression, wicket taking, and economical bowling, he is truly Shaun Pollocks successor. Was robbed of the chance to become the first bowler in T20 internationals to claim a 5 wicket haul when he was wrongfully called for a front foot no ball after bowling New Zealands Mark Gillespie. Finished with 9 wickets in 5 games at an average of just 13,33 at an economy rate of just 6,00.

Biggest Upset

While Bangladesh’s victory over West Indies was an upset, it was hardly a surprise. The West Indies are perhaps the most inconsistent side in cricket, and Bangladesh, having progressed to the Super 8 phase of the last two international competitions, have earned the right to not be called minnows any more. The biggest upset was Zimbabwe defeating the mighty Australians in their opening game. Australia may have arrived rusty and not quite sure how serious this World Cup was, but they should have still been strong enough to get past a young Zimbabwean team that had been the whipping boys of international cricket over the last few years. Zimbabwe played with a lot of guts and determination, and although they lost to England the next day, to be eliminated on run rate, they showed enough in this one match to suggest that a few more wins may give them the confidence to become a good cricket team, there is enough talent in the squad for this to happen.

Most Refreshing

The most refreshing aspect of the tournament was the captaincy of Shoib Malik and MS Dhoni. Captaining two of the most unpredictable, talented, and fickle teams in World Cricket is a daunting one, yet these two young players brought a sense of calmness and togetherness to the job. They never shied from responsibility, lead from the front, and managed to unite their teams in a way that was seldom been seen. The success of their teams, both reached the final and both beat Australia, was undoubtedly primarily due to their leadership, and the confidence it inspired in their young squads. If they build on this there is no reason why India and Pakistan can once again become a force to be reckoned with in international cricket, bringing a sense of justice to perhaps the most talented individuals in world cricket.

Biggest Surprise

The match winning performances of the bowlers was a surprise to many, who had expected this to be a batsman game, with the bowlers making up the numbers. However, with that in mind, and short boundaries, perhaps the biggest surprise was the success of the spin bowlers. Shahid Afridi and Daniel Vettori both finished amongst the top wicket takers and best economy rates, proving the quality spin bowling will always be a match winner, no matter what form of the game. Afridi was named player of the tournament.

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Most Predictable Outcome

Generally in the last few years the easiest thing to predict would be the eventual winners – Australia. Thankfully this time the holders of the last 3 World Cups, the ICC Championship winners, the current Test table toppers, and the team vying to hold all ICC title’s together, did not win this time. However, sadly for them these two teams, perhaps the most predictable outcome was the failure of South Africa when it mattered most, and of New Zealand to get past the semi finals. South Africa had looked the strongest and most balanced team in the World Cup, but it only took one loss, to India, to knock them out before the semi finals, and ensure their search for a first major trophy continues. New Zealand seem to get to the semi finals of every major competition, and then collapse. Although they didn’t look as strong as South Africa, they had looked dangerous throughout the tournament, even beating India in the Super 8’s. Yet again they reached the semi finals, and yet again they failed to reach the final.

Perhaps another predictable outcome was that Shoaib Akhtar would arrive, tell everyone how focused he was on ensuring Pakistan won, tell everyone he has put all the scandals behind him and is looking forward to helping Pakistan over the next few years, and then finding himself on the plane home the following day after hitting a teammate with a cricket bat.


T20 Stats

25/09/2007

With the conclusion of the very successful inaugural ICC T20 World Championships it’s time to look at the best performers over the two weeks of action.

The Batsmen

The top run getters in the competition were lead by Matthew Hayden of Australia, completing a fine double after leading the runs table at the ICC World Cup earlier in the year. Hayden scored 265 runs in 6 matches with a highest score of 73* and an average of 88,33 and striking at 144,8.
India’s Gambhir with 227 runs and Misbah-ul-Haq of Pakistan with 218 were the other batsmen to score over 200 runs.

Zimbabwe’s Taylor had the best average, with 107, but he only played 2 games. He was followed by Hayden with 88,33 from 6 innings and Justin Kemp of South Africa with 86,5 from 5 knocks.

The batsman with the best strike rate was predictably Pakistans Shahid Afridi with 197,82. He was followed by Chris Gayle of the West Indies with 195,0 and India’s Yuvraj Singh with 194,73.


The best individual scores were posted by Gayle with 117, and South Africans Herschelle Gibbs with 90* and Kemp with 89*.

The 6 hitting table was topped by New Zealands Craig McMillan with 13, Yuvraj Sing with 12 and Gayle, Kemp, Hayden and Imran Nazir of Pakistan with 11 each.

The Bowlers


Umar Gul of Pakistan was the competitions leading wicket taker, claiming 13 wickets, at an average of 11,92 and an exceptional economy rate of 5,60. Australia’s Stuart Clarke, India’s Rudra Pratap Singh and Pakistans Shahid Afridi, were all close behind with 12 scalps each.

The best bowling figures were claimed by New Zealands Mark Gillespie with 4/7 against Kenya. RP Singh took 4/13 for India against South Africa and South Africa’s Morne Morkel took 4/17 against New Zealand. (Morkel was robbed of the chance to become the first bowler to claim 5 wickets in an International T20 match when he bowled a New Zealander but was called for a no ball with replays showing his foot was well behind the line)

The most economical bowler was New Zealand captain Vettori with an economy rate of 5,33. He was followed by Vaas of Sri Lanka with 5,55, Gul with 5,60 and Clarke and Morkel with 6,00.


INDIA WIN T20 WORLD CUP

24/09/2007

An inspired bowling performance by India saw them clinch the first T20 World Cup against arch rivals Pakistan in one of the most exciting finals of a major trophy ever.

The two teams that had limped out of the ICC World Cup in the initial group stage have been the best and most exciting teams during the two week tourniment in South Africa. Both teams, lead by new young captains, have played a fearless brand of cricket worthy of the tourniment, and exactly what the ICC had invisioned for the format.

Ten days earlier, in Durban, India and Pakistan played out a tie, and were involved in the first ever international bowl out, the equivalent of a soccer penalty shoot out, which India won 3-0. This match, the final, threatened to treat the capasity Johannesburg crowd to the same tension filled, nail biting finale, but in the end India’s bowlers held their nerve, and were crowned the first ever T20 world champions.

Wining the toss and deciding to bat, India scrapped their way to 157-7 on a pitch where 180 was considered par and 200 a good score, Pakistan must have fancied their chances of getting the runs. However finals bring with them added pressure, and Pakistan v India even more so, and so runs on the board would always have suited Dhoni. The pitch didn’t seem to play as well as many thought, with batsman struggling to time and force the ball, but a superb inings of 75 from Gambhir and a cameo knock of 30 from Rohit Sharma, got India to a below par total, but one that good bowling could defend. For Pakistan Umar Gul was once again the star, taking 3-28.

Pakistan, who would have been confident of chasing down the target, having only lost the bowl out against India in the 2 weeks, lost wickets at regular intervals, and with 54 needed from just 24 balls and with only 3 wickets in hand were well and truely out of it. Misbah Ul-Haq had other plans and attempted to rescue Pakistan again, just as he had with a 50 in that tie in Durban, and got Pakistan to within 5 runs of the total in the last over, when he was the last man out for 43. India’s bowling was lead by opening bowler RP Singh with 3-23 and a superb middle innings burst from Irfan Pathan, who claimed 3-16.

In the end a successful championship got the match it deserved, and the winners it deserved, and most importantly perhaps, for world cricket, that winner was not Australia.