Monday, April 19, 2021

Babar Azam vs Virat Kohli?

Since Babar Azam became the number one ranked ODI Batsman in the world, comparison between him and Virat Kohli has flooded social media.

Not only fans, but even former cricketers have weighed in with their retorts.

The comparison between the two batting greats is natural as it was Kohli who was dethroned by Babar in the ODI rankings. Plus, Babar and Kohli are the only two batsmen in the world who are ranked in the top 10 (actually top 6) in each format, which clearly makes them the best in the world at present.

However, there is a big difference between the two.

Kohli has been playing international cricket for 13 years! While Babar has been around for only 6 years. Kohli has played 435 international matches across formats. Babar has not even played 200.

While comparison may be natural, it is not entirely fair given the different era that they started their careers in, and the different stage of their careers they are in now.

But who are we to stop this comparison.

Where Babar ranks higher than Kohli in ODIs and T20Is, Kohli ranks higher in Tests.

Kohli is the only batsman in the world who averages over 50 in each format. Babar was there once, but currently he is not.

If you compare Kohli's performance during the first third of his career, i.e. after the same number of innings as Babar has played currently in each format, you will note that Babar's numbers are superior.

In terms of runs, Kohli is ahead in Tests; however Babar has a significant lead in the limited overs formats. In terms of average, I would say that Babar is ahead given the stark difference in their ODI average.

Overall, Babar's numbers are better considering he has scored 7,915 international runs in 184 innings, compared to Kohli's 7,332.

One can't ignore the fact that when Kohli started his career with India, he was in the company of very good batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and Yuvraj Singh. Even presently, he has the likes of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ajinkya Rahane.

Meaning that there was a lot less pressure on Kohli; whereas Babar has had to many a time single handedly carry Pakistan's batting.

All what the above comparison shows us is that Babar has been far better than Kohli during the initial part of their careers. Kohli from hereon, improved with every season, and went on the become the absolute best batsman in the world across formats; and still is.

Babar has laid down a tremendous platform to sky rocket. He too has improved with every season and currently his batting is at a level that none of us have witnessed before.

The momentum is with him with his best years well ahead of him. If Babar can keep improving, or even continue in the same vein, he will do well to level with Kohli, if not go past him.

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Babar Azam - The Best in the World

That Pakistan are not good at chasing is something we have heard and witnessed for as long as Pakistan has been playing international cricket.

Despite that fact, in the 6 completed limited over matches on their current tour of South Africa, Pakistan have completed 3 successful run chases and have once come to within 17 runs of a mammoth target of 342.

Moreover, the 3 successful run chases have included their third highest ever chase against South Africa in ODIs, and two of their highest chases ever in T20Is - both within a period of 4 days.

In the first T20Is against the Proteas, Pakistan chased down 189 with a delivery to spare, on the back of a fighting unbeaten knock of 74 off 50 deliveries by Mohammad Rizwan.

That 189 was the highest total ever chased by Pakistan in a T20I.

Till last night, when Pakistan made chasing 204 look like a cakewalk.

Rizwan was instrumental in this chase as well with another unbeaten knock of 73 off 47 deliveries.

But the man of the hour was Babar Azam.

Newly crowned as the number one ranked batsman in ODIs, Babar celebrated that achievement by playing one of the best innings ever played in a T20 international.

Babar made the chase look so easy that Pakistan reached their target with a full two overs to spare!

I have never witnessed such a masterclass of an innings in a T20I. Not by a Pakistan batsman, not by any batsman.

It was truly majestic.

Babar's 122 came off only 59 deliveries and included 15 boundaries and 4 sixes.

From the get go, he was in charge of the chase, hitting boundaries in every over, running with supreme urgency with Rizwan, finding gaps with precision, turning good deliveries into run scoring opportunities, and clearing the boundary with such finesse.

The best part about Babar's innings was that not once did he seemed rushed, not once did he try to slog, not once did it seem it was about power hitting. It was completely flawless classical batting with text book shots.

He did it with such ease that it left everyone from his teammates to the opposition and all the viewers completely awestruck.

I have already gone back and viewed his innings another 4 times since the match ended and I have no doubt in my mind that I have witnessed the best T20I knock ever in the history of the game.

Babar also broke a number of records with his majestic innings, including:

1. His 122 is now the highest individual score by a Pakistan batsman in T20Is, overtaking Ahmed Shehzad's 111* against Bangladesh in 2014.

2. 122 is also the highest ever score by a captain in a T20I chase, and the 4th highest ever by a captain in a T20I.

3. It is also the second highest ever score by a batsman while chasing in T20Is. Babar was unfortunate to miss out on the record 125 scored by Evin Lewis against India in 2017.

4. Babar reached his maiden T20I century off 49 deliveries, the fastest 100 ever by a Pakistan batsman in T20Is. And in all limited overs cricket, there is only one Pakistan batsman who has scored a century off fewer deliveries - Shahid Afridi - one off 37 deliveries and another off 45.

5. His opening partnership of 197 with Rizwan is now the highest partnership ever in T20Is by Pakistan, going past the unbeaten 143 put on by Shehzad and Hafeez against Zimbabwe in 2013.

6. It is also the highest ever partnership in a chase in T20Is, eclipsing the unbeaten partnership of 171 between Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill against Pakistan in 2016.

7. The 197 run partnership is also the highest while chasing in all T20 cricket.

8. It is also the 4th highest ever partnership for any wicket in T20Is, and the highest ever in a match involving two of the top 8 ranked teams.

9. Babar smashed 15 boundaries in his innings, which is the most number of boundaries hit by any batsman in a T20I chase.

10. It is also the second highest number of boundaries in a T20I innings by any batsman, just 1 behind the 16 hit by Aaron Finch against Zimbabwe.

On top of all these records, it was also Pakistan's highest ever successful chase in T20Is.

Babar was truly marvelous. The innings was a rare gem, and if you missed it you must watch the highlights. On repeat. Multiple times.

With every season, Babar has grown in stature. He is the best batsman in Pakistan, we all knew. Now, he has claim to the tag of being the best batsman in the world too!

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Rise of Mohammad Rizwan

Having made his debut for Pakistan in 2015-16, Mohammad Rizwan did not become a permanent feature in Pakistan's starting line ups till the end of 2019, when Sarfraz Ahmed fell out of favor with the selectors and team management.

Rizwan has not looked back since he became Pakistan's number one choice for wicket-keeper; and while he has been great behind the stumps, it is his achievements in front of them that have impressed everyone.

Last night, opening the innings for Pakistan against South Africa in the first T20I of the 4 match series, Rizwan was assertive in an unbeaten knock of 74 that guided Pakistan home in the final over of the innings.

Rizwan's was the perfect innings that was required for a successful chase of a daunting target of 189.

Rizwan's last 5 innings in T20 internationals read: 89, 104*, 51, 42, 74*.

All but one of those innings have been match winning ones.

While his career T20I average is a decent 36.5, it his numbers since becoming a permanent feature of the team that are truly remarkable.

In 17 T20Is since November 2019, Rizwan has scored 449 runs at an average of 56.1 and a strike rate of 132.4. 

He has also shone in Test Matches for Pakistan during this period with 741 runs in 12 Tests at an average of 46.3.

Since he became Pakistan's permanent wicket-keeper in Tests and T20Is in November 2019, he has been the top performing wicket-keeper with the bat in the world.

In Test matches since November 2019, only Jos Buttler has scored more runs than Rizwan, however at an average that is 10 runs per innings lower.

Rizwan's average is right up there and he has more 50+ scores than any other wicket-keeper in the world during this time.

Even in T20Is, only Buttler has more runs than Rizwan during this time; however Rizwan has hit his runs at an average of 80!

Rizwan is also the only wicket-keeper who has scored a T20I hundred during this period.

With the way he is currently playing, he will surely surpass Buttler's tally during this 4 match T20 series against South Africa.

In T20Is, Rizwan has shone as an opener. He has scored his century and all 3 of his T20I fifties while batting at that position.

As an opener, Rizwan sits alongside the best in the business, with a batting average that is twice as much as the next best.

Look at how well Rizwan's numbers as a T20 opener compare with those of Babar Azam, who is one of the best batsmen in the world, and was also ranked the number one T20 batsman for a long while.

Like last night, Rizwan has played a number of match winning knocks in both Tests and T20Is since becoming a permanent feature of the team.

His stock has risen quickly and he has fast become one of Pakistan's most dependable batsman in these two formats of the game.

He is clearly the best wicket-keeper batsman in the world at the moment.

Rizwan has not been able to demonstrate this form in ODIs, but if he keeps continuing in this vein in T20Is and Tests, it is not long before he will be able to do the same in ODIs.

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Sunday, April 4, 2021

King Babar Azam

Babar Azam's 13th ODI century led Pakistan to victory over South Africa in the first ODI of the series. Pakistan won the match off the final delivery; however Babar and Imam had set up the chase perfectly and it would have been a much easier win had it not been for some middle order panic.

Babar, the world's number two ranked ODI batsman, has grown in stature with every season. He smashed his 13th ODI ton in only his 76th innings, faster to the mark than any other batsman in the world.

Babar's 103 against South Africa was his second consecutive century, following the 125 against Zimbabwe in November, making him the first Pakistan captain to score two consecutive ODI 100s.

This was also Babar's 4th ODI century in a run chase, putting him level with some other Pakistan legends, and behind the one and only Saeed Anwar.

In the past 2 years, since the start of 2019, Babar is among the leading run scorers in ODIs. The most remarkable feature of this is his average of 67 in this period, which is significantly higher than all the other leading run scorers during this time.

He sits well above the rest.

Babar's career average is also not bad.

He is averaging a shade below 57 in ODIs, which is the second highest ODI batting average in the history of the game, behind only Virat Kohli's 59. 

It is still early days, but the best part about Babar's ODI form is that captaincy has done it no harm whatsoever.

He has a long road ahead of him, as a batsman and as a captain, but for now, he sits right up there among captains with the best batting averages in ODIs.

Another great aspect about Babar's ODI form is that it is prevalent against all opposition and in all kinds of conditions.

He scores against all nations and he scores in all countries he tours.

His averages against and in these nations do all the talking.

There is plenty of cricket ahead for Babar Azam. He is still at the start of his career and if he can go on producing the way he has over the past 5 years, he will no doubt become the best batsman ever to play for Pakistan, if not the world.

He can end this series against South Africa as the number one ranked ODI batsman. He has tough competition there with the current best batsman in the world - Virat Kohli - but he is right up there with him.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Why Babar Azam is Right!

News has been floating around that Pakistan captain Babar Azam is unhappy with the squads announced for Pakistan's African safari, where they will be touring South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Having had a look at the squads, I completely agree with the Pakistan captain.

Some of the selection are just bizarre, while some omissions are just mindboggling.

I have no idea what Mohammad Wasim & Co. were thinking when selecting these squads.
Test squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Tabish Khan, Hasan Ali, Shahnawaz Dhani, Nauman Ali, Zahid Mahmood, Sajid Khan.

Imran Butt
Is he really the best test opener available in Pakistan? 
He has a below par First Class average of 35.
He disappointed with scores of 15, 0, 9, and 10 in the tests against South Africa.
Why is he in the squad?
Surely it just can't be because of his catching!

Abdullah Shafique
This 21-year old is an extremely talented batsman. He has had quite an awesome start to his domestic career and has flourished in the T20 format, which also earned him a call to the Pakistan T20 team. 

But does that warrant him a place in the test team?

Not really. He has played just 1 first class match, in which he scored 133. Great, a debut 100 in a first class game, but that was the same match where Ahmed Shehzad, Usman Salahuddin, Salman Butt, Mohammad Saad, Zeeshan Ashraf, and Agha Salman scored centuries! Ahmed Shehzad managed it in both innings!

Are there really no other test openers in Pakistan? 

Yasir Shah
Why is he not in the test squad?

It is mind boggling to see that Pakistan's premier leg spinner has not made the cut for the squad, especially when in Pakistan's last test series against South Africa, Yasir was the second highest wicket taker!

Shahnawaz Dhani
This kid recently shot to fame in the cut-short PSL.

Moreso for his celebrations than for his wicket taking ability.

His First Class and List A record is mediocre. His T20 record shows that he is made for that format.

But he finds himself in Pakistan's Test squad, but not in the T20 squad!

How Bizarre!
ODI squad: Babar Azam (capt), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Saud Shakeel, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali.

Imad Wasim
Why is he not in the squad?

Mohammad Wasim Jr.
Who is he? Has anyone heard of him?

Besides having the same name as Pakistan's new Chief Selector, this 19 year old has not really done much to be included in Pakistan's ODI squad.

His List A record is nothing to write home about. Why the rush?

T20I squad: Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haider Ali, Danish Aziz, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Hasan Ali, Arshad Iqbal.

Imad Wasim
Why is he not in the squad?

And again what has Mohammad Wasim Jr. done to be included here too?

While the core of the team selects itself really, some of these selections (and non-selections) do raise questions!

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Monday, February 15, 2021

Babar Azam the Captain - Pakistan the Winner

Pakistan completed a T20I series win over South African last night with a spirited chase of a relatively steep target, ending a successful home campaign against the visitors.

2-0 in Tests and 2-1 in T20Is - not a bad first full series as captain for Babar Azam.

Despite a victorious series, there are people worried about Babar's captaincy and form.

But I am not really sure why.

At the end of the day, the only thing judgments on Babar should be based on, are results.

And results for Pakistan under Babar's captaincy are exemplary!

Early days still, however one can't criticize a captain with a record such as Babar's. Fine don't praise him just yet, but criticism is quite unnecessary.

It may not be his technical ability that has resulted in all these wins for Pakistan, but something seems to be working.

Maybe the players are responding well to him, maybe he is a lucky captain, maybe it is his decision making.

It really doesn't matter if the end result is a win for Pakistan!

His batting form has also been questioned and I get that he just completed a Test series without a century and a T20I series without a fifty.

But he did score 77 in the second test that helped steer Pakistan out of trouble. And he did score 44 off 30 in the third T20I that set up Pakistan's successful run chase and series win.

And in his first ODI series as captain, Babar smashed a 125 and a 77.

I think Pakistan's captaincy is in fine hands and the results show that too. This is just the start, and the future looks promising with Babar at the helm. Give him some time, and then make your judgment calls.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Epic Test Series Win for Pakistan

This was Pakistan's second test series victory over South Africa, and their first since 2003!

And what a sweet victory it was!

Pakistani pacers ripping through batting line ups is something I grew up with.

When the ball would grow old, the opposition batsmen would collapse in a heap in no time.

The only difference in Rawal Pindi was that it wasn't the old ball but the new one that created the magic.

As soon as Babar Azam took the new ball, Hasan Ali and Shaheeh Afridi struck gold and South Africa lost their last 7 wickets for 33 runs in 10 overs, resulting in a 95 run win for Pakistan.

Before the new ball came into play, South Africa required a mere 129 runs with 7 wickets in hand. After the West Indies' win over Bangladesh a couple of days back and India's heist at the Gabba last month, it seemed like the South Africans were inspired to make another big successful run chase.

But the resurgent Hasan Ali had other ideas.

For Pakistan, this win means a lot.

After a crushing defeat to New Zealand, two long years without a test win against a top side, without much test cricket at home in over a decade, this test and series win will go a long way in establishing Pakistan's dominance at home once again.

Not many people realize this but Pakistan has the best record at home among all Test playing nations.

Yes, better than India's, better than Australia's, better than ALL other teams.

And this record does not include Tests played in the UAE. With those, Pakistan's record is even more dominant.

This series win also helped Pakistan gain two spots in the ICC Test Rankings.

The best part about this series win is that every single player, across the two tests, put their hands up, and contributed towards Pakistan's victory charge.

Winning start to Babar Azam's Test captaincy stint; resurgent comeback of Hasan Ali; coming of age of Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf; epic debut of Nauman Ali; continued redemption of Fawad Alam; and consistent breakthrough provided by Shaheen Afridi and Yasir Shah; first test rearguard action of Azhar Ali; and the immaculate slip catching of Imran Butt - all of them  played their part in Pakistan's first test series win over South Africa in 17 years!

It sure was epic seeing Pakistan come out on top in this Test series, and bodes well for the future of Pakistan's cricket under Babar Azam, as well as, for Pakistan playing at home!

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Monday, February 1, 2021

Fawad Alam is Back!

 It has been a while. 

A while since I last wrote, a while for Fawad Alam being out of the Pakistan team, a while since Pakistan won a Test match against a top side.

That while is over. 

Fawad Alam is back. Pakistan have just beaten South Africa in a test match, and I am writing again!

It is no secret that I am a huge supported of Fawad Alam. Anyone who has followed Well Pitched over the years would have read my calls for Fawad to be a part of Pakistan's international set up. You can go down memory lane here.

It took Fawad Alam 10 years and 9 months to play another test match for Pakistan since his last one in November 2009 in Dunedin, New Zealand.

For someone who scored a mammoth ton - 168 - on test debut to be dropped after just two more test appearances was injustice of the highest order.

No one really knows why he was dropped, nor why he was kept on the sidelines for over a decade.

A decade where he was among the top scorers in domestic cricket year after year.

His first class average of 56.4 is the highest in Pakistan. Highest ever in the 73-year history of Pakistan mind you. 

Yet he remained ignored by all selectors.

His comeback in England last summer was not ideal. Dismissed for a duck in his first test innings for almost 11 years!

He scored 21 in the next test in England and then must have wondered if he will ever don the whites again for Pakistan.

But he did.

He flew to New Zealand with the team and in the first test almost saved the match for Pakistan with a fighting century.

A test hundred in the same land were he played his last test knock and failed in 2009.

That knock of 102 is a redemption story for the ages.

Fawad Alam was back!

He ended the tour as the only batsman from Pakistan to score a test hundred.

Sure he did not end up saving the test for Pakistan, but that is no reason why we should not celebrate that knock.

As always, for the harshest critics it is never enough.

So let us turn our attention to a month later in Karachi. Fawad Alam's homeground.

Having dismissed South Africa for 220, Pakistan were reeling at 27-4 when Fawad Alam walked to the crease near the end of the first day.

He first steered Pakistan out of trouble by forging a 94 run partnership with Azhar Ali.

Then he helped Pakistan inch closer towards South Africa's total with a 55 run partnership with captain Mohammad Rizwan.

And then he ensured Pakistan not only gets there but also builds its lead over South Africa, with a 102 run partnership with Faheem Ashraf.

Fawad knocked his third test century in the process in only his 8th test match.

On a pitch where all the South African batsmen and most of Pakistan's batsmen struggled, Fawad Alam marched on as the only centurion of the test.

That 10 year wait has been worth it. For Fawad, as well as, for all his supporters.

He still has a lot of cricket and lot of test centuries left in him, which we will get to see as long as he isn't brushed aside due to politics again.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

What about Asad Shafiq?

Following the piece on Azhar Ali and his performance during the Misbah era and post it, a lot of enquiries have been made regarding Asad Shafiq.

Most believe that his performance too has deteriorated since the retirements of Misbah and Younis Khan.

Initially, I had thought so too, and had planned to write regarding both Azhar and Asad. However after reviewing Asad's numbers, I was quite surprised.

A career average of 38.9, an average of 39.4 during the Misbah era, and 37.4 after it suggests that Asad has been consistent throughout his 10-year test career.

The only thing that has changed since the Misbah-Younis retirement is his conversion rate. Under Misbah he scored a test hundred every 5-6 matches, now it is every 10 matches. Under Misbah he converted every second fifty into a century, now he converts every fifth fifty.

That is not the problem though.

My foremost criticism of Asad's test career has been that he has scored a lot of easy and inconsequential runs. Not match saving or match winning ones.

I went back and looked back at his 12 test centuries, and this is what I found.

Note: Pakistan Score is the score at which Asad walked to the crease.

104 vs Bangladesh at Chattogram
Pakistan Score: 311-4

Exploited a relatively weak and extremely tired bowling attack completely to bring up his first test hundred.

100* vs Sri Lanka at Pallekele
Pakistan Score: 176-4

Helped Pakistan set a target of 270 on the final day. A more aggressive knock could have given Pakistan more overs to bowl Sri Lanka out; however they had only 62 overs, which did not prove enough at the end.

Many criticized him for playing selfishly for a test 100 rather than for a win; while others pointed out that caution was important otherwise Sri Lanka may have had an easier target to chase on the final day.

111 vs South Africa in Cape Town
Pakistan Score: 33-4

His best test century till date. Joined Younis Khan in a 220 run partnership on a tough pitch and against arguably the best test attack in the world at the time.

130 vs South Africa in Dubai
Pakistan Score: 70-4

Having been bowled out for 99 in their first innings, Pakistan were facing a deficit of over 400 runs when Asad joined Misbah. They had a 200-run partnership to delay the inevitable.

137 vs New Zealand in Sharjah
Pakistan Score: 36-4

Belligerent knock off only 148 deliveries while facing a deficit of 340 odd. After being 63-5, Asad had no choice but to attack and play his shots in a lost cause.

107 vs Bangladesh in Dhaka
Pakistan Score: 323-4

Easy runs were on offer against a weary attack that had been plundered for plenty already.

131 vs Sri Lanka in Galle
Pakistan Score: 86-4

A great test match winning century. Put on 140 runs with Sarfraz, batted with the tail, and helped Pakistan set up a match winning total in excess of 400.

107 vs England in Abu Dhabi
Pakistan Score: 251-4

More easy runs as he walked out to bat against some tired bowlers, who bore the brunt of a Shaoib Malik double hundred.

109 vs England at the Oval
Pakistan Score: 52-2

His first and only test century while batting at number 4. Put on 150 runs with Younis Khan, who scored a monumental 218. A century that helped Pakistan to a match winning total.

137 vs Australia in Brisbane
Pakistan Score: 165-4

This could have turned into the greatest test knock ever played. Yet it will be remembered for not being enough.

Pakistan faced an improbable task of chasing a target of 490. Asad, along with the tail, helped Pakistan inch to within 40 runs of that target.

There are many arguments stating that Asad had no choice but to try his luck for as long as it lasted, which he did. Could he have scored the same way if he was under pressure chasing a total of say 270? Doubt it.

112 vs Sri Lanka in Dubai
Pakistan Score: 49-3

Once again it was just not enough, in a chase of 317, where Pakistan ended 68 runs short of the target.

104 vs New Zealand in Abu Dhabi
Pakistan Score: 85-3

This is the only test match, post MisYou, where Azhar and Asad did what they should have been doing from the day Misbah and Younis retired. They put on 200 runs for the 4th wicket to take Pakistan out of a difficult situation; however it was still not enough to save them from defeat.

So then, in a career spanning 10 years he has scored 12 test centuries; however only 2 of those were match winning ones, and only 1 other was a truly great test knock. The remaining 9 were largely inconsequential.

What does this tell you about Asad Shafiq?

A batsman with a sub-40 test average is not a mainstay of any batting line up.

All this suggests that Asad is a decent test batsman, not a great one. He is very good as a supporting act, but can never be the one responsible to steer the ship.

He has an enviable record at number 6. He is the only batsman in the world besides Steve Waugh to score over 3,000 runs at that position. His 9 test hundreds at number 6 are more than anyone else in the history of test cricket.

However, he averages 41 at number 6, which again is decent, but not great. 

There are batsmen like Steve Waugh, VVS Laxman, Sir Gary Sobers, Allan Border, Shiv Chanderpaul, AB De Villiers, Ian Bell and Saleem Malik who average over 50 at number 6.

So the expectation that Azhar Ali should have become the main batsman of the side after MisYou was valid; however to expect the same of Asad is perhaps not correct.

I still feel he fits into Pakistan's test XI, perhaps at number 6 and not any higher. That is the position where he has shone as a batsman, and that is where he should continue to bat in my view.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

How long will Pakistan persist with Azhar Ali the batsman?

A lot has been said about Azhar Ali's captaincy in the Old Trafford test against England.

I will reserve my comments on his test captaincy, given it is only 7 tests old. He is an inexperienced captain no doubt and 7 tests is no measure to judge one's ability.

My problem is with Azhar Ali the batsman.

Azhar was supposed to be the one to take the baton from Younis and Misbah, following their retirement. 

Similar to how it was passed on from Javed Miandad to Salim Malik to Inzamam Ul Haq to Mohammad Yousuf to Younis Khan over the past 3 decades.

Azhar had all the ingredients to become a test batting great for Pakistan. 

In the 7 years under Misbah he blossomed as a test batsman. He has the most runs for Pakistan in tests at the number 3 position; more than Younis Khan.

As an opener he flourished too, becoming only the second Pakistani opener to score a triply century in tests. He also knocked a double ton at the MCG.

He averaged closed to 50 in those 7 years.

But when the time came to become the senior statesman of Pakistan's test side, his form deserted him.

Losing form happens to everyone. 

But losing form for 3 years is a cause for concern.

Pakistan cannot afford to keep a batsman who has not been in the runs for over 3 years!

The difference between Azhar Ali's performance during Misbah's tenure and after is drastic.

A batsman who is averaging 27 in tests over the past 3 years does not command a position in the team, let alone at the crucial number 3 position.

Pakistan cannot continue to persist with him. 

Unless something changes significantly, I feel Azhar's career will be over soon. He was on the verge of achieving a test average of 50; instead it has fallen to 42 in the past 3 years.

It is all about the mindset really. Batting while knowing that Younis and Misbah are in line to bat is surely a lot easier than batting and thinking that you need to take on the burden as there is a lot of inexperience to follow.

Unfortunately I do not see how anything can change.

It is sad that a batsman who could have been one of the best produced by Pakistan will end his career as just an average test batsman.

The question now only is, how long will the selectors persist with him?

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Shan Masood's Second Inning

Shan Masood scored an impressive 75 on test debut against South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

That was 7 years ago and since then he has played only 21 tests scoring 1,345 runs at an average of 33.6.

Those are not great stats, however it is largely due to the fact that he has never had a prolonged run in Pakistan's test playing XI.

Till now.

It is already difficult for batsmen who are not considered for white ball cricket to maintain consistent performances at test level. It is made even harder by the selectors who keep changing their minds.

Shan has had a very start-stop test career, till Pakistan's tour to South Africa at the end of 2018. Since then he has been Pakistan's preferred test opener and he has shown all of us why.

Before the start of that series against South Africa, Shan had played 12 tests during the period 2013-17, scored 565 runs at an average of 23.5, and had knocked 1 test century and 3 fifties.

Since that series, Shan has played 9 tests, scored 780 runs at an average of 48.75, and has knocked 3 test centuries and 3 fifties.

Shan's 156 at Old Trafford was a monumental knock.

It was really unfortunate that he ended up on the losing side, but his effort on days 1 and 2 of the test set up the game for Pakistan.

The sheer determination with which he played on a difficult pitch and countered two new ball bursts from Anderson, Broad, Archer, and Woakes was heartening to watch and completely praiseworthy.

Shan's 156 was a memorable knock for many reasons. Here are a few.

It was his third consecutive test century, following his 135 vs SL and 100 vs BAN, placing him in elite company that includes the likes of Zaheer Abbas, Mohammad Yousuf, and Younis Khan from Pakistan and batting greats like Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, and Jacques Kallis.

It was the first test century by a Pakistani opener away from home (Pakistan/UAE) in over 3 years. The last one was scored by Azhar Ali in the Caribbean in May 2017.

He became only the 5th opener from Pakistan, and the first this century, to score a test hundred in England, following the feats of Mohsin Khan, Mudassar Nazar, Aamer Sohail, and Saeed Anwar.

It is the highest test score in England by a visiting opener in 5 years. The last time an opener scored more than Shan was in July 2015 when Chris Rogers hit 173.

It is the highest test score by any batsman from Pakistan away from home (Pakistan/UAE) in almost 4 years. The last time a batsman scored more was in January 2017, in Sydney, where Younis Khan played an unbeaten knock of 175.

The 319 deliveries that Shan faced during his knock were the 3rd highest by a Pakistan test opener in England, after Mohsin Khan (386) and Mudassar Nazar (362). Plus they were the most deliveries faced by a Pakistan opener in England since 1992!

The 319 deliveries faced by Shan were the most by a visiting test opener in England since 2014 when Murali Vijay faced 361 in Nottingham.

This truly is Shan's second inning in test cricket. He has had a great run as test opener for two years now and with the way he batted at Old Trafford, following a good last season at home, Shan looks set to score plenty more test runs for Pakistan.

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Thursday, August 6, 2020

The New Fab 4!

Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, and Kane Williamson have been considered the Fab 4 of Test batting in modern days.

Rightly so, given their numbers.
Each one of these 4 great batsmen made their test debut between 2010 and 2012; they have played over 70 tests each, and scored more than 6,000 runs.

In the past decade, 2010-19, they were undoubtedly the best test batsmen around.

In the past 2 years however, two other batsmen have emerged who have posed a challenge to the world renowned Fab 4.

Babar Azam and Marnus Labuschagne!

Babar made his Test debut in 2016 and has played 27 tests including the current ongoing one against England.

While Labuschagne made his Test debut in 2018 and has played only 16 tests.

Both had a slow start to their test careers; but their last 12 months have been simply phenomenal!

Babar's last few test scores read: 

104 in Brisbane
97 in Adelaide
102* in Rawalpindi
60 and 100* in Karachi
143 in Rawalpindi
69 in Manchester

While Marnus has absolutely smashed it with scores of:

185 in Brisbane
162 in Adelaide
143 and 50 at Perth
63 and 19 in Melbourne
215 and 59 in Sydney

Those are quite some numbers.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that these two have displaced Kane Williamson and Joe Root, whose fortunes have dwindled in recent times, from the Fab 4.

Take a look at Test batsmen with the highest averages since the start of 2018.
It is quite evident who the Fab 4 are based on performance over the past 32 months.

It is also quite clear that Babar Azam is leading the pack with the highest average during this period. Only Kohli has more test centuries than Babar in this period and no one has more test 50s.

Sure both Babar and Labuschagne have a long way to go in their careers, but the way they have been batting in recent times, there is no doubt that both will go on to become greats of the game.

For now, lets just know that there is a new Fab 4 in the cricketing world.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Kevin Pietersen talks about his IPL Experience

The IPL season will be here soon and all the franchise owners, players, and fans are waiting for it with a lot of anticipation. The Indian Premier League is nothing short of a grand cricket carnival, an entertainment extravaganza, which everyone looks forward to every year.

While the fans wait to watch their favorite cricketers, the cricketers themselves look forward to playing alongside some of the greats of the game.

Betway recently spoke to Kevin Pietersen about his IPL experience, in which he has made some very interesting observations while describing the league as spectacular, gripping, and captivating.

Pietersen started his IPL stint in 2009 with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and even captained them, a team that included stalwarts like Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Chris Gayle, and Virender Sehwag.

In the later part of his career he moved to Delhi Daredevils, now known as the Delhi Capitals.

KP has scored 1,001 runs in 36 IPL matches at an average of 35.8 and a strike rate of 134.7 with a highest score of 103.

At one point he was the most expensive player bought at the IPL auction.

Speaking to Betway about his IPL experience, KP reminisced about the interaction with other greats, the pressure, team spirit, captaincy, and what it means to play and watch cricket in India.

He says that he always wanted to be part of the IPL because as a professional one should not be behind the pacemakers of the game, and back in 2008-2009 the pacemaker was the Indian Premier League.

"One could learn from the greats of the game. How they practiced, how they spoke, how they approached the game, how they conducted themselves in team meetings, how meticulous they were in their preparation, how they trained, how they padded up ..."

Hearing KP say this shows the admiration he has for the IPL and what it means for players around the world.

He also spoke about the pressure that the IPL brings on, just due to the fact that franchise owners have invested their millions on a player, which brings with it added responsibility.

The pressure of playing internationals is quite different from the pressure associated with the IPL according to KP. He provides quite an intriguing example and speaks about the difference between walking out to bat at Lord's and walking out to bat for your IPL franchise.

The announcer at Lord's would say "coming out to bat is England's number 4 Kevin Pietersen".

The announcer at the Wankhede or Ferozshah Kotla would say "coming out to bat is the world's most expensive buy in the IPL auction" and with it there will be banging music and fans jumping and shouting in the stands.

Pietersen's most interesting reveals were about his experience of playing with other stars like Virender Sehwag and a young Virat Kohli when he was just starting out.

About Sehwag, he loved his careless free spirit and how he used to sing while bowlers ran up to bowl and then whack them all over the park. KP calls him a superstar and says some his most fun experiences in the cricket field were with Sehwag.

He goes on to talk about how he always knew that Kohli was destined for greatness because of his sheer determination to be the best possible player he could be, because of how he approached the game, how he learnt, how he was always determined to get his team over the line.

KP talks about this incredible friendship he shares with Kohli despite him being a lot senior, while sharing a few stories about making fun of Kohli's chubbiness in his early days.

He signs off by talking about how huge cricket in general and the IPL in specific is in India.

"Nothing compares to the IPL in India. There is nothing more spectacular, gripping, and captivating. There is no better entertainment than watching cricket in a packed Indian stadium"

Hearing the crowd cheering when Dhoni walks out to bat, or watching those partnerships between Kohli and AB De Villiers, according to KP, there is nothing like it in this sport.

It sure is a full entertainment package and the way KP describes it in his talk with Betway, I can only wonder what it would be like to be a part of this extravaganza as a pure spectator.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

IPL 2020 is upon us!

The world's premier T20 competition, the IPL, will be starting its 13th season in a month's time.

When the 6-week extravaganza gets underway, all cricket around the world will come to a standstill and all eyes will be on the world's best players competing for the ultimate T20 crown.

Like last year, 8 teams will take part in IPL 2020, which starts on 27 March 2020 and goes on till the middle of May.

Six teams have won the previous 12 editions of the IPL with Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai Indians winning it 4 times. Chennai Super Kings, who missed out two seasons, have won the IPL three times; while Shahrukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders have won it twice.

The other three editions have been won by Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers, and Sunrisers Hyderabad.

T20 is a batsman's game and the IPL has seen some scintillating knocks over the past decade and a bit.

The first ever match played in IPL history, in 2008, witnessed a Brendan McCullum classic as he butchered the Royal Challengers Bangalore's attack amassing an unbeaten 158 that included 13 sixes and 10 fours.

That remained the highest score ever made in the IPL till Chris Gayle smashed his way to an unbeaten 175 in 2013. Gayle's knock comprised 17 sixes and 13 fours.

Chris Gayle is among the leading run scorers as well in the IPL, but it is no surprise as to who tops that list.

None other than the King himself, Virat Kohli!

Kohli is only one of two batsmen who have piled on over 5,000 runs in the IPL. The other being Suresh Raina.

There are only 8 other batsmen who have over 4,000 runs in the IPL.

There is another batting accolade that Chris Gayle has the honor of holding - the most number of sixes hit in the IPL.

Gayle is right there at the top with 326 sixes and he has a lead of over a 100 sixes over the next batsman on the list!

More than a 100 sixes than anyone else playing this T20 league!

What a legend this Chris Gayle is.

Gayle's name also makes the list when you look at batsmen who have scored the most runs in one season of IPL; however like the list of batsman with most runs in the history of the IPL, Kohli leads this list too.

He knocked a legendary 973 runs in IPL 2016!

Take a look at today match predictions and decide for yourself on who you will be placing your money on. Chris Gayle is a T20 superstar and a cricket legend. He is a key man to have in your team in T20 cricket. Any team that has Gayle in it will always be a favorite on the day.

Also take a look at this video for match predictions.

It is a batsman's game no doubt but bowlers who can check the run flow are worth their weight in gold! Not many bowlers escape the onslaught of T20 batsmen, but there are a few who have been quite successful in this format.

Spinners are among the top wicket takers in the IPL, but there is one pacer who has out done all of them and that is Lasith Malinga.

Malinga has been a T20 superstar with the ball, not only for his IPL franchise for his country too. Mumbai Indians are fortunate to have him in the ranks and he has been a key component of their 4 IPL wins, the most by any team in the IPL.

I would say that the Mumbai Indians will start IPL 2020 as favorites. They are the defending champions and have won 4 of the past 7 IPL Trophies.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Does the result of the U19 World Cup bear any indication as to the future kings of cricket?

The U19 cricket World Cup played out to a thrilling conclusion in Potchefstroom, South Africa, as Bangladesh beat India by three wickets. This tournament was yet another indication that cricket is alive and well in the international youth ranks, with many outstanding individual performances over the playing of the event.

It was also quite interesting, and somewhat alarming, to see how much winning the World Cup means to these future stars after a scuffle broke out between the players of Bangladesh and India after the final runs had been scored. The ICC have said in this report at, that they will take serious action against the perpetrators. Hopefully, common sense will prevail, with cricket’s governing body aware that these young men still have a lot to learn, and that wisdom comes with age. Having said that, there should be no grey areas about the repercussions of future conduct of this sort. 

No doubt, this will mean that any India vs Bangladesh fixture, over the coming 15 years, will be filled with drama, with the foundations of any coming series between these two countries being built on bad blood. That can only be good for the game; but how likely is it that Bangladesh will continue to beat India over the future? And does the u19 World Cup truly point the way forward in terms of who will dominate in the future?

A Cautionary Tale

The South African u19 saga is probably a good example to use seeing as the young Proteas won the event in 2014. A look at the match report at, and you'll see just how clinical these youngsters were. Much was made of this particular winning team as it comprised of Kagiso Rabada, Corbin Bosch, and Aiden Markam. Indeed, these were young players who looked set to help South Africa banish their senior World Cup demons once and for all. 

Fast forward to 2019, and Rabada and Markram were the only players on that side from the u19 World Cup win, and South Africa were utterly dreadful. The Proteas were knocked out of the group stage and looked like a team without any direction whatsoever. And, as for Corbin Bosch, son of the late South African opener Tertius Bosch, well, he hasn’t played any international cricket since. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that a lot of the u19 players won’t go on to become professionals, even if they find themselves on the winning team.

So whilst it is very encouraging to see Bangladesh make such great strides in the u19 World Cup, very few will be backing them to win the senior World Cup in three years time in India. In fact, any punters visiting will see the opposite, with the Indians way out in front as favourites. 

It's safe to say, not many are expecting Bangladesh to be able to repeat their heroics at an all-ages level. This is by no means a slight on the talented young men that gave their country a day they will never forget, but more of a factual look at how teams who win the event get on over the next 10-15 years.

There is no doubt, however, that Bangladesh is a cricketing nation heading in the right direction.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Babar Azam's time is NOW

Pakistan have played 5 tests this season (2019-20) and in each of those tests, Babar Azam has shown the world why he is the most exciting batsman in the world at the moment.

Babar's scores in these 5 tests read: 1, 104, 97, 8, 102*, 60, 100*, 143.

Four centuries and a ninety odd in 5 tests. A century in each of the home tests played till date.

Babar Azam, the test batsman has arrived!

Currently, Babar is the only batsman in the world who ranks in the top 5 in each format. He is the only batsman in the world with a rating of 800 or more in Tests, ODIs, and T20Is.

Following his 143 in the first test against Bangladesh, Babar has pushed his Test Average above 45 for the first time in his career. His ODI and T20I averages are both above 50.

Currently, Virat Kohli is the only member of the elite club of batsmen with an average over 50 in each format.

With the way Babar's season is going, it will not be long before he joins Kohli in this elite club.

In tests played as a part of ICC's World Test Championship, which began this season, Babar is not only among the leading run scorers, he is the only batsman averaging over a 100!

His 4 centuries are right up there, level with the find of the season - Marnus Labuschagne.

In addition to scoring a Test Hundred in Australia against the world's best bowling attack, Babar has ensured that the return Test Cricket to Pakistan has coincided with his rise in the format.

Babar has made Pakistan's home cricket season, its first in over a decade, his very own!

He has scored a century in each of Pakistan's home tests and he is averaging a phenomenal 202.5 across these three test matches.

Pakistan will play one more Test at home this season and then play another three in the summer in England. The year till end with two tests in New Zealand.

Another six tests; I am going to place my bets on Babar being at the top of ICC Test Batting Rankings by then.

Babar's time is NOW!

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Abbas-Naseem-Shaheen: Pakistan's Pace Triumvirate

Having made his debut in Australia a few months ago, Naseem Shah has quickly risen to become Pakistan's spearhead. Along with Mohammad Abbas and Shaheen Afridi, he has formed a potent pace attack, which has the potential to serve Pakistan successfully over the next many years.

Pakistan has now played this triumvirate in three consecutive tests. In the 5 innings that Abbas, Shaheen, and Naseem have bowled together, they have collectively accounted for 34 out of the 50 wickets that Pakistan has taken.

The trio have a total of 30 tests among themselves; two of them are still in their teens. So young and inexperienced, yet they have given Pakistan glimpses of the hey days of Pakistani pace.

Their numbers are quite remarkable.

Look at those averages and strike rates!

While Abbas is the workhorse who bowls tirelessly at a miserly economy, Shaheen and Naseem strike with their pace. Shaheen has consistently provided the early breakthroughs, while Naseem has provided the closing touches.

He is only 16 years and 4 tests old and he has already played an instrumental part in Pakistan's last two test victories.

Yesterday he became the youngest bowler to take a test hatrick and only the 4th Pakistani bowler to achieve the feat following in the footsteps of Wasim Akram, Abdul Razzaq, and Mohammad Sami.

For all of Pakistan's sake let us hope that he continues to follow in the footsteps of the former.

Naseem's 4-26 in the second innings initiated Bangladesh's collapse from 124-2 to 168 all out, setting up an innings win for Pakistan.

In his previous test, the second of the series against Sri Lanka, Naseem became the youngest bowler to pick up a five wicket haul in a test innings. His 5-31 in the second innings led Pakistan to a test and series win.

What is even more impressive about Naseem is the fact that 9 of his 13 test wickets till date have come in the opposition's second innings, which is testament to his fitness, passion, and motivation level.

In the period since Abbas made his test debut in April 2017, he has one of the best test bowling averages in the world. He has the best economy rate in the world in that period and he is among the only 4 bowlers in the world who have picked up a 10 wicket haul in tests in this period.

Shaheen is the only one among the three who has excelled across formats for Pakistan. Not only is his test average of 28 impressive, his ODI and T20I averages of 21.2 and 20.8 respectively are also top notch.

In the period starting from April 2018, when Shaheen made his international debut, he is among the top 10 wicket takers in all international cricket.

In this period, he has the second best strike rate in the world, behind only Kuldeep Yadav's. There is no pace bowler in the world who has a better strike rate than Shaheen Afridi's in the past two years!

And his international bowling average of 23.5 is bettered by only Pat Cummins and Jasprit Bumrah.

For a 19 year old this is quite remarkable.

As a trio, Abbas-Shaheen-Naseem have worked wonders for Pakistan. Let us hope that they will continue to create the same magic for many more years!

Let us hope that Abbas will continue to deceive batsmen with his seam, Shaheen will continue to dismiss opposition openers in the first few overs, and Naseem will continue to give us fiery wicket taking spells reminiscent of the two Ws and Shoaib Akhtar.

Pakistan has always had an abundance of fast bowling resources but so many of them have disappeared into the wilderness due to mismanagement of talent and general issues within the system.

Let us hope that this does not happen to this triumvirate and that they continue to excite, enthrall, and entertain Pakistan cricket fans for a long time.

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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Shan Masood's Second Innings

20 Test Matches, 38 innings, 1189 runs, average of 31.28, three hundreds, six fifties.

This is Shan Masood's Test Career, which began 6 years and a few months ago. 6 years and only 20 test matches? Exactly!

These numbers don't provide a true picture of Shan Masood the test cricketer.

Having scored 75 on his debut, in October 2013, one would have expected to see Shan as a regular test opener for Pakistan, but after two tests in that series, he did not play for another year, till his return in October 2014 for two more tests.

Following that, he played 7 months later in July 2015 when he scored his first test century and became a part of Pakistan's test history with that record chase in Pallekele.

He played another two tests at the end of 2015, and then went to England with the Pakistan team in  the summer of 2016 but played only two of the four test matches.

After that tour he was sidelined again and returned a year later in May 2017 for one of the three tests in the West Indies. He played Pakistan's next two tests in October 2017, and then was sidelined once again till December 2018.

Since Shan Masood's test debut in October 2013 and his latest return to the test team in December 2018, Pakistan played 45 tests, out which Shan played only 12!

How can any player perform consistently if he plays only 2 to 3 tests every year? How can anyone expect a player to perform if he plays only 12 tests in the first 5 years of his career?

In these 12 tests, Shan scored 565 runs in 24 innings at an average of 23.54 with 1 hundred and 3 fifties.

Shan returned to Pakistan's test side in December 2018 for the tour to South Africa. Since then he has played all of Pakistan's 8 test matches.

In South Africa he stood out for his temperament and the way he countered the new ball against Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, and Kagiso Rabada. Shan was Pakistan's top run scorer in that series and the second highest run scorer between both sides, behind only Quinton de Kock.

He went to Australia and continued to demonstrate immense skill countering the new ball. He gave a good account of himself against the best pace attack in the world comprising Starc, Hazlewood, and Cummins.

When Test cricket returned to Pakistan in December 2019, Shan Masood was there as Pakistan's first choice test opener. In that series, he marked his presence with a solid 135 in Karachi, in another record breaking test match.

Yesterday, Shan walked out to open against Bangladesh, in his 8th consecutive test match for Pakistan. When he walked back to the pavilion he had scored his third test century, and a second consecutive one!

Finally, he has had an interrupted run for over a year in Pakistan's test side and he is completely repaying the faith placed in him by the selectors and the team management.

In these 8 tests, Shan has scored 624 runs at an average of 44.57 with two centuries and three fifties.

In these 8 tests, he is Pakistan's second highest run scorer in Tests, behind only Babar Azam.

Now these numbers are more representative of a test opener, a regular Pakistan test opener. These numbers are also representative of a talented batsman who has been given a consistent run in the team.

Shan is Pakistan's first choice test opener now. Ahead of Imam Ul Haq, ahead of Fakhar Zaman, ahead of Abid Ali. He is a test regular and notably the one that Pakistan rely on the most after Babar Azam.

Shan had shown glimpses of this promise in his debut test innings (7 years ago), and again in that record partnership with Younis Khan in Pallekele (5 years ago). Perhaps he should have never been sidelined and maybe then he would have delivered on this promise much earlier.

But he has a lot to look forward to.

He is still only 30.

Pakistan will play plenty of test cricket going forward...

... and Shan Masood will be the first name on that team sheet for a long time to come.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020


As pricing is released for the brand new Hundred Competition, we take a look at the structure, participants and schedule of the competition.

Following the euphoria of England’s incredible World Cup victory last July, many fans of English cricket have been asking whether the new Hundred-ball competition will ‘cash in’ on securing new audiences that have gained an interest in the game, or do the opposite and become a significant deterrent due to the potential confusing nature of the game. What fans can unanimously agree on is the fact that the competition allows England’s best talent to showcase their skills on a huge stage against the best in the world.

When will the Hundred take place?
The competition will take place from the 17th of July to the 16th of August. Scheduled in the summer school holidays, the aim is to attract more families and younger audiences. All teams will wear a unique The Hundred Official Replica Cricket Shirt.

How many teams are there and where will the matches take place?
There are 8 teams that will be taking part in the competition at the following venues:

1. Birmingham Pheonix - Edgbaston
2. London Spirit - Lord’s
3. Manchester Originals - Old Trafford
4. Northern Superchargers - Headingley
5. Oval Invincibles - Oval
6. Southern Brave - Ageas Bowl
7. Trent Rockets - Trent Bridge
8. Welsh Fire - Sophia Gardens

What is the format of the game?

   100 balls per innings
   A change of ends after 10 balls.
   Bowlers deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls.
   Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game.
   Each bowling side gets a strategic timeout of up to two and a half minutes.
   A 25-ball power-play start for each team.
   Two fielders are allowed outside of the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay.

Birmingham Pheonix:
Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Pat Brown, Liam Livingstone, Kane Williamson, Ravi Bopara, Benny Howell, Tom Helm, Shaheen Afridi, Adam Hose, Cameron Delport, Henry Brookes, Adam Zampa, Riki Wessels, Chris Cooke

Northern Superchargers:
Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Aaron Finch, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Chris Lynn, Adam Lyth, Richard Gleeson, Ben Foakes, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, David Wiese, Nathan Rimmington, Brydon Carse, Ed Barnard, John Simpson

London Spirit:
Eoin Morgan (c), Kyle Abbott, Mohammad Amir, Rory Burns, Mason Crane, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Jade Dernbach, Dan Lawrence, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Nabi, Luis Reece, Adam Rossington, Roelof van der Merwe, Mark Wood

Manchester Originals:
Jos Buttler, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson, Imran Tahir, Dane Vilas, Phil Salt, Tom Abell, Dan Christian, Wayne Madsen, Wayne Parnell, Mitchell Santner, Joe Clarke, Marchant de Lange, Ed Pollock, Eddie Byrom

Oval Invincibles:
Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Jason Roy, Sunil Narine, Sam Billings, Sandeep Lamichhane, Rilee Rossouw, Reece Topley, Hardus Viljoen, Alex Blake, Will Jacks, Chris Wood, Nathan Sowter, Laurie Evans

Southern Brave:
Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, James Vince, Andre Russell, David Warner, Liam Dawson, Shadab Khan, Tymal Mills, Ross Whiteley, Delray Rawlins, Ollie Pope, George Garton, Alex Davies, Max Waller, Craig Overton

Trent Rockets:
Joe Root, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Rashid Khan, D'Arcy Short, Lewis Gregory, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Steve Mullaney, Matthew Carter, Luke Wood, Tom Moores, Luke Fletcher, Ben Cox, Dawid Malan, Luke Wright

Welsh Fire:
Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Colin Ingram, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, Ben Duckett, Ravi Rampaul, Simon Harmer, Qais Ahmad, Liam Plunkett, Ryan ten Doeschate, David Payne, Ryan Higgins, Danny Briggs, Leus du Plooy

All Rounder Cricket is an official stockist for all the teams in the Hundred Ball Competition. We will be stocking the following Hundred Replica Shirts: Birmingham Pheonix Replica Shirts, London Spirit Replica Shirts, Manchester Originals Replica Shirts, Northern Superchargers Replica Shirts, Oval Invincibles Replica Shirts, Southern Brave Replica Shirts, Trent Rockets Replica Shirts and Welsh Fire Replica Shirts.

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