Saturday, November 24, 2007

News, Rumours, and Pics of the Week - Volume 2

These were the pictures that were doing the rounds during Pakistan's tour of Australia in 2005.

Shoaib Akhtar drinking, clubbing, and partying added to his image of being the 'bad boy' of Pakistan cricket. On the current tour to India he has been heard making statements like "I want to shed my bad boy image", "I want to concentrate on my cricket and help Pakistan win this series", and so on.

The week before last we read reports and saw pictures of Shoaib visiting orphanages and schools around India. The media frenzy reported that as Shoaib's effort to "shed his bad boy image". This week, we have seen some pictures doing the rounds of the internet and emails.

These pics show Shoaib as a committed team man, enjoying the practices, and feeling at ease with himself. Is this change in Shoaib for real or just a PR strategy on behalf of the PCB and team management? Decide for yourself.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen has told Stuart McGill that he needs to get fitter for test cricket. The Aussie physio has also said that McGill is running out of time before the boxing day test against India. While cricinfo is reporting that McGill has said that he wants to put his best effort in to try and make it for the boxing day test, the UAE newspaper Khakeej Times is reporting that McGill is contemplating retirement from test cricket.

The man would have had over 500 test wickets today had he been born in any other test playing country besides Australia. He spent the best part of his life waiting for Warne to be injured or retire, and when he got his chance, he figured he might be too old. How sad is that?

Quote of the week:

"I haven't even talked to my wife about how her week's been yet." - Stuart MacGill being funny or stating the facts of life of an international cricketer when asked a question regarding his future?

Darren Lehmann announced his retirement from First Class cricket during last week. Several bloggers (read here and here) have done their tribute to him so I wouldn't go into that. Just wanted to mention him here as I regarded him as one of the smartest cricket brains on the circuit. Again sad he didn't get to play too much international cricket. Another case of a cricketer who would have challenged several batting records had he been born in any other country apart from Australia.

Just like the 20-20 world cup final and a few matches against Australia, Shahrukh Khan was part of the crowd during the 5th ODI between Pakistan and India. During the 5th ODI, Rameez Raja questioned SRK about his latest hit movie, Om Shanti Om, and naturally SRK talked about it a bit. What happened thereafter, can only happen in India - some BCCI officials complained that SRK was using the platform of international cricket to promote his movie. All Indian news channels covered the story the entire day. Surely the BCCI and the Indian media have bigger things to worry about. But then again, it doesn't get bigger than Shahrukh Khan, does it?

Make your pitch on this post...

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2 Pitched:

  1. Soulberry said...

    Q, Shoaib Akhtar is immensely popular in India. That man has charisma and it's not his fault! You have kids in the parks trying to run in like him and sling the ball the way he does. Of course, at the moment, that kind of speed is still limited to their imagination.

    I welcome Shoaib Akhtar's maturity. It is good for cricket and Pakistan cricket too. Take this very test match (I caught only snatches of it), the top performer for Pakistan, IMO, was Shoaib. There seems to be so much more purpose in what he is doing. The relative calmness in his persona is reflected in his trying that much harder when in the past, he would give away runs in pique when things wouldn't go his way, or pull out of the attack.

    If Asif joins in, Pakistan will have the right balance of attack with Gul and Kaneria, with malik being the fifth bowler.

    Lehmann was an honest pro and served Australia effectively. Wish him luck for the future.

  2. Q said...

    Soulberry - Shoaib is very popular in Pakistan too but at the same time he has a lot of critics due to his off-field behaviour.

    His 'wrong' habits of drinking, doping, partying, clubbing etc are against the culture of Pakistan according to majority of the population there thus all these media reports that mention Shoaib's 'wrong' off-field activities result in the public outcry against him.

    Rameez Raja, yesterday mentioned that Shoaib Akhtar has a personal PR agent for this tour who is traveling with the team.

    His PR agent is doing an amazing job of presenting Shoaib as the dedicated team man. Which he is and has always been but his anger gets the batter of him at most times, resulting in the indisciplened acts.

    I have always believed in players being allowed to do as they like off the field as long as they give their 100% on the field. Shoaib's extra curricular activities have resulted in his indiscipline and injuries in the past - unless he can manage both (partying and playing) at the same time, he will always be criticized in Pakistan.

    I believe he or someone else is managing shoaib's off field activities quite well in India. Cos he definitely hasn't stopped partying - he was seen hitting the clubs in Delhi with bolly stars and indian cricketers frequently.

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