Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Pentangular Re-Starts after a Break

After a week's break for the elections, which went by peacefully without any bomb blasts (Hint to the Australians), the Pentangular Trophy restarted on Friday with 2 more matches in Karachi and Lahore.

The lead up to the next 2 matches was controversial for a few reasons. Firstly, a number of players that were part of the 5 different squads signed up with the ICL - These were Imran Nazir, Mohammad Sami, Hasan Raza, and Naved Latif among others. While the PCB looked to replace these in the respective squads, the Federal Capital's selectors dropped another bombshell by excluding Shoaib Akhtar from the squad owing to disciplinary reasons. A statement from the PCB said that Shoaib will no longer take part in the Pentangular because of his bad influence on players in the dressing room.

What bad influence is my question? Does he force them into drugs? Does he beat them up? What does this man do in the dressing room that makes him such a disruptive force?

The Federal Capital (FC), led by Naved Ashraf (who has played 2 tests for Pakistan back in 1998), bowled Baluchistan out for 253 on day 1. Pakistan internationals Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat were the wreckers in cheif as they ended with figures of 5-66 and 4-83 respectively.

In response, FC began positively but ended day 1 on 79-3. Resuming the innings on day 2, FC opener Raheel Majeed struck 98 before skipper Naveed Ashraf and domestic prolific batsman Usman Saeed got together to post a partnership of 287 runs for the 5th wicket. Usman scored 109 while Naveed plundered 141 runs of 200 deliveries with 24 boundaries and 2 sixes as FC ended the day on 441-7. Kamran Hussain, who made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in January, picked up 3 wickets for Baluchistan.

In the other match being played at the Gaddafi in Lahore, Punjab posted 354 in their first innings against NWFP. Considering the all star batting line up that Punjab walked out with, one would have expected a much larger total but Salman Butt (72), Mohd. Hafeez (3), Nasir Jamshed (16), Misbah (53), Shoaib Malik (41), and Kamran Akmal (40) managed 222 between them before the tail took them to over 350.

Salman, coming off a career best 290 in the previous game continued his good form, while Misbah, Malik, and Akmal got good scores without converting them into huge ones. For NWFP, former test bowler Fazl-e-Akbar picked up 4 wickets and 2-ODI old Samiullah Khan picked up 2. In response the frontier team ended day 2 on 181-3 with skipper Younis Khan unbeaten on 36.

Shoaib Malik, who missed the first match due to being away in Dubai for an interview with GEO, came back to lead Punjab, while premier batsman Mohd. Yousuf changed roles with him and flew to Dubai, probably also for an interview with GEO.

Where else do players miss domestic matches due to interview obligations in other cities?

Make your pitch on this post...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Pitched:

Post a Comment