Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spoilt for Choice!

For Pakistan fans who had been craving cricket all this time, they suddenly seem to be spoilt for choices.

As the Pakistan international team gets ready to take on the millionnaires in a 3 ODI series in Abu Dhabi, the Lahore Badshahs gear up for the ICL finals for the 2nd time in as many seasons.

Between tomorrow and Sunday the Pakistan fans can witness 3 ODIs and a best of 3 finals series of a 20-20 competition, both involving the biggest names in cricket from Pakistan.

On one hand you can witness Salman Butt continue his good run of form along with the extremely talented Khurram Manzoor or Khalid Latif, both who have great futures ahead of them; while on the other you can witness the two Imrans, Nazir and Farhat, tear apart bowling attacks like they have all season.

For Pakistan it will be a challenge filling the gap in the middle order created by Mohammad Yousuf, whereas the Badshahs are glowing with Yousuf and Inzamam creating the magic of old for them.

The way Inzamam blasted the Superstars' attack last night reminded me of an innings he played in another semi-final 16 years ago. In this form, you don't want to miss the big man in action!

For Pakistan, Malik, Misbah, and Younis will look to stand up to be counted as their predecessors try and bring the ICL trophy to Pakistan.

Rana Naveed has been in tremendous form for the Badshahs, both with the bat and ball. He has been in devastating form batting up the order, and with the ball he has created magic reversing like the Waqar Younis of old.

Rana is the man to watch out for in he ICL semi-finals.

On the international front, Shoaib Akhtar's return to the side will be viewed with great interest. If he can remain fit and committed as is being said by the team management, then all you fans out there are in for a treat.

Saqlain Mushtaq has been developing new deliveries everyday and has been at the forefront of the Badshah's campaign sitting 2nd on the top wicket takers list behind Rana. As he tries to spin a web for the Badshahs, Saeed Ajmal will be looking to do the same for Pakistan.

While Afridi will be waiting to entertain you with his hard hitting prowess against the West Indies, Azhar Mahmood would be eager to get a longer hit to do the same in the ICL finals.

Mohammad Sami and Shahid Nazir complete the pace attack for the Badshahs, and on the Pakistan front it will be Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir supporting the pace of Shoaib.

Whoever thought that talent in Pakistan was diminishing needs to think again.

If all of these play to their potential, we Pakistan cricket fans, are in for some great cricket over the next 6 days or so.

Stay tuned people!

Make your pitch on this post...

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15 Pitched:

  1. Ottayan said...

    Sounds exciting. If asked to choose, I prefer watching your International team.

  2. Q said...

    Honestly, I don't know which one I prefer.. I wish we could have a combo of both..

    At least we get the liberty to choose - something to cheer abt for Pakistani fans ;-)

  3. khansahab said...


    Pakistan cricket is definitely more important and interesting than ICL, even if the Badshahs are the best ICL team.

    Most of the Badshahs are players who are simply not good enough to play international cricket. Even Inzamam struggled in the last year that he played.

    The only player who can play anything apart from T20 cricket is Yousuf, whereas Rana, Imran Nazir and Shahid Nazir are now only good in T20 cricket.

    If nothing else, the fact that this Pakistan team has players like Butt, Alam, Tanvir- people who may become the best cricketers in the future, is enough to attract interest.

    The ICL is a lot of fun but at the end of the day it is an inferior league and most of its players are just not good enough to compete at international level.

  4. Soulberry said...

    I missed this season's ICL. But the finals are around.

    Today I saw the highlights of yesterday's match - man, it was fun. And the crowds are loving it.

    I'm ready to sign any petition to end the cricket embargo on Pakistan. We lose a significant chance to particpate there and enjoy the ambience there ...and what about the local fans.

    Q, don't know how much difference it will make but maybe bloggers can create a momentum for public opinion for bringing international cricket back to Pakistan

  5. Wasim said...

    Lahore Badshahs is almost as good as the current Pakistan team, the standard of ICL is no where near International cricket as far as bowling is concerned, BADSHAHS are the best bowling team.I think Pakistan teams bowling is better than Badshahs but in batting Badshahs are way better.

    I covered the last season but this year although I am watching it but don't want to promote a league which is damaging Pakistan cricket.

    As far as the star value and excitement is concerned Badshahs are far ahead of the current Pakistan team, Rana Naveed, Imran Nazir, Yousuf, Imran Farhat and Shahid Nazir can still play on merit in Pakistan team, but sadly they are a total waste.

    A pakistani fan can only hope for a miracle which can bring these players back in National cricket.

  6. Q said...

    Khansahab, it doesn't really matter whether the ICL players are good enough to play international cricket or not - the fact that a Pakistan team is playing a cricket tournament and dominating it is good enough for the average Pakistan fan.

  7. Q said...

    SB thats a noble thought but if the Governments and all the political figures could not do anything to convince these goras to come to Pakistan, I doubt we'd be able to.

  8. Q said...

    Wasim I dont think the ICL is damaging cricket in Pakistan... it is the PCB who has banned these cricketers... if the PCB want domestic cricket to flourish they need to accept the ICL players and remove the bans...

    Im afraid if the PCB's attitude remains the next ICL season might see a Karachi Maharajas playing in it.

  9. Wasim said...


    You are right and I also want ICL to be recognized but we the fans are caught in a difficult situation where we don't want our premier players like Yousuf to leave Pakistan team and play in the rebel league and get banned,there are many dimensions to this complex problem and almost all the parties deserve to be blamed,the players for preferring money over the nation,PCB for its spineless behavior and poor player management and ICL for targeting the current players in International cricket and starting a parallel system which is not regulated.

    As I said before PCB is not in a position to lift the ban and strain its relation with BCCI, may be if the upcoming tour of India gets canceled only then may be PCB might do something.

    India stopped its junior hockey team at the last moment to tour Pakistan because of security reasons and they might not send there cricket team also so far they haven't given any positive signal, todays bomb blast outside a stadium in NWFP might give them a pretext.

    The best solution to the problem is that ICL should get official recognition from ICC and get regulated if not then PCB should directly negotiate with ICL and should strike a deal with them regarding the contracts of the Pakistani players and if other teams continue to cancel Pakistan tours then PCB should collaborate with ICL to organize a Pakistani edition of the league.That would be interesting.

  10. khansahab said...

    When these ICL players were playing for Pakistan what difference did it make?

    Apart from Yousuf and Inzamam there are no world class players.

    T20 is a different ball game to ODI or Test cricket. We need to take into account the fact that T20 requires lower fitness and stamina levels. It also does not require that much patience and temperament.

    Most of these players were not playing in the T20 World Cup last year when Pakistan made it into the finals and almost won in the end. The two Imrans and Rana Naved are only suitable for T20 cricket. Shahid Nazir is a good bowler but I doubt he has the fitness to succeed currently in Test cricket. He is 30 and it would have been somewhat difficult for him to be selected ahead of Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul and Rao, anyway, even if he was not playing in the ICL.

    Oh by the way, according to initial but unconfirmed reports, Shoaib Akhtar has become injured again and he may not play tomorrow.

  11. khansahab said...

    I have been campaigning long and hard to get Malik removed as captain and now the calls are increasing from all sides to replace him. Inzamam, Yousuf, Shoaib Akhtar- we never thought these people could have anything against Malik but they have all voiced their concerns. Afridi was obviously against Malik from the first day because he wanted to be the captain himself.

    It is stupid to review Malik's captaincy in December because Pakistan is likely to win this ODI series, and would that make Malik a good captain? It will not. West Indies are like a minnow team and half the players in their squad are unknowns. Ijaz Butt seemed to hint that Malik's future will depend on how the team performs in this series and we all know Pakistan has more than a 75% chance of winning this series.

    PCB should have appointed a new captain before this series so that he could have some experience and could take confidence from beating a minnow side. Ijaz Ahmed said recently that Malik should remain the captain because a brand new captain in January would find it hard to adjust and adapt himself for the India series, but if that is really the case why not change the captain now?

    We are witnessing such stupidity from the Ijaz Butt administration! Pakistan will lose against India anyway but if Pakistan had a different captain, at least we could have expected better team performances.

    Having said all this, India may not tour Pakistan anyway :)

  12. Q said...

    Wasim those are interesting suggestions, but I think efforts to remove the bans on the ICL players have already started at the ICC level.

    I hear some boards will be standing up against the BCCI.

  13. Q said...

    Khansahab, again the point is not whether the ICL players are good enough for international cricket or not.. the point is that it is entertaining to watch the Lahore Badshahs.. and even more entertaining to watch a Pakistan team dominating a tournament.. it doesnt matter how they would fare internationally... they r an ICL team, it matters how they do at the ICL..

    Plus removing their bans will only make Pakistan's domestic cricket stronger and make the tournament like the 20-20 cup, the pentangular, and the Quaid-e-Azam trophy even more competitive and fun to watch...

  14. Q said...

    I agree that if a new captain is to be appointed, i should have been done before this series rather than before the India series.

    But I don't think this PCB admin wants to change the captain. I feel they want to stick with Malik, which may not be a bad idea if Intikhab can get the senior players to support him.

    India's tour is in doubt.

  15. T20 Champion said...

    IPL was a very successful experiment by BCCI. All matches were full of excitement. People who have missed the matches can watch IPL t20 cricket videos and experience the feeling of fast format of cricket.

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