Afridi does an Afridi!

Shahid Afridi - Asia CupI mean wow! Shahid Afridi’s two sixes in two balls sealed the fate of the Pakistan vs India’s game in favor of the defending champions, Pakistan at the Asia Cup group match. While billions of hearts sank in India, another 200 million supporting Pakistan worldwide felt a new life run through their veins.

Never have I seen Twitter, Facebook, News media and SMS flutter with so many congratulatory messages before. #Lala is a trending topic, and so is #Boomboom on Twitter. Open your Facebook timeline in Pakistan, and chances are Lala’s heroics are the only thing on it.
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The Ancient Civilization’s Contribution to Modern World

AstroglobeI get miffed when a Western historian credits Europe for bringing the world out of dark ages with their Renaissance. I get miffed not because Europe is the savior, but because, there were no dark ages for most of the known world. Middle East, India, Persia and China were enjoying a period of great discovery, inventions, free thinking and open communications among distant lands.

Whenever you read classical Western history, it is usually summed up with “civilized” culture and literacy taking roots with Greeks, polished during Roman times and then after a long and bleak dark ages resurrected by the Europeans during Renaissance. Well, that could be the historical roots of Europe but certainly a wrong representation of the world.

The fact is that Science, literature, language, learning and culture is far older than any Romans or Greeks civilizations. And there were no dark ages sans Europe. The rest of the world led by the Arabs, Chinese and Indians were developing new engineering methods, laying the roots for mathematics, developing financial models of business including the first banks and cheques and building huge trade routes (Silk road) that span the whole of the then known world.

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Pakistan in 1950s

Encyclopedia Britannica Archive

It is amazing to see how Pakistan has evolved since its independence in 1947 on one side and not at all in some aspects. We are still a rural and agrarian economy with 70% of our population living outside the cities. Literacy levels are better since 1950s but are still dismal as compared to international rankings.

Look at the video closely and you will notice that some of the tools used by artisans and farmers are no different from a thousands years or more. Yet, the artisans are extremely skilled and tend to work really efficiently with their bare hands. No electricity, no politics and no obstacle stops them. These are the people who actually helped create Pakistan for us to live in peacefully. It is our job now to take the nation to the next level.
YouTube

Karachi in 1942 – A Rare Video Footage

Karachi was the original city of lights. A peaceful port city with all the modern amenities of its time. The video footage shows that there were street trains for mass transit. The building architecture was Victorian with massive structures built to support the running of the government.

Maybe one day, we will stop quarelling among ourselves in Karachi and build the city for what it is worth.

Bulleya Ki Janan PM Kaun?

Bulleya!Bulleya ki janan PM kaun?

Na voh momin vich maseetan
Har vari kare kufr dee reet aan
Na voh paakaan bus vich paleet aan

Shaid voh numrood o Firaon
Bulleya ki janan PM kaun

Awwal aakhir Asif noon jaanan
Na koi dooja hor pichana
Asif toon vadh na koi sayana
O’ Bulleya o’ Bulleya

Bulleya ki janan PM kaun

Na voh Paki na voh Khaki
Na voh tabdeeli na voh Leegee

Bulleya ki janan PM kaun

With due respect to Baba Bulleh Shah and Junoon.

Can Politicians hijack PTI from its honorable goals?

Javed Hashmi and Imran Khan

Javed Hashmi is now a PTI politician ditching PML in their favor.

I am a bit concerned about the mass influx of traditional politicians from PPP and PML into Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), an upcoming political party run by the venerated Imran Khan.

Veterans like Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Shaukat Tareen, Awais Laghari and others have been in politics longer than the somewhat new democratic process begun after the death of General Zia ul Haq in 1988. However, none of them have contributed significantly for the improvement of the the democratic process, providing justice to the people or controlling corruption in the country. Heck, most of them enjoyed VIP privileges when ministers for PPP, PML and even willingly served under the leadership of a military dictator.
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Today, Cricket Died. Period.

Stunned. Anguish. It does not even begin to express my emotions at this time.

Watching Pakistan under perform on such regular basis is always heart wrenching. Watching them lose matches from seemingly a winning position, was depressing and incredulous. But, as die hard fans of our team, we would always come out supporting the green shirts no matter how they fared in the field. Hoping against all odds, they would eventually overcome their short comings and give us victory like yester-years. Today, all that changed.

After shocking revelations in News of the World which was lapped up by the international media  on spot match fixing in cricket, I am now not only disturbed but utterly disgusted with the players who have literally played with our emotions for such a long time.

The under cover investigation claims that this has gone on for over two and half years and possibly much longer. And that the players themselves initiated this ring is rather alarming. The investigation claims as many as seven players are fixing the outcome including the captain Salman Butt, fast bowler Asif and Aamir and wicket keeper Kamran Akmal. The other players names were not revealed, but it is safe to say they are probably all batsmen. It did mention though that Shahid Afridi is not involved and that all these seven players are ganging up against him to oust him.

Last year, Yunis Khan dropped out of the cricket world saying he has lost the confidence of his players. Or was it the same players orchestrating his ouster, like they are doing today of Shahid Afridi? All these stories of infighting among team members really revolving around the match-fixing gang? If so, then the problem is far deeper than the seven named.

This is not the first time we have heard of spot betting and match fixing. The first I heard was in early 1990s when Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, two great Australians, were caught sharing some match information with bookies. Not dissimilar to what has happened today. However, they were fined (AUS$5,000 each) and the story was not aloud to go out till leaked many years later. Similar claims were made in India for Indian team when it was failing to win critical matches. Pakistan, South Africa also suffered from those allegations. Eventually, Hanse Cronje (South African Captain), Mohammad Azharuddin (India’s Captain) and Salim Malik (Pakistan Captain) received life bans and made the scape goat of the corruption within Cricket. Sadly, Australia never banned any of its players.

What the Cricketing body, ICC, did not do is investigate thoroughly and capture the rest of the gang of players in each team. Surely, Warne, Azhar, Hansie and Malik cannot throw a game or bowl/bat badly alone to change the outcome. They need support of others. Shockingly, ICC left it for the boards to decide the course of action for them and went sleeping. Players like Shane Warne (Australia), Sachin Tendulkar (India), Wasim Akram (Pakistan), among many others were internally reprimanded but never publicaly punished. They, like many other team members, were far too big a star and cricket brand to be publicly lynched. Sadly, spot fixing survived, under closed doors till this day.

ICC has no clue what is going on out there. Today, could be a great eye opener for them. But judging from their previous conduct, they will not budge from their sleeping position and refer it back to respective boards to sort out internally.  But if they continue to turn a blind eye to such matters, it is no secret that more people, like me, will turn their eyes away from cricket. In not so near future, we will have a time when young fans will no longer come out to support their teams. They will switch to other cleaner sports and ICC, which is now banking on a billion people audience for their billions in rights, will be competing for their attention with other sports. Time has come to not only fix the game but to catch/ban all those old timers who are still playing and enjoying the protection of their boards while participating (covertly) in spot fixing.

Its no secret that we have all heard of spot fixing, and we have all heard of incidents in cricket matches for many decades. We all know that incredible collapse and that spectacular batting performance is not always genuine. Especially, if the batsmen is part-timer and the bowler has bowled his first 5-wicket haul.

Dear ICC, your fans have been jolted to the reality. It’s time that you also wake up and smell the foul stench that surrounds your sports stars. Its not just limited to Pakistan, it has roots in every major Test playing nation. Standup and clean the cricket field, before we clean the bleachers and head for other sports arenas.

>Pakistan vs New Zealand – ODI Series in Abu Dhabi

>Here is the schedule for Pakistan vs New Zealand ODI Series in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It will be followed by two T20 matches in Dubai.

Tue Nov 3         
15:00 local | 11:00 GMT | 16:00 PKT    
1st ODI – Pakistan v New Zealand
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
   
Fri Nov 6         
15:00 local | 11:00 GMT | 16:00 PKT
2nd ODI – Pakistan v New Zealand
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
   
Mon Nov 9         
15:00 local | 11:00 GMT | 16:00 PKT
3rd ODI – Pakistan v New Zealand
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi

>IPL Champions without the Champions

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Watching IPL Champions league is like watching a Knight’s duel without umm, the actual Knights. Pakistan, the unquestionable champions of T20 Cricket, are missing in action which is not only odd but shameful as they are currently the hottest property in town.
Pakistan is the only country to have made it to the World T20 World Cup final twice and are current Title holders. Boom boom Afridi has mesmerized many a batsmen with his cunning googlies and beautiful strokeplays is not only the best all-rounder in this format of the game, but also the best player by a long shot. The death over bowling has been totally redefined by Umar Gul, Pakistan’s most dangerous slog over bowler. Not only does he make it impossible for batsmen to score off him, but takes crucial wickets to falter any run chases by the opposition batsmen. This year, when Pakistan won the World T20 World Cup, it was truly special since none of their players were invited to play in the IPL and were therefore considered a team which did not have the requisite experience to win any matches. Not only did they win the World Cup in style, but on the way, they defeated the top teams in the tournament.
The first season of IPL (when Pakistani players actually featured), exploits of stars like Umar Gul, Sohail Tanveer made the tournament not only exciting but made it possible for Shane Warne’s team to lift the title. Did I mention that the best bowling figures are also held by Sohail Tanveer of 6 wickets for 18 runs in unplayable 4 overs. A feat not yet repeated by anyone in IPL thus far.
In the rebel ICL T20 league, Pakistani team was the most exciting and watched team in the tournament. Always making it to the final and playing some entertaining and exciting cricket. Players like Abdul Razzaq, Imran Nazir and Rana Naveed ul Hassan had become a household name.
With no Pakistanis featuring in the Champions league, it is no surprise that it is hardly being followed in Pakistan by the cricket fanatic fans. The newspapers hardly report its progress, and fans never discuss it. It is as if, there is no tournament being played and no cricket happening.
It would truly have been a challenging tournament if Sialkot Stallions (Pakistan’s reigning champion team in domestic tournaments) were invited and allowed to match their skills against the best of the World. It would have been a far more exciting tournament if Pakistani players were allowed to represent various IPL teams that they signed up for many years back.
Making cricket hostage to politics is not only shameful but also deprives the fans of some exciting cricket. Sports is always above politics and sportsmen are there to build bridges not burn them. India’s hegemony over cricket and the world’s governing body turning a blind eye to this “apartheid” is not only pathetic but shameful as well. It seems Australian, British and South African boards are more interested in earning revenues from the Champions league than making it a level playing field for all teams and players.
Maybe one day when ICC (International Cricket Council) can stand up to BCCI (Board for Control of Cricket in India) and make sure that such distorted tactics are not carried into the playing field would we truly enjoy the cricket. Till then, let the boring cricket continue to play in the world.

>ICC Farce Awards 2009

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It is disappointing to say the least. And each year my passion for following them weakens and desire to write a review disappear. Next year, I may not even comment about the ICC Cricket Awards.
It seems you have to be an Australian or an Indian to have an impact at the award ceremony. All other players will be ignored even if they perform extraordinarily. Umar Gul, has been a master in the death overs for many years. His performance has twice taken Pakistan to the final of World 20/20 and winning many other crucial matches. Shahid Afridi’s leg spin, in all forms of the game, is now the most lethal among all currently playing spinners. Greme Smith has led his team to a Test #1 spot and many great victories during the preceding year. Yet, all these and more such great players do not find themselves ranked among the best. Or even worthy of any awards.
Dhoni being named captain of Test and One-day eleven is nothing but a farce! Chosen over Greme Smith, Ricky Ponting and even Yunus Khan! I mean, all three captains performed far better than Dhoni in the preceding year and yet they were left out. If it were Ricky Ponting or Greme Smith, I could have understood. But please, Dhoni! He is worthless when they play outside India and against great teams.
Gautham Gambhir as the best test cricketer! Really, he cant even be a regular in the team and keeps getting dropped and yet he is awarded with the Test Player of the Year! Whatever happened to all other great stars during this time? What happened to greats like Kevin Peterson, Kumar Sangakara, Jayawardene, Greme Smith, AB DeVillears, Yunus Khan, who are regulars and perform well in all conditions. What wrong did they do for not being chosen!
As regards, the Test team of the year. It does not feature anyone from Pakistan or South Africa. It’s a shame not to include anyone from there especially when Greme Smith, Yunus Khan and Muhammad Yusuf are currently ranked among the top 10 batsmen in the world. It seems, stats count for nothing and performance is secondary when it comes to ICC annual awards in cricket.
ICC seems to only reward Indians and Australians more so over the rest of the world. It not only belittles the world’s contribution to the game of cricket, it actually makes the award biased. If the award does not get balanced soon, it will loose its charm and will only be remembered as a ICC Farce award!