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    December 29, 2005

    Another lazy news roundup

    Oh my God, I barely noticed this but it seems a lot of former Pakistani players are intent on talking up Pakistan's chances, all in good will I suppose, but I'm not sure how well we react to expectations, high one in particulars, so I'm just the tad bit wary. Especially since, some of this positivity has spread into the players as well.

    Younis Khan has actually gone ahead and declared that Pakistan have "the edge", thanks to Danish Kaneria, whom he labels as the second best leggie in the world next to Warnie. I wonder what Anil Kumble makes of this. Imran Khan has also said Pakistan are favorites. Moin Khan had said Pakistan will 'target' Sachin and Intikhab Alam has warned of the combined threat of Shoaib and Kaneria. The mood is so confident that even Azhar Mahmood has vowed to do well if selected, and when everyone was having say, Umar Gul thought why should he stay behind. In an interview to Abdul Waleed of Mumbai Mirror he said:
    "I’m delighted with the news that I have been named in the squad. It gives me an opportunity to win back my lost place. I think in 20 months, I have lost a lot of ground and it will require my best performance to get back in the team. It’s nice to get a comeback game against India because my last best international performance was also against them. But it is not going to be easy this time because India is a very strong batting lineup but I think I am bowling well.”
    Nothing too outrageous about any of the above pre-series talk, but to make up for the lack of unreasonableness there, Waqar Younus who talked to Samiul Hasan of the Rediff website here took a mindless sweep at the Indian batting line up:
    "The Indians have their grey areas. They depend heavily on their strong batting but even then collapse like a pack of cards. They are devastating and poor at times."
    I'm not even going to bother to try and prove him wrong, but the Pakistani team could really do without this sort of 'encouragement', in fact it has all the potential to act as more of an encouragement to the Indian batsmen rather then our bowlers! But the real bad news is that Abdul Razzaq is really sick. According to Express he's been admitted to hospital twice in the space of the last three days, and it is some form of chest infection that's the cause. He tells the BBC here that it's now a race against time for him to be alright for the series.

    Amongst other stories I missed over the last few days was the arrival and subsequent verdicts of the Indian security delegation. They were here in Karachi first, and visited the NSK, and as was widely expected they thought everything was OK. How ever they can gauge security arrangements walking around empty grounds is a little confusing to me, but seems they were really impressed.

    So impressed that when they visited Peshawar later on they didn't even feel the need to go to the Arbab Niaz Stadium and gave the green signal just having met the local police officials. Pleasant surprise this, but then you have to wonder, what was the point of visiting Peshawar in the first place if they had plans of going by the knowledge they had gained during their checks last time? Ah well, never mind. At least, they've decided the security was OK, which in the end is the only thing that matters.

    This particular news though has revealed that a change or slight alteration in the schedule of the ODI match venues could be under consideration. The matches are currently scheduled for Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan and Karachi but a change could needed, the website Express Cricket quoted a Pakistani security official as saying, because the 10-day period of Muharram (when mass rallies etc. are held ) starts in the first week of February, and could clash with the matches. Police presence is generally beefed up through out the country, and not just "sensitive places in and around Islamabad and Rawalpindi" as the report claims during this time of the year.

    I am not sure though why there should be any shortage of security personnel available to look after the Indian and Pakistani teams and cater for those Muharram demands at the same time, it's another thing if you don't want to have the matches because of the potential traffic problems, that's a valid point, but they really ought to have enough police, in fact it's really stupid that an un-named official should be allowed to say there could be a "shortage" of police. We are a nation of more then 130 million people, why should never have any "shortage" of police.

    Whilst on the subject of venues, I see Sight Screen have blogged about this tiny report here that discloses the Iqbal Stadium is to under go "regarding, renovation and redecoration". Nice. I hope this includes the installation of artificial lights. The PCB has been promising this for a while, but it hasn't happened. And yeah, whilst you're at it, Ctrl + D the Sight Screen link, great place that to find out just about every tiny bit of news there will be. Excellent stuff. Especially if you're particularly lazy like my self.

    In the meanwhile, Pakistan announced a strong Pakistan A team to take on India in their sole warm up game. I like this. It's all very important and nice being gracious host and all that, but no chance of gaining home advantage should be wasted. Just 1 warm up game is about ideal, as is the strength of this A-side.

    Warm up games are forgotten quickly if a team does well later on in the actual matches (how many people, for instance remember that India last time lost to a Pakistan A side in a one-day warm up game defending 350 odd runs?). But they do get remembered if the team does badly later on (like I remember that Pakistan lost to Western Australia first and second XI before losing the Perth test and the series by a plenty in 2004). It also gives these fringe players a fantastic opportunity to play against quality opposition. I'm wondering though, what Imran Farhat has done to get the nod ahead of the in-form Yasir Hameed. The full team is as follows:

    1 Hasan Raza (capt), 2 Imran Farhat, 3 Mohammad Wasim, 4 Faisal Iqbal, 5 Asim Kamal, 6 Bazid Khan, 7 Zulqarnain Haider, 8 Mansoor Amjad, 9 Mohammad Irshad, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Iftikhar Anjum, 12 Yasir Arafat.
    The mood is also pretty confident in the Indian camp. Sehwag told reporters after India's win at Ahmedabad that Inzi's request for hard and bouncy wickets could backfire. Sachin, who is practicing against high-speed balls using a bowling machine, expressed similar sentiments. There was a bit of confusion though earlier about who would and wouldn't play in the Ranji Trophy matches scheduled for before India's departure for Islamabad.

    Sourav Ganguly first made him self unavailable to play for Bengal, which prompted quite a reaction from Kiran More. He wasn't impressed and ask the board to inquire the reasons for Ganguly's withdrawal. First the board said they could do nothing, then they took a u-turn and asked the Bengal Cricket Association to send him a letter. They did so and Ganguly also replied. It has now been revealed he had 'personal reasons' behind his decision. To find out more, check out one or more of these 139 related stories.

    Finally, the The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has thought about asking the ICC to replace Darrell Hair. Although an 'official request' is yet to be send, I'm 100% certain, judging by the response of the ICC spokesperson, that even if it was, it would get a clear no-no as answer. And now, ladies and gents, I'm going to go off to doze. Good thing unlike school and college, tomorrow's adventure doesn't require me to wake up right at dawn. I'm not particularly good at that. I'll blog again on Monday. Until then, ta-ta.
    Cross posted on Sundries

    Thus spake Zainub Razvi @ 2:57 AM |
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    1 sledge(s):

    well researched Zainub. kudos!

    though i must add that all this pre-series buildup rarely reflects on the results. it only serves to increase spectator/viewer interest(which is great!)

    ultimately as harsha bhogle once put it, cricket is a contest between bat and ball. period.

    let the game win.

    By Blogger Srini at the Movies (29-Dec-2005, 10:42:00 AM)  

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