Here are all my cricket-related articles to date that have been published on various sports forums and media outlets: LIST OF ARTICLES

The Willow Talk by AK: December 11, 2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Vintage Micheal Holding: Never too polite, neither as a player, nor as a commentator. Posted by Picasa
© Getty Images

Top 5 wicket takers in a calender year in test matches

Shane Warne (2005) – 86 in 14*
Dennis Lillee (1981) – 85 in 13
Allan Donald (1998) – 80 in 14
Muttiah Muralitharan(2001) – 80 in 12
Joel Garner (1984) – 79 in 14


Shane Warne goes one-up on Dennis Lillee

The legendary leg-spinner becomes the highest wicket-taker in a calender year in test matches. He now has 86, in a mere 14 games.
© Getty Images

No love lost between Australia and South Africa

The Australian cricket team, in typical Australian tradition, have fired back at Grame Smith after he said that the Australia middle order was weak. The reaction has been a bit of an over-reaction, but not to the surprise of many. Hear are a few snippets of certain comments made by players and ex-players from both nations:

"Your guys looked totally lost against the spinner Beau Casson. He is just a baby learning the art of spin bowling. The Aussies can use three spinners here against you. The bowling attack does not look too bad. The weakest link in the bowling attack is Shaun Pollock. He bowls without any speed and I don't believe he will worry the Aussies too much." Terry Alderman, former Australian fast bowler.

"Australia's top three batsmen are their strength, so being able to knock them over is important. That exposes their middle order, which has experienced pressure in domestic cricket but maybe not in Tests. If we get things right, we will be putting Adam Gilchrist under pressure at No.7 too." Grame Smith, South African captain.

"I hope it will be quick - that will turn me on. I enjoy pace. I'm feeling pretty well balanced at the crease; I need a bit of luck and then there will be a century on the board." A. B. de Villiers, South African opener.

"They might need one by the time we've finished with them," Shane Warne on South Africa's plan to fly in a psychologist from back home.

"As usual, the South Africans have had a bit too much to say, they should worry about their own backyard, get it in order first," Shane Warne again.

"[Smith] can handle himself fine, but my concern is for the rest of the team. If his aim was to provoke the Aussies then he's done that. I can understand what Graeme was trying to do ... I just hope everyone else is behind him." Allan Donald, ex-South African pacer.

With no love lost between the two teams, the bantering does not look like it will end anytime soon. More to follow...

© Adeel
© CricInfo

Karachi back in business

Weekly article

Over the last few years, alot has been made of Karachi as an international venue for sports, and not without reason. The gun-violence and terrorist activities were getting worse and Karachi was unsafe for its own people, let alone visitors. As a result, the junta of Karachi suffered.

However, in the last couple years, some normality has returned to this port city. Violence and terrorist activities have been stamped down to an extent and as a result alot of positive vibes have been generated within the metropolitan. People have started getting out of their houses even late in the evenings, and feel more secure about themselves while commuting or at work.

This, however, did not translate into the hosting of international matches right away. Cricket teams were vary of Karachi after the 2002 Bomb blasts near the New Zealand team hotel and the Pakistan Cricket Board did little to dispel the fears. The PCB, on most occasions, were apologetic and submissive and were always willing to offer alternate options to visiting teams. On most occasions, they were unable to convince the other cricket boards of the improved law-and-order situation in the city and infact the entire country.

Over the last three years, a paltry three one-day matches have been played, all by Asian teams. The test count is even worse, with only two in the past three years, again by Asian teams. In that context, the Pakistan-England clash on December 15 was even more significant. To say it was thoroughly enjoyed by the Karachites would be an under-statement. A fresh mix of western and desi-style celebrations showed that the crowds were having a blast!

It was, perhaps, the most outstanding sporting spectacle the tour has witnessed. And the Karachi fans got exactly what they wanted - a thumping Pakistan win on a ground that has been a fortress for the Pakistani teams of the past.

With the massive success of this game, Karachi is back on the stage of world cricket in the most emphatic of fashion. The PCB has proposed a test and a one-dayer in Karachi for the Indo-Pak series at the start of next year. With such beautiful pictures from this beautiful city, being beamed right across the globe, the BCCI would find it hard not to accept the proposal!

© Adeel Khan

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pakistan closing in on Australia in ODI cricket

In the last year or so, Pakistan has been very consistent in the one-day version of the game. Right from the tri-series they played in Australia last year they have showed immense fighting spirit and team unity. They were horribly inexperienced then, but showed some remarkable fighting guts and were in a winning position in both the finals before losing to Aus in both. There recent record in ODI indicates that they have won 9 out of the last 10 ODIs, and thats damn good.

Pak has a host of genuine all-rounders: Malik, Afridi, Razzq, Akmal and maybe Arafat as well now (who was fast enough to clock 140 k's on a couple occassions and produced that scorching yorker to get rid of Freddie Flintoff). And these all-rounders have been pivotal in most wins. The onus is on Pakistan now to continue playing with professionalism and discipline, and if they can do that then there is no doubt in my mind that they will soon become second only to Australia. Pakistan's future definitely looks bright and hopefully they will continue to be as good. Its great for us Pakistani fans and also great for world cricket to have a good Pakistan team.

© Adeel Khan

Pakistan butchers English bowlers!

Akays tour diaries

Pakistani batsmen showed their dangerous sides as Pakistan produced a convincing victory against their beleagured opponents. The game also marked a return of international cricket to the cricket-mad port city of Karachi.

Kamran Akmal produced a stunning century, his second in a row and used that to set up a comfortable platform for the big-hitters to continue the onslaught. Yousuf scored a relatively patient 68, before Inzamam (45 of 35), Afridi (31 of 14) and last but surely not the least Abdul Razzaq (51 of 22) meant that Pakistan reached a monstrous total of 353 for the loss of 6 wickets in their alotted 50 overs.

England had a wobbly start losing their first three batsmen for 40 runs within the first 8 overs, and never really recovered from that. The visitors finished their innings at 188 all out, losing by a margin of 165 runs, their heaviest defeat in one-day cricket.

© Adeel Khan
© Getty Images

Watching Shoaib bowl is the most spectacular sight in world cricket. Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa
The brilliant National Stadium in Karachi, venue for Pakistan's clash with England in the 3rd ODI. This cricket-crazy metropolitan is seeing an international match after 14 months.

Yasir Arafat got to be the SuperSub

Akays tour diaries

In the first two games, Inzamam-ul-Haq somehow inexplicably picked Arshad Khan as the super-sub. With captains required to announce their subs before the toss, this 12th spot is wasted if a pure batsman or bowler is picked. What was even more dissappointing was that after Arshad was subbed in the 40th over in game 2, he actually was brought right in to bowl at a time when the fast bowlers had seven overs in between them to prevail. Anyways, Arshad's inclusion was non-sensical for the first two games and it remains to be seen if common sense will prevail for the remaining three.
© Adeel Khan.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another great performer from India, Anil Kumble, is on the verge of 100 test matches. He's still going strong as he just took another 10-wicket haul in the second test match against Sri Lanka. Posted by Picasa

Ganguly dropped by India

After making a bad decision by selecting him in thefirst place, Indian selectors made a worse decision by dropping Saurav Ganguly after just a two-test trial. He never justified his position in the squad, to me. But after he was inducted, he should have been given a fair chance to produce results. It won't be surprising if Ganguly makes another comeback for the test series against Pakistan.
© Adeel Khan

Tendulkar reaches a record 35th test century. Truly one of the game's greats. Posted by Picasa

ICC suffers backlash after Speed scolding

A day after ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed scolded Australia and South Africa of violating the spirit of the game by making brash statement against each other, Speed and the ICC has come under heavy fire of being incompetent and talk-heavy. Here are a few excerpts from influential names within international cricket circles:

"They do nothing about blokes chucking, they do nothing about all this other stuff, they are more worried about words, that is all they are, full of words the ICC. They always look like they are doing something but they do nothing. They are the biggest bullshitters in the world. What a waste of space." - Former Aussie paceman Jeff Thomson.
"They are putting the cart before the horse, they are almost saying there is going to be problems because of what has been written and said by players. Well, that is ridiculous. Let the game be for goodness' sake." - Jeff Thomson's former team-mate Terry Alderman
"I am amazed that the ICC sees fit to warn players, and even past players, in the media. If there are genuine concerns that players may offend the spirit of the game then this should be taken up with them directly and not in the form of a public lecture." - CEO of the South African Cricketers' Association Tony Irish.
"Cricket needs personalities in the game, there is no doubt about that. Characters add an air of excitement and individuality, which attracts and engages the public's interest." James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive.
"Players, particularly those in Zimbabwe, or those forced to play there, will find it difficult to fully accept Speed's call when the ICC has not seen the need to intervene, or been unable to investigate, serious allegations about the games administration." - Tim May, FICA's chief executive.

© Adeel Khan

Akhter and Akmal shine through in triumph

Akays tour diaries

Pakistan won the second one-dayer in Lahore on the back of two match-winning performances. One by a rejuvenated maverick and the other by a fast-developing allrounder. Shoaib completed his first ODI fiver in over a year and Akmal scored his second limited-overs century in a show totally dominated by Pakistan.

Detailed match analysis and stats can be left to large media outlets. So, lets cut to the chase and discuss some specifics related to the game:
  • Inzamam's unwillingness to finish off England's resistance by not continuing with Shoaib or the other fast bowlers was appalling. In contrast, he persisted with spinners and allowed English lower order bats to bring some respectability to their total. Inzamam's performance as captain once again highlighted his presence of mind on the field.
  • Shoaib was having trouble with his right calf muscles. The determination and grit shown by him during the current tour is in complete contrast to his histronics in the past. One hopes he continues this positive trend for the rest of his career.
  • Rana Naved continues to be expensive yet tricky. He needs to find his line and length more consistently because right now he's giving England alot of free runs down the leg-side. Having said that, his contribution was vital to Pakistan's win.
  • Akmal played brilliantly well and showed immense grit, determination and commitment to the team cause. He's been floated around at various positions in the batting order but has courageously excepted batting at any position. His showing Monday evening also means he'll enjoy the top batting slot for the entire series.

© Adeel Khan

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sarfraz Nawaz: The original pioneer of reverse swing Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Pak needs better planning ahead of second of ODI

Akays tour diaries

What more can u expect after ur team bats second and scores 285. Nothing wrong with the batting. Cant blame Yousuf or Malik. I'm sure They tried their best to up the run-rate. But the other team is also there to play cricket! It was too much pressure and almost impossible to chase that target. What NZ did was a one-off thing. We lost the match during the first half with some terrible bowling and shoddy fielding. Those two factors combined we could have saved 40-50 runs. That in the end was the difference between winning and losing.

Also Inzamam will need to make a sensible decision about who they will cast as the supersub. The obvious choice at this point seems Yasir Arafat, so that can use him as either a bowler or batsman depending on whether they bat first or bowl first. Using Arshad as supersub was a decision that thoroughly lacked common-sense. Hopefully Pakistan will go in this match after having done some useful preparation.

© Adeel Khan

On Hussey and the Black Caps

Micheal Hussey: Has obvious similarities with Bevan and is a bigger hitter of the ball then Bevan. Bevan did this for what, 200 odi's? lets see how far hussey can go. he sure looks like the heir apparent.

Black Caps: This is a brilliant New Zealand side. They've got some dynamite batsmen in their lineup. The fearless strokes they've played in the last 2 odi's speaks volumes about their attitude. This is certainly a very dangerous ODI team. I always respected their ODI strength but this present team is serious! The only knock on them is their bowling, like always they have too many similar kind of medium pacers. They need a couple fasties, like Shane Bond, who was unfortunately injured here. But overall they've been very impressive. 2 of the best run-chases you'd ever see.

© Adeel Khan

Question marks on Shoaib's attitude in first ODI

Akays tour diaries
I honestly did not see the game to comment on Akhter's attitude, but seeing so many people talk abt it there something must be wrong. I honestly thought that this guy has changed for good. And that showed in his bowling, batting and fielding. I hope this is a one-off thing, because he won't be able to last long in the team with such histronics.

Be a good team-man like he was in the tests, help out the youngsters and take it easy! If he does all that he will be appreciated here in every fan who is dedicated to teh cause of Pakistan cricket as a whole. If he doesnt, he will get bashed. He will get bashed by everyone except for his desperate lovers here! Fans certainly hope Shoaib's attitude in first ODI was a one-off thing.

© Adeel Khan

Akram spoke a naked truth

Truth hurts. Everything he said is right. There is not an ounce wrong with that and for once I agree with him. Australia, England etc always had more say then Asians. Their boards, their players and their officials get more recognition. We know Ehsan Mani is a puppet and its Malcolm Speed who is the real boss there. The bias is clearly reflected in the decision-making and the attitudes of the umpires and the referees the ICC selects. But like I said truth hurts. Which why Ehsan Mani is hurting...

© Adeel Khan