Posts Tagged ‘afridi’

Who Are You Backing To Win Hong Kong Sixes?

With the quarter-finalists now decided, who is your money on to win the Hong Kong Sixes?

The pick of tomorrow’s matches is perhaps the second quarter-final that sees England take on India in the Kowloon heat as the two sides continue to do battle in all forms of international cricket. Tomorrow also sees the Woodworm All Stars – a team made up the biggest names in cricket – do battle against Sri Lanka after they won both of their last two matches to squeeze into the next round. Their opening partnership of Sanath Jayasuriya and Shahid Afridi is surely among┬áthe most destructive in world cricket and is worth the admission fee alone.

The other two games see the hosts Hong Kong take on Scotland and dark horse Ireland take on Pakistan. Scotland, in particular, have been impressive so far in the tournament, with their ruthless efficiency seeing them progress at the expense of the more fancied teams, while Pakistan have one of the players of the competition in Umar Akmal in their ranks.

Whatever happens tomorrow it is sure to be a spectacular and exciting exhibition of hitting.

See a round-up of today’s action here.

Shahid Afridi – In, Out, Retired, Back, Retired, Back Again?

When is a retirement not actually a retirement? I think you know the answer to that one as we report today that Shahid Afridi looks as if he is ready to return to international cricket.

Shahid Afridi

Shahid Afridi - Would you pick this man? Credit: REUTERS / Action Images

While he did state in May that he had retired from ‘all international cricket’ he then went on to say:

“This current board treats players roughly and I will not play under this set-up. But if this set-up is changed only then will I consider coming back because I have always played for my people and will play for them.”

So, now that Ijaz Butt and Waqar Younis have departed, Afridi has stayed true to his word and is, we understand, ready to serve his country once again.

The question is, has he burned one bridge too many? Will the selectors decide that enough is enough and it is time to invest in the young players (Adnan Akmal, Aizaz Cheema, Junaid Khan) that they blooded in Zimbabwe and build for the future.

Put yourselves in the shoes of the PCB selection committee. Would you pick him? And would you install him as captain?

We’ve already seen a positive response to the news on our Facebook page, but let us know your thoughts.

New PCB President – New Dawn For Pakistan?

The Pakistan Cricket Board have ended Ijaz Butt’s three-year reign as chairman and replaced him with high-profile banker, 59-year-old Zaka Ashraf.

Butt’s time at the top coincided with a number of controversial and tragic events on and off the field, from the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus to match-fixing allegations and fallouts with star players.

Now the new chairman pledges to put all his energy into the team, pick players on merit and try to restore cricketing ties with India. But are these hollow words or can Ashraf’s appointment herald a new dawn for Pakistan cricket?

It has been reported that his cricket knowledge is ‘suspect’ but might that be a good thing? Might he be more inclined to leave the cricketing decisions to those who know the game i.e. his selection panel, coaching staff and captain?

His appointment comes too late to effect any changes for the Sri Lanka series but perhaps we will see another return for Shahid Afridi as Pakistan look to rebuild once again.

You could make a handy team from players discarded, retired or otherwise unavailable: Salman Butt, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Yousuf, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif would form a useful backbone, for example…

A Topsy-Turvy Cricket World Cup Week

It’s been a topsy-turvy few days at the Cricket World Cup 2011. We’ve seen Ireland topple England to register the tournament’s first upset, Canada push Pakistan hard before the West Indies dismissed Bangladesh for just 58 in a match that we expected to be a lot closer.

Bangladesh’s fans partied after their own victory against Ireland as if they had won the World Cup but their mood changed following the West Indies match and reports emerged that they had thrown stones at the West Indies team bus, breaking a window.

They thought they were attacking their countrymen, so lauded a few days earlier for a hard-fought 27-run win against a team that would go on and down England in fine style.

Kevin O’Brien’s 50-ball century and innings of 113 in 63 balls will live long in the memory of all who saw it as he helped his side recover from a precarious position of 111 for five chasing 328 to see his team over line with balls to spare.

He may never play as well again, but he helped Ireland write their own piece of World Cup history with the highest run chase ever achieved.

England, who are chasing an unlikely hat-trick of Ashes, ICC World Twenty20 and World Cup success, have some serious questions to answer having conceded, on average, more than 300 runs in each of their matches so far.

They were almost turned over by the Netherlands, escaped with a tie against an Indian side that has similar bowling issues and finally embarrassed by Ireland, who were completely deserving victors and good value for their victory.

Ireland’s win did the campaign to keep the Associate and Affiliate nations out of the World Cup no favours either. However, with the skills they showed in Bangalore, don’t rule out Ireland making big impacts in future ICC World Twenty20 events.

Following the excitement of the England-Ireland game, we unfortunately had to sit through some one-sided games – New Zealand thumping Zimbabwe and South Africa hammering the Netherlands but a plucky Canada showed plenty of grit and determination to bowl them out for 184.

They were therefore very much in the game but their hopes were extinguished by another fine performance in the field – led by the (other) man-of-the-moment Shahid Afridi, who took his second five-wicket haul.

Finally, if Bangladesh’s disappointing loss at the hands of the West Indies proved anything, it is that even a match between two Test-playing nations can end up being dreadfully one-sided.

That is the beauty of sport – the underdog will have its day but on others, evenly-match teams can produce games that don’t live up to their billing.

Back in August, New Zealand beat India by 200 runs in a One-Day International. Was anyone then claiming that India shouldn’t be playing ODI cricket?