World Cup 2007 February 27, 2007

Road to Jamaica 2: The all-rounders

All-rounders were meant to be a topic for discussion later but Abdul Razzaq's injury has thrust them to the heart of the debate
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All-rounders were meant to be a topic for discussion later but Abdul Razzaq's injury has thrust them to the heart of the debate. Pakistan's strategy is built around their all-rounders, and they have plenty of them. Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, and now Azhar Mahmood, can all blow hot or cold. One day they are true all-rounders, the next they are dismissed as mere bits-and-pieces players.

Afridi and Razzaq have the added element of being super-explosive hitters, and my view is that Razzaq can be a vital ingredient in the last ten overs, when Pakistan often aim to score over 100 runs. Pakistan will miss him. Could he have been sent to the Caribbean and withdrawn in a couple of weeks if he had not improved?

In any case, Razzaq's loss is Azhar's gain. The Surrey all-rounder has been mistreated by the PCB, ever since, in fact, he gave me a commendably frank interview for Cricinfo. Azhar's bowling is a stronger suit than Razzaq's. He can also be an explosive hitter, but Razzaq is extra-special in that regard.

But the question is whether or not Malik and Hafeez can step up and provide the Pakistan batting with some solidity? In addition, Hafeez's one-day bowling form is impressive although Inzamam has tended to underuse him.

More than the rest, though, Afridi can be a talisman. His bowling form is good enough for him to be selected on that alone--and a wise coach and a smart captain will use that to take the pressure off him. But when his batting comes off, he wins matches. Now that may not happen enough for many people's liking but Afridi has hit rich veins of form in the past. Can he do it in a World Cup? If he hits straight and true, like he did memorably in Chennai, he could emerge as a true champion rather than a breaker of hearts. On this one, you all know, I'm with Boom Boom. Let's hope he doesn't boom out.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zaka Sheikh on March 6, 2007, 21:23 GMT

    Azhar has always been a better player compared with Razzaq but somehow has been kept out of the national side. Look at their performances in the English county. Razzaq was dumped by Middlesex after his contract for two years and Azhar is still playing for Surrey. That is is judgement by non-Pakistanis who are very emotional and cannot always carry out an analytical review.

  • MUHAMMAD KHALID QURESHI on March 6, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Razzak is an exceptional player specially in last 10 overs and azhar can not fill razzak absence .But I am 100% hopefull that ALLAH KAREEM will help pakistani team becouse all are offering 5 time prayer now INSHAALLAH pakistan will win .

  • M.Saad Durrani on March 6, 2007, 10:06 GMT

    Well i would like to ask you all and also respectable MR K.Abbasi that Q.1 On what basis Y.Arafat Selected Despite Having Shaihid Nazir whoz more experiace and better bowler than Y.Arafat second Que is Q.2 Do you all think sending K.Akmal an opner is Scencible descision despite having plenty failure by him in past why bob Woolmer Innst him to come out an opener dispite knowing that they have Genuine openers like S.Malik And M.Hafeez ? Plz tell your comments on that what you all want to say on that

  • Mushtaq Ali on March 6, 2007, 9:47 GMT

    In the absence of Soaib, Asif and al rounder Abdul Razzaq, only miracles can win this world cup for Pakistan. With the loss of Razzaq, we might certainly miss a great spectacular game, especially in last ten over.Azhar may replace him in bowling but never in batting. I think a little charm for any Pakistani has been left in the batting of Afridi. Rest of the team will play humbly. Little expectations are envisaged from Pakistani team. There is lack of enthralling players.Umer Gul may prove some helpful in redeeming pressure from bowling point od view.Shoib Malik may be the key if Pakistan records some wins in the world cup

  • shaz hussain on March 5, 2007, 22:00 GMT

    I cannot believe how a great country of 160 million can produce such rubbish. We have players with no technique, no passion, no remorse and no sense. We play the game like kids in a park there is no professionalism. We pay foreign coaches vast sums but do not realise they do not care for Pakistan. Our own coaches and players have a tendency to focus on players from their own cities and hence the cycle of despair continues. We have the most talented players in the world but we shall never see them play for Pakistan. If you look at our administrators they are present when we forfeit a test match and yet accept no responsibility. How can you be guilty of drugs offences if the same traces are in your blood from before. In the whole world no one can be accused of the same offence twice. We have no one who can speak for us. We have no one who can represent or articiulate our point of view. Why? Why are we so helpless. Yet we love our team. Can't they see the grief they cause us. Pakistan used to lose in the past but they used to fight. when have we lost the will to fight. We cannot run between wickets, we do not ground our bats at the crease to maximise our chances of making a run and not getting run out. We field poorly and we have a wicket keeper in Kamran Akmal who cannot catch. Shoaib Malik since he hurt his arm in a collision with Shahid Afridi some years ago cannot hit any sixes. He only accumulates ones and two's and the odd four. I have observed all the cricket Pakistan has played in recent years yet nobody else seems to notice. I am very happy for Azhar to play yet he seems very heavy and was not impressive against South Africa. He was good in 97 to 99. That was 8 years ago. We seem to be going back rather than forwards. Finally rather than playing useless one day tournaments all over the world, we need to take time out. Perhaps send the team to swing, seam and bouncy conditions for two to three months for them to practise and be coached in the techniques and basics of the game so that they improve and can thrive in different conditions and never let us down in the future as soon as there is a little bounce or movement. Please do not take my comments the wrong way. I hope we do well and my prayers will always be with the team. We rarely have any good news to celebrate. But I am tired of excuses, all of us need to face facts and take responsibility for our actions and be accountable.

  • Aky on March 3, 2007, 21:43 GMT

    I do not know why Azar Mahmood and Mohammed Sami have been included in the team, instead of these two the selectors should have picked ANWAR ALI and JAMSHED AHMED from Pakistan Under 19 squad. They are both good bowlers.

  • Jigga on March 3, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    Wel I dont think Pakistan has lost much. lets hope for the best yaar. I am sure pakistan is gonna make it to sem final easily and after that Allah neghiban. lets cheer up for what we have....

  • mustansar on March 3, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    i think its good to lose razzaq as his bowling is too limp to cause an affect, he will surely go for 8 an over in windies in the present form

  • Prof.dr.med.Kahn on March 3, 2007, 16:45 GMT

    Prague 3 March 2007

    The greatest enemy of the Pakistani Cricket is Pakistan Cricket Control Board. In my opinion, Shohaib Akther should be barred from playing again for his country. His words always speak louder than his actions. He also lacks the discipline and strength of characters that one would expect from an international sport. This time, though sad, Pakistan won’t progress beyond the preliminary round.

  • Dil Shah on March 3, 2007, 5:01 GMT

    Oh my God Asif & Shoaib for which I am morethan haapy he is done now .Useless.He has spoiled Asif also.Any way .Real issue are these two bowlers God or the best in the world no match could be won because of them .How many matches we have won without them alot & how many we have lost alot of them.Why doesn't this religious captain or the tableekhi jamat team depend n Allah's Blesing.Hers hey have for gitten him .aAsif & Shoaib actor are their saviours & Gods .Shame on U Mr Captain .You always recite Bimilallah on your start of every interview do U realy kow the meaning also.AH!!!!!. It is all for your convinence only .when U win thanks to HIM.Otherwise Asif & shoiab are the saviours ,rest of the team members are just foolish players picked from streets .Y don't U say that U will prove & lead the team from front like Imram Khan. By whinning about these two players what R U giving the message to others that U R just nothing shamne on U Inzi .U R bigger than this way to bigger .I still love Uas player & as a person.I have always stood by U .Good Luck .Don't worry do your best rest leave in his hands ,when he wants some thing he will bless us from where U won't even expect. Love U all

  • Zaka Sheikh on March 6, 2007, 21:23 GMT

    Azhar has always been a better player compared with Razzaq but somehow has been kept out of the national side. Look at their performances in the English county. Razzaq was dumped by Middlesex after his contract for two years and Azhar is still playing for Surrey. That is is judgement by non-Pakistanis who are very emotional and cannot always carry out an analytical review.

  • MUHAMMAD KHALID QURESHI on March 6, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Razzak is an exceptional player specially in last 10 overs and azhar can not fill razzak absence .But I am 100% hopefull that ALLAH KAREEM will help pakistani team becouse all are offering 5 time prayer now INSHAALLAH pakistan will win .

  • M.Saad Durrani on March 6, 2007, 10:06 GMT

    Well i would like to ask you all and also respectable MR K.Abbasi that Q.1 On what basis Y.Arafat Selected Despite Having Shaihid Nazir whoz more experiace and better bowler than Y.Arafat second Que is Q.2 Do you all think sending K.Akmal an opner is Scencible descision despite having plenty failure by him in past why bob Woolmer Innst him to come out an opener dispite knowing that they have Genuine openers like S.Malik And M.Hafeez ? Plz tell your comments on that what you all want to say on that

  • Mushtaq Ali on March 6, 2007, 9:47 GMT

    In the absence of Soaib, Asif and al rounder Abdul Razzaq, only miracles can win this world cup for Pakistan. With the loss of Razzaq, we might certainly miss a great spectacular game, especially in last ten over.Azhar may replace him in bowling but never in batting. I think a little charm for any Pakistani has been left in the batting of Afridi. Rest of the team will play humbly. Little expectations are envisaged from Pakistani team. There is lack of enthralling players.Umer Gul may prove some helpful in redeeming pressure from bowling point od view.Shoib Malik may be the key if Pakistan records some wins in the world cup

  • shaz hussain on March 5, 2007, 22:00 GMT

    I cannot believe how a great country of 160 million can produce such rubbish. We have players with no technique, no passion, no remorse and no sense. We play the game like kids in a park there is no professionalism. We pay foreign coaches vast sums but do not realise they do not care for Pakistan. Our own coaches and players have a tendency to focus on players from their own cities and hence the cycle of despair continues. We have the most talented players in the world but we shall never see them play for Pakistan. If you look at our administrators they are present when we forfeit a test match and yet accept no responsibility. How can you be guilty of drugs offences if the same traces are in your blood from before. In the whole world no one can be accused of the same offence twice. We have no one who can speak for us. We have no one who can represent or articiulate our point of view. Why? Why are we so helpless. Yet we love our team. Can't they see the grief they cause us. Pakistan used to lose in the past but they used to fight. when have we lost the will to fight. We cannot run between wickets, we do not ground our bats at the crease to maximise our chances of making a run and not getting run out. We field poorly and we have a wicket keeper in Kamran Akmal who cannot catch. Shoaib Malik since he hurt his arm in a collision with Shahid Afridi some years ago cannot hit any sixes. He only accumulates ones and two's and the odd four. I have observed all the cricket Pakistan has played in recent years yet nobody else seems to notice. I am very happy for Azhar to play yet he seems very heavy and was not impressive against South Africa. He was good in 97 to 99. That was 8 years ago. We seem to be going back rather than forwards. Finally rather than playing useless one day tournaments all over the world, we need to take time out. Perhaps send the team to swing, seam and bouncy conditions for two to three months for them to practise and be coached in the techniques and basics of the game so that they improve and can thrive in different conditions and never let us down in the future as soon as there is a little bounce or movement. Please do not take my comments the wrong way. I hope we do well and my prayers will always be with the team. We rarely have any good news to celebrate. But I am tired of excuses, all of us need to face facts and take responsibility for our actions and be accountable.

  • Aky on March 3, 2007, 21:43 GMT

    I do not know why Azar Mahmood and Mohammed Sami have been included in the team, instead of these two the selectors should have picked ANWAR ALI and JAMSHED AHMED from Pakistan Under 19 squad. They are both good bowlers.

  • Jigga on March 3, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    Wel I dont think Pakistan has lost much. lets hope for the best yaar. I am sure pakistan is gonna make it to sem final easily and after that Allah neghiban. lets cheer up for what we have....

  • mustansar on March 3, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    i think its good to lose razzaq as his bowling is too limp to cause an affect, he will surely go for 8 an over in windies in the present form

  • Prof.dr.med.Kahn on March 3, 2007, 16:45 GMT

    Prague 3 March 2007

    The greatest enemy of the Pakistani Cricket is Pakistan Cricket Control Board. In my opinion, Shohaib Akther should be barred from playing again for his country. His words always speak louder than his actions. He also lacks the discipline and strength of characters that one would expect from an international sport. This time, though sad, Pakistan won’t progress beyond the preliminary round.

  • Dil Shah on March 3, 2007, 5:01 GMT

    Oh my God Asif & Shoaib for which I am morethan haapy he is done now .Useless.He has spoiled Asif also.Any way .Real issue are these two bowlers God or the best in the world no match could be won because of them .How many matches we have won without them alot & how many we have lost alot of them.Why doesn't this religious captain or the tableekhi jamat team depend n Allah's Blesing.Hers hey have for gitten him .aAsif & Shoaib actor are their saviours & Gods .Shame on U Mr Captain .You always recite Bimilallah on your start of every interview do U realy kow the meaning also.AH!!!!!. It is all for your convinence only .when U win thanks to HIM.Otherwise Asif & shoiab are the saviours ,rest of the team members are just foolish players picked from streets .Y don't U say that U will prove & lead the team from front like Imram Khan. By whinning about these two players what R U giving the message to others that U R just nothing shamne on U Inzi .U R bigger than this way to bigger .I still love Uas player & as a person.I have always stood by U .Good Luck .Don't worry do your best rest leave in his hands ,when he wants some thing he will bless us from where U won't even expect. Love U all

  • Nadeem on March 2, 2007, 17:08 GMT

    Yasir Arfat played seven one day internationals. He got four wickets in seven one day international.

    Total scored is less than 50 runs but he is considered for the world cup.

    What is that? I know, he is from pindi next to the Islamabad.

    Can we win the world cup by this? I read he was consider for the selection on the request of our religiuos Captain & coach.

    Is it merit? (Mulana Captain (Inzi) & Coach (Mushi))

    Shame on you.

    London, UK

  • Gulab Khan on March 2, 2007, 17:02 GMT

    Its good Razzak is out. He was not doing well with bat & ball from last one year so. Razak always consider himself injured against the strong team. Just before the match against Austrlia, He woke up in the morning before the match and found himself asthamtic and drowsey like a pregnenant women. But he become 100% fit in few days against Bangladesh. He was fit in recent home serise but become unfit against South Africa in SA.

    This is becoame a joke to become fit or unfit. He is not even fast bowler. Even if he is really injured this time, its good for him to be out from the team. We do not need cheater in the team. I think Sohaib Malik also learned few techniques from Razzak.

    PCB should work on thier fitness level.

    Gulab Khan Peshawer

  • Syed Shah on March 2, 2007, 15:47 GMT

    Pakistan Circket board are running the affairs of our past time like headless chickens. We can all read into what is happening and it is really upsetting. Now that Akhtar and Asif will not be playing in the world cup we should not have to fall back on players that have been tried tested and have failed to make the grade - Sorry Mohammed Sami and Yasir Arafat. I sometimes wonder where the Pakistan under 19 duo of Anwar Ali and Jamshed Ahmed have disappeared to? These boys should have been given an opportunity in the Pakistan side long ago to see how they react as bowlers on the international stage after all they proved their pedigree in the under 19 stage - but the one dimensional wisdom of those that run Pakistan Cricket is such that they do not have the ability to think beyond the box but always manage to fall on their backsides when they try the current scandal proves my point entirely. To be mega cynical I hope Abdul Razzaq was really injured 'cough cough' because to me he seems the military man made for all weather and not somebody that would easily role over.. Who had their money that Mohammed Asif would be in such a scandal...?

  • Freesia on March 2, 2007, 14:56 GMT

    Many people don't consider Afridi a "Batsman" but it's surprising that his Test batting average 37.4 is more than many recognised test batsmen in Pakistan cricket history, like Rameez Raja, Mohsin Khan, Aamir Sohail, Qasim Omar, Sadiq Mohammad etc....... i am sure every reader will be surprised to see the name of these so-called "accompalished batsmen".

  • Farhan on March 2, 2007, 14:38 GMT

    It is very sad for me to say that neither Pakistani players nor the PCB officials have the knowledge about the cricket rules and regulations and I think it is one of the main reasons that brings up a new controversy everyday in the field and off the field. I believe that no one has ever read the ICC's rules or laws manual and this lack of knowledge has caused nothing else but embarrassement not only for the players or PCB but for the whole nation. However, one fact none of us can deny is that ICC is always harsh on PCB and they want to suppress Pakistan under their influence.

  • ali on March 2, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    Its hard for me to digest that many of the ppl are arguing about razzak being a liability in the team , razzaks,s exclusion as a blessing in disguise...dont try to over work that small tiny brain of yours otherwise you will also be desperately needing a brain transplant like kamran bhai has suggested for the pcb guys... its too unrealistic to expect every player to be an imran or a kallis ...but razzak is by no means a bad allrounder infact the only genuine allrounder ..he may have not been at his best recenly but is definately a big mtch player ...how many players do you have in your line up that can play under pressure ?? go out and check the stats since you dont really watch cricket rather enjoy on debating on useless topics..more often than not razzak performs under pressure ....look at his stats before you start blabbering his overall batting avg is 30 and bowling avg is 31 has scored 5000 runs and has claimed 235 wickets...shoaib akhters average is 31 guls average is 30 asifs average is 31 and azhars bowling average is 39 , his batting average is 18 and he is comming after a gap of many years ...because of his connections he has bee successfull in throwing razzak out of the team who has no injuries according to dawn....he is a match winner its as simple as that and there is no room for argument ..stats dont lie ...while you guys are screaming about kallis ...u should also consider the batting rank of kallis to that of razzaks ...the poor lad has unselfishly played in any situation in any rank...and i bet you go and check azhars not outs ..and his one century if you were to exclude that out of the equation your batting idol would rank around 8 or 9 and that also due to the courtesy of playing meagerly ..his job was just to rotate the strike...also check your pinch hitters outstanding strike rate....razzak i feel bad about this lad ...has unselfishly given his wicket away for the team in order to make quick runs all the time...i bet if he was playing up the order without the resposibilty of hitting sixes in every 3 balls he would have easily averaged 40 odd

  • ali on March 2, 2007, 12:29 GMT

    We need a foil for every pinch hitter. If I were Inzy, (with this team) I’d open Imran with Younis. (Imran being the pinch hitter and Younis taking singles feeding the strike to the hitter); and depending on who got out, replace the hitter with a hitter and the strike rotator with another.

    Pinch Hitters would be: Imran Azhar Afridi Akmal Shoaib Malik Hafeez

    Strike rotators would be: Younis Yousuf Inzy

    Dear hussain ...i dont really understand as to what you think...but it doesnt make any sense to me....1) afridi he is the only pinch hitter agreed 2)shoaib malik is not a pinch hitter forgod sake dont tell me that ..in recent times how many sixes hs he hit ??? if he tries his level best he gets caught a good couple of yards before the boundary ...he is a dependable guy who can score his quota of runs and can make partenerships ...3) akmal is a proper batsman not a pinch hitter 4) hafeez is an aggresive opener not a pinch hitter 5)imran is an attacking batsman not a pinch hitter.

  • ali on March 2, 2007, 11:54 GMT

    According to dawn sources...razzak was not excluded from the world cup due to injury ,more mystery lies ahead...azhar has very good contacts this is the second consecutive world cup in which he was given the go signal at the last minute and this is not a coincidence .Hours before razzaks injury report came out azhar was given the go signal according to dawn...the pcnb later stated that razzak had broken a ligament and it would take a maximum of 3 weeks for him to recover..according to a renowned medical expert there is no way in this world that razzak could have broken a ligament....the only way that you can sustain that sort of an injury is if you were playing on hard cement and you fell on your weight..and if there is any truth in the pcbs statement this would be the first case in medical history..anways all the administrators that we have are mentally scard and i agree with kamran that a brain transplant might be immediately required .They have made a mockery out of us ... the excuses that they are giving have no basis at all..they have an expensive phsio and trainer appointed at their disposal and yet ther are gg to london makes no sense..they are fooling no body but themselves...when later the drug issue will be revealed it will even be more embarrassing. As for you guys who seem to be relying false hopes on azhar mehmood....the world cup is not far away we will see how big a player have we sent wgo will tear the opponents apart with his majestic batting and fatal bowling ...i dont understand as to what is the defination of an allrounder ...a person who bowls medium pace with a track record of 18 runs is an allrounder? so are you all implying that only asif was a tailender and mc grath besides them is everybody an allrounder ?? if gr8 allrounders like azhar mehmood start coming up all the time than we will probably have to remember the old times when there were a couple of tailenders ...in 2010 ..oh we recall there were a couple of tailenders in the past ...one i can remember is mc grath.... he is comming after so many years in international cricket do you think that he will be able to sustain the pressure of international cricket and would he be able to perform under pressure ? and was he a gr8 allrounder prio to that...i am afraid this point is very weak...atleast have some respect for the allrounders in the world...they would be embarrased to death if they heard that azhar mehmood is an llrounder...rana naved has an average of 14 ...and i can assure you with his batting technique if he was sent a little earlier in azahars place he would average morethan azhar..and he can also hit sixes...he doesnt have to throw his bat on 1o balls to hit a boundary...when azhar mehmood came back every one started screaming as if they had seen a ghost azhar azhar he is back...the gr8 paki legend and you know what his track record against south africa is amazing...yes we have found the wuizard..and we have seen a glimmer of his brilliance in south africa and much more is to follow ...afridi is not an allrounder...i dont know as to what is wrong with you guys ,afridi is a specialist one day bowler an in the present bowling options he is a trump card ...i have no doubt that his place in the team is fully justified from his bowling...he plays once in ten matches ...if there is an improvement thats a bonus...bt you cant rely on his batting....you would be better off putting him out of the equation...if he plays thats a bonus...i find it very hard to digest as to why we have so many mentally scard ppl in pcb...waqar was doing an excellent job and they threw him out too...this is what you get when you are in pakistan...his presence was definately a very big bonus..look at umar gul...during waqars coaching his bowling improved considerably...the only genuine allrounder that we had was razzak and they threw him out of the equation ...if it was on the basis of current form...half of the pakistani team shouldnt be playing...inzamam batting form has been slump...akmal drops catches on a routine...imagine if he drops a catch of ponting in a crucial match ?? his 15 -20 runs wouldnt help you then..look at rana ?? look at the openers?? ..who do you think deserves to play in the team ?? than why razzak ?? he is a potential match winner and there is not even a shadow of doubt in it ..he is the most reliable lower order player we have had in a long time...he can attack..he can defend and he can play under any situation ...he is a pressure player...and as far as his bowling is concerned...he takes all the crucial wickets..the big ones....tendulkar has been his regular victim...how many good players..big partenerships ?? inzamam is at fault h should know how to use him and if he was a little out of form in bowling inzamam should have encouraged him...

  • Dr Fareed Nasir on March 2, 2007, 10:35 GMT

    Just cancelled the days off I had taken for the world cup matches. I dont know who is to blame for this debacle. Players, I think so both of them shoul hav had more sense. PCB, Hmmm Maybe they have supported their players this time and nothing wrong with that. ICC, yes again perhaps they are quite harsh when it comes to Pakistan and Srilanka. India the other 3rd world country is exempted because of their hold on cricket economy. Not much else to say now. Give it a go boys and if you can pull something off, you will be heroes, if not we wont be surprised or dismayed. We are expecting it already.

  • Abdullah Faiz on March 2, 2007, 10:18 GMT

    Abdul Razzaq is a huge loss. He was a true match winner. Azhar is a good all rounder but is his role in the team defined? Every cricketing nation has selected its team according the player's role in the team, but only Pak seem to be out of sorts. There is no combination.

  • Shahid Afzal on March 2, 2007, 10:08 GMT

    I would only say that this may not be our best team but the boys are now on their way to the Caribbean and they are looking to us for support.

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg, VA, USA on March 2, 2007, 9:38 GMT

    I agree with ILoveUSA and other commentators view, that both Hayden and Symond's comments against Shoaib Akhtar and Asif were in breach of ICC code of conduct. Ultimately it shows that teams like Australia felt intimidated by this Pakistan fast battery duo and were relieved to see that the two won't be in the Pakistan Squad.

    Its time for Rana, Sami and Gul to take the helm, and put the fear of God in those opponents who have dishonored their team mates.

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg, VA, USA on March 2, 2007, 9:28 GMT

    Now that the cat is out of the bag and both Shoaib Akhtar and Asif are mysteriously not a part of Pakistan's World Cup campaign, the fans and the selectors have to speculate Pakistan's chances. The team is certainly much weaker without its two specialist fast bowlers. There can be no real replacements for these two pacemen. Some opponents in breach of the ICC code of conduct have made trash statements against Shoaib and Asif and the delirium clearly shows a sigh of relief taken by the opponents as they find Pakistan attack weakened by the exclusion of the main strike bowlers.

    Now our Pakistan team is clearly an under dog in this World Cup. But they can still make the last four by playing excellent cricket, and who knows after that a little bit of luck can take them all the way.

    So we must keep faith in our team, support them wholeheartedly and hope they can pull it off in spite of huge odds.

    "GO PAKISTAN GO". GOOD LUCK TO THE PLAYERS AND THE MILLIONS OF FANS.

  • shabbir is playing 3rd domestic game on March 2, 2007, 8:35 GMT

    what the hell is going on. After the worldcup squads announcement Shabbir ahmed is playing his 3rd domestic game and he is looking at his peak. Why Pcb sucksss that he is injurd? why he is not included.?

  • faraz hashmi on March 2, 2007, 7:54 GMT

    i beleive we should have picked up a rookie left arm bowler, sami ullah niazi, someone different, something different, and definetly as i wrote in my earlier comment salman butt, i dont find any problems in this team, i believe the shadow is cleared and thankgod we know where we stand, Inzi should bat at 4, Shoaib Malik/Hafeez should be rotated as openers with Imran Nazir, while Umar Gul should open the bowling with Rana, Sami can't control the new ball , should be disciplined with wides and no balls,i am worried about the bowling slightly but we have only one option what Australia has already planned, start chasing and we have chased majority of huge scores on flat tracks even in india, reason,right and left combination and salman butt scoring 100's from the top, i dont find hafeez as a reliable player who could stay after making 40. What if we have to chase 330 plus against ind,aus,sa. So the batting has to more proactive,everyone is expecting afridi as the finisher, i play em somewhere around the 3rd powerplay! I pray umer gul deliver the goods, just one question are we expecting any more injuries/replacements?

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on March 2, 2007, 5:04 GMT

    PCB response to Malcom Speed:

    Dr. Nasim Ashraf's latest response to Malcolm Speed can be regarded as reactive and not proactive.

    Again, a far cry from a well planned strategy.

    God bless PCB hierarchy and those responsible at the helm of affairs.

    Let's call for a change at the top now rather than later.

  • Nasser on March 2, 2007, 4:51 GMT

    I had virtually no reaction this morning as I read the news about Shoaib and Asif being ruled out of the World Cup. I suppose I was expecting it and almost wanted this to be over with so that we could all move forward. At this point, it is pointless to speculate about why the duo is missing. The key is to get the other 2 players, Yasir and Sami, in the right mindset. Sami has been playing and training but it is unclear how well prepared Yasir Arafat is for the tournament. He will likely get a few games. He can be a handy player because he tends to bowl straight and can bat well down the order. So let's hope he is in decent nick.

    The team's success though is going to depend on the consistency of our middle order, the all-round ability of Malik and Afridi, and the pace-bowling of Umar Gul. These 6 players will have to have a great tournament for Pakistan to make the semis. The other guys will have to play their roles somewhat adequately.

    As for the PCB, virtually every criticism of their conduct on this blog is justified. They have clearly demonstrated themselves to be completely incompetent. Regardless of the outcome of the World Cup, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the PCB. It is quite incredible that they have been allowed to operate in this manner for so long. And it is hard to believe what a poor job the good doctor has done in such a short period of time. The only silver lining in all of this is that it can not possibly get any worse as far as the PCB is concerned.

    And to my fellow Pakistan cricket fans, I would suggest a carribean attitude to watching their team. Enjoy the cricket and have a good time. Don't get caught up in the result! There is always next time.

    BTW, it is not a bad idea to find another team to support. I would suggest: West Indies, Sri Lanka, or New Zealand.

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on March 2, 2007, 4:47 GMT

    Shoaib and Asif continue their trips to London:

    It's a far cry from a well planned strategy. What a fiasco! The trips to London were just a cover up.

    It is sad and bad news at the same time. The team supporters have been left high and dry.

    The PCB as the governing body could have handled this whole issue a lot differently. Now, the much dreaded mud slinging would be unavoidable.

    Anyway, the truth is bound to come out in its entirety soon as to who was the master mind behind all this. False hopes were raised in the process leading up to this ugly scenario. The image of Pakistan cricket and PCB at large has been tainted further.

    Like Australia, most other leading contenders have already formulated their game plan and that includes Plan A, Plan B and a Plan C to fall back upon depending upon how things proceed on a given day so that the teams can resurrect the innings again, should a specific plan fail or not yield the desired results.

    PCB is struggling even to put together eleven standing players. At best they find themselves scrambling to make up the numbers.

    A far cry from a well planned strategy and a game plan that works. God bless PCB hierarchy and those responsible at the helm of affairs.

    Come March 13 - Let the World Cup Begin!

  • Roger Bond,Australia on March 2, 2007, 3:35 GMT

    INJURIES????????WHAT a FARCE. Well the PCB is jusdt like the fans. In a state pf denial the its dope dope dope amd dopers all around paki team

  • wasim saqib (detroit) on March 2, 2007, 1:18 GMT

    So much has been said about the selection,i would say "It is what it is" Now the key to success lies in Leadership and so far Inzimam Have not exhibited through his actions or words that he has any intention of providing any leadeship,He has aleady submitted his head is down and that will be the most devastating thing for our team. If we look at his physical performance either he hides behind his back injury or bats too low down the order and hides behind the younger players. As far his words are concerned He made several statements in which he seems to be mentally preparing the nation for a loss. I admit that our team is going through extra ordinarily tough time but all the other teams are also going through some problems,if we have lost shoaib and Asif,look Australia have lost Brett lee And symonds also they have to bear the loss of recently retired senior players,Newzealand have lost Oram,India is worried about sehwag and Pathan England is also worried about their captain and K.Peiterson. No team is free of problems but ihavnt seen any other captain so demoralized. He should behave like a cornered tiger and lead from the front but all of his effort is focused towards how he can save his ass after the world cup.Can somebody from the Pcb tell him that he has to show fighting spirit and has to lead from the front or his ass will be history. Now its upto him whether he puts up a fight or hides behind his back injury during the second round.

  • Kamran Raja on March 2, 2007, 0:56 GMT

    inshallah pakistan will be allright despite the loss of shoiab, asif and abdul razzaq, we could give a good performance. I agree with Manohar Karki, its not the batting they got problem with, asif and shoiab would have been vital in our attack but we got gul and rana too, hopefully the bowling will be okay.

  • Razoo Badmash on March 1, 2007, 22:54 GMT

    Calm down ladies, we can still compete with the best. Sami, Gul and Rana can do the job with Danish as the fourth bowler and Mahmood as the fifth with Afridi and Hafeez giving about 3 to 4 overs a piece. Look for GUL and Sami to be key players. It is time for Sami to step up and be the bowler to replace akthar. Pakistani fans its time for Sami to shine. I feel confident that Sami, Gul and Rana can win it for us! Pakistan Zindbhad, look out for Sami and GUL!!!

  • Atif Subhani on March 1, 2007, 22:38 GMT

    Agreed- Azhar Mehmood has the heart of a lion, a true fighter he is. Not a 'rickshaw' like Razzaq. With all the due respect to his talents and his fans, I hate Razzaq's give up tendency. At least Azhar tries, always shows great courage. He never gave up though being thrown out of the team for no apparent reason. InshAllah Azhar mehmood will prove to be the best if given proper chance.

  • Hafeez (New York) on March 1, 2007, 22:27 GMT

    There is nothing to discuss about Razzaq..I can see Mahmood is better than Razzaq..But he was ignored by PCB for some reason

  • ILoveUSA on March 1, 2007, 21:27 GMT

    kamran abasi do u think hydon and symond didn't break the code of conduct of icc that players shouldn't give the statements against other players? could u post ur blog about this on the cricinfo

  • Faraz, California on March 1, 2007, 20:56 GMT

    Pakistan is not going anywhere beyond super 8 in the world....NOW that we have established that....Kamran I would like to make a suggestion:

    I was going through the news how Australia and England have made their listings of ALLTIME ONEDAY team...maybe we should have a blog about that too..what say?

  • eddy on March 1, 2007, 20:46 GMT

    pakistan has no chance to win the world cup, now that shoaib and asif are out. My personal take is that they are not injured but this is because of their drug scandal which was totally mismanaged by PCB, I am very disappointed in PCB, they are an organization of total unprofessionals

  • Manohar Karki on March 1, 2007, 20:44 GMT

    Responding the topic! I certainly agree with you. Afridi has to be in the team as a bowler. Pakistan's batting is not in much of a problem, the problem is in the bowling. Shahid Afridi compensates his batting with his bowling but we dont notice that. If his runs did not come from the explosive hitting, he would be regarded as a bowling all rounder.

    And his explosive hitting can compensate some runs when the bowlers give away. Like it happened in their last Test/ODI tour of India. He cancelled the excessive runs given away with his batting.

    Although, Abdul Razzaq could produce runs at the end, I think that his replacement Azhar Mahmood can be as handy as Razzaq. Pakistan have too many batsmen too depend on. They need to perform. But they are lacking bowlers and Mahmood fits just fine.

    Either Abdur Razzaq or Shoaib Malik should have been sat out to give genuine bowlers a chance.

    Batting wise they still dont have a problem, they have the openers, Younis Khan, Yousuf, Inzamam and all rounders Shoaib Malik and Afridi. that will be enough. Also, if needed any cobinations of Rana Naved, Azhar Mahmood, Arafat, Sami can hit the bowl hard when needed at the death.

    PLENTY of batting, they have to perform. Unless they perform there's no point adding batsman.

    Kaneria and Rao, need not take that role.

  • chudhary on March 1, 2007, 18:45 GMT

    we have one more now in the all rounders list i.e. Yasir Arafat.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 1, 2007, 18:16 GMT

    THE HORSES have spoken! Finally the penny dropped and the news is on the air that shoaib and asif are not going.......WHO ON EARTH WERE THEY FOOLING?

    Every kid in the world knew that Shoaib and Asif were not injured so much that they cannot play in the WC. Those trips to London were to obtain the dope results privately and even the GOD fearing Inzi Aloo denied that and said, their injuries are not that serious and they shall be coming to the Caribbean! Pack of lies and denials, finally the Tashkent Cat is out of the bag.

    OK Sami you got a free ticket to the Caribben Cruise and take your buddy Yaser Arafat along and perform good reggae and bad cricket!

  • wasim saqib (detroit) on March 1, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    I did some research and would like to correct myself. Pakisatn's first three pool matches are at sabina park,Historically at this pitch the fast bowlers Rule,in last 10 test matches fast bowlers took 252 wickets against 67 taken by spinners. The teams batting second have won 18 times apposing to 10 loses. Lara and collymore enjoy this ground a lot collymore has taken 20 wickets in three tests and lara has scored 1075 runs in 11 matches @ 63. Pakistan has lost both of its OdI's at this venue.

    Pakistan has to play with four fast bowlers I think picking up kineria for this match will not be a good idea as he was ineffective against lara last season, also while batting they should be watchful of collymore and taylor and should milk the bowling of smith,bravo,powell and gayle. During the last 15 ODI's WI won 6 and lost 8. The highest score was 280 by west indies against zimbabwe and the second highest was by Australia 270 against WI.The lowest was 124 by SA. So if we score 270 - 280 on this pitch we will be ok. We should take one game at a time and should leave the baggage behind and focus on what we have got.

  • Mohammad Bhatti va USA on March 1, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Shoiab Akhter .We should be ready to play abouthim I knew about him that he be be trouble for pak.team, if you see his history how many times he has been in trouble for the team, no dout he was a good bowler but he is neaver a team player,this time it is not his injury every one knows it is his doping problem still he thinks that he can miss the world cup and play again we should lern lesson and dup him for good and stop talking about him and give chances to new commers,this is my feeling.

  • Mohammad Rafik on March 1, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    Pakisthan is sucks. I feel shame to be pakisthani. Thay are in news for cheating on steroids, lying and dirty politics wihin the team. When we will learn from our neighbor INDIA. They were reach to final last time and this time they are dark horse to win world cup without any steroid use. Us pakisthani don't deserve world cup and i wish Allah would never bless us this world cup.

  • Sheheryar Khan on March 1, 2007, 17:07 GMT

    With Razzaq out ... I think Afridi HAS to be used down the order at 7 to make use of the last 10 overs efficiently. Now with big names like Akhtar, Asif and Razzaq out, Pak might be labelled as underdogs, which means they have nothing to lose. I hope that may work in favor of the Pak team. Hope ... is a wonderful thing! Good luck Inzi and Pak team. How nice it would be for Inzi to go out in style.

  • Indian Cric Enthusiast on March 1, 2007, 17:07 GMT

    Pakistan without Razzaq, a major loss...a potential Lance Klusener for Paki..

  • nasir on March 1, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    Razzaq is out, that is a blow for Pakistan. Asif and Akhter were expected to be out. PCB should have decided this a long time ago.

    Pakistan at last can move forward and concentrate on the upcoming games. In Arafat they have a good all rounder with some decent domestic and country performances and Sami who has been around for a while and really is lucky to be going to the Caribbean.

    I would have had Yasir in the team but would have picked a younger and newer bowler as a secret weapon for the WC instead of Sami. I would also have not picked Azhar mahmmod and instead sent in another young prosmising all rounder like Fawad Alam or Mansoor Amjad.

  • shehzadd on March 1, 2007, 16:18 GMT

    The only player is missing from the squads is salman butt. He is a very good opener Pak greats have already campared him with saeed anwar. Not including him in the squads is not the slecters fault. but salman don't get approvel by Coach woolmer. when miandad was coach he trained Farhat and Yasir as Pakistans specialist openers and they both have scored record partnerships against Newzeland. but woolmer comes and spoiled them & now they have very faulty techniek. When Salman Butt started his career. He(butt) surprised everyone with his good performance. But when he come under the coaching of Bob woolmer he is no more and woolmer spoiled him too. What can the slecters do now at this stage. so slecters have slected the best available available players 4 the worldcup.I am happy with the slecters about Mohammed hafeez inclusion in the squads. He is a good spinner, Pak will use him as their 6th bowler in the match. As a good spinner if he score plus 20 runs, I think its enough for PaK to get a good start. Imran khan is such a great player but I am surprised by the statement he made about yasir hameed. Imran bhai beleave me I never dare to call u an idiot or fool caz u r a very good person. Please dont rate yasir hameed as a specialist opener for the worldcup. This time u have a very poor judgements sir. U r keep supporting Yasir hameed because he is from peshawar. As u always supported younis khan in the past, Younis is also a pathan. U have the same feelings for Umer Gul. U r a great cricketer Please sir dont do that. Imran farhat is also not a good opener for the worldcup as a specialist batsman. He throw his wicket with the same way towards 2nd slip. But again some ppls r blaming slecters for Imran farhat. thr r always critics,, but,, So well done slecters. This is the best team picked by the slecters & they have very good options to pick thr openers from thr 15 men squads.

  • Javed Khan - Toronto on March 1, 2007, 16:09 GMT

    I agree with Kiran muzammil's views. I think Razzaq was more of a liability than an asset for the last few seasons. Mahmood and Arafat are much better suited for the current team. GOOD LUCK PAKISTAN.

  • Haris Mohiuddin (Dubai) on March 1, 2007, 16:01 GMT

    yea... Razzaq's injury is a BIG blow... and so is, of course, shoaib's and asif's... we now have three key players missing in the 11... and ur rite... Malik & Hafeez have gotta buckle up and do the job... i think that goin with the wind this world cup wont get Pakistan anywhere... west indian pitches are nt australian, or english/south african... therefore, i think they'll have to do somethin different... maybe open with inzi, or younis... u knw, somethin thts nt stupid, yet different... and wise... its time nw... we can only pray & hope that Pakistan come up with somethin special... cause with all the trouble they've benn in, its hard to see a miracle coming... but anyways... my prayers are with the team...

    lets bring the cup back home, guys... inshallah... peace

  • Ahmad Zubairi on March 1, 2007, 15:54 GMT

    Just heard the bad news about shoaib and Asif I think now we will definitely be in semi finals because everyone believe we will not do well and if anything is consistent about our team it is the fact that they never meet expectation and they do better when less is expected of them. We will miss both bowlers and Razzaq but I believe this team still has in it to be in semis at least.In just last two years we have won games against England,India,West Indies,Srilanka without shoaib and Asif and we can do it again I am glad the uncertainity is gone,now lets get on with the game. Good Luch Pakistan

  • AQC on March 1, 2007, 15:50 GMT

    Asif and Shoaib are out of worldcup .. Sami and Arfat are the replacements ... anyone know how good of a bowler Arfat is ... ? game is over ... Pakistan can not win the worldcup, not with the bowling attack we have ... Let me explain, the problem is not that sami, rana, azar, gul, afridi, arfat can not perform, the problem is the other team's (for example, like what happened in SA) batting order will not give any respect to these bowlers, hence these bowlers will be under mental pressure all the time ... the only way to avoid is to produce special bowling overs everytime ... which niether of these are capable of doing ... they can do it once in a while, but not everytime ... I think the discussion seriously should change to what is the team after worldcup, .... Inzi gone, Shoaid Akthar gone, Razaq maybe gone, Yousuf maybe gone, ... what will be the nature of team after that ...

  • Shiraz , Houston, TX on March 1, 2007, 15:21 GMT

    Razzaq out...Asif and Shoaib out...hmmmmm....

    I would like to respectfully state that Pakistan Cricket Team is officially SCREWED IN WC 2007!!!!

  • saad on March 1, 2007, 14:50 GMT

    razzaq was good....azhar is ok ..No Comments.

    Asif & Akhtar two Ace A's droped out of the WC squaq. How dismal this worldcup is turning out to be for us (Pakistanis)

  • kamran Akmal on March 1, 2007, 14:28 GMT

    save you money, do not order WC in north america. the way Pakistan is going to Play. every hard working Dollar you will pay to order the WC package will hurt you. i am done with pakistan cricket team, for ever. i watched them play for last 15 years. and this is last time on this e-amil i am wasting my time. inzi politics, no management skills, Bobs thinking "this place is just a pay check for me" y.khan " i should be the cap". my real name is not kamran but i will be changing it because he S***S so much. the list of players should not ever allow to step into any cricket ground ever. shoaib akhter "never ever" kamran akmal "never ever" Rana Naveed "never ever" Muhammad Sami "never ever"

    if those 4 players are out may be i will watch pakistani cricket.

    i am so glad Shoaib the druggi is out.

  • Ramesh on March 1, 2007, 14:10 GMT

    Hi Kamran, I am diehard TeamBlue follower. But I am also a true admirer of Pakistani talent. You are one team along with India (i hope) who can send the Aussies packing. I really feel you have decent allrounders in Afridi, Malik and Azhar. Razzaq was anyway not doing much. But I have a question which I am sure millions of Pakistani fans also have...Why is your skipper batting just before the tail??? I just cannot comprehend this. He is your best bat. He should be in at No.3 or 4. He is the best guy to guide Pakistan's batting along with Younis Khan and Yousuf.

  • wasim saqib (Detroit) on March 1, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    For Those of you still moaning the ouster of Razzak,have you guys heard the punjabi saying "khedya jai na tey Fitey Moo Godey Da" This is a new tactic to feign injury before key events when you are completely out of form in order to avoid the fall out and hence prolonging your career by another year or two. Nobody is bigger than the sport itself and the honor of the nation, Instead of playing big names we should only play the best eleven, merit is the key to success. So all those moaning for Razzak please look at his record last year. He served the nation well but has nothing left in him.

  • S. Sheikh on March 1, 2007, 14:05 GMT

    What a dilema it will be a miracle of a miracle that Pakistan win the world cup know. Both Akhtar and Asif as was expected are officially out Gul 90% fit. With Sami & Arafat in they should play with all the arounders to bear the bowling burden they do'nt have to take wickets just keep good line & length and restrict runs and hope for the best. As for the PCB it needs a big time clean up all this big shots sitting warming chairs and hatching eggs should kicked out and the new pannel start working on for the 2011 world cup. Best of luck for our team.

  • ahmed faraz on March 1, 2007, 14:05 GMT

    I like comments by "ILOVEUSA", I think Fawad Alam is a very good player, he needs a chance. Other thing is WHY WE ARE KEEP PICKING SAMI? Shoib and Asif are out of the world cup, can't we pick up a good bowler from whole Pakistan? Bowling was never an issue for Pakistan since Bob Wooooooooolmer arrieved. I still think because of him Asif and Shoiab are out.

  • Neral on March 1, 2007, 13:38 GMT

    Where is Saqlain? Don't give me cr@p about injuries, Pakistan have ruled out their best spinner who can be handy with the bat due to team politics.

  • Owais on March 1, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    No one seems to mind that we have the WORST wicket keeping all rounder in our team. Yes, Kamran Akmal did not deserve a birth, in his place Inzi should have had Moin or Latif but I guess Inzi goes for someone who can be lead. He does not want any more leaders. Fair enough, too many leaders on the team has also been a problem for us for too long.

  • Ali Khan, Cambridge on March 1, 2007, 12:50 GMT

    Well, the cat is finally out of the bag! Something that had been universally anticipated: Asif and Akhtar are out of the WC. Unfortunate as it is PCb had no other choice. After all it does not make sense to risk the careers of two of the finest fast bowlers of this era for a WC campaign that is already in tatters. What PCB could have done though was to give Arafat some more opportunities on the international stage. Infact Pakistan shouldn't have played Akhtar in SA and instead given Arafat a decent run. I believe we still have an incisive bowling attack but the problem is that there are far too many bowlers out of form or recovering from niggling injuries. I dare say had Rana been in form and Gul not injured we would still had a great bowling line up. Alas it was not to be. Without Razzaq, Akhtar and Asif our WC seems as good as over. But you never can tell with Pakistan can you? Here are a few suggestions that I would like to make (not that anybody is listening!):

    1. We need to reformulate our bowling plan, giving a central role to spinners. Kaneria, Afridi and Malik should bowl half of the overs.

    2. We have to play Malik in top 3. Maybe even open with him. He is the only one apart from the big 3 who has the temprament of building an innings.

    3. Afridi must bat in the lower middle order and together with Akmal, Mahmood/Arafat try to get big runs in the end. This is the only way we can compensate the loss of Razzak.

    4. We should all start praying that Gul is not rusty and Rana rediscovers his wicket taking ability.

    Pakistan are clearly underdogs now. This is not necessarily a bad thing. At least this should take the pressure of expectations off the likes of Nazir, Afridi, Hafeez and Malik and allow them to play their natural game.

  • Javaid Abbasi, Des Moines, Iowa, USA on March 1, 2007, 11:56 GMT

    Inzi will have to lead from the front - like Imran did in the 1992 world cup - if Pakistan are to perform decently in this World cup. Inzi himself was there, a member of that victorius World cup team led by Imran, and he saw it all first hand. In that world cup , Imran led from the front. Amongst the many ways he led from the front, one was to elevate himself in the batting order to # 3 position and that clearly sent a message to his team mates as well as to the opposition - he was taking the fight to the other team and was showing his aggresive approach. His players must have been very encouraged by that move and that brought out the best from them. Psychologically, the other team players will also try to perform to their maximum when they see what extra effort their captain is putting in. Thats exactly what Imran did in that 1992 world cup and it paid dividends as Pakistan emerged victorius. What Inzi should do is bat at a higher number, may be # 4, if not 3. With Shoaib and Asif out of the tournament - and thank God justice is finally done - Pakistan will be relying a lot on their batting.

  • saqlain on March 1, 2007, 11:48 GMT

    pakistan has wasted alot of money on these players, specialy shoib aktor , pakistan have so much provity i think the money we wasted on person who is ediot he is not our hero he drinks he take drugs he is after womens he can't be pakistani he should not in pakistan cricket. i know this is not the topic here but i am so up set about this .

  • Majid on March 1, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    Well after hearing all we have about Shoaib and Asif, it's hard for me to believe that Razzaq is actually injured. I don't know it could just be me being skeptical. Missing these key players could just be a blessing in disguise (I am hoping). The players that we are taking are more likely to give everything they got to win a match. We might have been a little over confident with Shoaib, Asif and Razzaq in the side.

    To be completely honest I don't care what happens in the world cup as far as Pakistan is concerned. I just want to watch an exciting tournament. What I do want to see at the end of the world cup is some major changes at PCB. PCB is a dysfunctional unit where almost everyone is incompetent SOBs. This includes the board, the ad-hoc committee and the selectors. Get rid of them all and start over with effective checks and balances on everyone. We need to stick with Bob and the trainers but get rid of the decision makers.

    We need to have paid selectors who can be held responsible for their actions and would actually have something to lose if they got fired. The current selectors have full time jobs outside of PCB and I believe selection is something they do in their leisure time as a fun activity. Why they are not held responsible for anything is beyond me. The so called doctors/nutritionists that we have are not doing so well either. The two players involved in doping have taken most of the blame. They are responsible...no doubt about that and they should and will face consequences in due time. I would also hold the board responsible. If their careers are affected then the people who employed them and were responsible for their diet plans via nutritionist should also be held accountable and punished far more severely for their incompetence. I don't understand the deal with our board giving out tour to tour assignments to assistant coaches (bowling/fielding). What can you accomplish in one tour and how dare you assess someone on the basis of that when you (the board) haven’t been able to toss up a CONSTITUTION for YEARS now. I don't question the selection of Imran Nazir, Danish or Azhar. I question the timing. Why weren't they given more time and matches before the world cup? Why weren't they tossed in the team when a not so strong West Indies visited Pakistan? Why are you willing to give Abdur Rehman a go at the international level in ODIs and not play Danish (considered the best spinner in the country as he is an automatic selection in test cricket). Why bring in Imran Nazir now after so long when he has done quite at the domestic level for some time now.

  • saqlain on March 1, 2007, 11:45 GMT

    pakistan has wasted alot of money on these players, specialy shoib aktor , pakistan have so much provity i think

  • Mohammed Munir - Sharjah, UAE. on March 1, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    Finally, we all now know the most expected news that Shoaib and Asif are NOT going to World Cup (for reasons, we all know).

    However, just for a minute, think about the mental as well as physical preparedness of the substitutes (Sami and Yaser) who are out of real action for a long time and who did not know till yesterday that they are in the squads. They (Sami and Yaser) were not even considered good for the South African tours and now they are in for the World Cup.

    GREAT ..... all the ingredients for an exciting World Cup are completed now.

    The irony, though, is that some seemingly sensible Pakistani fans still believe that we have a chance !!

  • Chacha Koora Kirkit on March 1, 2007, 11:03 GMT

    Khurran Malik I think you are very wrong on this one! Name me a recent match winning performance by Razaq excluding the Karachi Test v India. Razaq is the most over rated cricketer in recent memory. He is a bits and pieces player who only knows slog or block.

    You didn't happen to watch Razaq against Australia where he scored about 6 after facing about 56 balls, and he was batting with no. 11!

    Razaq is in the team because of his background. Pakistan now have more of a chance of making an impact without him.

  • syed farid ehtisham on March 1, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    well, i think Mr kamram has said right about allrounders, espceially after the exclusion of razzaq. I will support those comments who have given Azhar mehamood edge ove razzaq. It's no doubt about it that in last ten vers, no one is better than razzaq. But, the problem with razzaq was that he was not at peak of his form, look at his performance in SF tour. So, azhar was definitely the better choice. Now, please please please i request all thosse cricket lovers who support paksitan with core of their heart, whatever the players are available or whatever the situation paksitan is facing, they need fully support and backup of all of us. As you all know in event like this, who handle the pressure well in crunch situations, will win. We should not increase pressure on our team pakistan, we shluld not critise more now, as our team has been passing already many toug situations these days. VBEY VERY VERY BEST OF LUCK PAKSITAN TEAM, WE ALL WISH YOU GOOD LUCK. INSHALLAH. GOLD HELP THOS WHO HELOP THEMSELVES.

  • Muhammad Yousaf on March 1, 2007, 10:19 GMT

    Well!Azhar is a good player but not like Razzaq.Pakistani team will really miss him,because he is a very effected player especially in last overs he really hits hard.This is a big blow for Pakistan.It was predicted by the experts that Razzaq would be very effective in carribean with the ball.Anyway let's see.

  • A.R.Zaidi on March 1, 2007, 9:20 GMT

    Another blow! Shoeb and Asif both r out too. Sami and Yasir Arafat come in. This is now getting unbearable, sooo many injuries! yes i agree with those who say that PCB should get rid of Woolmer and Inzi if team does not perform well in World Cup. It would have been much better, had PCB sent young players in this tournament because we know Inzi, Azher and some others r already past their prime. Lets hope miracles happen.

  • Mike on March 1, 2007, 8:59 GMT

    I am most disillusioned with cricket after learning today of Asif and Akhtar's fate. It is obvious that they are in London for reasons other than visting doctors to consult on injuries. Akhtar's hamstring under normal circumstances (injured more than a month ago in SA) would have healed especially by the time the business end of the world cup comes into effect. Asif on the other hand was bowling absolutely fine (and brilliantly) in the last one day against SA. And reading in between the lines, the type of elbow niggle would also be fine by the super 8's.

    It is glaringly obvious that their ommission from the world cup is only to do with the drug scandal. Why of all people did they miss out on the compulsory tests performed by the rest of the team ? Why did they play in South Africa ? AND WHY are the world's cricketing authorities trying to pull the wool over my eyes as a true and honest cricket fan ? They are not playing because they are CHEATS and not to do with injuries. I am so disappointed with you for insulting me and the public with more lies......You, the authorities are just as guilty as match fixing, because this is just that - dishonesty and you have no respect for the good name of cricket.

  • Prashanth Reddy on March 1, 2007, 8:46 GMT

    Well, who is ready to believe that Shoaib and Asif are actually injured, unless you are feigning like the duo!! How stupid should one be to believe this?!?!?! Why wouldn't these guys take dope tests even if they are injured? What's the need for PCB to encourage all this drama??!! I think ICC should be more proactive in eradicating drugs from cricket. It is totally unfair to others. Shoaib chucks, takes illegal drugs to enhance his performance......now what else......he is not man enough to play cricket, as simple as that.

  • Amin on March 1, 2007, 7:59 GMT

    Without Shoaib,Asif and Razzaq they shouldn't even bother going to the World Cup. Its going to end up being another World Cup disaster.

  • jessi on March 1, 2007, 7:27 GMT

    Forget Razzaq! The big one went down today. Even PCB could no save Asif and Akhtar. I am not Pakistani, but I love to watch Asif bowl. What a pity that the board could not avoid this mess. Oh well, I guess Inzi and Afridi have their jobs cut out. 100s each in alternate games.

  • Ziaul on March 1, 2007, 7:18 GMT

    The withdrawal of Abdul Razzaq from the team at the last minute due to knee injury is blessing in disguise for Pakistan. Firstly, Razzaq was not in a great form either with the bat or ball and Mahmood is fresh from his recent performances as we heard from few reports. Razzaq's bowling in S Africa was simply pathetic and just a shade better than Rana Naveed on the lively and bouncy pithes where bowlers like Andrew Hall and Kallis ripped through the Pak batting line up in 4 of the 5 matches. Secondly, as the fast bowling duo of Shoaib and Asif are out of the equation team needs someone who can bowl well and compensate atleast 10% of what they would have done. Mahmood is nowhere near the duo but certainly far more better than Razzaq on the present form. As far as 100 runs in last 10 overs is concerned Mahmood is as good as Razzaq in hitting big blows and with the help of players like Afridi, Akmal and anyone from top of the order he can be devastating on his day. For that Pakistan need do save atleast 6 wickets in hand at the 40 over mark. Batting is not a concern for Pakistan these days its the bowling which is harming the cause of the team.

  • Sajjad Junaidi on March 1, 2007, 7:17 GMT

    Kamran, all I can think of now is a very old Filmi dialogue. AB INHE DAWA KI NAHI DUA KI ZAROORAT HAI

  • z.ahmad on March 1, 2007, 7:14 GMT

    Shoaib and Asif out of the World Cup, sami n arafat named replacment. NO way pakistan can will a world cup.. i'll be surprised if they make it to semi

  • Farhan Arif on March 1, 2007, 6:55 GMT

    Hint for Kamran: Next topic for PakSpin: "(Absence of)Opening fast bowlers"

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg, VA, USA on March 1, 2007, 6:55 GMT

    In less than two weeks the first ball will be tossed to commence the World Cup and a number of teams are already in the Carribean for this great sporting event.

    Pakistan is still coming to terms with its injuries and Abdur Razak the most recent victim does not help the predicament of the selectors. Azhar Mahmood is a natural replacement and can be effective, if not better, considering Razzak's recent form, which at best has been very sketchy. Razzak's contribution to Pakistan cricket is an enviable fact, but he is no longer as consistently destructive in slog sessions of the innings and his bowling has lacked pace.

    Razzak's absence may be cushioned by Azhar. Azhar had a good run last season in County Cricket, while Razzak was plagued with poor form with the ball, inconsistent batting,less than perfect fielding. Azhar is a better bowler, decent batsman and a good fielder. Azhar clearly lacks match practice at international level, and has shown some fitness conerns.

    Pakistan Cricket team can light up the field and live up to the expectations of their supporters relying on good performance from their key players: Inzy, Yusuf, Yunus, Afridi (on his day), Shoaib Akhtar and Asif. The key to success will be the fitness and form of Shoaib. The All-rounders will come in to play. Led by Afridi the cast of Shoaib Malik, Hafeez, Kamran Akmal and Azhar Mahmood can be the difference between wining and losing.

    Never discount the possibility of some aggressive and extraordinary play from this Pakistan Squad, which in my opinion should be a priority in both victory and defeat.

  • Talal Hasan on March 1, 2007, 6:48 GMT

    Even though Razzaq, akhter and Asif are out.

    I still think Pakistan have a chance of getting to the semis. We need to win at least 4 games in the super 8 stage. I think we have the ability to beat 4 teams. I think in regards to the allrounders we should play mahmood, malik and afridi when he is unbanned. So Afrdi's replacement should be hafeez for the 1st 2 games.

    We need the allrounders who can contain the batsman whilist bowling and has the ability to play vital innings whilst batting. So i believe malik, afridi and azhar are the men.

    P.S. LETS CHEER FOR ENGLAND !!!!!!!!!!!

  • muhammad -USA on March 1, 2007, 6:22 GMT

    as a pakistani fan living in USA, I have no more interest in the world cup. I am not that stupid to spend 200 dollers just to waste my money and time to watch losing all match of pakistan after shoaib and afif out from the worldcup.

  • Anwar on March 1, 2007, 6:21 GMT

    I think good teams rise to the occasion and fight with the resources availible, and i personally think its a very good team if the team stands with possitive approach, and every one seems to be saysing that even the captain,coach that if shaoib and asif are availible we might do well, it seems strange most of all inzi, the captain provides confident to the team in crises but he him self is behaving kike a loser before any thing has started, pakistan have done well without shoaib and asif before, and talking about razzak i think mahmood is a good replacement. for me it is a very good team, the only thing lacking is self belive and confidence, i wonder where they are going to find that from. Never the less something they are not missing is the best wishes from pakistanies all around the world.

  • Harry Iyris on March 1, 2007, 6:18 GMT

    Abbasi sir, The latest news is Shoib and Asif are out of WC due to injury . pl. post the topic Road to Jamaica 3: The Bowlers. thanks

  • ILoveUSA on March 1, 2007, 6:05 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi could you pls ask ICC where is there code of conduct about players shouldn't talk about ICC or other issues. what i have seen this code of conduct is only for asian teams, look at what hyden and symond said about shoaib and asif, they have any rights to said these things? where is now icc code of conduct? why not they spoke when shane warne tested +ve. if they can talk any player can talk whatever he wants. is icc blind? why they have so many people if hyden and symdond are handling this issue. i think pcb took strong action against them

  • ILoveUSA on March 1, 2007, 5:51 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi u have approach to pcb could ask why they didn't select shabir ahmed i think he is pakistan best fast bowler after shoaib akhter. pcb took the decision so quickly and picked the two craps sami and yasir afraf. they should think who can bowl the circle and last over for pakistan

  • Mohsin Malik - San Francisco Bay Area on March 1, 2007, 5:30 GMT

    Razzaq's Injury adds twist to on-going drama:

    Sad turn of events continue for the Pakistan team en-route their ill-fated (hope not) trip to the Caribbean’s for participation in the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

    As if the on-going drama concerning Shoaib & Asif was not enough, Razzaq's last minute exit from the squad is all but an untimely blow. Let’s hope that Razzaq’s absence from the squad does not disturb the balance of the team, too drastically.

    Many would continue to label his replacement as unequal, based upon Razzaq’s impressive averages and statistical record both with the bat and the ball and given the fact that we will hardly get to see a glimpse of the old Azhar Mahmood now that he is past his prime. Azhar may still prove the pundits wrong and deliver an above average performance against the odds.

    Let’s hope so!

    Well, he better contribute like the other bits and pieces, if they stand a chance to share the spoils of this World Cup collectively, in terms of the handsome prize money on offer from the ICC.

    On its part, PCB is making a last ditch effort to infuse some momentum and fighting spirit in the team by providing additional bonuses and incentives.

    Each Pak team player stands to gain financial reward of up to five million rupees individually, if they perform to their potential and the team wins the Cricket World Cup. The financial rewards are gradually reduced if the team makes it to the finals and even semi-final stage of this mega event.

    Now, the fans would be hoping in all earnest that something turns them on and that the team is able to put up a spirited show unlike the spineless performance that was on display in the just concluded SA tour.

    Like other supporters from all around the world, we do extend our best wishes via this blog to the Pakistan team and sincerely hope that it proves as the much needed trigger or the catalyst to team effort and they gel as a functional unit.

    As long as they perform and strike gold, it hardly matters what team permutations/combinations, Inzi tries out in the middle – have had enough of it.

    Will it prove to be the shot in the arm that was lacking in their swings (of the arm) earlier? Will Rana Ji of all others, spring a surprise or two?

    It may sound strange but it’s a stark reality that money is now playing a big time role in this sport, too.

    Come March 13 – Let the World Cup begin!

  • Abdur Razzak on March 1, 2007, 5:00 GMT

    Frankly speaking it's hard to imagine a replacement for Abdur Razzak simply due to his all round ability.Yes, Azhar is being replaced but still the former's experience along with the track record no doubt would make the job difficult for any selector to find a replacement.Since the great Imran Khan & Wasim Akram , the most effective all rounder pakistan has produced is Abdur Razzak. I think he will be missed very badly during the mega event, but the unpredictability of the pakistanis can always be a vital factor in the tournament. Remember they won the only world cup without Waqar Younis who was at his prime form during that season.ll what we can say is Good luck Pakistan !

  • Imran Akhtar on March 1, 2007, 4:24 GMT

    Razzaks absence will be greatly missed. His explosiveness down the order has been exceptional for Pakistan. Azhar though I believe is also not a bad replacement, infact both Azhar and Razzak had made their debuts along the same time, and then there was only one place for a bowling allrounder, Razzak because of his batting strength became permenant. I think Pakistns main strength is its all rounders, and and our strategy should be built around them. With three specialist bolwers, and the rest allrounders, we should be fine.

  • mostakim, morad on March 1, 2007, 4:07 GMT

    i dont think it is a very big deal because azhar mahmood is also a good allrounder. where razzaq is out of from last few match and wasnt fully fit so it is a good decision.if shoaib and asif make the tour then we even dont need azhar we could go with hafeez instead of him because he is a economical and smart bowler and also a good fielder.they could send imran and hafeez to open and then the cruicial is i would prefer inzamam to come at #3 because later on he feel too much pressure and become very defensive. then youhana and then malik because he could play spin and old ball very well and he can take the pressure and go on with that and then younis khan because he is a player who likes to play with singles then followed by afridi and kamran then our three pace trio. if they are all fit.i think its not a bad team. and get rid of naved they should include shabbir in place of naved. and the other thing is they have to click the cruicial matches like semi and final. the key is to click on the right time.

    i think it is better to go with three spinner because the pitch in wi is slow and also we dont have a good pace option.

  • Shahid Faruqui, Detroit on March 1, 2007, 2:25 GMT

    Razzaq is a spent force. He is too weak both physically and mentally. This might be a blessing in disguise. So in a way I am happy he is gone. Hopefully Azhar is going to fire/shine in WI. If somehow Asif can join us, Pakistan can still be a force to reckon with. I think they (other teams) are still afraid of Pakistan (read Matthew Hayden's interview in today's cricinfo although inspite of couple of DOPE experts supporting these two stupid Pakistani heros after the doping thing came forward for the first time). A fit Pakistani team can still be a surprise and delight to all of us. And you all know if they are down and out, they can surprise you. I have a feeling that INZY might not lost the whole tournament. I hope and pray that this do not happen. At any rate, Go Pakistan.....

  • calgary highlander on March 1, 2007, 2:06 GMT

    To: Sri Lankan

    Anybody can choose whtever nmae they would lke to go back as long as the name is not abusive or they are pretending to be someone else that posts comments on this blog.

    Anyways i don't mind losing Razzaq because he is an underperformer. He doesn't bowl or bat well.

    Oh, and if Shoaib n' Asif wanna gain some quick muscle they should with MLB baseballers.

  • Zahid Mahmood Aus. on March 1, 2007, 1:58 GMT

    I think team has been chosen and alomst ready to fly for WC. Now this is not time for criticism but to support our team and you know Pak. is inpredictable team and i believe out team can win WC even with out of Shoib and Asif too. The only need is 3 batsman(inzi, Yousaf, Malik) perform well and in bowling Umer gul, afridi, Rana Nveen bowl accoring to the line and length not do too many experiments just bowl off stamp then WC will be our Inshallah. Pray for that and support them inspite of critiscim.

  • Mawali on February 28, 2007, 23:56 GMT

    Kamran Sahib, should we really be that worried about losing Abdul Razzaq. I have never been a fan of Abdul Razzaq as a cricketer. As an entertainer well now that’s different. The guy possesses some peculiar and funny characteristics. The hairdo is completely out of control and any decent barber’s living nightmare. On top of that he had the unmitigated chutzpah to put on a hat on that mound that resembled a head. From a distance it looked like a rooster after a nasty fight in a man’s body. Love the way the man walks, reminds me of the Karachi day’s with the kudrsa’s walking around saying “chul hut budtameez rupia toa dayta jaa’. Remember we jest cause we care.

    Pakistan has plenty of all rounders, and beard scratchers, in that order. What we need are specialists. We need genuine bowlers. If Pakistan had to pick an all rounder, the choice should have been, yes sir; Yasser Arafat. The guy is young a bonus point in a team that is sporting mostly senior citizens doesn’t matter that the guy can bowl reasonably well.

    Anyhow, God love the man, hope he gets better soon and returns to watching alif noon re-runs on the television.

    Now the dus rupia question? Will Pakistan play like the cornered tigers or the gulley kee billie. It depends; I think they should have kept the entire team in chicken wire cages during the week before departure and should have asked the fans to poke them with sharp sticks. Then perhaps they would have enough anger to play like angry Billie’s. Who knows? AMF!

  • ike on February 28, 2007, 23:27 GMT

    ‘Razzak out Azhar in’ is poetic justice.. no one deserves better than Azhar a chance to break into Pakistan side, Inzy hates him and he makes sure that Azhar remains on the side lines, any day Razzak and Azhar are great all rounder’s, his knee injury has provided Pakistan a chance to have a pinch hitter and a great bowler in shape of Azhar..

    I am little worried about the top order that is failing, Inzi is out of form he got to regain it and captain the side from the front, Yusuf needs to get out of his self imposed Puritanism and get into secular 'cricket,' it is not about 'Allah' by the way .. Cricket is rather anything but Allah..

    Lets get this new cricket mentality of thanks to Allah for our defeats and winnings, Inzi should know Allah has lot more on its plate to worry about..

    World cup is least of Allah’s worry Inzi, get on get some runs on the board and stop this thanks to Allah when you get Tendulakar out through Kenarias bowling or when Zaheer Khan or Irfan Pathan bowls out Muhammad Yusuf the new star convert on the block.. Two nation theory does not work in cricket so does Allah help is not forthcoming in the world cup only thing that would help is who is a better cricketer and what has that split second better judgment than his opponent, it is all about resting, getting sleep instead of long ‘thajud namaz’ and getting prepared for the World cup.. Get real Inzi, it is not a Jihad it is just a game and please stop relying on Allah so much rely on your guts....

  • khansahab on February 28, 2007, 22:46 GMT

    I perceive a common ground on this thread among fans that support Razzaq’s exclusion from the team. They speak about current form. They speak about the idiosyncrasies of Pakistani administration. They speak of complacency, of self-centredness, of having nothing left to prove. They speak about politics. They speak of people not realising from their mistakes. They speak about consistency.

    They speak of the core problems that have plagued Pakistani cricket. They speak of realism. Above everything else, they speak of the truth.

    I am amazed how Razzaq lovers refuse to come out of 1999 and 2003. Times have changed. A great player has finished. Time to give Razzaq a long, long break. If he really has the juice in him left, he will play explosively in domestic cricket and will be welcomed back with open arms. Look at how India treated their former captain Ganguly when he was out of form. Almost everyone was unanimous in his sacking. Look at how New Zealand treated Craig McMillan. Look at how India treated Virender Sehwag. Look at how Sri Lanka treated Russel Arnold and Upul Chandana. Look at how England treated Darren Gough. Are/were these all not key players and matchwinners?

    I remember a saying from “Batman Begins”: WHY DO WE FALL? SO WE CAN LEARN TO STAND UP AGAIN. That is my message to Razzaq lovers and PCB Selection Committee.

  • pendoo on February 28, 2007, 22:35 GMT

    All this is good, I want to know how many players were given an honest chance to play for Pakistan and try out for the world cup....before you answer, let me finish, how many players outside the province of Punjab? It may hit the wrong nerve on some people, but it is the truth.....It is time for PCB to get there house in order. If they were fair then we would not be worried about loosing Asif and Shoaib. The way it looks like now, our attack is going to consist of Rana Naved, who I like very much as a person, he is humble, even when he was bowling good a year ago, but lately, he has been giving runs away as if he got it in his dowry, and no signs of improving, same goes for Sami. Umar Gul is the only guy that somewhat can be trusted. Pakistan batting better pull us out, and better be runnning on all cylinders, because I see our bowlers getting thrown about all around the park, with no mercy. Inzy needs to get our of his slump and use little bit of his brain to captain this ship, otherwise, we will get pissed upon.....

  • Gary Niblock on February 28, 2007, 22:07 GMT

    I'd rather have a young player with potential than a proven failure any day of the week. Seems like most people here differ (better the devil you know lol).

  • Mohammed Zaidi on February 28, 2007, 21:52 GMT

    IF pakistan lose, I will blame selectors !!!!!!!

  • Brian on February 28, 2007, 21:47 GMT

    Hello Pakistani cricket fans, Thank you Kamran for another contentious issue about our allrounders. Please note that we have specialist batsmen or bowlers in Younis, Nazir, Yousef, Inzi, Gul, Asif and Shaoib (if both are OK to play). Aside from Akmal, the keeper, the rest of the players have to be allrounders, such as Malik, Afridi, Azhar and may be Hafeez. What I am trying to say is that we do not have too many good allrounders in our team, and if there is any more injuries or players banned for bad behaviour, it would be very discouraging to the Pak camp and the Pak team will be in deep trouble. At this late stage, with all the controversies and bad luck sorrounding the team things are bound to improve. If the players seize the opportunities, think positively, increase their level of play and play passionately, this Pakistani team can be very exciting and unpredictable just like all other Pak teams, and hopefully with a bit of luck, they can win their 2nd World Cup or come close, INSHALLAH !! Cheers from Brian in Toronto INSHALLAH!

  • Nishant on February 28, 2007, 21:34 GMT

    I don't know suddenly what happened to Shoaib Malik. If I remember watching him, he was more than a decent batsman and far more consistent than most Pakistan batsmen. He was batting at 3 and bowling useful off spinners. Suddenly, he is being wasted at 7 and not bowling as much as he should be. Is Azhar Mahmood case being repeated here? Razzaq is big blow but the fact is that Pakistan needs more bowlers right now than batsmen. Azhar Mahmood might just be blessing in disguise, if he is anywhere close to the player he was at the time of his debut. I feel sorry for Woolmer and Inzy who will get kicked in their butt for poor WC when they don't even know their 15 member team 2 weeks prior to start.

  • Mike Rosario Live from NYC on February 28, 2007, 21:19 GMT

    A recent interview from Inzamam indicated that he is already finding ways to justify defeat in the world cup . Inzamam Quote " It is the bowling that wins matches .." Implies since Shoaib and Asif are doubtful ..if Pakistan loses it is because of lack of bowling depth. Just don't blame the batting ...Inzamam and Woolmer. How pathetic and cowardly can they be....

    Thanks

    Mike

  • Salman Ashraf on February 28, 2007, 21:08 GMT

    I agree with you 100%. razzaq wil be ahuge loss and Afridi will play a big role

  • Ahmed Faraz on February 28, 2007, 21:06 GMT

    Good luck to Pakistan, hope for the best. I hope Asif and Shoib comes back.

    I think Inzy needs to step up like he did in 92, he won his first world cup, and I hope he wins his last as well. He will InshaAllah

  • Khurram Malik (NEWYORK) on February 28, 2007, 20:12 GMT

    Posted by: zain kazmi at February 28, 2007 6:29 AM Reply: Zain Kazmi i dont think you know anything about cricket. Anyhows i dont blame your personal views but it is so wrong of you saying what Rameez Raja refer to " razzaq might have forget playing cricket". Razzaq is quality allrounder and you cant rule him out.If he is not in the team batting line up look week especially in last 10 overs. Zain you need to quit playing with Tape Ball and try to understand real bat& ball game. Azhar isnt as good as Razzaq. Razzaq got heart of lion and on the other hand Azhar is just energetic pathatic bolwer with error line and length. Please be supportives of your team and its players if you real pakistan. Please dont talk like Saleem Altaf or Rameez Raja.

  • Aftab Qureshi on February 28, 2007, 20:05 GMT

    I fully agree with Kamran that Razzaq has been dumped too soon. He should have been taken to WI in the first place with instructions to Azhar to stand by and remain match-fit.

    Razzaq is our most valuable all-rounder, way above the other four--Hafeez, Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Azhar Mahmood--currently in the WC team. His ODI figures speak for themselves:

    EXPERIENCE: 229 ODIs, behind only Afridi's 237 and way ahead of other allrounders'. BATTING: An average of 30.1 (compared to Shoaib's 33.6, Afridi's 23.2 and 18-19 of Hafeez and Azhar), with a scoring rate of 80 (compared to 77 each of Shoaib and Azhar and the dismal 58 of Hafeez). BOWLING:Wickets per match average of 1.1, compared to 0.75-0.87 of the other four. There is not much to choose, however, among their economy rates, which are in the range of 4.43 and 4.68, meaning that the best yields only 2.5 runs less in a 10-over spell compared to the worst.

    In the 18 ODIs that Razzaq played in WI during 2000-2005, he produced his 18 wickets at only 19 runs per wicket, though with the bat he scored only 16 per innings, compared to his overall average of 30.

    To be fair, however, we have to give credit for Afridi's exceptional scoring rate of 108.6 and his ability to demoralize the fielding side and win matches (how many times has he won the man-of-the-match awards?). One also has to consider Azhar's ODI experience in Engalnd while he was out of the Pakistan team. And finally, we cannot overlook Shoaib's versatality and performance as a batsman (he averages 10% better than Younis in ODIs).

    All points considered, Razzaq and Shoaib Malik are probably the only irreplacable all rounders Pakistan have.

    Given current circumstances, the selection of Shahid Afridi is also justified. But I have question marks over Hafeez and Azhar. Hafeez is simply not a ODI player...his batting average is miserable. He can be an opener in tests but only when in form. As regards Azhar, I think what has weighed most in his selection is his experience, which is certainly not unreasonable under the circumstances. However, Kamran is right that he should have been called in only after it became certain that Razzaq for sure would not recover in time.

  • Arif Hussain on February 28, 2007, 20:01 GMT

    100% agree with Amanzeb Khan's comment on crossing the 220 mark by the 40th over. Why does Pakistan take the approach that be 170 by the 40th over and get 100 in the last 10... first of all, these days 270 is not a great score that it once was 15 years ago, secondly asking for 100 in the last 10 is once in 10 time shot. So why base your strategy on a 10% success factor?

    The strength of the Australian batting is the consistent manner in which the collect runs from overs 15-40. They keep taking singles when the bowling is tight and hit the loose ones... getting 6 an over during that period is not impossible or even improbable.

    Our batting thinking caps are stuck in the 1980's when we had 1 or 2 decent batsmen... now a days you need to target 320... this means you need to get about 90 in the first 15 overs at 6 an over first by getting your eye in and then accelerating by hitting over the top during the power plays, then getting 150 in the next 25, also at 6 an over, but this time taking 3-4 singles per over with the field spread out and getting the boundary on the odd loose ball every other over, this puts you at a pretty 240 in 40 overs. Then blast out 80 or more in the last 10 to get to 320. The model can be scaled down based on how many wickets one loses. But the critical element remains to keep chugging at 5-6 during the middle overs. Thats the area where Pakistan has never had a plan (well apart from reacting passively to the opposing team), and is one area that teams like SA and Australia do well and their scores show it.

  • anser azim on February 28, 2007, 19:25 GMT

    I think world cup is full of chances. Pakistan is still a good side and if they give their best on their three last games, Pakistan can still win. Remember in 1992 we played last few games very well and were crowned world champions. However, the very best Pakistani eleven of the 1996 and 1999 world cup team was in my opinion a disappointment. So if we click in those three crucial games we can still win the championship. But inclusion of Shoeb and asif will boost Pakistani chances.

    anser Chicago

  • Nab on February 28, 2007, 19:24 GMT

    I would be the youngest to comment on this blog but my point is only that why do u guys depend on one person.If he is gone bring one who is more accomplished.The other thing is that how quickly we forget the things done by a superstar and then people start saying sarcastic comments.I don't know the mind set of the people that one second they have different opinions and the other second it is totaly changed.Well i wont get in that much in people's mind but i would say that believe in your team support them.Thats all they need

  • Nauman on February 28, 2007, 19:21 GMT

    It's a dilemma that we always discuss what should have been done, rather than what should be done. The squad has been decided, the team is about to take the flight. This is not the time to think who should be on the jet, rather its time to think how to utilize them to the best possible effect. Openers are still a mystery, I know this column is for allrounders but our sub-par openers actually demand batting all-rounders lower down the order to shield their incompitencies. The double blow to Pakistan this time around is lack of quality bowlers. One can easily write-off Asif & Shoaib. Gul has been declared fit but so was he before the SA tour, I am hoping the medical staff did correct assesment. Rana Naved's recent form is evident to everyone, Anjum might be talented but inexperienced & can't recall when was the last time Kaneria made a difference in an ODI. With all this in mind, I 'd have to say that all-rounders will have to play a major role if Pakistan are to end the WC on a decent note (semi-final is a realistic target). I think Pakistan should play Inzamam as opener, which would provide some stability. Yousuf, Younis, Malik & Hafeez can form the middle order. Azhar Mehmood has to play as bowling all-rounder & Kamran Akmal may need to raise his batting to levels atleast better than Azhar Mahmood's. With 3 regular bowlers, plus Azhar Mehmood, plus Shoaib Malik & Hafeez, we can expect Pakistan to work through 50 overs. Inzamam will have to be smart & active with his field placements & bowling changes. The above team composition also gives a better look to our batting line-up, as our best 4 batsmen would be in top-5, and playing roles that they all are capable of playing. With Hafeez down at 6, he 'll be more relaxed, and so would be Akmal & Azhar down below as they all would be expected to launch some big hits freely rather than the pressure of building the big innings. All in all, our main batsmen need to take responsibility and create a stage for batting all-rounders and then bowling all-rounders need to keep it tight & disciplined and blend with the regular bowlers. The regular bowlers again will have to realize thier limitations in skills and experience and should concentrate on doing the basics right. Wish them best of luck; play tight, play right.

  • ILoveUSA on February 28, 2007, 19:20 GMT

    if pakistani will not get into samifinals then the first thing the pcb should do say to goodbye to woolmer and inzi who could't find one opener pair in three years. woolmer and inzi won only series that or played in asia, out side asia their progress is zeror. we have so many crap players in our pool of 30 players and woolmer and inzi pick them again and again from last many years. they should bring the new players not from that pool i mean totally new players like imran ali or Fawad alam. woolmer and inzi killed pakistan cricket

  • Faisal Sid on February 28, 2007, 19:13 GMT

    Gang Green – Pakistan - is going to loose no matter what. We should prepare ourselves for another heart break and disappointment. In 1992 we had a leader that lead from the front- IMRAN - now we have Inzi who is best defined as a lazy maulana who lacks emotion and aggressiveness. He is a cool customer but not consistent, yes he has played some great innings for Pakistan but not consistent enough. Practicing is not for Inzi – he has reached Khalifah category. Abdul Razzaq is past his prime, even though he is only 27, but he has nothing to prove, nothing driving him to succeed, he is just another ‘I am going to be here as long as the selectors fancy me’. Mr. Boom Boom every team has figured him out. He has to change his batting technique and style and bring in an element of surprise – like defend a few overs? His bowling cannot be replaced by any spinner in Pakistan – may it be a specialist spinner or an all-rounder. Why aren’t we infusing new blood into this team? Why did Imran invest in Inzama in the 1992 WC? We need this kind of new blood. Why not give the youngsters a chance – the guys who won the under 19 WC? Why does PCB always bet on lame ducks to perform? Why do they lack vision? Why are they so conservative? You are going to loose the WC so why not you gain something about the future from it? I predict we are going to loose out of the super 8. After the lost they will be some major head cutting. Inzama will be gone, Younis will be his replacement, Zulfi – Zulquinain – would be the new wicket keeper, Shaoib and Asif will continue their careers but will not participate in this WC, no new bowling talent will be experimented with. I sound like a complaining Pakistani Fan because I am a disappointed die hard fan. Staying awake up all night to watch them loose! Fed up of wishing upon a miracle? I don’t know how many of my kind are out there but I am Fed UP! And want results from this team which I know deep inside that they can deliver but when?

  • ILoveUSA on February 28, 2007, 19:12 GMT

    pakistan force was always youn players and quick fast bowlers but not bowlers like sami. sami is waste he played more than 100 matched and he never proved that he is fast bowler. pcs bring him back after every two series just saying that he will perform this time better, but he performs each and every time same. where is shabir ahmed, if shoaib akter i think pak has only best boller and he is shabir ahamed. even shabir is batter than asif.

  • anser azim on February 28, 2007, 19:11 GMT

    I was reading this article and would like to share on the Nandrolone and Shoeb and asif story. These tests are highly contravercial and its metabolites are seen in people who do lots of physical exercise. Clinical Chemistry. 2004;50:355-364.) Background: Nandrolone is one of the most abused anabolic steroids, and its use in doping is increasing, as revealed by numerous positive cases during recent years in various sports. Different authors have reported the possible natural production of nandrolone metabolites in humans, and some of these authors argued that exhaustive exercise could increase nandrolone production in the body or induce dehydration and consequently lead to an increase of nandrolone metabolites in urine.

    Methods: Volunteers (n = 22) ingested two 25-mg doses of [13C]nandrolone at 24-h intervals and collected urine specimens for 5 days. The labeled nandrolone metabolites 19-norandrosterone and 19-noretiocholanolone were identified and quantified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry.

    Results: Interindividual variability was observed in nandrolone excretion patterns and kinetics, as well as for the noretiocholanolone:norandrosterone ratio. The amounts of nandrolone metabolites measured at the excretion peak varied between 1180 and 38 661 µg/L for norandrosterone and 576 and 12 328 µg/L for noretiocholanolone. At the end of the excretion period, the noretiocholanolone:norandrosterone ratio was sometimes >1. The analysis of numerous spot-urine samples allowed the determination of an acceptable correlation between urinary creatinine and specific gravity for placebo- and steroid-treated individuals: y = 0.0052ln(x) + 1.0178 (r2 = 0.8142) and y = 0.0068ln(x) + 1.0172 (r2 = 0.7730), respectively.

    Conclusions: The excretion kinetics and patterns of labeled nandrolone show interindividual variability. More investigations are currently underway to estimate the influence of exhaustive exercises on excretion of labeled nandrolone metabolites in urine.

  • ILoveUSA on February 28, 2007, 19:03 GMT

    where is samiullah niazi? i think pakistan should add one left hand fast bowler in their squad to quick runs in the circle overs.

  • ILoveUSA on February 28, 2007, 19:02 GMT

    what is wrong with inzi why he doesn't want to trust on young players? i think bob has enlgish mentality that less than 20 years players shouldn't add the international level team but he doesn't know in pakistan 20 years doesn't mean they have real 20 years ages. btw imran took inzi, moin and amir sohail with very less experience and they all performed well in the 1992 worldcup. i am sure bob woolmer is killing pakistan's young talent. i am sure azher will prove in the worldcup he is just crap now. look at hos weight and body, and he shoed very poor performance in the SA tour.

  • ILoveUSA on February 28, 2007, 18:56 GMT

    zain kazmi you shouldn't consider south africa's conditions same as WI. can i tell you sachin tendulker's avgs in South Africia, AUS, NZ and England. here is his avgs 26,27,28, and 29 in odis. pls don't consider south african flat track as WI and asian flat tracks, in asian flat tracks ball comes lower the waist height while in SA ball goes always over the waist height on the flat track too.

  • muhammad awais on February 28, 2007, 18:49 GMT

    I am sure PCB will cry when they will see azher's poor performance. In SA series he couldn't hit ball even for singles, how he can hit six or fours. the only two four he hit was big edges to thirdman he missed so many balls on that day. i agree with kamran we should take razak and replace him later. After Imran khan no body now wana give chances to new players, only imran was one person who was used to trust on new and young blood thats why he was successful. WI pitches will be same like SL when fast and spin bowlers both will get help and movement, i think pak should try new guys like Imran Ali khan and jamshaid khan who performed very good in u19 worldcup

  • A.R.Zaidi on February 28, 2007, 18:38 GMT

    It is sad, we r losing everyone. Sad tale of Pakistan cricket before the World Cup. Is it this planning for which Bob Woolmer was paid heavy amounts? Four years were enough time to prepare a formidable side but he has done nothing. We r entering the World Cup with an unfit, out of form team. I dont have any hope that this team will bring home the cup after 15 years. There is no Imran, Miandad, Waseem etc in this side. And if Shoeb and Asif dont play too, can they qualify for the second round? Plz keep in mind that Afridi will also not be available in first two matches.

  • Mohammad Najib Zaman on February 28, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    wow, that is alot of allrounders. i only wish they could all play like imran khan or jack kallis way. in 1992 world cup, each and every one player was playing not only for themselves, not only for dignity, not only for pride, but also for their country. each and every one of them played with passion. today i dont really see much from pakistani players to perform as well. inzi bhai is the captain so lets just stick it to him, "NO" u have to understand that even though there is a captain, each and every one of them have things to be responsible for. only inzi bhai,shoaib malik, younis khan and yousuf bhai from batting side and mohammad asif from bowling side are the only ones who look as part of the team and look like great leaders and really show their pride, i do not like to question anyones ability or anything, but every player need to understand that they are not playing domestic cricket, they are not playing friendly match etc, they are playing for pride, for glory and for victory. afridi bhai have his boom boom way, why cant he be more sensible, he have to understand not every ball with the way he play can be hit to the roof and it is okay to leave and stop a ball or 2, same goes to nazir bro, kamran have a touch of tendulkar but he has really lost his touch since his sensible batting against india in the 3rd test in pakistan, naved and others really need to understand the batsman and experiment with them once in a while, if naved and gul can only hold a ball like wasim akram they will make a deadly difference, hafeez bhai is in form but he lacked as soon as he got in international team. SHOW SOME PRIDE, HONOR, INTEGRITY, AND MOST OF ALL "UNITY".

  • Mohammad Nasir on February 28, 2007, 18:04 GMT

    Writing from Bangladesh. I wish Pakistan would do well, but I am not much confident. To me Shoaib Malik has got the best balance of talents amongst the bunch of the all-rounders. His work-man-like batting capacities should be utilized with better care. And Hafeez is not obviously a class act.

  • Brilliant on February 28, 2007, 17:48 GMT

    First we must define allrounder. All great all-rounders were superb in one department either bowling or batting. Pakistan team has more gap fillers or surface allrounders. You can say South Africa has good all rounder and thats why they are number one. Games are won by genuine players not bit and pieces.

  • ali on February 28, 2007, 17:46 GMT

    When I saw the pakistan team score over 300 against South Africa with almost 4 alrounders in the side, I thought what a fantastic combination of a side, but in the same serious they all got out very miseraly. Unfortunately us all predicting how our players will excel is like playing russian roulett. We have always been a very inconsistent side, (if you recall how we won in 1992 you'd get my point), there is one thing I would like to see Inzamam should act as a leader and take it up front. I hate seeing the captain coming in at a stage where the team is half down and his sole responsibility is holding the team instead of leading them to victory. I'm positive about our team to win, if the following members do what they are supposed to . 1. Shoaid and asif giving early breaks 2. Shoaid playing throughout the tournament. 3. Inzamam coming in at 3 4. Kaneria playing all the way through. 5. Kamran not dropping catches 6. Kamran batting well

    Follow these instructions and by george World cup is hours.. Cheers

  • Baqar on February 28, 2007, 17:35 GMT

    Yasser Arafat ! one of the best young all rounders Pakistan has. Why is he not being considered - with all injury problems it would be good to have a young fully fit cricketer ( remember world cup is 6 weeks and we need fit players) - great fast medium bowler who can bat ( not just slog )

  • Baqar on February 28, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Kamran need your assistance. I have sent messages to cricinfo / icc / bbc and no one able to answer following question: ICC president is elected every 2 years but what about the position of CEO ie Malcolm Speed - how is he appointed and wfor what tenure? if this is a permanent post then surely it is wrong. The CEO, Malcolm Speed is the most powerful position - the president is just a figurehead. Appreciate if you can shed some light on this. thanks

  • Psychic on February 28, 2007, 17:05 GMT

    Hello Pakisthani people. I am psychic and i am predicting that PAKISTHAN will not win this worldcup 2007. So stop giving yourself any stress or waste your energy about thinking too much about this world cup. PAKISTHAN will loose, That's a guaranty! Please write down my prediction and see.

  • alex on February 28, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Azhar is likely to contribute in every department moreso than razzaq who is off the boil. As long as he can knock 20 30 runs late order, take a couple of wickets (he has always been more economical than razzaq) then i think that is job done. Razzaqs negative body language has never helped. At least Azhar can look intimidating with that extra poundage.

  • Shahid on February 28, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    i always try to look at situations from a different perspective. I think Razzaks injury could be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. No offense to anybody but i dont know why i am forced to think this way but somewhere deep inside a part of me feels that this was the only way to minimize the number of all rounders in the team. You never know, maybe Azhar is the unlikely hero of Pakistan cricket. I know Azhar personally when he used to play in that I-10/2 CDA ground and he is most dangerous when his abilities are challenged. I havent met him ever since i moved to states but in South Africa i have seen the same old passion of Azhar. I think Inzi needs to take a look back at the 99 WC and see how Wasim used Azhar to his advantage. And of course i cant disagree with the point that Razzak is more explosive than Azhar and at times even as a bolwer he is better but maybe, just maybe this is the turning point. i also hope Asif can get back into the team and i am not very hopeful about Shoaib lasting the whole tournament even if he clears the dope test.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks Shahid.

  • chudhary on February 28, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    i wonder Inzy & Bob may be thinking who else to try as an opener, Azhar may be an option :)

    On 2nd thought - it might not be that bad an option.

    This can be the comeback story of the world cup.

  • Asad Mir on February 28, 2007, 16:40 GMT

    Pakistan has more things to worry about than Razzqs injury. i think Azher is a good replacement. infact i think pakistan was missing on Azhers All-rounder performance.

    Kamran i think you should be writing about the opening problem pakistan has. why is Hafeez in the squad and not Hameed. i don't think we need hafeez as all-rounder. why is Naved ul hassan in the squad.

    Azaher will pull it off nicely.

  • Aamir Yunus on February 28, 2007, 16:39 GMT

    I just don't understand why is everyone giving up so early. All we need is to beat Zimbabwe and then we are in super 8. Pak is in top 4 rankings and is fully capable of beating Zim. I think they can even beat WI. Once you are in S8, we need only 3 more matches. Can we win against SL, ENG, IND? I think we can. If we just scrape one more from AUS, RSA and NZ then we can even be playing weak opposition in semis. Pak's 1987 team was the best team on paper and before semis. What happened? We could be worst now, just like 1992 and one heroic like Inzi's 60 against NZ can change everything. Don't give up. It can be done. If you are so sure, there is bet 365. Bet against Pakistan and you will be sorry.

  • Qasim Zaidi on February 28, 2007, 16:36 GMT

    Razzaq's injury is a blessing in disguise for the whole nation & pakistan cricket team.

  • sajjau on February 28, 2007, 16:14 GMT

    I have just one comment and its not about the allrounder but about fast bowler. Why not they try some new young fast bowler, e.g. Anwar Ali khan or Irshad who played (i am not sure though)with Asif and trained together. I think a new and younger player can perform very well in the world cup and can make the people surprise. I hope if its possible they (PCB)can still give it a second thought, if they can hear us by any chance. thnks

  • Faraz, California on February 28, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    Pakistan CANNOT win WC 2007. End of Discussion.

  • Shiraz, Houston, USA on February 28, 2007, 15:47 GMT

    Razzaq out...Gul and Shoaib are as good as out...hmmmmm....

    I would like to respectfully state that Pakistan Cricket Team is officially SCREWED IN WC 2007!!!!

  • Wasiq on February 28, 2007, 14:06 GMT

    I personally feel Razzaq hasn’t lived up to the expectations as of late that we Pakistani fans have of him. He has played enough at this level to mature and progress into a complete all-rounder who can perform consistently but unfortunately his performance graph as been a straight line for last few years. His bowling has been in decline over time and has lost the pace and zip along with little bit of swing that he once generated earlier in his career. He is also one of the worst fielders and probably not the best athlete we have in the team. I think Pakistan has enough of the same type of all-rounders in the team to compensate for his loss.

    I think instead of playing Azhar in his place Pakistan should play Hafeez as a specialist opener who can be quite handy bowling on slow tracks as expected in the Caribbean. The other choice would be to play Kaneria with three seamers.

    Unfortunately Razzaq’s injury will NOT be only reason Pakistan will do poorly in this world cup!

  • Essa on February 28, 2007, 14:05 GMT

    Losing Abdul Razzak is a great lose for Pakistan, I rather lose pure batsmen than lose Abdul Razzak, Because when with the loss of few early wickets, the whole team collapses, Hallmark of Pakistani cricket, time and again he has shown that he batted sensibly and build an inning, and in last few overs has scored humongously

  • Don Bosco on February 28, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    It is obvious now that Akthar and Asif are just killing time and feigning injuries to avoid dope test. As much as my heart would like to beleive that they are seriously injured only , the mind says that they are just trying to avoid dope test only. The mind says that if they are so both so badly injured ,then why are not replaced yet. I mean today the Pakistan team flew to West Indies without them. Are they really going to recover from their injuries and be fit enough to play all of sudden. It defies logic. Furthermore even if they are really injured ,is it still that big a task to piss once and take the dope test. Even if one is as injured as in a car accident,one can still piss and take dope test. I guess the state of denial we are in ,will lead us to unhappiness and we have to accept the the duo are just feigning injury to get dope out of body and this trip to england is just a hogwash to fool us fans and the ICC.

  • Javaid Abbasi, Des Moines, Iowa, USA on February 28, 2007, 13:57 GMT

    What shambles Pakistan cricket is in! We play our first World Cup match in less than 2 weeks and we still don't have a team selected. Who do we blame, the selectors, the board, the players or all of them! Wow! I have been a world cricket follower for almost 40 years and I have never seen anything like this before - no planning, Pakistan players getting unfit so frequently, etc. There is something seriously wrong with the Pakistan cricket system.

  • Khan on February 28, 2007, 13:08 GMT

    Since opening has been one of the biggest problems that we face: Why have the pakistani selectors left out yasir hameed and included mohammad hafeez? Hameed batted very well in the SA series as well so he is in form! Just take a look at the following stats

    Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct Hameed 50 1917 127* 39.12 67.52 3 11 205 6 12 Hafeez 44 819 92 19.04 58.41 0 4 91 8 17

    Hameed doesnt bowl, hafeez does. But he is not that good a bowler. Anyone else could bowl the 4-5 overs that he usually bowls in a match. Here are hafeez's bowling stats, just for those who might be interested.

    Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI Ave Econ SR 4 5 10 44 1523 1125 33 3/17 34.09 4.43 46.15 0 0 0

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on February 28, 2007, 13:04 GMT

    Dear Kamran Bhai,

    Diappointments and frustations are the words could be used right now. The strenght of Pak is their ALLROUNDER and that is they were winning despite their main bowlers get injured. Abdul Razzaq is a big big loss. Afridi and Razzaq are the reliable all rounders who can either click in the department of bowling of batting. They have the strength to change the course of game. It is really sad Razzaq will miss the flight. Okay, beyond Razzaq pak can fill up this gap with Azhar but Inzi has to be very smart by using their weapons. It is correct that Hafiz has been poorly used in ODIs. As regards Afridi, pray to the ALMIGHTY he clicks and does his best so that this WC is memorable not only for him but for the whole world. We are waiting from him some of the best innings in the WC. Can he break his own record of 37 ball 100? Pray all the paki fans...

    Kamran Bhai, sometimes blessing in disguise could be possible. Do not dishearten........

  • Abbas on February 28, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    I believe that we have to recognize the fact that Shoaib & Asif are not going to WI for the WC. Adding to that I also believe that we will be in the semis without them. So everyone should start praying for Pakistan to play as a team and they will win.

    Kamran I request you to make changes to the blog where the recent posts should appear at the top.

  • Syed Ijlal Hussain on February 28, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    It is a blessing in disguise! ...only if they let Azhar play as a regular member. He is such a talented player, I would put him in for Rana Naved, whom I predict shall be one of the most expensive bowlers in the World Cup, at least amongst the top eight teams.

    As for A. Razzaq, he has been a work horse for Pakistan Team for long and we all value him highly; unfortunately, his time to pack and go home to his family has now come. Wish him an even more successful career out there!

  • Mustafa Moiz on February 28, 2007, 12:36 GMT

    Abdul Razzaq is an excellent hitter and can buckle down and defend when Pakistan need it. He is the best and most versatile player in the Pakistan side. His batting, however, is not as good as his bowling, which is world class and should be able to earn him a spot in any side. If he isn't able to at in a match it's fine but if he can't bowl, then its not worth having him in the team as his batting may or may not come. And recently, with everyone saying he has lost his bowling form I would like to ay that, yes, he is sometimes giving away runs, but he has been providing the most major and important breakthroughs for the side. And this right after one injury and right before another. In the last ten overs he can get 150 runs while bowling at the death, he takes wickets and gives below six, which Asif and Gul aren't able to do. Asif is bowled out at the start because, though he bowls well than, his bowling can be torn apart later. Razzaq's batting and his bowling, especially, are advantages. Along with Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf, he is their best player. Azhar Mahmood, I hope, will be bale to cover for Razzaq but it is very difficult.

  • Qasim Hussain on February 28, 2007, 12:17 GMT

    Allrounders

    Afridi > 7 out of 10

    Misunderstood is the word that describes the guy perfectly. Pakistani fans look at him as a guy who can score a 100 in 40-50 balls and they expect this from him in every match!

    Afridi is a bowler who can bat and is in the team so that he can bowl his 10 overs, take a couple of wickets if he can for less then 5 an over. If he can score 20-30 runs or more that is great.

    He should bat lower in the order and score quickly in the last 10-15 overs. If he is sent higher up to bat, that would be foolish unless the situation requires so.

    People should stop expecting him to SCORE 27 BALL 50 in every match because nobody can do that in every match!!!

    Abdur Razzak > 6 out of 10

    Has been in the team for the last 15 months on the basis of his name alone.

    Bowling has been nothing more then economical. Has not been taking wickets either. Should have been rested and made to fight for his place with the likes of Azhar Mahmood and Yasir Arafat.

    Competition often brings out the best in a person.

    Azhar Mahmood

    Has the potential to be a good bowling allrounder.

    He should be used to bowl his 10 overs and bat at lower order.

    M. Hafeez > 5 out of 10

    Has not performed in a ODI since his inclusion in the team.

    Is in the team as an openning batsman and so far has yet failed. His inclusion in the team disturbs the balance of the team.

    Bowling alone can not define his inclusion in the team.

    Should not be in the playing 11!!!

    Shoaib Malik 8 out of 10

    Has performed anywhere and where-ever asked to do so.

    Is unlucky to be quoted as an All-rounder as because of that, he is not taken seriously by the media, past players and world wide cricket fans.

    Has out performed most ODI specialist Pakistani batsmen including the likes of Younis Khan and at times M. Yousuf/Inzi (India series, highest run maker in both teams). Has batted from 1-11 and performed well!

    Bowling has slipped but more then makes up for it with his superb fielding. He can still bowl 5-7 overs when required to do so.

    If Pakistan are to reach the finals of the world cup, gone are the days when they could score 230-260 runs and win the match because we do not have Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Saqlain Mushtaq in out playing 11.

    The 1992 strategy of Imran batting at 3 at less then 50 strike rate to keep wickets will not be successfull in this world cup.

    Pakistan would need to score 300+ runs in most matches in West-Indies as grounds are smaller and bowlers would need good totals to defend.

    The three key batsam I see that would be crucial to good scores are Inzi, Yousuf and Malik.

    I chose these three because none of the other Pakistani batsmen can build a large innings in ODI's like these three.

    Inzi should bat 3 or 5

    I say 3 because if he bats at 3, he can control the tempo of the match, keep wickets and score at a decent run rate. I say 5 because we need him to score quickly and consistantly. None of the hitters, Afridi, Azhar Mahmood or Kamran Akmal are reliable consistent hitters. At 5, Inzi can be an awesome hitter if wickets are at hand.

    Malik can do the same as Inzi. Bat at 3 and play according to the requirement or bat at 5 and hit big if wickets are in hand.

    Yousuf should bat at number 4, no matter what and I don't even think this needs an explanation.

    If because of Inzi/Yousuf/Malik, Pakistan can score 280-300+ runs in most matches then I am sure that Asif, Akhtar and Gul can defend the total.

    Good Luck Pakistan!

  • Qasim on February 28, 2007, 12:14 GMT

    Azhar Mahmood in place of the injured Abdur Razzaq is probably the most logical option. We all know he has a better batting technique with a big hitting ability (Perhaps not like Abdur Razzaq’s), on current form a better bowler and finally a better fielder any day. So all is not lost here.

    We have been hearing about Yasser Arafat for so long and frankly I was really disappointed to see him play some time last year. His action is extremely disorganized and apart from the occasional reverse swing, I can not recall him dish out anything special. Not the right choice at this moment.

    Muhammed Hafeez to me is an ordinary batsman and a useful ODI bolwer. But I would pick Shoaib ahead of him without a second thought. Shoaib has shown immense application, more than anyone in the team as far as his batting is concerned and can roll his arm over when required.

    Shahid Afridi is a must for any Pakistani ODI side, heck I would pick him for the test sides too. There is a buzz about him which is lacking in the rest of the Pakistani team. The way he goes through his overs, the explosive batting ofcourse and sharp fielding (another rare Pakistani trait). Thanks to his first ODI innings we seem to forget that Afridi is a bowling allrounder. He was sent as a replacement for Mushtaq Ahmed on that tour. Have we ever cared about Mushy’s batting average or Kaneria’s.

    Finally about Inzamam’s batting position, I think it’s a good ploy considering Yousaf and Younis as your prime batsmen. We need someone with a cool head on his shoulder with an ability to attack as well at the death which is lacking in Younis Khan.

    I am not your eternal optimist but imo all teams have an equal chance of taking the cup with Australia and South Africa the forerunners. Good luck to the Pakistan cricket team. We may be cussing at the moment but in our heart of hearts we are praying for your win.

  • Syed Naumanuddin Hassan on February 28, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    Razzaq loss is a massive one, a huge blow! There has been many occasions when explosive brilliance of Razzaq dragged Pakistan out of lion's jaws. The writing is on the wall; Pakistan just cannot depend on the lower order to propel as efficiently and effectively as it has done in the past. One man's agony, another's felicity. Its time for Azhar to rise to the occasion and prove a point or two. Pakistan still can make it to the semis if they jell together as a team and atleast three out of five top order batsmen are in prime form and take much of the burden of scoring runs.

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on February 28, 2007, 11:31 GMT

    Razzak out and Azhar in, a big news indeed, many people may think that its a big blow for Pakis world cup plan. Well I certainly am not one of them as Azhar to me has been equally good when compared with Razzak. Razzak of course gined the confidance of his skippers more than Azhar resulting in more opportunities to show his mettle, while Azhar had to just sit out and wait for his chance. This is how we have destroyed many budding talents be making them sit out, now if PCB had introduced a rotation policy then we could have achieved three birds in one shot i:e;

    i) Avoided the over kill that is so much talked about by the cricketers now a days. ii) Avoided injuries of players. iii) Put to trail guys having potential so that we could have a ready replacement for every position.

    Almost all the cricket playing countries have introduced this policy and have actually benifetted with such a plan. We in pakistan never tried this out, maybe because our board and the players both do not want to risk defeats. The strategy is based on just winning and so they are not prepared to take chances, in doing so they keep ignoring the budding talents and this is why we have only 15 to 20 players who form the nucleous of our teams. The other factor maybe the money that is paid to these cricketers and maybe the element of greed is there and no one wants to loose the opportunity of playing thus making extra bucks. This is why we are always carrying a half fit team and the breakdowns of players are very frequent. It is therefore imparetive that we have a very independant sellection committee in which the Coach and captain should not be involved at all, the sellectors must pick the best available players keeping in mind the policy of "Horses for Courses" after which the coach and the captain should plan out the strategy with the resources available to them. If we continue to allow the captain to be involved in team sellection then we will continue having problems of favouritism and cannot introduce rotation policy as well as half fit players being sellected. Thus we will never have ready replacements, and face such dilemmas regularly.

    Now coming to Azhar, I personally feel that he is a fighter and I say this only because he is still there and performing despite the fact that he has constantly been ignored even at times when razzak was unfit. He has had a very good domestic season and carries with him a successful county season, so I have great hopes as far as he is concerned and an confidant that he will deliver. All he needs is some confidance and that can only come if the coach and Inzamam are prepared to induct same in him. World cup is an important event and Inzamam should stay away from his policies of favouritism and other intrigues that he is known for and get down to the job in hand with honesty and sincerity for the sake of Pakistan.

  • Hasan Anwer, UAE on February 28, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    Hi As far as the allrounder thing is concerned and the team management being criticized for playing too many bits and pieces players. Guys the fact is in ODIs nowadays you need six bowlers in your side and as none of Inzi,Yousaf and younis can bowl we have to play these allrounders. This is a probable reason why guys like Salman Butt and Yasir Hameed lose out to people like Shoaib Malik and Hafeez as the former pair cannot bowl even to save their lives.Had the likes of Inzi or even Salman and Yasir had tried to hone their bowling just to roll their arms over to level like Yuvraj or the like we wouldnt have this problem. People say Australia play specia;ists this isnt strictly true as they are blessed with cricketers like Symonds,Clarke,Hussey,Hodge,Watson who apart from having one speciality have also tried to excel in other fields and this is where we have lacked.As too much attention is paid to just the fact that one should bat well or bowl well and their job is done.

  • Munir on February 28, 2007, 11:02 GMT

    Razzaq is surely a good allrounder on his day. But it doesn't matter either to pick Razzaq or Azhar as far as bowling is concern. Current slump in Razzaq form and some good performance of Azhar in domestic is same in my opinion and if Azhar can get 1 or 2 wickets by giving 50 odd runs then it would be fine effort from bowling side. I think we surely miss them in the batting specially to win close matches. Just remember the matches in Champions Trophy. Pakistan have won only one match and Man of the match is Abdul Razzaq. We have same team at that time with no shoaib and no Asif. I think the same story will be repeated this time. Pakistan might win one or two super eight matches (winning chances are against England and SriLanka/ India).

    Shoaib Malik is definitely matured as batsman as we saw during Champions trophy, West Indies series and South Africa series.

    Allrounder has its importance in the team but during the big tournament your big guns need to fire in crucial matches. You can't win all the matches on the basis of allrounders.

    Pakistan has the same team as Australia has in 1992. Too many allrounders, no big performer, result, unable to reach to semis.

    So please, please and please pray for Pakistan to atleast play upto their potential. Winning or losing doen't matter but play good cricket. Scoring 107 and 150 or losing by 9 or 10 with 30 overs remaining is not a good cricket. We are better team than Bangladesh so please try to score at least 230-250 in every match.

  • Gary Niblock on February 28, 2007, 11:02 GMT

    Why has Azhar got such a high reputation for such pathetic performance? People rate him on basis of what he did 10 years ago - that is laughable to be polite. Notice Cricinfo didnt tell you his facrical bowling average in the county champ last season. If he cant scare county batsmen with the ball I can't see him worrying Tendulkar, Lara et al. His batting is also very very mediocre. He was picked on no sound basis at all. Yasir Arafat is faster, better yorkers, better bat and better in the field. Massive error from Pakistan. May as well have picked Abdul Qadir - at least he is probably fitter than Azhar even now LOL

  • Ghulam Haider on February 28, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    Abdul Razzaq's ouster from the Cricket World Cup is a huge blow to Pakistan's chances of winning the title in the Carribean. But my point of view that why only Pakistani cricket players have such a bad distinction and highest ratio of being unfit. Pakistan was reduced to a laughing stock by shuttling of injured players from Pakistan to South Africa in the recently-completed Test nd ODI series. They are playing for money and not for the country. The Pakistan Cricket Board is equally responsible for bring bad name to the country. I pray to Almighty that strict merit should prevail in the PCB and team be selected on the basis of fitness, form and stmin. Every body knows that half of the Pakistan team for the world cup is unfit. So how they will win with limping players? Only Inzamam, PCB Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf (political appointment) and worthy Chief Selector Wasim Bari (an incompetent thgrust upon cricket team for the last one decade or so) can tell us better.

  • Ahrash on February 28, 2007, 10:46 GMT

    The inconsistency problems Pakistan have are a combination of factors: firstly,the social climate that grooms these players is rife with inconsistencies and paradox. The stereotypical characteristics of Pakistani's i.e. overtly passionate,hot-blooded and lazy are self - evident in the way we play cricket.

    Education and temperament are more vital in modern day cricket than ever and I would say, for the majority of the team, giving them more experience and encouraging them to play abroad is the best way to combat their natural inclinations and complacency, one example in point is Yousuf. One of the few truely reliable members of our squad Yousuf is one rare sucess story for the PCB because throughout administerial change they stuck by him. We need to groom players longer than other international teams and have an older team whose blood is a little colder.Talented youngsters should pay their dues rather than having a revolving door policy.

    Playing for your country should be a highly prized accolade that should not come to early in ones career as the hunger soon dissipates and turns to complaceny i.e Razzaq.

  • khansahab on February 28, 2007, 10:02 GMT

    Mr Euceph Ahmed, once again you hit the nail right on the head (the comment on Razzaq). Although I do recall that post where you mentioned that Afridi must be made captain of the side and is a must in any team? Here, you seem to be less impressed by his selection.

    Under Inzamam’s captaincy we have somehow seen that Pakistan has become more reliant on specialists than all-rounders. Is it not surprising that we don’t see the duality of half -specialisms anymore? Consider the dip in form of Razzaq, the dip in batting form of Afridi and the fact that we only see Malik bowling on rare occasions. It is the former two I am more concerned with, since in my opinion Malik should not be considered as an all rounder anymore, but as a proper middle-order batsman. Hafeez has not played enough international cricket to warrant any similar comment. He is still at the inception stage. Mind you if he was in any other international team, he would have been kicked out and replaced with a more mature, less paindu player and his chapter would have been closed. But this is Pakistan folks!

    Mahmood’s inclusion is welcome. Afridi must adopt the role of the pinch hitter coming to bat at no 6 or 7. It would be folly to open with him, with the new ball fast and swinging and fielders energetic. I guarantee to all Razzaq lovers that Mahmood will come better than Razzaq in both batting and bowling. He has something to prove.

    Finally I would urge people to put their thinking caps on and employ reason in their approaches. All of you who want Malik to open, what would that achieve at this stage? He was a solid no.3 for Pakistan (much more productive than Younis Khan) and then he was made to open. He showed promise as an opener but had a couple of poor series and then was demoted down the order. Butt and Farhat, even Nazir and Hafeez have been more miserable openers but such action was not taken against them. Now Malik looks settled at no. 6/7 and people again want to mess around with him! Please, for once, don’t fix something which ain’t broke. Otherwise, we will see another dip in form by Malik.

  • Mustafa on February 28, 2007, 9:35 GMT

    Razzak exculsion does not mean much the real problem for pakistan is their bowling. As it is getting clearer that Akhtar and Asif will not be touring carribean. Pakistan has to pray for rana to get back into his one-day if that happens along with gul we are good enough to reach the semis...

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 28, 2007, 9:12 GMT

    Its not road to Jamaica but, its a BOAT to Jamaica, and most of them are FOB's. Razzaq's loss is Azhar's gain but its definitely not Pakistan's. They are still in the same situation without Asif and Shoaib and it is certain that the duo won't play in the WC.

    Today's Razzaq is a shadow of his past, most of the time he appeared half asleep and half awake, half here and half there, couldn't decide whether to wear a cap or a helmet and decided to wear them both. Didn't know whether to hook or to pull and neither was he sure on how to evade or duck under a bouncer, whether to attack or to defend. So, finally, his fate got fed up of him and decided to do the rest. Poor Razzaq has to sit back in his living room with a can of spinach and watch the WC games or Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons. One thing that is happening outta, Asif, Akhtar and Razzaq's saga is Rana's roots are going deeper and deeper in the muddy eleven. God bless the team and Pakistan.

    Razzaq's so-called replacement or, successor is also a shadow of his own past, who is not as lost as Razzaq but, lost his breath and his stamina mostly by sitting outside the fence for too long. He bowled five overs in SA and was seen "haanping kaanping and lurr-kharao-ing," and the trainer was pulling and pushing his legs outside the ropes, luckily he didn't have to bowl again in that match. Also, he hasn't got the same touch with his bat as he used to be the Azhar Mahmood of Ghaznavi who used to attack with retribution and vengeance. His batting and bowling were like, "measure for measure." Now, his vengeance is a food that is to be eaten cold, in fact there is no vengeance and no retribution or even a bite in his bowling and his batting is mediocre now. So, "marta kya na karta" you have to keep him along with Rana bhai.

    Among the rest of the big hitters and allrounders viz., Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Hafeez, Malik and Akmal. Only Malik has got a cool head over his shoulders and he can stick around longer than others, so he must open the innings with either of the above mentioned players. Time and again it has been proved that if one of the openers stay for long, the team can build up an innings along with the middle order, which makes a platform for big hitters to loosen their arms freely. Malik has the capability to keep his cool and also to explode in the end. But, Inzi must play at number three i.e., one down! As long as the wickets are contained, Pakistan has the ability to hit out 100 in the last 10 overs even without the chacha long-handle who has short circuited his 'goda' at the eleventh hour! And, Inzi should not be lamenting so much at his loss, as Imran also went to Australia without Saeed Anwar and Waqar Younis and the team played like injured and cornered tigers and won the cup.

    If you believe you are tigers, then you come out as winners and, if you believe you are 'geedars' then you come back as loosers.

  • Owais on February 28, 2007, 9:06 GMT

    I dont see much of difference between Razzaq and Azhar so no need to sulk over the latest casualty. Razzaq is a better hitter but Azhar clearly a better bowler, and we are pretty week in bowling department at the moment. We have hitters in Afridi, Shoaib, Hafeez, Nazir, even Akmal and now Mehmood. Their problem is lack of consistency but then Razzaq is exactly like that only 5% more consistent than Afridi ? So in a way I am happier with Azhar who is a thinking cricketer in place of Razzaq who seems to be a pretty low IQ'ed person. The problem is a lack of reliable opening pair, a pathetic wicket keeper and only two good bowlers (at best) instead of at least four good wicket taking or economic bowlers.

  • omar hussain on February 28, 2007, 9:05 GMT

    The loss of Razzaq is a bad blow for Pakistan.On his day he can be just as explosive as Afridi;in fact he is Pakistan's man for all situations and 3 out of 5 he has served his team nobely.In passing one remembers he was like Afridi just a kid when he was thrusted into international cricket,Mahmood is an experienced,good player but a fresh potentially talented all-rounder like Yasir Arfat could have paid divedened intead of Rana who is sadly and badly out of form.As for your favourite Afridi we are praying that he repeat that smaashing form and attiude he showed against South Africa,and may that courage rubs off on the others as well.As usual i am 100% praying for our boys.

  • SHARIQ HALAI on February 28, 2007, 8:32 GMT

    I dont think that there ll b any problem witout Razaq. Azhar is a not only a good allrounder but a fielder as well. its a gift of God that Razaq is injured. Otherwise he was totaly out of form since last couple of years.

  • Khalid SA on February 28, 2007, 8:22 GMT

    I think Razzak is not vital anymore because he could not bowl well in SA on bouncy pitches then how can you expect him to be a vital in flat pitches, Azhar is a better bowler than him so its a right choice to pick azhar, no factor of worrying and missing too much about razzak's skills, it can be easily filled by azhar who is much much better bowler than razzak

  • Haroon Syed on February 28, 2007, 7:54 GMT

    Im sorry for breaking this to you,but cricket isnt played on "feelings" or "hunches" of Afridi hitting gold.I still dont know why rana naveed is in the team,and why azhar is the replacement.His bowling isnt good as razzaq and batting isnt better either.The whole administration seems to be in disarray,even our chairman with background in medicine is not capable enough to know that banned drugs have curves and persist,and hence the impending struggle with WADA.Wudnt it be better just to reduce their bans by half,or down to 6 months and avoid this fiasco. I dont have feelings,but going with statistics,i can make educated guesses that our success will depend alot on yousuf,younis and Imran.Inzi can be dependable,but his recent form is iffy.

  • sameer on February 28, 2007, 7:29 GMT

    Injuries have diminished Pak chances of an impressive show in WC. The bowlers once Pak had are no more. The likes of Waqar, Wasim are no more and their half the qualities cant be found in today s bowlers of Gul, Naved or Asif. Moreover they struggle with injuries and off the field antics (read dope). They might have strong batting line up, but lack of bowling depth and no allrounders (Razzaq gone, bowling dimished, but he s still a good hitter), mahmood hasnt played int'l cricket since 4 yrs now......Cant expect likes of Gul, Naved, Mahmood, Kaneria to contain opp batsmen......Where has the talent of bowlers like Akram, Imran and Waqar and for that case Aaqib gone ? Unless they dont have fit and decent bowlers with good attitude, Pak doesnt stand a chance in World Cup.....They havent won a series against a stronger team in the past year (1-4 loss to arch rivals, 2-2 with England who had lost 5-0 to SL, 1-3 loss to SA, drubbing in VB Series 2005).....Batsmen can pose big scores, but to bowl out opposition you need fit bowlers and not bits and pieces players like Hafeez or Afridi or Malik who at the best are containing bowlers and not wicket taking bowlers

  • Sri Lankan on February 28, 2007, 7:26 GMT

    Whoever who had posted by the name of cricinfo -... this blog is called PAKSPIN. so of course there will only be articles on Pak Cricket

  • Abdullah Basha on February 28, 2007, 7:25 GMT

    Ofcourse, loss of ABDUR RAZAK to Team Pakistan is a tremendous blow. He is a v valuable and experienced player and on his own has won and saved many a matches for his country. Such things happen and we have to take them in our stride. As a replacement, Azhar Mahmood fits the slot, though not on one-to-one basis. He too has equal amount of expereience playing for counties and has many a times proved himself as a valuable player. We wish Azhar a good time with the team and pray that he proves his potential in a major tournament like WC.

  • Sri Lankan from Jordan on February 28, 2007, 7:23 GMT

    all you pakistanis - i cant remember when was the last time a sri lankan was injured. they always have their regular eleven playing unless they are rested of course. So i think you guys need to get some medical advise and traiining tips from sri lankans

  • wasim saqib on February 28, 2007, 7:16 GMT

    The biggest problem with pakistan cricket has been their inconsistency,and this inconsistency is primarily because of excessive dependance on Allrounders who are good at nothing. Time and again we fell for those occasional flashing cameos played by Razzak and Afridi, and as a result we give them a default selection for the next 10 matches,this default selection not only deprived some true quality players their place in the team but also hammpered pakistan in developing a solid team. The middle order batting has always been under pressure as our openers never provided a solid stand thanks to players like afridi and Imran farhat etc, and the middle order very rarely play to their true potential as it is always in the back of their minds that the lower middle order is as unreliable as the openers so they always score at a slow pace.Thats why we quite often see that our team is bundled out for 150-250 runs. Now Imagine if we stop flirting with these occasional players and establish solid openers and include one regular batsman and one regular bowler instead of Both razzak and Afridi we could have had three new young established players in the team now,The biggest injustice has been done to Asim Kamal his record is as follows:

    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50

    12 717 99 37.73 0 8

    Yasir hameed is another example. And god knows how many others could have recieved a chance Shahid yousaf was the top performer in domestic cricket last year got selected but was never given a chance to be a part of the playing eleven. Similarly so many other players have gone into oblivion bcz they never got any chance,just because these so called big stars had default selection in the team, We never felt this before because our bowling always saves us but now when the bowling is hopeless without Shoaib and Asif we are looking towards batting and finding no hope over there either,This sorry situation has arisen because i strongly believe these senior players have a comradry even if some one fails and drops out of the team the captain either does not use the replacement or use them in such a manner that they couldnt perform well like asking them to score at a high pace in a tight situation when the senior player is only rotating the strike,time and again young players have been sacrificed. I think Inzimam should be limit to Only test matches after the world cup but i think he has no intentions of retiring that is why he has been not treating Asim Kamal,Yasir Hameed,Shahid yousaf fairly. I never wanted to write all this at this time when team is leaving for WC but i guess reading all the blog i got sucked into it. I wish my team all the Luck regardless of everything.

    In the bowling department we need to groom the new bowlers because of excessive cricket fast bowlers breakdown more now.It willnot be a bad idea to

  • MB on February 28, 2007, 7:14 GMT

    Medium pacers will not play any important role in the world cup.

  • Airaf on February 28, 2007, 7:10 GMT

    In my opinion razzaq and azhar are about the same in ability.azhar can cover for razzaq in both batting and bowling. the question is where do you bat these allrounders and when do ya bowl them.depending on the situation,we should adjust the batting order.e.g if we're chasing a big score,open the batting with afridi.he could there and then take the game away from the opposition. the reason for that is you gotta let him play his own game which is to hit sixes and play him when the game demands fast scoring.afridi has few things in his favour so we can expect him to score more this time;Carribean pitches are much like subcontinent pitches and have low bounce,small groundswith shorter boundaries and powerplays.actually the low bounce pitches are good for all pakistan batsmen because we dont know how to bat on pitches with varying bounce.the allrounders are definately the key as they finish off the work of the batsmen and can get through the middle overs.

  • Rohit on February 28, 2007, 7:06 GMT

    Medium pace bowlers may not be effective on West Indian pitches.

  • Kiran Muzammil on February 28, 2007, 6:48 GMT

    I think Razzaq's exclusion is a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. Razzaq has been a liability with his bowling and fielding for over 3 years now and has been in the team only because of his reputation rather than any match winning exploits during this period, furthermore his batting has also declined with time, and most worringly he has shown everyone that he is mentally weak - eg when he was being taken to the cleaners in South Africa with his bowling, his face looked as if he was about to cry. He was totally out of it. Azhar Mahmood, on the other hand, is a MUCH better bowler than Razzaq and a brilliant fielder. His batting is effective, though not great. But what seperates Azhar from a lot of other guys, is that he is a true fighter and mentally he is very very tough. You wont see him hiding from any challenge. I think that he's good enough to bat at 8 which means we would have good debth with our team being Imran Nazir,Kamran Akmal,Younis Khan,Inzamam Ul Haq,Mohd Yousef,Shoaib Malik,Shahid Afridi,Azhar Mahmood,Umar Gul,Shoaib Akhtar (OR Mohd Sami),Mohd Asif (OR Danish Kaneria/Rana Naveed).For the first game, Afridi wont be around - so I reckon we should play Hafeez instead. If Shoaib and Asif arent going, Sami will come into the team for Shoaib, and in place of Asif we can play Rana or Kaneria. I think Pakistan is going into the WC under the radar, but our team has the capablity to get to the semis. So lets not lose hope. And here's my advice to my fellow Pakistanis, please dont take all the rubbish negativity thats being dished out by the so-called former pakistan 'greats' on tv knocking the team, the coach, the selectors, physios, and what not. These people have only one agenda...ie to get to those positions themselves. They are jealous and they are pathetic. Support our team, and Inshallah the team will do well. We have the team to get to the Semis and after that..its anybodys cup.

  • arshad on February 28, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    No match for Razzaq.But i hope so we have still a well balanced side and if each and every one of team person play with his heart ,I m 500% sure that pakistan will win the world cup INSAHALLAH.

  • Ali on February 28, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    i always had a strong believe on " wht ever happens, happens for good " soo guys dnt be down we knw we r pakistani the proud ones and we need to support the PCB including the players we wont win the cup but we are for sure going to upset the critics we facing now and for god sake stop saying that wid out shoaib we aint good we r the best PAKIZ RULES Ali

  • zain kazmi on February 28, 2007, 6:27 GMT

    Razzaq...! No problem guys its good that he is not playimg, having seen him playing in sout africa, ramiz raja rightly said that " razzaq might have forget playing cricket"

    if he 'd have been playibg im sure he won't be as usefull as he is in the past he was still injured during the last tour.

    remember cricket is team game, superstars dont win game its untity that wins game.

  • Shakir on February 28, 2007, 6:24 GMT

    Only the thing I would say that Pakistan is loosing the "hope for trophy" day by day..... and only the responsible for the destruction is the lack of planning by PCB.

  • nwak on February 28, 2007, 6:06 GMT

    Razzaq is irreplaceable in the latter half of the innings and there is no doubt about that. we'll miss him sorely and as for his replacement...i just dont think azhar mahmood is a worthy enough player to replace razzaq. i guess, we as a nation have pretty weak memories. lets not forget the reason why azhar was sent packing from the team years ago in the first place....he did not perform. i seriously doubt his ability to deliver this time around too...i would have gone for a batsman as a replacement for abdul-razzaq but i guess PCB has already made its decision. packing the side with all-rounders seems to be the order of the day for them. and hey kamran, im noticing quite a number of bloggers out there cheering for pakistan, i guess the SA defeats are out of the mind already!!!well to be honest thats just the pakistani way...i just hope the team doesnt fall flat on its face in WI and disappoint us like they've been doing for a long time...

  • Shahbaz Faheem on February 28, 2007, 6:03 GMT

    Kamran. The injury of Razzak is a "Blessing in Disguise" for Pakistan. believe me he was a "Nothing Cricketer" his bowling is pedestrian, batting lacks technique and beter not to talk about his fielding that we all know. Yasir Arafat would have been an ideal replacement, nevertheless Azhar Mahmood is a better bowler and fielder than Razzak and a good hitter of the ball as well. I wish some other players like Rana and Hafeez are also replaced with more deserving players.

  • imran peshawari on February 28, 2007, 5:59 GMT

    yes it is a big blow for pakistan .razzaq is a good allround crickter then azhar.Azhar is a good batsman but not like razzaq .Razzaq always play with to the condition.one of azhar dismisal in SA tour like babay so another blow for pakistan in Wc.Malik is now to play a low down the order.B/c he also playing with the situation .alot thing tht going other way for inzi and for BOb wat is there another plan how to come from that.one thing another that if pakistan give some chance to azhar in top order he play some time with the new ball and he play well if we take chance from him during the power plays so he will be good enough for us as with bat .so hoply now he play well.

  • harry iyris on February 28, 2007, 5:50 GMT

    Razzaq's injury just before departure is surprise. he was out of form with bat and bowl, so his loss may not be felt after all azhar mahmood is also a better bowler and batsmen. The problem area for pakistan remains bowling. I am 100% convinced that shoib is not physically and mentally fit due to dope tainting.If he breaks down in middle the chances shall fully evaporate. I don't know why selectors are after playing him at any cost. Winning and losing is part of game. Pakistan bowling is stronger even without shoib. Remember in WC 92, Waqar was the fastest but was ruled out in WC becs of injury.But still Pakistan won. Along with matches also win hearts .

  • Habib Arshad - Dubai on February 28, 2007, 5:33 GMT

    I have already selecting post world cup Pak team, as was the case in 2003 soon after the world cup we scraped everyone and came up with young players...same will happen this time around...but a positive difference is that...in 2003 we had no great prospects....but this time around u can expect....some special players.....i can say it as...u know...pak have won last two under19 world cups...those players should must be maturing now...i can name a few of them ...Fawad alam...alrounder...gr8 prospect...then Khalid Latif....good futur opener...in fast bowling Anwar Ali...Zulqarnain WK.....Pak selectors...plz ...for God sack come out of those players which have not come good for last 5 years...likes of Faisal Iqbal, Imran Farhat, Yasir Arafat...Imran Nazir, Muhad Hafeez..Rao Iftikhar...the list is end less...U have to accept these players cant be world class.....they have been tried for so long...PLZ GIVE THE YOUNG DESERVING PLAYERS A CHANCE...

  • Azam Farooqui on February 28, 2007, 5:28 GMT

    well for starters, i dont agree that razzaq should have accompanied the team and withdrawn if he wudnt have recovered in a couple of weeks, i think there's enough uncertainity surrounding the pakistani camp right now and they surely dont need more. I think it was sensible to act on the issue and announce a replacement. Azhar's bowling will probably give a little extra bite in the middle overs, razzaq's bowling has been on an alarming decline in the last couple of years, however razzaq's explosiveness with the bat at the death cannot be matched and that's one thing pakistan will def. miss. It's pretty evident now that the Pakistan bowling will rely more on spin and thus it's inevitable that afridi plays every game, regardless of kaneria playing or not, with almost 200 ODI wickets, afridi is a more clever bowler than most credit him with. There is no way Pakistani think tank should consider dropping him for a major game, also his ability in the field adds a lot to the fielding.

  • Sameer Malik, Michigan, USA on February 28, 2007, 5:26 GMT

    I believe Pakistan has got big asset in the form of All-Rounders like Afridi & Razzaq, I heard lots of people and critics talking about having more specialists, if we got three specialists i.e. Younis, Yousuf and Inzimam then all the other teams also have got this type of specialists who can make big scores individually at the strike rates of 70 or may be 80 but thats not going to help the cause, the thing that is going to make the big difference is the quick fire runs added by these all-rounders specially Afridi, these all rounders are going to make a big difference along with grafted innings from at least one of the three specialists we got. As we dont have the point of fielding which can make about 30 runs difference , so we ought to have these all rounders to make up for the lost runs and taking the team total to a good level. Lets hope for the best!

  • Amanzeb Khan on February 28, 2007, 5:10 GMT

    We have to accept that these are not the best all rounders in the world. To be a class all rounder you should merit selection on at least one suite alone examples being Kallis who can be in the team as a batsman or Pollock who will walk into any team as a bowler only. Ours are bits and pieces players and we have too many of them. We can never achieve consistency with so many bits and pieces players in the team. We desperately need more specialists for some stability. Afridi has improved tremendously as a bowler and Malik is quite consistent with the bat. The others should not be in the playing eleven. As far as scoring 100 in the last 10 overs is concerned you cant rely on it every time even if you have the best of hitters. its only going to happen once in a while. So i wouldnt call it sound strategy. what we should aim for is to be at the 220 mark by the 40th over with wickets in hand and take it from there. If we can get 100 in the last 10 thats great. Otherwise we can still end up with a score of around 280/290. To me the middle overs are the most important. We need to bat positively between overs 15 and 40. And positive batting does not mean throwing the bat around. It means a conscious effort to try to score of every ball with minimum risk.

  • Danish Hasan on February 28, 2007, 5:09 GMT

    God if the existing problems werent enough, Razzak has had to take a sad exit to the world cup. It seems that everything is going wrong for the Pakistan Team

  • Danish Khan on February 28, 2007, 5:01 GMT

    We all talk about the vitality of the likes of Shoaib, Asif, Afridi, Inzi and so on. What is more vital than anything is that the team should play as a unit. Each player must live up to the strength he is chosen for and if he doesn't then somebody else should cover it up. Razzaq's blow in this regard is sad, but I suppose Azhar should now prove as a cover and play his part. All the best to him.

  • Imran on February 28, 2007, 4:53 GMT

    Razzaq has not been performing for quite long and just hoping him to start performing was just a hope. With his current form he was of no value. Unless Pakistan starts taking big decisions we won't find any good new players. If Shoaib and Asif do not make it into the team then we will totally depend on Umar Gul about whom injury we aren't sure either. So our chances with depend on the great fast bowler, No and Wide ball specialist, No line length bowler Rana Naved. Azhar's inclusion is another defensive approach PCB is taking who can not take a step to include new players.

  • Zuhair on February 28, 2007, 4:29 GMT

    Bye bye Pakistan. Since when has Azhar’s bowling been stronger than Razzaq?? It never was and nor is. Razzaq is a much better bowler than Azhar and especially in West Indian conditions where the pitches and the wind from the beach suit him and his reverse swing, he can be destructive. Razzaq averages somewhere around 19 per wicket in West Indies. That itself speaks a lot of his bowling part in West Indies. And I guess we should have less doubts on his batting abilities, there is no comparison whatsoever with Mahmood. Now we cannot plunder all those 80-100 runs in last ten overs ever. No matter how explosive is Afridi or Malik might be at a given day, Razzaq’s absence mean we are almost out of it. Afridi won’t stay for long even if he scores quickly. Malik is reliable but he needs one Razzaq to help him out to score quickly, so as to minimize the risk and far of losing the wicket in hard hitting.

    Hafeez is a part timer in both aspects of his game. Can’t rely on him. We can say that his batting is poorer than his bowling. Malik is good enough with the bat. Afridi is more a bowling all rounder. But having too many of them cant replace Razzaq. We have lost it mates…lost it big time I am afraid 

  • HANIF Noorani on February 28, 2007, 4:24 GMT

    I don’t understand these guys. Whats the point in replacing an allrounder with another one. It was a blessing in disguise and picking up a proper a batsman would have been great, say Yasir Hameed. Since WC 2003, I believe Razzaq is in the team more for his batting + his name. There is no point in picking bits and pieces of cricketers like Hafeez / Mahmood. ARazzaq can actually be compared to India’s Pathan who can hardly go thru 5 overs at par. Anyways I am sure we going to miss him, but not as much as Shebby+Asif. PLZ Kamran Bhai stop abusing Hafeez by tagging him an ALLROUNDER. I agree with most people in this column that Malik is a better choice if u need an allrounder. Though, he can be picked for his batting alone. ENOUGH SAID……….Wish you guys best of luck now……dearly want to see the trophy with PAKISTAN. Cheers

  • Waqar Ali on February 28, 2007, 4:13 GMT

    I think fitness is an issue of Azhar, he seemed sluggish against South Africa. Hopefully, he'll overcome that factor by the time World Cup gets under way.

    I think it was a wise move by PCB to straightaway get Azhar into the team, because it'll help built his confident and mentally place his mind into game-mode.

    Also considering the fact that Afridi is disallowed from the opening two games, Azhar may become a necessity for Pakistan.

  • Khurram Malik (NEWYORK) on February 28, 2007, 4:00 GMT

    Injury saga continue once again its turn out to be Abdul Razzaq. I rate Razzaq as specialist pinch hitter during last 10 Overs. He is the only bat who knows what to do with increasing runrate when needed. I deeply feel sorry for Abdul Razzaq. I still dont believe Azhar Mahammod is better choice for replacement. Bari need to shake his think tank to look for someone like Yasir Arafat. He isnt as good as Razzaq but much better than Azhar. I blame pcb and Musharaf for this dirty cricket development in pakistan. PCB is running by bunch of hitlers. I dont think we have any chance to getting anywhere in world cup if there is no shoiab and asif. Only relief and boost will be if they both fit than Azhar is tolarated otherwise god bless pakistan.

  • Mohammad Basha on February 28, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    Medium Pacers will be important in the World Cup. Not Spinners. Pakistan doesn't require Kaneria.

  • 3rdin2horserace on February 28, 2007, 3:37 GMT

    Razzaq most probably failed the dope test; I am guessing pretty soon he will come out with the same excuse as Bonds that he never knowingly took any performance enhancing dugs.

  • Asad Bangash, Toronto on February 28, 2007, 2:23 GMT

    I just hope , we can have 11 players on the field, by the time WC starts..No matter who the 11 are.

  • Ali Ahad on February 27, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    Well Razzaq is a big blow for Pakistan but I dont agree with inclusion of Azhar Mahmood. He is an OK allrounder. Since his Test debut against South Africa he didnt palyed any good innings. As far his bowling is concerned his average in ODI's is 38.92 which doesnt classify him a decent bowler. I would rather pick Yasir Hameed or Samiullah Khan Niazi. Yasir Hameed because he really deserve the selection as he have prove hisself as a good reliable batsman with better technique. Sami Ullah Khan Niazi is a good bowler though he has to make his ODI debut but his first class average speaks for itself 18.84 far better than Azhar and he has good pace too. If dope duo couldnt make it to the carabiean he can be a good support to Rana & Co.

  • Faisal Riaz on February 27, 2007, 22:48 GMT

    i totally agree with u kamran on the afridi issue, i think pakistan management should look at afridi as a bowler who can bat rather then a batsmen who can bowl, afridi a very clever ODI bowler and i think he is going to be very important and is gona play a big part with bowling in the west indies, and along with that if he can score some runs that will be a huge bonus for us, but i think ure right the captian and coach should try and take the pressure of him by using him a proper ODI bowler and he will do well and i think afridi performs that best when hes bowling well

  • Zaraf on February 27, 2007, 22:47 GMT

    I think Razzaq's loss can be a blessing in disguise, he hasn't perform upto his potential for a long time. Don't know much about the current form of Azhar Mahmood, but I doubt he could do worse than Razzaq. I think it's not a bad idea to use alrounders in the team, but you play them in the team as alrounders! They shouldn't be occupying important bowling positions (like opening the attack) or batting (like in the top order). These things should be left to specialist who really (in theory at least!) are not bits and pieces cricketers.

  • Tony on February 27, 2007, 22:44 GMT

    Well it is one more bad luck to pakistan. I know loss of Razzaq can not be filled by Azhar. As azhar do not have real match practice for long time, But i think it is better to take him early so he can get some real practice and may help pakistan to do some miracle. i still believe if pakistan players and management sit down before every match and design a plan for that day, they will do better than it looks like. Only thing we can do is have hope and pray that some of them play sensibly in every game. We can only have chance to win if we will have score of 275 and more. Good Luck Pakis.

  • Kashif Saleem on February 27, 2007, 22:39 GMT

    Azhar mehmood is no doubt a very handy player and his inclusion in the world cup squad has somewhat filled the void created by Abdul Razzaq's unfortunate last-minute exclusion. Having said that , the big question mark still hangs over Azhar's current form at the International level. He wasn't all that convincing in recent South Africa series. One more thing...... for God's sake don't send Kamran Akmal as an opener in the world cup. Enough with this comic experimentation already!

  • Nizar Moosa on February 27, 2007, 22:29 GMT

    It surely a BIG blow to Pakistan for loosing Razzak. Although, I would argue that he has been under performing for a while now. I have never questioned his desire and passion for the team. Athough, his long hair was really a reason which diverted his concentration (LOL). As far as Azhar Mehmood is concerned, his recent domistic season helped him to get back in the team. Although, I was in favour of Yasir Arafat ( I dont wanna talk about him at this point, as he is not going to WC). Shoaib Malik will be person to watch out this WC. He is a great ODI player who brings a variety in Pak team. I hope the team management and the Captain use this talent with wisedom. His position as at #6 or #7 is debateable. But Younus Khan is providing a pivital role at #3. I hope he can convert his 30s to 70s or maybe 100s. Afridi is no doubt the JAAN of Pakistan Team. I can bet, without him even his critics feel that somthing is missing. So yes, if he plans to hit straight sixes rather than his orthotox " 1 leg up six to square leg or mid wicket " he will make a DHOOM with his BOOM BOOM shots. He should be played in the team a bowling allrounder rather than a batsman. Hafeez is lucky to be in the squad ( b/c of his bowling abilities for sure ) at the expense of Salman Butt ( My friend Jalal will disagree - I love Salman Butts cover drive). If he opens, which I think he should - we need him to play sensibly with Younus Khan as Imran Nazir have to go for his shots.

    This is the time that we should rally behind the Pak team. We have to support Pak team which include Bob Woolmer and his high quality staff. Recent comments from Zaheer Abbass have really diappointed me. There is no reason to bring Oval story at this time and point fingers on Coach and Captain. Zaheer Abbass himself was very disappointing in dealing media during the Oval Crisis.

    Good luck Pak team. Both in World Cup and in Canada for the Legends Game at Rogers Centre :)

    GO GREEN GO

  • Omar on February 27, 2007, 22:23 GMT

    I agree with you in that Razzaq should be sent and if he can not recover, then send him back. But I think this is also a good opportunity to try using specialists in the ODI arena... it didn't work out too well in Tests in SA, where Hafeez was the only player who could be called an allrounder being in the team (hope im not forgetting someone). I think we need 2 allrounders in the team (being a big fan of pinch hitting at the death, i say Afridi and Razzaq, and Malik as the backup), and the rest need to be specialists.

  • Ch. Shahbaz on February 27, 2007, 22:21 GMT

    Hello,

    First on the Razzak episode:

    A great and irreplaceable blow indeed. Azhar mehmood is a good all rounder but not as good as razzak. Razzak beat azhar in the batting department hands down, esp becuase of his late blasting ability as you pointed out. and in bowling dept too i think razzak is better than azhar with his swinging ability but i agree that he has been a little off color of late in this dept. He should have been taken to the carribean and replaced if he wouldn't have gotten fit until the super 8 stage, It would have been worth a gamble. I don't know if he could still be called upon if he gets fit, and some one else gets injured or perhaps someone else (may be azhar) be sent home on injury pretext esp if azhar fails to perform until then. But Azhar can fill his gap to some extent.

    Afridi:

    Does not merit to be on the team, if his all-round utility is taken into account. The reason as you pointed out, His success rate (1% may be in batting). But yes his bowling has become crucial of late, and thus can be crucial. must only be played in late order except when on a very high run chase. He goes out if kaneria is played, and kaneria should play. Talisman? His is not.

    Shoaib Malik:

    A very good player. Should open and I've a feeling that he will open, most probably with hafeez. He has matured a lot as a Batsman and his criticism when he played in the top order in earlier tours, by former cricketers was uncalled for and lacked common sense. Natural born openers are rare now esp in Pakistan. but in a situation when many of your so-called openers are continously failing for like last 4 years, a person performs, and he is blown away on the context that he is not an opener as if there has to be a stamp on you to be one. Aamir Sohail wasn't one to give an example. His Bowling has been a bit off lately and he needs to pick up on that count.

    Hafeez.

    Has been bowling well and yes should be used more. Batting? well he can play well but hasn't been really shining lately, must perform on this front to really merit selection in the final 11. Can form a good opening pair with shoaib malik if batting becomes consistent even if cautious as his is.

    Conclusion:

    Overall, Pakistan have very good all rounders and with bit of application they can really turn matches pakistan's way. Their performance will be crucial for pakistan's progress and eventual win in the cup.

    YES, Pakistan will win the World Cup.

    Shahbaz. Islamabad.

  • StocksandBlogs.com on February 27, 2007, 22:13 GMT

    Yes its quite a blow that Razzaq is not playing. The final 11 is not the same without him and Mahmood has yet to perform well as a batsman in ODI's.

    Faisal Laljee http://stocksandblogs.com

  • Asad on February 27, 2007, 22:03 GMT

    I hope if they could have sent Abdul Razzaq and waited on his injury status a little more.

  • JOHN Wade on February 27, 2007, 21:54 GMT

    Pak will miss Razzaq but inturn theres plenty of back up. all they now need to do is fire.

  • Raja Shehzad Zaman on February 27, 2007, 21:50 GMT

    Well i wish Afrid the best of luck, and i hope he doesn't boom out, as his performance would be vital to Pakistan's progress in the WC. But Mr. Boom Boom has came short on a number of ocassions, for me, not to put my money on him. Razzaq out of world cup is a BIG blow to ou chances, as he is a better and more reliable hitter than Afridi. I hope Azhar grabs this opportunity by the scruff of neck and brings some blushes on the faces of those selectors who hav ignored him for past 2 years or so. As a pakistani, I wish, hope, and pray the Pakistan wins the world cup, but at this point its one of those things where hearts says "yes' but the head says "no" and since we are not in UTOPIA, head tends to be right more often then not. Mr. ABBASSI, you can save this one for future references, as i am telling you not to bet on pakistan this time:). (Well if Shoaib and Asif play, then the odds improve). Thanks, Raja Shehzad Zaman (USA)

  • ALi on February 27, 2007, 21:47 GMT

    Despite all the injuries i am still excited about the world cup. To be honest though this is becoming like a curse. Even though inzi has played poorly of late. I think him being their will still keep things somewhat stable. But lets be honest to many crutches right now for pakistan. The karma going into the cup is really bad.

    1.low confidence. They havent really performed well of late. 2.Fielding has been more atrocious than normal. 3.Inzis form. 4.The idiocy of the pcb. a.no waqar younis. b.the unprofessional way the drug scandal was handled. c.the criticism by incompetent selectors like ehteshammudin whos a nobody. He has no right to say anything abt inzi as a captain. And if he feels like this he shouldnt be a selector. 5.anarchy just doesnt seem to go away in our country.

  • Tanveer on February 27, 2007, 21:44 GMT

    Razzaq is really experienced, We will surely miss him

  • Umer Wash DC on February 27, 2007, 21:38 GMT

    Without any real chemistry among the team. It's hard to predict, what will be the likely out come? although super success is a far fetched dream. Half of the team had to have no idea, they will be in WC squad. e.g Azhar,Danish,Imran and the two new guys, whom I pretty certian wil be taking Asif and Shoaib place. PCB should be kicked in the ASS. in fact Paki cricket team responsibilty should be out source to some Corporate Company. atleast due to reveune interest they will run it better. so how about we have an open acution, I have my cents lined up... with current state two cents it's worth!!!

    UMER Wash DC

  • Rizwan Zuberi on February 27, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    i agree, abdul razzaq is very good in the last 10 overs, we will not miss his bowling but the hitting will certainly be missed.

    i think younis should open and hafeez shud come down the order in the WC.

    IF shoaib and asif are fit thenI think this should be the team;

    Nazir we don't really need azhar unless we wanna rest any of our bowlers.

    they should also try and make the most of conditions, i think if they think the batting is gonna be difficult later on, afridi can open.

    Some on also needs the get the messgae through that we are not the fittest of sides, so we need our rest. And some one please tell ASIF not to dive like he was diving in South Africa.

  • Tay'yab-Ali on February 27, 2007, 21:25 GMT

    Razzak will be missed, I still remember his 3 over masacre of English bowlers when 6o odd runs were scored, it was simply breathtaking. However, I am pleased for Azar. I have seen this guy play for Surrey for the last 3 seasons. Azar has scored big runs against good attacks on seaming wickets; his ability to score runs aginst good bowlers is a massive bonus for pakistan and I'm of the view he should bat in the middle order like he does for Surrey. I almost forgot to mention his powerful hitting at the end-he has been pivotal in Surrey's success in the 20/20 version of the game. Finally, he is a better bowler and can swing the white ball.

    Malik has been very consistant with the bat for 3 years now and should not even be the susbject of debate-he has taken pakistan over the finsih line on numerous occasions and is our Hussey/Bevan. since he has not bowled very much in the last 15months or so, he shouldnt really be discussed as an allrounder for now.

    Afridi-every one is s*** scared of him, just ask the Indians and more recently the SAs. He will also bowl his 10 and get vital wickets. Not a bad fielder either.

    Not convinced with Hafeez. Now that Imran nazir is back, Hafeez will have to wait.

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz on February 27, 2007, 21:23 GMT

    Razzaq's presence will be sorely missed but i think it ensures Afidi's and Imran Nazir's presence in each game Pakistan plays.

    Simply because we cant afford to lose either of them now that Razzaq's big hitting will not be replaced. So Afridi has to contribute in the last 10 overs and Imran Nazir can contribute in the first 10 overs and he lasts long enough to participate in all power plays then surely Pakistan will win the match. We need 2 fit fast bowlers. Umar Gul is one and i hope Asif is another.

  • Ehsan Ur-Rehamn Khan Chattar on February 27, 2007, 21:19 GMT

    Razaq's untimely injury is a devastating news for Pak fans. I am really sorry for him and we are going to miss him in the world cup matches. Luckily, we have a very similar all rounder in the team- A Mahmood. Although AM is missing ODI match practice, he is well in form thanks to his county cricket. Anyway, it seems difficult to play both Razaq and A Mahmood in the same match. Now, A Mahmood has been granted a chance from skies and he can play without having pressure of making place in the team by competing with Razaq. Recently, his bowling form and fitness looked better than Razaq's. Also he is a different sort of Pakistani bowler. He hits the seam consistently and does not rely much on swing. This will provide more variety to our bowling. It looks that Shoaib and Asif are going to miss the wc for one reason or the other. So Rana and Gul are going to be our main bowlers. If Rana can emulate the same performance that he had against India then we can still hope for the cup. In order to use Kaneria successfully, somebody will have to exert pressure from the other end otherwise Kaneria will loose it. Inzi will have to use his fast bowlers in such a way that Kaneria is provided with enough tight end from the other side. I hope A Mahmood will prove that he is up to the task. Despite our bowling problems, I reckon, it is going to be our batting that will mostly decide the outcome of our matches. Team unity under a proactive and determined captain can disguise a lot of weaknesses. Whatever happens in the world cup, we will miss Razaq.

  • Sagar on February 27, 2007, 21:09 GMT

    I dont understand why Pakistan sticks with Afridi so much when they have better batsmen/bowlers to replace him. I agree when he clicks he clicks big time but that occasion is extremely rare and more often than not he is being carried around in the team. Inzamam should lay off his petty loyalties and give some other youngsters a chance. Same goes for his affinity towards Sami who is no more what he promised once upon a time. Kamran has been an eternal optimist where Pakistan cricket is concerned. Maybe they(the Pakistanis) should rely more on people who deliver rather than send their nonperformers in with a prayer.

  • Umar Amr on February 27, 2007, 21:02 GMT

    Shoaib Malik - the most consistent of them all; can hold the batting really well and is a proven opener/#3 batsmen; his bowling is a weak point as it's easy to go after in the death overs.

    Shahid Afridi - The biggest matchwinner of them all. Batting is explosive but inconsistent; bowling is almost on par to the greats in ODI bowling, which is awesome for an allrounder like him.

    Mohammad Hafeez - The truest allrounder of them all in the sense that he'll get 20-30 runs and bowl 10 economical overs. Problem is that he can't continue for a big one and his wickets come spontaneously (which is good at times).

    Azhar Mahmood - haven't seen him enough lately to comment.

  • faisal on February 27, 2007, 20:58 GMT

    This could be done now as well. Couldn't this be? If he improves, couldnt he be added in place of Azhar later on. Please correct me guys if I am wrong - Participating Nations Agreement (PNA) clearly states that a player who is replaced in a squad cannot be reinstated.

    I am not sure if this rule applies for replacement happening during the tour or prior to the tour.

  • qandeel on February 27, 2007, 20:56 GMT

    Pakistan will definately miss razzaq as he is the most dangerous player in last 5 or 6 overs.he also take 2 or 3 important wickets.hope azhar mehmood plays well in his place.

  • Mudasir on February 27, 2007, 20:53 GMT

    Azhar is no more neer Razzaq's calibre, he is mach winning al-rounder.

  • Sami Syed from Toronto on February 27, 2007, 20:44 GMT

    Well, Pakistan's chances seem dim.

    HOWEVER, I think that's exactly when they emerge as champions to down the critics.

    Mr. Kamran, it seems like you have been reading my comments from previous blogs... lol

    I say this because I've been suggesting Younis Khan as opener for the last couple of months in your blogs and you suggested that idea in one of your recent blogs. Obviously, it makes sense since he tends to enter in the game within the first two overs.

    Secondly, during the South Africa tour, I commented on your blogs saying that next to Asif, Afridi was the best bowler in the ODI's. His bowling merit alone should merit his inclusion and his hitting is an ENORMOUS bonus.

    Nonetheless, I will agree with my previous comments and your's here. Cheers!

    Another comment I have to make so repetitiously is that WHY YASIR HAMMED WASN'T SELECTED? I will never know??? Is it politics??? Because his performance in ODI's has always been good. Should someone get injured now, his inclusion would be phenomenol.

    MOMENTO: In evey WORLD CUP there is alway a new comer which emerges to take over. In 1992, it was Inzamam. In this WORLD CUP my bets are on IMRAN NAZIR.

    Sami Syed from Toronto

  • Miten on February 27, 2007, 20:39 GMT

    Azhar Mahmood, in my opinion, is a better allrounder than Razzaq and its a blessing in disguise for Pakistan that he is playing in this World Cup. Afridi is an enigma that Pakistan never have or never will solve. He is one of those players that is do damn good and yet so damn inconsistent that he always begs for the question: is he worth the risk? He is definitely not worth his place in the side on his bowling and fielding alone, but add the chance of a match turning batting performance and the tables turn in his favour. He is a crowd favourite and this makes Afridi's selection one of the hardest decision that the Pakistan selectors have to constantly make. Having all rounders is important to add balance to a side but those all rounders have to either perform with bat or ball or both on any given day. An allrounder who is often mediocre with both is a liability to the side like Afridi and Razzaq often are.

  • Zahid Irfan on February 27, 2007, 20:37 GMT

    I think the Pakistani All-rounders of today dont compare with the all-rounders of yesteryears... Kapil, Imran, Hadlee, Clive Rice, Botham... Not to mention the great Sobers... Anyhow having said that I think I should talk about reality as well... Thes e are the only options we have right now in the absence of quality batsmen and bowlers... We have to use these *tit-bit* players (as Khan Sahib likes to call them) and then pray to God that they click..

  • Ali Yousaf on February 27, 2007, 20:27 GMT

    I agree, pakistan's all rounders will play an important part, and it's really important that inzamam and woolmer recognize and consider afridi an essential part of their bowling plan in the world cup especially after the dismall performances of the medium/fast bowlers in SA. With the slow nature of the west indian pitches, hafeez can also play a crucial part in restricting the opponents and also take wickets at regular intervals. If pakistan use these two very well along with malik, we won't have to depend solely on medium and fast bowlers. This is important considering the doubts on asif and akhar's availability. If the batting performances are consistent and a good bowling plan is implemented, pakistan are in for a good chance. The pitches will favor our team, but it is upto the players to rise to the occasion. We'll have to wait and see for that.

  • Syed Rizwan on February 27, 2007, 20:25 GMT

    I totally agree with you in Afridi's case. Select him for his bowling. A smart captain will back him and ask him to be a bowling allrounder and a floater with the bat. This truly will take the pressure off him and whenever he has performed he has praised Inzi for taking the pressure off of him.

  • Saad on February 27, 2007, 20:20 GMT

    I do definetley agree that Azhar Mahmood has been very poorly treated by the PCB, and let's gace it he is not the only one when you think of people like mohammad Wasim and co. But it also true to say that there is a huge gulf between Razzaq and Mahmood. Sure Mahmood has done well in the past for Pakistan (i..e 7 years ago) and also for his county team, but Razzaq was something different, he has the respect of his peers, he drives fear in the heart of his opponents with his dangerous batting, and as you said he is simply irreplacable in the last 10 overs, especially considering that Afridi's form can be very erratic. We saw in the tournament against South Africa that Azhar was finding it hard to hit bowlers to the boundary in the dying overs, wheras Razzaq is quite profficient in that respect. But alas, every cloud has a silver lining, and if as you say Azhar is a better bowler (i reserve judgement until I see him in more than one game) then that is definetley something that Pakistan can use, especially considering that it seems ever more likely that Shoaib and Asif will not travel to the World Cup.

  • hakim on February 27, 2007, 20:13 GMT

    I am with BOOM BOOM as well. Razzaq's is truly a disappointment. I am not thinking much about the tournament at the moment. Just waiting for it to start since we have quite a few disappointments to deal with. Too many injuries have happened right before the cup. But once it starts, I think we would all be in a better position to judge Pakistan's chances. Regardless, I have already put a waged on Pakistan and I don't think I'll be hedging it by putting the money on any other team. Pakistan all the way!

  • Yassar on February 27, 2007, 20:08 GMT

    All-rounders along with a fully fit bowling line up form the most important part of the Pakistani line up.

    The loss of Abdul Razzaq has dealt a hammer blow to Pakistan’s chances and that is no reflection on Azhar Mahmood’s ability as a replacement. Abdul Razzaq along with Shahid Afridi provides Pakistan with the lower order fire-power that enables Pakistan to chase or post big scores. Azhar Mahmood is capable enough to bowl as effectively if not more so than Razzaq, but where Pakistan will miss him most is with the bat and as good as Azhar Mahmood can be he does not possess Razzaq’s big hitting abilities that Pakistan rely on so often.

    This all puts more responsibility on Shahid Afridi to perform and to perform more consistently. Shahid Afridi could prove to be the most valuable member of the team as his performances with bat or ball can turn things Pakistan’s way, therefore it is very important Pakistan get the best out of him. This means they need to bat him at No6 where he can be so devastating and not to float him around the order and reduce his effectiveness. His bowling in the middle overs will help give Pakistan control and he picks up vital wickets too and in poor fielding side his performances as one of the better fielders could also prove to be important.

    Shoaib Malik another of Pakistan’s multi-talented players needs to play at the top of the order as an opener. We all know Pakistan’s weakness is with its openers and Malik I believe can solve that problem. Before his injury just before the start of the England tour, Malik was a regular opener for Pakistan in both tests and ODI’s even managing to win matches from that position. Malik has the mental approach to give Pakistan a solid start and Pakistan need to use this. He should open with one of Hafeez or Nazir, this would give Pakistan a good combination of solid & attacking play.

    Losing Razzaq is a big blow but Pakistan have a good a chance as anybody if they can get Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Asif on board AND if they use their talented all-rounders properly!

  • syed Rahman on February 27, 2007, 20:05 GMT

    It's a good idea that Abdur Razzaque accompanies the team and hope for timely recovery for the remaining matches with his expected all round performances.

  • Shafi Muhammad Jatoi on February 27, 2007, 19:51 GMT

    With the current state of the first choice Pakistani bowlers and considering the quality of the back-up bowlers the inclusion of more than just the regular mix of allrounders seems more than just reasonable; infact, absolutely necessary. Azhar is a far better bowler than Razzaq; atleast he shows some emotion rather carrying the face of a child being forced to bowl. The wickets should suit us perfectly and with shorter boundaries our allrounders can succeed in doing what they do best.....Slog!!!!

  • Nadeem Akhter on February 27, 2007, 19:48 GMT

    Afridi can be the difference. May be this is the right time, the right platform for him to return strongly and shrug the horrors of last year. I agree with you that his bowling is always taken for granted and also as a batsman, he deserves to be sent higher up the order. Hafeez is not likely to get many chances but it would be nice if he is tried against weaker opponents to change his habit of making pretty twenties and losing his wicket. It can boost his confidence. His bowling and fielding can be a good bonus to have. Malik is the sweetest catcher of cricket ball in this side. Imran Nazir can cartwheel, yes, but he can't hold it as beautifully as Malik does. His batting is an asset and he has a sharp cricketing mind. In my opinion, if he is used properly, he can end the tournament as one of it's best allrounders. It is very hard to say anything about Azhar at the moment. He has hardly got any exposure on international scene lately and supposedly his confidence level is not on the higher side. On contrary, if he takes the challenge as he should, he can be handy as a first or second change bowler and later middle order blaster.

  • haseeb on February 27, 2007, 19:44 GMT

    Razzaq should have been taken to the world cup if he would have missed only the league games. I doubt whether that was a certainity. I think it is the new ball bowlers and openers including Younis at 3, that will make or break Pakistan's chances. Cross your fingers and hope the openers are not "very sensitive" as infamously put by Younis Khan.

  • Ashaq on February 27, 2007, 19:44 GMT

    Kamran I have just read youre interview with Azhar Mahmood. Dated May 28 2004. There are some fabulous insights in to the inner workings of the P.C.B. And the treatment of Azhar Mahmood has indeed been appaling. I remember during the 1999 world cup Azhar was being touted as a future captain by commentators.

  • ashu on February 27, 2007, 19:38 GMT

    ya,shahid afridi is the first among equals when it comes to power hitting....and his bowling is a big bonus for any side...being from india though i would prey that he does not do well against us....but watching him play is a treat and it crosses the boundary and i ll say he is the peerless in winning hearts...but only thing that he has to improve is his consistency against non subcontinental teams which i think he has begun to do...he is the rarest of rare talents with bat and to add onto this he has got golden arm too...now razzaq not playing in the world cup would have given many a bowlers some sense of relief...but mahmood is good enough to fill in the gap may be partially but he can do it....i ve one suggestion for inzamam and company,do play shoaib because withought him pakistani bowling looks pedestrian though asif is the best fast bowler on the scene now.but still shoaib is their best weapon...and use afridi judiciously...he can win matches within the blink of eye and its not only winning or loosing of match but....its the effect with he does just improves the overall morale of own team and needless to say it drowns opposition even further....all the best shoaib show us what u can do.....

  • Jimmy on February 27, 2007, 19:33 GMT

    Shahid Afridi: One of the great enigma's. The man has such awesome talents which are plain for all to see when he plays knocks like his 70 odd vs SA. But he doesnt seem to want to use his talent. I feel all he needs is a little more application. He applies this to his bowling so why cant he do it with his batting. He was approaching the ability to harness his abilities in the India series last year and then he just seemed to completely lose the plot and retire from test matches. Unexplainable. Then again will anybody ever be able to explain the one and only Shahid Afridi

  • wasim saqib on February 27, 2007, 19:30 GMT

    Those of you who are going to raise hue & cry over Razzaks Injury Please dont waste your time and energy Look at his record for 2006-2007 Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w 12 152 38* 19.00 0 0 9 4/50 44.11 0

    He had the highest score of 38 his bowling was expensive we do not need big names we need players who perform. Shahid Afridi has been bowling well but his batting was almost the same as Razzak.

    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w 7 122 77* 20.33 0 1 6 3/25 33.66 0

    These players are highly inconsistent and their careers should have been over at least two years ago,but having said that we can still use Afridis Bowling and if he bats well that will be an added bonus. The most expensive bowler in 2006-07 was Rana Naveed he is completely out of form and if you look at his one day record although he takes a few wickets he has been highly expensive,I hope he has regained some form otherwise his selection will be totally unjustified,I hope and pray shoaib and Asif get cleared otherwise worldcup for pakistan will be a very short tournament.

  • Babar Khalid on February 27, 2007, 19:29 GMT

    I think it will hurt Pakistan as far as batting is concerned more importantly "batting in West Indies", but I think Azhar Mahmood is far better bowler than Abdul Razzak (now a days) he is more quick and experienced. Razzak can be dangerous when it comes to hitting in last few overs, not so with Azhar.

  • RaRaRasputin on February 27, 2007, 19:27 GMT

    Come on Mr.Abbasi. Is this all you can manage after four days of thinking? The lack of any fresh insight makes this piece immediately obsolete. Your "analysis": The Pakistani allrounders can blow "hot or cold"; in your view Razzaq can be a vital ingredient in the closing overs; Razzaq's loss is Azhar's gain; and when Afridi's batting comes off, he wins matches. Explain please what value this has added to the information set of a million other followers of the game? At this point in time Osman Samiuddin blows you clear out of the water, column after column. Show us something new, or don't bother.

  • Sheraz Afzal on February 27, 2007, 19:26 GMT

    I agree about Afridi. There are precious few players in the world who have the ability to change a match completely. Afridi is one of these. Pakistan must seek to win games and tournaments. And despite the unpredictable and, yes, inconsistent nature of Afridi's performances, and how annoying it can be when he holes out, any Pakistan fan would be much happier and more confident with him coming out to bat than anyone else on the list of all rounders. QED

  • Rahul on February 27, 2007, 19:23 GMT

    1st 2 post.. i win.. :P On a more serious note. Losing razzaq is a serious serious blow for pak. It means pakistan will have to play another seamer instead of just 2 fast bowlers and a few utility players. Mahmood is a good player but he hasnt played enough international cricket lately.

  • Abdul Waheed on February 27, 2007, 19:15 GMT

    Dear Kamran,

    First, I would like to ask you, don’t we already have named a squad of which, almost half have been named under the assumption that they would be either, cleared or declared fit at some point before or during the World Cup? If that is true than why not add Razzaq to that list as he can be a key factor if Pakistan are to make any significant progress in this World Cup.

    In response to one of your previous Blog, I had suggested that Pakistan should pack the squad with all-rounder’s. Why? Again for the simple reason, in my view, in the absence of Shoib Akhtar and Asif (as of now, no one knows the final verdict about them) and Gul as, at the time of your Blog it was not clear whether he would be fit to participate (I am still unsure) Pakistan has no other bowler who can either contain or take MEANINGFUL wickets. Kenaria? He has either never shown that he can be a factor like Qadir was for Imran or he has never been able to gain the coach or Captain’s confidence. In Pakistan’s case, as we all know (I hope) looking at the history, our best bet has been, to get the opponent out instead try to contain them. Since, in the absence of key strike bowlers we have little chance to contain any quality opponent to an achievable total BY JUST OUR BATSMEN; Therefore, I had suggested Pakistan should build the team around all-rounder’s such as, Shoib Malik, Hafeez, Afridi, Razzaq, Azhar and to some even lesser extent Rana and Arafat. Yes, I am aware like many of your other readers and also yourself that, none of these fall into the category of Imran, Botham, Kapil, Hadlee, Chris Cairns and Flintoff. Still, I believe this is the best way for us to go about in this tournament. On the current form, and in the absence of Akhtar, Asif and possibly Gul, except perhaps Afridi, we can not say with any certainty which of the bowler including the above all-rounder’s can finish allotted 10 overs in key matches while conceding between 5 to 6 runs per over on a good day.

    My whole argument is, if for example Rao Iftikhar or Sami (keeping in mind the current state he may get a call up) are played in all key matches, one can safely say most likely both of these will concede 50 to 60 runs in their allotted 10 overs while taking 1 or 2 wickets. I think, most of the above mentioned all-rounder’s would do almost the same or may concede 5 to 10 runs more. Yet, if we have more all-rounder’s in the team, they all don’t have to bowl 10 overs as another all-rounder can chip in if the first one is proving too expensive (or breaks down again, keeping in mind the current fitness level). On the same note, if we need few quick 30’s and 40’s we can expect (not guaranteed) couple of these 5 or 6 all-rounder’s to provide us the fire power in the batting to make up for what we have CONCEDED EXTRA in the absence of Shoib and Asif and maybe Gul.

    As always, even though the writing is on the wall, BEST WISHES TO WOOLMER, INZAMAM, REST OF THE PAISTANINI TEAM and the SUPPORTERS LIKE MYSELF.

  • syed faraz aqeel on February 27, 2007, 19:14 GMT

    Dont worry Our AFRIDI will be enough to take on the world INSHALLAH

  • Big D on February 27, 2007, 19:08 GMT

    Kamran bhai...

    Razzaq's injury is a MASSIVE blow to Pakistan!!! and it's even worst that person replacing him is a useless allrounder (who can't bat and neither can bowl!). Sure Azhar has had success in county but anybody's Mum could take 50 wickets in a county season!

    Our only hope is Shoaib Malik and boom boom when he comes back for Zimbabwe match!

    How dare you call Mohammad Hafeez an allrounder???? 50 matches with an average of 19??? Rana naveed and Rao Iftikhar are better batters then him! (Rao Iftikhar has better batting avg in tests then Inzy and Mohammad Yousuf! LOL)

  • rizwan_oldham on February 27, 2007, 19:07 GMT

    most teams hope to have two world class allrounders in a decade but pakistan with the grace of god have four or five top all-rounders..i think if the ppl at the top of the board had a bit of akal pakistan wud b world beaters....lets jus pray that we can use these versatile players to our advantage...inshallah

  • Syed Wajahat Hussain (San Jose, CA) on February 27, 2007, 19:06 GMT

    This is definitely a huge blow for Pakistan Razzaq has been an integral part of Pakistan ODI team. Remember 1999 world cup where he had played a big role. On his day, he's such an exciting player to watch and certainly he's a world beater. I pray for his recovery soon.

    Wajahat

    San Jose, CA

  • New Reader From New York on February 27, 2007, 19:04 GMT

    Saleem to everyone,

    As this is my first time writing in this blog, i feel the need to thank Mr. Kamran Abbasi for a great job in talking about critical issues in pakistani cricket. I think this will be a huge lose to pakistan as Abdul Razzaq is a good all rounder who can win a match any day with his bat and balling. The first match with West Indies will now miss Afridi and Razzaq which gives glimpse on how pakistan will do in this World cup . I Hope Azhar can regain his form and be the special piece in winning the World Cup. Let's Go Pakistan!!!

  • AMIR,USA on February 27, 2007, 19:00 GMT

    Poor decision making once again by the PCB. Why not get all the has beens outta what ever their doing and bring em back as the last hope for pakistan during the world cup. It makes no sense whatsoever to have azhar mahmood come in and play. A team already filled with underachieving "all rounders" (mostly all round performace of poor batting, poor bowling and poor fielding) and now you throw in some guy who shouldve been at home watching the worldcup on his tv. If these morons had any notion of competance they wouldve added a batsmen as a replacement(asim kamal, yasir hameed, misba ul haq) But ofcourse they wouldn't want people to think that PCB actually has contingency plans?

  • Muhammad Umair Yasir on February 27, 2007, 18:59 GMT

    Yes, another blow. Razzaq's explosive batting will be missed, no doubt about that. But his bowling was not so good recently.

    Azhar is not a bad choice, although not as explosive as Razzaq but relatively a complete batsman, who can bat in middle overs, unlike Razzaq and his bowling form is a plus point.

    Afridi is special, so we cannot predict about him, his batting is as ever, but his bowling, if he bowls in rhythm, he looks unplayable sometimes, but sometimes bowls loose deliveries and releases the pressure on the batting side. But his form and confidence will help.

    Hafeez , well he can bowl at any stage of the innings, even at the death; but always underused by captain, in one match he bowls a good tight spell and in the next match, he doesn’t even get the ball.

    He has played enough twenty-20 cricket, so he can handle various situations. Malik should also be given confidence by providing him more chances to bowl.

    So from all-rounders, Azhar and Afridi will have to concentrate on bowling more and Hafeez and Malik should be able to make good contributions with the bat, while also making some contributions with bat and bowl respectively. This way we can take full advantage from these four all-rounders.

  • Tom on February 27, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    I agree with everything you have said there.

  • Sachin on February 27, 2007, 18:56 GMT

    That is intersting, because Razzaq is probably the cleanest hitter there is around. It will be a big loss. Also, I agree that Afridi should be played as a bowler who can bat, not a batsman who can bowl. Oh well, Razzaq always gets Tendulkar out so I guess its a good thing for me. But overall Pakistan look good as long as Shoaib can come back.

  • Anon. on February 27, 2007, 18:55 GMT

    Salaam bhai, Hopefully I beat Lahoriyah and big D to it...

    Anyways, My fav allrounder is now gone, we are doomed. Azhar is looking a bit lardy and bowling kinda slow.. we are in deep trouble!

  • kamran khan salt lake city usa on February 27, 2007, 18:54 GMT

    I agree on kamran' assessent on razzaq exclustion based on his injury. razzaq can be murderer to bowlers when he keeps going. but quesion is how often he has done that..i would say once in a while...recently, he had looked totally out of sort.....anyway, there had been tie between him and afridi for playing eleven...and afridi is much better choice as an all-rounder

  • behzad on February 27, 2007, 18:53 GMT

    Razzaq's injury will be a big loss. He is one of the cleanest hitters although his bowling recently has been lacklustre. I am a boom boom man too and would love to see Afridi open the batting. Allrounders win matches and they should be looked at and grromed as multi-dimesional / multi-tasked players rather than bits and pieces players. Come on guys....I know you can do it

  • Amyn Habib on February 27, 2007, 18:51 GMT

    Afridi, a true champion!! How many pigs have you seen flying today? Maybe you should take a look at what he has done in the past World Cups and indeed his entire career. He will do the same in this World Cup. Sadly, your Afridi fantasies are unlikely to come true.

    Unfortunately, this is also true for almost all of the “allrounders” you have listed. They are the weakest part of the team. As for Razzak’s injury, that could have been a blessing. Alas, his replacement Azhar Mahmood is worse.

    The team desperately needs real batsmen and real bowlers. This strategy of filling the team with substandard players who can neither bat nor bowl (the definition of a Pakistani allrounder-sadly) will result in an even worse disaster than 2003.

  • Q.Zaman on February 27, 2007, 18:50 GMT

    Well the loss of Razzaq is huge.... and also problums with Akhtar/Asif.... and if they do not play as well and i think pakistans chances are NIL in the world cup..... it is very sad for all Pak supporters....

  • adnan on February 27, 2007, 18:47 GMT

    If he needs 3 weeks to get fit then y didnt they take him there is still 2 weeks left and first stage the team dould have done without him azhar isnt as good as razzaq not even close

  • Jim C. on February 27, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    Pakistan cricket and team are in shambles. How many of the players are injuried. S.Akhtar, Asif, Gul and now Razzak. What is the team managers, docters etc. doing.

    I really hope we have 11 players standing in ANY game

  • Ihtasham cheema on February 27, 2007, 18:44 GMT

    i think razzak is a big blow.but pakistan do have the replacements.do u remember that before 19992 world cup v had an injury crisis and v went on 2 win the world cup .in that world cup our first match was against west indies and this time too our first match is against windies.so these are all signs that v are gonna win dis world cup inshallah. GO PAKISTAN GO GO GO .

  • Jim C. on February 27, 2007, 18:44 GMT

    Pakistan cricket and team are in shambles. How many of the players are injuried. S.Akhtar, Asif, Gul and now Razzak. What is the team managers, docters etc. doing.

    I really hope we have 11 players standing in ANY game

  • Ashaq on February 27, 2007, 18:37 GMT

    You are absolutely right Kamran.

    Razzaq has become explosive as a batsman but deteriorated as a bowler. Azhar has deteriorated as a batsman but improved as a bowler.Yasir araffat is the only one Who has improved, in all three categories as a bowler batsman and fielder pity his not in the reckoning.

    We find a similar situation with Hafeez and Malik. Malik has vastly improved as a batsman since his debut but sadly his form with the ball has dropped since his chucking controversy. Hafeez has yet to show any form in the one day format with the bat I personally believe hafeez should be batting lower down the order. With less pressure he may perform better.

    Afridi deserves his place on his fielding and bowling form alone.As for his batting what a treat if he manages to find some rhythm.

    But the loss of Razzaq is a major blow he can be simply awesome in the last 10 overs. This will put more pressure on the top order to score.

    The question is ultimately with one problem after another whats next?

  • nasir on February 27, 2007, 18:37 GMT

    If I remember correctly Azhar's century in S.AFRICA was rated as one of the best ever by Wisden. How did this gem go wasted should be debated especially since he was doing fairly if not remarkably well in the county cricket circuit.Probably fell victim to the small mindedness rampant amongst us that makes us insecure of anyone speaking the inconvenient truth or speaking out of turn or both.

  • fizzy on February 27, 2007, 18:36 GMT

    i think the loss of razaq might be a blessing in disguise for pakistan.razzaq has been in the pakistan team for more than a decade but he is one of the most mentally weak players in the pak team.he is bad fielder less than average bowler and hit or miss batsmen who fires once in 10 or 15 outings.and i ve never seen a player with such a negative body languge.it seems he brings the whole team down with his attitude like he is playing club cricket not international cricket it was sad to see him afraid and running away from the bowling of harmison in the edgebaston test.and his weakness to the short ball is worse than a number 11 batsman.I think azhar mehmood is better choice anyway but i am not too sure about his fitness coz he looks a little overweight at the moment but i am sure he is kind of guy who is not going to take his place in team for granted like razzaq and give 100% every time he is on the field.I think the only way to get rid of inzamas favorites ie razzaq rana and akmal is if they get injured so lets hope rana and akmal get injured too

  • billy brown on February 27, 2007, 18:36 GMT

    Abdul-Razaq will be missed, along with Afridi he hits the ball miles and can induce loosebowelitus against even the toughest teams. The world cup will also miss the world of crickets fashion icon, the baseball cap behind the helmet was recently seen on the Milan catwalks.

    His bowling prowess has waned a little, but with Shoiab and Asif most probably missing from the wrold cup, i'm sure he was going to play a more prominent role in the bowling attack.

    So, now to Azhar Mahmood, he most probably will be selected for the XI, I think he can do a solid job, and his experience will be vital. Although not as explosive a hitter as Razaq, he has plenty of bottle, which in a knock-out tournament is invaluable.

    All you Paki fans out there, stop whining, there are loads of good teams out there, and only one can win. If they come to the party, they can win it, but enough of the melodramatics when they lose.

    You win some, you lose some.

  • haroon on February 27, 2007, 18:33 GMT

    it is disappointing news but pakistan has other option. azahar mahmood is as good as razzaq in all of those departments. infect he is a much better fielder than razzaq. pakistan has chancess of wining this world cup if shoaib and asif play if not then there is no hope for them to win. as far as afridi goes i think he is the one that we need for the world cup. his record in west indies is good and his bowling is improving. he is a good feilder and he is a team's man. hafeez should have been out of the team for yasir or salman butt. i don't see the reason why pakistan is giving hafeez chancess. if they want to use him as an all rounder we have better once in name of azahar, malik, razzaq and afridi. i don't see the fairness here. hamid score two fifties in Sa tour. hafeez's hightest score in the whole tour was 32. this guy gets a chance to play world cup but not hameed. based on what reason hafeez is still in the team?

  • prashant on February 27, 2007, 18:32 GMT

    well it was '99 world cup, that the razzak-mahmood combi really came off, wasim used them very cleverly. I think azhar mahmood has 2-3 weeks to be match fit, which he surely will, he has gained bit weight. But considering his aggressive batting ability(the way he salughtered donald, pollock in 1997), and good swing bowler wat he is. Now its all on INZI to use him cleverly like wat wasim bhai used him in '99. hopefully the u can say, mahmood=razzak

  • cric fan on February 27, 2007, 18:24 GMT

    First of all, games are won by specialists not allrounders. throughout history games have been won by people who specialist batsman or bowlers. given the affinity of all rounders these a sense of perspective is lost. If you look at your article, almost all the lines are based on hope. You start of sentences like any one of these all rounders on thier day can win it with bat or ball. I mean you can say that about every single person. Consistency is the key here which you fail to address. Kallis, pollock etc are true all rounders. the razzaks, afridis and all are nothing but meagre shadows of them

  • Imran Zia on February 27, 2007, 18:18 GMT

    "A blessing in disguise" Maybe, maybe not. One thing is for sure Pakistan will miss Abdul Razzak's antics with the bat especially in the last ten overs. But Pakistan may not miss him in the field or his bowling judging by his recent form. Azhar Mahmood will surely be more dependable in the field and with the ball. Hafeez and Afridi should be Pakistan's main allrounders and Shoaib Malik's main role is of a batsmans. Luck has brought Azhar Mehmood from nowhere in the fold of things now it is up to him to prove his worh and cement his place for a possible renewed career.

  • FK on February 27, 2007, 18:18 GMT

    Well put. Eve though razzaq will be missed I think it might be a blessing in disguise. Azhar although not as naturally gifted as razzaq is more of a thinking cricketer. He bowls and bats to plans whereas Razzaq is a bit more gung-ho. Regarding Afridi - 92 was Imran's WC, 96 Jayasuria, 99 Klusener (although they lost) .. could 07 be Afridi's? -- lets hope and pray.

  • Masaood Yunus on February 27, 2007, 18:17 GMT

    The "Road to Jamaica" is indeed becoming a "Street to Jamaica". With leading players falling off the race, opportunities are opening up for stand byers. Azhar Mehmood, no doubt been mistreated by PCB in the past now has a point to prove. There was a time when the debate was either Azhar or Razzaq. This, I believe, has erupted again. If Razzaq is fit in 3 weeks, it will take him another couple weeks to be match fit.I guess by that time it will be too late. Azhar showed some good application in SA and stakes are high. This is make or break for him and lets hope he can come good. I agree, Malik, Hafeez and Afridi SHOULD take up the responsibility now. Malik appeared very mature in his game in SA but Hafeez is "Daawan Doll". Afridi also appears to have hit rich vein of form. At the end, the current squad as it stands appears to be part of "history repeating itself" and very well can be cornered tigers similar to 1992 World Cup. We only hope, that individuals take responsibility and transform their personal accomplishments into something big in this World Cup. With daily musical chairs from PCB, I am keeping my fingers crossed and looking forward to baggy greens on the field in a 2 weeks time. Now its like .. Please put 11 players out on the filed and quit playing musical chairs.

  • Ghazanfar on February 27, 2007, 18:15 GMT

    Even if Afridi satrts "booming" in the later stages of the tournament Inzi must capitalize on his bowling talents. He is too goog of an impact player to sit out.

  • Euceph Ahmed on February 27, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    For Afridi to hit straight and true the pitches must have good consistent bounce, there should be little or no swing, the ball must come onto the bat, and of course, some stupid bowling is also required. One of the things we consistently disregard in analyzing Afridi's failures is that other teams have figured him out pretty well. Afridi does not offer a surprise element. Everyone knows he's going to come out and hit out. Unless he makes some very intelligent adjustments to his game, no team is going to be stupid enough to feed to his strengths. As it stands now, almost everyone knows how to get him out. The only way I see Afridi scoring big is through a complete overhaul of his gameplan. Or, perhaps on a belter with conditions favoring him.

    Razzaq should never have been in the mix to begin with. All he brings to the team is more of that paindoo touch. "nuch panjaban nuch panjaban nuch panjaban nuch". One less false hope to hope against.

    The "bongs" are nice and big in the Windies I hear. Azhar Mehmood has a reputation for passing it around well too. So who knows, with him around, our tableeghis will transform into the whirling dervishes that our president wants them to be. What's wrong with a little "Gaanja", a little reggae, some dreadlocks? Who gives a damn.

  • Ralph on February 27, 2007, 18:11 GMT

    You are right to highlight Afridi - Pakistan will not win the world cup if he doesn't fire with the bat, and probably won't get out of the Super Eights, I'm convinced of that.

    Why? Well, the batting has 3 quality, reliable individuals, you all know who they are. The bowling is average, weak if Asif and Akhtar don't make it. The fielding is poor. To get out of the Super Eights, somebody needs to make such considerations irrelevant, to turn a couple of games on his own.

    Afridi is the only player capable of doing that, as far as I can see. Personally, I still don't think Pakistan have any where near enough to win the trophy, but you can never say never with Afridi around.

  • Dr.Syed on February 27, 2007, 18:07 GMT

    One looser allrounder is getting replaced by another looser.As I have said Kamran Bhaie these tidly bowlers are no solution for our world cup challenge.We need speedsters and stalwart bowlers and unfortunately we have it only in Gul,to some extent,and the others are Asif and Shoaib.The last two are in hot waters for their own doings and that has left our team with huge steps to take if they have to win the world cup.For me its almost taking the rabbit out of a hat. To be honest don't get surprised if we get challenged by Zimbos. To me what pisses me the most is that they couldn't get 11 players since 2003 who could star in the next world cup i.e 2007.From the time they were skittled from early stages of 2003 world cup there was this huge rhetoric that we are in rebuilding process for 2007 world cup. I know building built on poor talent,injuries and loud rhetorics might look very tall but is bound to collapse.They keep talking about fielding but what they don't realise is if the batsmen are hitting the undertalented pakistani bowlers "which is our main strength" for as many bad deliveries then even the fastest athlete can't run fast to stop 4's and tallest fielder can't prevent the sexies. God has mercy on this team with Captain low in confidence and the team management with all rhetorics about how great their team is and their huge chance to be the match winners on their day.I doubt even if this team would survive the whole day against the macho teams that too if they are lucky to sneak into super eight. Keep dreaming for worldcup 2007 and start believing in 2011.Charios!

  • aamer on February 27, 2007, 18:05 GMT

    What devastating news for Pakistan. one minute you are up when hearing the good news about Gul and then you are down again, what is wrong with Pakistan players, they get injured like its going out of fashion. Razzaq is a match winner with the bat and reliable with the ball, we needed him. Its still 2 weeks to the world cup and if its taking 3 weeks for Razzqs injury to heal then we must take him because the only match we should miss Razzq in is against WI, we play Ireland on the 17th and ZIM on the 21th. If we finish 2nd in the group then the next big match is 27th march, thats one month from now. Enough time for recovery? I pray. We know the PCB has no concept of commonsense so think of something stupid and expect PCB to act upon it. Who knows of the way of the Allmighty, maybe this is Allah's way of justice for Azar mahmood to go out on a HIGH and put egg on the PCBs face. aamer ----------------PAKISTAN ZINDABAD-------------------

  • Manzar & Rayan from India on February 27, 2007, 17:59 GMT

    First of all we would like to say we are diehard supporter of Pakistan inspite of being from India.

    Pakistan has genuine quality all-rounders who holds the ability to change the course of the match with either bat or bowl within few overs....Afridi, Razzak, Malik, Azhar and Hafeez are capable of single handedly winning the match or their day.

    Whereas a country like India with population of 1.2 Billion are unable to produce one average all-rounder after kapil dev.......and please dont call Irfan Pathan an allrounder as even Rana Naveed can bat equal to him....

    I think Pakistan will do well in the presence of their all-rounders in the WC.

  • Avais Khizar on February 27, 2007, 17:58 GMT

    Disappointments after disappointments, I was so looking forward going to Jamaica…Seeing Pakistan win, but everyday has been full of bad news. I just want to hear some good news from somewhere! You see, I was proud of Pakistani team that I even made a banner to take with me to Jamaica which read as: “Proud Passionate Pakistani” but I am not sure anymore.

    You mentioned few weeks ago in regards to Afridi might be able to play from the starting of the WC07, if the warm-up matches are official. I’ve been trying to find out if the first 2 warm-up matches are official or not, and if yes will Afridi be able to play or not.

    I wonder if any of the players from the Pakistani cricket read what their critics are saying. I mean, I guess it matter what we say right?, only if the read and try to implements on the recommendations we give them. I’ve heard someone say, “Hope is a good thing, and good things don’t dies” I just hope with a lot of question marks ????

  • Adeel Hussain on February 27, 2007, 17:56 GMT

    Although Razzaq is in a very bad patch of form these days, he is still a very very vital part of this team and will be greatly missed. Just his mere presence in that middle order is a concern for oppostion captains. His replacement Azhar is also a very decent player probably more consistant than Razzaq but is not a match winner. Pakistan will have to do without Razzaq and this will definitely put added pressure on Afridi. He has to come through if Pakistan are to win the WC. The loss of Razzaq could also mean that Afridi can not open the innings as we need an explosive bat in the middle order for those last 10 overs of the innings. Lets hope that atleast one of Asif/Shoaib go to the Carribean with the team if not both. GO PAKISTAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Imran Afridi on February 27, 2007, 17:56 GMT

    certainly Razzaq will be missed in the carrbain.He is a sort of an allrounder who can change the state of the game at any time,but for the past few months he is out of form and i think Azhar will prove to be a useful allrounder as we saw him in south africa.With his pacey and swing bowling and also his batting,i think he is the right choice for the carribain.Lets hope he can prove himself there and play a useful role in getting us that Glory. Imran Afridi

  • Wasim Nawab on February 27, 2007, 17:56 GMT

    First of all i would like to say i am really disappointed for abdul razzaq that he is out of the world cup. He is a key player and it is a big blow that he is out especially as he is experienced and dangerous, and gives the side a settled look. However, i have, and always will be a big fan of azhar mahmood who has clearly been mistreated by the pcb, but now is his oppurtunity and i think he could be one of the players of the tournament. He is a gutsy player who can play well under pressure and he could be a great bowler at the death with his effective yorkers and slower balls. But he and Razzaq would have both been in my squad in the first place anyway. Azhar is a like to like replacement for Razzaq but i think we could have done with having both in the squad just like the previous two world cups.

    Kamran you have made some very good points in this article but again u have let urself down with ur liking of mohammed hafeez.

    "In addition, Hafeez's one-day bowling form is impressive although Inzamam has tended to underuse him." That sentence is quite bizarre - if anything, Inzamam has over bowled him (though i would say that since i am anti-hafeez as he takes away the balance of the side with his bits and pieces cricket). Hafeez bowling means that shoaib malik's allround abilities are being wasted and he should bowl the overs that hafeez bowls while hafeez should ply his trade at county level. Kamran please go and compare hafeez and shoaib maliks one day bowling records at both county and international level and u will see the mediocrity of the former and the class of the other...... ENOUGH SAID!

  • J Ahmad on February 27, 2007, 17:55 GMT

    I have a feeling that Afridi will hit gold in the WC and might as well end up among the top performers. Razzaq's loss could be a blessing in disguise as his bowling form has been nothing short of pathetic of late. Shoaib Malik can be the stabilising option if used properly and as for Hazeef, calling him an allrounder is injustice to people are Kallis, Symonds, Afridi and co. Hafeez would not make my final eleven.

    I would really like to see change in the batting order with Younus Khan opening with Nazir and Inzi coming one drop. Will be ever take up the responsibility and lead from the front? The rest of the order can be the same as in the recent SA series. All the best lads. Bring that trophy home. Its been a while, really!

  • suleiman on February 27, 2007, 17:53 GMT

    razzaq's injury is a massive blow to the team coz he is more consistent batting-wise than afridi. he is a class all-rounder n i dnt think azhar is ready for such a big tournament and he is not as good as razzaq anyway. BUT i still think pakistan will win.

  • Nasser on February 27, 2007, 17:49 GMT

    Razzaq will be missed but there is no point in including him for 2-3 weeks hoping he gets better. Pakistan need to go with the guys that are fit because that group needs to be mentally geared up as well. Keeping some guys in limbo hoping other guys get fit leaves us in a worse spot so the move to go with Azhar and giving up on Razzaq is the correct one. There are also likely to be other injuries and if Razzaq can recover in 3-4 weeks, he may yet get another chance in the Super 8s to replace some one else. All in all, the expectations from this team are as low as they can be and that is probably a good thing.

  • Moyo on February 27, 2007, 17:49 GMT

    Not only Boom Boom, I pray and hope that Afridi comes out like this:

    BOOM BOOM shaka laka BOOM BOOM... BOOM BOOM shaka laka BOOM BOOM...

    and in every match

    BOOM BOOM shaka laka BOOM BOOM...

    :)

  • Hashaam on February 27, 2007, 17:45 GMT

    I don't whether this is good news or bad. Razzaq like you said uncle Kamran is a very special player one of the best at times, but in the recent series in south africa his 2 gear (1 and 5)gearbox seems to have got stuck in 1. However on the otherhand wwe know that razzaq can be very good at gear changes when he feels like it. Why azhar Mahmood, he had his chance in south africa and he didn' do anything outstanding. why not Yasir arafat, or an extra specialist bowler like anwar ali, why is it that pakistan dont like their average age for the falling below 30.

    Come on we need some young blood who will be raring to go and prove them selves on the biggest stage of all.

  • Kashif Qureshi-Toronto on February 27, 2007, 17:45 GMT

    We will for sure miss Razzaq. Luckily when it comes to the allrounders we have some big names, as Kamran you also mentioned, our beloved Afridi BOOM BOOM, Shoaib Malik, Hafeez and now to replace Razzaq, Azhar is there. I see this coming WC contest depends a lot on our all rounders performance. Our key bowlers shoaib Akhtar and Asif may be missing the WC and in their absence our all rounders got to show 110% of their abilities to earn respect in the cricketing world for Pakistan. In the balling dept. Inzamam should use Hafeez, Malik, and Afridi effectively and wisely. And AFRIDI if you can read this, WE NEED COUPLE MORE 30-40 BALLS CENTURIES FROM YOU.

  • Kaushik on February 27, 2007, 17:43 GMT

    With Razzaq out of contention Pakistan is going to ahve a tough time as no other all rounder has the capabilities as Razzaq. Afridi has been effective but his batting still remains mercurial. Shoaib Malik is a good batsman but his capabilities in bowling is still not considered to be among the best. So Pakistan has to do a lot of strategy to overcome the deficit caused by Razzaq. It depends now a lot on Inzi and Bob how they utilize their resources.

  • Arif Hussain in Philadelphia on February 27, 2007, 17:43 GMT

    I have always been a sucker for high strike rate batsmen. Hence loved Saeed Anwar, Mohsin Khan, Afridi... even Imran Nazir. Issue is they have the tendancy to get out anytime (exception was Saeed in his latter days.. but then he got a little boring too.) With players like Shahid, Azhar & co. One always has the capability to put the match beyond the opposition. But you need a back-up plan that Inzy seems to be missing. We panick when these hitters get out, and we either graft like there is no tomorrow or play like a deer caught in headlamps.

    We need a foil for every pinch hitter. If I were Inzy, (with this team) I’d open Imran with Younis. (Imran being the pinch hitter and Younis taking singles feeding the strike to the hitter); and depending on who got out, replace the hitter with a hitter and the strike rotator with another.

    Pinch Hitters would be: Imran Azhar Afridi Akmal Shoaib Malik Hafeez

    Strike rotators would be: Younis Yousuf Inzy

    As you can see we have (and need) more strikers than rotators, the current team selection supports this tactic. The advantage we have is that we have in Shoaib, Hafeez and Inzy, players than can take on either role.

    The batting is fairly flexible and deep provided we play the basics well. For example when we are losing wickets, we tend to drop the shutters and use up limited balls we can face and do not take singles… what is the deal with that? We need to rotate the strike regardless. Woolmer needs to work on each batsmen’s understanding of basic calling… Inzy should be no exception.

    Afridi should be protected against the new ball.. especially if the wicket is bouncy. Save him for the middle overs when the medium pacers/ spinners are operating. He is too precious to send up to open. We may not be favorites and we may not win the cup, but lets make a match out of it and surprise a few pundits and win some crucial games … Lets at least play to our potential… THAT is something we can definitely do.

  • shokaib on February 27, 2007, 17:43 GMT

    if u think about it azhar mahmood will do the job cos to be honest can eny of u remember last time abdul razzaq made his 50 or do u remember him taking a wicket recently he is been in bad form and it looks like he bowls to end overs and not try to get a wicket hopefully azhar mahmood will do a gd job and perform this world cup

  • TouqeerTariq on February 27, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    Well, I think now Pakistan can not win 2007 World Cup.

    I don't know what you people think, but if you ask me I think top 5 of Pakistan Batsmen play for Razzaq that he will win the match alone for Pakistan. Razzaq hits more then miss. I think 75-25%.

    Afridi is just a big slogger nothing else. He doesn't care that if he gets out then what will happen after him. He is always keep saying that I've no fix batting slot but what about Razzaq and Shoaib? Both of them have batted nearly at all places and never compained about that since teams are built upon that kind of players not with players like Afridi.

    Can anyone tell me that for how much time we will just invest on players like Afridi, Sami, Azhar, Imran Nazir, Hafeez etc etc???

    On Afridi Pakistan has waisted 10 years now and he is a plain disappointment. An everage of 23 in Batting & average of 37 in bolowing and you still call him an Allrounder. Plain Rediculous.

    Razzaq & Shaoib Malik are players who always give their 100% in the field wether bowling or batting. You can't ask much more to them. Azhar Mahmood cannot be a replacment of Razzaq and Hafeez cannot be of Shaoib. Afridi is mere disappoinment.

    Can anybody remeber that when last time Afridi even tried to build an inning? You may that he is a hitter but even hitters should become a little better batsman after 10 Years of cricket. He will never produce goods in a pressure match. I can bet on this.

    I think in case of Razzaq missing, Pakistan should now play with 4 specialist bowlers and 5 Specialist Batsmen with 1 allrounder in shape of Shoaib Malik.

    Please for GOD sake don't start talking that IF Afridi gets going then match gone. 9 out of 10, it will NOT happen its confirmed.

    And last thing, please get Razzaq in anyway. He is Crucial.

  • wasim saqib on February 27, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    The injury to Razzak has been a blessing in disguise,he has been completely out of form of late and has been a burden on the team,I think we need a regular bowler or a regular batsmen instead but again pcb has selected Azhar Mehmood I hope he performs well,He has been working hard to get back in the team but given the current circumstances i dont think there are too many other options available. Since Razzak is out the middle order will be under more pressure to score runs quickly and there will be more pressure on Afridi and Kamran Akmal and since Afridi is not available for the first two games pakistan has to play exceptionally well to qualify for super 8,my suggestion would be to leave your baggage behind and focus on every game as it comes,you are good enough to beat these teams.

  • Ameem on February 27, 2007, 17:40 GMT

    The talk of azhar mahmood being mistreated goes without accessing the modern day English county standards, which could be described as 'laughable' at best. Every Pakistan player in the recent past who has been part of the English county circuit has performed exceptionally well. Even the likes of Yasir Arafat and Mohd. Akram; have been county juggernauts. Thus one should not take too much out of Azhar Mahmoods county performance

    This is not to say that Azhar's selection is unjustified, after all in our cricket crazy minds still lay the memories of the 1999 world cup and the tour of South Africa in 1997 where did appear to be a complete all-rounder and was for greater parts at par if not better than Razzaq.

    Alas, it would be vain of me to hope for similar performance after seeing Azhar in the recently concluded series in South-Africa. He looked like an aged and over weight has-been. His line was continuously a foot too wide at least, and on the carribean pitches i dread of thinking what the likes of Gayle, Jaysuria, Tendulkar, Gilly would do to him. He still has the awkward one-step-too-many batting stance/style which might have worked earlier but would prove a curse for an overweight Mahmood drastically hindering his ability to time the ball well

    This is not to say that Azhar's selection is unjustifed, after all in our cricket crazy minds still lay the memories of the 1999 world cup and the tour of South Africa in 1997 where did appear to be a complete all-rounder and was for greater parts at par if not better than Razzaq.

    Alas, it would be vain of me to hope for similar performace after seeing Azhar in the recently concluded series in South-Africa. He looked like an aged and over weight has-been. His line was continoulsy atleast a foot too wide and on the carribean pitches i dread of thinking what the likes of Gayle, Jaysuria, Tendulkar, Gilly would do to him. He still has the akward one-step-too-many batting stance/style which might have worked earlier but would prove a curse for an overweight Mahmood drasticlly hindering his ability to time the ball well.

    Who would be better option? I really cant say, if fawad alam was given a chance an argumnet could have been made for his inclusion, but right now we would have to do with the part time spin of shoaib malik and hafeez

  • Mohammed Sharif on February 27, 2007, 17:33 GMT

    I don't think I can argue with what you've said there Kamran. I especially agree with your verdicts of Afridi and Hafeez. The latter's bowling contribution is often overlooked in the many discussions over Pakistan's openers.

    That aside I feel for Razzaq. While he may not be as important a player for Pakistan as say, Symonds is for Australia, he is nonetheless a very solid all-rounder who keeps a cool head. At the age of 27 though, it is still possible for him to play well enough to be a part of Pakistan's World Cup in four years (insha-Allah).

  • Mohammad Hasanuzzaman on February 27, 2007, 17:31 GMT

    In my view Pakistan team selection was stupid. They dropped better openers and selected a bunch of allrounders. Some of them could bowl few overs but no one other than Afridi will be able to complete full quota of 10 overs even against team like Zimbabwe or Ireland. No one is able to bat for long period. Afridi or Razzak could change a game on their day but the frequency to get such effect is low (may be 1 in 20 games). Razzak needed to stay longer to be set before start hitting. Afridi play like hit or miss. They yet have confirmed their 15 (Asif/Shoaib still uncertain). Mr. Abbasi, you selected this topic in a very wrong time as you are (actually nobody) not sure about the team that would be on the plane.

    Selectors could have waited for Razzak for two/three weeks like they are waiting Asif and Shoaib. I beleive they also selected Inzamam despite he is not fully fit!!!!!

    Pakistan may miss the cut!!!

    And wait at least one week for your next cloum of this series otherwise you have play with lot of if (guess games).

  • Zeeshan Cheema on February 27, 2007, 17:31 GMT

    A. Razzaq will be a costly miss for Pakistan. Although he was quite poor in bowling in recent times but he is cleaner hitter of the cricket ball especially in the last 10 overs. To be honest, Pakistan has slim chances to lift the world cup!!!

  • nasir on February 27, 2007, 17:29 GMT

    None of Pakistan's all rounders can really be termed as genuine allrounders. In fact, Pakistan has failed to produce a hgih caliber all rounder since Imran Khan. Wasim Akram left too much to desire in his batting and was wasted by never really being elevated into the top six. We need someone like Kallis, Pollock, Symonds, Flintoff or Cairns.

    Of the current Pakistani crop, they are not genuine all rounders, simply just good pretenders. This means their abilities are lop sided and they should be given one main responsibility and one minor role.

    Hafeez has yet to convince me of any batting ability. He averages less than 20. His bowling is average and of not much use if he can't contribute to a decent total.

    Abdul Razzaq is a typical Pakistani story of not learning from his mistakes. he has let his boowling slide from medium fast to rubbish. Gone is his ability to share the new ball, bowl at the dearth and those yorkers have long disappeared. How he was allowed to fall into such an abyss is a mystery. His batting is another conundrum. On his day he can turn any games in just a few balls, on others you are left wondering where the aggression is. He has not developed any range of shots apart from a lusty hits and is unable to really manoevre the ball for ones and two. In tests his slow batting rate has been a mystery as well.

    Azhar Mahmood, is someone who I admire for at least making the effort and not giving up. He has limited bowling strength but makes up for deficits with a big heart. Honestly, he should have done a lot better. When he first burst on the scene he was destined for great things but again mysteriously he fell by the wayside. It is remarkable he has picked himself up and is playing his thrid WC, at least he is courageous. Anyone who can score three test hundreds is something special, why he wasn't looked after better, I don't know.

    Afridi, well for me he is a Wasim Akram. He should be made to bowl his full quota and any runs anywhere in the order should be a complete bonus. To expect runs and wickets from him is plain silly not that it will not happen every once in a while.

    Malik is a much better batsman and has a cool head. I think his record and performances deserve a top three place in the order at test and one day. Someone who started at number 11 and has opened for Pakistan scroing hundreds in both versions is incredible. His bowling though cannot really be termed world class, but should operate sending down a few overs now and then like Scahin or Sehwag or Salim Malik used to do.

    Why Yasir Arafat is not in the team despite good county and domestic performances is yet another mystery as is why another "all rounder" like Naved Ul Hassan is.

  • Syed Usman on February 27, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    Kamran i must say u choose a very debatable topic, pakistan strength is in their all rounders no doubt...but the scale is more tilted towards batting side rather then bowling side....i am saying this with respect to shoaib malik and azhar mahmood. we all know both of them are at best when u defend them, but when u attack them, even street bowlers can bowl better then them. Hafeez is always under utilized so cant say much about his bowling. Afridi bowling is superb from last many one days, apart from him i cant count on any other all rounders in bowling department. If pakistan have to win the world cup, their 2/4 all rounders must have to click, else they are drowned....well if mr boom boom clicks...then who cares what other all rouders are doing. I hope to see Shoaib malik opening, he is really the best in technique if we compare with other 2 allrounders.

  • Proud PAKI on February 27, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    its really sad to miss out ARAZZAQ...i wish he could go to world cuplets hope for the best n perform there .......ALL THE BEST .........for PAKIS.....lets hope they win ...PAKISTAN ZINDABAD...please please bring the world cup to PAKISTAN

  • Imran From Rawalpindi on February 27, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    Well to me it does not matter what all rounder pak playes with in WC. The most important thing to remember is that our players all rounder or not dont have the mental toughness to over come any crisis anyway. What pak need is to induce the the competitiveness, read the game well under different circumstaces, mental tougness, never die attitude and courage to meet any challenge head on. You can take any Pak player who can win matches for you single handedly but our players mind set is that if they can win one match for pak they can become integral part of pak for longgggggg time. We need to become more professional in all aspect of cricket specially taking responsibilty when team needed it. Our fielding is more like pakistani police one over they look so active and smart and second over comes and we pretend that its sin to even touch a ball. Right now our whole team is like scary cat who dont know where to turn for cover. Whatever Inzi is saying in press is nothing but a pep talk. We can win a world cup only and only if team have the passion and right attitude to begin their WC journey. Great teams perform well when their backs are against the wall. My fantasy and my wish is that pak and india get to the final and pak wins it by Afridi hitting six on the last ball of the match. Boom Boom Pak

  • cricinfo on February 27, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    Do you ever speak about anything other than Pakistan? You do know that Pakistan is not the center of the world, right?

  • Hasan Iqbal on February 27, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    I would tend to agree with Kamran's opinion to take Razzaq along to the carribean and withdraw in couple of weeks if deemed unfit till then - but that depends on the severity of the injury which hasnt been made ultimately clear as yet.

    Eventhough an apt substitute has been found in Azhar Mehmood, the onus is now on the the captain to chose the correct mix of his all-rounders available for every (important) match of the world cup.

    On a side note, Kamran, it does appear from your the language of your article that its finally your instinct that sides with the Pakistan team and not your mind.

  • umar on February 27, 2007, 17:22 GMT

    i think your right about razzaq being a big blow. however i think we still have enough all rounders to cope without him.were just cursed with injuries i think.lets hope everything goes well for pakistan in the world cup.

  • Imran Rizvi on February 27, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    The loss of Razzaq was huge, because he is an experienced all rounder who's been a main stable to this team for a long time. I have doubts with the selection of Azhar Mahmood, because in 2003 he didnt play a single game in the world cup. Pakistan should of selected Yasir Hameed who in his last four one days his lowest score is 41.

  • Saeen on February 27, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    I don't think its a good idea to send Razzak to West indies in hope for him to recover. Azhar Mahmood is good player and i think he is good replacement. Even though he may be on downside to Razzak as compared to making runs in last 10 overs, but i think make it up with his bowling

  • Comeonsaqi on February 27, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    I think Kamaran, you are underestimating Azhar. He will go gr8 guns, and u cant forget his close fielding skills. Dropping him was very stupid esp. after he didnt do much wrong in SA. It woul be another slap in the prsetigious selctors' face when he proves them wrong oince again. But I know that wouldnt changes anything. Same people will keep destroying our cricket

  • Asad Faizi on February 27, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    Kamran,

    Over the years, Razzak has done a great job for Pakistan team and have played crucial role in many ODI and a few test victories. In his prime, he was a great all-rounder. However, it seems that he has past his prime and is on a downward spiral for the last couple of years. He batting has been very pedestrian, bowling under-par, and fielding very sub-standard. He has recently dropped more catches than anyone in Pakistan team. It almost seem like he has lost his drive and initiative.

    Azhar Mehmood, on the other hand is hungry to make a place for himself in Pakistan team and has been in good form lately. He has to make up for the lost opportunities and to prove himself. I personally wanted to see Yasir Arafat to be groomed by PCB to replace Razzak, but I have come to expect only blunders and stupidity for the bosses of cricket - so under the current circumstances, I think Azhar Mehmood is the best choice for medium-pacer all rounder for Pakistan.

    GO PAKISTAN

  • Ghulam Khan on February 27, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    "But the question is whether or not Malik and Hafeez can step up and provide the Pakistan batting with some solidity" -- This is true with regards with Hafeez, but how can this be expected of Shoaib Malik when he's floating around in the lower-order, when he should be batting at 3? When Pakistan were at the height of their resurgence under Woolmer, it was Malik who was key at 3 in both building scores, and chasing large totals. Considering the flatness of the West Indian pitches, (technique isn't as important, as Khan easily outdoes Malik for this) Malik can bat at a quicker rate than Younis Khan, and has shown his expertise in building ODI scores, in comparison to Younis Khan. Also, considering the ineptitude of Pakistan's various openers in recent times, where is the elevation of Afridi to the opening spot? Who was it that opened when Pakistan beat India (in India, on pitches not too unlike those in the Windies for flatness) in '05 in the 6 ODI series, hitting a century in only 45 balls? Afridi. Next, Kamran Akmal should be dropped lower down the order (firstly, to focus on his 'keeping, and secondly, to lessen the load on him), and he should be at 7, with Mahmood coming at at 8, now that Razzaq is out of the equation. That leaves 3 places for bowlers... Gul, and then here's hoping Akhtar and Asif complete a great escape... (with a bit of help from the PCB)...

  • Mohammad Adeel on February 27, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    Losing Abdur Razzaq is a huge loss as his destructive power would have been great for Pakistan in the small grounds. Azhar Mahmood is not as good a batter as him but he is a better bowler and hopefully can prosper. Afridi needs to play for his country now, more than ever when he comes back and i think Shoaib Mailk should bowl more as i think he is a better bowler then Hafeez.

  • Faiz Khilji on February 27, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Razzak's injury is another shock. I dont know how many more are still in the waiting. Shoaib and Asif are OUT. I dont know why the PCB is delaying this announcement. So, technically Pakistan is out of the Semi Finals. Yes, they should take Razzak with them along with Azhar. Hafeez is not that stuff like Razzak and Afridi, so just forget him. Afridi will have to Boom Boom otherwise he will make a villian of himself. You are right that he is a valueable bowler - but we need sixes and fours. I will beg him to keep his bat straight. Target the stands not the skies...

    Although I am very low on any hope, still I pray from the depth of my heart for Team Pakistan...

    Buckle up! Mohammad Yousuf, make it a World Cup of your own..

  • Rayo from Kentucky on February 27, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Kamran, could you possibly repost your interview with Azhar? I've always thought that Azhar was given a bum rap all these years along one or another political line, although he and Razzak made their debuts in the national team practically at the same time. The World Cup is probably Azhar's only chance now to come good and win favor with the administration and the public.

    About Razzak's injury, it appears to be more serious than a two-week rehabilitation process according to the press, but then one never knows what actually may be playing behind the scenes.

    On an unrelated item and going back to Nandrolone and the decay curve in clearing out from a person's system, even if this drug is found at very high levels at this time in Shoaib and Asif but in keeping with the curve, can they be banned for life? Wouldn't this be considered Double Jeopardy, or being found guilty twice for the same offense. We all know past history, but how can the past be applied once again to ban them? The matter is up before WADA so it is ongoing and would not be new. Surely the lawyers would take that into consideration if such a thing were to come up.

  • aasim on February 27, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    Razzak's injury is a big blow but one should not look too much into it. As you mentioned, if anythign we have a plenty it is the allrounder department. Razzak's loss of bowling form meant was actually a worry, but his explosive batting capabilities meant that he couldn't be left out of the side. I actually think razzak is very much replaceable by azhar mahmood. We need a stock bowler who can hit good channels and mahmood may be the right guy for it. As far as hitting 100 runs in the last 10 overs, afridi, akmal and hafeez could do so....however what remains to be seen is how we perform in the slog overs without both afridi and razzak. My last point is, if symonds could be sent "hoping" that eh will be fit for the super eights, why not razzak?

  • Chacha Koora Kirkit on February 27, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    Can we please get away from the BOOM or BUST mentality and back consistency!

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  • Chacha Koora Kirkit on February 27, 2007, 16:47 GMT

    Can we please get away from the BOOM or BUST mentality and back consistency!

  • aasim on February 27, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    Razzak's injury is a big blow but one should not look too much into it. As you mentioned, if anythign we have a plenty it is the allrounder department. Razzak's loss of bowling form meant was actually a worry, but his explosive batting capabilities meant that he couldn't be left out of the side. I actually think razzak is very much replaceable by azhar mahmood. We need a stock bowler who can hit good channels and mahmood may be the right guy for it. As far as hitting 100 runs in the last 10 overs, afridi, akmal and hafeez could do so....however what remains to be seen is how we perform in the slog overs without both afridi and razzak. My last point is, if symonds could be sent "hoping" that eh will be fit for the super eights, why not razzak?

  • Rayo from Kentucky on February 27, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Kamran, could you possibly repost your interview with Azhar? I've always thought that Azhar was given a bum rap all these years along one or another political line, although he and Razzak made their debuts in the national team practically at the same time. The World Cup is probably Azhar's only chance now to come good and win favor with the administration and the public.

    About Razzak's injury, it appears to be more serious than a two-week rehabilitation process according to the press, but then one never knows what actually may be playing behind the scenes.

    On an unrelated item and going back to Nandrolone and the decay curve in clearing out from a person's system, even if this drug is found at very high levels at this time in Shoaib and Asif but in keeping with the curve, can they be banned for life? Wouldn't this be considered Double Jeopardy, or being found guilty twice for the same offense. We all know past history, but how can the past be applied once again to ban them? The matter is up before WADA so it is ongoing and would not be new. Surely the lawyers would take that into consideration if such a thing were to come up.

  • Faiz Khilji on February 27, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Razzak's injury is another shock. I dont know how many more are still in the waiting. Shoaib and Asif are OUT. I dont know why the PCB is delaying this announcement. So, technically Pakistan is out of the Semi Finals. Yes, they should take Razzak with them along with Azhar. Hafeez is not that stuff like Razzak and Afridi, so just forget him. Afridi will have to Boom Boom otherwise he will make a villian of himself. You are right that he is a valueable bowler - but we need sixes and fours. I will beg him to keep his bat straight. Target the stands not the skies...

    Although I am very low on any hope, still I pray from the depth of my heart for Team Pakistan...

    Buckle up! Mohammad Yousuf, make it a World Cup of your own..

  • Mohammad Adeel on February 27, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    Losing Abdur Razzaq is a huge loss as his destructive power would have been great for Pakistan in the small grounds. Azhar Mahmood is not as good a batter as him but he is a better bowler and hopefully can prosper. Afridi needs to play for his country now, more than ever when he comes back and i think Shoaib Mailk should bowl more as i think he is a better bowler then Hafeez.

  • Ghulam Khan on February 27, 2007, 17:11 GMT

    "But the question is whether or not Malik and Hafeez can step up and provide the Pakistan batting with some solidity" -- This is true with regards with Hafeez, but how can this be expected of Shoaib Malik when he's floating around in the lower-order, when he should be batting at 3? When Pakistan were at the height of their resurgence under Woolmer, it was Malik who was key at 3 in both building scores, and chasing large totals. Considering the flatness of the West Indian pitches, (technique isn't as important, as Khan easily outdoes Malik for this) Malik can bat at a quicker rate than Younis Khan, and has shown his expertise in building ODI scores, in comparison to Younis Khan. Also, considering the ineptitude of Pakistan's various openers in recent times, where is the elevation of Afridi to the opening spot? Who was it that opened when Pakistan beat India (in India, on pitches not too unlike those in the Windies for flatness) in '05 in the 6 ODI series, hitting a century in only 45 balls? Afridi. Next, Kamran Akmal should be dropped lower down the order (firstly, to focus on his 'keeping, and secondly, to lessen the load on him), and he should be at 7, with Mahmood coming at at 8, now that Razzaq is out of the equation. That leaves 3 places for bowlers... Gul, and then here's hoping Akhtar and Asif complete a great escape... (with a bit of help from the PCB)...

  • Asad Faizi on February 27, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    Kamran,

    Over the years, Razzak has done a great job for Pakistan team and have played crucial role in many ODI and a few test victories. In his prime, he was a great all-rounder. However, it seems that he has past his prime and is on a downward spiral for the last couple of years. He batting has been very pedestrian, bowling under-par, and fielding very sub-standard. He has recently dropped more catches than anyone in Pakistan team. It almost seem like he has lost his drive and initiative.

    Azhar Mehmood, on the other hand is hungry to make a place for himself in Pakistan team and has been in good form lately. He has to make up for the lost opportunities and to prove himself. I personally wanted to see Yasir Arafat to be groomed by PCB to replace Razzak, but I have come to expect only blunders and stupidity for the bosses of cricket - so under the current circumstances, I think Azhar Mehmood is the best choice for medium-pacer all rounder for Pakistan.

    GO PAKISTAN

  • Comeonsaqi on February 27, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    I think Kamaran, you are underestimating Azhar. He will go gr8 guns, and u cant forget his close fielding skills. Dropping him was very stupid esp. after he didnt do much wrong in SA. It woul be another slap in the prsetigious selctors' face when he proves them wrong oince again. But I know that wouldnt changes anything. Same people will keep destroying our cricket

  • Saeen on February 27, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    I don't think its a good idea to send Razzak to West indies in hope for him to recover. Azhar Mahmood is good player and i think he is good replacement. Even though he may be on downside to Razzak as compared to making runs in last 10 overs, but i think make it up with his bowling

  • Imran Rizvi on February 27, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    The loss of Razzaq was huge, because he is an experienced all rounder who's been a main stable to this team for a long time. I have doubts with the selection of Azhar Mahmood, because in 2003 he didnt play a single game in the world cup. Pakistan should of selected Yasir Hameed who in his last four one days his lowest score is 41.