World Cup 2007 March 2, 2007

Road to Jamaica 3: Any bowlers?

Has the farce ended
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Has the farce ended? Injuries, we are told, have ruled Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif out of the World Cup. The truth, though, is believed to be something else. The decisions of the Pakistan Cricket Board, such as sending the players to England, while the rest of the squad was preparing for the tournament, have turned the players and the board into an international laughing stock. Whoever dreams up these glorious strategies might benefit from a brain transplant.

One day, of course, the truth will get out, and if their withdrawal is because of remnants of nandrolone in their bodies then it will bring a further disgrace upon Pakistan cricket.

On the face of it, Pakistan's chances of winning the World Cup are seriously damaged. Certainly with Shoaib and Asif available, Pakistan would have been genuine contenders. You might even ask if there are any remaining bowlers that are worth mentioning. Well, call me an eternal optimist but there's still plenty of potential in this squad.

When Waqar was ruled out of the 1992 World Cup, I felt the blow in the pit of my stomach, this double loss doesn't feel the same to me.

Shoaib has appeared so inconsistently that we've all grown used to him being unavailable. A real shame considering his ability. Asif might be considered by some people to be a bigger loss but let's remember that Asif isn't greatly experienced in one-day international cricket, and he looked far from comfortable once South Africa started getting after him in the recent one-day series.

Most importantly, it's no use hankering for what you don't have and Pakistan must make the best of the resources available to them. Where there's heart there's always hope.

When it comes to bowlers, Pakistan's one-day strategy is such that their all-rounders usually bowl at least twenty of the fifty overs, sometimes more. So that's work for Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, and Shoaib Malik.

The other three bowlers have to be wicket-takers. Umar Gul grew in speed and in stature as an international bowler in 2006. If he can recover his form quickly, he is capable of carrying the pace attack. The next wicket-taker is Kaneria, who should be played whenever conditions suit him.

That leaves one or two places, depending on conditions and form, for Mohammad Sami, Rana Naved-ul Hasan, and Rao Iftikhar to contest. Sami, for my money, looked a better bowler in South Africa and his one-day record is good. Rana had a good home series against West Indies and recent cricinfo stats showed that he is the most effective death bowler, which is perhaps when he should be used. Iftikhar is probably the most consistent of the three at the moment. All three of them bowl at a fair clip, which is an advantage.

That leaves Azhar Mahmood and Yasir Arafat to slot in whenever opportunity allows.

The World Cup isn't only an arena for heroes but it is one that creates them. The question that Pakistan's remaining bowlers must ask themselves is whether or not they are willing to seize the opportunity to make an international reputation in this World Cup?

Gul, Kaneria, Sami, and Arafat would be my bowlers to watch.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashfaq on March 9, 2007, 4:26 GMT

    I don't care who is playing and who isn't playing for the Pakistan team at the world cup. I will continue to support the team and wish them well. It's not worth while to ponder what might have been if Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Abdul Razzaq been playing.

  • madatinzi on March 8, 2007, 21:01 GMT

    all i can say inzi is so happy, with shoib and asif out. he knew already that Paki will never win the WC. even with those 2 druggies in team. but now being them out. he found him self reason. he know knows with them being out and have a reason to lose confirmed his next 15 years of being capt. every thing in Pakistan works on same rules. put on others and enjoy your positions for as long as possible. that's why i left Pakistan. every time i go back it is worse and worse. kamran akmal just signed 30 years deal with pakistan cricket team because his picture was posted on cricinfo web site. Inzi feels that he is the best keeper in the world because his picture is on web page. every time you ask inzi a question, he answers. "Boys play very well" what is your name inzi? boys play very well. how is the pitch? Boys play very well? u are a fat moron? boys play very well? inzi you just won another 20 years with paki team. Boys happy, boys play very well. inzi, rana, akmal, sami are morons. if i see them i promise i will tell them.

  • Asif Naqvi on March 8, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    The weakest point of this paki side is the captain Inzimam himself.he is a bit weak psychologically in pressure times.paki batting line-up is fine except the problem openning slot.without asif n akhtar,their bowling attack is no doubt under pressure,but still they have a chance in the world cup if Inzi remains succuessful in combining the lads into a team.

    The point is that a psychologically strong and cool-minded captain can extract huge results from even a team of average players.paki lads are well enough,they only need vigilance from their captain Inzimam.if Inzimam can hold-on to his nerves,then pakistan is certainly in with a chacne.

  • Jahangir Khan on March 7, 2007, 21:40 GMT

    The world of secrecy is so strong in anything in Pakistan that general public is simply doesn't exist to know. Start from the President himself. He is a liar since he took control of the country ,destroyed democracy and with it The Institutions. Now, that Pakistan is worse off with his leadership, the last entertainment institution ( cricket Board) which provided the Only mass entertainment and sports affiliations by millions of Pakistanis , could not survive the stupidities of the General and his hand picked chairman of the Cricket board, Dr. Nasim Ashraf. This is because of their in-competencies that today Pakistan team is where it is today: divided, grouping, politics and etc,. There is nothing wrong with Shoaib or Asif. Perhaps they do not compromise with the Stupidities of the Board which is good in my opinion. The solution to this problem :Kick Inzemam's ass out of the team and Bob Woolmer's along with Dr. Nasim Ashraf's and all will be fine. Inzemam is 37 and it's time for him to go. It is Obvious and he is the one who is creating this crisis with some backing. I can guarantee you that with these people out and retired cricket players in in the management and top position, the team would have been not what it is Now.

  • Rafique Banday on March 7, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    Have posted one earlier, but this one not about WC...It's about Imran Khan....

    I have grown up in Kashmir not missing any thing that Imran Khan has spoken or done on/off the field. I have been a fanatic fan and would get courage before my club matches not onle because he was a great cricket player but he always was impressive with his intelectual content...

    But, I have to admit laterly i am disappointed and avoid any channel where he speaks these days. And i don't blame myself for being his fan over the years but i think he has lost it... Is some one else noticing his statements, political or cricket related. Theye are so nude and cheap, an absolute opposite of what they used to be.. He's being critical of everthing for the sake of it and the worst of all he has made India his role model...just for the sake of being allowed to those elite parties and the NDTV shows.....

    From a lavish lifstyle to the Khan dress style, his double standards are becoming to much to accept.... i still hope that his vision becomes clear again... I am not a great fan of Inzimam as a captain as well... But, at least he's modest... And my all time great will always be Fazal Mahmood.. who had the courage to refuse to join the Indian team for first tour of Australia just because he was a patriot.......

  • Prateek Tiwari on March 7, 2007, 10:42 GMT

    I think, in Gul, Mehmood and Kaneria - Pakistan has a good bowling attack. Good controlled bowling by these three can see them doing pretty well - Of course, I would want India to win the world cup but don't rule out the Pakistanis due to the absence of Asif, Akhtar and Razzak. It is still a very good side and this world cup will be about good batting and clever & controlled bowling !

  • Rafique Banday on March 7, 2007, 8:44 GMT

    I think there's no reason to get realy disappointed. Shoib's exciting for the game but i am not sure of the value he can bring in a limmited over's game. Asif,s is a big loss.

    But, I still beleive that one day games the most critical are the initial 10-12 overs and the slog overs that you bowl. The middle of the innings you will generally conceed 4.5 runs per over... I don't Undestand Rana Naveed inclusion, it seems he has vowed to break all the records in run giving. Rao Iftikhar is a wicket to wicket bowler. U. Gul has a falir and is penetrative, with Arafat or (SAMI hmmmmm!!) and Shahid Afridi and Azhar Mehmood and some overs from Hafeez and Malik in the middle of the innings- It should be OK. I beleive the team that played the warm up match against Canada is OK excluding Rana Naveed and implanting Yasir or Sami in it. The batting order- Younus to open is a nice try but i beleive that way you have a lot of them staying the middle of the inning. It would serve better to have Hafeez(tech flaws may not be so noticed in the Cribeans) open with Imran Nazir, Younus to follow, then Inzi, Yousuf and Shoib, then the game situation will decided the next batsmen between Afridi, Azhar, and Akmal....

    Azhar Mehmood is an asset to you ESPECIALL WHEN SHANE W. IS OUT OF THE GAME>>>> HE HAD DEVELOPED A STRANGE PHOBIA FOR HIM.....

  • KK on March 7, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    India is going to beat pakistan so badly this time that it will forget the dream of playing cricket.

  • Safi on March 7, 2007, 6:21 GMT

    I don't understand why Pakistani selectors are going back to EXPIRED bowlers? And who considers Navid as a bowler? Attack bowlers shouldn't only be good bowlers, they MUST be confident with high self-esteem, very aggressive who can pose a treat and challenge the batsman! Thats the only time an attack bowler could succeed and i will never see those qualities in Naveed or Sami! I must admit Asif in THE best bowler Pakistan have produced in the past few years. Come on give me a break, i'm sure pakistan has better bowlers then Navid or Sami or Azar! Another point to be noticed... Why is Yasir Hameed not on the team??? I think he has the potencial! Anyways, Best of luck to Pakistan

  • Moin Madraswala on March 7, 2007, 5:23 GMT

    Anything can happen in Cricket these day. Look at what happened to South Africa and NewZealand. NewZealand lost to Bangladesh and SA almost lost. I think the these days cricket is totally different. I think all Pakistan has to do is force Inzi to take captaincy seriously and prepare based on the team that they are playing instead of playing good player or playing a winning combination. For example after Danish was taken to cleaner by WI, Pakistan should not play Danish against them or if they play him do not expect him to do well. On the other hand I totally do not agree that Rana should be with the team but he holds an edge against WI, he should be played but do not bowl him. I think what Inzi and Bob have to do is plan one game at a time. Inzi does have to realize that he can't relax during the middle order of the inning and keep attacking instead of just stopping run. I would give Pakistan a slim chance to win the world cup even with Shoaib and Asif because we are not learning from our mistakes. Pakistan performance would depend totally on captaincy, if they win the world cup it will b because of captaincy and if they lose it will be because of captaincy and lack of talent. If we great talent then no one needs a captain. A good captain is needed and I hope that Inzi makes some bold decisions Thanks

  • Ashfaq on March 9, 2007, 4:26 GMT

    I don't care who is playing and who isn't playing for the Pakistan team at the world cup. I will continue to support the team and wish them well. It's not worth while to ponder what might have been if Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Abdul Razzaq been playing.

  • madatinzi on March 8, 2007, 21:01 GMT

    all i can say inzi is so happy, with shoib and asif out. he knew already that Paki will never win the WC. even with those 2 druggies in team. but now being them out. he found him self reason. he know knows with them being out and have a reason to lose confirmed his next 15 years of being capt. every thing in Pakistan works on same rules. put on others and enjoy your positions for as long as possible. that's why i left Pakistan. every time i go back it is worse and worse. kamran akmal just signed 30 years deal with pakistan cricket team because his picture was posted on cricinfo web site. Inzi feels that he is the best keeper in the world because his picture is on web page. every time you ask inzi a question, he answers. "Boys play very well" what is your name inzi? boys play very well. how is the pitch? Boys play very well? u are a fat moron? boys play very well? inzi you just won another 20 years with paki team. Boys happy, boys play very well. inzi, rana, akmal, sami are morons. if i see them i promise i will tell them.

  • Asif Naqvi on March 8, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    The weakest point of this paki side is the captain Inzimam himself.he is a bit weak psychologically in pressure times.paki batting line-up is fine except the problem openning slot.without asif n akhtar,their bowling attack is no doubt under pressure,but still they have a chance in the world cup if Inzi remains succuessful in combining the lads into a team.

    The point is that a psychologically strong and cool-minded captain can extract huge results from even a team of average players.paki lads are well enough,they only need vigilance from their captain Inzimam.if Inzimam can hold-on to his nerves,then pakistan is certainly in with a chacne.

  • Jahangir Khan on March 7, 2007, 21:40 GMT

    The world of secrecy is so strong in anything in Pakistan that general public is simply doesn't exist to know. Start from the President himself. He is a liar since he took control of the country ,destroyed democracy and with it The Institutions. Now, that Pakistan is worse off with his leadership, the last entertainment institution ( cricket Board) which provided the Only mass entertainment and sports affiliations by millions of Pakistanis , could not survive the stupidities of the General and his hand picked chairman of the Cricket board, Dr. Nasim Ashraf. This is because of their in-competencies that today Pakistan team is where it is today: divided, grouping, politics and etc,. There is nothing wrong with Shoaib or Asif. Perhaps they do not compromise with the Stupidities of the Board which is good in my opinion. The solution to this problem :Kick Inzemam's ass out of the team and Bob Woolmer's along with Dr. Nasim Ashraf's and all will be fine. Inzemam is 37 and it's time for him to go. It is Obvious and he is the one who is creating this crisis with some backing. I can guarantee you that with these people out and retired cricket players in in the management and top position, the team would have been not what it is Now.

  • Rafique Banday on March 7, 2007, 11:25 GMT

    Have posted one earlier, but this one not about WC...It's about Imran Khan....

    I have grown up in Kashmir not missing any thing that Imran Khan has spoken or done on/off the field. I have been a fanatic fan and would get courage before my club matches not onle because he was a great cricket player but he always was impressive with his intelectual content...

    But, I have to admit laterly i am disappointed and avoid any channel where he speaks these days. And i don't blame myself for being his fan over the years but i think he has lost it... Is some one else noticing his statements, political or cricket related. Theye are so nude and cheap, an absolute opposite of what they used to be.. He's being critical of everthing for the sake of it and the worst of all he has made India his role model...just for the sake of being allowed to those elite parties and the NDTV shows.....

    From a lavish lifstyle to the Khan dress style, his double standards are becoming to much to accept.... i still hope that his vision becomes clear again... I am not a great fan of Inzimam as a captain as well... But, at least he's modest... And my all time great will always be Fazal Mahmood.. who had the courage to refuse to join the Indian team for first tour of Australia just because he was a patriot.......

  • Prateek Tiwari on March 7, 2007, 10:42 GMT

    I think, in Gul, Mehmood and Kaneria - Pakistan has a good bowling attack. Good controlled bowling by these three can see them doing pretty well - Of course, I would want India to win the world cup but don't rule out the Pakistanis due to the absence of Asif, Akhtar and Razzak. It is still a very good side and this world cup will be about good batting and clever & controlled bowling !

  • Rafique Banday on March 7, 2007, 8:44 GMT

    I think there's no reason to get realy disappointed. Shoib's exciting for the game but i am not sure of the value he can bring in a limmited over's game. Asif,s is a big loss.

    But, I still beleive that one day games the most critical are the initial 10-12 overs and the slog overs that you bowl. The middle of the innings you will generally conceed 4.5 runs per over... I don't Undestand Rana Naveed inclusion, it seems he has vowed to break all the records in run giving. Rao Iftikhar is a wicket to wicket bowler. U. Gul has a falir and is penetrative, with Arafat or (SAMI hmmmmm!!) and Shahid Afridi and Azhar Mehmood and some overs from Hafeez and Malik in the middle of the innings- It should be OK. I beleive the team that played the warm up match against Canada is OK excluding Rana Naveed and implanting Yasir or Sami in it. The batting order- Younus to open is a nice try but i beleive that way you have a lot of them staying the middle of the inning. It would serve better to have Hafeez(tech flaws may not be so noticed in the Cribeans) open with Imran Nazir, Younus to follow, then Inzi, Yousuf and Shoib, then the game situation will decided the next batsmen between Afridi, Azhar, and Akmal....

    Azhar Mehmood is an asset to you ESPECIALL WHEN SHANE W. IS OUT OF THE GAME>>>> HE HAD DEVELOPED A STRANGE PHOBIA FOR HIM.....

  • KK on March 7, 2007, 6:52 GMT

    India is going to beat pakistan so badly this time that it will forget the dream of playing cricket.

  • Safi on March 7, 2007, 6:21 GMT

    I don't understand why Pakistani selectors are going back to EXPIRED bowlers? And who considers Navid as a bowler? Attack bowlers shouldn't only be good bowlers, they MUST be confident with high self-esteem, very aggressive who can pose a treat and challenge the batsman! Thats the only time an attack bowler could succeed and i will never see those qualities in Naveed or Sami! I must admit Asif in THE best bowler Pakistan have produced in the past few years. Come on give me a break, i'm sure pakistan has better bowlers then Navid or Sami or Azar! Another point to be noticed... Why is Yasir Hameed not on the team??? I think he has the potencial! Anyways, Best of luck to Pakistan

  • Moin Madraswala on March 7, 2007, 5:23 GMT

    Anything can happen in Cricket these day. Look at what happened to South Africa and NewZealand. NewZealand lost to Bangladesh and SA almost lost. I think the these days cricket is totally different. I think all Pakistan has to do is force Inzi to take captaincy seriously and prepare based on the team that they are playing instead of playing good player or playing a winning combination. For example after Danish was taken to cleaner by WI, Pakistan should not play Danish against them or if they play him do not expect him to do well. On the other hand I totally do not agree that Rana should be with the team but he holds an edge against WI, he should be played but do not bowl him. I think what Inzi and Bob have to do is plan one game at a time. Inzi does have to realize that he can't relax during the middle order of the inning and keep attacking instead of just stopping run. I would give Pakistan a slim chance to win the world cup even with Shoaib and Asif because we are not learning from our mistakes. Pakistan performance would depend totally on captaincy, if they win the world cup it will b because of captaincy and if they lose it will be because of captaincy and lack of talent. If we great talent then no one needs a captain. A good captain is needed and I hope that Inzi makes some bold decisions Thanks

  • saed on March 7, 2007, 0:07 GMT

    pakistan is going to win the world cup

  • Moe on March 6, 2007, 21:54 GMT

    It's a common knowledge that when you do take roids, they stay in your body for 6 months and I have read some of the stuff can stay in your system for upto a yr. Both of them have been tested +ve for roids recently and most likely that was the reason for them not being able to play in world cup. It doesn't make any sense that they were cleared to play in S.A. and not in World Cup.

  • RK on March 6, 2007, 19:22 GMT

    well, those who are thinking of beating India, should forget about it. I think, even this time, India will be beating pakistan. Finally I hope they will win the cup.

  • Sohail on March 6, 2007, 18:55 GMT

    Yaar.. seriously saying.. This world cup is gunna be a disaster.. No shoaib and no Asif.. well .. I just want them to beat India.. lol.. I still hope we win this world cup..

  • Danish on March 6, 2007, 14:04 GMT

    While the loss of Asif is significant, I'm more worried about our batting. Woolmer is correct in his recent comments - one day cricket has become a batsman's game. Scores of 300 are common and bowlers primarily need to be disciplined and are thus more easily replaced.

    To win matches, teams are going to HAVE to be able to score big. Unfortunately, Razzaq is out, Afridi is in poor form of late, as is Akmal.

    We need at least one person in the lower middle order to fire to get us big totals. Strong starts by the openers would not hurt either. The middle order is solid and will get us to 200+ scores if noone else turns in an above average performance but that will not be enough... and would not be enough if we had Shoaib and Asif.

  • nasir farid,luton on March 6, 2007, 12:24 GMT

    We are going to need a miracle to win this WORLD CUP, even more then we did in the 92'. But theres hope, certain similarities have come to my attention. Apart from the silly opening games against the minnows, every team will end up playing each other just like they did in 92' world cup. The opening match of the 92' world cup was versus the West Indies, just like this world cup will be. In 92' we missed a key strike bowler in Waqar Younas, and opening batsmen in Saeed Anwar. This world cup we are missing key strike bowlers (Shoaib n Asif) and definately we dont have any decent opening batsmen. But what we did have in that world cup is an outstanding captain, in Imran Khan. Even though Inzaman's batting record as captain might be decent, he is not a great leader and decision maker like Imran was. Remember, Imran Khan was the key to Inzaman being in the 92' squad, going against certain selectors wishes. It was Imran who decided not to drop Inzaman from the batting line up against New Zealand in the semi's, even though Inzaman himself requested it after his repeated failures at number 3. Instead Imran put him lower down the order (from 3 to 6), and voilla who could forget that memorable performance by Inzy!!! This is what i feel will be missing in this world cup, if Inzaman has any hope in making any impact in this world cup he's got some serious decision making to do like Imran did, for e.g. Inzy batting up the order. He needs to come up with plans which the oppostion wont be expecting. He has already failed to bring in any young star to this world cup, what ever happened to those under 19 bowlers 'Anwar Ali, Jamshed Ahmed, Akhtar Ayub who were seen as the new Waqar Younas, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar respectively... in my opinion, someone new and not tested should have been given an opportunity as a wildcard, instead of going ahead with previous unsuccessful players. But since they have, these bowlers need to be on top of their game and used wisely. One thing i have mentioned in previous bloggs is that Pakistan should not just think about their bowling and batting, FIELDING should also be given as much importance. This is something we have never improved on, and i personally feel lets us down and end up loosing crucial matches because of it. Look at the top teams in the world at the moment, Australia and South Africa .....both are lethal in the field. Even when pakistan won the 92' world cup, there was much improvement in the fielding at that point. Just look at the fielding, catching in the final etc ..... We didnt just, bat and bowl good, our fielding was equally good. Thats why we lifted the world cup and not England!!! Each player needs to be reminded of this. We have 11 players in the team, and each will have to play to their full potential. REMEMBER TO WIN THIS WORLD CUP, YOU WILL HAVE TO PLAY AS A TEAM... NOT AN INDIVIDUAL UNIT. HELP EACH OTHER, DO WHATS RIGHT FOR THE TEAM, NOT JUST TO SECURE YOUR OWN PLACE. HELP INZAMAN WITH HIS DECISON MAKING, GIVE HIM IDEAS, MAKE HIS JOB EASIER EVEN IF IT MEANS LOOSING YOUR PLACE AT A COST. COME ON PAKISTAN TEAM, DEEP WITHIN OUT HEART WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT, BOB WILLIS HAS QUOATED 'EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED' WITH REF TO THE PAKISTAN TEAM. SO LETS JUST DO THAT. EVERYONE FEELS THAT WE HAVE NO HOPE WITH THE CURRENT SQUAD, EVEN MYSELF, PROOVE ME WRONG.

    P.S. IF YOU CANT THEN ATLEAST BEAT INDIA, LOL.

  • Ted on March 6, 2007, 11:10 GMT

    Yasir Arafat's recent form isn't too bad, stint in county showed that he is quite a good bowler. Only thing that worries me is that he isn’t an Akhtar just a medium pacer, medium pace doesn’t cut it when you have Justin Kemp or Andrew Symonds looking to hit you out of the ground. Haven't really seen much of him to be honest, seen a bit of his batting. Quite impressive. Sami, poor guy this is the guy who's career everyone predicted to become the next big thing now look at him. The PCB should force him to play Domestic cricket till he finds that rhythm back if he'll ever back. He's got no confidence at all and he's been thrown into the deep ends where the sharks are eating up his confidence. Doesn't even look like a fast bowler, his body posture and ect... watch his reaction when he gets hit for 4s, compare that to Andre Nel or someone like Glen McGrath, they attempt to do something about it. Sami just gives up... when I first saw him ha dam great bowler now still the same bowler but without rhythm nor confidence. Shahid Afridi, match winner... if he can find form, keep in mind what he did in his second last innings against South Africa. Small pitches galore. Good luck Pakistan, without any match winners apart from maybe Afridi I believe that countries like India, South Africa , Australia and even NZ have better chances. Pakistan if they had Akhtar and Asif, instantly top favourites in my opinion. Without much firepower... no use.

  • John Nolan on March 6, 2007, 11:06 GMT

    Pakistan have no chance of winning the world Cup. May cause a few upsets but wont put in a consistent run. The format is not designed for them. The Champions Trophy is more there cup of tea in terms of format.

  • Dr Faizullah Khawaja on March 6, 2007, 4:26 GMT

    In my opinion this pak team under inzi will be as good as our last world cup team i.e. out after the early rounds. inzi i thought was a fair and honest man who would go with merit and not favouritism.Sticking with kamran and rana and not giving others a chance has not helped neither pakistan team nor the players themselves. Look how good ganguly has come back with. A break would have helped these two players. Regarding shoaib and asif well its a great loss but we have to move on. Is it a disgrace ? well it is as disgracefull as it is for shane warne and he tried to .... with his moms medicine!! And now everyone has forgotten and he is a legend!!! So these things happen in sports world over and it was these so called developed countries who started it so we dont have to be over embarrased or feel guilty, just forget and move on.

  • Zed Fazel on March 6, 2007, 0:03 GMT

    Let us not talk about Pakistan winning the WC.Let us talk if they will be in a position to even compete. It is nothing to do with ability or inability. It is to do with their mental attitude. Inzy looked so down at departure, his body language portrayed a tired looking captain.What can he inspire? If we the followers of cricket knew Asif/Shoiab would not be going then surely Inzy would have known. So instead of hoping against all hopes, Inzy and the Pak Management should have selected others way ahead of the departure date. That would have given time to concentrate on the preparation instead of playing a 'waiting game'and an air of uncertainty. I am surprised why SHABBIR AHMED is not selected. He bowled very well last time he was in West Indies. He and Gul would have formed a very good opening attack. And what are Sami and Naved doing in the team. If an opinion poll is taken, then I think they would not get even 20% supporting their inclusion. Lastly, I dont think Pakistan should continue with Bob Woolmer. In more than 2 years, he has not been able to find a suitable opening pair. Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Javed Miandad should forget their personal egos and get together and SAVE PAKISTAN from sliding further down and before it is TOO LATE.

  • Ali Turab, Stockholm sweden on March 5, 2007, 22:52 GMT

    I am quite optmistic too about team performance. The only guy missing in squad is razzaq. We are very much ussed too of playing without shoiab and Asif is a new guy in . I guess the batting side is quite strong and past three worldcups it was batting screwed us all. Bowling is quite balanced as well with the exception of Azhar (i cannot see him replacing Razaaq!!!). But all in all .... lets be optimistic and wish best of luck to the team

  • nasir on March 5, 2007, 19:45 GMT

    I think we have a decent bowling line up. We have expereienced pacers like Gul, Sami and Rana. Godd spinners in Afridi and Kaneria. All rounder as Azhar Mahmood.

    If they all bowl to their potential I cannot see why we are second to none. Perhaps only India and South Africa have potentially stronger and more experienced bowling line ups.

    Our short fall is our batting and especially spots 1,2 and 3. Hafeez, Nazir and Akmal are playing for their careers in this World Cup. Any failure on their and they are history.

  • Sammad Nawaz on March 5, 2007, 19:22 GMT

    Aslam wailaikum to all my Pakistani Bros, i believe Pakistan will need to play positive cricket and concentrate on the task in hand i.e to win the world cup. To do this they have got to be positive and be all together in fighting for the title, i am going to the super eights to watch pak v aus and pak v ind and inshallah me and all the rest of the fans will get Pakistan in the right mood. If you are a true fan then have faith and patience and who knows with all our duas inshallah Pakistan will come good. Good Luck.

  • mohidin gundroo on March 5, 2007, 18:12 GMT

    Mushy get ready to play another world cup,why not.After warne you still are a excellent leg spinner around. just think, it is yet another sussex match and not world cup. For my money you still are a better option than novice medium pacer.

  • Yousuf bhai chak de phattay on March 5, 2007, 16:33 GMT

    Molvi yousuf is in a very good form. If Pak win the worldcup then I am sure he will be the Man of the tournament. Pak team is depending on Afridi, Molvi and out of form Inzi. On WI pitches Afridi can be very dangerous. Team is ok but Including Sami in Pak squads is a biggest sin. Why again, again, again, agaaaain and again pcb bring him back. Is their no more talent in Pak.

  • Johnny B on March 5, 2007, 16:26 GMT

    Any of you guys getting a bit worried about Ireland yet?

  • HASAN HASHMI on March 5, 2007, 13:57 GMT

    Well, some how i m very positive about Pakistan winning the world cup. I am happy that Shoaib Akhtar is not playing though i am a fan of shoaib but in world cup he is always been a cause of defeat for Pakistan. And about Asif,he is still inexperirnced but he sure will be missed in world cup, hopefully Sami could regain his form. Inzi Bhai still remains the only real match winner for Pakistan, with Yousaf & Younis still to prove themslves, specially in pressure Run Chase situation. So why do i still fancy Pakistan as winner, cuz Shoaib Malik, Imran Nazir, Afridi & Akmal all have potential if they play as a team unit everybody contributing something useful, & One Person I feel could well be 'Player of the Tournament' is Azhar Mehmood. I am Telling you watch out cuz after Inzi Bhai he is a True match winner...

  • Amin on March 5, 2007, 11:47 GMT

    Last week in Toronto at legends of Cricket match, I was surprised to see Aquib Javed still bowling at his regular speed and lineup. Wasim Akram was exceptional scored fifty after he was unlucky to get run-out. The biggest surprise was Moshin Kamal. With all his white hair flowing over his face, was the pick of the bowlwer in this game. He was fast and accurate. Why our board cannot pick these players for world cup instead of M.Sami or other guys who will do nothing...

  • Irfan Sair on March 5, 2007, 11:11 GMT

    Pakistan will do excellent in this world cup, Inshallah, Forget about past, look for tomorrow, we have the tallent, we have the guts and we should go for it like brave hearts. Let's show the world the unpredictability of the great Pakistanies yet once again. God be with all my Pakistan team brothers.

  • Tamerlane on March 5, 2007, 10:59 GMT

    I think we all have had enough of the S & A saga, lets stop talking about it and start looking at the squad we have. I agree with your assesment on Gul, Arafat and kaneria but i would say that there are a good number of players in our squad, if used strategicaly, can influence the outcome of a game. It is not a question of if we can win this world cup, it is more like how. Look at the team we have, they are all experienced, talented and to me they look a lot fitter then any other Pak teams from the yester years. Lets back them up, plan and think positive and let the guy's do their thing. Crikcet is a bautiful game, let it remain beautiful but above all a GAME.

  • roomi on March 5, 2007, 10:29 GMT

    Pakistan have had a massive jolt in terms of losing Asif shoib and razzak but they should still aim to get into last four. Bowling looks defensive now. Oppurtunity was lost by selectors to send two new youngsters who the world knows nothing about like Fawad Alam and Anwer Ali but even with this team there is hope. Kaneria and Umar Gul are the strike bowlers. Sami to open and Rana in the middle and end of the inning. and then there are the all rounders galore. Shoib Malick, Afridi, Azhar and Yair Arafat. Yasir is a good option since its good to have someone whom the world knows little about. Inzi back in 1992 did not even play the full world cup but Imran khan backed him in crucial games and he won the semi final and almost won the game against South Africa until Jonty's magic ended his innings.unfortunately the whole doping episode and its bad handling by pcb has led to this unprepared state of affairs. Now there are players returning to the fold after long or talented players with the world eyes on them having had very little International match practice before the cup. Hope fully one or two of them will seize the day.

  • kamran Khan on March 5, 2007, 10:05 GMT

    I would like to say that the lose of Asif and shoiab will be of a great lose to Pakistan both have shown that they have a proven record of winning matches by themselves, let alone by themselves together they would have been a great combination and with umar gul fit that has world class written all over it. We will be lucky to get to the semi finals. We cannot except greatness with very little experience in the bowling department or skill. If we do go to the semi and final then we should praise the team. The only other thing I would like to mention is the drug issue. Lets look at the history of drugs and gambling as i recall certain cricketers from certain countries have short memories. As I recall by memory and maybe I am getting a little old. Australia introduced gambling to cricket and said it was a match report what happen as i recall it was kept quiet for years and the players where just slapped on the wrist and set free. Drugs has not a certain player been found guilt and yes he served a small sentence when Aussie as a nation have great knowledge of drugs and benefits then Pakistan who is new to this and less educated. I think cricketers should play cricket and look at there own countries records before accusing others . Where were the same voice when it happened in there countries and why not speak of those as well. One last think did not marsh and lille bet on losing to england and everybody laughed about it and said how funny of them to do it. What happened it lead to match fixing. Please believe me I do not believe in drugs or gambling and thing they have been and are bad for cricket. But look at the country the cricketers and there knowledge. Also look within your own before you look at others. I wish Pakistan luck and hope they prove me wrong. I hope the best team won

  • Abdullah on March 5, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    Ramiz Raja is pretty much the dumbest thing Pakistani cricket has ever produced. Even as a batsman he was only mediocre and as a commentator or a cricket expert, I can't even say that about him. He's down right poor in both categories! As far as the commentary's concerned, all he does is state the very obvious and go into un-necessary mundane and explicit detail. Sometimes it seems he's DELIBERATELY trying to frustrate the viewer, that hey u dumb ass! we're not stupid nor are we blind! we can tell whats happening! He gives no insight, presents no new concepts or theories, re-hashes old ones again and again, and pretty much memorizes the Oxford dictionary before coming in for a session. He's got a few standard words that he uses repeatedly, that really gets on my nerves. And his latest blunder? Given that the preparation of the Pakistani team for the World cup was not up to par by any standard, but the LEAST a former pakistani cricketer? can do is NOT create further controversy by throwing in his irrelevant two bit which are only going to make a mess of an already messy situation. Man! where is your patriotism? You call yourself a Pakistani? The Saab mentality that the britishers left us with is rampant in Ramiz Raja's mind! You do NOT need to garner favor with the goras anymore, Ramiz! Hear me! I'm your sincere friend! The best thing for the Pakistani team is a united front amongst themselves and at home and we can't even give them that. Shame on us! How exactly do we expect the team to perform well anyway? They're not magicians, they're being bombarded from all sides and yet they're expected to bring back the trophy. Dumb expectations by even dumbed people. Grow up people.

  • addsy on March 5, 2007, 9:13 GMT

    well now that the shoaib and asif episode is over we can concentrate on cricket...and the world cup...those stats on rana were very interesting and maybe he would be better served at the death...but i feel that gul and iftikar are the key...gul we all know is a very good bowler but iftikar bowled extremely well in SA...his line and length was very good...and he even played in the Champions trophy game where pakistan were eaten but there too (on a helpful pitch) he bowled really well...i dont know how kineria will do in the one day game....i think he will give away too many runs...i feel the more experienced all round bowlers will do the job in the spinning department...and yasir and azhar should be given a chance on form and fitness (azhar didnt look too fit last time he played)

  • changez khan on March 5, 2007, 9:12 GMT

    We shouldnt even compare the world cup winning team with the current team. Then we had a great leader in Imran. We had the greatest one day bowler in Wasim Akram. We had a great wicketkeeper batsman in Moin and we had a great spinner in Mustaq- aquib javed wasnt a bad bowler either.We also had the old fox in Miandad and the young and in form Inzamam- and Salim Malik was still around. As for Pakistan being serious contenders for the cup this time-well, Dil ko khush rakhne ko ghalib ye khayal acha hai.

  • shehzad on March 5, 2007, 8:57 GMT

    I think Pakistan still have a glimmer of hope to win the worldcup. Pakistan batting line up is still very very strong, they have only a weak bowling attack. Pak must play with all of thr allrounders. After beating ireland and zimbabwe Pak will entre in the 2nd round. Afridi will be back after his 5 match Ban.

    So we will have 6 bowlers and 10 batsmen in our team.

  • Shuja - Dubai on March 5, 2007, 8:23 GMT

    Dear Kamran,

    What I am going to write has nothing to do with the topic in discuss but I thought this is the best platform to exchange my thoughts with the likes of you and others who read this blog. Recently, Cricinfo and many other publications and news channels ran a story of ACU (Anti-Corruption Unit) of the ICC paid a visit to the Pakistan Cricket Camp at the world cup and warned them about not using mobiles phones and what not. There are many questions spinning in my head and I’d like to share them here; What I wish to know is, why did they specifically go to Pakistan camp and not others. Don’t the others need to know what to do and what not to do? Does Australia have a clean sheet when it comes to match fixing (reference to Mark Waugh here)? Does India have a clean sheet (reference to many here)? Does South Africa have a clean sheet (reference to you know here and Gibbs)? Does West Indies themselves have a clean sheet? Was this visit done on someone’s request who wishes to tarnish the already tarnished reputation of Pakistan cricket? Maybe someone in ICC itself. Why was this made into such a big issue by publications and new channels? Aren’t we head over water already with controversies!! (I hope Osman Samiudin is reading this so that he can write an article on this as well)

    You know what Kamran, Pakistan cricket has gone thru a lot last year and this. Everyone’s pointing fingers at us, who do we blame? You know who I blame, the Pakistan Cricket Board!! The Patron of Pakistan Cricket Board (please manage the country and not the cricket affairs). We are a cricket loving nation which has produced some great cricket legends, do we deserve to experience all this? To be humiliated in such a manner?

    We will still watch the cricket world cup, we will still support the team representing the millions of us, we will still pray the best for them. But something desperately needs to be done in the way cricket is managed in Pakistan. How low will we go? How long do they expect us to tolerate this humiliation!!!! we're tired.. we need to start some sort of a revolution.. ok.. big word for this.. but we need to do something!!!

  • Farhan on March 5, 2007, 7:55 GMT

    I am really annoyed how the Event around shoaib and asif were handled. if their nadralone rests in blood were really still too high to risk them to be send to the WC, then why just not live with their bans in the first place. I think pakistan cricket and PCB lost their faces when they were found not guilty. We could have banned them both as suggested in the first place and that would have been a brave decision and then we would have known that we need other bowlers for the WC. but now we have got this news that they wouldn't be available at the last moment and the "image" damage created through this can't be repaired

  • Gilchrist on March 5, 2007, 7:41 GMT

    Referring to Syed Mohammad Rauf's comments, yes, cricket is funny, PCB is funnier, u guyz r hilarious.. ha ha ha ha

  • Umar Khan on March 5, 2007, 7:33 GMT

    Well as we see Shoaib Akhtar is as usual injured as he is always from last 2 3 years. he is alwayus not available in important tours 4 pakistan. he was injured when pak went to australia, he was injured when pak went to india, he was injured when pakistan went recently to south africa and now most importantly he is not avalaible wat ever the reason is 4 world cup. so it means he is of no use for pak. millions of money is spend on him and he is wasting both money and time of pakistan cricket as he ios always not available 4 imp tours where pakistan really need him. he should now take retirement or should be out of team.

  • Talal Hasan on March 5, 2007, 6:48 GMT

    If anyone is going to beat saeed anwar's record of 194 it is likely to be

    RICKY PONTING!!!!!!!!! HE IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD BY A COUNTRY MILE HE WOULD BE OBVIOUS CHOICE!

  • Moazam on March 5, 2007, 6:41 GMT

    I think Dr. Nasim Ashraf had ruined the cricket team, its spirit and morale. He is the sole responsible for DRUP issue. He is so fool that he has public the results of internal dope tests

  • Harry on March 5, 2007, 6:10 GMT

    It is shocking to see so many people writing off pakistan. Inzy is determined that his team makes semis first then take it on from there. It is the most open world cup. self belief is the main thing. we need performing players and not stars such as shoib. It is players who are going to win the world cup. Bowling still is far better than India,NZ and Eng. Batting is great in middle order. Afridi should fire in batting as piches are for his liking. Two bowlers ( Gul & Sami) have chance to become International hero. so lets keep our fingers crossed.

  • Ali Zaidi on March 5, 2007, 6:01 GMT

    I have a feeling we will see a much better performance from Inzimam as a batsman and as a captain in this WC. Inzimam as you know has followed the lines of Imran Khan and has opened up a hospital in his home town and if Imran after winning the WC can generate over $2m for SKMH at a time when the big money hadnt really came in the way of the world of cricket, this will be Inzi's only opportunity to win the world cup and generate all the funds he needs to get his hospital up and running.

    So LOOK OUT for the best of Inzi and his inspired leadership.

  • Kamran raja on March 5, 2007, 5:50 GMT

    Reply to: ahsan khan at March 4, 2007 8:25 PM

    "Look at Kamran Akmal on the front page of CricInfo today March 4/2007, in the GYM with slippers on .... yes we are very confident about our beloved pakistani team and their professionalism.... what a joke!"

    lol! I know when i saw it i was like whaaattt he's in the gym doing leg extensions with slippers on :S

  • Soda Singh on March 5, 2007, 5:02 GMT

    Pakistan Baleh baley with out punjabi puttar Asif te Shoaib...Pakistan Thaley Thaley...... i love these punjabi puttar along with UV Singh..baley bai baley....

    Pakistan not goona win but can show courage and fight some respect...... Allo Baley Baley....

    Composition: Gulla and Shahida and Danishaa (Attacking) Iftekahara and Hafiza and Shaiba or Azhara containing bowler

  • ATIF MALIK, USA on March 5, 2007, 4:13 GMT

    Sami and Rana can make the difference- GUL-Sami-Rana-Azhar-Shoib/Hafez/Afridi is my bowling combo- if pitch is slow u can play Kaneria in place of Azhar

  • Mushy on March 5, 2007, 4:03 GMT

    Do not compare this attack to the one in '92. Do you believe Gul, Sami, Kaneria and Takla Naved are anywhere near Wasim, Aaqib, Mushy? Only Pakistan batsmen and some spinner friendly pitches can help the team to anywhere near semifinals. If you think Gul, Takla, Kaneria and Sami can win the matches, think about what Murli, Vaas, Lassi Malinga can do. If Pakistan happen to meet either of Srilanka, India, WestIndies or Australia in a knock-out match, forget it!

  • Olmert on March 5, 2007, 2:39 GMT

    PCB needs to setup a series between Pakistan A (national team), Pakistan B (reserve players), Pakistan C (reserver , U21 & U19 players) and select the best players from the series. Such a format is very successful in India and i believe Srishaant was discovered in such a series.

  • Waqar Khattak on March 5, 2007, 2:39 GMT

    For get shoiab and Asif: If one look through the Pakistan bowling attack, Umar gull, Rana Naveed, Sami, Iftikhar, Azhar Mehmood , Yasir Arafat, Kaneria, Afridi, and Hafeez. The most balance bowling attack with variety of bowling option Inzimam will have. Sami the speedy, Umar a genuine new ball bowler with the variety of swing and bounce, Rana capable of good in swing Yorkers, Mehmood excellent on change, Arafat capable of in swing Yorkers and best suited for West Indies pitches , kaneria spins..... and Afridi watch full for his 140 k delivery....The only concern pakistan cricket team is its batting.

  • calgary highlander on March 5, 2007, 1:18 GMT

    Ahsan Khan, i totally agree with ur comments. Look at Kammy dressed in an aqua shirt and working out in chappels. Ha Ha Ha. For gods sakes Boi, get yoself a nice pair of Nike's instead of 30 rupee chappeles.

  • mai on March 5, 2007, 0:11 GMT

    best of luck pakistan ... i agree ... asif is a much better bowler in test than odi ...shoaib creates problem for caption and coach (on good for any team) ... razzak has not played much cricket recently but azhar has ... best of luck pakistan ... inshallah we r winning the world cup

  • Shahid Mahmood on March 5, 2007, 0:05 GMT

    Mr. Woolmer didn't do anything for the team. We stand where we are used to be. Everybody including you like to put blame on PCB but do u think its Mr. Ashraf or his personnale who mad these two stupids to use these drugs. Shoaib has been out of hands all the way, he listens to only a stupid medical advisor called dr. Razzak. PCB is only trying to save there cricket lives and is bound to cover the thing up with injurry thing, as otherwise you put the whole bloody thing on paper and eccept it. PCB has obtion to put these two to sword or cover it up. Now Back to the WC, so dear abbasi u are possibly right that it can be worked out even without these 2 bowllers and Razaq. It is all about luck as u need 3 player to perform to their maximum in every game. 1992 was even a form story, a team which was on loosing tracks got suddenly in form, and mr. Imran stood then as hero. If inzi and Wasim didn't do what they did, could Imran do nothing. A good ball could have changed the whole story. So I believe that its the form standard which counts, otherwise a better team in 2003 couldn,t have done so badly. Wasim, waqar, Shoaib, S.Anwar, Inzi all were there in 2003.

  • Rehan on March 4, 2007, 23:39 GMT

    i think we need to win that first crucial match against the WI in jamica by doin that it shows we are the best team for claiming the world cup 007 in the WIhome grounds so brothers the opening match is importent as the closing match think about it me i thnk pak is going to miss asif and shoaib but pakistan got 99% chance holding that cup in final THAT IS TRUE STATEMENT BY ME pakistan have to win this time now or never.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 4, 2007, 23:28 GMT

    Greg Chappel is saying that 500 runs is a possibility. That may or many not happen, but one of the openers might break Saeed Anwar's record of 194 and could go on to score 200. Lets see who that person would be:

    Sanath JayaSuriya Chris Gayle Adam Gilchrist Virender Sehwag or Shahid Afridi?

  • Pervaiz Musharaff on March 4, 2007, 23:08 GMT

    Im a sucker and im the cause of all the problems in Pakistan including in cricket.

  • Hamid on March 4, 2007, 22:40 GMT

    Oh God, I am brokenhearted, I paid for the tickets, but my team looks departed,

    No Shoaib, No Asif, No bowlers, you say.. It’s the batsmen who will need to play.

    Openers are a problem, we believe The middle order will need to relieve,

    Coming to the overs at the death, Afridi and company with their bats,

    Put on the runs with those fours and sixes That’s how we need them to fix-it

    Then come to defend after a rest, With fast bowling at its best,

    Gul and then Rana, Swinging the ball like a banana

    Sami and Azhar, Got to bring that ball in –like a buzzer

    Toppling the opposition, that’s what we hope And that’s how we will be able to cope

    I got the tickets, so got to go… Watch my guys put on a show!!

  • alex on March 4, 2007, 21:55 GMT

    Although the teams chances aren't great, i think that the long standing unpredictability of Pakistan cricket means that even if they had their strongest sqiad they wouldn't progress too far. Look back at previous tournaments and they have always underperformed apart from 1992 when they were on a roll. Look at 1975, great individual players but didn't quite get it together. Again 1979 choked against England. 1983 weak squad...Rashid who? but still limped to the semis. 1987, should have been the strongest squad to win the cup but Jaffer gets belted and lose against Aus. 1996 good squad but again didn't live up to expectation. 1999 choked in the final. 2003 less said the better. However apart from 1983 the squad had individual match winners and was intimidating on paper with the likes of Majid Khan, Javed, Asif Iqbal. This squad is like a bunch of pussy cats. My local village team could take on this bowling attack. In fact who is the wicket taking seamer now that Asif is out. Can't see |Rana or SAmi taking a total of more than 5 wickets between them in the whole competition at an average of 45. SUrely the country could have come up with some half decent players since 2003. What a complete mess. The PCB has a lot to answer but they don't give a damn.

  • Danish Khan on March 4, 2007, 21:52 GMT

    Firstly, what I believe is that this whole farce and fiasco about the bowlers can still turn out to be in Pakistan's favour. In the sense that other teams or should I say the real contenders must have spent some time preparing on how to play say Shoaib and Asif, the whole confusion might have hampered in their preparations with now little time to think of a solid strategy. Surely, the loss of Shoaib and Asif is a loss to the whole World Cup and the entertainment that comes with it; although I agree that in being able to win the bowlers' options now aren't as bad as one might think they are. Sometimes what doesn't fancy the eye fancies in actual actions.

    Secondly, I don't think that the tracks will be made too friendly for the bowlers and many good souls in bowling will take some beating. No one in the World Cup would like to see defending or chasing small totals. So alot has to depend on the batting as well in order to support the bowlers with something to work with. Ponting too, isn't much concerned about his bowlers or the loss of Lee; who would've shared the attack for the Aussies.

  • Nasser on March 4, 2007, 21:51 GMT

    I think it is time for all of us to move past the "Shoaib & Asif" issue. There will be plenty of time to analyze that, as well as many other issues such as the PCB, the captaincy, the coach etc., after the World Cup. Pakistan has to play the hand they have been dealt.

    The initial feeling about the team's chances is that they are not good. However, upon further analysis this is virtually the same team that beat West Indies 3-1 in December and not dissimilar from the team that beat India 4-2 in 2005. Razzaq is the one missing link and one would think/hope that we can make up for his loss. I think the key to success at this point is to have the team focused and motivated. The distractions in the last 2-3 weeks have not helped and the PCB, as well as the team management, deserves to share the blame for that.

    The other debate that is worth commenting on is the hysteria surrounding Inzi's batting position. The latest is that he will bat at Number 4 and push Yousuf down to 5. I think that is asinine. Inzi should not bad ahead of Yousuf who is in the form of his life. Frankly, I do not think that Inzi should bat anywhere but at 5. He is not quick between the wickets and is certainly more vulnerable to get out to the moving ball because his footwork is not as good as it used to be. Sending him ahead of Yousuf would be simply stupid. The main question to really ask as far as the batting order is concerned is whether there is a way to push Malik further up the order. I think he is wasted at 6 because he is more of an accumulator than a basher. Afridi and Akmal at 6 and 7 (or 7 and 6 depending on the match situation) is a better answer. I still think that the team should experiment with Younis opening (he is usually there in the first 5 overs anyway) as his experience will help the other opener (Nazir or Hafeez). And Malik should come in at 3 followed by Yousuf and Inzi.

    Pakistan's strength in this tournament is not going to be it's bowling so they have to get the batting order right. That is the key to their world cup chances.

    I would like to hear the rationale from the "push Inzi up the order" crowd besides the argument of "the captain has to lead from the front and bat in the top 4". Clive Lloyd and Steve Waugh are two examples of very successful captains who did not.

  • ahsan khan on March 4, 2007, 20:25 GMT

    HAHAHA!!!

    Look at Kamran Akmal on the front page of CricInfo today March 4/2007, in the GYM with slippers on .... yes we are very confident about our beloved pakistani team and their professionalism.... what a joke!

  • chudhary on March 4, 2007, 20:10 GMT

    Ghulab Khan's comments on Mushy are un called for - he's just an assistant to Bob.

    This is very typical of ours as a nation, start targeting one fella & just ignore the real culprits.

  • eba on March 4, 2007, 19:58 GMT

    kaneria and iftikhar rao with bowling average of 48 and 57,its bowling ave. folks. should be send back home with the 1st flight avalaible,and sami should be made the strike bowler if there are any chances of pak winning the W.C sami has ODI bowling ave of 29 and has lots of experience,sami is the 3rd fastest bowler in the world, only sami has the experience amongst the present bowlers in pak world squad to bowl effectively in the slog overs,and most of all IMRAN KHAN D GREAT has support for sami. yet, i couldnt understand why paki team supporters are against MOHAMMED SAMI???/

  • Moh. affraz on March 4, 2007, 18:45 GMT

    Anyone who thinks that our batting can compensate for our weak bowling is only kidding themselves. Pakistan team on paper have the worst batting line up of any team (except minnows). Yousef and Inzy are our only batsmens that averages 40+. all other teams have 1 or 2 batsmen that average less than 40.

    If you were to do a position-by-position comparison to other teams based on averages, i think you will all find that our batting is weaker than our bowling.

    in conclusion..... lets hope we can AT LEAST beat Zimbabwe

  • muzaffar on March 4, 2007, 18:39 GMT

    well i would lyk to say tht allah is wid this team cz this team prays 5 times a day...no mater hu ever is misiin in this team..the rest can do it pretty easily only if allah wills....hope to seee pakis brinigin the wc home....sami,rana,umar have got hidden potential ....dey jz got to bring em out ...............gu d luck

  • burhan on March 4, 2007, 18:22 GMT

    No Shoaib no asif , all the big names gone .Wht a mess but there is hope . Pakistan and England are not even being considered for the cup but lets see if we can make it to the semi final .WHt are our realistic chances... the batsmen - they r pretty gud , all rounders they r ever present .hmmm the bowling , weak but not all is lost .Apart from Aus and SA no other team has more than 2 gud bowlers in their line up . NZ bond & vettori , SL vaas & murali ,WI taylor and gayle ,india harbhajan and zaheer khan, eng Flintoff & panesar , And finally pak Gul and kaneria.So whts the problem this world cup is for the batsmen and we can bat till 9. hope we make it atleast till semis and also beat india ( who btw think they r going to win the world cup .. yeah rite dream on..)

  • Jawad on March 4, 2007, 16:10 GMT

    Games are not won by a star studded line up.In 2003 World cup our team on paper was better than any but the performance was shambolic.

    Inzi should utilize the resources at hand and I am sure if the middle order fires consistently Gul and Rana will come good.This is the biggest stage of the game where names are made and also forgotten.If our so called second string can step up to the plate and seize the moment,then no worries.It is just a test of their character.

    As for Shoaib and Asif the true reasons for their exclusion should be revealed to the world and they should be punished accordingly.PCB is not above the law.

    We are a proud cricketing nation with a glorious past.When 11 men descend on the ground they will have backing of around 150 million.If they do their best then we dont want big names to represent us.I wish them God speed.

  • Prince of Dhump on March 4, 2007, 15:39 GMT

    @True Fan. I'm your fan.

    Bob and his (pathetic) side kick Inzi running the show, PCB is just moving along. They both have destoryed the team and i'm 100% sure pathetic side kick will never leave the team on his own.

  • Khan22 on March 4, 2007, 15:11 GMT

    The warm up game against S Afr4ica and the opening game against the w.Indies will tell if this team is prepared to take on the opposition sides. Pakistan team will get there moral high if they are able to beat W indies on the opening day of the world cup. First game is very important for Pakistan.

  • Ali Imran, AlKhobar, Saudi Arabia on March 4, 2007, 15:04 GMT

    Pakistan doesn't stand a chance in this World Cup so better they start preparing for WC-2011. My bets for Semi-Finals are: Australia, West Indies, India & Srilanka. So, we better talk on this line and forget Pakistan team, they are going to go nowhere. The Pak team will be back in Pakistan to watch Semi-finals on TV. Best of luck for 2011.

  • Farhan Arif on March 4, 2007, 14:35 GMT

    I agree with most of the comments and Kamran here that we do not need to worry as much as it seems to the other countries' teams in the tournament. They might rate Asif and Shoaib as huge threats to their batting, but exactly THAT might cost them matches against Pakistan as they watch videos of our bowlers and rely on their history against them. The fact that we have new (and talented) bowlers like Umar Gul and Kaneria (new to ODIs) plus the comeback of Azhar will make teams hard to cope with them as they have either not played enough of them, or have not played against them for a long time. I would play Azhar, Afridi and Shoaib malik in all games they are available for. Plus I would pick Gul and Sami to share the new ball. Rana and Azhar as next 2. Kaneria coming to bowl around the 20th over, depending on the state of the opposition. Matches that we do not have Shahid Afridi available for, his replacement should be Mohammad Hafeez. I dread the possibility that Azhar mahmood might not be played as much as he is needed, like in 1999, wasim akram did not use Waqar Younis enough. Kamran Akmal should come good soon as opener as the pitches in the carribean are not too far away from our sub continental flat tracks. The fact that specialists are saying 500 run totals are possible makes all rounders very integral to this world cup, and I would rate our supply as the best out of all the teams, even despite Abdur Razzaq's absence. Australia lost Andrew Symonds, Pakistan Abdur Razzaq. They lost Brett Lee, we lost Mohammad Asif. Shoaib is not always the match winner some people make him sound like. No one in Australia is discounting their team from serious contention for the world cup. Why should we? May Allah help our team win. I pray and support them always.

  • Aamir on March 4, 2007, 13:53 GMT

    Pakistan are good without injured shoaib and asif.Plus Mohammad Sami is way faster than shoaib. Gul was in great form against the West Indies. Plus If Rao and Rana are in good form. We will have a decent fast bowling attack we have an endless supply line of good fast bowlers who can produce swing so don't worry about losing only 2. Imran Khan said the conditions in West Indies are good for legspinners and we have Kaneria and he is a great bowler. So we have a good bowling attack and batting lineup. With imran nazir Yousuf Younis Inzi Afridi Hafeez Malik Azhar

  • Sohail Waqar on March 4, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    People commenting on this article probably don't understand what Kamran meant...

    Shoaib and Asif are as deadly as the Australian fear for them shows... It's just a matter of very bad management and circumstances that these two shouldn't be included and as there is no reason to look behind you must exploit your current team to its maximum and stay positive... that's what Kamran meant. And not like many here like to mention that Shoaib never served his country or isn't worth selecting anyhow just for the simple reason that he is in fact THE best bowler in the world. There is no bigger challenge for any batsman than a Shoaib running in delivering a different ball in each over. So please stop throwing dirt at this man for whom we all clapped our hands once and screamed his name in joy when he took another lethal wicket.

  • Neral on March 4, 2007, 13:01 GMT

    Pak. are going to win the world-cup.

    I see many match-winners in the Pak. team, anyone can take the game away from the opposition.

    Enough speculation. Indians, Aussies, Brits etc. stop the ranting and wait for our wrath on the cricket pitch.

  • khansahab on March 4, 2007, 12:57 GMT

    Dizzy, I couldn't agree with you more. Yours is a comment that will be endorsed by most people on this blog. Inzamam actually relies on people like Asif and Afridi heavily because he cannot utilise his resources properly so he expects these people to perform extraordinary deeds in every match. Afridi was a lot like Akhtar before he got married and became "holy". So now Afridi and Inzi are mates.

  • Gul Shahid on March 4, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    i dont think pakistan team can go far ahead in this world cup,after all the world cup isnt being played in the HOLY MONTH OF RAMZAN.which would have enabled them through the prayers of millions of people for face saving performance.As of now i am looking at a step after the world cup,where the managment after poor performances will make the snior players and escape goat and will cut the throats of few seniors,and then will keep the gaming rolling in circles of never ending length.I hope my comments are prooved false at the world cup, but then i have got a brain and have to think using that.and when i use that i dont see anyreason not to stay upto my comments hard and tall.

  • Syed Mohammad Rauf on March 4, 2007, 11:07 GMT

    Cricket is a funny game ! PCB is funnier !

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg, VA, USA on March 4, 2007, 9:57 GMT

    Experts like Chappel brothers did not include Pakistan among the six favorites: Australia, South Africa, Newzealand, India, Srilanka and the West Indies.

    Pakistan is well known for its inconsistency or for a few unbelievable games. The players lack big match temperament and have not shown tenacity and a stomach to fight back in tight game situations.

    Now in the absence of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif the Pakistan pace attack lacks experience, speed, variation, accuracy and economy.

    The batting has not fired up regularly. Unless Inzy can lead with big scores and is ably supported by Yunus and Yusuf Pakistan will not be able to post the minimum scores necessary for its depleted bowling attack to defend.

    A few heroes are needed to change the complexion of this World Cup and put Pakistan back in contention. In 1992 it was Inzy, who now playing his last World Cup must be wondering which one of the 15 players in the squad can rise up to the occassion. In the end it is all about execution.

  • Majid on March 4, 2007, 9:56 GMT

    We are certainly going to miss the services of the three key players. With two frontline bowlers missing, we can't expect our bowling to do wonders. In the last four world cups, our bowling lineup had some of the best bowlers in world cricket. That is not the case today but does that mean we don't stand a chance? I don't believe so. Our batting lineup is a strong one and our batsmen need to compensate for the loss of quality bowlers. I wouldn't be disappointed if our bowlers go for 6+ runs an over but I would certainly be disappointed if we don't post 270+ runs every game. The wickets in West Indies are going to suit us as there isn't much lateral movement. The bounce (uneven) on certain wickets might be a threat. The batting has to come good in every single match and that would motivate our bowlers to do well. The powerplays are going to be crucial to our success so we need to be flexible in our approach. I believe that this team is more than capable of winning the world cup. Call me optimist or insane but I do believe that we can beat both heavy weight contenders, Australia and South Africa, to win the world cup.

  • Danish abbasi on March 4, 2007, 9:51 GMT

    HOPE

    I agree with Mr. Kamran Abbasi that where there is a heart there is a hope but looking towards this Pakistan side at the moment even glimmer of hope is not there. Asif and shoaib’s presence in the squad might have made a huge difference in the body language of the team. The cricket board has handled their issue in a rather immature manner firstly they were declared positive in the drug test internally by the board then the punishment was awarded to them and at the end they were exonerated from the charge on the pretext of ignorance. Now every knows this fact that why they are not available for the world cup because behind the curtains they were tested again and bodies of the two still have substance of drug left. In order to avoid life ban at the very last minute they were declared unfit to avoid any further embarrassment for the nation. Coming back to Pakistan’s chances in the world cup that looks a distant possibility now for many reasons. The bowling attack lacks variety and penetration to make inroads into any batting line up. Although hardwork and commitment towards the cause pays at any level so if team will play like a Unit, self belief, play with their strengths they will come out with flying colours. Umar Gul has certainly improved since his return into the international cricket apart from him we have Kaneria who is a wicket taker as well. Pakistan relies hugely one all arounders in the one day cricket, shahid afridi is a good utility kind of a bowler with the knack of picking wicket at the crucial stage. I would go for Rao iftikhar instead of Rana naveed because latter has gone backwards in his bowing form and the former has bowled consistenly whenever given the opportunity. Woolmer and inzi has to follow consistent game plan in order to get positive results in a world cup these bowlers need to bowl within their limitations within proper game plan as well. inzi will have a bigger test of captaincy waiting for him he needs to adopt proper strategy at a proper time in terms of his bowling changes, use a particular bowl in every match. World cup is a stage where all these players can certainly prove their brilliance and to show that they really deserved to play in a national squad. It’s the matter of self belief that on our day we can beat any side with a method, talent, hardwork and commitment.

  • Malcolm J Speed - Dubai on March 4, 2007, 9:50 GMT

    I don’t know if the absence of the two bowlers will make any difference or not but what I know for sure it is certainly a wrong perception that Pakistan is full of talent.

    The hard fact is that there are hardly any players in the reservoir that can fill the gap. The bench strength is ominously weak. Imagine if Inzi, Yonis and Yousef are not available, there are no other batsmen even 50% of the calibre of these three main batsman. Same goes with bowling, Shoaib and Asif are not around and there is no upcoming genuine bowler at all. Same situation with spinners. Sorry to say, but I see a DARK FUTURE for Pakistan Cricket just like Hockey and Squash.

  • Kamran on March 4, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    i think losing out shoaib akhtar is no big deal, because he would have got injured after the first one day of the world cup - this is not a prediction, but almost a fact as far as history shows.

    Asif is a big loss to the team no doubt.

    BUT, the PCB needs to understand that its international cricket and it needs to deal with the matters more professionally. If the two bowlers have taken illegal drugs, they must be penalized rather than hidden.

    Rules apply before you become 'Shoaib' or 'Asif' or 'Sachin' and rules must be kept alive and implemented.

    I am not 100% sure that the two have been dropped because of drugs or injuries, but it looks to me that its drugs in their bodies!

  • SAAFD on March 4, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    afridi should bowl his fast bowling. that should make up for the pace attack. spinners?? why not inzi the man himself... yes lovely it looks like scotland or ireland or whatever rubbish team we're playing against will give us quite the challenge. oh yers

  • calgary highlander on March 4, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    Johnny B., u have gotta be kidin' me. Yes i know we're missing bowlers but i doubt that we'll get toppled by Zimbabwe or Ireland. We still have a mediocre attack with some better then O.K allrounders. Hey we may not win or even make it to the semis, but were i a gambling man I wud definitey place all my money on Pakistan being the top team in division D. (Damn, being in Div. D is really embarrassing)

  • Wasi Ahmed on March 4, 2007, 7:11 GMT

    I think PCB handled the situation perfectly by allowing the players enough time to heal their injuries. And a subjudice matter should not be commented upon by the officials of any governing bodies. We live in the 21st century and the sport of cricket has truly been a "gentlemen's sport". Now the gentlemen that we refer to were the biggest hippo-crites of the world and the two Pakistani bowlers are just following in the footsteps, so c'mon lets dispense with the charade of feigned outrage. As far as the Pakistan team's chances are concerned, I

  • Shuja - Dubai on March 4, 2007, 6:56 GMT

    Bowlers !! I like to think Izni is taking a pretty good bowling attack in spite of shoab’s and asif’s absence. Gul and Sami should open and Inzi shud probably tell Sami to fire all barrels (about time as well). Forget the line and length, break some hands, give some headache and his personal favorite hit some ankles. Rana could be the first change along with Azhar mehmood (tho Yasir is a better bowler than Azhar as he skids the ball which could prove successful on the west Indian pitches) and then bring on the all rounders. I think we have a as good as anyone else chance for this world cup. Yes we’re taking quiet a few gambles but then no one ever won anything without anything on stake. Lets just forget the state of Pakistan cricket affairs, the shambles it is in, the people administering it, the useless bunch responsible for selecting the players, the so called fitness experts and finally the Patron himself who has screwed cricket by appointing his inlaws to manage it. For now, lets just hope and support the players in green who represent us and our beloved country. Join me my friends.. Hai Jazba Junoon tu himmmat naa haaaar !!!! (and I’m not a optimist by anyone’s measures)

  • Tariq Mirza, Kuwait. on March 4, 2007, 6:28 GMT

    ASAK. A lot is being said about the bowlers in and out of the team. Cricket is a game where each team has to bat and bowl. The bowling attack that the team has carried to WI should not be undermined. I consists of experienced variety of bowlers who have on and off proven their worth. A considerable responsinbility should also be put on our batsmen. If they shoulder their responsibilties and perform consistently (like NZ against Australia), they can help reduce the pressure on the bowlers and help them prove their worth. Our batting has to perform eqully well, as this is another way of bringing your opponent under pressure. Every team member, not just feeling responsibility, but performing sensibly is the key to success. "Where there is a will, there is a way". Pakistan has potential, only has to learn to exploit it....INTELLIGENTLY! What could be a better time...

  • Asef Ali on March 4, 2007, 6:22 GMT

    I am really feeling sorry for Bangladesh that they are not in Pakistan's group, otherwise they would have been through to second round beating Pakistan second time!!!

    Really this pakistani team with such bowling attach cannot go beyond second round... But still i wish them all the best.

  • irfan saleem on March 4, 2007, 6:18 GMT

    Sir ,im frm kashmir n we kashmiris love pakistan team winning as much as u do but optimistism has to have its level too.pakistan team has problems all the way ,be it consistency,application ,discipline,dedication n most importantly common sense.Starting from the captain,he always seems to make the most shocking decisions which even a layman in cricket can't digest.Then there are the batsmen but for Mohd. yousuf,who keep on getting out in shocking manners n still never try to sort out their problems ,be it with their technique or temperament.Regarding the bowling,Sami has been given one chance after another n he never seems to improve.His bowling avg of 49 in tests is a shocker.We have Rana,who misses his lengths by meters.Come on ,what is happenin to Pakistan cricket???We can only feel disappointment,dispair n sadness by looking at the current pakistan world cup squad.

  • abdul rehman on March 4, 2007, 6:01 GMT

    Kamran your article surely gives us hope! I would really like people like Bob Woolmer and Inzamam to read these articles to get some ideas, simply because they alone are not thinking properly! Losing Asif is a blow, because he is a consistent performer, and bowls the ideal line and length...Rana has totally gone berzerk, its like he likes gettin hit around the park. I really feel we lack in the imaginative side of our cricket. Inzamam is no doubt a great batsman, but he is not a great (or for that matter good) captain, which is where we lack. In 1992 we had Imran, who led from the front, with Bat or Ball (or both). Make Afridi the captain, maybe he can win the cup for us. :) There was a player in Karachi (Fawad Alam) I think, who bowled left arm spin and batted at 3. He went for an eco rate below 6 in the 20/20, so not considering him was weird...I know he would be another part-timer but that would be better than a tourist in the squad (i have a gut feeling Kaneria/Arafat wont play a single game) But I am an optimist and a believer...we might just have a better cup than 2003...so things are going up..not down :)

  • N.N on March 4, 2007, 5:43 GMT

    p.s. allrounders may win us 2-3 matches, but don't expect more than that. pakistan boasts relatively mediocre allrounders, their stats speak for themselves. i mean, if you compare someone from our paki team to someone like jacob ORAM.....................need i say more?

  • N.N on March 4, 2007, 5:38 GMT

    After reading most of the entries made so far in this blog, I've come to a conclusion which may or may not be appreciated by all people. stop WHINGING and WHINING people. As interesting and enticing this discussion is, it doesn't make a difference as nobody from the PCB or the cricket team will take the time out to read this. Remember, we ARE talking about Pakistan, where mass public opinion counts for ZILCH.

    And that's the sad truth...let's just wait till 13th march and then analyse. i reckon it'll be more interesting then..

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 4, 2007, 5:14 GMT

    IS IT THE END of injuries or just the beginning? I have a feeling that Gul and Inzamam would be on that list of "would be injured players". Gul is young, optimistic and very eager to play his first ever world cup. Like he was eager to play for Pakistan in SA and came with an injury, pretending that he is OK and couldn't last for more than 3 overs! He is prone to injuries and if he is not fully fit, he should be given rest for a few more weeks so that he can fully recover and play in the crucial super 8 matches.

    Inzamam with his laid back, demoralized and sinking attitude would be the second player to go on to that list. He has not scored runs in the recent past and if he fails in the first round, he will probably sit out pretending to be injured and that would be a blessing and disguise, an option to give someone else a chance. You will see that Younis Khan would be marshaling the super 8. In any case, Pakistan has no chance of reaching the semis due to Inzi's attitude. All the players look up to the captain, he also happens to be the senior most player in the team and he is so "disgustipatingly" sad and pathetic. Instead of going out with enthusiasm and with positive approach, instead of instilling energy, motivating and inspiring the young players he is hoping for miracles to happen. Somebody SHAKE HIM UP AND WAKE HIM UP?

  • Gulab Khan, Peshawer on March 4, 2007, 5:09 GMT

    What is Mustaq Ahmad doing with the team?

    He was the past leg spinner. What our fast bowlers will learn from him?

    Danish is the world class spinner, he is always better than Mustaq.

    He does not need any advice from Mushi.

    Danish not even has permenant position in the One day squad.

    I wonder Mulana Mustaq collecting money ($$$ or RS) without any HALA contribution.

    In easy language is called "HARAM KHORI".

    Mushi, do you have any self esteem?

    Please leave the team & ur tabligue friend Inzi alone.

    Gulab Khan Peshawer

  • Fuzzy on March 4, 2007, 5:08 GMT

    I was looking through the blog and amazed at alot of pakistani critisizing pakistan team , showing me their gutter mantality. COMOM pakis support your team how bad or good it is. IF they are winning you support and loosing you through stones at them. Shame on these Pakistanis; they should be rethinking their attitude toward their team. I think this is the one of the best team you can assembeled amoung the availble talent. forget what happened; it is past. now encourage you team and support them whole heartly and pray for their success. if they loose fighiting then be it the is the best we can accept from them. I think shoaib is an excellent Bowler and a DAHSHAT for the opposing teams. ( look him at youtube.com) his attitude i dont care as long as he takes wicket in the match. BUt he is out so be it. we shouldnt be worry about that. ONE day cricket the for that day; and any team even bangladesh or kenya or zimbabwe can win that day.dont you see england beaten by everybody then they beat austrlia; NZ beats austrlia all three game . so that day if you are lucky and work hard i bet you can win. so Pakistan can win. I know they will give their 101% . YOU just support them, LOve you Team; LOve YOUR country ...... GO PAKIS GO......

  • Abdul Kadir Hussain on March 4, 2007, 5:03 GMT

    Sami has a decent ODI record, but up until late last week was a question mark with a back problem. The biggest ? is over Rana. Is he the Rana of the Windies series or of the SA series. If the former then we are in good shape. Gul, Sami, Rao and Rana should be playing every match. If Rana is the Rana of South Africa then Azhar or Arafat can come in for him. I think counting on Kaneria to deliver is a fallacy. First he does not have enough ODI experience, second, just look at his test record, how often does he get wickets in his first 10 overs or the first 50 overs of a test or look at his strike ratio of the 2nd innings vs, the first innings. Fact is Kaneria is at his most effective in the 4th innings and that too after the ball is some 40 overs old. He will not have that luxury here, its all good to say that we need to have attacking options but you also need to have players who can deliver and captains who will support them. If the opposition are 110-1 after 20 overs and Kaneria is brougth in, what chance do you have that Inzi will have a slip, short leg and silly point in for him? 0% chance. So how do you expect him to take wickets. If they are 60-4 are 20, who need Kaneria? When you have Afridi, Malik and maybe Hafeez. So my first choice playing XI, assuming Rana performs in the warm up games would be. Nazir, Malik, Younis, Yousuf, Inzi, Akmal, Afridi (after ban), Sami, Rana, Rao, Gul. Question is will Inzi have the guts to go into a match with only 2 bowling allrounders (Malik and Afridi). My view is he wont.

  • nabeel on March 4, 2007, 4:26 GMT

    i always wrote in my previous comments we need shoaib and asif n we all knew we needed them, but they have been a disgrace, especially shoaib.playing wid our emotions, i mm utterly disappointed and dejected, wen wen wen will we field our best 11.i guess never n now there is no point in watching the world cup or if we watch we shd pik another team to support.u can be optimistic bt do u think rana,rao and sami r good enuff to protect an onsalught from players like lara,gilchrist and sachin etc.the ground reality is they will get smacked to all parts of windies. A tarnished Pakistan cricket fan.

  • Chaudhry Sahab on March 4, 2007, 4:03 GMT

    The only thing I know is that this pakistani team will beat any previous records of being UNCERTAIN. And to that point, they can even win the world cup. Or not even reach the second stage.

  • Taimur Huk on March 4, 2007, 3:48 GMT

    we cant worry too much about the loss of shoaib and asif. let's give this team a chance to prove themselves in the WC. this is the time we come together and get behind our team and pray that they bring the cup home. GO PAKISTAN!!!

  • Imran Iqbal on March 4, 2007, 2:50 GMT

    Optimism is a trait one should never give up however anything above or below is suicidal for any invidual,team or nation. I read nothing new on this blog or comments.. typical Pakistani comments full of emotions and often biased an full of critism for Inzamam. Well he may not have traits of great leaders but he is the best of the lot undoubtedly. Why one has to compare him with Imran Khan time and again? They come from two different eras of cricket and have their own share of success and achievements. You cannot have Imran in every team and if you think every captain must be like Imran then stop watching cricket and do something else. Live in realistic world. Inzamam is the best man Pakistan has but if you think there is someone else, he would have been replaced long time ago. Some people say he is not "Inspirational", c'mon he inspired millions with his aggressive take on Newzealanders in 1992 at the time when whole Pakistan nation had lost hopes with their team being captained by gr888888888 Imran Khan. After Javed & Akram, Imran Khan rode on luck and Inzamam to write the history. The best one day teams any Pakistan captain had were 1996 and 1999, unfortunately both captained by Wasim Akram who brought disrespect to team and nation by allegations of match fixing. If Pakistan did not win on those two occasions so who cares if Inzamam's team does not win, at least, he would not bring that stigma to nation. Though Mr. Akhtar has brought something else for ever optimistic Nation which is only full of emotions. We must stop supporting stupids like Shoib and even Asif (he might be new to International scene but is not an infant by any means). Period!

  • shams on March 4, 2007, 1:35 GMT

    Our bolling will be avarage in this WC. Even Inziis depending on his batting. Let me throw this in. He lost weight for last WC and was complete failure. In this WC he is palying at #4, a change that he has not practiced. I just hope it's not a repeat of 2003. And who knows about his back. Shams

  • Shahab Shahid on March 4, 2007, 0:21 GMT

    People who continue criticizing Inzamam and Woolmer should know that Pakistan has beaten al countries except Australia in test series after 2003 worldcup.Both of them have done great job in reviving Pakistan cricket after departure of great players like Waqar,Waim,Saeed.Pakistan had excellent 2 years in both one dayers and test.Things went wrong at tehe start of England tour.We lost our 3 main bowlers and lost 3-0.After that we beat WI and could have beaten SA if we had full pace attack.Gul and Rana have performed excellently in the past and Inshallah they will do well in the worldcup.Kaneria has been selected so now he should be must in playing eleven.My playing eleven will be Imran,Kamran,Younis,Yousuf,Inzi,Malik,Azhar,Arafat(Afridi will replace him after coming back),Rana,Gul,Kaneria.All of them have performed well in the past and i hope they will play wellin WI and the winner will be PAKISTAN inshallah.

  • Shahid on March 4, 2007, 0:05 GMT

    PCB is the only one to be blamed for this whole Shoaib-Asif drug mess. PCB should have made it clear that even though internal drug inquiry ruled in favor of the two players, they would not be allowed to represent Pakistan in any series until they can provide a clean sample. What was the point of making the players take the drug test if you're going to let them play while the drug is still in their system. Can't believe we have a bunch of boneheads running the cricket board. What happens after the World Cup, will they be allowed to come back to the team without providing clean samples? What exceuse will the board give them if private drug test reveal that the drug is still in their bodies... that they still haven't recovered from their injuries!!!

  • wasim saqib (Detroit) on March 3, 2007, 23:56 GMT

    As regards Pcb I strongly recommend after world cup we need to replace Naseem Ashraf with Majid Khan. And need to hold an inquiry about the Oval Fiasco, The doping incident and the planning for The world Cup.And should indict criminal charges against the culprits. Untill then we should support our team in all respects. Shoaib and Asif should appologize to the nation as nobody injected steroids in their body they took it wilfully and ignorance of law is no excuse. The main culprit behind this whole soap opera is Shahryar Khan after oval incident when he found that he was going to get sacked he ordered these tests and then released the news also,and left a big pile of mess for the new management and now he will be sitting in his drawing room smiling and enjoying the reactions and anger hurled towards PCB.But untill then I request everybody to support the team.

  • Rauf on March 3, 2007, 23:33 GMT

    Another hearbreak it is going to be. Our team will make us proud by receiving an 'attendance certificate'. Beyond that we are doomed. And this is not due to absence of our strike bowlers. I am baffled as to why has PCB never considered using the expertise of the likes of Wasim, Waqar, Javed...! The entire unit seems to be falling apart. Why cant we be ONE?

  • wasim saqib (Detroit) on March 3, 2007, 22:54 GMT

    Interesting fact Shane warne never played one day cricket after 2003 he only played test matches was it bcz test matches do not come under ICC drug regime HMMMMMMMMMMMMM Can the moron from sydney herald answer that.

  • N H shah on March 3, 2007, 22:33 GMT

    Pakistan would qualify through the preliminary stages. Once through, they will be up against 7 other teams. Westindies--pakistan should win England----pakistan should win Srilanka---50/50 India--50/50 Australia--australia should win South Africa--50/50 Newzeland--Pakistan should win

    This means 3 wins 1 loss and 3 50/50

    Keeping the neutral stage, any body can win on the day. If they win one of these, Pakistan should qualify to the semis. After that--it is hard to say

  • Shabz on March 3, 2007, 22:23 GMT

    Bissmilah irakhma neera him first of all thanks to allah shoaib is not playing!

    well i just read at least 100 of these comments and i realise that we all have one thing in common...we know pakistan wont win but we live in hope. lets hope inzi does not visit this site

    p.s anybody heard of Fawad Alam? i think pakitan may have missed a trick. good luck boys

  • Sunny on March 3, 2007, 22:05 GMT

    I don't know what anyone else thinks but I think the whole dope test and injury excuses are nothing but an attempt derail Pakistani team from the world cup. I am sure other teams are much more relaxed now as they will know Shoaib and Asif isn't playing. Yes, there are other good bowlers in the team but they just don't have the charisma to threat world class batsmen. I won't let my emotion takeover the fact that Pakistan lost the chance of winning the World Cup by 75% by dropping Asif and Shoaib. I won't even get into the ban of Shahid Afridi. But like I said before other teams are way more relaxed as Pakistan doesn't have these 3 thunderbolts in the team. Hate me all you can but the fact remains!

  • Mohammed Abbas on March 3, 2007, 21:52 GMT

    this time KAMI BHAI i have to say that u put up a great article.Now we have to get back to our thinking seat , we are Muslims(certainly not tablige jamat)if our masters won BUDAR without having equal numbers ,THEN WE CAN WIN THIS TOO THIS isn't tougher than that and i can recall my memories of the day when we were in deep trouble in India on the last day of third test in 2005 the way inzi(sleeping bear)reply that day was astonishing we are not gonna sit back and watch the WC with sad faces , we have come out of difficult situations before we will do it again COMMON PAKISTAN WE ARE WITH U WE ARE STANDING AS TALL AS THE SKY CAN ANY ONE BEAT US ,JUST BELIEVE IN ALLAH AND HE WILL SEND HIS HELP TO US ,COMMON BUCK URSELF UP I NEED RESPONSE ONCE AGAIN ARE U READY TO SHOUT WITH ME PAKISTAN ZINDABAD,

  • chudhary on March 3, 2007, 21:34 GMT

    Sami's ODI record is acceptable, he can take wickets - Imran rates him highly (but remember Imran also rated ata ur Rehman very highly in early 90s).

    Waqar thinks Rao has test match potential, btw his batting avg is in 40's.

    But what concerns me is Rana's confidence level at the moment.

  • Taimoor on March 3, 2007, 20:11 GMT

    Younas Khan ????? why dont we take a look at his One day Avg ...Please kamran do not put him in the same class of Inzi and Yousaf... Younas is not special ....He is lucky to be in this team with this Avg... He is not alone there are some others who didnot deserve the selection ....Hafeez with 18 as Avg......Sami is an Embarrasment and totaly useless. Selector have ignored a deserving player like Slaman Butt who is in my view the best young batsman Pakistan has .

  • zakuta jinn on March 3, 2007, 20:00 GMT

    Big blows. But they need to turn them around into positives. Perhaps one way would be to take a look at happenings in EPL this year.

    Manchester United has had a turnaround and dominated after selling off their champion striker Van Nistelrooy. The reason is obvious: previously the other players were relegating too much work to Nistelrooy, whereas now everyone is taking on the responsibility to score.

    I was appalled to hear Rana Naveed admit in an interview recently how they depended on Asif and Akhtar to make the biggest dents. Perhaps this will shock them back into their senses.

    After all it was the same crop of fast bowlers (sans Gul infact) that won us that series in India.

    It is upto Woolmer and Inzi to instill such positive thinking in them now. Given the strong religious undercurrents in the team right now, it might not be too hard actually.

    ps: I would've loved to have seen Salman Butt and Abdur Rehman in the squad. Even now they ought to open with Shoaib Malik.

  • True Fan on March 3, 2007, 19:53 GMT

    its a very good news for pakistan that shoaib and asif are not going to the world cup, pcb deserved to be punished for this idiotic behavior when they started this bs testing crap, as it was suggested by that "mole" Bob woolmer, pakistan should not blame akhtar and asif, they should blame that mental inzi, woolmer, and pcb,

    LEts face the facts people, their ONLY reason pcb went along with this drug testing was because Woolmer suspected shoaib was taking the drugs, and since day one, woolmer and akhtar have been having these minor clashes , and since inzi also has had his up and down moments with akhtar because of religion issues(australia scandal). it was Inzi and woolmers doing and PCB was dumb enough to go along with it, pretty much the same reason why Waqar younis quit the team, because inzi and woolmer wanted him out, even though gul and naved had praised waqar younis's coaching.

    Woolmer and his Side kick inzi are ruining this team.

    Lets hope they dont win this world cup.

  • Usman Rana on March 3, 2007, 19:46 GMT

    Asif & Shoaib.. in the world cup.. I think would have been a mistake. First have a look at Shoaib's performance in the previous world cups, I guess not so impressive. Secondly, how many games he has played and completed for Pakistan team in the last four years I will say not many. I short he is not a match fit bowler. As far as Asif is concerned, his omittance is a loss but this loss has made an impact in terms of concern and I think that this "concern" will take Pakistan team a long way into the world cup. If we talk about their chances of winning well than we are talking about a lot of variables but if the Pakistan team wants to win this world cup then there should be one thing CONSTANT that they should "attack" specially attack from the front like Inzamam and Imran did in 1992 world cup.

    Good Luck PAKISTAN TEAM

  • asif iqbal on March 3, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    Kamran...Pakistan is coming back home soon. You just need to place yourself in the position of a bookie & think wud you placing your hard earned money on them? my answer wud be no. For me like last world cup Australia & India are the sides to make it to the finals!

  • Jay on March 3, 2007, 18:34 GMT

    Somebody please do a check on SHane Watson and Andrew Symonds.

  • Jags on March 3, 2007, 18:34 GMT

    As usual Paki cricket administration and team is the laughing-stock of the world...In the last 3 months...Pakis accomplished the following significant things.. * Gt into ball-tampering controversy * Hired Waqar Younis, then Waqar younis quit * Shoaib slapped Bob Woolmer * Shoaib and Asif took drugs, were banned and then restored to the game * Shoiab and Asif are dropped out of World cup at the last minute due to injuries...

    It would be better if you guys stopped playing cricket, this is not the kind of entertainment the world wants from you, although it is funny !!

  • DiZzy on March 3, 2007, 18:24 GMT

    1975 - Clive Loyd 1979 - Clive Loyd 1983 - Kapil Dev 1987 - Alan Border 1992 - Imran Khan 1996 - Ranatunga 1999 - Steve Waugh 2003 - Ricky Ponting

    2007 - INZAMAM-ul-HAQ ??????

    Does he desreve to be in THAT elite list ... ??? None of the above winning captains stood in the slips YAWNING and DIGGING NOSE and SCRATCHING BEARD ... They were SHREWD, AGGRESSIVE & ACTIVE thoughout the whole game and the whole tournament ...

    IMRAN KHAN lost waqar (at his peak) and saeed (exciting kid on the block) just b4 the worldcup.. but He didnt go on complaining "Oooeinn ooeeeiinn i have lost my key members" ...niether he go out in public with such remarks, " Qaum hamaray liyay Dua keray" (nation shud pray for us) ..

    Do we REALLY expect this MOST-DEFENSIVE and LAID-BACK leader (though i HATE callin him THAT) to win us such a tournament that requires the CAPTIAN to be on his heels all teh time ?? If Inzi has to do THAT, then who'd do teh DIGGING & YAWNING & SCRATCING .. :)

    He has given up all hopes even b4 leaving for the w'cup ... just mark my words... in EVERY gamne we lose, he will ONLY complain abt missing his key bowlers ... cos thats teh ONLY thing stuck in his mind... He shud be aware that his current team still posses some MATCH-WINNERS ... he HIMSELF is one of 'em .. Sadly, he doesnt realize it ... And a captain who cant utilize his available resources is a heap of cow-dung to say the least!!

    Hint: Fleming of Newzealand... Limited talent.. but MAXIMUM utilization..

  • Wasim Saqib (Detroit) on March 3, 2007, 17:41 GMT

    Individuals dont win tournaments they might win a match or two but a whole tournament can only be won by a team,In 2003 we had a dream pace attack Wasim, Waqar,Shoaib but we didnt even qualified for the super six, because the team was not united. This world cup is slightly different we will qualify for super 8 and from there on if we win 4 matches we will qualify for semis, We have one practice match and 3 pool matches before that to hit the right combination, winning 4 out of six is a daunting task but not impossible many things can happen other teams can get injuries,Rain etc in other words dont forget luck, after all it favoured us in 1992. People rating india and srilanka and west indies above us are living in fools paradise, havent you seen the dismal performance of srilanka,and west indies in India,Srilanka's batting is dependant on sangakara and jaysuriya if they perform they win if they dont they lose,their captain is completely out of form and attapattu is past his prime. In bowling department they have Vaas and murli they are true class but the rest are ordinary I dont rate malinga even more than Yasir Arafat they both have similar action and speed. We can beat them. India I will give them the batting but its not in top form as it was some years ago although Ganguly and dhoni regained form and they introduced a new player in Utthappa who is in form,but Sachin and Sehwag are not the same even dravid himself has not been at his peak so there batting is at Par with us we should remember how they performed in SA worse than us. Bowling no way better than ours,Srisanth has been taking wickets but leaking too many runs like Rana Agarkar also expensive and is not consistent,Pathan totally out of sorts, Zaheer is in good form and so is Munaf but they are not extra ordinary bowlers who can intimidate or run through a good batting line up. In a match between India and Pakistan The team who will perform well on the day will win there are no easy passes for any team. In match up against West Indies they have only home advantage,and if we take gayle and Lara out early we will win against them otherwise it will be a match. There bowling is not intimidating at all.But any ways we wont face them in super 8. England no matter what they did in Australia it was only against their B team against full australian side they lost but any how they are a good one day team but not good enough to beat us any day. We can win these four matches if we play with heart and soul and the key is our batting they have to click against these teams. The only three teams I rate above pakistan are Australia, SA and New zealand. So far we should have a game plan against SA as we just played them.As regards Aus and New zealand our team has only drawback our players havnt played them in a long time, but for the nations pride I want them to at least defeat these too countries their players have been running their mouths against our team and nation we need to teach them a lesson. PAK TEAM BUCK UP EXCEPT FOR A FEW IDIOTS THE WHOLE NATION WILL BE CHEERING YOU UP.

  • Johnny B on March 3, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    Sorry guys, but its bowling that wins World Cups and without Asif & Akhtar, your bowling looks very pedestrian (not to mention Gul just coming back from injury). In your weakened state, I can see you getting knocked out in the first round - Ireland have been getting a lot of One Day practice in the last year or two and have some good players, and Zimbabwe are a team that just love World Cup upsets. Throw in the Windies at home and this could be it for your boys.

  • Mohammed Jafar Akram on March 3, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    I was expecting Asif to still be in even if Shoaib wasnt oh well nothing can be done now but i still we got it in the bowling department to win the world cup so lets think positivly!!!! Rana Naved is a world class bowler on his day we saw him against the West Indies, Sami has the pace, Gul has been the spearhead of the pakistan atack for the last year or so and we know what hes capable of and Danish is a world class spinner.

    The New ball pair should be Sami and Gul…. with Azhar Mahmood, Danish, and Malik bowling the majority of the middle overs and rana naved chipping in a cuple of overs here and there. But it is vital that we save Rana Naved for the last 10 overs were he can bowl really well, keep the runs down and also pick up wickets

  • adnan .j on March 3, 2007, 16:53 GMT

    now it's all about pride we can still do it and get that cup we 've got good batting line up well just few bowlers but impossible is nothing if we can post 375 to south africa than we sure can win this cup but just need to fight for the pride so sohaib n asif sure is a big loose but still don't give up we have top 15 players to put pakistan' name on the chart so support the team!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ravvs on March 3, 2007, 16:40 GMT

    So we don't have Shoaib, Asif, and Razzaq... hmmm, well I wouldn't say we are cornered tigers yet - the Pakistan team is brimming with talent. While of course having those 3 players as an option is better than not having them, but what I do take heart from is that I have seen many times that Pakistan tends to focus a lot better when the odds are stacked up against them. I can't wait for the world cup!!!

    BATTING:

    Inzamam, Yousuf - match winners

    Younis - consistency, positive attitude

    Shoaib Malik - will get to 40 runs without the other team even realizing it and then on many occasions go on to make a good/great score.

    Nazir, Akmal, Afridi - these guys , i would say on an average day are good for 80 - 100 runs (combined ) at a strike rate of 100+ . On a good day, 120 - 140. On a great day 150 - 200 ! Even if these 3 have an average day, with consistency from Inzi, Yousuf and Younis - Pakistan would be able to make a very good score.

    Bowling:

    Weakened yes, because of the loss of the three players - but still a good group - a group i think a number of the other 7 super eight teams wouldn't mind swapping their own bowlers for!

    Gul - has a great record , and will be eager to remind everyone what he can do.

    Afridi - a fantastic wicket taking bowler!

    Azhar - will be eager to show what he can do after being out of the team for so long. Think as a bowler, he's better than Razzaq.

    Rana Naved - if there is reverse swing in those pitches, watch out! He'll also be able to play some cameo knocks as well - he's hit a number of sixes recently!

    Kaneria - I think he will be eager to show he can be a regular member on the one day side. I've heard a number of people say he is more adept at restricting batsmen rather than taking their wickets - well in a LIMITED overs game, that's important to have too - adds pressure on batsmen to take risks.

    Fielding:

    Nazir, Hafeez, Younis , Inzi in the slips, Afridi, - an area which Pakistan use to never be up to the mark, not any more...

    BUT NO ONE WILL RISE ON THE OCCASION

  • Khurram Dawood on March 3, 2007, 16:35 GMT

    Pakistan had always good bowling attack. Inzi and Bob have taken that also away. Mean Pakistan dont have any ting. I wish they win would cup but dont think they will.

  • Prof.dr.med.Kahn on March 3, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    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.

  • Khalid Arif siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on March 3, 2007, 16:00 GMT

    Comparing our current team with that of 92 is really foolish. The difference is not only in leadership but in all department be it opening, middle order, wicket keeping, all rounders, pace attack and spinning department added to that was the team spirit and the players confidance in their captain as well the captain's confidance in his team. I remember Imran saying to the press before leaving for Australia that the team will miss Javed ( who was not in the taem due to being unfit, but joined later) and went on to say that he has players who can prove to be able replacement to Javed, a very brave statement indeed. If we are to compare his pre departure statement to that of Inzamam's then we can clearly notice that here is a man who is unsure of every thing a weak leader and some one who has given upo all hope, and yet Dr. Nasim Ashraf stated on GEO TV that Inzamam is all charged up. He (Inzamam) bore a look of a lost cow at the departure and still the PCB chief feels that Inzamam was all charged up, to me it sounds some king of a joke.

    The other most glaring thing is the fact that this Shoaib/Asif doping scandal, why was it kept in dark and why PCB is trying to push this issue under tha mat. Indian Tv (NDTV) had mentioned this some thing like 2 weeks back that PCB had conducted a secret dope test of Shoaib & Asif and things were not good. At that time I also didnt believe it but now I am certain that the news of a secret dope test was correct and PCB kept this issue in abbeyance only to work out a possible escape rout in case our team does not perform well in the world cup. This was all planned and came right out of the thinking hat of Salim Altaf who is a champion of such intrigues and has a training of such things (an a la PIA management techniques). Let us for a moment assume that the news aired by NDTV India was in correct then why was the dope test of Shoaib and Asif not taken, were they not sellected in the squad, why were they being sent to England twice on the pretext of consulting the doctors with regards to their injuries. I would like to Challenge PCB to prove it by showing the doctor's reports and their findings of the persumed injury, in fact all such reports should be made public and PCB should be made accountable for such expanses. This money belongs to pakistan and Pakistanis have the right to know where and how is it being spent. I would also like to see some one challengs this in court and we should failing which such nonsencical jokes will not cease.

    I am ready and willing to join hands with any one or group who would be willing to take such a step for I feel this will be a great service to our beloved country Pakistan.

  • Naeem on March 3, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    I think losing the Asif and Shoaib now could be a blessing in disguise. Imagine the aftermath of a world cup where pakistan had done well with both those players playing and then we were told they had illegal substances in their bodies?? That would have been a bigger disgrace. Furthermore, the players in the team now have a chance to shine and like in 1992 where we missed Waqar, Inzamam and the other relative unknowns rose above all the inform and hyped teams to win. InshaAllah, the less hype about us, the better we will do.

  • Mohammad Athar Hameed on March 3, 2007, 15:12 GMT

    I think we have good side than 1992 WC. WE won the WC with 3 bowlers. The only problem i can see how inzi will use these bowlers. Last year we have beat india in india without Shoiab n Asif.This year we beat WI without Shoiab and asif. GO PAKISTAN!!!!!!!Athar, Melbourne

  • pendoo on March 3, 2007, 15:07 GMT

    As happy as I get to see a Karachiiite getting a chance in the PCB (Punjab Cricket Board), I am scared shitless to see Sami in there. Like most of the players in the team, he is also an illiterate, you have to use some part of your brain when bowling, and unfprtunately his brain is in his knee. Rana is definitely is the same class if not above him. Man, the only thing I can say, is that PCB needs a beating, from the all Pakistanis, the beaating you give in the middle of the square.... They play with our emotions, and our feelings for the country, and we feel helpless as Pakistanis, in there utter incompetency..... Mr President (Musharraf) you have fixed Pakistan, and brought it back from the bottom of the pit, please do something with PCB....pleeeeeaaaseee

  • AMIN S. on March 3, 2007, 15:06 GMT

    Pakistan's has been a curious and sad case. They have a very strong middle order and there was a good mix of all-round cricketers, but the bowling has taken a beating in the absence of Abdul Razzaq and now Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif. If the word about the absence of the last two from the squad is true then they alone are to be blamed for it. It has hurt the team badly.

  • zain kazmi on March 3, 2007, 15:01 GMT

    Guys please stop this useless gossip .... whoever wins nothing happens its just time pass win or loss part of game dont make it an anony for every one. but remember in last football worldcup nobody was thinking about France and italy but u know what happened..

  • Sohail on March 3, 2007, 14:46 GMT

    Guys,

    In view Mr. Haq have ruined this team and the viewers will see the effect for some years. Lack of cricketing brain in Inzi did not produced any new talent. There was a time when we had an abundance of back up quality bowlers. Imran Khan though was a dictator kinda of personality but he always spotted good talent. Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis etc were some of the great names, who do not had any big cricket experience when they started. In Inzi case we are struggling to see any potential for future pakistan cricket. Not only the bowlers I don't see any batsman or even a wicket keeper ready for replacements. During SA tour Inzi had the oppournity to explore some young talent but as usual he used his little brain and played with failures. This is just beyond me that the team is still persisting with Rana, Akmal, hafeez. Don't we have young talent available to replace these failures. After Inzi who would be his replacement? This stupid ass didn't even gave pakistan cricket one good cricketer. Batting at no 6 so he can hide his performance that's the best his brain can think off. I don't see a hope in pakistan winning a WC this yr or the next one if we don't put a intelligent captain to run this team.

  • nwak on March 3, 2007, 14:20 GMT

    you cant win the WC without genuine match-winning,wicket-taking bowlers....and in our leftover team its only umar gul who seems to be one. lets be practical, our chances have been seriously dented. and as for the 92 edition of the cup, we had imran khan as our captain, not a slow,reactive inzi, so there's a hell lot of difference. but still,dreamers will dream:)

  • asim on March 3, 2007, 14:15 GMT

    Sami is good bolwer.. its shame that he is in Pakistani team that just canot take catches..

  • Shahab Shahid on March 3, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    Many of restless and ignorant people are forgetting that Rana Naveed was match of the series against WI in Pakistan.He had one bad series against SA.I am sure that he will be back in form in worldcup.Fit and in form Umar Gul and Rana can be our 2 main strike bowlers in the absence of Shoaib and Asif

  • Mawali on March 3, 2007, 13:52 GMT

    Kamran sahib, if there ever was a time when Pakistan needed true leadership; well this is the hour. We need a captain who could strategize,use his resources wisely, rally the cavalry and NEVER go into a match with a negative mindset. Always believe genuinely that you can win. Bob Woolmer has to employ a unique attacking strategy against each team.

    Bowling by and large would have to be by committee. This is no time adhere to convention, throw all norms of conventional wisdom out the window. For instance and as you mentioned using Rana only in the death overs, as well as introducing Kaneria very early in the third or fourth over. The point is to not let the batsmen get comfortable.

    I would opt for opening with Sami and Gul, say what you may but speed kills and if Sami can maintain line and length and stay away from short balls and no balls he can do some damage. Hey bottom line beggars or buggers can’t call up Asif and Shoaib. The name of the game being taking wickets, but Pakistan does not have the horses to deliver, so perhaps the mules can slow things down so that your exalted middle order can deliver. AMF!

  • g on March 3, 2007, 13:47 GMT

    A lot of people have written off Pakistan.

    The reality is that Shoaib will not be missed. The guy hasn't played 10 ODIS in a row ever - he cannot be relied upon and is a bad influence on the team. He has very nearly destroyed Asif's career together with his own.

    Razzaq is not upto international standards. His bowling is rubbish and is batting is weak. Enough with him - as much as people would like to think so he will no be missed. This is blessing in disguise and should be welcomed.

    Asif will be missed but one man cannot win you the WC. He is good but not that good - not yet anyway.

    Gul, Kaneria, Sami need to step up. With Afridi, Malik in the middle bowling overs this is still a good bowling side.

    Remember 92 WC was won with a pretty standard bowling. Yeah there was Wasim but it was the collective batting and bowling which got them through in the end.

  • Omer Admani on March 3, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    RaRaRasputin, hahahaha...yours is the funiest comment I have read on this blog in its small history...lol

  • Umair on March 3, 2007, 13:12 GMT

    For pakistan to win this world cup would be nothing more than a pipe dreams.they are simply one of the worst side that is participating in this world cup.i dont really see really exceptional talent in this team( i am sorry to say). This is really unbelivable to see that we Pakistani's are still upbeat that Pakistani team is still capable of clinching the ultimate title,lol. I could only say that God bless them.

  • MFK on March 3, 2007, 13:03 GMT

    Stop crying over the past and look to the future. Never underestimate the power of the under dog! We did it in 1992... We were favourites in 96,99 and 2003. With a very strong team...what happened then everybody knows. Rana is a good player; he should be used only when the ball is older; on WI wickets he will do wonders. I just wish Inzi comes through as he has always done in the past when the chips were down. I wish them all the best.

  • Shiner on March 3, 2007, 12:56 GMT

    Seems like we need to do an overall overhaul, from board, to coach, support staff, captain and team.

  • syed aziz ahmed on March 3, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    Any large/small establishments are run on system. When there is no system there is chaos. First and foremost one has to understand what is system. A system is not a mission statement but it is the running of day to day affair where responsibilities are divided to dept managers and then there is a General Manger to oversee that the affairs are run efficiently.

    Dr. Nasim Ashraf, the chairman of PCB is an educated person having lived and worked in USA, must know this. But since taking charge from Shaharyar khan he has made a mockery of the PCB. His fingers are on every nerve and pulse. He is perhaps the only CEO who is in the news five times a day. He has the nerve to criticize the CEO of ICC, at least they have a system in place. He is controlling the selectors but cannot control the activity of two of his players who are consulting privately when a Team Physio, Doctor and trainer are in place at great expense to the nation, but the players declined to take advantage of this facility. Whom are they trying to fool. This is sheer mis-management which has brought dis-credit to the nation, the board and players. The team is already handicapped with a Q? hanging on their head over the dope scandal. the players will always take the back seats, avoid questions on this subject or get in arguments. Two of the Australians players have already made a statement and very rightly the Chairman has objected to this. This is just the beginning. The Manager Talat Ali and coach will be at the beck and call of the Chairman, instead of attending to their normal duties or trying to avoid unpleasant arguments between players. I know all this criticism is meaningless at this stage. But some how the message has to be given that he should stop interfering. At this stage they cannot inject any further playing technique in the players like asking Afridi to play defensive and Younus to attack or ask Sami to bowl in line even at the cost of speed. Now that you have selected the players, wish them well and let them play their natural game.

  • JUN8 on March 3, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    CB Fry,

    I couldn't agree more with you. In addition to the fantatsic link yu provided I found Mr Roebuck's picture to be just as amusing. Who the hell is he to comment on anyone?

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/content/player/19456.html

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg, VA, USA on March 3, 2007, 12:39 GMT

    Now tha Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif will watch Pakistan play like most of us on a TV screen, the time for speculation is over.

    The important thing is to make the most of the available resources at hand, in stead of crying over the spilt milk.

    One day cricket is all about any team playing the best all round cricket on a given day to emerge triumphant over a much higher ranked adversary. Inzy and Woolmer need to talk with the boys and convince them that they will be representing Pakistan as the best available squad and should go out there and give the best performance of their lives.

    In spite the loss of Shoaib and Asif, Pakistan team is well poised and if they play confidently with a purpose, they should make the last four and beyond.

    The manner in which Shoaib and Asif were ultimately dropped is questionable. PCB should not have selected both Shaoib and Asif to the World Cup 2007 squad in the first place to avoid any embarrassment and risk to the players, who could be tested in the tournament, and face life ban if the alleged drugs were found in their system for a second time.

    If our batting is consistent and we can score 280+ in every game the bowlers in the squad are capable of defending it.

  • Assad on March 3, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    I just want to say what a load of trash Peter Roebuck has written about Shoaib. His spell at Colombo was one of the finest cricket has ever witnessed. And I really do not understand what he means by Shoaib going wide off the crease and bowling open chested. What about Ntini then? And Hayden didn't have to pass any comments. We all know how Shoaib humiliated him in the last series.

  • khansahab on March 3, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    Let me commence by stating the irrelevant considering we already have our squad now. Anwar Ali Khan from Karachi should have been in the team instead of Mohammad Sami or Rana Naved. Before I delve into the labyrinth of what is the right strategy to adopt, I must state that our “hardcore Pakistanis” are barking up the wrong tree if they reasonably believe that Pakistan can win the WC. If you perceive the matter from a neutral party’s perspective, one who for his jingoism will not be overly patriotic and for his patriotic exasperation, will not be overly pessimistic (I lie in that category), you should read the article by Arjuna Ranatunga on Cricinfo, who gives his judgement on how he believes the teams will perform. He has indicated that Australia, SA, NZ and India stand a better chance of reaching the Semi’s. For all those wanton optimists, have you ever witnessed a tournament where the top 6/7 teams in the rankings have such a little difference in points between them? This will be the most competitive ODI tournament in history, looking at how competitively the teams have played over the past 2 years. I may state that most controversial comment on this thread yet. I believe that Pakistan should play all of their four specialist pacers in every match. If one or two get injured, then Mahmood or Arafat should act as cover. The reason I state that is because, for all his talent and recent performances, Gul is no established matchwinner. If anything, the lack of match practice and relative inexperience may work to his detriment (I concur fully with Javed A Khan from Montreal, Canada on this point). We should not place our entire hopes on him. Rao has proved to be a reasonably consistent bowler and for that reason I think he should be an automatic selection in the playing XI. Sami’s critics will have to accept that he does have some sort of a role to play now in the team. Sami has to be used in the place of Azhar Mahmood or Yasir Arafat and he has to be given responsibility with the batting. That 40 odd he scored versus SA in SA was a remarkable innings. He has to be told that he should not fear criticism, he just has to bowl the way he wants will full firepower. Mr Abbasi is right in stating that of late he has demonstrated that he wants to salvage his place in the team. Hence the line-up should be something like, Nazir, Akmal, Younis, Yousuf, Inzi, Malik, Hafeez, Sami, Naved, Gul, Rao. When Afridi makes his comeback he should obviously be batting in Hafeez’s place. With this line-up we are incorporating most of the “best of the bad lot.” Unfortunately Kaneria, in my opinion is not needed in the ODI team. SA, Australia and West Indies have shown that they can do well without the services of a specialist spinner (Australia, after Warne’s departure from ODI’s). I believe that specialist spinners are dying in international one-day cricket now- a fast bowler who can bowl with some guile is a more useful option than a specialist spinner in ODI’s. Pakistan’s bowling has suffered an immense setback and in the absence of two matchwinners in Akhtar and Asif, a specialist pacer must be played instead of players with huge question marks over their current capabilities i.e. Mahmood and Arafat. Yes, if either Akhtar or Asif were playing, then it would have been a different story and one of these could well be slotted to bolster the batting. For those who believe that Arafat can come good, I seriously doubt that since he has performed well domestically before too and then been called up in the squad and not impressed in the national team. If the choice lies between Sami and Naved, I would opt with the former due to his batting capability.

  • waheed sundal on March 3, 2007, 11:40 GMT

    lets come to the terms .rather than comparing azhar with razzaque , time for evry one to cheer azhar and every other member of the team .is not it. we still have great talent and ,passion in this team ,perhapes more than anybody else in the world.so good luck to pakistan captain ,and team PAKISTAN>

  • Shahid on March 3, 2007, 11:34 GMT

    We all know in our poor nation,(dis)organizatinal behaviour dont subscribe to subtleties such as decency, dignity, common sense or any other behaviour requires some soul searching. You find blatant and abundant examples of this in every walk of life, how can PCB be any different. Bungle that PCB just perfectly executed, would have rolled many a heads in any other tad more accountable society. With that said our people are dynamic, improvising, courageous, and have in-your-face attitude. Our cricketers represent our people od pakistan, not Govt of Pakistan and definitely not PCB. I am sure, only thing we all expect from them is to show and grit and go down fighting, winning or loosing then would not matter. Pakistan Forever!!!

  • Shehzad Ghani on March 3, 2007, 11:28 GMT

    I feel Shoaib and Asif, though they have no one else to blame but themselves, have been a little hard done. I feel that other cricketers of this age besides Shane Warne have been guilty of the same misdeed, but they were not tested at the right tight, and caught. Remember Tendulkar and his sleek and chiseled look while recovering from his long injury sometime back?!....

  • Adeel on March 3, 2007, 11:16 GMT

    I think shoaib and asif do make a difference , especially asif who is a major talent not just for tests but for odis.This team is on the whole cannot be compared to '92 where immie's great captaincy had javed , wasim , aaqib and mushtaq , inzie to compliment with even with waqar out. Razzaq's absence is a major blow as well and despite azhar's comeback, its a step far beyond thinking they can cross the super 8 phase. In 1996,99,03, they had stronger squads but still couldnt get the trophy, so it always isnt gold even with the right combo. nandrolone or not , they would have been a far fetch to stop aussies and proteas on current form , probably the unpredictability of every pk team that has donned the cricket pitch is the greatest motivation to watch them anytime, anywhere and so will it again, whatever they achieve in windies !

  • Fahad Soomro on March 3, 2007, 11:11 GMT

    I guess its a fair call by you Kamran. Further just Yesterday Dr. Nasim Ashraf reminded us all of the 2005 heroics in India when Shoaib wasn't avaialble and Asif hadn't arrived on the scene. However, that series also showed the difference in team spirit when Inzi was batting at No.04 and firing on all cylinders even chasing scores of over 300 with no problems. As Imran Khan very rightly said Where ever you see preasure, there you should see Inziman and I firmly believe that good ol' Inzi still has it in him to carry us through atleast to the semis. If not there's another world cup coming in 2011 and so on.

  • javed on March 3, 2007, 11:09 GMT

    cricket is a team game and collective efforts and team spirit may overcome some individual losses. the team in 1992 had inspirational and great captain and of course a hungry wasim akram. unfortunately this team has NOTHING.. in my view inzimam as captain is very very weak. he does not inspire, motivate or make any match winning one-day contribution. shoaib should be discarded and asif has learnt his lesson by missing this world cup. hopefully he can recover for the future as a better player and by staying away from shoaib. good luck to pakistan but the team will be very lucky to reach semifinals...

  • Shakeel on March 3, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    without the lethal pace of shoiab akhtar, and the consistent line and length of Mohammad Asif pakistan pose no threat to the other teams and seem already a diminished team. Good luck, pakistan!!

  • Omer Admani on March 3, 2007, 10:48 GMT

    Responding to someone's comment on the under 19 team, I thought the left-handed bowler was even better. He had a bit of Wasim Akram in him. We have a chance-- but right decisions are important. Rana shouldn't be played. I have never felt as disgusted watching any Pakistani bowler as Rana. He has made a habbit of going over 20 run an over, it doesn't even stike awe anymore. He opens the bowling, goes for run, demoralizes his bowling partner, the team, and the fans. Nevermind him bieng the worst ODI new-ball bowler, and going for 20-odd runs an over, what really surprises me is the fact that he keeps on balling short-- Rana just doesn't learn, he thinks he is fast like Shoaib Akhter. What is more surprising is Inzamam's insistence to select him-- maybe Inzamam feels dominant if he plays a few paindus like himself. Azhar Mahmood is certainly not the solution to our problems.

    Bowling should be: Gul, Rao (at least he can bowl line and length); Afridi, Sami (I'll listen to Faraz this time as Sami is definitely better than Rana), and Kaneria (If Akmal gets injured and we send a replacement for him, Kaneria should be our highest wicket taker, certainly later in the series when the pitches become spinner-friendly). The sixth player would be the keeper. The five batsmen should be in this order: Nazir Younis Yousof Inzamam Shoaib Why would anyone want to play Hafeez. He is the "20" man. Unfortuantely, cricket is not like darts. We should at least hope that if a player kicks, then he has a reasonable impact on the match. Hafeez is a nothing player. Malik could also play the role of a sixth bowler-- though I'd rather we had Asim Kamal as another solid batsman, but I am sure untill Inzamam sidesteps gracefully we won't get any new batsmen who are actually good. In any case, if Pakistan are to impress in this world cup, a lot will depend on Gul, Kaneria, and the absence of Rana. It is a good chance for Sami to impress again as well. Sami needs to bowl with pace but improve his line and length. Sami gets frustrated too early too often, and then loses it completely. He needs to be patient and persistent. In any case, he is a better bet than Rana. Other teams would be dreaming that Rana plays, so that, for instance, guys like Sehwag can get back in form. Meanwhile, our batsman have a lot of responsibility now, and it's time, with their experience, they make themselves count together thru the world cup. Razzaq's injury compounds our problems as Razzaq is our pressure player-- he has played some very crucial innings, and I feel sorry fo him the way fans see his absence as a "blessing in disguise" after he seemed a bit down-and-out. Razzaq was our most reliable all rounder, but ah well...

    Lastly, can someone tell Inzamam to stop passing all the negative remarks, bat a bit up the order, and try to inspire the team rather than deflate it. If Inzamam is not going to the world cup to win, then he might as well not go to play.

  • Ahmad Faisal Rafi on March 3, 2007, 10:43 GMT

    I think in absence of Asif and Shoaib Pakistan should have adopted the streategy of attacking with their spinners Abdul Rehman might the good choice for the Westindies with Kaneria due to their slow spinning tracks. I dont think that recent form of Rana and Sami will help Pakistan in their cause

  • Khalid Arif Siddiqui, Jeddah - Saudi Arabia on March 3, 2007, 10:21 GMT

    I had in my previous comments stated that things are not good as far as the doping thing with Shoaib and Asif is concerned and it is a common knowledge now that PCB was playing hide and seek in this issue. Their pull out at the last moment has only confirmed the apprehensions thay we all had, this has also made Pakistan Cricket a laughing stock at the international level. I agree with you that the architect of this facade would benifit by having a brain transplant, but what about PCB which can benifit only by sacking such people think that they are smarter than the whole world. The whole ICC was waiting to catch Shoaib / Asif and I am sure that they will unearth the reasons these guys were being sent to england and that too twice after the team arrived from South Africa. I think all this cover up game was planned by Salim Altaf and one feels that he is constantly involved in such ludicrous ideas which only results in damaging the reputation of Pakistan Cricket.

    Coming to the team and its expectations, every body seems to be recalling the fact that Waqar and saeed anwar were not in the 92 World Cup and yet we won, in doing so we keep forgetting one thing and that is the leadership qualities of Imran who fought hard and had extreme confidance in himself as well as his boys. If you kindly recall that Inzamam was unfit in the semi final and was not willing to play but Imran insisted that he must and gave him sound advice so he played and became the architect of the victory over New zeland, such was the leadership quality of that man, while Inzamam's captaincy is no match to that of Imran. He wears the look of a lost cow when the chips are down while failing to raise his game as well in trying situations, how can we expect him to motivate others. He has lowered his batting position, his bowling sence also lacks imagination, and he has also proved unable to use the power play to his teams advantage. All this combined how do we expect to see our team in the semis, It can only happen if the Al mighty feels that our team is worth and to me our team is really not wort that honour for Allah always rewards the honest and hard working and to me Inzamam is neither honest nor is he hard working.

    Frankly speaking I have no hopes of our team going into the semis and not because of Shoaib and Asis's absence. To me the whole episode of Asif and Shoaib was blown up by the PCB is a plan for an escape rout once our teams fails for the semis. Knowing Salim Altaf I am more than convinced that such a plan came out from his thinking cap.

    Kamran sahib can you please comment on this please.

    Allah hafiz

  • Jay on March 3, 2007, 9:59 GMT

    First of all I would like to wish the Pakistan squad best of luck in this world cup. Secondly I would like to point my finger rudely at the PCB for failing to say the truth for the penultimate time !!! Its high time they reveal the exact reasons for the exclusion of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohd Asif. Many of us know its due to the dopping scandal. I personally feel both these players have let Pakistan down immensely. I am an Indian by nationality BUT I put my feet into the shoes of a Pakistani fan and realize what a blow this is. I feel Shoaib and Asif should apologize to Pakistani people for these awkward position. In the meantime I am confident Pakistan has the talent to go a long way in this WC. I wish an India VS Pakistan final !!!! =)

  • MANZOOR HUSSAIN on March 3, 2007, 9:54 GMT

    No doubt Pakistan is a better team in comarison of 1992, but we just need to forget the absence of Asif, and Abdulrazzaq.As for as Shoib Akhter is concerned he was never the part of Pakistani team.I wish Pakies will bring the Cup back.

  • Shehzad Ghani on March 3, 2007, 9:40 GMT

    Let's not forget what we had in 92 that we don't now! A great batsmen in Javed and a commanding leader in Imran. Do we have the corresponding factors now? No!

  • Khalid A. Qureishi on March 3, 2007, 9:23 GMT

    Given the state of affairs, I think the team will benefit from being an underdog in the tournament. One day game is all about containing runs on the bowling side and matching the target while batting. In S.A I was impressed how Rao bowled and Azhar bowled even when our opening pair went for runs. I have not lost hope. Its the mindset that count. If the self believe and desire is there than anything is possible. I feel getting to semis should not be a problem, after that its anybodys game. If the team peak gradually, than there is hope. Remember in 1992, the two best ever games played by team were the semi and the final. Its the mindset alone that will take you there. At this level talent, skills, reputation will not guarantee anything except your desire to win, which by the way seem to be missing from the supporters as well. Can't support the team than don't but at least done't sound a loser or send negative vibes when the competition has not started yet.

  • zeeshan qamar on March 3, 2007, 9:11 GMT

    first of all kamran u are 90 % right rest of 10 % i will expalin.

    10 % is self beleive they should beleive that they can win any game from any stage of the match and they can beat any team in the world. Izi bhi should lead the team from the front as imran khan did remember when he can for tosswith a tiger on ashirt and when commentator asked his whats up with this tiger? he said "that he wants his team to play like a tiger" and you know we did and we won so i think its time to motivate and lead the team with the resourses we have i know asif and shioab is a big blow but now we have to learn to play without them. We should have to think beyond what happened? injury or other reasons........but now they should pick right combination as sami , rana and umer becuase without sami we do not have any bowler with enough pace.

    Guys forget what happened in south africa there is way difference in conditions and insahallah we will do beter and will win ........INSAHALLAH

  • Frantz Fanon on March 3, 2007, 8:59 GMT

    It’s so easy to throw the pessimist sentiments around. I would suggest that let’s work with the hand we are dealt. I believe this tournament will be Sami's defining moment...or it should be. What he needs is a captain who is supportive...and I quote Inzi "While Sami and Arafat are not as good as Shoaib and Asif, I am sure they will do well". Can you imagine Imran Khan ever saying that? I think Sami should be given an uninterrupted run through the tournament. Heck, if they can give Imran Farhat such a long run with his obvious shortcomings....on that yardstick Sami, with his potential, should play a year. Most of the contributors on this blog seem to base opinions largely on statistics...much like Waseem Bari, I'm afraid. That’s no good, you have to show faith with mach winning players, you have to give them confidence. Pretty easy to say it’s all over. In conclusion, for Pakistan this tournament is not about missing players, dope tests, biased ICC officials…it is referendum on Inzamam’s captaincy: can he inspire when he heat is on, or will he do the stoic vacant expression at first slip? I believe he has the players he needs to win this tournament.

  • umer on March 3, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    Excuse my language but WTF why isnt Shabbir Ahamed on the squad know pakis will never change its all involved with polotics every one but few is playing with safarish. hafeez and nazir dont play majority of the last 4 year and they are the openers what the hell, Butt AND HAMMED should have been there. with all this said i no i will still watch the cup every morning.

  • Faridoon on March 3, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    Sure it ain't over until the fat lady sings as Rukhsana mentioned. But in our case she has already started humming the words to "Hopeless".

  • mansoor on March 3, 2007, 8:21 GMT

    lets be very practical. you dont deserve to win because you are not the best. even if pakistan wins the world cup, it does nt mean that they are the best. because it is not about winning some cups. its about staying on top like australia. so go in with no hope and just enjoy the world cup as a normal viewer. hope is the most dangerous thing to have. with this team, pakistan can only win one thing and that is " TOSS " ( ha ha ha)

  • imran peshawari on March 3, 2007, 8:20 GMT

    I think pakistan still better attack then other teams.only pakistan need to work on batting to set good target to the oposition and take their chances in field.i read the whole atricale and cooments but no one describe the batting problems.pakistan still good bowling attack but work on batting if u made 140,150 then who can u defend that.today is the time of 400 and up runs.AUS is the best team in the World but biggest totals chase against them.where migrath lee like plyers plying in these matches.now come the bowling point if u drop one catch to the bowler like sami or rana which or not in form then wat can u espect from them.Before the tour of SA rana was the man of the series against WI.He is the icket taking bowler campare with asif gul sami rana play 61 matches to take 96 wickets as asif gul and sami r going with thier matches figure.just belive on them .In last four years that in which series PAK play with their 1st option attack .We win all series with rana and sami.only big blow for pakistan is abdul razzaq not the bowlers.If pakistan play the main matches with that kind of attack Gul sami with new ball Rana with the old ball(very danger bowler of the death)and one from azhar or yasir,But azhar mehmood is good option b/c he,s the experance .i think that was not the time of yasir arafat he has no experance of ODI cricket .If we put shabbir ahmad in the sqad then the Bowling may alittle more valuable .so pakistan need to go with thier available option.Now all nation pray for the team to play good cricket and inshallah they will play good cricket in the carribian

  • harish on March 3, 2007, 8:06 GMT

    Pakistan can win world cup. And it shall not be miracle to expect it. They have belief and figting spirit. Bowling is definately better then India. They have strong middle order in Inzy, MO Yo, Younis. Watch Afridi is going to set WC on fire with his batting. This is going to be his world cup. He is really determined this time.

  • ammar on March 3, 2007, 7:53 GMT

    Pakistan will win this world cup.they have everything to gasin and nothing to lose.So my prayers wih u Paki boys.U can do it. Pakistan won the under 19 woprld cup and i saw the final.wat do u think abt the bowler who demolished indina team in early overs.he was right handed bowler as i forgot his name.i think he can be a great prospectus for Paki team.

  • Bilal Ahmed on March 3, 2007, 7:07 GMT

    I do not understand how can PCB allowed to go freely with all the disgrace it has brought to our country through insane dealing of this dope scandal. I would have been happier with the initial bans. No player is greater than the game. Shane Warne did his time and proved himself a champion, I am sure Asif could have done the samething. At the moment Asif and Shoaib can't remove this stain that has been made permanent by our administrators at PCB.

  • Abbas on March 3, 2007, 7:06 GMT

    Pakistan will InshaAllah make it to the semis with this team...after that its just a matter of two games, if its our day then watch out everyone. I think enough said and done, our team needs support and all the Pakistanis should rally around their team and wish them good luck no matter what happens. Whatever happened prior to the world cup is blessing in disguise for Pak team because Shoaid is not a team player and at the moment unity is more important than big names. Look at SA there are no stars yet they are number 1, just because they are a "team". Now criticism should be stopped and only support for the team should become the order of the day... remember we'll make it to the semis.

  • Khaliq on March 3, 2007, 6:53 GMT

    Ya , its a big blow to pak team. But i think yet they can perform well in the world cup if they play with full and full team spirit which is the essence of pak team. So long they were applying that spirit mostly only against India. They should apply to all other teams too. Bowlers Rana a total run giver. cannot beleive him at any point of time. Sami not bad. Gul good bowler but should work much to mark up pak s place in a good position in world cup.Shoib malik should show sme concern in his bowling too. he has not impressed in bowling recent months.

  • Haroon Rashid on March 3, 2007, 6:51 GMT

    Allrounder stratagy should change, we are very ordinary from 20 to 40 overs, when first 3 specialists are done. Yasir Arfat is very good. He needs confidence he is very sharp around 140 K. Asif was a loss but selection has covered it with Kaneria.

    One thing is for sure, we will play much better than we did in 2003. We are fighters now.

  • MOIN on March 3, 2007, 6:48 GMT

    How can a team even consider being competitive when they dont have any accomplished Opening Batsmen or Opening bowlers. and dont call rana, Gul or Sami accomplished openers becoz they havent been performing consistently to warrent that. The opening batsmen have not palyed too many games and they average in the low 20's...very pathetic when you consider the talent of openers in other countries....look at Indias openers, they have 5-6 (Sehwag, utappha, sachin, dravid and Ganguly) batsmen that have opened before and peformed well in that position. For pakistan the 'BIG 3 Batsmens' cannot be rotated at the top becoz this would expose thier understrength and out of form middle order batsmen.

    While Paki team try to round up thier remain best bowlers , other teams are scrathing thier heads trying to figure out which bowlers wont play.. look at India again, their most successful bowler in the past one - one-and-ahalf years (Pathan)will probably be 3 or 4 choice behind Zaheer, Agarkar and Munaf/Sreesanth. and if India decide to play thier specialist spinners (kumble, harbajan) then Pathan might not even be able to get into the squad.

  • faizy on March 3, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    this was going to happen sooner or later,the fact that pakistan waited till minutes before leaving for the carribean to spill the news is humourous,shoaib akhtar should consider joining wwe and quit cricket someone should tell him that you need brains to succeed in international cricket not nandrolone/steroid pumped muscles,asif shou;d also be ashamed for gods sake he is an international cricketer how the hell he didnt know about what supplements he is taking ,forget abt all this realisstically if pakistan make it to the semi finals it would be a big achievement,i think the opener against the windies is crucial as they will carry those points to the next stage if they win,they should not experiment now play sami,gul and kaneria and leave the rest to all rounders,its hard to see where are the wickets gonna come from no one seems to be in the class of wasim and waqar,i still feel sad that a great servent of pakistan cricket like waqar had to loose 2 years of his career to accomadate an idiot like shoaib in the team ,mind u i am the biggest fan of shoaib akhtar but he has just crossed the line this time around,keep your fingers crossed,and all the best for the world cup

  • inqlabi on March 3, 2007, 6:36 GMT

    Bobwoolmer and Inzi are most negative combination in world cricket today.There is no sense in iducting yasir and Azhar in team. This team has so many alrounders already like afridi , hafeez , malik , rana now putting arafat and azhar that will make SIX alrounders plus a wicket keeper that makes it seven .That too much .It clearly shows negative frame of mind.

  • qaisar sheikh on March 3, 2007, 6:34 GMT

    well folks i am really shattered by all the doings being done by PCB. they should have not tried to mask the situation.every one was clear that there would be hints of nand... in bodies of both players so in my opinion there was nothing to hide bcoz its causing embarrassment. and after that selection made by selectors is even more shattering, when u r losing ur 2 main bowlers naturally you should have been gone for specialist fast bowlers to replace them and what they are picking up, allrounder in place of a specialist bowler. i would preffer a new face capable of taking wickets and a serious fast bast like najaf shah, irshad, smai niazi, yasir ali. Mr. naseem asharaf is not able to do justice to his job. he should not be left out of Board but he should be throwen out of the window. last night in a GEO SUPERS live program it was quite clear he is a "BLUFF MASTER", specially in waqars case. whatever waqar said is 110% right. Mr.asharf is making us feel really embarrassed.

  • MOIN on March 3, 2007, 6:33 GMT

    Give it up Guys... No matter what you all think, NO TEAM can expect to perform decently after losing thier 2 spearhead bowlers and thier most accomplished all-rounder just 2-3 weeks before the big event. Australia had the best ever bench strength in bowling and even they couldnt cope with losing thier key players in the bowling department (LEE, SYMO). I dont think Pontings and Gillys exclusion can b blamed for the poor performance because Aust. were still able to post big totals (300+)and hussey had plnety of experience as captain in domestic cricket

    Maybe if PCB had started to plan and groom 2 new strike bowlers when Akhtar and Asif were first caught out Rana, Rao and DK would have had more experience and match form then they currently do. Its just too short of a notice when you consider how much the Paki bowlers must ''step-up'' in order to fill the shoes of the 2 'Big Guns'.

    Rana, Rao, Gul and DK might all have good stats in One-day cricket but they lack experience in WC matches and they are not innovative or even close to penetrative as Asif and Akhtar were. It is too much to ask for from these remaining crop of under-used bowlers.

    In a tournament where teams have primed themselves to explode in the world cup with a mix of stability and good form (Ind, SR, SA, NZ, and to some extent Aust), the Pakistani team has niether. The bowlers will be creamed against top class batsmen that have played 2-3 times more games then them.

    DO NOT DRAW COMPARISONS FROM 1992 WC!! HAVE WE ALL FORGOTTEN THE REASON WHY WE QUALIFIED FOR THE FINAL STAGES?? DONT WE REMEMBER A CERTAIN CRUCIAL GAME WHERE PAKISTAN WERE SKITTLED FOR NOT MUCH ??? HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR RAIN WE WOULD HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED.

    So dont be so optimistic about this Pakistani Team. When you set expectations so high you might come down with a big THUD!! and hurt yourselves. my advice is to expect a Super8 entry but nothing more.. lets keep the fall a short one....or else...bring out the tissue box becoz your all in for some serious disappoitment

  • wasim saqib (detroit) on March 3, 2007, 6:02 GMT

    Several things have become too common on this blog,Criticism on selection,Comparing the team with 1992 team and declaring it loser already,criticism of the openers,criticism of the bowlers and above all PCB bashing,and finally crying for Asif,Shoaib and Razzak. Everybody have the right to say whatever they want but most of us want our team to believe in themselves and give a fight but first we have to stop criticising the selection and start cheering up the team and create fear in opponent teams rather than demoralizing our own players. Also I request everybody to do research before comparing the current team with the 1992 or any other team,This team is much better than the old one in batting the only difference is we dont have somebody like Akram but that is compensated by the rest of the bowling,in 1992 we had IqbaL sikandar,Imran Khan and waseem haider besides wasim Akram,Aqib javaid,and mushy the last three being the key.Now if we compare them with todays bowling and do a pound to pound analysis other than wasim the current bowling is much better as we all know Imran was only a yard quicker than a spinner in 1992,and does any body remembers wasim haider and Iqbal sikander.I dont think so.

    The most criticism was done on the openers a complete vote of no confidence,but let me tell you these openers are much better than the 1992 openers here's the record. 1st match Vs WI Amir sohail 23,Raja 102 of 158 B 2nd match Vs Zim Amir 114,Raja 9 3rd match vs ind Inzi 2,Sohail 62 off 103 balls 4th match vs SA sohail 23 off 53B,Zahid 11 off 46 5th match vs Aus Sohail 76,Raja 34 6th match vs SL sohail 1,raja 32 off 57 balls 7th match vs Nz Sohail 0 , Raja 119 Semi final Vs Nz Sohail 14,Raja 44 Final vs Eng Sohail 4, raja 8 The other big advantage the current team has over the 1992 team is the finest middle order Pakistan ever had.In 1992 Except miandad and Later half inzimam nobody scored Malik,Ejaz,Zahid fazal were complete failure. I hope every body will cheer the team now and please stop living in the past.

  • Shahid Qadri on March 3, 2007, 5:53 GMT

    With the non-availability of Shoaib, Asif & Razzak, the absence of Waqar Younis as bowling coach would be felt even greater. Wake up PCB!! If nothing else try sending him as a commentator so that he can pass on some tips to our raw bowling resources. That is if Inzi, Mushy and Woolmer are prepared to let Waqar get within ten feet of the Pakistani camp.

  • Hamid on March 3, 2007, 5:10 GMT

    Despite Shoaib and asif's absence we're more likely to lose out because of our batting and feilding than bowling.

  • vilas on March 3, 2007, 4:59 GMT

    Any idea why Shohaib's loss is so critical given his record in WC against top teams? Games Wkts Avg Eco Australia 3 3 42.66 5.33 England 1 1 63.00 7.00 India 2 2 63.00 6.30 South Africa 1 2 25.50 5.66 West Indies 1 2 27.00 5.49

    Hardly anything to write home about. Also he has played only 16 ODI in entire last 2 yrs. Razzaq has played 54 ODI in the same time period. Maybe people have short memory. But if he was so ineffective in last WC,( maybe his fans need to watch semi-final against Ind in last WC to get a reality check) what makes anybody think that he would have made any difference now given how many times he has broken down recently. Asif would have made a difference but not Shohaib. But Asif followed wrong idol. I think if Pakistani team focuses on task at hand and not get side tracked by his distraction they will do well. Every team has injuries and such only Pakistani management can make such a mess. Pakistan did not win 2 WCs with SHohaib maybe they are better off without him.

    Good Luck

  • KS on March 3, 2007, 4:57 GMT

    Personally Kamran, I feel that Asif's loss is the bigger one...anybody remember Shoaib in the last world cup? Anyway, a lot will depend on Inzi's captaincy... the question is, can he inspire his boys? He will have to do more than amble around on the field and chew gum...My only message for the team now is, IT IS NOT ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE DOG IN THE FIGHT< BUT THE SIZE OF THE FIGHT IN THE DOG... the bowling attack, if used wisely, can still be effective..... God Bless Pakistan... I am quite impressed by the amount of optimism of my fellow countrymen and Pakistan cricket lovers..

  • sunny on March 3, 2007, 4:25 GMT

    AOA, Kamran sahib i agree with u, the loss pak had with both these bowlers missing and ppl should stop taunting on Shoaib coz i think this has become our nature, if he was doing goood then he would be our hero and if he has done somethin bad we all tend to forget him. he is exciting bowler to watch. The other thing i dun understand why PCB didnt prepare any other bowler. all we have available is junk like sami , rana, arafat who are far to be considered as match winning bowlers, but lets hope for the best and we all pray for pakistan although they have very bleak chances of winning

  • Faridoon on March 3, 2007, 4:19 GMT

    - Will Azhar fill in teh shoes of Razzaq? - Will playing more than 8 batsmen be enough to compensate for the lack of bowling? - Will everyone who has made it to the team remain fit throughout the tournament? - Will Inzi be able to inspire his second string bowlers to take up teh challenge and give their all? is their "all" enough?

    ... so many questions, so little time!!

  • hardcore pakistani on March 3, 2007, 3:55 GMT

    I still believe we can win the world cup. shoaib has come and gone everytime he was fit and didnt win any matches. asif is a good test bowler but hasnt done much in one dayers. he averages about 1 wicket per match and thats not good enough. gul, rana did well as a pair against windies in pakistan. and if rana gets the bowl to swing he can rip through the top order and bowls good yorkers and the death. razzaq well we might miss him but azhar can be as good as him because i believe he is a better bowler and fielder than razzaq and he can handle the bat too, maybe not as good as razzaq but he still can do it. just remember pak win in india without asif and shoaib and GUL.

  • Lesley C on March 3, 2007, 3:54 GMT

    I am glad Asif is not going to the world cup, simply because I feel that he his young and made a foolish mistake and really doe's not deserve to have his whole career destroyed. Shoaib on the other hand as almost finished his career so it really would not matter. But most of all how would you feel if it was revealed to the world at the world cup that in fact the tests were still positive this decision was the best one to be made.

  • hardcore pakistani on March 3, 2007, 3:53 GMT

    I still believe we can win the world cup. shoaib has come and gone everytime he was fit and didnt win any matches. asif is a good test bowler but hasnt done much in one dayers. he averages about 1 wicket per match and thats not good enough. gul, rana did well as a pair against windies in pakistan. and if rana gets the bowl to swing he can rip through the top order and bowls good yorkers and the death. razzaq well we might miss him but azhar can be as good as him because i believe he is a better bowler and fielder than razzaq and he can handle the bat too, maybe not as good as razzaq but he still can do it. just remember pak win in india without asif and shoaib and GUL.

  • Mr. Zabooni on March 3, 2007, 3:32 GMT

    I think that you can't completely rule pakistan out from the world cup, because even with out their pace attack, they are still a very good team. I mean they did win a game against SA, and that is saying quite a bit, taking into consideration that they are the best team in the world currently. If they get lucky enough, and SA or Australia have a bad game, they may actually get quite far.

  • Wahid Khan on March 3, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    Inzimam is an idiot. With him leading the weakened team, it would be a miracle if Pakistan reaches the last eight.But good luck.

  • Haris (dubai) on March 3, 2007, 3:04 GMT

    hmmm... asif & shoaib are a Big loss... but im sure, if pak still uses its resources sensibly (which it hasnt fr a while nw), it'll do jus fine... sami, gul, hafeez, afridi, malik, yasir & azhar... thts more than 50 overs of decent, at times special, bowling... good luck guys. peace.

  • Azam Farooqui on March 3, 2007, 2:28 GMT

    Well it's upto someone to step up and lead the attack, it's about time. Gul has grown in statue and maybe this world cup might convine that he's one of stars of the future. Kaneria is experiened and he has to deliver, a lot has been said about kaneria not being in the ODI squads, well now is the time for Kaneria to prove a point. I think Afridi and Malik would be the automatic contenders in the eleven i feel that sami would be a better choice to complete the bowling attack. Rana must be low on confidence at this point and should be used sparingly and Rao has bowled resonably with the new ball in recent games. But yes, there's not point in discussing the Shoaib/Asif issue, the fact is whatever the reason, they are not going to the West Indies and we too should get over it and move on. I too feel that somehow or the other, disasters seem to bring the best out of the Pakistani teams (barring 2003 world cup) and it's a real possibility that this team might end up going deep into the world cup, if not the finals.

  • Aftab on March 3, 2007, 2:26 GMT

    Kamran, your punch line is agreeable but why leave out Shahid Afridi? I personally think he will prove as good, if not better, as Kaneria. And I will be careful to not expose Kaneria to teams that include batsmen known for their ability to play spin (read India and Sri Lanka).

  • Hamid on March 3, 2007, 2:08 GMT

    Let's forget about what could've been or would've been had we had Shoaib or Asif. They're not in the team and the team has to move on. It is ridiculous to say we can't win without them. In one day matches pace is certainly not a necessary asset. Bowling to a plan, according to the feild, one side of the wicket is what is necessary. Of course, it will only work if the feilders back them up. Spin isn't a bad idea even, for that matter. I think our bowling is still better than the 1983 Indian attack. So, all we need is self beleif and we can bring the WC home.My request to all, let's forget about everything else for now and just back this team.

  • sohaib on March 3, 2007, 2:02 GMT

    you are not a true pakistani if u still don't believe in ur team...

  • Faisal Rizwan on March 3, 2007, 2:01 GMT

    Attack is the batter defence: As Pakistan has good middle order and depth in batting when playing with 3-4 all rounders,The best idea would be to get a chance of batting first in game1. If Inzimam & Co can attack hard in batting from game1, bowlers will get batter chance to groom their confidence and performance of the team will be confident in subsequent matches. I believe if our key players will play with confidence, there are good chances of reaching in the finals. Best of luck boys, you have sufficient tools to beat any strong team twice in WC.

  • wasim saqib (Detroit) on March 3, 2007, 1:41 GMT

    This is for all Australians You have no right to criticize or talk about shame,as shane warne was the one who showed the rest of the cricketers how to take advantage of drugs,and the world has seen time and again how shamelessly you guys defend one of your own whether it was warne,Hair or dean jones you guys always defend your false pride but let me tell you one thing pray that you dont meet us in the semis or the finals our team still can beat you.

  • the champ is here on March 3, 2007, 1:40 GMT

    kamran bhai,i think we dont need world cup.we want pakistan to beat india in the world cup and inshallah they will do it.if they win world cup they surprise me.good luck pakistan

  • PSYCHIC on March 3, 2007, 1:40 GMT

    Hello PAKISTHANI people. This is psychic again. I have predicted in my last posting in a previous blog about a BAD time for Pakisthan and not winning in worldcup. You guys can see now that my prediction is getting on it's way. That time Shoaib and Asif was in team. Now picture is more clear. Watch out folks. There will be Humiliating moments in this worldcup is coming on pakisthan's way. What goes around comes around. Almighty will punish pakisthan even futher. Just keep this note and see for yourself and compare it my friends. There will be more defeats and specially a big humiliating loss against India. There will be brand new team forming after these bad times in WORLDCUP. So get ready for new faces now.

  • Arsalan Iqtidar Khan on March 3, 2007, 1:15 GMT

    Dont think that Pakistan can win the world cup without Shoaib Akhter.....its seems impossible....furthermore things in last few days have made us forget our long lasting opening problem....

  • slick on March 3, 2007, 1:03 GMT

    paksitan could not win, cannot win, with or without shoaib and asif

  • Faisal on March 3, 2007, 0:53 GMT

    Come on fellow pakistanis lets just support our team that is there. They deserve a chance and we really should be behind them. I am sure that they must be under enormous pressure as well. Lets forget about Asif and Shoaib and try to manage with the talent that we have and it is plenty. No matter how disorganized and under prepared the team stands, I solemnly believe that they will go a long way in the WC. This is the time for the ones there to show that they can do it and heck we can without Asif and Shoaib. Asif just came less than two years back in the team and I swear I could not comprehend how his availability was being made THE factor for victory. His record for ODIs is ordinary, no doubt that he is economical but as of right now his ODIC stats are not EXTRA ORDINARY or something. Rana is a wicket taking bowler, any one who doesnt agree can check the stats. PAK is sure to enter semis people INSHALLAH. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD. GO INZI AND CO!!! MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU ALL.

    Faisal Khan

  • Atif Qureshi on March 3, 2007, 0:28 GMT

    I have been reading your column for sometime and have found your opinion very close to what I believe in. About the current state of PCB affairs, may allah help us all as other countries have been planning ahead for ometime with their team positions, batting order, strategy for bowling, chasing versus setting target. I think having Bob at the helm of team affairs, it was looking like Pakistanis have also been planning something if not as sophisticated as others. By boy o boy, what can I say about timimg of this mess. Team's composition is not final even after the team takes off for competing in the biggest event. So, I dont know what planning they could have done for batting order, bowling attack etc.

    In my humble opinion, I would differ with you on the impact of not having Shoaib and Asif. It will be a huge blow for us. Shoaib habeen inconsistent in appearances but as in politics, you need to have deterrence. Why do you think, no body try to go after McGrath or Shane Warne as they know that you can have your way for few shots and then they will get you. Same is with Shoaib and Asif. About the next best, I would say that Pakistan ahs been winning on batting form more than bowling especialy in subcontinent. I our batsmen carry the mentle, then we have a shot even without the Asif and Shoaib. The rest of the bowlers are usually hot one day and cold next. Umar Gul has been great and I think he can come out as our hero. We should open bowling with either Yasir or Azhar. I think Azhar will be better because of more experience and being allrounder. rana should be utilized in middle overs and at death.

    Good luck Pakistan, I will be spending $200 to watch you, so make it worth my money and time.

    I am a physician too but I think Kamran, you have a much more cool job than mine. Keep writting.

  • Tanveer Butt on March 3, 2007, 0:18 GMT

    We are not sure that Arafat and Sami are accepted by ICC to replace Shoiab and Asif. Azar will play one good game and then he will disappoint everyone. Inzi should go with Gul, Arafat, and Rio. Afridi, Hafeez, Malik with take rest of the bowling

  • Airaf on March 3, 2007, 0:11 GMT

    We can still win this thing with the players we've got.Forget the past and the form of the players,forget everything.All it takes is one good day.And the biggest motivation you can get to perform is when the whole world thinks you'll fail.We have a lot of quality in this team and if this team plays with some heart,who knows.

  • damien martin on March 3, 2007, 0:00 GMT

    As kamran said world cup is a platform to create heroes. Some one from the team must take the initiative and make it his world cup. This is probably the least talented of the pakistani side (atleast after 1992) going to world cup. But who knows it might be there best world cup. Im not a pakistani, but i certainly love the talent in pakistan. For me Razzaq was a true match winner his loss will be the biggest blow for pakistan more as a finisher.

  • khalid mannan on March 2, 2007, 23:57 GMT

    Kamran, the only reason I read your blog on regular basis is because unlike many other writers you hit the spot with your opinions. Please tell me one thing. When we have masters of fast bowling like wasim and waqar, our fast bowlers have an excellent resource. I am sure if wasim or waqar worked on sami's and rana's skills they could be more effective. I believe that sami has the potential to be the deadliest bowler in the world only if he bowls in the right areas, the man has pace and I believe the will too. Our crikcet borad has let us down and its time they stopped treating p.c.b like a privately owned NBA team or something. Rana, sami and gul is a wicked pace attack only when thier skill are employed properly. No othe cricket board in the world has as much talent on their dispoal than our board. Its time to forget about shoaib and asif and concentrate on what we have . and honeslty even shoaib cannot guarantee us a spot in the world cupfinal . I beleiev this attack in much better than the one we had in 92 , aside from Sir Wasim Akram ofcourse.

  • SadPaki on March 2, 2007, 23:53 GMT

    I'm still miffed at Hafeez being there instead of Butt. Mahmood, Arafat, Butt, Kaneira and Rana should have played the whole of the last 2 series to get match fit. World Cup Planning? Nope. We all just have to hope for '92 again. Our squad is talented, but unprepared - as good as Englands makeup in the 1st Ashes Test this winter. Inzi is no Imran we cannot win this time... can we?

  • alex on March 2, 2007, 23:46 GMT

    Sami is useless Rana is hopeless Rao has no penetration Arafat...i thought he was buried a few years ago. Azhar is a potential matchwinner Afridi may take a couple of wickets Malik is expensive Kaneria is useless in one days

    Gul is OK

    This is the bowling attack that the nation can put together. Why not give some of the newcomers a chance who might rise to the occasion in a lost cause. Should've just planned for 2011.

    Sorry guys but i'm going off on holiday rather than watch these guys.

  • sheraz Khan Washington DC, USA on March 2, 2007, 22:49 GMT

    I totally agree. Cricket is a team game and not a game of individuals. If Shoiab was a factor the 2003 world cup would have been different! Who knows this double loss might bring the team more closer and united togather than ever before. In 1992 world cup there was no waqar in the team, only one genuine fast bowler Wasim and one good leg spinner Mushtaq. This World cup too we have one genuine fast bowler Umar Gul and Danish Kaneria. We still have a chance if they are devoted and sincere to their game and the Nation. Umar Gul should be rested for the smaller games so that he does not get injured and should only play the bigger ones.

  • Fasial on March 2, 2007, 22:44 GMT

    Loss of Waqar Younis in 1992 was big, no doubt about that, but do you think the 1992 team was as weak as it is now. With specialist openers, such as Amir and Rameez, Middle order built on the shoulders of Miandad and Malik including Imran, and one great bowler in Wasim and one very good proven one day bowler in Aqib, do you think the resources were scarce then. The reason you say that Waqar's loss was big and created a pit in your stomach was because no one bowler in the history of cricket had taken that many wickets in the first three years of his career as Waqar had done. He was a phenomenon then, and no other team had such a bowler. Maybe later on Shane Warne did for Australia what Waqar did for Pakistan in first three years of his career. The number of 5 fors in tests and 4 fors in one-day were such that other bowlers could dream about them in there entire careers. That's why it was a bigger loss.

    But, even without Waqar of that time, the 1992 team was very balanced side than what we have now. And please do not forget, we had the one of the best leader of men in Imran who created confidence and belief in the team which was not known before in Pakistani teams of yesteryears. Hence I thik with this team if we go to the semis is equal to winning the World Cup in itself. You do not win matches through all-rounders but through specialists.

    One big problem that we have other than bowling is the openers and its like a handicap we have. Start the match at 5 for 2 or something like that.

    I am amazed that in a country which is full of cricketers, we can not find one good opening pair which is consistent enough to carry the team. We had time but still we could not discover any good opening pair. The management just revolved around a few good players which could not become moved from good to great.

    Having said all of the above, if Pakistan do win this World Cup, I think this will be a miracle in itself. But, we have no Ramadan this time around during the World Cup ;

  • Faraz (the first Faraz on all of Kamran's blogs) on March 2, 2007, 22:41 GMT

    Hey Kamran: I agree with you whole-heartedly, Your four picks are the same as mine.

    However, I would not even dream of playing Rana at this world cup, the world batsmen (even Bangladeshis) will devour his bowling on small grounds. Sami, Gul, Kaneria and Arafat with Rao to carry on with his consistency is the way to go. Let us not forgetm, Afridi's availability later helps this department many folds !!

    On a separate note, please advise Ramiz (raja) to abstain from bringing further disrepute to profession of cricket analyst and commentator; for one he needs to analyze situations hence the jobs description "analyst" and next make sense out of the analysis before making statements ridiculing players.

    His stupid demands of Shoaib and Asif to apologize, while allowing the PCB to get off scott-free from the mess that nasim ashraf, salim altaf and bob woolmer have created is an indication that he belongs to the same regime who have really tarnished the image of Pakistan cricket!

    " PCB's circumcision" is the need of Pakistan Cricket !

  • Hammad on March 2, 2007, 22:41 GMT

    The biggest worry for Pakistan bowling is the first 20 powerplay overs. Umar Gul is one bowler but we need someone to support him at the other end. Rana has gone for plenty recently and Inzamam has to try out some other options. If we play Kaneria, he should experiment with him in the powerplay overs. He might go for some runs but he may take wickets. A more defensive option is Afridi and Hafeez to bowl some of these powerplay overs.

  • Umar on March 2, 2007, 22:34 GMT

    play the players the WC victory dvd everytime they go out to play. In 1992 we had Imran but i dont think inzi is that type of leader. all i can ask is the team play with their hearts

  • Tay'yab-Ali on March 2, 2007, 22:28 GMT

    there is no pressure on Pak now-they are expected to fail. They don't have a prayer, but in the words Mr Ali the Boxer..only one prayer is needed for success.

    pak will be the only team in the tournament who can paly freely without a care in th eworld just as they did when they were 'cornered' in 1992.

    Anything can happens which is so exciting.

    Right of pakistan at your own peril

  • Owais on March 2, 2007, 22:26 GMT

    What do you want ? PCB takes them to WI in order to be target-tested and due to remnants of nandrolone face a life ban ??? Or tell the world that we are not taking them to WI because of remaining drugs in their system ??? You guys wont let anyone live no matter what they do. This reminds me of an old story from my grade 2 where they try to please every one and no one is happy !!!

  • dr.syed nasim hyder on March 2, 2007, 22:22 GMT

    Any bowler who concedes 70 odd runs and bowls 12 no balls and wides to gift extra 2 overs to the opponents is not desirable in ODIs.Any team member whose presence`in the dressing room shifts the focuss away from the game itself is not welcome even if he is a`self proclaimed super star.It is a shame for our ex stars,media men and even politicians to pressurise the board to act foolishly and spending hell of money to just cover up certain facts which is well known to the world.Now let's forget these craps,tighten our belts and fight in the field as it takes only one good ball to change the course of a match.All is not lost and the label of underdogs can be of advantage too.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 2, 2007, 22:21 GMT

    Kamran Abbassi, in 1992 also there was a double loss, but a different one. It was not just Waqar Younis in the bowling department was missing due to stress fracture, but Saeed Anwar wasn't there either due to injury. But the biggest difference here is in the leadership role. Imran went to Australia like a tiger and played like a tiger, whereas, Inzi is going to the Caribbean like a "Bakree" and it is so obvious from his statements, instead of bucking up his players, he is lamenting about the absence of "key" bowlers, 'that matches are won by bowlers and we do not have our key bowlers.' Actually in the previous world cup it was Shoaib Akhtar and Wasim who bowled very badly and gave India a flying start. So, Inzi shouldn't be so defensive and he must not give such depressing statements even before the start of the World Cup and before leaving the country.

    The opening conundrum will continue with Pakistan like a legacy and we have already discussed it in the previous thread.

    As regards the current lot of available bowlers lets look at the past. In the 1992 World Cup, Wasim Akram took 18 wickets, Imran Khan took only 7 wickets, (but in the final he batted like a tiger and scored (70) highest runs) Aquib took, 11. But, Mushtaq took 16 wickets. So, we can say that in the spin department Kaneria can take that lead role and then we have make shift bowlers / allrounders like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik and Hafeez to share 15-20 overs whenever needed.

    Among the fast bowlers, Umar Gul has to take the lead role like Wasim Akram did in 1992. But the question is, can he do that? Its asking too much from that young lad, who hasn't got any match practice, besides this is his first world cup. So, the burden could be shared by Sami and Rana if they bowl in the right direction wicket to wicket. I am not sure what Inzi is gonna do, whether he opts for Sami or Azhar? Both Sami and Rana have the tendency to get nervous after being hit for a couple of fours and start bowling wayward. This is where the Captain should come in and set the field and talk to the bowler, like Imran Khan used to do. Inzi only scratches his beard.

    Rameez Raja, in his recent audio clip on cricinfo is demanding an apology from Asif and Shoaib, actually it should be coming from Nasim Ashraf first before the players. It is the Chairman of the PCB who is accountable first for this hide and seek claptrap of sending the duo to London and telling the whole world that they have gone for treatment or assessment of their injuries. What a farce!

  • Dr. A on March 2, 2007, 22:16 GMT

    I think the biggest blow to the Pakistan bowling arsenal is the absence of Asif. The excitement generated by Shoaib Akthar's inclusion in a series these days is merely limited to certain fans unable to extract themselves from the vortex of nostalgia. I won't be surprised if the opposing teams secretly rejoice in his inclusion primarily due to the signature destabilizing effect he has on his team which subsequently diminishes their otherwise high capability. The damage done to the credibility of PCB and the legal process in Pakistan on account of their moral bankruptcy at this point is irreversible. Hence future occurences of Pak Cricket being treated as a red headed step child should not come as a surprise. At this point it is in the best interest of the team to just go ahead with the players they have and do their best. For me, Umar Gul and Kaneria are the men to watch out for.

  • Omair Choudhry on March 2, 2007, 22:03 GMT

    About Asif n Shoaib, they went through private dope test as most reports claim, didnt the level of nanaldone, percentage wise drop in three months time? if yes, isnt it a reasonable answer, since they never denied taking them in the first place, just claimed unintentionally, and thats wat the verdict wrote aswell who overturned their bans. So if the level droped, it proves that they have been clean since the bans overturned. And good enough reason to take part in the world cup. Coz remember everyone know the fact they took the drugs, only thing they should have to prove is the they have been clean since. So being high then the set limit should be an exception for both of them. And if its the same or higher, isnt there a possibilty that its naturally produced in their bodies, but how can one medically convice them of this fact? if it true!

  • Kamran on March 2, 2007, 21:44 GMT

    I disagree with u that this bowling attack has potential...we have world class bowlers like Rana and Sami...but the only one that will be affective is Gul...Kaneria isn't a One day bowler...people who think he is good one day bowler then bring him up infront of Lara...he will show you how bad a bowler is is for ODIs.

  • Babar Mahmood on March 2, 2007, 21:42 GMT

    i checked out this article exactly 16 hours ago and there were no comments. I believe that just shows what this world cup means to every Pakistani now.....

  • Akshay on March 2, 2007, 21:38 GMT

    i think Pakistan won't miss Shoaib too much but certainly Asif will be missed especially if pitches offer even slightest hint of swing.

    Shoaib was always a lottery from pakistan prespective byt Asif is a real setback.

  • calgary highlander on March 2, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    I'm glad Asif was not picked for the WC. Now his carrear won't be ruined.

  • Nauman Shahid on March 2, 2007, 21:28 GMT

    Well said Kamran. We are very much used to "not having" the services of Akhtar, let alone Asif who was very much still a kid on the block. But whatever the case is, the psychological stamina Akhtar and asif would have provided over other teams cannot be matched to the bowlers we will have now. But back to your saying, "where there is heart, there is hope". I still have hope Pakistan will deliever well for its fans, but how far will this delievery goes depends a lot on our batting because the pitches in West Indies are again like sub-continent strips. I honestly feel whichever team bats first and scores 280+ has a good chance of winning, regardless what team bats second. But then again, my guess is as good as anyones at this point, time will only tell what decisions were good or bad from the PCB, right?

  • Mahmood on March 2, 2007, 21:20 GMT

    Sami anf Arafat has nothing left in them. They have been tried many times before but it seems that though they have some talent but not at all a good cricketing head on their shoulders. They never learn from their mistakes and that tell us all about what to expect from them. Sami bowls 2 good deliveries and 4 out side the leg stump. Arafat keep bowling short even though he got hit for bounderies. If a common man can see this non sense why they can not improve. I have very little hopes Pakistan will do well in this world cup

  • Nadeem Akhter on March 2, 2007, 21:17 GMT

    Thanks for growing my hopes Sir, I was trying to think the same optimistic way but the hype surrounding the exclusion of Asif and Shoaib was not letting me do so :) Ofcourse our bowling resources are still not the worse in the world. I agree with one of your previous articles where you suggested that Kaneria is enough talented and a high class bowler to be given the burden of teams main striker. Similarly, Sami's overall reputation is mostly dependent of his below par test statistics, while the fact is in ODIs he has always bowled very well and can be a true match winner. And Umar Gul is the unlikliest player to let his team down, if only his fitness remains intact.

  • ashar on March 2, 2007, 21:16 GMT

    Yeah. your article is very postive and truth. I believe Umar gul will be treat to watch and will be best bowler for Pakistan and if rana naveed gets his old form;then, Pakistan don´t need to worry for shoaib or asif, he is best ODI bowler for Pakistan in recent times. Sami has v good ODI record than test record but problem; Pakistan selectors couln´t identify which is test bowler and which is ODI bowler. Kaneria role is very crucial if Inzi will use him in proper way. No need to worry, Pakistan still have Good bowling attack.

  • Umer wash d.c on March 2, 2007, 21:13 GMT

    It is unbelivable, A CRICKET MAD nation is still putting up with PCB. The obvious deficiences that presented with a bold letters all over the Paki cricket saga. I could only imagine,what must pakistani people feel in their daily lives. IF a government run instiution has no freaking idea what they are doing GOD only help the people of Pakiland. Please do not laugh it off, because this how thing get done in Pakistan. It is a shame and a pitty whatching the moron screwing things up for many years. Shoaib and Asif should be banned for life. the whole cricket boards should be fired ASAP. the entire Cricket team contract should be revoked after the world cup the whole new team should be assembled based upon merit,not based upon religous,regional or fanatic beliefs.

    Umer Wash DC

  • Sabika on March 2, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    thanks for that makes everyone feel better it is humialting though the entire episode

  • asif zia on March 2, 2007, 21:12 GMT

    PCB management has no limit to incompetency! Who are they trying to fool about injuries to Asif and Shoaib ? This is insulting to pakistan public and cricket globally. Obviously this is dope related. Bowlers ? we keep going in circles with same names. Where are the upcoming bowlers who lifted the u19 world cup ? The board should be developing these bowlers and give them a chance earlier on. I blame Inzi for this he is too negative and keeps faith with his cronies. What will Mushtaq achieve as a bowling coach.... nothing he is there only because he has a beard like Inzi and Inzi can dominate him--- how pathetic can you get!!

    A class bowler like Kaneria should never be out of the one day team, but the board has messed him around for too long and then suddenly bring him back !! He should have stayed in SA to gain vital practice ahead of the WC.

    I wish i was a fly in a selection meeting to see how players are chosen...clearly np thought goes into his.

    Finally Inzi a leader dont make me laugh, a captain hiding down the order sending his young players up the order to face the new ball and then he comes in when it is old !!

    Bat at no 3 or 4 to signal positive intent to the opposition and his own team.

    Oh yes another comment isnt it amazing our players involved in match fixing in the past now have long beards and follow tabligi jamat.

    The whole set up stinks of nepotism and corruption... whats new you are probably thinking !

    Anyway good luck Pakistan make us all smile please!!

  • Ahsan Zawar on March 2, 2007, 21:11 GMT

    I slightly disagree with Mr.Abassi on afew things. First thing the whole world is laughing at the whole drug scandal which is handled very badly by the PCB. Shoaib and Asif are disgraced everywhere which as a Paki fan hurts me. Coming to bowlers i believe in Oneday cricket alot depands on the first 10 overs, you need bowlers who can take wickets in the first 10 overs. For this i think Pakistan will miss Asif's ability to swing the new ball. I would still pick Rana Naved inspite of his poor showing in S.A, simply because he can swing the new ball better than Sami and I will also pick Azhar Mahmood because he can hit the right areas in the middle overs thus making it difficult for the batsmen to score and giving him a chance to pick wickets. For me its Rana, Gul, Kaneria and Azhar Mahmood

  • RIZWAN YOUNUS on March 2, 2007, 21:06 GMT

    Thankyou Kamran again for such a well written article the fatboy shoaib and asif affair has been such a joke the rest of the other countries have been laughing there heads off at us and hey can you blame them? shambolic everyone knows that the two bowlers are totally fine they just knew that nandroline would still be in there blood. You would expect this off a fat self obsessed individual like shoaib but cannot help but to feel disappointed by asifs involvement. As for the world cup lets look at it as a positive the rest of the bowlers have now the biggest stage of all to show us what they are made of. Are you going to lead our bowling attack this world cup Mr Sami??? prove your doubters wrong including me. Allah Hafiz

  • Saad Mahmood on March 2, 2007, 21:04 GMT

    I totally agree with Kamran Abbasi.This is the opportunity for our young bowlers to discover themselves and show what they have got.Gul,Rana, and Sami have all shown good performances in the past, but lacked consistency.There is no doubt about their talent and on their particular days they have performed very well. In my opinion, the new ball should be shared between Gul and Rao, while Kaneria should be played in most of the matches, when ever there is any chance of ball helping the spin.I also have good hopes from Rana.He had a very good one day series against WestIndies in Pakistan lately.He can swing and has very good yorkers to bowl at the death and also has the ability to reverse swing.Three of the above mentioned 5 bowlers should play at a time and Afridi,Malik and Hafeez will share the remaining 20 overs among themselves.We need a positive and a sensible Imran Nazir with a consolidating Hafeez at the top.We have a good middle order with experience in the middle and Shoaib Malik coming in at no.6 with his temperament and finishing abilities.There is Afridi and Akmal to follow to hit the boundaries in the last 10.To sum up all is not lost for Pakistan and they can still be a fighting and a competitive force in this World Cup.They should forget about the Shoaib Asif issue and only use it to motivate themselves to prove that they are still a force without them.I request our ex-players to keep quiet if they cant help or motivate the team.This is not the time to criticize Inzi and his team, it is the time to support them.You never know, what this WC has got for us,and i believe in thinking positive and hoping for the best.Good luck and all the best wishes to Pakistan.

  • PakMan on March 2, 2007, 21:02 GMT

    I agree with everything you said but I will have to see if Rana pans out or not. I still cant get over how he performed recently in SA. Maybe he wasn't suited for those conditions and the conditions in the West Indies will suit him better.

  • Manzar on March 2, 2007, 20:59 GMT

    Indeed Pakistan chances affected due to this double blow but it doesnt mean Pak is down and out. Shoaib and Asif would have given Pakistan the extra edge in bowling dept compare to other teams. Pakistan is a team tht with Full Strength would lost all matches badly like 2003 WC, winning only with small teams despite having Wasim, Waqar and Shoib in their ranks. and Pakistan can win easily without their main players....So if the day belongs to Pakistan in WC they will triumph.

    All teams have similar bowling attack like Pakistan. maybe slightly better...Bond, Pollock, Ntini Mcgrath, Flintoff, Murli, apart from these all are average bowlers and most of theese great doesnot have good record on batting pitches.

    It will be batsman tournamnet and Batsman will have to step up Yousuf , Younis and esp Inzamam who is out of form for quite a while. then all rounders can play around them

    Hope Pakistan can bring something out of this WC.

  • Rayo from Kentucky on March 2, 2007, 20:43 GMT

    Whether or not the truth of Shoaib and Asif being left behind for the World Cup is eventually uncovered, I don't have a moment's doubt that it is traces of nandrolone, only nandrolone, and nothing but nandrolone in their systems. On a grandstage such as this, I don't think any team in the world would hesitate to take even a half-fit, limping, hamstrung Shoaib along if he belonged to them. I think that would be absolutely true of Pakistan as well, because we have done this before. If you set aside the politics, the petty bickering, the vanity, the spite and hurt egos, Shoaib has more than the potential to turn a losing match on its head to Pak's advantage. Do we really think that the PCB chief and Inzi and Bob are petty or that stupid that they would cut their nose to spite their face? The World Cup is the biggest jewel in the crown, and to not swallow ones pride and not take the very best (even if injured) is not a valid consideration. So, yes, it's nandrolone and only nandrolone.

  • khalid on March 2, 2007, 20:33 GMT

    dont worry.Pakistan will do better in the caribbean pitches.how the pitches will prepared?this is the main factor.i think they had to attack with their spinners.like Kaneria ,Hafeez,Afridi and Malik.Gul and Iftikhar r there with the new ball so Pakistanis should hope for the best.

  • Tariq (Dubai) on March 2, 2007, 20:17 GMT

    Dear Kamran Bhai: Well I agree with you to some extent. Imrans Leadership, Miandads Street Fighting, Inzi wasim heroics and Team sprirt won the cup for us.

    This year we are the underdogs and no body is considering us in the race. Although we dont have the above mentioned things together, i think we will do better then teams who are favourites.

    If our batting clicks, i am hopeful we will play in the semis with Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia

  • Faizan on March 2, 2007, 20:15 GMT

    Kamran I love reading your articles mostly because they r based on facts but I must say this one was just like something coming out of PCB, which was far away reality. How can u support rana and sami after their pathetic performances in ODI's vs S.A. Come on man u know Cricket. I feel so sorry when we keep going back to 1992, there is no comparison, we all know the man who led that team, Inzimam does not have half those qualities, he chooses his teams based on favoritism, thats why u dont see any change in the team even after they lost so bad vs S.A. PCB is a joke, its just like paki politics, sad but true. so stop dreaming this is the most unbalanced team. So please stop making them sound good, they make too much money nowadays so they dont care, they r going on vacation to caribbean so why dont u do the same.

  • rehan on March 2, 2007, 20:14 GMT

    if our batsmen can make big totals than these bowlers will get confidence.more pressure on batsmen but we do have good batsmen. yonis,shoaib inzamam,yousuf it is time for these four to consistently deliver and then we have a great chance.I hope pakistan has gone to the world cup with one intention to win.They have to believe that they can do it.

  • DR ADEEL SHAHZAD, BIRMINGHAM on March 2, 2007, 19:58 GMT

    I strongly believe that our all rounders are our strongest point... bowling now is the weakest. I WANT TO CONVEY MY OPINION THROUGH THIS FORUM AND THROUGH KAMRAN TO INZI/BOB/PCB...'PLEASE USE THE ALL-ROUNDERS TO THE FULL..GUL AND KENERIA ARE THE ONLY BOWLERS THAT WE HAVE... FORGET OTHERS'

    Recent performances by naved and sami are horrible. I believe yasir can bowl as effectively as naved, sami or rao... so use him to start the bowling and get an extra batsman.

  • Dr. Muhammad Imran on March 2, 2007, 19:54 GMT

    Forget Shoaib for the rest of your life!!!!!! what!!!! did i say something wrong...well many would not agree with the above statment ...even my heart dont accept it but thats what circumstances have taught us over the period of last one year or so. The wear and tear he is experiencing and at the rate which is very alarming......I expect to see very little of Mr. Akhtar in the near future and pakistan team "MUST" learn to bowl without him. As far as Asif is concerned, he will gain experience of ODIs with the passage of time but that too under the coaching of a good "fast bowling" coach. With Mushtaq Ahmed, I suspect he will have more command on his off cutters and slow bowls rather than yorkers and reverse swing. But Kamran is absolutly right......This is an event Rao, Sami and Gul must be dreaming about for years but with the frustration of being not selected in the presence of shoaib and asif. This is the perfect situation for all of them. With Rana getting older and shoaib getter more prone to injuries, this is the time for young guns to prove their worth, make their existense felt and create history rather than becoming history. I will vote for Gul, Rana, Kaneria, Azhar with Afridi, Hafeez and Malik as support. Lets support our future heroes and hope they prove their worth.

  • Imran From Rawalpindi on March 2, 2007, 19:47 GMT

    Pak attack is so diversified and full of potential but yet without any direction. Let see what we have got in our arsenal and how smartly we can use Pak blowout bowling weaponry. Mohammed sami is one talented bowler that we have wasted and destroyed intentionally. All sami needed was a confidence after continuous bad performances in one day and tests but we gave him finger instead. Pcb gives lots and lots of chances to some street cricketers for God knows why but we tend to turn blind eye to someone who had tons of potential. Someone should tell Sami that hey you are my terminator and all I want from you to get me couple of wickets and do not worry about runs or losing your place in team. Inzi has got pool of bowlers that he can use smartly. Firstly inzi should start with sami and gul in the beginning part of the game since Sami and Gul are wicket takers and in change over he can utilize Azhar and Rana and in middle he can use Shahid. I strongly believe that if Azhar and Shahid use their head and passion they can not only take wickets but also can contain runs as well. Inzi should play with these five bowlers and simply ask them to prove their worthy for their selection for this big event. Our bowlers need some confidence and direction and they will come out winner in every game. My final eleven for the first match should be Hafeez, Imran, Younis, Inzamam, Yousaf, Akmal, Shahid, Azhar, Rana, Sami and Gul. Mind you Gul is the only player who does not need any motivation. He is the only guy who has a fire in his belly and he is ready to be fired. I am 100 % sure that this bowling attack if they play to their full potential can win us WC. Inzi is a great player and lucky captain but I don’t think that he uses his skull very often during the match. Inzi should give us all a favour and should retire from the cricketing secne all at once. I wish my team wins a world cup for 150 million fans. Boom Boom Pakistan

  • Faisal Munawar on March 2, 2007, 19:44 GMT

    Well Kamran bhai Pakistan is known for there fighting ability and there heart for the game. Asif and Shoaib are gone so what! we have done well without them and we could do even better with out them. Our strength is batting on these pitches, if Afridi, Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, if they click and put up big totals, I am sure with the spinners like afridi, karneria, hafeez, shoaib we can defend these big totals. As far as the pacemen go i think Umar Gul and Sami and Rana can handle it. We are still a force in the cricketing world. Pakistan will win this Cup Inshallah. They were the underdogs in 1992 they won it...they were the best contenders in 2003 three with a team full of stars who couldnt make it to super 6. My heart says Pakistan VS. South Africa 2007 WC final Ladies and Gentlemen hold ur breath......Pakistan is coming. Kamran bhai think about it...our batsmen are called the bullies of flats...well now they have a chance to prove that they are the Kings of flats.

  • duthu on March 2, 2007, 19:43 GMT

    I think it would be difficult for Pakistan to even enter the semis...forget about winning

  • Ajay Aspathi on March 2, 2007, 19:39 GMT

    I donot think Pakistan stand any chance of winning the World Cup in the West Indies. In 1992 World Cup without Waqar they had Wasim,Imran,Aquib,Mustaq that it self shows you the variety. But with current Pakistani Team they donot have any variety and not even the fire power of the 90's.Plus no quality spinner in the side. In the 1992 edition they had experienced opening pair of Amir Sohail and Ramiz Raja,now they donot. Then they had self motivating player like Javed Miadad, who could win matches from any position.

    Now,you decide whether its worth taking a gamble on the Pakistan team if you are betting in favour of them.

  • CricketBuff on March 2, 2007, 19:27 GMT

    Where there is a will, there is a way.

    No point in lamenting on what is not available. Fight with the players who are in the team.

    I was really saddened by Inzi's comments that Shoaib and Asif are essential for the team otherwise Pak bowling will be very weak. But then we all know Inzi is a very negative and defensive Captain and it seems as if the excuses are already out.

  • Saqib Javaid Kuwait on March 2, 2007, 19:24 GMT

    Shoaib and asif not appearing in world cup is great lose for Pakistan but this was expected...I think PCB is much to be blamed on this whole doping scandal..We as Pakistani should support our home team and should not lose hopes although winning the world cup is difficult but not impossible...I am also a die heart fan of Pakistan's cricket as you all So come on guys its just a game and winning and losing is part of it....so CHILL!!! :)

  • Tamour on March 2, 2007, 19:21 GMT

    I still feel pakistan can still do fair bit of damage in West Indies. With the slow picthces and conditions similar to pakistan, asif and shoaib akhtar might not be considered great losses as pakistan has one of the best spin department. Afridi and Kaneria can turn the match in the mid with their excellent leg spin and wicket taking ability while malik and hafeez can really damage the run rate. And Gul can be a trump card for the team. So chances still dont look all gone to me. Pakistan has got fair bit of fire still left in them.

  • Dr. Sheraz Waris on March 2, 2007, 19:18 GMT

    I agree with Kamran that Pakistans bowling resources are still much better than what we had at the 92 world cup......remember Wasim Haider, Iqbal Sikandar, Aamir Sohail, an ageing Imran Khan and just in the side b/c he could turn his arm Ijaz Ahmed made the 4th and 5th bowlers, leave alone our luxury of 6th and 7th that we have today. Pardon me for saying this but our hopes of winnig the world cup as far as the bowling is concerned always lied with two individuals.....Umar Gul in his opening burst and Rana Naveed at the death end. These two have represented Pakistan for most of the past 2 years and served them well. Umar Gul....i dont remembered has hardly bowled a bad spell in the entire 2006....his match fitness remains a question and if he could get back into his groove...He'll do the trick. I consider him more effective than Asif in the opening overs because we saw how the south africans ignored him when on the run. Unlike Asif, Gul has a good pace besides the line & length stuff that he can use whemever things are getting out of control. He has developed a very good yorker and can bowl the perfect "Mcgrath like line" besides the occasional "Shoaib Akhtar bouncers". Rana has been our most sucessful one day bowler over the last 4 years...... particularly in the absence of Shoaib and asif, something quite strange but signifying the fact that he relishes responsibility. He is a world class bowler as far as bowling at the end is concerned and only if Inzamam could use him wisely, he would be much more lethal than any other bowler on his day. Kaaneria, Sami, Rao have all performed well in the past......particularly Rao who i thought bowled impressively at the champions trophy and has played more matches than shoaib and asif in the past 3 years. Razzaqs absence means Hafeez would be given a chance as an allrounder if not as an opener and i think he is much better than any specialist bowler at choking the runs, somehing which he showed in South Africa as well. With Afridi, Malik and Azhar, we have ample choices and only if the spirit is high, fielding is tight and captaincy is shrewd, i dont see any reason why we should bother over our bowling resources.

  • Yassar on March 2, 2007, 19:03 GMT

    I find it hugely disappointing that you of all people do not understand why Shoaib & Asif can not make the world cup.

    Let’s start at the beginning in order to comprehend why these 2 magnificent bowlers will not be a part of the Pakistani squad for the world cup.

    Both tested positive for a banned drug approximately 5 months ago. They or anybody else never denied this and thus enquiries were made of how the banned substance entered the bodies of these two athletes. Their initial bans were overturned due to them unknowingly taking substances that were banned through the use of additional supplements that were deemed to be safe and legal.

    As they were tested by the PCB they were also punished in compliance with the PCB rules regarding this matter.

    Unfortunately for Pakistan and for the individuals involved it seems as if the substances in their bodies have not cleared sufficiently enough for them to pass any additional tests they would have been subjected to if they had been included in the world cup squad.

    This leads to the PCB and more importantly the 2 players making a decision which could possibly decide their future within the game. They quite rightly decided that non-involvement in the world cup was the best option for them and for PAKISTAN.

    I find it amazing that so many people are criticising them for not going to the world cup, including ex –players like Ramiz Raja who has called for them to apologise to the nation of Pakistan. Quite frankly Ramiz does not know what he is talking about, does he not think that the players themselves are absolutely gutted for missing such an event. Does he not think Shoaib and Asif tried their best to be involved, particularly Shoaib as it would most certainly be his last world cup.

    The two players have made a mistake or been very naive…what ever you think, but as Pakistani supporters and lovers of cricket we should support them and will them to get back into the national colours of Pakistan as soon as possible and not vilify them again and again for the same reason.

  • Syed Wajahat Ali (Calgary) on March 2, 2007, 18:55 GMT

    Kamran I totally agree with you there, being a Captain myself and leading my team for the last 4 seasons I have come to appreciate the realization of a team being more than the sum of it's parts. I have gone through the so-called 'superstars' and their antics and I tell you, they are nothing more than a burden and a liability. It is truly amazing what a team can do when unity and strong ethics is what they are blessed with and I have had the first hand experiences to relate. The Current Pakistan team can only win this World Cup through sheer determination and working together to complement each other. But that can only be done by master strategist and a natural leader. Unfortunately Inzamam is neither of these and some senior player will have to take the initiative to assist Inzamam with this deficiency. Again unforunately Younis Khan is no where near the right man for this job. So here is a shout out to you Bob Woolmer, "You have all the ingredients to win this world cup, STOP experimenting and make sensible decisions with a dose of calculated risks" As far as the bowlers are concerned in my humble opinion Umer Gul is and will be a far better bowler than Asif is right now. He has far more pace and the same level of control that Asif does. Rao and Rana/ Sami can complement him very well, but the main difference I feel will be Danish Kaneria. I was watching the clips for the 1992 WC last night and I realized how integral to Pakistan's win Mushy was. Maybe Inzamam, Bob and Kaneria need to sit down watch the 1992 WC Final Pakistan vs England. We dont have a Wasim Akram or an Imran Khan but we have Inzamam, Mohammed Yousuf, Umer Gul, Afridi. Kaneria we don't need the DRUGGIES!!! We have a far better chance now than the world cup of 1992, the team has to work together intelligently. Good Luck team Pakistan!

  • Basit on March 2, 2007, 18:46 GMT

    I am someone who is not even concerned about the absence of shoaib and asif considering the fact that they were sidelined due to doping charges although kept under the shade of PCB's stupid planning and unfair decision making.

    Even a 6 year old could have tell you that the traces cant be removed this early i.e. with in 4 months but these idiots still persisited with them and then left Pakistan team reeling just before the wc on the injury basis.

    I think this present team consists of players who are well aware that if they will not perform in the coming world cup, they are certain to be eliminated from the team.Players like sami and rana particularly should find this as a golden oppurtunity to stage a comback and show the world what they are capable off, they should remain confident about their positions as lead bowlers in absence of druggies and probabily someone who can make us proud.

    For every Pakistani fan, please forget about shoaib and asif and start cheering the presnt team.InshAllah they will come up with something which we cant imagine.

    BEst of Luck - OUR TIGERS - THE PAKISTAN TEAM

  • Adab Hashmi on March 2, 2007, 18:38 GMT

    Mr.Abbasi, there is a world of difference between optimism and fool's hope. To think that bowlers like Naved-ul-Hasan and Mohammad Sami would actually deliver at that most sleep-wreaking, and pressure-wielding of tournaments, is to err on the side of the latter. No matter what is said of Shoaib and Asif, they are the best we've got. Maybe not the best technically, but how often have we seen 'names' win matches. Batsmen (look at De Villier's and Pollock's dismissla in the first test) getting out to nothing deliveries, just because Akhtar is bowling at them. Asif, the most hyped up bowler in the world today, his one-day record is wanting still, and yet we created a god out of him. Because, that is what wins you matches. The play on the minds of the opposition. Ability has very little correlation with Winning. Its about mindset. Pakistan team however, likes to rattle their own brains. in 1996 we had Wasim Waqar controversy, in 1999 we had the controversy in the final, 2003--it wasnt a team that went to SA, it was a bunch of heady individuals. And now this. It aches my heart to see true commitment ( look at Jacob Oram) never being at the base of our team's endeavors. Hope..there is none. We have no openers that can pass the 50 run mark together. There is stagnation, they get out hte same way, everytime. The middle three, well, Younis and Inzamam havent been at their best for about 6 months now. Afridi is erratic, and that void of an entity that we call our 'bowlers', well, I tihnk I can bowl better than Sami or Naved. I have no doubt in my mind. They look like gully bowlers that are just pacey(not even that anymore), that get hit for five sixes and take a wicket the next ball. With econ. of around and aobve 5, opposition scores a 300 everytime with them bowling. Malik and Yousuf are the only consistent batsmen. Akmal, well, he is akmal. where does one start?

    Where is the hope of hope? I think (but most definitely do not hope) that we will exit the world cup due to inadequacy in bowling, baating AND fielding. We are lacking dearly in every department. Hope...there is no hope for hope.

  • Amanzeb Khan on March 2, 2007, 18:36 GMT

    If you talk about potential there is still some hope. But we have not seen enough bowling to potential from Sami and Rana to be optimistic. Sami has been a big disappointment throughout his career and can not put together six decent balls in an over. Rana has just lost it in the last six months or so. He has started bowling too short and goes for plenty of runs. Yasir Arafat does not look international material from what i have seen of him. I hope i am wrong but my gut feeling is that we will be hit for plenty of runs in each game. The burden will fall on Gul, Kaneria and Afridi and I hope they keep things tight. But if we are to perform in this tournament it has to be our batting line up which gets us across the line. I am still optimistic but purely on the batting front. I believe our batting side with Younis, Yousuf and Inzi will win us a few games. They have to because the bowling is extremely thin.

  • Imran on March 2, 2007, 18:35 GMT

    This is sad but a reality that we have to go into worldcup without our main strike bowlers, regardign asif.. I might be not as disapointed as I am about shoiab, asif got years ahead of him and contribute in many world cups to follow but as far as shoaib is concern, this would've been his last World cup and to end his career in thi manner would be heart breakning for him. Regardless of all his non cricket related activities, he still has big passion to play for pakistan. So form moving on from this debate, what do we do now? Gull is good enough for any opponent and Rana naveed should be used in the death over, i really hope inzi read the last week stats about death over bowlers where naveed abilities really shines.but beside these 2 we have no fast bowler which is terrible especially having a reputation of producing best fast bowlers in the world, we have no world class bowlers going into worldcup. Sami selection just makes me laugh, why not experiment with Anwar ali???? he is no u19 player anymore , his speed is upper 80's. I have no idea what these dumb selectors are thinking. regardless of all this mess, i will be suporting pak to the max and somewhere in my heart it says we have a chance..

  • omar hussain on March 2, 2007, 18:32 GMT

    Thank you Mr.Abbasi for your optisim.Yes i too feel that something is rotten in the PCB and Pakistan ARE the laughing stock of international cricket.The fellow i feel realy sorry for is Asif,the most skillfull and bravest of our bowlers.Now that we have,allah be thanked,Yasir Arfat back in the sqaud we can still field a potentially strong bowling attack in Sami,Gul,Arfat,Mahmood,Afridi and Malik.Good luck to the boys.Cheers please!

  • S M AZMAT SHAH on March 2, 2007, 18:30 GMT

    Kamran Sahib ,this thing i have been hearing since yesterday , that pakistani fans should not panic, because in 1992 also, we had a weak side and we won .If Pak won that WC92, so atleast they had inspirational leader like Imran khan, and above all , the greatest southpaw the game has ever produced,WASIM AKRAM.Who in this current side equals charisma of Wasim,they cant even think of to be wasim akram.One thing has saddened me, and offcourse the whole nation, that why we have only sami and rao as backup bowlers.Doesnt this nation have better bowlers than them?.Sami ,has been time and again tested,dropped and recalled,but i just dont know why is he recalled?When his over starts, i shut my tv.Years have gone by, and he still doesnt know how to bowl.Pakistan has raw bowling talent,PCB should organize fast bowling hunts,We badly need those 90 milers again.Sami and Rao are just teasers.Or maybe they are ok but this nation is used to what the Two Ws used to do and they are just not capable of those.This will be my first worldcup when TWO Ws wont be participating.Miss you and will always miss you Mr Wasim and Waqar

  • Haider on March 2, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    In essence, the burden has shifted to batting. Luckily we are still strong there. Bowling has been our strength, but with the core mid level at its peak sans SA trip (Younis, Inzi, Yousuf), we should be looking forward to some excitement. The key will be Inzamam's captaincy and how he uses his bowlers. Imran almost always thought of attcking, but he had that luxury: (himself, Aaqib Javed, Wasim, Qadir and Waqar). Qadir was a wicket taker. Field placement, an often overlooked area, is a key for a captain with a depleted attack. Pakistan has generally been weak in placements (let alone the absolute skill of fielding). With Afridi, Malik and Azhar floating around, we need to better use them also. Chances have certainly been reduced with Shoaib and Asif out, but now comes in the need for strategic planning and resourceful use of his talents by the captain. Again, we NEED a fast bowling coach to accompany the remaining ones who are relatively erratic and/or inexperienced. Mr Kamran, I disagree with you on Rana being a good containing bowler at death. His recent performances in one-days have been VERY expensive.

  • Himayun Mirza on March 2, 2007, 18:26 GMT

    I have been a great fan of cricket and keep myself informed even after I moved to the US in 1979.

    I have been a chemist and currently working as Direct R& D in a chemical company. To the best of knowledge and educated guess, both of these Pakistani bowlers were just buying the time to cleanse their bodies of any traces of drugs. They may have gone to some of the experts in the field and may be under the de-tox program. However, their private test results may have shown that their bodies still have the residual drug(s).

    It is so simple that even a common drug abuser knows about it. Before going for a scheuled drug test many stop taking the drugs say one month before.

    Thanks for telling the truth which is not common among us.

  • suhail khan on March 2, 2007, 18:26 GMT

    pakistan still has decent bowling attack if not great. Remember they had worse(Umar Gul was not there) bowling attack when they visited india in 2005 and still won. Atleast two of Big 3 batsmen will have to fire in every match. As Imran Khan suggested Inzi should come up the order. In SA, pak lost series due to poor batting and instead of poor bowling(only first match was lost due to poor bowling).

  • Arsalan Khan on March 2, 2007, 18:24 GMT

    Yeah, exactly.

  • Mustafa Moiz on March 2, 2007, 18:24 GMT

    I agree with your last sentence except for Arafat; Azhar Mahmood and Shoaib Malik, especially the latter, are a much bigger threat than Yasir Arafat. Afridi should never play again. He should have been dropped in 1996. Asif starts well, but how can you use him much if you can't even use him at the death and he collapses under pressure. Sami, Gul, Kaneria, Shoaib Malik and Rao Iftikhar are the most important bowlers especially Malik and Sami, as they are both fair batsmen. Hafeez can stop runs, as well. Azhar Mahmood is a good all-rounder and Rana would be good if he weren't so out of form. Rao iftikhar is excellent. Pakistan's biggest blow was the loss of Abdul Razzaq, their best bowler and hitter. However, Rao will be a handful with a batting average of 44.5.

  • Ahmad on March 2, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    It seems this world cup is all about batting and batsmen.All the teams in the competition are backing their batsmen rather than their bowlers to win the world cup. So it does not matter if Shoib and Asif are not playing. Pakistan has still got a great chance of winning considering they have the best middle in the world. Go Yousuf , Younis and Inzammam.

  • imran mujawar on March 2, 2007, 18:20 GMT

    if the pakis want to win they should not be playing RANA NAVED and YAIR ARAFAT in any match .they shud play m.sami

  • Sohail Iqbal on March 2, 2007, 18:20 GMT

    I totally agree with Kamran that the loss of Shoaib and Asif is great but Pakistan can still surprise everybody. They have got the bowlers who have got some experience and have been around for a while now. I think its better that Shoaib isn't going because he is a "Problem Child" and he is really dangerous for team spirit and unity. I feel that this team basically misses out on Asif's excellent line & lenght and Razzaq's hitting power. I don't think Razzaq's bowling ability is of much use these days. So, Pakistan must not think negatively now as they are still a good side and are capable of winning. I am just a bit worried about the approach Inzamam has taken in the last few days building up to the World Cup. He is a little defensive in his appraoch, I mean he is always telling that the side is missing players due to injuries and stuff. He also said that he still believes Australia is the best side and I think this is totally a negative and defensive approach before even starting and playing!!! Can you imagine Ricky Ponting saying: "I think Pakistan is the best side going into the World Cup... I know they are not but even if Pakistan were the best side" Please comment if you don't agree with what I have said about the Pak team. I would appreciate your contribution towards my comments. Thanks

  • Hamzah F. on March 2, 2007, 18:19 GMT

    What's done is done...the World Cup is all about taking the opportunity given to you and it's my hope that our players will perform to the best of their abilities...leave the politics aside and capture the hearts of our nation

  • Asim Khan on March 2, 2007, 18:15 GMT

    I think they should play Umer, Rao, Azhar and Danish in the first two onedayers when Afridi is not available .... but I dont think Pakistan has any chances of reaching even Semifinals, forget 92 as at that time we had a leader who could lead from the front ..... but at the moment we are missing two quality pace bowlers, one allrounder Razzaq and then to top it off 'A Leader' ..... if Pakistan reaches the semifinal with these resources then I must say its a shame on other competing teams :)

    As for Ramiz's comment that the duo should apologize, well I think they should do the thing which warne did 'take the retirement from one day cricket' .... plain and simple thus you avoid any dope testing by ICC and considered a fair player ..... even though you may be living on performance enhancement or 'to get back fit quicker' drugs :)

  • Abdul Rahim on March 2, 2007, 18:08 GMT

    This is a serious blow to Pakistan's chances in the world cup but I am an extremely positive person and that's why I believe that if every individual in the team plays up to their potential showing believe, unity and faith then Pakistan will be a very hard team to beat. Also dont forget the prayers of more than 150Mn people. Let's hope for the best!

  • Gugu on March 2, 2007, 18:08 GMT

    The first this I should say what the hell had happen if the board has simply said that two players still have high level of substance so we withdraw them!

    And as far as the bowlers, Dr. Abbasi, are you too like board has made your dormant view about Azhar Mehmud? He has to be in first 11, he is in for A Razzaq, who would have been must (even with his out of form bowling). We need a fast-medium bowling all-rounder at no 7 for last 10 overs with Afridi. What are you expecting from M Hafeez? That he will score 100 runs per match and pick 4 wickets :p

  • Murtaza on March 2, 2007, 18:05 GMT

    Sami's one day record sucks, he did bowl better in south africa and carrying the pace attack with umar might do his confidence a world of good. rana is just useless the amount he gets hit is just crazy. Rao i havent seen too much off, and didnt think much from what i saw off him. Pakistans chances of success in this world cup are minimal at best, our leadership lacks in inzamam (but dont have many other choices do we? dont even say younis he showed his lack of maturity in the ICC cup) i would say we're lucky if we make it to the semi's. I dont see this team going beyond the super 8's

  • Omar Ansari on March 2, 2007, 18:05 GMT

    Haha I don't know why but I think people are suddenly a lot more optimistic!! Everywhere I go I hear; "We are serious contenders, we have a lot of potential blah blah" haha

    But I too think we have it in us to go all the way, it will all depend on Rana, Sami, Gul and Kaneria. Because even a target of 350 these days isn't enough to guarantee a side a win, our bowlers must perform! If they don't, I will make it my personal goal to hunt down each and every member of the selection comitee and kick their butt!!

    I don't want to say anything negative in case one of our player reads this blog and gets disheartened :P hehe I just hope Yasir Arafat proves what he is worth just like Andrew Symonds did last world cup...

  • Tay'yab-Ali on March 2, 2007, 18:05 GMT

    Asif was never going to the WC-the signs were there during SA. Would you really have bowled your best bowler to death if he was required for the WC..the ans is NO. they milked asif for all his worth because he was going to chill at home with Shaoib.

    pakistans chances of doing well in the WC depends solely on their batting. Pakistan have very rarely lost games due to lack of quality bowlers, our losses have always been down to a batting colapse. My view, if our batting click, with our bowling resources we should be able to defend a reasonably good target.

  • RaRaRasputin on March 2, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    What wonderful folk-wisdom Mr.Abbasi ..."where there's heart there's always hope". I suggest the following sappy nugget to brighten up your next entry "when your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme". I also suggest building your next column around the ever popular saying: "There are big ships and small ships, but the best ship is friendship", and elaborate on how with subversive elements like shoaib gone the team can sail to victory with "friendship". If the thought occurs to you that some members of the team may be new(Arafat) or feel a bit out of place in the current ODI set-up (Kaneria, Azhar) you could always plummet the depth of sappiness and think "strangers are just friends waiting to happen".

  • Khan on March 2, 2007, 17:57 GMT

    The mistake made by Pakistan was picking inadequate bowlers like rana and now adding sami to the squad. Is there any logic in this selection. Openners such as butt and hameed have been dumped for poor perfomances yet bowlers like rana naveed are top of the selction list. There seems to be a lack of bowling talent in pakistan, why not take a youngster like ali anwar who made an impact in the u19 wc. In my opinion he cant do any worse than rana naveed. If pakistan are gonna progress in this world cup they will have to score 300+ against the better teams to progress.....thats how poor our bowling is without the 2 strike bowlers missing for whatever reason.

  • Ahmad Zubairi on March 2, 2007, 17:57 GMT

    Kamran I usually agree with you 75% of the time but you are 100% correct this was my first gut feeling I was down then said so what Shoaib hardly played in last 2 years, Asif is great but we tend to forget he is just been part of the team for one year. We have won against India,Srilanka,West Indies without them and we can do it again.It also helps that we are playing in West Indies batting is much more inportant and bowling on good line and length. Since Pakistan always do better when chips are down I believe they will do well.First game is important to gain confidence.I never thought I will ever agree to anything that Donald Rumsfeld says but it reminds something he said that applies here you dont go to the war with the army you want but with the army you have.We have to wisely use our resources and Inzi role will be very important.Interestingly our track record shows in world cups when we had a very experienced side and we had lots of expectations we did not do well, so I am staying positive. Good Luck Pakistan

  • Karthik on March 2, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    A real shame for Pakistan no doubt, but considering what had been going on for the past few months surrounding Asif and Shoaib, this didnt come ass too much of a surprise to me. However both of them will be sorely missed by the team, and the news that Razzaq was already out just seems to make this an even deeper predicament for Pakistan. I'm going to miss seeing Shoaib tear in and bowl at 90+ mph, and the absence of Brett Lee from this world cup means that this edition will be a little short in the pace department (also given Harmison's retirement from ODI's late last year). Pakistan now have to adopt an entirely new strategy and will have to rely more than ever now on their spin department, because although their pace attack is more than competent, they are lacking in experience. It's time for Mohammad Sami to step out of the shadows and take up the mantle that he has been expected to for so long as Pakistan's attack leader. Pakistan are still a threat and it's times like these that test the character and depth of a team. History has shown that nothing is more dangerous than a Pakistan team with a point to prove (as well as not much more to lose in this case), and being an Indian supporter, I can definitely attest to that. Pakistan's batsmen will now carry an even greater burden on their shoulders, since they may have to score more runs in order to make up for the lack of experience in their pace department. Two weeks away from the start of the world cup, and there's still no clear cut favorite, things are gonna be spicy down in the caribbean. One thing however that needs to be found out is what exactly happened behind the scenes that led to Shoaib's and Asif's ommission from the squad, and only then can Pakistan cricket begin to dispel the dark cloud of uncertainty and controversy that hangs over it at the moment. Best of luck to all teams, as this tournament's going to be a cracker.

  • Khanzada on March 2, 2007, 17:43 GMT

    Well, the inevitable happened & as expected PCB in spite of knowing what's on cards, didn't have a backup plan. I am sick of seeing failures like Sami & Naved getting endless chances where Yasir A & Rao or even Azhar have not been given enough. Also, same deal with not giving Danish any chances in 1-day. So, now we've a team where half of the players do not have enough international match practice...way to go PCB!

  • Abu Bakar on March 2, 2007, 17:41 GMT

    very true indeed...this situation does seem reminiscent to the 1992 world cup where waqar younis on the top of his game got injured. But the problem is that in 92, Pakistan had bowlers like wasim akram,muhtaq ahmed and imran khan to fall back on. In this world cup we have no one, even though umer gul and danish kaneria are potential match winners they fail to deliver when it matters the most.

  • Amyn Habib on March 2, 2007, 17:41 GMT

    Any bowlers? No. None.

    Dear Pakistan Cricket Team,

    Relax. We want you to go to the Caribbean and have a good time. Think of the World Cup as a vacation—an all expense paid vacation.

    Nobody expects you to win or advance beyond the Super 8. Well, nobody except for the frankly psychotic and the eternally optimistic. True, there is an expectation that you will advance to the Super 8 stage, and hopefully you will stand tall against Ireland and Zimbabwe. So enjoy the games and good luck. Try not to think about the aftermath.

    And stay away from substances that show up in the urine.

  • Mohammad Rafik on March 2, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    I don't think there is any good compatible bowler left in squad now. Forget about the cup, Forget about the pride and forget about even watching pakisthani games. It is worthless, humiliating, shameful to watch a team who makes there bowlers to bowl by feeding steroids.Cheating is middle name of Pakisthani team. PCB is like teenage child, who is stupid and stubborn. Making mistakes after mistakes. Trying to fool everyone by excuses of injuries instead of real facts of illegaly using steroids to make there bowler bowl fast. You can't win world cup this way. Almighty don't bless rewards to people, who are cheat!

  • venu on March 2, 2007, 17:37 GMT

    Congratulation to PCB on avoiding a farcical situation. Oh! wait, that is exactly what happened. Why don't they just take the drug test as mandated by PCB and let the world see that the reason they are out is because of fitness and not drugs. Asif is a great bowler and he has a long future in this sport, why spoil his career? Come out and be transparent - the last thing Inzi and his team wants to do is get media attention for two players who aren't playing....

  • Faizaan on March 2, 2007, 17:35 GMT

    Thats it. The dream is over and i fear will not be able to compete with the top teams. Save a though for Umar Gul who has probably worked really hard and will be the only strike bowler. I hope he does well im behind him.

  • Deep on March 2, 2007, 17:34 GMT

    Shoaib , Asif, Umar Gul and Rana Naved at death... with Abdul Razzaq to back up. Formidable on paper , never to be realized on field... the sooner this fact is reconciled with, the better. Pakistan still has enough firepower to make a decent fist of things.

    In the hindsight though, for all the smog being created with supposed 'injuries', real injuries and little else , the most lamentable is lack of genuinely destructive bowlers from the WC '07 as a whole. Without Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, ..and Shane Bond just about a little niggle away from sidelines .. it would be left upto Makhaya Ntini to tilt the balance in these days of small grounds, and 20 butchering overs. Just for the sake of genuine contest, i hope Mohammad Sami, Shaun Tait or Sreesanth step up ... wishful ? , you bet !

  • imran mujawar on March 2, 2007, 17:32 GMT

    when do we will see unity in pakistan cricket team.

  • Dawar on March 2, 2007, 17:31 GMT

    We will miss Shoaib Akthar and Mohammad Asif in the world cup. They are really good fast bowlers.

    Now Board called Yasir Arfat on the special request of management (most probably Inzi & Mushi).

    Yasir Arfat: Age: 25 Total Matches: 7 Total Wickets: 4 Total Runs: 48 Birth Place: Rawalpindi, Punjab Yasir Arfat was selected for the world cup squad.

    Is it merit? Recently, Fawad Alam proves that he is the better all-rounder than him. He did not play any international matches yet but his domestic performance is much better than Yasir Arfat & even from Shoaib Malik. Playing only seven matches should not be considered as an experience player.

    Performance should be measure.

    In his (Yasir Arfat) seven matches, I do not see any performance.

    what do you think?

    why was Yasir Arfat considering for the world cup???

    Dawar, LA, USA

  • Farhan Mumtaz on March 2, 2007, 17:26 GMT

    Shahid Afridi should take up fast bowling. Might give credence to Imran's theory of pathan fast bowlers - go afridi!

  • Asad ul-Haq on March 2, 2007, 17:25 GMT

    So we don't have Shoaib, Asif, and Razzaq... hmmm, well I wouldn't say we are cornered tigers yet - the Pakistan team is brimming with talent. While of course having those 3 players as an option is better than not having them, but what I do take heart from is that I have seen many times that Pakistan tends to focus a lot better when the odds are stacked up against them. I can't wait for the world cup!!!

    BATTING:

    Inzamam, Yousuf - match winners

    Younis - consistency, positive attitude

    Shoaib Malik - will get to 40 runs without the other team even realizing it and then on many occasions go on to make a good/great score.

    Nazir, Akmal, Afridi - these guys , i would say on an average day are good for 80 - 100 runs (combined ) at a strike rate of 100+ . On a good day, 120 - 140. On a great day 150 - 200 ! Even if these 3 have an average day, with consistency from Inzi, Yousuf and Younis - Pakistan would be able to make a very good score.

    Bowling:

    Weakened yes, because of the loss of the three players - but still a good group - a group i think a number of the other 7 super eight teams wouldn't mind swapping their own bowlers for!

    Gul - has a great record , and will be eager to remind everyone what he can do.

    Afridi - a fantastic wicket taking bowler!

    Azhar - will be eager to show what he can do after being out of the team for so long. Think as a bowler, he's better than Razzaq.

    Rana Naved - if there is reverse swing in those pitches, watch out! He'll also be able to play some cameo knocks as well - he's hit a number of sixes recently!

    Kaneria - I think he will be eager to show he can be a regular member on the one day side. I've heard a number of people say he is more adept at restricting batsmen rather than taking their wickets - well in a LIMITED overs game, that's important to have too - adds pressure on batsmen to take risks.

    Fielding:

    Nazir, Hafeez, Younis , Inzi in the slips, Afridi, - an area which Pakistan use to never be up to the mark, not any more...

    GOOD LUCK PAKISTAN!!!

  • Fatir Malik on March 2, 2007, 17:24 GMT

    You are right to criticise the PCB's handling of the Shoaib-Asif affair, but more importantly, you are right to support the team at this important juncture. Pakistan are capable of doing the unexpected and the scene is set for such an event. So let us concentrate on backing our team wholeheartedly and forget the rest (at least for the moment).

  • Harish on March 2, 2007, 17:23 GMT

    Kamran, after all the bruah and the talks and the furores....There is only one thing that can Create Heroes....The Game Itslef.

    LET THE GAMES BEGIN !

  • Mo Khan on March 2, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    Kamran Bhai, I will go along with your eternal optimism. Forget heart = hope, how about if you have NOTHING, at least have hope?

    Asif is a blow and we all know it. For us to even sniff the final four would require MOTM performances from YO-YO. If their partnerships cross the 50/100 runs mark, we will be ok.

    Pakistan Zindabad!

  • Khan22 on March 2, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    What a bowling line up, umar gul is the only bowler in the team the rest is below avg and peice of crap. sami is famous of giving away flood of runs. kaneria has proved so far he is not one day bowler and he will prove that one more time. Yasir Arafat is neither a bowler or a batsman what the hell he is? Azhar mehmood why dosnt he retire, he was never a good alrounder and now he is back again. Rana has been watching sami's video alot, and he totally forgot how to bowl, he is finished. Iftikhar Anjum is ok and dosnt take any wickets, its not his fault he is in the team. Even if Pakistan scores 300 runs I dont think they will be able to defend those runs. This team is a joke, they wont even go to the semis.

  • Aamir Yunus on March 2, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    Our bowlers can still defend a total of 300+. Now the question is, if Pakistan can post 300+ in 4 of the 8 Super 8 games. If yes, they are in semis, if now, there will always be WC2011.

  • chudhary on March 2, 2007, 17:15 GMT

    I don't see Kaneria performing against quality sides.

    With Afridi, Malik & Hafeez in the team Kaneria would be redundant and also his fielding is the worst I have seen by anyone in international cricket.

  • Samuel Alexander on March 2, 2007, 17:14 GMT

    You have to be the funniest columnist ever,you are saying the double loss of shoaib-asif doesnt make your stomach churn but waqar's unavailability in the 1992WC did.Could you be any more ignorant.How could you forget in '92 Pakistan had the legendary Wasim Akram and I'm not gonna even mention the fact how influencial Imran Khan as a leader was.This squad have to be the weekest one in any WC for Pakistan even in papers.Be realistic-do you still expect Sami to come up with goods??Gul has just returned from an injury and as usual all the pressure would be on him.You don't have a single efficient pacer to support your strike bowler(its Gul for the time being).If a team decide to take a player called Azhar Mahmood regardless how hostlie the situation is,ya it's doomed.It's just a matter of common sense to keep Razzak with the team for 3 weeks while he recovers then play him in super 8 stage.Even Bangladesh have a better opening pair of batsmen than you do,I mean cmon what could you possibly expect from Hafeez??Let's hope if not with his captaincy Inzamam would at least lead his team with his bat like Javed Miandad did in the '92WC.

    What makes my stomach churn is when the casualty of Pakistan Cricket Board allows some moronic aussie reporter of Sydney Morning Herald badmouth one of the cricket world's ferocious fast bowlers which is bound to seem rather personal.

  • Husham Ahmed on March 2, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    I agree Kaneria and Gul must play in the 11 now as we have already faced the blow of shoaib and asif. These two are wicket taking bowlers But the thing that bothers me is that kaneria hasnot played any one day match recently. As a matter of fact he hasnot played much in ODI's. I agree that he is a genuine wicket taking bowler But we must not forget that One day game is an altogether different style of the game than test cricket. In the test match you only look for wickets while in the one day you have to keep in check the flow of runs as well.

  • Haroon Syed on March 2, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    Yes hit the nail when you call it optimism.But i agree,there are bowlers in the squad still who are potential match winners,they have the talent,all they need is concentration,mental strength and discipline.Rana had it briefly during his tour of india,Sami had it for a while and i believe since it would be Nazir's last major appearance,we should definately keep an eye on him as well.Same goes for our batsmen who have been struggling.Hafeez,malik and akmal are all dead wicket masters and i doubt the wickets during the WC would be hard,the organizers would want big scoring games,so anything could happen.But alas there are lots of if and buts,but lets keep the hope alive. The loss of those two is a big blow,and is echoed by the concern people like Hayden showed when they poked their nose into the whole doping matter.Well Mr. Hayden,after your exposure to Shane bond,we can see why and you can sleep well now.

  • Kh4L1D on March 2, 2007, 17:12 GMT

    Be as optimistic as you like, but we aint going anywhere in this world cup.

    Fair point about Akhtar, the lads ar used to being without him, but Asif is a major major blow. he only got clobbered in that 1 over against south africa in the recent series when Boucher took after him, other than that he was completely solid and the only threat pakistan posed with the ball.

    Kaneria's one-day recored is poor, same goes, Gul is too in-experienced, Sami is all over the place and been a mis-fit for too long, Rana has just lost the plot over the last 7-8 months.

    Its going to take a special effort from the middle order to make up for the poor bolwing and erratic top order. Good luck to them, but dont get your hopes up.

  • Syed Waqar on March 2, 2007, 17:10 GMT

    I am sure that they won't be able to qualify for the semi finals...

    Alas, Pakistan!

  • Mian Gul Muhammed on March 2, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    I agree with u Kamran, I also believe that withdrawl of Shoaib & Asif is due to remnants of nandrolone in their blood streams, so they decided to fake injuries and pcb agreed to cover their asses. PCB has failed as an organisation in this whole fisco and all those responsible for such a cock up at an international scale deserve to be investigated and ultimately punished. What is done is done and there is no need to cry on split beans. However i seriously hope that someone at the end of the world cup clear all this mess from the board as cricket is a very high profile sport that demands a lot of media coverage all over the world and such blunders from pcb provide others basis to laugh. Coming back to Pakistan's chances in the world cup, well by looking at their recent performance it is very difficult to believe that they any realistic chance of winning it but i do agree with you that its a very good side with a lot of potential. We have a strong batting line up if that fire expect some good totals. Our bowling is not that bad either. We have performed well with the same bowling line up in the past. I wish them all the best and i hope that perform well. To behonest, if Pakistan plays upto its potential and they perform well, weather than win or not, i don't care as long as they play some good cricket. I have a gut feeling they will play very well but it remains to be seen whether they get some where or not but i wish them all the best and good luck as these guys are representing our country. Lets all do the same rather than crticising them.

  • Farhan Mumtaz on March 2, 2007, 17:08 GMT

    I think Younis Khan and Inzi can also bowl a bit :p

  • Shah on March 2, 2007, 17:07 GMT

    This is the first article in quite sometime, in which Kamaran has is not lashing on Pak Cricket. Pak Cricket has gone thru crisis (and still going thru) which is part of the sports. In the recent cricketing events, Australia had gone thru injuries and humiliating defeats. But none of the Australian journalists were embarrassed and wrote, “I am embarrassed are you?” You may have been right on few occasion but your articles were like oil on the burning fire. As for the bowlers, I hope and pray Gul is 100% fit and delivers to his best but my money is on Sami… I believe he will rise to the occasion (it is way over due from him). As for the all-rounder, Shoaib will use his ever wisdom to rescue in crisis situations. For the team, as we all know it is extremely talented team and they have to stay focus and work like a TEAM And for all of us, who like to see good things coming from Pak Cricket, stay positive…. that is the least we can do.

    Shah

  • RSN on March 2, 2007, 17:07 GMT

    When you look back at akthar's decade long career, you wonder how such talent can be overshadowed with ego,chucking and ball tampering controversies,faking injuries, and now doping!..what a shame and waste.!

    for a person who has played a decade, he is still a lone wolf and has been spasmodically brilliant and brilliantly ineffective at most of the times.

    it is a pity that Asif fell for the trap so early in his career.

    I still feel that Pak has one of the best reservoirs of fast bowlers, who come out of nowhere but end up on top.

    Things are not as bleak as it may seem. But a line up of Sami,Gul,Rana naved,afridi,shoaib malik is still competetive!

    Srilanka didn't have a great bowling line up in 1996, yet they still won because they adapted their game strategies toward their massive batting.Pak can take a leaf out of their books for a good measure.

  • RA on March 2, 2007, 17:02 GMT

    Kamran, that's true the scenario seems similar to that of pre-1992 WC:

    - a key player injured (Waqar) - main batsman left behind initially (Miandad) - some decidedly mediocre or unproven players in the squad (mediocre: Wasim Haider, Iqbal Sikandar, Zahid Fazal - unproven: Aamir Sohail, Mushtaq Ahmed, Moin Khan and ofcourse Inzamam himself) - an unsettled combination (see the batting orders of the qualifying round, everyone from the openers to the middle/lower order was shuffled and reshuffled, before arriving at the right combo i.e. Ramiz/Sohail to open and Imran, Miandad, Inzi, Salim Malik to follow) - adding to that was Imran Khan’s shoulder injury, luckily his stronger facet at that time (batting) was not too adversely affected.

    But, that team had leadership and responsibility in Imran and Miandad, potentially explosive batting (Inzi and Sohail) and most importantly match-winning bowlers in Wasim, Aqib and Mushtaq.

    This time around I can see the batting performing with the strong middle order and the allrounders (or mini-allrounders rather!) but there’s no hope of inspirational leadership – Inzi and Imran have hugely contrasting leadership styles and I’m not sure how much of an impact Younis Khan has on the field when Inzi is present. Furthermore and most worryingly, there are no quality bowlers. Your article is very heartening, but as you said yourself: eternally optimistic. I can’t find a single bowler who could play a decisive hand like Wasim, Aqib or Mushtaq. Rana, Sami, Rao, Kaneria, Gul are reliably efficient at best, without being magical.

  • Arif Khan on March 2, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    AoA. Well put Kamran. I believe its a case of "horses for courses". Kaneria can be a match winner on pitches that suit him. But i will put my money on Gul and Rana although the latter had a tough time in SA but if the stats are anything to go by, i believe its time for him to prove his worth. I think Rao should only be used if required. My take on the combination would be Gul, Kaneria and Rana on pitches which offer seam movement (especially when they have bounce) - on picthes which have more pace, we can go in with Gul, Rana & Sami. Azhar Mahmood & Afridi can be the 4th & 5th bowlers, as allrounders, they should be there in any case .... Shoaib Malik easily commands a place as a batsman, he can be the back-up bowler in case one of the main bowlers is below par. My gut feeling is that Gul, Kaneria & Rana would be the bowlers to watch ... and offcourse ur favourite Mr. Boom Boom is no slouch with the ball either .... so lets keep our fingers & toes crossed and pray for the team to convert talent into results when it matters most. have a nice day!

  • Mike Rosario Live from NYC on March 2, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    First of all , one suggestion ...Asif's presence would have certainly meant something , but with Shoaib you never know ..fit/unfit/drugged/not drugged/high/low ..so on so forth. Now who to use as bowlers . Despite all the pseudo experts disagreement ...the folowing would be an ideal choice: Gul/Sami/Rana/Kaneria as specialists. Azhar and Afridi as all round options.Sami tends to bowl an accurate line to left handers and most of his wickets ( the good ones) have come against left handers. So , any team with left handers top of the order Sami and Gul would be good combo. If right handers on top ..use Gul and Rana as starters..Sami on change. Rana has too bowl just a bit short of length ..as opposed to full length oor he will give some runs.This might be a very helpful hint for the ultra bright Bob Woolmer (*S*).

    Regards

    Mike

  • Mohammed Sharif on March 2, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    Well said Kamran. I was getting tired of other Pakistan fans complaining and acting as if the team was nothing without Shoaib and Asif, ignoring the rest of the talent.

    I especially agree with your assessment of our bowling resources. As an opening pair, Sami and Gul should thrive. Sami, despite being young, has plenty of experience and Gul showed in the latter half of last year that he is capable of leading the bowling. And with Rana unleashed at the end, we have a strong seam attack. Then there's the likes of Danish, Hafeez and Afridi to handle the middle overs. The latter's bowling being criminally underrated. So it is evident that our bowling is still among the best and not to be taken lightly.

    All this talk and debate over Pakistan's bowling has led to people seemingly forgetting we have batsmen. Some excellent batsmen in fact. Bring on the World Cup.

  • akumar on March 2, 2007, 16:54 GMT

    This is the time for someone to raise his hand and be counted. There is nothing like adversity that can bring the best out of a team - if they believe in themselves and their team! Is Pakistan up for that?

  • Nasir doc on March 2, 2007, 16:54 GMT

    I get the feeling that with small grounds, flat wickets and the general lack of quality bowling across the board, this world cup will turn into a runfest. Pkistan's bowling is seriously under par with serious contenders like the Aussies and the Proteasbut but does compare favorably with Sri Lanka and India. But that should not deter us from getting good scores with the batting we potentially have, and trying to defend. Remember the dibly- doblies of New Zealand circa 1992. The bigger concern is the apathy shown by our fielders and this alone can cost us the cup. I have mixed feelings about our chances to win, at times feeling hopeless and at other times feeling elated.Tell me doc, do I need Anti depressants.

  • Shaker on March 2, 2007, 16:48 GMT

    Shoaib and Asif are "test" bowlers in my opinion. So I am not too worried about that. I think Razzak was a bigger loss for me. His big hitting to finish off games would have really come in handy. Hopefully Azhar Mahmud can step up to the plate to fill that gap. I think this will be a batsman centered world cup and if Pakistan's batting fires in all cylinders they can definitely make the semis.

  • qazah on March 2, 2007, 16:39 GMT

    assalam u alaykm,

    lets make it simple, our team ALWAYS has issues over a major tournament, for example the 92 world cup, if rain hadn't poured we would never have made it into the semis (England vs Pakistan (Pakistan 72 all out, England 27 / 1 (i think)), and also in the semis, if Inzamam hadn't played his 60 of 32.

    The main question remains, why can't pakistan EVER, EVER get their whole team in a major tournament, i wonder what will happen in this years twenty20 cup.

  • Zaraf on March 2, 2007, 16:38 GMT

    I think we have enough talent with the bowling. The thing which I feel has to be done is to call the bowlers up and explicitly tell them about the responsibility they have in the team. Tell them that it is on their shoulders now to prove their worth. For me Gul, Sami, Naved, Kaneria should comprise the bowling line up with Afridi, Hafeez and Malik as 5th bowling option. The management has to handle Sami and in particular Naved carefully and try to boost their confidence as much as possible. The part time bowlers can fill-in in case any of these two has a bad day.

  • Pak Fan on March 2, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    The decision not to wait any more and to proceed without Shoaib and Asif in my opinion was a good one. (Of course taking facts at face value that both did not recover from their injuries as the only reason why they were dropped).

    In football worldcup last year, England focused so much on Wayne Rooney's recovery and rushed him to the WC. He was not match fit and his sending off was one of the cause why England lost out at the quarter-finals stage.

    Paks' situation was probably about the same as England football team. Look at the South Africa tour; all the bowlers that were rush there did not participate or their injuries got worse including Shoaib. (Shoaib would have been absolutely injury free if he was not rushed to SA).

    Yeah its the WorldCup and we need our best players available, but lets use it to discover new heroes. (Rana worries me big time).

    Shoaib is a great bowler when he is 100% fit and fully motivated, both of which hardly available at same instance througout his career. Blame the man himself or the people who managed him (Captain, Coach PCB etc).

    The WC is going to be a strong mental test for Inzi and the boys.....

    "Insyallah boys will play well" (Inzi's famous quote in any interview)

  • Fahad Khan on March 2, 2007, 16:32 GMT

    So nice to keep the hope. "The World Cup isn't only an arena for heroes but it is one that creates them" that's well said. However, from the other point of view, let's just keep the hopes down. Let's just not dream for too much.

    Reason 1: Sami is already too late to make something out of the opportunities he has been given. Might as well not expect anymore.

    Reason 2: Rana has been completely read by three or four major teams. When Rana doesn't play a game, opposite team gets upset more than, no offence, his family does.

    Reason 3: Other than the bowling woes, in absence of Razzaq, there's 75 % less chance of good slog towards the end of the innings.

    Reason 4: Recently picked and a possibility of being left out in future could see Arafat, Kaneria, Nazir, Mehhmood and Sami low on confidence and if they don't perform the very first chance they get, they will be pressurized, which will only grow with each game.

    Reason 5: Fieldin...g

    Reason 6: The great trademark of inconsistency

    After all that's been said and seen, I would still mention the below if pakistan are to win it all the way:

    Only reason: "Inshallah"

  • Mohammed Sharif on March 2, 2007, 16:28 GMT

    Well said Kamran. I was getting tired of other Pakistan fans complaining and acting as if the team was nothing without Shoaib and Asif, ignoring the rest of the talent.

    I especially agree with your assessment of our bowling resources. As an opening pair, Sami and Gul should thrive. Sami, despite being young, has plenty of experience and Gul showed in the latter half of last year that he is capable of leading the bowling. And with Rana unleashed at the end, we have a strong seam attack. Then there's the likes of Danish, Hafeez and Afridi to handle the middle overs. The latter's bowling being criminally underrated.

  • AQC on March 2, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    The main problem is planning in every aspect of our country ... The worlcup planning should have been done 1 to 2 years ago, with the 11, the 15 and the reserves. Those should have been playing all along 15 + the reserves... We would have a better chance of winning if that was the case, despite injuries, other issues ... The problem is in the very nature of doing everything at the last possible minute ... No good will ever come through this ... Other problem is we try to find heros ... were as we should struggle to find a system to produce quality player and human beings ... the focus should be system ... The discussion should seriously be what to come after worldup, who will lead, who willl be our bowling attack, how to keep players fit, why were so many players unfit, do we need a better training/fitness schedule, should we rotate player to give them more rest, etc, etc... Groom some player for each spot, play them when ever possible, give them the opportunities when ever rotating/resting senior players .... that how this should be done .. FOCUS on these two things ... 1- Plan in advance, well in advance , 2- Create a system to produce quality players (do not look for heros) ...

    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 ...

  • Rehan on March 2, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    Yes, you are an eternal optimist. Pakistan is poorly prepared for this major tournament. This is not an unpredicatble side but an unprofessional one. And let me say another thing: Team Pakistan has alienated its followers after its inept performances and planning. Forget about winning matches, it first needs to win back its fans. All we ask is to play to your potential. It is one thing to be outclassed, another to be outsmarted.

  • Ahsan Raja on March 2, 2007, 16:19 GMT

    Well, Pakistan has always been known for their bowling strength but this time their batting is looking far better than bowling. God help us.

  • Abdullah Faiz on March 2, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    Gul, Sami and Kaneria is my attack. Naved could come in depening on form but Arafat i too unexperienced for my liking.

  • SarmadR on March 2, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    "Where there's heart there's always hope" "The World Cup isn't only an arena for heroes but it is one that creates them"

    THATS THE SPIRIT MAN!! WOW! You've brought me back from the brink of dissappointment! ITS TRUE! Very True..the bowlers we have arent that bad! Especially if Sami hits form...and Yasir Arafat and Azhar Mahmood are reliable..i think. Add to that Rana...and i think Rana has the heart, will and skill to turnaround his recent slump and InshaAllah he will..well man...i think i'm back on the Hope Bandwagon...especially seein that the players wont have to much pressure to perform..no one will blame them if they cant..i hope that works in there favour like it did against india 2yrs back! and once again: The World Cup isn't only an arena for heroes but it is one that creates them

    Lets hope we get a few legends!! OHH YEAAH!

  • Chris Smith on March 2, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    I am glad someone else is as suspicious as I am about the withdrawl of Asif and Shoaib from the work cup, especially as their drug tests had been delayed so many times.

    I don't think either can ever play cricket again without questions being asked of them about how clean they are especially if they have an exceptional day.

    Pakistan have an outstanding chance of winning the World Cup, with their batting line-up and the seam bowling that if it finds itself could be a real handful. I believe when it comes to dark horses Pakistan are the team and can really challenge inlike England who would love to have the options in their bowling attack Pakistan do!!

    Chris Smith UK

  • Faisal Khan Jamali on March 2, 2007, 16:15 GMT

    I guess the omission of Shoaib and asif was bound to happen due to the real reason of still having nandrolene in their system. The PCB could have picked a young talent from the domestic ranks like Mohd Irshad. Having said that we would have to make the best of what we have got.Umar Gul is our last hope and Rana needs to get his act together if Pakistan wants to get past the Super 8's. Should Rana gets his 2005 confidence back and delivers along with Umar Gul and Kaneria we still have a fairly good chance of performing well. Sami who Imran Khan absolutely adores is really the weak link, as he is neither a strike bowlers nor a run saver. He bowls too short on both sides of the wicket(and his stats speak for themselves), so we should not gamble with him or Rao who has no talent whatsoever.Azhar Mehmood or Arafat would definitely fit the picture better.

  • Sarim Ali Toronto on March 2, 2007, 16:13 GMT

    Kamran i think this is the biggest blok that pakistan can have.Their two main attack bowlers are out of the world cup. Im in a crying state right now because now i know for sure pakistan has no chance of winning this world cup. Pakistan has no bowlers anymore that are consistent there all by chance bowlers they can have their day but otherwise they cant do anything. The best bowling pair I think that Pakistan can have is just having Umar Gul with some one like Mohammed Sami. Losing abdul razzaq was another big blow.I can belive we waited 4 years for something like this.Our team has let us down big time.All us Pakistani fans could do is pray to Allah give us some luck. But I still think that if our batsmen can get a good descent totall our bowlers should be able to defend it.PAKISTANI FANS THIS ALL I HAVE TO SAY PRAY FOR THE BEST AND PREPARE FOR THE WORST.

  • Rabi Sultan on March 2, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    I think they will struggle. It showed in England when both Asif and Akhtar were unavailable that Pakistan were struggling to bowl out England. How can they fare better in the World Cup, all the pressure is on Gul, again, and he cannot do it all on his own. Rana Naved, Sami and the others are really going to have to raise their games to the next level, something that I don't think they have in them to do so. Kaneira too blows hot and cold and with Akmal missing many a stumping and a catch in the past year it makes you think that even if Kaneira was on fire how many of his chances will get missed?

    Pakistan are in complete dissarray and I think the will head for an early exit (although I am hoping they dont!)

  • Ehsan Ur-Rehman Khan Chattar of Mirpur AK on March 2, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    First off, PCB represents a typical Pakistani institution i.e. bunch of confused jokers not knowing how to do their job. Other institutions in Pakistan are not visible to the rest of the world so they do not make us look like morons in the eyes of the world. If anybody has to apologize to the nation it is the PCB. Now, Asif and Shoaib can nurse their injuries for as long as they want. I hope it was the drop scene of a long suspenseful drama and now the focus of Pakistan team would be strictly cricket. The question is that how we are going to avoid the repeat of 2003 let alone to win the cup. Honestly, I have serious doubts that we are going to perform any better than last ICC championship given the disarrayed team. Can somebody pass an exam without preparing diligently for it? Somebody may answer that yes you can- by cheating. Well world cup is not a stage where you can cheat so easily. So what now? Should we just stop thinking about the world cup for which we were waiting since the last humiliation of 2003. Is our dream for glory already over even before it started? Mind says YES and heart says NO. Isn’t the history filled with numerous examples of victories of brave hearts? Tables can still be turned simply by showing unity, faith and discipline. Pakistan lost ICC championship and had a defeat in SA but that was yesterday. Tomorrow can be very different if Sami, Rana and in that matter everybody else in the team starts believing in themselves because they are capable of doing any task no matter how hard it is. I put my faith in the team because that is the best that we could assemble in the present state of affairs. There is still some time till the opening game and hopefully team will use that time to become one unit focused to play some good cricket. Rana, Gull, and Kaneria are capable of dismantling any line up. Azhar and Afridi can stop great storms. Malik and Hafeez can calm the proceedings. Sami has been given yet another chance of making a right to all wrongs he has done in the past. Yasser Arafat can be that fresh blood in the old veins. There is still a lot to hope for.

  • Rafakat Khan on March 2, 2007, 16:06 GMT

    Pakistan have lost their best 3 bowlers in my opinion shoiab , asif and razzaq will be missed, however i believe their loss may also be pakistans gain, it will bring the team togheter and motivate them to play good cricket and not just depend on one or two superstars. Umar Gul is one of the most underated bowlers in world cricket and i believe he will show his worth and become a hero after this world cup, sami has the pace and the potential to be a great bowler and in this situation might bring out the best in him, Rana has done it before i jus have to recall his wonderful display in india and more recently his man of the series bowling agaisnt west indies but he shouldnt open the bowling and should be used more at the death. Azhar Mahmood is a fighter and you can expect 100% effort from him, kaneria is a mystery and possesses an abundance of talent and skill which could win pakistan matches on turning pitches, yasir arafat also talented and showed what his worth with sussex,Roa has shown consistently and played well when given a chance, afridi,malik and hafeez can all do a tidy job in the middle overs.

    all in all our bowling attack is still good!!! and capable of defending targets and restricting teams as well as bowling out teams

    however without shoiab and asif pakistan will not be capable of blowing teams away or defending small totals so the pakistan batting has to perform and perform big time , and i belive on those subcontinential wickets nazir, afridi, malik, younis,yousuf and inzi will score heavy and win us matches

    so all in all dont lose hope and support your team cuz we can really still win this world cup , inshallah !!!!

  • Muhammad Siddiq on March 2, 2007, 16:05 GMT

    Dear Abbasi, I think all of us Pakistanis have had enough of Shoaib's shenanigans, his misbehaviour with the coach and the skipper, his ill-temper, and the infamy that he has inflicted upon our team. If we look at the commencement of his career, we will find that right after the world cup 1999, he was stopped by Islamabad Police for driving under the influence of Hashish(Churs). He has had regular trips to India where he has had pictures taken with girls flocked around him and nursing Black Labal in one hand. As a matter of fact there is a video of him on You Tube where he is smoking Hoqqa and Pott. He went on the Australian toor of 2005 and was flown back. One of the reasons why he was flown back was that it was in the air that a Pakistani Cricketer had rapped an Australian Woman. Pakistani media discredited the very news, but the international had pointed their fingers at Shoaib. Our nation, Pakistan, tacitly agreed. Now he is in the mud of this dope scandle. Some would argue that what he does in his personal life is his business; and me living in the States wouldn't agree more. However, when you have a person who has been a centre of such foul controversies representing your country, you feel utterly embarassed. When I talk to my Indian friends, they alwayz bring the rape scandle, the doping scandle and finally they say that you boost certian value as a country, and the people that represent you have practices that are antithetical to your values. I for once have had enough of his ill-temper, misconduct, vile acts, and not to forget, deserting the team when needed the most. WHY ARE WE PUTTING UP WITH THIS RUBBISH CALLED SHOAIB AKHTAR SIR???

  • Khurram Malik(NEWYORK) on March 2, 2007, 16:05 GMT

    Finally Shoiab and Asif story ended. They let down whole nation along side with pakistan team and so many other cricket fans. No one still know what is reason behind this all drama with shoaib and asif. It wont be easy for pakistan to lift CCW but you never know if in form of GUL, SAMI and Kaneria might just turn the game around in pakistan's favor. I guess Azhar might get chance with afridi out for first two games. Arafat is fit player and also can be handy with bat and ball. My choice will Arafat but its all depend on Inzy and coach to decide. Inzy left for Caribbeans under tremendous amount of pressure let see if he lift himself and his squad with high spirits of this beautiful game of cricket. Shoiab and Asif need to get on AIR and say "sorry to entire nation".

  • Nauman on March 2, 2007, 16:02 GMT

    I think Pakistan should be OK with what they have got. I get the feeling that this is about time Sami proves his admirers right & critics wrong, as this definitely is a now-or-never situation for the durability of his career. Danish Kaneria has been very eager to be part of the ODI squad and now he gets a chance to justify his claim. Umar Gul as we 've seen is a genuine quality article, if he stays fit. Rana Naved is decent enough bowling in the middle and end of the innings. Everyone claims that Azhar Mahmood is a better bowler than Razzaq, and most people claim Yasar Arafat was a better choice that Azhar to begin with. Last but not the least, our batting all-rounders Shoaib Malik, Hafeez & Afridi can be expected to roll their arms for some tight and tidy overs in the middle of the innings, again I would prefer only 2 of those 3 play in any game. Bottom line, despite being depleted, we have competition for the spots in the final XI, which (1) gives the captain choices & flexibility if one underperforms, (2) keeps the players on their toes and prevents them from being complacent about their place in side. To me, key to success lies in strategy. Bob Woolmer and Inzamam need to do their homework before every game, device plans on how they 'll attack every single batsman of the opposition, jot down the strengths of our bowlers and weakness of opposition batsman and match them. Field placements would be key, we don't have the bowlers that can run through opposition's line-up, but we can always count on our unit to be able to keep things tight and buy wickets. Anyone remembers Sri Lanka from 96 Final, their 2 strike bowlers Vaas & Murali combined for 2 wickets, the rest fell to the supporting cast, Pakistan will have to emulate the same.

  • Ashaq on March 2, 2007, 16:00 GMT

    Kamran I agree with you at this late stage it is fruitless to focus on the What Could have been.I think its time to get behind the team. After all they wont do any worse than the team of 2003.

    Heres a motivational poem for the players.I first came across it in martial arts magazine. Apparently Bruce Lee used to keep a copy hanging in his study.The author is unknown.

    If you think you are beaten,you are, If you think you dare not,you dont If you like to win but think you cant, It is almost certain you wont.

    If you think you'll lose, you're lost For out of the world we find, success begins with a persons will- It's all in the state of mind.

    If you think you are outclassed, you are, You've got to think high to rise. You've got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize.

    Life's battles don't always go To the stronger or faster man But sooner or later the one who wins Is the one WHO THINKS HE CAN!

    Or as Muhammad Ali put it " Self belief is everything,Impossible Is nothing."

  • hell on March 2, 2007, 15:54 GMT

    quite true , i guess hope is our only choice now ,but im sure that we still have the potential to win the WORLDCUP 2007 .let's just wish them luck ! .

  • bilal on March 2, 2007, 15:52 GMT

    Shoaib and Asif were tested positive last yr but their bans were eventually overturned just because everyone thought they were ur main strike bowlers and pakistan will be needing them in the world cup.

    Now its official that they are outta world cup and itz pretty clear that injuries are an exuse, the real reason behind is that Nandrolone level is still high in their systems.

    I am little upset and wish that rana, gul and kaneria will perform their best and help us get the world cup.

  • MTheory on March 2, 2007, 15:51 GMT

    Havn't we already wasted much time on Sami??? He lacks the brains to take wickets and for some reason Inzimam and Co. have made up their mind about opening with Imran nazir(bad idea) so hafeez goes out(bad idea Indeed).That leaves our bowling resources depleted, at best! Yes we have grown used to shoaib missing out, but havn't we gropwn use to Sami not justifying his place???? Rana lost his outswinger and pakistan further compunded their problems by getting rid of Waqar Younis. As far as Gul is concernec he gets a tennis ball like lopey bounce.....the kind on top of which any decent batsmen can get and Gul has a habit of serving a four ball every over. But given the resources i'd say pakistan should go with Sami,Gul and Rana.Kaneria's place is not justified.We dont have spinners and if we include kaneria that would mean bowling atleast 7 overs in power plays from a spinner.Now harbhajaan might relish this challenge but i'm pretty darn sure no in our team would.Although waqar used afridi within the first 15 to a great effect! Besides did the selectors and the managment forget Kaneria's rape by brian lara both in west indies and in pakistan.And importantly kaneria is the worst fielder in the world.That alone merits his non=selection.

    BTW kamran....what about the new found faith in sami??? Back in 1992 we lost waqar but we have wasim and aqib with proven track records. Currently only rana has a good record in ODI's bu his RPO is high.I think now is the time PCB should send waqar to windies. Gul and sami still have a lot to prove in ODI's.

  • Shahid Khan on March 2, 2007, 15:50 GMT

    Pakistan never had a chance of winning the world cup even if Shoaib and Asif were 100% healthy & fit. Shoaib and Asif have brought disgrace to our nation. Before it was ball tampering and now is the use of performance enhancing illegal drugs. I wish WADA will ban these blokes for the rest of their life and they will never play international cricket again. I have just one question: There are other fast bowlers(Rana Naved, M. Sami) in our team who got injured in the past but why any of them didn't show any illegal drugs in their body and only these two disgracful players have ban substance in their system. This really proves that they are guilty of taking the ban drugs and they still have traces of ban substance in their body. Inzamam is one of the greatest batsman of this era but he is hurting our team than helping them. Inzamam should have retired from all form of cricket some times ago but his greed is not letting him leave the game. Inzamam knows this this career will be finished once he left the ground and now he is just taking pay check to fulfil his greed. Inzi have gathered a group of moulvis around him and Mushtag Ahmed is an example as the bowling coach of the team. Inzi didn't liked Waqar as the bowling coach even though Waqar was doing a great job for the country. PCB should appoint Younis Khan as the captain of this team as Inzi Fat Potato can't do anything. PCB is paying too much to these players and foreign coaches but the results is zero. We do not have specialized opening batsmen in years. What did Woolmer have done to reslove this problem. Pakistani team is only good on the dead tracks of Sub continent and look at their record in England, Australia and South Africe. I only judge their perofrmance in these coutries. Cheers!!!! Shahid Khan

  • AWS on March 2, 2007, 15:50 GMT

    Very much agree with you. The first thing that makes a team lose is its will and heart! If Pakistan keep its heart big (keeping fingers corssed!!!!) anything can happen...

  • Ali on March 2, 2007, 15:47 GMT

    Gul has to be on top form, ably supported by other bowlers. I think Rao whenever and wherever he has played, done a decent job. Remember him getting tendulkar out cheaply at delhi match. Rana is good at death overs with his yorkers and slow balls. But he looked well below par in recently concluded south africa one day series. Sami can't bowl six balls in a row at the same place, he will bowl a couple of juicy half volleys every other over so... Kaneria should play, WHY? Beacause murali, panesar, harbajan and kumble could be vital for their teams then why can't he be. He's not that bad a bowler, although short in experience in this format of the game. I really hope afridi, hafeeez and malik can do a decent job because without shoaib and asif our best way of winning is using these slow bowlers. Restrict the other teams on slow wickets and hope our batting fires and score big to gave our bowlers something of a chance. I hope to get sincere effort and fight on the field from our team and the rest... is in almighty hands. May allah bring glory to our team. Salaam!!!

  • Naeem Ur-rehman on March 2, 2007, 15:46 GMT

    Seriously Kamran, Do you think we have any chance of qualifying for semis. As you mentioned the Waqar's case. The main difference was that at that time the name of the captain was IMRAN KHAN. Now we have a captain who is the first one to give up and has no fighting sprits of himself. I really am a die hard fan of my team but these things make me cry. The way the Asif was used can I say brutally by Inzimam he was definatly going to get injured. At the moment lets be realistic and say that only a miricle can take us through to the semis.

  • Syed Irfan Ahmed on March 2, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    To a certain degree Kamran, I tend to agree with your pre-mortem of the bowling line up. I was both surprised and amazed at what I just read about Rana at the death situation and it impressed the hell out of me. I was really not a pro Rana person but he certainly has earned my respect with this analysis. So yeah, Rana should be in and his batting capability to boot certainly makes him a shoo in. As far as the last spot goes I feel that there should'nt be a contest there as Azhar is definitly more experinced than the other contender. I dont know what will the noman clature of the batting be like but cramming the tail full with the all rounders and lusty hitters will certainly boost paksitan's chances of chasing or going first regardless of the turn of the coin. I mean it is important to win the toss, but so is to plan your batting and bowling and unfortunately our recent sojourns have displayed a complete lack of it.

    The cricket board, PCB, is run by a lot of funny people. No they cannot qualify as stand up comics BUT their serious efforts does genrate a hearty laugh around the world and in the local quarters. However I do applaud the stand taken by Nasim Ashraf over Speed's remarks.

    As has always been the case the whole doping/injury affair of both bowlers could have been handled in a very low key manner but it was not. Every body knows what is behind this exclusion and they will not let us forget it. The whole world is laughing and pointing at us about this affair. I honestly think this is just the begining. Every body who has put on a white or whatever other color garb and went out on a cricket field will take a swipe at it before the world cup is out. Where Pakistan has an outside chance to reaching the semifinal the really exciting teams will be the hosts, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

  • Shahid Mahmood on March 2, 2007, 15:37 GMT

    Abbasi Saheb, the borad can easilly claim that they could't do anything differently in Shoaib and Asif's case, but they do stand responsible for not having Waqar available at this moment.

  • mockery of justice on March 2, 2007, 15:35 GMT

    There is hardly anyone except some big shots at the PCB who believe that asif and shoaib are injured. Of course they have steriods in their bodies! Isnt it ironic that the most religous team in the world of cricket is also the most dishonest! Apart from that, kamran; your analysis is grossly optmistic. I wouldnt expect gul and company to do wonders. Of course theyll still finish second in their group, but thats it. The team will come back, some heads will roll, we will start preparing for the next world cup and then we are be back at square one! deja vu feeling!

  • Farhan on March 2, 2007, 15:34 GMT

    I would agree to the article that we should look from what we have instead of arguing about what we could have, but what I fail to understand is that why you pointed out in the opening of your article that Truth will come out...I am not a fan of PCB, but just by looking at your comments and Ramiz's comments, I can tell that whatever PCB will tell us you are not going to believe it, you are only going to believe/like what you want to hear. They don't NEED to apologize to Pak Nation and to any one for that matter. the whole point of their Ban lifting was that nandrolone was not taken deliberately. You should punish a man for one crime only ONCE. having to have nandrolone in thier blood again doesn't mean any thing. that’s just my Opinion

  • Yazi on March 2, 2007, 15:31 GMT

    This is great opportunity to one of these bowler to shine & set course of his cricket journey. Inzi did it in 1992 with batting. Great players are born in big tournaments like World Cup. Since last World Cup, Pakistan haven't really improved on their main threat of being consistant, the problem still remains same and the Injury bug makes me think what wrong with these players, we are paying fortune to get outside coach (we have had success with him, but since last year it's been depressing with off field dramas).

  • Sami Syed from Toronto on March 2, 2007, 15:30 GMT

    Waa waa, wee wee,

    Well the wee wee part comes to an end and hopefully the WA WA part does as well, I mean WADA.

    One can say that I'm living in a fool's paradise and I wouldn't argue against it. The fact is that I believe that everything happens for the best. Let's take a few facts into consideration, our top bowler (ASIF) won't be banned for life and we can expect to see him when the WC is over. Akhter in the last world cup was hammered and but nonetheless will be missed, not really, he was never there in the first place. Abdul Razzaq is the greatest loss, in terms of batting, bowling and experience. And finally, World Cup is the event where heros are born. Inzamam in '92, and a fairly young side in 1992 were the winners. So these are the facts and considerations.

    Now, since I live in fool's paradise, I want to take an upside approach to all of this.

    1. Finally we can get back to cricket and finally we know the make up of the team.

    2. Given the inclusion of Azhar Mahmood and Yasir Arafaat we have a team which can bat deep, really deep.

    3. Supposing that the pitch doesn't suit Keneria, can you imagine Pakistan's line-up... I can 4. Now that is crazy, so we have 9 batsmen and 7 bowlers (4 seamers and 2 spinners)...and even Sami can bat a litte. NOW REALLY, just look at that lineup again... It almost looks envious. We might be able to pull it off, as long as we are able to pull up our socks!!!

    5. THE EXCLUSION OF THOSE TWO BOWLERS may be a blessing in disguise, or at least I can hope.

    Lastly, I think PAKISTAN SHOULD GO WITH THAT LINE UP ALL DAY, ALL NIGHT!!!! Be consistent and let them learn from their mistakes. KAMRAN SAHAB please pass my suggestion to TEAM Management, Bob Woolmer and Inzi Bhai... If you can that is...

    Finally my pick for the WORLD CUP hero are: Imran Nazir (batsman) and Mohammad Sami (bowler)

    Sami Syed from Toronto

  • rauf on March 2, 2007, 15:30 GMT

    Please dont call yourself an eternal optimist. You too will become the laughing stock of Pakistan's editorial front. Without shoaib or asif, we are not winning. Period.

  • Brian on March 2, 2007, 15:28 GMT

    Hello Pakistani cricket fans, What a tremendous blow to Pakistan to be without Razzak, Asif, Shoaib and Afridi (banned 2 games). Even though One-day cricket is such that anything can happen, I think Pakistan's depleted attack is going to hurt them. I know that Gul will do well, but I have serious doubts about Sami and Rana. Sami is not the same he was a few years ago and Rana got hammered in South Africa. Rao and Azhar could be OK even though they don't have much experience or match practice lately. That leaves Malik, Kaneira and Afridi sharing 20 to 30 overs. This doesn't look very impressive. Our only hope is that our batsmen post good scores for our bowlers to defend. Normally Pakistan is known for our dangerous bowlers, but in this case our batsmen would have to win us matches. Anyway, as long as the players perform passionately, positively, intelligently and aggressively, anything is possible. Good luck to Pakistan and to all its fans, CHEERS, Brian in Toronto

  • l mehta on March 2, 2007, 15:24 GMT

    I would have to agree. The shock is pretty much over since the initial fallout in October when the news first broke. Having Razzaq out is a significant blow than losing Shoaib and Asif. I echo previous comments that the team should play to the strength of the batting lineup and hope that the bowlers can cantain the opposition. let us see if there is grace under no pressure.

  • Mustafa on March 2, 2007, 15:14 GMT

    I think pakistan is good enough in bowling department even without the asif .. forget akhter when was the last time he played a one dayer and performed. Rana has a great potential and he has shown that on several ocassions. I still remember the first time he played for pakistan and was hit by the indians but still bowled passionatly and took good wickets. I think he will show his same side again in the worldcup. If he can find his form pakistan is a very very good team without abdul razzak ,akhter and asif.

  • Rashid Ali on March 2, 2007, 15:14 GMT

    Kamran,

    U may be an optimist.....but many others share that view too. A patriot does not think doom and gloom.

    However, cricket is a funny ole game, and many an unpredictable event has taken place. Skills are a prerequisite at the top level....but the desire to succeed is another. One can easily argue that in the Hadlee series, the Kiwis had a much pronounced desire to do well....they did knock the stuffing out of the Aussies...not with the ball....but with the BAT. So why do we have to harp on about our bowling not up to scratch? Its time that the Batsmen should shoulder the responsibility of getting us past the winning line!!!!

    Dr Rashid Ali

  • Dr.Syed on March 2, 2007, 15:14 GMT

    Salaam, Kamraan Bhaie when Waqar was lost before 1992 world cup we still had the likes of Waseem Akram,Aqib Javed and then ,by then a medium pacer,Imran Khan.In batsmen we had greats like Javed Miandad,Saleem Malik Rameez Raj and Ijaz Ahmed.I wont mention Inzamaam as he was new and so was Mushtaq Ahemd.But we had lot to bank on on the team of 1992. This team is finished with no Shoaib and Asif.They heavily depend on two "Ys" and Inzi and let me tell u they are not Saleem Malik,Javed Miandad or Ijaz Ahmed.These palyers of 1992 world cup were pressure players and they played the best cricket when team needed them at the time of crisis and they were right to perform on that time and on very spot.In comparison these middle order when gets under pressure, their getting out becomes justified,and they tend to throw away there wickets just because no one is scoring.I wont even touch the openers.They couldn't find the right pair or to say improve their their technical abilities in three years then how can they do it in few weeks.That is already a big hole for the opposition to easily drive in. Now the strength which was considered Pakistan's strong point was the bowling.With departure of Asif and Shoaib we have another big hole in terms of opening bowlers or I should say strikers.Again the oppostion will take the attack right into the dressing room of Pakistan so bad that our players will not find respite or place to hide themselves from embarresment.I will say that this team is dead and the captain by the mere fact that his two strikers are not playing in the biggest mega event in criketeing world is down and definitely has no confidence in his team no matter how much the rhetoric of being "UNITED UNDER PRESSURE" they talk about.Now they keep bragging about 1992 team to which Imran said to play like cornered tigers, when they got into precarious situation.Well!Imran had Tigers to growl and to fight.But with Inzamaam who is no Imran Khan in terms of education,personality,foresightedness and true cricketing skills is merely trying to uplift the dampen spirit from a decade old laurel.I mean how low in confidence can one get. As a Pakistani it hurts me alot thinking about our chances but what is hurting me more is the beatings that they will get in super 8 "IF" they manage to qualify it.Teams like Bangladesh,Zimbos and many other will relish their chance against weak link like Pakistan. Inzamaam is taking cubs to the death valley of 2007 world cup where all the ferocious oppostion is waiting to kill or to be killed.As they say only the fitest will prevail and there can only be one contender who will become the Lion of 2007 world cup.Only time will tell that these cubs grow into tigers fast enough to fight like tigers.Will they sweep or get swept away, that we will know on 13th march as they say "morning shows the day". May God have mercy on them because after they get slaughtered many will be gone from the face of the cricketing world and that has been the history of world cup players from any team.They become the talk of the past. WILL THEY HAVE THEIR NAME ENGRAVED ON TOMBSTONE OR SHIELD TIME WILL TELL!

  • Ahmed on March 2, 2007, 15:12 GMT

    From what I have seen from Rana in the last couple of series is that he gets beat up like a punching bag. That seems to be why he gets those wickets also. I am not sure if Sami has anything left either.

    I would go with Gul & Arafat to open the bowling, with Azhar, Afridi, Shoaib Malik, & Hafeez sharing the rest of the overs.

    Kaneria maybe, I don't know if he will get his ass kicked or will he take wickets.

  • saad faruqui on March 2, 2007, 15:12 GMT

    i think rana,gul,kaneria must play and the other bowling slot should go to either azhar,sami or arafat.these three bowlers are mediocre at best and so i would prefer azhar mahmood for his added batting ability.inzi should use rana for 5 overs initially and then use him at the death.

  • kamran on March 2, 2007, 15:10 GMT

    well everyone knows about the akhtar and asif drama but i think the less it is mentioned specially by pakistani cricket writers like u the better it is. besides, I would like to use this forum to adress mr. rameez raja, who recently ive felt is always trying to get an oppertunity to speak against pakistan cricket. I dont know whats the reason and his agenda behind this. Maybe he has nothing to say and just wants to add some of his audios in cricinfo talk or whatever, but i think he should stop talking against pakistani cricket and specially stop giving more hype to the doping issue. If he really wants a better image of pakistan in the world he should stop talking more and more about this and try not to hype it any more.

  • fakhar on March 2, 2007, 15:06 GMT

    well agree with you!!! we have to play without akhtar and asif. agree with you that asif isn t the best when it comes to ODI, especially at the depth of the overs. umar gul, rana naveed and sami are a pretty good combination along with kaneria(after afridi ban, perhaps afridi)malik and hafeez as spin option are going to be really great. espeacially afridi and hafeez were in past few matches really great

    azhar m. arafat, rao iftikhar could be tried at warm up matches and easy matches like zimbabwe and ireland, if they perform great well than they can surely get a place for further matches!!!!!!

    but the most important thing is opening!!!!!! if the openers(or at least of of them) gets to a good start, pakistan will post big target!!!! well if rana gets his form back, i can guarantee you that he is more lethal than asif and perhaps as good as akhtar!!!!

  • Saveed on March 2, 2007, 15:05 GMT

    Totally agree with your last comment - thw world cup can become an arena for creating (or creatine!) heroes. The way I see it the world cup is a test for those of us stupid enough to give a damn about cricket at all:

    Bob Woolmer - a top notch coach couldnt do a thing to turn pakistan cricket around (ok maybe improved the record at home for a year) - if the world cup exit comes after a poor super 8's- he is officially dumped into the historic vault of coaches that didnt make a difference' - which is a shame for him.

    Inzamam - nothing to prove as a batter but everything to prove as a tactical and astute captain. How much fight he musters from his troops in all situations will be recorded from the moment Pakistan touch down in Winies. If Younis thinks he can do a better job, this is a big opportunity for him as Vice Capt.

    Our Batsmen: Can you stick together and hunt as a pack to the best of your abilities?? Can you try to follow the Kiwi example of the whole sum is beter than its parts? We need big runs on the board to give our bowlers any chance but will they continue to increase the middleorder's workload or show the world how big their balls are?? (ok, on second thoughts enough controversy already)

    But finally to the board and selectors: Will they pack up and go home after an early exit after shambolic mismanagement and poor results finding new talent, and will Dr. Nasim resign (and take Pres. Musharraf with him?? we can but hope)

    Its easy to say but Pakistan look to fail in all these tests, but that is also what interests me....!

  • Syed Rahman, Maple, ontario on March 2, 2007, 15:02 GMT

    I am sure lot of Pakistani supporters will agree with me that Umar Gul and Kaneria will amaze us by taking timely wickets and winning for our country. This is the time and well deserved opportunities for both bowlers to show their talents. I also think that Sami and Afridi will also give the team very good support. I am hoping for the best.

  • Abid on March 2, 2007, 15:00 GMT

    I totally agree with the idea of using Sami and Gul but I would rather be tempted to rely on Afridi for leg spin and include Rana for Kaneria when Afridi is available. Similar if conditions are more suitable for spin then i will bring in Hafeez to open for Nazir.

    This will give PAK, 3 seamers supported by Azhar as 4th seamer, and 3 spinners in one leg (Afridi) and two offspiners in Malik and Hafeez, and a batting depth to # 10, looking at Sami improved batting.

  • Iqbal Ahmad Khan on March 2, 2007, 14:59 GMT

    Pakistani leaders whether they be in sports,politics,business or industry have repeatedly let the nation down. In the total absence of accountability the prospects for a turn in our fortunes seems rather dim. The chaos and confusion that goes by the name of the Pakistan Cricket Board can only bring defeat and disgrace. What a pity that we have to put up with charlatans and get miserably tainted in the process. Indeed, we have become a laughing stock.

  • salman siddiqui on March 2, 2007, 14:58 GMT

    A sad day indeed for pakistani cricket..a sentence i think repeated for the upteenth time wihtin the last 6-7 months given the mess our cricket has been through..But i agree with u Kamran, u REALLY are being an optimist. I think Pakistan doesnt stand a chance in the world cup now. And this situation does not compare with the one we faced in 92 when we lost Waqar Younis. With all due respect to Waqar, he was a world class bowler but i dont think our team depended on him to the same extent that we depend on M.Asif at the moment (i dont care about Shoaib Akhtar, i havent had any expectations of him in a long while, its less painful that way). But having lost Asif, Pakistan is really going to suffer. PAkistani team is all about its vigor and energy, without which our shoulders droop and we lose hope much quicker than other teams - we always tend to generate that through our bowling. In 92 we had world class performers even in the absence of Waqar - we had Wasim, Aqib, Mushi and Imran, to provide us with that vigor and motivation. The bowling this time around is not even remotely close to that bench. Its very very sad indeed. We waited a full 4 years for it but our world cup is already over - as far as im concerned!

  • Hopeful on March 2, 2007, 14:49 GMT

    Very well said: "The World Cup isn't only an arena for heroes but it is one that creates them." The only hero who emerged from a previous WC, I can recall is Lance Klusener. Unfortunately SA handled him very poorly.

  • Rehan Aslam on March 2, 2007, 14:47 GMT

    I disagree with the inclusion of sami in place of Shahis Nazir. Nazir played far more consistenly for pakisten and bowled well in last 6 months. But luck is not on his side.

  • alexbutt on March 2, 2007, 14:42 GMT

    well...finally the speculations are over. At least we know now that where are we standing. There are still a few reasonable bowling combinations which can be used well by a wise administration. Lets not forget that West Indian pitches are similar to Subcontinental pitches which mean slower bowlers would have an edge. Pakistan has plenty of firepower in that department and afridi + hafeez should be a handful. Most important of all we have got an extra attacking leg spinner in kaneria who should be played as a trump card in pressure games. I know he hasnt been the part of the ODI plan in the past, has been expansive and hasnt made much impact in the past but we should not forget that he is an agreesive wicket taking bowler with enough experience of international cricket. If he can bowl well in test cricket he should in theory bowl well in ODIs. The main question though is how to use him. I would personally play him as a wicket taking bowler and would give him all group matches againat weaker oppositions so that he gains momentum and form. Then, he should be used as a weapon in firsdt 20 overs and not in 25th or 30th over with deffensive fields to just go through the overs as afridi does that job quite well. Amongst the present lot kaneria is definitely the most attacking option and should be relied upon. If Monty can be played in ODIs then why not kaneria and especially now when we have a survival issue. Coming to fast bowling, like many others my automatic choice is umar gul. He has enough talent to be in first eleven and now that our main atack is gone he should spearhead the attack. I know its expecting a lot from a yuongster but he is quite capable i'm sure. His bowling partner should however be either rao iftikhar rather than naved or sami. Main reason is we can leave responsibility of wicket taking to kaneria or gul,there should be someone more reliable in terms of line and length at the other end. Rao normally bowls impecable line and should be considered as a reliable bowler who would bowl out his 10 in first 20 overs keeping things tight and making wickets for other attacking fellows. His alternate would be rana naved purely because rana has won more matches as a bowler than any other bowlwer presently in pakistani bowling line up. I know his record recently is nor admirable but he should be played against at least weaker oppositions to gain some form. I dont agree that sami or arafat should be used at all in this tournamanet even if others are not bowling well. Sami for me has been a disappointment a buredn which has been carried in vain by our team for last few years. He is only potentially gdangerous and has never produced goods when required. I know that he has bowled better than naved recently but still they were not match winning performances. He should not be preferred over rana just because rana has won much more matches for pakistan than him and can produce goods once he regains his confidence. Arafat is not even worth mentioning. I dont know why he was picked at all considering his pathetic record. I would have picked a rookie someone like anwar ali or may be irshad or najaf shah. But of course selectors dont think like me. Last of all Azhar mahmood is all set to replace razzaq as a regular medium pace option and should do well against less attacking players(Please dont use him against likes of gayle, peterson, jaysuriaetc because they will murder him). Alla in all it is a decent line up, I am hoping that pitches are batsmen friendly so that advantage of bowling is lost for all other teams as well. I know its probably very optimistic with this team to reach even semi finals but can hope and pray that they play like a fighting team and even if they dont win matches they can tell other nations that they are neither chetares nor chuckers but a sporting nation with a big heart which can beat anyone when they are united.

  • Qasim Shaikh on March 2, 2007, 14:41 GMT

    Where there is a will, there is a way......lets pray for our team INSHA-ALLAH they will make us all proud.

  • Mohammad Zaman on March 2, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    wow this is a big blow for us, what else can we do. only the batting line looks strong. pakistan have not been so well known for their chasing capabilities but i think if inzi bhai ever win the toss in any match in the world cup, he should choose to field first. But maybe we should not be too disappointed because even though all the rest of bowlers have not really shown what they are capable of, there is a reason why we are called unpredictable. our bowlers might come out of nowhere and become the best bowling line up. who knows we can never be predicted by anyone but if we exit the world cup anytime soon, i will blame no one but PCB. they just did not go with legendary players ideas and opinions which they should have done a long time ago, Woolmer and Inzi bhai did what they could so its upto the youngsters to bring the world cup to us. i wish the very best to our world cup troops. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD.

  • ammar ahmad on March 2, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    Worldcup is the most exciting sporting event in Cricket. Asif and Shoaib has shown irresponsible behavior and brought shame to the nation. They should be banned by PCB for rest of their playing carrer. For Pakistani fans, hopes for Worldcup were over with the news! We have no strike bowlers to take wickets in the early overs. Sami and Yasir ??? someone must be kidding!!!

  • afridi booms SA arrogrance on March 2, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    i still believe pak can win, malcom speed was well out of order, should be sacked. hayden and vaghan think they know it all, and should not discuss other countries players situations. pak cricket board should be fired and musharaf should get some people in charge who use their brains for once.

  • Usman on March 2, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    Atleast we know what our team is. Let's wish Shoaib and Asif the best and move on please. Kamran, I have always liked the way Yasir Arafat plays. He was always looked upon as a backup who could not find a place in the team because we had so many fast bowlers...well now its his chance and I think he will be fine. Sami was desperate to play in the last WC but could not get a place because of the two W's and Shoaib...now is his chance. Rao is good with line and length but not a wicket taker...he is 1st change bowler and nothing else Rana I still think is being looked down upon because of a few bad (and i mean REALLY BAD) matches...i think he will surprise everyone in the WC Kaneria has done alot of talking and complaining about not being in the ODI squad...now its time to walk the walk for him. Gul will be our strike bowler and barring more injuries, he should be OK. BATTING HAS TO PICK UP, especially by our all-rounders. All in all...PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

  • nasir on March 2, 2007, 14:35 GMT

    I really can't understand why people are placing such importance on Shoiab and Asif, as if their absence means we will never win the WC. Let me ask how mnay matches thse two bowlers played together in ODI. Not too many. Shoaib did not win us the cup in his prime in 1999 and 2003 so how do you expect him to do anything 4 years down the line. If he was a race horse he would have been put down long ago.

    In 1992 we had Akram and Imran. Aaqib really filled his boots with some stellar performances along with Mushtaq. We ha da few unknowns in the squad with Wasim haider and Iqbal Sikander. At least the squad this time is more experienced and much stronger.

    I think Gul, Sami, Rana, Yasir, Kaneria, Rao, Azhar and Afridi are good enough to take Pakistan into the semis. From there on it really is a day to day job.

    Most importantly I think the onus is on our batsmen to put up decent scores 250-275 each time to give our bowlers an oppurtunity.

  • talha on March 2, 2007, 14:32 GMT

    u actually have a very valid point.. i mean both asif and shoaib akhtar are deadly test match bowlers.. not so much in ODIs.. although asif is no.3 ranked in the economy rates in the first 20 overs... (after shaun pollock and mcgrath).. but still thats when the opposition is not takin any chances.. but when they do take chances asif also goes for a lot of runs.. and then again shoiab akhtaar hasnt been been wid the team in a consistant manner so no one should miss him much..

    and as far as i m concerened.. i feel gul, rana and RAO are much better ODI bowlers.. although rana needs to get back his conventional swing back..

    so i m having some expectations wid this team.. but certainly.. we are goin to WI as underdogs

  • Muntaha Wali on March 2, 2007, 14:26 GMT

    Shoaib and Asif... couldn't ask for a bigger blow to Pakistan world cup chances. It was almost like waiting either thursday or friday for them to be ruled out of the world cup yet there was a little hope that they can make it. But it all came out thursday morning, which i must say did really upset me.

    Kamra, i must say that your right it's almost a fact and to some extent a shame that Pakistani fans have now gotten use to Shoaib's absence from the team. It seems like a bonus if he's playing. I say bonus if you recall as recent as the test series in South Africa he played for only one day, and yet that was enough for Pakistan to win that test match. He truely is a match winner. We all know why Shoaib and Asif were left out of the squad. Rumours of Asif's elbow has been blowing ever since the 2nd odi in South Africa, but what amazed me was that he still bowled in the remaining 3 matches. I do truely feel bad for Asif ? He's been the bigger looser of the two. This would have been his first world cup and to be along with Shoaib and Umar Gul in the bowling line up would have been very special. It's very unfortunate that they have't made it. Millions of Pakistani fans, like me, have been turned off the world cup. I personally was to fly to Jamaica to see a couple of matches but it doesnt make sense for me to go and be disappointed.

    From the current crop that we have i think Sami should be used with Gul just because he has pace in his bowling that can be vital in dead West-Indian wickets. I would also give Kaneria a chance but since he has almost no experience in ODI it will be hard to see what he really can produce. The other bowler i wouldnt count off would be Rao, just because he's so consistant and can choke the flow of runs. Having said that i also believe that Malik, Hafeez and Afridi should be bowling more than 20 overs. Malik who orignally came into the side as an off-spinner (if any of guys don'ts remember) has almost lost his touch of spin bowling. He should be used with Afridi and Hafeez so the rest of main bowlers are not under pressure to complete their 10, incase anyone's having a bad day with the ball. It's going to be very interesting to see how Pakistan can put together their bowling attack. Mahmood has been waiting for a long time and i think it's time that when he's given the chance he proves his critics wrong and make a name for himself. Knowing the nature of Pakistani cricket, no one really knows what's going to happen to Pakistan when World Cup comes around. The main challenge will be durinig the Super 8 stage of the tournament. Shoaib and Asif will be missed, no matter what any one says or think but it's upto Gul, Sami, Kaneria and Mahmood to pull it together.

  • Talal Khawaja on March 2, 2007, 14:21 GMT

    The PCB as u said kamran is an international laughing stock. And i think now its time for our chief patron of the PCB to really take a step like he is takin steps round the world . i do not blame Shoaib and Asif as it is the boards responsibility to take care of the players , the way they have handled Shoaib is a disgrace for any cricket board . PCB has always made Shoaib looked like the black sheep of the team , whereas in reality its the PCB who is THE BIGGEST BLACK SHEEP ,they had so much time to clean the system of these players and sadly the way they r treating the pakistanis they think WE THE PAKISTANIS do not know darn thing about cricket. We Know whats up PCB..WE KNOW THE TRUTH... as for inzi i think this is his going away present from the almighty ..he thought he was to good to lead a team without shoaib and he depended on ASIF atlast the almighty took away Asif from him now lets see what inzi can do to overcome this . as for our bowlers now, i have FAITH in CHACHA RANA cause rana is THE ONLY hard working player i have seen in our cricket team in ages, he might had a bad south african tour but he is the one who can will inshallah shine , as of Gull he is too good but not that good to fill asif or Shoaib's slot . i have no doubt about inzi's talent but i think it would have been best if Younis Khan was the Captain, he have the quality of a Leader which lacks in inzi .. For us to win this world cup we have to win on the bases of out batting so GOOD LUCK INZI and hope to see at #3 not #4...grow up baby show us u can be the MAN

  • Shahid on March 2, 2007, 14:20 GMT

    you just echoed what i have been saying all along, that world cup is the arena which creates heroes. Lets back our team and i think Kaneria will be the most important guy here given that no other team has a really good leg spinner (except Kumble). Kaneria's test will be against the sub continent team as they play spin very well. As far as the death overs are concerned i think Rana Naveed should be used along with Afridi, Hafeez, and Shoaib. I have to say that i have been really impressed with Hafeez bowling and i think he has what it takes to bowl in the death overs. Our bowling has always won us games, but i think now we are just like India, and our batting have to win us the games and i believe that our middle order is from the top drawer and if our openers can fire who knows whats in waiting. Also if we do an analysis of where Pakistan stands i do see Pakistan making it to the semis pretty easy. Here is the reason why i say that "I think nobody's gonna doubt that it should be an easy ride for Pakistan to the super 8. Now from there on they have to win 4 out of 7 games which they can win against India, New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka. Many of you might disagree about New Zealand being in that group and the sole reason that i have for having them in there is their inability of handle express pace and thats why they have done well against Australia previously too but they have always struggled against Pakistan. If we flash our minds back to history, all the Pakistani pace bowlers who made a debut against New Zealand have been exceptional against them. Take Waqar Younis, Mohammad Zahid, Mohammad Sami and many others. Sami also has a 5 wicket haul against NZ. The only reason New Zealand did well against Australia was that Ozs lacked an express bowler. Out of those 4 teams i only see India giving Pakistan some fight and i say that only because Pakistan has a zero record against India in the WC. The last but not the least is Pakistans opening problem and, as i have said time and again, it can be solved by Inzi opening the batting. Here is Ricky Martin for Pakistan "The cup of life this is the one now is the time dont ever stop push it along gotta be strong push it along right to the top Here we (Pakistanis) go! Ale Ale Ale And when you feel the heat the world is at your feet no one can hold you down (cornered tigers) if you really want it just steal your destiny right from the hands of fate reach for the cup of life cause your name is on it do you really want it (yeah we want it) do you really want it Go go go Ale Ale Ale here we go Ale Ale Ale

    INZI and CO. you know we really want it So go Pakistan go Thanks Shahid.

  • Dr Shahzad on March 2, 2007, 14:18 GMT

    Yes every one thinks about the withdrawl bec. of doping issue. But its wise decision I think, PCB could have shown clearly the reason as doping issue because this issue of internal doping test has already been passed through judicail process. I believe there would have not been any embarrasment by saying the truth and referring the judical process and attributing the withdrawl to precautionary measures. Presence of banned substances does not make one guilty any way. It is the intension of player which is basically determined by judicial process. There are many examples in games (biggest the most famous US cyclist) where ban substaces were found in the blood but judicairy cleared the player on account of mnay reasons. One more thik, Kamran bhai can you swith a topic in your blog about the comments given by two australin players, as mentioned also be PCB president, are these comments not against the friendly reputation of game. Prays for Pakistani team

  • wasim saqib on March 2, 2007, 14:17 GMT

    I completely agree with you kamran,the team needs to show some heart,we have too wicket takers in kaneria and Gul, Sami is a much improved bowler he can still imrove if he learns to move the ball in the air or reverse it thats the only thing lacking in his bowling, he has speed he has movement off the seam,also needs to improve on the length I think when he gets hit he immidately changes the length and line if starts changing the pace a little bit he would be much more effective. Rana naveeds problem is he wants to take a wicket every ball he tries too much and he is too slow to ball short pitch stuff consistently its true he is one of the best at death but also he is the third most expensive ODI bowler of all time.If he is not in form i would like to play Rao as the third bowler his strike rate is not good but has been the most economical of all. We need the third bowler to just control the runs his role should be to only be economical like Aqib Javed in 1992. The fouth bowler also holds the key My choice is Yasir he has pace and good yorkers his batting is no way as good as Azhars but bowling is definitely better. I think every bowler in the event will get some beating these are the best we have for now whether they leak some runs or not as long as they stick to line and length consistently,I will be satisfied.

  • © Pakistan on March 2, 2007, 14:15 GMT

    Kaneria is very vital for Pakistan and I hope Inzamam does not make a mistake to leave just one spot for Afridi and Kaneria. Both of them should play togather whenever the oppertunity arrise. Azhar Mahmood is useless as compare with Razzaq so just leave him out and use specialist bowler instead. I would go for Umer Gul, Sami, Rana, Rao. This combination could prove to be a ray of hope for Pakistan.

  • Kashif on March 2, 2007, 14:13 GMT

    Yes, and we will prosper as a nation and will lead the muslim world in all fields... come on Kamran... get over it.

  • Hamza A. Khan Shinwari on March 2, 2007, 14:13 GMT

    AOA Kamran. PLEASE leave the team alone now, give them a chance. And kindly STOP posting blogs that are aimed at just criticism of the board and the players, since what is done is done. The fact is that Pakistan is still playing there and we should be rooting for our team there, even if it is not an ideal one. As a Pakistani, you should now stop posting things which always have a component such as "the truth is something else". I for one, am solidly behind the Pakistani team and pray for their success and if they are destined to exit then for a respectable exit. I am EXTREMELY happy to see the statement made by Ashraf on the remarks by Malcolm Speed and I am also hoping that the unwarranted remarks of Hayden and Symonds are punished. I am certain that there must be some clause in the laws of ICC which prohibit players and officials to make public statements about cases which are under legal proceedings and as we all know the case of Shoaib and Asif is. I would have been happier if Ashraf had gone a step further and quoted that specific clause. So, I would like to see a thorough investigation on the remarks of Speed and Hayden+ Symonds --especially the latter two.

    Hamza, Cambridge

  • sajid on March 2, 2007, 14:11 GMT

    Dear Kamran, This is a very good approach to support the team this time and let them fight with what they got. There would be no reason for them to regret now about Asif and Shoaib. The important message is that they must think that we are here to win the cup not to qualify for semi finals or so. The planing should be to win the match the day they are playing and wining all the matches. Fight until the last ball with spirit and enthusiasam. I observed recently in the Champions trophy, that Umar bowled very well but at a certain point they loose the concentration in the middle of the match, e.g SA. and finally they couldnt carried the match. Finally, i would say that go to the match and kick some asses and win us the cup

  • Big D on March 2, 2007, 14:09 GMT

    Kamran bhai...

    Love the blog!!!! absolutly grrrr8! No need to cry over spilled milk... forget Akhtar and Asif.... we have bigger and better fish to fry in Carribean... lets all get together and support our team whole heartidly this is what our team is and this is what we need to support (JUST LIKE WE DID IN 1992).

    out of the remaining bowlers we have, beside Gul, I think Rao would be my pick.. i know his record is shabby BUT he showed alot of heart and pace and line in South Africa and has been consistent!

    so lets all get together and root for OUR TEAM!!!

    NARAAAAEY TAKBEEEEEEEEER.... ALLAH HU AKBAR!

  • Ateeq bajwa on March 2, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    Be positive please i think we can still be force if all the players put there effort in same direction Yasir Arfat is very talented cricketer i watched him perfrom in county cricket for sussex and Sami got what it needed to be great. both of them just need bit of luck.pakistan will miss Razzaq,Asif and shoiab but we still got Inzi.yousaf,Malik and Afridi we can do it just Be Positive .

  • Top_banana on March 2, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    I would like to say U can never win a game with ONE player.

    Its all about teamwork.. if u can gel together and PLAY as a team that is MUCH better then just one or two players performing well.

    This maybe a silver lining amongst the clouds in that we may NOW concentrate on the TEAM and the Worldcup instead of 2 players!

  • Aslam on March 2, 2007, 14:07 GMT

    i very much agree with you that the loss of shobby and mo asif should not be an excuse to not do well in wc07. i have a lot of confidence in this team. i think this team is going a long way. only thing i m praying for now is we dont get any more injuries to anyone. i mnot a big fan of Boom Boom but i have the feelings that he is going do something special in this wc. watch out for mohammad yousuf as well. also what is up with this inzi coming in at number 4? i think moyo is our best bat for last couple yrs..there is no reason why he should be push back..if inzi really wants to take over,maybe he should open..yousuf coming in at number 5 would be a little too late for him unless our top order live to its poten and are back in first 2-3 overs..

    good luck Pakistan..i really think you can do i t..

  • Osama on March 2, 2007, 14:06 GMT

    "...there's always hope"

    Nope. Not anymore. Lets face it, we don't have a bowling attack. Gul? Capable but he has been out of the game for ages. Kaneria? Sure, if I want to bowl 10 overs, give 20 runs and take no wickets. Sami/Naved? Please! They are past their primes.

    Because of the format of the WC (2 useless teams with 2 proper teams in each group), we will make it to the Super8. But that's it. No further.

    And I hold the PCB personally responsible for this. Four years ago it sacked the whole team after the last WC farce. They have had 4 years to find out openers, lead bowlers, wicketkeeper and what not. They, of course, have failed miserably.

    Going into this WC Pakistan had the best bowling attack, albeit on paper. How have we gone from that to this shambolic lot in a few months is beyond me.

  • Faizal on March 2, 2007, 14:02 GMT

    I believe their bowling line-up is mediorcre. Although they got guys who can carry the work load, they lack attacking prowess. In the 1992 world cup, you had akram, in 1996 you had waqar, in 1999 you had aktar, 2003 you had all 3 of them. Well, hmmm... 2007... urhh lets c wat happens...

  • Rukshana Begam on March 2, 2007, 14:02 GMT

    True, it's not game over yet for Pakistan.

    One should always remember, its not over till the fat lady sings, but in Pakistan's case, she is wobbling.

  • rodzilla1010 on March 2, 2007, 14:01 GMT

    I think Pakistan should play 4 bowlers in the opening match against WI and then once Afridi comes in they should drop one of them.

    We have to depend on specialists, instead of filling up out team with players who CANT bat nor bowl. Now that we are depleted we have to put out faith in the top 6 batsman to score all the runs and 4 bowlers to bowl through most of the overs. Instead of crossing fingers that on allrounder may actually score more than 20 runs or bowl 10 overs withtout visiting the bleachers. For the 1st match id play Rana/Sami Rao Kaneria Gul

    with Malik and hafiz as supporting cast.

  • haroon munir on March 2, 2007, 14:01 GMT

    i think we need sami and gul to start of and then comes in azha mahmood and kaneria and arafat to finsh it off, that ill win the cup and bring it to pakistan. we shloud open with hafeez and farhat and affridi shloud come in at 5 and mahmood in 6 and then akal.

  • fahad khan on March 2, 2007, 13:59 GMT

    i like your optimism kamran, but sami in my books is and always be a crap bowler, he'll be a disaster along with rao and azhar...Only Gul in my books will shine and Yasir could be a surprise, not much can be said about kaneria at the moment

  • Nadeem Shahzad on March 2, 2007, 13:59 GMT

    Firstly, i heard your comments aired on star news on thursday 1st march. I agreed with them, they have become some what a laughing stock when you talk about the board and as far as the two bowlers are concerned, ive wacthed enough ODIs over the past two years religiously to know that we've done well without the two. Shoaib notibly more so, and its about time we consider other options groom more bowlers, Asif i think still has much to offer and it will be wise on his part not to walk in shoaib's foot steps. PCB is only good for identifying great talents and then destroying them. Past players arent helping the cuase either thanks to PCB since they havent been treated any better.

    We will do great to make it to Super Eights .. any further would be a miracle.

  • FarooK on March 2, 2007, 13:58 GMT

    Well put, and how will it be Pakistan without a healthy dose of disarray heading into any tournament, especially the World Cup. All this fiasco has told me is that things are as normal as can be for Pakistan cricket and this is how they usually are when they spring their "better" surprises. So all this if anything should be thought of as an encouraging sign that Pakistan might actually perform and get somewhere this World Cup. Surely if Pakistan had a strong side on paper heading into this thing you would be fearing a repeat of 2003 if anything. Who will lead Pakistan in the charge you may ask? I personally am hoping that Sami will finally show why he was praised by all when he appeared on the scene and bowl with rejuvination and hopefully a bit more luck. Gul should use this as a stepping stone to greater prolonged success as a spearhead and maybe Kaneria can use whatever opportunites he gets to pull a Warne circa 99. Apart from these three, I would look towards Shahid Afridi to be the surprise strike bowler for Pakistan in this WC as he is sure to cause many teams problems if he gets going consistently and does not give away the odd poor deliveries. I, being a Pakistan fan, am the eternal optimist but lets hope Pakistan yet again succeeds against all odds.

  • Abdul Waheed USA on March 2, 2007, 13:56 GMT

    “Damn if you do, damn if you don’t…”. I am sure this is what on PCB hierarchy’s mind these days. They must be cursing the moment when they decided to conduct internal dope tests before the Champions Trophy last year. It was a bad idea on PCB’s part unless they had inside leak about ICC planning to target Pakistan. Otherwise, if they did not have the guts to stick with the possible punishments, they should not have volunteered to test the players. Now, the upcoming World Cup. With all the Bad, something Good has emerged. We know now what our resources will be. Also, there is no Targeted dope testing sword hanging on our head as, all the selected players have cleared the test. I agree with your overall message in this Blog. Instead whining, Pakistan should face the situation like men and take the bull by the horns. As you pointed out yes, there are similarities between this and 92 WC squad. But remember; 1- In this team there is no one anywhere close to what Wasim Akram was then. 2- Mushtaq, compared to Kenaria was a much more accomplished leggie as far as ODI are concerned. 3- Similarly, Aaqib was much more accomplished ODI Pacer compare to any on this squad. 4- With all due respect Inzamam is no match to Imran as far as Leadership qualities are concerned. All said and done, I can not agree with you more when you say, “The World Cup isn't only an arena for heroes but it is one that creates them”. Inzamam, himself is one of those. I hope and pray we can find an opening combination that would provide us somewhat decent starts we need badly. The most crucial factor would be how smartly Inzamam plays and utilizes the resources available to him. It will be very very important who bowls to whom at what stage of the game. The field placing, power plays etc., etc.For this, he will need to work closely with Woolmer and other support staff accompanying the squad. He should remember it is up to him how he uses the resources available to him. Woolmer is a very smart coach but, it is Inzamam who will be leading the team on the ground. Also, Younis should provide all the support, wisdom and energy he can to his Captain. He should also be ready to lead the team at any stage of the game and Tournament as; Inzamam tends to break down with back spasms himself. For the opening match against West Indies given the resources my team would be; Inzamam should adjust the batting and bowling order according to the situation.

    I

  • Ladi Bulanda wala on March 2, 2007, 13:54 GMT

    Waqar can play But i trust more Jamshed ahmed Anwer Ali

  • SALIL on March 2, 2007, 13:47 GMT

    There is no doubt, that nadrolone is in the blood stream of both Asif and Akhtar to such a degree that they would both test above the ICC regulations and hence face stiff bans.Does the PCB really expect the world to believe that they have not conducted informal "off the record" tests on these two? They obviously have and both have tested positive, otherwise the PCB would be fuming and sending them to be tested even if they are not going to the WC.Look how bullish the PCB were in the Darrel Hair affair when they knew that right was on their side.They know that Akhtar and Asif are cheats and quite frankly are defending the indefnsible.Why do they not insist on testing EVEN if they are injured and not going to the WC? That said rationalise, did Akhter induce Asif to take nandrolone? or did they take it independently? The answers to these questions will serve the PCB more fruitfully in time to come than mereley knowing now if they are nandrolone positive or not.

  • wasim saqib (Detroit) on March 2, 2007, 13:47 GMT

    Border, Hayden and symonds people living in glass houses do not throw stones at other houses,so you need to shut up as australia does not have any credibility over the issue, and remember we conducted internal tests and shared the results with the world so nothing has been hidden, I would have loved to hear from you guys on this issue only if shane warnes career was ended three years ago,and hey is brett lee really injured or hiding bcz of dope tests.

  • kaliem on March 2, 2007, 13:43 GMT

    I agree with this optimistic approach and I want to remind of 2004 series in India where almost the same team beat India 4-2. At the end of the day, Batsmen will be key for Pakistan's chances. If they cant lead from the front, there is nothing much to expect from bowlers. For example, the same team without pace duo overwhelmed SriLanka in Champions trophy and what followed later was a dismal batting display which seized their chances further. If Inzi eleven want to recover intime , batsmen need to get their boots tight. With possibly batsmen and spinner friendly pitches, they seem to have some chance in WC proceedings.

  • Dr Basit on March 2, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    Kamran bhai ,I think you are right to say that Pakistan should play their best cricket with available sources .I still think pakistan can still could do well inshallah in this world cup.Well every one including our own greats like miandad ,sarfraz nawaz and others have already written us off but i think they dont know they are talking about Pakistan 'the most unpredictable team in the world'.We will miss Asif and Shoaib but still if Rana Gul and Sami bowl with plan and stay in form inshallah still we will give hard time to other teams.Does'nt matter we lose or win i hope they play with their potential .My best wishes are with pakistan. and i need to know from ICC and where is code of conduct for players why palyers like Hayden and Symonmd are allowed to talk publicaly about our players .why they dont shut them up.Please Kamran write some thing about this aswell .

  • wasim saqib (Detroit) on March 2, 2007, 13:40 GMT

    Border, Hayden and symonds people living in glass houses do not throw stones at other houses,so you need to shut up as australia does not have any credibility over the issue, and remember we conducted internal tests and shared the results with the world so nothing has been hidden, I would have loved to hear from you guys on this issue only if shane warnes career was ended three years ago,and hey is brett lee really injured or hiding bcz of dope tests.

  • Adi on March 2, 2007, 13:39 GMT

    Hey man, common ! You have so many quality bowlers yet left in your squad who can make things happen to win a match at any day.

    As an acute cricket lover, without any bias or favouritism, I am of the opinion that 1) PAK has always produced great & quality bowlers, 2) There is no dearth of talent, remember your U-19 seamers won the world cup from adverse situation where their talent & ability were visible & appreciated by one and all, 3) PAK has better & quite-a-many pitches which are seamer-freindly in comparison with any other sub-continental pitches, hence producing young talents 4) Also PAK possesses the great-seamer-quartets in Sarfraz/Imran/Wasim/Waqar & many more similar to Indian-spin-quartets to pass on rich-knowledge & experience.

    Having all above resources, one would expect great showing of Seamers from PAK, but many-a-times it gets into such murky situations & carry stinky-issues. WHY ? Thats probably because, all these talents & resources would help to a certain extent, but only Right attitude, Good discipline & Pride-for-playing-Country will get anyone thru all obstacles & make them reach the pinnacle of success. Somehow this has been lacking grossly with many sub-continental players, especially in PAK. Now this qualities can't be taught, but need to be inculcated & nurtured by the past-greats, board & team management. Unfortunately here-again the internal POLITICS play major-role for MONEY/SELF-GAIN then PRIDE & PERFORMANCE for Country.

  • Talal Hasan on March 2, 2007, 13:37 GMT

    All the bowlers are picked for a reason. They all have ability and talent. Now if they can apply themselves and have the mental capacity to think of their feet they should all be capable of taking wickets. (ENGLAND DID THIS IN THE CB SERIES- IF PLUNKETT CAN DO IT SO CAN THE PAKISTANIS)

    Imran Khan had the philosophy of telling his bowlers just to take wickets. He didn't care about run rate. So at the end of the day we need to pick the bolwers who will take the vital wickets for Pakistan.

    I disagree with KAMRAN about Arafat as he was useless on a seaming deck at Mohali.

    I do like Kaneria but is kamran proposing we play with four spinners? (Afridi, malik, hafeez and Kaneria) I think that may be too risky on these small grounds in the windies. But if the new decks are slow turners then it could be a master stroke.

    However I think we need to play azhar mahmood because he is comparatively much more experienced then the rest of the seam attack. Plus he is a quality replacement for razzaq.

    The reason why rana bowls so well at the death is because he is thinking a lot more. He needs to apply his brain throughout the match not just at the death.

    I think gul, kaneria, sami, mahmood, rana plus the allrounders be picked. (Hafeez should play instead of afridi for the 1st two matches.)

    COME ON PAK LETS MAKE IT TO THE SUPER 8'S

  • asif on March 2, 2007, 13:36 GMT

    "Gul, Kaneria, Sami, and Arafat would be my bowlers to watch".

    Can you think of anything more depressing?

  • Rizwan Shah on March 2, 2007, 13:32 GMT

    I knew that was going to happen. My mind was set to hear the bad news. Now the only thing we Pakistanis can do is to support our team and forget whats happened for the time being. Good Luck Pakistan.

  • Waqar Ali on March 2, 2007, 13:32 GMT

    I think it's just not Pakistan's bowling attack but also Pakistan's batting who has a few waiting in the line to prove a point, to themselves and the world.

    Pakistan team on more occassions than not keeps you guessing, and somewhere down inside I like that, I like a team that you can count dead and wasted but somehow they find a way to amaze everyone.

    This World Cup is now finally on a cling to make Pakistan go drop dead or go all the way till the end.

    Sometimes it's just not about how brave you are, sometimes, it's about what you achieved. Maybe Pakistan has to achieve something this time. Maybe!

  • Ali Ahad on March 2, 2007, 13:29 GMT

    It's a big blow for Pakistan team that they dont have the services of Shoaib and Asif. If the bowlers knew that their will be traces of nandrolone in their bodies they should off to England right away when thier bans was lifted. It is really sad that the chances of Pakistan team are very slim to go beyond the Super 8 stage.

  • Tawquir on March 2, 2007, 13:29 GMT

    Kamran, I totaly agree with your view, no point of crying over what we don't have. Pakistan should now totally focus on what resources they have and how to utilise them best. Although our attack has lost its aggression but I do beleive if any team can pull it off it "TEAM PAKISTAN" if they play with the same team spirit and courage of 92 world cup. I think Inzi should get all the boys togather and share with them same atmosphere he felt which Imran created back then and motivitate the team and guide them like the cornerd tigers they were then. As Inzi was a in the pack of Imran's tigers. The team should fight thier hearts out even when they are on th elosing side, no shame in going down as long as you go down with pride and fight.

  • Zishan Iqbal on March 2, 2007, 13:28 GMT

    Although it is a massive loss for Pakistan, and a big personal sadness for Shoaib and Asif to have to miss the World Cup, Kamran is right - we must focus on what we have and not wonder about what we could have had. And Ive noticed that many Australians and Michael Vaughan have decided to wade in with their comments of "life bans" etc. But I dont remember them saying such things when Shane Warne was found guilty and theres rumours from WADA that he was using diuretics to cover up the use of other drugs. It just shows the Asian paranoia of "one rule for them and another for the rest" as being a true one. And I read what Peter Roebuck had to say about Shoaib. I think its scandalous that he could write that. Who is he to call Pakistani's dim-witted?! Its none of his business! Anyway, back to the World Cup, I think theres enough bowling talent still, but they all need to perform and step up to the mark in each game. I just fear that theres more pressure now on the batsmen to make runs and that doesnt always help them. My message to the Pakistan team is this: "GO OUT THERE AND PLAY EVERY MATCH AS IF IT WERE YOUR LAST. PLAY WITH FOCUS, PLAY WITH INTENSITY AND DETERMINATION AND PLAY TO WIN. WIN FOR YOURSELVES, FOR YOUR PEOPLE, FOR THE EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS, FOR YOUR FANS. AND MOST OF ALL, WIN SO THAT YOU CAN RAM THE COMMENTS OF PEOPLE WHO LAUGH AT YOU AND MOCK YOUR ABILITIES DOWN THEIR THOATS". And Inzi, if you read this - please be more active in your captaincy. If you are intense and determined, the young players around you will be too and from the first match onwards, if we play with intensity and determination, I feel we can go a very long way. And remember Inzi, this is your last shot at any glory, to really seal your name in history. That should be yours and your team's motivation.

  • Ayaz F. Farooqi on March 2, 2007, 13:25 GMT

    I tend to agree with Kamran. Even without the threesome; Shoaib, Asif & Abdur Razzaq, Pakistan does have a fairly decent bowling attack. I would like Sami and Umar Gul to open the proceedings for Pakistan with Kaneria and Rana Naved slotted in the middle over. Rana, as already mentioned, is a much better bowler with the old ball so he should not be introduced into the attack before the 20th over of the innings. The death overs in most cases should be bowled by Rana and Sami, who can be very handy with yorkers. Pakistan trio of spinning allrounders Hafeez, Malik and Afridi can also come in handy on the rather low slow tracks of the West Indies. So in my opinion all is not lost and if the batters can fire regularly, Pakistan does have a fairly even chance of progressing some distance in this mega event. One should not forget that Pakistan is the most dangerous team when not much is expected of this bunch.

  • Umer Farooq on March 2, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    Great assessment Kamran. If Inzamam can unite the team and Younis Khan's aggressive cricketing strategies (such as attacking field placement) can be leveraged, we have a shot at the world cup.

  • Nasar Farooq, Leicester.UK on March 2, 2007, 13:21 GMT

    Let's start by foegetting about Shoaib and Asif-Shoaib for good and Asif for the foreseeable future!Looking at it holistically, Shoaib has been more trouble than he has been worth both on and off the field and as a parting shot he may have left an indelible stain on Asif's career too when influencing him to take banned substances. Now at least the taem management and captain can focus on the job at hand-winning the world cup! Lets hope that the remaing 'fit' bowlers remain so througout the tournament and perform for each other and the team.But to be quite frank, my concern is more the batting, which has shown a tendancy to implode in the recent past.The batsmen must be patient, avoid big shots early in their innings whilst still keep the scorborad ticking with ones and twos.In fact the relative inexperience of the remaining bowlers makes it even more imperative for the batsmen to apply themselves and post a decent score (and more) that the bowlers can defend reasonably well. Its definitely a chance for someone to make a name for themselves and Pakistan.......who will it be...........out of the nowlers,my money is on kaneria and Gul. GO ........TEAM PAKISTAN..........GO..........Whole nations'duaas are with you because you are going to need them!

  • Kashif Aziz on March 2, 2007, 13:20 GMT

    I agree with most Kamran's points. I think its obvious that atleast Asif was fit and it was traces of nandrolone which kept him out. There is no disgrace in that as he was bound to have traces in his urine due to the natural process of it being removed from his body. It was obvious the ICC were going to target them both and the ICC with its traditional anti-Paki bias would have banned them big time !! They did the right thing to go for private tests to look after their future and with no major commitments after the WC they should be fine for SA in September if FIT!! The way things panned out was inevitiable and lets just move forward pick gul and kaneria for the ODI side and take it from there.

  • Muhammad Kamran Qureshi from Dubai on March 2, 2007, 13:09 GMT

    After Razzaq way we lost Shohaib & Asif it's realy a very big loss for pakistan.After lost of three main match winner player out of world cup means for one that pakistan is out of compition.all three players can win maches for pakistan sing handly.the lost of three key figuers mean pakistan is out of last 4 hot favourites. lets look at back 4 years ago we have had Wasim Akram Waqar Younis & Shohib Akhter but we were not able to reach in second round so now let's hope opposite of 2003.may be we can this world cup without being favourite only need of master mind captaincy & every single should know his roll for team.i cannot see when Afridy Malik & hafeez all play toghther Kanaria also will play but main concern is fast bowling.first choice should be Umer and Rao then up to seclection they choose Rana or Sami.

    do't for get ban on Afridy which is anther big below for pakistan on a very big and important match against host on 13 th of this month.after ban Aridi eplace by Hafeez or Rna or Mahmood.But Inzamam should change his batting position and he should be bat on very resposible position on no.4 and great Yousuf at no.5 becouse he is great finesher of game.our batting should take a resposibility now when we have very average bowling. Hope Inshallah pakistan will able to repeat the history of Imran in the face of Inzamam.wish you a very good luck pakistan.

  • Sridhar on March 2, 2007, 13:08 GMT

    It is a great opportunity for Pakistan to come through. Apart from the 3 middle order pillars, Inzy, Yousuf and Younis, none of the others are established in the one-day format. Anyone who plays his heart out is bound to succeed and put the chequered past behind.

  • Rizwan Ahmed on March 2, 2007, 13:07 GMT

    Yes indeed for ODI its easy for the next bowlers to fit into the slot.As far as Shaoib and Asif are concerned is that they are wicket taking bowlers.But none you dont have thier services it put heavy load on Pakistans Batsman to perform consistently and score them extra 40 runs to compensate for their weaker link.

    If they fail to do that then its all over and I still say its the batsmen whom win you the ODIs they have hugh advantage playing in small grounds and batsmen friendly wickets.

  • Hani on March 2, 2007, 13:04 GMT

    Good article. I agree one hundred percent. If any team can afford to lose two of its top bowlers..its us..plus, we have played in numerous series without these two and done reasonably well. If I was Sami, Rana, Rao, Yasir, Azhar or Kaneria, I would be licking my lips right now. This is the IDEAL time to become a hero!!!

  • ubaid on March 2, 2007, 13:01 GMT

    I don't agree. Sami should not be given any more chances. He bowls quick , but that is pretty much the only thing he does. He lacks commonsense when it comes to line and length. He is just not good enough for international cricket, and has proven it time and again. When are we going to get wise and stop betting on the same horses that have caused us grief in the past. He will leak runs. Should have given someone else a chance. Even abdur rehman would have been better.

  • cammy on March 2, 2007, 13:01 GMT

    you are absolutely right. but i still think ASIF would have been the main threat. Now neither razzaq nor asif is there. mind you razzaq is the most consistent lower order hitter pakistan have. he is the most lethal and feared batsmen for the opponents. if he gets ten overs to play he always gets over 70 runs...well not always but scores big many times.

  • Masaood Yunus on March 2, 2007, 12:58 GMT

    The musical chairs is over and finally the chapter is closed and we can now be sure of our final playing 11 ! I think Umar Gul, Rao Iftikhar and Azhar Mehmood should be the bowlers to watch for. Sami looked a little better in SA but doesn't appear to have gained much confidence so I still wont put my money on him. Arafat and Rana Naveed should make the backup bowling. Their county experience will be put to test this WC. Kaneria has a very mediocre One Day record as compared to his Test record. He isn't a one day bowler as yet. This is my fast bowling firepower :

    Pace Attack ----------- Umar Gul Rao Iftikhar Azhar Mehmood

    Backup ------ Yasir Arafat Rana Naved

    Finally, all these players have got a point to prove now. This is make or break for many. Good Lcuk folks.

  • Sufyan Khan on March 2, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    hmmmm pakistan will play 2nd round of the world cup thanks to new super 8 system if it were super six then i think there would be another 1st round exit of pakistan in 2 consecutive worldcups

  • Asad K on March 2, 2007, 12:54 GMT

    Optimist Much Mr. Abbasi? On flat wickets of the Carribbean, we needed either the express pace of Akhtar, or the pin point accurace of Asif to carry our bowling. Our medium pacers (Razzak, Mahmood, Rana) have been in poor form, and will further add to their miseries on flat tracks, where as Sami is anything but extraordinary...Gul is our only hope but as the series in S.Africa proved that one man(Asif) can't carry a team's bowling burdens every game.

    I'm afraid, our Worldcup campaign is as good as over, which is a shame because it has barely even began.

    Asad K

  • Robert on March 2, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    Well the loss of Asif is massive. He was bowling superbly against South Africa, and his record speaks for itself. Shoaib well.. as mentioned is so rarely fit that I honestly don't believe he will be missed. He's more an added bonus when fit than a go to man.

    Sadly I do think that both have pulled out because of traces of a banned substance. Personally I think they should be forced to take the test anyhow and sort this out once and for all.

    As for the other bowlers. You only need 10 good ones from each. No mammoth spells to be bowled and one or two quick wickets can change the game very quickly. Not all hope is lost.

  • asam on March 2, 2007, 12:50 GMT

    i thimk dis is da last chance mo sami has he needs to prove himself

  • Toronto Dude on March 2, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    I was thinking the exact same thing over the last week. As good as Asif is becoming and hot and cold Akthar can get, we still have a fairly decent back-up. I'd put Kaneria in for everygame because of his aggresive nature in Tests could pay off (his battle with Lara would be a treat in the opener. Gu's seaming and bouncing bowling could make him dangerous. I'd rahter opt for Sami than Ifthikar too because of his express pace which is lacking in the line-up. The all-rounder for me would be Azhar because he's proven himself in the past and his experience will show. The part-timer, Afridi, Malik, and Hafeez are great in that they reduce the run-rat, and in the case of Afridi, sneak out wickets at crucial points. This line-up might not have the fearful touch as with Akhtar and Asif but it's still one that looks as if it's going to explode, just needs the right conditions and heart to.

  • Awais on March 2, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    I agree with most of the things Mr.Kamran Abbasi you have said.I rather would disagree with going with 3 bowlers.I believe we have to sacrifice Mr.Hafeez also.I would rather go for Rana,Gul,Sami and Kaneria as bowlers.Openers Nazir,Malik followed by Inzi,Yosuf,Younis,Afridi and Kamran.Malik is a very good batsman on slow and low wickets and can be utilized fully at opening slot.Inzi should come one down not just for the sake that he is experience,every team does it so he must do it also.He must do it because if he comes up,Younis goes down at 5 and that is the position where you want a very good runner between the wickets.Hafeez i doubt is a good batsman,Yes he is a good bowler but i would rather go for Kaneria.Give Kaneria a run in till the start of Super 8 and if he fires Pakistan is in with a Big chance.

  • Imran Zaheer on March 2, 2007, 12:45 GMT

    Using Afridi as a spin bowler is an option which this team has to take given fewer options in bowling department.Unfortunately Afridi has not matured enough in his batting for him to be classed as a genuine all rounder. His occasional bursts can add some strength to the score but not consistently.

  • Sohail Ahmed on March 2, 2007, 12:41 GMT

    Good thoughts and comments. But I am afraid, Kamran, I dont share your optimism. We are still not sure how quickly Gul can shrug off the rustiness. And then the batsmen will definitely try to go after Sami, Rana or whoever is the 2nd new ball bowler. We dont have much back up in that department. Kaneria might come in handy, but you cant create trouble for the other teams with only two good bowlers, both of whom having played little ODI cricket lately. And dont forget the openers problem is still there. All in all a number of things have to click for our team to perform well. Inzi and Bob will have to do some real inspiring work with the team. Else I dont see them going into semis. But I wish them best of luck.

  • Zakir Khan, Ireland on March 2, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    Kamran Sahib A good piece of article to raise the already down morale of Pakistan Cricket supporters.i wish whatever you said comes true and Pakistani team review the ''Cornered Tigers'' phenomena of 92 World Cup but to me it will really be a miracle if they pull out the same performance of 92WC as at that time we had a fighter captain in the shape of Imran Khan.while this time we have Inzi who is an outstanding player himslef but his captaincy...i doubt that he is in the same league as Imran Khan was. but again one day cricket is all about discipline and control.more responsibility will lie on the shoulders of Batters rather than Bowlers.our bowlers will only need to contain the opposing side by not giving them too many loose deliveries to score.so we shouldn't be too worried. just keep fingers crossed and hope that our Inzy Bhai become the next Imran Khan and we receive him with World Cup in his hands after two months. Best of Luck PAK TIGERS... GO AND SHOW THE WORLD WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF

  • Rehan on March 2, 2007, 12:37 GMT

    what is mushtaq ahmed doing in the sqad? non of the world teams have a leg spinner as a bowling coach. perhaps wait for Mr. Ashraf to come with a statement in middle of the WC STATING as mushtaq will replace any one of the bowlers.

    start preparing for 2011.

  • Zulfiqar on March 2, 2007, 12:35 GMT

    Absolutely. For Sami it is a matter of rising to the occasion and bringing out the wonderful talent that he definitely posses. I completely agree with your comments about Rao Iftikhar. It is not a lost cause for Pakistan. I am quite optimistic about Pakistan's chances. There could be no better time to remember the constitution and adjustments of 1992 squad.

  • Usman on March 2, 2007, 12:35 GMT

    Good Job KA. Its great to read something optimistic about Pakistan Cricket in the print media. Well I am with you all the way, Kamran. Lets hope our team can pull up a trick or two from their sleeves when they take on the world of cricket in the West Indies.

    Lets just leave the rubble behind and emerge as the TITANS of cricket and get our hands on that elusive WORLD CUP TROPHY.....

    For the eternal pessimists, one piece of advice... you never know with PAKISTAN cricket....it rarely fails to surprise the experts!!

  • hassan on March 2, 2007, 12:33 GMT

    Yup good analysis but i have some reservation I think Gull is bowler for pak but is he fit enough & if we follow Rana i think he is in team only because inzi goodbooks n i can assure u inzi will underuse kaneria or use him as defencive bowler with no slip or nothing at off side which amke him useless Rao he is good but i have reservetion about yasir arfat What Shahid nazir have to do to prove he desrve chance in team & if u want allrounder i think he is better then arfat Sami kool but either too short or too wide N no variation in bowling & the reverse swing which made him name is almost gone so Look for Gayle & Samule extream game

  • Olmert on March 2, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    Kamran this is for you. In one of your future Blogs kindly comment on what Bob Woolmer has done for pakistan that other have not...i dont see any improvement in the batsmen when they go abroad and the bowlers as a matter of fact...apart from the English series in Pakistan i dont see any positives...do you? thanks

  • Aafat from Toronto on March 2, 2007, 12:26 GMT

    Ithink the ouster of Shoib & Asif for whatever reason is a good omen for Pakistan, now the up and coming players will have achane to show their true fighting qualities, the younger players are always overshadowed by the "Big guns". ALso In my opinion the missing link is the captaincy, Inzi is very good as a batsman, but sorry to say he does not act like a skipper on the field. Inzi should just be in the team as a batsman and let Yonnis take charge, he is more aggressive and looks commanding on the field.

    My two cents worth, Go Pakistan Go...

  • Usman on March 2, 2007, 12:24 GMT

    pakistan doesn`t have such a bad bowling attack right now.we have got umar gul who has proved in recent times that he can bowl quick and intelligently and rana on his day bowls extremely well.kaneria can be a handful the the windies conditions.all in all i think we`re still a force to reckon in this World Cup.

  • olmert on March 2, 2007, 12:24 GMT

    As i stated before , Shoaib got watever he wanted out of cricket , the "Bay Boy" title...I still believe pakistan has a chance with the limited resources but the big guns have to fire thru out! the inzis , yousafs and youniss... a quick shoutout to the PCB! welldone you guys messed pakistan cricket to beyond the limits of repair and pakistan a laughing stock in the cricketing world! everyone should be fired...and imran khan to be at the helm...

  • Hussam Qureshi on March 2, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    AA Kamran, I am as optimistic as you. Although the loss of Shoaib and Asif is big but Pakistan has been winning matches without them in the past. I am really hopeful of Gul performing and Rana getting back to his wicket taking streak and clever bowling at death (He has been a big disappointment in South africa and results would have been different had he performed like his old self). All my prayers and wishes are with the team! GO PAKISTAN!

  • J Ahmad on March 2, 2007, 12:22 GMT

    Kamran stop being an eternal optimist. Inspiration comes from the top and Inzi is anything but inspirational. Pakistan's chances are next to none!

    Go Kiwis!

  • H.Malik on March 2, 2007, 12:20 GMT

    Dear Mr Abbasi, What is the point in keep on repeating the old mantra over & over again , If you have any Factual data to back him a Winning bowler ( I mena how many ODI & Test Seris , did he ever participated full and Pakistan won them ! ) I do not recall any one of significance as such so WHATS is point of keep saying He is the key bowler he is the match winner he is the asset of the Pakistan team BlaBlaBla , in my humble opinion , he is just a showman of no real value to the team ( he prooved it time and again hmiself ) so the best would have been for the PCB to take him to the WI and let ICC find out and give him his due credit what the PCB could not dare to give him . This spoiled kid of Gen TZ & cronies MUST BE shown the gate the sooner the better , he is not an asset but have become the biggest liabilites for the team , for PCB and for the nation . I will definitely not cry over his departure for good , this sad episode of the Pak team must be closed without further delays . This "khatara mall train" must be shunted to the junk yard for ever

  • Tahir on March 2, 2007, 12:19 GMT

    I feel that we need to put the issue with Shoaib and Asif behind us and concentrate solely on the World Cup.

    I feel that the players we have are international level and therefore should have what it takes to play in a world cup.

    I reckon though pakistan should have brought in someone like Anwar Ali as although inexperienced he would have provided us with a weapon which not many people know about.

  • Tahir Ahmed on March 2, 2007, 12:18 GMT

    salam Mr. Kamran. first time im adding something on ur blog. you are right we lost our gr8 bowlers they can ball any time of the match they had speed, swing in short they have every material of a good fast bowler, but remember life is not end, we won in west indiens, india, and in pakistan again WI. SO in my opinion if Inzi uses his bowlers well then pakistan have a good chance bcoz on WI pitchs medium pacers and spinners are more effective, and this world cup is for batsmen. becuase wickets willbe flat. and pakistan have good batsmen but the real need is how inzi uses them, i think pak should open with Afridi and nazir and malik/yousaf should come on third position, then inzi then younis, and then yousaf/malik, and then WK and allrounders, lets pray for pak..................I hope we have serious chance for world cup, fitness of UMAR GUL is serious boost for us. and if CHACHA JI (RANA NAVEED) come back in form then we'll qualify for semi final, GO GP GO

    GP=GREAT PAKISTAN

  • Muhammad Umair Khan on March 2, 2007, 12:18 GMT

    Its obvious that fitness is certainly not the chief issue why these bowlers were dropped from Pakistan world cup squad, but about the replacements I have some concerns about the inclusion of Yasir Arfat........with experience of less than 10 onedays and not played even a single game in southafrica tour i dont think that he should be named for the squad...Abdul rehman was a good choice because he had dhown that on supporting(slow n turning tracks)he can be very effective......... And regarding the fact that what would be the impact of absence of asif n shoaib on pakistani team, I think that Inzamam would have prepared himself mentally for this thing because ICC target dopping certainly meant that both of the bowlers were under constant threat of being tested positive again and then their ban from the tournament means that Pakistan has to play rest of the tournament with 13 players..............no doubt that Asif was the main pillar of our attack but we should look at the positive side........going into matches without our prime bowlers can be a source of inspiraton for the rest of the team......every player feeling his responsibilty and performing more than 100%.........If Rana sahab can come into form again and stop bowling short-pitched deliveries constantly then even umer gul Rana and Sami constitute a very good attack with support from Azhar,afridi,Malik n Hafeez.............so thats certainl;y not the end for us and we still have a very good chance of getting into semis

  • anders on March 2, 2007, 12:16 GMT

    what and embarrassing joke this episode is for cricket and particularly the PCB. is it one rule for all other players in the world and another for Pakistan? injuries to shoaib and asif? rubbish. they refused a drugs test- that equates to guilt anywhere else. for goodness sake Warne had to face a year ban for taking just a water tablet for his vanity. the PCB is a disgrace and Mr Speed's words are welcomed if a little slow in coming. this behaviour from a cricketing body (PCB) is to be deplored, not tiptoed around and shrugged off. lets try and clean up the image of cricket again.

  • Muhammad Umair Khan on March 2, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    Its obvious that fitness is certainly not the chief issue why these bowlers were dropped from Pakistan world cup squad, but about the replacements I have some concerns about the inclusion of Yasir Arfat........with experience of less than 10 onedays and not played even a single game in southafrica tour i dont think that he should be named for the squad...Abdul rehman was a good choice because he had dhown that on supporting(slow n turning tracks)he can be very effective......... And regarding the fact that what would be the impact of absence of asif n shoaib on pakistani team, I think that Inzamam would have prepared himself mentally for this thing because ICC target dopping certainly meant that both of the bowlers were under constant threat of being tested positive again and then their ban from the tournament means that Pakistan has to play rest of the tournament with 13 players.Shoaib always has fines/behavior/discipline issues and there was no guarantee that he wont be coming out of the ground limping after bowling only 4.3 overs and then spending the time during rest of the matches quarreling with the coach and captain and violating discipline to be in the headlines(so I think its good not to have such a player in the team).............no doubt that Asif was the main pillar of our attack but we should look at the positive side........going into matches without our prime bowlers can be a source of inspiraton for the rest of the team......every player feeling his responsibilty and performing more than 100%.........If Rana sahab can come into form again and stop bowling short-pitched deliveries constantly then even umer gul Rana and Sami constitute a very good attack with support from Azhar,afridi,Malik n Hafeez.............so thats certainl;y not the end for us and we still have a very good chance of getting into semis

  • Bilal on March 2, 2007, 12:15 GMT

    The loss of Asif and Shoaib is absolutely huge. Our batting has collapsed for under 200 every 3 games since 2005 and our strength would have lied within the wicket taking capability of Shoaib and Asif within the first 20 overs.

    This is my 4rth world cup and I have never felt so dejected, down hearted & disappoined towards Pakistans chances. I may not even watch...this whole situation is beyond pathetic now. The politics that run Pakistan cricket always deliever a killer blow at crucial times. Good Luck Pakistan...you need it more than anything.

  • Feroz Faisal Merican on March 2, 2007, 12:11 GMT

    I think Pakistan will be fine. They will open with Umar Gul and Sami, and Rana will be very useful in the death overs. In between, Azhar, Afridi and Shoaib Malik have plenty of experience and they should bowl about 6-7 overs each easily. I am not so sure Kaneria should play against the Windies, perhaps a couple of games with the minnows to build up confidence first. The loss af Abdul Razzaq should be compensated by Azhar and the spinners. The lack of Superstar bowlers might have the effect of forcing the bowlers to concentrate harder and to cut out extras. I have every confidence that Umar Gul, Rana, S. Malik and Azhar will not let Pakistan down. thanks, Feroz.

  • sayed maswood ali on March 2, 2007, 12:11 GMT

    assalaam-alikum; it is very sad news for any pak cricfan shoaib and asif missing world cup .but i think pakboard is responsibile for this situation.the replacementsami and yasir arafat is poor choice. sami when in akram;waqar shadow was good but not now and yasir i think he is having a godfather in pakboard instead of performing so badly inwhichever match either in champions trophy against sa or against INDIA .he gets world cup ticket.it is disgusting ;where has the fast bowler crop in PAK gone .PAK will definetly miss RAZZAQ.i wish INZI and boys will play great cricket;INZI and comp must take inspiration from 92worldchampion and play with great enthusiasm and spirit and not to forget with unity which pak cricket often misses.Riaz AFRIDI could have been good choice instead of YASIR.i hope all pak player specially senior player like younis;yousuf;inzi,afridi;imran nazir will rise to these occasion .ihad great hope from nazir;afridi;yousuf;younis;inzi;mallik;rana and azhar mahmood.pakistan must plan for every opponent specially for india;south africa;australia. they must come hard in batting .they must bowl according the field .BOB WOOLMER have to come with new plan like he did in99 worldcup;after world cup there need change in pakboard.yesteryear like IMRAN KHAN;WASIM AKRAM.must take charge of pcb.maybe now this is the time of action.i hope pak team will play greatcricket and bring cheers to not only for pakistanis but also the pakcricket fan across the border aswell as around the world InshaAllah y to forget with unity

  • Arif on March 2, 2007, 12:09 GMT

    I think the nation needs some closure... Shoaib and Asif were axed not because of the official reason given. I think we all Agree Shoaib is more trouble than he is worth. We have compromised on our principles far too long to support him... it's time to put Pakistan above Shoaib... One thing I would not want to see is outsiders calling our boys, cheaters... That stigma will hurt a long time. PCB needs to conduct a test and officially let him go.

    Back to the Topic, while Waqar Was a big miss in 1992, we still had a match winner in Wasim... we don't today so the analogy does not fit.

    Not trying to be a defeatist but I think it would be better not to get any one's hopes high on this WC...we need to get real. Support them for what they really are... a Mediocre team now.

  • Mehtab on March 2, 2007, 12:08 GMT

    Oh It is too bad news for all of us. no chance to win the Cup. Nothing to discuss.

  • Azhar on March 2, 2007, 12:04 GMT

    I think that the withdrawal of Asif and Shoaib in the end may turn out to be a good thing after all the controversy associated with their doping & injury issues. Now the other bowlers have to step up and be counted. This is a challenge for the rest of the team and sometimes, as in 1992, when cornered a team can really come together and make up in collective brilliance what they may lack in individual skill.

  • concerned pakistani on March 2, 2007, 12:03 GMT

    Pakistan has invested highly in Shoaib Akhter and even after 8 years his number of wickets is mediocre. If this much money and time would have been spent to grow new talent, pakistan would have had the best bench strength. I think Shoaib, as he is not participating in the world cup and seeing his age, for the sake of Pakistan Cricket Humbly retire himself, if he does not PCB should make him retire. He is no more useful to long term benefit for Pakistan Cricket so please dont waste any time on him and bowlers like Sami, who just know how to stare in the eyes of Batsmen when get hit for fours and sixes.

  • Hassan Rizvi on March 2, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    The departure of our elite bowlers is no doubt a serious blow to Pakistan. Their absense will surely slacken the morale of the team. Nevertheless Pakistan has substitutes of great caliber and the captain must look forward to utilize them as cleverly as possible.

    The Caribbean condition would certainly help Kaneria. However he hasnt played enough one-day cricket and that might impede his ability to some extent. I also believe that the absense of both Asif and Shoaib will give other teams, competing at the World Cup, the opportunity to take on the Pakistani bowlers.

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on March 2, 2007, 12:00 GMT

    Yes, Kamran Bhai this is the Road to Jamaica 3. In the bowling department, we are worried just because the team lost Asif and Shoaib. Good news is that Gul is fully fit. Gul and Asif are similar kind of bowler. You are right if Gul gets his rythym back in no time it would be good to see him. The resources are there and if they will put their best foot forward, I think they will be team to beat. Some of the blog writers have just erased the Pak Team from the contender list just because we have lost one all rounder and two of their main strike bowlers. I think they are not just doing justice. You go through the record of the succes for this Pak outfit, they have done super job in the absence of Asif and Shoaib. Please do not discourage the team. We all know if they would have been available, it would have beeen a great boost. Imran Khan lift the WC in 1992 and that time we lost one of our key bowlers, hence, it is going to be blessing in disguise provided Inzi uses his brain sharply and be an active captain and not sleeping or sliping captain. If they will click as a team this outfit is not bad as somebody is mentioning. The batting is key but we will definitely miss Yasir and Salman, but if our allrounders get going then it will be hard to stop them. Let them play a positive cricket and attacking cricket. This will be key in this WC. Let them use the powerplay carefully and I am sure, the result will be decided in the powerplay itself in most of the games in the WC. Let them believe in themselves. Self belief is good. Let them be positive. Let us lift their morale, let us boost their confidence. It is time to encourage them and not to criticise them. Come on.......get going........This is the best chance to lift the World Cup. Amin.....Allah Hafiz

  • Ghalib Imtiyaz Ahmad on March 2, 2007, 11:59 GMT

    Sami is one of the fastest bowlers going around and we need his express pace. Lets not get carried away with the loss of Asif And Shoaib, we must understand it would be about posting 300+ totals and defending them. So Sami, Gul and Iftikhar can do a very reasonable job. Arafat was named if Mahmood becomes a dismal failure. The squad is still very strong and if we know from the current NZ squad, we should know that they are capable of beating Australia again and Pakistan's current side has more depth and talent than the NZ and English side. I think it's time for other bowlers to show what they are capable of.

  • khurram shahzad on March 2, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    With the preprations Pakistan have done for Worldcup, I dont think there are any chances that we can go even in to Semi Finals and this time its a blessing that we will be playing in a group of 4 other wise this team is much weaker in stregth than we have in 2003. and we could have seen Pakistan coming back in first round. For teams to be the best in the world they need to pressurize the opponenet from the start. We dont have any solid openers to pressurize the bowling of opponents and even the openning bolwers dont have that much ability to strike early. The planning for WC is such that except 4-5 players no one is certain about playing 11 for pakistan.

  • Haider on March 2, 2007, 11:57 GMT

    Its time Arafat steps up to the plate like Razzaq did in 99. If he does so indeed his international career is set for the next 5-10 years. And he should know this.

  • Dr Fareed Nasir on March 2, 2007, 11:52 GMT

    Said like an eternal optimist kamran. But then i do see your point. Old cliche "No use crying over spilt milk" etc etc. BUT for now I feel betrayed, dismayed, shocked in short not happy. As a typical Human being I want Blood for that, but question in whose blood. I think the most guilty person here is the Players themselves ( I hope fervently than its not just their injuries that is keeping them out and they are not being slatted for nothing, nandrolone metabolites dont stay in system for this long and there is a posibility they were stupid enough to use drugs again. Also I wonder knowing that 2 key bowlers were already absent whther some kind of risk prevention measures instituted by PCB medical board could have prevented injury to razzaq. ( I am desperate to hang blame on some one aint I). Anyways What is done is done as they say let the show begin and hope for the best. Some optimism can be derived from the fact that now that pakistan is not one of the favourites , they might be able to relax a little and try to fight with their limited resources. A situation where Inzi and co have not done too badly in last couple of years.

  • Syed Naqvi, Bristol on March 2, 2007, 11:51 GMT

    I am more concerned about the exclusion of Asif than Shoaib. Asif is far more consistant and has a tight line and length than Shoaib, who's pace does not always compensate for his inaccuracy. However, in one-day cricket teams can get away with 'bit players' - and the opportunity that rises from the withdrawal of Asif and Shoaib should not be missed by the Pakistan team selectors. Play all-rounders and shorten the non-batting tail! Why on earth Kaneria is picked when Pakistan have 3 quality all-rounders that bowl good spin, is beyond me. I would play 2 specialist bowlers in Gul and Sami, with back up from all-rounders: Arafat, Mahmood, Afridi, Malik, Hafeez. That's 70 overs!!

  • Reza on March 2, 2007, 11:46 GMT

    Lets forget what happened, play with what is available. Still can win the world cup. Play like cornered tigers As what Imran Khan Said in 1992 world cup. Give everything what you have. Remember its not impossible but difficult. The best wi matches from difficult situations.

  • Usman Majeed from RWP on March 2, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    I m with u on this, that our Team still has the potential(some may call us optimistic), but history shows whenever Pakistan has its back on to the walls, they come out even harder and have produced the great performances(those who dont agree to me , flash back to 1992, Pak's 2005 tour to India, the list goes on). So i m convinced that the bowlers (Umer,Sami,Afridi) will still put up a good show.

    Thanks.

  • WALEED on March 2, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    MR kamran ,i dont think pakistan will go far ahead in the WC cos of shoaib n asif ,these 2 bowlers r our key players .yes we might be able to defeat ireland or zimbabwe but not teams like australlia or SA OR newzealand ....cos these teams have strong batting line up n our our bowlers especially like rana or sami cant face them .....gul is good but the whole team cannot only rely on him cos cricket is a team game .......ALL PRAY FOR PAKISTAN N TELL THE WORLD WE CAN WIN WC WITHOUT ASIF N SHOAIB!!!

  • Doosra on March 2, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    Evidence of Corruption

    The Pakistan Cricket Board have behaved in-line with Pakistan's current status of the joint-twentieth (of 163) most corrupt nation in the world according to an authoritative intenational survey

  • Farooq Y Butt on March 2, 2007, 11:36 GMT

    Kamran is right, Pakistan should have not picked Shoaib and Asif at the first place, to save Pakistan Cricket from emmbarsment. Anyways what happen happen, we need to look at the future. INzamam-ul-haq need to be more attacking. He needs to pick 4 Specialize Bowlers in every Game. Pakistan need to Bowl the opposition out to Win the Match. The Batsmen need to take extra responsibility. I wish Pakistan best of Luck. I will summarize my comments again Attacking Cricket with Specialize Bowlers.

  • Saqib on March 2, 2007, 11:36 GMT

    AOA

    We have to stand behind our team what ever the circumstances are and INSHALLAH our team will play like a well nit unit and will perform very very good. We will all be praying to ALLAH for their triumph

    ALLAH HAFIZ

  • Richard on March 2, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    Pakistan are better off without Shoaib he is a premadonna who doesn`t desrve to play and honestly I think they are better off without him. The team will be more settled instead of wondering what he is going to do next to disgrace Pakistan cricket, they are a great team, with a great history in the game, so leave him out and get on with it .

  • cb fry on March 2, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    pakistan will no doubt miss shoaib and asif. the world cup will miss them too. peter roebuck has written a vitriolic piece in the sydney morning herald about akhtar, raking up boring accusations of chucking and ball-tampering - even going as far as suggesting that his performance in colombo against the aussies was illegal, and that darrell hair was right to be suspicious at the oval - umm.. shoaib was even playing at the oval, peter.

    his unfounded rant against akhtar is quite sad to read. akhtar was a thrilling sight to watch in full flow. i accept that he shouldn't go to the world cup, but i find it odd that roebuck gets a kick out of this.

    for those of you who don't know who peter roebuck is, here's a reminder:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/106221.html

  • tariq from stockport on March 2, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    sami? you must be having a laugh sir. i would feel more confident if rana werent going through a bad spell...

  • Shehzad. shabbir playing domestic on March 2, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    I am agree with u kamran. All-rounders bowl almost 20 of the 50 overs for pak. As they have Malik, Hafeez, Afridi and Azhar. I beleave pak need only 2 more specialist bowlers. But I only dont understand why SHABBIR is playing domestic cricket? when slecters announced Worldcup squad they declare shabbir is injurd. while after that announcement shabbir is playing his 3rd domestic game continuously and he is taking even more wickets then ever before. Sir, what is going on in Pak camp???? I think PPP, MMA and muslim league r serving now for PCB. Sami is the most worst opening bowler in the cricket history and he is included again for the WORLDCUPPPPPP? Sir,Karachi will not include sami in their local team...... Rana, Arafat, Rao....:( what can Pak cricket fan say now. every bowler is a falooda bowler. ,,.PCB let themselve down & all pak fans.

  • Harry Iyris on March 2, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    I was eagerly anticipating your comments on the whole issue. It is relief that the suspense about their participation is out.Though the reason remains doubtful mainly because of the injury timing and coincidence. Now that Pakistan team know their composition they should look to their strength now which is batting and all rounders. Bowling remains good. Gul is attacking and wicket taking bowler, Rana would discover the one day form, Kaneria shall be useful. Afridi has greater responsibility as bowler. I feel the team should make it to semis with its determination and fighting spirit, and then take it from there. Then you are only 2 good games away from glory like cornered tigers of WC 92. Lets keep our fingers crossed. Time for change,One of IND, PAK and SL should get the cup. All the best.

  • Numaan on March 2, 2007, 11:20 GMT

    Pakistan’s chances of winning the world cup with a second string attack look very bleak indeed I mean Sami?! Rana on recent form?! the only good seam bowlers among the team are Gul and Arafat. However with Woolmer already signalling his intent to play Azhar instead of Arafat things look far worse with what I believe Woolmer will go with in the world cup

    8.Azhar (rubbish) 9.Gul (very good) 10.Rana (okay) 11.Sami (doomed to lose every match with him in it)

    say good bye to the world cup before it has begun!

  • Idhries on March 2, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Very well put. Not point brooding on non avalibality of star players. Make use of what you have got. I still feel that this team is much better in terms of talent than the 1992 world cup winning team. Only thing missing is captain of teh stature of Imran Khan. If Inzi gets in him the zest, zzeal and vigour that he had in him when Pakistan toured India, he can surely help pakistan get to greater heights.

  • Khizar Hayat Khan on March 2, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    I don't think that absense of razzaq, shoiab and asif brings any huge difference and thus not constitute any excuse for defeat. The formr two have't had any remarkable role in the fast few months. Asif was very important but if a team can't make up fo the absense of one fast bowler then it's not a team.

  • Abdur Razzak on March 2, 2007, 11:15 GMT

    Usual pakistan style of preperation prior to a crucial tournament.Any way this was on the cards from the moment the duo was tested during the champions trophy.But still inzi's team possesses a very useful attack.Any thing is possible.Once again good luck.

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  • Abdur Razzak on March 2, 2007, 11:15 GMT

    Usual pakistan style of preperation prior to a crucial tournament.Any way this was on the cards from the moment the duo was tested during the champions trophy.But still inzi's team possesses a very useful attack.Any thing is possible.Once again good luck.

  • Khizar Hayat Khan on March 2, 2007, 11:17 GMT

    I don't think that absense of razzaq, shoiab and asif brings any huge difference and thus not constitute any excuse for defeat. The formr two have't had any remarkable role in the fast few months. Asif was very important but if a team can't make up fo the absense of one fast bowler then it's not a team.

  • Idhries on March 2, 2007, 11:18 GMT

    Very well put. Not point brooding on non avalibality of star players. Make use of what you have got. I still feel that this team is much better in terms of talent than the 1992 world cup winning team. Only thing missing is captain of teh stature of Imran Khan. If Inzi gets in him the zest, zzeal and vigour that he had in him when Pakistan toured India, he can surely help pakistan get to greater heights.

  • Numaan on March 2, 2007, 11:20 GMT

    Pakistan’s chances of winning the world cup with a second string attack look very bleak indeed I mean Sami?! Rana on recent form?! the only good seam bowlers among the team are Gul and Arafat. However with Woolmer already signalling his intent to play Azhar instead of Arafat things look far worse with what I believe Woolmer will go with in the world cup

    8.Azhar (rubbish) 9.Gul (very good) 10.Rana (okay) 11.Sami (doomed to lose every match with him in it)

    say good bye to the world cup before it has begun!

  • Harry Iyris on March 2, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    I was eagerly anticipating your comments on the whole issue. It is relief that the suspense about their participation is out.Though the reason remains doubtful mainly because of the injury timing and coincidence. Now that Pakistan team know their composition they should look to their strength now which is batting and all rounders. Bowling remains good. Gul is attacking and wicket taking bowler, Rana would discover the one day form, Kaneria shall be useful. Afridi has greater responsibility as bowler. I feel the team should make it to semis with its determination and fighting spirit, and then take it from there. Then you are only 2 good games away from glory like cornered tigers of WC 92. Lets keep our fingers crossed. Time for change,One of IND, PAK and SL should get the cup. All the best.

  • Shehzad. shabbir playing domestic on March 2, 2007, 11:24 GMT

    I am agree with u kamran. All-rounders bowl almost 20 of the 50 overs for pak. As they have Malik, Hafeez, Afridi and Azhar. I beleave pak need only 2 more specialist bowlers. But I only dont understand why SHABBIR is playing domestic cricket? when slecters announced Worldcup squad they declare shabbir is injurd. while after that announcement shabbir is playing his 3rd domestic game continuously and he is taking even more wickets then ever before. Sir, what is going on in Pak camp???? I think PPP, MMA and muslim league r serving now for PCB. Sami is the most worst opening bowler in the cricket history and he is included again for the WORLDCUPPPPPP? Sir,Karachi will not include sami in their local team...... Rana, Arafat, Rao....:( what can Pak cricket fan say now. every bowler is a falooda bowler. ,,.PCB let themselve down & all pak fans.

  • tariq from stockport on March 2, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    sami? you must be having a laugh sir. i would feel more confident if rana werent going through a bad spell...

  • cb fry on March 2, 2007, 11:32 GMT

    pakistan will no doubt miss shoaib and asif. the world cup will miss them too. peter roebuck has written a vitriolic piece in the sydney morning herald about akhtar, raking up boring accusations of chucking and ball-tampering - even going as far as suggesting that his performance in colombo against the aussies was illegal, and that darrell hair was right to be suspicious at the oval - umm.. shoaib was even playing at the oval, peter.

    his unfounded rant against akhtar is quite sad to read. akhtar was a thrilling sight to watch in full flow. i accept that he shouldn't go to the world cup, but i find it odd that roebuck gets a kick out of this.

    for those of you who don't know who peter roebuck is, here's a reminder:

    http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/106221.html

  • Richard on March 2, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    Pakistan are better off without Shoaib he is a premadonna who doesn`t desrve to play and honestly I think they are better off without him. The team will be more settled instead of wondering what he is going to do next to disgrace Pakistan cricket, they are a great team, with a great history in the game, so leave him out and get on with it .

  • Saqib on March 2, 2007, 11:36 GMT

    AOA

    We have to stand behind our team what ever the circumstances are and INSHALLAH our team will play like a well nit unit and will perform very very good. We will all be praying to ALLAH for their triumph

    ALLAH HAFIZ