Twenty20 World Cup 2007 September 21, 2007

Attitude goes a long way

121

After the misery of the Caribbean, India and Pakistan will be relieved to be reacquainted with success in a world tournament. A final meeting would be the most resounding comeback but both teams face difficult semi-final contests. Pakistan, of course, will be delighted to face New Zealand, the least threatening of the semi-finalists.

Semi-finals between New Zealand and Pakistan have become a modern feature, and up to now Pakistan have had the upper hand. In 1992 at Auckland, New Zealand looked unbeatable until Inzamam-ul Haq played a thrilling carefree innings to stun a passionate home crowd and millions worldwide.

Seven years later, New Zealand and Pakistan met in Manchester on a similarly gloomy day but with a vast majority of Pakistan fans. First Shoaib Akhtar produced a devastating spell to restrict New Zealand and then Saeed Anwar stroked a convincing march to victory as horns blared and firecrackers exploded.

A New Zealand semi-final is a good omen for Pakistan but they cannot afford to be complacent. Daniel Vettori's team has big hitters and wise heads in its batting and decent variety in its bowling thanks to Vettori's spin and Shane Bond's speed. New Zealand's fielding will also be exceptional.

For a Pakistan team whose own varied bowling attack has excelled in this tournament, New Zealand are not to be feared. Indeed, unusually for recent times, Pakistan have settled on a bowling formula that is proving successful. A threatening burst from Asif and Tanvir, followed by the intelligent spin of Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez, with Umar Gul's yorker attack to kill off the end of the innings.

Under pressure, of course, any formula can unravel but it is reassuring to have a clear plan, which is something Geoff Lawson must be applauded for.

Pakistan's batting remains a point of concern, although with Afridi back at the top of the order there is more sense to it--if you can ever say that about Afridi. The misfit among Pakistan's batsmen is Salman Butt whose long game has struggled to adapt to this short version. The only place you can bat Butt is at the top of the order where his cover drives might beat the fielding restrictions. Lower down he isn't sufficiently flexible to be useful. Lawson rightly values consistency of selection but if there is one change it should be the introduction of Fawad Alam or Yasir Arafat in place of Pakistan's vice-captain.

While Pakistan will be relieved to reach a semi-final and confident of repeating their success over New Zealand, the shortest version of cricket is the most unpredictable. Ironically, it is the most unpredictable team of all that seems to have benefited most from this format. You should never expect absolute consistency from Pakistan, which is why it is good that they have got a below-par performance out of the way against Bangladesh.

Unusually, this has been a happy African adventure for Pakistan and perhaps the most encouraging signs have been the team spirit, intensity, aggression, and passion that have returned to Pakistan's cricket. It goes to prove that in life, just as in Quentin Tarantino movies, attitude goes a long way.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Noor Effendi on September 22, 2007, 13:15 GMT

    Well Salam To you Kamran Bhai. I think you have become a hero of all the Pakistanis especially expatriates .......Thanks

    No No salman Butt He should be kept away for semis &as well as finals depending the results.I said that befire about Misba that he is doing good as long as he doesnot swells his head .He is doing good Masallah. No the Salman ,well good looks & few good scores does not cut now adays in cricket .One has to be consistent .The game has become very competitive ,it is fast & very demanding ,those days of Moha Hanif has gone crowd wants results.SO Vice Captain did not came upto the par & did not palyed good cricket ,it was an awful display the way he got run out NO GOOD BUTT SAHIB .You need some time off again to get your act together .Being a Vice Captain does not gives you a 100% solid position.Actually Shahid Afridi should have been the Vice to begin with ,but any way not to late the Hero. Love you ALL .......

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 22, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    Whether it was a technical glitch or a human error or simple lethargy, it is good to see that the blog is moving once again at a normal pace. At this time, just before the semifinal, all of us are very anxious and excited about the match and we all want to vent our views, opinions and our feelings during these "slog-moments," so thank you Mr. Abbassi for paying heed to our request.

    khansahab

    I agree with you about Asif's overall ineffectiveness and his lucky performance against India, barring that performance he has been very mediocre. And its good to see that your views about Shoaib Malik's captaincy are changing. At least you are able to see the flaws which most people don't notice or don't care taking into consideration as long as the team is winning and one of them is our neighbour - Mabsoos Bhaiya. It is good to see that your loyalties are with us despite being an Indian. But, my dear Mabsoos Ahmad, "your captain" Malik has allowed Afridi to open the innings only after heavy criticism. Probably you haven't watched the TV shows or heard the expert comments. Its not just Ramiz Raja but, Ian Chappell, Ian Bishop, David Lloyd, Nasir Hussain, Ravi Shastri et al were raving and ranting to make changes in the opening slot and bring in Afridi. So, that was the result he asked Afridi to open against Bangladesh. And we all heard Malik's post match comments, so we don't need any further explanation on that, except a thank you for your support. And may I ask you, who would you be supporting if there is a India / Pakistan final?

    Wasim Saqib

    khansahab has answered your question about placing Fawad Alam in a pressure cooker. I think he is right that including him at this moment is adding too much pressure on him. You are saying that if Rohit Sharma can prove himself in the first match, why can't Fawad Alam? Probably you are forgetting that a cat has nine lives and the rookie Sharma got three and I don't think Fawad Alam would be that fortunate. Even the other debutant Junaid Siddique who prefers to spell his name the way they pronounce i.e. Zunaed, also got 3 lives and one was a sitter which was "Miss-bah-ed."

    About Asif's bowling against Bangladesh, in my previous post, I've questioned about his fitness. Because, we all saw that there was no run up, no follow through, no pace, no swing nothing and his bowling was very ordinary. I said, either he was influenced by Stuart Clarke's earlier comments about the pitch when he said, the pitch is slow and bowling fast is of no use, so Asif must have been influenced by those comments OR he is injured? So, you confirm that Asif is injured? I doubt that they will replace him if the injury is minor but, thats too bad to play with a half fit player in such a crucial match.

    Mitch

    I will give you a "B" for your post of September 22, 2007 2:50 AM for whining, if you replace it with the first letter of your nick, it will suit you even more, because thats what the Australian do, I mean apart from sledging and whining ;-)

  • feroz on September 22, 2007, 10:13 GMT

    I dont know about any one but i am sure butt sahab is gonna fire today.It was misbah against india and australia...younis against srilanka ...afridi against BD and now its butt sahab time to fire in semi ....GOOD LUCK BUTT SAHAB

  • rehan khan on September 22, 2007, 9:51 GMT

    First of all, i sincerely hope the pakistan team get rid of salman butt. He has no idea how to bat in this short form of the game. Pls Pls replace him with Yasir arafat. Even Imran Nazir hasnt really impressed me, even though this kinda style of cricket is best suited for him, he hasnt fired. Maybe its time to give someone else a chance who hasnt played yet. Anywayz i still feel this pakistan team doesnt look quite the finish product when it comes to 20/20 cricket.

  • Hashar Muhmood Toronto on September 22, 2007, 9:49 GMT

    Dear Kamran Pakistan will have to go for aggressive approach in semi and make some change.if vettori from newzealand as left armer spinner then pakistan should make change bring abdur rehman in place of muhammad hafeez.he would stop runs.in 20 twenty to stop runs is more important than to get wicket.abdur rehman has excelent average.

    good luck pakistan Hashar toronto

  • Haris Mohiuddin on September 22, 2007, 9:16 GMT

    salman butt is most certainly a misfit in the twenty20 version... the best domestic twenty20 player, fawad alam, still hasnt been given a go... but anyhow... there is certainly a serious case of replacing salman with fawad or yasir for the semis. Pakistan Zindabad.

  • M Mahboob Hossain (Dhaka) on September 22, 2007, 8:11 GMT

    Congratulations to both Pakistan & India to reach the Semi-finals.

    For India, it's a team effort & some extent, failure of others (I was quite sure that the "Chokers’ will not be able to chase down any total, when the chips are down, but never thought that they are so ordinary when to make things count. Bat a little, bowl a little "All-rounder" don't work when it matters, in any form of cricket. And the English are as ordinary as their Soccer & Tennis so-called superstars). For Pakistan the only reason for reaching this stage is the absence of a skunk. He would spread enough stain to ensure that there is enough internal hemorrhage to heel up, rather than concentrating on oppositions. I am waiting for the day when Pakistani people will be convinced that their team is needed to be off-loaded a traitor, a black mailer, whose only possession is the gimmick of "what could happen if ..". If you want to win against South Africa & India in coming series, drop him. If you want the team to grow as world beaters (It’s quite possible, they are the last 2 under 19 World champs & I was excited to see some of the performances of present under 19 team in Australia & England), BAN him for LIFETIME. “Attitude” was the topic of today’s blog, don’t give this scoundrel the opportunity to spread his attitude to the next generation.

    I was surprised to see Asif limping around against my team, especially when they have assured a semi-final place. I think Pakistani media had a role to play on this. Had Asif not played & somehow had they lost, all the great things done by this young team would have drained down to match fixing allegations (I was surprised to learn from Sarfaraz Newaz that the present captain was made captain due to his interactions with betting syndicates). Only weakness in this team seems to me is the position of Butt. I think Fawad will be a perfect replacement, especially at Newlands, with his left-arm spin & lower half batting.

    Good luck India - Pakistan. India, I guess has the stiffer task to make a sub-continent final.

  • Asif Ali fromMirpur A.k on September 22, 2007, 7:55 GMT

    hopefully pakwillwin against newzealand & in da final aus vs pak. i m watching shoaib lifting t20 wc trophey. Good luck pak

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 22, 2007, 7:50 GMT

    Asif is doubtful for the semis. Apparently, he got injured in the net practice before the match against Australia. Since then, he has played with injections.

    Our team management has goofed up. i can understand the need to play him against Australia... but why in the dead rubber against Bangladesh ???? No wonder he was out of sorts against them. Asif is a key member of the team, and it is severe blow to our chances

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on September 22, 2007, 7:38 GMT

    This is for Mr. Khanshahab (AA Khan).

    Your statement about Shoaid Malik "he will be seen as a shallow, stubborn and one-dimensional captain" is untimely and unwarranted. Playing cricket and writing on the wall is a different ball game. The top 3 and 4 players in the batting has been a real problem for a long, but to stick with somebody and give him a confidence is not a bad idea till you are winning the matches. All cricket pandits are in favour that winning combination should be disturbed and Malik is doing right by not touching the combination. You people only know how and what to criticise. You people only know how to demoralize our captain. Let me tell you that Shoaib Malik will be our one of the most suceesful captain in the history of Pakistan Cricket. He is not stub born but he is following his plan and executing it very well. Twenty20 is anybody's game but Final will be played between India and Pakistan !!! How do you think, Khanshahab??

  • Noor Effendi on September 22, 2007, 13:15 GMT

    Well Salam To you Kamran Bhai. I think you have become a hero of all the Pakistanis especially expatriates .......Thanks

    No No salman Butt He should be kept away for semis &as well as finals depending the results.I said that befire about Misba that he is doing good as long as he doesnot swells his head .He is doing good Masallah. No the Salman ,well good looks & few good scores does not cut now adays in cricket .One has to be consistent .The game has become very competitive ,it is fast & very demanding ,those days of Moha Hanif has gone crowd wants results.SO Vice Captain did not came upto the par & did not palyed good cricket ,it was an awful display the way he got run out NO GOOD BUTT SAHIB .You need some time off again to get your act together .Being a Vice Captain does not gives you a 100% solid position.Actually Shahid Afridi should have been the Vice to begin with ,but any way not to late the Hero. Love you ALL .......

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 22, 2007, 10:56 GMT

    Whether it was a technical glitch or a human error or simple lethargy, it is good to see that the blog is moving once again at a normal pace. At this time, just before the semifinal, all of us are very anxious and excited about the match and we all want to vent our views, opinions and our feelings during these "slog-moments," so thank you Mr. Abbassi for paying heed to our request.

    khansahab

    I agree with you about Asif's overall ineffectiveness and his lucky performance against India, barring that performance he has been very mediocre. And its good to see that your views about Shoaib Malik's captaincy are changing. At least you are able to see the flaws which most people don't notice or don't care taking into consideration as long as the team is winning and one of them is our neighbour - Mabsoos Bhaiya. It is good to see that your loyalties are with us despite being an Indian. But, my dear Mabsoos Ahmad, "your captain" Malik has allowed Afridi to open the innings only after heavy criticism. Probably you haven't watched the TV shows or heard the expert comments. Its not just Ramiz Raja but, Ian Chappell, Ian Bishop, David Lloyd, Nasir Hussain, Ravi Shastri et al were raving and ranting to make changes in the opening slot and bring in Afridi. So, that was the result he asked Afridi to open against Bangladesh. And we all heard Malik's post match comments, so we don't need any further explanation on that, except a thank you for your support. And may I ask you, who would you be supporting if there is a India / Pakistan final?

    Wasim Saqib

    khansahab has answered your question about placing Fawad Alam in a pressure cooker. I think he is right that including him at this moment is adding too much pressure on him. You are saying that if Rohit Sharma can prove himself in the first match, why can't Fawad Alam? Probably you are forgetting that a cat has nine lives and the rookie Sharma got three and I don't think Fawad Alam would be that fortunate. Even the other debutant Junaid Siddique who prefers to spell his name the way they pronounce i.e. Zunaed, also got 3 lives and one was a sitter which was "Miss-bah-ed."

    About Asif's bowling against Bangladesh, in my previous post, I've questioned about his fitness. Because, we all saw that there was no run up, no follow through, no pace, no swing nothing and his bowling was very ordinary. I said, either he was influenced by Stuart Clarke's earlier comments about the pitch when he said, the pitch is slow and bowling fast is of no use, so Asif must have been influenced by those comments OR he is injured? So, you confirm that Asif is injured? I doubt that they will replace him if the injury is minor but, thats too bad to play with a half fit player in such a crucial match.

    Mitch

    I will give you a "B" for your post of September 22, 2007 2:50 AM for whining, if you replace it with the first letter of your nick, it will suit you even more, because thats what the Australian do, I mean apart from sledging and whining ;-)

  • feroz on September 22, 2007, 10:13 GMT

    I dont know about any one but i am sure butt sahab is gonna fire today.It was misbah against india and australia...younis against srilanka ...afridi against BD and now its butt sahab time to fire in semi ....GOOD LUCK BUTT SAHAB

  • rehan khan on September 22, 2007, 9:51 GMT

    First of all, i sincerely hope the pakistan team get rid of salman butt. He has no idea how to bat in this short form of the game. Pls Pls replace him with Yasir arafat. Even Imran Nazir hasnt really impressed me, even though this kinda style of cricket is best suited for him, he hasnt fired. Maybe its time to give someone else a chance who hasnt played yet. Anywayz i still feel this pakistan team doesnt look quite the finish product when it comes to 20/20 cricket.

  • Hashar Muhmood Toronto on September 22, 2007, 9:49 GMT

    Dear Kamran Pakistan will have to go for aggressive approach in semi and make some change.if vettori from newzealand as left armer spinner then pakistan should make change bring abdur rehman in place of muhammad hafeez.he would stop runs.in 20 twenty to stop runs is more important than to get wicket.abdur rehman has excelent average.

    good luck pakistan Hashar toronto

  • Haris Mohiuddin on September 22, 2007, 9:16 GMT

    salman butt is most certainly a misfit in the twenty20 version... the best domestic twenty20 player, fawad alam, still hasnt been given a go... but anyhow... there is certainly a serious case of replacing salman with fawad or yasir for the semis. Pakistan Zindabad.

  • M Mahboob Hossain (Dhaka) on September 22, 2007, 8:11 GMT

    Congratulations to both Pakistan & India to reach the Semi-finals.

    For India, it's a team effort & some extent, failure of others (I was quite sure that the "Chokers’ will not be able to chase down any total, when the chips are down, but never thought that they are so ordinary when to make things count. Bat a little, bowl a little "All-rounder" don't work when it matters, in any form of cricket. And the English are as ordinary as their Soccer & Tennis so-called superstars). For Pakistan the only reason for reaching this stage is the absence of a skunk. He would spread enough stain to ensure that there is enough internal hemorrhage to heel up, rather than concentrating on oppositions. I am waiting for the day when Pakistani people will be convinced that their team is needed to be off-loaded a traitor, a black mailer, whose only possession is the gimmick of "what could happen if ..". If you want to win against South Africa & India in coming series, drop him. If you want the team to grow as world beaters (It’s quite possible, they are the last 2 under 19 World champs & I was excited to see some of the performances of present under 19 team in Australia & England), BAN him for LIFETIME. “Attitude” was the topic of today’s blog, don’t give this scoundrel the opportunity to spread his attitude to the next generation.

    I was surprised to see Asif limping around against my team, especially when they have assured a semi-final place. I think Pakistani media had a role to play on this. Had Asif not played & somehow had they lost, all the great things done by this young team would have drained down to match fixing allegations (I was surprised to learn from Sarfaraz Newaz that the present captain was made captain due to his interactions with betting syndicates). Only weakness in this team seems to me is the position of Butt. I think Fawad will be a perfect replacement, especially at Newlands, with his left-arm spin & lower half batting.

    Good luck India - Pakistan. India, I guess has the stiffer task to make a sub-continent final.

  • Asif Ali fromMirpur A.k on September 22, 2007, 7:55 GMT

    hopefully pakwillwin against newzealand & in da final aus vs pak. i m watching shoaib lifting t20 wc trophey. Good luck pak

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 22, 2007, 7:50 GMT

    Asif is doubtful for the semis. Apparently, he got injured in the net practice before the match against Australia. Since then, he has played with injections.

    Our team management has goofed up. i can understand the need to play him against Australia... but why in the dead rubber against Bangladesh ???? No wonder he was out of sorts against them. Asif is a key member of the team, and it is severe blow to our chances

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on September 22, 2007, 7:38 GMT

    This is for Mr. Khanshahab (AA Khan).

    Your statement about Shoaid Malik "he will be seen as a shallow, stubborn and one-dimensional captain" is untimely and unwarranted. Playing cricket and writing on the wall is a different ball game. The top 3 and 4 players in the batting has been a real problem for a long, but to stick with somebody and give him a confidence is not a bad idea till you are winning the matches. All cricket pandits are in favour that winning combination should be disturbed and Malik is doing right by not touching the combination. You people only know how and what to criticise. You people only know how to demoralize our captain. Let me tell you that Shoaib Malik will be our one of the most suceesful captain in the history of Pakistan Cricket. He is not stub born but he is following his plan and executing it very well. Twenty20 is anybody's game but Final will be played between India and Pakistan !!! How do you think, Khanshahab??

  • shahmeer on September 22, 2007, 7:32 GMT

    i know i m not the first one saying this, but y rnt v playing the guy who stole our domestic T20 show??? SB out FA in!!! team consistency is important but so is bench strenght... v need to let the benchers experience the real thing too...

  • WASIM SAQIB on September 22, 2007, 6:17 GMT

    The news are that the wicket at Cape Town has been covered with wet cloth to make it damp so that it can assist fast bowlers,well done ICC you have done it again, but there is another bad news that Asif is doubtful to play in the semis as he injured his elbow in net practice and has been playing the last two matches in pain which now makes sense why he was not bowling according to his own standards.If the characteristics of the pitch have changed and Pakistan plays without Asif it will be a serious blow to Pakistan's chances to win the game.However Pakistan still has Rao Ifti as a replacement.

    Hopefully Shoaib Malik makes the most crucial decision of dropping Butt in this important game and will include Fawad Alam in his place,if Rohit Sharma can prove himself in his first match of the tournament then Fawad Alam can also do that if he has any class or skill.Butt is not performing anyways lets see if Fawad can rise up to the occassion and live up to the hype that surrounds him if not then he is also another overhyped player who can only perform against domestic clubs. Good Luck Pakistan.

  • DR ARSHAD HUSSAIN -BRISBANE -AUSTRALIA on September 22, 2007, 6:11 GMT

    congratulations to the selectors they have made a bold decision to drop muhammad yusuf ,they must be the happiest people in pakistan that their gamble has paid off. so well done to them -we must give credit when it is due . i believe shahid afridi and yunus khan should open the batting . good luck to pakistan

  • Faisal on September 22, 2007, 5:28 GMT

    Kamran, do you have any information of wheather the PCB or our team management ever get to read these threads? If not then you ought to send them a hard copy once in a while. Send it to the vice captain since he is the english speaking type and may understand and translate it for the rest. This anyway is his forte and the reason for his being in the team isn'it?....and gusess what ...now they find out that even Mibah can speak decently. What a shame!

  • mohammad owais on September 22, 2007, 5:16 GMT

    well its good to see pakistan into semis after a long time but the worry is about pitch behavior.the quoretor is not well known for pakistan cricket n now there is lot of talk about wicket we have example of world cup in caribian where pak was crashed by a new team ireland same quoretor is here in newlands but if pakistan gets another that type of wicket that will be a huge worry for us but we will have to wait for this

  • asif khan on September 22, 2007, 5:00 GMT

    With Afridi most likely to open,Fawad Alam's inclusion in place of Salman Butt will give a definite boost to the lower middle order

  • Qasim on September 22, 2007, 4:48 GMT

    Have never seen Fawad Alam play but seems a very exciting player. Any one of us can do as bad as Salman did against BD (if not better)so I am sure Fawad will do better than Salman. Pakistan is dearly missing Yousuf in the middle order. Its wrong to call him a test player as his ODI record is also impressive. He has the ability to play in any role and would have provided additional stability to the team. If a rookie like Sohail Tanveer (great find though) with his ordinary fielding can be selected, can't see the logic behind dropping him. I believe there is more to it than what we know for Yousuf to opt for ICL.

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on September 22, 2007, 4:22 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi is right that the attitude of this Pakistan has been very positive. It is because you have a good captain, who is flexible. I do not agree with Mr. Javed of Canada that Shoaib is not flexible. In the game against Bangladesh, Shahid Afridi said that I want to bat up to the order, as stated in the interview by Shoaib, he sent Afridi. So far he is going a fantastic job and on top of it he has full support of Shahid Afridi and at times watching the game has been consulting with him. This is a good sign for Pakistan Cricket. If Shohaib has not been flexible, how come he is using Gul in the very crucial part of the game.

    There is a big concern in the batting department. First three or four gets out very cheaply. It is not a new problem but after Mudassar and Mohshin, we have not been able to find a good openning pair. This is a weak link for Pakistan team. How knows in the semis this gamble pays you, but we have to find out a way to tackle this problem, because it is the opening pair which leads the game.

    Let us wait for fantastic game of semis and we pray that Pakistan and India through into Final.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 22, 2007, 3:49 GMT

    Awas

    I don't think there is a technical glitch, its more of a Butt mania thats gotten on this blog.

  • Mih on September 22, 2007, 3:12 GMT

    Well, I feel this final is definitely going to India and New Zealand solely due to the fact that while Pakistan have at times played brilliantly during this tournament, they have often been overly reliant on Misbah and Shoaib. The top order plays woeful cricket and any mistakes will lead to dire trouble for Pakistan against a mighty Kiwi bowling lineup (Dan the Man of course being the leader). On the other hand, India has prospered due to the fact that every player has contributed in different situation with no reliance on particular individuals...Also, Australia has certainly been below par in this form of the game and finally we are able to idemtify glaring weaknesses in this mighty outfit. But Pakistan have done great to reach this stage for a team that has been clouded in controversy and utter ridiculous behaviour over the past 2 years. From being a subject of mockery of the cricket world (although I still contest Asif being allowed to play), it has transformed itself well through geoff Lawson. Still, A Indo- Kiwi final is largely on the cards.

  • Mitch on September 22, 2007, 2:50 GMT

    Re: A.M.Qureshi

    Are you a comedian, if not then seriously grab a stage and a microphone and get your show on the road. You have loads of talent. One thing though, you're going to need some new material. These old lines about Australia only winning because they sledge/ don't like T20 because we lose, please all this bitterness is getting pretty old. Lets be honest, Australia win matches because they bat/bowl and field at a level your team, and all other teams can only dream of. As for disliking T20, I don't think they're the only ones who feel this form of the game is a cheap, weakened product designed to fill the wallets of the powers that be and attract non-cricket fans to grounds. (This is a good thing, as long as T20 is not pursued to the detriment of true cricket). As for always having all the luck, bar the Ashes loss. Thats really just a weak statement. Is this to suggest there is some conspiracy amongst the world's umpires to provide Australia with dodgy decisions? All teams receive bad decisions, Australia's just become more obvious because when they go in their favour they more often than not capitalise on it. And lets be honest, i don't think we need them. If the cricket sides of the world worked as hard at training as their fans work at bitching and whining then surely the gargantuan chasm that exists between Australia and the rest would surely be far narrower.

    Cue the following comments: "We are not jealous, if thats the way you have to win then we'd rather lose" - liar "Australians are just bad losers/sledgers" - everyone sledges, Aussies just better at it And my personal favourite "Aussies are racist" - ironic stereotyping an entire nation with this argument. Have a nice day.

  • Roger Twose on September 22, 2007, 1:38 GMT

    All you panic punters, chill out.... Please leave Butt alone. He is in the team for a purpose. Have you guys noticed the good performances of Gul and Afridi lately. Its all because of Butt. They sleep happy and wake up fresh for the game:) When was the last time Pakistan won anything with a perfect combination, its always the flaws which makes the picture perfect. Remember Iqbal Sikander and Waseem Haider in WC '92. and Ijaz Ahmed Jr. and Zahoor Elahi in Benson & Hedges 1996 victories. A winning Subcontinent team needs a Nazarbatoo.(Butt) in this case. My prediction, Butt in the team. Pakistan wins. PS. There should be a poll for the worst Openers in the world, I won't be surprised if Pakistan beats Scotland and Kenya narrowly.

  • azam on September 22, 2007, 1:20 GMT

    I agree with Kamran, regarding mr salman butt whom i doubt can be dropped because he has an upper hand from PCB( Punjab Cricket Board), the guy didnt had a confirm place in ODI but he was made vice captain which i dont know what basis . I dont want to write more because nothing works in my great country Pakistan. Monopoly in everything,unjust decisions and so far so forth. I really hope pakistan wins and i pray for that but what restricts us to move forward is monopoly which PCB AKA Punjab Cricket Board has.

  • Osman A. Khairi on September 22, 2007, 0:24 GMT

    For the benefit of all the bloggers, this is what the majority of South African newspapers had as their headline : You have got to be choking! So true. Heh

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on September 21, 2007, 23:26 GMT

    Pakistan will be very foolish to become complacent now that they had a few problems facing Bangladesh. I stated prior to the commencement of this tournament that Asif will not be a key bowler and indeed (notwithstanding the match against India) he has largely appeared ineffectual. As regards his performance against India that was an isolated incident which occurred owing to three unique factors that I delineated in the previous threads. Afridi, Tanvir and Gul have had a good tournament generally but Asif has been mediocre. Fawad Alam is almost certain to get a chance to play in the semi final but one may ask why he has been considered so late. At this stage it would be unreasonable to expect him to perform his best because he has almost no international experience. He should have been played in the match against Bangladesh (and at least in one match before that) because you can’t demote a rookie’s confidence so much and then all of a sudden play him in the semi final. If Fawad scores 20+ runs and takes 1+ wicket I would say it’s a bonus now, considering the circumstances. By not playing Fawad in the match against Bangladesh Malik arguably made his biggest mistake of the tournament. By stubbornly persisting with Butt and Nazir, Malik now risks having to play the under-confident Fawad in the next (possibly) two big games. Pakistan always perform admirably against New Zealand but this is a new format and nothing should be taken for granted. I think Australia will beat India but after India’s bowling performance against SA I don’t think I should make any firm prediction. Butt has been a failure and he must now be sacked for the time being. I hope to not see Butt in the squad for the SA series. I would open with Akmal and Afridi, slot Fawad in the middle order and play Yasir Arafat in Akmal’s position. For this semi final Hafeez should be demoted down the order because he has not performed in the top order. Apart from Bond and Vettori, NZ’s bowling attack can appear one-dimensional but it must not be under estimated because they will have worked out a simple yet effective plan to get rid of people like Nazir and Akmal. Whereas the ODI series against Sri Lanka demonstrated the various positives regarding Malik’s captaincy, this Twenty20 Cup has unearthed many of his apparent shortcomings. Unless he provides a reasonable explanation for his persistence with Butt and Nazir and his obsession with chasing (not much wrong with that if you are winning but he still has to explain why he hardly ever considers batting first), he will be seen as a shallow, stubborn and one-dimensional captain.

  • Haroon on September 21, 2007, 23:09 GMT

    Pak should open with two technically correct batsmen i.e.Yunus and Kamran Akmal. It is important to withstand the opening 3 over burst by Bond rather than being down 3 wickets for 30. Then the flood gates will open with the likes of Afridi, Malik and Misbah.

  • Ibrar Arain on September 21, 2007, 22:04 GMT

    We should keep younis khan out of semi final ..we need some hitter in the team and Younis khan has no ability what so ever to be in twenty20 games. i still dont get why he is still there? I am quite sure if we can get our top order to do some thrashing and if we can some how get Oram, Mcmillan and Bond not to go for big hits. we can certainly can take this game. Inshallah. GO PAK TEAM. FINAL BETWEEN INDIA VS PAK WOULD BE A GOOD BATTLE. looking forward to it.

  • EAMIRAN on September 21, 2007, 21:36 GMT

    If all 11 goofs plan to fast tomorrow, expect another listless performance. No fuel - No performance.

  • Imran Quraishi on September 21, 2007, 21:20 GMT

    Everyone keeps saying Pakistan played bad against Bangladesh. Did we forget that they are not the same Bangladesh that was 5 years ago. This Bangladesh team is a changed team now and on any given day they can beat any side. I personally think that they are better than India and to beat them was a great achievement that we accomplished in the last game. I think that Salman Butt got to go and be replaced by Fawad Alam. It's about time some one from Karachi is given a fair chance in the team also, and instead of taking Yasir Arafat they should have taken Anwar Ali along who is from Karachi also cuz he is much faster and a good swinger of the ball than Arafat. One last thing that I would like to say is that we don't need Yousuf Youhana in our team any more in the future cuz he is a very greedy person and has no respect for our country. Just because he was dropped for one series he decided to sign up for the Indian Cricket League as if no one can ever replace him.

  • T on September 21, 2007, 21:01 GMT

    OK! I am sick of everyone typing that Pakistan lost to India....IT WAS A TIE!!! if you dont believe me, Pakistan still has the Undefeated Streak going at 8 Games now including Bangaldesh one...So plz stop posting that it was a defeat...Bowl out happened, yes, but it did not count as a defeat. Good day.

  • Memosh on September 21, 2007, 20:47 GMT

    Pakistan has not had any good, consistent openers in a long time. Whenever we have won matches, we have won them due to other players. In 8 out of 10 matches, Pakistani openers (even the top 3 i would say) get out in the first few overs. So, if we are going to win the semi final or the world cup, i dont think it would be due to any new opening combination. So, lets save the arguments for and against our top 3 slots. Its a futile debate.

  • Rehan on September 21, 2007, 20:25 GMT

    I love 2020 cricket, this is infinitely more fun than the longer and longest versions, I wouldn't mind seeing this become the main attraction going forward though the other formats have a place, just not as prominent. Pakistan and India have been the best stories of this tournament, it would be fitting if they had a chance to play again, though being a WC, India would probably win. Still, that doesn't hurt anymore, cricket would be the winner.

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on September 21, 2007, 20:25 GMT

    I feel sorry for South africa. This was the only match they lost. Their performance in this tournament had been the most consistent.

    I certainly hope that we do NOT see a Pakistan and India final. I dont think the world is ready for this yet. People in both countries take the game too seriously.

  • kasno on September 21, 2007, 19:51 GMT

    i think its unfair to under rate NZ aftr all thy hav beaten austrailia chasing huge totals!!! if u think more realistly india nd pak r the weak teams in th semis..both r unpredictable but u can still assume tht pak r more unpredictable.. thy hav a very inconsistent middle order u cannot xpect shoaib malik or misbah to save ur asses all th time!! u need sum1 to get u of to a gud start th fisrt step shud b is to drop salman butt who hasn't realized th differnce between 20/20 nd tests!in all th previous matches it has been imran nazir who has been swingin away lyk a baseball plar nd gets out thn u c salman saying "wait up nazir, i am comin bak in th pavillion in 5 mins aftr u!" nd thn u hav younus who's batting is just as inconcistent as the team itself! it alwyz up to shaoib misbah to gt th inninggs on track,,but u can't alwyz depend on thm!! th feildin is jus th same althou it has improved it is nowhr near th same standard as the kiwis.. well i jus wna wish pak th best of luk nd inshallah we will win ppl pray for pakistan

  • Raza-e-Mustafa on September 21, 2007, 19:32 GMT

    I think we should better bring in Fawwad Alam in place of Salman Butt, bucause the youngster has more experience of Twenty20 cricket than Salman and can be a handy left arm finger spinner. His allround performance in the domestic Twenty20 final against Sialkot Stallions is one to be remembered for a long time. If Misbah can succeed only on the basis of his experience in this format of the game, Fawwad seems to be tailor-made for this format. I believe he deserves a go in the semi final.

  • fhs on September 21, 2007, 19:30 GMT

    Could not agree more with Rizwan Younus!

  • Aftab A. Qureshi on September 21, 2007, 19:07 GMT

    To add to my previous comment, Pakistan's Vice Captain is now looking like a liability in this tournament. Team management should seriously think of appointing a temporary vice captain for the semi-final replacing Salman. Either of Kamran's suggested names--Fawad or Yasir--would do for me. I just dont think this is time to persist with Salman.

  • Aftab A. Qureshi on September 21, 2007, 19:01 GMT

    If I am asked to make an intelligent guess, I would say that smart fielding and desciplined bowling is more likely to win Pakistan the semi against New Zealand than any batting hystrionics.

  • ASANKA on September 21, 2007, 18:51 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan but enjoy reading Kamran Abbassi's blog as well as Mr. JAVED KHAN's ( re-christened MONTREAL GUY by a reader )comments which are enjoyable and fun to read . I agree with the guy who said comments should be brief but this applies ONLY to persons who do not say anything of substance AND cannot state it in a lucid manner in proper english.In this aspect Mr.JAVED KHAN passes this test with flying colours but I wonder where does he find the time to write so much so well . Anyway ,please keep up the good work Mr.Abbassi and Mr. Javed Khan.

    p.s.There are lots of Pakistani supporters in Sri Lanka , specially since Wasim Akram helped Vaas to become a better bowler.

  • Muhammad from USA on September 21, 2007, 18:30 GMT

    Kamran could you please call chairman pcb or captain of pakistan or coach of pakistan to replace salman butt with fawad alam, otherwise pakistan will regrit and it will be too late to regerit. salman but not only the poor member of the team his presence in the crease also put lot of pressure on the other batsmen. when he comes for batting we all pray for wicket fall as soon as possible. what a shame to pray for wicket of his own batsman. fawad alam can hit some good sixes at number seven. he can bat very fast and he a lot good in technique too plus he can bowl. i have seen his 20/20 matches and i feel he is the best in the whole pak lot and he is not playing in 11 its make me very very surprised and it shows shoaib malik has no courge to take big decision. salman butt is palying in 11 coz he is voice captain what nonsense pick by pak management.

    kamran bhai if u r sincere pakistan and love please call team managment and ask to them please replace butt with either fawad alam or yasir arfat.

  • Salman on September 21, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    It's good to see people taking interest for Pakistan and India after a horrible WC in West Indies. I am not a big supporter of Misbah Ul Haq at the expense of M Yousuf but he proved me wrong as well as other people.

    I agree with all the comment writers that S Butt should be dropped and Yasir or Alam should be given chance as they both have pass 20/20 experience, one in county cricket and other in Pakistan’s domestic 20/20.

    I wish any one from Pakistan Cricket Team reads all these comments and act wisely in favor of Pakistan.

    Good Luck to Pakistan and India and hope to see both of them in thrilling FINAL.

  • Q on September 21, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    The last time we played New Zealand in a semi final was the Champions Trophy in 2000 and we lost because of an unbeaten century by Craig McMillan, not a very good omen if you ask me. I just hope Malik makes the right decision at the toss unlike the 1999 WC final or the 2004 semi at the Rose bowl. If we do win I hope we play India in the final because I would rather lose to them in the final than Australia.

  • caz on September 21, 2007, 16:52 GMT

    good post i think pakistan has done really well and found some good players for the future.i agree with you salman butt should be dropped in place of either fawad alam or yasir arafat. you might say that nazir and hafeez have preformed as bad as butt but they offer more hafeez with the ball and nazir his potential to cause chaos with the bat and probabley the best feilder in the team. butt hasn't offered much with the bat can't bowl and is not as good as a feilder likne hafeez and nazir

  • Rameez on September 21, 2007, 16:36 GMT

    Pakistani team has a tendency to go wayward in an important match...i hope they can keep their cool. Afridi has not gotten much runs, repeat the batting order of bangladesh match, let him open and put hafeez with him. Shoaib Malik himself can bowl pretty well, he should try an over or two. Catching should be improved tremendoulsy...this time one dropped and the other ten should be allowed to smack the fielder!

  • Azhar Usmani on September 21, 2007, 16:34 GMT

    I couldn't agree more on your mentioning of Salman Butt. But will now be a good time to test someone else, like Fawad Alam or Yasser Arafat at such a crucial phase? And yes! attitude does go a long away, even though Pakistan's last performance got me scared. They were not energetic and hungry, like the Aussies believe in, when you are on top kick your opponent's ass hard and over again.

  • Unknown-Anonymous on September 21, 2007, 16:30 GMT

    Well cant say much about this much since both teams are equal like for example:

    Afridi...Vettori Nazir....McCullum Malik....Oram

    So pretty much an equal team but of course pakistan with the advantage with the history books and coming unbeaten in this tournament barring the lucky indian win..not much to say after my speech.....

    one more thing: what mistake did Arafat make that led his way out of the team??

  • Raj on September 21, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    I agree with you on this. One more funny thing is in world cup pakisthan and india both out of first stage and now both goes to semi here in T20. Looks like they decide to perform the same like twin brothers.

  • Haris ( Chicago ) on September 21, 2007, 15:55 GMT

    It is indeed delightful to see Pakistan perform in such excellent manner. So far, they seem well mannered and energetic. Who knows what tomorrow shall bring forth but as of now, i'm enjoying this game to the fullest.

    Our Batting order and bowling seems just fine, though i would still love to see Muhammad Yusuf back in the squad while still keeping Misbah in the team. We need to get rid of one of the three openers and take Shahid up the order, followed by regulars including Yusuf, Misbah can be used down the order. Such a format will more precisely suite our one-day matches. Pakistan is in good spirit and I’m more them ready to see some good cricket from them.

    Let me remind every one that despite all this team can & will achieve, the seniors will always be missed; seniors such as Wasim, Saeed, INZI & especially Razzaq ( though i expect a come bak from him)etc.

  • Shiraz, Houston, TX on September 21, 2007, 15:43 GMT

    No easy way to say this...

    KICK SALMAN BUTT OUT OF TEAM...the guy can't play jack outside the off stump...he is indeed a MISFIT in the team...and now he is vice captain???

    Just because he speaks basic english doesn't make him a good batsman..forget being a good leader !

  • Awas on September 21, 2007, 15:43 GMT

    Kamran Abbasi

    A question: Sometimes it takes an awful long time to update the thread, like now. Is there a technical glitch? Please clarify.

  • harpreet singh bhinder ladi on September 21, 2007, 15:21 GMT

    Sahid should open and hope for india and pak play final instead of Australia But who can stp the storm (Australia) Why not they learn at a momnet india look more champion than pak Goood luck Yuvraj (666666) and also his father fires 6 Bullets in hometown Chandighar

  • Ketan H Mayecha, Kolkata, India on September 21, 2007, 15:16 GMT

    It is no doubt heartening to see the two most passionate teams in the semis; India and Pakistan. Statistically Australia is the best side - but any real cricket lover would anyday watch India or Pakistan play because they display a high level of passion. It would be great for the game, leave aside the personal support for an asian team, if India and Pakistan meet in the finals. They possess the in-born passion which cannot be replicated with technique and training. Regarding South Africa's exit I feel sad for them since they have played the best cricket before their first loss which sent them packing off. Whoever wins - lets hope the winner at the end of the day is Cricket.

  • WHoza on September 21, 2007, 15:13 GMT

    Pakistan have done well to get to here. The road ahead is tough. They should bat first against new zealand.

  • rafay usman on September 21, 2007, 15:12 GMT

    totally agreed with ur point on salman butt. i think he should sit down for team benefits .

  • Imran Khan on September 21, 2007, 14:59 GMT

    I am getting a little tired of this opening batsman problem; when are the powers that be going to realise that sending in dwarfs with no physique and who do not have the power to hit the ball off the square without playing an out-of-control slog and who insist on sitting on the backfoot as opening batsman are never going to achieve anything. Butt, like others, is fine when the ball is coming onto the bat, when there is little bounce and the outfield is fast, otherwise he, like the other midgets, looks out of his depth an unable to stay at the crease, get over the ball and play any other shot other than a cut or pull to a rank long hop on account of a lack of power to play straight. We are hardly a nation of sub 5 footers so why do our openers look identical in stature to the Bangladeshis. Get some six-footers with proper sporting physiques.

  • Farhan on September 21, 2007, 14:55 GMT

    well written articel. I must agree with your suggestion about salman, fawad or yasir should be there replacing salman. as far as the opening pair concerns, i think the previous combo is likely to be tested again in semi-final as both afridi and hafeez weren't looking pressurized. Nazir can and should bat in lower middle order on even onedown if we loose an opener early.

  • Farooq Siddiqui on September 21, 2007, 14:49 GMT

    I was a little disappointed that Pakistan did not show a clinical approach in disposing Bangladesh, but atleast they won it. I agree that Salman Butt has not contributed anything in this tournament and either Fawad Alam or Yasir Arafat would be more useful, however they should have made that change in the Bangladesh game. Not sure what the pressure of semi-final would do to a young kid like Fawad.

  • Salman on September 21, 2007, 14:47 GMT

    Pakistan is playing sensibly for once. Usually when they play like this they go all the way, so we ill see what happens. Also Salman Butt needs to be dropped and someone else be given a chance before the tournament is finished. He isnt doing anything positive for the team and worse off he is the vice-captain. good job by Coach Lawson and Shoiab Malik, Shahid Afridi and Misbah -ul Haq. Bestt Of luck pakistan ...lets bring the cup home

  • Rashid Khan on September 21, 2007, 14:40 GMT

    Two good things that have come out of this tournament for Pakistan are: 1. There is high spirit, team work and lot of energy in this comparatively younger team. 2. There is no dependency on Shoaib Akhtar and hence no more potential embarassement and rude behaviour that could have spoiled the team work - Shoaib watch out if you ever get back into the team again. As far as opening pair is concerned, all the matches have so far demonstrated that an all out attach from both ends at the start of the innings is most likely to back fie. Hence, I strongly feel that we need to open the innnings with Salman Butt who should basically rotate the strike and not worry about taking it to the bowlers and let Shahid play his natural game (he doesn't need to be told its T-20). Imran Nazir can then come later down the order (after Misbah). I agree with Mr. Abbasi that we should give a chance to Fawad Alam as we've seen that the new blood has done so well in this Tornament -Tanweer, Rohit Sharma from India, Junaid from Bangladesh. These young players can have an immediate impact in this shorter version. If this alternative is taken then we should open the inning with Shahid Afridi and Muhammed Hafiz. This tournament is proving to be young buys' game which is very promising for the new players as they would get into the limelight and will finally transition to the bigger formats of the game. One thing is for sure that T-20 is the future of cricket, though Australia may not like it for the time being (may be because of their defeats), and ICC have done a fantastic job of holding the world cup so early to ensure this format succeds. Good luck to both Pakistan and India and I wish they play the finals to make it the first ever WC final between the two Asian rivals. Rashid Khan, New jersey, USA

  • Imran on September 21, 2007, 14:39 GMT

    First of all Ramadaan Mubarik to everyone and now bak to cricket I think Pak performed thier best there is great attitiude in the team everybody is supporting everybdoy. I think the best thing is that its a young team and thier firlding is good. Im glad to see imran nazier get some runs im a big fan of his. The las thing i wanna say is remove Salman Butt from VC he does not DESERVE it wats so ever and i think either Afridi or asif should be VC and oh yea Tanveer and Misbah are the S**TTTT!!! Hopfully its Pak and India in the FINal!!! Pakistan zindabaddd

  • loljk on September 21, 2007, 14:24 GMT

    so I guess this means that Sweden has a very good chance of winning because thier brushing skills are much better than canada's so we are in for some great curling action!

  • Ben on September 21, 2007, 14:18 GMT

    It's funny how your analysis forgets the most recent semi-final encounter between New Zealand and Pakistan teams. That was in the 2000 Champions Trophy, which New Zealand won. I do agree that Pakistan have to go in as favourites, but I disagree that they will be relieved to play New Zealand. In recent years New Zealand has dominated the rivalry between these two sides in limited overs cricket.

  • vineet on September 21, 2007, 14:16 GMT

    YAH ITS GUD TO SEE pakistan do well especially aas thy r one of the most talented lots in world cricket, what i feel is pak sud give a try to fawad alam have seen him i sud say so but heard he is gud.Also have no clue wat happened to imran nazir saw him hit a century against ambrose,walsh n co in west indies i had the feeling he cud replace saeed anwar but he still plays like a rookie doesnt seem to learn anything from his previous mistakes

  • Hammad Siddiqi, Cincinnati Ohio on September 21, 2007, 14:12 GMT

    Butt really needs to step it up, theres no two ways about it. I wish Lawson had used Fawad Alam against Bangladesh to give him some time in the middle, putting him in at the deep end for a semi-final could be risky. However he couldn't do any worse than Butt is right now. In saying that this African safari has been more fruitful for the Greenshirts you're absolutely correct however given our tendency to self-destruct gives me butterflies in the pit of my stomach every time we take the field. The performance against Bangladesh was pretty pathetic. We should have dispatched them without any of the hiccups that were experienced. We as a country in general and a cricket team in particular are prone to complacency and I hope our great record against the Kiwis will not allow any of our devil-may-care attitude to creep in. I hate being pessimistic but I'm waiting for this 20/20 bubble to burst. I sincerely hope we knock 'em dead. Heres to a Pakistan-India final!!!!

  • rahul on September 21, 2007, 14:11 GMT

    you are the same guy who questioned Misbah's selection...how does it feel eating ur words? Leave poor Salman Butt alone...dont let him rub his last name on ur face!!

  • Abdullah on September 21, 2007, 14:10 GMT

    I agree with u Kamran bhai that Pakistan have a gud chance of beating NZ but the news(or rumours) that Asif might miss the Semifinal is alarming.Absence of Asif might greatly effect Pakistan's performance.

  • Junaid on September 21, 2007, 14:09 GMT

    WOW..Pakistan in the semi final. We have good track record against Kiwis in the semis and Inshallah we will this as well. No need to change the team as it is a winning combination right now. Pakistan should open with Afirdi and Salman. If Afridi gets out than Imran should come to bat and if Salman gets out than Hafeez. We need a combination of quick singles and big hitting in 20/20 so we need solid batsmen like salman and younas playing around big hitters like Afridi and Nazir.

  • xalam on September 21, 2007, 14:03 GMT

    Salman Butt is a moral crasher for the team and fans. I can not justify him in the team yet alone he is the vice captain! I wish Mohammad Yousaf was in the team instead of him but Fawad Alam or Yasir Arafat will be a great and healthy replacement for him and good for the team.

  • Tahsin Khan on September 21, 2007, 14:00 GMT

    I agree with you Kamran... Yasir Arafat should replace Salman Butt who has been the weakest link in Pakistani batting line up. He consumes way too many deliveries for nothing. We all know he never had a big hitting power, but in this shortest version of the game he is even finding extremely hard to place the ball in the gaps (his favorites shots are supposed to be the ones in gaps). He certainly needs to be shown a door for the sake of the team. We just cannot afford to play him in such a crunch game. Yasir Arafat gives us one more option with the ball and is more than handy with the bat

    Let’s all hope our Pathan (Afridi) will fire from all cylinder and light up the stadium with his blazing sixes and fours.

    Inshallah… Pakistan will bring smiles on the faces of millions by winning the 20/20 WC.

  • Tanveer on September 21, 2007, 13:33 GMT

    I think Pakistan has to play very sensibly especially the top order has to put in its best to stay at the crease. You rightly said, Salman Butt is not a T20 type of player. He is not a hard hitter and with his morale being so down, I don't expect him to deliver - if he were to play tomorrow. Imran Nazir and M Hafeez are technically feeble players. They are very inconsistent; they give away their wicket very easily. I think a lot of pressure is on Shoaib Malik, Misbah and Younis Khan. If they deliver - so far they have been - we're good but what if they fail? It's going to be a slump - just like SA slumped against India yesterday! Let's hope for the best and Inshallah Pakistan will come out victorious tomorrow. ';-)

  • Sami Syed on September 21, 2007, 13:29 GMT

    I think you have been too nice. Salman Butt the "vice-captain"... I don't even know why he is even on the team? Can somebody tell me... why? And why is he vice-captain? AFRIDI is the best choice for that.

  • Maz Hussain on September 21, 2007, 13:27 GMT

    I definately agree with Mr Abbasi about dropping Salman Butt. He is just not a twenty 20 player at all. I truly beleive he cost us the game against India by consuming 48 balls for 33 runs. Twenty 20 is about players who can hit the sixes and Butt cannot clear the boundary to save his life. I think he should be replaced by Yasir Arafat. This will also give Pakistan another bowling option as well as a player who can hit a couple of sixes.

  • Irfan on September 21, 2007, 13:27 GMT

    Couple of things to start off: Your analysis of the history between the Pak & New Zealand encounters reeks of over confidence to the point of belligerence because it could be detrimental to the team. Second, it is high time that you mentioned the coach, which I have been crying out for ever since the inclusion of Sohail Tanvir to the mix. I am amazed that you couldn't see the work of the coach which is most evident in the body language and suddenly a changed approach to the game of the skipper. Game against Australia is a testament to that. I was going to point out the equation that they have derived in bowling but you already mentioned it and who do you think it is, Coach!

    Regardless of the outcome of this game if Pak change their attitude and the way they have approached these games up until now could be dangerous i.e. thinking that they have something to loose! They have NOOTHING to loose. They have fought well, planned well and above all executed well. This is a bunch of young spirited players and hats off to the handlers who have turned them in to a lean mean fighting machine.

  • Izhaar on September 21, 2007, 13:12 GMT

    Dear Mr Abbasi,

    For me the performance of the Pakistani Team has been finally as it should be with the talented players they have to choose from.

    I reckon that you are spot on with your opinion about Salman Butt who has been the weak link in this world cup. Salman is playing in such a pathetic way that he is putting other batsman under too much pressure which forces them to play too many shots --> this could result in a collapse.

    I would reckon that Pak. Team management and the captain should drop Salman even though he is the vice captain but West Indies did that with Sarwan when he was not performing.

    Good Luck to Pak Team in redeeming itself on the back of one hell of a year for Pakistan Cricket.

  • Imran Zia on September 21, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    If Mohd Yousuf can be dropped why not Salman Butt. He is playing for the opposition at the moment. He tries to play his fav shot(in the gap for singles) and fails in even doing that, misses a couple of balls and gives the strike to his partner to play a rash stroke and get out. He seems neither forward nor back while playing his shots and is hardly clearing the inner circle. Yasir Arafat or even Fawad Alam would do better with the bat. Pakistan would also need a backup bowler in the coming days as Asif is having problems stopping the flow of runs.

  • Faisal on September 21, 2007, 13:05 GMT

    Well said!

    According to the law of averages, the pakistani middle order was going to fail eventually. Luckily it happened against Banladesh. But the fact remains that we should not rely on them alone. Valid lessons should be drawn from victories also because within these wins we found small failures as well. As has been discussed in the previous threads as well, the top order needs to sharpen up. When doing so, we need to again refer to the law of averages! As the Australians say, "get the percentages on your side".

    Every team has there best three batsmen at No1, 2 and 3 positions, while persist with the most unreliable. We have put ourself in a miserable postion by making an out of form, unimpressive Butt, the vice captain. This makes dropping him difficult! Imran Nazir, everyone says has a lot of potential, but the guy is just a slogger and even if a tailend bowler is sent to open with the responsibility to slog, he might do just as good or as bad as him. In the next match he may score a quick fire fifty BUT we should have more sense then that; three 30s are much better then one fifty!

    So, all my wishes with Pakistan, but hope that Shoaib Malik will have enough courage before the match to drop some and pick some!

  • Sufyan Khan on September 21, 2007, 13:01 GMT

    well said kamaran! i agree with about about Salman butt i think captain and coach now has to decide to drop the vice captain, yasir arafat or fawad alam would be a better option instead salman butt can't play twenty 20 he is just wasting so many deliveries and making it difficult for the middle order to recover after that we have been lucky that at least two of our middle order batsmen are clicking in every match with a very big partnership but it wont happen every day BUTT should be dropped!

  • Adnan Butt on September 21, 2007, 12:56 GMT

    Its quite refreshing and the way pakistanis are playing feels good. whether they make into final or not i think we should give the whole pakistani team good round of applause .

  • Umar Farash on September 21, 2007, 12:55 GMT

    I am very much happy to see pakistani Cricket team how they are presenting here,

    I am sure they will go through final and maybe they will get final with India would be nice,i love it to see india and pakistan in final. gut luck shoaib and his team. geo geo pakistan team.

  • A.M.Qureshi on September 21, 2007, 12:48 GMT

    Well well... I am sure that these players will be mentally ready for this big match which has come our way after 1999. At this point i would like to make a point that we are carrying loads of all rounder and very few specialist batsmen, now u r in a fix as Mr Butt is misfiring and we don,t have a specialist batsman in the back up to fill in.(Though we can do any thing but lesson for the selector to drop Yusuf). If Yusuf would have being playing for anyother country first name should have being Yousuf. Okay you got good results so far (Inshallah we will do gr8)but selectors must admit there mistakes. Even Abdul Razzaq was also a too good a player to drop for this format? I would like to point out that Aussies did not like this Format as they are claiming not because they lost two matches, only because they are new to it and they cannot fit in there sledging and bullying attitude into it as the batsman have nothing to lose and they can hit anybody for a boundary and Aussies used to see batsmen playing them cautiously with new ball and in the process losing their wickets for being too cautious. The comprehensive manual to play with Aussies is to play with flare and express yourself and don,t worry about the result and do basics right. As a bowler pitch in the good areas as Asif/Clark do and leave the rest on your stars (Aussies mostly get the rub of the green just pull out one series where decision went against them and they lost, I mean ashes in England). Eventually first time since 1999 i feel teams believe they can win against Aus (Aus was lucky they did not play Pakistan in 2 and half year as we have gr8 team thats ireland was a blip as Aussies had against Bangla or Zimbabwae). I can see Pak/India Final and then there is only one winner i.e. Cricket Good Luck semi finalists

  • AESW on September 21, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    I think pakistan can only survive through the semi final if the so called vice captain is dumped for ever . I couldnt find a single reason even after pondering over the matter for hours "Why should he play the next match?" We can simply drop him and let hafeez open with Imran and some youngster given the chance as all this tournament has belonged to youngsters e.g. Tanvir and Misbah(Although not so young).

    Moreover Afridi should remain lower down the order as he gives strength to team's lower order

  • Huzafa on September 21, 2007, 12:44 GMT

    Well done, Pakistan, for deservingly reaching the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. Much has been said about Pakistan being the happiest of the semi-finalists as they are now paired up with the all blacks and not the mighty aussies or the rising indians.

    However, I have a slightly different attidue to this. Despite being a Pakistani supporter i am putting myself into this perspective: are New Zealand not the happier team to be facing the ever-inconsistent Pakistan?

    As hard as I try to be neutral, I still do think Pakistan are the favourites. Had they beaten Bangladesh more convincingly I might have said this more comfortably. But we all saw the rustier side of the coin yesterday when Pakistan just nicked a difficult victory.

    My only fears for Pakistan when they play New Zealand is probably the bowling of Daniel Vettori and Shane Bond. Very rarely do we see Vettori being blasted out the park, hence economy figures of just over 5. Believe me, that is more than outstanding in this format. His comsistent removal of key wickets and slowing down of economy rates, allows me to confidently say that Daniel Vettori is by far the best bowler in T20.

    As for Shane bond, though we have not seen him throw in some real fireworks early on this tournament I still feel the ash is rising in him and will explode any time. Against Pakistan might be his golden oppurtunity as the top 3 Pakistani batsmen are facing severe pressure and an opening busrt from bond might prove to be devastating.

    On the contrary, the opening batsmen might see this as their golden oppurtunity. If Shane Bond is not up to scratch early on, I suggest the Pakistan top 3 snatch the gold with both hands.

    Moving on to the Pakistan team now, I can't but say the only serious problem, as we all know, the top order. Had this been a regualr one-day series I might have kept faith in the unlucky Salman Butt as I am a firm believer that if you want to send out the best openers, you must give them all the time they need.

    However, this is not a one-day series; they only have one day left to get their acts right and unless they do i cannot see them going further (you cannot expect Younis, Malik and Misbah to rescue the team all the time).

    Therefore, as hard felt as it sounds I think it would be better for Salman Butt to sit out the rest of the tournament. In his place bring in Yasir Arafat. I feel Nazir and Afirid, the sloggers, need to face the first six overs and capitalise on the fielding restrictions. Salman Butt was taking far too long to get settled in. At least we all saw a good peice of temperament from Imran Nazir and i do feel that even Arafat was more capable then Salman at batting.

    Also, with Arafat we have an extra bowling option. This could come in very handy for replacing Mohammad Asif when he gets pummeled for 20 odd runs in an over early on, which has happened against Sri Lanka and Australia.

    P.S. Australia watch out for RP Singh!

  • Hasan on September 21, 2007, 12:40 GMT

    Can you also tell me why every captain has a tendency to play one person who does not deserve to be there. In this case Imran Nazir and or Salman Butt. Is there a reason why players like Fawad Alam are not given a chance and the same old faces are tried again and again just because they are friendly with the captain or they belong to a certain region of Pakistan. Once again we are seeing another Inzi in the making with Shoaib Malik. Also what kind of a lame argument was that "because we are winning we should keep the same combination". Shoaib Malik should be punished for if nothing else then being totally clueless. The reason why Australia is number 1. is because they keep making small chanegs to their line-up. Pakistan will NOT win this world cup either if they keep the same openers. Once again we will be left to wonder "What if Shoaib Malik would have done the right thing, rather then show the smae kind of racism prevalent in Pakistan. After all Karachi has the capability to produce good players who for a change might not be wicket keeper-batsmen.

  • Ammar Wasif on September 21, 2007, 12:38 GMT

    Always prepare for the worst in Pakistan's case. Pakistan is an unpredictable team. i will like that pakistan win the final, but i will not be expecting a pakistan win. Better luck PAKISTAN

  • Imran Yousaf (London) on September 21, 2007, 12:27 GMT

    I agree, Salman Butt is rubbish and should be dropped (from the team and vice-captaincy)and replaced with Yasir Arafat who is a decent lower order hitter. I cannot believe that Pakistan have chosen to bat their best batsmen so low down. We have been luky to get away with it so far but we will pay if we continue to have the likes of Salman Butt, Imran Nazir and Hafeez in the top 5.

    I hope Shoaib Malik has more sense than his predecessors by not hiding his best at the bottom.

    Come on you Pakis. All the way!

  • raja uk on September 21, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    salman butt seriously needs to sort his batting out at least last six overs the team should feature fawad alam, malik has seen what he can do against his domestic team in the final. i am very disapointed that he didnt feture in the last game aganst bangladesh. as far as i can see in this tournament batsmen have prospered except salman butt and all rounders have not done too well please remove butt from the side ( might do well against bond) Pakistan zindabad ( india pak final i hope)

  • Ali on September 21, 2007, 12:05 GMT

    You can change batting order, but it is too late in the day to substitute a young inexperienced player like Alam in a major tournament semi final.

    Play with the cards you have.

  • Moon, Wash D.C on September 21, 2007, 11:53 GMT

    Pakistan should be admired for their performance in this tournament. BUTT is certainly the weakest link in playing 11. FAWAD should be given the oppertunity to proof his worth. P.S please keep your comments short, especially that guy from MONTREAL.

  • Osman A. Khairi on September 21, 2007, 11:39 GMT

    Kamran, you are spot on in saying that Butt needs to be replaced with either Fawad or Yasir. I'm sure they won't be any worse! For as thing stand at this point in time, Butt seems to be a big misfit. Unable to rotate the strike and take the game to the opposition, Butt has struggled big time in this format of the game. It is correspondingly, high time that Pakistan takes the tough decision of dropping its 'vice-captain' in favor of some other deserving player. Also, Im happy that the South Africans have been dumped out of this tournament!! The way they went about their run chase, it was pretty evident that they were only aiming for 126 and trying to avoid making 142 (or whatever that figure was), in order to ensure that they play Pakistan in the semis and abstain from confronting the mighty Aussies. Ha! So much for that= p Well played India. : ) As for us, New Zealand will be much easier opponents than the South Africans so well, this is a great opportunity for us to atleast, make it to the final! I just hope they dont come up with a listless, indolent and carefree performance as they did against the Bangladeshis. But with Pakistan, you never really know now do you? The 'capricious and unpredictable' tag always be rightly attached to us as will the chokers tag with the South Africans.

  • Tariq Al-MAeena on September 21, 2007, 11:31 GMT

    I'm afraif Kamran Abbasi's buoyancy will be short lived once Pakistan shows up on the field for the semis. Already cracks have widened to display the batting incompetence of Salman Butt (very low strike rate + low IQ in shot selection or run outs), Kamran Akmal who has once again failed, and Younus Khan who for but one inning hasn't mustered what is required of him. Afridi, Malik and the rest cannot seriously carry these dead weights, especially since Salman Butt is sent early in the innings and he has a knack of killing all scoring momentum.

  • Asad Rasool on September 21, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    Interesting to change Salman Butt with someone else while the Captain, wants his team unchanged. I would leave the team as it is and see how Salman gets on. We have a winning team (all be it against Bangladesh) and hopefully we win a major trophy since 1992!

  • olly on September 21, 2007, 11:26 GMT

    i think that is unfair to Nz to say that there are the most least threatning team since throughtout this chminship there have shown that they are good at alll fassits of the game.

  • mubi on September 21, 2007, 11:22 GMT

    my team for the semi final will be same--one change and tht will be fawad replaces butt!! afridi should open-cause if he gets a gud start then malik younis hafeez and misbah can score runs without any pressure---one should know tht winning the toss can be crucial--win the toss and bowl first..the wkt at capetown is not a gud batting track---so keep ur figure cross anything is possible!!

  • Badar Siddiqi on September 21, 2007, 11:13 GMT

    I think both New Zealand and Pakistan are the weak links in the semis so they'll start off equally. New Zealand got there by virtue of pure luck and Pakistan only woke up after getting a kick in the rear by the bowl out against India. While both Australia and India will go into semis with huge morale boosting victories in their final games, the same can't be said for the Kiwis or the Pakistanis. They both performed below par in their own final games. Pakistan kept their tradition of taking the Bangla Tigers easily as always. A comprehensive victory would certainly have a different impact. I totally agree with Kamran about Salman Butt being the only misfit in the team. He doesn't belong to this format, period. Remember when Younus Khan was first made the VC a few years ago and it was said that being a VC doesn't guarantee a place in the final XI? Why can't the same be applied for Butt? Kick his butt and bring in someone worthy of playing. Fawad Alam deserves a chance to play and that will give the captain another bowling and batting choice if needed. Likewise, Yasir Arafat can be another option at the expense of Butt because Yasir can atleast give us another bowling option and can bat at a much rapid pace compared to the sleeping vice captain. Maybe PCB can learn a lesson here and think twice before appointing someone as the captain or the vice captain. If a player isn't an automatic selection for a certain format, don't make their appointments. Shoaib Malik should be the ODI captain and Inzamam should have carried as the Test captain.

    For the semi final, I'd like to see Hafeez and Nazir open the innings, followed by Afridi, Younus, Malik, Misbah, Akmal, Yasir/Fawad, Tanvir, Gul and Asif.

    Looking at the aggression with which India ousted South Africa is just awesome. Who would have thought that SA wouldn't be able to score even 126 to qualify much less 154? Thanks India for making sure Pakistan face NZ in the semi final. If India plays with the same intensity against the Aussies (hopefully getting Yuvraj back into the team)then look out for an India-Pakistan cracker final on Monday. Perhaps by then Pakistan would have practiced on the bowl out, just in case.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on September 21, 2007, 11:08 GMT

    Mr. Abbassi it is good to see that you are talking about the attitude of Pakistan cricket team by quoting Quentin Tarantino and the theme or the spirit of his movies. He believes that, 'if you're a true artist, you can do whatever you want'. Incidentally the success to his movies and Pakistan's winning the first cup came during the same year i.e., 1992. Since then his movies, besides winning an Oscar has won dozens of other awards too. Whereas, Pakistan's performance since that time has been very lackluster, mediocre, off colour and not only that it is full of controversies and scandals. Thanks to "Shoaib Actor" for taking the lead role, ironically his career is going to end up with rotten tomatoes, like the flop movie "Big Bully".

    Coming back to the NZ semi-finals for tomorrow, it is something we all are very keen and anxious in seeing the match and expecting a win. As emotional and over zealous we all are, instead of being realistic, as usual we are finding solace and comfort in our own hearts and minds through expressions, analogies and by drawing comparisons from yesteryears past performance. Like Mr. Abbassi is saying, a NZ semifinal is a good omen for Pakistan and, some people are saying playing on a Friday or during the month of Ramadan is auspicious for Pakistan and we always win. These are all theories, lack of self belief and it is a sense of complacency. To win you have to believe in yourself, plan well and work hard. As they say "plan your work and work your plan" is true. There is no substitute to hard work or a short cut to success. 'Trust in God but, tie your camel.'

    Pakistan cricket team must forget about the days of yore and think of tomorrow and come up with practical, realistic planning. Shoaib Malik says: "there is no time for planning!" Perhaps he is unable to express his feelings in words and what he really means is, in twenty20 game, things change so fast that it is difficult to plan the next move. Obviously you cannot think like a chess player, you have to react very fast. But this is what good planning is all about and you don't have to have just "a back-up plan" but, multiple plans, rather a strategy which is fluid and flexible that is carefully planned and executed to perfection.

    I hope Malik has seen and learnt from Collingwood's falterings in the last two matches in which England lost twice owing to the skipper's orthodox, rigid and conventional approach in not making any changes in the batting order. At a time when big hitters were required to be promoted to accelerate the run rate, he got stuck to his bookish rules. And, I see the same kinda attitude in Malik's captaincy. He prefers the same orthodox and conventional approach. And he appears to be extremely meek and accommodative towards his players, it is good to consult with your senior players but, only to a certain extent. He says, "I do not want to put any pressure on anyone." Why not? Every single player in the team is supposed to perform 100% and in the end it is always the captain who gets all the flak or the praise. So, he has a right to demand what he expects from his players, instead of saying 'whatever you deem fit is good - you do' and, "I am agree" with you.

    Malik has to focus on two players Big Mac and Jacob Oram, they are the two NZ key batsmen who can change the game in just a few overs. And the Pakistani batsmen must target Mr. Bond and go all out to attack him from the first ball. When he is thrashed all over the park, the Kiwis are in tatters from the outset. But, they must be very careful and cautious in handling Vettori's four overs. I think most people would be missing Abdul Razzaq's long handle here as he has always mauled the Kiwis with his big hitting and his effective medium pacers. But thats not what the players need to do they don't have to look back, they have to look ahead and have faith in the current team and fight like the cornered tigers. Its good in a way that they don't have to play Australia, sans Ponting they are still a very dangerous side. Last but not the least, who is not expecting of a India - Pakistan final?

  • cb fry on September 21, 2007, 11:04 GMT

    When Pak play NZ in Manchester in '99, it wasn't a "gloomy day" as you incorrectly state. It was hot and humid!

  • Arsalan Amir from Vilaage Boota - Attock on September 21, 2007, 10:45 GMT

    Regardless from all I want to see Pakistan and India in the final.

  • Rukhsar on September 21, 2007, 10:32 GMT

    Yes I agree that Butt should be dropped because of his poor strikerate in the tounament so far. Anway goodluck to Pak team and I hope to see Malik lifting the T20 Cup.

  • Salman safi on September 21, 2007, 10:28 GMT

    What Ian chappel must be thinking now..Two teams that he dumped at the start of the contest are both in Semi's & both with some stunning performances.Moral of the story is never write these two subcontinent teams off because the moment you do that chaces are that you will be the first one to bite the dust. Pakistan will surely make it to finals but India will have to face stern aussie test. Indo pak final would be a mouth watering prospect for everyone. Lets hope we can see India pak in finals where I think pakistan will edge past India.

  • Abhineet Gaurav on September 21, 2007, 10:24 GMT

    Although pakistan are in good form it would be foolish to be over confident and also have a selctive memory..pakistan have lost a semi final against new zealand when they last met at icc champions trophy at kenya 2000.....kiwis went on to win final against india.

  • Shezad form Luton, UK on September 21, 2007, 10:18 GMT

    I think Pakistan will win the Cup and my reason for saying this are the similarities with the 1992 World Cup win.

    1. It is the month of Ramadhan now as in 1992. 2. Pakistan lost one of their strike bowlers before the start, Waqar in 1992 and this time Shoaib. 3. One of the star batsmen then was Inzamam Ul Haq, this time it’s Misbah Ul Haq. 4. One of Pakistan’s main bowlers then was a legspin bowler Mushy in 1992 and this time it’s Afridi. 5. An out of form ‘senior’ batsmen Saleem Malik in 1992 and Nazir now. 6. A dodgy left handed opener then in 1992 Aamir Sohail and Butt now. 7. Pakistan lost to India in the group stages then and once again now albeit via a dodgy bowl out. 8. Australia failed to qualify for the Semi’s then and South Africa this time, both host nations. 9. We played New Zealand in the Semi’s then and once again we meet. 10. Although fielding restrictions, pinch hitters, coloured clothing, white balls, floodlights etc were not all new, 1992 was the first time they had all been used in a major tournament, this time 20/20 is very new to international cricket.

    Are you convinced now? No neither am I. Pakistan is simply too unpredictable and the 1999 World Cup final still haunts me and every Pakistan fan. As much as I want Pakistan to win, you have to accept defeat, but what is hard to swallow is when they capitulate, all too often. A fighting loss is easier to swallow. Finally I forgot to post on the previous article, so a quick word about Misbah. He looks a technically sound batsmen with a very good temperament, very rare for a Pakistani. I hope he is given a chance in the Tests and ODI’s too, even if Yousaf returns. Good luck to the Pakistan team or should I say fans. Brace yourselves for an emotional rollercoaster ride!!

  • Abdul Waheed - USA on September 21, 2007, 10:18 GMT

    Well said Kamran,

    I agree with you on the team selection. Even though this has been a winning combination yet, Butt,s continuous failure should prompt Malik and Lawson to bring either one of the men you mentioned. While Arafat is comparatively experienced but, Fawad gives you a left hander for a left hander even though I think he is in the same mold as Butt is. Fawad can also provide one more option in the bowling as, he is a left armer. While Pakistan has ended up at the top yet, it gives me little jitters thinking what if they start being complacent as they showed against Bangladesh. I hope they can continue on building the good work they have carried so far. I also wish that after getting into the finals, they can lay to rest the ghost of never being able to beat India in World Cup, even though this is shorter format of WC.

  • VINOD - INDIA on September 21, 2007, 10:15 GMT

    Well Said Kamran Bhai. This very much applies to the Indian Team too. Just a point to note. Not many people had fancied India and Pakistan's entry in the semi-final. The most glaring being Ian Chappells report sheet which India and Pak 6 points each saying that they will easily lose out the semi-finals berth. He might eat his words now. But a closure look before the tournament seemed that Both these teams can make the cut. Because, the first thing is both the teams had placed younger teams for the tournament, hence, they had nothing to lose. Also, it meant a rise in the fielding standards of both the teams, most notably India whose fielding had hit rock-bottom during the England tour. Pakistan still have some minor gliches in their fielding as Umar and Tanvir aren't great fielders. So, Malik will have to use his captaincy skills to place them at proper positions, because at this stage one cannot afford even the smallest fielding error. India seems to be better at this department now. Pakistan beating New Zealand will not be as tough India beating Australia. Though, India seem to be more prepared than Pakistan to face Australia. India's fielding, bowling and batting have all clicked together in this tournament unlike Pakistan who have just two consistent performers Asif and Misbah in this Tournament. Seeing forward to an India vs Pakistan Final.

  • Sam Ahmad on September 21, 2007, 10:08 GMT

    You are right kamran. Let's see if Pakistan can keep this attitude all the way.

  • junaid on September 21, 2007, 10:08 GMT

    I agree with you in that Salman Butt is the Mr.Misfit in the team. Looking at the venue for the semi-final, it looks as if spinners would be more successful that seemersin CapeTown, so I'd rather go for Fawad Alam as his form in domestic T20 has been simply superb...

    Best of luck to PK for winning the tournament

  • Aaron Liong - Future Barcelona soccer star on September 21, 2007, 10:08 GMT

    I'm more of a soccer guy, but cricket is still one of my favourites. I reckon that Alam should replace Butt and hafeez, Nazir should open. Then carry same order, put Alam at No.7 after Afridi and before Akmal. Im going to Barcelona for my soccer trials next month - G'day.

  • Rehan Haider on September 21, 2007, 10:07 GMT

    I agree! Salman Butt is the weak link at the moment! The runout against Bangladesh was simly school boy cricket! As the vice captian he should be leading from the front! He has been very disapponting! Imran Nazir isn't doing much good either! It is one thing getting low scores but most of his shot selection is pathetic! You cannot expect the middle order to rescue you every single time! Lets hope the batting clicks on saturday!

  • osaid on September 21, 2007, 10:04 GMT

    mark my words if pakistan keep salman butt in playing 11 they are never ever going to win the twenty 20 tournament.

  • Ash Zed - Saudi Arabia on September 21, 2007, 10:02 GMT

    Well...... I am an ardent supporter of Pakistan team but don’t want to live in a world of fantasy. I shall have no regrets and disappointment if Pakistan does not advance into Finals. Getting in the last 4 stage is what I was hoping for. If they do make it to the final, it’s a bonus.

    There is a logic and sound reasoning for the above statement. You can not go further with napping Salman Butt and technically flawed Imran Nazir. In almost every game we lost top 4 wickes for less than 30 to 40 runs inside 6 or 7 overs….Middle order has so far been dependable but as they say…..everyday is not Sunday…… the top order will have to do something to get further in the tournament……..but so far it is nothing but continuous failure as far as top order is concerned.

    A positive note is an immediate impact of Lawson on the team…that’s a good sign. Lets hope this team delivers good against South Africa.

    I believe Australia are shaping up very well and to me they are the favourites !!!

  • Armughan on September 21, 2007, 9:55 GMT

    Hopefully they will do good tommorow. It is a very big game and they will need to target every kiwi player to win. The intensity is good, but it will need to be carried over to the oneday and test format as well.

  • srivathsan on September 21, 2007, 9:45 GMT

    RIGHTO.WHAT A COME BACK FOR BOTH INDIA & PAKISTAN. A meeting in the final -If it happens,God knows what will be the eupharia not only in india & pakistan but the whole world.The way pakistan is playing ,I feel NZ is an easy target,but no complacency as you have said.It is a different thing for india as they are playing wounded aussies.KAMRAN, see the similatity of india ,pak teams.Both got eliminated in the WC losing to minnows & failed to reach even super 8.Now in this new format ,nobody gave our teams any chance.Honestly even we did not expect both the team to reach semi finals. Not only they made it up but on the way both have beat mighty teams.Again as you have rightly pointed out,the most glaring similarity is the higly unpredictable attitude of both the teams.As they can beat a mighty team. they are also capable of losing in a horrible way.LET US ALL PRAY THAT INDIA & PAKISTAN MEET IN FINAL & WHAT A MOMENT IT WILL BE IRRESPECTIVE OF WHO WINS THE GAME.

  • Aly Abid on September 21, 2007, 9:38 GMT

    I reckon it could be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan that India finished No 1 in thier group giving Pakistan a chance to play in the Semiz against NZ. I agree Pakistan has a good record against them but they have to play well to qualify for the Final. India on the other hand, playing against Australia, Tough Task Ahead....

  • RA on September 21, 2007, 9:28 GMT

    Congratulations to Pakistan on reaching the semi's... and I hope they can continue this success and win it all. I completely agree that Salman Butt needs to go vice captain or not. Fawad Alam can bowl also, and if nothing else how much worse can he do than Salman, who I'm sorry the way he was run out should have been the last straw for him... GO PAKISTAN!!! Shoaib Malik also looks like he is getting to much involved (telling the fast bowlers to bowl slow) that could have adverse effects, but as long as they are winning its all good. Winning cures everything!!! GO PAKISTAN!!!

  • Ali Majid on September 21, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    What about the champions trophy semi final in 2000 which New Zealand won after a great innings from Roger Twose? Or do we not count that as a world tournament?

  • Rizwan Younus on September 21, 2007, 9:21 GMT

    Salam To All, I think whatever happens in the semi-finals of this tournament win or lose you have to applaud the pakistan team for its passion and desire in this competition but more importantly then all that you have to applaud the mature captaincy of Shoaib Malik. For such a young man he has led his troops like a old timer clever field placements cool head under pressure and terrific knowledge of the game. Aswell as this add his own terrific form with the bat give credit where it is due he has started brilliantly and the tactic of having tanveer with the new ball and gul for the latter half pure genius. Like you said kamran Butt has to be dropped I am a big fan of his but he looks completely out of place at the moment and his schoolboy dismissal against Bangladesh has just further illustrated that. Well Done Team Pakistan And Good Luck In The Semi Finals.

  • Rafay on September 21, 2007, 9:21 GMT

    You are right.The agression,Team spirit & Passion has returned to our team.New Zealand is a weaker team if copared with pak.But this is 20/20 and we all know how games can change within a couple of overs.I would love to see Pak int he finals against India! and beating them!

  • hammad on September 21, 2007, 9:08 GMT

    i think the final is going to be between Pakistan and Australia

  • Hamza Syed on September 21, 2007, 9:03 GMT

    Yes, Salman Butt should definitely be replaced. His strike rate has been appalling in this shorted format. Yasir Arafat should be the ideal choice to replace him, having past experience in the English domestic 20/20!

  • Valavan on September 21, 2007, 9:01 GMT

    Its a great news that PAK and IND into the semis. It has always been Sri Lanka, who were completely overrated team in Asia. It was good that they were eliminated which proves the fact that they are not the only one to restore Asia's pride. Hopefully i wish TONY GREIG read this column for his biased comments about cricketers in Asia

  • Soumya Sinha on September 21, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    I agree the reason subcontinent has found success in this tournament is because: - Our players are more of a stroke player rather than grafter - Our bowlers are more in the mold of run savers than wicket takers…the reason we had poor records in tests - We do not have many all rounder…The best team in 20-20 should have 5 high hitting batsman and 5 specialist bowlers..as its is quite impossible to get a team all out in 20 over - and I feel we are more efficient when we deal with shorter tasks…

    It will not surprise me is 20-20 becomes the most popular version of sport in the subcontinent in 1-2 years time.

  • Hamza Shinwari on September 21, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    Watching Asif's gentle and non penetrative bowling yesterday was not pleasing at all!!!! If Pakistan want to be a top class team then they must play every opposition with the same intensity as playing Sri Lanka or Australia. The dropped catches and complacency can cost us progess to the final. I wonder though whether it is too late in the tournament now to drop Salman Butt. Opening with Afridi is a gamble..which if taken, I sincerely pray, pays off!!!!!!

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  • Hamza Shinwari on September 21, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    Watching Asif's gentle and non penetrative bowling yesterday was not pleasing at all!!!! If Pakistan want to be a top class team then they must play every opposition with the same intensity as playing Sri Lanka or Australia. The dropped catches and complacency can cost us progess to the final. I wonder though whether it is too late in the tournament now to drop Salman Butt. Opening with Afridi is a gamble..which if taken, I sincerely pray, pays off!!!!!!

  • Soumya Sinha on September 21, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    I agree the reason subcontinent has found success in this tournament is because: - Our players are more of a stroke player rather than grafter - Our bowlers are more in the mold of run savers than wicket takers…the reason we had poor records in tests - We do not have many all rounder…The best team in 20-20 should have 5 high hitting batsman and 5 specialist bowlers..as its is quite impossible to get a team all out in 20 over - and I feel we are more efficient when we deal with shorter tasks…

    It will not surprise me is 20-20 becomes the most popular version of sport in the subcontinent in 1-2 years time.

  • Valavan on September 21, 2007, 9:01 GMT

    Its a great news that PAK and IND into the semis. It has always been Sri Lanka, who were completely overrated team in Asia. It was good that they were eliminated which proves the fact that they are not the only one to restore Asia's pride. Hopefully i wish TONY GREIG read this column for his biased comments about cricketers in Asia

  • Hamza Syed on September 21, 2007, 9:03 GMT

    Yes, Salman Butt should definitely be replaced. His strike rate has been appalling in this shorted format. Yasir Arafat should be the ideal choice to replace him, having past experience in the English domestic 20/20!

  • hammad on September 21, 2007, 9:08 GMT

    i think the final is going to be between Pakistan and Australia

  • Rafay on September 21, 2007, 9:21 GMT

    You are right.The agression,Team spirit & Passion has returned to our team.New Zealand is a weaker team if copared with pak.But this is 20/20 and we all know how games can change within a couple of overs.I would love to see Pak int he finals against India! and beating them!

  • Rizwan Younus on September 21, 2007, 9:21 GMT

    Salam To All, I think whatever happens in the semi-finals of this tournament win or lose you have to applaud the pakistan team for its passion and desire in this competition but more importantly then all that you have to applaud the mature captaincy of Shoaib Malik. For such a young man he has led his troops like a old timer clever field placements cool head under pressure and terrific knowledge of the game. Aswell as this add his own terrific form with the bat give credit where it is due he has started brilliantly and the tactic of having tanveer with the new ball and gul for the latter half pure genius. Like you said kamran Butt has to be dropped I am a big fan of his but he looks completely out of place at the moment and his schoolboy dismissal against Bangladesh has just further illustrated that. Well Done Team Pakistan And Good Luck In The Semi Finals.

  • Ali Majid on September 21, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    What about the champions trophy semi final in 2000 which New Zealand won after a great innings from Roger Twose? Or do we not count that as a world tournament?

  • RA on September 21, 2007, 9:28 GMT

    Congratulations to Pakistan on reaching the semi's... and I hope they can continue this success and win it all. I completely agree that Salman Butt needs to go vice captain or not. Fawad Alam can bowl also, and if nothing else how much worse can he do than Salman, who I'm sorry the way he was run out should have been the last straw for him... GO PAKISTAN!!! Shoaib Malik also looks like he is getting to much involved (telling the fast bowlers to bowl slow) that could have adverse effects, but as long as they are winning its all good. Winning cures everything!!! GO PAKISTAN!!!

  • Aly Abid on September 21, 2007, 9:38 GMT

    I reckon it could be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan that India finished No 1 in thier group giving Pakistan a chance to play in the Semiz against NZ. I agree Pakistan has a good record against them but they have to play well to qualify for the Final. India on the other hand, playing against Australia, Tough Task Ahead....