Politics October 19, 2007

A triumph of good sense

It would have been easy for the South Africans to curtail their tour and disappoint Pakistan cricket fans
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The bomb that greeted Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan was a tragedy for the people who died and their families. A cricket tour seems of minor importance when placed against the scale of death in Karachi but it was inevitable that it would be reassessed.

A bombing outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi once brought a premature end to a New Zealand tour, an unsurprising outcome since the team was staying at the hotel. More recently, South Africa abandoned a tour of Sri Lanka after a bombing in Colombo. Hence South Afirca might have been expected to return home, but their decision to stay is a triumph of good sense.

The bomb blast was highly targeted and to assume that the South Africans are now suddenly at greater risk is not logical. It would have been easy for the South Africans to curtail their tour and disappoint Pakistan cricket fans. Yet this is a spirited South African team, which has outplayed Pakistan ever since it arrived. The bubble of success must help but, whatever the reason, South Africa's players and administrators must be congratulated for their decision to see the tour through. The last thing that Pakistan requires at this moment of violent turmoil is international isolation.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kierra on December 23, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    I came, I read this atcrile, I conquered.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 23, 2007, 16:36 GMT

    Pakistan has convincingly won the third ODI mainly because of their good bowling and excellent fielding. The batting responsibilities were once again shouldered by the ever dependable Mohammad Yousuf, who played the anchor role and funny enough he got an award for the fastest fifty of the match, which he scored in 104 balls. Other than his fifty, Malik, Afridi and Misbah also chipped in a few valuable runs and Misbah finished it in style with a six. The idea of Shahid Afridi to open the innings paid some dividends to a certain extent, but he was fortunate enough to be dropped by Kallis at 12. The catches were held and run out chances were materialized except for Kamran Akmal dropping two difficult edges, the over all fielding performance was beyond expectations. Its a rarity in the Pakistani team and, Waqar acknowledged that it is the best ever fielding performance he has seen from any Pakistani side.

    Pakistan should wrap up the series in Multan and dedicate the win to Inzamam ul Haq. Btw, people should not dis Inzamam for scoring 14 and 3 in his last appearance. Sir Don Bradman scored 4 and 0 in his last test. Anyways, the chances of SA playing in Karachi are very remote and they might trade off to play the 5th ODI in Lahore i.e., only in case it is a series decider. Otherwise, they will probably fly back home.

    There is something that I wanted to write here about Robin Jackman. I don't mind the serendipities of Waqar, Zaheer Abbass and Moulvi Mushy, but Robin was very biased in his comments against Pakistan especially today. I don't care if he has ties with Rhodesia or South Africa, but as a commentator he should not be making it so obvious. The other commentators like Keppler Wessels and Ian Bishop were fair and neutral, but Robin's comments were unwarranted and not so gentlemanly. Especially his repeated Aaaaaahhhh's and grrrrrunts against umpiring decision which he thought were going against SA are not a pleasant sight that you expect from a commentator.

    When the SA score was 46, Jacques Kallis was plumb in front of the wicket at the bowling of Tanvir and replay confirmed that his bat was miles away from the ball yet the umpire gave it a run (single) and Robin was saying, Tanvir is being too optimistic here. I remember all the Pakistani players were saying, "bat ko tou lagee bhee nai run kaisay diya?" And, Shahid Afridi was consoling Tanvir by saying: "Fikr mat kero Allah bhee dekh reha hai" or "don't worry God is watching us." In his first over Afridi once again got the prize wicket of Kallis.

    When Kamran Akmal appealed for an lbw, Robin said, "thats the worst appeal I have ever seen!" Whereas, the fact is it wasn't a bad shout. And later on when the umpire did not give his decision in favour of an lbw for Johan Bootha against Misbah, he kept saying, it was a good shout and its a pity that the umpire did not give him out. If Johan can open his big Bootha and scream at every ball that hits the pad does not give him the right and to expect the umpire must also agree with him. The fact is Johan Bootha bowls around the wicket all the time, and he looses his option for an lbw. When Bootha failed to collect the ball neatly and missed a run out chance and the Pakistani batsmen took the third run resulting from an over throw, Robin grunted by saying: "What sort of cricket is this? Isn't the ball dead? I better leave this commentator's box now." And he left in a huff puff.

    I request Mr. Abbassi to put this post up so that its on record and may be, Robin might get a message through Batman. And next time he controls his emotions and behave like a gentleman.

  • Moon on October 23, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    3rd ODI between Pakistan and SA has just concluded, as i dont see any new topic from Kamran Abbassi but Osman Samiuddin wonderfully quoted the pathan (Afridi). Promoting him to opening is a wonderful sign and we should hope that team management persists with this promotion as Afridi will disappoint some times may be most of the times but whenever given a chance and with little bit of luck he will surely prove his presence no matter its bowling, batting or fielding. It might be little early in the series to say this but i think Afridi is the only person in current Pakistan team who has conquered the South Africans in all departments of the game, lets hope he comes up with just one more performance like this in the upcoming two matches and seals the series for Pakistan. Yasir Hameed wasn't dropped because of not scoring runs, he was actually dropped because his strike rate has been very poor lately and he once again showed that today, i would say lets go with Imran & Afridi on top. By the way Khansaab what say now? you were lately quoting Afridi as an idiot, are you eating your words now? Apart from Afridi , all the Pakistani batsmen made this low SA total look like out of reach, there was no piece of aggression what so ever, if they want to win the series then they have to attack while batting in the next two one dayers.

  • Irfan on October 23, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    Whatever happened to my post Kamran? You didn't like it because it was straight shooting. Or you can't risk a post about your regulars. I had my doubts about you posting it and you proved my right that you are just as much to be blamed in this partisan ranting as any one of your regular bloggers!

  • Roshan on October 22, 2007, 14:05 GMT

    Awas....

    You have questioned why the teams have not cancelled their tours to India when Death Toll to terror in India is almost equal to Pakistan's...the logic is simple my friend considering the geographical size of pakistan as compared to India the number of death are simply too big in comparative terms...another reason being India is politicaly more stable than pakistan as the democracy is still intact....moreover India has few terror prone areas & no international matches are ever staged in those areas. So its not Islamophobia eactly that you are accusing other teams for.

  • Manas on October 22, 2007, 13:47 GMT

    You need to put things in perspective. Surely, SA team returning home can't be termed as "international isolation".

  • tabs farooq on October 22, 2007, 12:22 GMT

    well done to the boys for coming back in the second game, lets hope they can push on from here and try to get the upper hand in the series. It would be the best tonic for a country which is in desperate need for some cheering up. My heart goes out to all the families of those people who lost thier lives.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 22, 2007, 10:24 GMT

    Awas

    When you pointed out that Fawad Alam is not in the squad so why do people mention his name? And, very promptly I expressed my apologies for my ignorance. But, I want you and others to check out this link in today's DAWN.

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/10/22/spt8.htm

    It says that, "Sources further said that Khalid Latif could play in Multan in case Kamran fails to deliver on Tuesday." I don't think Khalid Latif is in the squad, or is he? If they can include Khalid Latif or any other player who is not in the squad, then they can also include Fawad Alam, can't they?

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on October 22, 2007, 10:23 GMT

    Firstly, it must be said that the bombings were a very unfortunate incident. I cannot imagine the grief and horror of the loved ones of those who were so brutally killed. I pray that Allah gives all affected civilians the courage to move on from this tragedy. I pray that the murderers are caught (for a change) and no mercy is shown to them. It hurts to see how a tiny minority of misguided yahoos have ruined the image of Karachi. What is worse is that the actions of this misguided minority are presented by certain sections of the media to be a representation of the whole nation. Secondly, I question the wisdom of staging a rally in a place as unpredictable as Karachi. Even if it was to be done, it should not have been stretched into the night. I am politically neutral, but staging the rally despite threats was asking for trouble. Hence the organizers are to be partially blamed. Thirdly, I believe that the South Africans have shown a lot of courage to continue with the tour. I hope the tour concludes successfully. I also think that the Proteas should be given some sort of award at the end of a tour. Whatever is the motivation, I know that they are willing to put themselves in considerable danger to let the show go on. Finally, I have yet to see a worse fielding display by the Pakistan team. Those who have seen us fielding know that that's sayin' somethin'!!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 22, 2007, 10:14 GMT

    PAKISTANIS are very quick in decorating people with medals and showering accolades and praises. Mr. Kamran Abbassi's thread; "A triumph of good sense" is just a proof of that and that is because we think that everyone is as honest and sincere as we are. I really didn't feel the need to compliment them for their decision to stay on, because in my view it was something more than what meets the eye. I have said in my previous post that they are staying because, "they have won the first ODI convincingly and "they hope" to wrap up the series 3-0 or 4-0 whatever and right now they are in Lahore." I did not say 5-0 because I knew they will not play in Karachi.

    Check out the link below from today's DAWN.

    "SA uncertain of playing ODI at Karachi."

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/10/22/spt3.htm

    They have lost the second ODI and the series is leveled, if they win the series before going to Karachi, they will not hesitate to fly back home without playing the 5th ODI or even if the series decider is to be played at Karachi, they will still go home. They have done this before in Sri Lanka last year August when Jayawardene scored 374 and Sangakara came close to his triple century and they lost the test series very badly. And later Jayasuriya's dominance over Shaun Pollock reduced him to a mere off-spinner. They took the opportunity to abandoned the Sri Lankan tour on the pretext of security, whereas, the Indian team lead by Rahul Dravid stayed back and Dravid said, the weather is more of a threat to them than the Colombo bombing. The Sri Lankan media highlighted SA's action by saying, "South Africans chickened out." So, lets see whether they are going to chicken out again or as the expression goes, "the chickens have come home to roost?"

    After the second ODI, Smithy and Micky (Arthur) were trying to blame the pitch, but now Smith says that the security issue is at the back of their mind! Perhaps that must be the reason for this defeat? If they win, he would say, the boys have gone under tremendous pressure due to the security issue, still they played like professionals and won the ODI series as well. That is what he was contemplating even before the series started by making security an issue, which works as a dual edged sword for him.

  • Kierra on December 23, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    I came, I read this atcrile, I conquered.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 23, 2007, 16:36 GMT

    Pakistan has convincingly won the third ODI mainly because of their good bowling and excellent fielding. The batting responsibilities were once again shouldered by the ever dependable Mohammad Yousuf, who played the anchor role and funny enough he got an award for the fastest fifty of the match, which he scored in 104 balls. Other than his fifty, Malik, Afridi and Misbah also chipped in a few valuable runs and Misbah finished it in style with a six. The idea of Shahid Afridi to open the innings paid some dividends to a certain extent, but he was fortunate enough to be dropped by Kallis at 12. The catches were held and run out chances were materialized except for Kamran Akmal dropping two difficult edges, the over all fielding performance was beyond expectations. Its a rarity in the Pakistani team and, Waqar acknowledged that it is the best ever fielding performance he has seen from any Pakistani side.

    Pakistan should wrap up the series in Multan and dedicate the win to Inzamam ul Haq. Btw, people should not dis Inzamam for scoring 14 and 3 in his last appearance. Sir Don Bradman scored 4 and 0 in his last test. Anyways, the chances of SA playing in Karachi are very remote and they might trade off to play the 5th ODI in Lahore i.e., only in case it is a series decider. Otherwise, they will probably fly back home.

    There is something that I wanted to write here about Robin Jackman. I don't mind the serendipities of Waqar, Zaheer Abbass and Moulvi Mushy, but Robin was very biased in his comments against Pakistan especially today. I don't care if he has ties with Rhodesia or South Africa, but as a commentator he should not be making it so obvious. The other commentators like Keppler Wessels and Ian Bishop were fair and neutral, but Robin's comments were unwarranted and not so gentlemanly. Especially his repeated Aaaaaahhhh's and grrrrrunts against umpiring decision which he thought were going against SA are not a pleasant sight that you expect from a commentator.

    When the SA score was 46, Jacques Kallis was plumb in front of the wicket at the bowling of Tanvir and replay confirmed that his bat was miles away from the ball yet the umpire gave it a run (single) and Robin was saying, Tanvir is being too optimistic here. I remember all the Pakistani players were saying, "bat ko tou lagee bhee nai run kaisay diya?" And, Shahid Afridi was consoling Tanvir by saying: "Fikr mat kero Allah bhee dekh reha hai" or "don't worry God is watching us." In his first over Afridi once again got the prize wicket of Kallis.

    When Kamran Akmal appealed for an lbw, Robin said, "thats the worst appeal I have ever seen!" Whereas, the fact is it wasn't a bad shout. And later on when the umpire did not give his decision in favour of an lbw for Johan Bootha against Misbah, he kept saying, it was a good shout and its a pity that the umpire did not give him out. If Johan can open his big Bootha and scream at every ball that hits the pad does not give him the right and to expect the umpire must also agree with him. The fact is Johan Bootha bowls around the wicket all the time, and he looses his option for an lbw. When Bootha failed to collect the ball neatly and missed a run out chance and the Pakistani batsmen took the third run resulting from an over throw, Robin grunted by saying: "What sort of cricket is this? Isn't the ball dead? I better leave this commentator's box now." And he left in a huff puff.

    I request Mr. Abbassi to put this post up so that its on record and may be, Robin might get a message through Batman. And next time he controls his emotions and behave like a gentleman.

  • Moon on October 23, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    3rd ODI between Pakistan and SA has just concluded, as i dont see any new topic from Kamran Abbassi but Osman Samiuddin wonderfully quoted the pathan (Afridi). Promoting him to opening is a wonderful sign and we should hope that team management persists with this promotion as Afridi will disappoint some times may be most of the times but whenever given a chance and with little bit of luck he will surely prove his presence no matter its bowling, batting or fielding. It might be little early in the series to say this but i think Afridi is the only person in current Pakistan team who has conquered the South Africans in all departments of the game, lets hope he comes up with just one more performance like this in the upcoming two matches and seals the series for Pakistan. Yasir Hameed wasn't dropped because of not scoring runs, he was actually dropped because his strike rate has been very poor lately and he once again showed that today, i would say lets go with Imran & Afridi on top. By the way Khansaab what say now? you were lately quoting Afridi as an idiot, are you eating your words now? Apart from Afridi , all the Pakistani batsmen made this low SA total look like out of reach, there was no piece of aggression what so ever, if they want to win the series then they have to attack while batting in the next two one dayers.

  • Irfan on October 23, 2007, 14:14 GMT

    Whatever happened to my post Kamran? You didn't like it because it was straight shooting. Or you can't risk a post about your regulars. I had my doubts about you posting it and you proved my right that you are just as much to be blamed in this partisan ranting as any one of your regular bloggers!

  • Roshan on October 22, 2007, 14:05 GMT

    Awas....

    You have questioned why the teams have not cancelled their tours to India when Death Toll to terror in India is almost equal to Pakistan's...the logic is simple my friend considering the geographical size of pakistan as compared to India the number of death are simply too big in comparative terms...another reason being India is politicaly more stable than pakistan as the democracy is still intact....moreover India has few terror prone areas & no international matches are ever staged in those areas. So its not Islamophobia eactly that you are accusing other teams for.

  • Manas on October 22, 2007, 13:47 GMT

    You need to put things in perspective. Surely, SA team returning home can't be termed as "international isolation".

  • tabs farooq on October 22, 2007, 12:22 GMT

    well done to the boys for coming back in the second game, lets hope they can push on from here and try to get the upper hand in the series. It would be the best tonic for a country which is in desperate need for some cheering up. My heart goes out to all the families of those people who lost thier lives.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 22, 2007, 10:24 GMT

    Awas

    When you pointed out that Fawad Alam is not in the squad so why do people mention his name? And, very promptly I expressed my apologies for my ignorance. But, I want you and others to check out this link in today's DAWN.

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/10/22/spt8.htm

    It says that, "Sources further said that Khalid Latif could play in Multan in case Kamran fails to deliver on Tuesday." I don't think Khalid Latif is in the squad, or is he? If they can include Khalid Latif or any other player who is not in the squad, then they can also include Fawad Alam, can't they?

  • Suhaib Jalis Ahmed on October 22, 2007, 10:23 GMT

    Firstly, it must be said that the bombings were a very unfortunate incident. I cannot imagine the grief and horror of the loved ones of those who were so brutally killed. I pray that Allah gives all affected civilians the courage to move on from this tragedy. I pray that the murderers are caught (for a change) and no mercy is shown to them. It hurts to see how a tiny minority of misguided yahoos have ruined the image of Karachi. What is worse is that the actions of this misguided minority are presented by certain sections of the media to be a representation of the whole nation. Secondly, I question the wisdom of staging a rally in a place as unpredictable as Karachi. Even if it was to be done, it should not have been stretched into the night. I am politically neutral, but staging the rally despite threats was asking for trouble. Hence the organizers are to be partially blamed. Thirdly, I believe that the South Africans have shown a lot of courage to continue with the tour. I hope the tour concludes successfully. I also think that the Proteas should be given some sort of award at the end of a tour. Whatever is the motivation, I know that they are willing to put themselves in considerable danger to let the show go on. Finally, I have yet to see a worse fielding display by the Pakistan team. Those who have seen us fielding know that that's sayin' somethin'!!

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 22, 2007, 10:14 GMT

    PAKISTANIS are very quick in decorating people with medals and showering accolades and praises. Mr. Kamran Abbassi's thread; "A triumph of good sense" is just a proof of that and that is because we think that everyone is as honest and sincere as we are. I really didn't feel the need to compliment them for their decision to stay on, because in my view it was something more than what meets the eye. I have said in my previous post that they are staying because, "they have won the first ODI convincingly and "they hope" to wrap up the series 3-0 or 4-0 whatever and right now they are in Lahore." I did not say 5-0 because I knew they will not play in Karachi.

    Check out the link below from today's DAWN.

    "SA uncertain of playing ODI at Karachi."

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/10/22/spt3.htm

    They have lost the second ODI and the series is leveled, if they win the series before going to Karachi, they will not hesitate to fly back home without playing the 5th ODI or even if the series decider is to be played at Karachi, they will still go home. They have done this before in Sri Lanka last year August when Jayawardene scored 374 and Sangakara came close to his triple century and they lost the test series very badly. And later Jayasuriya's dominance over Shaun Pollock reduced him to a mere off-spinner. They took the opportunity to abandoned the Sri Lankan tour on the pretext of security, whereas, the Indian team lead by Rahul Dravid stayed back and Dravid said, the weather is more of a threat to them than the Colombo bombing. The Sri Lankan media highlighted SA's action by saying, "South Africans chickened out." So, lets see whether they are going to chicken out again or as the expression goes, "the chickens have come home to roost?"

    After the second ODI, Smithy and Micky (Arthur) were trying to blame the pitch, but now Smith says that the security issue is at the back of their mind! Perhaps that must be the reason for this defeat? If they win, he would say, the boys have gone under tremendous pressure due to the security issue, still they played like professionals and won the ODI series as well. That is what he was contemplating even before the series started by making security an issue, which works as a dual edged sword for him.

  • Rauf on October 22, 2007, 9:32 GMT

    I disagree with you Kamran and everyone else for suggesting that "we should be thankfull of the gracious South Africans for hanging around in Pakistan after the Karachi tragedy".

    Karachi tragedy has nothing to do with cricket... it cannot be justifiably discussed on a cricket blog so I will hold my comments on that.

    Why should Pakistanis be thankfull to SA for staying back when they should do exactly that according to their contract? Did Australia end their ashes cricket tour in 2005 in the middle of London bombings? Did Pakistanis end their cricket tour to SA when couple of Pakistani players were mugged? Did someone directly threaten the SA team? It's all BS.

    I think Pakistan should quit bending over backwards to accomodate every little concern of the visiting team. Provide the adequate security and accomodation and be the gracious hosts... YES, but let's not kiss their feet for staying back. Pakistan already has an image problem... let's not add on to it. If they want to leave... tell them to make sure door does not hit their rear ends on the way out. Cricket is not as important as country's pride. It should be Pakistan saying that we will delay the games by few days in light of the tragedy not the other way round.

    Take a stand on something for crying out loud!!

  • Zeeshan Haider on October 22, 2007, 9:26 GMT

    It will be very unfortunate if SA decides to end the tour prematurely. It will be big disappointment for the fans. I hope SA understands that Karachi blasts were politically motivated and the target was defined. Nevertheless, SA has the right to make their own decisions. Not to mention, Pakistan team has been subjected to minor bruises while touring SA in 1998.

    Happy Cricket

  • JamJar on October 22, 2007, 9:07 GMT

    Kamran Abbassi,

    In response to your thread, yes it is very brave and courageous of the South African team to remain in Pakistan in the face of idiocy and mindless violence. I feel the average Pakistani is facing as much risk as they go about their daily lives with this violent scourge in Pakistan.

    On the pitch, its great to see Pakistan notch up a victory. Unfortunately for the batting, there only seemed to be two main contributors; Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik. Also its great to see some new blood in the squad with Latif's inclusion and I think it'd be useful to revert back to Yasir Hameed as an opener. Although he is part of the carousel of Pak openers who all have had their chances in the merry go round, I think he'll be more useful than Hafeez for the remaining ODIs.

    Despite SA mauling the PCB XI, I still think that Pakistan should look to blend in some youth from its current and U19 World Cup winning squads. The recent series victory over Australia A go a long way to confirm that we do have some talent waiting in the wings.

    Osman Ali Khairi

    Whilst I do not disagree that Younis Khan is talented and his inclusion in the team is truelly justified, as a senior player and ex-vice captain, YK has a worrying tendancy to gift his wicket at crucial moments of the game. His two spritied centuries in the test matches against South Africa were in lost causes and had he contributed more significantly in his first innings, we may have been looking at a different result overall.

    I do not disagree with his talent or selection, the beef I have with YK is his rejection of the captaincy on two occasions, despite his 'grooming' for the job over two years. In my opinion, those actions do not resonate with dignity.

    Javed.A.Khan,

    Good to see another fellow Glaswegian on here (well, close enough). I reside in London now although I'm back to see family in Newlands regularly, which is not too far from Newton Mearns!

    I noted your comments after the results of the PCB XI. I'm an advocate of the bringing some new faces in the senior squad. Although the PCB XI were hammered, it looked like our senior XI were going to follow suit in their first match had it not been some fightback from the tailend led by Afridi. Good to see you calling for Fawad Alam to be included though.

    Khansahab,

    I remember our first exchange well. You did indeed make me look very dim-witted (despite reference to any dictionary stating the contrary). Relax dude.

  • srivathsan on October 22, 2007, 8:13 GMT

    It is nice to see that SA decided to stay on & one has to consider it as great given the high level of sensitivity of teams other than sub continent to such an issue.Cricket loving people of pakistan & india will surely like it.Coming to the second one dayer,pakistan did well to win & if you notice,the fielding substantially improved not withstanding 3 lives to smith .Rao was very much impressive & I have been advocating for his inclusion in all levels of cricket.In fact I wanted him to be in the playing 11 of 20/20.Perhaps Khansahab has not read by blog otherwise he would have mentioned me also for supporting Rao.Rao has a clean action & bowls sraight & it is very difficult to pick him.Yunis played well & but for the unfortunate run out,would have had a still bigger score.OPENING is a constant concern area & you need to send Afridi for the opening.He is best at the opening slot in the subcontinent pitches.As rightly pointed out by Khansahab SA though a very good side,lack mental strength unlike australia & would succumb to pressure as evidenced in the second onedayer.So pakistan should try to put them under pressure constantly.Most of the people in the blog are asking for Fawad alam.Though I do not know much about him,but what I saw a little in 20/20WC,he is a good bowler not afraid to flight & also a good batsman.Why cant he be picked at least for the last two one dayers ?If he clicks he can be a good choice for the India tour.

  • WASIM SAQIB on October 22, 2007, 7:35 GMT

    Javed A Khan or “who so ever using his name”:

    I noticed Graeme Smith's unique way of gripping the bat during the first ODI, he does not hold the bat away from his pads in fact he closes the face of the bat just a little bit and when he goes on front foot since the face of the bat is a bit closed it creates a gap between his bat and pads.He stands a bit outside the crease anything bowled on his pads or just short of length and on his middle or leg stump he can easily place it between the square leg and the fine leg fielder mainly because of his grip.

    Now imagine if he holds the bat straight he will play the same balls to square leg or short midwicket and will find it much difficult to find the gaps. When I first noticed his grip during the first ODI I actually admired his technique, but when they showed the close ups as you mentioned in the second match I started thinking why our bowlers are not taking advantage of it. But I am surprised that you are saying that Tanvir cannot bowl in swingers to a left handed batsman being a lefty that is his natural delivery, in fact it’s the away swinger that he cannot bowl to a left handed batsmen as he bowls from the wide crease and if you have noticed his head drops and his arm comes from behind his head and when he is using the wide crease it will be virtually impossible for him to bowl a well directed away swinger to a left handed batsman.

    In response to Omar Admani you stated "Its not "terrible technique," actually Malik has absolutely no technique at all against the short rising ball and he tries to avoid it, he keeps his eyes away also he keeps (his bat far away from his bat) when playing a rising short ball. That way he has no control and cannot play that shot with a straight bat. In the first ODI, he did exactly the same and his bat was angular instead of remaining straight, the ball was slightly slower and hit the bat and flew off in the other direction, because the grip was loose and he gave away a simple catch. He needs to keep an eye on the ball throughout and he should either leave it or play it by adjusting his footwork, but not by standing in one spot."

    I can bet any money this last post was not written by the Javed A khan we all know, I didn’t realized it until I read the above paragraph as this is not his writing style and he never makes so many mistakes in one post. Also the bold fonts are not there. It’s somebody else trying to imitate Javed in his absence. Javed can you please confirm it when you read this.

  • Umar on October 22, 2007, 7:18 GMT

    when a bomb exploids in London, the Palistan team should also refuse to play, in Jo burg one of the most Violont cities, pakistan should also refuse to play, the SA team has predidential level of security

  • Ramzan on October 22, 2007, 6:25 GMT

    yes Kamran G, we have to applaud SA's spirit....But I wonder, where was this spirit when they toured SLanka...may be they acquired this spirity recently

  • UM BAJWA, Islamabad on October 22, 2007, 4:57 GMT

    It was a very unfortunate event that happened in the wee hours on 18th October 2007 in Karachi.

    Keeping politics aside,Pakistani fans must be thankful to SA for not canceling their tour. SA has actually shown that courage with thoughtfulness and deliberation is a good mix for making sane decisions.

    WELL DONE .... SOUTH AFRICA

  • Nath on October 22, 2007, 4:49 GMT

    There is no right or wrong answer here. I am pleased that South Africa is staying, so that cricket lovers around the world can follow the action that is taking place, but no one should be expected to risk their lives to play sport either. It is a tragic event which puts cricket into perspective.

    The comments by Javed A. Khan that 'I am pretty sure if the Australians were playing against any other country especially from the sub-continent, they would have packed their bags and taken the first available flight to Sydney' should be challenged though. It is not a surprise to see derogatory comments with no basis made towards Australia, and I realise that Mr. Khan views life through a certain prism whereby he believes himself to be all knowing, but surely he is not sugesting that he is so perceptive that he is able to read minds and predict the behaviour of others under varying circumstances? There were several players who were considering leaving London after the bombings during the 2005 Ashes anyway. Jason Gillespie stated that the slighest hint of any more trouble and he would have been out of there (Jason probably wishes that he did leave the tour early!). There is also considerable difference between the situation in Pakistan and the London bombings, even if only in the number of people killed. To suggest otherwise is to be highly disingenuous.

    I just wonder why Australia is continually brought into discussions that are not about Australia. It is a strange obsession that some people have ... I do not understand it.

  • Hassan Abbas on October 22, 2007, 2:56 GMT

    @Khansahab I also agreed with Misbah's selection for 20-20, it's just that I wasn't posting too much here on cricinfo at that time. But, as much as I supported his selection in T20 I oppose his selection in tests. IMO he is too old to start a test carrier. In 20-20 no one can be deemed as a permanent player, u can always change and chop players according to their form while in test matches u have to find someone who can become a permanent member of your side for atleast a decade, u have to plan on long term basis and that's why I think we should've played someone like Shahid Yousuf or maybe some other middle order player in the test series against SA (No need to mention that we needed to try some new blood in opening and wicket keeping positions). Now, even if Misbah performs well against India u cant gaurantee a long career for him because of his age, one bad patch and he will be out of the scene forever.

    I keep saying that we need to experiment in home serieses, even if its against SA, this series specially was very important because we have two much bigger competitions on our hands in near future and if we wont introduce some young blood in the remaining three onedayers for fear of loss, we will have to makedo with players like Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt, Imran Nazir, Hafeez and Misbah against India and Australia, which will be good only for the opposition.

  • Jawad on October 22, 2007, 2:44 GMT

    Imagine when ,God forbid, a foreign team is targeted in Pakistan.No team will ever come over for times to come.Fanatics who murder in the name of Almighty can target anyone and what better target than visiting infidels. I am a Pakistani and know that South Africa is a great sporting nation but they should pack their bags and head home. After that our politicians should sit down and extinguish this fanaticism in the bud.How can one think of enjoying cricket when hundreds of innocents are butchered for no fault of theirs.May Almighty have mercy on our land and people.

  • Muhammad Asif on October 22, 2007, 0:45 GMT

    I should hail the soucre, who gave 100% surety of their safe stay, rather to hail the South Africans for their so-called couragous move.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on October 21, 2007, 23:43 GMT

    Osman Ali Khairi,

    I believe you had me in mind amongst others when you mentioned that “anti-Younis” commentators should give Younis due credit. I think I need to rephrase my position regarding Younis (as I have had to do with Inzamam on numerous occasions now). Younis is a world class talent and sometimes he has played wonderful innings which can only be expected from a top of the range world class player. However for one reason or the other he has lacked consistency and focus. Wasim Akram recently commented whilst comparing Inzi with Tendulkar and Lara that while Inzi was not as consistent as those batsmen, he was their equal when it came to “class”. The problem with Younis is that he is even more inconsistent than Inzi ever was in his career. My second grievance with Younis is that regardless of his personal problems with PCB or “dressing room politics” he should have accepted captaincy when it was offered to him. Javed A. Khan from Montreal, Canada mentions about Miandad, stating that the latter’s “loyalties” were never questionable. As I have stated earlier I have never seen Miandad play but I have read extensively about him. Miandad from my research was always in conflict with other players and the team management but he still gave his 100% for the sake of the country even though he did not get along with a lot of people. That is precisely what Younis is not doing- his 100% focus is not on playing for the team and playing for pride. I know he has suffered from many deaths in the family but that is not much of an excuse. At the end of the day it is your performance on the field that has to be taken into account.

    Khalid Latif has been included in the squad in place of Hafeez. This is a welcome development although Hafeez is one of my favourite players. However, if I had to make anyone redundant it would have been Salman Butt because much was expected from him in the Tests and he let everyone down. Both Khalid Latif and Khurram Manzoor average 49 in List A matches, which indicates superb performance.

    Latif’s inclusion gives Dawar aka Nadeem aka Saima Khan aka “Raja’s” something to smile about :-)

  • irfan on October 21, 2007, 23:32 GMT

    Yeah! OK! goes to show what kind of spirit these South Africans have and are certainly made of better quality material than the New Zealand or the Australians!

    Let's get back to cricket. Imran Nazir has had enough chances PLEASE let him go and turn him loose to the pasture. Fear that we are going to loose if we tried somebody new does'nt hold any water here as we are on a skid and the incluseion of fresh talent could only bring us up and not down.

    Kamran, I had a mind to say this for quite a while so here goes! I think it rests with you to give this blog a direction when it comes to accessiblity of it. You should promote conciseness and brevity on this blog. Some of the bloggers publish what resembles books and stories with flowery language as if it is a dissertation of some sort and their audience academia. These guys hog this blog so much that the accessibility factor goes straight out of the door. I can't really blame them as they will do what they do but in all honesty YOU are to be blamed if somebody from Peshawar or Khanewal gets disrespected because he couldn't express himself in pristine English! Some of them may have been born in an English speaking environment but most of us are not! Why are these people allowed to behave that way. If this blog is supposed to promote meaningfull and healthy exhange than opinion of every individual needs to be respected. Kamran you have to detenmine whether if this blog would only attract the members of foriegn educated strata or it should attain the status of a hotspot catering to every body. People like sister Javaid A. Khan from Montreal, Khanshib from L.A may be regulars but their bookish ideas are far from objective as they probably never in thier life played this game.

    Its time to establish some kind of ground rules and see to it that they are followed.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on October 21, 2007, 23:02 GMT

    Omer Admani,

    Thanks for your post. I know running between the wickets is a matter of understanding but Younis should have also looked at the fielder. He has been playing for so long now and he should realise that Yousuf has a tendency to come forward a few paces following a stroke. If you start running without looking where the ball is, you end up looking like a fool. Pakistan were not in a pressure situation and they were not chasing an impossible target. Hence there was no need for Younis to come halfway down the pitch. I don’t think Yousuf ever seriously contemplated a run. In the end it was a misunderstanding but Younis has been involved in plenty of run outs (despite being a good runner) just like Yousuf and both batsmen should be more careful in the future.

    I have praised Malik as a batsman, not as a captain. I still stand by the fact that he is a better bet than any of the available options following Inzi’s departure. The only serious candidates that come to mind are Yousuf and Afridi (on accounts of Younis foolishly declining captaincy). Yousuf lacks leadership skills and charisma whereas Afridi is volatile, unpredictable and strictly a limited-overs player. Hence Malik was the only option. His batting in Tests is better than Afridi’s- at least he is a cautious player. As regards his weakness against the short ball, everyone has a weakness against something- even Tendulkar. Despite a fundamental weakness Malik still manages to make sizeable scores with some consistency. He never started as a specialist batsman and you have to give him credit for his devotion to batting, originally being a specialist off spinner. Someone like Afridi can only captain a team when Test matches become extinct. That will probably be 20 or more years down the line and Afridi will be grey-haired by then.

  • Omar Nabi on October 21, 2007, 22:57 GMT

    Thank you South Africa.

  • Osman Ali Khairi on October 21, 2007, 18:26 GMT

    Finally, a man with dignity and character. It's rather appropriate he didn't get to captain this team. All the anti-Younis people on this blog should appreciate him for this, if for nothing else.

  • Osman Ali Khairi on October 21, 2007, 18:11 GMT

    On a day, both sides decided NOT to win, South African just scraped through. I guess they wanted it more? Younis was a revelation, especially with his captaincy. He has all the attributes of a great captain. Fantastic attitude, exuberance and importantly, a positive approach to the game. And from what I’ve seen yesterday, he also enjoys the respect of all the players. Which um brings me to the conclusion, that he must really hate Nasim Ashraf and the other goons for not wanting to be a “dummy” captain? No wonder, I like really Younis.

  • Said Chaudhry on October 21, 2007, 16:58 GMT

    On a completely different note: I cant believe G. Smith was complaining about the pitch and passing comments about what Pakistanis were thinking when they decided to play on a used pitch. Given that Smith had about 5 opportunities to bat awarded to him by our horrible fielding & no-ball bowled as well. Pakistan had to bowl out RSA almost twice if you include all the dropped chances and runouts missed etc.

  • dani on October 21, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    its is very brave of south africa to stay in pakistan if it was england thy wud hav ran immediately! i am delighted ovr the fact that pak leveled the series anything is bettr than a whitewash! anyway i want to stress the importance of an immediate change for the opening partnership. Actually in pakistans case the word 'partnership' shouldn't be implied. The last time that pakistan got off to a good start was when Afridi and saeed anwar used to open. Hafeez shud never be considered to play again his average has remained at a pitful 18/19 runs fr a very long time. Salman Butt is similarly poor i am still astonished over the fact that he was made vice captain!! imran nazir never learns from his mistakes and is lucky to be in the team. Yasir hameed should be given another chance. he is much more consitent and offers some stability along with yousuf and younis in a brittle bowling line up. Fawad alam should be given a chance to help during the latter stages of the innings afrdidi shud open. younis khan is the most confused player duz he want to be captain or not?

  • Anum on October 21, 2007, 13:57 GMT

    Agree with you, Kamran! SA have nothing to fear regarding their security. The people of Karachi would love to have something to cheer for if they play here.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 21, 2007, 13:56 GMT

    Awas

    My apologies for mentioning the name of Fawad Alam and asking for his inclusion in the team when he is not even in the ODI squad. I was under the impression that he is, and I responded to someone's post that he should have been there. So it was based on the thought that he is in the squad, but he isn't and Yasir Hameed is. Anyways, thanks for the correction.

    Since the team has won the 2nd ODI, they will not change the playing XI. Expecting Mohammad Yousuf to score a hundred again, is asking too much. Unless someone else scores big or all players chip in with good scores and bowl well and mainly if they field well and don't drop catches, then there will be some contest in the 3rd ODI otherwise, it will be a one sided match.

    Omer Admani

    Yeah, a lot of people including the commentators pointed out what you've said but in different words that Younis Khan was setting a more aggressive field than Malik, so I agree with your views that it was a blessing in disguise. The current lot of Pakistani bowlers except for Afridi do not have enough experience to see how they should set the field or perhaps they do not have enough courage to ask the captain for setting up a field for them according to the way they want it. Sometimes the bowler is unable to see his own weakness or the weakness/strength of the player and this is what you expect from a good captain to set a field according to the situation and the player's weakness/strength. I remember Imran Khan used to take advise from Javed Miandad and he has mentioned this numerous times that Miandad has a great cricketing brain to spot weaknesses/strength of certain players and used to come up and ask for a field setting accordingly. Miandad, never ever hesitated in poking his nose in every matter and no one can question about his honesty, sincerity and his loyalties. Pakistan need more of Miandads.

    Its not "terrible technique," actually Malik has absolutely no technique at all against the short rising ball and he tries to avoid it, he keeps his eyes away also he keeps his bat far away from his bat when playing a rising short ball. That way he has no control and cannot play that shot with a straight bat. In the first ODI, he did exactly the same and his bat was angular instead of remaining straight, the ball was slightly slower and hit the bat and flew off in the other direction, because the grip was loose and he gave away a simple catch. He needs to keep an eye on the ball throughout and he should either leave it or play it by adjusting his footwork, but not by standing in one spot.

    Wasim Saqib

    The point you've mentioned about how Graeme Smith holds his bat, I reckon they showed it on TV during the match with two close-up (still shots) side by side shots about how Smith stands with a big gap between his bat and pad, that can be capitalized early i.e., before he sets in and starts seeing the ball well. And a good bowler should be able to spot that weakness and capitalize it early by bowling more in-swinging yorkers at him. Only a left hand bowler (like Tanvir in Pakistan's case) can exploit it also, if only he bowls from over the wicket, but Tanvir doesn't know how to bowl inswingers! This is where Lawson's input is needed. I have said this before and reiterate my point that Lawson, whatever he may be doing is doing at a very low key and I have never seen a coach with such low profile. Or, is he trying to play the opposite role of Bob Woolmer?

  • Ifti on October 21, 2007, 13:22 GMT

    I a, a great cricket fan of Pakistan and Indai, and it is commendable that South Africa decided to stay on, however, Pakistan should have taken the moral high ground and called the tour off. With 135 plus dead and counting, I think PCB should have come forward and cancelled the tour as a show of respect for the dead & their families, instead of "the show must go on" attitude.

  • Omer Admani on October 21, 2007, 11:00 GMT

    Khansahab, I always supported Rao as well. When Pakistan went to Australia, I mentioned that Rao did all the work and was very unlucky that catches were dropped off his bowling, plumb lbws were denied, and so on. What I saw was that because of the pressure that Rao applied, Rana took wickets with some pathetic deliveries and he became a hit. I always thought Rana shouldn't have been in the team while Rao should have been.

    Secondly, it is wrong to suggest that it was Younis's fault in the run out. As far as I know about running between the wickets, both batsmen don't look at the ball. One does and that is why running between the wickets is also a matter of understanding. Since Yousof was in a better position to sight the fielder and the ball, it was his call. He has a tendency to move for a few paces before withdrawing altogether without calling. Younis is a good runner and was thus half way down the wicket. So, I don't think it was Younis's fault. It is a bit of a problem with Mohammad Yousof that he needs to address. He should be calling immedieately if it is too natural for him to sort of run for a few paces.

    I think we agree on Rao while we will keep on disagreeing on Malik. By the way, what do you think about Malik's terrible technique against the short ball and how he might fare on bouncier tracks? Do you think it is this weakness that compelled him to ask for slower tracks so that there is no bounce? Also, if you notice, Malik walking off the field during Pakistan's fielding was a blessing in disguise. When Younis captained, he was much more aggressive and kept the field in to protect the singles. This kept the pressure on, and despite so many dropped chances, more were created.

  • Ananth Venkatesh, Mumbai on October 21, 2007, 8:45 GMT

    The decision of RSA to stay put in Pakistan is commendable though fraught with risk, given the political instability in Pakistan.

  • ruchit on October 21, 2007, 8:21 GMT

    Hi Irshad,

    I don't agree with your logic that South Africa is a more violent and dangerous country than Pakistan, India ir Sri Lanka. Believe me in the west all of 4 are kept on the same par. And atleast they don't have blast every week like we have in South Asia.

    Hi Kamran,

    It was descpicable to find people like Wasim Saqib (while his comments were good) still doing analysis of the match when his thoughts should have been with the victims of the blast. Back home in India also I found some peopüle not at all aggreived by the Symonds episode.

    A couple of years back Sanath Jayasuriya had made a statement after a bomb blast that these things happen (i was stunned by the nonchalance) and some one from indian team (perhaps Sehwag) supported this line of thinking.

    Have South Asians started to become insensitive ?

    Regards. Ruchit

  • Irshad on October 21, 2007, 6:00 GMT

    Yes, I appreciate the fact that South Africa said back. Most of us try to compare this situation to the one which occured last year against Sri Lanka. In the test series South Africa got trounced by Mahela, Sanga and co. here they have won. That's sole reason why they have decided to stay back. C'mon South Africa is a more violent and dangerous country than Pakistan, India ir Sri Lanka.

  • MAF on October 21, 2007, 1:01 GMT

    I think that South Africa have made a good decision, because this bomb blast [in my thinking] was target killing. Target in the sense that the target was for political purposes which was duly achieved. I think that it had nothing to do with so-called 'Islamic extremism' [I am not accusing anybody].

  • Awas on October 20, 2007, 23:01 GMT

    Firstly, I am deeply saddened and I condemn this dastardly act of cowardice of the mindless killers. The perpetrators, by killing so many innocent people and ruining the lives of all those families, would surly burn in hell. I find it really peculiar and quite insensitive from Benazir’s part that even though there was a clear and pre-announced threat from the extremists, she disregarded this and went ahead with her rally and procession just for the sake of making a political score and it’s a shame that the sheep followed her like a herd. In politics no one really cares about the well being of the masses or their lives.

    Times of India has just run a piece that for the first time ever this year Pakistan has lost more lives to terror than India; a total of 2059 compared to 2,056 people in India. So, what I ask is this. If more lives were lost in India in previous years than in Pakistan then why certain countries either cancelled or refused to tour Pakistan but never in India? Islamophobia? Certain miscreants cause problems the world over but life must go on. We shouldn’t play in the hands of a bunch of terrorists.

    After a score of 265, South Africa looked strong enough to be able to chase as they can all bat up to number 9-10. I am surprised that after dropping so many catches Pakistan still won, it must be some kind of a record. Slow pitches are finally paying dividends for Pakistan as South Africans like the ball coming on to the bat nicely for them to do well.

    Some posters have mentioned the names like Fawad Alam and others and are surprised why they are not playing. Well to start with such names are not even in the squad so how can they be in the eleven?

  • EAMIRAN on October 20, 2007, 22:41 GMT

    Apologies to the South African team. We tried our best to lose the match after your magnanimous gesture to stay behind, but Smith would have none of it.

    Now if only our politicians showed the same sensibilties.

  • Raza FROM NJ on October 20, 2007, 22:20 GMT

    I commend and appreciate South Africa for staying on this tour. Their managment and players should be applauded for their decision to stay the course. I read a comment on this board by someone that South Afrika should leave Pakistan and that no cricket team should tour until Pakistan curbs the violence. I must say that like Pakistan, South Africa suffers from high crime rate. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6347717.stm My point is that every country has issues and unlike any country in the world Pakistan gets the media attention. Again I must say that South Afrika is doing a remarkable thing by staying on the tour and showing these dam terrorist that they cannot deter our will and desire to live in a peaceful environment. I must conclude by saying that if South Afrika chose to leave or does leave that no one will blame them, especially the people of Pakistan.

  • Ahmed Sheikh on October 20, 2007, 19:05 GMT

    Where in blazes are Mohd Sami, Rana Naveed, Taufeeq Umar & Salman Butt??? Why has our selection policy gone for a toss???

    Apart frm tht, smart move by the Proteas. However why did half of Karachi gather on the streets in the middle of the night. Thats like inviting death. how blind can one be? a political rally.. Did they really think no ones going to run in with a bomb there?? Jeez.. hit the reset button somebody so that we can go back to 1947 and rewrite history, but then again a sense of deja-vu would always linger...

    ..A Saddened Pakistani..

  • harpreet singh bhinder ladi on October 20, 2007, 18:50 GMT

    Why not Afridi open the batting with Imran why they all time give kamran Opp. He should be out from team

  • Muhammad Asif on October 20, 2007, 17:50 GMT

    One step towards the right direction, one should have 5 specialist batsmen, 5 wicket-taking(soecialist) bowlers & 1 specialist wicketkeeper. If any one the specialist can do the other role for some time icasionally would be a bonus. If none of your 5 top-order batsmen can perform, just forget it for the allrounder to perform. And now onwards just focus on your openers, keep on rotating your opening-pairs for every seies, unless you found something good. But give full chance for a series to the same opening pair.

  • Mohammad Hasan on October 20, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    One thing is got to be cleared. That, so far no cricket team has been directly attacked by any terrorist group in any country. The giant teams have a habit of dictating themselves and abandoned many tours of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe for not the fault of their teams and majority of the people. It is first time that South Africa has departed from the longstanding unjustified tradition set by the major teams and gave cricket a chance to prevail. Bravo. Love to the sons of great Nelson Mandela...

  • safy on October 20, 2007, 16:44 GMT

    its a positive decison from the south africans and its nice to see some good cricket being played. Yet what i find inexplicable is people referring to the perpetrators and intitiators of such bomb blasts as islamic outlaws or terrorists, do these suicide bombers carry a badge that says they are islamic terrorists?? what has the religion of islam got to do with such henious crimes?? we need to have some common sense!

  • Junaid on October 20, 2007, 16:04 GMT

    Congratulations to Pakistan team for levelling the series. M Yousaf is a class act and he has proved this again. Shoaib malik played so well in 20/20, batted decently in test series but still everyone loves to criticize this young captain. Anyway he has given another shut-up call to those so called cricket experts. Pakistan needs Asif and shoaib akhtar back. We have good spinning options in Afridi and Rehman. I think Pakistan needs to recall talented Salman Butt as he gives the edge of left and right hand combination at the top order. Not a bad idea to try young Ahmad Shahzad as an opener, he can bowl decently as well. Otherwise M Hafeez should in the side because with his 20-40 runs he can bowl well and he is a very good fielder.

  • Hassan Abbas on October 20, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    @Javed A. Khan you said about afridi that, "He is extremely good and effective in the first five overs thats because he has a very short span of attention, he gets bored, lackadaisical and lackluster or get upset very soon. Look at his figures in this ODI, he took the only prized wicket of Jacques Kallis. After Akmal missed a difficult chance of Gibbs in the fifth over which went for a four, he lost his cool and his wayward bowling started. In the first five overs he gave 19 runs for one wicket. In the next five overs he gave away 29 runs without a wicket. That is why he is so effective in twenty20 where he has to bowl only 4 overs."

    I think this is unjust of you sir, Afridi is a leg spinner and to control his line and length all the time specially with so much variety is a very difficult job to do. I dont want to get in an argument here with you, so to make my point clear to you I would like to divert your attention towards Afridi's performance with the ball in the second onedayer. He was consistent throughout his spell and did not falter. Please, dont judge anyone by any single instance, it can happen to any bowler, anyone can bowl a good spell followed by a horribly bad one. Thanks.

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on October 20, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    This series has come alive now that Pakistan have been victorious. I was discussing Pakistan’s batting with some acquaintances who thought that the target of 265 odd would not be sufficient to contain the South Africans. I told them however that if Pakistan took two early wickets they could win the match easily provided they keep exerting the pressure. South Africa are an excellent side with world class bowlers (Pollock, Ntini, Nel) and batsmen (Smith, Kallis, Gibbs) and a ridiculously good wicketkeeping batsman (Boucher). However what differentiates them from the Aussies is the mental strength and positive outlook of the latter, even though South Africa are a very, very competitive side. If you look at the class of the overall players I would say they are only marginally behind Australia. Hence, South Africans are not the best chasers and have a propensity to crumble under pressure. Often, they need one of their openers to fire right away with a strike rate of 80+ in order to successfully chase a competitive target.

    This match has established that getting early wickets is very important and that chasing under lights can be a marathon task for the opposition. We all know this but the reason I am mentioning this here is because it is something Malik needs to take into account more as a captain. Although he has not been captain for long, he does prefer chasing to batting first for some reason. He should keep an open mind and decide according to the pitch and the conditions. He did well today to bat first. Malik made a very timely 56 and this is not the first time he has demonstrated that captaincy will not affect his batting. I have constantly supported Malik during his ascension from senior player to captain and he has not disappointed me. I recall how I was the only one supporting Rao on this blog when I was new here. Everyone called him a “sifarish bharti” and “parchi” cricketer. I spotted the talent in him and today he was Pakistan’s best bowler. I also supported Misbah’s inclusion in the Twenty20 squad- Wasim Saqib and I were the only two regular posters supporting Misbah. Incidentally these three players I have stood for through thick and thin are from Punjab! I wonder what this tells to individuals here who think I am biased against Punjab.

    Abdur Rehman is a decent bowler but his problem is that he is a containing rather than attacking option. He will bowl with an economy rate of 4-5.5 and he might pick up a wicket or two. Hafeez will not be too different if he is played at no 7 or 8. The bonus with playing Hafeez at that position is that he can play his shots whatever the situation. I would have preferred if Hafeez was played instead of Rehman- the bowling result would not have been too different but Hafeez’s inclusion would have helped the batting lower down. Plus Hafeez is a better fielder and would have probably caught the catch Rehman dropped today.

    The fielding was pathetic, but we are used to seeing Pakistanis misfield and drop catches, although today they went a bit overboard. More important was the accuracy of the bowlers (despite the bowling extras and inconsistent line and length of Tanvir) and Yousuf’s and Malik’s innings. Since 2005 Yousuf has established himself as a world class batsman and presently is the only world class batsman in the team. His consistency has also improved in the past two years. I would not blame him for Younis’s run out today because Younis gets involved in many run outs himself. He should have recognised that there was not a run there. Regardless of whoever called the run, it is both batsmen’s responsibility to look at where the ball is and how far the fielder is from the ball. Whereas Yousuf only came out a couple of paces from his crease, Younis surprisingly was half way down the pitch!

  • Hassan Abbas on October 20, 2007, 15:04 GMT

    Can anyone point out a single batsman from the following list who can play in difficult batting conditions on hard and bouncy or green and seaming tracks or even on a spinning track for Pakistan.

    1. Salman Butt 2. Mohd. Hafeez 3. Yasir Hameed 4. Taufeeq Omar 5. Imran Nazir 6. Imran Farhat 7. Faisal Iqbal 8. Bazid Khan

    Pakistani selectors have simply toyed with these guys over the past three years. All these players have been tried and tested yet thay have failed miserably whenever they have been called back to the squad. I think all these players are nothing better than part timers, they are not professional cricketers as they fail to correct their abysmal techniques even after so much experience of all types of cricket. I think we need fresh blood in our squad, players who have sound technique and some real gutts.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 20, 2007, 15:03 GMT

    Once again a BIG thank you to South Africa for not canceling the tour and deciding to stay and, thereby giving an opportunity to Pakistan to level the series. A cat has nine lives and Smithy got almost half of them, shouldn't Pakistan team know the Urdu expression "Billi Maarna?" Also, they need to master the "killer instinct," the word which was missing in Moulvy Mushy's dicshy (dictionary), he tried so hard to say this and was beating around his bushy and still couldn't find it. And, when are they (Pakistan team) going to improve their fielding? Anyways, all is well that ends well. But, I have a feeling that SA will come up with some excuses in the press conference because, Micky Mouse ooops Arthur was seen on the pitch after the match and he was looking very, very concerned and examining the pitch. So, was it substandard? Doctored? Let the cat come out of the bag.

    PS.

    Shouldn't someone tell that modern Pakistani banker (Al Falah Bank sponsor of the series) who gave away the man of the match award and a cheque to Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik about, how to stand on a stage or in front of the public or TV? He was seen standing with both hands stuffed in his pockets and expanding his belly out! There is something called mannerism, basic courtesies and public image. And who else should know better than a banker?

  • David Wijekoon-Pereea on October 20, 2007, 15:02 GMT

    Well . . . As Karachi and Lahore are a good distance apart, there is no real threat. In Colombo last year, such was the shambolic, haphazard security system, anything was likely to happen. There was a threat though to kidnap one of the players - whether South African or Indian, was not mentioned by the media at the time as the government place a tight security on such information as it would show up the government as being fools. Security of both teams was a problem at the time, despite so-called promise of extra police protection. Players asked to wear bullet proof vests doesn't make them feel comfortable at all. So Yes, there is a major difference. Pakistan security is organised and well-trained. In Sri Lanka genuine security is all makebelieve. That was the problem last year. The Lankan cops are not trained to look after sportsmen as they do in Pakistan and India. It was a joke.

  • Hassan Abbas on October 20, 2007, 15:01 GMT

    Very bold decision from the South Africans. It is definitely going to make the Australians come to Pakistan this time around for their test and Oneday series.

    Pakistan just won the second oneday international, now the series is wide open, Imran Nazir and Akmal failed yet again but atleast Hafeez was not chosen for this match.

    This is a bit irrelevent to the topic but I want to raise a point here against the vulgar dancing and DJ-ing done in 20-20 cricket. ICC is very strict about the players making vulgar gestures and using abusive language because according to ICC, cricket is a family affair and people of all ages (including children) watch cricket either live in the stadium or on TV. I want to ask here, how in the world can u allow such cheap and vulgar dancing in a cricket match if its a family affair? Why has the ICC allowed different nations (Like SA and India and maybe some other country in the near future) to have these dancers, scantily dressed, dancing in a cricket match? Isn't it going to effect our children's minds? Is it really necessary to have these dancers on the cricket field to make cricket interesting? Its a pity that ICC is run by dummies and not by someone who can think rationally.

  • ZESH,UET on October 20, 2007, 12:05 GMT

    I think every Pakistani Cricket fan will have his hat off in respect of the South Africans..

    The gesture shown by them is superb..

    Hats off for the PROTEAS..

  • praveen on October 20, 2007, 11:15 GMT

    First of all my heart-felt condolences for the those who lost their lives due to those bomb blasts and i call upon the international society to help Pakistan in these difficult times. But help does not mean risking your country mens lives. I think the south-african cricket board is too easy with their players security. Well i appreciate that i dont miss any cricket but condition in pakistan is not going get better very soon. Its presently at critical stage where some huge political changes. So we cant expect the condition to cool down as of now. Also i disagree with the people that SA cricketers are not in any danger. Its true that the bombs were targeted at PPP ,but it also shows that whoever responsible for those bombings did not care about the no. of innocent lives they are placing in danger.So one cannot really say that their is no danger to SA cricketers because we do not know what those maniacs would be doing next show their consent of government. My view is that the tour must be called off as anymore damage to present situation will eventually result in SA packing their stuff. Also i think if something is to happen to SA cricketers then it would be a big blemish for Pakistan which not be gone so easily. So in these turbulent conditions it would make sense if the tour was called off.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 20, 2007, 10:32 GMT

    FOUR YEARS AGO, at this very Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore when SA played their first ODI against Pakistan who batted first, the man of the match was Shoaib Malik for his heroics 82 in 41 balls, a strike rate of 200 studded with 6 sixes and 6 fours. It was after that I saw Shoaib Malik playing with that kinda aggression today. But, somehow I had this feeling that today he may not score big and that feeling developed when Malik controlled his aggression just when he was approaching his fifty. From the other end Yousuf also slowed down, that must have prompted Malik to play that shot out of frustration, he knew that he was cramped up, but still he played it straight into the safe hands of Justin Kemp, who in the first ODI took a blinder of Imran Nazir.

    265 is not a bad total to defend, in October 2003 Pakistan had scored 277 and SA were restricted to 269 in 50 overs, despite the fact that their opener Dippenaar carried the bat through with an unbeaten 110 they lost that match. Pakistan won the second ODI too but, lost the series 3-2 and Shoaib Malik couldn't repeat his performance after the first ODI. It all depends on how the Pakistani bowlers will bowl, its to be seen in the next three hours or so. If one of the fast bowlers can bowl like Shaun Pollock they can keep the interest alive. I don't have any hopes from Abdul Rahman, I will be pleasantly surprised if he plays an important part in the bowling department to take Pakistan to the victory post. I wonder why Fawad Alam was not considered for today's match in place of Hafeez?

    What a shame, as I am writing this, Umar Gul clean bowled Graeme Smith on the second ball and that happened to be a front foot no-ball, which will cost Pakistan a lot. And Moulvy Mushy is agreeing with his "day-fee-nately - day-fee-nately" Omer Admani what sayeth you? Is Mushy a bigger entertainer or Waqar Younus? (as a come and tay tur) OH what a ball again, Umar Gul got rid of Gibbs on his 4th ball. I must leave this post right here and watch the game, its gonna be a thriller. I hope so!

    Ps

    Omer Admani, see our ranting has reached Shoaib Malik's ear and finally he is paying some heed and using Umar Gul from the first over. If he hadn't bowled the bo-ball it would have been a great over.

    Tanvir is going to start his first over and I hope he does some "marry-kills" too ;-)

  • Dr Kashif Ahmad on October 20, 2007, 10:03 GMT

    I agree with your column but what i do not agree with Pakistani team is that they are playing today but atleast they should have wear black bands on their arms as a mark of respect. But i see today in 2nd one day, there is none. One last thing about cricket, WE ARE MISSING ABDUL RAZZAQ which provide such a balance to the team as not only a fast bowler but excellent hitter at the death overs. i think PCB should ask him to come back as they did with M. Yousaf. DO OTHER PEOPLE AGREE WITH MY COMMENTS.

  • Haider on October 20, 2007, 9:43 GMT

    i would have happily taken a 1-0 series defeat but will now have to witness a 5-0 ass whopping by SA.

  • WASIM SAQIB on October 20, 2007, 8:26 GMT

    We all know that the violent attack was not a random act it was targeted at the rally or may be at Mrs.Bhutto it was politically motivated and was a result of our own domestic dirty politics rather than international terrorism. IMO,their is no direct threat for the cricketers as long as they stay in the hotel or stadium and do not join a political rally.

    Mohammad Hafeez was dropped today after so much criticism from all the quarters but didn't solved our opening problem as Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal failed again and just a few moments ago Pakistan lost the wicket of Younis Khan because of suicidal running between the wickets. Unfortunate for Pakistan as today Younus was looking good and was all set to score a big innings but perhaps Mohammad Yousaf got jealous of him.(I'm sorry this mindless cricket is affecting my brain so pardon me for uttering some nonsense).

    Can anybody suggest what is the best way to get rid of Imran Nazir and Kamran Akmal? 1-Change their domicile to Karachi. 2-Invite them to the next ppp rally. 3-Ask a brotherly muslim country for help and make them sign a 10 year extradition contract. 4-Lock them up in a room with Shoaib Akhtar. 5-Send them on a coaching mission to the brotherly nations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Muhammad Tariq on October 20, 2007, 4:41 GMT

    It is so nice to know that the South African management has decided to stay in Pakistan for the remaining ODI series after the twin bomb blast in Karachi. They got it right this time because these misshappenings is going everywhere in the world. As we saw in recent ICC World cup 2007 the death of the Great Bob Wolmer declared as murder that time. Even though it was a greates tragedy in the history of cricket but No team even think about go back to home. So weldone South Africans thats the way to go.

  • Faridoon on October 20, 2007, 4:36 GMT

    It certainly is a positive approach. The PCB should use this opportunity to propagate this approach the rest of the cricketing nations. We should give this South African side some kind of an award for standing by us in our moment of despair. I recommend that at the end fo the tour they are give Medals, perhaps, or a shield to thank them for their support and their decision to not abandon the tour.

  • jallaluddin, abu dhabi on October 20, 2007, 4:06 GMT

    I was wishing future series could be shifted to Sharjah/ Abu Dhabi so that we couild also enjoy watcing test matches again

  • Faraz (the first Faraz on all of Kamran's blogs) on October 20, 2007, 2:47 GMT

    "Thank you South Africa you are so nice to have agreed to stay and continue the tour." (courtesy Javed Khan)

    Pakistan Zindabad, Pakistan Paendabad

  • Faisal on October 20, 2007, 1:41 GMT

    Thanks to the South African Team, administrators and fans for sticking it out at this difficult time! Its a time for us Pakistanis to stand together against these inhumane and barbaric acts and show the world that as a vast majority we are peace and fun loving nation!

  • Aman on October 20, 2007, 0:12 GMT

    I'm a cricket fan first... A pakistani fan, a close second.

    Sure, i do get sad when my guys lose but i still get a shot at watching them compete. Watching my team compete is a completely different feeling altogether.

    Thank you South Africa! and you Kamran for addressing this issue.

  • Asif Sarfraz on October 19, 2007, 23:55 GMT

    Respect to South Africa for staying!

    They have outplayed us... so far!

    Can't believe what has happened and thoughts are with the families, of those who lost loved ones!

    South Africa are a tough team with good steely spirit and know that these situations have nothing to do with Cricket!

    Let's all have a good one-day series to watch, no matter what happens!

    Asif Sarfraz

  • Adnan Gul, Portugal on October 19, 2007, 21:54 GMT

    Yes I agree with Kamran that we should congrate to S. Africa who show great maturity to stay in Pakistan and complete the tour, as it will help people of Pakistan to have some light moment of joy after a tragic events in Karachi. We all are agains any voilance that takes away the human life. Cheer to SA and Pakistan.

  • Owais Ahmad on October 19, 2007, 21:48 GMT

    Thanks South Africa ! And Great Job Pakistan authorities in convincing SA board that the show must go on. Cricket-wise, at the moment South Africa seem more like Australia playing some minnow team. Shoaib Malik has been a pathetic captain and strategist. Same defensive tactics as the ones employed by Inzi. Basically by defensive I mean, thinking that any sporting wicket will challenge our batting line up so coming up with dead wickets and on top of that stacking one mediocre batsmen over other with only 3 or max 4 specialist bowlers. I would have imagined Lawson would have instilled some sense into Shoaib Maliks hyper defensive brain.

  • Chanda on October 19, 2007, 20:55 GMT

    On the other hand, SA returning home would surely force PCB/Pakistan's hand in trying to eradicate this madness.

    Sadly, the day will surely come when a foreign cricketing team is targetted, then maybe we will finally realise the huge impact of the problem facing Pakistan.

    I'm no fan of Bhutto, but despise these despots whoever the are.

    Prayers and peace to the dead and their families.

  • Saad on October 19, 2007, 20:22 GMT

    How unfortunate for Pakistanis...this was the only way they could have avoided a 5-0 white wash...Its time Pakistan should close its cricket shop like it has done in other sports, 20 years of first democratic and now moderately enlightened dictatorship mismanagement has rendered all sports, and latest victim being cricket, just all other insititution in Pakistan, hopelessly useless...

  • Badar Siddiqi on October 19, 2007, 20:08 GMT

    I must commend South African administration, management, and players to keep the tour on; that's the best decision in the spirit of the game. We must not be bogged down by the terrorists and the best way to fight them is to do just the opposite of what they want us to do. Although the South African team doesn't face a direct threat on this tour, their decision to stay on will go a long way in assuring other touring teams that Pakistan isn't a bad place for sports after all and that isolated incidents should not deter them from visiting this country. With the Australians due to visit in Spring next year and the Asia Cup and the Champions trophy to follow, the South Africans have done a great job in sporting Pakistan as a safe country. I'd like to see big crowds showing up in the remaining four ODIs to show that we're a brave nation and to show their appreciation for the South Africans. We all must hail their decision through media and by carrying posters in support of RSA. Many thanks again to all involved in ensuring that the tour must go on as schedule. Cheers.

  • yo on October 19, 2007, 20:05 GMT

    please! are u kidding?! this isnt about wat PAKISTAN need. the safety of SA is in huge jeopardy regardless of who the target was, innocent people always die mr.abassi. think about it froma logical view point not as a pakistani!

  • Jack Murphy on October 19, 2007, 20:02 GMT

    I am glad South Afriica is sticking it out.Thanks to a talented and professional team.It is unfortunate for the Pak team ..their miseries will get prolonged now. Well you know it is a crying shame that we have to witness events like the one yesterday . Coming to the Pak Team :

    I had predicted the results for the test series at 2-0 ..which came very close.

    For 1 days ..it will be 4-1 south africa.

    What do you expect from a farigile medium pace attack and the worst bating lineup in test cricket history.

    Dump the following immediately :

    Shoaib Malik , Sallman Butt , Shahid Afridi , Kaneria , Asif and Kamran Akmal ( the worrst wicket keeper in test cricket).

    Regards

    Jack

  • Osman Ali Khairi on October 19, 2007, 19:36 GMT

    Wasim Saqib:

    “For me all the players are Pakistani and who so ever deserves to be in the team should be given the chance regardless of their ethnicity ……….the criticism should be fair and should be made with only one goal in mind that in the end we get a strong Pakistani team rather than a team which has all the players from one city or race.”

    I couldn’t agree more, friend. Well put :) Also, I would just like to add that on the upside, this whole Mahajir versus Pathan versus Punjabi debate/culture is gradually receding with every passing generation/decade (I believe it was far worse during the 70’s and 80’s, in Karachi at least), which I think augurs well for Pakistan as whole. I have many Pathan and Punjabi friends as I’m sure you and many others here do as well and frankly, I’m relieved that generally speaking, a hefty majority of us can all look beyond our racial and regional connotations and be proud of being ‘Pakistani’.=) As for Younis Khan, I think he was a touch unlucky in both the innings where he got out cheaply. In the first one, the ball didn’t bounce much and in the second, it barely went through his defenses when he was attempting an expansive cover drive (And well, that’s the way he plays; aggressively and positively, can’t criticize him for that!). But yeah, I agree with you, he definitely needs to be a lot more consistent than he currently is, especially in the one day arena. Furthermore, he needs to deliver in situations when Pakistan really needs him to. Also, I wonder if you have heard about Rudi Koertzen’s comments about Pakistanis being cheats? I think Kamran bhai; you need to start a thread on this one, so we can let ourselves be heard.

    Awas and Omar Admani: That rules of cricket thing was hilarious, even though I had read it before! Heh Thanks! Admani, I concur with your analysis on Malik and Nasim Ashraf. I think Nasim Ashraf is by far, the worst thing, to have ever happened to Pakistan cricket.

    As for Milind Raj, it is not because of Javed Khan but people like Mukul, that through their indistinct yet lucid and fervent yet subtle rhetoric, widen the gulf between the people of both countries. But fortunately for all of us, there are fair and rational cricket analysts like Rahul Bhattachariya and a few bloggers like Nirbhay Singh that mitigate our concerns or apprehensions regarding Indians being hypocritical and insincere when it comes to dealing with Pakistan. Let’s just start with you guys applauding and appreciating our cricketers in the Eden Gardens when we are tour your country this year, for even that is yet to happen, despite the rousing welcome and love we showered on all Indians that visited Pakistan in 2004 and later in 2005-2006. Just reciprocate THAT for the time being, and acknowledge our presence, and you’ll notice that things between us will ameliorate in no time.

    And finally for Javed Khan: Aray manwa, kaaahay tu humko pathanwa boloay? Yoo mat bolo warna tumko machar bahut bhambodes ! ;)

  • Osman Ali Khairi on October 19, 2007, 19:31 GMT

    Not that this is a political forum, but what transpired last night is tragic to say the least. The security threat should have been taken seriously as should have been the option to take the helicopter. Unfortunately, political mileage and the grave travesty in the name of national reconciliation are more important than petty issues like human lives these days. With regards to the current tour though, I had my trepidations regarding its future. More so, since South African had pulled out of a recent tour to Sri Lanka after a bomb blast had exploded near their hotel. However, as blasphemous as it sounds, the board needs to be commended in addition to the other concerned authorities, for cajoling and convincing the South Africans to carry on and brave it out. As it is, terrorist acts are very much a part of contemporary and modern day life and well, running away or abrogating tours is really, not the solution. Not that I would have blamed the South Africans if they had decided to cut their tour short. Nevertheless, good sense has prevailed and I hope the cricket tomorrow can bring a sense of normalcy and perhaps, even a few smiles back on the people of Pakistan. Here’s to it.

  • Akshay on October 19, 2007, 19:24 GMT

    I think SA authorities and players must be applauded for their decision to stay back in Pakistan. This might well act as way forward for Future touring teams in Pakistan. SA have shown that terriorism and terriorist activities are Global problem and isolating Pakistan for one such Cowardly attempt should not let those anti-Human organizations win. 3 Cheers to all who were behind this decision! Belated Greetings from India to all Pakistani fans on ID and Ramzan!

  • ABDUL BASIT on October 19, 2007, 19:11 GMT

    First of all, I would like to condemn this barbaric act and forward my heart-felt condolences to the family members of those who have lost their loved ones. I fully agree with you on the fact that SA have decided to continue in the wake of this act. We should not only portray ourselves to be a safe country but to also try to make one for visitors and inhabitants. Please my fellow ppl wake up and now the time has come that we should stand up and show rest of the world of our capabilities and a will to suceed in every field of life.

    Pakistan Zindabad- khali jazbe se kuch nai ho ga,ab humein kuch kar ke dekhana hai.InshAllah

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 19, 2007, 19:02 GMT

    After posting my views in this thread earlier, on second thought I would like to add a few more points. I am not saying that this thread is not worth discussing. Like Mr. Abbassi and many others including me, I was also worried about the continuation of this tour after hearing the tragic news of bomb blasts in Karachi. The loss of lives of so many innocent people is very tragic indeed, and those who are responsible for this barbaric act are not concerned about the lives of those who died or the change in lives of those who are affected by the death of their loved ones.

    That loss is irreparable and incomparable to the loss for cricket lovers, if this tour had been called off, things wouldn't have changed as much as the lives of those whose loved ones have died. But, life goes on and it never stops. After reading the news on cricinfo that the officials have reassessed the situation and the tour will continue and of course, SA will monitor the situation, I felt a bit relieved that we should be able to see that cricket is not being affected by this political turmoil and the tragic events. I knew that something like this would happen, in fact, in the "Afridi don't halt your shots" thread, I expressed my concern in my post September 29, 2007 8:21 PM that the political situation in Pakistan could halt the tour.

    I do remember that NZ brought a premature end to their tour on similar grounds when there was a bomb blast in Karachi a few years ago, and so did SA in Colombo. According to the Sri Lanka press they were losing very badly and they ran away to avoid further humiliation, to which the South Africans denied. But, the fact is SL posted some huge totals and won by huge margins and in one of the matches Shuan Pollock was reduced to a spin bowler. He was seen bowling like a spinner.

    However, the only difference here is, right now the SA team has won the test series, they have won the first ODI convincingly and "they hope" to wrap up the series 3-0 or 4-0 whatever and right now they are in Lahore. The bombings took place in Karachi which is too far away. And, the teams are living very comfortably under the protection of tight security. And compared to Karachi, the political situation in Lahore is very peaceful at the moment. (keep your fingers crossed)

    Hopefully, by the time the teams arrive in Karachi on Oct. 29th for the last ODI, things would be more calm in Karachi and they will play the fifth and final ODI. If things get any worse in Karachi by that time, they won't hesitate to call of the tour then. I believe and I hope, this was only a one time unfortunate incident that took place last night and it was meant to give a warning to certain people by another faction or group and hopefully there won't be any further tragic incidents.

    I remember the Ashes series in London wasn't disturbed when the underground bombings took place just a few miles away from the Lords cricket ground. It is a matter of perception and attitude of the players and the officials of their country and how they view the situation and whether they consider it as a personal threat to their players / citizen or they consider it as something that goes on in the country which will not affect their players / citizens. Like always, life in Karachi goes on even after this or the previous bombings.

    Similarly the people in London never stopped traveling in tubes / underground after the July 2005 bombings. I am pretty sure if the Australians were playing against any other country especially from the sub-continent, they would have packed their bags and taken the first available flight to Sydney. So, in a way I agree with Mr. Abbassi that it is a triumph for cricket in a good sense that the South Africans did not call off the tour. If the situation gets any worse in Karachi during the next couple of weeks then, I don't think they will agree to play a match over there.

  • WASIM SAQIB on October 19, 2007, 17:38 GMT

    I was expecting that SA will abandon the tour after the blasts but they didn't,their brave and positive approach should be appreciated.

    Mr. Abbassi stalled the previous thread by not updating it my analysis for the bowlers and the SA batsmen also went down the drain. I can't post them again, the only highlight point was the contrasting difference of averages between SA and Pakistani batsmen. For the season 2006-7 and 2007 the SA batsmen averages ranged between 32-63 with only two batsmen having averages below 40 in sharp contrast to Pakistan where 5 of our top batsmen were averaging below or around 20. In Imran’s era if a batsman's average used to fall below 30's he used to start looking for other options. For a ODI batsman an average of 30 in a particular season Is the bench mark anything lower than that is considered to be poor.

    I would not use the word inconsistent for Pakistani batsmen anymore as they are consistent with their miserable averages for the past two seasons. Other than Mohammad Yousuf all of them have flaws in their batting technique at best they can be regarded as sloggers, it would be wrong to say that Pakistani batsmen are not trying to perform as they are but after hitting a few good shots and after scoring a quick 15 they usually get out trying to play a shot which they have not perfected. Their defense is weak, shot selection is poor, they like to play the cut and pull shots early on in their innings which are high risk shots, they don't like to drive the ball, as they fear that they will be unable to find the gaps, most of these batsmen also don't know how to pace their innings they panic too easily and give away their wicket to a suicidal shot. In short most of them are not good enough for this level of cricket.

    Before the ODI series I wrote that Hafeez will be included in the team as a sixth bowler but it will weaken our batting. Whenever he is asked to open the innings, our top order becomes vulnerable.Pakistan team is like a fortress whose outermost walls are the weakest, unless and until we reinforce these walls we will continue to fall.

    I don't think that Shoaib Malik can do much when four of his top batsmen can't score more than 15 runs consistently. The only thing he needs to work on is to stop giving up easy singles he needs to work on his field placement it seems they have no plan for individual players, in the last match our bowlers especially Tanvir, Afridi and Rao consitently faltered with their line and got punished.

    He also needs to work on the batting line up, IMO he should come to open himself and Misbah should play at #3. I am sorry to say Younis Khan is not an ODI batsman he should be replaced with somebody who can score.

    Afridi should open the innings as Imran Nazir is consistently failing and he has been unable to take advantage of the early field restrictions, although we need Afridi down the order but right now I think we should ask him to open.Imran Nazir should be replaced with Yasir Hameed.

    A few people wrote about Fawad Alam in the last thread, I think the selectors should have tried him in the Practice game at Lahore, what was the point in giving chance to Bazid Khan.

    I don't know who can be blamed for the poor planning & performance in this series, is it the captain or the coach? Our team is looking like a club team, I don't think lawson is doing a good job so far as the bowlers have failed us consistently, the batsmen can't play according to the situation.The field placement has been miserable. Where is all the aggression which Henry Lawson promised to us.

  • Ashwin Kumar D P ( Bangalore, India) on October 19, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Hey Proteans, it was really great on your part to have chosen to stay back. Hey guys you are really playing good cricket. And by staying back you've shown that you are really good Ambassadors of the game and South Africa as well. Good luck.

  • Imran Haider on October 19, 2007, 17:24 GMT

    SA should complete the full tour because they are not target of suicide bombers.

  • Stephen.philips on October 19, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    SA should stop the tour. Where the ex PM of the country is not safe and where terrorist groups thrive in dozens ,such place is not safe. To get publicity,SA team may be target. Better to forfeit the series rather than risk our valuable players. All countries in fact should stop playing in Pakistan till the the country is safe which looking on their past record and current scenario might be decades or possible never..

  • Syed Umaid on October 19, 2007, 17:13 GMT

    Well this news actually came as a surprise, as leaving south africa, any team would have for sure abandoned the tour for security risk. I think every fan of cricket in pakistan should realize this, and come in large contingency to support cricket. We should give this vibe in all future matches that we appreciate their decision and support them well throughout the series. I feel sickened to the incident, wonder y we as a nation let ourselves suffer through these atrocities. But inshallah after the end of the series, cricket will come out as a winner.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 19, 2007, 17:04 GMT

    Mr. Kamran Abbassi

    Its a good news that South Africans are willing to continue the tour and play all their matches even after the uneventful, rather the tragic incident that rocked the streets of Karachi and hundreds of innocent lives have been lost due to someone's stupidity. I won't say whose, because I don't want to drift the subject from the cricket grounds to the political arena.

    If the purpose of this thread is to thank SA. Then everyone should contribute a one liner by saying: "Thank you South Africa you are so nice to have agreed to stay and continue the tour." Sorry, if I am sounding cynical, but the fact is I am saying this very bluntly. IMO, what we need to discuss here on this blog is how the team played in the first ODI and what they should be doing next?

    I thought Omer Admani did some very good analysis after the match, I am referring to his post in the previous thread. Prior to his post and after that, I wrote something "only" about the game, but for whatever reasons the previous thread that you created got prematurely strangulated and died in the wake of the tragic bombings.

    If you allow me to say what I have said in the previous post, I will copy paste it here, if you deem fit for publication and be kind to me then, post it or you can always delete it, but here is my last post:

    Omer Admani

    Good observation again and very valid points, in fact I have written almost the same but for some reason Mr. Abbassi did not let my post appear (on the blog). It shows that he is not stubborn like Malik and giving chance to someone else. ;-)

    If you were watching the game then you must have heard Ian Bishop's comments on Mohammad Hafeez and his inclusion in the team. He substantiated his claims with the help of stats and tried to justify his point and questioned Hafeez's inclusion in the team, according to him, Hafeez does not deserve any place in the team. If they drop Hafeez in the next match, they should try Yasir Hameed, but Fawad Alam, besides batting can also bowl as opposed to Hameed, so he is a better option.

    I was also contemplating on the same point that you wrote about Umer Gul. Yes it was OK to hold him till the 12th over but ODI is a different ball game. Malik, has no planning and no strategy and he is using the same yardstick or the same technique for twenty20, ODI and test matches, which is very naive of him to do that. Also, he is not promoting Afridi up the order.

    If Afridi is not agreeing to him or to the selectors about changing his batting position, then he should be shown the way. Because, he too is getting complacent and wants to retain his place in the team by showing it to the world that he is a bowling all rounder and his batting is a bonus, hence he prefers to play at number 8. The opening conundrum is in continuum since the departure of Saeed Anwar and that is exactly what I wrote that, since then there is a vacuum and Pakistani openers are failing time and again. So, there is no harm in trying Afridi as an opener at home or in India where he has always played well. There is nothing to loose for Pakistan, because, neither Imran Nazir, nor Hafeez or Kamran Akmal are doing any good in that slot.

    The best or the worst they should do with Afridi is to make him play at number 6 instead of number 8. Because, if he scores a quick 30-40 runs after capitalizing on the new ball new rule taken around the 35th over, players like Misbah and Akmal can build up a partnership from there, instead of battling for 10 runs an over for the next 10-12 overs. Malik and the selectors should be happy to see another all-rounder is in the making and, that is Sohail Tanveer. He can perform the job of a late order slogger, in fact his flicks are too good and too strong to clear the ropes for a six. He definitely has the ability and the technique to play a better role than any other tail-ender Pakistan has at the moment.

    Another point to note about Afridi's bowling which most people say it has improved is a misconception, its something that the media has made people to believe since the domestic twenty20 matches and in the world cup it has been highlighted even more. His bowling, like his batting from the day one has been like this. He is extremely good and effective in the first five overs thats because he has a very short span of attention, he gets bored, lackadaisical and lackluster or get upset very soon. Look at his figures in this ODI, he took the only prized wicket of Jacques Kallis. After Akmal missed a difficult chance of Gibbs in the fifth over which went for a four, he lost his cool and his wayward bowling started. In the first five overs he gave 19 runs for one wicket. In the next five overs he gave away 29 runs without a wicket. That is why he is so effective in twenty20 where he has to bowl only 4 overs.

    I quite agree with you that Younus Khan should be replaced by Abdul Razzaq due to his bowling BUT there is a big risk here and that is, IF only the later was playing cricket and was in form. The problem is, by the time Razzaq would wake up, the series would be over with a white wash. Me too I am surprised at Malik's decision for not playing Fawad Alam. Karachi or no Karachi, the boy certainly has shown a lot of promise and he is an all-rounder so he must be given a chance especially since Hafeez is failing time and again.

  • Ranjan Mellawa on October 19, 2007, 16:30 GMT

    Like the Karachchi twin bomb blasts,the the bomb blast in Sri Lanka was not targeted at the South African team. But they abandoned the Sri Lankan tour because they perfomed far below than the Sri Lankans up to that point and it was expected that the Sri Lankans would humiliate them. That's the only difference between then and now!!!

  • Moon on October 19, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    well said! Right now i feel like whole nation of Pakistan is in disarray, and its quite healthy sign that South Africa is not going back canceling the tour, i am sure it will help Pakistani nation to get out of grief and the feelings of insecurity, as cricket is blindly followed in Pakistan, so continuation of the tour will be a huge source of distraction. Although we can suspect that South Africa is in such a commanding position in the series that they dont want to disturb their rhythm of success, had they been down in the series, they surely would have been packing baggages. No matter what the reason is, we as a nation should be grateful to them for not canceling the tour, as cancellation might have called for serious doubts in the minds of the teams touring Pakistan in future. Lets pray for peace and solidarity.

  • Anam on October 19, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    I wonder y our country gets blasted when a new Predsident is appointed or if some politician in arriving. I remember there was a blast when Musharraf was coming back from the US or something as well. Whoever these terrorists are need to be locked up and given some hell of a treatment. Of course SA wouldnt want to leave as their on high in the sub continent. I am assuming they could think the bomb blast was to scare them away but it doesnt make sense. Anyway they have been victorious since the beginning and they deserved it too.

  • Niaz Hussain, Dubai UAE on October 19, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    Thank You very much South African Team to Stay in Pakistan, we can beat stuped things like bombing.

  • omar hussain on October 19, 2007, 16:14 GMT

    The bombings would have scared off any touring team because the beasts who are responsible for the ravage and loss of innocents are inhuman and unpredictable.Also because Benazir has a huge following nationwide.It would have been isolating for Pakistan but now they still have a chance to redeem themselves.I have never been a fan of Australians or South Africans because of thier apparent racsit attitude but i have to admit they show more spirit,determination and most of all an undying sense of loyality for their countries.SA staying on in Pakistan is the basic result of their these virtues.I take my hat off to them.

  • Altaf Mir on October 19, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Its all very good to say its a triumph of good sense but what happens if (God Forbid) a bomb in the stadium goes off? Sure Pakistan needs support but why should innocent cricketers pay for it with their lives? Its clear that there are two very different mind-sets in Pakistan. 1- The majority who are peace loving and want to get on with their lives. 2- A very strong minority that are opposed to democracy, peace and anything that they view as not in line with rigid Islam.

    This discussion is not about cricket or good sense. Its about politics and the fact the those who live by the sword die by the sword. Pakistan military's involvement in Afghanistan, their support of the Taliban etc. has come to haunt us. Every year when other countries seem to take steps forward, we seem to go backwards. Kamran - I appreciate your thoughts here but I think we should not comment on such a politically charged situation. It almost makes light of the 134 dead and 300 injured.

  • Muhammad Asif on October 19, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    In pakistan there are only two thingz one is crickets & the other is slaves. And ofcourse we are crickets ruled by slaves. Slaves can't be the masters, whatever they dress or eat, mentally they are slaves forever. Full Stop.

  • Coolguy on October 19, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    Kudos to the SA team for the spirit,and a well written article emphasizing the same.

  • fhs on October 19, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    Agreed, Mr. Abbasi! I admire SA courage to stay and continue the tour. It is a triumph to Cricket!

  • Intoxicated on October 19, 2007, 15:15 GMT

    South Africa must be congradulated on taking a decission to stay in Pakistan but it is not a good decission in my opinion. They should be going home because we as a nation dont deserve to watch cricket and enjoy when innocent people are dieing out there. What are we doing? why are we playing in the hands of these freaky religious outlaws? Cant we as a nation just point them out and make them a symbol so that no one can ever even think of doing this in the name of religion? But how ? probably its not possible, specially with the literacy level so low any one with a little bit of knowledge can tilt ur mind in a different direction. I am depressed. God help us all and may give the right direction to the people who are playing in the hands of someone else. regards intoxicated

  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on October 19, 2007, 15:12 GMT

    I was thinking of e-mailing Mr Abbasi with the suggestion of creating a thread on the bomb blast in Karachi and the level-headedness demonstrated by the South Africans in continuing the tour. However, I decided to spare his tormented soul with my suggestion because he has probably suffered many headaches managing this blog owing to my controversial assertions. Hence, I was quite amused that the subject matter of this new thread is exactly what I was contemplating.

    Cricket is much loved in Pakistan and teams other than England, Australia or New Zealand have nothing to fear from the Pakistani public. Even these three teams have little to fear as far as their personal security is concerned. Cricket is a medium by which nations can come together and revel in festive spirit. The bomb was clearly targeted at politicians and party members- it had nothing to do with the South Africans. I feel quite sorry for the Karachi public who have to face the bitter consequences due to actions of external forces, be it the Islamic extremists or anyone else.

    The nation should come together now and mourn for the loss of innocent life. I hope our cricketers demonstrate a sense of purpose, responsibility and pride in the forthcoming matches. I hope we see improved performances from Pakistan so that I don’t suffer from depression and anxiety when this series comes to an end.

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  • khansahab(A.A.Khan) on October 19, 2007, 15:12 GMT

    I was thinking of e-mailing Mr Abbasi with the suggestion of creating a thread on the bomb blast in Karachi and the level-headedness demonstrated by the South Africans in continuing the tour. However, I decided to spare his tormented soul with my suggestion because he has probably suffered many headaches managing this blog owing to my controversial assertions. Hence, I was quite amused that the subject matter of this new thread is exactly what I was contemplating.

    Cricket is much loved in Pakistan and teams other than England, Australia or New Zealand have nothing to fear from the Pakistani public. Even these three teams have little to fear as far as their personal security is concerned. Cricket is a medium by which nations can come together and revel in festive spirit. The bomb was clearly targeted at politicians and party members- it had nothing to do with the South Africans. I feel quite sorry for the Karachi public who have to face the bitter consequences due to actions of external forces, be it the Islamic extremists or anyone else.

    The nation should come together now and mourn for the loss of innocent life. I hope our cricketers demonstrate a sense of purpose, responsibility and pride in the forthcoming matches. I hope we see improved performances from Pakistan so that I don’t suffer from depression and anxiety when this series comes to an end.

  • Intoxicated on October 19, 2007, 15:15 GMT

    South Africa must be congradulated on taking a decission to stay in Pakistan but it is not a good decission in my opinion. They should be going home because we as a nation dont deserve to watch cricket and enjoy when innocent people are dieing out there. What are we doing? why are we playing in the hands of these freaky religious outlaws? Cant we as a nation just point them out and make them a symbol so that no one can ever even think of doing this in the name of religion? But how ? probably its not possible, specially with the literacy level so low any one with a little bit of knowledge can tilt ur mind in a different direction. I am depressed. God help us all and may give the right direction to the people who are playing in the hands of someone else. regards intoxicated

  • fhs on October 19, 2007, 15:19 GMT

    Agreed, Mr. Abbasi! I admire SA courage to stay and continue the tour. It is a triumph to Cricket!

  • Coolguy on October 19, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    Kudos to the SA team for the spirit,and a well written article emphasizing the same.

  • Muhammad Asif on October 19, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    In pakistan there are only two thingz one is crickets & the other is slaves. And ofcourse we are crickets ruled by slaves. Slaves can't be the masters, whatever they dress or eat, mentally they are slaves forever. Full Stop.

  • Altaf Mir on October 19, 2007, 15:57 GMT

    Its all very good to say its a triumph of good sense but what happens if (God Forbid) a bomb in the stadium goes off? Sure Pakistan needs support but why should innocent cricketers pay for it with their lives? Its clear that there are two very different mind-sets in Pakistan. 1- The majority who are peace loving and want to get on with their lives. 2- A very strong minority that are opposed to democracy, peace and anything that they view as not in line with rigid Islam.

    This discussion is not about cricket or good sense. Its about politics and the fact the those who live by the sword die by the sword. Pakistan military's involvement in Afghanistan, their support of the Taliban etc. has come to haunt us. Every year when other countries seem to take steps forward, we seem to go backwards. Kamran - I appreciate your thoughts here but I think we should not comment on such a politically charged situation. It almost makes light of the 134 dead and 300 injured.

  • omar hussain on October 19, 2007, 16:14 GMT

    The bombings would have scared off any touring team because the beasts who are responsible for the ravage and loss of innocents are inhuman and unpredictable.Also because Benazir has a huge following nationwide.It would have been isolating for Pakistan but now they still have a chance to redeem themselves.I have never been a fan of Australians or South Africans because of thier apparent racsit attitude but i have to admit they show more spirit,determination and most of all an undying sense of loyality for their countries.SA staying on in Pakistan is the basic result of their these virtues.I take my hat off to them.

  • Niaz Hussain, Dubai UAE on October 19, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    Thank You very much South African Team to Stay in Pakistan, we can beat stuped things like bombing.

  • Anam on October 19, 2007, 16:24 GMT

    I wonder y our country gets blasted when a new Predsident is appointed or if some politician in arriving. I remember there was a blast when Musharraf was coming back from the US or something as well. Whoever these terrorists are need to be locked up and given some hell of a treatment. Of course SA wouldnt want to leave as their on high in the sub continent. I am assuming they could think the bomb blast was to scare them away but it doesnt make sense. Anyway they have been victorious since the beginning and they deserved it too.

  • Moon on October 19, 2007, 16:29 GMT

    well said! Right now i feel like whole nation of Pakistan is in disarray, and its quite healthy sign that South Africa is not going back canceling the tour, i am sure it will help Pakistani nation to get out of grief and the feelings of insecurity, as cricket is blindly followed in Pakistan, so continuation of the tour will be a huge source of distraction. Although we can suspect that South Africa is in such a commanding position in the series that they dont want to disturb their rhythm of success, had they been down in the series, they surely would have been packing baggages. No matter what the reason is, we as a nation should be grateful to them for not canceling the tour, as cancellation might have called for serious doubts in the minds of the teams touring Pakistan in future. Lets pray for peace and solidarity.