New age June 22, 2008

A cup that suddenly matters

When the 2008 edition of the Asia Cup was scheduled it ranked amongst the most meaningless tournaments in an increasingly meaningless schedule of 50-over cricket
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'Pakistan can show they are a re-emerging force by consistently succeeding against Sri Lanka and India over the next few weeks' © AFP
When the 2008 edition of the Asia Cup was scheduled it ranked amongst the most meaningless tournaments in an increasingly meaningless schedule of 50-over cricket. By a series of increasingly mind-bending twists of fortune, the Asia Cup has assumed an unprecedented importance for Pakistan cricket.

Pakistan's surprise victory in the Kitply Cup brought a shallow sigh of relief and a brief inhalation of oxygen. Angry emails, drug scandals, and terrorist threats have all, however, hinted at further suffocation for Pakistan cricket.

While the world kicks on to a Twenty20 Nirvana, Pakistan cricket is struggling for quality, allies, and a seat at the Champions League table. The cricketers and their fans need a break from misfortune and the Asia Cup offers a perfect opportunity, even though it is timed for the murderous heat of Pakistan's summer

Today's statement that Pakistan may take England's place in the tournament typically serves to confuse as much as it clarifies. The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman has been claiming that Pakistan has a certain spot in the Champions League but today's announcement suggests significant uncertainty. It is hard to understand how Pakistan has come to be disenfranchised when it had been one of the countries initially pencilled in to participate in the Champions League?

The reality that faces Pakistan cricket is that to be desirable on the international stage you need to be either a high-quality team or an attractive place to tour, preferably both. Currently, Pakistan cricket can boast neither of these offerings, which is why the Asia Cup has bizarrely become a pivotal tournament in the history of Pakistan cricket. Karachi's prominence as a venue offers extra significance.

Pakistan can show they are a re-emerging force by consistently succeeding against Sri Lanka and India over the next few weeks. This will be difficult as both are accomplished one-day teams and Pakistan will have some of their best pace bowlers missing. Yet success--as unlikely as it seems at this point--will lend some legitimacy to the partnership of Malik and Geoff Lawson.

More importantly, a smooth, well supported, and trouble free tournament will confirm Pakistan's right to stage the Champions Trophy. This has to be the major strategic objective for the Pakistan Cricket Board, because the many sceptics in the international cricket community will be looking for any hint of trouble to urge relocation of the tournament.

The summer heat will be fierce but no less fierce than the pressure on Pakistan cricket during this low-rating, needlessly long tournament. On such trivialities can fortunes, careers, and reputations be made and lost.

Can Pakistan cricket pass its nadir?

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Arsalan Iqtidar on August 7, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    Hi,

    I certainly belive that atleast playing 11 must be selected by the captain. I have no idea when will these issues be resolved in Pak Cricket.

  • tony afzal on July 5, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    I think it's time Shahid Afridi's popular worldwide nicknamed be changed to "phuss-phuss Afridi"

  • Ali Dada on June 30, 2008, 18:34 GMT

    Years of mismanagment is finally bearing its fruit.

    Pakistan, I suspect, has abundance of talent. However, star players are 'overly' pampered by the PCB.

    Why is India successful? The reason is because they don't care whether a player in their squad is a new comer or as experienced as Tendulkar. If that player performs, they get rewarded else they are discarded promptly.

    There are so many players in Pakistan who are not getting their chance to play. Kick out poor performing players and replace them with better performing ones.

    All this central contract thing is screwing player's mind. The player feels false sense of job security and if he is a star player, he starts feeling irreplaceable and that is where the problem lies.

    Also, I am not a big time cricket follower but from whatever I have watched, it seems that Shoaib Malik is a good player but not a good captain - I always see Afridi and Misbah talking to players, but Shoaib Malik is not that involved.

  • AJAX on June 30, 2008, 16:43 GMT

    Guess what Rauf, the only thing thats "loose" is your pathetic attempt at a defense. My beloved Indians? Nice to see Pakistanis quickly assume anyone that makes fun of them is an Indian, makes me feel well, less vulnerable. BOOM! Ooops looks like I spoke to soon! BWAHAHAHAHA I did a bit of research, apparently India has a better record than Pakistan in ODIs over the last six years (16-15). So much for consistency. It gets even worse for Pakistan, in the last 15 matches India won 10! whoa, what happened to Pakistan's last hope for consistency! You guys can't even beat India consistently. As for your other argument, every country could say that. Guess what, PAKISTAN ISN'T SPECIAL!!! BOOM!!! oops (hides under embankment) Except for inconsistency. What about Pakistan's crowds at the Asia Cup matches? Any point in hosting the Champion's Trophy in Pakistan if the only spectators are law officials? Guess the Asia Cup suddenly doesn't matter, better sack Lawson... his fault alone!

  • Rauf on June 30, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    To AJAX

    You win a single match if you play better then your opponent and kitply cup was won by Pakistan because Pakistan played better than India in the final match. To do it consistently will mean that you get into the same league as the Aussies and no team within the last 10 years have been able to match that including your beloved Indians. How can India win by 140 runs and then loose to the same team within few days in Kitply cup? If you call this consistency then you need to get your head examined.

    Pakistan has mostly played better than India in head-to-head matches. At least Pak (loosers as you put it) is consistent in that. If PCB keeps loosing quality players to nonsense ICL bans and mis-management (Shoaib and Asif) then this can turn around very quickly.

  • waterbuffalo on June 30, 2008, 4:30 GMT

    The selectors picking the final XI for an international match is an insult in this day and age, has Pakistan never learned from Imran Khan? Yes, perhaps, they feel it is their turn now, since Inzamam's retirement, but the fact is any schoolboy can tell you that a bunch of selectors cannot pick an XI by committee. You need a strong , intelligent man who is loyal to Pakistan, not to his province, class or tribe. And Younis Khan is as big a coward as there ever has been, so don't bother throwing his name about when talking about future captains. Pick someone to be a captain, and let him pick the team, any other way is infantile and senseless. Pakistan is now a joke world wide as is in no way recognizable to the teams that reached two World Cup Finals in the 90's, both times under the captaincy of bowlers, I might add, not batsmen and part-timers.

  • AJAX on June 29, 2008, 16:49 GMT

    Oh look at us, we're the greatest, we won the Kitply Cup, and now we're going to win the a cup that suddenly matters... not unless you are a mindless patriotic fanatic! What fantastic hosts Pakistan turned out to be, how many matches were sold out again? As Dhoni said, the cricketers were playing for policemen... Face it losers, your team is as consistent as your "star" Shahid Afridi... sometimes flashy but mostly disappointing. They do not deserve to play in any finals that include teams other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and do not deserve to host the Champions Trophy.

  • Balajee Asokan on June 29, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    I was really surprised when Pakistan won their kitply cup... And at the start of this Asia cup, my first thought was that Pak can also be a serious title contendor...

    Much to my dissapoinment was pakistani performance even against Hong kong... I think some serious work is needed to be done by team mgmt.. Someone as shrewd as Younis Khan would be a great leader...

  • PakFan on June 28, 2008, 2:07 GMT

    Until unless we get political stability and delete ethnic based violence in Pakistan, our prospect of being host of any major event is bleak.

    On separate issue ie the loss to India in Asia Cup - suprised no blog from Kamran on that. Anyways, once again bowling was a let down. Think we should continue to play Asif + Shoaib coz we simply don't have reliable alternate.

    Once again, what in the world is Iftekhar Rao doing in the team.

    On second thought, maybe we should play with 10 batsmen - so that we can put up non chaseable total or chase any total coz our bowling is simply uselesss -

    Disappointed esp how early India managed to chase the total. Recogn even a 450 that night would have been chased.

  • JAS on June 27, 2008, 0:39 GMT

    Pakistan should not be looking at the present team to improve. That is not going to happen for the simple reason that Shoaib is not of captain material. PCB (Pakistan not Punjab Cricket Board) as some of the prejudiced fellows have mentioned above, should start looking at grooming at least 6-7 players and have the future captain mentor with Ponting or Dhoni. Sometimes you have to step back and reinvent yourself. Think about India in middle to late 80's and 90's when Pakistan could beat them at any venue in any match. PCB needs to just think 3 years from now and work on preparing the world cup squad. We do not have a batsman/all rounder of Miandad, Imran, Zaheer Abbas or Inzamam's calibre. We also do not have a bowler of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus or Abdul Qadir's class. PCB, please bring in the deserved talent and not the talent that diminishes after a couple of matches. Naseem Ashraf, if you have a little courage, just go. Good luck Pakistan!

    A sad and disappointed Pakistani fan

  • Arsalan Iqtidar on August 7, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    Hi,

    I certainly belive that atleast playing 11 must be selected by the captain. I have no idea when will these issues be resolved in Pak Cricket.

  • tony afzal on July 5, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    I think it's time Shahid Afridi's popular worldwide nicknamed be changed to "phuss-phuss Afridi"

  • Ali Dada on June 30, 2008, 18:34 GMT

    Years of mismanagment is finally bearing its fruit.

    Pakistan, I suspect, has abundance of talent. However, star players are 'overly' pampered by the PCB.

    Why is India successful? The reason is because they don't care whether a player in their squad is a new comer or as experienced as Tendulkar. If that player performs, they get rewarded else they are discarded promptly.

    There are so many players in Pakistan who are not getting their chance to play. Kick out poor performing players and replace them with better performing ones.

    All this central contract thing is screwing player's mind. The player feels false sense of job security and if he is a star player, he starts feeling irreplaceable and that is where the problem lies.

    Also, I am not a big time cricket follower but from whatever I have watched, it seems that Shoaib Malik is a good player but not a good captain - I always see Afridi and Misbah talking to players, but Shoaib Malik is not that involved.

  • AJAX on June 30, 2008, 16:43 GMT

    Guess what Rauf, the only thing thats "loose" is your pathetic attempt at a defense. My beloved Indians? Nice to see Pakistanis quickly assume anyone that makes fun of them is an Indian, makes me feel well, less vulnerable. BOOM! Ooops looks like I spoke to soon! BWAHAHAHAHA I did a bit of research, apparently India has a better record than Pakistan in ODIs over the last six years (16-15). So much for consistency. It gets even worse for Pakistan, in the last 15 matches India won 10! whoa, what happened to Pakistan's last hope for consistency! You guys can't even beat India consistently. As for your other argument, every country could say that. Guess what, PAKISTAN ISN'T SPECIAL!!! BOOM!!! oops (hides under embankment) Except for inconsistency. What about Pakistan's crowds at the Asia Cup matches? Any point in hosting the Champion's Trophy in Pakistan if the only spectators are law officials? Guess the Asia Cup suddenly doesn't matter, better sack Lawson... his fault alone!

  • Rauf on June 30, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    To AJAX

    You win a single match if you play better then your opponent and kitply cup was won by Pakistan because Pakistan played better than India in the final match. To do it consistently will mean that you get into the same league as the Aussies and no team within the last 10 years have been able to match that including your beloved Indians. How can India win by 140 runs and then loose to the same team within few days in Kitply cup? If you call this consistency then you need to get your head examined.

    Pakistan has mostly played better than India in head-to-head matches. At least Pak (loosers as you put it) is consistent in that. If PCB keeps loosing quality players to nonsense ICL bans and mis-management (Shoaib and Asif) then this can turn around very quickly.

  • waterbuffalo on June 30, 2008, 4:30 GMT

    The selectors picking the final XI for an international match is an insult in this day and age, has Pakistan never learned from Imran Khan? Yes, perhaps, they feel it is their turn now, since Inzamam's retirement, but the fact is any schoolboy can tell you that a bunch of selectors cannot pick an XI by committee. You need a strong , intelligent man who is loyal to Pakistan, not to his province, class or tribe. And Younis Khan is as big a coward as there ever has been, so don't bother throwing his name about when talking about future captains. Pick someone to be a captain, and let him pick the team, any other way is infantile and senseless. Pakistan is now a joke world wide as is in no way recognizable to the teams that reached two World Cup Finals in the 90's, both times under the captaincy of bowlers, I might add, not batsmen and part-timers.

  • AJAX on June 29, 2008, 16:49 GMT

    Oh look at us, we're the greatest, we won the Kitply Cup, and now we're going to win the a cup that suddenly matters... not unless you are a mindless patriotic fanatic! What fantastic hosts Pakistan turned out to be, how many matches were sold out again? As Dhoni said, the cricketers were playing for policemen... Face it losers, your team is as consistent as your "star" Shahid Afridi... sometimes flashy but mostly disappointing. They do not deserve to play in any finals that include teams other than Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and do not deserve to host the Champions Trophy.

  • Balajee Asokan on June 29, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    I was really surprised when Pakistan won their kitply cup... And at the start of this Asia cup, my first thought was that Pak can also be a serious title contendor...

    Much to my dissapoinment was pakistani performance even against Hong kong... I think some serious work is needed to be done by team mgmt.. Someone as shrewd as Younis Khan would be a great leader...

  • PakFan on June 28, 2008, 2:07 GMT

    Until unless we get political stability and delete ethnic based violence in Pakistan, our prospect of being host of any major event is bleak.

    On separate issue ie the loss to India in Asia Cup - suprised no blog from Kamran on that. Anyways, once again bowling was a let down. Think we should continue to play Asif + Shoaib coz we simply don't have reliable alternate.

    Once again, what in the world is Iftekhar Rao doing in the team.

    On second thought, maybe we should play with 10 batsmen - so that we can put up non chaseable total or chase any total coz our bowling is simply uselesss -

    Disappointed esp how early India managed to chase the total. Recogn even a 450 that night would have been chased.

  • JAS on June 27, 2008, 0:39 GMT

    Pakistan should not be looking at the present team to improve. That is not going to happen for the simple reason that Shoaib is not of captain material. PCB (Pakistan not Punjab Cricket Board) as some of the prejudiced fellows have mentioned above, should start looking at grooming at least 6-7 players and have the future captain mentor with Ponting or Dhoni. Sometimes you have to step back and reinvent yourself. Think about India in middle to late 80's and 90's when Pakistan could beat them at any venue in any match. PCB needs to just think 3 years from now and work on preparing the world cup squad. We do not have a batsman/all rounder of Miandad, Imran, Zaheer Abbas or Inzamam's calibre. We also do not have a bowler of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus or Abdul Qadir's class. PCB, please bring in the deserved talent and not the talent that diminishes after a couple of matches. Naseem Ashraf, if you have a little courage, just go. Good luck Pakistan!

    A sad and disappointed Pakistani fan

  • venkat on June 25, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    i am quite appalled to find some Muslims in srilanka support Pakistan purely for religious reasons i think its one of the fundamental problems world is facing today

  • Jason on June 24, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    I was reading another blog about countries boycotting Zimbabwe, and I can understand that. To travel there, or to allow Zimbabwe to play abroad lends a degree of legitimacy to the despotic government there. The exact opposite is true of Pakistan. Pakistan stands to lose much if the stability of Pakistani government and society is in any way de-legitimized by some arrogant western prejudice. All the more reason why Pakistan will go the distance to make the tour as safe and comfortable as possible, to show the rest of the world that things are business as usual there. We recently saw a forcible turnover of government in Thailand, and tourism there never missed a beat. That is because they demonstrated stability by showing that business as usual attitude. I knew people who vacationed in Nicaragua during the violent struggle between the Sandinista and Contras, and felt perfectly at home. I agree with a previous blogger, this is about the western concept of comfort, not security.

  • Champions League Guy on June 24, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    Please say no to a team from Pakistan to Champions League, Champions League is supposed to be a Battle between the best of the best .. lets just hope "lahori badshahs" aren't that team lol

    they will be a laughing stock of world cricket.. i probably wont even watch the champions league if "Badshahs" are in.

    Pakistan's cricket team will do well!

  • Taymoor Tahir on June 24, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    Has Pakistan cricket really come to this that Pakistan's place in the champions trophy has become a question? i mean regardless of the current situation of Pak team they are a spiritual, professional team which in the best way possible display a perfect example of how the game should be played, controversies have always plagued sportsman regardless of team, of player, have forgotten Shane warne, or Cronje, or Gibbs, Murlitharan, and God knows how many other controversies this game has gone through. i don't think there should be any doubt in the minds of the higher authority that Pakistan should play the champions trophy and my belief is that they will emerge champions (spiritually) and rise to the expectations of the fans and the ICC.

  • Sarath Gamlath on June 24, 2008, 0:32 GMT

    Let’s brush aside all negative comments and egos. This is the biggest cricket tournament for us in the Subcontinent. For centuries, we are all friendly countries lived like one community sharing many socio-cultural similarities. Cricket was given to us by the colonialists but it is now a passion in all our countries. In all teams, we have wonderful players whose names are equally popular across the subcontinent. Let’s play the tournament with high spirit and take the opportunity to further strengthen our relationship, friendship and attitude of mutual support.

    Hiran from Sri Lanka

  • mehboob on June 23, 2008, 19:41 GMT

    why do we start thinking negative even before it starts as Pakistani we should support our team in low times that is where real test comes when they are doing good we all come out say we are so proud but one game and we go after these guys i hope Pakistan will do well and come out winners no matter who plays.

  • haidar ali on June 23, 2008, 19:02 GMT

    I think winner can be between PAK and SL. India looks pretty much out of it simply because of their awful record in the tournament finals in last decade, which is a very telling stat. And Kamran why do you think Pakistani sides of the past were much better than the current bunch? Here,s a quiz for you! name any era in Pakistani cricket history when they were consistently brilliant over a prolonged period of time? I tell you, you have a tough task, And you should also know what they say about people who live in past glory which never existed, Don,t you?

  • que on June 23, 2008, 18:23 GMT

    I don't think any international game is meaningless. Wishing Pakistan all the best. Still don't know who is going to open but i hope its S.Malik or Afridi with Butt. Good luck Pakistan.

  • Azam on June 23, 2008, 18:09 GMT

    At last Kamran Akmal ( one of the pathetic cricketers of all times) was dropped finally !! I know it would be a hard decision for PCB ( Punjab Cricket Board) to do that since a Karachi keeper was up next. Mr Salman Butt another Pathetic cricketer who only scores against minnows and cements his spot for another year! Great ! shows what kind of Board we have, if i am wrong Check the statistics , how many times he has scored against big teams and his average against top teams, Why Pakistani Team is not good ?? Answer is simple Change PCB ( Punjab Cricket Board ) to Pakistan Cricket Board which it should be and give fair chance to everyone ( doesn't mean pick only from Punjab )

    about Champions League and Champions Trophy all fault is on our sissy cricket board, always bows down after everyone and sits on Indian Boards feet. Pathetic , Simply Pathetic !

  • Shera on June 23, 2008, 16:51 GMT

    Hi! I'm Sheriff from Sri Lanka. Methinks India will probably carry the cup away. India is a team bordering on greatness at the moment and Dhoni is such an inspiration. I would put Pakistan at 2nd place, but don't get me wrong, they are a very good, talented bunch. My country, Sri Lanka will probably do alright too, but what they lack at the moment is consistency and a solid middle order. Having said that, if Jayasuriya gets cracking, Sri Lanka will probably run away with it :) There are very few in this day, who can match his exploits with the kind of consistency he brings to his game. If I am right, he is the highest capped player in one day cricket, which is a huge achievement in itself. Watch out for Suriya, Afridi and Yuvi then! 'Nuff sed. Bring on the Asia Cup, yo! :)

  • Ash Zed - Saudi Arabia on June 23, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    Although this topic was discussed in the previous blog but I kindly request Kamran to publish this blog here so that we can enlighten the world about the real facts.

    In the last blog, some heated discussion took place for the inventors of reverse sweep, reverse swing and doosra.

    There is no doubt all these inventions are indeed from Pakistan. Our friends across the border do not think so only because very often they don’t want to give credit to Pakistan primarily due to element of jealously that exists on both sides.

    I invite all those who have any doubt regarding the origin of these modern arts to click the following links and find out the truth.

    And by the way, the terminology doosra is invented by Moeen Khan. Read Wikipedia.

    Happy Reading!!

  • Venkat Reddy on June 23, 2008, 15:39 GMT

    I just hope Pakistan get back to their winning ways. I know its unfair to compare eras and players but this team is just such a pale shadow of the legacy of the 90's. I would love to see Pakistan come back and play cricket that is so much fun to watch. I personally think they can punt on Nasir Jamshed. Comparisons have been made with Afridi but Jamshed is a better player. With a little more time he can make it big. Malik needs to go. He is just too over defensive and scared to come out and play a bold game of cricket. I hope the Bangladesh victory gives Pakistan cricket a lift. But my mind says they are in deep trouble

  • JAS on June 23, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    Asia Cup will probably go ahead but Champions Trophy, I seriously doubt that to happen in Pakistan. The whole dilemma for the Pakistan team comes down to one thing, they do not believe in themselves. if you just exchange the Indian and Pakistani captains (Dhoni with Shoib Malik), you will see how Dhoni takes the Pakistani team to higher spirits & standards while Shoib Malik will drown the Indian team in no time. Its the leadership and the believe in yourself that has made the difference. Change the captain and the coach, and off course Mr. Naseem Ashraf and the things will get better.

    I would suggest a business minded person take over from Naseem Ashraf and you will see how that person takes Pakistan team and board to a much wanted position.

  • Shaukat on June 23, 2008, 14:08 GMT

    This is all about cricket. We can hope for the best. And i really appreciate the change of wicketkeeper and opening partnership. Instead of criticizing our own team lets pray for our team and enjoy the great moment. We are not in very bad condition and still be able to show big upset. So, please stay united and show others that we still love our team like other country-man. I hope Pakistan can reach the final at least

    Thanks

  • Legseleven on June 23, 2008, 14:02 GMT

    I think India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have fair chances to win this Cup. All these teams are young and have their positives and negatives which complements with each other. At the same time I would like Bangladesh to improve and come out of their pit hole to become regular performer rather than occasional entertainer. I would like more teams from Asia like China and other non cricket countries to pick up cricket and raise their standards so that whenever we have this Asia cup in future, we shouldn't look at one, two or three teams. I would this Asia cup to be as big as Euro 2008 cup where we can have more than 10 teams taking part and at least 7 among them should be strong contender for the cup. I am sure if it ever happens, it would a good treat for cricket fans.

  • imran bora on June 23, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    i am happy with selectors of Pakistan cricket board that they have selected very good players but only mistake to select nasir jamshed i don't think he can play teams like sri-lanka and India he can play with small team like Bangladesh please replace him with a better player if u see player like fawad alam,wahab riaz,mansoor amjad,sohail tanvir, and saeed ajmal have played good in kitply cup Bangladesh but nasir jamshed his record in Bangladesh is not good

  • Irfan-Dubai on June 23, 2008, 13:53 GMT

    Make no mistake, Pakistan team has all the ingredients to be a super power in the world of cricket, its not a simple saying, as no one, repeat, no one ever! from around the world has discounted Pakistan on records, and when ever some one did, he surely was looking for hiding. I have always noticed Pakistan team performing, when no one gives them a chance, but the thing which really bothers me, the time when we count on our loving brothers, they disappoint us big time, as they did in 1999 final and so many other occasions. Pakistan management and support staff including captain and players needs proper guidance and need to be little more educated, as its high time, we have to be active and proactive. To all Pakistani bloggers,please don't simply criticize team for the sake of criticism, always hope for the best, believe in yourself and your fellow brothers, they are human too,mistakes do happen from all of us. Best wishes for Pakistan and cricket Pakistan.

  • Manesha from Sri-Lanka on June 23, 2008, 12:43 GMT

    I believe this contest would be a very important one for the Asian teams because they have a point to prove to the rest of the world that they are the number 01 team in Asia .As I was going through the comments of each brother I believe they have the right spirits with them any they have commented various points regarding the Pak team and the other contenders but there's one points which Mr.Amir Joneid has brought that India and Srilanka will run off because of bombs in Pakistan and they will use it as a reason too run off!! my brother why are you making such a statement?? why is Pakistan the only Asian country that has witness the bombs brother bare in mind We Srilankans deal with war that has been going on for more than 02 decades!!I don't want to bring that up but we all play in the rite spirits of the game and we know that your country will do everything to secure us.Open your eyes and may be India can be be with seniors and Bangladesh can be still kids but we are never useless. Thanks.

  • Zubair Khan on June 23, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    Apropos to the comments made by Mr. Zameer Sheikh. Well i respect your Patriotism for India and Asia but the Ego was there when you pointed out that India is having an upper hand against Pakistan and Srilanka. Let me prove you wrong, forget about the past record in which Pakistan have won more matches than India, 65% of it! the final match that Pakistan won against India in the recently ended Kitply cup proves that if Pakistan play more responsibly and with more aggression they can beat any team let alone India, its only the matter of fact that Pakistanis don't really play with the same kind of aggression as they should be playing with. The other Fact and the truth is that India is bound to become the number 2 team in the world but still they lack the consistency just like Pakistan and Srilanka they have been winning but at the same time losing many matches, though the winning ratio is better than Pakistan. and the major factor of Indian success is their batting not the bowling. Thank you

  • Zameer Shaikh on June 23, 2008, 11:32 GMT

    I m Indian but i always support Asian team whenever they play with any non Asian teams. But I feel very sad that some the comments against BCCI regarding the double standard for pak players, please. note in IPL and ICL most of players are from Pakistan and earned handsome dollar.

    Regarding Asia cup please. note that India has now most talented players in the world, so one loss will not make any difference for Team India. They are having upper hand on Pakistan and srilanka.

    Regarding Pakistan Team, well they are knowns for being an unpredictable team but inconsistent always when they require most. Better they should play with team spirit. Best of lucks to all

  • Abdul Majeed malik on June 23, 2008, 11:20 GMT

    Why is Asia cup so meaning less to any body and in this case u MR Abbasi There are only 7 test playing nations and four of them are playing in Asia cup so how can u say its meaning less. Any game of international cricket even if its between ninth and tenth ranked teams is interesting because its for the good of the game. Only people with Passion for cricket can understand such meaningless tournaments. Its not good for Pakistan its good for all other teams because its cricket and we love to watch it not criticize who's winning. I am a Pakistani supporter but i would love to see the better team win even if its India thats about it.

  • Fahad Khan on June 23, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    I would like to mention again the hypocrisy of the western cricketing countries when it comes to touring Pakistan. Australia said they had security fears, but had no problem sending their hockey team and their Australia A side to Pakistan to tour. Coincidentally, their security fears allowed their stars to go play in the IPL instead of making due with their CA contract salary playing Pakistan. One thing I have to agree with is that Pakistan has no star player. They don't have anyone who consistently plays a part in the game. We have players who will occasionally play well but you never know when. As far as the Champions League goes, I am really hoping that somehow Karachi qualifies for this tournament and gets to the final. It would be poetic justice (with $5m attached) for the talent of Karachi that gets neglected over and over again. I may have jinxed it now but let's hope for the best.

  • zaheer fassy on June 23, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    i am sri lankan, but big fan of Pakistan cricketers. i would like to see asif in the team & afridi open the innings since he is out of form in the late order.He can surprise the audience at opening. Misbah is excellent at 5 or 6.like to see Pakistani team as Imran & wasim did

  • Raashid Shunthoo on June 23, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Yes, most certainly this is the title which has become very important all of a sudden for Pakistan.First of all the very essence of cricket is dying in Pakistan due to fears of uncertainty being projected by players of some top test sides . On the second front, it will be more encouraging for Pakistan to have any impact on this tournament. Pakistan cricket has suffered a lot from all quarters of late.

    This is high time to put thought into action and make something substantial out of this. Otherwise, overhaul is on cards.

  • mohammad ijaz on June 23, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Hi,i'm ijaz,from srilanka.I think we have a good team.but don't forget our ,mine,and my friend's super stars{abdul razzak,imran nazir,akthar}.also i think pcb will recall that guys.razzak is fantastic all rounder,he looks like shane watson and also imran is good opener and marvelous striker and i don't tell about akthar he is ..... this is my opinion.i would like to see following terrible guys for odis imran nazir shahid afridi mohammad yousuf{vc} shoib malik{c} younus khan misbah-ul-haq abdul razzak sohil tanvir shoib akthar umar gul kamran akmal{wk}

  • Talha Nazar on June 23, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    I believe its about time that PCB should realize the double standards of BCCI,a board that for its own reasons supports Pakistan, but when it comes to including Pakistan in the T20 champion league its stance changes. BCCI as far as i am concerned will never support the PCB cause, so instead of PCB banning our high profile capable players like Abdur Razzaq(just because of the tussle between IPL and ICL)and effecting the quality of cricket that we Pakistanis can produce, with the likes of Razzaq, Imran nazir and a few other utility players, cricket should be the major area of concern of our board.As far as those concerned in Australlia and England. PCB should have a strong stance against such nation, and possible fine should be pursued by PCB on the double standards of these nations.

  • aquamartino on June 23, 2008, 9:44 GMT

    Pakistan is falling into a hole, They need to up their act and fight like warriors, give it a 100% every time. I don't like Geoff Lawson (i think a coach is weak when he makes comments about beating other teams by 150 runs). You guys at Pakistan need a new coach, new captain, and few more talented players. As of now middle order is failing every time, lower order is not even worth about talking. I am an Indian fan yet I want to see that Pakistan that we used to fear earlier in the late 80's and early 90's (When Pakistan was the top of their Game). thank god Akmal is gone, he was a waste of space in the squad. Come on Pakis bring back the old flare that the world has known you for.

  • aquamartino on June 23, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    A good contest awaits us, however I feel India has the upper hand. Pakistan may have beaten India in the final but it was a close encounter. I am Indian but support many Pakistani Champions. I think u guys need a new captain, someone who believes in himself more and the team, a cool headed leader. Malik gets too worked up, I don't see anyone as Captain Material, either they are inexperienced or have had dilemmas with PCB in past. We need Akram (I have played agaisnt him in the nets upon his visit to Hong kong during cricket sixes). And this guys is one of the best leaders i have ever met in my life. A fighter who believed in his troops and his own abilities. Imran Khan, Inzy bhai. Malik is no where close to them, he is gradually bringing the team down, malik a great Sportsman, but i question his Leadership. India has been blessed by Dhoni, Pakistan need to search and concentrate heavily on player development. Team needs to work together, having few match winners will not win you the game

  • Alex Farooque on June 23, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    Pakistan did win the Kitply cup and convincingly in the finals. However India has a better chance than Pakistan. Sri Lanka on the other hand may or may not put up a good show. While Bangladesh may give a surprise. Tournament result apart, the safety concerns for the rest of the cricket world for the Champions trophy rest on this tournament. And I am sure that Pakistan will put up a good show regardless of their final outcome. Although I think there isn't any bigger team than Pakistan in Twenty20 format because of our level of concentration. .

  • legslip.com on June 23, 2008, 9:31 GMT

    Here is how I think the chances look like for the major teams: Sri Lanka: 75% chance of victory, because they have some good consistent players like Sangakarra, Murali, Vaas, Jayasuria, Dilshan and Jayawardene. Butt can’t match Jayasuria, Safraz can’t match Sangakarra, Malik can’t match Jayawardene, and so on. India: 80% chance I would go with. This is because Indian players are the most in form and without a doubt India is going with the strongest opening pair which is so crucial. Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhoni, Pathan, Yuvraj are all match winning players and also in good form. However the only thing that would stand in India’s way is if the team performance does not overshadow individual performance of these good players. Pakistan: 65% chance. Pakistan is the weakest of all the established teams. Inconsistent opening pair, inconsistent no 3 batsman (Younis), out of form captain and the much hyped Misbah ul Haq is an overrated player in ODI’s in my opinion. Also apart from Afridi no bowler poses a real threat. Gul at his best can be dangerous but has problems with form and fitness and we haven’t seen much of Tanvir, all that we know of him is that he is in decent form.

  • humair siddiqi on June 23, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    I most certainly agree that the upcoming Asia cup holds a lot of significance for Pakistan cricket as a whole.Winning the recently concluded kitply cup was a major boost but Pakistan should not get complacent.Pak needs to consistently prove itself at the highest level before claiming that they are on the right track. They would be up against some very formidable opponents in India and SL. Shoaib malik as a captain has to justify his position again and again to win the hearts of million of die hard cricket fanatics in Pakistan.Moving on to Pakistan as a host, well...this asia cup would be of utmost importance in deciding whether PCB can provide security to its guests. Speculations that top players/teams may withdraw from the champions trophy can and will not only hinder Pakistan as a host country but also affect other cricketing nation and will deprive millions of cricket lovers all over the world.

  • amna salman ahmed on June 23, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    Our team has never been consistent but it is always fun watching a match, they keep you on your toes till the end. i think we should be accustomed to it by now. my prayers for my team and a fantastic series, we are in a dire need of entertainment and what better way to spend summers than to go watch a match in the stadium with the euphoria it gives you. Asia cup being important or not, i really don't care, we should learn to enjoy when we have the opportunity instead of worrying about everything...so guys get up and enjoy yourself and please appreciate your team; need to put some of you there in a tense situation like that to see if you can keep smiling like shoaibh malik...best of luck team.

  • Ahsan on June 23, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    The selectors have it all wrong. Akmal should be playing as a specialist batsmen if not keeping wickets.

  • Irfan on June 23, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    I hope this cup goes well. I am actually pretty sure it will. I must say there is biased view on this issue. South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, West Indies - they all have been in Pakistan in recent years. With top state security provided to them. The visiting teams have praised the arrangement and hospitality. It is just the Australia, England (and New Zealand), who are making noises. Cricket and not visiting Pakistan is the only way they can show world there importance. It is very simple: show the dollars (or sterling) - they will come......

    In recently concluded IPL, it was a bomb (with causalties) explosion in Jaipur, and nobody made a fuss about it, they just kept playing. Had it happened in Pakistan, these countries would have fled. And do not forget the London bombing during Ashes. And I am sure none of the other countries provided these cricketers state level security. One other issue is that PCB is really not tough on this issue, and neither is their so-called ally BCCI. PCB is wagging their tail after BCCI, while BCCI is not very keen on helping them out. Then it is politics, I really don't think that the Indian state worries about that Pakistan getting negative PR - I would say they are happy. Just think about IPL, pakistan has been there strongest supporter while banning their stars. And, nobody bothers to mention pakistan in the proposed champions league. Pakistan will only be mentioned to fill up the space that will be left by in case someone other withdraws.

    I am very sad for pakistan.....

  • Sajjad on June 23, 2008, 8:40 GMT

    I would like to see following young team for the ODIs. Salman But Ahmed Shahzad Nasir Jamshed Umar Akmal Fawad Alam Misbah-ul-Haq (Cap) Ahmed Sarfraz Sohail Tanvir Umar Gul Mohammed Aamir Sohail Khan

  • Prous Ashraf on June 23, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    What does BCCI think of itself and why does no one protest. Its almost like Lalit modi and company rule cricket world with their money...Long back I heard Our economy is very good and in 10 years it will be richer than India.....How do India BCCI get so much money.I am sure if we make PPL like IPL PCB will get richer than India

  • Javed Khan Naqvi on June 23, 2008, 8:31 GMT

    don't forget , Salman Butt and younis played extraordinary innings in final to post 315 score. India played average in final and managed to still reach 290. Will Butt and younis fire in all matches...Other players are over hyped and may not perform. SriLanka are a very dangerous young side who can defeat anyone any day. I wish Pakistan come to final and win but I will bet my money on India or SL... especially since dhoni has point to prove and Sangakkara will want cup badly to equal Asia cup winning record of 4 by India

  • Amir Joneid on June 23, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    Our Country played good in Kitply cup when it beat India team. I have confidence that will Tanvir destroy Indian and Srilanka batsman with figures of 5-40 and 5-30 respectively. India is a useless team without Sachin and depend on luck to win. Younis and yosof better player then dhoni and sehwag. Our bowling is world class with Asif,tanvir and gul,as good to wasim bhai and waqar bhai. I am confident that Pakistan win all tournament from asia cup up to world cup...Only tension is if bomb go off then Srilank, india run away from fear of lose ..they use bomb reason to run away....My prediction i....Pak win asia cup and champion trophy...T20 champion league and world cup and beat all country and become no 1 like before years.Young Pakistani player better than all India senior team and sri lanka is total useless team and Bangladesh like kid brother to us

  • Zaid_SRI LANKA on June 23, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    well nice to see a sri lankan finally in these columns.Ahlan Wasahlan HAFEES If there aren't changes in the management and in the side i predict Pakistan to vanish from the cricketing world in the near future.i suggest Imran Khan-chairman Waseem-Coach Misbah/Yuosuf-captain Include ASIM KAMAL and SOHAIL KHAN in the side winning the kitply cup wasn't convincing,salman was dropped,younis's run out was missed and he isn't consistent,except for misbah all the others didn't look good

  • Muhammad Taqweem on June 23, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    I certainly believe that Pakistan should move forward and try to put a good show in Asia cup, but problem lies in two areas one is Captain himself he is too defensive he should take a leaf out of Dhoni's book and try to be more aggressive and more open to youngsters.One impressive sign is that they have left out Kamran Akmal no i certainly feel that Pakistan can do better in bowling.As he used to drop 2 to 3 catches regularly. But one still feels Malik is reluctant to play Sarfraz and Nasir Jamshed. unfortunately our Coach Jeff Lawson doesn't have aggressive attitude at all. I think if Pakistan can play positively they can perform well.

  • umair akbar on June 23, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    i am Pakistani and i want to say that east or west pakistan is the best. i always love pak. cricket team. one free suggestion i want to give my team that shoil tanveer's batting order must be changed he is a hard hitting batsman and he is a genuine left hander please.... and give chance to afridi to open a account with salman butt.

  • Amir Naqvi on June 23, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Pakistan still have what needs to be in a top side provided the administration is strong. We need to bring some discipline and that will come from the management. It's the management that drives the system and lack of system is something bothering Pakistan on board, not only in cricket. If we are free from incidents like Shoaib/Asif's continued saga, the terrorism and it's consequences on pakistan cricket, sides refusing to tour pakistan, the only three test matches in 2008 against australia canceled and Pakistan has the honor of not playing a single test in a calendar year then I think we still have super stars like Yousuf, Younis, Misbah and bowlers like Asif, Tanvir and Gul who can win matches for Pakistan against all the top sides.

  • Saadie on June 23, 2008, 7:20 GMT

    True that not been thought for champions league is an eye opener and embarrassment for us especially when we follow almost everything BCCI asks us to do. I hope we get some credibility out of this cup as a host and as a team.

  • Mohamed Haseef on June 23, 2008, 7:06 GMT

    Salam

    I am Haseef from Sri Lanka. I am a Muslim. I am supporter of Pakistan cricket team. Our town all Muslims support Pakistan cricket team. I am watching all Pakistan cricket match.

    Please Pakistan opening Butt & Afridi. Continues one down captain Malik. After yousuf ,younis continue.

    Afridi not 6 down

    Afridi give a chance

    Reply Haseef

  • Akram Khan on June 23, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Untoward incidents are frequent in Pakistan. A bomb goes off somewhere in Swat, Bajaur, Quetta, Lahore etc and we will here cricket boards all over the world speaking about their reservations about Champions Trophy. I m sure such blasts(if take place) would never be near the stadium or the playing site they would be some far off place but such blasts would no doubt get more coverage on CNN and BBC than in normal days.

  • Jason on June 23, 2008, 7:02 GMT

    I certainly hope the tournament goes off without a hitch, and win or lose, I hope Pakistan continues to build towards an eventual re-emergence. I want to see all of the member teams remain member teams for years to come. The great WI team has slumped in recent years, and is showing signs of rebuilding. Pakistan can do the same, but it takes time, persistence, and the support of the Pakistani people and government, as well as their fellow cricketing nations. What really upsets me is your (very true) comment about a super team and/or an attractive place to tour. Bangladesh has neither, and that should not be held against them by the first world cricketing nations. Those folks need to learn to speak the universal language of sports, and encourage cricket in Bangladesh, not crush their spirits with an economic bias.

  • Zuhair on June 23, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    I don’t really think that Pakistan really lack that much of quality. It has only been unduly overemphasized for some non-cricket related matters. What is in the Indian or Srilankan team that Pakistan lack? They have Sachins, Dhonis, Jayawardenas, Sangakkaras, then don’t forget we have high class players as well. And I believe they don’t need a specific mention here. I personally believe there is not much to differentiate among the three Asian sides. They are very much the same. Good and Inconsistent. It is only that inconsistency of Pakistan team is over emphasized.

  • Ibrahim on June 23, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    Looking forward to it, especially if Malik remembers he's an all-rounder, not just a batsman, and a very good one at that.

  • Sorcerer on June 23, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    No matches between Pakistan and India are meaningless. Even a Charity match in Uxbridge '91 brought on such enthusiasm and intense heat. Pakistan has indeed an opportunity to re-enforce its forming up of a team that was discounted by many. India looks strong and would vie for the top slot with added vigor. I just hope the tournament gets played without any untoward incident nationally, as that would lend a lot of credibility to the issue of immense security of international cricketers in this part of the world.

  • Bilal Choudry on June 23, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    I think Henry should push Malik to be more aggressive and get him to include Sohail Khan rather than Rao Iftikhar. Malik should bowl regularly otherwise he doesn't have a permanent place in the ODI 11

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on June 23, 2008, 0:56 GMT

    Yes, a cup that suddenly matters but, there are 'many a slip between the cup and the lip.' Wahab Riaz has been chosen over Sohail Khan he does not justify a place especially since his confidence is low after the hammering he got from the Indian team in the Kitply tri-series. And to drop Sohail Khan with a lame excuse that he got a mosquito bite is ridiculous. It only goes to prove that jingoism is at its best in Pakistan. The opening conundrum will continue because, Butt is a slow starter and the other extreme is Nasir Jamshed who wants to emulate and ape Afridi. If one analyze the stats of Asia Cup, Pakistan has won only once, India 4 times and Sri Lanka 3 times. Therefore, the chances of Pakistan winning are very bleak and with this team, it would be a fluke if they win the Cup. Therefore, to hope, "can Pakistan cricket pass its nadir?" Or, reach its zenith, is asking too much, because there is no superstar or a supernova in the team, its a bunch of mediocre cricketers who may show sporadic brilliance like they did in the final a couple of weeks ago. But, everyday is not the same. Consistency is the key. Whereas, Pakistan team is famous for being inconsistent. Thats why I said, it would be a fluke if they win. Still, I want them to win. Therefore, I wish them all the best.

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  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on June 23, 2008, 0:56 GMT

    Yes, a cup that suddenly matters but, there are 'many a slip between the cup and the lip.' Wahab Riaz has been chosen over Sohail Khan he does not justify a place especially since his confidence is low after the hammering he got from the Indian team in the Kitply tri-series. And to drop Sohail Khan with a lame excuse that he got a mosquito bite is ridiculous. It only goes to prove that jingoism is at its best in Pakistan. The opening conundrum will continue because, Butt is a slow starter and the other extreme is Nasir Jamshed who wants to emulate and ape Afridi. If one analyze the stats of Asia Cup, Pakistan has won only once, India 4 times and Sri Lanka 3 times. Therefore, the chances of Pakistan winning are very bleak and with this team, it would be a fluke if they win the Cup. Therefore, to hope, "can Pakistan cricket pass its nadir?" Or, reach its zenith, is asking too much, because there is no superstar or a supernova in the team, its a bunch of mediocre cricketers who may show sporadic brilliance like they did in the final a couple of weeks ago. But, everyday is not the same. Consistency is the key. Whereas, Pakistan team is famous for being inconsistent. Thats why I said, it would be a fluke if they win. Still, I want them to win. Therefore, I wish them all the best.

  • Bilal Choudry on June 23, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    I think Henry should push Malik to be more aggressive and get him to include Sohail Khan rather than Rao Iftikhar. Malik should bowl regularly otherwise he doesn't have a permanent place in the ODI 11

  • Sorcerer on June 23, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    No matches between Pakistan and India are meaningless. Even a Charity match in Uxbridge '91 brought on such enthusiasm and intense heat. Pakistan has indeed an opportunity to re-enforce its forming up of a team that was discounted by many. India looks strong and would vie for the top slot with added vigor. I just hope the tournament gets played without any untoward incident nationally, as that would lend a lot of credibility to the issue of immense security of international cricketers in this part of the world.

  • Ibrahim on June 23, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    Looking forward to it, especially if Malik remembers he's an all-rounder, not just a batsman, and a very good one at that.

  • Zuhair on June 23, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    I don’t really think that Pakistan really lack that much of quality. It has only been unduly overemphasized for some non-cricket related matters. What is in the Indian or Srilankan team that Pakistan lack? They have Sachins, Dhonis, Jayawardenas, Sangakkaras, then don’t forget we have high class players as well. And I believe they don’t need a specific mention here. I personally believe there is not much to differentiate among the three Asian sides. They are very much the same. Good and Inconsistent. It is only that inconsistency of Pakistan team is over emphasized.

  • Jason on June 23, 2008, 7:02 GMT

    I certainly hope the tournament goes off without a hitch, and win or lose, I hope Pakistan continues to build towards an eventual re-emergence. I want to see all of the member teams remain member teams for years to come. The great WI team has slumped in recent years, and is showing signs of rebuilding. Pakistan can do the same, but it takes time, persistence, and the support of the Pakistani people and government, as well as their fellow cricketing nations. What really upsets me is your (very true) comment about a super team and/or an attractive place to tour. Bangladesh has neither, and that should not be held against them by the first world cricketing nations. Those folks need to learn to speak the universal language of sports, and encourage cricket in Bangladesh, not crush their spirits with an economic bias.

  • Akram Khan on June 23, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Untoward incidents are frequent in Pakistan. A bomb goes off somewhere in Swat, Bajaur, Quetta, Lahore etc and we will here cricket boards all over the world speaking about their reservations about Champions Trophy. I m sure such blasts(if take place) would never be near the stadium or the playing site they would be some far off place but such blasts would no doubt get more coverage on CNN and BBC than in normal days.

  • Mohamed Haseef on June 23, 2008, 7:06 GMT

    Salam

    I am Haseef from Sri Lanka. I am a Muslim. I am supporter of Pakistan cricket team. Our town all Muslims support Pakistan cricket team. I am watching all Pakistan cricket match.

    Please Pakistan opening Butt & Afridi. Continues one down captain Malik. After yousuf ,younis continue.

    Afridi not 6 down

    Afridi give a chance

    Reply Haseef

  • Saadie on June 23, 2008, 7:20 GMT

    True that not been thought for champions league is an eye opener and embarrassment for us especially when we follow almost everything BCCI asks us to do. I hope we get some credibility out of this cup as a host and as a team.

  • Amir Naqvi on June 23, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Pakistan still have what needs to be in a top side provided the administration is strong. We need to bring some discipline and that will come from the management. It's the management that drives the system and lack of system is something bothering Pakistan on board, not only in cricket. If we are free from incidents like Shoaib/Asif's continued saga, the terrorism and it's consequences on pakistan cricket, sides refusing to tour pakistan, the only three test matches in 2008 against australia canceled and Pakistan has the honor of not playing a single test in a calendar year then I think we still have super stars like Yousuf, Younis, Misbah and bowlers like Asif, Tanvir and Gul who can win matches for Pakistan against all the top sides.