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January 12, 2009

New age

England step into Pakistan's shoes, as Pakistan step back

Kamran Abbasi
Umar Amin drives during his innings of 77, Federal Areas v Punjab, Pentangular ODI Cup final, Karachi, December 24, 2008
 © Sohail Abbas
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This week's England controversy was an amusing one for Pakistan fans. I'm unconvinced by the argument that Kevin Pietersen had to go because his views were leaked by the media, especially as he does seem to have had the support of much of the England team. Imagine Pakistan players being sacked, forced to resign, or disciplined each time their views were leaked to the media? There wouldn't be a player left to select.

Nonetheless, the ECB managed to perform a decent impression of the PCB by turning a containable scandal into a gargantuan crisis, unsettling the team, and losing a promising captain.

Meanwhile the new PCB has made an effort to bring back the old days, good and bad. The bad is reverting to some really old timers, like Intikhab Alam and Yawar Saeed. Indeed, the nonsensical media ban--a virtual impossibility in our media-driven age--has all the hallmarks of a Yawar Saeed strategy. Furthermore, how Intikhab negotiates the fierce opinions of Javed Miandad, Abdul Qadir, and Aamir Sohail must be a wonder to behold.

The good is that the selectors are backing pace again. Pakistan cricket's success in the 1980s and 1990s was based on the abilities of its fast bowlers, ably supported by an attacking spinner. The batting has ever been unreliable, but the bowlers were capable of making most totals competitive. Pace bowlers also force a captain to attack, which is the preferable mode for the Pakistan team.

Umar Amin's selection is another throwback. One of the thrills of Pakistan cricket was that a talented rookie would be selected from obscurity. Let's hope Amin can revive a tradition that has been lost in this decade. He may be at the beginning of an uncertain journey, but unknown players bring a special fascination.

If nothing else, Pakistan's adminstrators, cricketers, and fans will have been relieved that another cricket nation has played out a pointless drama of Pakistani proportions. For one week, at least, England are the new Pakistan.

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

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Posted by Botha Doro on (October 14, 2009, 7:23 GMT)

I just read that Younus Khan has tendered his resignation as Pakistan captain despite having bee cleared of charges of match-fixingby a sports committee. At www.cricinfo.ws he said he is disgusted by match-fixing allegations made against him and the team.

Posted by Terrence on (February 4, 2009, 9:33 GMT)

Agree with waterbuffalo, Pakistan needs to be imaginative not emotional to come out of this stronger. Pulling out of Australia will not do any good at all. Keep that in the chiller for the time when Pakistan team becomes number 1 or 2 in the world. Until then, just think of playing cricket, wherever. Remove the ban on your good players who have commited no offence other than playing for a league that the BCCI doesn't like. Lobby the other countries to do the same. Someone suggested to invest heavily in domestic cricket. I like the idea. Play as much as you can against SL, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe or even lesser teams. Some of these teams will defintely improve and go up the ladder and they will be grateful later on. Which reminds me, Pakistan should be grateful to SL and be prepared to back them up when they need it. It is clear you cannot rely on India, so bootlicking the BCCI must stop.

Posted by Out of Breath on (January 21, 2009, 3:05 GMT)

I choked on my biryani reading WS Rehman's comments, drank some water, settled down and choked again after reading Nadeem's posting. No more Comedy Channel for me from now on; neither am I going to venture putting a morsel in my mouth whilst reading a few of my countrymen comments

Posted by Prabhakaran on (January 21, 2009, 1:01 GMT)

WS Rehman! God save you and your country.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (January 18, 2009, 2:50 GMT)

What's all this, don't play, Aus/SA/Eng..pull out here, pull out there...we haven't played a test since 2007, and you would rather Pakistan rots in Limbo than have a chance to prove themselves? Be grateful that Sri Lanka stepped into the breach, and stop being angry at the world. The Pakistani players are cricketers, and cricketers need to play, your wounded feelings and those of politicians do not come into it. Personally I hope the ICL players will be unbanned because they have a lot to give to their country, especially Mohd.Yousuf. Shane Bond, a great bowler cannot play for NZ just because India says so, I feel it is time Pakistan stands up to India and lets the ICL players play international cricket, after all, we are playing Sri Lanka, not India, and if Sri Lanka also wants their ICL players to play, why shouldn't we? and as of pulling out of the tour to Australia, I have never heard such an idiotic statement, we cannot hit them financially, they are already very very rich.

Posted by khalil on (January 17, 2009, 17:11 GMT)

KP tried to give an impression of an all powerful captain,who can impose his opinion around.But it was too early .Being a powerful batsman is something else but a powerful captain ? No one like it.

Posted by Nadeem Ul-Haq on (January 16, 2009, 10:16 GMT)

I am a Pakistan Supporter and i think in the world of Cricket their is one rule for one and a one rule of anouther. I personnally think Pakistan should pull out of the tour to Australia and the ICC Twenty20 world cup. We can then use the excuse that the western countrys used against us. We will see how they like it, When it hits them Financially.

Posted by Hussain on (January 16, 2009, 6:18 GMT)

i am going stop writing any more to your blog...... it seems no one ever wants to print what i say ?

Posted by SAZ on (January 14, 2009, 12:59 GMT)

I think KP got too ahead of himself.It is understandble given the dearth of talent in English Cricket and English media's fascination with likes of Flintoff and Kevin Peiterson. Since Nov 1 when they embarked on a journey to grab one million dollars only to forget there is a match to be won before there is nothing but disaster for KP. After trounced 5-0 in onedayers and losing after a remarkable run cahse when every English commentator (led by NASSER HUSSEIN) was putting their money one an English win, KP had a reality check and in stock market terms it is called correction.

Posted by Saud Sami on (January 14, 2009, 11:13 GMT)

Kamran, While I see your point regarding the inclusion of Umar Ameen, I feel it is much more important to reward players who have performed well in the domestic circuit. In particular I refer to Saeed Bin Nasir. He is the top scorer in the pentangular cup and has been a consistant performer. He is 29 years old with more than 6300 runs in first class at an average of 43.5 and and average of over 50 in List A. Where is the justification in leaving him out in the cold year after year? I bet he will be another Misbah-ul-Haq whenever he is included. He will make everybody why were his prime years wasted. If the top run getter does not deserve a C category contract, then who does?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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