Australia and Pakistan tour of the UAE April 7, 2009

A wilderness age, a battle for survival

27

Many of us love sport for its unpredictable twists and turns. Let's take the final one-day match of England's tour, for example. Or the captivating fluctuations in fortune of the English Premier League. On-field events are the focus of our fascination, a blessing that Pakistan cricket has not received for almost two years.

Pakistan's upcoming series against Australia offers a glimmer of hope that cricket might steal the headlines from non-playing controversies and tragedies. For the blight of Pakistan cricket is that off-field twists and turns have become so routine and so miserably damaging that a series without unnecessary distractions would be a cause for celebration.

It is hard, for example, to be enthusiastic about the recall of Shoaib Akhtar. Few Pakistan bowlers have matched Shoaib in full flight but even fewer have emulated his frailty. How many recent series have been preceded by positive statements about his fitness? Pakistan's globetrotting future must belong to other pace bowlers, a sad realisation even for this Shoaib Akhtar fan.

Shoaib has been a victim of circumstance as well as his own ill-judged approach to international cricket, a conclusion that holds true for Pakistan cricket in general over the last decade. It's payback time. In these days of domestic crisis, international isolation, and widespread misery, Pakistan's cricketers and administrators carry a great responsibility to help lift the mood of a battered nation.

Nobody can seriously expect a victory over Australia but some on-field heroics, some verve and passion would be a start. Unity and professionalism would help further. This wilderness age of Pakistan cricket requires a noble and determined spirit. Pakistan's players might be unfairly burdened with such responsibility, they might be ill-equipped for it, but they bear it nonetheless.

The battle for the survival of Pakistan cricket, a microcosm of a greater battle for survival, begins here.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Daniel on May 3, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    This may or maybe not the appropriate forum to express these thoughts, but Pakistan has taken huge steps through this series.

    Despite the bickerings of internal politics and the problems of playing away from home, under the captaincy of Younus Khan, Pakistan have shown dedication and sportsmanship that have lifted the international game.

    As an Aussie, living in Pakistan, it has been difficult to be proud of Aussie achievements and wins when their arrogance and sledging has been so prominent. But, guided by the Pakisatni example of sportsmanship, this series has seen both teams play in the best possible spirit - led by Pakistan's example. Mind you I can't hear the stump-cam's comments. But it seems both teams are playing cricket, not mind games.

    The dignity and sportsmanship shown by the Pakistan team have been an example to all. To watch the way the Pakistan team and its captain have played the series and how the Aussie's have learned, is great. Thanks

  • S.Alam on April 18, 2009, 19:04 GMT

    Unfortunately the die hard Shoaib fans need to understand that in today's day and age, he is only a liability. At his current fitness (or lack there of) he is at best a filler bowler. I am willing to bet that he will not bowl more than 15-20 overs in this series and even that may be a major over estimation. Wake up guys Shoaib Akhter is an old unfit fast bowler who had the potential for greatness, but ended up being one of the biggest disappointments of his generation in the world of sports.

  • Hussain on April 18, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    I think PCB foolishly believes it can generate more revenue by putting Shoaib's name in the squad. If comments here are anything to go by, Shoaib simply does not deserve to be in the team. It is unfair to other pace bowlers at all levels. If Shoaib bowls more than 30 overs in this ODI series, I am willing to give up watching cricket altogether

  • Akram on April 16, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    Kamran, seems we have a lateral thinking. I can bet Shoaib will be sitting in the dressing room just after one (or maximum two) games - the cause, too much wear and tear!

  • Irfan on April 14, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    To discredit any body of his credentials is mean. Given that that person has been a source of different rows and controversies regards to conducts in both professional as well as personal lives. After waiting years to see this person make amends the people become so disillusioned that their sentiments spill over into outbursts that could be disconcerting to every body the haters and the lovers alike. I may go on with this prologue but the space prohibits it. Shoaib is one such person who always have an agenda of his own. His antics through out his career have really turned a lot of people off from him. As he progressed both in age and injuries theoretically he should have grown wiser and stronger but in reality it was quite the opposite. Now we are seeing a different Shoaib. I just hope that he has learned to lay low and put his nose to the grinding wheel and let the results speak for themselves.

  • aftab on April 12, 2009, 17:57 GMT

    This could be Shoaib's truly last appearence on Pakistan side. He has been a player responsible for a lot of excitement. Unfortunately, his discipline and fitness have made more headlines. He did give some memories to the game that will remain his forever. In my view this selection is a derserving farewell. He is in all likelihood not going to perform well, but let's hope that others fill in. We always have a player on the verge of retirement. He's the one this time.

  • sami on April 12, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    I think we should be positive. Shoaib Akhtar has an impact on the opposing teams. Let him play and support him as this is perhaps the last chance for him on international scene, also he can teach the young bowlers playing with him about some tricks. Sometimes i feel very sad about Shaoib, he had the great potential and talent but he destroyed himself, one of the reasons may be that media gave him too much importance and he did not absorb it well and was out of himself. Still i think he should be supported at the tail end of his career.

  • PAK FAN on April 11, 2009, 4:54 GMT

    A truely fit Shoaib is still an assest to the team - issue is he is always fit before the game and never in the game - at least for the last few series he's been given a chance.

    Young boys although not of Shoaib's class must be given a chance so that they can be groomed - how about Anwar Ali ? Hard to believe he has never made it in to the playing 11 of Seniors.

  • waterbuffalo on April 11, 2009, 1:42 GMT

    I have been following Pakistan cricket since 1981, I am a Malaysian by the way, I was a swing bowler who thought the world of Imran Khan and Pakistan. Now, with Mohd Yousuf out of the picture and what happened in Lahore and with the actions of the PCB and other Pakistani cricket figures I don't care anymore. I just don't, if Pakistan loses 5-0 I wouldn't bat an eyelash, even though I have hated Australia with a passion ever since 1999 at Hobart. Maybe in five years, when all these players that played in the WC in the Windies have gone, then I'll care enough to watch. At least I have my memories of five series wins in a row in England and 2 WC finals and a drawn series in South Africa and the Windies and amazing wins against India, NZ, Australia and Sri Lanka to keep me company. I don't need to watch this version of Pakistan. It will only sully and discolour and discredit the past.

  • Nikhil on April 10, 2009, 19:46 GMT

    Well said Moin. People just want to bash the BCCI. If the PCB had come up with something like the IPL, and had another private league rival it, the PCB would have taken the same step the BCCI did.

    People like Syed Mouhid Bin Ather are at best grossly misinformed, and at worst, absolute idiots. The Indian government and the BCCI did not stop Pakistani players from playing in the IPL. It was a stupid move on the part of the PCB to deny permission to Pakistani cricketers to play in the IPL.

    If Pakistanis want anyone to blame for the lack of Pakistani involvement in the IPL, they should blame their own PCB.

  • Daniel on May 3, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    This may or maybe not the appropriate forum to express these thoughts, but Pakistan has taken huge steps through this series.

    Despite the bickerings of internal politics and the problems of playing away from home, under the captaincy of Younus Khan, Pakistan have shown dedication and sportsmanship that have lifted the international game.

    As an Aussie, living in Pakistan, it has been difficult to be proud of Aussie achievements and wins when their arrogance and sledging has been so prominent. But, guided by the Pakisatni example of sportsmanship, this series has seen both teams play in the best possible spirit - led by Pakistan's example. Mind you I can't hear the stump-cam's comments. But it seems both teams are playing cricket, not mind games.

    The dignity and sportsmanship shown by the Pakistan team have been an example to all. To watch the way the Pakistan team and its captain have played the series and how the Aussie's have learned, is great. Thanks

  • S.Alam on April 18, 2009, 19:04 GMT

    Unfortunately the die hard Shoaib fans need to understand that in today's day and age, he is only a liability. At his current fitness (or lack there of) he is at best a filler bowler. I am willing to bet that he will not bowl more than 15-20 overs in this series and even that may be a major over estimation. Wake up guys Shoaib Akhter is an old unfit fast bowler who had the potential for greatness, but ended up being one of the biggest disappointments of his generation in the world of sports.

  • Hussain on April 18, 2009, 15:01 GMT

    I think PCB foolishly believes it can generate more revenue by putting Shoaib's name in the squad. If comments here are anything to go by, Shoaib simply does not deserve to be in the team. It is unfair to other pace bowlers at all levels. If Shoaib bowls more than 30 overs in this ODI series, I am willing to give up watching cricket altogether

  • Akram on April 16, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    Kamran, seems we have a lateral thinking. I can bet Shoaib will be sitting in the dressing room just after one (or maximum two) games - the cause, too much wear and tear!

  • Irfan on April 14, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    To discredit any body of his credentials is mean. Given that that person has been a source of different rows and controversies regards to conducts in both professional as well as personal lives. After waiting years to see this person make amends the people become so disillusioned that their sentiments spill over into outbursts that could be disconcerting to every body the haters and the lovers alike. I may go on with this prologue but the space prohibits it. Shoaib is one such person who always have an agenda of his own. His antics through out his career have really turned a lot of people off from him. As he progressed both in age and injuries theoretically he should have grown wiser and stronger but in reality it was quite the opposite. Now we are seeing a different Shoaib. I just hope that he has learned to lay low and put his nose to the grinding wheel and let the results speak for themselves.

  • aftab on April 12, 2009, 17:57 GMT

    This could be Shoaib's truly last appearence on Pakistan side. He has been a player responsible for a lot of excitement. Unfortunately, his discipline and fitness have made more headlines. He did give some memories to the game that will remain his forever. In my view this selection is a derserving farewell. He is in all likelihood not going to perform well, but let's hope that others fill in. We always have a player on the verge of retirement. He's the one this time.

  • sami on April 12, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    I think we should be positive. Shoaib Akhtar has an impact on the opposing teams. Let him play and support him as this is perhaps the last chance for him on international scene, also he can teach the young bowlers playing with him about some tricks. Sometimes i feel very sad about Shaoib, he had the great potential and talent but he destroyed himself, one of the reasons may be that media gave him too much importance and he did not absorb it well and was out of himself. Still i think he should be supported at the tail end of his career.

  • PAK FAN on April 11, 2009, 4:54 GMT

    A truely fit Shoaib is still an assest to the team - issue is he is always fit before the game and never in the game - at least for the last few series he's been given a chance.

    Young boys although not of Shoaib's class must be given a chance so that they can be groomed - how about Anwar Ali ? Hard to believe he has never made it in to the playing 11 of Seniors.

  • waterbuffalo on April 11, 2009, 1:42 GMT

    I have been following Pakistan cricket since 1981, I am a Malaysian by the way, I was a swing bowler who thought the world of Imran Khan and Pakistan. Now, with Mohd Yousuf out of the picture and what happened in Lahore and with the actions of the PCB and other Pakistani cricket figures I don't care anymore. I just don't, if Pakistan loses 5-0 I wouldn't bat an eyelash, even though I have hated Australia with a passion ever since 1999 at Hobart. Maybe in five years, when all these players that played in the WC in the Windies have gone, then I'll care enough to watch. At least I have my memories of five series wins in a row in England and 2 WC finals and a drawn series in South Africa and the Windies and amazing wins against India, NZ, Australia and Sri Lanka to keep me company. I don't need to watch this version of Pakistan. It will only sully and discolour and discredit the past.

  • Nikhil on April 10, 2009, 19:46 GMT

    Well said Moin. People just want to bash the BCCI. If the PCB had come up with something like the IPL, and had another private league rival it, the PCB would have taken the same step the BCCI did.

    People like Syed Mouhid Bin Ather are at best grossly misinformed, and at worst, absolute idiots. The Indian government and the BCCI did not stop Pakistani players from playing in the IPL. It was a stupid move on the part of the PCB to deny permission to Pakistani cricketers to play in the IPL.

    If Pakistanis want anyone to blame for the lack of Pakistani involvement in the IPL, they should blame their own PCB.

  • Moin on April 10, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    Regarding ICL, its funny. All the people accuse that BCCI wants to destroy pakistan by not allowing the their players. But no one wants to see that 70% of the players who are indians are not allowed as well. strange...people always want negativity (though BCCI is not a saint).Regarding IPL players...well...IPL is about money...and of the clubs money(its a domestic tournament as per ICC)..so its their decision...I dont think India wants to involve with pakistan...we are better off without them...ppl are more than happy with likes of KP, freddie, aussies and SA

  • Vijay Sharma on April 9, 2009, 21:23 GMT

    I predict the series to be closer than most people believe it is going to be.I think the result will be 3-2 and both teams have equal chance of winning.However, I would like Pakistan to win it because it is my favorite team after India. On a different note, some messages indicated that BCCI is the villain and is responsible for the situation that Pakistan cricket is in.Lets get real here, its the Pak Govt that banned the players from goin to India, hence contracts were terminated.Since IPL is happening in SA, Pak players can play but it is the franchises who have to make the contracts with Pak players and not BCCI.Dont blame BCCI and largely India for everything wrong with Pakistan.Why dont you guys set your home right first?The world will help you if you first demonstrate that you want to help yourselves

  • Danish (maza786.blogspot.com) on April 9, 2009, 18:25 GMT

    The team doesn’t sound appealing to watch nor does it seem to have credentials to turn the tables and make a real influence in world cricket. It’s an average side which I feel won’t be able to go far especially on away wickets. You need an all guns blazing Imran opening partnership. Also a classy Mohd Yousuf and a reverse swinging yorker expert in Rana Naved who is one of the best T20 players in the world. You may have question marks hanging over his fitness in the longer formats but in T20 he’s a synthetic prospect. That team need spicing up for sure!

    As regards Shoaib he shouldn't be in the team. He was a great for iconic sportsmen for Pakistan but the endless list of controversies is a step beyond acceptance. But he seems to have some tendency to perform against Australia so let’s wait and see.

  • Irfan Mayani on April 9, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    I am also one of the die hard fans of Akhtar, your comments are true but don't forget big names need to be managed in a better way , just the other day read about the unpredictable XI ( at the confectionary's blog) , there were 3 pakistanis in the team , and Shahid Afridi being the captain and Akhtar the spearhead. When in form and undistracted both these talents are world beaters and great to watch. But we should not forget that an inconsistent board / management and pathetic man management over the past decade from the PCB has lead to inconsistent performances from these highly talented cricketers like shoaib, afridi, asif, akmal etc. Fitness problems, discipline , drugs etc have always been there due to mishandling from the board and add to that our media always has to write about who was dropped , rathar then appreciate those who get selected in the squad. We all want akhtar in the team , but the headlines are always "Shoaib selected Again ! despite this and that "

  • Vishy on April 9, 2009, 4:06 GMT

    Kamran Bhai, we are waiting for your opinion piece on the Pakistani selectors having picked three ICL players for the World T20 squad. Things are fluid at the moment on that front, but we would love to hear your views on it.

  • salman ali rai from GIK Institute on April 8, 2009, 15:11 GMT

    Lift the ban from ICL players.If NZ players are allowed to play why aren't the Pakistanis.PCB has to show its power if left anymore

  • Syed Mouhid Bin Ather on April 8, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Its clear what BCCI is up to. Cricket should be kept separate from politics but BCCI has different thoughts. If IPL is in southafrica, why are Pakistani players not allowed to take part in it? A simple answer - because BCCI and Indian politicians have decided we are in a cold war with Pakistan. And we are going to hurt them in every possible way! And this is how they would have reacted: “Ohh dear! We had such a good excuse of the security of paki players when IPL was taking place in India but now wht? Hmm we cant let them play in SA. Or else they will gain experience!! SHUN them in every possible way! For us cricket aint just a game for us it quite more than that!!” Wht is wrong with ICL? I think there is nothing wrong with them except that they too are entertaining crowds, giving a platform to the youngsters, and in the process making cash….so whtt?? BCCI is just jealous nothing else! And Pakistan is losing key players like Nazir and Razzaq thanks to PCB's scared stance towards BCCI

  • Irfan on April 8, 2009, 14:17 GMT

    Back in the day when I was in Pakistan and was actively playing cricket, there was a term we used on the street, which was "Just Play". Stop talking and just play. Because when you play you can talk through your game. Like any other art form the skills possessed by these players will help them shine through it. Batsmen hit the ball around, bowlers try to intimidate and fielders run around do their thing. These players are the foremost lovers of this game, so let the love of the game dominate, take over! Just let these guys show what they are made of. Politics and cronyism are so rampant and in this cricket administration that nothing good has come out of it for past ten years. I don’t expect this squad to win against the Australians (actually nobody does) I just want to see them go up and play. How well or poorly they do we'll judge that later.

  • Irfan on April 8, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    I am about as much sure of it as I can touch my nose that this dud (Shoaib) will show his cowering side again. When you are a part of an eleven, it is your duty to bowl, bat and field for whatever the length of time it is required without any excuse. In the case of this dummy he is only required to show fitness necessary enough to bowl ten over?? What! Who is going to field half the day in the sapping heat of Middle East? He can't and won't, and we are not talking just one game here there are many. This was supposed to be the year for young horses with fresh legs not some old and tired has been! What a joke! Who gave the selection committee this idea that Pak public wanted to see him in the action.

  • S.M Arsalan Arif Khan on April 8, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    I think Shoaib Akhtar has played a major role in destroying Pakistan's image. He has been one of the prime reasons Pakistan's been in the headlines for non cricketing reasons.

  • indian on April 8, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    You are wondering what will happen to pak cricket, I am thinking about the pak nation. You guys are seriously sick man, go and do something for your nation, instead of blogging on something like cricket which is just a game, much smaller than a nation and its people.

  • ramanujam sridhar on April 8, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    Yes I wonder when Pakistan cricket will learn. How many chances will be given to Shoaib Akthar ? I think people like Shoaib are a bad advertisement for cricket in the world in general and Pakistan in particular. While one can expect Australia to perhaps win , it is worthwhile to remember that it is the end of a long, challenging and grinding schedule of cricket for the Australians and to make their task more difficult a few key australians including Ricky Ponting will not be there. A few like Lee are returning from a long injury and the matches will be played in the heat and dust of the middle east not in Australia . I do hope that pakistan acquits itself well, having been out of international cricket for long and with future fixtures in some sort of doubt. Sridhar

  • Die hard paki fan on April 8, 2009, 9:02 GMT

    Well, i dont know wat plays in akhtar's favour dat he keeps on coming back just to appear on dat list (coz im damn sure he'l b injured in no time) and i dont know when will they try out mhd amer and anwar ali (who can even bat + fully fit) and as for afridi an akmal (sorry khatmal infact) peopel said enough but selection commitee is deaf n dumb n kamran how can we expact any miracle (although i wud love to if it happens) when we have da same team dats getting knocked around 4m last 5 years only thing im looking forward to is Nasir jamshed, ahmed shehjad and younis' captaincy beside's dat i know umer gul wil do well as always. Good luck Pakistan do something to make us proud rather than sticking txpical old policies. Take a leaf from SA, AUS, IND Look at da bald changes they have made in da recent past which took them way ahead of us n finally organise some more international cricket for us please!!!

  • omair on April 8, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    All the other pakistani players might be unfairly burdened but its different for shoaib akhtar. I think it is definitely payback time for him. This is his chance. I do not expect him to run through the australian line up in every match. All he needs to show is that he is 100% committed. And if he is 100% committed then i have no doubts in my mind that he will give them a hard time automatically.

  • ejaz khokhar New Zealand on April 8, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    Good read Kamran to be politely honest, we have heard this over and over and over again. How super fit this guy is. Proof is always in the pudding and I am afraid it doesn't paint a pretty picture for the longtime now. Our cricket administrators have to move on beyond Shoaib and think of the future. He is done n dusted and ended his product life cycle. It would be nice to see some nice guys who have potential and promise for the future of Pakistan Cricket. How long we are going to live in illusion. Sorry but time is up for Shoiab and he needs to play IPL full time and leave the serious cricket to younger generation of promising cricketers for Pakistan team. It an honor to play and get green cap of Pakistan Cricket which is has been taken for granted by this guy a numerous times. I hope our administrator wake up to reality and make some tough decisions. I always followed you blog and this is first itme I taken part in it. Thanks for such nice forum for feed back.

  • salman ali rai from GIK Institute on April 8, 2009, 4:38 GMT

    yes definitely we r in the middle of the battle for survivle of pakistan cricket and i m very optimistic about pakistan chances in this series against australia.We know that it wont b optimistic to say that we should win 5-0 or 4-1 but what we want from our boys is that they play every game with utmost spirit that is needed the most right now one other point i would like to raise is that the PCB must lift the ban from ICL players as the absenceof quality players is also effecting the national team.Why would we always follow wht ICC and BCCI order us.BCCI has terminated contracts of pakistani players playing in IPL and they r forcing every country not to tour pakistan so PCB must show that it is not a slave of BCCI n ICC.Coming back of players like Rana,Razzaq,Farhat and Imran Nazir would certainly help Pakistan's cause and i also appeal to u mr Kamran that u raise this point in your blogs salman ali rai

  • jilani on April 7, 2009, 23:40 GMT

    I am usually not this paranoid, Pakistan has been a subject of blatant discrimination by the axis of evil i.e. ICC and BCCI-racial, financial, professional, ethical and all else.

    Where other nations have prospered, Pakistani Cricket has been intentionally kept at the other side of the invisible barrier for every thing but the cricketing reasons.

    If the issue were ICL players from NewZealand, it will not be a big deal. But god forbid-Pakistani ICL players-they cannot play AT ALL. BCCI has made a mission statement out of undermining Pakistan and its cricket. ICC is just its mouthpiece anyhow.

    If IPL is moved to SA, it is only Pakistani players that are left out of the team even though the matter is that of a simple ye or nay.

    I say this again-until PCB develops a spine and takes BCCI head on (of course you need talent for that), it will continue to suffer.

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  • jilani on April 7, 2009, 23:40 GMT

    I am usually not this paranoid, Pakistan has been a subject of blatant discrimination by the axis of evil i.e. ICC and BCCI-racial, financial, professional, ethical and all else.

    Where other nations have prospered, Pakistani Cricket has been intentionally kept at the other side of the invisible barrier for every thing but the cricketing reasons.

    If the issue were ICL players from NewZealand, it will not be a big deal. But god forbid-Pakistani ICL players-they cannot play AT ALL. BCCI has made a mission statement out of undermining Pakistan and its cricket. ICC is just its mouthpiece anyhow.

    If IPL is moved to SA, it is only Pakistani players that are left out of the team even though the matter is that of a simple ye or nay.

    I say this again-until PCB develops a spine and takes BCCI head on (of course you need talent for that), it will continue to suffer.

  • salman ali rai from GIK Institute on April 8, 2009, 4:38 GMT

    yes definitely we r in the middle of the battle for survivle of pakistan cricket and i m very optimistic about pakistan chances in this series against australia.We know that it wont b optimistic to say that we should win 5-0 or 4-1 but what we want from our boys is that they play every game with utmost spirit that is needed the most right now one other point i would like to raise is that the PCB must lift the ban from ICL players as the absenceof quality players is also effecting the national team.Why would we always follow wht ICC and BCCI order us.BCCI has terminated contracts of pakistani players playing in IPL and they r forcing every country not to tour pakistan so PCB must show that it is not a slave of BCCI n ICC.Coming back of players like Rana,Razzaq,Farhat and Imran Nazir would certainly help Pakistan's cause and i also appeal to u mr Kamran that u raise this point in your blogs salman ali rai

  • ejaz khokhar New Zealand on April 8, 2009, 6:44 GMT

    Good read Kamran to be politely honest, we have heard this over and over and over again. How super fit this guy is. Proof is always in the pudding and I am afraid it doesn't paint a pretty picture for the longtime now. Our cricket administrators have to move on beyond Shoaib and think of the future. He is done n dusted and ended his product life cycle. It would be nice to see some nice guys who have potential and promise for the future of Pakistan Cricket. How long we are going to live in illusion. Sorry but time is up for Shoiab and he needs to play IPL full time and leave the serious cricket to younger generation of promising cricketers for Pakistan team. It an honor to play and get green cap of Pakistan Cricket which is has been taken for granted by this guy a numerous times. I hope our administrator wake up to reality and make some tough decisions. I always followed you blog and this is first itme I taken part in it. Thanks for such nice forum for feed back.

  • omair on April 8, 2009, 7:41 GMT

    All the other pakistani players might be unfairly burdened but its different for shoaib akhtar. I think it is definitely payback time for him. This is his chance. I do not expect him to run through the australian line up in every match. All he needs to show is that he is 100% committed. And if he is 100% committed then i have no doubts in my mind that he will give them a hard time automatically.

  • Die hard paki fan on April 8, 2009, 9:02 GMT

    Well, i dont know wat plays in akhtar's favour dat he keeps on coming back just to appear on dat list (coz im damn sure he'l b injured in no time) and i dont know when will they try out mhd amer and anwar ali (who can even bat + fully fit) and as for afridi an akmal (sorry khatmal infact) peopel said enough but selection commitee is deaf n dumb n kamran how can we expact any miracle (although i wud love to if it happens) when we have da same team dats getting knocked around 4m last 5 years only thing im looking forward to is Nasir jamshed, ahmed shehjad and younis' captaincy beside's dat i know umer gul wil do well as always. Good luck Pakistan do something to make us proud rather than sticking txpical old policies. Take a leaf from SA, AUS, IND Look at da bald changes they have made in da recent past which took them way ahead of us n finally organise some more international cricket for us please!!!

  • ramanujam sridhar on April 8, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    Yes I wonder when Pakistan cricket will learn. How many chances will be given to Shoaib Akthar ? I think people like Shoaib are a bad advertisement for cricket in the world in general and Pakistan in particular. While one can expect Australia to perhaps win , it is worthwhile to remember that it is the end of a long, challenging and grinding schedule of cricket for the Australians and to make their task more difficult a few key australians including Ricky Ponting will not be there. A few like Lee are returning from a long injury and the matches will be played in the heat and dust of the middle east not in Australia . I do hope that pakistan acquits itself well, having been out of international cricket for long and with future fixtures in some sort of doubt. Sridhar

  • indian on April 8, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    You are wondering what will happen to pak cricket, I am thinking about the pak nation. You guys are seriously sick man, go and do something for your nation, instead of blogging on something like cricket which is just a game, much smaller than a nation and its people.

  • S.M Arsalan Arif Khan on April 8, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    I think Shoaib Akhtar has played a major role in destroying Pakistan's image. He has been one of the prime reasons Pakistan's been in the headlines for non cricketing reasons.

  • Irfan on April 8, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    I am about as much sure of it as I can touch my nose that this dud (Shoaib) will show his cowering side again. When you are a part of an eleven, it is your duty to bowl, bat and field for whatever the length of time it is required without any excuse. In the case of this dummy he is only required to show fitness necessary enough to bowl ten over?? What! Who is going to field half the day in the sapping heat of Middle East? He can't and won't, and we are not talking just one game here there are many. This was supposed to be the year for young horses with fresh legs not some old and tired has been! What a joke! Who gave the selection committee this idea that Pak public wanted to see him in the action.

  • Irfan on April 8, 2009, 14:17 GMT

    Back in the day when I was in Pakistan and was actively playing cricket, there was a term we used on the street, which was "Just Play". Stop talking and just play. Because when you play you can talk through your game. Like any other art form the skills possessed by these players will help them shine through it. Batsmen hit the ball around, bowlers try to intimidate and fielders run around do their thing. These players are the foremost lovers of this game, so let the love of the game dominate, take over! Just let these guys show what they are made of. Politics and cronyism are so rampant and in this cricket administration that nothing good has come out of it for past ten years. I don’t expect this squad to win against the Australians (actually nobody does) I just want to see them go up and play. How well or poorly they do we'll judge that later.