World Cup 2011 March 18, 2011

Pakistan's Australian sandwich

The last time Australia lost a World Cup match, Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar both played. It was a dramatic May day in Leeds
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The last time Australia lost a World Cup match, Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar both played. It was a dramatic May day in Leeds, when Pakistan fans owned Headingley with their flags and claxons, the kind of occasion that inspired the ECB that a neutral Test series involving Pakistan was bound to succeed. How wrong that proved to be, with last summer's experiment making embarrassing losses.

Equally wrong was everyone who gloated over Australia's demise after such a thrilling defeat. Steven Waugh looked pained, almost broken, as he acknowledged his team would need to win an improbable seven matches in a row to win World Cup 1999. That hurt sparked an undefeated run in World Cup cricket spanning four tournaments, three decades, three trophies, and two millennia.

Wins over Australia and New Zealand in 1999 were Pakistan's champagne moments, the last time they thrilled at a World Cup. It was less of a thrill for Waqar Younis, Pakistan's current coach. I remember looking across the balcony that separates the press box from the players' dressing rooms at Headingley and seeing Waqar looking on wistfully as his fellows completed a dramatic victory.

Waqar was in Pakistan's squad for the 1999 World Cup but he didn't play a match of note. It was the second World Cup final he could have played had fate dealt him a winner's hand. Shoaib, the new express, had taken his place on the tracks. Either side of that tournament the World Cup continued to deliver heartache for Waqar, as a bowler in 1996 and then as a captain in 2003.

Now, another twist of fate has placed Waqar in command of Shoaib's final destiny, accelerated by an announcement that was part well-timed and part ill-timed. As good as it is for Shoaib to leave on his own terms it wasn't necessary to create a distraction at this point in the tournament, especially when he is at the centre of a selection conundrum.

All the evidence on Waqar points towards an aggressive bowler but a defensive captain and coach, which means the clamour for an extra bowler is likely to go unheeded. Shahid Afridi has almost confirmed as much. With Asad Shafiq looking set to retain his place and Umar Akmal a good bet to replace Ahmed Shehzad, the Shoaib issue remains unresolved.

An opening combination of Shoaib and Razzaq is a liability at both ends of an innings, and Shoaib's deterioration in second and third spells is a particular worry. Pakistan will now want to settle on their best team for this tournament, the Australia match is a dress-rehearsal for a World Cup Quarter Final, not a time for experimentation.

On that basis, the odds favour Wahab Riaz's selection against Australia. Now Shoaib could be looking on wistfully, with Waqar beside him, as Shahid Afridi's Pakistan attempt to end Australia's incredible run that Wasim Akram's Pakistan started. Australia remain strong but are more beatable. That 1999 side included the Waugh twins, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, and Glenn McGrath--to think that anybody seriously thought it was the end of the road?

After a period of clear separation, Australia's recent decline has brought the two countries closer together. Pakistan are capable of completing a neat historical sandwich, despite the coach's penchant for an extra batsman or two. If his men succeed, Waqar's victory smile will stretch a little wider in memory of his solitary vigil in the Headingley dressing room as a rousing clamour greeted every Australian wicket and propelled Pakistan to a famous triumph.

Back in those days, Shoaib Akhtar had the world at the mercy of his bendy elbows. Now the world has moved on and so must Shoaib.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Travon on December 23, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    That's cleared my thoughts. Thanks for conrtuibtnig.

  • noor alam on March 21, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    ha ha sandwich pakistan the world strong team and shahid khan afridi is the best captin in the world pakistan will be wining this world cup inshallah ..and you kamran abbasi you eat to this sandwich ha ha ha pakistan,s austrlian sandwich kamran abbasi next time you not this eords ok

  • Rana Tanveer on March 21, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    INSHAALLAH pakistan win the world cup!!!!!

  • Muhammad Saidul Haque on March 21, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    Assalamulaikum Kamran vhai, briefly requesting to you that Pakistan batting order must be like this way-- 1. Kamran Akmal 2. Asad Shafiq 3. Younis Khan 4. misbah Ul-Haq 5. Umar Akmal 6. Shahid Afridi 7. Abdur Razaaq 8. Muhammad Hafiz[ just for his poor batting form performing in this tournament but must be required true off-spinner] 9. Abdur Rehman 10. Umrar Gul 11. Saied Ajmal[ inclusion only for against West-indies to operate extra pressure over the windies batsmen]. But, Pakistan should never treat West-Indies as weaker opponent as Pak players will be feeling easy comfortable situation.

  • azhar qazi on March 21, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    my team against W.I: Kami Hafeez Asad Younis Misbah U.akmal Razzq Afridi Ajmal U.Gull Shoaib Akhtar

  • Thisara Perera on March 21, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Posted by: Vishwa at March 20, 2011 4:14 PM

    It is quite strange and funny that Pakistani fans keep picking up their final 11 in these blogs! I am sure, even selectors don't have so much time...

    AGREED. Well said. pak`s are dreaming....

  • Haider on March 21, 2011, 2:50 GMT

    According to my opinion Pakistan team has the jazba to win the cup that counts but there is only need of support. So pls get up and cheer for the Pakistani Cricket team. If u want my opinion for the team. I should suggest that our captain should perform well in betting side also. He is a much experienced person but juniors are playing much better then him. We want a big game from AFRIDI.

  • Salman Amjad on March 20, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    We are not seeting our batting line up properly still got top position in group. Batting order should be like this......hope all will be agree with this.

    1. Kamran Akmal 2. Shahid Afridi 3. Asad Shafiq 4. Younis Khan 5. Misbah-ul-Haq 6. Umar Akmal 7. Abdul Razzaq 8. Abdul Rehman 9. Umar Gul 10. Saeed Ajmal 11. Shoiab Akhtar/Wahab Riaz

    Batting order is arraged and we have 6 specialist bowler as well

    1. Umar Gul 2. Abdul Rehman 3. Shoaib Akhtar / Wahan Riaz 4. Shahid Afridi 5. Saeed Ajmal 6. Abdul Razzaq

    We dont need of Hafeez as he is not a time pass bowler nor a batsman...

  • Vishwa on March 20, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    It is quite strange and funny that Pakistani fans keep picking up their final 11 in these blogs! I am sure, even selectors don't have so much time...

  • Adil Ahmad on March 20, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    How can Pakistan leave out some one like Shoaib Akhtar and play Abdul Rehman instead. What has Rehman done so far? Two wickets in six matches! I'm sure most of the batsmen will be terrified seeing Rehman running in instead of Shoaib! He' a container, not a striker. Why are Intikhab, Waqar ( whome I respect termendously ) and Afridi so defensive minded? Attack with your match winning players. That's the only way to win the Tournamnt. My Team: Kamran, Hafeez, Shafiq, Younis, Misbah, Umar, Razaaq, Afridi, Gul, Junaid, Wahab. This gives you one of the best bowling attack in the world with four seamers and two spinners. They whould threaten any batting line up in the world. Play to your strength Pakistan and attack! May the force be with you.

  • Travon on December 23, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    That's cleared my thoughts. Thanks for conrtuibtnig.

  • noor alam on March 21, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    ha ha sandwich pakistan the world strong team and shahid khan afridi is the best captin in the world pakistan will be wining this world cup inshallah ..and you kamran abbasi you eat to this sandwich ha ha ha pakistan,s austrlian sandwich kamran abbasi next time you not this eords ok

  • Rana Tanveer on March 21, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    INSHAALLAH pakistan win the world cup!!!!!

  • Muhammad Saidul Haque on March 21, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    Assalamulaikum Kamran vhai, briefly requesting to you that Pakistan batting order must be like this way-- 1. Kamran Akmal 2. Asad Shafiq 3. Younis Khan 4. misbah Ul-Haq 5. Umar Akmal 6. Shahid Afridi 7. Abdur Razaaq 8. Muhammad Hafiz[ just for his poor batting form performing in this tournament but must be required true off-spinner] 9. Abdur Rehman 10. Umrar Gul 11. Saied Ajmal[ inclusion only for against West-indies to operate extra pressure over the windies batsmen]. But, Pakistan should never treat West-Indies as weaker opponent as Pak players will be feeling easy comfortable situation.

  • azhar qazi on March 21, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    my team against W.I: Kami Hafeez Asad Younis Misbah U.akmal Razzq Afridi Ajmal U.Gull Shoaib Akhtar

  • Thisara Perera on March 21, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Posted by: Vishwa at March 20, 2011 4:14 PM

    It is quite strange and funny that Pakistani fans keep picking up their final 11 in these blogs! I am sure, even selectors don't have so much time...

    AGREED. Well said. pak`s are dreaming....

  • Haider on March 21, 2011, 2:50 GMT

    According to my opinion Pakistan team has the jazba to win the cup that counts but there is only need of support. So pls get up and cheer for the Pakistani Cricket team. If u want my opinion for the team. I should suggest that our captain should perform well in betting side also. He is a much experienced person but juniors are playing much better then him. We want a big game from AFRIDI.

  • Salman Amjad on March 20, 2011, 17:24 GMT

    We are not seeting our batting line up properly still got top position in group. Batting order should be like this......hope all will be agree with this.

    1. Kamran Akmal 2. Shahid Afridi 3. Asad Shafiq 4. Younis Khan 5. Misbah-ul-Haq 6. Umar Akmal 7. Abdul Razzaq 8. Abdul Rehman 9. Umar Gul 10. Saeed Ajmal 11. Shoiab Akhtar/Wahab Riaz

    Batting order is arraged and we have 6 specialist bowler as well

    1. Umar Gul 2. Abdul Rehman 3. Shoaib Akhtar / Wahan Riaz 4. Shahid Afridi 5. Saeed Ajmal 6. Abdul Razzaq

    We dont need of Hafeez as he is not a time pass bowler nor a batsman...

  • Vishwa on March 20, 2011, 16:14 GMT

    It is quite strange and funny that Pakistani fans keep picking up their final 11 in these blogs! I am sure, even selectors don't have so much time...

  • Adil Ahmad on March 20, 2011, 11:32 GMT

    How can Pakistan leave out some one like Shoaib Akhtar and play Abdul Rehman instead. What has Rehman done so far? Two wickets in six matches! I'm sure most of the batsmen will be terrified seeing Rehman running in instead of Shoaib! He' a container, not a striker. Why are Intikhab, Waqar ( whome I respect termendously ) and Afridi so defensive minded? Attack with your match winning players. That's the only way to win the Tournamnt. My Team: Kamran, Hafeez, Shafiq, Younis, Misbah, Umar, Razaaq, Afridi, Gul, Junaid, Wahab. This gives you one of the best bowling attack in the world with four seamers and two spinners. They whould threaten any batting line up in the world. Play to your strength Pakistan and attack! May the force be with you.

  • Mohidin Gundroo on March 19, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    Well done Pakistan for a well played and well deserved victory.Could not fault you today xpt Younis Khans and Afridis wreckless shots which gave a sniff of hope to australians and put rest of the team under pressure and almost a heart attack to some us die hard pakistani fans.Keep cool.

  • Imdad Memon on March 19, 2011, 20:18 GMT

    1. Kamran Akmal 2. Mohammad Hafeez 3. Abdul Razzaq 4. Younis Khan 5. Misbah-ul-Haq 6. Umar Akmal 7. Shahid Afridi 8. Umar Gul 9. Saeed Ajmal 10. Shoiab Akhtar 11. Junaid Khan

    This Time In Pakistani Team There is no better player Abdal Razaq,

  • ALI on March 19, 2011, 19:33 GMT

    shoaib akhtar should play the next back, they need him!!!

  • shuja on March 19, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    Finally Pakistan has won so who said Pakistan need to played wid 15 only 6 players do that for us.

  • adnan on March 19, 2011, 16:40 GMT

    Great Article with extreme insight and historical context.

  • Yousaf on March 19, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Well bowled Pakistan - only half the job is done. Now, they have to chase 176.

    Also, I would like to say when can't Ijaz Butt make Ian Chappel Pakistan captain. Today, he was in no mood to admit that Pakistani bowlers bowled well. He was questioning Afridi's leadership skill. Very funny to see him to comments on Pakistan.

    Two face people, he has to be appreciative of Pakistani bowling and fielding effort.

  • shankar on March 19, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    pakistn is not playing akhtar.i feel sorry.

  • Inaam Abbas on March 19, 2011, 8:31 GMT

    In my opinion, our team has 1. M. Hafeez 2. Kamran Akmal 3. Asad Shafiq 4. Younus Khan 5. Misbah ul Haq 6. Umer Akmal 7. Abdul Razzak 8. Shahid Afiridi 9. Umer Gul 10.Shoaib Akhtar 11.Saeed Ajmal

  • Junaid on March 19, 2011, 8:09 GMT

    Imran Khan once said this.... " I need 5 bowlers and one batsman to win the ODI game " i would just like to ask some of my friends who can remember the day, when 2 batsmen make 100 runs each in any ODI??? i am one of the big fan of waqar, but probably he is not looking from this angle. We are relying on non specialist bowlers, hafeez, afridi, etc(though they are performing at the moment) but when bad time will comes, it will be hard for them also, as only professional knows how to do things

  • Tansah on March 19, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    This should an interesting match. The Aussies wil benefit from losing. Hopefully, Pak wins. Need Akhtar... he may be fat, old, sweaty, but he's a threat that needs to be looked at.

  • Amjad on March 19, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    For pakistan to do good from here will be a real test of their aptitude ,skills and temperament. I hope i am not asking for too much.

  • Fahad Bilal on March 19, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    I would like to know that why do we take players with us on various tours if we have no urge to let them play? Trying out a new bowler in the Quarter final or semi finals could be lethal for Pakistan, on the other hand, since we have already qualified for the Quarter Final, I would suggest that this match is the perfect time for Pakistan to try new talent such as Junaid Khan, specially after Shoaib's decission. GOD help Pakistan

  • Farhat kazmi on March 19, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    Though, pakistan will strugle in bating department but toss will play vital rol,though, bating under lights will be tough, shoaib akhtar should b in the team, if pak batted well they will win though

  • Dr.Waqar Ghory on March 19, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    In my opinion, our team has two problem areas, one is openers and other is the fifth specialist bowler, which means a wicket taking bowler,Abdul Razzaq should not be considered as a bowling option anymore and if he is to bat at no.8 , then he is less likely to be of any use in batting.My team for the match against Australia would be : 1. M. Hafeez 2. Asad Shafiq 3. Umar Akmal 4. Younus Khan 5. Misbah ul Haq 6. Kamran Akmal 7. Shahid Afridi 8. Wahab Riaz 9. Umer Gul 10.Shoaib Akhtar 11.Saeed Ajmal

  • shahil on March 19, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    It's the very right time to choose best playing 11 for next 3 games...And Pak should include Junaid Khan in playing 11 for today's Match...Deffibnitely freshness will make the change...Even Team will get finest replacement for Mohammad Amir...

  • Shouldas – Wouldas - Couldas on March 19, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    Derailing the "OZ-JUGGERNAUT" !

    Scene is set for TITANIC TUSSLE. It'll be Australia Vs. (pumped-up Pathan) SHAHID KHAN AFRIDI.

    I've already put on my GREEN-SHIRT.

  • Hassan on March 19, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    I think in that match the GREATEST match winning Pakistani batsman ( Inzi ) scored 80 odd runs and that made the difference because Pakistan's bowling was great at that time. Having said that the Australian team is not the same too so it should be a good match given the fact that the match is on sub-continent pitch.

  • Desihungama on March 19, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    On matters related to Cricket. Should Pak win against the Aussies which I pretty much think they can and will, play Shoaib against the weaker opponent in the QF and if win that one which there is a greater chance then introduce Juniad as a surprise in semis. That's your winning formula.

  • Desihungama on March 19, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    He, Kamran Akmal often he looks to me as if a mole has been placed in Pakistan team.

  • khalil on March 19, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    i'm totaly agree with shariq & zohaib if they keep both brothers in the team they will never win they not play for country they are play for money (big match fixer) they triten team captain & manegement you guys play without them (2Akmals)& their co.last time they were lucky to escape this time i dont think so shame on you (paisay kay pujary )

  • Shehzad Ahmed on March 19, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    Shoaibs problems are complicated by Akmals catch dropping. Had Akmal held on to the catch against Kiwis he would have come out successful. I personally think Shoaib or no Shoaib, we need to drop Kamran Akmal against Aussies and try Asad Shafiq as keeper other wise Akmal brothers will sink Pakistan. This is second time Umar has faked injury to save Kamran. And even if he serve as keeper what is the guarantee he will have motivation to give 100% as keeper. He might not perform so Kamran would be back. We need to drop Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal if we want to win.

  • Mohabbatsahab on March 19, 2011, 2:24 GMT

    The team should play against Australia. 1. Kamran Akmal 2. Mohammad Hafeez 3. Abdul Razzaq 4. Younis Khan 5. Misbah-ul-Haq 6. Umar Akmal 7. Shahid Afridi 8. Umar Gul 9. Saeed Ajmal 10. Shoiab Akhtar 11. Junaid Khan Abdul Razzaq should play 1 down and this should be the batting line up. Use A.razzaq and get 1 bowler more. Follow me on Twitter @mohabbatsahab

  • masood ahmad on March 19, 2011, 2:13 GMT

    Inclusion of junaid in the team will certainly increase the bowling strenth.You never know he is young and with little bit of encouragement , he may prove as effective as aamir. Give shoib another chance as opening attack along with junaid. use gul as third bowler.And let ajmal,afridi and hafiz spin the bowl.razzak should be used as changeover replacement.My suggestion would be to use razzak more like a batsman...may be send him at #3 to utilize the power play overs...might generate some quick runs. the most important factor will be run rate in the begining of the inning.The team will be hafeez,kamran,razzak,younas,misbah,umar,afridi,gul,ajmal, shoib and junaid.

  • A>ZAIDI from MONTREAL on March 19, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    I agree with k.qureshi open with razzaq &afridi both are very experienced to open &blunt aussie pace attak .Let afridi lead from front & show leader ship demonstrate temprament .I know if he tries he can do a great job he should stop throughing his valueable wicket now. Followed by 3 asad 4 hafeez 5 younis 6 misbah 7 u akmal 8 gul 9 riaz 10 rehman 11 ajmal .3 pacers 4 spinners & 7 batsman will make a nice funeral party for aussies like S L did today to N zealand YES WE CAN DO IT & I know we can bring the cup home AGAIN INSHA ALLAH.

  • Shahid on March 19, 2011, 1:56 GMT

    Its more of a sentimental approach when people ask Shoaib to be included. After his first spell he can't even field. He announced his retirement in the middle of WC to put some pressure on Waqar and Afridi but I don't think they will buy it. Pakistan needs to answer Australian pace with a package of spinners. It's a spinning wicket and you need both ajmal and Rehman to aid Afridi.

  • Asghar kazim on March 19, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    No big expectations from team Pakistan. If they can play professionally and not make minnow mistakes,that is all I hope for.

  • Impala on March 19, 2011, 1:19 GMT

    ICC, please allow Pakistan to play atleast 15 otherwise there is no hope. Shoaib, Razzak, Akmals.....? Simply Pakistan is NOT aggresive enough.

  • Shiraz on March 19, 2011, 0:55 GMT

    Pakistan and PCB has a habit of kicking out their heroes after embarassing loss whether miandad, akram, waqar and now akhtar. I would give 3 overs to Shoaib than give 10 overs to Wahab Riaz...you need wickets with pace not content the batsmen as they will go berserk in the end...sorry but razzaq's and riaz's wont stop Australia...bring the pave attack of Akhtar, Gul and Junaid Khan...stop making errors repeatedly!

  • Jay Malone on March 19, 2011, 0:40 GMT

    can someone really tell me who is this guy, called Kamran Akmal. when i look at his performance vs respect. I feel he is the real Captain / Coach / Manager and deal maker/breaker of Pakistan team. Am I wrong??

  • kashif butt on March 19, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    i dont care what ppl think of shoaib all i know is when he run to bowl for pakistan that makes my heart beat ever so fast,,he is the one who gona take wkts at the start. should play tomorrow,let him go respectfully....

  • Irfan A. Kazi on March 19, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    Remove your wicket/wicked keeper (Kamran Akmal), you will have a chance to win!! Shoaib... is the need of time...you need to attack and no one can do it better than shoaib in the current circumstances. I wish you good luck...

  • murtaza on March 18, 2011, 23:57 GMT

    well written, i think shoaib sould play he is the best bowler from Pakistan team he has full variety of fast bowling he should play this big match

  • Ahmed on March 18, 2011, 23:56 GMT

    Although its been mentioned, it hasnt been mentioned enough:WHAT IS KAMRAN AKMAL STILL DOING IN THE SIDE. Why do we burden ourselves with having to take at least 14 wickets per match? I think that we have to play Shoaib against Australia. He was dropped because Taylor smashed him around for an over but Taylor was only there due to Akmal's incompetence - what more do you want a bowler to do? Apart from this his performance has been good when he's played even in the NZ game. He's just put together the longest run of games injury free in his whole career so 10 overs shouldnt be a problem - if required. Most importantly, in order to upset the ruthless efficiency of Australia we require something special, something that only Shoaib can deliver. Easily still the quickest bowler in the side with the ability to reverse swing - the Jayawardene wicket enforces the point. I also think that they should play Ajmal instead of Rehman.

  • Naveed Fayyaz kk on March 18, 2011, 22:58 GMT

    i m sure Pakistan will lose the match bcoz they r neglecting the merit in the team, first of all shahid afridi is a pathetic captain against Canada when they r 5 down shahid afridi took 4 fielders in circle how rubbish, also he is totally ignoring shoaib akhter he is a wicket taker bowler and he is choosing wahab riaz over shoaib, Pakistan team management was saying that shoaib didn't bowl well in last match on the other hand they r saying that kamran akmar is working very hard but luck is not with him this is totally silly biased and sense less so in my opinion the team which neglects merit should not win the match and THIS Pakistan team fits on this TC.

  • shah on March 18, 2011, 22:50 GMT

    only team that can beat Aus is Pakistan. if Pakistan loses means Aus is going to win the WC again.

  • Ahmed on March 18, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    Mr.Kamran, in you articles, you said nothing about our hoorable wicketkeeper, for any fast bowler, if the keeper is dam, the bowler can do nothing. Please read all comments of every viewers, cand change your articles, we all want shoeb akhtar back in team and lets out kamran akmal, it look like in our whole country just one wicket keeper. Please for God shake be honest.

  • shahadatrz on March 18, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    Continued.... 3)Why Afridi comes ahead of Razzaq? Is he a better batsman than Razzaq? Razzaq must come at no.6, even if Asad Shafiq plays. Asad to be at 7, and Afridi to be at 8. 4)Leaving Ajmal continuously out of team preferring Rehman over him will cost Pak eventually. That was one of the greatest mistakes Pak have made from the beginning of the tournament. Anyway, from this match onwards, Kamran must open with Hafiz.

  • shahadatrz on March 18, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    Pak have been making some basic and great mistakes from the very beginning of the tournament. 1)Pushing Younis and Misbah to no. 4 and 5 is the greatest mistake. When they make runs, they occupy till the end of the innings which is really harmful (and we saw that against SL). Younis must come at 3 and Misbah 4. 2)Putting Umar Akmal at no. 6 is also ridiculous. Most of their critics and also the PAK team management and selectors sometime blame him to be out playing rash shots. But that is not for him, that is for he is pushed too late in the innings. When he comes, he has to hit almost every ball, so what will he do? He is not Afridi. He must be given some time to settle, then he can play great shots. So, putting Younis and Misbah up in the order will set Umar at no. 5, and will give better chance.

  • shahadatrz on March 18, 2011, 22:07 GMT

    Everyone is talking about this and that...why anyone is not anxious about Kamran's gloveworks?! I'm greatly concerned of how many catches (and stampings) he will miss... :(

  • Fuss on March 18, 2011, 21:53 GMT

    Pakistan cannot win if they don't play like Pakistan; aggressive with objective of either getting batsmen out or hitting them out due to some superb pace bowling. Shoaib has to play. His presence motivates the crowd and his spirit motivates the team. When you know you've got a guy that'll be bowling 90 mph at your opponents' throats, you're alot more confident. On the flipside, the demotivating factor of Kamran Akmal has to be dropped, despite him taking regulation catches. His selection for the squad is based upon the fact that he was cleared of match-fixing on the basis of just being incompetent. After the Ross Taylor drops, I wouldn't blame any bowler for not giving 100%. Shoaib has to prove his fitness, match fitness, match form, behaviour and what not. Kamran Akmal just has to waltz in as if it's his uncle's team that he's playing for. We will lose if Akhtar doesn't play, he's the only player that the Australians respect. We will loose if Akmal plays, he's a joke to all.

  • tishna on March 18, 2011, 21:26 GMT

    its time to give chance to junaid zia..

  • Akbar Qamar on March 18, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    If KA continues with his awful keeping then Pak should have Asad to work behind the stumps (if there is a possibility). Ahmed should be dropped for the remainder of the tournament for his own good. Razzaq should bat at number 3 to provide some boost. Younus and Misbah should learn something from Sangakara and Jayawardene (they should provide the steel in pakistan batting line up). Pakistan need to utilize Junaid if they are dropping Akhtar. If they pick the right players for this match and play with right mindset then it will be very hard for Aussies to beat Pakistan. Inshallah Pakistan will win.... if they can't win then i hope they should show some fight...

  • myqqoob on March 18, 2011, 20:30 GMT

    My team for tommorrow will be: Hafeez Kamran Abdul Razack Younus Misbha Afridi umer Akmal Wahab Akther Gul .no need to play rehman ,:))

  • pvs on March 18, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    I don't agree with you Kamran. Shoaib is a wicket taking bowler and must be persisted with. IMO Razzaq should make way for Shoaib. Shoaib, Gul, Wahab and Afridi lethal combination. Razzaq bowling is weak is he is suspect against any fast bowling.

  • usman on March 18, 2011, 20:07 GMT

    Blaming shoaib or anyone else in my opinion is not justified. What i feel is, that at present, Pakistan is the most dangerously balanced side. Every player is being backed up by another. Why this side does not perform as per the possessed capabilities is bescause they lack self belief. Pakistan can easily beat Australia today, provided, they play without fear of loosing the match.

  • aslammirza on March 18, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    junaid should be given a chance. only then we can invent a new "AMIR". If we give the chance to junaid.

  • kenny on March 18, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    don't wanna say much. Paki needs to play like a world champ to win this game :)

  • ali on March 18, 2011, 19:40 GMT

    I think Cricket Pakistan owes Shoib Akhtar one more World Cup in the lime light... I have never seen a player give it his all and then more through pain and suffering for his team and country!

  • Shariq on March 18, 2011, 19:37 GMT

    Waqar and Aridi has lost there mind, dropping akhtar against australia is not a wise decision.How can you keep 3 match fixers like umer, kamran and wahab. I am not in favor to drop akhtar as we all know he is the greatest and still the fastest bowler and wicket taker. Drop rehman and pick ajmal on the other hand bad option to open inning with kamran. He is better to bat at number 8 but low confident afridi has no sense whats so ever. If afridi wana do stupid captaincy then sorry to say pak will be out in quater final.

  • M JIBRAN on March 18, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    In SHORT .... who play well will win the match simple as that

  • Talha on March 18, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Its time for Junaid Khan.... Let the guy have a feeling of playing in a worldcup match and we will see what he has store in him.

  • Adeel Akhlaque on March 18, 2011, 19:18 GMT

    and If that idiot Akmal had taken that catch his avg and economy might even be better!!

  • Adeel Akhlaque on March 18, 2011, 19:17 GMT

    I dont know why ppl are making a big deal out of it but that was JUST ONE BAD OVER!!

    Shoaib Akhtar 5 1 10 0 2.00 (Kenya) Shoaib Akhtar 10 0 42 2 4.20 (SL) Shoaib Akhtar 9 0 70 1 7.77 (NZ)

    If you do not include that one over his economy rate is 4.09 which is absolutely OK for a Fast Strike Bowler in Sub Continent conditions.

    Its just that ppl can sell their articles better by bad mouthing HIM.

  • ABKhan on March 18, 2011, 18:57 GMT

    If Pakistan really want a winning team........they need to get rid of Younis Khan, who never performed in world cup and especially against Australia......He is simply going to waste vital balls and we still remember how he dropped the catches and matches for Pakistan in the past

  • Zohaib on March 18, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    botht he Akmal brother should be dropped!! disgrace to Pakistan as one of the brother wont play if the other is dropped for whatever reason.. And send Razzaq to open, he needs time to settle in and cn be very dangerous as seen previously where he took time to settle down and destroy the ballers!! peace pakistan!!

  • Nadeem Khan on March 18, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    As always, nice article. For me, apart from his agility in fielding, Wahab Riaz is no better than Shoaib Akhtar. Yes, his spell against Ross Taylor hampered Pakistan. But remember, he got him OUT twice in three balls-thanks to Kamran Akmal. True, it is not time of experimentation, so don't experiment with a relatively younger bowler and give chance to Shoaib one last time against the mighty Aussies. May be, he brings his best against them.

  • Zohaib on March 18, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    botht he Akmal brother should be dropped!! disgrace to Pakistan as one of the brother wont play if the other is dropped for whatever reason..

  • MNA KHAN on March 18, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    My Message for PK Team is ( SNATCH THE MATCH WITH EXTRA SPIN) Include Seed Ajmal with Abdul Rehman , Afridi and Hafeez. Umer Gul and Razzaq can handle fast bowling. My team agaist Austalian on Colombo wicket for tomorrow 1- Kamran 2- Hafeez 3- Asad 4- Younas 5- Razzaq 6- Umer Akmal 7- Misbah-ul-Haq 8- Afridi 9- A. Rehman 10- U.Gul 11- S.Ajmal

  • Jerrin on March 18, 2011, 18:20 GMT

    A very good article!!Hopefully Pakistan completes that neat historical sandwich and we can go back to those good old days of 'non-Australian dominated' pre-99 era.

  • shafiq ashraf on March 18, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    Nice article, but not well researched; Waqar played one match in the 99 world cup the infamous defeat to Bangladesh!

  • ali ahmed on March 18, 2011, 18:12 GMT

    I think that over team done very good performence.iwish and pray to allah for win tomorrow match.

  • Rasheed Awan on March 18, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    Pakistan should play shoaib and concentrate heavy on bowling since they can't bat. Having an extra batsman in number 8 can't save the game if 6 others could not. Play shoaib and wahab cuz if shoaib has a off day, wahab can anchor. Also bring in ajmal and drop shezad and bring shafiq. Look to bat first cuz pressure of chasing is not our thing. We will need a surprise package as junid as well. Hope we can win. This win will feel like as winning a WC. Whole pakistan please pray.

  • Pakistani, always on March 18, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    Here is the team I would pick for this match: 1. Kamran 2. Hafeez 3. Asad 4. Younis 5. Misbah 6. Umar 7. Afridi 8. Razzak 9. Junaid 10. Umar 11. Shoaib

  • Saiful Ansari, Leesburg VA USA on March 18, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    Anything is possible. Aussies are so far been unbeaten. They will start as favorites. Pakistan is still licking the wounds of a bad loss to the Kiwis. Lankans bulldozed the Kiwis after losing to Pakistan and that should be a consolation to Waqar's team. Inclusion of a 5th bowler is good against Aussies. The 5th Bowler should be the young Khan and not the aging Shoaib Akhtar. Shoaib is not fit. He simply does not have the energy or stamina to complete his quota of overs. Afridi should remember the juicy full tosses at the end of the Kiwi innings that went for runs & cost Pak the game. Razzak is expensive too. So it is a real dilemma for Waqar & Afridi to go with Shoaib or the young pacer (who is largely unknown to the Aussies and may be a surprise package for Pak). Both teams are through to the Quarter Finals & this game will help to position Pak & Aussies for the knock out matches. The bottom team will play the 1st from the opposite group. Guess every team will avoid playing SA.

  • Asif Zaheer on March 18, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    Shoaib Should play if Waqar needs a win.

  • Azhar Shah, Manchester UK on March 18, 2011, 17:38 GMT

    I think the time has come for Pakistan Team to show the world that with this unity they can beat any team and that include Australia. The issue of who will be the winning combination is no longer valid as Pakistan got two world class bowlers in Shahid Afradi and Umar Gul. The batting with Misbah and Younis in middle order is vital as we have seen with Sri Lanka against New Zealand, when Sangakkara and Jayawardene stair the ship after two early wickets. Razaq and Umar Akmal with Asad should offer a good batting order for Pakistan. Australia has not shown any class in this tournament, yes they are winning the games but this can be challenged by Pakistan. Lee, Johnson and Tait are very good bowlers, but not wicket taking bowlers and in batting apart from Watson and Haddin I have not seen any spark yet to believe that Australia will roll over Pakistan. This is going to be a wonderful battle to keep the honour for Australian, but for Pakistan it is to restore the pride. I believe that Pakistan has an upper hand in this match. Let’s wait and see.

  • kamran qureshi on March 18, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    Pakistan need to be more aggressive against Aus.So far the selectors have been very timid and want to keep the winning combination which actually is not there.I would go with the specialists.Play either Junaid or Shoab.Open with Gul.Put Ajmal back.My side would be Hafeez,Kamran,Asad,Yunus,Misbah,Umer,Razzak,Afridi,Gul,Ajmal,Shoab or Junaid.Pakistan must win this to reach semis and if they can do it then they are ready to beat any side.If they loose I am afraid this side is not capable of winning first tier sides in this wc.If they really want to be super aggressive open with Razzak or Afridi.So far their batting is a waste.Razzak 60+ was in vain.

  • A.Ali on March 18, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    It will be a grave mistake to play Shoaib Akhtar in this game. Shoaib will go for lot of runs in his second or third spell, if he can bowl those. A medium pacer like Razzaq does not bother Australians at all. In Australia and Sri Lanka match wicket was taking turn, so Afridi, Rehman and Hafiz will have a good time. Gul can deliver 10 good overs, but who will deliver the remaning 10 overs? Best bet would be Wahab Riaz or Ajmal, not Shoaib.

  • Hassan on March 18, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    Well written. I had an honour to watch the game live in Headingley as a an 18 year old and I still have a clear memory of when Inzamam hooked McGrath for a six. The impression on Glenn's face was unbelievable.

  • Zohaib on March 18, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    This is certainly a Joke, why is K Akmal retained in the team when Umer is not fit (though he was never injured anyway). The Akmal brothers have once again showed that PCB is at their mercy, and Shoaib who bowled his heart out in the first and second spell should be played tomorrow, otherwise this will be a no-brainer from him. He (Afridi) also needs to think clear that who (the players) are playing for their country and who aren't, and I am very sure he knows who are? Players like Younis, Akhtar, Gul (and Afridi himself) are players playing for their country and no matter what we the fans know that they are honest, so these should be played in the team....full stop! Hope to see Shoaib firing in once more against the Aussies...

  • Rasheed on March 18, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    Pakistan will beat Australia group A match but will not win the WC. Playing shoaib will be a mistake but they will play him due to his retirement burden.

  • masood on March 18, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    for me pakistan can only win through their bowling and if they play with afridi,ajmal,rehman..drop riaz for shoaib,and asad for ajaml,ahmed for umar akmal..4 spinners,3 fast bowlers..pakistan surely will control aussies..no doubt..I AM HOPEFUL THAT WINNING STREAK OF AUSSIES END BY THE PAKISTAN AS THEY WERE THE LAST TEAM WHO BEAT THEM..GO PAK

  • khawer on March 18, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    No one denies Shoaib is not 29 anymore and has lost his charm but he still has the heart to take on early wickets or vital wickets (Jayawardna). If he is in good rythem, I suggest we play him against Aus since wicket at premadesa has something for the bowlers and with Umar and Shoaib's reverse swing, we can surely create havoc for aussies. Good Luck Pakistan! Pakistan Zindabad.

  • Omaryar on March 18, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    I still remember that match of 1999 world cup...And tension on Steve Waugh face... Well I will strongly recomend Pakistan to have Shoaib in the side against Australia for this match. InshAllah he will give his 110% (he has nothing to lose now). Go Pakistan Go.....!!!!

  • Mudassir on March 18, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    Well said, Great article as always, Espacialy "Back in those days, Shoaib Akhtar had the world at the mercy of his bendy elbows." Shoaib akhtar realy was the only bowler at that time for terrorizing the batsmen with above 90mph.

  • Syed Sajid-ul-Islam on March 18, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar should play the match alongside Wahab Riaz.He should take the place of Abdur Rehman,Pakistan can do easily with two spinners in Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez.Umar Akmal should replace Ahmad Shehzad. INSHALLAH, Pakistan will win against Australia.ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.

  • Syed Sajid-ul-Islam on March 18, 2011, 16:51 GMT

    Shoaib Akhtar should play the match alongside Wahab Riaz.He should take the place of Abdur Rehman,Pakistan can do easily with two spinners in Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez.Umar Akmal should replace Ahmad Shehzad. INSHALLAH, Pakistan will win against Australia.ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.

  • syed on March 18, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    Shoaib third spells may be bad but his second were decisive. SL match was sealed when he hit Jayawardane's middle stump in his second spell. NZ match would have been sealed (twice)when KA dropped Taylor twice during Shoaib's second spell. Funny thing is KA place is secured but Shoaib's isn't. Just like Kaneria lost his rhythm and his place after countless chances were put down by AK on his bowling!

  • Haneef Habib on March 18, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    It will be Pakistan to break the victory chain of Australia. But they must utilize their match winning all-rounders(Razzaq, Afridi) in batting as well.

  • ali_a on March 18, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    Just to comment on your article about Waqar sitting out in 1999 WC: It was wrong of Wasim to do that and it proved in the finals. Had he had Waqar, Aus wouldn't have won so easily in 1999. You cannot keep an experienced cricketer out no matter how good your youngsters are. Do you really think that likes of K Akmal, U Akmal and Wahab can win Pak big games? Besides, Wahab, Akmal bros have no credibility and integrity (recently shown in previous game by U AKmal). Afridi was a bad choice as a captain- how many years he need to correct his batting? When he's flop as a batsman he claims to be a bowler. Unfortunately this is politics of Pak. Razaq is another person who is not performing after so many years with the ball. Needless to say our batting is the most pathetic of others teams as seen in games against Canada and NZ. Look at Ireland twice scoring more than 300 runs to win. While our bastmen looking so depressed after NZ game and always afraid of wickets. This is where your problem lies

  • Aftab Qureshi on March 18, 2011, 16:33 GMT

    Why do u blog leaders always talk about persons and not the game? Do you realize that this artcle can create (or exacerbate) personal frictions and lower morale of some at a time when the team, including the coach, need to hold together on the eve of a critical match? Treat it as food for thoght, Mr. Abbasi!

  • Parthasarathy on March 18, 2011, 16:32 GMT

    Will it be a circle? To end where it started! Australia's winning stretch!

  • Imran Khan on March 18, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Love to see Pakistanis doing the Aussie funeral,the best way to do that is to bring back Shoaib as he is experienced and drop Ahmed Shahzad, open with Hafeez and Kamran Akmal and bring Younis and Misbah at 3 and 4 respectively.Let's hope no more rain cuz this is the match of the tournament.

  • ali_a on March 18, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    I don't quite agree with you Kamran. You cannot blame shoaib's 1 over for NZ loss. You cannot blame Aktar if K akmal dropped 2 catches off his bowling. Any good batsman if dropped will totally avail the opportunity. Remember in 2003 Tendulukar was dropped twice and India went on to beat Pak (and they were out of WC). If aktar is sidelined, then so should be K Akmal. Problem with Waqar: He relies too much on reverse swing which means the ball has to be old. Wahab can only reverse swing and cannot compete against Aktar's pace. If you want Wahab,then also keep Aktar and get rid of 1 batsman. U Akaml should be kicked out coz of his attitude from last game. Pak cannot beat Aus with so much going on his dressing room. Claiming Aktar as a libabilty in 2nd and 3rd spell is plain wrong. Put the blame where it belongs. Why its taking Pak batsmen so long to settle when every country batsmen are performing? When was the last time Pak batsmen scored a WC centruy? Does Pak really need 30 run U Akmal

  • Muhammed Khurram on March 18, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    I will not say much but Pakistan is a Team, who can do anything in the History of Cricket. and Australia is very well aware of it. So lets watch the Battle!

  • Waseem on March 18, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    Kamran change your picture man :(

  • Mohsin Tiger on March 18, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Kamran Bhai, in my view and it is only my personal opinion, the 50 over game requires a bowler who can take wickets in the early stages of the innings to prevent the batting side from getting a good start otherwise it become extremely difficult to contain the batting side specially on these flat pitches.the Abdul Razzaqs and the Wahab Riazs have proven that they are not wicket taking bowlers and do not present any serious threat to good batsmen from the top teams like India, Australia, South Africa, etc. so Pakistan will need at least one fast bowler who can take wickets at will or at least come close to it and i haven't seen any other fast/medium bowler from the current squad doing that. The spin attack is good but not the best in the world, just one bad performance should not rule him out, a bowler gets dishearten when your keeper is dropping sitters. If the management needs to take 1 of the top wiket takers then try something new and give the left hand kid instead of proven failures

  • Abrar on March 18, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    A little correction........ Waqar did play in the Game against Bangladesh in 1999 world cup :)

  • Arif Khan on March 18, 2011, 16:06 GMT

    Welcome back Mr. Abbasi, we were missing you. Nice article. As a supporter, Pakistan beating Australia is more of a wish. Realistically, Pakistan have not been playing as a team worthy of being champions. But, most of Pak supporters are optimists.

  • Nabeel on March 18, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    U and your article was written in a bad taste or indicates ego complex in your personality. courtesy demands you to write nice things about Shoaib not to be cheeky you moron.

  • Faisal on March 18, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    Hmm.

  • Josh on March 18, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    In 1999 WC Waqar was unfortunate enough to play a solitary game against Bangladesh, in essence his presence in that WC was never felt.

  • Indy on March 18, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    All I can say that Australlia has started this world Cup in excellent fachion. Australlian team are the Mistermind of World Tournaments, they make you believe that they are down and out but actually they are not. (Just Smart) They take their time to walk. These Guys are just MASTERMINDS.

  • saffuu on March 18, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    shoaib shud be trusted as wasim akram trusted afridi for crowd pulling and for de love he produce for cricket today afridi is de best bowler of de tournament so I feel shoaib will produce with his bendy elbows as he did in 1999 , now he will give more than 100 % cos de days comin are de last days of cricket for rawalpindi express

  • corker on March 18, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    InshAllah! Pakistan will win tomorrow. Go!..................Pakistan Way to go for OUR PACEACE.........THE SHOAIB AKHKAR!

  • Imdad Memon on March 18, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    if Pakistan want win match, Abdul Razzaq brought forward against Australia, in bating and also bowling. Abdul Razzaq to Australia 's most expensive and difficult to interfere, Abdul Razzaq 's performance against Australia is always good. You can see his performance.

  • Arisha G on March 18, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    Now 'that' Australian team was certainly the Pakistani team of the 1992 WC. Somehow when you mention Australia at that tournament, it conjures up images of Steve Waugh's batting tactics (how he would start running with the bowler ..and of course the ball of the tournament! Yet again, South Africa involved in a SF heartbreak. Amazing tournament. And I am a Pakistani fan!

  • Zeeshan on March 18, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    Waqar and Afridi, please balance this team. We need to bring in the surprise package (Junaid Khan) NOW!!! Shoaib, Gul, and Junaid should be the pace bowlers playing against Australia. If the top 5-6 batsman can't do their job then what difference does it make to have a batsman at number 8???? Its useless. Use that slot to play another bowler. You can't beat Australia with part time bowlers!!!

  • ali on March 18, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    As always brilliant words it feels like yesterday when that match was played and i can imagine waqar's pain that what he missed his entire career but i am sure he won't do that to shoaib .

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  • ali on March 18, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    As always brilliant words it feels like yesterday when that match was played and i can imagine waqar's pain that what he missed his entire career but i am sure he won't do that to shoaib .

  • Zeeshan on March 18, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    Waqar and Afridi, please balance this team. We need to bring in the surprise package (Junaid Khan) NOW!!! Shoaib, Gul, and Junaid should be the pace bowlers playing against Australia. If the top 5-6 batsman can't do their job then what difference does it make to have a batsman at number 8???? Its useless. Use that slot to play another bowler. You can't beat Australia with part time bowlers!!!

  • Arisha G on March 18, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    Now 'that' Australian team was certainly the Pakistani team of the 1992 WC. Somehow when you mention Australia at that tournament, it conjures up images of Steve Waugh's batting tactics (how he would start running with the bowler ..and of course the ball of the tournament! Yet again, South Africa involved in a SF heartbreak. Amazing tournament. And I am a Pakistani fan!

  • Imdad Memon on March 18, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    if Pakistan want win match, Abdul Razzaq brought forward against Australia, in bating and also bowling. Abdul Razzaq to Australia 's most expensive and difficult to interfere, Abdul Razzaq 's performance against Australia is always good. You can see his performance.

  • corker on March 18, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    InshAllah! Pakistan will win tomorrow. Go!..................Pakistan Way to go for OUR PACEACE.........THE SHOAIB AKHKAR!

  • saffuu on March 18, 2011, 15:17 GMT

    shoaib shud be trusted as wasim akram trusted afridi for crowd pulling and for de love he produce for cricket today afridi is de best bowler of de tournament so I feel shoaib will produce with his bendy elbows as he did in 1999 , now he will give more than 100 % cos de days comin are de last days of cricket for rawalpindi express

  • Indy on March 18, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    All I can say that Australlia has started this world Cup in excellent fachion. Australlian team are the Mistermind of World Tournaments, they make you believe that they are down and out but actually they are not. (Just Smart) They take their time to walk. These Guys are just MASTERMINDS.

  • Josh on March 18, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    In 1999 WC Waqar was unfortunate enough to play a solitary game against Bangladesh, in essence his presence in that WC was never felt.

  • Faisal on March 18, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    Hmm.

  • Nabeel on March 18, 2011, 16:05 GMT

    U and your article was written in a bad taste or indicates ego complex in your personality. courtesy demands you to write nice things about Shoaib not to be cheeky you moron.