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March 24, 2011

World Cup 2011

The joy of discipline

Kamran Abbasi
Umar Gul celebrates Chris Gayle's dismissal, Pakistan v West Indies, 1st quarter-final, World Cup 2011, March 23, 2011
Pakistan's bowlers are executing their plans to precision  © Associated Press
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"Keep your feet on the ground," pleads Imran Khan, "we haven't won anything yet." Celebratory gunshots are ringing out across Pakistan, fireworks and firecrackers are exploding into the night air. Load shedding has been put on hold -- for a day. Pakistan simply won a World Cup quarter-final, what's the fuss?

Cricket has a special power in South Asia. We see it in the exuberance of Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans, in the passion of Indians and Pakistanis. Cricket, a mere sport, has the magic ingredients to make hundreds of millions of people happy, bring a little joy to harsh and unforgiving lives, unite rich and poor, and rip asunder the walls between castes and religions.

And so it is in Pakistan, and among Pakistan fans, that the illness of expectant hysteria has taken hold. A World Cup win is elevated from possibility to formality. Shahid Afridi, the 'Idiot' King, reincarnated as a lightning rod for two hundred million expectant hearts, a captain of ambitions; Pakistan's downward spiral of gloom broken by the uplifting derring-do of Afridi and his foreign legion.

Pakistan are fortunate that West Indies proved such inept defenders against spin. But that was the extent of any luck. Afridi's team played with impeccable discipline, each bowler adhering strictly to a wicket-to-wicket line. When Umar Gul, whose accuracy is almost laser guided, offered Australia a little width, Afridi was straight at him, making a narrow tramline gesture with his hands. No need for Afridi's strictures at Mirpur, all bowlers were slaves to disciplined lines, and West Indies wilted against such relentless pummeling.

Perhaps DRS has changed the dynamics of this sport? Perhaps Pakistan are back to trusting hitting stumps and pads ahead of fielders clinging on to schoolboy chances? Perhaps the timeless virtue of bowling straight has come as a shock to modern batsmen? Whatever the reason, Pakistan's bowlers are executing their plans to precision, a blip against New Zealand excepted.

This country has always produced wicket-takers, wizards of speed, guile, and movement, but rarely in recent times have those mesmeric talents pulled together in harmony or applied discipline to their art. Banished from hosting this World Cup or any international cricket, purged of demon spirits, the Pakistan of Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi have discovered harmony and discipline especially in their bowling. It has been a thrill to watch, a horror to face.

Surprised by such excellence, no wonder Imran's pleas to keep our feet on the ground are difficult to heed. Indeed, nothing has been won yet except the battles to convert us from cynics to believers and return a sense of joy to Pakistan cricket. But these are no small triumphs.

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

RSS Feeds: Kamran Abbasi

Keywords: World Cup

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Vishwa on (March 29, 2011, 5:58 GMT)

@Salma and all Pak fans: I don't understand how Shoib's inclusion is going to help you guys! If you have forgotten his very recent embarrassing performance against New Zealand, I am sure, you can't remember Sachin/Sehwag onslaught in the South Africa world cup! Shoib is a history now...

Posted by Noman Aziz on (March 28, 2011, 11:47 GMT)

please get rid of Wahab Riaz and bring back the Express. Shoaib deserves one last opportunity. Against India he would be even more pumped up. Think about the fear he induces in batsmen's mind. Regardless of wheter Wahab takes wickets or not, he is not capable of creating the fear that shoaib does. Thats why players like Sehwag and Yuv would take it as a challenge to face shoaib. Please include Shoaib...

Posted by Md. Mohasin Bhuiyan on (March 28, 2011, 6:20 GMT)

if soaibAkter 100%fit I hope pakistan must play soaibAkter.

Posted by Topa on (March 28, 2011, 3:04 GMT)

Sohaib Akhtar is a must-have for the semi-final against IN for the following reasons: (1) Historically, it is clear Mohali wicket will favor batsmen for sides batting first; and fast bowlers of sides fielding second esp. due to evening due factor; (2) Sohaib was best bowler of the 1 day match played against IN in Mohali in 2007 both in terms of economy (4.0/over) and wickets (3); (3) Pakistan spinners includig Afridi were whipped by IN batsmen to the tune of 7-9 runs/over in the 2007 Mohali 1 day match; (4) U. Gul will not be as effective as a swing bowler except for reverse swing in final few overs of the innings, and we must have a strike bowler who can take wickets of IN's top batsmen within first 25 overs. Pakistan team must manage the differences between Sohaib and Kamran Akmal due to the eruptions that understandably occured after the mistakes Kamran made in the NZ match. We can not afford the absence of Sohaib to mitigate Kamran's blunders.

Posted by dipak on (March 27, 2011, 14:37 GMT)

@salma.you are wrong,if i remember correctly before the india australia match he said he hoped to get a big score and keeping sachi at 99.His both the wishes were granted and his next two wishes that india will defeat pak and also will win the cup ,hopefuly will be granted.

Posted by Aftab on (March 27, 2011, 5:12 GMT)

If Pakistan wins the cup, expect a statue of Afridi somewhere, celebrating like an idiot.

Posted by Shoukat Ali on (March 26, 2011, 22:17 GMT)

Shoib Akhtar should play. Inshallah this would be semi final game of his career, as well. Best of luck Pakistan. Only very good and disciplined bowling and sharp fielding can restrich masterblaster Tendulkar, Sehwag and Yuraj.

Posted by DONT PLAY SEMIFINAL on (March 26, 2011, 20:09 GMT)

it seems both pak team n pak fans haf already won d W.C, by reaching semi,even pak team manager says we will lose gracefully THE KINGS SPEECH by IMRAN KHAN is so true= "U HAVENT ACHIEVED ANYTHING YET"

Posted by Matthew on (March 26, 2011, 19:49 GMT)

My suggestions to Pak team: 1. India play spinners well. Compare their off spin v leg spin performance. Off spin would serve better. So keep Ajmal. 2. Indian stars treat underrated fast with less will. So bring underrated fast... have Razzaq and Afridi open. (Afridi should bowl first few overs at medium pace) 3. Sehwag (if he plays) is prone to falling early. Make sure that traps are laid well. Attck is rib cage. 4. Razzaq will get Tendulkar.. Always has.. watch it. 5. Don't put spin in front of Yuvraj or his boy friend, Raina. Have Gul and Wahab(or Shoaib, if in the team)bowl at them. 6.Indin strength is top order batting. Get them before they settle. 7. Designate a player for non stop seldging. Make sure the player does not have to bowl or bat. I suggest, give plenty of fielding time near by to 12 th man. He should get under their skins. Kamran needs to pitch in. I recommend Junaid get lot of fielding time. 8. Rest of the Pakistan player behave professionally.

Posted by Shouldas – Wouldas - Couldas on (March 26, 2011, 16:49 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi, the fuss is not about winning a World Cup quarter-final – IT’S THE MANNER OF “DEMOLITION JOBS” which have suddenly raised the bar from ‘rare possibility’ to “distinct possibility” ! Pakistan’s lethal bowling has been instrumental /decisive, the batting is peaking at the right time also. Very well said abt bowling “ thrill to watch, a horror to face”. But make no mistake, it’s the SHAHID “KING” AFRIDI’s presence and captaincy which is pivotal to resurgence of TEAM PAKISTAN. “KING” AFRIDI have crystallized and transformed the team into “GIANT- KILLERS” !

India - Apocalpyse Now !!! I anticipate another “OH SO EASY” victory in SEMIs against “over-hyped INDIA”. Red-Hot PAKISTAN will be TOO-HOT to handle !

And they are doing it without Aamir & Asif !!!!!!

Jawed, Karachi

Posted by Javed zarif on (March 26, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

@Manzoor Rana It is such a peevishness not to see what Imran Khan offered to Pakistan cricket in particular and world cricket in general. He is the one who gave us the victory against India in India,WC in 1992,drawn series in West Indies to name a few. If you see neutral umpires today, that is because of him, if you see wicket keepers opening the innings,he is the one who brought that in vogue.Sudden change in bating orders and what not. He is a cricketing genius who understands cricket more than anyone. When he says to exercise caution he is only displaying his calm nature which utilized to deliver many moments of joy to Pakistan. It,s great to be excited but it means more when you exhibit it when the goal is achieved. For afraid and others it may be a berth in semifinal but for fighter like Imran it is the winning of the WC. That,s why he says nothing is achieved. I wish every good luck to Pakistan and can,t wait to see the semifinal in a cinema here in Canada with my two little sons

Posted by Sohaib on (March 26, 2011, 10:24 GMT)

I really want PAKISTAN to win the semi final and win this worldcup too, just remember Allah is ALWAYS with you, as they say "Faith lies within" so trust on Allah and play your level best... Allah o Akbar and Pakistan Zindabad!!!

Posted by Imdad Memon on (March 26, 2011, 9:38 GMT)

Pakistan VS India This is the Pakistani team; Pakistani Young Boys are Professional Players. They can do any thing; every thing is possible, nothing is impossible for them. And the need Agreed to strengthen, more and more. Request to couch and captain ABDUL RAZZAQ brought forward in bowling and mostly bating, It want all Pakistani Peoples, and senior players want to see (ahead)3rd number ABDUL RAZZAQ in bating, specially Imran Khan, ABDUL RAZZAQ is lucky and legend Player Everyone can see Records of ABDUL RAZZAQ Against india, against any team Right Guys? Write Comments About Abdul Razzaq Thanks

Posted by k.qureshi on (March 26, 2011, 8:46 GMT)

I seriously believe Pakistan has a much more balanced side.Even though India has batting heavy side with big names they have shown vulnerability 7-50 against wi and loosing 9 wickets very cheaply against sa.Against Aus indian spinners Ashwin,Harbajan looked very ordinary even though the ball was turning miles.On the other hand nobody has figured out how to play Afridi and Gul is phenomenal.Pakistan fielding has improved a lot too.I would still play shoab instead of wahab.In the end whichever side can hold the nerves and capitalize on opportunities like Orams spectacular catch started SA debacle.

Posted by Razakbhai123 on (March 26, 2011, 8:36 GMT)

If Pakistan continues to play as unit definitely they will get success.

Posted by Imdad Memon on (March 26, 2011, 7:56 GMT)

Pakistan VS India This is the Pakistani team; Pakistani Young Boys are Professional Players. They can do any thing; every thing is possible, nothing is impossible for them. And the need Agreed to strengthen, more and more. Request to couch and captain ABDUL RAZZAQ brought forward in bowling and mostly bating, It want all Pakistani Peoples, and senior players want to see (ahead)3rd number ABDUL RAZZAQ in bating, specially Imran Khan, ABDUL RAZZAQ is lucky and legend Player Everyone can see Records of ABDUL RAZZAQ Against india, against any team Right Guys? Write Comments About Abdul Razzaq Thanks

Posted by zakki on (March 26, 2011, 4:46 GMT)

I know its always been more than a "cricket match" when it comes to "PAK v/s India" but I do wish that at the end, it will be victory of the "game"...... and I know we will do in INSHALLAH

Posted by pardesi on (March 26, 2011, 4:41 GMT)

All fuss aside, the real question is how to beat India. They're a formidable team on paper. They bat till 7 before the allrounders come in. There bowling is as disciplined as any we have seen over the years.They are playing at home.Everything is going for them and when playing Pak, its personal for them. They will be under pressure to win and not us. But to beat them we must be a very disciplined team.It will be hard especially with young players who haven't played in hostile conditions before. It is surprising we have made it to semi even without Afridi, Razzak, Misbah, Yunus, doing anything with their bats.To beat India these 4 will have to contribute. I suggest Afridi opens with Kamran like they did in India few years back. Take the game to them rather than waiting to see what they will do. We have nothing to lose. Our bowling is good enough if disciplined. Its the bats that will win the game for us. Afridi, Razzak, Kamran, Misbah must click or it will be along night. Go Pakistan.

Posted by ali_a on (March 26, 2011, 3:32 GMT)

Agree with your Mr Abbasi. It is great achivement for Pak to reach the semis, I personlly didn't think so ahead of WC- with all the controversies surrounding the team. But now Pak must of focus on India. Since Pak batting is vulnerable, they should aim at getting India out around 250 or less if India bats first. They've to bowl really well and I think Shoaib Akhtar would be better than Wahab. As Wahab does not seem to be a wicket taker bowler. I am sure India is going to make the 'deadest' of all the wickets as they've been doing for last few years in their home. They know their batsmen can play spin well than Pak. I think Pak should include both Ajmal and Rehman if its totally spinning wicket. But they should also have Shoaib to rip thru Tendulukar, Sehwag and Yuvi defenses. Younis must step up his batting - he is one of those cricketers who unlike similar batsmen from other countries has performed poorly in one day. He gets out on yorkers and wide outside off deliveries. Afridi too.

Posted by Dawood Akram on (March 25, 2011, 23:56 GMT)

@ Haroon Abdullah ... exactly bro you are right in every sense..no one else has scripted us down ... who would have thought about pakistan after their recent off and on field controversies, that they would go that far in the tournament... our team has done quite well in the tournament.. they played better cricket... and exactly qualifying for semis is a big achievement bcz we were unable to do that in the previous two editions with big guns and stars in our team... afridi and waqar younus have to be applauded for their continuous effort... they have already won our hearts... anything more than that is a bonus... GO GREEN GO... we are praying for you... PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

Posted by Raja Sahib Chattar on (March 25, 2011, 20:48 GMT)

Playing Shoaib would be WISE, playing Junaid could be a master stroke BUT playing Wahab Riaz would be a CRIME. I see incarnation of Muhammad Sami in him, he is the only one in this team who is not a match winner.

Posted by Nadeem Mumtaz on (March 25, 2011, 20:12 GMT)

Talent and Charisma can be mutually exclusive. There are'nt many who could lead one world cup with their bat and the next one with the ball.

Very few who can turn a match around in a short spell of bowling or quick knock in batting.

Who is feared for his spin and unexpected pace in bowlding and feared more for his merciless hitting.

Who can accept his misjudgements like a man and not hide behind a little known cricket rule to underarm a ball. That is the real difference between Afridi who brings an instantaneous smile at ones face versus the Chappel who inspite of all his talent never came close to the Charisma that Mr. Shahid Khan Afridi flaunts around.

So I would humbly suggest to ignore the small man Chappel for his words are not worthy of repeating.

In supporting Afridi in the manner he has - Bhoraiwala Express is fast washing some of his past world cup sins.

Posted by Hassan on (March 25, 2011, 20:01 GMT)

InshaAllah, we WILL beat India and we WILL win the World Cup!

Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by saad on (March 25, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

any body's game... BUT...INSHA ALLAH pak will won...there should be AKHTRER in plying 11...In place OF wahab

Posted by farhan ahmad on (March 25, 2011, 19:36 GMT)

Inshallah Pakistan will win the WC.Afridi is a great leader and we will beat India coming Wednesday.plz everyone should pray for the team(Pakistan).

Posted by Shahzad on (March 25, 2011, 18:04 GMT)

We ll win InshAllah....taking our chances in the field during fielding will determine our fate...Watch out for Kamran Akmal with the gloves and Bat too...May ALLAH help us

Posted by Ashar on (March 25, 2011, 17:16 GMT)

I can't keep my feet on the ground..simply can't. After all the controversies happening around the team, they turned around and managed to beat world best teams. I am so happy with them that I care less about next few games. I want our team to give a fighting performance, result doesn't matter. A win over India will be a world cup for me and the nation!

Posted by adie on (March 25, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

First of all CONGRATULATIONS to Pakistan cricket team and People of Pakistan. This Green shirt(Pakistan Team) had seen some tough time in the recent years but HATS OFF for Pakistani players that they managed, gathered every broken pieces and playing according to there game plan. Currently they are playing out of the box and giving hard time to every single team who think they are the best team in this World cup. My best wishes to Pakistan cricket team. We also play cricket league in USA and my team logo is 1, 2, 3 PHOD DO, so Pakistan its time to be Loud and Proud. Go out there in Mohali and PHOD DO team India ko. Insha'ALLAH this World cup is ours.

Posted by Abbas on (March 25, 2011, 14:50 GMT)

No body was expecting Pakistani team to reach even semis. But they did it. Whole nation is happy for what they did uptill now. This fact should favor them in semis as Indians, being favorites, will be in lot of pressure. Go Pakistan play your game, not thinking about the results.

Posted by Amir on (March 25, 2011, 14:29 GMT)

Wishing Pakistan team all the very best for semi final, hope Pak put in a solid performance and that should result in Pak victory. Pak team and management all deserve credit for performances to date in this world cup. Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by Ilyas Khan on (March 25, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

Mr.Marston: Pakistan - Play against Indian commentators not India coz India will be too tough for you. Not to discredit Pakistan but this will be Pakistan's toughest match and unfortunately Pakistan does not have a good track record against Indian in WC Matches, but, anyways every match should be taken as a new one.

Go India!!

Posted by Salma on (March 25, 2011, 12:34 GMT)

Nothing is gone right for ponting in the near past and I hope his prediction about India winning the semifinal goes the same way. Wahab Riaz's bowling is a concern and I hope Shoaib is included to dislodge Sehwag and Yuvraj.

Posted by Hassan Farooqi on (March 25, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

I or Mr. Haroon are not suggesting that Pakistan do not have a chance against India. We are objecting to Imran Khan's playing down this great achievement. If making to semis is no achievement, then how come nobody asked, "Shahid, why are you promising semis? Why are you not promising world cup?". I wish Afridi success, but even if we lose to India, he will remain my hero, and should be the hero of all Pakistanies. He made Paksitan believe in themselves at these trying times.

Posted by Hassan Farooqi on (March 25, 2011, 12:33 GMT)

I or Mr. Haroon are not suggesting that Pakistan do not have a chance against India. We are objecting to Imran Khan's playing down this great achievement. If making to semis is no achievement, then how come nobody asked, "Shahid, why are you promising semis? Why are you not promising world cup?". I wish Afridi success, but even if we lose to India, he will remain my hero, and should be the hero of all Pakistanies. He made Paksitan believe in themselves at these trying times.

Posted by Osman Aftab Ahmed on (March 25, 2011, 12:04 GMT)

One really important point - Afridi should have acknowledged the huge support from the local Bangladeshis for the Pak cricket team. Jai Bangla, Jai Pakistan!!!

As a Pakistani, I am really grateful to Bangladeshi fans for their generous support - MANY Thanks to our Bangladeshi brothers! I feel encouraged to support Bangladesh in their matches too.

Posted by ali on (March 25, 2011, 12:01 GMT)

india will win over pakistan and england will win the world up

Posted by Waqas Noor on (March 25, 2011, 10:33 GMT)

long Live Pakistan. so far so good!!! i only know one thing, when Pakistan team play with the full passion, they are simply unstoppable...... i've full faith over my Paki Tigers. once again Long Live Pakistan

Posted by aaliyahussain on (March 25, 2011, 9:47 GMT)

Great Article indeed. But win or lose, lets be with the team.

Posted by Rizwan Yahya on (March 25, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

"We haven't won anything yet".. thats an understatement, we have won the trust of millions in our cricket.. we have won games against most of the champion nations.. we have won hope for our nation.. we have won dignity for ourselves.. we have won a shred of happiness for our suffering ppl.. who says we haven't won anything?.. whoever says that is either blind or retarted.. The correct thing to say would be.. "Dil maangay aur".. Go team Pakistan.. we are proud of you.. No matter what happens from now on.. just give your best.. we'll support you all the way.. give your best.. win or lose is not the question.. giving your best will be seen by everyone in your nation.. no controversies.. no back biting.. no blaming.. no conspiracies.. just give us the pleasure of watching our team doing it best.. You do that and this nation will reward you beyond your expectations..

Posted by Qasim on (March 25, 2011, 7:56 GMT)

pakistan and india at mohali that is the final for us.we want to win at any cost.not interested in world cup.if we can india in that w win world cup.Imran is right in saying keep your feet on ground.WI was never a threat to us.he may b self centered but not here and he has already apologized to his team mates about 1992 final speech so thats not an issue anymore.Afridi is in contact with imran and he is following imran s advice.(three spinners against WI that works)no country man can question imran s sincerity to pakistan.

Posted by Iftikhar on (March 25, 2011, 7:28 GMT)

Team Pakistan have only 2 hurdles to cross, but they should be very proud of themselves of what they have acheived so far..Well done Pakistan. Beating India In Mohali would be a dream come true. Loosing the toss to India should not worry Afridi at all. In fact it will be played in Pakistan's hands. Last two games we lost toss, and who came up trumps....M.S. Dhoni, Be 'Afridied, be very Afridied'

Posted by conquertheself on (March 25, 2011, 7:16 GMT)

Surprising to see no pro India comment here. Afridi has fulfilled his promise to his people and most people here seem surprised that Pakistan has come this far. Some have even suggested that winning against India is more important than winning the WC. Its a mere game you win some and lose some. We all are aware that even some Indians think like that. Anyway the impression one gathers here is that by reaching the semis the mission has been accomplished. So far as the Indians are concerned the aim is the world cup and only the world cup. It is surprising to see no wild celebrations and excitement,no grandiose statements playing to the gallery, all that can wait till after 02 Apr2011. Afridi should be busy refocussing on winning the WC whereas India has been focusing on this world cup for close to 3 years now. Looks like most people do not trust that their team will prevail against India and that is borne out by your statements. Without self belief it will be extremely difficult.

Posted by waterbuffalo on (March 25, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

If we lose, I don't mind, but if we win, at least we don't have to face OZ in the final. All eyes on Kamran , folks, he could drop it or win it. All the pressure is on India, I hope we bat first and India chases, that's our best shot in my opinion.

Posted by Mohidin Gundroo on (March 25, 2011, 6:47 GMT)

well an exciting match ahead with run feast.Naturally India with home advantage will prepare a strip which will nullify the both pace and quality spin of pakistan and play to their batting strength.For Pakistan no score will be safe.Pakistans best hope lies in batting first and aim for 320 minimum but 350/360 will be a good score.It will be time for Afridi, Razak, umar brothers and Hafiz to flourish on a flat pitch.Only zaheer khan, gul may be able extract some help.

Posted by Muhammad Usama on (March 25, 2011, 6:45 GMT)

just can not wait for the semi's All the Best to Pakistan Team

Posted by AQEEL RAJA on (March 25, 2011, 6:30 GMT)

I REQUEST TO ALL PAKISTANIZ THAT PLZ PRAY 4 OUR TEAM DURING UR JUMMA PRAYERZ. BCAUSE THS IZ LST JUMMA BFORE THAT SEMI FINAL GAME B/W PAK N IND. PLZ PRAY THAT OUR TEAM SHD BEAT IND IN IND ON THE EVE OF SEMI FINAL. INSHA ALLAH OUT TEAM WILL OUTCLASS INDIA IN ALL PROFESSIONS OF GAME. GD LUCK TEAM PAKISTAN.

Posted by Zain Hamidi on (March 25, 2011, 6:29 GMT)

I agree with Imran that we have'nt YET won the tournament. But likewise there is some weight in the argument that on balance the 92 team was one of the most gifted teams in terms of sheer talent and ability comparable to the West Indies (1976-1984) and the Australian side of the late nineties(1997-2006). Hence reaching the semi-final for Shahid's men is quite an achievement!!!. However it is usually more sensible to "pop" the bottle after he event, rather than finishing it before the party has even started.

Posted by Asif Ali Not Zardari on (March 25, 2011, 5:53 GMT)

“Keep your feet on the ground,” pleads Imran Khan, “we haven’t won anything yet.”

I disagree, with all the on and off field blunders over the last few years Pakistan have won something alright... respect. Even going into the knock out stage this match was supposed to be the most difficult. Pakistan made it look anything but.

Bring on India!!!

Posted by Shouldas – Wouldas - Couldas on (March 25, 2011, 5:41 GMT)

Mr. Abbasi, the fuss is not about winning a World Cup quarter-final – IT’S THE MANNER OF “DEMOLITION JOBS” which have suddenly raised the bar from ‘rare possibility’ to “distinct possibility” ! Pakistan’s lethal bowling has been instrumental /decisive, the batting is peaking at the right time also.

Very well said abt bowling “ thrill to watch, a horror to face”.

But make no mistake, it’s the SHAHID “KING” AFRIDI’s presence and captaincy which is pivotal to resurgence of TEAM PAKISTAN. “KING” AFRIDI have crystallized and transformed the team into “GIANT- KILLERS” !

India ---> Apocalpyse Now !!! I anticipate another “OH SO EASY” victory in SEMIs against “over-hyped INDIA”. Red-Hot PAKISTAN will be TOO-HOT to handle !

And they are doing it without Aamir & Asif !!!!!!

Jawed, Karachi

Posted by Atif Raza on (March 25, 2011, 5:31 GMT)

Well written. The semifinal against India may just do it for Pakistan because people back home will say that their achievements worth nothing if they loose to India and this will lift any complacency in Pakistani team, which has looked very good. India in trouble i guess, they cannot supportive wicket because Pakistani bowling lineup will run through them and cannot make batting because they do not have good bowlers to defend or contain. Good luck Pakistan.

Posted by D rawal on (March 25, 2011, 5:29 GMT)

I was surprised at the beginning of the WC with the opinions of cricket pandits: 'inconsistency', immature PAK etc. I ask them what do you mean by inconsistency? PAK won 6 out of seven match. IS NOT this enough to prove wrong? I hope Afridi and company will do better in the semi against India. My suggestion is, Juniad should play instead of Akhtar/Riaj. Afridi should contribute with bat as well. GO PAK GO !!! God is with you.

Posted by Ghufran on (March 25, 2011, 4:34 GMT)

Many were non believers rather than believers at the start of the tournment, for Pakistan making it to the semis, even after their recent performances against England, South Africa and New Zealand. I, always being a believer since England series, kept on saying "WHO ELSE", whenever asked the question, "who will win the World Cup. This "WHO ELSE" was not for Australia, but for men in Green, definitely not the green of South Africa, but for the green with the name "Pakistan" on it. The way they have played barring New Zealand, cannot be matched for talent, skills, spirit and self belief not to mention the entertainment provided by them. Pakistan have already delivered more than their share in this World Cup. Now they face India in Semis and that too in India. Are we as a nation going to dump them and take away all the credits and criticise them if they loose to India in Semis or are we going to accept the outcome with an open heart and welcome them back with honour and dignity.

Posted by shahmir on (March 25, 2011, 4:32 GMT)

what a sight it would have been if pak were bowling with asif, aamer, umar gul, afridi, ajmal/rehman... anyway, i think playing Junaid Khan might not be a bad idea... u know, the mystery card... since he hasnt had ODI exposure, india CANNOT have a plan for him! it can b risky too though if he fails, v may run short on pacemen and end up having to play umar gul at less-than-ideal times like against new zealand.

Posted by Shafqat on (March 25, 2011, 4:29 GMT)

Team Pakistan has made us all proud. Their fighting spirit reflects the resilience of this great nation of ours which despite all odds and adversity is moving forward, though slowly but surely. The World cup win, I can see, will infuse a new self belief and confidence in the entire nation. Let us pray and stand behind our cricket team so that they can make us proud in Mohali and then in Mumbai and tell the entire world what we are made of.. Godspeed Team Pakistan

Posted by Saifullah on (March 25, 2011, 4:12 GMT)

InshaALLAH PAK wil win against india.

Posted by Mohsin Khan on (March 25, 2011, 3:36 GMT)

All Pakistan fans should listen to sanjay manjrekar's comments about India-Aus game..and his prediction for the semi final is that Pakistan will lose to India in a one-sided match coz Indian team is far superior..Now i want Pakistan to win even more just to prove manjrekar wrong!!!!

Posted by nasir butts on (March 25, 2011, 3:30 GMT)

Go Gang Green !!

way ta go ....just keep ur focus ...its just one game, a competent opponent ....and enjoy life ...

Posted by Syed J Ahmed on (March 25, 2011, 2:59 GMT)

If Afridi rallies his team past india in this Semi-Final he will be a greater legend than Imran Khan. Let's wait and see here comes the boom.

Posted by anil kumar on (March 25, 2011, 2:57 GMT)

What Imran means is....the team should not be complacent and lower the guard.It's probably a statement of ''encouragement''!!!

Posted by March Madness on (March 25, 2011, 2:44 GMT)

What is funny is that we the people of subcontinent (I am an Indian) are so good at hedging ouur emotions, seems like many Pakistani fans are happy with current progress and are already afraid of their team's downfall in Semifinal or even final. The team that handles the pressure better on the 30th will win. Goodluck India!

Posted by JPositive on (March 25, 2011, 1:53 GMT)

Imran always tries to show that he is the ONE running Pakistan cricket. Spreading negative words and self-praising rumors that he is talking to Afridi daily and giving him tips. Let's give credit where it is due: it is only because of the hard team work of Afridi and Waqar Yunus that Pakistan are in the semis today. Everyone else is just plain talk and nothing else.

Posted by Sana on (March 25, 2011, 1:44 GMT)

Love it!! Great article, Kamran. God speed, Pakistan. Work hard, play hard, literally!! May you bring the Cup home! :)

Posted by guduji on (March 25, 2011, 1:44 GMT)

Pakistani team this is the time. Win in Mohali will go a long way. Just imagine if we are in the final of the WC 2011. Then we either face SA or SL. SA has a history of nevous finals and we historically have a psychological edge on SL. So just win against India and WC 2011 is yours. It won't be easy to beat India, though.

Posted by WINNER on (March 25, 2011, 1:06 GMT)

INDIA IS GOING TO WIN. AND IN A BANG FOR SURE. WAIT AND SEE.

Posted by Zeeshan on (March 25, 2011, 1:04 GMT)

i have always loved your writing Mr.Kamran as well as Osman( big fan of both of you and i wish i can get your email since i need a little help with my career), any how I just can not wait for the Semi to start, fingers cross that it will be a cracker and Pakistan will come out of the field as winners, Afridi has to bat well and if require bat up the order, coz if he bats sensibily for even a period of 10 overs Pakistan will surely emerge as winners be it while chasing or putting up a target, Godforbid even if we lose, i just hope that it will not be without showing a fight.

Posted by kashif on (March 25, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

just go out there n play with pride and self beleif. look in there eyes and say nothing. let your skills talk to them and inshallah we all will sing our national anthem together in mumbai. allah be with you

Posted by Ahmed on (March 25, 2011, 0:26 GMT)

I think that we have every chance of beating India in the next match. We perform well there especially in one day matches and it really is 50-50. Afridi and Razzaq are yet to join the party with the bat in this tournament and this could be their game. As always in these games it comes down to who holds their nerves the longest. Our spin bowling has been disciplined and Umer Gul looks as though he's coming into form at the right time. Akhtar would be pumped up if given an opportunity to play knowing that his performance would determine if his last game is the world cup final or not. It would be criminal not to bring him in for Riaz otherwise the team should be unchanged.

Posted by ayub on (March 24, 2011, 23:54 GMT)

Mavericks, bohemians and flamboyant are the adjectives we associate with the Pakistani team. They were ruthless, professional, efficient and competent in dismantling a West Indies. Gr8 goin....Inshallah they will win the cup.

Posted by Anwer Jamal on (March 24, 2011, 23:43 GMT)

So here we go; Pakistan Vs India.....say all you want to say, but Pakistan need to produce another best game against in this tournament. I still see Razaq and Ajmal are due for one big performance and it might well be against India. On other hand India going to this game as a favorite and they have earned it based on what they produced in last few years. But we Pakistan need this game not only for revival of cricket but many other factors which should be beacon for nation with so many other problems.

Posted by Nauman Khan on (March 24, 2011, 23:18 GMT)

I believe one gets what it deserves! Better yet, Pakistani boys- are playing with confidence, team work and sprit which brought them here and gave them honor of wins and made us proud. If this pattern continues to work hard, honesty to work and self-evaluation, combined with team spirit are the attributes to get thru. Same is true for our country if we all follow good qualities and traits one always succeeds and concur. Pakistan zindahbad Pakistani team zindhabad... rest assure Allah will be on our side and we will bring cricket world cup 2011 to Pakistan. In the end I say plan, prepare and deliver to get result; go Pakistan…Best of Luck!

Posted by atif on (March 24, 2011, 22:49 GMT)

After proving our self game by game with exception of NZ game. This so called cricket pundits still riding on the same bandwidths, specially arrogant Indian and Australian commentators are already calling one sided semi for India. I hope and wish green shirts will play with same spirit as they had beaten arrogant Auzi XI

Posted by kamran on (March 24, 2011, 22:45 GMT)

Before the tournament no one was foreseeing that Pakistan will make it to the Semis,but now there is no turning back. Pakistan is a very disciplined side and has all the skills to beat India in India. Team management/captain should also take into account for the DEW factor, as Mohali is in Punjab near to Lahore…..Dew could be fatal for side bowling second.

Posted by Haji Arisar on (March 24, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

Biggest positives for pakistan in this tournament are team unity, and corruption free performance, both these things were short in supply in recent years. no wonder cricket pundits underestimated pakistan, 20% extra performance goes to team unity and 20% goes to bet free matches, thank you ICC and thank you waqar! howz that?

Posted by A Khan on (March 24, 2011, 22:22 GMT)

My heart is saying Wahab Raiz will be the hero of Pak vs Ind match. He has extremely talent and let's see how it goes. Good Luck to Pakistan. Love you all.

Posted by Aftab Qureshi on (March 24, 2011, 21:13 GMT)

Kamran is right about these wins making hundreds of millions of people happy, bringing a little joy to their otherwis harsh and unforgiving lives. Even to the dispassionate, they look much more meaningful at at time when we are missing our two best bowlers,when our batting is just a shade better than ordinary ( no Pakistani is among the top 15 run scorers in the tournament), when Pakistan has been deprived of international cricket in in the country for an extended period, and when team Pakistan has had to prepare for this World Cup in the immediate aftermath of the spot fixing saga. Against all these odds, if a team makes it to the semis, there is every reason to celebrate, isn't there, Mr. Imran Mighty Khan? Disciplined bowling and better fielding apart, what has made this almost "starless" team click is the professional guidannce and motivational powers of Waqar the coach. Pakistan owes him gratitude for that. Credit is due as well Shahid Afridi and his unit for a great job so far.

Posted by Mr.Marston on (March 24, 2011, 21:09 GMT)

I dearly wish we beat India and prove all those pro Indian comentators wrong specially Sanjay Manj. I dont care if we win the cup or not, I just want us to win at Mohali. Godspeed Pakistan.

Posted by Irfan on (March 24, 2011, 21:02 GMT)

Whatever may the outcome be of the Pak vs. India semifinal I hope it's not one sided. Such strong teams of sub continent are playing that I wouldn't wonder if the finalists are all south asians. Any bets are off at this point. Let's hope that the semifinal is a powder keg!

Posted by Sohail on (March 24, 2011, 20:53 GMT)

"We haven't won anything yet" true.... but not impossible. Pakistan has proven they can be a tough contender when they play as one team and stay focused on the goal. I think the credit goes to Waqar Younis and also to Shahid Afridi... they've done a magnificent job in keeping the team together and confident.

Posted by SJ on (March 24, 2011, 20:43 GMT)

Regardless of what people may think of Afridi, Ian Chappel included...he has shown everyone that he has control over this particular bunch of players, which is crital for the success of any Pakistani outfit. Whether you find his now patented celebration silly or his hyper arm waving a little too much... i personnaly love it. He wears his heart on his sleeve when he plays and it is that passion which permeates through the team. If they play with the skill and rare fielding discipline they have shown over the last couple of games... then we may need a helicopter to airlift them out of the couldron that will be Mohali.

Posted by Ghufran on (March 24, 2011, 20:40 GMT)

Many were non believers rather than believers at the start of the tournment, for Pakistan making it to the semis, even after their recent performances against England, South Africa and New Zealand. I, always being a believer since England series, kept on saying "WHO ELSE", whenever asked the question, "who will win the World Cup. This "WHO ELSE" was not for Australia, but for men in Green, definitely not the green of South Africa, but for the green with the name "Pakistan" on it.

The way they have played barring New Zealand, cannot be matched for talent, skills, spirit and self belief not to mention the entertainment provided by them. Pakistan have already deliverd more than their share in this World Cup. Now they face India in Semis and that too in India.

Are we as a nation going to dump them and take away all the credits and criticise them if they loose to India in Semis or are we going to accept the outcome with an open heart and welcome them back with honour and dignity.

Posted by Rocketman on (March 24, 2011, 19:53 GMT)

I dont know everyone. Do you people think that we have it in us to overcome India and the bookmakers present in India? They will go all out to put pressure on us and "arrange" for us to lose. And say there is no bookie presence ( a pipe dream), then based on pure talent and performance do you think can beat India in India?

Posted by Raza on (March 24, 2011, 19:39 GMT)

As far as I am concerned, it feels like Pakistan has already won. It would be great if they can win the cup, but they are already my heroes at this point. They have beaten all the world champions but one. Others cannot say that yet.

Posted by Faraz(the very first Faraz on all of Kamran's blogs) on (March 24, 2011, 19:37 GMT)

Kamran and Imran...it rhymes, both are right, and it was evident when Ramiz asked Afridi, he said "110%" and "one opponent at a time" a mantra, that Ravi Shastri of all, stole today and tried to pass on to ms dhoney....so it is great that BOYS played well :) :) (remembering Inzi) but we have work hard and focus on india...Imran has recommended playing Shoaib and that is the need of the hour, InshaAllah we will defeat india in the semis and InshaAllah win this cup, the 2011 cricket world cup matches are not in Pakistan but InshaAllah the 2011 cricket world cup will be in Pakistan - Aameen

Pakistan Zindabad Pakistan Paendabad

Posted by abdul qadir on (March 24, 2011, 19:34 GMT)

agree with hassan farooqi!!!

bt my heart still says we are going to lift this trophy inshALLAH

Posted by Raheel Hussain on (March 24, 2011, 19:24 GMT)

Mubarak and congratulatiosn to Pakistan for what has been an enlightening tournament so far. Let us PAK fans not forget that for once Pakistan are adopting disciplined tactics as well as natural (if a bit wild) talent that they used to use some 10 years or so ago. Bat first, build an innings and then bowl to a plan. The fact they are doing this now indicates that Waqar & Co are at long last trying to utilise their undoubted natural talents in a professional way. We should be proud of them and I believe they will beat India in a close game and go on to win the whole lot...no bad for a team and country that has been written off by so many

Posted by Masood on (March 24, 2011, 19:11 GMT)

i hope Pakistan will perform even better in the remaining matches and will InshaAllah win the worldcup

Posted by Bilal A. Bhutta on (March 24, 2011, 19:10 GMT)

Yes, we may be nuts! Yes, we may be crazy! But our team is back from the abyss and we the fans are back too. All we needed was a few talented guys willing to try really hard and not sell us out. Better a half idiot who won’t sell you short than a could-have-been/should-have-been superstar who will sell you out on the drop of a hat. As fans, we needed to believe that they are trying their best, and we got that! Go Pak go!

Posted by Ali Shah on (March 24, 2011, 18:57 GMT)

awesome article Kamran..........agree with Imran there......we haven't won anything yet.........Imran knows it all having experienced it in 1987

Posted by A.Ali on (March 24, 2011, 18:57 GMT)

Any thing short of 300 will be very difficult to defend against India. Shoaib/Wahab will have to stepup their bowling, otherwise Tandulkar, Shewag and Yuvraj will become big problem. Pakistan has the best bowling attack in this tournament. Gul is by far the best fast bowler on display. It looks like that Pakistan will beat India in the Semi Final. Good luck Pakistan.

Hope Ian Chappel is happy, he was asking for "In Form Pakistan". In form Pakistan broke Australia's confidence and momentum, which in turn caused them to crash out of the WC.

Posted by Fawad de Montreal on (March 24, 2011, 18:45 GMT)

Indeed, not only have Pakistan's bowlers executed their plans to 'precision' but with SURGICAL PRECISION. Being an optimist, I am hopeful that Umar Gul and Co. will rise to this momentous occasion and DISSECT the much-touted Indian batting lineup in the Mohali theater of operation. But our bowlers will require every shred of assistance from our batsmen. Make us proud...PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!

Posted by Kamran Jamal on (March 24, 2011, 18:09 GMT)

Indeed I agree with mr Farooqi here the promise has been fulfilled and everyone laughed but I didnt :) I had faith in this team that they could deliver

Posted by salem on (March 24, 2011, 17:58 GMT)

Wow Haroon! Your words seem to imply pakistan has no chance against india. Be god damn positive for once! The chances of pakistan beating india once is more than them beating australia twice in the same world cup. A fired up Australia is just as threatening as india is. Pakistan should win the semis too i reckon.

Posted by Mian Shaukat on (March 24, 2011, 17:40 GMT)

Right on! In China there is a saying" Iboo Iboo" and it meas step by step. This is what we have to do. Take on step at a time and we hope we take the next big two steps!

Shabash Team Pakistan! Once we are together we can scale any mountain!

Posted by malik pomy on (March 24, 2011, 17:39 GMT)

I wanna say one thing to all people of pakistani NO MATTER what next Please stand with own Team bcos they prov it when no one consider US in this WC .. Wish you good luck my Green Tigers INSHALLA everything will be fine .

lets roll the time clock :)

Posted by Naeem on (March 24, 2011, 16:55 GMT)

I know there is still a long way to go but Imran's plea is an understatement of what our team has already done. I wish Pakistan go all the way and lift the world cup in Mumbai. Inshallah. Best of luck Pakistan; winning or loosing do not matter just play with passion and let the world know who you are.

Posted by MHG on (March 24, 2011, 16:17 GMT)

Its been a joy to watch this Pakistan team play as a unit. Get a decent wicket keeper and hopefully bother Umar can play for his country and not for himself.... anything can be possible. It was delightful to see Ajmal deliver his box of tricks, the Windies batsman were clueless. Team Pakistan your time has come

Posted by oops on (March 24, 2011, 15:23 GMT)

He is Pakistan's mad King Ludwig and they simply love him.

Long Live the King!!!!

Posted by Rashid on (March 24, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

Playing Ajmal was a right decision.Wahab Riaz was most expensive bowler without one or no wicket match after match.It only make sense that Shoaib or Junaid should play instead.Not playing Shoaib on semifinal would be a crime that no one will forgive.Let me tell you I do not like Shoaib as a person but at this very moment we need to get together.MAy Allah help us all.

Posted by Usman Khan on (March 24, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

You ask what is the fuss? Well, Pakistani's have a dream, and hope. Dream and hope given to them by Pakistan Cricket Team and Coaching staff. Dream and hope can be very intoxicating Kamran ... I hope they continue. Cheers.

Posted by Manzoor Raza on (March 24, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

Sorry to listen Imran's comment. Beg to differ. Agree with Haroon that it would be an understatement to regard being in semifinal as underachievement. I personally believe that Imran Khan has been overpraised by severals. Without taking credit from him for being captain and part of the 1992 wc winners, he should realise that it was not him only. Had Miandad, Inzamam, Wasim Akram not performed the way they di, in the whole of that WC, had the wishes of people and Allah's blessing (Rain, DWL method applications) not with us, WC could never be ours. I am sorry to see that Imran always want to take credid single handedly of that win, denying all the above factors. It was evident from his speech on WC Final presentation where all the ficus was on "I" AND "Me". He has always been so self centred. I think he doesn't want any other person win the title for Pakistan so that his monoploy for the praise remains forever. I wish best of luck to Afridi and the rest of team. All my prays with them.

Posted by Ammy on (March 24, 2011, 14:47 GMT)

The present un controversial, happy go lucky nature of our team is one to relish. Its almost like there are no hard feelings for anyone and there's a spirit of carpe diem with love for all and hatred for none.

Posted by Imran Khan on (March 24, 2011, 14:33 GMT)

Come on Pakistan one more win and the final road comes.... it's not gonna be easy though but once we qualify for the final then there is nothing to lose especially after what this team has gone through over the past two years.

Posted by Nabeel Khalid on (March 24, 2011, 14:22 GMT)

agreed with Khan, nothing is won yet, we need to concentrate on next game first before coming to any conclusions, there is still a long way to go

Posted by Nadeem Khan on (March 24, 2011, 13:59 GMT)

For me, this world cup was all about winning three key games to reach the glory. Pakistan has already beaten two key contenders SL and Australia. Anything from here is a bonus.

Posted by Ali on (March 24, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

Pakistan were not even the favorites in the start of the world cup and now they defeated Australia, topped the group and now into Semis. 2 more matches to go and whichever way the results go i will be proud of this Pakistan team to make it this far. However Lifting the cup on April 2nd will be an icing on the cake. Licking my lips at Pak VS India Semifinal match. Has to be a cracker.

Posted by Hassan Farooqi on (March 24, 2011, 13:25 GMT)

"What is the fuss?" Huh? You don't know that? Have you forgotten how everyone laughed when Shahid Afridi made the "audacious" claim that he will take this cripple team into the semi-finals? I am sure you had also laughed like me. Hasn't he delivered the promise already? Are you going to forget it and blame his incompetancy if we lose the final (or even semi-final).

Posted by Haroon Abdullah on (March 24, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

“Keep your feet on the ground,” pleads Imran Khan, “we haven’t won anything yet.” is an understatement, considering most of the cricket pundits never regarded Pakistan as a real threat until there performance against Australia. just reaching the semis has won hearts of the millions, and there would be no backlash irrespective of future performances by the team, as for us our team has already gone where no one else was expecting. anything extra would be a cherry on top of a cake

Posted by syed on (March 24, 2011, 12:59 GMT)

Just wondering who would look more idiot, Ian chappel or Afridi, if Pak manages to win the WC.

Posted by Owais on (March 24, 2011, 12:58 GMT)

agreed. there are two far tougher matches (could be just one if we lose the next) to go.

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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 international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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