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Alan Tyers goes behind the scenes

Recruitment drive (airy, caught at slip)

A rush of new blood to Pakistan's head

Alan Tyers

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Salman Butt on the eve of his first Test as Pakistan captain, Leeds, July 20, 2010
Salman Butt's hair reacts after the job at hand is explained to him © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Salman Butt | Waqar Younis
Series/Tournaments: Pakistan tour of England
Teams: Pakistan

Waqar unveiled the poster.

"Top-order batsmen, we want YOU for the Pakistan cricket team," it read.

"Any takers so far?" asked Salman Butt. "Please say there are."

"We had one bloke in for a look," said Waqar. "He's a student, lives in Birmingham. Opens the batting for Perry Bar Thirds in their Tuesday League. He'd definitely be an improvement on what we've got."

"Nice," said Salman. "Ask him if he's free for the next two Tests?"

"Nothing doing," said Waqar. "He's going on holiday to Butlin's in Minehead with his mum and dad."

"Mum and dad? How old is he?"

"He's 12," said Waqar.

"Shahid Afridi years or real years?" asked Salman.

"Real, unfortunately," said Waqar. "His mum and dad won't let him go all the way down to London on his own."

"Shame," said Salman. "What else?"

"Well, we had this girl in, about seven she was. She wasn't bad. Decent defence, plenty of ticker. Rounders is more her game, really. But it's a no-no: some of the lads seen her catching the tennis ball in practice and got a bit intimidated."

"Too right," said Salman. "We can't have the boys being shown up in fielding practice by a seven-year-old girl."

"Yeah, not again," said Waqar. "And get this: she wasn't even scared of the ball."

"Blimey," said Salman. "Impressive stuff. Can she teach the boys? Get her in as fielding coach?"

Waqar nodded and gestured for a pen to make a note. Salman threw one over at him, but it bounced off the edge of the table, rebounded and hit Umar Amin. Umar began to cry.

Salman sighed.

"Anyone else?" he asked

"Well, we've had two more applications. But they sound like a couple of chancers to me: Test averages of 50, played 150 Tests between them."

"Too risky," said Salman.

"Mo something and somebody Kahn," said Waqar.

"Nah," said Salman. "Shot in the dark, innit. Better to get a youngster in."

"Yeah," said the coach. "Actually, the board have sent one lad over."

"Oh yeah?" said Salman. "Any good?"

"Well, he's never played cricket before as such," said Waqar.

"So much the better," said Salman. "He won't have had a chance to be affiliated with any faction."

"That's my thinking."

"We don't want another bloody row on our hands," said Salman. "Umar Akmal's already threatening to go on strike."

"Oh yeah?" said Waqar. "What now?"

"Says that new keeper dropping all the catches is taking a job that could be filled by a union-recognised Akmal," said Salman. "Says we're doing his brother out of a day's work. Reckons it's a striking matter."

"One out, all out?" said Waqar.

"Yeah," said Salman. "Same old story."

RSS FeedAlan Tyers is a freelance journalist based in London. All the quotes and "facts" in this article are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

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Posted by Adnan on (August 12, 2010, 14:01 GMT)

No matter how many brilliant cricketers you produce, you Indians will always long for a Shahid Afridi in India.

You are obsessed with him and I dont blame you... so are we.

Posted by Online on (August 12, 2010, 2:42 GMT)

Hahaha, good one Alan Tyers.

Typical of Pakistan to bring players previously unheard of BUT who actually are talented enough to shine right away. Shame they dont actually persist with these guys.

"Shahid Afridi years or real years?" - classic. ive always wondered how come a 16 year old playing only his second int match gave us Lankans a bollocking when we were riding on top of the earth in '96.

anyways, its such a pity pak have dropped so low in the int rankings due to a whole bunch of reasons largely unrelated to the game on the field. come on pak, we are waiting for you to get back up and start fighting like cornered tigers.

Posted by Mohsin on (August 11, 2010, 21:12 GMT)

I am a Pakistani and a cricket fan - and this is one of the FUNNIEST articles i have ever read. reallly witty. But credit also goes to the "Boys" who go out there everyday and get out with single figure scores and drop catches by the dozen to provide you so much material to write about. I have read this 3 times already!

Posted by Junaid on (August 10, 2010, 6:08 GMT)

This isn't Funny,,, actually this is SAD. I am a Pakistani and Cricket LOVER, this article is so Pathetic.

Reality is Pakistan lost the senior Players and this Younger Team is Learning a lesson from every single game they Lost and Believe me or not I can bet Million Pounds on this team to beat any team in the World, just wait untill World Cup next Year.

Posted by Dummy4 on (August 10, 2010, 4:23 GMT)

It was funny, Mr. Tyers! I enjoyed it!

Posted by Dummy4 on (August 10, 2010, 0:11 GMT)

'Shahid Afridi years or Real years" LOL that was a good one. I guess it's time they added Shahid Afridi years to the Metric system.

Posted by Dummy4 on (August 9, 2010, 21:16 GMT)

How come nothing on Shoaib Mallik. My guess is that his presence is an Indian conspiracy to have the Indian Daamad on the Pak team.

Posted by Abid on (August 9, 2010, 20:39 GMT)

An excellent piece! it nicely explain Pakistan team and management. You should have included a separate piece for Shoaib Malik too, since he and Yawar Saeed are the master minds behind keeping YK out of the team.

If PCB got any brain, they should sake Yawar Saeed and Malik, and bring in MoYo and MY! Now Zulqarnain showed that he is as good as Akmal in test, so this will leave only Butt from the gang in the team, which shouldn't be a problem, since Butt and Farhat are equally good/bad, Yasir Hameed could replace either one.

1. Yasir Hameed 2. I Farhat/Butt 3. Younis Khan 4. Azhar Ali 5. M. Yousaf 6. U Akmal/U Amin 7. Zulqarnain 8. M Aamir 9. Gul/Tanvir/Wahab 10. Ajmal 11. Asif

Posted by Dummy4 on (August 9, 2010, 20:05 GMT)

hahahhaha... best of luck butt

Posted by Dummy4 on (August 9, 2010, 19:37 GMT)

Lolol...brilliantly done Alan. & Captain Butt(er) Fingers should be the first one to be coached by a 7 yrs old.

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan TyersClose
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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