<
>

Ajmal gets Misbah, Fawad does what Fawad does

Saeed Ajmal appeals AFP

Misbah's miserable comeback

It cannot be stressed enough that the competition between the departments and the regions is something of a mismatch. To exacerbate that divide, along came Misbah-ul-Haq, slotting into Sui Northern Gas Pipelines' (SNGPL) middle order for his maiden first-class game since his international retirement. It was a development their opponents Faisalabad - who had lost both their games this season - could have done without.

While thoroughly outplayed in all departments, Faisalabad did manage to keep the former Pakistan captain quiet, allowing him just 21 runs in the first innings. However, the real highlight came in the second, when Faisalabad captain and Misbah's long-time international teammate Saeed Ajmal dismissed him first ball, catching him off his own bowling. It might not have been enough to prevent another hammering for Faisalabad, but at this rate, they would do well to be content with small mercies.

Asif stirs old memories

Remember Mohammad Asif? A fast bowler who emerged in the mid-2000s, enjoying a remarkable - if tainted by scandal - career before hitting rock bottom in 2010, being banned for spot-fixing. Now 34, he's still plodding along in domestic cricket. He returned to competitive cricket last year after serving his five-year ban and created waves with performances that rolled back the years. He was on fire again for Water And Power Development Authority (WAPDA), picking up two five-fors in his first match of the season, crushing Islamabad within two days. He picked up 5 for 28 in the first innings followed by 6 for 53 next day, securing WAPDA's third straight win of the season.

Complaints about the LCCA ground

Questions have been raised over the Lahore City Cricket Association ground's fitness to host first-class cricket. There are over seven training sessions run here by various clubs, with over 400 players practicing in the surrounding areas even as first-class matches are being played. The ground, considered one of the city's premier grounds, has been maintained by PCB's own groundstaff, but club cricketers playing in the vicinity have been the cause of distraction. Some of the nets areas are just 10 feet away from the boundary of the playing area, with batsmen often seen complaining about cricketers running in front of the sight screen, disturbing the game. The PCB's concerned department has been informed, and requested not to allow club cricket being played during matches to maintain the professionalism of first-class cricket.

Fawad watch

Well, Fawad Alam certainly has great timing - and in more ways than one. In a week when Pakistan floundered against Sri Lanka, Fawad reminded everyone of the apparent absurdity of his non-selection, scoring a 105 to help Sui Southern Gas Corporation (SSGC) to their third consecutive win, an eight-wicket romp against Lahore Blues.

The problem for him is Pakistan probably won't play another Test for at least seven months. But as he picks up from where he's left off for the past three years, who would bet against him continuing this run till then? More pertinently, who would bet against him still being overlooked anyway?