Category Archives: CRICKET
Pakistan was named as the Best International Cricket Team in the 2011-2012 season at the CEAT cricket awards on Friday while India batsman Virat Kohli bagged the International Cricketer of the Year award.
Kohli, also the vice-captain of the side, beat the likes of Australian captain Michael Clarke, former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara and consistent South African opener Hashim Amla to clinch the top honour at a glittering function. Kohli, however, could not make it to the event and former Pakistan captain and bowling legend Wasim Akram collected the award on his behalf. “He is a special player. One of the best batsmen and fielder in the world cricket. He should be groomed as the next T20 captain of the Indian team. He is the right choice for the position,” said Akram of Kohli.
Akram also collected the award on behalf of the Pakistan team and said: “It’s an honour for me to collect this award on behalf of the team. They really played some good cricket this season and I congratulate them for emerging the winner.” Former Pakistan batting great Zaheer Abbas received the Lifetime Achievement Award. In the special India-Pakistan award category, legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar lifted the Best Test Batsman trophy while former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq was honoured with the Best ODI Batsman award. The 1983 India’s World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev was adjudged the Best Test bowler, Akram received the Best ODI bowler award.
CEAT Audience Choice Awards 2011-2012 went jointly to former Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar and Indian opener Virender Sehwag. Kapil, while awarding the International Best Cricket Team award to Pakistan said: “They deserve the award as they played good cricket.” Asked about Indian team’s dismal show against Pakistan in the ongoing series, Kapil said it would be better to not talk on the issue.
“If we don’t talk about it, it would be better for us. I just hope that on Sunday (third ODI at the Ferozeshah Kotla) we see better cricket. The Indian team has the reputation of making a comeback so I just hope they play well. I would just like to congratulate the Pakistan time for playing a fantastic cricket. They have a fantastic bowling line-up and there batsmen are also coming good. You deserve to win,” he said.”
Kapil, while getting nostalgic about the Indo-Pak rivalry, said: “Whenever you entered the field, you just wanted to win. It was like just go there and win. I can’t explain in words the rivalry between the two nations. Sometimes the pressure situation, the tense atmosphere didn’t let you to play the natural game.” The first-ever CEAT young Indian cricketer of the year award was received by India U-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand, who collected the trophy from Gavaskar. “I am happy to have been chosen for this award. That was a special win for all of us. That particular day when I lifted the World Cup trophy was a special moment.” Former Pakistan captains Saeed Anwar, Rameez Raja and Inzamam along with Kapil, Ajay Jadeja, Gavaskar and Yashpal Sharma graced the occasion.
Ramiz and Shonali Nagrani played perfect host to the evening reminding the present dignitaries of the excitement attached to the Indo-Pak rivalry over the years.
Great start to year 🙂
Pakistan outclassed India in virtually every area of the game – from the batting of Nasir Jamshed, who scored his second century in as many matches, to the pace bowling of Junaid Khan and Umar Gul, and the wily spin of Saeed Ajmal.
India must now beat Pakistan in the third and final match in Delhi on Sunday to avoid what would be a humiliating whitewash. A victory would restore a small measure of pride after Thursday’s thrashing, but there’s no denying that Indian cricket is going through a rough patch – in all formats.
The ODI defeat is the latest in a run of results that have pushed Indian cricket fans to despair. The World Cup triumph of 2011 and number one Test ranking are now distant memories.
This tour by Pakistan followed a heavy Test series defeat to a touring England side. That was the first time the English had won a Test series here since 1985, and capped off a poor year that started with a Test whitewash in Australia. Wins at home over New Zealand and, in late 2011, the West Indies, barely papered over the cracks. The failure to get to the late stages in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka showed all was not well in the shortest format too.
Established players such as Rahul Dravid stepped down last year, leaving a gaping hole in the Test team. Even Sachin Tendulkar could be on his last legs, announcing his retirement from ODI cricket just ahead of this Pakistan tour. But it’s unlikely that the Little Master, who remains available for the Test team, would have rescued India in Kolkata given his troubled form.
The only man showing any real fight for India, at least in this ODI series against Pakistan, is the captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who scored a battling 54 not out Thursday.
Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed cashed in on a below-par performance from New Zealand in the field, putting together an impressive partnership during which their timing and apparent effortlessness in building on an aggressive opening stand stood out. The depth and variety in Pakistan’s bowling, Hafeez’s miserly spell and New Zealand’s questionable tactics in the chase combined to put a target of 178 beyond reach, producing a winning start to Pakistan’s tournament.
New Zealand had their chances. Hafeez decided to give his inconsistent batting the first go under sunny skies but in conditions where bowlers had assistance. Kyle Mills found early swing and should have had an initially-tentative Hafeez third ball, but Ross Taylor fluffed a straightforward chance at slip. Having dropped his Pakistan counterpart, the New Zealand captain was left flapping his lips when Hafeez launched Daniel Vettori for a six over long-on the next over.
Imran Nazir looked the more assured of the openers, using the depth of the crease well to dispatch Mills’ two short deliveries for boundaries on either side of the ground, and continuing the treatment against Jacob Oram’s half-trackers. Nazir fell in the last over of the Powerplay, caught and bowled by Tim Southee, but by then Hafeez had got into his groove with a couple of flowing drives and was about to be joined by a partner who wasted no time in keeping the momentum intact.
Tall, well-built and powerful, Jamshed was nowhere near brutal in his style of play. He didn’t have to rely on sheer power to achieve what timing, placement and a sound technique did. Against Nathan McCullum‘s round-the-wicket line, he drove inside out, lofting the ball in the vacant space behind extra cover and clearing the ropes twice. He was equally wristy, clipping the ball square and through midwicket and slicing Mills over point for four. Mills was again unlucky, as a perfectly-positioned Rob Nicol at deep square leg spilled a chance off Jamshed, making matters worse by palming the ball for six when the batsman was on 42.
As Jamshed attacked at one end, Hafeez was content to rotate the strike, collecting runs down the ground, jabbing, steering and nudging the ball around for singles and even bludgeoning Nathan McCullum for six over midwicket. He was bowled trying to pull James Franklin in his first over but the 76-run stand with Jamshed had set an excellent launching pad.
New Zealand, though, pulled things back, dismissing Kamran Akmal and Jamshed in successive overs that yielded just 10. But Umar Akmal and the rest counterattacked in the last four. Even though Southee conceded just three in the 18th over, with third man and fine leg inside the circle, a generous dose of length, and misdirected, deliveries helped Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik score 42 in the last four.
New Zealand opened with Kane Williamson, a solid but less-attacking option, and played Vettori, busy, accumulative but not renowned as a big hitter, at No.3. The batting order suggested a strategy that relied heavily on the ammunition in the middle order to lead the surge in the late overs. Though that surge did come, and gave Pakistan plenty of anxious moments, it arrived at a time when the required-rate had reached 14 an over and, in hindsight, a touch too late.
Williamson made 15 in 13 but he had a fluent Rob Nicol at the other end. Nicol showed early intent, charging out to Sohail Tanvir and smacking him over long-on, and going over the top against Yasir Arafat with mid-off inside the circle. Pakistan bowled just one over of spin – from Hafeez, who conceded just 15 in his four-over spell – inside the Powerplay, and their slow bowlers stifled the innings once the field spread out.
Afridi mixed it up well and even found turn but Nicol was dislodged while attempting to cut one that went on straight. Williamson was run out shortly after, and the five overs after the Powerplay produced just 26 runs, with Vettori and Brendon McCullum at the crease. Saeed Ajmal’s first over ended the deadlock with Brendon McCullum, who reverse-swept, stepped out and also cut well, picking him for boundaries. But with the asking rate climbing, the wickets came, Ajmal dismissing Vettori for 18 off 16 and Umar Gul yorking Brendon McCullum, who left his team with 70 needed off 29 balls. By then, Hafeez had completed his spell, with his first three overs only going for five runs.
It was too much to get in the end, despite Oram and Franklin’s quick cameos and Taylor’s assault of three fours in a row against Gul that brought down the equation to 22 off 9 balls. He was run-out brilliantly, courtesy a flat throw to the striker’s end from the deep from Umar Akmal next ball, and the biggest threat in Pakistan’s way, at that point, was eliminated.
Arch-rivals India and Pakistan will get an early chance to size up each other ahead of the World Twenty20 when they clash in a high-profile practice match in Colombo next Monday. The match, part of the warm-up schedule drawn up by the International Cricket Council, is the only one of 12 practice games that will be beamed live by the host broadcasters.
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez welcomed the chance to play against India before the tournament starts on Tuesday. “It is usually a high-pressure game and good for us to experience it early,” Hafeez told reporters in Colombo on Wednesday night. India coach Duncan Fletcher said his team’s two warm-up matches — the other is against host Sri Lanka on Saturday — will be important preparations for the main event. “We have come here with the belief that we can win the World Twenty20 and it is crucial we get attuned to the conditions,” Fletcher said. “We have obviously got a good build-up. “We look forward to the two warm-up games which will give us the preparation we require for the tournament.” India and Pakistan have been drawn in separate groups for the preliminary league, but will meet in the Super Eights round in Colombo on September 30 if the seeding go to plan.
Man of the match Azhar Ali for classic 157
Pakistan duly completed their first clean sweep against England in a Test series, an extraordinary achievement for a side with no home to call its own, a side that lives out of a suitcase and does it rather well. Along with the socks and the toothpaste they certainly unpacked quite a shock for the No. 1 ranked side.