Shoaib and Razzaq funnies before the 2011 World Cup

7 05 2013

There’s been a series of some excellent interviews with Ramiz Raja as a build-up to the (2011) World Cup. This episode with Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq was my favourite.

Part 1: (actually a later part?)

At 0:32, Shoaib and Razzaq dismiss the need for computer analysis. “If you can’t learn from bowling what will you learn from the computer?”
At 1:52: Razzaq has the best sense of humour and Waqar gets bothered by it the most.

At 5:41 – Shoaib & Razzaq complain about how sakht the training camp is, cute. “Sardiyoan mai garmi lagi hui hai.” Shoaib also jokes about the age and dull lifestyle of the coaches cramping his style.
At 6:16 Shoaib: Mai ek shareef larka hoon
At 6:50 Razzaq talks about Zulqarnain. Mujhay toh uss nay lift hee nahi karayi. Mentally abnormal lagta hai.
(Wtf is “charray charraant”?)

Part 2:
Shoaib at 0:40 talks about his 100mph delivery and how he planned it, using the yard action.
At 3:37, Razzaq talks about how one-down is his preferred batting position as he likes the new ball, but goes on to say he’s okay with 6-7 given the team’s current situation.

At 4:16, Shoaib launches into a praise-attack on Razzaq: “He had fitness, six-pack, beautiful body…”

Razzaq also mentions that he requested the PCB to consider him for the Test side for the England tour but they advised him to concentrate on T20s and ODIs.

Shoaib also talks about the added pressure on the field that comes from the financial insecurity that our newer players face.

Part 3:
Shoaib and Razzaq talking about their nail-biting finish vs. South Africa in Dubai.
Shoaib talks about financial security at the end.
At 10:10 Razzaq talks about what a captain should be: forgiving, sincere and motivating.
Shoaib goes a bit overboard singing Razzaq’s praises at 2:15 and Razzaq has a great reaction in Punjabi. 😛

Part 4: Razzaq at 2:30 talking repeatedly about the need for sincerity to get things like video analysis to really make a difference.

The Punjabi from Razzaq here:
Shoaib: “Razzaq na ho toh mai nets enjoy nahi kar sakta. Mai 14 saal say iss kay saath shararatain kar raha hoon.”

Ramiz: “Razzaq, you always look so cool under pressure. No expressions. Inner strength? Confidence?” Shoaib: “He got married.”

Razzaq: “I’ve been playing for 13 years now, I enjoy pressure.”

Razzaq: I prefer to bat at #3, but 6/7 is fine.

Shoaib: I’m saving myself for the World Cup. The WC glory means a lot to me.

This interview is a riot (but which Shoaib Akhtar interview isn’t): Shoaib makes Ramiz say he’s the alpha-male.

Shoaib’s advice to fast bowlers: “Hyper ho, lekin shoday hyper na ho.”

Shoaib: “The saddest thing about the ’99 WC for me was that the man I idolized – Waqar – was sidelined because of me.”

Shoaib Akhtar on all the 100mph hype: “I’m over and done with it now.” Great interview with Ramiz.


shoaib akhtar quote of the day

23 02 2012

shoaib akhtar on umar akmal, ahead of the 1st pakistan-england t20:

“he has a very lethargy attitude to life. he has to perform if he wants to be a star. he’s not going to be like a me or a shahid afridi that he’ll be a flamboyant just like that. (*snaps fingers*).”


fast bowling porn

8 12 2010

There is so much Shoaib Akhtar hotness packed in these 5.5 clips, I can guarantee it will make your brain explode. Almost feels unfair on YouTube’s part to enable you to consume all those brilliant spells together, kind of like binging on nihari and biryani and halwa puri and chapli kabab and and kashmiri chai and pasanday and haleem and ginger chicken with qandahari naan and ras malai and dhaka cham cham and (well, you get the picture) all at the same dinner party.

Part 1 (Skip to 2:11, unless you also want to watch him talk about how he’s an average bowler)

Part 2 (Has his breakthrough spell at Durban at 1:28)

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5
Part 6

A week for the cricket-starved

3 12 2010

Packed crowd at the Gaddafi stadium

Boom Boom fan

The rest of the cricket world might not know (or care), but Pakistan’s premier T20 competition ended this weekend, and it was a fine testament to the resilience of Pakistan cricket fans. Not only were the crowds packed for almost every evening game (including the ones before the semis), there was significant interest in those watching and following from home. Popular fan site,, which runs a live match discussion forum, had as much activity on their Rawalpindi-Karachi semi-final thread as they did for the series-changing 3rd England-Pakistan ODI.

Format: Fewer teams, more matches?
There’s something to admire about a tournament that doesn’t take itself too seriously and produces a champion in exactly a week (I’m looking at you, the ICC World Cup ’07 and the IPL). However, you can’t help but feel that a little more thought could’ve been put into the format: with 4 groups and a total of 13 teams, playing just 2 group matches each before the semis, it was essentially a knock-out from the get-go. It kept things fun and competitive and meant the big teams couldn’t afford to relax, but you’ve got to feel sorry for teams like the Quetta Bears, who came perilously close to beating Shoaib Akhtar-led Islamabad, or the Hyderabad Hawks, who beat a Lahore side with 4 players from the current Pakistan team. (Neither of these teams, among others who improved and impressed, progressed to the second round which meant we only saw them play 2 matches).

For the future, it would be nice if improved performances were factored in to the draw for the next competition, though I guess asking the PCB for a domestic ranking system is being too ambitious.

Also, do we really need to have two teams from each of Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad? Wouldn’t a Karachi fan rather see a team with the combined bowling riches of Anwar Ali, Kaneria, Sami and Afridi instead of being forced to choose between two lukewarm attacks with half the potency? The argument in favour of multiple teams from one region is that it prevents any one team from being too strong, while making sure all the deserving players still get to play. In practice, though, this only ends up diluting the competition, not enriching it. A better approach to make the league competitive would be to loan some of the top players to a weaker side, like Quetta.

Tournament favourites Sialkot Stallions went out early

Younis Khan watches a weak Peshawar side struggle against Abbottabad

Best Contest: Shoaib vs. Yousuf
As far as battles within the battle go, the contest of the tournament for me came in the 11th over of the Islamabad-Lahore semi-final, when Shoaib Akhtar brought himself back into the attack to attempt to get rid of a well-set Yousuf. Mr Lazy Elegance himself up against Pakistan’s most ferocious fast bowler, both leading their sides – and possibly for the last time – in a fight to the final of a tournament neither had ever won. A fiery bouncer first up had Yousuf caught at point, but it came off the helmet. Next, Yousuf somehow kept out a couple of fast, inswinging yorkers. Those wrists (no, Cricinfo ball-by-ball, that phrase is not reserved for VVS Laxman) came back strongly with a perfectly-placed drive over mid-off for 4. Shoaib’s came back with a fuller one which swung in late and made Yousuf look like schoolboy-silly going for the drive. Cue 5 wides because, hey, it’s Pakistan. Shoaib ended the over with another late inswinger that forced Yousuf back and rapped him plumb in front, but for an inside edge. Yousuf survived, but this round of the battle of the 35-year-old rockstars of Pakistan cricket went to Shoaib.

International player watch
All the surprise picks for the South Africa series failed to dazzle: Misbah led a strong Faisalabad team to an early exit; Tanvir Ahmed got a few breakthroughs but also got hammered; Sami was Sami; Taufeeq Umar had one good innings against a weak lineup; Hafeez did nothing of note; Sohail Tanvir was erratic though you could see his utility with both bat and ball, and finally, Imran Farhat.. well I guess his selection can’t really be a surprise anymore, so let’s skip him.

The one exception was Wahab Riaz. Regardless of what you might think he was doing with that jacket outside that restaurant, he bottled the opposition with some smart, spirited bowling, picking up 10 wickets with an economy rate of 4.12 in a tournament where teams were chasing down scores of 200+ in 18 overs for fun. He wasn’t afraid to mix things up and surprised both an in-form Shahid Afridi and tournament top-scorer Shahzaib Hasan with some well-targeted short-pitched deliveries in the final. Definitely a good prospect for the similarly flat roads expected for the 2011 World Cup.

Speaking of Shahzaib, he completely dominated with the bat, as he often does on the flat tracks at home. It was good to see him demonstrate some maturity and bat through the innings to see his side home. Shahid Afridi’s strong support for him, both as his captain and senior batting partner on the field, as well as his most vocal supporter off the field finally came good as he became a belated addition to the T20 and ODI squad for the UAE, along with the other star performer of the tournament, Wahab Riaz.

Wahab Riaz picks up the Best Bowler award

Players to watch
The exciting 22-year-old legspinner from Dadu, Zahid Mahmood (Hyderabad Hawks) not only has all his variations spot-on and an encouraging thumbs-up from Abdul Qadir, he also has the fire, the attitude, and the hair that made Boom Boom the hearthrob that he is. Too bad Hyderabad played only 2 matches and he was only picked for one. Raza Hasan (Rawalpindi Rams), Kaneria’s unlucky passenger-replacement on the England tour, also impressed.

Other performers include Abbottabad’s Junaid Khan who bowled his heart out and, along with his captain and middle-order bat, Yasir Shah, played a vital role in making a lacklustre team competitive.

Hammad Azam emerged as the best all-rounder apart from Afridi and Razzaq,  and should be nurtured for the future.

Openers Ahmed Shehzad (Lahore) and Nasir Jamshed (Lahore) looked in good touch and can both hit a lusty blow. They must surely be considered for another chance soon, though, to be honest, almost every other team had an opener who looked better than Imran Farhat.

Zahid Mahmood helped Hyderabad upset Lahore Eagles

Razzaq & Afridi: still the best all-rounders on show

Geo Super should be commended for organizing what looks like the only cricket we’re going to see in Pakistan for a while, and making it fun for all involved. The free entry, floodlit night-matches, and short tournament helped fill the stadium night after night, which was heartwarming to see. However, given that it IS the only spectator-friendly cricket we’re going to see for a while, I feel the PCB has a bigger responsibility in terms of ensuring the tournament reaches every Pakistani.

There was no visible marketing of the event outside of the (private) news channel that broadcast it and its associated newspapers. Also, the PCB must try to get at least the semi-finals and the final aired on PTV for those parts of the country which still don’t get cable. Teenage cricket-fan Ahmed Hassan and his cricket-obsessed friends from one such village (Saiden Hattian, near Attock) travelled 20km to the city to watch every match of the T20 Cup; as fun as he says these trips are, it’s only fair he gets to watch the games at home.

Also, I understand this is not a disease peculiar to any one desi sports channel, but the length and timing of the ads was beyond ridiculous. Forget cutting to ads as soon as the last delivery of an over was bowled, or even before they could show the replay of a wicket, they didn’t even show the winning team (Lahore Lions) lift the trophy! And did they really have to interview tournament sponsor Faysal Bank’s CEO in the middle of an over?

Lahore Lions celebrate their win

Finally, Geo’s Urdu commentary was immensely enjoyable. Almost everyone on the team was either hilarious (Mirza Iqbal Baig), insightful (Aamir Sohail) or both (Abdul Qadir). Tariq Saeed was all that, and eloquent – it almost made up for Mushtaq Ahmed exclaiming “OUTSTANDING SHOT!” at Shastri-volume every single time a boundary was hit. My favourite out of all the commentary gems (somebody compiled them on PakPassion) would have to be Abdul Qadir’s proclaimation that super-talented players like “qaum ka khoobsurat heera,” Shahid Afridi, naturally tended to think less than the average player.

“Match delayed – Mosquitoes”
That was the official match status for a bit, during the Karachi vs. Rawalpindi semi-final, when Karachi captain, Shahid Afridi, refused to take the field after his bowlers were constantly stung in the eyes by a mutant army of “helicopters” – some sort of rare Lahori crossbreed between mosquitoes and fireflies. The bug-busters, who had forgotten to spray the field before the start of the night game, strolled on to the field with (typically Pakistani) carefree abandon. Karachi returned to the field with a variety of smart accessories, not least of which were sported by Fawad Alam who fielded with his usual atheleticism for the remaining 18 overs, except with a towel tied around his mouth to prevent swallowing any more bugs (Yeah, he looked pretty badass, everyone on PakPassion was calling him Daku). A special mention too for Mohammad Sami, who became the fastest man to bowl with sunglassess: quite a sight under lights (still bowled a consistent short-and-wide line, dotted with the full-toss or two per over, in case you were wondering).

Shahid Afridi helps Sohail Khan remove a bug from his eyes

Umpires out, bug-busters in

The forgotten Akmal
Guess what – the Akmals have another brother who could yet make the national team: Adnan. Winner of the tournament’s best keeper award, he looked a better keeper than Kamran from the little that was seen of him. Apparently the day Kamran was first picked for Pakistan, both him and his brother Adnan were called to the national team’s nets, and it was Adnan, not Kamran, who was being tipped to get the nod. If you thought it was frustrating being Zulqarnain Haider or Sarfaraz Ahmed, spare a thought for this kid: he not only gets to live with the resentment of being kept out of the team by an undeserving player, he has to go home to him and pretend to love him at the end of the day.

The biggest letdown
Fielding standards were non-existent. The most disappointing thing on this front was that the best fielders on display were not the young guns trying to break through to the regional or national team, but veterans like Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Yousuf. Runners-up Karachi Dolphins dropped 6 sitters in the final, and this was a side packed with international players. Yousuf, much to his surprise, was awarded the Best Fielder prize in one of the most comical awards-ceremonies ever where everyone from the presenter to Ijaz Butt enjoyed a hearty laugh at the expense of Maulana Jonty.

And, finally, an Amir sighting
Mohammad Amir made an apperance in the stands. The crowd erupted into a roar when he was shown on the big screen, though it was unclear whether it was an expression of support, surprise, anger, or all of the above. Earlier, he was reportedly booed by fans outside the stadium as he honked his way through throngs of people who were forced to park their cars at a distance because of security concerns. National hero to undeserving holder of parking privileges in a few no-balls’ time: why, Amir, why?

(Previously published on, 19th October 2010. Photo credit: Faysal Bank T20 Cup).