Tag Archives: pakistanis

The Mistakes of Pakistan

Misbah-ul-Haq didn’t drop a catch. Misbah didn’t misfield the ball. Misbah didn’t throw wildly. Misbah didn’t kick the ball. Misbah didn’t bowl head-high full tosses. Misbah didn’t fall over.

Misbah’s one mistake in the field was taking a ball at mid-off, and instead of shying at the stumps as the West Indian batsmen seemed to mock him by walking their single, he held the ball. He saw little point in it with the opposition score at nearly 300. The ball before was a six, there would be two more in that over.

It was a mistake, perhaps, but one of a broken man. And Misbah had not yet batted.

There was a moment earlier when it appeared like a Pakistani fan had entered the field. This man appeared lost, out of shape and middle-aged, and was suddenly thrust into the spotlight when a thick edge circled above him at third man. It was unfair to ask this man to complete a task as tricky as catching a ball struck in his general direction. Later another one would be hit to third man. An unusually tall man of limited coordination was there, perhaps a security guard who has wandered in the wrong direction.

Both balls hit the ground.

Neither were crowd members though; the latter was Mohammad Irfan, of whom fielding seems an unnecessary punishment. And the former was Nasir Jamshed, who made such a mess of a relatively simple catch that he picked up an injury, left the field and didn’t return for the rest of the innings. When he batted, Jamshed would face two balls. In total, he made two mistakes in the 5.1 overs he was actually on the ground. A mistake every 15.5 balls.

Then there was Umar Akmal. Reporting the keeping of any of the Akmals almost feels like bullying. The first time he believed an edge had been taken, he was so nervous he bumped the ball up and only took it again because he’d rebounded it so high it sat up for him. There was no edge on it, though, so who knows what imaginary deflections the ball took in his mind. Later he would drop an actual catch. It was regulation for an international keeper, but not so for Akmal.

Then the slow bowling of Haris Sohail. The ball landed on the pitch, stayed there for a moment and then travelled away very slightly from the batsman. Lendl Simmons is beaten, by the extreme lack of anything on the ball. He tried to cut it; he had enough time to turn around, back away, and cut it on the legside. But that severe lack of pace did him in. And this is the bit where the ball goes into the keeper’s hands, and he oohs, and/ or aahs as it nestles safely into his gloves. This ball barely touched the glove at all. For a minute, in front of thousands at the ground, millions on TV, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper turned into a stage prop. From a distance he looked like a person, but upon closer inspection he was actually just painted on a piece of plywood.

Shortly after to prove he can move again, Akmal runs around the batsman when the ball is blocked in front of him and flicks it back at the stumps. Which almost gives up a run. When Akmal bats, his first mistake is not taken by West Indies, and he doesn’t make another until he is 59.

There was, probably, a time when Shahid Afridi was a top quality fieldsman. That time was hard to remember as he dropped, not one, but two, pull shots. Later, as two fielders in the ring refused to go and pick up a boundary, Afridi stood just as close as them to the ball, but turned his back. Afridi made less mistakes than his entire top order with the bat, but was still out off a full toss.

It was rumored that Grant Luden, the Pakistani fielding coach, tried to resign before this match. It was because some players were not respecting him. They took that disrespect to amazing levels on the field. There were no fewer than seven mistakes by Ahmed Shehzad alone.

Shehzad was at point, the position you put your best fielder. He moved to balls quicker than most of his team-mates; he fumbled them much in the same manner. He batted in their manner also. At one stage, when Shehzad’s hands could take no more beating, he thrust his groin at the ball to stop it. Here was Pakistan’s point fielder, in the ring, with the ball right there, and the West Indies jogged a single as he writhed in agony. There he laid, the perfect representation of Pakistan’s fielding: painful and almost untreatable.

Wahab Riaz’s pitch map looks like he vomited it up rather than bowled it. Before each slower ball it seemed like the Pakistanis had informed West Indies of their decisions. They bowled at the death like their plan was to have no plan. When they did get it right with the ball, they were unable to build any pressure as they had precisely no fielders on the field who could ever stop a single. If the West Indies laid bat on it, it was runs. This one recurring mistake from Pakistan almost led to a run out when Darren Sammy declined a single, shocking Simmons enough that he could have been run out had Sohaib Maqsood picked the ball up and thrown straight. He didn’t pick it up. They didn’t all day.

The West Indies mistake was somehow not making 400, or, 500.

Younis Khan had balls go straight through him at short cover, and then perhaps his best bit of fielding almost ended up terribly when his throw at the stumps hit Darren Bravo on the helmet. When Younis batted, he was gone so quickly it would be hard to call it a mistake. But he has averaged 21 over the last three years in ODIs. His selection in the first place might have been the error.

If you get into Pakistan selection bloopers, you might never come out. You could be drowned in Sarfraz Ahmed queries, or bemused by the missing person case of Fawad Alam, or why on earth Yasir Shah was dropped. Everything Pakistan dropped made them look silly.

There is also the case of Haris, who in his entire career has bowled 68 balls in first-class cricket, and had bowled two forgotten overs in List A matches until the end of 2014. He was Pakistan’s fifth bowler. Ajmal is out. Hafeez is out. At one stage, possibly exhausted from bowling nine overs, he didn’t even see what should have been a simple catch at deep point. It dropped seven feet from him. Bat in hand, he simply guided a ball to gully. Sohail summed up Pakistan: He shouldn’t have been bowling, he was rubbish in the field and he somehow managed to bat worse.

When Misbah was asked whether the batting, the bowling or the fielding was worse, he just smiled and said “Everything.”

Misbah made a mistake when he batted. By then, the mistakes the team had made ensured the match was gone. But his mistake was largely indistinguishable from that 73654 that Pakistan committed before him.

At the press conference, Misbah either used gallows chuckles or cold, hard stares at the floor. The smile was for the ridiculous nature of the question; the stare was for the cold, hard reality of the answer. What is Misbah to do? He tried talking to his bowlers. He tried hiding his fielders. He tried batting for his team. Nothing works. There is nothing to work with in his squad. There is no hope, no form and no magic.

Just mistakes. Pakistan’s mistakes. Misbah’s mistakes. Mistakes.

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Blue and Green

Blue, with a streak of green. It is unmistakable.

Everywhere you look, the colours of the country are on show. The longer you look, you start noticing the green dots amid the blue ocean. Green and blue is on everyone, everywhere.

The entire ground is dressed in colours. One man wears an Indian flag court jester hat, a traditional Indian vest over an Indian cricket shirt. One young Pakistani seems to be wearing two Pakistan shirts. A mother straightens the Indian shirt of a little girl in her sling. There is a group of fans who have come from Zimbabwe, they wear a shirt of their own design, part India, part Zimbabwe. An older woman wears a fashionable green skirt, which is the exact same colour of the Pakistan 99 World Cup kit.

One man claims to have not worn his India shirt in 30 years. This despite the fact that he does not even look 30, and that coloured shirts weren’t really available then.

Sports fans love a uniform. Sports fans love to belong. This isn’t about sport. This is about identity. This isn’t about sport, or citizenship or even nationality. This is about culture. The India or Pakistan on the chest is a statement of who they are. What they are. Their colour. Them.

“The spirit of this game”, according to Karl Telfer of the Kaurna Clan “unites us”.

It has united them right here in Adelaide. People have come from Singapore, Mumbai, Denver, Lahore, London, San Francisco, Melbourne, Sydney, Florida, Dallas, Michigan and Mombasa. Not for the glory of cricket, but for the glory of India and Pakistan.

The crowd is made up of dental practitioners, accountants, CEOs, CTOs and engineers. Some have paid over six-hundred dollars just to come over from Sydney. One man tells me, “Oh, thousands, I couldn’t even add it all up, and I’m only seeing this one game”.

This one game.

“I’ve come from Dallas”, says one woman. Are you going to another game? “No, just this one”. Her husband then tells her she is going to another game. There are no other games.

There are two types of fans here, and they are often sitting together. A smart dressed man in a turban and smart casual light blue shirt sits next to his mate who is dressed in a Pakistan shirt. The Pakistani fan proudly tells me that he came all the way from Singapore for this game, and that if Pakistan weren’t playing India, he wouldn’t have bothered making the trip. His friend in the smart shirt is from Mumbai, and he would have come regardless. Mr Mumbai is a cricket fan, Mr Singapore is an India-Pakistan fan.

There is a difference. Aman has flown in from Melbourne. Recently, he took his mother to see India play Australia in Tests. She was bored and showed no interest. He tells me that she is loving today. She doesn’t know about the hashtags of #realfinal, or #wewontgiveitback.

She doesn’t know about Mohit Sharma’s late call-up or why Umar Akmal is keeping . She doesn’t know any of the players. She doesn’t need to. For her – for many, in fact – this isn’t about the players. After the game, she won’t be starting Facebook memes about Suresh Raina or RTing funny photos of Pakistanis. She will just be happy or sad.

Many in the crowd are like this. They cheer a ball that Dhawan has played horribly, because it gets a run. The quality of a Pakistani wicket doesn’t change the sound made by the fans.

There are children here as well. Prams are carried up the stairs to seats high up in the stands. The children are too young to understand where they are, or what they are watching. A two-year-old clutches at his father with his hand over his face. He will hardly see a ball. He wouldn’t understand even if he did. Every Pakistani cheer startles him. Every Indian cheer terrifies him. In years to come, his dad will proudly tell him, “You were there”. The memory will be implanted if it has to be.

The new generation isn’t like the last. The younger people don’t have the same level of animosity. They want their team to win. They want it passionately. Loudly. But half of the crowd seems to have at least one friend from the rival-colour clan. A Facebook friend, or a real friend. They study with them. They work with them. They live together. They marry each other.

“Of course the initial jingoism of these games has worn off on me by now”, Alokpi says. “And given how distant I feel from all the players on the Indian team, I’m not really sure I’d be able to muster enough enthusiasm to even root for India all the way in this World Cup. But put me in a room full of Indian fans watching the game and suddenly you might find me eyes bulging and yelling ecstatically, completely caught in a total frenzy.”

When the national anthems are played, almost all the younger people stand for both anthems. Only a few of the older ones sit when it isn’t their anthem. The younger fans film both anthems on their smart phones. These are middle, mostly middle class. It is a different kind of fan. A different kind of fanaticism. They dance like crazy just like the old fans, but they also post to Facebook that they are dancing like crazy. They want to be part of it, they want people to know they are part of it.

Away from the ground, on online forums like Reddit and Quora, people are still part of it.

“You can only know how deeply a single match affected the nation by being a part of it” ashi31 says. “As a muslim nation, the Pakistan cricket and prayers go hand in hand. By the sixth and seventh wicket most of us were busy praying for a miracle rather than paying attention to the match.”

NiX_Nabilz writes, “When Yuvraj Singh was bowled first ball by Wahab at Mohali, you would not believe that not fire crackers, but bullets were fired in the air just like a territory has been conquered, just like a battle has been won.”

“Our mom came and handed over the tea to my brother as usual,” Vinesh Thota writes. “And then our god Sachin was bowled at 93 by Abdul Razzaq. He threw that tea cup out of the window and shouted I will never have tea in my life.”

“People who like sport remember their lives better than those who don’t,” Dan Harris explains in his piece about losing his wife and gaining the Ashes, in the Nightwatchman magazine.

Pakistan-India games are moments in people’s lives they remember forever. Chachachoudhary watched them on a 16-inch TV at a Saras milk parlour. Shriman_Ripley prayed not just for an Indian victory, but for the Indian victory that would inspire his uncle to buy him a samosa. Justarslan celebrated a victory with naan and haleem. Others had family picnics, walked out on job interviews, saw it in a basement, were the only Pakistani surrounded by 70 Indians, sat in a bar, went back home. There is also Kamalfan, who watched it in room 214 with his mate Viki. “I didn’t know he won’t be there for the next India Pak game.”

A game of cricket, a communal life experience. The country remembers it, the culture remembers it, and even those who don’t know how it started feel it all.

“It’s about the history, I don’t real know what actually happened, but the history is there,” a 17-year-old girl says. She tells her friend that her plan is to scream until she loses her voice. She wears her colours. She screams. She will remember this.

The Indian fans raise two fists in unison as the last catch is taken. Behind the stands, many mothers stand holding sleeping children, rocking prams, and one bench has a woman stroking her two kids asleep. She cranes her neck back to look through the entrance to the main stand as the people in blue scream.

This is her memory. One day it will be her kid’s memories as well. This is a cricket match. This is a moment in millions of blue and green lives. This game.

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Pakistan’s pratfall

Pakistan can be such a romantic team. They’re essentially homeless. Have a giant. Are captained by a nice human piñata. Coached by an aged cherub. Have a yoda-like spinner. The Jamshed. And, as always, have a quality kit.

But, they’ve lost three from three.

It’s hard to fault their bowlers. It’s easy, and utterly correct, to blame their batsmen.

It’s hard to see how Imran Farhat would play in any other team in this tournament. Or even for Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or Japan. Yet he played twice. TWICE. Mohammad Hafeez faced 61 balls, had a high score of 27 and an average of 12.66. Shoaib Malik faced 53 balls, had a high score of 17 and averaged 8.33. They had three players score over 27 in three games.

Nasir Jamshed and Misbah-ul-Haq aside, it’s almost unfair to call them batsmen. Their batting is essentially rotten fruit sitting in rancid milk in the bottom of a rusted can. Even the rats wouldn’t eat it.

It’s not really a surprise that their totals were 170, 167 and 165. If they played against India again, it would only be fair if India had just 25 overs in which to chase their total. You could also suggest that Pakistan could have 100 overs, but the evidence suggests they can’t last 50, let alone 100.

Their coach, Dav Whatmore, said, “I thought he did a very good job.” He was referring to Trent Woodhill, Pakistan’s batting coach. If by ‘did a very good job’ he refrained from beating any of the players with their own bats when they were dismissed, he is correct.

Against India, with Misbah and Jamshed failing, they seemed as likely to score 200 as any of them are of ending up 200 years old.

They even managed to lose the game on a ball they should have got a run-out from. By the end of the game the holes in the crowd were where the people in the green shirts, with the green face paint, wearing green scarves had been earlier.

The real shame was that the Pakistan supporters deserved so much better. Every time Pakistan have played in this tournament there has barely been a spare seat. They’ve travelled to the grounds in novelty green double-deck buses. They’ve stood and waited for their heroes for ages after the game. At The Oval, Ramiz Raja walking out on the ground was greeted like he was a god. Wasim Akram walking out was treated like the god of gods. They’ve come to each game, and even sat and watched their team bat. Which must have hurt their pride, and their eyes.

It’s amazing that they even had the pride, or energy, to dance to the repeated playings of the catchiest song ever, “Dil Dil Pakistan”. In fact, “Dil Dil Pakistan” was played more often in this tournament than Pakistan hit boundaries. By the final group game, if a Pakistan batsman managed to not be dismissed on a delivery, they would play the song. Because they couldn’t actually wait for one of them to doing something good.

The only truly great thing the Pakistan team managed this tournament was a Pepsi ad starring Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan. The ad features someone removing a room service tray only to see Irfan’s head: a painted Irfan pretending to be a water feature to trick Dav Whatmore. And Saeed Ajmal in an afro. The ad was meant as a comedy, and is quite funny.

Unlike the Pakistan team, which was meant to be serious and played for laughs.

As Whatmore said: “We’re one ODI victory from having a good series.” Or to put it another way, they were one ODI victory away from being thrown out of the tournament with one win.

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Sri Lanka, Zindabad

There was a time during the India South Africa game where I really suspected that  someone was making South African flags out the back of the Prema and selling them for a few rupees.  At first they weren’t there, and then suddenly one whole stand was holding up the South African colours.  The Pakistani fans were the ones holding the flags, as most of the South African fans had gone home.

During the India Pakistan game it appeared like 4 out of 5 Sri Lankans at the game had adopted Pakistan as their home team.  Thousands of fans had Sri Lankan shirts on and were waving Pakistan flags or had their face painted with the Pakistani flag on it.  They were as Pakistani as you could get, for just the three hours.

It’s been one of the highlights of this tournament.

People picking their second country to follow, or following a whole new country just for qualification purposes while supporting them as much as they could and the cheering of superhuman feats no matter whose team performs them.

That stopped tonight.

Outside the grounds I swear some of the very same people I saw screaming for Pakistan a few nights back were now chanting “Go home Pakistan”, “bye, bye, Pakistan” or “Sri Lanka Zindabad”.  Pakistan fans coming out of the stadium were greeted by laughing or taunting Sri Lanka fans who had long forgotten that Pakistan were there second favourite side and were now happily giving them some stick.

This is more of a party than a tournament.  And I’m not just talking about what goes on player’s hotel rooms.

Because of the setting, the amount of games in quick succession and the nature of double headers, it’s been far less patriotic than a bilateral series or even a world cup.  If you are here to support your country, you are probably also going to see neutral games as well.  It’s how this tournament is.

But tonight all that disappeared.  The Sri Lankans had been cheering Chris Gayle supporting the Pakistanis and getting excited at Shane Watson, but not any more.  Tonight Pakistan was the opposition, not their second favourite team.

Watson or Gayle can be sure that their sixes will be met largely by silence followed by an ICC firework.

The Sri Lankan fans can now see themselves winning this.  They really want to win it.  They even started partying like they were winning it.  One fan drinking what appeared to be arrack as he hung out of the sunroof of a car while wearing a Sri Lankan shirt and wrapped in a Sri Lankan flag was certainly enjoying the victory.  There seemed to be more fans outside the ground than could ever fit into the ground.

Most of them, when there wasn’t a Pakistani fan to laugh at, were already calling Sri Lanka the champions.  Why wait to Sunday when you can start celebrating now.

The party bit of this tournament has definitely ended, the party in Sri Lanka may not end for quite some time.

Result: I missed Afridi’s last ever innings (well it could be) by deciding to wash my hands. Dilshan now won’t get beaten to death by a sack of rambutans.

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australia’s nightmare is real

There is a condition that I have: I forget the name. It’s like night terrors or sleep paralysis. I am often convinced someone is in the room at the foot of my bed and I wake up screaming or attacking them.

Other people have it too.   Some scientists believe that alien abduction and ghost stories can often been explained away with this condition.

Ofcourse it’s also possible that there really is someone in my room, and in my hazy freshly woken state I just don’t see them get away time and time again.

The nightmare for Australia was that their middle order was exactly as shit as they thought they were.

That they couldn’t score against the spinners, wouldn’t rotate the strike and under extreme pressure would fall apart.

Every night Australia has had this dream, and every night of the tournament they wake up screaming and check beside them to make sure Shane Watson is still there.

Tonight, Shane Watson wasn’t.

It was just as ugly as all the nightmares suggested.

In the end all they needed to score was 112, and they did that because Mike Hussey was awake the whole time, although it didn’t seem like he was always conscious.

You could also give all the credit to Pakistan for almost flat out refusing to try pace, and for being really good.  But let’s focus on how utterly shit Australia looked without Watson making runs.

Now they have two games in which to fix this problem.

Knock out games.

And they’ll have precisely no warm up matches between now and them to practice.

But on the plus side, it’s not a nightmare, it’s a reality.  Doesn’t that feel better?

Result: Shane Watson bleeds human blood, and Shoaib Malik ruined the 20 overs of spin thing.

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Live Morkecide

In the last few days I’ve dealt with heavy traffic from Colombo to Pallekelle, a driver who yelled into his phone non stop the whole way, having to wait while someone found Ian Bishop at midnight, tripping over several times, fighting the urge to vomit on people sitting below me, a killer stomach pain, being kicked out of a lift because of Broad and Finn, having to stop (twice) in the middle of the night to check out inflatable toys, sleeping like someone was in the corner of the room with a twitchy switch blade, waiting for someone else to finish their runny shits, being sent across town away from the ground to pick up our accreditation, and then 90 minutes sweating before my actual ass off before Nissanka (the Ninja tuk tuk driver) aborted the trip.  Then there was one more 30 minute trip, with more sweating, which also included the feeling that once I wrrived at the ground my cock would be fondled as 12 men stare into my eyes.

When I finally got into the ground, a couple of hours after the Pakistan South Africa match had started, Pakistan were in the shit.  They were four down, and then five, and then Afridi.

All that travel, all that sweating, all that discomfort, no penis touching, and now I was about to see my least favourite team beat my favourite team.  At that point the World T20 could go and fuck itself in the ass.  I hated Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the ICC, T20 and Stuart Robertson.

Then the Umars committed Morkecide.

There is a brilliant billboard by a major Colombo round-about that calls Sri Lanka a paradise island.  You can look at it while you stay stuck in your sweaty tuk tuk.  Surrouned by all kinds of pollution.  Large buses trying trying to push you into some posh dickhead’s unnecessary four wheel drive. Occasionally you inch forward before an overly officious police officer decides he doesn’t like your lane anymore.

This tournament is a bit like that at its worst.

But then Umar fucken Gul and his elongated face come in and start slapping the ball around everywhere.  Quickly you realise you’ve travelled a long uncomfortable way, bowel movements are controlling your life, you’re away from your wife and unborn child,  your undies are all sweated out again and the hum of the air conditioner at night sounds like a Slovenian hit crew about to off you, but it’s worth a lot of shit to watch South Africa lose in person.

Result: My cock wasn’t touched, Pakistan won.

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Kiwis drown in the jamshed

I love Pakistan cricket.

In fact, to prove my love for Pakistan cricket, I’ve never once punched Shoaib Malik in the face.

I’m not sure I love Nasir Jamshed. Maybe I do, and I just don’t know it yet.

The first time I ate pizza, I thought, that’s not bad, I’d like that again.

I only had one piece.

It never occurred to me that what I was eating was the single greatest food ever invented. It just tasted ok, and one piece lead to one whole pizza, which lead to two, two lead to three and three lead to the time I once ate 13 pizzas in 8 days.

So far I like what I see of Jamshed. It’s not much, it’s probably only two pieces worth. But he can play, and Pakistan need an actual batsman.

Not a Nazir like psychopath, not a wild hitter like Afridi, not a suicidal freak like Umar, not a dour plodder like Hafeez, not whatever the hell Kamran Akmal is, and not Shoaib Malik, ever.

Nasir could be what Pakistan need to help this amazing bowling attack win this tournament.

In typical fashion New Zealand fought their way back from utter disaster to lose with honour. Ross Taylor batted at six, so let’s pretend that they took this game as more of a hit out than an actual game type game.

Result: Shahid Afridi is 32 years old.

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Cheetahs, Dolphins & Stallions right on your chest

While looking for random cricket shirts that are probably only of interest to me, I found something that I thought would be of interest to everyone. Ok, not everyone, but people who like cricket themed t shirts that aren’t variations of “he bats for the other side”, “Bowling maidens over” or “I hate short wide ones”.

It’s now clear to me that I’ve failed to make cricket replica shirts cool. I gave it a go, but perhaps my love for them, and the one time I looked good in a Pakistani shirt under a sports coat, was a false dawn. As no one else seems to care about them. Not even my Lancashire shirt that was worn by Andrew Crook, or A Crook as it reads on the back, seems to excite people.

However, people love cool t shirts. And I think I’ve found the t shirts that could mend the fences between traditional crickey nerds and cricket hipsters. Bootleg Pakistan Domestic Faysal Bank T20 tournament t shirts.

Yes, they are as good as you’ve dreamed of. And I own every single one of these shirts. Because, because.

Karachi dolphins

Dolphins are the second smartest mammals after legspinners. But you’ve probably been afraid of rogue tuna or looking overly effeminate. Now you can put a dolphin on your chest and not worry about anything. Other than being mugged by someone who wants your cool ass Karachi dolphin t shirt.

Rawalpindi rams

I’m not going to lie to you; the Rawalpindi team could have named themselves better. I mean they are synonymous with the word express, and rams are more known for head butting other rams. But I like this ram, he’s got a dark side, and while he’s not a devil worshipper, he’s not averse to dark shit, and why not that have that on a t shirt.

Lahore lions

This one’s an easy buy for anyone who wants to have a slightly different spelling of the word whore on their chest. Your parents, wife or Rabbi can’t tell you off for having this on your chest, it’s just a cricket team from Lahore, isn’t it?

Sialkot Stallions

The silky stallions have still never taken my advice and changed their name, but everything about this t shirt is awesome.

Faisalabad Wolves

I don’t really care for wolves. This team might have been better if they’d called themselves werewolves, and had Jason Bateman on the front, but I’m still skeptical. This one did come with a puff paint, and some people will like that too.

Afghan Cheetahs

This is the ultimate in cricket t shirts. It’s a cricket shirt of a country that are the new coolest worn torn place that no one will want to tour who slog like maniacs and call each other bisexual when things go wrong. But to make it even better, it’s not even their country’s national shirt. It’s a domestic t shirt of a war torn kick ass minnow cricket nation. Wow. Also, it has a cheetah on it. A cheetah. Cheetah.

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Misbah Ul Haq: The ancient Astronaut

Geoff Lawson wrote a letter to Dav Whatmore about coaching Pakistan, and so should we all.  Here is mine. 

Yo Dav,

Misbah Ul Haq isn’t one of us.

It’s quite obvious really.

If you know anything about paleocontact or ancient astronauts you’ll have seen the signs long ago.

Misbah brings the truth:

While other Pakistani cricketers pretend they are actually embryos who have been locked in their mothers womb but only come out for a match day, Misbah doesn’t.  When asked about why he was so old and yet making a come back he said it was because he was his actual age.  His actual age, can any Pakistani cricketer give us more truth than that?

Misbah brings the calm:

The single greatest thing about the Pakistan Cricket team is their flair for craziness.  If the entire cricket world was made up of hard working New Zealand players we’d all be watching UFC.  The only reason Wrestling is so big in America is because they believe they have to artificially bring in the drama, whereas cricket fans know if you want drama, comedy or even dramedy, you just call Pakistan.

Misbah brings money:

Who invented T20 cricket? Who gives a shit.  Without Misbah playing that weird scoop when he had India by the balls, everyone in cricket would be eating left over Maccas and stealing VCRs from their mums house. No man has changed modern cricket more than Misbah.  Even if it might have been a bit for the shit.

Misbah brings his eyes:

He may not be the first calm and measured Pakistani, Imran, Inzi and Moyo all flirted with this at times.  But they still had Pakistani eyes.  And Pakistani eyes (which are nothing like Pathan noses I’m told) can’t help but betray all calmness. With Misbah his eyes are lifeless, they’re more like LED bike lights than anything resembling human.

Yet even with the calm truthful eyes of Misbah, people want to get rid of him.

No doubt to bring in some over excitable puppy dog captain, or someone else who’ll do it for a week before leaving to cobble shoes in Italy.  Misbah wins the Test series against the number one side in the world, loses a few ODIs no one could remember while they were watching them and people start to question his leadership.  Some don’t even question, they just want him out.

That would be a mistake, Dav.  Misbah is the man you want, because he isn’t even a man.  He’s an alien.  A bloody good one too.

Misbah is an alien who was sent here to guide Pakistan cricket to a better time.

It’s probably quite obvious to you, mostly because I doubt if Misbah ever felt truly human to anyone.

Pakistan have tried several humans of recent times, and none of them have been any good.  Salman is off churning ice cream in prison.  Younis wouldn’t deal with anything less than a personal dictatorship.  Shahid didn’t have enough time to wash his hair during a Test. And Mohammad looked a little confused.

I know Pakistan being lead by a man like Misbah is similar to Shahid Afridi wearing a Sarah Lund sweater, but it works.

Dav, Misbah changed the world, made Pakistan win and is old enough to remember Kirk Cameron not being a fundamentalist fuckwit.

Misbah may not be from our planet, but ask yourself this, does Pakistan Cricket need a Pakistani to lead them, or could they do better with an ancient astronaut?

Peace out,

Jrod

Team Misbah

Fund my film you bastards.

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Jade’s triple bluff

The ball was the perfect length to be sent into orbit.

If a batsman were to place the ball roughly in a spot where a lucky slog to the leg side would win him the game, he would have picked that exact location.

All Misbah-ul-Haq had to do was keep his shape (the commentators love that one now), clear his front leg, use fast hand speed and time the ball for Pakistan to win the match, and series.

Instead Misbah lost his shape, took his eye off the ball and seemed to be playing a different ball to the one that was delivered to him.

It means Misbah is a loser, and Jade Dernbach is a winner.

It takes amazing courage to bowl a back-of-the-hand slower ball for the last ball of the match when a six is required to win. Especially when earlier in the over you’ve bowled one that made you look like that guy in the nets who only bowls one ball before heading to fielding practice. Dernbach could have bowled a wide, a head high full toss or a long hop, all of which meant he may not have slid across the ground in 1980s dance movie style seconds later.

Dernbach had to know that Misbah would assume he’d try a slower ball. If you asked people what they knew about Dernbach for a Family Feud style show, the only response would be a slower ball, and the question would be edited out of the show.

With that in mind, then, Misbah would know that Dernbach would know that Misbah would be expecting the slower ball. So it’s actually possible that Misbah was anticipating the quicker ball.

The quicker ball does make sense. I doubt there were many English fans out there screaming, “come on, Jade, bowl the freakin’ slower ball on a good length now”. No, when people scream at the end of these matches they want yorkers, especially when a six is needed.

Still, Dernbach held strong, and double, or triple, bluffed Misbah, who could’ve only fallen over to make the dismissal look more complete.

The winner always looks better in this situation, but had Misbah not lost his shape and swung blindly, people would be saying that Dernbach was an idiot for bowling the exact same ball that now makes him the hero.

It’s a fine line between hero and that guy you abuse when you see him at the airport.

Not for Misbah though. Even if he hit a six off the last ball, people would abuse him for his slow strike-rate ensuring that he had to hit a six off the last ball to win.

Oh, that Misbah.

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