ODI Debutant
Feb 19, 2005
1. A bit about yourself would be particularly nice since youre quite the unknown entity at good ol PP. Your age, how did you come across PP and all that jazz.Here is Amoeba's:

Hi, I am 33 years old and married with a four month old daughter. I currently live in London and work for an Investment Bank. However I grew up in Warwickshire hence my fondness for Bob Woolmer, Alan Donald, Ian Bell and Asif Din! Can't remember precisely when I first came across PP. However It must have been around 18 months ago. Used to enjoy posting on a fans forum for my favourite football team (won't mention which team for fear of ridicule!). Thought there must be an equivalent for the greatest cricket team in the World. Unfortunately couldn't find one for Australia so came on PP (only joking)!

2. Since when have you been following cricket and what sparked your interest in it.

My earliest recollection is the summer of 1976. Burnt outfields, Whispering Death cartwheeling stumps and a young chap by the name of IVA Richards announcing his arrival by scoring a mountain of runs. A new and exciting era in World cricket had arrived.

The spark, as with most people, I guess was my late father. Missed out on his playing days but I do remember spending summers watching a number of league games in which he was umpiring. All my father's brothers used to live in the UK and were completely cricket mad. My mother's family live in Pakistan and spent quite a bit of time there in 1976 and 1978. Most of this was spent playing cricket in the yard from morning till night with cousins, one of whom went on to play a bit of first class cricket in Pakistan. So I guess it runs in the family.

3. Your benchmark for a good player (batsman and bowler) and then who is your favourite player .

4. Do you rate players based on technique or temperament?

Allow me to answer these two questions together if you may. I think the ultimate test of a player is how he reacts under pressure and therefore a player's temperament is key. Cricket is the closest to a physical form of chess that exists and therefore a lot of it is actually played in the mind. Bowlers will attempt to identify the strengths or weaknesses of a batter and make him play in areas which are not natural to him. Conversely a batter will try to disrupt the rhythm of a bowler, throw him off his length and line, and try to force gaps in the field. It's a battle of wits and the chap who is mentally and technically stronger will succeed in forcing the other player to play the way that he wants.

Technique for a batsman is very important as well because he needs something to fall back on. On bad days when he is out of form, his "eye" isn't working that well, or the bowlers are testing his weaknesses, players with good technique and temperament will still be able to battle it out.

On this basis my favourite players are what could be described as fighters ie the players that always perform when their team is in trouble. Over the last 20 years this category would include players such as Ian Chappell, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Michael Atherton, Rahul Dravid, Javed Miandad, Larry Gomes, Justin Langer, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Richard Hadlee, but my favourite has to be Imran Khan. He is head and shoulders above anyone else in Pakistani cricket. A true leader of men. I like Inzy of the current crop of players. He's carrying an enormous burden and If he doesn't perform then we usually lose. However he has good temperament, never appears flustered or hurried but does suffer from poor footwork early in his innings.

5. Shoaib is one of the only match winners we have in the tests right now. However from your posts I judge that youre not one of his more ardent fans. Dont you think that he can afford the tantrums and why should we discourage it?

The first thing to say is that we are where we are. At the moment Shoaib is our best bowler and is ranked number 3 in the world so he must be doing something right. Pakistan has always placed reliance on individual performances since it's introduction to Test Cricket in 1954. In the past this was probably due to a lack of depth in the team, i.e we had a couple of outstanding batsmen and bowlers whilst the rest were distinctly average. If these so called "Match-Winners" performed well then we won if they didn't then we would struggle. It might be one of the multitude of reasons why we were so inconsistent.

During the 90's we probably had the best and certainly most talented players in the World. However we never became the best team in the World. This I believe was due to poor discipline on and off the pitch. Discipline off the pitch such as training hard, resting properly, preparing mentally and a controlled diet lead to good discipline on the pitch.

Cricket has now become much more professional in approach in all areas. Cricket is a team game - everyone needs to contribute not only to the performance but also to the team spirit. If Team Pakistan is to mean more than some empty slogan then a unified team spirit has to be created and everyone has to toe the line. For this to happen the word and approach of the Captain / Coach has to be respected. Whether Shoaib agrees with Inzy / Javed / Bob or not he shouldn't openly criticise them in the press or, as some people have reported, sulk when he isn't given the new ball. No one is bigger than the team and If (a big if because it runs contrary to Pakistan
society) Inzy / Bob can create a unified disciplined team then tantrums by any player cannot be allowed. It sets the wrong example to the other players and diminishes the respect they have for the Captain / Coach.

6. Even though this might be a pedantic question but I think the answer might not be that bad and the q is what particular moment in Pak cricket history is etched on your mind and why?

As for most people on this board I imagine it has to be winning the World Cup in 1992. There are so many wonderful things about that particular competition for us Pakistanis - the fact that we won in Ramadan, that we were nearly out of the competition (until Imran's famous Cornered Tigers speech), winning despite Waqar breaking down before the tournament, an unknown Inzy's fantastical innings in the Semi ( when we thought we were dead and buried again), Imran & Javed brilliant repair work in the final after coming in at 10-2. Wasim taking the wickets of Lamb and Lewis in 2 balls, Javed's consistent batting...the list goes on and on. It was a fantastic moment for Pakistan. Just a shame that we didn't repeat the feat in 96 and especially 99 when we probably had better players.

As for the negative side - the defining moment was probably sitting in Barbados when the news came through about Salim Malik and match-fixing allegations. Sad day for Pakistan and some of the players reputations will quite rightly remain tarnished.

7. Do you think we have a chance in hell of becoming a good test team in the near future and your thoughts on the Oz series? Where are we going wrong?

I'd like to answer these questions in reverse order if you allow. Firstly don't get me wrong winning the World Cup was great however it lead to a huge mushrooming in interest in the one day game to the detriment of test match cricket. Hence players are playing 30 - 40 ODI's and only about 7-8 test matches per year. This has resulted in Pakistan producing batsmen who don't have the technique or temperament for test match cricket. The opening slots are especially poor with players like Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat and Yasir Hameed amongst others being shuffled around. We also struggle to find a consistent bowling line up due to injuries from the increased workload, poor general fitness, and bad techniques.People can blame the PCB for playing all these ODI's but if tests (even against India) are played to near empty stadia then they really have no other option. The outlook for Test Cricket in Pakistan is bleak especially if the team continues to underperform.

Can we become a good test team? Depends on what you mean by good. I believe that with South Africa and India really regressing over the last year the test scene is becoming fractured. Australia and England are battling it out for the top 2 spots. After that though most of the teams are pretty much similar in standard and as bad as each other. Pakistan could be ranked 3rd or 7th depending on your opinion. I think our first aim should be to be the best of the rest i.e. make 3rd spot our own. This is not a bad ranking, although not something that I would settle for as I want Pakistan to be the best. After that we need to formulate a long term plan so that we can tackle the two big guns who have vast financial resources. Much as both Australia and England/ NZ did in the mid 80's and 90's respectively we need to identify a core group of committed talented young players who can be coached into a fighting unit in 5 years time.

As for the OZ series - Pakistan have never won a series in Australia even with players of the calibre of Imran, Javed, Wasim and Waqar. It just shows the size of the task. In my opinion this Aussie team is better than the great Windies team. That Windies team relied heavily on four fast bowlers which meant it was possible to legislate away their dominance (bouncer restrictions, over rates, better padding). In part this legislation was required as the art of spin bowling - especially Leg spin was dying, but obviously part of it was motivated through jealousy. Imran knew that he couldn't compete with the Windies for pace but he choose to have a more varied attack which asked different questions at his disposal. So the Pakistan team which matched the Windies in the 80's contained a Right Arm Fast bowler, Left Arm Fast bowler, a Medium Pacer and a legspinner. The present Aussies are so strong in every department it is difficult to formulate a plan against them. They have the best fast bowlers, the best legspinner, the best opening batsmen, the best wicketkeeper batsman, and not a bad middle order! There is no weakness or comparative advantage for other teams to attack and they can win on all surfaces. It really is an awesome team, but also one which is good to watch.

The only way Pakistan can combat this team is to admit that they have no chance of winning in Australia. Therefore aim for the draw, pack the team with Batsmen, attack with the fast bowlers but once these come off change to a defensive field and make it hard for the Aussies to score quickly. I know it's negative but can anyone else seriously see a way of coming away without a whitewash? As for the batters they need to occupy the crease but be positive both in defence and attack.

8. Your thoughts on the coach and his role in the team.

I presume you mean as a unit rather than individually. The Captain and Coach should be responsible for assessing the opposition, formulating a plan and at least a plan B, identifying the players required to put the plans into action, training schedules / drills, discipline, motivation, and forward planning / Vision. The Captain / Coach need to be in total agreement with eachother on these areas and have to at least show a united front in public. In the best working relationships the Captain represents the Coach on the field and Coach represents the Captain off it. This is probably one of the reasons that Bob Woolmer / Inzy combination probably isn't working as well as it should. Bob works best with captains of the ilk of Reeve and Cronje - players who may not necessarily be the most talented but are prepared to work hard. Hence Shoaib Malik is probably Bob's long term candidate for the captaincy.


do you think that PakPassion will be around in about 5 years time - is there enough interest here and quality of postings such that people will want to comeback to this forum ?

Probably not a question for me to answer. However the forum seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment. I'm sure Saj Bhai will verify this. Also the population of people with access to the internet will increase which I'm sure will have a beneficial effect on the number of posters. As for the quality of postings in my opinion they vary from very good detailed analysis to smilely faces by Noman! However they all add to the flavour of the forum. It's an opinion based forum and as long as everyone respects everybody else's opinion then I think PP will continue to be the lively informative and fun forum that it is.

I really enjoy MIG's (and Amjad "Bradman" Javed's) postings. He's been a good recent addition, unless he posted under another moniker. I think he adds gravitas to the proceedings and provides a father like figure to the rest of us (no offence intended).

One of things I would suggest is the possibility of people meeting up. It would be interesting to put some faces to the names and have some "accountability". As Pakistan are touring England relatively soon that could be ideal time to make some of the "virtual friendships" a little more real.

10. Farid: who is your most disliked cricketer and why?

It's a hard question as I don't really dislike any cricketer. However after much consideration I would say it would have to be Shoaib. It's frustrating that at times he appears unmotivated especially as any professional international cricketer is doing a job I would love to do. Also I wish he would confine his talking (not literally as he probably end up being
suspended) to the pitch. As I said before I like mentally tough fighting cricketers. Shoaib too often seems to lose the mental battle and underperform when under pressure.

11. Do you think afridi would make an impact in tests?

In a way Afridi epitomises Pakistani cricket. A wonderfully naturally talented player who hadn't had a day's coaching before he made his debut. Although numerous people have tried to coach him subsequently including Geoff Boycott his shot selection remains poor. He does have one thing in his favour - surprisingly temperament. He will play exactly the same regardless of the situation. He was the right man for the tense situation against India at Edgbaston in the ICC tournament.

To make an impact in test cricket though he needs to work on his shot selection and bowling - especially the googly as I think he will struggle to get out top line batters without one.

12. And now the last one, what are your areas of interest and would you care to expound on anyone of them?

At the moment having a four month old baby means that, apart form Islam and my family, I don't have time for any other interests! Sleep is one that I would like to partake in much more in the coming months! More generally I take an interest in Politics, Comedy and Mitosis.