Member Interview: Firebat

MenInG

PakPassion Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Runs
215,783
Many thanks to [MENTION=138771]Firebat[/MENTION] for taking the time to answer questions put to him by fellow members.

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PakPassion.net: What is behind the name?

Firebat:
I made this account over 8 years ago now, when I was still in my school days. I came up with this stupid name for a project in my Design Technology class, and decided to use the name here too. Wish I could change it, I've got a similar problem with the first email address I made :)


PakPassion.net: What do you like most about PakPassion?

Firebat:
I love the diversity of topics that posters here are passionate about beyond just cricket in the Time Pass area. I myself have always been passionate about debating, public speaking, arguing, and I have a lot of interests/hobbies and follow a lot of sports. This site is the perfect intersection of all of that! A cricket forum, a football forum, a wrestling forum, a politics forum and more all rolled into one.


PakPassion.net: Should Imam-ul-Haq be dropped from the Pakistan squad based upon his strike rate?

Firebat:
No, he's a huge part of the best and most settled ODI top 3 that we've had in a long, long time. This team is flying high and it's all off the back of the dominance from those top 3. I would not dare touch that before the WC.

Imam himself has come on leaps and bounds since the last WC. He's proven he can score big, has been steadily improving his SR and his style complements the aggressive Fakhar well. After the WC, the likes of Saim Ayub and Abdullah Shafique can target his place in the side, but it's safe for the foreseeable future.


PakPassion.net: Would you do anything to change or stop the dominance of franchise cricket that we are increasingly seeing in the international calendar?

Firebat:
I'm not sure there is much you can do to stop the rise/dominance of franchise cricket, it's just the free market. We here are in a bubble of "purist" fans, but from my experience the average/new cricket is fan is far more captivated by the high intensity, 60m boundaries, 200+ scores of T20 leagues than an Azhar Ali 5 (60) in a Test against SL. That's how cricket will ultimately survive in the Tiktok generation.

The only thing I would do is to try prevent franchise cricket from harming the quality of international cricket by taking players. Having a 3/4 month window of the year for leagues would be a good measure to prevent the effects bleeding into the international calendar. That would stop players having to choose a T20 cheque over their international teams, but still let the boards make their money.


PakPassion.net: Why Arsenal and is Mikel Arteta the right man for Arsenal moving forward?

Firebat:
The first football fan in my entire family was my older brother, who had a clean slate to choose a team. Unfortunately for me, he chose Arsenal and hooked me onto it; I just missed the years of us actually winning the league but caught all the years of bottling it.

Regarding Arteta, I believe he has earned himself another season. Even though we bottled it, the team is clearly way further ahead than they were last year and left behind all competitors but Man City this year. We pushed a juggernaut of a side, perhaps the greatest in PL history, to the last few games of the season, with the youngest squad in the league that everyone believed would be finishing 5th/6th. It's undeniable that it was Arteta's coaching/imprint/vision that pushed this team to overachievement, when in reality all can see that the squad is far behind City's.

For that reason, he has earned more time to see how much further he can take them, even though I have questions about his in-game management. Because the core of this title-challenging side is so young, I'd say that there's a lot more improvement to come from these players and they will be challenging every year for the next few years, which I would credit to Arteta. With a good summer window and another pre-season, there's no reason why we can't get closer to success.


PakPassion.net: Is Mickey Arthur the right man to take Pakistan cricket forward?

Firebat:
I can't imagine how much influence a laptop "Team Director" can have in coaching the side. If he's not the selector, and he's not coaching the players day-to-day, then really I have no idea what effect he can actually have. The more pertinent question is: are Grant Bradburn, Morne Morkel and Andrew Puttick the right men to take Pakistan forward? My answer is that I'm completely unconvinced by those names.

The one thing I'll give Mickey is that he clearly has a lot of charisma and talks a good game based on his interviews. We can't measure it but I'm sure that is motivating for the players. He provides structure and discipline to the players, which a team like ours needs. His comments in particular about making our Test cricket more aggressive is very intriguing, and if he can succeed in even getting a draw this time in Australia, he would have taken us forward. Anything less than final 4 in the WC would also be a failure.


PakPassion.net: What's your most cherished memory as a cricket fan?

Firebat:
I have always been a Pakistan cricket fan thanks to the influence of my father, but living in the Middle East I got very few chances to ever see Pakistan play in person. Thankfully, I was able to come to Dubai to watch Pakistan and PSL in the last few years before cricket moved back to Pakistan.

And perhaps my most vivid memory from the games was one of my heroes Shahid Afridi take a stunningly athletic boundary catch followed by the signature celebration about 10m in front of me, as the crowd lost their mind. It's quite an obscure one, from a random meaningless Karachi Kings PSL 3 game. But those memories of finally getting to watch my favourite players live will stay with me forever.


PakPassion.net: Which countries have you visited and place that you would love to visit that you haven't yet?

Firebat:
I'm very blessed to have travelled to quite a few places around the world, and it is something I love to do. Singapore, Athens, San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur, Maldives, Barcelona, Langkawi are my favourite places that I've been so far!

In the future, I would love to visit South America. An aunty of mine went hiking through the Peruvian forests to Machu Picchu, and since then it has become a dream of mine to do the same. Hopefully I can realise that one day.


PakPassion.net: Your thoughts on Babar Azam? Selfish or a future legend?

Firebat:
Babar Azam the batter is someone that we take for granted. In reality, he is surely one of the best batters to have ever put on the Pakistan shirt especially in ODIs, but most fans overanalyse or make caveats about opposition or SR, or are obsessed with comparing him to others. We end up taking his unmatched consistency of run-scoring for granted. Yes he has limits and does not have the same power game of some of his counterparts, but his sheer mountain of runs makes him a modern great.

In a team so starved of batting talent in recent years, we should appreciate more the man for whom only getting out for a half-century is a failure.

The captaincy is a different story and is mediocre, but I try to view that as a different entity to his batting, which many posters struggle to do.


PakPassion.net: Which young Pakistani player excites you the most as a cricket fan?

Firebat:
I am not so hot just yet on all the new talents that have come out of this recent PSL, as I don't think they are ready for permanent places in the side beyond meaningless T20s.

But if I had to pick one, it's Saim Ayub. That left-handed grace, timing and power is so attractive as a cricket fan. I have hopes that in the long term, he can cement a spot to become an all-format opener for us.


PakPassion.net: Where do you see cricket heading in this decade? Are we going to lose one format of international cricket and some international players to T20 leagues/franchises?

Firebat:
Even though franchise cricket is growing very fast, I believe the bottleneck is the foreign players rule. It will never progress to the type of league system we see in football when 64% of the league has to be from a particular country. No country has enough talent to make that league higher quality than an international tournament, it's impossible.

Therefore, international cricket can only die a financial death, and I think that will only happen with bilateral ODIs. It's already happening, I cannot remember Pakistan playing so few ODIs in preparation for an ODI WC.

The ODI WC, however, remains and will continue to remain the pinnacle of all cricket. For all it's history, and the fact it only happens every 4 years, that will never die. By the end of the decade, T20s will be the norm of international cricket as Test playing nations reduce, with only the top 5/6 still playing, and only IND-AUS-ENG actually doing it regularly. Thanks to Bazball, Test cricket will last longer than bilateral ODIs.

But if franchise cricket becomes freer, we will see a more rapid descent towards a football-style league season with sporadic international cricket, which would be a huge shame.


PakPassion.net: Will something like ChatGPT or some AI Technology replace specialized cricket coaches?

Firebat:
No, I don't think they will replace coaches, but they will certainly be a huge part of the setup. There are so many potential advancements to be made in terms of opposition analysis, batting technique analysis, bowling action analysis etc. that are already slowly coming into play. An AI model might be able to watch a bowler for 6 balls and identify precisely the physical or technical elements that can be improved to extract more swing, or more bounce, or more pace.

However, from my experience, coaching will always require a human touch and intuition. Players need to have a personal relationship with a coach who understands what makes them tick in order to get the best out of them, at an elite level especially. Managing the pressures and the mental side of things cannot be done by AI. They are not robots, the coaches should not be either.


PakPassion.net: Which cricket team do you support after Pakistan, and which cricket team do you support the least after India?

Firebat:
I've always had a soft spot for Sri Lanka, mostly due to Kumar Sangakkara, who is my favourite non-PAK player ever. That left-handed grace again...

Recently, after seeing the crazy passion and energy of the crowds, I'm quite the Nepalese cricket supporter. It would be a crying shame for them if the Asia Cup was cancelled, I would love to see them playing in a big tournament like that.

Regarding my most disliked team (after India), I'd give that honour to Australia. The most arrogant, unlikeable players are always coincidentally the ones in the Aussie shirts. And I'm absolutely sick of getting mauled every time we go down under.
 
Excellent answers by a great bloke. Thanks for sharing admin duty tips over time
 
Really good read with well thought out answers and insights.
 
One of the best posters on PP. Surprised that he is that young. A level headed guy.

From your avatar, I can see you're a big fan of DD, what's your take on The Punisher? (the MCU series)
 
A very good and detailed read.

Well done.
 
Excellent answers by a great bloke. Thanks for sharing admin duty tips over time

Really good read with well thought out answers and insights.

One of the best posters on PP. Surprised that he is that young. A level headed guy.

No doubt one of the best posters around.

A very good and detailed read.

Well done.

Thanks all.

From your avatar, I can see you're a big fan of DD, what's your take on The Punisher? (the MCU series)

I really enjoyed it. I loved the violence and I loved Bernthal as Frank Castle from the moment he showed up in DD, so I was easily pleased by the show. The storyline wasn't as fleshed out as DD, as a result it felt like the 13 episode seasons dragged on a bit when it never felt that way in DD. Haven't watched it in a while though, might need a rewatch to refresh my thoughts.

Overall a good show, I'd probably give it a 7/10. I have it tied 3rd of the Marvel TV shows with Luke Cage, JJ 2nd (8/10) and DD 1st of course (10000/10).
 
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Thanks all.



I really enjoyed it. I loved the violence and I loved Bernthal as Frank Castle from the moment he showed up in DD, so I was easily pleased by the show. The storyline wasn't as fleshed out as DD, as a result it felt like the 13 episode seasons dragged on a bit when it never felt that way in DD. Haven't watched it in a while though, might need a rewatch to refresh my thoughts.

Overall a good show, I'd probably give it a 7/10. I have it tied 3rd of the Marvel TV shows with Luke Cage, JJ 2nd (8/10) and DD 1st of course (10000/10).

IMO DD and Punisher are the only two good MCU shows. Jessica Jones started off well but nosedived. Luke Cage wasn't that good to begin with. The less said about Iron Fist, the better.

My only problem with DD was it got too depressing in season 3. Wasn't a fan of The Hand storyline at all in season 2 with Elektra. DD and Frank were doing an amazing job in season 2 in that Blacksmith arc with Clancy Brown doing some great work and Fisk was always great to see.

Regarding The Punisher, the reason I like it a little more than DD was because it was very much based in the real world with them connecting the whole thing with War on Afghanistan. And I liked Frank's fighting style more than DD's ninja style. In season 1, Ben Barnes was amazing as Russo and the whole arc had a grand feel to it with political overtones. Season 2 was a little stretched out with Russo and his psych's storyline. But Frank got humanized a lot in season 2 and his relationship with Amy and Curtis was great. And they capped it off well with Frank admitting to Pilgrim he would have done the same if he was in his place.
 
IMO DD and Punisher are the only two good MCU shows. Jessica Jones started off well but nosedived. Luke Cage wasn't that good to begin with. The less said about Iron Fist, the better.

My only problem with DD was it got too depressing in season 3. Wasn't a fan of The Hand storyline at all in season 2 with Elektra. DD and Frank were doing an amazing job in season 2 in that Blacksmith arc with Clancy Brown doing some great work and Fisk was always great to see.

Regarding The Punisher, the reason I like it a little more than DD was because it was very much based in the real world with them connecting the whole thing with War on Afghanistan. And I liked Frank's fighting style more than DD's ninja style. In season 1, Ben Barnes was amazing as Russo and the whole arc had a grand feel to it with political overtones. Season 2 was a little stretched out with Russo and his psych's storyline. But Frank got humanized a lot in season 2 and his relationship with Amy and Curtis was great. And they capped it off well with Frank admitting to Pilgrim he would have done the same if he was in his place.

I personally prefer the DD fighting style, but I agree that the low-point was the Hand storyline in S2. Bringing actual ninjas into the show was just OTT. S3 was depressing but that's what makes DD a gritty show with real, nuanced and damaged characters, which I much prefer to the Tony Stark - Captain America type conventional superhero stories. How Fisk manipulates Dex, agent Nadeem's arc. It's a fantastic story.

Plus, from a cinematography and action POV, S3 produced some of the greatest sequences in any Marvel show period. Matt Murdock escaping the prison in ep4, or the 2 Daredevils facing off for the first time in the Bulletin office. Box office.

To be honest, I don't have a great memory of the Punisher so hopefully soon I'll be able to rewatch it and get back to you. It is great the way it links to the war in Afghanistan that gives it more credibility as a real world story, and I love his Wolverine-in-Logan / Equaliser type personality of a decent old-fashioned man helping others. In that vein, I'd recommend watching The Old Man. It's less superhero-ey, but got great action and pretty good + nuanced historical perspective on American involvement in that region. Maybe you've seen it already.
 
PakPassion.net: Will something like ChatGPT or some AI Technology replace specialized cricket coaches?

Firebat: No, I don't think they will replace coaches, but they will certainly be a huge part of the setup. There are so many potential advancements to be made in terms of opposition analysis, batting technique analysis, bowling action analysis etc. that are already slowly coming into play. An AI model might be able to watch a bowler for 6 balls and identify precisely the physical or technical elements that can be improved to extract more swing, or more bounce, or more pace.

However, from my experience, coaching will always require a human touch and intuition. Players need to have a personal relationship with a coach who understands what makes them tick in order to get the best out of them, at an elite level especially. Managing the pressures and the mental side of things cannot be done by AI. They are not robots, the coaches should not be either.

==

I am wondering if in this new data driven world we will need more AI to help coaches?
 
I personally prefer the DD fighting style, but I agree that the low-point was the Hand storyline in S2. Bringing actual ninjas into the show was just OTT. S3 was depressing but that's what makes DD a gritty show with real, nuanced and damaged characters, which I much prefer to the Tony Stark - Captain America type conventional superhero stories. How Fisk manipulates Dex, agent Nadeem's arc. It's a fantastic story.

Plus, from a cinematography and action POV, S3 produced some of the greatest sequences in any Marvel show period. Matt Murdock escaping the prison in ep4, or the 2 Daredevils facing off for the first time in the Bulletin office. Box office.

To be honest, I don't have a great memory of the Punisher so hopefully soon I'll be able to rewatch it and get back to you. It is great the way it links to the war in Afghanistan that gives it more credibility as a real world story, and I love his Wolverine-in-Logan / Equaliser type personality of a decent old-fashioned man helping others. In that vein, I'd recommend watching The Old Man. It's less superhero-ey, but got great action and pretty good + nuanced historical perspective on American involvement in that region. Maybe you've seen it already.

Yes s03 was probably the best in terms of pay off and the action scenes.

I liked Punisher a bit more probably due to the unbridled action.

Will try The Old Man as well.

Hearing Bernthal will feature in the MCEU DD Born Again as well. I don't have high hopes from Kevin Feige and his chirpy light hearted superheroes with one liners.
 
Yes s03 was probably the best in terms of pay off and the action scenes.

I liked Punisher a bit more probably due to the unbridled action.

Will try The Old Man as well.

Hearing Bernthal will feature in the MCEU DD Born Again as well. I don't have high hopes from Kevin Feige and his chirpy light hearted superheroes with one liners.

After seeing Wilson Fisk's appearance in Hawkeye, where he got beaten up by a teenage girl, my hopes for Born Again nosedived.

However, on reflection, as long as these characters such as DD, Punisher, Fisk etc are self-contained in the same show, the general gritty vibe will be preserved. Those actors can't play those characters in any other way, it just wouldn't compute. The problem only comes when you stick these guys in the same scenes/stories as the goofy one-liner superheroes, which I hope happens as little as possible.

I'm excited for another DD-Punisher linkup, but I feel that there's nothing left to do arc-wise with Fisk. He can just make sporadic appearances as the big bad villain, but the main antagonist needs to be someone new, tell a different story. Dex as Bullseye could be a possibility.
 
After seeing Wilson Fisk's appearance in Hawkeye, where he got beaten up by a teenage girl, my hopes for Born Again nosedived.

However, on reflection, as long as these characters such as DD, Punisher, Fisk etc are self-contained in the same show, the general gritty vibe will be preserved. Those actors can't play those characters in any other way, it just wouldn't compute. The problem only comes when you stick these guys in the same scenes/stories as the goofy one-liner superheroes, which I hope happens as little as possible.

I'm excited for another DD-Punisher linkup, but I feel that there's nothing left to do arc-wise with Fisk. He can just make sporadic appearances as the big bad villain, but the main antagonist needs to be someone new, tell a different story. Dex as Bullseye could be a possibility.

Think they (Netflix) had originally planned 2 more DD seasons with s04 having two other villains and s05 with the final confrontation between DD and Fisk. For me, how much can DD contain Fisk without finally putting him down? He will keep coming back cause of his big hands everywhere.

They've already sorta ruined DD with that golden suit in She Hulk. I didn't watch that show though only saw DD clips from it. They had Matt doing one liners like I am a really good lawyer in No Way Home too although it wasn't that bad.

But Fisk getting beat in Hawkeye was embarassing and Fisk being fine after getting hit by a running car was just cartoonish. Frank would actually be even more affected by such treatment. Imagine him saying stuff like I'll let you live and then killing the guy 2 sec later saying I lied.

Frank being involved in political storylines is perfect IMO.

Tombstone would make a perfect villain for both.
 
PakPassion.net: Your thoughts on Babar Azam? Selfish or a future legend?

Firebat: Babar Azam the batter is someone that we take for granted. In reality, he is surely one of the best batters to have ever put on the Pakistan shirt especially in ODIs, but most fans overanalyse or make caveats about opposition or SR, or are obsessed with comparing him to others. We end up taking his unmatched consistency of run-scoring for granted. Yes he has limits and does not have the same power game of some of his counterparts, but his sheer mountain of runs makes him a modern great.

In a team so starved of batting talent in recent years, we should appreciate more the man for whom only getting out for a half-century is a failure.

The captaincy is a different story and is mediocre, but I try to view that as a different entity to his batting, which many posters struggle to do.

==

You do understand you are at odds with many who consider himself selfish!
 
Think they (Netflix) had originally planned 2 more DD seasons with s04 having two other villains and s05 with the final confrontation between DD and Fisk. For me, how much can DD contain Fisk without finally putting him down? He will keep coming back cause of his big hands everywhere.

They've already sorta ruined DD with that golden suit in She Hulk. I didn't watch that show though only saw DD clips from it. They had Matt doing one liners like I am a really good lawyer in No Way Home too although it wasn't that bad.

But Fisk getting beat in Hawkeye was embarassing and Fisk being fine after getting hit by a running car was just cartoonish. Frank would actually be even more affected by such treatment. Imagine him saying stuff like I'll let you live and then killing the guy 2 sec later saying I lied.

Frank being involved in political storylines is perfect IMO.

Tombstone would make a perfect villain for both.

Yes that appearance in She Hulk was just egregious, I had fully blocked it out my mind. I still think though that the original vibe can be maintained as long as the regular characters stay self-contained, and don't interact with the likes of She Hulk.

Just rewatched the first season of the Punisher. It is an absolutely great 9/10 show for the first 7/8/9 episodes, but the final few drag on I feel and introduce a few pot-holes. The inability for Russo and Castle to kill each other despite numerous chances just gets a bit OTT and frustrating. I wish they would explore Russo's backstory a bit more, especially as an adult, as it doesn't make a lot of sense that this righteous and decent warrior Frank is best friends with someone so cold-hearted and broken that he stuffs heroin into his fellow soldiers' dead bodies for money.
 
Yes that appearance in She Hulk was just egregious, I had fully blocked it out my mind. I still think though that the original vibe can be maintained as long as the regular characters stay self-contained, and don't interact with the likes of She Hulk.

Just rewatched the first season of the Punisher. It is an absolutely great 9/10 show for the first 7/8/9 episodes, but the final few drag on I feel and introduce a few pot-holes. The inability for Russo and Castle to kill each other despite numerous chances just gets a bit OTT and frustrating. I wish they would explore Russo's backstory a bit more, especially as an adult, as it doesn't make a lot of sense that this righteous and decent warrior Frank is best friends with someone so cold-hearted and broken that he stuffs heroin into his fellow soldiers' dead bodies for money.

They did sorta tried to explain Russo's backstory in s02. All he said was lies in the first season. He didn't really care for anyone but himself and he was all about money and power. If you saw the flashback scene of Billy with Frank's family where he tells Frank's daughter "you're too smart to be his daughter" you can sorta see that evil look in his eyes for volatility but he covers it well. And Frank was probably the only one he hesitated for a little bit to allow Rawlins to shoot his family.

They did the s02 well but Billy's arc became too stretched out especially with the psychiatrist. Frank and John's arc was brilliant throughout s02. Bernthal's portrayal of Frank is just so charismatic that it covers most of the mistakes. But I agree the Micro's family arc in 2-3 episodes became a little bothersome but the penultimate episode of s01 was high octane. I'd say Curtis Hoyle was a great comfort character throughout the series. Mahoney becomes a nuisance in s02 with his hatred for Frank despite being a likeable character in DD. Ben Barnes is a pretty good actor as well as he was able to insert a lot of cunning evil into the character that wasn' written with as much depth to be Frank's arch nemesis. Found Madani to have become more likeable in s02 too.
Frank's despicability for child abusers was a great consistent touch throughout.
 
You do understand you are at odds with many who consider himself selfish!

I don't think he's any more or less selfish than any elite batter. Of course he cares about milestones but most of them do, it's human nature. If we had 6 Babar's in that batting lineup, maybe I'd give all that milestone nonsense more attention. But right now, he's the least of our problems batting wise.
 
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