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Posts Tagged ‘cricket news’

Oct
18

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The series scheduled to be played between India and Pakistan’s women’s cricket teams remains in doubt as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has not responded to Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) queries on the series since May with a confirmation or rejection,cricinfo reported.

The two teams have till the end of October to play the series, which counts towards ICC Women’s Championship points.

If the series is not played the matter of how the points will be awarded will be referred to the event’s technical committee, a spokesperson from the International Cricket Council (ICC) told ESPNcricinfo.

“The two sides have until the end of this month to play the series, which has to be hosted by Pakistan,” the ICC spokesperson said.

“If the series doesn’t go ahead, then the matter will be referred to the Event Technical Committee,” he added.

Pakistan is due to host India for this series, which is supposed to consist of three ODIs, however, the PCB is open to holding the series in the UAE.

A BCCI official said the board has not made a decision on the matter yet, and that it would be binding on the Indian government’s call.

“This is for the government to decide. The BCCI doesn’t have a say in this,” the official said.

“We still have time to make a decision,” he added.

The PCB wants India to forfeit the six points available for the series if they do not agree to play.

In the ICC Women’s Championship, India currently sit sixth on the table with 13 points five points adrift of thetop four. Pakistan are seventh with eight points. If the six points for the series are awarded to Pakistan, neither side will have a chance to directly qualify for the World Cup.

Cricketing ties between India and Pakistan are currently stalled, given the political tensions between the neighbours.

The men’s teams have not played a bilateral series against each other since December-January 2012-13, when Pakistan visited India, but have met in various multi-team tournaments since then, including the World Cup, World T20, Champions Trophy and Asia Cup.

Pakistan Womenare set to tour New Zealand for three ODIs in Nelson from November 13 to 17, counting towards the championship. It is understood the PCB wanted to play the India series ahead of this tour.

India and Pakistan’s women’s teams are also scheduled to play the Asia Cup in Thailand between November 25 and December 5.

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Oct
17

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Former batsman and captain of the national cricket team Jaived Miandad on Saturday withdrew his allegations against former T20 captain Shahid Afridi.

Miandad also announced that he harbours no ill feelings towards Afridi.

In a meeting held between the two former cricket captains, Afridi thanked Miandad for the withdrawal of his statements.

“It is a great pleasure that Afridi is sitting besides me and there are no differences between us,” said Miandad.

Miandad also expressed well wishes for Afridi and said if any of his comments had hurt Afridi, he would withdraw them.

Afridi said he had never demanded an apology from Miandad as he considers Miandad as his senior.

“Miandad withdrawing the allegations against me is a big deal for me and my fans,” Afridi added.

The controversy arose when Afridi, who quit ODIs last year after the ODI World Cup 2015 expressed his desire of playing a farewell match, and asked the PCB to entertain his request. Afridi had expressed his desire to bid farewell to his fans through one final match.

Miandad opposed the idea of giving a farewell match to the former T20 captain which resulted in Afridi passing controversial remarks about Miandad.

Reacting on these controversial remarks, Miandad levelled match fixing allegations against Afridi.

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Oct
02

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SHARJAH: Fast-rising one-drop batsman Babar Azam cracked a successive hundred to propel Pakistan to another dominating 337-5 in the second day-night international against West Indies in Sharjah on Sunday.

The 21-year old followed his 120 in the first game on Friday with another magnificent 125-ball 123 spiced with nine boundaries and a six as Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, took full advantage of another flat strip at Sharjah stadium.

Azam added 169 for the third wicket with Shoaib Malik who missed his ninth one-day hundred by ten runs, scoring an attractive 83-ball 90 with six hits over the fence and three boundaries.

Pakistan leads the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first game — also in Sharjah — by 111 runs on Friday.

It was another dominating batting by Pakistan, shredding the West Indian bowling at will, with Azam and Malik giving strength and Sarfraz Ahmed finishing it with 47-ball 60 not out.

Azam reached his second one-day international hundred with a single off Carlos Brathwaite, waving his bat and bowing down in delight.

He was finally caught off paceman Alzarri Joseph at long-on in the 46th over.

Malik was also ruthless as he reached his 38th half-century off 55 balls before hitting three successive sixes off left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, one went out of the Sharjah stadium.

Azam and Malik steadied the innings after openers Azhar Ali (nine) and Sharjeel Khan (24) fell in the space of three deliveries with the total at 40.

Ahmed, who hit seven fours, helped Azam add another 73 for the fourth wicket as Pakistan added 97 in the last ten overs and 55 in the last five.

Joseph and Jason Holder took two wickets apiece.

Earlier, Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali won the toss and opted to bat first in the second of a three-match One day International (ODI) Series against the West Indies on Sunday.

“The surface is good. It will take the batsmen some time to settle, but there are plenty of runs on offer,” Azhar said.

Pakistan’s lineup remained unchanged, but the West Indies wereforced to make a change after Shannon Gabriel was ruled out with a sore neck. Gabriel has been replaced by Alzarri Jospeh, who is making his ODI debut in the match.

Azhar Ali took strike, partnered with Sharjeel Khan, as Windies captain Jason Holder started proceedings. Holder will share the ball with Alzarri Joseph.

Pakistan won the first match of the series, giving them a 1-0 lead, building on their 3-0 whitewash in the Twenty20 series from which the current line-up will seek inspiration.

Holder blamed poor batting for his side’s demise in the first ODI. “We didn’t bat well, especially against spin,” said Holder. “We have to adjust and improve quickly,” he said.

Team line-ups

Pakistan: Azhar Ali (c), Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (w), Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Khan, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali.

West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin (w), Kieron Pollard, Jason Holder (c), Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Sulieman Benn, Shannon Gabriel, Jonathan Carter, Ashley Nurse, Evin Lewis, Alzarri Joseph.

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Oct
02

If you’re reading this, then I congratulate you. To even consider early retirement, you need to know the value of figuring out how much money you need to be happy, spending less than you earn, and investing the difference. The problem, however, is that once you save up enough money in a tax-advantaged retirement account, you have to wait until you’re nearly 60 to start withdrawing that money tax-free.

Well, I have good news for you. If you’ve learned to live a frugal life, then there’s something even better than a Roth IRA, and it’s been hiding under our noses all along: a plain old brokerage account — with absolutely no tax advantages to speak of.

Did you ever notice this before considering early retirement?

In 2014, I was doing some research on capital gains taxes when I noticed something I’d never seen before:

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I was astounded. If — after adding together all of your sources of income — your household is in or below the 15% tax bracket, you pay absolutely no taxes on capital gains. “Sure,” you might say, “but only the uber-poor are in those tax brackets.”

That’s not quite true. Here’s the adjusted gross income limit that would put you in that tax bracket.

FILING STATUS MAXIMUM AGI FOR 15% BRACKET
Single $37,650
Married, Jointly $75,300
Head of Household $50,400

Data source: The Tax Foundation. 

Consider how high these levels really are. The median household income in America sits at $55,500. If that household has a married couple filing jointly, they fall below the 15% tax threshold.

What this means for early retirees

Let’s consider a couple that’s 50 years old. They’ve been putting money away in their 401(k)s and traditional IRAs for their entire working lives. That has allowed them to build up a substantial nest egg — say $600,000.

But because they lived a disciplined lifestyle that eschewed things like buying as much house as they could afford, driving brand-new cars, and sending their kids to the most expensive colleges on Earth, they can live comfortably on $40,000 per year now that the kids are gone.

The couple knows that once they are 62, they’ll be able to have all of their needs met by a combination of Social Security and their nest egg. They’ll also be able to start getting that money from retirement accounts starting at age 59-1/2 years old. They just need to bridge the gap between when they retire and when they can tap those sources of income.

They did this by investing any leftover money they had — after contributing to their 401(k) and IRA — in a regular brokerage account. They bought stocks of solid companies with durable competitive advantages and, in many cases, dividends. In some years they’d have to pay taxes on those dividends while they were working, but not in all years.

While the couple was well aware of the 4% rule for safe withdrawals, they were comfortable taking out 8% in the first year, given that they only needed their nest egg to last about a decade, rather than all of retirement. That means over the years they’ve built up a normal brokerage account worth $500,000.

Once they quit their jobs, they’ll get the requisite $40,000 in annual income by collecting dividend payments and selling some stocks — and they’ll never pay taxes on any of it.

Practical applications for you and me

To be frank, some of these figures seem fantastical. I would love to believe that I’ll have $600,000 in retirement accounts and another $500,000 in a brokerage account when I’m 50. But I probably won’t find myself there — and that’s OK.

I still use this knowledge to my advantage. Every year, after our bills are paid, we contribute to a traditional IRA instead of a Roth. We prefer the tax reduction right now, because we know that any excess cash we might have can simply be put into a regular brokerage account that’s as good as a Roth, so long as we keep an eye on how much we’re earning and when we sell certain stocks.

If you have the time, this is an easy approach that will give you much more flexibility when early retirement comes knocking at your door.

If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $15,834 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after.

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Sep
30

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SHARJAH: Former champions Pakistan and the West Indies start a narrow two-way fight for an automatic place in the 2019 Cricket World Cup in a three-match one-day series starting in Sharjah Friday.

Pakistan, the 1992 champions, need to win the series 3-0 to rise one place from ninth while their opponents — champions in the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 — need to avoid a clean sweep to maintain their current eighth spot.

Hosts England and the seven highest-ranked sides in the one-day rankings on September 30 next year will qualify directly for the World Cup.

The bottom four teams in the standings will be joined by six Associate sides in a 10-team qualifying round in 2018 from where two teams will qualify.

Both Pakistan and the West Indies will also play in three one-day matches in the Caribbean next March.

Pakistan also have a tough five-match series in Australia early next year but West Indies will be hard pressed to play England and India before the cut-off date.

Both Pakistan and the West Indies have varied problems in the 50-over game.

Pakistan, ranked number one in Test cricket, have slumped in one-day and are coming on the back of a 4-1 bashing in England, a defeat which almost cost Azhar Ali the captaincy, but he finally survived.

Important step

Ali hopes his players take the confidence of their win in the final one-day against England at Cardiff and a 3-0 whitewash of the West Indies in the preceding Twenty20 series which ended on Tuesday.

“Yes, it will be great if we take that form into the series and that will not only help us in improving our rankings but also take the important step towards the 2019 World Cup,” said Ali.

Pakistan will once again look to exploit their opponents weakness against the spin, which saw them restrict the West Indies to low totals of 115, 144 and 103 in the Twenty20 series.

They have leg-spinner Yasir Shah and two left-arm spinners — Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz plus allrounder Shoaib Malik to launch the assault.

West Indies had shown recent form, having beaten South Africa twice and world number one Australia once in a tri-series on home grounds in June before losing the final to Steve Smith’s team.

Shockingly, they sacked their successful coach Phil Simmons a week before the start of this tour, which evidently affected their performance in the T20 series.

Still, captain Jason Holder put on a brave face. “In the ODI series we want to improve, we had a very good last Tri series with Australia and South Africa so it is important we keep improving,” said Holder.

West Indies will again be without dashing opener Chris Gayle, who is unavailable for the tour, and Andre Russell, missing due to an anti-doping hearing.

The second match will also be in Sharjah on Sunday followed by the third in Abu Dhabi on October 5.

Teams

Pakistan: Azhar Ali (capt), Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Khan

West Indies: Jason Holder (capt), Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Marlon Samuels

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Sep
25

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Young Michael Slater is fidgeting at the crease.

Scratch. Shake. Rub. Repeat.

His career is off to a flyer. The New South Welshman averages nearly 50. In 1995, openers don’t average anything near that much. For context, Mike Atherton only averages 38.

The Hobart pitch looks clean. Wasim has the ball. The recipe is complete.

New wicket, master tradesman and some chilly dense Hobart weather.

The cable knit sweaters are on. Even those with extra natural padding are wearing them.

Old timers predict that there will be some cut and swing. In their minds, it’s as certain as death and taxes. But it is likely to only last a few overs until the shine is gone from the ball. If Slater can connect with a cut shot or two, the danger will quickly subside.

Wasim has a lazy 12 step run up. Perhaps it is only 10? The left arm swings around like an angry propeller on a Spitfire. The ball pitches on a length, cuts in hard and strikes the pad.

Slater had no chance. His fidgeting hasn’t been demonstrative enough to wake up his feet. They didn’t move.

An appeal. A really good appeal. Not Out.

Hitting outside the line? Too high?

The replay indicates that many an umpire would have raised the finger.

The Pakistanis share a knowing wink. Darrell Hair looks concerned. He has just realised that this will be a tough morning for him.

Slater shakes it off. We expected this, right? It is not as though Wasim wastes too many new balls in these conditions.

Ball 2.

Same shape. Slightly quicker. Slightly shorter.

The 25-year-old Slater gets in behind it and scrubs a defensive prod to short cover.

It looked awkward.

Where feet were expected to move, they didn’t. Michael Slater often looked awkward.


He may be good at his game but donning clean, crisp white cricket kits does not a gentleman make


Back in 1995, openers were expected to look in control. Stylish. Dapper. Like Fred Astaire dancing in the rain. Slater could be that guy, but it wasn’t his natural happy place. He was more Vanilla Ice. In your face. New, exciting and baggy clothes.

He just wanted to make runs. Quickly.

Ball 3.

The sucker ball.

Pushed across the right hander and holding its line. The keeper takes it in front of first slip. A nervous Slater doesn’t bite. He wanted to. It was his ball. That mad cut shot wanted to come out of its cage. It didn’t.

Maybe if it were Steve Harmison bowling and not Wasim Akram? Surely he would have pounced at it then?

Slater continues to fidget at the crease. Perhaps this is where Steve Smith learnt it from?

Ball 4.

A half volley outside off stump. Not super quick, but still sharp. The batsman strides out to meet it. Almost overstretching.

Then he defends.

Wasim has got inside his head. Why didn’t that ball swing? Why didn’t I give it hell? It was there to hit. I’ll get him next time.

Mark Taylor is at the other end. He is practising the flick off his pads. It would be a dangerous shot against Wasim. Across the line. An invitation to produce a leading edge.

Ball 5

It is a repeat of ball 2. This time Slater jumps a little as he plays it. But to be fair, he is well behind it. Surely he feels more comfortable now? Apart from the first ball, the others have offered little danger to a set batsman. Like jelly in a blast chiller, Slater sets at a rapid speed. But he is not set yet. However, he is close.

Ball 6

Like Slater, Wasim also sets quickly. This is his effort ball. A full in-swinging yorker. We’ve seen it before. Close your eyes and you can picture it. Mitchell Starc took this dream and copied it.

Slater gets hit on the toe. His bat is still on its journey towards the ball. His bat is too slow. Wasim is too fast.

Umpire Hair fires him.

Peak Wasim. Classic Wasim. Just Wasim.

A tease of what he could do. A sense of what he would do. Then he did it.

He is like a gift from the gods. What is not to love?

What is not to respect?

Fast forward five years.

The dark clouds of match fixing would soon fall over Pakistani cricket.

They were always threatening to come in from the north, as they circled above the Kyber Pass. Now they had arrived.

These clouds set a waypoint for Wasim Akram. They threatened to unleash a thunderstorm from hell.

Winds. Hail. Lightning.

Instead, when one looks up at them, they are full of potential menace, yet never quite create more than a minor inconvenience.

These clouds are known as the Qayyum Report.

The typed pages of investigation that are contained within it are Pakistan’s attempt to look into corruption within the national team.

It opens up like a well laid out crime novel. A slow and steady start. A scene being set. Some explosive twists. Inconclusive conclusions and a reader left wanting for more.

Justice Qayyum, the author, is also fallible as we discover later. A cricket lover. A man working essentially with many contradicting first hand accounts and hearsay. His heroes are under attack.

But one in particular gives him the most troublesome time.

Wasim.

The Qayyum Report is clear in its condemnation of Pakistan’s greatest ever swing bowler.

Ata-ur-Rehman swore on oath that he was offered 200,000 rupees by skipper Akram to perform poorly in an ODI against New Zealand in Christchurch in 93/94.

Aamir Sohail had, on oath, also spoken ill of Akram.

Akram then, using his own personal credit card, paid for Ata-ur-Rehman to fly to London. Here, Rehman visited Akram’s lawyer and signed an affidavit supporting Wasim against the existing one penned by Sohail.

Essentially, Akram paid for Rehman’s travel so that he could perjure himself.


Cricket is not society. It does not automatically have to bestow a second chance on anyone. Instead, it is the duty of everyone associated with the game to protect it. Yet when it comes to our heroes, those who swung a ball in mysterious ways or batted like silk, we turn a blind eye.


Akram does not dispute that he paid for Rehman’s ticket.

Rehman originally alleged that Akram threatened to have him “fixed” if he didn’t follow orders. Rehman then retracted his story after Akram paid for that flight to London to visit his lawyer. Rehman decided that, in fact, Sohail had coerced him to speak against Akram.

Perjury. A broken witness.

However, the great Imran Khan also testified that Rehman had told him of Akram’s approaches.

It is recorded for all eternity in the Qayyum Report.

Imran doesn’t lie, does he? (Politicians don’t lie?)

Other allegations are made against Wasim Akram in the Qayyum report. However, they are the classic ‘he says / she says’-type argument. They focus on Akram feigning injury, bowling badly and manipulating batting orders so as to lose matches.

They are difficult to prove either way. There is little corroboration.

Justice Qayyum dismisses them.

However, back on the match fixing charge where there are elements of corroboration, Quyyam states the following:

“As regards to allegation one on its own, this commission is left with no option but to hold Wasim Akram not guilty of the charge of match-fixing. This the Commission does so only by giving Wasim Akram the benefit of the doubt.”

In isolation, natural justice clears Akram.

Not guilty.

We can all move on with our lives. Akram is still a national hero.

Or is he?

Qayyum goes on to say:

“However, once this commission looks at the allegations in their totality, this commission feels that all is not well here and that Wasim Akram is not above board. He has not co-operated with this Commission. It is only by giving Wasim Akram the benefit of the doubt after Ata-ur-Rehman changed his testimony in suspicious circumstances that he has not been found guilty of match-fixing. He cannot be said to be above suspicion.” [Emphasis added.]

So Akram is found not guilty because he helped finance a witness to change his story under oath?

What nonsense is this?

Think about it for just a second. Pause and reflect.

If this were a criminal trial, it wouldn’t be hard to argue that Akram tampered with a witness.

Unbelievable.

“It is, therefore, recommended that he be censured and be kept under strict vigilance and further probe be made either by the Government of Pakistan or by the Cricket Board into his assets acquired during his cricketing tenure and a comparison be made with his income. Furthermore, he should be fined Rs300,000.”

The classic Clayton’s verdict. You aren’t guilty, but please pay a fine for the little bit of guilt that you do harbour.

“More importantly, it is further recommended that Wasim Akram be removed from captaincy of the national team. The captain of the national team should have a spotless character and be above suspicion. Wasim Akram seems to be too sullied to hold that office.” [Emphasis added.]

Stained. But not guilty.

It is important to note that the Qayyum report was not a criminal trial. This impacts the burden of proof.

“…..it must be stated that the burden of proof is somewhere in between the criminal and normal civil standard.”

Akram argued that the burden of proof should be high. But of course, he would. The higher the burden of proof, the harder it is to convict him.

“It is not as high as the counsel for Wasim Akram recommended, that the case needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This is a commission of inquiry and not a criminal court of trial so that standard need not be high.”

Its outputs are recommendations. Typically, outputs from these inquiries are followed by prosecutors and governments. As they should.

Pakistan moved on after this event. They purged themselves. Apparently, they chose to reject corruption in cricket.

Then Butt, Asif and Amir.

Then Amir back in the Pakistan national side after those with memories, including Misbah and Hafeez, initially protested.

Corruption – 1

Sanctity – 0

But the story takes another turn.

While all this is happening, Wasim Akram remained a powerful man. He took more power. His voice is now the most powerful in Pakistani cricket.

He becomes a commentator. He models. He tries coaching in the IPL and being an ambassador in the PSL.

He is Pakistan’s Mr Everywhere.

But if you don’t clean up filth properly, it festers and mould grows and eventually it rears its head once again.

Justice Qayyum later recalls that he had a “soft corner” for Wasim.

“He was a very great player, a very great bowler and I was his fan, and therefore that thing did weigh with me.”

Qayyum admits he was lenient to “one or two of them” based on reputation and skill.

Qayyum, like all men, is guilty of being fallible. But what a time to lose control to your weakness.

Can we deduce from this that without personal bias, Qayyum may have found Wasim guilty of match fixing?

For a swing bowler, Akram knew how to live right on the slippery edge of right and wrong.

He was almost a match fixer, but paid a fine for being one.

He coerced a witness to change his sworn testimony against him by using his own funds.

He was stripped of the captaincy.

All facts. Indisputable.

Yet, you all still adore him like a god.

You place his playing deeds ahead of the damage he did to the game.

Does being good at something absolve one from society’s judgement about what is right and wrong?

Should we allow that Akram is afforded a voice on our television screens, our newspapers, mingles with players and coaches professional teams?

Would you allow Chris Cairns to do it? He was found not guilty by a UK court of lying about match fixing.

Why is Wasim any different? Is it because Wasim was a better player than Cairns?

Then how about those actually found guilty of crimes against the sport of cricket?

Shane Warne is a convicted drug cheat and took money from bookies. Why do you cower to him?

Mark Waugh is an Australian selector. An official position. He also took money from bookies. Having said that, Cricket Australia has official bookmaker partners, so they aren’t even pretending to take this seriously.

I am not talking about those who get a speeding fine here.

I am talking about individuals who cheated the game. Put their selfishness ahead of the greater good. Frauds.

Why does the game owe these people anything?

Cricket is not society. It does not automatically have to bestow a second chance on anyone. Instead, it is the duty of everyone associated with the game to protect it.

Yet when it comes to our heroes, those who swung a ball in mysterious ways or batted like silk, we turn a blind eye.

Wasim is Wasim. He has made his choices. He has vandalised the sport. As has Warne. As has Mark Waugh.

Rod Marsh once placed a bet against a team he was playing in. Australia lost. Rod Marsh won big.

Rod Marsh is now the Chairman of Selectors for Cricket Australia.

If I were caught breaking serious rules at work, I would get fired. There is no way in hell that my employer would ever have me back.

In some industries, if I break the rules, I can never work in them again.

The legal profession. Working with children. Policing.

No second chances. Respect the fortunate position you have obtained or leave forever.

If cricket really wants to see corruption as a significant foe, why does it not take the same stance?

So next time you share a view with me about what Wasim has said, or what Warne did on the pitch, forgive me if I don’t partake in your idolisation.

For Wasim is not my idol and it is him who is to blame.

Dennis Freedman is a cricket writer and host of Can’t Ball Can’t Throw Cricket Show heard on Australian radio and globally via iTunes.

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Sep
25

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LAHORE: August 30, 2016 was a day when cricket commentators were forced to rethink the Pakistani bowling attack’s status as one of the most lethal in the cricketing world.

On a bright sunny Nottingham afternoon, the Azhar Ali-led tourists were tormented mercilessly by the English batters as they posted the highest score of 444 runs in the history of One-Day International (ODI) cricket.

Opting to bat first on a hard and dry batting surface in the third of the five-ODI series, it seemed as though Eoin Morgan had given his batsmen license to go ballistic to attain an unassailable lead of 3-0.

The local boy, Alex Hales, complied with a blistering 171 off 122 balls. His 166-minute long innings consisted 22 fours and four towering sixes.

Right-arm fast Hassan Ali dismissed the right-handed batsman in the 37th over, but even that did not make the hosts take their feet off the gas.

After a 248-run stand from 193 balls, for the second wicket between Hales and Joe Root, Morgan and Jos Buttler pummelled Pakistani bowlers for 161 runs off the last 74 balls at the rate of more than two runs per ball.

“It was a batting paradise out there as the wicket was easy to bat on and the boundaries were a bit smaller,” said Azhar, Pakistan ODI skipper, in an exclusive interview with Dawn.com on Saturday.

“We committed mistakes under pressure which allowed England to score so many runs.”

The thrashing could have been curbed had Pakistan shown discipline on the field.

There were dropped chances and Wahab Riaz, who leaked 110 runs at 11 runs per over, dismissed Hales and Buttler on no-balls that saw him end up with no wickets and eventually with the second-worst bowling figures.

“We took two wickets on the no-balls and there were dropped chances. Against such a strong batting line-up, you cannot afford such mistakes,” the 31-year-old admitted.

The opening batsman, who replaced Misbah-ul-Haq as the ODI captain after the ICC World Cup last year, did not hesitate to add that in the backdrop of such developments the “high score was on the cards”.

Left-handed batsman Sharjeel Khan gave a courageous reply to the daunting total, scoring 58 off 30 with 12 cracking fours and a six despite two wickets off Sami Aslam and his captain within the first ten overs.

Sharjeel’s contribution saw Pakistan post 83 in the first ten overs, but the middle-order failed to build on the start.

“If you see, we also started well,” Azhar pointed out, adding there is a great deal of pressure when you have to score at 8-9 runs an over right from the start.

Pakistan went on to lose the match by 169 runs.

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