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Jan
31st
Thu
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For Glory

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There are certain occasions—the last gasps of a dear relative, the concluding act of a tragic story, the final moments of a lover’s tryst—in which the sense of impending end is more stirring than the end itself. It is why the Last Supper is the most emotive tale of Christian mythology, while in Shi’ism, it is Shab-e-Ashur.

On eve of the Pakistan’s tour of South Africa, such a sense pervades. In a few weeks time, at Centurion Park, on the windswept grasslands of the Highveld, Team Misbah will likely find its final resting place. Misbah will have found a mountain too high. Heroically, he will soldier on to his demise, not because the ICC’s Future Tours Program dictates, but because he knows this is a fate he must face. And though he will call on his team to fight beside him, he cannot ask them to prevail.

No stats are required to demonstrate that Team Misbah will not withstand the onslaught: South Africa boats the finest fast bowling the world has seen since the heyday of the West Indian greats. Philander swings the ball both ways with purpose; Morkel seams and bounces it at pace; Steyn gives it a life of its own. The practice game notwithstanding, Hafeez has consistently underperformed on swinging tracks where he can’t find his off-stump. Nasir is untested outside of Asia, and by the looks of his footwork, he’d be lucky to nick the ball to slip. Azhar’s out of form, Younis is diminished and, God bless his soul, Misbah won’t be winning  any Test matches with the bat. That leaves the kids from Karachi—Shafiq and Sarfaraz—who have yet to display the skills necessary for automatic selection, let alone fend off the world’s best.

Neither will the bowling triumph. To begin with, regardless of the track, our best combination would include Abdur Rehman, who probably won’t get a game in because of misplaced conventional wisdom. By virtue of his frame and inexperience, Mohammad Irfan is unlikely to sustain his threat, while Umar Gul has never had much threat to sustain. Junaid Khan might produce, but still lacks the pace and consistent control to test a line-up like South Africa. Even a genuinely awesome cricketer like Saeed Ajmal cannot win Test matches on his own. Also, South Africa have seen him before and will be weary: much like Saqlain, he’s now in that phase of overexposure—teams, good teams, will begin to figure him out.

In short, Team Misbah faces a Goliath that’s smarter, sharper, and quicker than the boorish thug young David smote when hope for impossible victories was first conceived.

Why, then, hope?

We hope because one year ago, under the purple sun of an Arabian winter, Abdur Rehman, Saeed Ajmal, and each member of Misbah’s team showed us of the hypnotic rapture of Pakistan cricket in its brave new world. Victory, on that fateful afternoon in Abu Dhabi, wasn’t born of bursts of unplayable deliveries or seismic tons from bludgeoning batsman. It was born of the ancient art of team work, in which players achieve a sporting consciousness that elevates the individual above the self. The foundation of this Team was constructed from the fundamentals of the sport—line, length, defense, wisdom. With these as mantra, Team Misbah demolished a powerhouse in a way few teams of Pakistan past have achieved.

On this tour of South Africa, if the team can once again achieve even these fundamentals, something unexpected, something irrational may occur.

Will they triumph? No. They lack the skill, the endurance, the resources. But for better or worse, we have come to expect a certain level of performance of Team Misbah, one that we can trust. Even as they fall, one-by-one, we hope that Misbah’s men will strive, they will continue delivering those fundamentals. So that each time Junaid Khan yells banshee-like in euphoric celebration, or one of the young bats drops to his knees in pious submission, we will whisper softly: 

Shaba boys, Shaba.

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Jan
30th
Mon
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Down Again the Rabbit Hole

I stumbled onto the timeline of Pakistan cricket fairly recently. Of course I was aware Imran Khan won the World Cup in 1992, but in childhood the event had little context. I figured Wasim Akram was good, Sachin Tendulkar was bad (though the exact status of Mohammad Azharuddin remained unclear).On visits back to Pakistan from my father’s foreign postings, my contemporaries played tape-ball cricket: brash, portly kids wearing blue foam chapals would brandish the bat; thinner, wild-eyed kids with long, middle-parted hair would bowl. Me, I didn’t quite relate. I played basketball and a fair bit of soccer during those years. I cheered the Knicks, Sampras, Brazil. Cricket, though not alien, remained peripheral.

It happened soon after we moved back to Pakistan. I spent winter break in Karachi with my grandmother and uncle who had recently shifted to a new home closer to the sea. Somewhere in the living room, one moist, dim, late-afternoon, the kind only Karachi can conjure, a television flickered with the static drone of a Test match. It was the hour of the Karachi siesta, a time of eerie stillness and ticking clocks.

Sometimes, when there was no one around, it even produced a bit of magic.

As I glanced over at the TV, interchangeable men in white performed the semi-familiar mechanics of cricket. Then, the magic began to pour:

“Holy fuck,” I whimpered.

When Shoaib flattened Dravid’s off-stump, I felt my head being shoved into a bucket of Bolivian cocaine. By the time Sachin happened—Shoaib falling to his knees, head heaven-ward, arms aloft with mana from the Gods—I’d snorted the bucket clean. In that instance I was ruptured and reborn—Pakistan cricket, hell, the entire country, now coursed through my veins.   

As I learnt that fateful Karachi afternoon, Pakistan cricket is a moment, an isolated point in time. And it slaps you in that moment with all the glory of being. You experience sensory-overload: the velocity of in-swing, the perfect Yorker, the attempted drive, drive beaten, middle stump broken, roar of triumph, Eden Gardens. Right up the fucking nostril.

—-

Thirteen years later, half-way across the world, I found myself snowed in, down with the flu, and stressed with a heavy work load. Though the Pakistani cricket fan in me always awaits the next fix, the England series seemed again to assume a peripheral quality. Of course I had anticipated it for months—did Team Misbah have the stuff to compete with the best in the world? But this was an academic question, not hope of another Karachi afternoon.

After all, how could it be? This team’s most assertive batsmen boasted fearsome nicknames like ‘professor’ and ‘chootiya’; its spearhead stared opponents down bowling at 82mph; an offie was the X-factor. Team Misbah, it seemed, was detox.

And so, since the Dubai Test, I had settled into a working routine of staying up for just the first session of each day—starting around 1am, and ending at 3—making up for lost time with scorecards and highlights. So far this had worked fine. Pakistan practically strolled to a win in Dubai and I dutifully followed up each day. In Abu Dhabi I caught moments of Ajmals and Rehmans, Misbahs and Azhars, and found my craving fairly well satisfied. Of course, all this meant that I missed one of  the most important moments in Pakistan cricket’s history: England’s fourth day collapse. 

Oddly though, it didn’t seem to matter.

Though it must have been dramatic unfolding live, what happened in Abu Dhabi was not an spasmodic burst of Pakistani brilliance. What happened in Abu Dhabi began with talk of the teesra, and went on to the introduction of Hafeez in the sixth over of the first innings in Dubai; through Ajmal’s elbow, it transferred to Akmal’s sweep; then, to Misbah’s grind in Abu Dhabi, the spin orgy in England’s first innings, Shafiq and Azhar’s defiance in Pakistan’s second. Its penultimate feat was Azhar’s statement that 150 was defendable. Finally, after lunch on the fourth day, it settled on Abdur Rehman’s left index finger, delivering the final prod that toppled Andrew Strauss and his men. England had no choice but to succumb to Misbah’s team that afternoon—as other’s have avered, it was almost inevitable.

The brilliance of Team Misbah is in the intangibles: the understated field sets, the restriction of runs, the zealot’s determination to stay at the crease, the canny use of Hafeez. These are qualities found between the lines of the game—they soak in after-the-fact. Though I saw most of Ajmal’s ten wickets in Dubai, I can’t quite remember a single one. While Shoaib and teams of Pakistan past titillated the senses, Team Misbah’s quality is more cerebral and atmospheric. It’s like a cloud that envelops the field, manipulating conditions to its own suiting.

And so though I missed the collapse in Abu Dhabi, what I’d seen already of Team Misbah provided me a chronicle, a continuum to absorb—not just a fleeting moment in time. It has introduced me to a new intoxicant, one that is more subtle, more ethereal—one that lingers. It is one not just of victory, but of the victorious. And it is one that will likely endure.

Judging by denizens of websites like PakPassion, it seems Pakistan cricket’s fine tradition of dunking young boys into buckets of cocaine has continued over the years. Now, there is something less demanding, and more satisfying to savor.

I only worry that this shit’s harder to kick.

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Dec
15th
Thu
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Relfections on Umar Akmal

One mild winter evening in Lahore, on a dirt walk-way before a two-story shopping plaza—as fluorescent tube lights muscled the dying sun, and traffic settled into rhythmic monotones—a stick of sugar cane found itself being gnawed on by Umar Akmal. Slackening his jaw, tilting his head, Umar hitched the blunt end of the stick on his lower canines. Then, the incisors descended—like the drum beat of industry, they scraped bits of cane-bark from the base. Dribbles of sweetness splashed onto the epileptic tongue.  Bruised, but still whole, the cane felt itself being flung around, its wounds stinging from the rushing air. Respite there was none. From the other end, the assault was relentless—shards were ripped off the side and spit into the dirt; teeth and more teeth cut and pulled, gnashed and tore. The violence was directionless, an orchestra of pain. The cane was losing juice and losing it fast, a few more seconds and…

A final blow—it was over.

Night fell on the sugar cane. Now, discarded, dirt encrusted, a flickering tube light administering its last rights, the sugar cane lay calmy, a warm breeze skimming its fractured surface.

But before the Earth fades, and the ghosts of Lahore descend, an image flashes before the sugar cane: The Teeth. The horror, the horror.

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Oct
15th
Thu
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The best photo ever?

The best photo ever?

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Oct
7th
Wed
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Someone, somewhere, grows a pair.

This is good shit.

Someone has finally piped up about the proposed post-2012 FTC. And for my money, it’s a pretty relevant someone: FICA, the world players’ “lobbying” group.

The new FTP is anything but new—it’s the old one tweaked so that everyone but the ECB, BCCI, CA and CSA play less cricket. If the FTP is continually drawn up like this, Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand, Pakistan (unless diplomatic relations with India thaw), not to mention Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, will be playing themselves in some sort of dickless B-league generating minuscule revenues and producing shitty cricket.

The Test Championship, which was shot down primarily by the BCCI, is a good idea because Test cricket is collapsing under the weight of its irrelevance (not to mention it’s boring as shit more often than not). Also, it would ensure equal opportunity for all teams to play, especially those increasingly marginalized by bilateral series arrangements. So there’s plenty at stake.

But, the way it was originally proposed, TV revenue would be shared; all boards would earn equally. And there lies the rub.

I mean, I guess it basically makes sense: why should the BCCI—cricket’s Oil & Gas Industry in terms of revenue, political clout, and all round sleaze—want to share it’s revenue? It generates the lion’s share of it, and shouldn’t be responsible for propping up fledgling, corrupt boards like WICB, or broke, boring boards like NZC. Also, the status quo works fine for them—they can schedule bi-later series with whomever they want, making as much they want.

Well, it’s good to see a power cricket stakeholder finally telling the BCCI to go fuck itself. And by “telling the BCCI to go fuck itself,” I mean appeasing the BCCI with a more graded revenue sharing formula. You know, whatever works.

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Sep
25th
Fri
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Partiv Patel might suck at cricket…
but his wife’s cute.

Partiv Patel might suck at cricket…

but his wife’s cute.

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Sep
24th
Thu
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I don’t smoke cigarettes that I can go and smoke away some tension. I’ve seen many captains either lose their hair or start smoking - I’m okay on both fronts right now. But I feel that the whole country is like this, this is how it works here. You wake up some mornings to find suddenly the whole political establishment has changed and that the army is in, or the other way round. My players are from this environment so obviously they will be products of this environment. They are something today, something else tomorrow and something else the day after. This is our temperament, it is in our blood. To change us, to take this out, it isn’t just to work on the team. Many things in the country need to change.
— Younis Khan
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Cricket Sucks. It Should Die.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we’re back!!!!

Well we actually never really left. See there was this time warp thing that brought us to this point in time right after we wrote our last post. So though it may seem to you that months have passed, for us it’s been just a few fleeting moments.

But the disadvantage of time travel is that a) you age much quicker and b) you miss out all the great cricket stuff! And you all know how we love great cricket stuff!!!!

So we’ve been parsing the cricinfo archives for all the cricket gaiety that we’d missed (get it? cause people who don’t like cricket think it’s gay. And by gay they mean the sinful gay).

Soooooooo…………….. England won the Ashes…. not bad, not bad…… Sri Lanka’s ranked the number 2 test team in the world…… not bad, not bad……. Banglandesh won something…… not bad, not bad….. Australia won 6 out of 7 ODI’s against England…… not bad, not, bad…….. India won a tri-series against New Zealand and Sri Lanka…………… not bad, not bad…….

Oh gosh dangit, look at all the fun we have missed. I guess we just time-warped passed all this great cricket stuff! And we love great cricket stuff!

No but seriously folks, cricket sucks. It should die.

This has been one of the crappiest cricket summers in a while. We honestly didn’t watch much of the Ashes, but it sounded pretty shitty. I mean, Flintoff wasn’t at full kilt, KP didn’t play, Harmison was half-ass—the most exciting player from England was Graem fucking Swann. Seriously folks, he’s an off-spinner. And unless you have a wrist-deformity and bulging, demonic eyes OR you invented the doosra, you’re really just a turd for making off-spin your primary means of income. And yet England won the Ashes: they won the most prestigious, elite contest the sport has to offer. That sucks.

And Sri Lanka at no. 2? What the hell’s that all about? Hell South Africa at no. 1? WTF, man! Don’t get me wrong, they’re both good sides. But seeing South Africia and the number 1 in the same line triggers my gag-reflex. And Sri Lanka just hasn’t done enough for that no. 2 position.

And how much does that whole West Indies thing suck? Between Gayle, Bravo, Edwards, Taylor, they’re the most fun side in world cricket. Plus now Bangladesh have a false sense of self-confidence, when they’re nothing but hip-hop fakers.

And India? Puhleasssee… you guys got your ass kicked in that first game against SL, AND New Zealand creamed you in the CT warm up. Vishal and Shaker if I ever saw them.

The only reason why cricket should remain alive is to showcase the Gold-like talent of Umer Akmal. And for Younis Khan’s political commentary (see above).

Hollow rants aside, we’re back and hope to be back to full capacity by the end of the week. India/Pakistan this weekend kids, and we’ll be Saturday Night Live blogging it for you guys right here on your favorite frivolous sports page, SouLBW.

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Jul
25th
Sat
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The Shoaib Malik Conundrum

We’ve tried to like Malik, we’ve tried to highlight his strengths. But there’s no real way to get around his major shortcoming: the guy sucks.

Let’s take Malik the Test batsman. The man averages about 38 runs per innings. Now about a decade ago, that would be borderline decent. These days, with flat pitches and bigger bats every where you turn, it puts him in the esteemed company of Daniel Flynn, Malinda Warnapura, and Jacques Rudolph—cricket’s poster boys for mediocrity. What makes that average yet more unremarkable is that Malik has played all but one of his Test matches in the sub-continent or the West Indies, where, if you walk out without a bat, you’re guaranteed about 25 runs. That’s like signing up for jihad, blowing yourself up, finding yourself amongst 72 virgins, and getting laid just thrice for the rest of eternity. Also, a quick glance at the scorecards of his most successful innings reveal that Malik is a fair weather player—almost all his top scores have come when other players also got a shit ton of runs. Not to mention that his top scores include a whopping two centuries.

His one-day average isn’t resume material either: 35ish isn’t awful, but it’s certainly boosted by his six hundreds. And these hundreds have come against such bowling behemoths as the West Indies (in Sharjah), New Zealand (in Lahore), India (Colombo, Lahore, Karachi) and Hong Kong (wherever). (India hundreds should be partially discounted anyway because of the peculiar nature of Indo-Pak games). Plus his prominence in the one-day team only came about when, during Yousaf’s ICL misadventure, Pakistan’s middle order was a barren toxic wasteland of talent.

But these facts are symptomatic of a broader malaise: his technique. It’s not only cringe-inducingly hideous (no seriously, did anyone see his attempt at at pull shot in the last innings? ), it simply defies the basics of batting. Granted, Pakistani batsman aren’t known for their textbook techniques. But the Younis Khans or even the Abdul Razzaqs and Shahid Afridis of the world have at least conceptually have the right idea: transfer weight to back-foot when bowler’s in his stride, lean forward on front-foot to execute drive or forward defense; move body into line to execute back-foot shot. Shoaib Malik has found a way to actually shift his body weight away from the delivery when playing a shot: his body will often fall away as the bat comes in contact with the ball, which causes him to lose power, direction and clean contact. It’s pretty incredible if you think about it, and even more incredible if you actually try it (believe us, we have). So when facing a good bowling attack—which, a brief look at statsguru shows, he’s done little of—Malik simply won’t last. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we refuse to accept that he’s one of the top six batsman in a nation of 170 million people.

But our real beef with Malik is a little more qualitative, aesthetic even: Malik today represents everything that one wants to forget about the last two years of Pakistan cricket: mediocre batting, useless bowling, and the excitement of an auditing job at Deloitte. He’s also the focal point a really dumb form of religio-Punjabiness in the team, first popularized—and marshaled most successfully—by Inzamam, and now continued through the likes of Malik, Akmal, Yousaf and Misbah. Inzy gave them a sense of purpose, but now they’re just a bunch of cliquey fundos of debatable value to the squad.

All such considerations aside, we here at SouLBW simply hate Shoaib Malik. Sitting on our beds well past mid-night watching him defy, even dominate the Sri Lankan bowling attack; build solid partnerships with Akmal, Misbah and Gul; lead Pakistan to what should have been a match-winning position; all we could think about was strangling him to death with that bit of helmet strap that dangles beneath his chin. Hell, when a Thushara bouncer slipped through his helmet and struck him on the brow, we prayed for the worst. But as further testament to the futility of prayer, he’s still alive, and will probably be selected through the one-day series, on to the Champion’s Trophy, then the New Zealand Tests, and finally and most painfully, for the tour of Australia. Like shit stains in a toilet bowl, Malik’s here to stay.

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Jul
19th
Sun
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Is anyone still watching?

In retrospect, game 2 of the series was exciting cricket. It fluctuated wildly, there were comebacks, mini-battles, debutants, seaming new-balls, swinging old balls. We say ‘in retrospect,’ however, because watching Pakistan’s second innings collapse real-time was about as fun as having Alex Rodriguez use your head for hitting practice. A few recommendations for the team ahead of game 3:

1) Stick with Fawad at the top. The Sri Lankan were predominantly bowling away-swing to the left handers—there wasn’t much coming back into them (if anything, they were straight balls that held their line). One hasn’t seen much of Fawad, but isn’t it conceivable that his exaggerated shuffle is simply a way of dealing with the swing outside off-stump?  Fawad quickly figured out that Kulusekara and co. were targeting his pads as counter-attack, and simply made sure he didn’t miss anything straight. Taken as a whole, that innings of his was basically just good think. Plus, the boy’s got more steel than Superman’s junk.

2) Despite all appearances, keep Manzoor, at least for this Test. We make this recommendation not because Manzoor’s any good (Khurram Manzoor will never, ever, be a successful Test opener), but because of the way he supported Fawad. Watching their opening partnership on day 3 was one of those rare moments in international cricket when one could really relate to the players (when was the last time you could relate to Ricky Ponting playing a cover drive on the up against a 90mph+ bowler?). Manzoor was desperate, wide-eyed, and overly-chatty. He joked, he assured, he scolded. He knew he’s not really cut out for the task at hand, but he did his level best (I don’t know about you guys, that’s pretty much my cricket career in a nutshell). Him and Fawad—Karachi boys in a team dominated by Pathans and Punjabis—developed a comradery that they both fed off to keep their heads in the game. Because we have little skill at the top of the order, that intensity is clutch.

3) Switch Malik and Misbah. Misbah is just more of a lower-order kinda guy. And Shoaib Malik simply does better higher up. In fact, if it wasn’t for point 2, we would say he should open. Malik is also a less of a man-of-crisis, and a lot more of a… umm… eerr… well he’s not a man-of-crisis. Misbah, on the other hand—that’s all he really does.

4) Give Rauf the new ball. He’s an opening bowler in domestic cricket, and has taken heaps of wickets with the new cherry. He’ll get awkward bounce, he’ll get the ball to seam a bit, and he’ll make sure Sri Lanka don’t get off to a flier. He has shades of Asif in that sense. Who to replace? Well, Gullay of course. Gul does his best stuff with the old ball. His stock back-of-a-length stuff makes more sense with a ball that isn’t moving around much, and of course we all know his prowess with reverse-swing. Seems obvious.

5) Younis should figure out his rhetoric. One of my favorite hobbies has become listening to Younis speak, and then reading how journalists interpret what he says. But his English prowess notwithstanding, the focus of Younis Khan’s rhetoric drifts from short term results, to long term development. Ideally we’d have both; but given the circumstances, Younis should pick just one. At least then there’s a barometer for success. ‘Cause right now, it’s a real mind-fuck.

Sri Lanka aren’t an easy team to beat, and Pakistan’s given them a real run for their money. As soon as Pakistan figures out that a) the swinging new ball is a part of life and b) Test matches actually last for five days, they’ll be a handful themselves. Of course, another epic Younis/Yousaf partnership or two wouldn’t hurt the cause either.

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Jul
14th
Tue
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So That was Fun.

The Ashes is well and truly under way.  Here’s our take on England.  (Oh, the Aussies, aside from Hussey (C) and Mitch (C+), all got A’s.)

England Report Card:

Strauss: Outbatted by Panesar, outcaptained by Ponting.  I know you luv to pop up that collah, dawg, but you bettah be worth that shite.  C

Cook: Outbatted by Anderson. Missed a straight full one from Mitch in the second innings; i.e., the pressure told on him. (Note: Does this guy ever do well against quality opposition?  Or against bowlers who bowl consistently in the corridor?)  C-

Bopara: Needs to prove Warne wrong (who questioned his big-match/big-series temperament some time ago).  Or maybe he needs to forget Warne.  I mean, I hope he didn’t walk out thinking “I’m gonna prove that no-good poker playing shitface legend wrong today.  I’m so fucking pumped!”  Jeez, is Warne STILL inside the head of English No. 3’s?  B-

Pietersen: Score a century (a big one), dammit, and leave us alone.  B

Colly: Yet again, the tenacious and who-needs-a-backlift-anyway ugly duckling saved the day.  In fact, the lack of a backlift saved his ass: he never met the ball too hard when the Hauritzer was on with five men and the keeper around the bat.  Because he couldn’t.  A

Prior: He has a rather oval face, doesn’t he?  What can I say?  Decent game behind the stumps.  Nice cameo in the first innings.  Tried to force the pace in the second.  Not really a cricketer made for cricket writers.  B

Flintoff: Not many runs, just the one wicket.  There is a theory doing the rounds that England are better off without him, so his injury might not be the worst thing in the world.  Great presence though with his unflagging bowling, and if he’s injured for a seamer-friendly Lords surface, England will miss him.  B-

Anderson: If Hilfy could swing it, then Anderson should’ve too.  Great batting from the man who holds the world record for most consecutive innings without a duck.  B

Broad: Didn’t know whether to attack or defend as a bowler.  Ended up doing neither.  Aside from one cross-seamed bouncer that got rid of Clarke (I could bowl that), didn’t do much else.  Out-shouldered by Siddle.  Declared today, “I’m not scared of Siddle.”  What a liar.  Imagine them in a bar. C-

Swann: I like Swann.  But he didn’t bowl well enough.  Breezy batting though that every test match requires.  B

Panesar: I don’t like Panesar.  But he did bowl well.  Dogged batting though that every test match requires.  B+

We look forward to Thursday.

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Jul
13th
Mon
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Embrace the Rainbow

There is a rare, exclusive pleasure in being a Pakistan cricket fan. It is a pleasure few can share, and almost none can experience so often. It is a sharp, distinct, almost teary-eyed pleasure one can imagine would only be comparable to a man being raped, waking up from shock the next day, walking over to the home of his assaulter, finding them in their sleep, placing their balls on splintering wooden chopping board, and, with a 20 pound cleaver, dismembering their testicles.

Most recently, the above allegory starred the rapist Sri Lanka, and ball-chopper Pakistan. Pakistan was butt-fucked on the first day in Colombo, as a precession of batsman ceremoniously dropped their pants to reveal the “insert here” arrow sharpie’d onto their lower back. Shoaib Malik resisted, but even he couldn’t stop the rampant butt-fuck orgy taking place around him. It really, really hurt to be a Pakistan cricket fan two nights ago—the pain was deep.

But when all was thought lost, when we decided we’d just watch the first session to see how badly butt-bashed Pakistan could get, something happened, the Pakistanis found their cleaver, they were afraid no more. How about that ball to get rid of Sangakarra? By Christ and heaven that’s as close to divinity we’re ever getting ladies and gentlemen. The gods above offered us their pity, and in one fell swoop, Pakistan put their pants back on, turned around, and gave Sri Lanka tight bitch-slap. You go girlfriend.

But seriously folks, Younis Khan has the remarkable ability of instilling purpose into the team. What’s more, he picks the right time to do it. Purpose is a finite resource, and because we’re not a terribly talented side, Younis has to carefully time its deployment to coincide with its requirement. We saw him do it briefly in the Emirates, and we saw him do it at the Wolrd Cup. God knows what he said to the boys between the end of the first day and the start of the second, but the anecdote chronicled in this Sidharth Monga piece offers an idea of his wierdly intimate methods (“You.nis told Fawad he had something for him in the dressing room…”)

Whatever the outcome of the game, one thing is clear: Pakistan seems to be recongizing its limitations, its starting to figure out who it really is. We’re not a solid, consistent unit; we will never have a stable dependable batting line-up; we will never bowl ten overs of choking line and length. In short, we will never be the muscular, square-jawed alpha-male of a cricket team that Australia was, and India aspires to be. Younis knows this, and embraces it. We’re here, and we’re queer, and girlfriend you DID NOT just touch my hieny.

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Jul
10th
Fri
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Much like this Queen of the cricket WAGS, SouLBW endorses the use of cricket pads. Also, what other site has Lara Bingle and Sushmita Sen on the same page?

Much like this Queen of the cricket WAGS, SouLBW endorses the use of cricket pads. Also, what other site has Lara Bingle and Sushmita Sen on the same page?

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Jul
9th
Thu
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