Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay – Against all odds, Imran’s ‘cornered tigers’ lift 1992 World Cup

March 25, 1992 – Pakistan had taken giant strides in half a decade leading up to the 1992 World Cup and had become the second-best white-ball side in the world, with 55 wins from 97 ODIs in this period. But, they came to Australia in 1992 with a bagful of troubles.

Pakistan had arrived at the tournament three weeks early to acclimatise to the Australian conditions. But, this was about the only thing that went right for the team in the lead up to the tournament. They played six warm-up matches, including two three-day games. In eight innings they crossed 200 just once. 
Waqar Younis, their trump card and one of the fiercest tearaways in the world at that point, was ruled out of  the tournament with two stress fractures of the back. He had picked up the injury during the training camp in Lahore, but had not been properly diagnosed and he flew to Australia anyway, but had to return unceremoniously.
His partner in crime, Wasim Akram was not in the best shape either. He was struggling to contain the swing with two new white balls provided from either end, and ended up conceding an awful lot of wides in the tournament. Skipper Imran Khan was nursing a chronic shoulder injury, and was far from 100% fitness.
Javed Miandad, their most experienced batsman, was struggling with form and injury, and also ran the risk of getting dropped from the World Cup squad.
Batting prodigy Inzamam-ul-Haq was not able to adjust to the Australian pitches.
Leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who had displaced Abdul Qadir by now, was struggling for control. Iqbal Sikander, another leggie, had been called up as cover initially and on his first day of training, impressed Imran in particular, and he was tipped to replace Mushy. But, at the last minute Imran and team manager, Intikhab Alam, decided to keep Mushtaq in the final 14. Sikander was picked as well.
Salim Malik was completely out of nick in the lead up as well.
No one new anymore whether Ijaz Ahmed was a middle-order batsman or a first-change slow medium-pacer anymore.
Pakistan had taken giant strides in half a decade leading up to the 1992 World Cup and had become the second-best white-ball side in the world, with 55 wins from 97 ODIs in this period. However, they always struggled in Australia; they had lost 15 of their last 23 ODIs in Australia and New Zealand.
But, after five games, they found themselves close to being ousted out of the tournament after suffering three defeats, a tie and just one win against Zimbabwe. But then something happened. The combinations began to settle and suddenly the youngster Inzamam-ul-Haq started stroking the ball well and strike bowlers, Wasim Akram and Aaqib Javed hit top-gear. Before the cricketing world could make sense of what had hit them, Pakistan had already beaten New Zealand twice and thumped Australia to set up the final against England.
“Australia were always difficult opponents for us, always,” recalls Aaqib Javed. “But after we won that match, we thought, this isn’t a problem. We had Sri Lanka next, who weren’t so good then, and New Zealand, and if you take New Zealand’s record against everyone and then place it against ours, it’s awful. Against Pakistan they’ve never done anything. We used to look at them and think, no way, we can take these guys on for sure. After Imran’s talk and the Australia win, the team’s mood changed totally.”
With vital contributions from Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq and an 18-ball 33-run cameo from Akram, Pakistan set England a target of 250 in the final. The partnership between Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother had England in the game but it were two off two from Akram to dismiss Alan Lamb and Chris Lewis that all but sealed the game.
Alongside skipper Imran Khan, Aamer Sohail, Ramiz Raja, Javed Miandad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Wasim Akram, Saleem Malik, Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Mushtaq Ahmed and Aaqib Javed were the 10 other players who will always have a special place in the cricketing history of Pakistan as they helped the country lift their maiden World Cup title, against all odds.

Maxwell recounts his mental health demons

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Glenn Maxwell has given a peek into his mental psyche during the mid-2019 phase, detailing the demons that forced him to take a break from cricket in October 2019. The Australia all-rounder recalled being mentally exhausted to a point where he wished a hand injury upon himself at the World Cup in England so as to be ruled out of the game.
Recounting events from a net session before the South Africa game in Manchester, the 31-year-old revealed that he had slipped into a dark place although he didn’t know then that he was battling mild depression and anxiety. During a competitive net session at Old Trafford, both Maxwell and Shaun Marsh had been struck on the arms. Where Marsh was ruled out of the World Cup, Maxwell played until Australia’s exit in the semifinal, finishing with modest returns of 177 runs from 10 games at 22.12.
“I knew he [Marsh] was in trouble when he came in, and immediately I felt bad for him. I just thought I hope he’s OK, and if anything, I wish we could swap our news [Marsh’s arm was broken],” Maxwell said in the Ordineroli Speaking podcast. “We went to the hospital together and we were both sitting there, I think both hoping for opposite news. When I got hit, I was angry and a part of me was hoping [my arm] was broken.
“I was like ‘this is it, I just need a break’… I was thinking about things I could do on the way back to snap it. I had anger at other people and it didn’t make sense, but I was angry at myself for not being able to produce at all this World Cup. I thought it would’ve been an easy escape because I felt like I was going to get dropped at some stage and I thought maybe this is the way.”
Maxwell began Australia’s home season in late October by smashing a 28-ball 62 against Sri Lanka in the first T20I and then effected a brilliant run-out from the deep while being mic-d up with the broadcasters. However, four days later, he had not enjoyed any bit of that and communicated to the team that he needed a break.
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“I batted so well, I got 60-odd off less than 30 (balls) and barely missed the middle…but didn’t really enjoy any of it,” he said. “You’re taking down an international attack and just not enjoying any bit of it.
“I was about to announce it to the group, they had no idea what was going on, I didn’t even tell [Aaron] Finchy. I didn’t want them to be distracted by what was going on with me. I went over to him [Finch] and said ‘I’m done, I’m going to have a bit of time off’, and he said he noticed something was up. Once I told him, he was like, ‘brave decision, well done’
“Once everyone left, I broke down into tears, it was more…that was the first time I showed any emotion…since the World Cup. Those next two or three days were probably the worst I’d had in the next six months. As much as support was great, it was also so confronting…I wanted to go further into my little hole and not come out. I felt like I was letting a lot of people down, I felt like I was taking an easy-out, I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said.
Maxwell eased his return to competitive cricket by participating in the Victoria premier club cricket in late November and then captained Melbourne Stars to the final of the Big Bash League, a tournament in which he hit 398 runs from 17 games at a strike-rate of 148.51. Maxwell was scheduled to return to the national team for the limited-overs tour of South Africa before an injury to the elbow, which was subsequently operated upon, delayed his international comeback

Forgotten classics: India vs Pakistan, 2005, Bangalore

On a scale of life’s realities that range from underplaying to stretching the truth, India-Pakistan is brutally amplified exaggeration. Everyone has an opinion and each one of that everyone wants it to be heard. From heads of states to wannabe heads of states; from NGOs to the UN; from right-wing extremists to wannabe right-wing extremists; from television experts to television experts turned Youtubers; from poster worshippers to TV smashers, you can’t not have colour in your buildup.
Alas, that’s where the colour ends, for when the action slips into the whites, it’s more often than not either dull, or anticlimactic, or one-sided, and simply disappointing.
Not Bangalore 2005, which took place 15 years ago this week.
This was a time when the FTP between these two teams was being honoured, and they were playing each other a little too frequently. It was the return tour, the one where the ‘friendship of 2004’ was being reciprocated with hospitality.
Pakistan, still under the hangover of the humiliation of conceding the series to India at home without any real fight, were 0-1 down in a three-Test series, a scoreline that could just as easily have been 0-2 had it not been for an utterly un-Pakistan rearguard at Mohali. Chinnaswamy gave them the hope to equalise. In fact, from 1995 to 2010, Chinnaswamy gave every visitor more than just hope. It was the perfect host, where the home side just wouldn’t win.
Anil Kumble had been a thorn in this Pakistan side. It’s not that their batting came with a reputation for being sensible, but Kumble had thus far made a bunny out of the one guy who tried to be – Inzamam-ul-Haq – dismissing him seven times in as many matches. “He has got more than 450 wickets, and not all of them have come against us,” Inzamam tried to justify after losing the second Test in Kolkata.
“I am confident we can draw level at Bangalore. All our batsmen are in form, we just need to be stronger in the mind and need a combined effort.”
Meanwhile, the curator in-charge had taken it upon himself to put the city’s road contractors to shame, churning out a sleeping beauty of a track with the potential to last an entire season. He’d clearly gone down the overt defensive route; maybe the Indian think-tank had gone down this route too. They’d rather keep the 1-0, secure the series, secure their jobs, secure their homes from the chances of being vandalised.
So Pakistan chose to bat. Inzamam was the superstar, Younis Khan his sidekick, and together, they were just poetry. That’s what Test cricket allows, the survival of the fittest and the fattest in equal measure. Pakistan eventually finished with 570 in just under two days, something that’s usually enough to eliminate one of the three possible results. Just not when Virender Sehwag is in the opposition ranks.
Sehwag in his mood does no poetry, he does a rap, throwing punch after punch while making practically everyone who dares to come midway look like a fool. On day three, while he was whistling around at a strike-rate of nearly 80, the others were prodding, pushing, chipping, doing what you’re meant to do in a Test match.
The punches then sting a lot more during the pressers when he comes up with, “I found no-one difficult today”. Which made one wonder who would take more offence – the Pakistani bowlers or his fellow batters. Seam, pace, bounce, spin, sledges, he had the same answer for everything en route his double-ton – a smack.
But the rest of the Indian batting collapsed to hand over a significant lead before Shahid Afridi cut loose and Inzamam decided to gamble with the declaration, giving India a sniff with a target of 358 on the final day.
****
“We will definitely go for a win,” confirmed VVS Laxman at the end of day four while speaking to the press. “The start is very important. The way Sehwag plays, anything is possible.”
Ten minutes into the morning, and with a couple of plays and misses already, Gautam Gambhir decided to poke a little harder at an Abdul Razzaq delivery that was already angling across. It found a crack, deviated some more, and had a loud woody sound as it went past the bat. It could only have been the edge.
Simon Taufel didn’t hear it.
A couple of balls later, Sehwag flirted at a Mohammad Sami lifter. Inzamam couldn’t take it any longer. It was Sehwag on this occasion after all, and the Pakistan captain jumped from first slip, charged halfway down the pitch and let out a massive appeal in the umpire’s face, angrily waving his hands as he did so. Lo and behold, he got exactly what you get with such pressure appeals: a one-match ban.
The first hour was seen out without casualty for India’s sake – albeit with a lot of fuss. Then came the twist.
Gambhir tapped one gently into the leg-side, Sehwag aimlessly wandered down the pitch, Razzaq charged in from mid-on with one stump to aim at before swooping in to throw that stump down. Sehwag had once said the calling between him and Gambhir was “aankhon aankhon me” (with eye contact only). Alas, this one could’ve been averted with some use of the mouth.
One expected India to slow down, but they went the entire extreme and just shut up shop. To put things into context, they were going at 3.67 runs per over while Sehwag was around, and 1.91 after he departed. Such is the shell that Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid went into that they simply refused to put anything away.
“I was upset at that point because I knew that my dismissal meant that we would not win,” Sehwag would go on to write in his newspaper column a couple of days later. “I saw myself as the only batsman who could score at four-an-over since the rest of our batsmen are more correct and conventional Test cricketers. In my mind I felt that the rest would be able to draw the game but I was the only one capable of winning it.”
Wide half-volleys, drag downs, full tosses, looped up stuff – they left everything, and when they bothered to use their bat, they blocked.
“The moment they lost Sehwag, they went on the defensive and that surprised me. That helped us set attacking fields. I did not have to worry about giving away runs and could concentrate on wickets,” Inzamam said at the end of the match.
63 balls was all Dravid could middle his defence for, before the 64th was a slight explosion off a good length from offie Arshad Khan, taking the glove for Younis at silly point to go one-handed. Laxman didn’t last long either, and in between, as if to prove how desperately they’d gone into a blockathon, played out a period of 52 balls with Tendulkar in which not a single run was scored.
Sourav Ganguly, on the back of a horrible run of scores through the series, came to the middle to join Tendulkar with approximately 45 overs left to be played out. It was the last known batting pair.
A section of the crowd began shouting, “We want Karthik, we want Karthik” as Ganguly walked out. A few of them even had a congratulatory poster ready for when he touched double digits. Ganguly didn’t let them have the joy of using it, scratching around for a while before going for an expansive drive to a googly that he just hadn’t read.
“I didn’t know what happened. I hadn’t heard the ball hitting the stumps and I was waiting for the umpire’s confirmation,” Ganguly said later. Yes, bowled right through the gate. And the Chinnaswamy booed. They could see this coming from a distance.
The equation: 40 overs.Five wickets. A session and a half. Never mind the runs.
More men crowded the bat, seven of them now. Tendulkar kept blocking. Dinesh Karthik dared not do anything else. Just moments before tea, Sami unleashed a fierce short one at Tendulkar who fended it away awkwardly to short leg. It was a regulation catch, but Asim Kamal found a way to juggle it a couple of times and still not hold on.
Rule one of Indo-Pak cricket, you don’t drop Sachin Tendulkar. Rule two of Indo-Pak cricket, you don’t drop Sachin Tendulkar. Rule infinity of Indo-Pak cricket, you don’t drop Sachin Tendulkar. India lived to fight on.
More blocks. More maidens. More men around the bat. Nearly an hour is seen off.
Afridi kept firing them in, and after every ball that beat Tendulkar, smiled as if looking for acknowledgement. The master was happy to oblige, often nodding in appreciation. Just over an hour remained, and Afridi got one to go straight on. Sachin groped, gloved and Kamal had his redemption. Afridi set off on a celebratory run to square leg. Inzamam had never run faster in his life to hunt someone down, not even that Toronto heckler in the stands.
“Perhaps playing for a draw was not such a good idea since most of our batsmen are cast in the stroke playing mould. Even at tea, the general mood was that we would scratch out a draw. The possibility of defeat dawned on us when Sachin Tendulkar got out. There were still 20 overs left and we knew that the remaining batsmen would not be able to play out time with umbrella fields in operation,” Sehwag continued in his column.
Yes, India didn’t survive.
Kumble tried, even putting his more illustrious batsmen to shame with his batting approach, but India were all out 25 minutes short of stumps. Pakistan equalised, clinically.
Unlike the mad slogging of the first innings that triggered the Indian dismissals, these were all attritionally-executed ones under the pressure that was built up, ball by ball. And this was the weakest a Pakistan side had been in a decade, without a bowling spearhead, under a captain one loss away from being sacked, with the wounds of having been blanked 0-3 in Australia still fresh, against a number two-ranked Indian side playing at full strength. They could give themselves some credit.
It is curious then why nobody really talks about this match over some of the other mundane games in the rivalry. Perhaps because the footage is lost somewhere in the change of broadcasters; perhaps because Chennai 1999 was still very close for comparisons; perhaps because a standing ovation given to the opposition makes for better storytelling over the Indian captain being jeered by his own crowd.
“We had decided to play normal cricket and weren’t thinking about the target. After lunch we got a bit defensive and lost a few wickets as a result. It wasn’t a conscious effort to get defensive but it cost us the game,” Ganguly said at the end of it.
More boos. That’s the animal spirit an India-Pakistan game brings out even in the most civilised of places. So what if Pakistan played better, you’re just not allowed to lose. See – brutally amplified exaggeration of life’s realities. But it better be nothing else.

PCB to make contribution in fight against COVID-19

The Pakistan Cricket Board today announced its cricketers and staff will play their part in the fight against COVID-19 by making contributions to the government’s emergency fund.

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The centrally contracted players will collectively donate PKR5million to the fund.
In addition to the cricketers’ contribution, PCB staff up to the rank of Senior Managers will donate one day’s salary, while the General Managers and above will donate two days’ salary.
Furthermore, the PCB, as an institution, will match the contribution of its staff to the government fund.
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said: “The Pakistan Cricket Board has always stood with the people of Pakistan in desperate times. This is one of the gravest, most challenging and unprecedented times, which our local and federal governments and health workers are having to face with.
“While we continue to pray for the wellbeing and success of our health workers so that normality returns to our society, we at the PCB are making a small contribution which will support the government in its endeavours against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am fully aware like a lot of other generous people in our society, our cricketers and staff are privately supporting the local governments and various other charities by making contributions in their own ways.  We are grateful to them for their valuable support.
“The success of nations is measured by how they come together in difficult times, and this is one such moment when we all must stand united.
“On behalf of the PCB, I once again urge the people of Pakistan to seriously take all precautionary measures as these have been designed for their and their loved ones’ safety. We are a resilient nation and I have no doubt we will defeat this pandemic together.”

‘We will get through this’: Kane Williamson pens heartfelt letter to doctors & nurses amid coronavirus outbreak

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As New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson addressed doctors, nurses and caregivers and expressed his gratitude to them for having “our backs”, he won millions of hearts across the globe.

Other than batting in his tidy routine and punching the ball through point on his back foot, winning hearts seems to be his favourite thing to do. Be it accepting birthday cake from spectators in Colombo or walking up to thank New Zealand fans for their support after a painful defeat at the MCG, Williamson is at it all the time.
How can one person do so much good? And, even if you leave that aside for a moment, how can a person and a cricket captain at that, remain calm in the face of a defeat in the World Cup Final, when there was never really any defeat.On top of that, he always gives so much credit to the opposition! Who does that?
From agreeing to go on a date for charity and interacting with students at Oxford to getting Dale Steyn to sign his cracked box, Williamson is no stranger to winning hearts.
The batsman won them again when he wrote an open letter appreciating the medical staff for their persistent work amid the coronavirus outbreak. 
The letter comes at a time when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared a state of national emergency as the country is under complete lockdown to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
New Zealand’s coronavirus positive cases stand at 283 currently as the government has imposed self-isolation for everyone, with all non-essential services, schools and offices shut for a month.
New Zealand, with about 5 million people, has fewer infections than many other countries, but Ardern’s government wants to move fast to halt the spread. The country was one of the first to force all arriving travellers into self-isolation and to ban indoor and outdoor gatherings.
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Here is the full text of Williamson’s letter:
Dear doctors, nurses and caregivers,
Events of the past few days have made it clear we’re living through a health crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen.
There will no doubt be times in the coming days when the scale of what we’re facing will seem overwhelming.
We’re so grateful you have our backs.
People talk about the pressure sportsmen and women are under to perform, but the truth is we get to do something we love every day for a living. We play games.
Real pressure is working to save lives. Real pressure is going into work each day while putting your own personal safety on the line for the good of others.
Every day over the next weeks and months you and your colleagues will be asked to do that.
It’s an enormous responsibility that can only be carried out by the best kind of people: those who put the greater good ahead of all else.
As Blackcaps, we know how amazing it feels to have the support of a country behind you.
In that same vein, we need you to know you’re not alone. We want you to know that there’s a whole country behind you.
We will get through this and you are a big reason why.

Wasim Akram magic wins it for Imran Khan’s cornered tigers

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Pakistan 249 for 6 (Imran 72, Miandad 58, Pringle 3-22) beat England 227 (Fairbrother 62, Akram 3-49, Mushtaq 3-41) by 22 runs
In the end, it had to be Imran. Pakistan’s captain, leader, talisman and icon is into his 40th year and will surely never be seen again on a cricket field after this, the triumph to end all triumphs. But when, with the game out of reach for England and only pride left to fight for, Richard Illingworth launched a tired wipe to Rameez Raja on the edge of the ring, it was Imran Khan, the bowler, whose upraised arms confirmed the end of a career-long quest, and the seizure of Pakistan’s maiden World Cup triumph.
The scorecard will say that Pakistan outlasted England to win by 22 runs – and Imran’s role was fittingly front-and-centre, in particular a captain’s innings of 72 that set the agenda for everything that followed. And yet, the numbers tell only a fraction of the story of a fraught, tense encounter in which a sprinkling of magic proved the difference between the teams.
The match panned out much as the two teams’ runs to the final had done – England, the early pace-setters, pushing Pakistan to the absolute brink in the opening exchanges, only for a few moments of good fortune to turn the tide and drain the energies of the men in light blue. And then, slowly at first, but then in a crescendo with bat and later with ball, Pakistan shed their inhibitions and turned to their inner tigers to finish with a roar that no opponent could have withstood.
The critical moment came as the players paused for drinks after 34 overs of England’s run-chase. Faced with a stiff target of 250, England had been rocking at 69 for 4 but found, in Neil Fairbrother‘s eye for a deflected single and Allan Lamb‘s old-school pugnacity, a fifth-wicket pairing with the requisite fight to take the game deep. Their stand had exactly doubled England’s total to 138 and reeled the requirement back to a manageable seven an over, when Imran decided it was time to turn back to his strike bowler, Wasim Akram, with licence to let rip.
It was a moment by which legends are born. After another new-ball burst in which Wasim’s consummate skill had been undermined by the degree of movement on offer, his return with an older, tamer ball wrecked the contest. With reverse-swing from the outset, England were on their guard, but even knowing what was liable to come his way, Lamb had no response to a delivery from the Gods, an inswinging, out-seaming gut-twister that snaked one way then the other, opening the batsman up like a can of worms before kissing past a groping edge to flick the outer half of his off stump.
And if that was good in isolation, then the follow-up to Chris Lewis conferred the double-whammy instant iconic status – a flip of the shiny side of the ball to unleash a howling inswinger, one that started so wide of off stump, Lewis might have believed it would be called as such, before hurtling back through his defences as if caught in a gravitational pull, to smash the top of the stumps, and confirm that England’s hopes were gone.
Fairbrother withstood as best he could, top-scoring for England with a gutsy 62, but Pakistan had too many snake-charming overs left in their repertoire for their opponents to get back on track. If there was an error in England’s approach, it was their failure to take the attack sooner to the left-arm spin of Aamer Sohail, who burgled his way through 10 overs for 49 in the crucial mid-innings rebuild, and allowed Pakistan to paper over the fact that, with all due respect to Imran’s glorious past, they came into the game with just three frontline bowlers.
But what a trio they proved to be. Until Akram’s intercession, it seemed that Mushtaq Ahmed‘s outrageous googly to Graeme Hick might prove to be the crowning moment of the night, but his 3 for 41 was no less critical for being upstaged. In fact, in luring the ever-dangerous Graham Gooch to his doom on the slog-sweep for 29, he arguably did as much as anyone to point Pakistan towards glory.
The boy-turned-man who took that catch, sprinting, stretching, sprawling at deep midwicket for an inspired take – was the zippy seamer Aaqib Javed, whose precociously commanding performance at the top and tail of the innings returned figures of 2 for 27 to ensure that the injured Waqar Younis was barely given a passing mention. Throw in another display of unfettered strokeplay from Inzamam-ul-Haq in the latter stages of Pakistan’s innings, and it’s clear this triumph – Imran’s overlord status notwithstanding – was a testament to Pakistan’s eternal faith in youth.
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But how they were made to battle by a team that came into the final as favourites after a supremely disciplined campaign, but who crucially lacked the same youthful spark to augment the ageing giants in their line-up. With the ball, Derek Pringle produced one of the great losing performances in World Cup history, and Gooch and Lamb both had their moments with the bat. But Ian Botham’s last hurrah was less of a joy. His old-pro outswingers had hoovered up 15 wickets in England’s run to the final, but just one belated scalp on the night. And with the bat, he suffered the ignominy of a sixth-ball duck, adjudged caught behind off an Akram lifter, even as umpire Aldridge was beginning his walk to square leg.
Mind you, Pakistan’s own innings hadn’t started much better. On a lively deck with juicy early movement for the seamers, their gameplan had been clear from the outset. Bed in at all cost, at the expense even of forward momentum, and trust their middle-order artillery to reprise the late onslaught that unseated New Zealand in Saturday’s thrilling semi-final.
It was a tactic fraught with risk, especially once the canny old pro Pringle had proven his fitness after missing the South Africa match with a rib injury. Manipulating the new ball like a yo-yo on its string, Pringle served up a supreme spell of wickedly intelligent medium pace, bowling eight overs off the reel for 13 runs, with only his own size-12s breaking the spell, as he overstepped for a total of five no-balls, coupled with three wides.
Pringle accounted for both openers in that first spell, Aamer Sohail for 4, who flashed with flat feet at one that nipped off the deck outside off, before Rameez Raja was pinned lbw for 8 by the inducker, a brace of deliveries that showcased his mastery of seam position, honed in so many Championship-winning seasons at Chelmsford.
But at 24 for 2 in the ninth over, and with Pakistan’s veteran pairing of Imran and Miandad already united at the crease, both teams knew that the game could be won and lost with the next breakthrough.
Initially Miandad seemed to know it more acutely than his captain. Whereas Imran was content to plant an imperious front foot down the wicket, blocking the straight ones and leaving those outside off, his partner got off to an unusually skittish start by the standards of his formidable tournament. He might have been caught in the gully on 1 as Lewis bent his back in an excellent new-ball spell, before scuffing a drive inches short of midwicket two balls later.
And then, in the space of two deliveries, came a pair of let-offs will surely haunt Pringle to the end of his days. With teasing shape back into the right-hander’s front pad, Miandad was rapped plumb in front of the stumps, then plumber still – from an even fuller length, so taking out any doubt about the height. On both occasions umpire Bucknor shook his head, and Pringle could only flap his hands in disgust, ruing a moment lost, but confident it could yet come again.
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For even with those let-offs, Pakistan were seemingly going nowhere on 34 for 2 at the 17-over drinks break. But as Imran might as well have muttered during a mid-over conflab, “Ghabrana nahin hai (don’t panic)”. Sure enough, the introduction of Ian Botham broke the shackles a touch, as Miandad skipped to the pitch of a drive through mid-on for four in an opening over that yielded nine.
But it was Imran himself who had the next key let-off when, on 9 from 41 balls, Phil DeFreitas banged in a short ball that rushed onto a pre-meditated pull. Gooch at square leg, all 38 years of him, sprinted full pelt as the ball plummeted over his shoulder, but despite a valiant dive, he was unable to wrap his fingers round the chance.
Whether that was the game there and then, who knows. But slowly but surely, the MCG’s vast outfield began to look chock-full of scoring opportunities, as England’s tiring team – already feeling the strain after a long winter campaign – began to be pulled apart at the seams. From 70 for 2 at the halfway mark of the innings, the game was still in their grasp. At 96 for 2 after 30, they were getting anxious for a wicket. And at 125 for 2 after 35, with Dermot Reeve flogged from the attack with a 12-run over that brought up the hundred partnership, they were getting desperate.
Miandad, in his fifth World Cup, duly became the first Pakistani to score 1000 runs at the tournament, and by the time he was finally extracted in the 40th over for 58 – unfurling the reverse-sweep against Illingworth where conventional mowing through the line had been serving him just fine – the arrival of the helmetless Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s break-out star of the semi-final, wasn’t exactly a blessing. At 163 for 3 with ten overs in which to make merry, the stage was perfectly set for Pakistan’s much-vaunted finishers.
Imran knew it too. On 72, having done his bit and more, he aimed an ambitious wipe at his fellow legendary allrounder Botham, and picked out Illingworth on the edge of long-on boundary. He departed to a rich ovation, safe in the knowledge that he had risen to the occasion in what will surely now be his final, final farewell. And handed the reins to his other young gun, Akram. Between them, Inzamam and Akram drained England’s troops of their resolve, adding 75 in 53 balls between them, with Inzamam’s initial flurry of four fours in his first ten balls giving way to a supporting role as Wasim took up the cudgels in the final five overs. He cracked four fours in his 18-ball 33, including a brace of venomous swipes to wreck Lewis’s figures in his final over, and though Pringle returned to outfox Inzamam for a richly deserved third wicket, a target of 250 – four more than England had failed to chase in Calcutta five years earlier – was daunting.
And by the time Pakistan had sprinkled their magic on the contest, it was overwhelming.

وقار یونس ‘سیلف آئیسولیشن’ میں، اہلیہ ایمرجنسی ڈیوٹی پر

‏پاکستان کرکٹ ٹیم کے بولنگ کوچ اور سابق کپتان وقار یونس مشکل وقت سے گزر رہے ہیں لیکن ان کے حوصلے جوان ہیں اور وہ اس مشکل وقت سے نہ صرف خود باہمت بن کر مقابلہ کر رہے ہیں بلکہ اپنی باہمت اہلیہ کے بھی حوصلے کے معترف ہیں۔

وقار یونس مشکل وقت میں کیوں ہیں؟

معاملہ کچھ اس طرح ہے کہ پاکستان کرکٹ ٹیم کے بولنگ کوچ وقار یونس پاکستان سپر لیگ کے دوران کمنٹری میں مصروف رہے، وہ کمنٹری کے لیے غیر ملکی ساتھیوں کے ہمراہ لاہور، کراچی اور ملتان میں کمنٹری کرتے رہے۔
کورونا وائرس کے باعث پی ایس ایل کے دونوں سیمی فائنلز اور فائنل ملتوی کر دیئے گئے اور اس کے بعد وقار یونس اپنی فیملی کے پاس آسریلیا چلے گئے جہاں سڈنی میں ان کی فیملی مقیم ہے۔
بین الاقوامی سفر کے بعد وقار یونس از خود تنہائی میں چلے گئے کیونکہ احتیاطی تدابیر کے طور پر بین الاقوامی سفر کے بعد از خود تنہائی کو ضروری قرار دیا جاتا ہے، اس طرح وقار یونس سڈنی پہنچنے کے بعد از خود تنہائی میں چلے گئے۔دوسری طرف وقار یونس کی اہلیہ فریال وقار ڈاکٹر ہیں اور ان دنوں پیدا ہونیوالی صورت حال میں وہ ایمرجنسی میں ڈیوٹی پر ہیں لیکن دنوں میاں بیوی بڑے باہمت ہیں اور مشکل وقت کو حوصلے کے ساتھ گزار رہے ہیں۔
وقار یونس کہتے ہیں کہ اس مشکل وقت میں ہم سب کو ہمت دکھانی ہے، ہمت دکھائے بغیر ہم اس وباء سے نجات نہیں پا سکتے، ہمیں ایک دوسرے کا حوصلہ بڑھانا ہے اور اس وائرس سے نجات کے لیے آگاہی پیدا کرنی ہے۔
انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ آگاہی پیدا کرنے کے لیے ہم سب کو آگے آنا ہے اور اس وائرس سے بچنے کے لیے احتیاط کی ضرورت ہے، احتیاط کے بارے میں ہر کسی کو بتانا ہے، وائرس کے حوالے سے آگاہی پیدا کرنے کے لیے جو لوگ بھی آگے آرہے ہیں وہ قابل تعریف ہیں۔ سابق فاسٹ بولر نے کہا کہ ہمیں کورونا وائرس کے خلاف جنگ میں جو سب سے آگے ہیں ان کو سلام پیش کرنا ہے، اس جنگ میں ڈاکٹرز، نرسز، میڈیکل آفیسرز اور دوسرا متعلقہ عملہ جنگ کے محاز میں سب سے آگے ہے، ان سب کی حوصلہ افزائی کی ضرورت ہے، ان کا حوصلہ بڑھے گا تو یہ کام جاری رکھیں گے، یہ ہمارا ایمان ہے کہ ہم اس وباء سے نجات پائیں گے۔ وقار یونس نے کہا ڈاکٹر فریال ایک باہمت خاتون ہیں، وہ ہمت نہیں ہارتیں، انہوں نے ڈومیسٹک اور پروفیشنل لائف کو یکساں اہمیت دی ہے اور کامیاب طریقے سے ایک ساتھ لیکر چل رہی ہیں، اس مشکل وقت میں بھی ڈاکٹر فریال ہمت دکھا رہی ہیں، میں ان کا معترف ہوں۔

PCB releases NOC policy for its players The Pakistan Cricket Board today released its No Objection Certificate (NOC) policy for centrally and domestically contracted players.

The policy had been reviewed and approved by the Board of Governors during their 57th meeting, subject to minor changes.
According to the policy, all centrally contracted players may seek clearance for up to a maximum of four leagues, including the HBL Pakistan Super League.
Initial feedback and assessment of NOC requests will come through the International Cricket Operations department and national head coach/team management, who will carry out due diligence with respect to player workload and international commitments. As per NOC policies around the world, the Chief Executive of the Board will then be the final approving authority at the final stage of the process.
The domestic players contracted by the Cricket Associations will be required to directly approach their respective associations for any NOC approvals in the first instance. Input and feedback will then be sought from the cricket operations department, before moving to the last stage of the approval process.
For domestic players, who don’t feature in red-ball cricket but are white-ball regulars, it is has been made mandatory for them to commit to domestic 50-over and 20-over competitions in order to be eligible for NOCs.
As per the ICC regulations, both inactive and retired cricketers will require NOCs from the PCB for ICC approved events. However, the PCB will issue NOCs to players who have been retired for 24 months or more, unless there are compelling reasons which the PCB will have to provide in writing.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said: “I think this is a flexible, balanced and comprehensive NOC policy which addresses as many of the likely scenarios that we will face.
“We have given primacy and importance to player workload, international and domestic commitments, but at the same time it was important that players are given the opportunities to make additional earnings and develop their skills around the world”.
“I am optimistic that moving forward, all the relevant stakeholders will have clarity and a better understanding of the process. To ensure that we maintain our relationships with cricket boards around the world, once granted, NOC’s will only be revoked if there are any injury concerns, or there are international or domestic playing obligations that need to be fulfilled.”

Pakistan players free to take part in four T20 leagues a year

The PCB has confirmed a massive change to their policy, allowing both international and domestically contracted players to take part in a maximum of four T20 leagues a year, including the PSL.
The earlier policy, which was introduced in 2018, had restricted player participation in several leagues, but as ESPNcricinfo reported last month, the PCB decided to put it up for review for the very first time.
Pakistan’s players are already among the lowest-paid professionals in world cricket, and aren’t allowed to take part in the IPL. The old policy had added to the uncertainty, with players often given NOCs for an entire tournament, only to be pulled out by the PCB midway to return home and either join national camps or undergo fitness tests. That sparked frustration and discontent among the leading white-ball cricketers and emboldened them to revolt against PCB’s restrictive participation policy on foreign leagues.
“I think this is a flexible, balanced and comprehensive NOC policy which addresses as many of the likely scenarios that we will face,” Wasim Khan, the PCB chief executive officer said on Friday. “We have given primacy and importance to player workload, international and domestic commitments, but at the same time it was important that players are given the opportunities to make additional earnings and develop their skills around the world.”
The 19 Pakistan national players with central contracts will now go to the International Cricket Operations department to get their NOCs going forward. They will also need permission from the head coach or the team management, who are well placed to assess a player’s workload and international commitments. “As per NOC policies around the world, the Chief Executive of the Board will then be the final approving authority at the final stage of the process,” the PCB’s policy says.
Domestic players will have to go through one extra layer of red tape. They will have to reach out to their provincial associations for the initial consent and approval and only then will their cases be taken up by Cricket Operations department. In addition, the PCB policy says, “domestic players, who don’t feature in red-ball cricket but are white-ball regulars, it is has been made mandatory for them to commit to domestic 50-over and 20-over competitions in order to be eligible for NOCs.”
One major bone of contention between the players and the board about the earlier policy was about how even retired players had to seek an NOC to play in an overseas league. But now the board has decided it will automatically issues NOCs to everyone who has been “retired for 24 months or more, unless there are compelling reasons which the PCB will provide in writing”.
“I am optimistic that moving forward, all the relevant stakeholders will have clarity and a better understanding of the process,” Khan said about the change. “To ensure that we maintain our relationships with cricket boards around the world, once granted, NOC’s will only be revoked if there are any injury concerns, or there are international or domestic playing obligations that need to be fulfilled.”

ข่าวดีสำหรับนักไส่ระดับชาติคือพวกเขาได้รับอนุญาตให้เข้าร่วมในสี่ลีกรวมถึง PSL

PCB ยินดีต้อนรับคำตัดสินของศาลสูงละฮอร์

LAHORE: คณะกรรมการคริกเก็ตของปากีสถาน (PCB) ได้ออกนโยบายใหม่เกี่ยวกับการมีส่วนร่วมของผู้เล่นด้วยสัญญากลางและสัญญาคริกเก็ตในประเทศในลีกต่างประเทศซึ่งจะช่วยให้พวกเขาสามารถเข้าร่วมในลีกระหว่างประเทศได้ 4 ลีกนโยบายดังกล่าวได้รับการอนุมัติหลังการประชุมครั้งที่ 57 ของ คณะกรรมการผู้ว่าการของคณะกรรมการคริกเก็ตปากีสถานต้องขอบคุณนักคริกเก็ตชาวปากีสถานที่ตอนนี้สามารถเข้าร่วมในสี่ลีกระหว่างประเทศรวมถึง PSL การดำเนินการเบื้องต้นในแผนกคริกเก็ตนานาชาติ

การดำเนินงานและหัวหน้าผู้ฝึกสอนหรือการบริหารทีมของทีมชาติจะต้องทำจากนั้นผู้บริหารทีมจะตรวจสอบประเด็นทั้งหมดรวมทั้งภาระงานของผู้เล่นและตรวจสอบการสมัครตามประกาศที่ออกโดยคณะกรรมการหัวหน้าผู้ฝึกสอนหรือทีม แม้จะได้รับการอนุมัติจากคณะกรรมการผู้บริหารระดับสูงของ PCB เช่นเดียวกับบอร์ดทั่วโลกจะมีคำกล่าวสุดท้ายเกี่ยวกับใบสมัครผู้เล่นที่มีสัญญาในคริกเก็ตในประเทศควรติดต่อสมาคมคริกเก็ตของตนเพื่อขออนุมัติจาก NOC ใบสมัครจะถูกส่งต่อไปยัง Cricket Operations และหัวหน้าผู้บริหารตามลำดับสำหรับการดำเนินการต่อไปหลังจากได้รับการอนุมัติจากสมาคมเท่านั้นคณะกรรมการยังได้ออก NY สำหรับผู้เล่นที่ถอนตัวจากการทดสอบตาม PCB เพื่อให้ได้รับ NOC ผู้เล่นจะต้องแสดงความพร้อมสำหรับ ODI แห่งชาติ และการแข่งขัน T20 ภายใต้กฎ ICC จำเป็นต้องมีกิจกรรมการเกษียณอายุหรือกิจกรรมคริกเก็ตผู้เล่นที่ไม่ได้ใช้งานจะต้องใช้ PCB NOC เพื่อเข้าร่วมในลีกต่างประเทศ เมื่ออธิบายถึงนโยบายที่ครอบคลุมและคู่ขนานกันประธานเจ้าหน้าที่บริหาร Wasim Khan กล่าวว่า “เราได้ให้ความสำคัญกับภารกิจในระดับชาติและระดับนานาชาติของผู้เล่นรวมถึงภาระงานของพวกเขา แต่ในขณะเดียวกันก็เพื่อให้ผู้เล่นมีรายได้พิเศษและแสดงความสามารถรอบตัว โลก” อย่างไรก็ตามหัวหน้าผู้บริหาร PCB ชี้แจงว่าคณะกรรมการจะมีอำนาจเต็มในการยกเลิก NOC เนื่องจากมีความเสี่ยงต่อการบาดเจ็บของผู้เล่นหรือความกังวลในระดับชาติและระดับนานาชาติ