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Posts Tagged ‘shoaib akhtar’

A number of sides have left it until the last minute to announce their squads for the upcoming World Twenty20 (the final deadline is May 5), but Pakistan’s has grabbed a couple of headlines for the inclusion of relative unknowns Shahzaib Hasan (scorer of 607 runs in ten matches for Karachi in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy) and Mohammad Aamer (who has taken 56 first-class wickets in ten matches for Rawalpindi this season).

The rest of the 15 is as follows: Younis Khan (the captain), Salman Butt, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Fawad Alam, Shoaib Akhtar (who may be lucky to be included given continuing doubts over his fitness), Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat and Saeed Ajmal.

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Tillakaratne Dilshan, last seen bullying Bangladesh, found form for Sri Lanka in the Second ODI to help set Pakistan a total of 291 (youtube here), after which a combination of Muralitharan, Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara proved too much for all but Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik (who, by the way, seems to be having doubts about Shoaib Akhtar‘s commitment).

Aside from those two Pakistani batsmen, only Shahid Afridi made it into double figures (making 14) as Pakistan collapsed in less than 35 overs. If Mendis struggled to make an impact in the first match, then he bounced back, taking 3-29 in a fine partnership with Murali (who took 3-19) as the hosts’ middle and lower order slumped from 125-3 to 161 all out, allowing Sri Lanka to level the series ahead of this weekend’s final match.

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For Pakistan, the main feeling ahead of the ODI series against Sri Lanka is probably novelty – they’ve hardly played any international cricket of late. The matches they did play in 2008, though, generally ended in victory (although many were against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh). The side has suffered the not inconsiderable loss of Mohammad Yousuf to the ICL, and Shoaib Akhtar‘s fitness is a concern (he looks set to miss the first ODI of this series), but Younis Khan and Salman Butt are both capable of making big scores, and if they can stand up to the twin spin challenge of Murali and Mendis, then they both have a chance of being the first Pakistani batsman to score a century against Sri Lanka since October 2004.

Sri Lanka’s past form has been almost as impressive as Pakistan’s, but their near miss against Bangladesh in the Tri-Series final (and, of course, their defeat in the same competition) has left them with a point to prove. If the spin twins play to their potential, and Nuwan Kulasekara does a decent job in filling Vaas‘ shoes, then Pakistan’s batsmen may be on the back foot. If Sri Lanka win the series 3-0, they’ll rocket up the ODI rankings from 7th to 4th (leapfrogging Pakistan on the way up), so there’s plenty at stake for both sides.

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Shoaib Aktar-watchers are used to surprises, but many an eyebrow will be raised if he signs for Surrey.

The county are facing relegation from the top level of the County Championship, and an injection of Shoaib‘s raw pace (not to mention the extra revenue he might generate in ticket sales) could be just what the Bears need.

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More cult figures, this time from Pakistan. These ones are all top-class players as well (sort of):

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After the beamer, the bouncer is perhaps the most controversial weapon in the bowler’s armoury. Those who utilise it don’t always aim to pick up wickets directly (although it can happen), but rather to soften up the batsman. Some bowlers are notorious for their short-pitched missiles at the batsman’s head, ribs or shoulder, and a sustained assault can be considerably unnerving for whoever is at the crease.

Sometimes the force of a bouncer is enough to dislodge the batsman’s helmet, something which could prove costly, as Kevin Pietersen well knows.

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According to Wikipedia  (at time of writing, anyway), a beamer is “an uncommon (illegal) cricket delivery which reaches the batsman at head-height, without bouncing“.

A beamer from the likes of Sreesanth or Brett Lee (who has form for that sort of thing) can be particularly scary for a batsman, even if he’s Andrew Symonds.

That said, the beamer is a natural consequence of the serious quick bowler going full pelt, and it seems the habit dies hard.

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