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Sarfaraz loves the thrill of making a great comeback.



Sarfaraz Ahmed

“If someone had checked my heartbeat, the meter would have exploded,” says a man who is playing his first Test in four years.

The time before the Karachi Test was especially crazy. Pakistan had lost four straight Tests at home for the first time, including a 3-0 whitewash by England, which had never happened before. Ramiz Raja was then removed as chairman of the PCB, and a 14-person management committee led by Najam Sethi took over for the time being. Shahid Afridi was supposed to be on the management committee, but he didn’t want to be there. Instead, he stepped down and became the interim chief selector for Pakistan’s men’s team. Two days before the match, he added some players to the team.

The first hour of Pakistan’s batting was just as chaotic as the build-up. Both Abdullah Shafique and Shan Masood ran out of their creases against spin, but they were both caught. In the history of men’s Test cricket, this was the first time that stumpings took the first two wickets. Imam-ul-Haq then hit a catch to mid-off with his toe. He had also moved forward against spin. Pakistan was 48 for 3 after 15 overs. If Daryl Mitchell hadn’t dropped Babar Azam at slip when he was on 12, they would have been four down. The score was 110-4 when Tim Southee caught Saud Shakeel.

With a 196-run fifth-wicket partnership, Pakistan’s superstar Babar and forgotten star Sarfaraz Ahmed, who returned to the XI after being out of the team for a long time, put an end to the chaos and stabilized the innings. Babar did his usual thing, scoring his fourth Test century in nine Tests in 2022. On the other hand, Sarfaraz made a statement in his first Test in almost four years and his first Test at home.

He started off with a straight drive that was like a ramrod and rolled away between mid-off and mid-on. Most batters would have hunkered down in the last over before lunch, but this man who had just come back from the wilderness hit it as soon as he could. Of course, looks don’t always tell the whole story.

Sarfaraz said in the press conference at the end of the day’s play, “You asked me how I felt when I walked out to bat before lunch.” “If someone had checked my pulse, the meter would have blown up.

“Heartbeat moved quickly, and it felt like my first song. I had not played in a long time, and it was also a very important game. People who have played with me in the past told me to chill out during lunch. I told them that my heart beat very quickly. When I went back inside, Babar made me feel very sure of myself. As an experienced player, I liked the way he helped me along. I needed a little confidence, and he gave me that. When you come back to a match, it feels like the first time you played it. Babar gave me faith, and Allah looks after me.”

Even after lunch, Sarfaraz was good at using his feet and the sweep, just like he used to be. Fifty of his 86 runs came in front of or behind the wicket. His strategy was very different from Babar’s, who got 127 of his 161 runs in front of the wicket.

Sarfaraz Ahmed

Once the moisture and juice from the early morning were gone from the pitch, Sarfaraz was even brave enough to drive away from the body. He often moved across off stump to get wide balls into his hitting arc. This clever footwork kept throwing off New Zealand’s bowlers’ lines and minds, especially their legspinner.

When Ish Sodhi hit a ball that was shorter and wider, Sarfaraz waited to cut it and then chopped it past the wicketkeeper to get the two runs he needed to raise his bat in front of his home crowd for the first time in a Test.

Neil Wagner, who had only bowled one over in the morning session, came back and bowled straight lines from over the wicket with a 7-2 leg-side field, but Sarfaraz was still proactive enough to move around the crease to find gaps on both sides of the pitch. But after hurting his knee diving to the non-end striker’s in the 61st over, Sarfaraz had to stop relying on his strengths (footwork and sweep) and instead put more trust in his defense.

When Ajaz was brought back into the attack, he took a chance and spliced a sweep just over Tom Latham’s leg at short fine leg. Sarfaraz hit his bat on his pad to tell himself he had made a mistake. Then, he wasn’t out for long. He was caught at slip for 86 out of 153.

Sarfaraz was upset that he didn’t get to 100, which was well within his reach, and he eventually had to drag himself off the field. Still, he’ll come to see this innings as more than just a number in time. It was a reward for how hard he worked at domestic cricket and how determined he was to keep trying to get back into the national team. Since January 2019, when he was kicked off the Pakistan Test team, Sarfaraz had scored 968 runs for Sindh at an average of 44 in 19 games in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan’s top first-class competition.

Sarfaraz said, “Every time a player plays, the goal is to play for Pakistan.” “But the last four years were hard, but I kept going. I was with good people, and all I wanted to do was play cricket and not think about anything else. God gave me the chance I had been waiting for, and I did my best with it. hoping for more chances like this.”

In the 2015 ODI World Cup in Auckland, Pakistan, Sarfaraz came in from the sidelines and scored 49 runs in 49 balls as the opening batsman against South Africa. He also took six catches. That performance changed the rest of his life. Will his latest comeback give a new boost to his career?


1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli’s Cricket Legacy




1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli's Cricket Legacy

On Thursday, November 2, Virat Kohli achieved an accomplishment. He became the batsman to surpass 1000 runs in ODIs in 2023, following in the footsteps of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Not that,. He also joined Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Pathum Nissanka as the fourth players to achieve this impressive record in the 50-over format within the same year.

Stepping into History with 1000 Runs in ODIs

Virat Kohli celebrating 1000 Runs in ODIs with a jump on the field

Entering the realm of history, Kohli’s unwavering determination and exceptional skills were put on display during his match in 2023. Notably, the cricket maestro, now 34 years old, made an indelible impact by surpassing Sachin Tendulkar‘s record, securing the most number of years with 1000 runs in ODIs. Kohli’s consistent ability to perform at such an exceptional level has been a defining characteristic of his illustrious career, as he had previously achieved this monumental milestone in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019, before accomplishing it once again in the present year of 2023.

An Unforgettable Journey

In an intense World Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka at the renowned Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli’s pursuit of this historic milestone was realized with an impressive 34 runs. Despite facing challenges, including a rare duck against England at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, his overall performance throughout the year has been nothing short of spectacular.

Kohli’s memorable journey was highlighted by an unbeaten century during India’s triumphant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Adding to his illustrious record, he solidified his stature with a brilliant 95 runs, making a significant contribution to India’s thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand led by Tom Latham at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Pune.

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Shaheen Shah Afridi: Fastest to 100 ODI Wickets




Shah Afridi celebrating a wicket

Shaheen Shah Afridi, on Tuesday, October 31, achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the third fastest bowler to secure 100 wickets in ODIs. His outstanding performance during Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh at the renowned Eden Gardens in Kolkata led to this historic accomplishment.

A Landmark Moment

In the thrilling encounter, Shaheen clinched his 100th wicket in only his 51st match, dismissing Tigers’ opening batter Tanzid Hasan Tamim. The left-arm fast bowler displayed exceptional skill as he struck Tamim on the pads, prompting the on-field umpire to raise his finger. Despite Tamim’s referral to the third umpire using the Decision Review System (DRS), the replays confirmed the ball crashing into the stumps, upholding the on-field decision. Bangladesh lost their first wicket with the scoreboard reading 0 in just 0.5 overs.

Surpassing Preceding Records

Shaheen Shah Afridi not only secured this feat in record time but also outshone the accomplishments of esteemed bowlers preceding him. He surpassed the record of the fastest pacer, previously held by Mitchell Starc, who attained the milestone in August 2016 during an ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Legacy of Excellence

Moreover, Shaheen shattered the long-standing record held by Saqlain Mushtaq, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to claim 100 wickets in ODIs. Saqlain had set this record on May 12, 1997, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in Gwalior. It is notable that among the Pakistani fast bowlers, the accomplished Shaheen Shah Afridi follows in the footsteps of the legendary Waqar Younis, who achieved the 100-wicket mark back in February 1993 against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.

Beyond ODIs

Demonstrating his prowess beyond ODIs, Shaheen has made significant contributions in Tests and T20Is as well. Since his debut in 2018, he has garnered 105 wickets in Tests and 64 wickets in T20Is. His exceptional journey began with a strong performance in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Notably, he played a pivotal role in Lahore Qalandars’ consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

A Testament to Talent and Dedication

Shaheen Shah Afridi’s rapid rise to 100 ODI wickets within 51 matches underlines his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. As he continues to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing world, his journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide. With his remarkable achievements, Afridi has solidified his place in the annals of cricket history, etching his name as one of Pakistan’s most formidable and promising fast bowlers.

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ICC World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar says, ‘Mai India ki tareef kyu na karu’




Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistani fast bowler

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recently expressed admiration for India’s dominant performance in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup. With India securing victories in all six matches, Akhtar highlighted the team’s exceptional display across various aspects of the game. Although the recent batting performance against England in Lucknow was relatively modest, India’s fierce bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, proved instrumental in securing a remarkable win. This triumph not only solidified India’s leading position on the points table but also exacerbated England’s struggles in the tournament, leaving them virtually eliminated.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah laughing together on the field

India’s Remarkable Bowling Transformation

In his analysis, Akhtar emphasized the transformative impact of Shami’s inclusion in India’s playing eleven following Hardik Pandya’s injury. Acknowledging Shami’s outstanding performances against New Zealand and England, Akhtar credited India’s ability to win matches through their bowling prowess, showcasing a shift from their traditional reliance on batting strength. He commended the collective effort of the Indian bowling unit, particularly recognizing the strategic brilliance of fast bowler Bumrah.

The Indian cricket team is standing for the national anthem at the ICC World Cup

India’s Path to World Cup Glory

Looking ahead, Akhtar voiced his confidence in India’s potential to secure their third ODI World Cup trophy, highlighting the team’s upcoming matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Expressing optimism, he emphasized the significance of maintaining their unbeaten streak en route to the final, setting the stage for a potential historic ICC World Cup victory. However, Akhtar cautioned against compromising the successful bowling unit once Pandya returns to full fitness, warning against the potential detriment of a partially fit Pandya’s inclusion at the expense of a bowler.

Akhtar’s Praise for India and its Response to Criticism

Addressing skepticism surrounding his praise for the Indian team, Akhtar reiterated the exceptional nature of India’s performance, particularly in their ability to defend a modest total with a significant margin of victory. Undeterred by criticism, Akhtar reaffirmed his admiration for India’s exceptional cricketing prowess, urging acknowledgment and appreciation of their commendable achievements.

Virat Kohli gives a hand gesture on the field during a match

Shoaib Akhtar’s Perspective on Virat Kohli

Shifting focus, Akhtar’s history of praise extends beyond team performances to individual players, notably including former Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Reminiscing on Kohli’s resilience during a challenging phase in his career, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by Kohli’s consistent century-scoring performances, leading to India’s victories. Recognizing Kohli’s contribution to the team’s success, Akhtar emphasized the significance of Kohli’s monumental centuries during crucial chases, solidifying his status as a crucial asset for the Indian cricket team.

In a comparison between Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Akhtar acknowledged Tendulkar’s status as one of the greatest batsmen while highlighting the challenges Tendulkar faced as a captain. Drawing parallels, Akhtar expressed confidence in Kohli’s eventual resurgence, expecting him to return to his prolific scoring form once he finds his equilibrium.

In summary, Akhtar’s acknowledgment of India’s exceptional performance and his recognition of individual players’ contributions underscore the team’s formidable presence in the 2023 ICC World Cup, setting the stage for a potential historic triumph in the coming days.

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