On Tuesday, in the World Cup, the United Arab Emirates lost out in a last-over thriller against Ireland. The previous week they had Zimbabwe on the ropes until Sean Williams rescued them with an unbeaten knock of 76. Whatever happens during the rest of the tournament, the Emirates have established themselves as credible cricketers at the highest level.
In a parallel universe, it would be the USA rather than the UAE impressing the world as doughty underdogs. Both have millions of cricket-crazy immigrants, a television audience that makes sponsors salivate, and enough money to develop a sizeable cricketing infrastructure.
But where the Emirates have grown the game and become one of the strongest associate nations in recent years, American cricket is in terrible shape, largely due to the... Read More
Ten days into the World Cup and - shout it from the rooftops - it’s been really, really good. Perhaps that should not be such a surprise; it is, after all, the sport’s showpiece tournament. But given that three of the past four World Cups were damp squibs, it is a relief that this one is shaping up to be excellent.
We’ve witnessed world-class performances from New Zealand, Australia, and India. We’ve seen comically inept outings from England and Pakistan. We are still missing a close finish but almost every match has had its share of impressive feats, including Brendon McCullum’s alpha-aggressive captaincy, Virat Kohli’s hundred in a cacophonic atmosphere against Pakistan, Chris Gayle’s double-ton, and Tim Southee’s magnificent swing bowling. Lapping all this up have been capacity crowds in... Read More
Pakistan lost to India. The default reaction for many of their fans was to blame the captain, Misbah-ul-Haq. Former pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar led the charge, calling on the skipper to “shed some of his humbleness and calmness” and declaring that the batsman would not dared to have played with such carelessness in the halcyon days of Imran Khan. Such is the life of the Pakistan cricket captain. He could win every match, cure cancer, and bring everlasting peace to the world and his ears would still sting with criticism.
Of course several of Misbah’s predecessors have not covered themselves in glory, most notably the man from whom he inherited the mantle (or poisoned chalice). Salman Butt is still serving a ban for a spot-fixing scheme he cooked up... Read More
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