Monday, May 30, 2011

Top 6 Reasons why Ijaz Butt is a Bharwe ki Aulad

6. To begin with, he literally is one. His father, grandfather, great grandfather and entire line of ancestry were notable bharwas of their time, beginning with the late Mustafa Ijaz Butt of Yemen who pioneered bharwapana in the southern Arabian peninsula, a legacy carried forward by descendants such as the infamous Ghulam Ijaz Butt of the late 19th century who directed the fruits of his bharwagiri towards the patronage of the East India Trading Company. Today, Ijaz Butt proudly carries on the tradition.

5. When was the last time you heard that an Ivy League graduate had to have his wife pull some strings to get him a job? To be fair to him though, the attributes of fat, ugly, stupid, madarchod aren’t really a winning combination at most job interviews. Nor is a CV which has “party to anal gangrape” under Relevant Job Experience.

4. Never finished watching Godfather 2 because he always ejaculates in the scene where Michael kisses his brother Fredo. Did I mention that Ijaz Butt has french kissed his own brother? Yeah, that incestuous chut had a full-on steamy romance with his brother. In Ijaz Butt’s defence, Angelina Jolie is also guilty of something similar yet is not universally reviled as a bharwi. However, Mrs. Jolie is a hot piece of ass who can make a fish look do-able. Ijaz Butt on the other hand looks like something you’d leave in the toilet after having Nihari from Burns Road for Sehri.

3. This is a toss-up because his heart was sort of in the right place here. A young Ijaz Butt once convinced his parents not to sacrifice his Eid goats in the traditional manner as he considered it too savage. Instead, in what he deemed to be a more humane execution, he elected to personally bone his qurbani animals to death so that, in his own words, “they leave the world in a state of bliss”. To this date, it is a Butt family tradition every Eid morning to watch Ijaz sahb shyly stroll over to the livestock with a bottle of wine, make small talk with the bakras, caress their horns gently, tie them down (even an animal isn’t immediately amenable to the idea of fucking Ijaz Butt) and gently pounding the life out of it.

2. His favorite dish is bharwa bhindi. Not familiar with the cuisine? To your credit, that's probably because you are not a bharwa. You may watch the preparation of this bharwan South Indian delicacy in this video. Caution: excess consumption may lead to you becoming a fucking gandu.

1. There are a select group of cricketers who, in my view, have come to define Pakistan cricket. One cannot love Pakistan cricket and not respect the contribution of these players towards its legacy. Two such players are Shahid Afridi and Younis Khan. Ijaz has fucked with both of them. My outrage at this does not allow me to address the issue in mature, rational terms. And I shouldn’t have to. To me, it’s the equivalent of burning the flag, beating your wife or molesting your own fucking children. You are a bharwa if u do any of those. And you are a true bharwe ki aulad if you violate Younis and Afridi. So teri maa ki chut Ijaz Butt, u haram khor.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Grow up, Chappell

(A version of this blog appeared on Dawn here.)

Here’s to Australia bitterness because without it this victory probably wouldn’t taste as sweet. As it happened, Ian Chappell’s cantankerous ramblings endowed this triumph with a wholesomely saccharine flavor it may otherwise have been devoid of.

There is no doubting that this Australian side does not stack up to those who have dominated this tournament for the last decade. Hence, this victory was in danger of losing some of its rightful appeal. However, Chappell reminded us that it’s not just a team we overcame. It’s a sickeningly superior attitude that has defined all contests with the Australians. And it is this sanctimonious arrogance that we prevailed against.

Anyone, partial or neutral, listening to the match commentary must have jerked their head in disbelief at some of the fairly provocative comments emanating from Chappell’s pie-hole. During our first innings Chappell expressed his philosophical reservations against the signature Shahid Afridi pose. Apparently, Chappell detects an element of selfishness in Afridi’s gesture and fears that it detracts from the achievements of the team.

You know what else Chappell had problems with? Team huddles, of course. This excuse for recreational mingling was considered by Chappell as a waste of time which is why, during his reign as captain, he would simply write notes on scraps of paper and expect his team-mates to pass it around, always maintaining arms-length distance from one another.

Finally, Chappell also chose to invoke some righteous imagery when he opined that Ricky Ponting would be looking to set the record straight in light of the cloud of scandal circling over the Sydney test match. In Chappell’s eyes, Ponting was the living embodiment of an Arthurian knight riding through the sinister countryside and drawing his fiery Sword of Morality and Shield of Integrity against the depraved humanity which populates his lands. Today, that Sword would be raised against the villainous Pakistanis who had dared sully the name of Australian cricket.

Chappell’s comments were utterly preposterous, bordering on maniacally defensive and senselessly bitter.

Afridi’s gesture is emblematic of a broader team ethos. It serves as a rally cry for his charges channeling and facilitating their ascendancy. Afridi is no dummy, despite what his shot selection on the day might suggest. He is fundamentally aware of his aura within the team. They view him as a talisman and when they sense his exhilaration, when they see his energy, it infects them in turn. Afridi’s celebration is not posturing or preening. It is mobilizing and empowering.

Besides, give Shahid a break. So what if he strikes a pose? At least his arms and legs outstretched in an “X” looks cool. Which is more than I can say for a ridiculous, ballerina inspired jump by Brett Lee. What the hell was that about? I thought only cartoon cats jump in the air sideways and click their heels. In the annals of gayness, that could only be topped by a white guy trying to sing a hindi song alongside an aging Indian pop-star attempting to be hip and relevant. Oh wait.

I fail to see how a huddle during the break is a time-wasting exercise. Is Chappell upset that the Pakistan team isn’t constructively utilizing all of the forty five minutes they are given between innings? Is our mid-innings assembly somehow threatening to disrupt the space-time continuum through a peculiar quirk of physics only Chappell is privy to? Team huddles are a historical feature of the game and characterized the conquering Australian side under Steve Waugh. However, in Chappell’s defense, his aversion to the huddle can be traced back to his days in the Australian team post-1977, when all his team-mates ever spoke about in a huddle was how little Ian got his ass handed to him by Ian Botham. Twice, mind you.

As for Ponting the Crusader, following this incident Aleem Dar may have serious misgivings about Chappell cloaking Ponting in the garb of nobility, particularly given the settled understanding in all corners, including his own homeland, that Ponting is a first-class jerk.

Furthermore, Chappell has no right to attempt to appropriate for the Australians alone the indignity suffered by the match-fixing saga. It is an affront to sportsmanship felt by all Pakistanis everywhere. We are keenly aware of the disgrace our players have brought upon the game and it is our hope to one day come to terms with this ordeal and feel genuinely proud of a team which is worthy of honorably representing our nation. Chappell’s implicit attempt to paint Australians as the only victims of that tragedy is symptomatic of the self-indulgent imperiousness which typifies Australian cricket.

It is this conceit which has helped elevate a league victory into a defining triumph.

Look, there is no arguing that qualitatively this is not the Australia of 1999, 2003 and 2007. The Aussies are no longer the superpower of our sport and, in a sense, this victory may not carry the meaning it would have a couple of years back. However, I for one feel that this holds true more for other teams and less so for Pakistan.

The challenges a team like Pakistan faces in every game is hardly limited to the 11 players in the opposing team. More often than not, they are also locked in a continuous struggle against their fragile psyches and the demons of their past. It is this emotional baggage that Pakistan contends with in every game in addition to the more tangible challenges on the field. And it is these hang-ups which elevate a game which should have been a cakewalk for a more composed side into a feat of astronomical proportions for our batsmen.

For all intents and purposes, Pakistan were not playing the Australian side as it currently stands with a miserably out-out-form middle order and a one-dimensional attack. In our minds, we were confronting the ‘notion’ of Australia which has haunted us and the cricketing world for the past decade. And we conquered that perception which still manifests itself in the attitudes of Chappell, Ponting and, more viscerally, in Brad Haddin's outburst.

So when Umar Akmal accepted his man-of-the-match award, it was telling that he referenced the Sydney test match, a specter that has haunted Pakistan for almost two years. He admitted his own complicity in that crime and perhaps this was his apology for the trauma inflicted upon the nation as a consequence of his team’s past actions.

It is this humility which will allow us to come to terms with the pain of the last 12 months. It is this humility which runs in perfect opposition to the arrogance of the Australians.

Fittingly, it is this humility which silenced Ian Chappell and the Australian machine.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Changing of the Guard

(an edited version of this blog was published on the Dawn website and can be viewed here)

It speaks volumes for Zulqarnain Haider and Saeed Ajmal that, on the basis of their performances in only a single test this summer, there are whispers that the two have made a genuine case for replacing Kamran Akmal and Danish Kaneria, two men who had become mainstays in their respective roles for more than half a decade.

But is that more of a testament to the quality of the new blood or to the failings of their predecessors because, come on, how hard is it to make Akmal and Kaneria look bad? If we are using the seniors as a benchmark then really, all that Haider and Ajmal had to do was show up and not screw up considerably to qualify as successful replacements.

Akmal is an abysmal keeper who has clung on to his place in the side on tha basis of batting alone, which in of itself has been fairly average in the longer format. Kaneria, while immeasurably more skilled than Akmal, has yet to develop into the consistent strike bowler Inzimam always envisioned he would. He remains overly reliant on pitch and conditions and is a tad one dimensional if the batsmen attempt to throw him off his rhythm.

However, it is to do a disservice to both Ajmal and Haider if these two are to be measured against the men whose shoes they stepped into because those shoes certainly don’t take much filling. Merit shouldn’t be awarded on the basis of historical failure otherwise our next President would have the luxury of being able hold his hands up and shrug: “Hey, I’m at least better than the last guy, right?”

Accordingly, before getting too giddy about how we may have turned a corner in our wicket-keeping and spin fortunes, we’re better off judging Haider and Ajmal independently.

Ajmal first.

Saeed has long been unfairly branded a limited overs bowler, a blatant misconception given that he remains in all formats a classical off spinner. Relying on flight, guile and turn rather than the traditional flatter trajectory which is the stock defensive tool of the standard limited overs spinner, Ajmal’s approach seemed to be naturally suited to test cricket. But an extended run never materialized at the test level, perhaps due to the weight of wickets offered by Kaneria.

It’s a shame because Ajmal to me is more suited to test cricket than his current mentor, Saqlain Mushtaq, ever was. Saqi simply had too much in his arsenal, capable of bowling 6 different deliveries in the span of an over. Ajmal really has two: the stock off-spinner and the doosra with everything in between being a slight variation or tweak of the same. In test cricket that is all you need, really. It is more often the element of surprise that accounts for the batsman once he has been taken off his guard by four innocuously similar deliveries.

As was the case with Collingwood, who failed to read Ajmal’s doosra. By the time Collingwood fell, Ajmal was well and truly on a roll. Sure a couple were fired in, particularly when Pietersen was trying to impose himself. But for the most part, Ajmal simply transferred the skills exhibited in the limited overs format to the longer version, with an added dash of patience and consistency.

Kaneria is ultimately a wildcard in the very true spirit of Pakistani cricket. As likely to take 4 quick wickets in an innings to trigger a collapse as he is to gift a pile of runs to contribute to an innings defeat. Ajmal has always possessed the kind of control which would suggest that, even on an off day, he could at least keep one end quiet. If that can be coupled with a decent strike rate, I see no reason for Kaneria to be picked ahead of him.

Zulqarnain next.

As of this writing, Haider will play no further part in this test series. Which makes the mark he left in one match all the more impressive because for the first time in over five years it seems likely that Kamran Akmal is keeping the gloves warm for another.

Let’s not fool ourselves. Haider’s wicket-keeping was not phenomenal. He was alright, but if adequate keeping was all it took to unseat Akmal from his perch, Sarfraz Ahmed would have done so a while back. Akmal is in the squad because we have an incredibly weak batting order and, to our defensive selection committee, he provides some sort of added ballast, much like a really stupid ship captain might think that a sinking oil freighter could be kept afloat a few minutes longer by tying a helium balloon to its mast.

Zulqarnain signed off the tour by playing the best innings by a Pakistani batsman this summer (not that competition is stiff in that regard). For Haider’s long term prospects, the manner he made his runs is more significant than the actual number of runs scored. Enough has been said about the courage and tenacity displayed by Haider (and Ajmal) for the way they faced down the English attack when both could have been excused for exiting and letting the top order shoulder the blame. In a span of almost 5 hours of intense concentration and dogged determination, Haider showcased that he at least possesses the concomitant mental attributes required of a decent wicket-keeper. If the kid has it in him to battle it out in that manner in the face of certain defeat, you can only expect that he has the discipline and focus necessary to hone and improve his primary role in the way Akmal seems incapable of doing.

All Ajmal and Haider had to do last week was have an average game to keep their places ahead of Kaneria and Akmal. Both of them chose to rise above the comfort of low expectations and produced two of the most memorable performances of the summer.

Welcome to test match cricket boys.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Poem for Umar Akmal

It’s a testament to how beautiful and thrilling a talent Umar Akmal is that even a breezy yet ballsy 50 can inspire a song. I call this one:

"The man of my dreams"

Dear Umar Akmal, pardon my candour, as I express my feelings without the slightest hesitation.

I feel no shame in admitting, that the manner of your latest innings, has me questioning my sexual orientation.

You scored only 50, itself a mere trickle, compared to the landslide put up by the opposing side.

However your score isn’t important, it’s the way you carried yourself, which had me glowing with pride.

You came out to bat in a desperate situation as the wickets around you had started to fall.

The Aussies thought, that you’d follow suit, but they underestimated the gargantuan size of your balls.

You tackled the situation, with grave determination, yet also with your brand of derring-do.

While you were decisive, forthright and aggressive, our top 3 batsman didn’t have a clue.

The zenith of your awesomeness was summarized in 6 balls, in an over bowled by Peter Siddle.

He tried to stir you up with taunts and threats, but you weren’t about to be dragged into a quibble.

I bet Siddle figured, his words would leave you triggered, and you’d lose your head as his over began to take shape.

That never happened, because by now your skills you have sharpened, and his bowling you then proceeded to rape.

The first shot was nothing more, then stand and deliver, and you swung your bat like a knife.

And as the ball whistled through the outfield, a million Pakistani women must have wished you’d take them as your wife.

The next shot was more classical, a work of art in fact, a pull shot in front of square.

The Aussie fans were stunned, the commentators were speechless, as you showcased your natural flair.

So Siddle collected himself, went back to his run-up, and promised Ponting that the situation is one he could fix.

But you see its not that simple, Umar cannot simply be popped out like a pimple, and the next ball was short-arm pulled for six.

By this time even the Australian players had no choice but to applaud you for your aggressive force.

Meanwhile panic in the Siddle camp, as his embarrassed wife had filed for divorce.

The Australians were on the backfoot, Siddle was a wreck, things weren’t going according to plan.

Surely Umar must be finished by now, but no, the genius still had time to guide another boundary down to third man.

Now how does one sum up such a sensational spell of batting even though the context of the game it may not influence.

You gotta hand it to the young guy, since he is the only player to take on the Aussies with any semblance of impudence.

With a technique so unblemished, a heart so pure, no one can accuse you of gaddari.

Forget the repealed NRO, Umar Akmal will be the man to unseat Asif Zardari.

There is a rumor going around, that after you got back to the locker-room, you received a booty call from Angelina Jolie.

But even though you are not a Shia, you still respect Muharram, and refused to engage in an untoward act because it’s a time to be holy.

Though you are by no means a prude, and that is evident by how you, keep up with the latest fashion trends.

I know it’s a well kept secret in your family, that you stole all of elder brother Kamran’s girlfriends.

Shane Watson was given the task to unsettle Umar, a challenge as daunting as scaling Mount Everest.

Watson’s attempt at swing, was smothered by Akmal, who took two steps down the track to prove who is cleverest.

What other player, can claim to confuse the Aussie thinktank, as the wicketkeeper now stands up to the stumps.

I hear Umar Akmal is so pure biologically, that the toilet smells like daisies after he takes a dump.

Some might complain that the manner of Umar’s dismissal was weak, and his attacking instincts he should shelve.

I would simply, calmly, and succinctly tell such observers, that if they cant be happy they should go and fuck themselves.

You see Umar is perfect the way he is, any change would damage our courtship.

Now I must bid you all adieu, and return to my shrine, in which a life size mannequin of Umar I do worship.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

An Open Letter to Imran Farhat

(a version of this article was published yesterday in Dawn and can be found here)

Dear Imran Farhat,

So, you’re back. I’d tell you it’s good to see you again, but it’s not. You must be over the moon, what with being picked for all three formats. Why, you must think you’re a regular Kevin Pietersen, eh?

Well you’re not, Imran. I haven’t forgotten who you are. You may be a year or so older. You may be a day or so wiser. But underneath all that flash, beneath all that ICL bravado, you’re still the same guy who’s going to perpetuate our opening problem. You’re still the same batsman who miscues an ambitious pull shot. You’re the same player who will attempt a cross-batted hoick across the line of the ball for no reason other than your own ego. And you’re the same guy who helps perfect the opposing side’s slip-catching skills.

I’ll give you one thing Imran: you must be one helluva husband.

Your wife probably has only good things to say about you to her parents, because not many father-in-laws would accost the coach of the international cricket team, berating him for not selecting his precious son-in-law out of, ironically, bias. Even fewer father-in-laws would threaten the national selectors for not picking the apple of his daughter’s eye for the Pakistan team. But I suppose that’s the kind of class act your dad-in-law, Mohammad Ilyas, is, eh? And how does the PCB choose to handle an individual who allegedly threatened to “start a war” against their selection panel? Make him part of the selection panel, of course. I suppose their skewed logic is that those primed to do the most damage to the system should be placed in a position of power within that system so they have a stake in its survival. One can’t really blame the PCB for such logic since the apex of the Federal Government’s been applying that strategy as well. Wonder how that’s working out?

And what was Mr. Ilyas’s first order of business? Restore you, Imran, to your “rightful” position, of course. Most might say that something fishy’s afoot. But not me. I think its one big, freakish coincidence. It’s not like your numbers don’t justify your inclusion. A healthy average of barely above 30 in both major forms of the game make you a shoe-in for any Wisden World XI team. And your discipline? Exemplary. Some called you a crybaby for phoning up a selector in the middle of the night and demanding to know why you’d been dropped. But I figured you just wanted to say “hi”. Apparently it got so heated that you were fined for dissent. It doesn’t stop there. When you jumped ship for the ICL you took a few more shots at the PCB for assassinating your career, as if your lazy wafts outside the off-stump weren’t the true culprits.

So kudos, Imran – you can’t bat competently, but I’m sure you are one exceptional family man. I can just see the case Mohammad Ilyas made on your behalf in front of the selection committee. Sure my son-in-law has no patience outside the off-stump. But he always asks my daughter how her day went when they’re on the dinner table. Granted he will give his wicket away carelessly, thereby enhancing the pressure on our other batsmen. But apparently he volunteers to do the dishes on Tuesdays and Saturdays. And his lack of foot movement is completely offset by the fact that he lets his wife handle the remote when they’re watching television.

The fact is Imran, you’re back and there’s no use crying about it. Just show up, make your random 30 odds and scratchy half centuries, and then leave us be. Pakistan cricket is at a very important stage right now. We’ve been deprived of home games and yet we’ve managed to win a World Cup and make it to the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. We’ve got a couple of young players in Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer who have it in them to ensure a very bright future for our team. And what’s more, we as a nation want revenge this time around. Beating New Zealand was supposed to be a sure thing, like it’s always been, which is what made it all the more traumatizing to lose to them in the Champions Trophy. We don’t want to beat them. We want to maul them. I’m sure you figure yourself to be the man to do the mauling. Sadly, you’re not. You’re not even the original, unreliable Imran. Now that kid could maul. Pity about the temperament, though.

So enjoy yourself, Imran. Don’t get too comfortable and please, don’t do any lasting damage while you’re out there. When you’re in the nets, don’t drive a ball straight at Saeed Ajmal and cause him bodily harm. He’s the best thing to happen to Pakistan off-spin bowling since Saqlain Mushtaq and we’ll need him in the tests against New Zealand. Furthermore, if you’re ever in the locker room and arguing with Shahid bhai about whether youngsters like Umar Akmal respect you, don’t grab a bat and start swinging at Umar. Akmal’s a national treasure. Furthermore, you might meet two guys while you’re training with the team: Ahmed Shehzad (though he’s not selected) and Fawad Alam. Both of them have the potential to be extremely successful and productive batsmen for Pakistan. So steer clear of them and don’t offer them any pearls of wisdom such as: “always charge down the track when the ball is full and swinging”. Just point them both towards the direction of Younis Khan and you’ll have done your bit for Pakistan cricket.

You know Imran, you may very well have a good series, maybe even comparable to that glory tour against the same team a few years back. You’re even capable of a test century or two. But you’re not a long term solution. You’re just another in the line of ICL alums whom the selection committee insists on trotting out even though they forget that they were dropped for poor performance in the first place.

Enjoy your run, Imran. My regards to Ilyas sahb.


Divine Justice

This is a small point, but how frustrating must it be for a player to do all the hard work and then watch an undeserving team mate reap the awards?

Case in point: the first 10 overs in Pakistan's ODI against NZ.

Umar Gul, while not bowling terribly, was easily the weaker link of the attack. After starting well enough with a maiden, he leaked 10 runs in his second over and was smoked for 3 fours in his third, altogether leaking 23 runs in his first 3.

At the other end, Aamer was immaculate. Mixing his length and generating the odd lift from the pitch, Aamer repeatedly beat the edge, rapped the pads and grazed the stumps. He made Aaron Redmond, and McCullum to a lesser extent, look like schoolgirls.

But, as fate would have it, first blood went to Gul.

This is hardly a rare phenomenon, but it just got me wondering how frustrating it is for a bowler. Forget the idealistic "who cares, its all for the good of the team" argument. It must have really sucked for Aamer to see Gully walk away with that first wicket, eh?

I'm sure most of us can relate. Lets say you're working on a project for your firm along with a colleague and you're putting in the hard hours, producing some excellent memos / research pieces when one day, you walk out of your room to go to the bathroom at the same moment your boss walks in and congratulates your colleague for all the good work done and promising him a raise when he's actually just been sitting on his ass the entire time eating super crisps. I dont know about you, but I'd be fucking pissed. I'd question the point of my work ethic and my place in the world in general.

Ergo: Mohammad Aamer's plight. There's no solution for it. It's really just bad luck.

As I write this, the following incident ocurred which I will let the live commentary team of cricinfo relate to you.


Umar Gul to Taylor, no run, on a length around off stump, driven hard back down the track and Umar Gul tries to stop it from front of his face but ricochets it to his groin. Ouch!

Ouch indeed. That's one possible solution. Letting God restore parity. That's two wickets for Gul but one less child in the future. Actually, I'm glad this happened because its allowed me to change the title of this blog from a boring "Aamer's woes" to a more mildly catchy "Divine Justice". That settles it. Next time I'm sidelined at work by a colleague I'm diving fist first into his crotch.


And Aamer gets a wicket! Considering he didn't have to lay his testicles on the line for it, I'd say he's one-upped Gul now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

For the prudent Pakistan fan..

How a rational cricket fan would think:

With victories in the warm-up games followed by two wins from two games in the league stages, Pakistan are at their peak entering this tournament. The team needs to mantain its intensity by thoroughly beating a severely weakened and impotent Australian one-day side and go into the semi-final stages with a 100% win record which would be an added boost to their confidence.

How a Pakistani cricket fan SHOULD think:

We have victories in the warm-up games and two wins from two games in the league stages and risk going into the semis UNDEFEATED!

We're so screwed.

AS things stand, we're through to the semis so why tempt fate by being ungrateful and asking for more. Temporarily resting on one's laurels is a severely underappreciated form of leisure. Look at it this way, if the Aussies beat us, Pakistan and Australia go through to the final and India get knocked out completely. How sweet would that be?

More importantly, a loss to Australia ensures we get a defeat out of our system to satisfy the law of averages. Look, we're not capable of having a perfect track record and we need to get a loss out of the way as soon as possible before it occurs at a time when it can hurt us. Our players are at their worst when they are in a comfort zone (except Younis Khan who always tries hard and expects the most from himself no matter whether its a crunch game or dead rubber). Once we lose, we'll be startled out of our complacency and will be less likely to slack off in the semis and the final, since we ARE making the finals.

Imran KIND OF had it right when he said we play at our best when we're cornered tigers. But we need to get cornered first for those fighting instincts to come to the fore. Otherwise we're like a kind of gay tiger who stumbled onto his first kill (which was injured to begin with) and was lucky to get his second since the prey almost turned the tables on him.

If Australia beat us and India beat West Indies by a VERY substantial margin that MAY mean India go through to the semis with us. Thats the tricky part. Because then, if we get to the finals, we might meet India there and I dont think we as a nation can handle that. I know I cant. And I don't envy our chances in beating India twice in a major tournament.

Plus, the Indian cricket team is a more like us than they're given discredit for. If they're doing badly in the early stages of a tournament, they're more likely to win it under the guise of underdogs since they wont have the enormous pressure of expectations their unreasonable country puts on them.
Right now, I can console myself with the fact that we beat India. That'll be all for naught if they come back to win the tournament.

Also, lets hope we meet New Zealand in the semis. A good luck charm if there ever was one. Mark Guptill zindabad. Incidentally, if we're ever stupid enough to declare war against India, we should first first invade New Zealand and shoot a few nukes down there. Whenever we kick kiwi ass, we always go on to do greater things.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meeting Mr. Miandad

I think I've been waiting my entire life to hear something like this:

Lifelong thanks to OQ for alerting me to this.

I have a theory about this song: If you're from Pakistan and you dont like it or enjoy it, then the odds are that you're probably a bad person who is unhappy in his/her life, incredibly bitter, jaded and cynical and most probably a drag to be around.

If India does manage to beat us, I think this is the only song which could cheer me up.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hey Nadal, how’d that feel?

The ingredients are all there. Maybe it seems familiar. Want me to paint you a picture?

Utter demolition. Complete annihilation. Abject embarrassment. A great athlete undeservedly humbled by a player possibly great, but not legendary.

Ring a bell, Rafa?

No, this isn’t the 2007 French Open final. This is YOUR life, September 13, Flushing Meadows. Eat it!

That medicine’s pretty hard to swallow isn’t it? Yeah well I hope you choke on it because, as a Federer fan, you’ve been shoveling it down our throats for the last 3 straight years.

I don’t dislike Nadal. In fact, he’s quite possibly my second favorite player on the tour. It says a lot for Nadal that, by and large, he doesn’t really inspire hatred in the fans of his chief rival. Think about it: in most sporting rivalries you’re duty-bound to hate the other guy. If you were an Agassi fan, you despised Sampras. If Messi floats your boat, Cristiano probably sinks it. If you’re an Alonso-phile, then you’re most probably anti-Hamilton. If you think Shawn Michaels is the greatest thing in pro wrestling, then you would entertain the notion that Bret Hart is the worst thing to happen to it (okay, I lost you with that last one).

But, as endearing as he is, one thing Federer fans can’t forgive Nadal for is how ordinary he makes an undisputed legend like Roger look. He reduced him to tears at the Australian. He took his Wimbledon title in the greatest sports match ever played. His looping, spin-infested forehand has given people the illusion that Federer’s backhand is actually “weak”. And then there was Roland Garros ’07.

Man. Roland Garros 2007. A lot of us just wish that day could forever be blotted from our memory. I hate getting into it.

But it’s a day like today which makes me want to revisit it.

Nadal was completely dominated and outplayed by Del Potro today as Federer was by Nadal two years ago. I don’t want to use the word outclassed, because I think Nadal may be “great”-er than Del Potro could ever be. But you can see it in Nadal’s face today. He’s irritable, tetchy, self-reproachful, and just altogether negative. You don’t see it very often. If at all. I saw flashes of it the day when Tsonga spanked him in the Australian semis. But Nadal is mostly renowned to keep his frustrations in check. Something Federer prides himself on (during matches) but failed to do at Roland Garros. Everyone came down on him for that. They used it as some sort of psychological marker of his athletic inadequacy.

The fact that Federer has a poor head-to-head record against Nadal is the ONLY thing anti-Feds have left to use against him after Federer’s phenomenal 2009 summer. The fact that he couldn’t unlock Nadal’s game seemed equivalent to the holy grail.

Which is why I’m glad that Nadal is finally being punished for his style of play. Nadal’s topsin-heavy forehands probably gives Federer nightmares. Armed with it, Nadal relentlessly assaults Federer’s backhand, forcing him to play an extremely uncomfortable shot with the ball above shoulder height. Unfortunately for Nadal, that height sits up just about perfectly for Del Potro to lace with his 6 foot 7 forehand.


See that’s why I’ve never given a damn about assholes who go around saying that Federer can’t be considered great due to Nadal’s dominance against him. Look, dicks. Federer has beaten everyone under the sun and has more talent in his well manicured finger than Nadal has in his entire manufactured body. But it’s just a helluva coincidence that Nadal’s game has been built PERFECTLY to counter Federer’s. The kind of loop and spin Nadal gets from his left handed forehand is probably God’s most perfect weapon against Federer. And, I really think Roger was on track to conquering it soon, following his performance at Madrid and his keenness with the drop shot and backhand slice. But, as things stood, it seemed like the heavens were conspiring against Federer when Rafa’s game was being hewn.

And it’s that VERY game which has come back to haunt Nadal today and bite him in the ass.

I don’t know how you interpret 6-2 6-2 6-2 as any thing other than a complete humiliation. Nadal just did NOT know what was going on. At least Tsonga used to come to the net and play those audacious drop shots. But Del Potro just barged into Nadal’s house, the baseline, and dictated the game from there. In many ways, he out-Nadaled Nadal.

So if anybody thought Roger didn’t deserve the “greatest of all time” title following Roland Garros 2 years ago, then I’m sorry but Nadal just lost his right to that label after today’s massacre. It’s a day Nadal will never forget. Maybe he’ll be the better for it, as Roger definitely was. But then Roger is a legend. And Nadal is simply “great”.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Federer lays down biological marker for Nadal

So that’s 60 singles titles. 15 grandslams. 21 straight semi-finals. A career grandslam.

Oh yeah – and twins on the first go.

Beat that Nadal.
Beat that and you’ll go down as the best male tennis player of all time. And you only get to capitalize the “male” part if you can accomplish that last feast.

In keeping with his phenomenal year, Federer has done it again by producing twins out of GoodYear blimp Mirka. This is totally a testament to Federer’s virility rather than receptiveness of Mirka’s uterus because, if the rumors are true, Mirka’s been sperm-blocking the Great Fed.

Apparently the couple had been trying to conceive for a while but something about Mirka’s biology just expelled all of Federer’s seed. It wasn’t Roger’s fault. He was producing some brilliant sperm cells. Probably the best of his life. He probably could have impregnated any woman on the planet. But Mirka’s cervix refused to budge. Her internal organs deflected whatever Federer tossed their way. One night, after half an hour of love making, Federer broke down in tears. Mirka’s genitalia still looked fresh and ready to take more of whatever Federer had left to throw at it. But he had had enough. What was the point? God had perfectly constructed Mirka’s reproductive organs to reject anything Federer might send their way. This may have been the same night he nicknamed her vulva “Rafa”.

Then, one day, Mirka suffered a freak horse-riding accident. And suddenly, a gateway opened for Roger.

Roger is not one to wait for his opponent to recover from a setback so he dived right in. He may very well have mounted Mirka right there on the riding track where she lay bruised and bloodied from her fall. Wherever it was, Federer would give no quarter. Suddenly, his game started to click. Reverse missionary, doggystyle, cowgirl, piledriver. Tantric. Kamasutra. Greco-Roman. He pulled out ALL the sexual stops.

There was no holding him back. Gavin Rossdale of Bush, in attendance at the time, claims that at one point Mirka lowered her abdomen and clenched down on her insides, robbing Federer of the freedom to maneuver his famously fertile seed. Federer responded with the deftest of touches, slowing the pace down and withdrawing just a bit, tempting Mirka to arch her back, and then he drilled in the winner past the g-spot breaking open the gates of the cervix once again. By now it was all Roger. In another bang-defining moment, during the reverse cowgirl, Mirka tried to dominate the rhythm by increasing her own pace. The Swiss Maestro simply used this strategy against her – absorbing all her heavy pumping like a sponge he waited for a break in her momentum. When her persistence faltered for a millisecond, he seized the opportunity with a swift forward motion, gently dropping her inches along the bed post and gliding on to his haunches. Before Mirka realized what had happened, Federer had the night back under his control with the doggystyle. She never recovered from that one.

The fruits of his labour are there for all to see. Two beautiful baby girls. Who are already being tipped for tennis stardom, might I add.

Commented Federer:
“Yeah I just don’t know, you know. It’s like, unbelievable. I’ve always seen these great men produce twins and I always dreamed that I’d be able to be right up there, you know. A lot of people doubted me, said I was finished, I was shooting blanks. But I never let it get to me. It’s all about moving forward, you know. Breaking new ground.”

On the extra pressure this added on Nadal:
“It’s gonna be tough on him, that’s for sure. But no, Nadal is a good looking guy and the power of his forward thrust is unbelievable, you know. I’m just glad I got to impregnate Mirka before he did.”

Responded Nadal:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Enter: Imran Nazir

I don’t mind Nasir Jamshed, I really don’t. While I don’t see in him the promise I see in Umar Akmal, the kid has done enough to warrant a chance. And since he didn’t abandon his country for some rebel league in India, I suppose the establishment would place him higher in the pecking order than the IPL prodigals. Also, he didn’t exit the team due to a lack of form. He was actually making runs in the last couple of matches and then got injured.

So, fair enough. He gets to make his case before the other guy. Weak dismissal first match? Chalk it down to nerves. It’s only fair to give him a second chance.

But enough is enough. He’s had his shot, and is only 19 so he’ll get many more if he works hard. But it’s time for him to make way because he is keeping another guy out of the team. And not just any guy.

For the good of all mankind, Imran Nazir needs to play in the fourth ODI.

Look, we’ve all but lost this ODI series. Sure, there is every chance we’ll win this match but Nasir added next to zero to the innings. If we win, replacing one wild card opener for another really doesn’t make a difference. We would still have a winning combination, albeit with a better fielder. And if we lose? Well then the case for Nazir’s inclusion is watertight. The last 2 matches become dead rubbers and we should test him out looking ahead to the Champions Trophy. Imran Nazir may very well score a duck and a 1 in both matches. But I fail to see the relative gain in leaving him out in favour of Yousuf, Misbah or Jamshed.

Also, I think some people tend to undervalue the psychological importance of electric fielding. How often is it that you’re watching a fielding side just go through the motions – shoulders drooping because nothing’s going their way? A brilliant catch, a spectacular save or an unexpectedly precise run-out can turn all that around. It lifts the team up. It rouses them from their indifference. Nazir brings that to the team. I’m not saying he does that on a daily basis. But at least that’s something he is capable of doing. Misbah, Salman and Nasir are NOT capable of that.

Alright, that’s that for the reasonable arguments. Now to appeal to your heart.

Imran Nazir IS Pakistan cricket.

His unpredictability. His flair. His vulnerability to rushes of emotion. His brashness. Match-winning booms followed by sharp declines. Nazir is Afridi by another name (and ethnicity). He's the Beast and I'd insist on calling him that if a friend of mine hadnt already made that nickname all her own.

Nazir is one of the sweetest hitters of the cricket ball in our nation and you’re a fucking idiot if you think Afridi can still bludgeon the way he used to. You think the Yuvrajs and Gayles were picked because of their technique? No, they were picked because selectors understood that, more often than not, you’re going to get a flat pitch so why not opt for players who can make maximum use of that. They were picked for their aggression. A short yet belligerent innings can knock the wind out of the sails of the opposition or rob their best bowler of some of his confidence.

Lets face is – technique is pointless for Pakistani cricketers. We need to fact facts: the players with the best techniques (Younis, Yousuf) are as capable of playing the moving ball as the players with mediocre ones (Akmal, Alam). Not that Younis or Yousuf’s technique is textbook. We have never won matches but out-techniqueing the other batting side. We’ve done it by inspiring ourselves to just outplay the opposition.

And Nazir is inspirational. That’s what a team like Pakistan needs. We don’t need a Khurram Manzoor or a Salman Butt blocking their way to a partnership of 4 runs per over. We’ve always had the simmering talent to be whatever we want to be. We just need certain players to ignite that talent. Check out Akmals innings today. Maybe it’s the trigger that’ll set off Umar Akmal’s talent later in the innings. Fawad Alam’s test century? He was boosted by the psychological lift given by Kaneria and Ajmal’s bowling. And unlike the Maliks, Misbahs and Yousufs, Imran has not been psychologically scarred by Kulusakera and Thushara. The older guys have no confidence against the Lankan bowlers. Nazir will either cream them all over the park, or get out too soon for him to watch the ball beat his outside edge delivery afer delivery, slowly creating self doubt in his mind.

So for the sake of all that is good and holy: Imran Nazir needs to be given a chance to be what he is.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deep quotes

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine forwarded me a short essay/answer he had written in response to a question posed in the business school application for Lahore University of Management and Sciences (LUMS).

Suffice to say, I could suggest no improvements to his masterpiece below:

Why do you want a MBA/Executive MBA degree from LUMS? How will you benefit from it? (maximum 4000 characters)

My motivation for joining LUMS stems from an inherent belief that there are no simple answers in real life. There is never a black or white answer, atleast for all the crucial questions. For those lucky enough to have it figured out, life must seem rather pale. But it is not for me to judge them. I live amongst non-linear roads, ones which wind back on themselves and where the forks in the road do not come with right way or wrong way signs. The only markers are your own judgments.

It is thus imperative to allow your instincts to be honed to meet such challenges. Our value systems and social constructs provide only a blurry view of which choices are better and which not. It is however a characteristic of every society to condition us in a manner that we become compatible with the society’s norms.

Isn't it absolute genius?!

You have to read it thrice to really be able to capture its full beauty. The first time you read it you sort of get sucked into believing its normal since the language isn't particularly jarring in the first sentence. Neither is the central theme particularly ludicrous - basically the guy just wants to be a flexible thinker but is expressing that in the stupidest way possible. Half way into the first paragraph, however, you feel your "what the FUCK is going on" sensation starting to kick in - probably around the time where the writer announces that his residence is third house down the non-linear road. So then you collect your thoughts and read it again, now prepared to appreciate the bullshit for what it really is. I would then urge you to read it a third time because there are some brilliant contradictions in there. Like, the "non-linear roads which wind back on themselves". He's basically telling the admissions panel that he likes going around in circles.

Just great stuff.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lady and the Tramp

Nothing says "I love you" like your lady paying for your defense counsel.

For all the bad that's happened to Mohammad Asif over the last couple of years, he can at least take solace in the fact that he's found true love in the beautiful (or at LEAST fairly do-able) Veena Malik. This is one lady who knows that the way to a man's heart is his legal costs. The following is an excerpt from an article in the News announcing their nuptials:

Asif gave Veena a car as a gift on her birthday, while Veena bore Asif’s expenses including the fee of the lawyers he had hired in connection with cases relating to his cricketing career.

Now thats class. I wish sometimes the chicks im involved with would quit buying me colognes or clothes and just pay for my medical or foot my car insurance already. I wonder how Asif's mom evaluated the rishta? Ok, can she get along with the family? Check. Can she cook? Check. Can she manage the house servants? Check. Can she field questions from the anti-doping commission and liaise regularly with the lawyers defending Asif against charges of taking performance enhancing drugs which may cripple his career? Check.

Honestly though, I'm glad this happened. As some of you may know, Asif is back in the reckoning for a place in the Champions Trophy and I for one will consider Veena a breath of fresh air when it comes to eye candy in the player's family enclosures. After years of specimens like these:

we'll finally be treated to quality like this:

And why the hell not, I say? We Pakistani cricket fans are an oppressed lot. We usually have to wait for half a decade for the team to do anything of note, so why cant we spend the time in between oggling our heroes wives? Or would you rather watch another exhilirating Khurram Manzoor innings or a tense Danish Kaneria spell of bowling? Seriously, if anyone has a right to gratuitous relief, its us. I mean, sometimes I've caught myself checking out Chacha Cricket when times have been tough on the field (and for me personally).

So all hail this new pairing. May it bring good fortune to Pakistan cricket and may the prospect of boning his wife appear more appealing to Asif than snorting a line of cocaine.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh Hina, How i love thee

I'd like to begin with a quote from renowned philosopher, George Edward Moore:

"Other men said they have seen angels, But I have seen thee, And thou art enough."

Well said, George, well said. I saw an angel today, and her name is Hina Rabbani Khar.

She's the State Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs and with a seductive title like that, you can be sure that she had me at "State". This overachieving young lady puts the "fine" in "finance" and is being marketed by the PPP as a younger, smarter, non-psychotic Sarah Palin. Khar is renowned for her outside-the-box, maverick approach, which is on ample display in the picture below where she chose to quench her thirst with a bottle of Aquafina rather than stale Nestle or conventional tea:

Please forgive me for the effusive exhibition of my feelings, but you must understand, I am in the initial throes of infatuation. I cant hide what I feel, and what I feel is a deep longing for Hina.

You see, after Sherry Rehman left the public eye, I always felt there was a gaping hole in the "hot women in power" category. Fahmida Mirza is a poor man's milf. Fatima Bhutto's hot, i suppose, but she's not in power so she fails one of the two essential prerequisites for being a turn-on in this category. Kashmala Tariq is way above Fatima in the hotness category, but she has this stuck-up, high maintenance aura about her. With Hina, you get the wholesome, girl-next-door-who-owns-the-neighborhood vibe.

But I wasnt drawn to Hina by her looks only. She's quite a sharp cookie. Did you know she was the first woman to present a budget speech to the national assembly (check out the cute picture of her in that last link)? Did you also know that some organisation called the World Economic Forum put her on its list of young global leaders? Well neither did I until I saw her wikipedia page. I couldnt care less if its true or not. Im sure she's decently intelligent to get this far in life, if not cunning as a fox.

The point is, she's cute. She's in power. She could probably get me killed. So I can finally move on from Sherry Rehman.


I have just been alerted by a friend, coincidentally another Hina, that Hina Khar is married, though I'm awaiting confirmation on whether it's a happy marriage. Suffice to say that I'm incredibly upset with both Hinas at the moment.