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Saj
15th December 2005, 01:47
-How'd you come up with your name?
Iíve only ever used it for PP. I could come up with some half-baked tale about how it has been my life-long ambition to scale the dizzying heights of the Karakoram peaks, but it really was just a two minute google search prior to signing up for PP. Subsequent google searches revealed the meaning to be Ďshining wallí, if that is of any significance. So, yes, it is a veiled reference to Rahul Dravid and his lozenge.


-Why Gasherbrum and not K2?
Too boring I suppose. Zebra vs Horse, eh zushy?


-Why are you called Gasherbrum instead of Nanga Parbat? Explain please.
Nanga Parbat sounds a little naughty, donít you think? Plus I have a full head of hair which seems to be graying by the week.


-Why are you named after a peak ? [ahemm]
Hazrat, jab itnay paan khaingay tou peak tou baneygi naa?


-I am told ( by unknown sources whose first name begins with a U and ends with r) that you are a quite kinda chap ? Is that true ?

Fairly true. Call it a character flaw but it does take me a little while to hit my comfort zone. Once Iím there however, people often wish they could bring the quiet chap back.


-Tell us a bit about yourselfÖ.name, age, hobbies etc..
Seedha saadha banda hoon, not much flashy about me. Iím 27 and married for over a couple of years now. Part of a fairly large family, weíre four brothers (what are the odds?). Cricket obviously ranks as the number one pastime, but I do get in a few games of squash every week. My knees seem to suggest I could do with losing a few pounds, but I usually have better things to do with my time than hitting the gym, such as being a bum between the hours of 5PM to 9AM. Youíll find out a little more further on in this interview.


-Whats better Shahid Afridi smashing a ball out of the stadium or a Shoaib Akhtar inswinging yorker uprooting middle stump?
Difficult choice, but Iíd have to go with the yorker on this one. Both are extremely entertaining ofcourse, but there has been an abundant supply of Afridiís sixes lately which makes an Akhtar yorker an even more precious commodity. Also, those two Akhtar yorkers to Dravid and Tendulkar all those years ago arenít easily forgotten.


-What do you like most about Pakpassion?
The interesting mix of characters and opinions, insightful discussions, inside scoops on upcoming players etc. Just a great place to be if you like your cricket.


- How'd you find out about PP?
Donít remember exactly but I think it was a google search for something cricket related that brought me to the old Sportsnetwork board. Took me a while to sign-on after that but Iím glad I did.

-Your fav. bolwer, batsmen and all-rounder?
Waqar Younis, and Imran Khan for bowler and all-rounder. Favourite batsman is a difficult choice but I think Iíll have to go with Miandad.


-What's the worst thing about pakistani cricket?
Often our inability to think through tough situations. Our youngsters often respond to pressure by throwing their bat around, hitting a few boundaries and getting the applause of those watching, then eventually throwing their wicket away. Though it does work from time to time, Iíd rather our young players toughen up and show a little more maturity in their approach to the game. This aspect has improved over the last year or so.
Also, I think some of our fans can be very harsh with their criticism. A little more respect for the players who have worked really hard to be where they are wouldnít be a bad thing.


-Gasher, you used to live in Kuwait? Did you play for a cricket club, like
me?? :-)
Played school cricket there as we (my brothers and I) were still fairly young for club cricket and there werenít many clubs available when we left for Canada in Ď94. Imran Khan came to watch one of our school games though as part of a fundraising trip to Kuwait. Was quite special as there were close to a thousand people at the ground (Ahmadi, if youíve ever played there Easa) trying to catch a glimpse of Mr Khan. Knew a few players at Unity who wanted us to join but we left before that happened.


-Do you agree that the poster Marooned is the greatest cricketing critic on the planet?
Iíll give you a Marooned type answer to this one Ė No. Now get dancing.


-Your all time favourite Pak test match ?
Weíve had a few good ones lately, havenít we? Iíd have to go with the Chennai test in í99 where we won by 12 runs just when it looked like Tendulkar had taken the game away from us after a brilliant Afridi hundred. Hereís the link:
http://usa.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/...-01FEB1999.html


-Your all time favourite Pak ODI match ?
World Cup semi-final vs New Zealand in 1992. What an emotional roller-coaster that was!


-Wasim or Waqar and why ?
The Burewala Bomber for me, please. Taking nothing away from Wasimís genius ofcourse, but Waqarís brilliance was what got me hooked to cricket. It was way back in í90 I believe when my aunt took us to my first ever live cricket match at the National Stadium for an ODI against the mighty West Indies. It was absolute madness. The West Indies were well on their way to victory when Waqar was given the ball at the death. A huge roar would accompany Waqarís run-up to the crease and it seemed like a wicket would fall with each ball. When a wicket did fall, the packed NSK would simply explode. As you can imagine, that was an overwhelming experience for an 11 year-old on his summer vacation from Kuwait. Waqar destroyed the West Indies with his trademark inswinging yorkers that day, but he also completely changed the way I looked at cricket from then on. I guess my opinion has been slightly biased ever since. Link for the game:
http://usa.cricinfo.com/link_to_dat..._09NOV1990.html


-Your favourite cricket stadium and why ?
National Stadium Karachi for the memories (see above) and Pakistanís impressive test record there. Though there are a couple of picturesque grounds in New Zealand (Wellington, Queenstown) that must be a treat for the players.


-Gasher...please explain clearly and in your own words the meaning of the universe.
This question is best answered by the following recommendation that should serve you well, z10:
ďTambakoo noshi (and other various forms of noshis) sehat kay liye muzir hai.Ē - Wizarat-e-Sehat


-If you were a bar of soap, whose hands would you want to be in the shower:
Shahid Afridi or Younis Khan?
Haha! Since not much remains intact after being gripped by Afridi, I guess the answer is fairly obvious, though Iím not sure either of the two would appreciate my presence much. As we should have learnt by now, never come between a Pathan and his bar of soap.


-Who do you think is the most entertaining cricketer in the world right now, not including Shahid afridi?
Quite a few really. I love watching Gayle and Sehwag in full flow. Flintoff or Symonds wouldnít be far behind either in terms of sheer entertainment, though personally I donít think anything beats a well-timed push off the back foot for four.


-Your thoughts on the cricket coach and his role. Is it at all different in Pakistan cricket?
The cricket coach is a facilitator really. At the junior level the coach has a responsibility to teach the players proper technique, yet account for the fact that many players have done very well without ever having read the textbook. At the international level where players should have developed basic skills needed to succeed, the coach needs to devise an overall strategy, ask for the appropriate players from the selectors, and make sure those players are ready to deliver their best when the captain leads them out on to the field. If an individual player needs particular attention with a weakness then the coach must step in and provide the tools needed to overcome the issue.
The role of the international coach is slightly different in Pakistan because our players often havenít developed enough at the first class level. As we saw in the tour to Australia, players have to be taught how to play on pitches such as Perth. In my opinion the biggest casualty from our first class structure is temperament. Those rating our young players often look at who can hit the ball furthest rather than who can stay at the wicket longest. The Pakistan coach also needs to work just a little harder to get the team playing as one. Weíve had our fair share of problems when players have formed their own little groups within the team.
One of the major issues that will come up I feel is how much power the coach should have. Does the coach select his team or is that entirely up to the selectors? In a good working relationship, everyone will have a say. The coach will take the selectors into confidence regarding strategy and then ask for players that fit. If the selectors donít agree with this strategy and conflict arises, the coach may simply point his finger at the selectors if things donít go as planned.

-Since when have you been following cricket and what sparked your interest
in it. Did you play at club level etc?
Iíve been following cricket seriously from the late 80s/early 90s. Was too young to remember much before that, but I do recall being fairly disappointed when we lost in the semis of the í87 world cup. I resent the Ďdidí part of the club level question a bit, as I still play club cricket when I get a chance, though I havenít had much of a chance over the last couple of years.


- Any particular player(batting and bowling) in recent pakistan history (90 onwards) who you think was wasted by the administration (poor guidance or
otherwise) .
Basit Ali I think wasted himself more than anything. Same goes for Imran Nazir. Mohd Wasim couldíve been a good player with the right guidance, though his domestic record was never anything special. I suppose Mohd. Zahidís case is well documented so Iíd pick him as a wasted bowler. I hope Hasan and Bazid donít end up on a list like this some years later.


- What qualities do you look for in a player (batsman or bowling) For the batsman - which factor do you take into account to rate him higher over
others? is it technique, grace under pressure or flamboyance? Same goes for bowling.
Batsman Ė there has to be a fair degree of natural talent and confidence to play shots freely, but if that isnít complimented with the ability to decide when playing shots is prudent and when it is not, then the talent goes to waste. Batsmen who are determined to succeed and put up a fight when the chips are down are the type Iíd like to have in my team.
Bowler Ė someone who will actually study what the batsman in front of him is trying to do. Look for a weakness and exploit it, rather than continually throwing the ball in the same place because the coach described it as a good length in the nets.


-Rate the following in order (or your top 4 choices) : Steve , Mark, Marytn, Inzi, Tendu, (disclaimer: I have stolen some of the qs)
Steve, Inzi, Tendu, Martyn, Mark. Inzi is showing a lot of what Steve was renowned for as of late, and he may well end up higher on my list when all is said and done. Steve was definitely a better captain.


-About yourself. Did you live in Karachi (or was it Kuwait)? How often to do get to go back...what are the sort of things that you miss?
Born in Karachi, grew up in Kuwait, moved back to Karachi during the first Gulf War, lived there for close to 3 years, moved back to Kuwait for a couple of years, moved to Canada after that and now awaiting my next move. There was a year in the UAE thrown in for good measure.
I used to go back every year but havenít been for the last couple of years. I should be going back this summer if things go as planned. Just miss being home, I guess. The people, the food, the sense of belonging etc.


- Things are looking up for the Pakistan test team. What (tour/team) do you see as the real challenge over the next two years? What areas do you feel
are now most in need of improvement? And how far can this team go?
I thought this England tour would be quite a challenge and we came out of it very well. The return tour should be a lot more interesting as well for the development of our younger players. The level of application our batsmen exhibit is the area that needs to be addressed continually. This series as well as the Indian tour earlier this year showed all of us what our batsmen can achieve if they set their minds to the task. We have to be able to show the same grit and determination on seaming tracks abroad. If we manage to put enough runs on the board, I feel our bowling attack, with a few minor alterations, can test even the best batting lineups.


-What changes would you like implemented in Pak domestic structure?
I think the PCB is doing a good job of addressing the problems with our domestic structure. Better pay for the players, upgrades for coaches and umpires, preparing lively tracks that should test the batsmen, focus on a regional structure with teams being sponsored by the private sector etc. They still need to work on making world class facilities available to players in all the major test centers. I donít understand the concept of fresh trials every year for the regional teams though. Players should be identified well in advance and hopefuls should have to work through a farm system before making it to the top grade. With any luck, as the structure becomes more stable, weíll see a better developmental system in place.


-You've seen bits of Bazid/Raza and lots of Hameed. If you had to pick one for the team who would it be (of course why)?
Bazid ahead of Hameed and Raza. I feel he has more structure with his batting and doesnít get flustered easily. The other two have shown a tendency to throw the bat around to release the pressure, which will only work when conditions favour batting. The other two are extremely talented as well and itís a shame to see such talent go to waste.


-What is your most prized possession?
My sanity as it is fading fast. The CA Plus would come in a close second.


- Moving to Pakistan is Musharraf right for us? If not where does the solution lie? If we hold elections Nawaz and Bhutto return. Is that
acceptable? Is Pakistan prepared for democracy? If not how long can Musharraf last? What then?
Iím a little disappointed with Musharraf but heís still streets ahead of the King and Queen. If Nawaz and Bhutto are the only options come election time, Iíd rather there were no elections at all. We need something along the lines of Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) to get things going. Musharraf may have had the right intentions, but he didnít have enough courage to reform our political/judicial system. The usual suspects are still the power brokers in Pakistan and until that changes, our development will remain ********. Musharraf does deserve some credit though for putting us on the right path under some very difficult circumstances, both internal and external.


-What is the biggest challenge Pakistan (the country) faces today? How do we deal with it? And how confident are you of a bright future for Pakistan?
An independent judiciary/police force and the provision of both basic and higher levels of education are the two biggest problems in my opinion. Thereís no sense of justice so those committing wrongs need not fear anything but their conscience. Also, the lack of an educated workforce across the country limits our potential for technological advancement to a few select cities.
As a society we need to be a little less selfish and willing to sacrifice for the sake of others. Regarding a bright future, I donít see why not if you look at the number of gifted individuals on PP alone. We need something that will create a further sense of unity. Maybe the tragic earthquake can be the catalyst that provides the much needed jolt?


-Do you have a really annoying brummie accent like that gimp in the halifax adverts?
Yes I do, but only on Sundays after 8PM, when the weekend is almost over.


-Your favorite posters on PP (or ones that you find most interesting)?
Thereís a long list of posters that I can include here but Iím going to limit my choice to just one as this interview is long enough already. That would be ggm. A whole slew of others provide their own bits of brilliance to PP which is what makes it such an interesting place.


-Would you rather hit the winning runs or take the winning wicket?
Hit the winning runs, because at that point it is you against eleven. A different feeling when you shake the bowlerís hand after smacking him to win the game.


-Why do you love Ramiz Raja so much?
Whatís not to love about Ramiz? Well-educated, charismatic, eloquent, cultured, diplomatic, generous, a brilliant host and on his day could hit the ball from outside off to anywhere on the leg-side (in the air or along the ground). Did I tell you how he won us the world cup? Two centuries in that tournament alone, the same number he managed in his entire test career.


-Your thoughts on cricket in toronto and waterloo??
With the immigrant population exploding in Toronto, the number of people playing cricket in the area keeps growing. Cricket is a lot more competitive in Toronto, but Waterloo for such a small town is lucky to have some nice cricket grounds (at least three the last time I counted).


-Would you describe yourself as a 'loyal' Pak fan?
If supporting the team and the players through good times and bad is the criteria to judge loyalty, then yes, I be loyal.

-Bob Woolmer - will you turn on him if we don't perform to our potential v India?
Not really, no. Heís done a good job so far and India should be considered just another series. I donít think the India series will be as big a test for us as some others down the road. Itíll be a tough series, yes, but the tracks will still be good for batting and so we should do relatively well. There is always another team trying their best as well, so I wouldnít take the sword out against Woolmer if we fail. The coach is just one piece of the puzzle and in the end on-field performances by individuals are not under his control. Winning and losing are all part of the game. As long as the team shows signs of further development Iíll be satisfied, though you might not witness any dancing threads if we lose. Itíll be interesting to see if the team continues to put up a strong fight and turns winning into a habit.


-Would you say www.pakpassion.net has increased your knowledge about Pak cricket since you joined?
Oh yes, for sure. There are many knowledgeable posters on PP that have provided insight on past and future stars. Iíd like to see more threads on technique/tips etc. so that we can benefit from all the cricketing experience available on PP. People like ggm and FP are brilliant in this regard.


- Can Pak win the World Cup again in your lifetime?
I donít see why not. We have a good ODI squad and should be one of the favourites for 2007. The wickets around the world are much flatter for ODIs and we have the strokemakers to post decent totals and the variety in bowling to defend such totals. In all honesty though, Iíd like to see Pakistan as the best test team in the world for a few years in a row. Thatíll be some achievement for our side.


- Should 'armchair critics' be allowed to change their stance on particular players (eg: slag a player off for months, then praise them when they prove
them wrong - eg Inzi , YK , BW , MoYo and so on?) Should PPers have the right to 'lynch' such posters?
Our fans often donít show enough respect to those trying their best out there for our team. We have a tendency to overreact both in victory as well as defeat. Thereís nothing wrong with being an armchair critic as long as it is accompanied by a level of decency in the criticism. Lynching might be a little harsh, but a flaming hot cattle prod applied to the right areas should do the trick.


-Your thoughts on new look/independent PP?
A lot of effort has obviously been put in by the mod team and we should all appreciate that. Looks a lot sharper and is much easier to navigate.


-Who do you spend more time with:- Your Wife or posting on PP
The wife gets all the time when Iím home. I post on PP usually during working hours. The bank doesnít pay me for doing nothing, you know.


-Does your wife mind the amount of time spent on pp or is she holding a balen right now
She would probably mind if I was on PP for hours during the evenings, but that doesnít happen you see. Tip #1 for a successful married life Ė avoid conflict.


-Are you strong willed or a sensitive person or a wuss
Iíd describe myself as strong willed but sensitive to other peopleís concerns.


-If you were transported to Woolmer's body (God Forbid) what would you do and what would your coaching style be and starting 11 ?
I feel Woolmer is a very good coach but I think he can work a little bit on his talent identification abilities.


-Best moment of pakistani cricket and worst ?
Worst was probably the 2003 World Cup and the Australian drubbing in Sharjah. The best would include World Cup 1992, the subsequent test series in England the same year as well as the Indian series in í99.

-Your thoughts on Inzamamam as captain ? Is he a very good decisive and tactful captain or surrounded by good players ?
Inziís captaincy skills will always be limited to leading the team from the front as a batsman. He is not the most tactful of captains but heís doing a decent job as of late. He does command a lot of respect from his charges and now that Akhtar is on the boat, the team is functioning as a cohesive unit. Heíll always be one whoíll miss a few tricks here and there, but if the burden of captaincy brings out arguably the best batsman Pakistan has ever had, then who am I to argue?


-If there is one thing you can't do without, what would it be?
Cheese.


-Would you ever leave Canada & move back to Pakistan ?
In a heartbeat if the circumstances were right. Nothing wrong with Canada though.


-What do women really want ? (Since your'e a man of experience being
married)
Malleability so they can mould you as they wish.


-Who would you choose to play you in a movie?
Mithun Chakraborthy. I want to be able to laugh at myself as well.


-If you had to choose between love and money what would be your choice?
Probably love. Money comes and goes (though right now it only goes for me).


-If given a chance to be a cricket player (current or former), who would you choose to be? why?
Imran Khan. Why? Simple answer Ė Reshphect!


-Would you say, you're the master of your domain ;)
Only when Iím away from my domain.


-What has helped you keep a rational perspective throughout whatever life you have lived?
The underlying assumption here would be that I have kept a rational perspective. I suppose it would be the willingness to accept different viewpoints even though I may not agree with them as well as being able to admit I may not always be right.


-What do you despise about yourself and still accept it?
Lack of ambition/drive, procrastination and maybe being settling with being in a comfort zone. The last part must change though so I guess its something I despise and will not accept for much longer, once I get to it of course.


-Did you get married cause you knew you couldn't get a better person (being what you are) or did you know that she was the one?
A bit of both, maybe? She was the one in my opinion, but I probably couldnít have done any better, even with my rugged good looks, bling-bling and personality.


-How would you rate your life in karachi?
Karachi was a tough time in my life to begin with. Weíd lost pretty much everything to the war and I wasnít sure Iíd ever see the friends I had grown up with in Kuwait again. Once things settled down a bit, Karachi was probably the best time Iíve ever had. A very memorable coming of age.