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Saj
14th February 2006, 23:32
1) Define the term bits and pieces cricketer?

To me a bits and pieces cricketer is a player who can bat and bowl but neither discipline alone is good enough for that player to hold down a place in the side. In additions the combined out put of the two disciplines are also not usually good enough to merit a place in the side.

You look at all rounder such as Andrew Flintoff. To me his bowling alone would merit a place in England side alone. Then there is someone like Abdul Razzaq in Pakistanís test side whom I believe neither there bowling or batting alone would gain him selection alone into the side due to lack of consistency of quality performance.


-Why in the past were you so harsh on the recent man of the series?
Against India (YK)?

Younis khan has always has shown talent from the very first time he played for Pakistan. The problem for Younis khan in his early career was he was showed the odd flash of brilliance but to often it was surrounded by a lot of poor performances. Technically he was found out early on in test matches in the West Indies against two good bowlers in Ambrose and Walsh) and at that time I couldnít see his career lasting much longer if he was going to play good bowlers on lively tracks like he did. The way he played spin in the early part of his career didnít fill me with to much confidence either most of the time Younis would just employ the sweep to combat the spinners and rarely play through the ďVĒ. To me that is a sign that a player isnít picking spin to well. One reason I wasnít a big Younis khan was simple: - here was a talent cricket throwing away it all away with lack of application and visible improvement from game to game. Finally thou in the last 15-18 months Younis has grown in stature and has started to shown immense improvement in application, technic and output of results (finally realizing his true potential). Younis in last 15-18 months has scored runs in all conditions, against good bowlers consistently and has also showed greater confidence in handling high pressure situations. This is something I believe he should have been doing a lot earlier in his career.

-What were your comments about YK only being in the team because Bob
"Liked" him? Do you still believe that YK doesnít deserve a place in the team?


When Younis was recalled to the test side for home series against Sri Lanka to me he had shown no form at all either in ODIS or domestically to earn a recall into the squad. Whilst other players were busting a gut to earn a place inside Younis seem to just be picked without backing. Yes he has justified his selection in tests by scorings runs. (I was wrong with YK in tests). However, as a person I will always state what I believe at a given point in time regardless if people want to point it out to me 12 months down the line. At the time of initial recall I couldnít see why Younis was given back by coach, skipper, selectors for a place back in the side.
Right now Younis full deserves his place in the test team.

Now why have I said ďBob likes YKĒ? I made this comment because I believe Younis doesnít deserve a place in the Current Pakistan ODI team. Only reasons I believe he is there is because he is a senior player, vice captain and the coach has backing for him. Younis has played 124 ODIS for the team and is return is a pretty poor one. Apart from New Zealand and Sri Lanka, most of Younis best performances have come against minnows. Just like in his early test career he is wasting away his talent.

Under Bob Woolmer He has been given a fair spate of games and the return has been a paltry average in the mid 20s which is boosted by big scores against minnows. As Far as ODIS go I wouldnít select Younis as he has shown no justification with the bat for his selection. Seems his selection isnít based on performance.

-Why this intense dislike for Younis Khan, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Malik?

My dislike for players is simple. Players should earn a place on merit and consistent performance in almost all conditions, majority of oppositions (especially high quality ones). Players should show improvement and willingness to learn also. As far as Younis goes thatís been discussed elsewhere.

Mohammed Sami potentially has the talent to be one of best fast bowlers in the world. After the 2003 world cup he seemed to thrive in ODI`S when given the role of lead bowler. To me a star was about to be born. Sadly though after 6 months of promise Sami seem to hit a brick wall. As his exposure at highest level was increased more and more teams worked him out. Sadly Sami showed no response in combating this. Sami mash Allah shows great effort and at times is unlucky.

Sami`s major down fall has been lack of intelligence and planning. When Sami runs up to ball he doesnít fulfil me with any confidence as it seems heís letting ball go rather then trying to hit a certain spot on wicket. He doesnít seem to ever try and work away at batsmenís weaknesses. At highest level you wonít succeed that way. Another aspect of Sami`s game which is poor is lack of mental strength. He seems a cricketer you have to encourage all the time, thatís fine by all means give him backing but the player himself has to give something back something Sami hasnít. For past 12 months Sami has been carried in side as a passenger and other bowlers who have performed domestically and at ďAĒ Team level have been left out due to extra back for Sami.

Finally Shoaib Malik a player whose progressed from number 11 batsmen at under 15 level to makeshift test opener at highest level. His improvement has to be applauded immensely. Malik thou to me technically isnít strong enough to face up to the new ball in test cricket or against best bowlers in world first up. Heís a very poor player of the short ball and swing ball. Also his tempremant to go on after getting starts in easy conditions has to be questioned. To me he can be a good lower-middle order batsman for Pakistan but not an opener.

I am not a big fan of Shoaib Malik. Simply because of the match fixing fiasco with Sialkot in a domestic competition. People have touted him as having a great tempremant and being a possible future Pakistan captain. Yet he threw a cricket match because he felt he was hard done by. I have sympathies that he indeed looked to have been hard done by. However, the lack of respect towards the game and basic show of childishness to make a point sadly makes me show a low opinion of the player. There is a right and wrong way to protest.



-You wanted Inzi, Yousaf, Malik, Razzaq, Afridi, Sami and others
Dropped from the team as they were flat track bullies etcÖ.2 years later I am still waiting for the names of their replacements - care to pass them on in this interview?

I have high expectations of every Pakistan player that plays for the team. I expect players to be selected to be merit also. End of the day I want Pakistan to be the best team in the world with best players in world. Doesnít every other Pakistan Fan?

When Pakistan players play in home conditions it is good to see them Succeed and score runs and take wickets. This is something which should be recognised and applauded. For me thou the best players in the world are those who can adapt and perform in all condition around the world (England, New Zealand, Australia etc...) or near enough all Conditions. Add to that the very best players in world perform against the very best they come up against.

A lot of Pakistan players I have criticised have basically fallen short of my expectations. (Some may say your thoughts and hopes are unrealistic etc. my reply is everyone has dreams, ambitions, expectations some higher than others. Everyone is there own person).

When I call a player an Asian track bully or flat track bully I say it because I believe the player is happy scoring runs or taking wickets in familiar surroundings but then is found out technically, mentally & tempremant wise when conditions are foreign and more difficult. The same goes when players do well against weak sides like Zimbabwe or Bangladesh but then fail against stronger teams like England or Australia. To adapt is a challenge, some take up that challenge and give it a good go to succeed, and others just give up.
Iíve not always called for players to drop in some cases I wish they would go away work hard and improve. In some cases players do that and are still not up to the mark thatís when selectors should look elsewhere.


-Do you still believe Rana is no good with a new ball and rubbish with an old ball?

Rana is a bowler hose improved immensely over time. When he first came into the side I saw him as a player who was compete ting with Azhar Mahmood and Abdul Razzaq for a spot in side. He however, has proved to be a better bowler than both. Overtime heís improved so much that heís now Pakistanís main ODI bowler. As far as Rana with new ball goes he depends mainly on swing. When ball is moving around he is a dangerous customer to tackle. However, when the ball doesnít swing Rana is pretty impotent in terms of his effect with the ball. In both odis and tests he has been guilty of experimenting to much and bowling to many boundary balls. Rana seems to depend on new ball swing rather than Rana being the master of the new ball.

With the old ball Rana seems to have learnt a lot from Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Imran khan ,Safraz Nawaz in terms of how to bowl at the death. Rana has developed into a very good death bowler as time has gone on. With older ball in odis he has become very useful.

-Do you still think Afridi doesnít deserve to be in the test team?

Going back 15 months I didnít want Afridi in the test side and I stated that in no certain terms. The reason being at that point in time the player was a liability to the team rather than an asset. His batting was explosive at times but quick 20s and 30s here and there were no benefit to the team or the player. Most of Afridis batting was based on numbers and premeditation rather than focusing on playing each ball on its merit.

Poor tempremant, attitude, discipline, shot selection, lack of consistency, no real focus all these where traits of Shahid Afridi at that point in time. For such a talented player to be showing such an output wasnít worthy of being anywhere near the Pakistan side.

Right now though Afridi deserves a place in the side because heís improved his tempremant, shot selection, heís very focused on becoming a genuine quality test all rounder and seems to be playing a lot more for the team. Afridi is now fulfilling the talent in the right way with consistency. Yes right now he should be in the tests side as long as he shows the improve attitude and input.

-What's your opinion on Bob Woolmer as the coach of Pakistan? Has the
Team benefited under him or are we worse off. In retrospect do you
"Unconditionally" feel that he has been the exactly what Team Pakistan needed? -You criticised BW quite a bit in the past...what is your stance on him now? -We are all aware of your stance on BW, BUT what I want to know is where do you think he is going wrong and what would you do improve it?


Bob Woolmer took over from a side that was rebuilding from the loss of 4 or 5 world class cricketers after a shamblesí world cup. The progress of the side after the 2003 world cup seemed to be good under Javed Miandad. The side was building a pretty decent nucleus of players in tests arena; the odi side though did need a lot of working on. The loss against India was the teamís 1st test series defeat in 4 series. A major overreaction occurred and out went the coach. Woolmer took over and with time he has stamped his authority and ideas on the team.

There have been numerous positives that have occurred during bobs time as coach. The environment in which the players are playing seems a harmonious one and with that Pakistan have been able to show case there talents full especially in the ODI arena. Pakistan have never lacked talent the issue has always been tempremant, attitude, mental strength and technic. The 1st two aspects seem to have slotted into place nicely. Pakistan side seems a compact unit who are willing to fight for each other and have got away from tame surrenders show in the past. In test arena in last two series Pakistan have show more togetherness and also show great mental strength to bounce back and win from tough situations. Right now pakistan are in a process of going forward on basis of recent results whereas in the 1st 8-10 months of bobís reign the team seem to be stuck in its old ways. The next 12 months will truly show whether Pakistan are a test cricketing force again. Test tours to England and South Africa will show if side can compete abroad. In odi arena Pakistan have become a force to be reckoned with and bob should take the plaudits for that. The Champions trophy should be a huge target for Pakistan this year before the ultimate goal in 2007 the world cup.

Players like Rana Naveed, Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan (tests), Shahid Afridi, S Malik (odis) etc have improved immensely due to environment and coaching them have got which has benefited the players and the team. In cases of Afridi and Akmal the test team has gained immense balance. On flips side players like Yasir Hameed, Muhammad Sami, and Taufeeq Umar have fallen away so question marks to why they have fallen away have to be asked.


During his reign, Bob has made some bizarre and pretty poor decisions at time. Picking Muhammad khalil on basis that he was left handed over other bowlers who had better qualities for India tour was dire and almost cost Pakistan the test series.

When Bob started his reign Pakistan needed stability at the top of the order yet Bob made the matter worse by going thru a policy of giving openers one or two games two stake a claim for place in side. This just heaped more pressure on players and the team suffered as a consequence.

At times the backing of players in the team has taken a double standards approach. Some players like Sami, Y khan, S Malik seem to get unconditional back even when going through rough patches yet others like Farhat, Asim kamal, Shahid Nazir seem not get much backing or public support at all when it came to the coach.

The public slating of Shoaib Akthar was another poor area that didnít benefit Pakistan at the time. In terms of trying to get Akthar motivated make such comments can be seen as a good psychology tool but to public berate a player in front of the world was not needed.


Two areas of huge concern which donít seem to have improved under the coach has been Batsmenís techniques. In terms of runs been score that input has increased but when the side has come up against the very best bowlers in the game and when team has played on lively surfaces technical flaws keep seeming to appear. Hopefully more coaching can irradiate this. I think with test tours to England and S.A in next
Year Pakistanís batting will need to improve a lot for the team to stand up and compete.

Area 2 - Bob has always pride his teamís warkwickshire, S.A etc on there out cricket running between wickets, Fitness and fielding, Bowling disciplines. Now whilst the fitness aspect of things has increased the state of the fielding and Running between wickets is a problem. It has been touted that these things are worked on but not much improvement has been shown. This area needs to improve vastly for Pakistan to compete consistently at the top.

Overall Bob has done a decent job and some good foundations are in place the team now needs to quickly build on those and go forward.


-Last year you suggested Greg Chappell as an alternative coach- do you still maintain that stance considering how he is doing with India?

When the pakistan job came up for grabs after Miandad`s unjust sacking I named Dav Whatmore and Greg Chappell as the two men for the job. At the time it was said Pakistanís team lacked direction and unity. I thought that Pakistan need a professional Australian influence on the team to sort the team out and improve it. The Australians have always stood head and shoulders above other sides in last decade due to their mental approach and attitude toward the game. This is something I believed needed to be instilled in Pakistan side. As far as the stance goes I still stand by it. Pakistan have progressed under Bob Woolmer but team needs to become mentally stronger and technically stronger something I believe either Chappell or Whatmore could have instilled into the side.


Honestly, how do you rate Inzi as a captain?

When Inzi first took over the job he was pretty lousy at it when it came to his approach in the field and his mindset was always predictable and negative. Inzi seemed to never ask others for advice always seemed to show frustration very early on and at times lash out at players (Hafeez, Akthar etc...). Inzi never seemed to want to take blame or criticism, the blame would always been thrown elsewhere. With the bat in hand Inzi has lead from the front and shoulder immense pressure of carrying a batting line up which wasnít pulling its weight. Inzi`s whole stint as a skipper has seen the big man perform better then he ever has in his whole career with the bat in both forms of the game. That has to be earmarked as a superb achievement in itself. He has certainly become a better leader over time, and in fact, has grown into being a very good motivator and father figure to the players. The worry is thou in the field Inzi seems tactically inept, his thinking one-dimensional and non inspirational. Inzi seems to be a reactive skipper rather than a proactive one which doesnít help Pakistan express them selves fully in a positive way and this to me stops Inzi being a very good captain. Overall thou at a time where there was no-one else really up to the job heís done a good job in leading the side.



-Was there a time in your life when you thought you could make it to?
The Pak or England team?

From a personal level am sure like most kids I dreamt of playing cricket at the highest level. Which country? For me it could only ever be Pakistan, am not a big fan of English cricket. Iíve played club cricket since the age of 12 (almost 13 years now). At club level I have enjoyed immense success for any club i have played for both personally and as part of a team. My happiest memories will be those of when I played for Wavertree cricket club in Liverpool for 4 very good years. In that time I picked up 2 league medals, 3 cup medals as well as picking up young league player of the year two years running. I did manage to play for Yorkshire at under 15 and 17 level but sadly couldnít make the step up from that point. At that point in time my interests were more on being with friends and studies then playing cricket. Looking back a bit more application and determination could have maybe seen me progress higher.

-Who do you want to win in the upcoming England and India series?

I am not really care who wins the series. I just hope that is a good series with some excitement. I believe England will find the conditions very tough and Indiaís strength in playing spin and having better spin bowling options to me gives them the advantage between the two sides. England am sure will have learnt some harsh lessons from tour to Pakistan and having Simon Jones back will be a big boost. If England are to compete their pace attack will have to show a more meaningful and aggressive approach to one shown in Pakistan. I think India will win a tight series 1-0 or 2-1.


-Do you ever think that spending too much tine on PakPassion has ruined your life?

I have never ever thought that. I enjoy discussing sports on PP with other posters during my free time. Away from the board, I enjoy socialising, keeping fit, playing sports and most of all spending time with my family.




-Given the opportunity to either clone Waqar or Wasim at their prime
For the Pakistan team now, which one would you choose?

Both players in their prime were simply awesome. Waqar peaked very early in his career and in full flow he was awesome to watch. Youthful exuberance, searing pace and late swing what more could you ask for in terms of excitement? I immensely enjoyed Waqar bowling ever time he played for Pakistan. I remember the way he knocked over stumps, broke toes for fun during the 1992 series in England. Waqar on pure pace alone was simply unplayable and I remember when ever I played cricket at that time I always pretended to be Waqar Younis whilst bowling to my elder brother in the back garden.

Wasim for me thou would be my pick over Waqar. Wasim may have been a yard or yard and half slower then Waqar however, Wasim made up for that with guile & artistry. Waqar main weapon was his pace and I believe he could have been an even better bowler if he learnt to use the new ball a lot better (something he didnít do early on in his career). Wasim was a master with the old ball and the new ball. He had the ability to get the ball to go both ways (something other left arm bowlers rarely do). If conditions didnít help Wasim would intelligently work away at a batsman before slowly reeling him in and then killing him off. Sadly for Waqar he missed out on show casing his talent when Pakistan had their greatest triumph, winning the 1992 world cup. Wasim thou show cased his talents all the way thru and nowhere more so then in the final itself. Wasim dismissing lamb and Lewis in two balls will always remain in the memory.

The artistry of Wasim Akram gets my vote.




-Yesterday, Mark Waugh said the only team that can rival Australia in
The next World Cup is Pakistan. Do you agree or not? And why?

If the world cup was played right now I believe Pakistan would be playing Australia in the final. Pakistanís odi side right now has everything you could possibly ask from a top odi side. Strength and depth in batting, multiple bowling options, a team united and playing with confidence. Where Pakistan falls down is itís ďout cricket. (Fielding, running between wickets, catching, hitting stumps with throws etc). This a lot of the time has been the reason why in close games Pakistan have missed out on winning in close games against Australia. In 12 months time though I believe Pakistan will still be on an upward curve and the Australians wonít be as strong with a lot of players being at the twig light of their careers. I think teamís hosts West Indies could cause a few surprises in the tourney. My dark horse pick for tourney would be Sri Lanka who are ever improving under tom moody. I agree with Mark Waugh ultimately I think Pakistan are the team to take Australia to the limit.

-Australia has 5 domestic teams, and SA 6, (strength v strength) but
Our players still can't seem to make that vital step up from the domestic scene to the international one. I think it's a matter of the right temperament. Do you agree? Or do you also think strength vs. strength, quality vs. quantity is the right grooming for the international level? Are cricketers given test caps way too easily?

Australians domestic scene has been running in a format of strength v strength and quality v quality for along time now and the international side has benefited from this. Australians have some great facilities, good coaching, the set ups are funded well this helps immensely in maintaining high standards. From a playing point of view test caps arenít given out for fun like in other countries. Domestically older players are weeded out if they are blocking younger playerís paths; a ruthless culling process at times is used. Youngsters coming in are given time to bed into sides and they are allowed to mature a lot more than elsewhere before being selected.

S.A domestic set up has only just changed and the number of teams has been reduced. The new system will take a while before the standard becomes strength v strength and quality v quality. One this occurs then I believe S.A players will be better prepared to play at highest level. The issue of having quotas with squads also at times doesnít help. S.A are intent of trying to blood more black players into squads etc. This is a good thing in terms of encouraging youngsters.

However, players should be selected within teams on cricketing ability and not colour. S.A do have good conditions at home and good facilities in which players can perform. The problem over recent years is a lot of players fail to adapt to conditions abroad in England or more so in Asia. One he reason to me why S. Africa where always number 2 and not number one was because of a lack of a world class spinner. This is an area where domestically S.A struggle immensely. The conditions arenít really conducive for spinners and possibly the quality of spinning coaches in South Africa isnít to great.
S.A need to find a group of spinners they can groom for future so test side benefits and also batsmen are then accustomed to playing against high quality spin before they make step up to test level.
Another area of struggle seems to be mental aspect of game; maybe more work on psychological side of the game will help S.A in long run.


-Asim Kamal or Shoaib Malik?

If I was to pick one for test matches.

Both these two players have the potential to serves Pakistan well as lower middle test order batsmen. Malik has come along way from the guy who used to prop up the Pakistan under 15 batting line up. A good player of spin and an improving batsman. His deficiencies against high quality swing and fast bowling thou means his current spell as a make-shift opener wonít last to long. Pakistan if they are to pick him would be better of using him down the order. In that position the pressure would be less and technically he wouldnít get exposed as much.

Asim Kamal is the type of batsmen Pakistan selectors seem to enjoy ignoring for some bizarre reason. Kamal isnít a flash batsman nor is he going to tear attacks apart. What kamal does give the side thou is someone who can bat long periods, Score pretty consistently and also Shepard the tail well. The fact Asim hasnít scored a ton for Pakistan and also fact his batting isnít keen on eye means his career maybe cut short before it has really got started.

For me id pick Asim Kamal for the bravery heís shown when playing for pakistan in tests matches and also his Willingness to just get on with job without making a Fuss.

-AJ: what would be your sides for the TEST and ODI format?

Tests Ė Farhat, Butt, Younis khan, Inzamam, Mo Yousaf, Afridi, Akmal,
Rana or Gul, Asif, Akthar, Kaneria

Odis Ė Butt, Akmal, Inzamam, Mo Yousaf, S Malik, Afridi, Razzaq, Yasir Arafat, Rana, Asif, Akthar

-Tell us of your own cricketing experiences. Do you bat/bowl? Your
Favourite match? Most prized wicket/ Run?

I have played club cricket for 13 years now for 3 different Club sides. I am a right arm out swing bowler by nature. In terms of batting I can hold a bat and throw the willow. However, i have always put my main focus on bowling. I tend to spend a lot of my time in nets working away on my bowling so that I can continue to improve.

Favourite match has to be the final game of the 2003 season in the Liverpool & Southport alliance league. It was a game against Prescott and odyssey. We need two points to win are first league title for almost 30 years. From personal point of view I took my 50th wicket of the season in that game and the club won the league.

Most prized wicket has to be getting out my best mate at Wavertree cricket club Ian lamb out during a friendly last year. Playing for my new club All saints (Manchester) I went back to play my old club. There was plenty of friendly sledging and banter and to get someone out whom I enjoyed playing with for 4 years was great. I will definitely let him know about it when we clash again this summer.

- Have you ever played cricket or just pretended that you did?

As i have stated in this interview i have played club cricket for along time and hope to play for many years to come.

-Do you like any Indian cricketer(s)? If yes, then which cricketers?

I think Indian have some talented cricketers as well as some world class players. Muhammad Azharuddin and Rhaul Dravid are two batsmen from India i have enjoyed watching. Azhar was a superb player of spin and his wrist work in some of his strokes are something all Asian players tend to pick up on and Use. Dravid is an example to all on how batsmen should play in Test cricket. Patience, Tempremant, Good stroke play he seems to have it all. Most of all he puts a price on his wicket. To me whether youíre a batsmen or bowler you should make opposition earn their wickets and runs.

-Which city do you love more, Manchester or Faisalabad?

Faisalabad. I havenít been to Pakistan for almost 3 years now but when ever I go back I simply enjoy the great atmosphere the great Pakistani city has to offer. A lot of my family are still living their and I enjoy going back when I can. I enjoy going shopping, sight seeing around the city. To me it will always be where my real roots are to me its home away from home. Manchester is a good place to live and I enjoy the life style. The poor all year weather thou isnít enjoyable at all.

-Whatís with the fascination with Mohammad Hafeez?

I donít really know where there Story has come from. When Hafeez is playing for Faisalabad I hope he performs to the best of his ability. In terms of highest level I donít thing heís good enough to succeed. He looked like an excellent player in making when he 1st got into the side. I remember watching him play live at old Trafford in 2003 against England when he won man of match for his all round abilities. His fielding and bowling very decent, His batting was pretty steady. Overtime thou with exposure he was shown to be not up to it.

-If you met Shahid Afridi what would you say to him?

1ST of all give him salaam and hope my hand is still in tack after shaking his hand. I would just say that am proud that heís finally fulfilling his potential and would wish him all best for the future.

-Which cricketers from Pakistan line-up, or Pakistan domestic cricket
Have you faced or bowled to?

During my team at Wavertree cricket club in Liverpool I played a season with Zimbabwe test leg spinner Paul Strang. He was an excellent overseas pro who had plenty of time to help me work on my game which am grateful for. Multan opener Usman Tariq is another I played with for a season. In terms of players i have faced up against i have faced Marlon Black (W.I), Wasim Khan (Sui gas in Pakistan) and finally Pakistanís current find Muhammad Asif. Facing these bowlers was extremely hard. I found Marlon black to be the pick of these bowlers. He could send the ball down at around 85mph from a two yard run up. I remember speak to Muhammad Asif at a charity game 3 years ago in Liverpool and at that time he seemed a very determined guy. He said he had ambitions to one day play for Pakistan. Iím glad heís now realised his dream and wish him all best every time he plays for Pakistan.

-Favourite three cricketers?

Steve Waugh, Saeed Anwar and Glenn McGrath.

Steve Waugh to me was a great patriot, fantastic cricketer, motivator, captain and fighter. Many ex-cricketers and fans have said that if you needed to some to bat for youíre life he would be the man. For me I feel the same way either Steve Waugh or Javed Miandad would have been the guy I would have pick. For a player who didnít set world alight early on his career he showed immense character and resilience to battle back to become one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Steveís ability to adapt and change for himself and the team was one of main reasons why Australia dominated the last 1990s and the current era. From dashing batsmen who was regarded as an easy kill against pace this player become the immovable rock around which a great team was built. One of the greatest abilities a cricketer can have is the ability to step up the greatest challenges thrown up at them and conquer them with heart and courage. When Australia dethroned the West Indies from their test crown in mid 1990s it was down to Steve Waughís lion hearted rearguard against Ambrose & Walsh and co which ultimately won them the series and from there Australia went from strength to strength. During the 1999 world cup where Australia were in situation were they had to win every single match to stay in the cup it was Waugh again who pulled them through . Steve Waugh was proud to play for his country and was able to inspire others around him and not just himself. A superb role model whom many other budding cricketers should aspire to be like.

Saeed Anwar to me was one of the classiest players i have ever seen play the game and is one of the best openers Pakistan has ever had. A very good player both sides of the wicket. Anwar seem to make the game look so easy and his stroke play was a joy to watch. Good hand eye-coordination, good wrist work, nimble footwork, intelligence and good tempremant all these combined traits made Anwar the supreme player he was in 2nd half of his career. Anwar scored runs against all opposition and in all conditions and was the bedrock of Pakistanís top order in the 1990s. Alongside Brian Lara when in full flow and at top of his game Anwar was simply awesome to watch. Anwar time after time would provide Pakistan with aggressive starts without much risk something that was ideal in both forms of the game. His 118 in Durban against South Africa on a seaming bouncy track against Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock in the prime is my favourite Anwar Knock. At a time now where Pakistan is struggling to find openers the memories of Saeed Anwar tend to flood back more.


Glenn McGrath is a bowler i have tried to model my bowling on personally whilst playing cricket over last 3 or 4 years. McGrath may not have the express pace of a lee or an Akthar etc but heís been the best Fast bowler in world cricket over the last decade. McGrath has great intelligence and a great presence when heís out in the middle. Heís very quick to work batsmenís weaknesses out and also has the ability to expose them as well. Series after series when its come down to big duals between McGrathís and the oppositions main batsmen more often than not heís come out on top. Like a cricketing terminator heís always targeted the heart of the team because without that a team struggles to function. Watching McGrath down the years has taught me personally that the more you work at game and study your opposition intensively the more you can succeed.


- Where in your expert opinion has Ricardo Powell gone wrong and what
Does he need to do to become a regular in the West Indies side again?

Ricardo Powell like so many other powerful hitters around the world on his day can destroy attacks for fun. Sadly he lacks application, and good shot selection. If Ricardo can focus and work on his game he can improve and become a major asset for the West Indies. I always believe if you can hit a cricket ball miles then play straight. More often than not big hitters play too much across the line. End of the day to score runs you have to be in the middle. More application and a little graft would benefit the player immensely.


-If you were James Bond what special gadget would you have on your
Mission?

James Bond girls being so fantastically beautiful I think x-ray glasses would be great! (Just kidding) Am a huge fan of Fast cars and a fully kitted car with turbo boosters and automated shotguns and rockets attached would be my James bond toy!


-Is there a question that you've always really wanted people to ask?
You? And if there is, what is it, and may I ask it please?

Am happy for most people to ask any questions. If I find it respectable then I will reply. Simple as that.


-If you had an ear at the ICC, any changes you'd like to make to
Improve cricket and its appeal?

As far as ICC`s current rules go the power play for me hasnít really added much to the game and should be scrapped. The short version of game is batsmen favoured as it is and bowlers need to be brought back into equation. The super-sub rule as well has been poorly included. Who ever wins the toss in most cases seem to benefit from the rule. ICC should either scrap the rule or allow teams to name the sub after the Toss to make things even. For me X1 v X1 is fine.

In the test arena I think that the ICC needs to maybe give side the option of the new ball after 60 over rather then 80 over, I Believe this would make it a lot tougher for batsmen which is how cricket should be (my bowling bias shines through). Also I think that match referees and punishments dished out should be the same for all countries when an incident occurs. Sadly ICC tends to favour the bigger sides in world cricket.


-Apart from cricketers, what other sportsmen do you admire? Why?

In terms of sportsmen outside of cricket I have had a lot of respect for Lennox Lewis and Thierry Henry. For me Lewis was a very good boxer but he also very much kept his dignity and the dignity of the sport. He never went out and degraded fellow boxers in order to hype up a boxing match. As a champion he was committed, hard working and was always willing to improve. A very good role model for all kids.
Thierry is one of the best players in the world but is also a very humble and genuine person. In an era where playing acting, greed for money and lack of loyalty is ripe Henry has shown how a professional footballer should act on and off the field. He lives in London yet is rarely in the papers for off-field antics or shameful stories. He tends to spend most of his time with his family and keeps himself to himself. 90% of the time on the field he plays with a smile and win, lose or draw at end of game he shows respect for opposition. Again another good role model for kids.





- Tell us about your passion for cooking? How can a Pakistani (origin) guy actually enjoy cooking? Any sin foods? Anything you feel guilty about after eating (too much) of it?

I was taught to cook before I went to university by my nani. I doesnít sound a bit bizarre a guy learning to cook but it served we well whilst being away from home for first 3 years at university. A lot of people tend to eat junk food as its easily available, but eating home cooked food canít be beaten. Also it saves a lot of money, being a student can be expensive as well as stressful. With time i have learnt to cook pretty well and I help run a small family business where people are taught to cook allsorts of Asian food.

Sin foods, well as a person who likes to keep fit and go to the gym and swim a lot I try to keep away from fatty foods as well as sugar filled ones. I have one weakness thou strawberry cheesecake. I could eat the stuff day after day without ever getting sick of it. Sadly the fat and sugar content isnít too helpful so I try not to get too tempted to often! I also like eating a lot of pasta but thatís not really a sin food to me.



- Some 11 years ago, (March 1996, actually) someone asked Inzi what his motto in life is, and he said: "One should live a peaceful and modest life". And that's when I knew I liked him a lot! (Not sure if it's still his motto)ÖSO. Do you have a motto in life, what is it, and do you REALLY live by it?

I donít have a motto to be honest. However, I believe you should live life without fear of failure, ambition should always be high. Also I believe that life should be enjoyed and best way to do that is try and make those around you happy.


-How do you feel about a 2-tiered test nation system, and if you think it should be done, how?

When Zimbabwe were around I was in favour of dropping them and Bangladesh into a 2nd tier system to play along side other nations such as Kenya, Holland, Ireland, Scotland etc as well as ďAĒ teams from the main test playing nations. However, I canít see Zimbabwe lasting to much longer with any sort of international cricketing status and the one tier format is fine if Zimbabwe disappear. I believe Bangladesh will become stronger with time. I think the idea of a super series was a good one in theory but in practice it didnít come off. For me the best two sides in world at end of a 3or 4 year ranking period shod just go head to head to see who the best is.


-Whatís better, a Shoaib Akthar in swinging Yorker uprooting middle stump or a Shahid Afridi six smashed over midwicket and out of the stadium?

Being a bowler by trade for me it has to be Akthar breaking a batsmen toe or knocking over batsmen stumps with a searing Yorker. Akthar two in two ball demolition of Sachin Tendulkar and Rhaul Dravid with two high paced Yorkers during a test match in 1999 will always stick in the mind. (Silencing a huge crowd of Indians was the icing on the cake when watching those deliveries). Watching Afridi launching sky rockets into a stand full of joy filled fans has its appeal but searing Yorkers are slightly more appealing to the eye.


What does he like about PakPassion and comparison with other sites?

PakPassion is not only the best cricket site on the web but for me the best sport site on the web also. When I first started posting I was part of the old BBC board along with other posters such as Geordie Ahmed, AA, and JJP to name a select few. Discussion and banter was excellent but the boards seemed to be run in a bad manner. During the Pakistan v India series in 2004 the board seem to go into melt down and posters seemed more interested in abusing religions then talking cricket. JJP told me he had found an excellent new cricket site called PakPassion and that I should join. Once I joined I never looked back. So many other posters from the BBC flocked across also during this time period.

The PakPassion site has come on immensely in the time i have been here and Saj, Nauman, MIG (i have mentioned your name now so I expect my $200 cheque in post ASAP) and all the other admin team deserves a lot of plaudits for the excellent way the boards has been run and how its grown in terms of quality and in terms of member volume. What also makes the board so good is its poster as without each and every single poster the board would have no atmosphere nor would it generate so much enjoyment. Finally I have to give a special thank you to Fessal whom i have enjoyed discussing topics with the most on this board since i have joined.

Career aspirations?

I have been working for the BNY (bank of New York) since august 2005 in the field of finance. Itís something i have enjoyed immensely thus far. Itís a good challenge learning about an area that I never really took notice of before I got the job. The company has excellent progression prospects and am motivated and willing to learn and progress in good time. My aim to is work hard every day and make a name for myself so I can provide for my family and also look back and be proud of my achievements. As long as I give my all I believe I can succeed inshallah.

His views on Geoff Boycott: Ian Botham and Javed Miandad.

Javed for me is the best batsmen the country has ever produced in both forms of the game. Javed like so many players from Karachi has a street fighter mentality which severed him superbly well in his international career. He scored runs in pretty much all conditions and played some vital knocks for his team in both forms of game for almost a decade. A good player of pace and a master against spin not to many bowlers got the better of Javed. When Javed got in he was very difficult to remove 6 double tons and 23 test tons being the proof of that. When Javed strolled out to the middle the game always seemed to have an added edge to the situation. Miandad had the ability to get opposition players skins as well as his own at times. This ability gave Miandad a huge advantage in tight situations. The monumental sixer against India of the last ball to win a match will always live in the memory. At test level Miandad was a pillar of strength for Pakistan, in odis he was one of the best finishers the game has ever seen. A truly world class match winner.

Imran Khan

To me this man is a living legend. The best All-rounder Pakistan and the world have ever seen. Pakistanís greatest ever cricket captain. The Praise you could give Imran is endless. Imran was an intelligent cricket who made the best use of his own talents as well as the talents around him. He was one of the few Pakistan skippers to unite a dressing room and with that Pakistan produced their best cricket in history of the game during the 1980s and 1990s. What impressed me about Imran was he was so quickly able to some up match conditions when batting and bowling and was able to adapt to them accordingly. On dead abrasive surfaces Imran used reverse swing to get rid of batsmen, In Seamer friendly conditions he used his ability to natural move the ball to pick up wickets. As a batsmen he also adapted superbly His technic was a simple one and he played very straight something that will bring you a lot of runs. Imran could defend but could also hit the ball miles when he wanted to. What ever the situation Imran would match what was required and expected other around him to do the same. As Imran`s career went on learnt to adapt and play within his limitations thatís something not many cricketers have the ability to do. Imran greatest ability was as a father figure and the way he inspired others. To inspire others to succeed as well as himself is something I thing everyone should look to do in any form of life.

Geoff Boycott a Yorkshire man like myself. Says what he feels regardless of whether he upsets others around him and speaks what he feels from his heart (again like me). Boycott has got under many a persons skin with is comments but I like his tell it like you see it approach. One of the best opening batsmen to grace the game. Boycott was far exciting and at times was criticised by his own team mates for being to slow when batting. However, Boycott valued his wicket and put a huge price on it when he got in he made the best of it by scoring big hundred. (This is something I wish our opening batsmen would learn to do). As a cricket commentator Boycott can seem very harsh at times but can also give out praise when itís earned. I think sole reason hes very harsh is because he compares the player he is watching to the best players hes seen. Therefore if a player doesnít live up to then he states it in no uncertain terms. Hes certainly one of my favourite commentators.


Why do you hate Manchester United do much?

I donít really hate Manchester, in terms of a place to live and work is fantastic. The problem is just the poor weather. Almost all the times itís pouring it down with rain or the skies are always grey and overcast. That can sometimes make you feel pretty glum as well. I donít mind it being cold as am originally from Yorkshire and it doesnít get much colder anywhere else in England.

MIG
14th February 2006, 23:53
Some excellent answers - a rare insight into the mind of AJ and it confirms what I always thought of this guy :)

Absolutely sincere and simple guy with great views on life and cricket - well done AJ and thanks for posting on PP ( now if you could give up the OTHER forum - would be much nicer - no ? )

Regards

MIG

nafajafam
15th February 2006, 02:27
Axellent interview AJ. Good to know the person everyone hates the most, atleast now its justified. Haha...

Raz
15th February 2006, 04:02
Great interview Amjid!! Really enjoyed reading that and thanks for answering my questions!!!!!!

samisback
15th February 2006, 08:50
cav goes n sleeps like a baby (for a change its nice not to take them sleeping pills thanx Amjid ur a superstar ;-)

Officer Barbrady
15th February 2006, 11:02
Very well done.

Fessal
16th February 2006, 00:10
An excellent interview from a great personality in Amjid bhai. I enjoyed this interview the most as Amjid is also my favourite pper and has similar views to me. Also, very knowledgable and honest and tells you as he sees it. :)

Well done lad and thanks for the great compliment ( I probably don't deserve) and honour your gave me in the interview, and it is mutual btw. :19: