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  1. #1
    Debut
    Dec 2016
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    Member Interview : Abdullah719

    PakPassion.net: Tell us about yourself.

    Abdullah719:
    Assalamualaikum. Peace!

    OK so for starters, I was born in India.... Indian father and Pakistani mother. Anyway, I was born in Bhopal (same goes for Muhammad btw) and though we managed for a few years initially, life stagnated as it's a smaller city and opportunities were less. Eventually, my parents decided that we needed to leave for Pakistan to Karachi (my mother's hometown). I only spent a few years in Bhopal and don't remember much of it at all though I am in contact with my extended family (from my father's side), most of whom still reside there.

    At the time, travel between the two countries was a lot easier so we eventually moved to Karachi and settled down there. That's where I grew up, and I considered it home, and still do. I had Indian nationality but eventually ended up giving that up and obtaining Pakistani nationality as that's where we intended to stay in the long term. However, my parents were divorced after a few years and then in 2008, some things happened which eventually led us to Egypt.

    We (Muhammad, mom and myself) first came to Cairo in 2009, though we actually took a bus straight to Alexandria and then 'settled' there... for four years. To cut a long story short, we were facing financial difficulties at the time shortly after settling down (this is in relation to IGCSEs; associated schools here for GCSE education are extremely expensive) so schooling was temporarily put on hold. Alexandria is a really nice place; every summer, rental prices are hiked up because people from Cairo and other parts of Egypt will come there to chill out at the beaches. It's quite small compared to Cairo which also means there are limitations but for living, it has some really nice areas. Cairo is around 200 KMs away from Alexandria, around a 2.5-hour drive by microbus/bus which are amongst the common methods of transportation between the two cities along with trains.

    When finances improved somewhat after a couple of years, studies resumed over a period of time. We moved to Cairo in 2013 and have been living here since then. It's a massive city, comparable to Karachi and has a huge population. However, there's quite a large expat population despite recent troubles in the country. A lot of them work in various companies, schools etc. and there's also expats that are here to study though those are often from Indonesia and Malaysia (attending Al-Azhar, for example). A lot of the media hype about unsafety is overexaggerated; there are problems which have cropped up over the last few years but it is largely safe. Most of the conflicts that are ongoing are in the Sinai area. Incidents happen from time to time but are very limited. Going by recent numbers, the tourism situation is improving which is great news for the country - the post-2012 era crippled Egypt's economy due to the sudden drop in tourists.

    Currently, I am doing a BA in Islamic Studies. My extended family is not very religious but my mom is and we grew up with the importance of faith implanted in our minds. However, there is a lot to learn. Back in the day, I was a keyboard warrior on some online outlets where I would argue (without knowledge) against those who claimed that Islam itself is responsible for all the terrible crimes people commit in its name around the world. However, learning from Google was not a very successful idea as there is so much conflicting information available in this regard. I want to gain the correct knowledge and know what my faith is without just following it pointlessly. So far, it’s been a very interesting and enlightening course. Islamic Studies is not just about learning about the Qur'an etc., there is a lot more to it and a lot of the course is about how to implement things you learn into the daily life. It is supposed to be a complete way of life, after all.

    A lot of my extended family has been, and still is involved in education, and that is something I also feel inclined towards in future. I feel that educators are some of the main pillars that form a society and they really don't get enough credit - Many of the problems facing the country today are a result of a lack of education, or just poor education overall and that is one of the most important areas the country needs to focus on for long-term betterment. This is not simply restricted to literacy rates; there are swathes of people who may satisfy that criteria but that is not enough. One of the primary problems in Pakistan is also misinterpretation of religion with all kinds of groups utilising it for all kinds of purposes. I hope that can be changed someday.


    PakPassion.net: What was your first experience of cricket?

    Abdullah719:
    1st ODI, India tour of Pakistan at Karachi, Mar 13 2004. Not bad for a first match I guess? I wasn't really into cricket much at the time, just used to check scorecards occasionally (mainly in newspapers those days) so going to watch Pakistan vs India live was a BIG deal, I guess it mainly happened due to the family's love of cricket. IIRC getting the tickets was quite a hassle. I didn't know a lot about cricket at the time but I definitely remember an insane crowd and a great atmosphere. Sehwag started well and quietened us a bit, smashing around our spray guns. Later on in the innings, Dravid was on 99 and the crowd went wild as he was bowled by Akhtar, clearly remember that! I never realised at the time that 349 was a ridiculously high score for an ODI so I probably didn't appreciate the Youhana (at the time) and Inzi partnership enough, specially the latter's overall innings. At the end, we needed a six off the last ball to win but Moin could only smash the full toss in the air for an easy catch. But the overall atmosphere was really good, it didn't feel like a gutting loss and I recall a fair few people hanging around for the post-match stuff and giving the teams the applause they deserved. It was only some time later that I realised that the overall number of runs was a record (I think?) for the most runs in an ODI at the time.

    We went to a few more ODI matches after that as well at NSK - I vividly recall at least two of them. One was the eight-wicket win against Sri Lanka and the other was the eight-wicket loss to India. In the former, Youhana and Malik had a big partnership to easily chase down 233 after the openers got out while the tables were turned in the latter match with Yuvraj and Dhoni having a massive partnership to easily chase down 287. None of them were particularly memorable matches specially when compared to the 2004 one but attending matches at NSK was a privilege nonetheless... consider that it's been almost nine years since a match at NSK! I have a feeling I also went for the 2005 ODI against England but I'm not sure about that.

    After one of these matches (don't remember which but it wasn't the 2004 one), we went to the team hotel after the match to try and meet the players. After a long time, they came out to leave the hotel (think it was Sheraton) so there were a bunch of us waiting outside. If I recall correctly, Afridi was with his daughter (who was unwell?) so he was in a bit of a hurry. Inzi didn't hang around for too long either. Akhtar, however, hung around for a bit and willingly signed autographs for the legions of fans. We (Muhammad and myself) were amongst the few kids there, the rest were mainly grown-ups so we failed to catch the cricketers' attention. However, Razzaq and Malik noticed and were very forthcoming with the latter especially nice and friendly towards us. That was the first time I actually met some cricketers.

    One other time, we were in Khadda Market at Rahat Milk Corner (does anyone know it?) and my mom saw a middle-aged gentleman returning to his car. I had no clue who it was but she told us it was Wasim Bari, a former Pakistan wicket-keeper so we went up to him and asked for autographs. He was pleasantly surprised but very obliging.

    This answer is going a bit off-topic now but won't really fit elsewhere.... Anyway, when we came to Egypt, we had very limited access to cricket so I was out of the loop for a little while though I did constantly follow scorecards etc. Channels that show cricket were pricey while Internet bandwidth was limited, and speed poor so watching online wasn't really much of an option. I somehow managed to catch the winning moments on the 2009 WT20 right at the end but regret missing out on the whole experience. In fact, I didn't start watching cricket regularly until we switched to better internet which took ages, sometime in 2013 IIRC. Only managed to watch bits and pieces before that, though the England vs Pakistan in UAE 2012 series was exciting enough whilst just following the scorecards!

    It was only in 2013 that I really began to follow Pakistan cricket as much as I do now, though that has gone to another level since I became a regular on PakPassion. I still have a lot lesser knowledge than most around here which is why I may not as well express very strong opinions on a lot of these matters as I feel I am still learning new things each and every day from the wealth of knowledge all the posters here have.


    PakPassion.net: Which is the bigger achievement for Pakistan cricket - Winning the Test mace and #1 ranking or winning the 2017 Champions Trophy?

    Abdullah719:
    Trust @Syed1 to come up with this question. I think if posters on PP were asked about this, opinions would be divided. Really, both are great achievements but I'll try and choose one here.

    Misbah's side becoming #1 was really a long-term process. It began obviously from the start of his era after the spot-fixing scandal but really, I think the change began after the disastrous overseas tours of 2013 where we were whitewashed by SA and lost a Test to Zimbabwe. The main factors leading to the rise to #1 was 1). the lack of overseas tours obviously helped our cause, 2). the stability brought by playing in UAE meant that the likes of Azhar and Sarfaraz were able to figure out their game, 3). we played top-ranked sides in UAE and swept them aside and that gave us a big ranking boost and 4). the transition from Ajmal to Yasir as the focal figure of our Test attack. These factors, aided by Younis and Misbah's consistency in the Emirates meant that we had a really stable Test side.

    However, the achievements of this era can arguably be looked at from a negative point of view as well. Firstly, there was a real sense of short-term thinking with Misbah unwilling to make even minor changes to the playing XIs leading to a situation where we would have to replace Misbah/Younis with debutants. The persistence with Hafeez as opener was damaging and selection of dud openers rather than simply promoting Azhar to the top of the order was inexplicable. On top of that, we were nowhere as dominant as teams like India and Australia at home which meant that we never really got to a really high ranking in terms of rating points. The England tour and 2-2 result was great, but while I do not subscribe to the 'luck' talk, it is true that the conditions played a part in our victories. It was great to get to #1 but the subsequent decline showed that it was more to do with all teams being on a similar level rather than Pakistan being a real standout side.

    In comparison, the Champions Trophy victory was a fairly sudden turnaround, beginning from when Sarfaraz became captain. We got smashed in Australia under Azhar's captaincy and while Sarfaraz's first assignment was against a weaker side in WI, the signs of a different mindset were there from the start. The performance in CT obviously had a few factors involved which I would refer to as destiny but the reality is that there were a lot of top individual performances that helped us to victory and in that context, we cannot minimise the effect confidence played. All the players in the team in the past few months, especially new ones have repeatedly pointed out that the captaincy and management has made a huge effort to give them chances to perform and encouraged them whereas I think in the past, it was more about new players proving themselves so that they could stay in the side. This different mindset transformed in performances and newcomers like Fakhar were able to deliver for us while the likes of Rumman made an impact in a short period of time. Hasan was also relatively inexperienced but that didn't show at all - he performed like a seasoned pro while Amir was his usual fiery self for the final.

    There were of course factors that made the CT win easier for us such as Australia being knocked out early; going by some of the comments, it seems that they don't particularly care about the tournament at all but the reality is that it's an ICC tournament which any team would dearly love to win. However, their side was weak in comparison to what it could have been. The other sides were pretty much as they should be really, except that SA and England automatically become weaker in ICC tournaments. However, defeating India considering our own recent mental block against them on the big stage is a big deal. If I need to pick an achievement here from these two, it will have to be the CT win simply because our future is automatically looking better after that and we are on the incline in the shorter formats. In comparison, after our short-lived #1 Test ranking, we struggled massively in the next few tours, so much so that we've plummeted to seventh in Tests now.

    In a way, this is a comparison of Misbah vs Sarfaraz in terms of their captaincy. I wholeheartedly supported Misbah when he was captain and truly felt he did superbly in many aspects. He was great at getting the best out of a limited bunch and did superbly well considering the circumstances at the start of his tenure. However, he failed to make the transition towards building a team for the future. In comparison, Sarfaraz and this management has been willing to give chances to youth from the get-go. It could have failed miserably if the youngsters didn't back it up with performances but that didn't happen and now Sarfaraz's position as leader is looking safe and sound, at least in the shorter formats. But anyway, this comparison can be better elaborated on once we have a larger sample size of Sarfaraz.


    PakPassion.net: Pakistan's Test team is currently in transition and it seems Mickey is keen to build a young team that bears fruit for years to come. Can he deliver on this aim?

    Abdullah719:
    I have been disappointed so far by a few of the management's moves with the Test team, chiefly that of moving Azhar down to #3 and also the shuffling of the batting order. Played Shan Masood is just inexplicable, pretty much anyone can see that he is not cut out for Test cricket. I would give some of the blame for Shan's inclusion to Inzi also who brought him back for the WI tour as a replacement for Sharjeel. I also don't understand why Usman Salahuddin hasn't been given a debut yet, though that is also connected to the point mentioned above.

    If Mickey and the management really want to build a team for the future then they need to take bold steps. Give Usman his Test debut, see how he does. Take a decision on Babar's future. If we had a solid domestic system I'd say let Babar develop there but that isn't the case. However, you can give chances to someone who is lacking performances for only so long. Put Azhar back as opener where he belongs. Shafiq has brought himself some time with the hundred against SL in typical fashion but he is on the brink as well. So quite a lot of things to consider.

    As far as the bowling goes, I guess there isn't much left to discuss regarding the decision to play one spinner. If they don't rate Asghar then make Inzi pick someone else.


    PakPassion.net: How do you view Sarfaraz Ahmed's Captaincy? Do you think he'll fail overseas like his predecessors or does he have it in him to compete with the best in the world in their den?

    Abdullah719:
    I assume this question is for Tests as he's already done OK in LOIs whenever he's played. I didn't get a chance to watch much of the SL Tests but again, this safety-first approach of using Azhar at #3 needs to be shelved. It's not a safety-first approach when you're giving the other team a free wicket at the top anyway. I would like to see more composure from Sarfaraz in Tests as well, and he will need to start contributing with the bat; he needs to feel good about his own spot in the team too. Tactically on the field, most of what I've seen from him so far is pretty good. The Test failures were exacerbated by the failures of the batsmen but once they start performing better, I think we'll see what this team is really capable of. Sadly, we aren't scheduled to play Test cricket for the next few months so it's going to be a while until we see what path Sarfaraz and the management opt for, for the future.


    PakPassion.net: Thoughts on four-day Tests?

    Abdullah719:
    I don't have a lot to say about this besides what's been already stated by the likes of @MMHS and @Chief Destroyer previously. This will do absolutely nothing to make more people watch Test cricket but it sure is going to make Test cricket worse. I'd argue that extending it to six-day Tests even is a better idea than this. The point is not the number of days the match goes on for; the problem is that no one besides the most diehard fans who have a lot of free time can afford to spend 6-7 hours PER DAY watching a match. If a fan doesn't want to sit and watch cricket for 7 hours a day, how will reducing one day make any difference at all? If anything, it will make it worse as sessions might need to be extended. That's before we take all the disadvantages of the playing conditions into account; the difficulty of batting on Day 5 pitches, the importance of spinners in the latter days of matches. With four-day Tests, we'll see weaker teams playing for draws all the time. The only chance for better viewing would be if pitches were more favourable to bowlers but that is just not sustainable over a long period of time. Seeing pitches like that is rare nowadays anyway. To summarise, I am against this move 100%.


    PakPassion.net: Greatest match, greatest batting performance, and greatest bowling performance that you have ever watched live.

    Abdullah719:
    Greatest match would have to be the CT final. The quality of cricket may not have been the best but for a Pakistan fan, it's obvious why it would be top of the list.

    Greatest batting performance would probably be Gibbs' 175 against Australia in the 434 chase.

    Bowling performance - I think it would be one of Johnson's 2013/2014 performances. He was just so devastating then that I can't really pick one.


    PakPassion.net: Which batsman from domestic scene do you think has a bright future ahead for Pakistan?

    Abdullah719:
    Gonna be honest here, I'm not very confident about my eye for talent as I don't know about a lot of technicalities relating to batting. In addition to that, there are very few videos available of most players at the domestic scene. I'm going to go with Zeeshan Malik - he's performed very well at U19 level and looked a class apart during the recent Rising Stars tournament. He needs to play domestic cricket though, hopefully gets picked for the upcoming tournaments and PSL. Only played one match at QEA this year (so far) and made a pair... so hopefully does better next year. Though these garbage pitches make it so much harder for younger batsmen. Saud Shakeel is also someone who has been rated very highly for the past few years and would be expected to go on and have a good career for Pakistan; he wasn’t getting consistent chances at FC level last year which was ridiculous to see but he has done well this year considering the pitches; however, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing as the pitches seem to be damaging the batsmen rather than helping them to improve.


    PakPassion.net: Biggest problem facing Pakistan cricket?

    Abdullah719:
    There are many major issues facing Pakistan cricket; the two biggest ones I can think of are A). domestic cricketers don't earn enough and B). the state of the pitches and conditions for domestic cricket matches, chiefly the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Just have a look at some of the scores this time around for this tournament; nothing more needs to be said. Medium-pacers ruling the roost by bowling on a consistent line and length, the pitch and conditions take care of the rest. Scoring big runs becomes so much more difficult. These pitches are the main reasons why we aren't producing high-level Test batsmen and fast-bowlers. Heck, not many spinners do well either, it's mostly medium pacers doing all the damage! For batsmen, there is virtually no chance of playing long innings. How do we expect to progress when it's the same old bowlers running amok every single season with scores of <100 being quite normal?


    PakPassion.net: Wasim or Waqar, and why?

    Abdullah719:
    This is a tough comparison, especially for someone who hasn't watched them really during their playing careers. Not much to separate them in terms of stats, until you dig a little deeper and realise Waqar's weak points... but I will still go with Waqar here. I am answering this question in terms of who I'd want to watch and some of the old spells of Waqar are absolutely amazing to watch, the thrill is indescribable. For all of Wasim's genius, there is just something very special about express pace-bowlers that is unmatchable. For the same reason, I can watch spells of Shoaib or Johnson over and over without ever tiring. Of course, Wasim's skills were unbelievable and he could do things with the ball that not many others could. But Waqar wins here, for me.


    PakPassion.net: Who is your favourite Pakistani cricketer?

    Abdullah719:
    Tough question because all of a sudden, there's so many likeable ones! Out of the current crop of cricketers, I can't help but admire Azhar's work ethic. His transformation to a top-order batsman after batting down the order and playing as a spinner in the earlier part of his FC career and then his constant improvement while being a part of the Pakistan team is fascinating. I wasn't too perturbed by his performances in South Africa in 2013 because what mattered was how he responded and he came out of that tough period in his career stronger than before and has been on the rise since then, and has become a very dependable Test bat for Pakistan. And in the past year or two, his fitness has improved a lot as well.

    From the newest generation, Hasan and Shadab. Hasan started off well-enough but he has improved at an outstanding rate and is really serious about his cricket. He's even put on a decent amount of muscle in a short period of time and is extremely fit. Gives it his all each and every single time he bowls. He has the heart of a champion. As for Shadab, he is a real clutch player, and blessed in all facets of the game. His bowling keeps improving, he hasn't got a good number of chances with the bat and has already played crucial knocks and he's brilliant in the field. These two are the face of our LOI teams (alongside Babar and Sarfaraz obviously).


    PakPassion.net: How excited are you about the imminent return of Salman Butt?

    Abdullah719:
    When this question was originally asked, I think his chances of a return were brighter than they are now... Now with 264 runs at an average of 20.3 in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, I would hope that the chances of a comeback for him are bleak. I have a very simple stance on this matter, actually, which might not be in agreement with many. I don't care for an 'extended ban' or whatever people are proposing for Butt though of course that's almost a complete legitimate opinion on this subject. I simply feel that whatever is the prescribed punishment should be delivered and once it is over, whoever is worthy of being selected, ON MERIT, should be selected. Feelings and opinions don't come into this as that will make the discussion a subjective one. However, the reason why I was and will remain against any talk of Butt's selection is that he is a failure at Test level and that is something that tends to be overlooked. He has always performed in domestic cricket, that's nothing new. For someone who has failed at the international level, one season of moderately good performances should never be enough specially for a batsman who is at an advanced stage of his career. The only way now he can make a comeback would be to outscore everyone for 2-3 seasons to show that he's performing at a much higher level compared to before, and that won't happen. As for bans for fixing, etc., I am of the opinion that bans need to be longer and life bans should be considered as well. But this can't be applied retrospectively; what's happened with Butt is in the past but anyway, he isn't good enough. Never was.


    PakPassion.net: How do you remember so many cricket facts?

    Abdullah719:
    It's just to do with PakPassion I guess. I really enjoy following cricket and keeping track of what's going on. I've read a very high proportion of threads on the cricket forum over the past 15 months or so, and I've absorbed a lot of knowledge in that period.


    PakPassion.net: You post cricket videos, posts from various social media outlets regularly. Is that related to your profession or something you intend to delve into in the future?

    Abdullah719:
    Uploading cricket videos is something I started actively doing a while ago because there was a void; no one was really uploading videos regularly on PP and the forum is worse off without videos. #GreenRoars was the previous expert in this regard on PP and I felt I had to take over the mantle as there was a lack of cricket videos in general. I started a few months ago but it's a very tricky thing due to copyright restrictions etc. therefore I generally focus on domestic cricket and steer clear of videos from international cricket.

    I follow social media, particularly Twitter very actively as it's a great way to stay in touch with what's happening around the world. I mainly follow cricketers and news outlets and also maintain some interest in worldwide politics just to stay informed. I end up posting a lot of news items in the Time Pass section; a lot of the times the threads may not generate any interest, but every now and then, there may be something that leads to a good discussion.


    PakPassion.net: Any hobbies/interests aside from cricket?

    Abdullah719:
    A secondary interest after cricket is football. I started watching football in 2007 (or 2008) and just happened to watch a Chelsea match so I became interested in it. In school, there was also a lot of interest in football, probably more than cricket and everyone had a favourite EPL club. I started playing FIFA (don't play it much anymore though) and played with Chelsea generally. One of my earliest memories as a Chelsea fan will be that of Terry's slip in the Champions League final against Manchester United. After coming to Egypt, I was out of touch and missed following Ancelotti's brilliant side but regained interest after that. I saw the 2012 CL final at a cafe in Alexandria; I think most of the people there were Bayern supporters.... The victory was really quite unbelievable considering all that transpired during the course of that season; Drogba was brilliant. Chelsea has a lot of ups and downs which is somewhat reminiscent of being a Pakistan cricket fan.

    I used to read books a lot but now computers have replaced that for the most part. There's still a lot of reading involved as the internet has a wealth of knowledge but there's more potential as well. I did a part-time job previously that involved photography and photo-editing and found that quite enjoyable. Also a fitness enthusiast as every other person is nowadays though I am a newbie and lack a good diet... The norm in desi homes.


    PakPassion.net: Who is more passionate about cricket you or Muhammad10? How was it growing up with a younger brother who is equally involved in the sport? Do you guys play "gully cricket" in Cairo?

    Abdullah719:
    When we're watching cricket, I guess we're equally invested in it. Besides that, I'm probably more passionate about it; he doesn't follow it quite as closely as I do. In terms of playing cricket, he was probably a bit better; got into a few school teams whereas I was quite a dud for my level. Due to age difference, I was still superior though. However, we stopped playing a long time ago. Probably last played cricket 6-7 years ago in Alexandria in a driveway. The thing is that unless you're close to expats, there is absolutely no interest in cricket here. No one knows what it is unless they have been overseas and have spent time with subcontinental people. And two people can't really play a lot so eventually we just stopped and never really got back to it. Obtaining cricket equipment is also a hassle; lost the one bat we had a few years ago and anyway it was a small one, probably bought it over a decade ago.


    PakPassion.net: What is the significance of the number 719?

    Abdullah719:
    Nothing at all, just a unique number I got used to using on a few different platforms. I figured it would be unique enough so that I can use the same username everywhere though that hasn't turned out to be the case... still, remembering a couple of usernames sure beats remembering a different one for each and every platform.


    PakPassion.net: What makes you want to continue living in Cairo?

    Abdullah719:
    Actually, it's quite the opposite. We completely intend to return to Pakistan. When I came to Egypt, the situation was different but things have changed a lot and I don't really see a future for myself here. The economy is actually improving ever so slowly in recent times with tourism numbers on the way up. However, things have deteriorated a lot and recovery will take a while. Just to put it into perspective, 1 US$ when I came here was worth EG£5.5 and now it's EG£17.5 (went up to 20 at one stage). A lot of Egyptians live a very hard life as salaries are at extremely low levels; to compensate for that, a lot of items need to be heavily subsidised. Anyway, I also want to return to Pakistan as I identify with the country, perhaps more so after having left it. I don't want to be one of those overseas Pakistanis who criticises for the sake of it without contributing towards its betterment. There's so many highly educated Pakistanis who leave the country at the first opportunity; understandably, they search for greener pastures in terms of their future careers and prospects but how will the country ever progress if this continues? I don't see my future anywhere but in Pakistan. Admittedly, after being away for so long, there are a few things that are a concern such as the ever-increasing crime-rate specifically in Karachi. But things look to have improved in recent times with terrorist incidents particularly lesser in recent times. The main obstruction to returning is, once again, finances. But hopefully sometime in 2018, we'll return. Insha'Allah.


    PakPassion.net: What's it like being Pakistani in Cairo? Do u live separately to local Egyptians or in separate expat communities?

    Abdullah719:
    We live in a local commercial area so it's almost exclusively Egyptians around here but this specific area has a small expat sub-Saharan African community as well. I don't think there are any major 'expat communities'; most expats who are working at the embassy or elsewhere will probably be spread out amongst the posh areas of Cairo. It's a fairly diverse city, as I mentioned previously. One distinguishing feature of Cairo (besides the pyramids) is obviously the Nile and many parts of Cairo are fairly close to it. I'm currently a 10-minute walk away from it as well.


    PakPassion.net: How good is your Arabic? And what is your first language?

    Abdullah719:
    As part of the BA degree I'm doing, I'm learning Arabic. Still at a fairly beginner type stage in that regard. To expand a little bit more on Arabic in Egypt, it's a different dialect to the one spoken in other Arabic-speaking countries, particularly the Gulf. However, Egyptian Arabic is quite widespread due to the entertainment industry. Either way, the differences aren't that huge to negate understanding therefore those who can understand one will most likely understand the other, almost as well. But considering I've been living here for so long, I've been picking up Egyptian Arabic and am used to basic Egyptian speech so I can interact with Egyptians for most basic things. When it becomes a bit more advanced then it's complicated. A portion of people here also speak English though that's a much smaller proportion in comparison to Pakistan. I studied in an English-medium school in Pakistan but here, the vast majority of Egyptians will be having a completely Arabic syllabus though many take English separately due to the importance of tourism. If you go to areas that are mostly frequented by tourists, you'll find that most of the people there speak some English but that doesn't apply to the general populace.

    I consider English at my first language due to having studied in an English school and therefore speak English a lot at home as well. At one point when I was in Egypt, my Urdu had deteriorated to alarming levels but I have tried to balance that by trying to keep in touch with Pakistani news, etc. and trying to speak Urdu a bit more often at home. There are a lot of advantages of having come through an English system but I wish a bit more importance was given to Urdu as well. Eventually, I hope to have good command over Arabic insha'Allah but Urdu needs improvement as well.


    PakPassion.net: What do you like more in Cairo - fouul or falafel?

    Abdullah719:
    Neither but if push comes to shove, falafel. Egyptian food in general is something that I would not speak very highly of, to be honest. Compared to Pakistani food, it lacks taste generally. Very bland. I'm speaking mainly about home-cooked food here.


    PakPassion.net: What keeps you motivated to commit to PakPassion?

    Abdullah719:
    My interest in cricket I suppose. If I lacked interest then I don't think I would be spending so much time on PP, or might leave altogether. But I don't see that happening anytime soon. Obviously, there might come a time where I won't be able to dedicate so much time to PP but at the moment, I am generally on for a few hours almost every day. It's also a great social platform to discuss things with people who share a lot of the same ideas and interests when you're in a foreign country.


    PakPassion.net: What will be your PakPassion ODI XI?

    Abdullah719:
    Uber-aggressive team. I picked a complete 15-man squad.

    @Syed1 - Aggressive opener who will keep riling up the opponents
    @Mamoon - Calm and collected opener who has the answer to everything
    @Markhor - Adept in every situation
    @ahmedwaqas92 - Most clutch batsman in the team
    @MMHS - Extremely calculating batsman, ideal for this spot
    @shaz619 - All-rounder and sledger-in-chief
    @SarfiBabarHaris - Kaptaan and wicket-keeper
    @ChiefDestroyer - Fast-bowler and solid hitter
    @Belawal2014 - Great with the new ball and can use the long handle
    @mak36 - Wily, experienced pacer
    @Square Drive - Secret weapon, extremely talented leggie

    Bench: @Bilal7, @Tusker, @Buffet, @Bhaag Viru Bhaag and @Muhammad10 to fulfil family quota.


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  2. #2
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    The most awaited Member Interview of Pakpassion is out.

    Forget everything else and just read this beatiful interview.


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  3. #3
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    Very interesting life story, and I am sorry for your parents' divorce, I know how it feels and it can take its toll on a child. On a plus side, it teaches you a lot and puts you in good stead for your married life ahead.

    Great interview.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamoon View Post
    Very interesting life story, and I am sorry for your parents' divorce, I know how it feels and it can take its toll on a child. On a plus side, it teaches you a lot and puts you in good stead for your married life ahead.

    Great interview.
    It happens sometimes as people don't always get along but the important thing is that the respect is still there. Consequently, I have a fully functional relationship with both my parents, alhamdulillah.

    It is definitely an experience that one can learn from.


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  5. #5
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    This is the best interview i have ever read in my life


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  6. #6
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    Excellent interview. Can't remember a better interview than this. Wish you all the best with your studies and your future.

  7. #7
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    Masha Allah! I am so glad knowing that you are a Student of Islamic Studies.

  8. #8
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    Learning so much about Abdullah! A wonderful person to work with - correction, wonderful person.


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  9. #9
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    Great interview!

    But what is NSK?
    Last edited by MenInG; 8th November 2017 at 15:55.

  10. #10
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    Nice to know that you are half Indian Abdullah.

  11. #11
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    Nice interview. Enjoyed reading this.


    You gotta work until your idols become your rivals.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by msb314 View Post
    Great interview!

    But what is NSK?
    national stadium karachi.

  13. #13
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    great interview,

  14. #14
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    Awesome poster


    Kuch to log kahenge
    Logon ka kaam hai kehna

  15. #15
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    Itna lamba interview


    No wonder it took you five months to get it done



    Shaam mein fursat se parhonga


    #Mein inko rolaonga

  16. #16
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    Family Quota

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRsohail View Post
    national stadium karachi.
    Oh right - thanks!

  18. #18
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    Wow. The hype is real. That is a very interesting life and no wonder you're a great person to interact with, Mash'Allah.

    Wish you the best for the future, bro.


    لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله

  19. #19
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    Interesting interview!

    How are the local people in Egypt? Do you interact with them often? A non-egyptian Arab told me once that Egyptians are special people to hang around with. If you hang with them long enough they will change you as a person, in a positive sense. Unfortunately I haven't really had the pleasure yet but would you agree?

    How are the pyramids holding up? Have you been there? Are they really that amazing or are they just hyped up to lure in the naive tourist? Are there crocodiles in the Nile?

    How did you experience the revolution of 2011? Were you guys a bit worried at all or was everything OK if you just stayed at home?

  20. #20
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    Great interview

  21. #21
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    Great interview. Didn't know Muhammed was your brother.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirris View Post
    Interesting interview!

    How are the local people in Egypt? Do you interact with them often? A non-egyptian Arab told me once that Egyptians are special people to hang around with. If you hang with them long enough they will change you as a person, in a positive sense. Unfortunately I haven't really had the pleasure yet but would you agree?

    How are the pyramids holding up? Have you been there? Are they really that amazing or are they just hyped up to lure in the naive tourist? Are there crocodiles in the Nile?

    How did you experience the revolution of 2011? Were you guys a bit worried at all or was everything OK if you just stayed at home?
    Egyptians are fun-loving people in general and most of them are extremely hospitable towards outsiders. As is the case with all nationalities, there are a fair share of those who have ulterior motives behind what they do but in general they're easy to get along with and to interact with. For an outsider, the amount of hospitality that one receives can be somewhat overwhelming so I can understand where that statement is coming from.

    However, most of the people who I meet on a daily basis believe I am an Egyptian; nothing about me really yells foreigner unless I start having a complicated conversation... then I need to let the cat out of the bag! Sometimes when people realise that, they'll take guesses; the most common one is 'Are you a Syrian?' because Syrians are the most common immigrants/refugees around here. Therefore, my interactions with Egyptians are generally very normal, everyday kinda events.

    The pyramids are holding up fine and I can understand why tourists would be fascinated by them. They were pretty cool and when you realise how old they are and how precise the construction is, you know it's a big deal. However, if you judge it by modern standards then some people might find it underwhelming. Personally it was a good experience, but not something I would bother doing again. There are a lot of hecklers there and naive tourists often don't know how to handle them. Also saw the Sound and Light show which was a complete waste of time tbh. For anyone considering coming, stick to seeing the Pyramids themselves and forget the other gimmicks; be firm with hecklers selling over-priced artefacts. And always negotiate prices in advance to avoid nasty surprises. However, taking pictures is a must.

    No crocodiles in the Nile for the most part though they might be found right at the southern tip around Lake Nasser which is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Sadly, the Nile has become polluted with a lot of garbage over a long period of time. Boat-rides and cruises on the Nile are very common and can be a nice experience.

    We were in Alexandria during the 2011 revolution so just mainly followed it on TV. Most of the action was in Cairo and the country essentially came to a standstill at the time. There was an element of worry as instability and uncertainty was increasing but no real threat or immediate danger. Stayed at home for the most part obviously though some Egyptians were keen to get involved.


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    Itna lamba interview

    No wonder it took you five months to get it done

    Shaam mein fursat se parhonga
    I was writing it in Notepad so didn't realise the length... then I copy-pasted to Word and saw the word count after answering just the first few questions... pata chala abhi se hi kuch zyada hogaya hai. I thought I better keep the second-half shorter.


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  24. #24
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    Beatutiful interview my friend and you've had quiet the journey, always been one of my favourite posters top lad and I wish you well in your future endeavours, great responses and some lovely insight

  25. #25
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    Solid interview.

    Ever took a dip in the Nile? Is that even allowed where you live?


    A skilled hawk conceals its talons.

  26. #26
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    Excellent interview. You've had quite the journey for such a young bloke. Wish you well in your further studies and future endeavours.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Destroyer View Post
    Solid interview.

    Ever took a dip in the Nile? Is that even allowed where you live?
    I'm sure it's allowed but the Nile is so dirty now that I'm not sure why anyone would want to take a dip... would probably get sick.

    In my case, I don't know how to swim so there's no chance.

    Took a boat-ride though and it was a nice experience, very calming and peaceful. It was during Ramadan, at sunset. Boat rides in Cairo are from two areas - one is close to Tahrir with all the big hotels, etc. and it's really noisy. I prefer the quieter version which is located a bit further South, very close to where I live.


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    I'm sure it's allowed but the Nile is so dirty now that I'm not sure why anyone would want to take a dip... would probably get sick.

    In my case, I don't know how to swim so there's no chance.

    Took a boat-ride though and it was a nice experience, very calming and peaceful. It was during Ramadan, at sunset. Boat rides in Cairo are from two areas - one is close to Tahrir with all the big hotels, etc. and it's really noisy. I prefer the quieter version which is located a bit further South, very close to where I live.
    You'd be taking a dip in history.

    Cool.


    A skilled hawk conceals its talons.

  29. #29
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    Very in depth interview with an excellent poster. What a match to start watching cricket in that 2004 Karachi ODI as it had everything - narrative, hype, drama, big names, rivalry great individual performances, an electric atmosphere, a nailbiting finish. Then the Karachi crowd reciprocated the sportsmanship shown by the Chennai crowd to Pakistan five years earlier in 1999 by applauding the Indian team off the field.

  30. #30
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    Fantastic interview
    Fantastic guy
    Fountain of knowledge when it comes to cricket
    Every stat is at his fingertips



  31. #31
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    One of the nicest guy out there on internet. Hamesha khush raho bhai
    Brilliant interview too!


    Sarfi as captain'll lead us to glory.Babar'll be our best odi bat & Haris'll be world class in tests

  32. #32
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    Beautiful interview. Was a very very enjoyable read. I'm glad two of my questions got picked.


    And thanks for picking me as an opener in your side, I'll make sure to run out the other opener in quick time so that negativity doesn't effect the entire team


    #Mein inko rolaonga

  33. #33
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    Brilliant interview and a great write up. It is nice to be working with you @Abdullah719

  34. #34
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    Great interview Abdullah!!

  35. #35
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    Fantastic interview from one of the best posters and mod on the site. Massive respect for him, and he is the go-to man when there are any questions/concerns.

    Also, thanks for shoutout! Will make sure I rip teams apart like your boy Shady, but just know I can play those handy knocks too.

    Good luck with everything bro!


    Hai yeh Josh-e-Junoon, hai yeh apna yaqeen, ke jo tum mein hai dum, woh kisi mein nahin!

  36. #36
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    Great read.

    I do agree that it's better to extend Test to 6 days rather than shortening to 4.

  37. #37
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    Great interview.Great poster.

  38. #38
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    Excellent interview by a great poster! Pleasure to work with him.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMHS View Post
    Great read.

    I do agree that it's better to extend Test to 6 days rather than shortening to 4.
    Agreed...But most guys will want it to be 4 day affair rather than 6.


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by UN talkz View Post
    Agreed...But most guys will want it to be 4 day affair rather than 6.
    It should be zero days


    #Mein inko rolaonga

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by UN talkz View Post
    Agreed...But most guys will want it to be 4 day affair rather than 6.
    Because they are not thinking before posting. A football/basketball match runs for 2 hours, may be at most 3 with tie breaker or OT - a T20 takes minimum 3.5 hours ....

    Therefore, making it even 2 Day Test with 1st innings fixed at 50 overs won't solve the problem. Rather 4 day Test will make the game even more slow and boring - you can find the reasons in another thread (the smog one, which scared WI not to tour PAK)....

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    Beautiful interview. Was a very very enjoyable read. I'm glad two of my questions got picked.


    And thanks for picking me as an opener in your side, I'll make sure touick tim run out the other opener in qe so that negativity doesn't effect the entire team
    lolz.he will be having ultra short career playing along you.
    Last edited by DRsohail; 9th November 2017 at 15:17.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMHS View Post
    Because they are not thinking before posting. A football/basketball match runs for 2 hours, may be at most 3 with tie breaker or OT - a T20 takes minimum 3.5 hours ....

    Therefore, making it even 2 Day Test with 1st innings fixed at 50 overs won't solve the problem. Rather 4 day Test will make the game even more slow and boring - you can find the reasons in another thread (the smog one, which scared WI not to tour PAK)....
    Yes... i will say let's wait for ZIM vs SA 4 day test match... Zimbabwe will just focus on playing for a draw... and that's where problem arises,it will either be a boredom that ends with a draw or Zimbabwe will be blown away in 2 days becoz of negative approach


    SIR DONALD BRADMAN ------SORRY, BUT NO ONE LIKE HIM

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by UN talkz View Post
    Yes... i will say let's wait for ZIM vs SA 4 day test match... Zimbabwe will just focus on playing for a draw... and that's where problem arises,it will either be a boredom that ends with a draw or Zimbabwe will be blown away in 2 days becoz of negative approach
    ZIM will lose it in 4 days for sure, because that's a skeleton of a Test team. What'll happen is when SAF bats, it'll be like a boxer practicing for his next belt on his bumble bag, when ZIM bats it'll be like a marathon runner trying to reach the tape some how, just to have the name in the list of "completed".

  45. #45
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    Nice interview. Pleased to see myself included in the squad for the PakPassion ODI XI, courtesy of the family quota.


    Follow PakPassion on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram!

    Please also follow PakPassion Sport!

  46. #46
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    Great interview enjoyed reading it.


    IN PAKISTAN LIES OUR DELIVERANCE,DEFENCE, AND HONOUR.
    -Muhammad Ali Jinnah

  47. #47
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    Great interview. Top poster.

  48. #48
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    Good read. @Abdullah719 really a top bloke @Muhammad10 too both great guys. Puts in a ton of work behind the scenes as well to keep this place running smoothly. All the best with everything fellas.

  49. #49
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    one of the best moderators on PP. Its such a thankless job. Greatly appreciate what you do over here. lol at family quota


    Sydney Bangalore Manchester Centurion Durban Jo'burg Mohali Colombo Dhaka Adelaide Kolkata

  50. #50
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    Great Interview.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tusker View Post
    one of the best moderators on PP. Its such a thankless job. Greatly appreciate what you do over here. lol at family quota
    And that he is!


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  52. #52
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    Very good interview. Read it after @LastManstanding recommended it.

    It may be a surprise to many but Indo Pak mariages were quite common before the mid 90s .Also this movement between the two countries was also not that difficult.

  53. #53
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    @Abdullah719 and @Muhammad10 have cornered family quota of Admins.

  54. #54
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    Incredible interview @Abdullah719.

    It was very interesting and you have certainly lived an interesting life! Your humility shines through this interview.

    Thanks for the mention and I am happy a few of my questions were picked.

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