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  1. #1
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    Member Interview: mak36

    PakPassion.net: How did you discover PakPassion?

    mak36:
    I thought this question might come up, and the honest answer is I donít remember! I think it was through Sajís tweets and articles, and initially I only used PP for the interviews and talent spotters. As time went on, I discovered the Cricket Forum and eventually got involved. The rest, as they say, is history. I have a learnt a lot about the game from my fellow posters, many of whom are very knowledgeable, and I hope to continue to learn from them.

    @Saj, @MenInG and the rest of admin team do a great job in keeping this site active and relevant- long may it continue! Special shout out to @Abdullah719 who is seemingly always at hand to help out/offer his guidance (and is an excellent poster to boot).


    PakPassion.net: What explains Pakistan's struggles in the UAE?

    mak36:
    Pakistanís stellar T20I record speaks for itself so I will exclude that format from this question.

    In terms of Pakistanís recent struggles in the UAE, some of the factors are format specific, some of the factors apply across the board. I think the most important in terms of the latter is the fact the UAE is Pakistanís adopted home. It is very easy to forget that. Pakistani players have a double hurdle; they need to learn how to play well in domestic cricket and once they have done that they then have to learn how to play in alien conditions in the UAE; that is a hurdle no other international team has to face. Thatís before you even factor in the fact the team is practically living out of suitcases for the whole year, year in, year out. In short, there is no such thing as ďhomeĒ advantage when it comes to Pakistan. People may try and say that Pakistan has been playing in the UAE long enough now, but answer me this: how much experience does the current crop of players (with a few notable exceptions) have of UAE conditions?

    In terms of ODIs, Pakistanís struggles in the UAE are nothing new. This is why I was surprised when people said Pakistan were front-runners for the Asia Cup. The UAE may well be Pakistanís adopted home, but it has not been a welcoming host by any means when it comes to ODIs (feel free to check.) As I touched on above, the other factor worth remembering is that Pakistan havenít played too many ODIs in the UAE since Mickey took over and the team is therefore pretty young and inexperienced in UAE conditions. In terms of the Asia Cup, the squad didnít really suit UAE conditions and the management were a little slow (and arguably still are) on realising the need to select a squad suited to UAE conditions. There have been signs of improvement in the NZ series and I hope that continues, but I still think adding a ďproperĒ second spinner like Zafar or Irfan (leg-spinner) to the squad would work wonders; @Markhor wrote an excellent post on this which is well worth a read if you havenít done so already (ďspin is kingÖĒ).

    I will say there are clear shortcomings in the ODI team that need addressing, in particular some of the skill levels (especially of the batsmen). People often complain that Pakistan has too many accumulators, but that misses the point. In ODIs, you need batsmen who can play run a ball cricket for long periods. The problem is that some of the ďaccumulatorsĒ in the side arenít particularly good at accumulating anything other than dots! There are plenty of alternatives, but that requires the selectors/management to take the initiative, select young talent and nurture it.

    I also feel that there are too many ďall-roundersĒ in the team. There is still a role for specialist players in the modern game! It is absolutely criminal Haris has not featured in ODIs more consistently, and I am happy to see that is now changing (better late than never I suppose).

    In terms of Tests, Pakistan are on an upward trend. Sarfaraz has grown into the Test captaincy and I expect this team will only get better. The loss to Sri Lanka was unexpected but not completely surprising; Pakistan had just lost the two lynch-pins of their batting line up as well as a very effective Test captain in Misbah. If you go back and watch the highlights of those games, you will realise they ended up being very close games. Add in the fact that Pakistan lost the toss in both those matches and you start to see that Pakistan were a little unfortunate. Since then, Pakistan has played pretty well; winning the Australia Test series was a good result, but I was a little disappointed the first Test was drawn. I am pleased the management has finally started playing two spinners in the UAE, and I hope they continue to select a playing XI suited to the conditions. The upcoming New Zealand series shall certainly make for interesting viewing.


    PakPassion.net: When do you foresee international cricket returning to Pakistan?

    mak36:
    Itís difficult to say, but one would hope sooner rather than later. The PSL will be key to bringing cricket back to Pakistan, but to achieve long term success the priority has to be normalising cricket matches in Pakistan, rather than making it an Ďeventí.


    PakPassion.net: Do Pakistan deserve the Number 7 ranking in Tests?

    mak36:
    No. They will rise up the rankings, and quickly. Only eleven points separate number two and Pakistan; just to illustrate how close the rankings are, Pakistan could rise up as high as third after the New Zealand Test series.

    The number seven ranking is explained by a few factors:

    a) The lack of Tests Pakistan play (difficult to stay in rhythm, difficult to gain points)

    b) Expectations v experience: at the end of the day, people have short memories; because it ďfeelsĒ like a long time since MisYou retired fans are less forgiving and expect more from the team. That is all well and good but if you look at the number of Tests Pakistan has actually played since MisYou retired, you may be surprised at how low the number is. This is very much an inexperienced team that is still in a transition period.

    As I have touched on above, I think the Test team is on upwards curve and I am looking forward to tracking its progress under Sarfaraz (so far his record is 1 series loss, 1 series win and 1 tough away series draw). I should add in light of the unnecessary controversy created by Mohsin Khan, Sarfaraz is absolutely the right man to lead the Test team.


    PakPassion.net: Do you think Sarfaraz Ahmad is the right choice to lead Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup?

    mak36:
    Yes. For me, he is one of the best captains in the world currently. However much his critics try to underplay it, winning the Champions Trophy was a remarkable feat and all the experts (including the likes of Atherton and Nasser) were unanimous in praising his captaincy and saying it was instrumental in Pakistanís victory. The fact WC19 is also in England makes Sarfaraz the obvious choice.

    People may point to the fact that ODI results in 2018 havenít been brilliant so far, but I am yet to see anyone explain why Sarfarazís captaincy was the cause of that. The reasons for the 5-0 loss to New Zealand was because Pakistan were out-skilled by a team that is very strong at home; Pakistan's batsmen in particular failed to deliver (which made Harisís omission until the series was lost all the more puzzling).

    Coming back to the question, I will never forget the stark difference in energy when Pakistan played England in ODIs in 2016 under Azhar Ali as compared to the same group of players under Sarfarazís captaincy in the T20 of the same tour; the turnaround was remarkable. The point I am trying to make is the players look energised under Sarfaraz and they are pulling together as one team. As long as that drive and energy is there in the team, then Sarfaraz is absolutely the right man to lead the team. Yes there will be bumps along the way but I would say that is because this is a young, inexperienced team that is finding its way, rather than anything to do with the captaincy. Itís worth adding the Men in Green gave a good account of themselves in the recent New Zealand series, even though rain prevented Pakistan securing the 2-1 win.

    There is a wider point at stake here. Even if you donít like Sarfaraz as captain, this management has successfully nurtured a professional environment where there are standards, consistency in selection and an internal logic to the decisions they make. All of which means Pakistan, for once, has actually planned for a World Cup (perish the thought!) Why risk undoing all of that just to placate certain elements of the media desperate to create chaos in the team? Fundamentally, this a choice between supporting the management (and its right to choose its captain and team) vs a media whose only interest is to sell newspapers and furthering their agendas (e.g. pushing for players they support to be selected). I know which option I would chooseÖ


    PakPassion.net: How do you see Babar Azam? What does he have to do, to get to the next level?

    mak36:
    Babar will finish as one of Pakistanís greatest batsmen. In terms of what he has to do to get to the next level, I think he is already doing it. He has shown improvements in his power game and in the recent series vs Australia he has shown a developing shot range, including the ramp shot and the sweep/slog sweep. Babar's recent comments about Virat were pleasing to me for two reasons:

    a) He recognised the importance of Virat's body language, and if you re-watch the recent matches Babarís own body language on the field has been a lot better.

    b) He talked about Viratís hunger for runs, and the importance of starting again for each innings (even if you scored a century in the previous game). Having an insatiable hunger for runs will serve Babar well in the future.

    One other thing that I was happy to read was how Babar refused to accept being demoted by KK (in their attempt to retain all their star players.) It shows he knows his worth but more importantly shows he is willing to challenge anyone who says otherwise; those are the actions of someone who is confident and assertive (both qualities which will help him get to the next level).

    Other than that, he just needs to put on some muscle!


    PakPassion.net: Who are your favourite upcoming players in the Pakistan team and domestics? Who are 3 young dynamic batsmen who you think can represent Pakistan for a long time?

    mak36:
    Zeeshan Malik, Saud Shakeel and Umair Yousuf are three young batsmen I am looking forward to see progress. I have written a lot about them on PP, so I wonít repeat why I rate them so highly. There are plenty of other batsmen I am looking forward to see progress across all formats, such as Saif Badar, Danish Aziz, Nasir Nawaz and Saad Ali (Tests). I am also pleased to see Ahsan Ali has rediscovered his form this season. The point is there is plenty of talent, but one needs to have a proper domestic system in place for it to flourish. (Side note: NBP and PTV deserve credit for giving chances to so many youngsters at the domestic level).

    For me, judging character is as important as judging technical ability and skill when it comes to identifying talent, but sometimes people make the mistake of judging solely on technical ability. Fakhar Zaman is just one example of someone who was written off by people who only judge on technique/skill. Most will be familiar with the fact I rate Asif Ali highly; he obviously has skill but I think his character sets him apart and that is one of the reasons I have said he has great potential as a match winner.


    PakPassion.net: You seem to follow domestic cricket in Pakistan avidly. What things do you think can be improved in order to ensure the right talent comes up through the ranks?

    mak36:
    People far more knowledgeable than me have written on this and I do hope the plan Bazid Khan and his father came up with is given due consideration by the PCB. That said, I would suggest the following:

    The most basic, but fundamental, thing that needs to change are the pitches (particularly in FC cricket). Some of them are beyond terrible.

    Beyond that, whilst it is a trite observation to say there is plenty of talent in Pakistan, that is no justification for having a very poor domestic structure. Regional cricket has to be strengthened but rather than getting rid of departments per se, I do think there is a case for the departments to be Ďre-brandedí as the regions. That way you have the best of both worlds; the administration expertise/structure of the departments coupled up with the regional name (which is important to draw public interest).

    I do hope domestic cricket reform is a priority for the PCB. Whilst setting up a committee to look at this issue was a good idea, appointing Mohsin Khan has turned out to have been a serious mistake. More than anything else though, once the PCB formulates a clear plan/strategy it has to stick to it and give the new structure time to settle, rather than change the domestic structure year in, year out.


    PakPassion.net: Do you think Pakistani newcomers have recently shown a trend of having short peaks before regressing rather than improving? What might be the reason for this?

    mak36:
    No, I donít think so. I do think this was true in the past though which was as a result of previous managements lacking any kind of strategy/forward planning. Instead there was a short term approach where decisions were made on a whim/on the basis of media pressure. This chaotic approach is what used to make squad announcements so exciting but also frightening; a player could do well but be dropped, whilst a good player could struggle for form and suddenly find himself left out in the cold never to play for Pakistan again (this also helped create a culture of fear and selfish play). Itís no wonder Pakistan developed a reputation for recycling the same old players.

    Thankfully, this reactionary approach has not been followed by this management (and by that I mean the coaches and the selectors). Every player goes through changes in form. With the amount of video analysis done on players these days, the ďsurpriseĒ element doesnít last too long and players have to adapt and evolve in order to succeed (as an aside, this over-reliance on technology has meant teams are often blindsided by players they have never seen before which is something to consider in the run up to WC19).

    Once the honeymoon period is over, every player has to up-skill in order to survive; going through this stage successfully is what makes players even better. In terms of the current newcomers, many of them joined the team at the same time and so they are going through this ďadjustmentĒ period at the same time which can obviously affect the form of the team. The key is being patient; those good enough will come out of it as better players.

    This is also why I donít think you should blindly follow stats. Stats without context are meaningless. Investing in talent often means investing in someoneís potential rather than their numbers. The key to investing in players is being patient and giving them the tools to succeed. That is something Pakistan has struggled to do in the past, but something this management seems to understand (which is why squad selections are so predictable nowadays!) The approach taken with Babar Azam in Tests is just one illustration of this. Those who blindly follow stats will say his 99 vs Australia is when he finally made a mark in Test cricket but that simply isnít true; his 90* vs New Zealand and his 68 vs England were far better knocks in the circumstances. The point is newcomers have to be given a long rope, rather than be pushed out the moment things go wrong.


    PakPassion.net: Which of the young quicks in Pakistan cricket do you rate the highest?

    mak36:
    In terms of the current team, Shaheen Shah Afridi has been a revelation and someone I really enjoy watching bowl.

    In terms of bowlers who are yet to debut, if I had to choose one bowler I would say Naseem Shah; he looks a real find and he is exactly the type of bowler the team needs right now.

    Beyond that, Arshad Iqbal looks like he will be a very good bowler, especially in Tests. I havenít seen any decent footage of Mohammad Hasnain but by all accounts heís worth keeping an eye out. Musa has the natural aggression a fast bowler needs, but his height could hold him back. Ghulam Mudassar and Ahmed Bashir have been performing well at the domestic level and deserve to be selected for any upcoming A tours.

    I do think Pakistan need to develop a tall right arm option, and to that end I hope Shaur Ahmed is someone the management takes under their wing.


    PakPassion.net: How is PSL different from IPL?

    mak36:
    Let me start by saying the IPL is clearly the wealthiest league and its crowds are a sight to behold. But that isnít the only measure of success, and for me the PSL is the best league in the world simply by virtue of the fact itís the one I enjoy watching the most and the one I feel most invested in. The day we start judging cricket on the basis of anything else, the game dies.

    Thereís a lot to be said about how the PSL has transformed Pakistan cricket (to list a few examples, the PSL has: helped players deal with pressure situations; produced a platform for young talent; helped to bring merit in selection; allowed players to work with world class coaches and learn from players across the globe; produced players ready for selection; generated revenue for the PCB and brought cricket back to Pakistan etc.) but thatís for another time.


    PakPassion.net: Your favourite batsman and why.

    mak36:
    Inzamam-ul-Haq was a clutch player and someone who soaked up pressure like it was nothing; as long as he was at the crease, you always felt Pakistan had a chance. Yousuf was a delight to watch, and he used to make batting look so easy. I enjoyed watching the great Australia team, and particularly enjoyed watching Ricky Ponting, Matt Hayden and Adam Gilchrist. In terms of the current Pakistan team, I love watching Haris bat. His elegance reminds me of Yousuf, and I could honestly watch him bat all day. Out of the big four I respect Viratís work ethic and hunger for runs, but personally I prefer watching Steve Smith or Kane Williamson.


    PakPassion.net: Is Test match cricket sustainable in the long run?

    mak36:
    Yes. This would need an essay to explore properly so I will leave it at that!


    PakPassion ODI XI

    mak36:
    A star studded line up (apologies if I have missed anyone):

    1. @Junaids- the Geoffrey Boycott of the team, an experienced campaigner who speaks his mind

    2. @Abdullah719- unflappable captain and all-conditions opener (C)

    3. @Markhor- dependable number three, level headed and considered in his thoughts

    4. @Bilal7- the KP of PP, a dynamic number four who is always looking for a chance to get on top of the bowlers

    5. @Bhaag Viru Bhaag- no nonsense number five, good luck if you bowl badly at him

    6. @Titan24- solid all-rounder, someone who quietly goes about his business in an effective fashion

    7. @Square Drive- solid all-rounder, always lifts the teamís spirits

    8. @SarfiBabarHaris- keeper and vice-captain, very perceptive and wise beyond his years (VC/WK)

    9. @Syed1- the Shahid Afridi of PP and official sledger (opponents donít stand a chance)

    10. @Chief Destroyer- lethal opening bowler who can also clear the ground for fun, expect an education on all things cricket

    11. @The Googly- wily leg-spinner with lots of tricks up his sleeve

    Bench: @Ahson8, @babajee, @Darkrai, @Monsee, @ataullah, @hailian

    Thanks to admin for arranging this interview. For those who have got this far, I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


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  2. #2
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    good interview @mak36


    Plz donít bring politics into sports!

  3. #3
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    Great interview!

  4. #4
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    Excellent interview by one of the best posters on the forum and it is an honour to be on the bench bro!

  5. #5
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    Always good chatting with mak. A breath of fresh air and someone I can reason with which doesn't always work here.


    A skilled hawk conceals its talons.

  6. #6
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    One of my favorite posters going around, always a voice of reason. It also helps that he tends to like the same cricketers I do.


    Thanks for the shout out in your PP XI.

  7. #7
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    Great read, and cheers for the shoutout bro @mak36. Must say it comes across as a bit of a surprise, as I haven't interacted much with you - or anyone - for that matter of late, due to my schedule being rather busy. There have been times where you as well as others have quoted me but I've not had the time to formulate a proper response, so apologies for that.

    I do, however, check a few threads here on the daily, and always stop by to read what you have to say. Very informative, and stuff I generally agree with.

    Keep it up bro!


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

  8. #8
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    Very nice interview. Quality poster


    You are not a drop in the ocean - You are the entire ocean in a drop
    - Rumi

  9. #9
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    Articulate and a straight shooter.

    Has shown everyone of his intricate knowledge from the domestic scene onwards and a sane voice amidst the daily flip-flopping on PP.

    Great interview @mak36.

  10. #10
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    Quality interview by a quality poster. (y)


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

  11. #11
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    Excellent interview. The explanation of Pakistan's struggle in UAE is POTW worthy!!

  12. #12
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    Well worth the wait! Excellent stuff.


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

  13. #13
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    Excellent interview by a top poster.

  14. #14
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    The approach taken with Babar Azam in Tests is just one illustration of this. Those who blindly follow stats will say his 99 vs Australia is when he finally made a mark in Test cricket but that simply isn’t true; his 90* vs New Zealand and his 68 vs England were far better knocks in the circumstances.
    Ramiz said precisely this today


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  15. #15
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    One of the top posters on this forum. The interview was a good read as are most of his posts.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    Ramiz said precisely this today
    The man also said Roger Federer looks ugly these days like Azhar Ali

    And mak36 is right. Anyone who doesn't understand how good Babar's 90* doesn't understand cricket. His best innings yet.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by hailian View Post
    good interview @mak36
    Thanks.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by babajee View Post
    Excellent interview by one of the best posters on the forum and it is an honour to be on the bench bro!
    High praise indeed. Thanks bro.

    Lol, you will be blooded into the T20 side immediately (strict no senior policy :p).

  19. #19
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    Btw @mak36 you have answered only cricket related questions.. ;)


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

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mak36 View Post
    High praise indeed. Thanks bro.

    Lol, you will be blooded into the T20 side immediately (strict no senior policy :p).
    Haha appreciate it.

  21. #21
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    Very interesting read - hope Mak is still upbeat about Pakistan after the NZ defeat?


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

  22. #22
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    A very good read from a very good poster.

    Fantastic knowledge of Pakistani domestic players.



  23. #23
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    Now available in the member ints section


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

  24. #24
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    I really fun interview to read, @mak36! We have similar views on pretty much all the questions that were asked of you, which automatically makes you one of the best posters here.

    That ODI lineup is pretty fun too. Never saw myself as KP but I'll take it.


    لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله

  25. #25
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    Very good interview. Also thanks for answering my question. @mak36

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Destroyer View Post
    Always good chatting with mak. A breath of fresh air and someone I can reason with which doesn't always work here.
    Thanks brother. Have learnt a lot about the game from our discussions.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syed1 View Post
    One of my favorite posters going around, always a voice of reason. It also helps that he tends to like the same cricketers I do.


    Thanks for the shout out in your PP XI.
    Thanks Syed bhai.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Square Drive View Post
    Great read, and cheers for the shoutout bro @mak36. Must say it comes across as a bit of a surprise, as I haven't interacted much with you - or anyone - for that matter of late, due to my schedule being rather busy. There have been times where you as well as others have quoted me but I've not had the time to formulate a proper response, so apologies for that.

    I do, however, check a few threads here on the daily, and always stop by to read what you have to say. Very informative, and stuff I generally agree with.

    Keep it up bro!
    Always look out for your posts too!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahson8 View Post
    Very nice interview. Quality poster
    Quote Originally Posted by ManFan View Post
    Articulate and a straight shooter.

    Has shown everyone of his intricate knowledge from the domestic scene onwards and a sane voice amidst the daily flip-flopping on PP.

    Great interview @mak36.
    Quote Originally Posted by rhony View Post
    Excellent interview. The explanation of Pakistan's struggle in UAE is POTW worthy!!
    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Well worth the wait! Excellent stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenstorm View Post
    Excellent interview by a top poster.
    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Very interesting read - hope Mak is still upbeat about Pakistan after the NZ defeat?
    Thanks all. No excuse for the first test loss, but we live and learn (hopefully)...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarfiBabarHaris View Post
    Quality interview by a quality poster. (y)
    Thanks bhai. Always enjoy our interactions.

    Quote Originally Posted by SarfiBabarHaris View Post
    Btw @mak36 you have answered only cricket related questions.. ;)
    Haha, well spotted. Interview was getting too long...

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fahdi View Post
    One of the top posters on this forum. The interview was a good read as are most of his posts.
    Thanks Fahdi. Very level headed poster.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    A very good read from a very good poster.

    Fantastic knowledge of Pakistani domestic players.
    Thanks Saj.

    It's great to see so many of them finally getting the chances they deserve.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilal7 View Post
    I really fun interview to read, @mak36! We have similar views on pretty much all the questions that were asked of you, which automatically makes you one of the best posters here.

    That ODI lineup is pretty fun too. Never saw myself as KP but I'll take it.
    Haha, thanks.

    Who do you see yourself as?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bhaag Viru Bhaag View Post
    Very good interview. Also thanks for answering my question. @mak36
    Thanks. Always interesting reading your posts.

  35. #35
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    My sincere apologies for responding so late to all your comments. It has been a very busy last few weeks.


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