Member Interview : UzmanBeast

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    Oct 2004
    2880 Post(s)
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    Member Interview : UzmanBeast

    Many thanks to @UzmanBeast for taking the time to put down some very comprehensive answers to questions from fellow members. What makes you post on PP?

    I think this has to do with a lot of things, primarily being that the PP community ranks as perhaps the best in terms of cricketing knowledge, so it is always wonderful to learn about different facets of the sport which one would not have learned by himself. Sharing viewpoints and ideas and getting different insights into the same issues is perhaps another factor, as I love structured debating. How did your interest towards cricket start?

    I would say that my interest began from playing the sport. Years ago, I'm pretty sure cricket was the most popular street sport in Pakistan. Ironically, I hated watching cricket when I was younger, it bored me to death listening to commentators talk about stuff I didn't understand. However, as I grew older, I started watching World Cups and some major Test series, and I would say that interest kept growing from there onwards. I always find playing the sport to be more exciting than watching the sport, and that's still true to this day. What do you think about the Big 3 model and lack of cricket expansion?

    The Big 3 Model, from a financial point of view, makes sense. The three richest boards at the top making the bulk of the revenue, and thus, they will have the highest earnings among member nations. The issue with this model comes with the inclusion of other teams in such decisions. At the moment, the Big 3 Model is purposely reducing the relevance of other cricket teams trying to improve themselves. In the name of making revenue, the Big 3 only tour each other and hardly entertain other teams even if they are weaker. This type of a mindset is quite damaging to the international scope of things, and the issue smaller boards will find is that almost everything happens if the Big 3 want it to. The bidding for ICC events will most likely run towards the Big 3, except if smaller members send a joint bid. Take PCB as an example, it is quite a rich board judging by net worth, but it doesn't even have the financial capacity to compete with the Big 3 for any ICC event. Upon that, there are factors like the BCCI refusing to tour and other issues which prevent smaller teams from getting hosting rights. Even if a team like New Zealand, Pakistan, or South Africa were to win a World Cup, they would still struggle to get hosting rights. The larger problem, however, is the financial distribution method the ICC uses along with the Big 3 model. Most of the revenue earned goes back to the boards who are already rich enough to sustain their expenses, rather than the boards like WI who are struggling to pay their cricketers. If the ICC is truly the governing body of cricket, they are doing a horrible job. To some extent, ICC is following the mindset of a third-world country, where the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. You must support smaller teams so that they can rise and make the game more competitive. A player in the world whose international debut you are most looking forward to?

    I would say given Pakistan's opening struggles across test matches, Abdullah Shafique is a player I'd like to see debut. It's not for any logical reason apart from the fact that he can't seriously be worse than Abid and Imran. What do you think lies ahead for Test cricket?

    Weather issues will spoil Test cricket if a solution is not found. Reserve days should be set for all Test matches, and due to light constraints, I think the pink ball should be used extensively, even outside day-night Test matches. Right now, there are a lot of good Test teams around the world, and with the home advantage factor, a lot of decent teams can overpower these good teams in suitable conditions. For that reason, Test cricket will survive, especially in places like Australia, England, and New Zealand where it is a very popular format. However, smaller cricket boards won't have the leverage of playing much Test cricket like the Big 3, so they will shift their interests towards the format they play most frequently, which will probably be T20 cricket. The ICC needs to start scheduling series between Big 3 nations and smaller teams as well, apart from increasing revenue streams to those smaller boards. With the WTC, I think the fall of Test cricket has been pushed back, but serious things need to be considered with regards to the weather changes. How do you think Pakistan will get on in this year's ICC T20 World Cup?

    Pakistan have every chance to win this T20 World Cup, but with incompetency, they have every chance to lose it as well. The problem lies with the mindset of our players, who are unable to stand up when the top three fails. This is partly due to poor selection, but also because our players are to some extent mentally weak. There is not a single cure or training program to increase the mental strength of a cricketer, that's something they need to figure out how to do themselves. Bring Shoaib Malik and Wahab Riaz back, and I think Pakistan have a solid chance of making the semi-final. After that, it is anyone's game. Who was your cricketing hero growing up (if you had one)?

    I would say that my cricketing hero was to some extent Shahid Afridi. I've always enjoyed watching spinners, and he was quite an unorthodox leg-spinner if I do say so. He looked like he was going to take wickets, and I tried to replicate my own action like his which didn't really work out the way I would have liked. He was someone who brought in the crowds, and largely, he was someone who underachieved with the massive potential and skillset he had. My views on Afridi are quite basic, he had all the talent, the game-time, and the skill to be the greatest all-rounder in the history of the sport. He could easily have an average of 35+ across all formats (maybe not T20s) if he tried to take things slow and worked out how to accelerate in a mature fashion. Afridi burst onto the cricketing scene with a lot of potentials, but he parted and left us with a lot of moments where we wonder what could have happened if he played normally. But, when he was on song, I don't think there was any batsman as entertaining as he was, given the time period in which he played. As a bowler, his record speaks for itself, but most will feel that he underachieved as a batsman solely because he was unable to hold his nerves and act according to the situation, and it's a shame that future generations of batsmen have followed in his footsteps. Players like Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal must have seen the popularity Afridi got by being reckless, and so, it's no surprise that both adopted a similar mindset only to find out that Afridi had a much larger legacy with the ball which neither of them had. Do you think Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik deserve to play the upcoming T20 World Cup?

    Absolutely. People might argue that Hafeez's batting form is poor at the moment, and while that is true, his bowling has been simply outstanding. With Malik, you get a proper batsman, and a person who really looks ready to go for it all. Push Hafeez down the order and bring Malik in at four (three if we choose to open with Babar and Rizwan). Our team needs runs to defend, and I would add Wahab Riaz to that list, because his experience can be vital to our bowling line-up in the place of a scatter-gun that is Haris Rauf. Your view on Pakistan's new domestic structure? Do you think six teams are sufficient to develop a pool of international cricketers?

    6 teams means that a lot of players end up getting left on the bench, so I don't think it is a reliable system. You don't want too many teams that there is hardly any competition, but you don't want a very small number of teams where there is too much competition for places. For this reason, I think the 6-team structure is not working in our favor. What do you think are the reasons behind the decline in the quality of fast bowlers being produced by Pakistan?

    I suppose injuries have played a massive role in our development of pacers. The second issue is the backing of the wrong players. Whilst it may be shocking for some new fans to hear, Shaheen Shah Afridi is a poor test match bowler at this stage of his career. Nothing about his First-class numbers remotely suggests that he was ready for test cricket, and he was rushed onto the scene without having to bend his back in First-class cricket. You can see the difference between him and Hasan Ali, someone who knows what they are doing and how they are going to set up batsmen. People don't speak about him much, but Wahab Riaz was not a bad test bowler by our extremely low standards.

    There don't appear to be any bowlers on our team who can bowl a proper bouncer consistently, and he was one of those guys who had really good bouncers. You need variety in the attack. For example, playing Faheem and Abbas in the same team will not bring about much because both have the same bowling style and purpose. I know Faheem has runs under the belt, but if an all-rounder like Amad Butt played, you'd have someone who could genuinely swing the ball. With the general production of fast bowlers, I will say that we have a lot of options who each have decent potential to succeed at the international stage. The problem is the lack of Pakistan A tours, along with little to no First-class cricket, and also our fans hyping up mediocre bowlers to the moon and back. If a guy looks good, he should be able to bend his back in First-class cricket and show some consistency in his line and length.

    We complain about the poor production of fast bowlers when we carry bowlers like Haris Rauf and Shahnawaz Dahani in test cricket when neither have sufficient First-class experience. By the time you've realized that they aren't good enough, you've squandered someone else's chance of making the team, someone who deserved selection in the first place. Our bowlers rarely play any domestic cricket apart from the PSL, so to complain about not producing good cricketers is ironic if you don't let them gain the experience they need to succeed at the international level. Time and time again, we've seen bowlers get dropped, and seen then perform in domestic and the results are there to see. Abbas played county, he has 2 wickets and looks set for a 5fer. Hasan played QEA, he's ripping through teams at the moment. When our selection panel gains some common sense and stops selecting every young player with potential, and instead allows them to figure out their style of bowling in First-class, only then will you reap the rewards. If you were given the chance to go back in time and watch one past game live at the stadium (without any change in the eventual result), which game would you pick?

    I think I would go and watch the 3rd Test Match between Pakistan and India in 2006. It was a great match in my opinion. How long do you think it'll take for Pakistan cricket to go back to their "late 80s to early 00s" glory?

    Never. Pakistan won't achieve that same status because those types of players are gone. You won't find another Wasim Akram, Imran Khan, or Javed Miandad. That legendary status is far gone, current players cannot be compared with those legends of the past. Pakistan however has the pen in its hand. If they wisen up, they can write a new chapter in cricketing history. The only thing stopping them are the same general politics, the same selection mistakes, and the lack of planning and preparation. The same inconsistency is a disease for which we have not yet found a cure. Fix all of that, and you'll get your ICC silverware, but Pakistan will never relive the glory of the past. Those were different days. The same applies to most teams around the world. Focus on the path that lies ahead. Where do you see cricket as a sport in 2030? Will it expand to a few new nations? Will bilaterals gain their lost mojo again or will they be dumped for more franchise cricket?

    It all depends on if smaller boards can get access to more mainstream cricket. Bilaterals will still remain relevant as we go on, though franchise cricket will start to intrude further into the calendar year. It's only a matter of time before PSL starts sending contracts of $500,000, and at that stage, you'll see the best of international stars ditch their countries for cash. The ICC probably won't see a problem as IPL is the only lucrative league, but when there's 3-4 leagues offering $500,000+, in lack of a better phrase, the ICC will be "______ their pants". I've said it time and time again, franchise cricket will cause the death of international cricket as a whole. It's only a matter of time. If you had to pick one batsman: Sachin Tendulkar or Brian Lara?

    I would pick Tendulkar. There's a lot to like about both, but I enjoyed watching Tendulkar bat because there was always something to learn from him, especially since he was a more orthodox batsman like myself. It was easier to learn how to play like Tendulkar, for me, than it was to watch Lara in all his excellent glory. If you could face one international bowler, who would it be?

    I reckon I could take on Ashwin on a Day 5 pitch in Chennai.

    In all seriousness, I would still pick Ashwin. I pride myself on my ability to play spin, so it would be interesting going up against the best test match spinner in the last decade. I'd also like to face Rashid Khan for that matter, it would truly be a challenge.
    Last edited by MenInG; 14th August 2021 at 15:28.

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