Member Interview: RedwoodOriginal


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  1. #1
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    Member Interview: RedwoodOriginal

    Many thanks to @RedwoodOriginal for his brilliant and in-depth replies to questions from fellow members.

    ===


    PakPassion.net: Who do you think is the best U23 player in Pakistan currently who can do well in coming years?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    Shaheen Shah Afridi would be the obvious option but since your question alludes to a player who hasn’t yet established himself for Pakistan, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Abdullah Shafique. There’s no evidence behind this opinion, just a gut feeling.


    PakPassion.net: What do you think of Ramiz Raja’s appointment as chairman of PCB and what are you expecting from his tenure?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    I thought it was a remarkably poor decision on part of Imran Khan to appoint Ramiz Raja as Chairman PCB. Based on what I’ve been able to deduce, Ramiz is someone who buys into his hype a little too much. Imran Khan obviously doesn’t watch much cricket nowadays as he has admitted so himself. So he doesn’t quite have an idea about the personality that comes across to viewers like me, who do watch entire Pakistan matches frequently, and have to suffer through his commentary. Whether it’s the same cliché-ridden lines of dialogue, complete lack of insight or the incessant ramblings about 92 and how Pakistani batsmen from his era had better strike-rates than those in the current side, there’s nothing that tells me that he has any earthly idea of what he is talking about.

    But even if you get down to brass tacks, his previous tenure as CEO which only lasted 15 months was considered disappointing or disastrous based on who you ask. Besides the fact that it led to widespread decline in the domestic game, he did quite a few strange things like continuing to commentate while he was CEO which blurred the lines between his official PCB position and his role as a commentator, as he would lambast players on the microphone…something that rightly did not go down well with the players. And then of course there was the case of him and Shaharyar Khan accusing Shoaib Akhtar of faking an injury, only for the scans to prove that Shoaib was in fact injured.

    All these incidents tell a story about his personality and how unequipped he is for an administration role. I don't expect anything from him.


    PakPassion.net: Your favourite cricketer from the last decade (Currently playing or retired)?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    Misbah-ul-Haq. I think the way he rebranded Pakistan after the events of 2010 and turned them into an unbeatable side at their adopted home was nothing short of remarkable. Despite captaining a side that was either mediocre or terrible and despite not being someone who was especially sharp tactically: he punched above his weight, was a great leader of men who commanded respect and an underrated batsman. The fact that he ended his career as the most successful Pakistan test captain, all while averaging 51 with the bat as captain is also quite an achievement. I always looked forward to seeing him bat whenever he came to the crease. And I have spent much of 2010-15 defending Misbah and unfortunately don’t have any energy left to continue defending him, which is why I try to avoid debates centered around Misbah the player and Misbah the captain.


    PakPassion.net: Is your user-name related to show “Sons of Anarchy”? If yes, how do you rate the show and do you recommend it?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    It is. I rate the show highly and would recommend it. And while it has a couple of seasons that are a bit inconsistent, the show has remarkable dramatic and emotional heft. As a Google search would probably tell you, the show is about the trials and tribulations of a young man moving up the ranks of a motorcycle club. And without spoiling anything, I feel like it takes you on a journey that is at once: exciting, suspenseful, violent, on occasion: darkly humorous and heart-breaking. Credit goes to Kurt Sutter whose layered, multi-dimensional characters and sharp writing make the show what it is. But also to Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, Katey Sagal who give outstanding performances throughout the show’s seven season run.


    PakPassion.net: Can the power of the Big-3 ever be controlled?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    I mean never say never. I’d like to think that eventually things will change. Especially as the middle-class in Pakistan grows bigger, international cricket/PSL becomes more prevalent and something routine and Pakistan starts becoming a more attractive side to play against that brings significant eyeballs, I’d like to think that Pakistan will start having more of a voice in international cricket. Bangladesh is another country that could have a bigger stake in world cricket because of somewhat similar reasons.

    For the near to immediate future though, I don’t see things changing. If anything, I see the BCCI getting more powerful and emboldened with ECB and CA holding onto their spots as the junior partners. And that unfortunately is a net negative for international cricket. Because we all know that the BCCI is only interested in increasing its power and turning international cricket more and more into an oligarchy where it remains the powerbroker. All while associates and teams like Zimbabwe continue becoming irrelevant, because why would the people who are actually responsible for running international cricket go out of their way or keep their selfish, capitalistic desires aside (even for a little bit) for the greater good of the game?


    PakPassion.net: How would you convince a non-fan or someone who thinks wrestling is fake to tune in and give 2 hours of their life to a weekly wrestling show today?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    The old line that “wrestling is fake” has always amused me, because I find it contrary to the ideas that pro wrestling presents and the feelings it elicits among its audience. For me, pro wrestling has always been about the quest for truth. Is XYZ good enough? Can ABC conquer his demons and finally win the big one? Is IJK unbeatable, or can someone finally beat him? Despite presenting a constructed or ‘staged’ version of reality, it also presents some very quintessential truths through the battle of good and evil that all people can relate to.

    At its best, pro wrestling is an art-from. An elevated form of theatre…a performance art that combines remarkable athleticism with riveting storytelling and something that can bring as much of a reaction out of its audience as any sport; be it football or basketball or cricket.

    So how can something, where two grown men have a 30-minute staged fight that gets 10,000 people to chant “this is awesome” be fake? How can something, where a guy cuts a 2-minute monologue that grips you and makes you believe every single word he said—even though the name on the screen is not even his real name—be fake? How can something where people legitimately put their bodies on the line---risking life and limb oftentimes---just to put on the best match, be fake?

    For people who look down on pro wrestling, I refer to the old age adage: ignorance is bliss. If they have such a dismissive attitude towards something they don’t even fully understand than they certainly won’t be convinced otherwise by me.


    PakPassion.net: You have some outspoken views on Mohammad Amir, is this out of strong dislike or feelings of what could have been?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    I was one of the biggest supporters of Amir on this forum, even when he went through that horrific run of form prior to the World Cup, and even when he decided to retire from test cricket, which stoked the ire of many; both within Pakistan cricket and on this forum.

    My opinion on Amir changed completely when I saw the attitude of entitlement that he showcased after he was dropped from the squad, and after which he announced his retirement. What especially stood out was the way in which he went after Misbah and Waqar; something that I thought was disgraceful, disrespectful and highly unbecoming of an international cricketer. But the decision to retire from all formats showed to me that he was an entitled brat, who had no desire of playing domestic cricket and proving his critics wrong. And that is where I lost all respect for him as a cricketer. Here is a guy who was given a second chance to rewrite his legacy. In Pakistan cricket, most people don’t even get a first chance, let alone a second. And what did he do? Besides a few memorable spells what did he really do to hang his hat on? And yet he somehow still expected that he was always going to be an automatic selection till he retired?

    I know a lot of people here are willing to look past all these things, but I am not one of them. An entitled player like Amir who does not take responsibility for his failures and has proven himself to be a toxic personality does not deserve a place in the side, despite his ability to step-up in big match situations.


    PakPassion.net: Do you think T20 format has been bad for cricket and what do you think about The Hundred?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    On one hand the T20 format has brought mainstream appeal to cricket, made it a highly lucrative sport through T20 leagues and allowed players who may be out of favor with the selectors to make a decent living.

    On the other hand though, it has taken attention away from test cricket which I consider to be a major negative. And I only see that increasing with time

    On the whole, I would say it has been more positive for cricket than it has been negative.

    As for The Hundred, I think the idea has a lot of legs. And while the ECB got a lot of things right with the marketing and the presentation, I think it has to find a way to bring together both people who are not as familiar with the sport and people who are avid watchers. And for that the ECB has to approach as the BCCI would to the IPL.


    PakPassion.net: According to you who should be Pakistan test cap number 246, ODI cap number 233, T20 cap number 95?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    I’m going to assume these are the numbers for the guys who will the next debutants. So here goes:

    Test cap number 246: Saud Shakeel. Very talented and temperamentally strong player who has been doing well in domestic for a number of years now. He just seems like someone who is cut out for this format.

    ODI cap number 233: Mohammad Wasim Jr. Very impressed by what little I have seen of him. Has an impressive round-arm action, can consistently ratchet it up to 140+ and actually has some decent ability with the bat too.

    T20 cap number 95: Shahnawaz Dahani. Only time will tell if he has what it takes to make it on the international level. But that pace, that wide-eyed enthusiasm for the game, and the ability to take wickets really excites me. He was the best bowler in the PSL, and he has unquestionably earned the right to debut for Pakistan in T20Is.


    PakPassion.net: Any suggestions how Pakistan can develop talent that is ready for the international level?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    Besides the obvious points I won’t bother repeating the biggest hurdle that I find in Pakistan regards to Pakistan developing world-class talent is the lack of A-team Cricket.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll repeat it again, A-team Cricket for me is really the next best thing to international cricket. In a lot of ways, it is international cricket, without actually being international cricket. During India’s tour of Australia when Siraj burst onto the scene I mentioned how he had a wealth of experience playing for India and his appearances for India A actually outnumbered his First-class Ranji Trophy appearances at the time he made his test debut. So, when he stepped onto the field for India, it was not like he was stepping onto the field for India for the first time. And it was certainly nothing short of poetic that his first test wicket was that of Marnus Labusagne, a batsman he had bowled a fair bit to, while playing for India A and a batsman (and correct if I’m wrong here Indian posters) he had gotten the better of in the past as well.

    Since coming on, Wasim Khan has made a lot of promises about stepping up the number of A team matches. But it’s been all talk and very little action. In the past year the Shaheens have played one First-class match against New Zealand A, and even that was a match that served as a tune-up for the Test side prior to the series against New Zealand. The rest were a handful of T20s against NZ A and local NZ domestic sides, and even the last T20 was played over 8 months ago.


    PakPassion.net: If you could pick three cricketers to be stuck in an elevator with you, who'd you pick?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    My choices as follows:

    1. Ravi Ashwin – Ashwin has always struck me as a student of the game, but also someone who is quite intelligent and thinks deeply about cricket. Its utterly baffling to me how he gets left out by Kohli on most occasions when India is touring. But it would be interesting to get his thoughts on Pakistan cricket (I know he follows international cricket fairly frequently) and just life in general.

    2. Jimmy Neesham – Anybody who follows Neesham on Twitter knows what a funny guy he is. He has a truly amazing sense of humor. And I can’t imagine how being stuck on an elevator with him won’t be an incredibly fun experience.

    3. Faf du Plessis – Just because I’ve always been a massive fan of his all the way back to his epic blockathon against Australia at Adelaide. And he seems like such a cool and chill guy.


    PakPassion.net: What is your favorite India-Pakistan cricket memory?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    As someone who became deeply invested in cricket during a time when Pakistan was about to have a stunning fall from grace, while India was about to reach a whole new level under Dhoni; the Champions Trophy final was just a shock to the system for me. Mainly because India beating Pakistan black and blue was something I had grown quite accustomed to over the years. And like most other people watching that match, it was a result I could have predicted even in my wildest dreams. Sure, it didn’t really change much in the grand scheme of things, in that India was still a cricketing behemoth, while Pakistan was still mediocre side after the tournament ended. But the tournament itself and that fairy-tale ending was like something out of an 80s Hollywood sports movie where the underdog team comes out on top against all odds. It is not something I will ever forget.


    PakPassion.net: How do you think Pakistan will perform in the upcoming T20 and 50-over World Cups?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    Looking at that T20 squad does not fill me with much hope. When I see guys like Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Khushdil Shah being there, it simply leaves me puzzled. I mean here are guys who have never…and I mean never done anything in a Pakistan shirt to prove they were cut out for this level. And now Mohammad Wasim somehow thinks they will step-up on the bright lights of the World Cup stage? Fakhar Zaman and Shoaib Malik really deserved to be there. The bowling could have benefitted from the presence of an experienced campaigner like Wahab Riaz. But then again, I expect nothing less from Mohammad Wasim, who in my opinion has etched his name in history as one of all time worst Pakistani chief-selectors. The fact that he thinks that Asif Ali, Azam Khan and Khushdil Shah can carry this middle-order shows how utterly clueless he is about cricket.

    Pakistan will be heavily dependent on the likes of Babar, Rizwan, Hafeez, Hasan, Shaheen and Imad. And while I do see them winning matches, a semi-final berth seems quite improbable to me and conventional wisdom points towards a first round exit. I really hope I am wrong.

    As for the 50-over World Cup, I’m going to make a bold prediction and say Pakistan will make the semi-finals. From there on out, it will take a miracle like 2017 to beat India, England, New Zealand.


    PakPassion.net: Wasim Akram or Waqar Younis, and why?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    Wasim. And that’s nothing against Waqar, who I love and who himself is one of the all-time greats. But Wasim, in my opinion is simply the greatest fast-bowler of all-time. The way I see it, there has been no one who was more skilful, more gifted and more talented than him. When he was in his element, what we got to see was pure magic. There really isn’t any other way of describing it. I do wish he didn’t do some of the things he did that that have left an unfortunate blot on his legacy. And regardless of how many times he may try to spin his rivalry with Waqar as a positive there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that points to the fact that it created a highly toxic environment in the dressing room. That said, Wasim was simply the GOAT..


    PakPassion.net: Do you think the PSL has played a positive role in the state of Pakistan cricket?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    For sure. Besides the fact that the tournament can be a major cash-cow for the PCB at its full-potential, all you need to do is look at the talent it has helped unearth. My only hope is that the tournament would do more to unearth world-class batting talent, which it has been sorely lacking in since its inception. One way that might be possible is if world-class overseas bowling talent starts getting picked more frequently by teams.


    PakPassion.net: What is the outlook on spin bowling in Pakistan, do you see any promising spinners emerging that can replace Yasir Shah in the long run?

    RedwoodOriginal:
    I see the culture of spin-bowling returning to Pakistan in the coming years. And I attribute that prediction to the pitches that the PCB is developing is and has been developing for the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy ever since the tournament was revamped. If you remember there was a stretch for maybe 2 years where the pitches that were being dished out were utterly horrendous; where medium pacers were wrecking absolute havoc and you had 2 day finishes on a consistent basis. In the 2017-18 season the average first innings total in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy was 235: the lowest among all the domestic FC competitions in the world. These pitches, besides being damaging to batsmen and fast bowlers, were above all, highly damaging to spinners. Who on most occasions didn’t even get a chance to get into the game because it would be finished within a couple of days.

    Luckily, this has changed since the tournament was revamped. And now we are seeing the kind of pitches that Pakistan and Asia have been traditionally known for. My only hope is that this trend is allowed to continue.

    As for long-term spin prospects, it might be some time before we see someone like Yasir who becomes a mainstay spinner in the test side. In the immediate future, I see Nauman flourishing till he hangs up his boots, which won’t be too far down the line. Mohammad Nawaz could do well and might have some untapped potential as a test match spinner. I’m intrigued to see how Zafar Gohar does if he is given a chance to bowl in helpful conditions, instead of a country that is without a doubt the worst place for any spinner to bowl. And obviously Shadab, who I find very hard to believe won’t be a massive all-format star one day, once he develops properly. A wildcard for me would be Ahmed Safi Abdullah, who has impressed me based on what little I have seen of him, and I am keen to see how he develops over time.
    Last edited by MenInG; 8th September 2021 at 00:46.


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  2. #2
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    Good thoughtful interview, always a pleasure to read.

  3. #3
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    Great interview, really enjoyed reading it.

  4. #4
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    Good interview, loved reading it. Amongest the best of pp


    "Life is Pain"
    ~House~

  5. #5
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    @Last Monetarist @Titan24 @Major Thank you! Much appreciated

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  7. #6
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    Would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the kind folks who took the time to ask these thoughtful questions. And also to @MenInG and all the other administrators here at PakPassion for the their tireless work and the honor of an interview. Because I really didn't think anyone cared what I had to say haha.

    In all honesty though, PakPassion is without a doubt the best forum for cricket discourse on the internet. And while I know that things can oftentimes get heated when I'm debating cricket with some of you guys, I want y'all to know that its nothing personal and just a by-product of how passionately I feel about certain things.

    I've been a member here for 3+ years and I hope to be here for many more. PakPassion Zindabad!
    Last edited by RedwoodOriginal; 8th September 2021 at 00:27.

  8. #7
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    Great interview, interesting stuff overall.


    Have some Sehwag in your life.

  9. #8
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    Brilliant stuff.

  10. #9
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    One of the best member interviews.

    Loved every bit of it.

    Great stuff @RedwoodOriginal

  11. #10
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    Very enjoyable read. Excellent interview.

  12. #11
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    Great interview.

  13. #12
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    Good interview one of my favourite posters.

    Agree on the wrestling answer although I think by any stretch of the imagination I doubt anyone would consider watching the current programming, would be difficult to convince

    A shame about how things turned out with Amir, at his best he was a favourite and reminded me of pak fast bowlers of yesteryear, it is a shame what has happened at this point

  14. #13
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    Great interview.

    Thorough answers.


    Bangladeshi Man

  15. #14
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    Top poster, great interview.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesozoic View Post
    One of the best member interviews.

    Loved every bit of it.

    Great stuff @RedwoodOriginal
    Thanks bro!

  17. #16
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    Thanks guys. Much appreciated.

  18. #17
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    A very good read.

    Well done.



  19. #18
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    Stopped reading further when I found his favorite cricketer was Misbah. I would not waste my time reading opinion of someone with no cricketing knowledge or no interest with well being of Pakistan cricket. Would have been nice had he described some of his cricketing background.

  20. #19
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    Great poster. Loved the responses. Disagree on the Big 3 part, But that is okay.

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