19th September 2008

Q1) Savak, what brought you here to Pak Passion in the first place and what keeps you coming back for more?

Ans: I joined Pak Passion during February 2006. I remember that time period. We just lost really pathetically 4-1 to India in the home ODI Series (where Inzi got out obstructing the field) even though we had beaten them in the test series and were favorites to win the ODI series as well. I was really frustrated, angry at our team’s pathetic, lifeless performance that I was just searching for articles on the team to see the reaction of people and ex test cricketers. It was just by luck I found a totally cricket oriented website with a forum in Pakpassion.net and since then I have never looked anywhere else.

I am a member of many other local, international forums for e.g. Trance forums but I obviously cannot talk about cricket there. PP is the place to go if you want to talk about non stop cricket, it’s the perfect medium to get in touch with foreign Pakistani’s, Indian’s, Pakistani players e.t.c. Most importantly you can learn a lot from the website in the form of quality, informative posts e.t.c. Some posters have strong view points, link with cricketers and a solid information network. It is always a pleasure to listen, read an interview of a cricket player, official conducted by the PP management and encounters with cricketers by posters as well.

PP has grown and come of age over the last two years and not an hour goes by when I don’t log onto PP. So overall it is my love for cricket and the quality of the website which keeps me hooked on PP. I wish all the PP management, administrators, hierarchy, techies all the best and hope the website remains unmatched in the future as well.

Q) Are you a good cricket player or just an avid watcher of the game?

Ans: Both actually. I used to play the game regularly during my school years on the streets, parks, e.t.c. I have even represented my school team for 3-4 years. I was a pinch hitter like Afridi and used to open the innings. I could hit the ball a long way but I had very little patience and did not back myself to play long innings. The most important contribution I ever made in my life as far as cricket is concerned when I scored 40 runs of 18 deliveries, got 3 catches as well. It was just my day. We ended up scoring 189 runs in 20 overs and we won by 6 runs against a really strong opposing school team. My school cricket coach even came upto me and singled me out that had I not given them a breath takingly quick start, there was no way they would have won by 6 runs in the end. It matters a lot and your confidence goes to cloud 9 when your captain and coach praise you and back you in such a manner.

But other than this my career is not much to speak off. You can say I never applied myself. Then college happened and our collage doesn’t have any sports team and most of the guys were into football and studies ended up occupying most of my time. I still occasionally play in Nishtar Park, Zamzama park if I get the time to with people I know but as of now I have lost my reflexes and batting practice. I am always rusty whenever I play.

I used to watch every game of cricket as a kid but now I have cut it down as I growing older teaches us there is more to life than just a game but I still like the game obviously. I prefer watching highlights and if it’s a really good match against a quality team il watch one or two overs before doing something else. At times I don’t watch Pakistani matches anymore because the quality of our team has just gone down so bad and I would rather watch a TV serial, movie then get depressed and down. I am a big fan of fast express bowling, I used to be glued to the TV when we had Shoaib and Sami running in at full throttle in 2003-04 bowling 93 mph plus in tandum.

Q) Forget the argument that the Pakistani bowling attack is weak and hence we need Akhtar. Just Answer this. As a skipper, considering the problems/controversies Akhtar finds himself in constantly, will you still give him the special treatment though the other 10 including you have been giving 110% and we win, lose matches? If yes how will this be fair to others?

Ans: Hmm, First of all this question is very biased. Why should the most crucial reason be discarded which is our bowling attack is weak and spineless without Akhtar. Second why is it assumed Akhtar never gives a 100% on the field? Can someone bowl at 153-155 km/hr while giving only 60-70%?

But anyways, I always look at what is in Pakistan’s best interests in the end. The most important criteria for selection in any organization let alone a sports team is performance. If you do not perform upto the standard required then no matter how hard you try, work hard you are a liability and you will get the boot. Mohammad Sami, Hafeez e.t.c. are perfect examples. At the end of the day what matters is results.

Now this question again. This special treatment must be defined. I would treat Akhtar just like I would treat any other player playing in my team. I would back them a 100%, I would support them during their problems, acknowledge their hard work and efforts, listen to their input, treat them well and equally, play their natural games, don’t worry il take the hit at the end of the day. If I was Akhtar’s captain I would just tell him “Look buddy, go out and play your natural game, you have my support and I will not launch a witchhunt against you nor make you a scapegoat, nor will I talk behind your back and nor will I lobby against you to the media and PCB. BUT YOU MUST ALSO REMMEMBER you are the most senior and experienced bowler here, you have to lead by example, the juniors are looking up to you, you have to abide by team rules just like everyone else and most importantly you have to perform and play consistently or else I wont be able to help you, this is the deal b/w you and the squad”.

If I discover he was not following team rules inspite of regular requests to do so but most importantly he was having a really negative impact on the team and on the other players then the tough decision to strongly discipline him will have to be made if all attempts for accommodation end up failing.

Bottom line effort alone in its self is not enough, PERFORMANCE is what is looked at the end of the day and I think that makes it fair for everyone. There is no such thing as perfection anywhere. Every thing has good and bad eggs. But the key is to combine the good and bad eggs to make a good meal at the end of the day. The day Akhtar stops performing, loses potency in his bowling is the day he will be history.

Q) You blame other people (PCB e.t.c) for not handling Shoaib Akhtar properly? Do you find any faults with Shoaib which impacted his career?

Ans: Yes plenty. First of all his indisciplined life style. I believe his lifestyle of drinking, late night partying, night clubbing, curfew breaking has been his biggest problem. He has failed to handle the massive fame and adulation he got and keeps on getting from fans especially female, other celebrities and the media. With Shoaib I always felt it was just a phase he would go through when he was with the two W’s and around the age of 24-30 after which he would grow out of it and come of age as a responsible player. This has unfortunately not exactly happened and It shows in Younis Khan’s statement “He is a child in a man’s body”. He always tries to socialize with other celebrities and goes the extra mile to do so. I believe overall due to this he has lost focus in the end. The PCB should have appointed a psychiatrist/counselor to try and get him on track and work his behavioral problems out.

Second, media. Shoaib has more often than not overhyped himself in the media whenever he gives an interview, statement. He has always talked big but never delivered as he exactly promised. I honestly wished he listened to Waqar Younis in 2003 who advised him “Just shut up and bowl mate” It doesn’t look good using terms like “Ferrari, aeroplane, I am the sole match winner”. I wish he kept a low profile.

Third, Anger problems. I believe he has always had serious anger problems. Not saying he is a bad person at heart but just one of those people who when they get really angry, ******, worked up just lose it for the next 2-3 minutes without having any thought for what their actions then could entail over the long run and thus lose control of themselves. The bat hitting incident, Dhoni beamer incident, Woolmer verbal tirade are clear examples. He needs to go to an anger management counselor and get his temper in check. It almost cost him his career.

Fourth, lack of humility. Akhtar even if he was the sole match winner in the side should have kept quite about it. But his lack of humility has certainly not gone down with all his team mates and will always keep a wedge between him and his team mates. I work in a financial investment company and there is one bloke who has 5-6 top Financial degrees under his belt (CFA, CA, CIMA, FRM, MSC) and he is really brilliant and has grown faster than his peers. But his problem is he treats everyone arrogantly in the sense he doesn’t listen to what the less qualified people say, he talks to much, shows of his knowledge a lot and avoids mixing with junior workers most of the time. As a result people talk behind his back, think negatively about him and should a situation arise when he will need the support of the junior employees, they will stab him in the back and tell him to take a hike. I draw this analogy with Shoaib.

Fifth, drugs. Looking at his deteriorating physical appearance, white stubbing and hair loss (at one point in time) it is clear he has been using. A quality bowler like him does not need to take drugs and its done him more harm than good anyways.

Finally, I guess it wouldn’t be unfair to say that Akhtar has not been as hungry as Imran, Wasim, Waqar were. You always get that impression whenever you take a closer look at him. He always goes out of his way to socialize outside cricket and you never hear him talk about targets like I want to take 20 wickets this series e.t.c. Bottom line he should just learn to let his cricket do all his talking.

So no Akhtar is not totally above board he has made serious mistakes while at the same time being poorly handled by some PCB administrations.

Q) To stand in line or not, is the question.. what is your opinion?

Ans: Hehe. This I believe is the least of our problems and I believe too small an issue to be taking so seriously. My comments in that thread were made in a very non serious, light hearted manner as everyone was picking on the original poster and I thought I would try and help him out (knowing what it feels like) and it succeeded and failed as well. Suceeded in the sense, all the focus shifted to me and failed in the sense, I got a lot of flak for it and lost most of the poster’s respect that day. As far as my comment on corruption, lack of rules, codes of conduct e.t.c were concerned, the intention was to express the true state of our country and society not to support it. But yes overall, I admit it was a very poor and unforgivable post for which I take all blame.

As far standing in line is concerned. I have stood in line most of my life in Pakistan more often then I have broken them atleast (lol plz exclude school canteen lines). I have broken lines from trips from abroad back into Pakistan and at the passport office (that day I had to get to college for my class and it was crucial I got done quickly).

Overall I believe people are making too big a deal out of it and its not like line breaking doesn’t occur in the west either. But I will stand in line provided someone genuinely proves to me that I by not standing in line am doing irreparable, high weighted damage to my country and society.

Q) How many PPers are Akhtar haters (as you put it constantly)… fine if you don’t want to name names but a % no would be fine?

Ans: How many PPers are Akhtar lovers, blind Akhtar fans, aliens (as it is put by you know who)? Based on poll results, the countless no of times I have been cornered (sometimes unfairly) in debates, dissed, subjected to unnecessary, uncalled for, undeserved personal attacks for my support for Akhtar and the fact that I at times find myself to be the only one defending Akhtar non stop from unnecessary, over the top criticism 24/7 has led me to a % no of 70-80% (no names ofcourse). I would like the Akhtar fans and believers to atleast be a bit more vocal and not sit silent on the sidelines.

Q) Why are you so obsessed with Akhtar?

Ans: I am more obsessed with Pakistan winning in the end against quality teams more often to bring a smile to our faces when we face other problems, challenges, stresses in our lives. I am also obsessed with pace. Seeing a bowler run in and bowl 90 mph plus literally turns me on.

Akhtar as it is now still has his pace, wicket taking abilities and we have not found anyone else with the same speed as yet. Plus the PCB has invested so much in Akhtar. Therefore throwing away Akhtar just like that would be wrong, unethical and the final blow to our weak, unpenetrative attack. The problem in our part of the world is we look to take the easy way out by giving over the top punishments, mistreating people, destroying the careers of players rather than take the challenge on of getting the best out of them. All other nations want Pakistan to mistreat Akhtar and kick him out for good and we always end up playing in their hands.

Q) What was the best thing before slice bread?

Ans: The wheel (not sure, this is the first time I heard this question and this is the best I could get from the net)

Q) You want Shoaib in the Pakistan team so that we can win matches but when we point out matches that he has not won us you blame the other 10 members of the team? Why? If he can win us matches why cant he lose us matches? For e.g no win vs Australia, the 2003 WC match against India?

Ans: Again this question should have been phrased carefully. Shoaib’s presence in the team maximizes our chances of winning. But he cannot always do it alone all the time. But at times when we win he turns out to be the defining difference b/w the two teams. Shoaib whenever he has performed is let by other members of the squad i.e. the batters and his fellow strike/support bowlers. Many examples when Akhtar took 5/21 in the Colombo test match to bring Pakistan back into the game, the batters screwed up in the end and we lost by 40 something runs in the end.

In 2004 home series against Sri Lanka where Shoaib got 5 wickets in the first innings of the first test, the batters screwed up in the first innings and Pakistan lost the advantage. In the 2004/05 tour to Australia when Akhtar took 5 wickets at Perth and Melbourne the batters failed to post the runs on the board in reply and Akhtar did not have the support of the other bowlers as well. In the 2007 last ODI vs South Africa, Shoaib bowled brilliantly to get 4 wickets, only for our batters to screw up by losing the last 6 wickets for 19 runs and throwing away the series. In the 2007 test series, Shoaib did his best in the first test match at New Delhi where he picked up 6 wickets only for the poor batting and poor bowling by Kaneria, Sami to let him down.

But yes Shoaib like a human being has also lost matches for us as well for e.g. Akhtar had a poor tour of Australia in 1999 and his poor bowling along with our poor batting cost us big time, the 2003 WC match against India where Sachin was in murderous mood. It was Tendulkars day, all our bowlers struggled but yes Shoaib did bowl badly. In the 2004 series, Shoaib let Pakistan down with his poor bowling in the first test match where Sehwag scored a triple century. Yes Shoaib’s absence on the first day of the final test match was crucial and we lost the advantage there at then but Sami was pathetic as usual and Kaneria was dreadful as well, if these bowlers ever did the job for Pakistan’s Shoaib’s absence for one day should have been neutralized.

So yes Akhtar like every other player has won us games as well as cost them on his off days. I don’t like accussing a single player of being the sole reason our team lost but it irks the hell out of me when Captain’s, board officials expect Akhtar to perform like a robot with a 100% efficiency all the time and to make him the fall guy for the team’s poor performances and go to an extent of accussing him of deliberately performing poorly, of faking an injury, of wanting Pakistan to lose e.t.c. They don’t even scrutinize the performance of the other 10 players, including those who have not been performing for ages and all their eyes are on one individual who has put in decent if not outstanding performances for his country. He has been unfairly, poorly treated in this regard and I am convinced it has led to the development of a persecution complex in Akhtar and has strongly influenced his behavior over the last 4 years from 2004-present.

Q) If Shoaib Akhtar asks you to pick a bride from Bollywood for him who would you pick?

Ans: Its really tempting to say Riya Sen but nah. He deserves someone who is simple, down to earth, modest and keeps a low profile. I believe that the decision to get settled is the most important one in your life. It is literally the start of a new innings in life.

My uncle used to be very carefree, laid back, uninterested and at times all over the place. My brother once say a kindergarden teacher who was pretty young single. So he recommended her to my father (whose the eldest in the family) for my uncle. They are both married now mashallah, have two kids, my uncle is diabetic and she takes care of him. Since marriage my uncles career in the construction firm he is working for has sky rocketed and he was responsible for bridge project b/w the Canadian and US border at Bufallo. My uncle has also become a lot more responsible, alert, more focused on his family and he just recently bought a house in Toronto in a posh residential area. So good things come to everyone eventually.

I would choose Minisha Lamba for Shoaib Akhtar. I find her hot in a simple way, attractive, has a good dress sense who looks good in both in revealing western clothes and eastern clothes as well, keeps a low profile and a good wife for Shoaib. I believe she can bring about the most important and healthy changes in his life.

Q) How many pics do you have of Shoaib Akhtar in that scrapbook you have made?

Ans: I don’t have many Shoaib Akhtar pics just 5-7 max, one which shows him in his delivery stride but mostly which show his muscular physique. I have 2 pics of Salman Khan, John Abraham posing with their shirtless six packs bodies macho style. I am into weight training and body building and I try to keep a bench mark. (please don’t use this info and start making cheap accusations at me, I am being honest atleast).

But majority of my pictures are of female Pakistani, Indians, American, British, Arab actresses, models and others I have a crush on. I have more videos than pictures though so technically it doesn’t make it a scrap book.

Q) If you were a girl, whats the most outrageous thing you would have done to get Akhtar’s attention and get him to notice, fall in love and marry you?

Ans: Hmm, what is the most outrageous thing a girl can do? I guess wear the most revealing tight clothes possible exposing the right parts lol. Strip naked if I am that desperate. Every girl knows a guys ultimate and biggest weakness. Other than that buy him a drink, invite him to parties, introduce him to other people, buy him expensive gifts for e.g. latest sports bikes, take him out to dinners, events. Other than most importantly be there for him when the whole world is against him, be there for him when he is facing his worst and most challenging crisis, be there for him when he is under extreme unhand able pressure and convince him I will never betray and leave him and to stick with him till the end. All this should have an impact on him. A guy never forgets anyone let alone a girl who helped him when he really needed it.

Q) Have you ever talked to Shoaib? If so why are you alive?

Ans: Second part of the question was unnecessary.

Anyways no I haven’t spoken to Shoaib but I know a few people in the fashion and entertainment industry who have met him frequently on social occasions and parties and they have various opinions. Some don’t care, some think he is a show off, some think he is cheap, some just say he is a normal guy just like you and me. So no consistent opinion.

My gym instructor who has a Salman Khan type physique has met Shoaib has met Shoaib. He told me Shoaib had come especially to meet him as he has heard about him, he gave Shoaib some body building tips. I once went to a Chinese resteraunt in Lahore where I was told by someone that I just missed Shoaib Akhtar by 15 min and he came with almost all the top models like Gia, Iman, Vaneeza, Sunita for dinner. So that’s the closest I ever got. Lol btw Akhtar paid for them as well, I bet he got ripped off. But it’s a small world, you never know but as of yet I haven’t spoken to him.

Lol the next closest experience I had was with Afridi. I signed up for his website where some firm was promoting him. One day those guys from the website called me up on my cell phone which I gave to the website while registering my username and account, this was during October 2007. They were like “Sir we would like to give you a unique opportunity to meet Shahid Afridi, are you interested?”. I was like “Go on”. They were like “Sir basically, Shahid Afridi will take all the kids who registered to his farmhouse, where he will play games like baraf paani, will take part in other gaming activities, will playing cricket with the boys, while the girls will cheer for the guys and if there is any time left in the evening Shahid Afridi will also treat the children to ice cream. If your parents will not allow you to come, Shahid Afridi is personally willing to call you up and talk to your parents and convince them to let you go. And yes sir one more thing you will need to pay us Rs 5000 for this whole trip.”. I was like “Rs 5000 for meeting Shahid Afridi and playing baraf paani with him, **** off”. They even called again but I hung up. I was too embarrassed to share this with PP earlier. But one of my pathan friends who now resides in Dubai is his cousin so fingers crossed, I could end up meeting Afridi in the future and he apparently knows my father well. My dad has treated his daughter.

Imran Khan came to my cousins wedding. This was in 1999 but he was just swarmed by people and I didn’t have the guts to go upto given the large crowd surrounding him. But he left an hour or two later.

Q) Do you really believe that Akhtar has a six pack (currently) just like Salman Khan and a bunch of other Bollywood celebrities you mentioned in a thread? I am not sure why you brought movie actors in the discussion. Could this be because you are obsessed with glamour and celebrities instead of committed hard working sportsman?

Ans: First of all yes Akhtar has a six pack, photographic evidence confirms it, its not like Salman Khan’s but still he does have it in the end. I have consistently said Akhtar has strong muscular mass which is a result of a religiously consistent body building regime and he isn’t overweight in the sense of fat obsese person who has rubber like fat with weak muscles because if that was the case he wouldn’t be the fastest bowler in the world at the moment.

I probably brought the Bollywood stars like Salman Khan up when people would have been mocking Akhtar’s weight and I was arguing against their theory he is overweight. Salman Khan jogs everyday and he is definitely not unfit so I was implying Akhtar’s body is more or less similar to Salman Khan’s. I mean Akhtar is atleast no Yokozona, Bam Bam Biglo e.t.c.

I believe as a sportsman a balance is needed. Yes your first priority should always be sports nothing else but a bit of glamour is also good. You don’t get lucrative endorsements, brand deals, media contracts if your not sellable to the public or if you don’t look good on camera. Brett Lee has even more media deals and endorsements than Akhtar and probably makes more than Akhtar and is even acting in a bollywood film but no one raises any eye brow over it. It takes a certain amount of hard work to attain a certain level in society and not all celebrities or people who become celebrities can lead normal lives again. People especially youngsters end up getting inspired, motivated by these celebrities and one hero, superstar leads to another in the future. The example of NZ cricket is perfect; the reason why the sport is not taken seriously in that part of the world is a lack of superstars with the exception of Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe and also the lack of many high profile international victories.

Yes cricketers, or any sportsman should be a bit glamorous off the field personality. They should have a studly off the field personality as well. It will increase star following I believe. This along with delivering match winning performances is very important. I want our players to have a dynamic personality. David Beckham is a perfect example; he has made more money outside football then while playing football.



Q) Is there anything about Shoaib Akhtar you dislike?

Ans: Yes, his choice of girls he chooses to hang out with and be photographed with at times is very disappointing and downright disgusting. I have seen pictures of him dancing with the most butt ugliest of chicks. I also dislike the fact that he took to steroids, performance enhancing drugs which is backed by a massive deterioration in his physical appearance, hair loss from 2003 till 2007. I dislike the fact he drinks and parties sometimes into the late hours of the night before a match. It infuriates me that he gets injured frequently and the fact he tries to suck up to other celebrities who do not give a damn about him and just smile for a snapshot nothing else. I certainly did not like his statement in 2006 “I don’t watch Pakistani matches if I am not playing”. That in my view was extremely irresponsible and would have driven a wedge between him and his team mates.



Q) Have you met him in real life?

Ans: Nope I haven’t Akhtar as yet but I know many people who keep on meeting him at these posh parties. I am busy with my life, but if there ever came an opportunity to meet him, I would inform the PP website in advance and would ask for their permission if I could interview him on their behalf.

Q) Savak list three pros and cons of living in Karachi?

Ans: Pros

1) Karachi is the most open city in Pakistan where you will find almost all different ethnicities Punjabi’s, Pathans, Balochis, Muhajirs, Sindhis, Kashmiris and many other sects living together. A very open and welcoming city with a population of 16 million. Living in Karachi has helped me get along with most people I have come across all across the country and even outstide the country.

2) Karachi is the place to come if you really want to earn money. 70% of the countries revenues are generated through Karachi alone. I know many people who left their families to work in Karachi. Karachi, if you are well off enough offers a very decent if not comfortable standard of living and a comfortable enjoyable, living. The night life in Karachi is pretty good in some localities like Clifton, some private Defence houses, French beach, clubs. You have something here in comparison to other cities in Pakistan excluding Lahore ofcourse.

3) Karachi offers the best recreation from the daily stresses of life. You can go to the sea side, go to a cinema, go to hosh posh international resteraunt, a lovely local resteraunt, have a nice relaxing shisha with your friends, peers, you can go shopping in the post shopping centres with the latest products, services available, you can go bowling with friends (female friends ofcourse), play snooker, pool, gaming centres. You can get cheap pirated stuff for free in Karachi as compared to spending a bomb abroad, the prices in Karachi are lower as compared to other cities in Pakistan.

Cons

1) Worst Law and Order situation. The city suffers from daily robberies, daicoties, murders, rapes, kidnappings every day. MQM reigns supreme in Karachi and now that the PPP is also in power expect some more fireworks and open show of power by PPP politicians, their sons and street fights. Karachi also has a corrupt police force which does nothing for the common man while the army just looks after its own. Private security companies thrive in Karachi. I tend to avoid going to places like Nazimabad, Liaqatabad, North Karachi e.t.c unless it is absolutely essential and unavoidable. I just keep myself confined to the posh areas of Clifton, Defence e.t.c.

2) Gross inequality: Karachi is the biggest city in Pakistan. If you take a start from the beginning of Karachi to the very end you will have covered a distance of 3500 km. It is a city where the countries richest and the poorest people live. It also has the most professional private institutes and the most corrupt public institutions as well. I have been privillages to have lived in the posh areas of Defence, Clifton. The moment I get out and go to places like Korangi, Bahadurabad I feel like I am in a different area altogether.

3) Traffic and car congestion: Unbelievable traffic in some parts of the city, lack of basic traffic rules, enforcement and the massive influx of foreign cars thanks to the relaxation of duties by the Mush regime. Getting to work, college on time and getting home from college, work on time can be a problem. Heavy pollution levels in some parts of the city are another problem and a very busy city. Its very expensive to live in Karachi. I knew someone who has living comfortably in Peshawar earning Rs 5000 a month. He got a job offer of Rs 20000 in Karachi. He jumped on it and did not think twice and came to Karachi without his family without any problems at all. Six months later he just quit and went back to Peshawar. Of the 20000 he earned, he had to pay for rental accommodation, daily expenses of travelling to and from work, eating expenses, electricity and phone expenses, he also had to send money back home. He even cut down his meal intakes and lost a lot of weight to send all the spare money he had back home. In the end he just gave up and went back to Peshawar where last I heard he is earning Rs 8000 a month but he doesn’t have too many expenses as such and is more comfortable there. But if he pulled it off in Karachi and survived here for 2 years, he could have been promoted and given a raise. Its tough to surivive initially but one has to surive the early test and most just fail.

Q) Have you always lived in Karachi, if not where else have you lived?

Ans: I was born in Saudia Arabia in Jeddah in 1985. My parents were earning a lot of money and were doing very well professionally. But the Arabs don’t treat non arab muslims too well and my dad didn’t like this. He narrated a story in which he was sitting in the car with another Pakistani friend of his who is settled in Saudia Arabia and well off. They were about to exit a building before a local Arab stoped his car in the middle of the gate and was on his cell phone talking. My dad’s friend must have honked 4-8 times but the Arab dude still gestured him to wait while he continued talking on the phone and not even having the courtesy, decency to move the car out of the way to let them through. Then my dad said he told his friend “This is why I left Saudia Arabia and came back to Pakistan”.

Anyways I am glad my parents came to Pakistan. It taught me to respect and value my country and its soil because at the end of the day I am sure those who live in the west, middle east will agree with me “There is no place like your own country”. Anyways, my parents came back to Pakistan in 1987 and we first lived in an apartment for one or two years. Those were pretty tough days, my parents had to start from scratch. My mom had to work for 2-3 years without pay (still don’t understand how cruel can any job be but she said doctors back then had to do it) while my dad didn’t get paid much initially in Pakistan (he had a salary of Rs 15000 back then in 1987 and Rs 6000 went to the rent of the apartment alone, the rest to the monthly food expenses and stuff). In 1989 our house in Defence was completed and mashallah today we live very comfortably and have everything we need. Both my parents are successful professors in their respective fields and have plenty of fame and recognition where ever they go. My dad goes abroad for lectures, international meetings almost every month so my mother looks after the house most of the times.

Most of our family has migrated to the US, Canada, UK. Everyone from my dad’s side has gone while my mom’s family members reside in Lahore. But my parents have taught me to be loyal to my country and the value one gets from living in one’s own country. If people continue to run away from Pakistan including those people who have the capability to contribute to the country and take it forward then our country will always remain in the third world.

Q) Whats your favorite holiday destination?

Ans: USA. I simply love Disney Land Epcot Centre, I miss going to the movies every weekend. I enjoyed clubbing with all my friends who were studying in various collages. Got to meet many Pakistani and Indian Americans and was amazed how well both communities get on with each other. But in my personal view USA is the perfect place to relax, have fun, blow of steam, have a vacation but I wouldn’t want to live there, Pakistan is the place to live.

I have been to the UK as well, it was fun in the UK to but I didn’t find the UK to be as open as the US and lol I still remember the weird look everyone gave me when I was continuously drinking Pepsi, Apple Juice in a pub. Almost got into a fight with a football fan who was drunk and would have certainly been beaten up had some good people not intervened and got me out of there. But other than that I haven’t been to the UK as option as I have been to the US.

I have been to Saudia Arabia too, and the Umra’s were all enjoyable. Everytime I kept on forgetting about all my troubles, problems and just relaxed and kept on thinking about Islam and wondering why are Muslims in such huge problems today when sitting in the Kaaba and seriously it just puzzled me to be honest. But I will remember Saudia Arabia for memorable meeting with Inzi, that was incredible and just pure luck he opened up to me.

I have been to Dubai too. I found it to be a party place and nothing else. Its an artificial city. Came to meet my old friends who are now living there and the change in them is dramatic and for the bad. Most became heavy drinkers, gamblers and some even started massive womanizing. I was planning to go to a DJ Tiesto rave but couldn’t due to a last minute problem. But would love to go and chill there again. But the Safari ride was pretty cool and I was just bewildered at just how open the city was.

I have been to Australia as well, it was fun seeing an opera and the Sydney Harbor, met a mixed breed of people in Australia. Some were nasty lol I was in fast food joint and I asked a couple if I could use the ketchup on their table as there was no other bottle and they told me to “**** off”. Shocking experience.

Have had stop overs in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Sweden (it was freezing cold there, I loved the milk, I could drink it 50 times a day without any issues even though I am lactose intolerant) as well.

In Pakistan, I would strongly recommend going to the Northern Areas with friends to places like Gilgit, Naran, Balakot e.t.c. I even went to torkham and stepped into Afghanistan and had pics taken with Afghan Soldiers. I would love to stop in Peshawar for one or two days and have those amazing Chapli Kebabs at Taroo jabe. Would love to go Lahore for an evening and have the most amazing chilled bowl of unlimited Anaar (pomegrenade) for Rs 30 only.

Q) How old are you?

Ans: I was born on the 26th of April, 1985 and currently I am 23 years old.

Q) Are you a student and do you work?

Ans: I am a student at the moment who is currently working in an organization for six months as part of the requirement for enrolling in my collages MBA program of two years. In fact you could say this is my first semester of the MBA program from August till December 2008 the only difference is I am working rather than studying. I have to submit monthly progress reports to my collage regarding the work I am doing and how I am proceeding with a final major report and presentation in December. I will be assigned a GPA grade for my work done in the organization. For my next semester onwards i.e. from Jan onwards I will start going to collage and studying as normal.

On top of that I am also studying for my CFA level 1 exam in December and I am hoping to inshallah clear it in December so that I can appear for level 2 in June 2009 and inshallah clear that as well and then appear for level 3 in june 2010 and clear that as well so that my CFA exams are complete by the time I am done with my MBA by the summer of 2010. This is how I have planned it, a lot of hard work is required and not many clear CFA levels in the first attempt . At the same time studying, working at the same time is not easy and requires a lot of discipline, will power and your social life suffers as well for sure.

Q) What fascinates you the most about Akhtar Sahib?

Ans: A lot of things. His pace, his wicket taking abilities, his variations, his aggression and never say die attitude, the fact he lives his life on the edge (though very unnecessary) but that’s Shoaib for you. He has always performed against the top teams and the very best. He has delivered, bent his back, abused his body for his country on the most flattest and deadest of wickets. The fact that he has the mental strength to come back from his injuries without cutting down his run up, style of action and resisting pressure from people and being his own man. He has always put Pakistan first and his turning down of a massive ICL offer testifies to his commitment to the country along with the fact he turned up for his country in a test match just after being on antibiotics and being in hospital for the last 5 previous days. Shoaib has always come back stronger from every controversy and problem and I believe he deserves credit for all this rather than the same over the top criticism.








Q) Name one current player every test playing team whom you like the most and why?

Ans: England- Kevin Pieterson, Andrew Flintoff, Harmison, James Anderson

New Zealand- No one

West Indies- Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul

South Africa- Graeme Smith, Gibbs, Kallis, A.B.Devilliers, Boucher, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn

India- Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma

Pakistan- Malik, Younis Khan, Mohamamd Yousaf, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Sami (2001-2004)

Sri Lanka- Sanath Jayasuriya, Lasith Malinga, Mendis

Bangladesh- Masrafe Murtaza, Shadat Hussain, Tamim Iqbal

Q) Spinners over phast bowlers? Murali-Warne?

Ans: Though a good spinner is necessary for all teams but I prefer watching fast bowling over spinners. Its not easy being a fast bowler especially in the subcontinent. But as far as Murali and Warne are concerned, I would rate Warne higher and take him every day. Murali in my view is a chucker (sorry for the frankness) and got most of his wickets due to his unusual bowling action which makes it difficult to read him and the fact his action is also not clean makes me go against him. Warne just got better and better with each passing time and was just an amazing legend. He was banned for a year and in his comeback series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka he took 26-30 test wickets which just testifies to his greatness and some his deliveries were just breath taking. He is one of the few spinners in the world who had every right to sledge the batsman and instilled fear in them. His performance as captain in the IPL to me also stands him out. A truly amazing cricketer who can be proud of himself and his achievements. The fact he went out at his prime when he could have played for another 3-4 years just increased my respect and admiration for him. The Aussies will miss him and will find it impossible to replace him.

Murali despite his chucking and unusual action is no longer the same and he has lost his ability to prodigiously turn the bowl miles and bowls too many doosra’s and his line of attack is too predictable. He is lucky that the Sri Lankans have found Mendis and he has some support now but I think age has caught up with him, his best years are behind him and he is just playing for records.






Q) In your opinion how many test wickets should be the land mark for a bowler to be recognized as world class?

Ans: Its not just wickets, average matters as well, strike matters too and the context, overall picture of the side you played with. Some countries play a lot more test cricket then others and more so on supporting wickets while do not. Some countries are also blessed with excellent fielding sides, consistent attacking batters who post runs on the board so clearly the quality of the fielding side and the batting side must also be taken into account. The bowlers performances on all types of pitches should also be taken into account.

I think for fast bowlers it should be 200 test wickets in both forms of the game because they have shorter lives, put more stress on their bodies and have shorter peak periods. For spinners it should be 300 test and 200 ODI wickets atleast. Fast bowling must always be respected because its not easy now especially given the cricketing calendar in todays time along with the fact that there is not sufficient rest periods in between matches.

Q) Lara, Ponting or Steve Waugh?

Ans: Lara with a doubt. I think this was the best batsman to have ever graced the game. Whenever I say him bat he would always bat naturally and aggressively and he just looked so pleasing to the eyes. Easily the best player of spin bowling as well and the manner in which he dominated Mutiah Murliatharan was just something your never going to see again. At the end he just got bored of scoring runs and being a champion batsman. He has performed against almost all the top sides in the world and he has so many double centuries and it is abnormal for one batsman to score 501 not out, 375 runs and 400 not out. I mean that is just the sign of greatness and nothing less.

It is most unfortunate that Lara, along with his compatriots Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose were a part of a rapidly declining West Indies team. He also played in an era where Cricket in the West Indies was no longer as important a sport as lets say BasketBall. The younger players that came through just never looked disciplined, committed enough to take their team forward. The decline of West Indian cricket has to do with their weak and poor bowling attack alone alone. After Walsh and Ambrose, the bowling attack has just not looked good enough to take 10 wickets and nor have the West Indies every performed consistently enough and it is clear the sport is just not taken seriously at home and no long term planning is done. The last two decades have certainly not belonged to them but every team has a peak period and hopefully we can see something of a revival in West Indian Cricket.

I think a lot of criticism against Lara especially by Ridley Jacobs when he retired that Lara is selfish, never cared for the team and was more concerned about Individual targets is not fair. Lara was the only player the opposition team had to worry but most importantly he never had the bowlers to back him up. The West Indies settled for the likes of Colly Collymore and at the end they have now settled for 82-85 mph bowlers. In fact some of their 90 mph bowlers just reach their peak speed in the first spell and then go downhill in their remaining spells. I don’t think there is any concept of fitness in the West Indies and it is clear that the West Indies team will never improve unless they bring many good fast bowlers in the team and finally if the sport is taken seriously in the Caribbean.




Its never easy to be in the team as the sole superstar and it was unfortunate the way Lara bowed out of the game in his final match where his team mates did not even bother to honor him, his run out was a clear example. I think Lara did the best he could and had to carry around the weakest West Indian team ever. He wasn’t the best captain in the world but to his credit he still accepted it and he dealt with all the pressures that came along with it. I hold him head and shoulders above Sachin, Ponting and Steve Waugh. Sachin is the closest match to Lara with respect to the fact both their situations were similar at one point in time but Sachin benefited in the end by having more match winners around him while Lara was alone till the very end. So deservedly Lara gets my vote and I hope he is not lost to cricket.

Q) What other sports do you play and are you good at them?

Ans: I only play cricket that also occasionally as of now. I used to play football and basketball at school with friends for time pass everyday but I was never good at it as I was in cricket. I go to the gym regularly and am on a weight training regime which I will pick up once Ramzan is over.

I also play computer games like Counter Strike, Warcraft Dota, Call of Duty, most first shooter games with friends at gaming zones and online at homes with different users all over the world. Its fun, good for time pass and stress relieving. I am pretty good at counterstrike but average at Dota (just a good support hero max).

Q) What does the world mean to you? How do you view it?

Ans: I believe the world consists of many different races, religion, cultures who are just wasting their time in fighting amongst each other. It is unbelievable there are so many planets, galaxies, universes that we as humans have not even bothered to discover as yet. What gives us the right to think we are the only people living in the Universe? Who knows maybe Aliens do exist and they are monitoring Planet Earth as we speak? So in case of an alien invasion of Earth all countries irrespective of religion, culture will have to unite together to save mother Earth so whats the point of fighting amongst ourselves?

Other than this ridiculous, laughable conspiracy theory practically I look and view the world as a Muslim. Muslims are going through a really terrible period. We are mocked, mistreated and called Terrorists, Extremists in the West. Our Muslim Countries are horribly corrupt, have the lowest rates of human development, illiteracy, poverty, lack of tolerance for even basic apologizable mistakes, misinterpretation of Islam, lack of unity, poor economies and low GDP growth rates e.t.c. We are being used and abused by the West and sadly fail to do anything about it because of our weakness.

In my view Muslims before they take on the west will have to fix themselves and they can do this by removing corruption at all levels in society especially financial and economic corruption, bringing about good sincere governance to the country, expanding their economies and forgetting about unnecessary military expenditures e.t.c. All this looks easier said than done but it must be done someone has to make a start atleast.

As far as dealing with the west is concerned I believe in the philosophy “Well if you cant beat them join them”. We need to develop more close ties to the west and I am not implying slavery what I mean is build more lobbies and use the west for your benefit and becoming stronger as well. We need to create a promising domestic environment in order to stop the brain drain because our country deserves every high quality trained workers it can get their hands on.Apart from this all Muslim countries need to develop really close ties with each other and forgo small petty irrelevant differences. The Arabs need to fix their attitude against non-arab muslims. I believe in a world in which all religions, cultures, countries can peacefully co exist with each other and where everyone has a high standard of living.

Q) The best thing going for you in your life right now.?

Ans: I just graduated from collage 3 months ago so this was a big plus for me, I am interning right now in one of the top finance investment companies in Pakistan and its been an invaluable learning experience for me. I have a very united and loving family and have lots of friends, I rarely differentiate b/w my friends and they range from the coming from extremely rich households to the people I play cricket with or have shisha with. I have no social boundries and this has helped me a lot and has helped me become the broad minded person I am today.

Lol I also have an excellent music collection. I am a huge fan of Trance and I call them my babies. Nothing better then coming home after a tiring long day, lying down in bead and listening to high quality trance in your room with the surround speakers while having a nice snack, cold drink, turning the TV on mute going through channels, browsing through the internet, chatting with old and new friends, going through PP and taking part in nice educated debates. I also have a kitten (my sister has named her Cleo, shes a Siamese breed) whom I just love to pet at any given opportunity and I also have a dog called Rexy whom I take for the occasional walk and give a shower too every week with the help of the servants.

So to sum it up my family, friends, and all other things later. Family is the most important thing for me and I always believe Charity begins at home.

Q) Favorite form of art? Painting, poetry, prose e.t.c?

Ans: I am not too much into art but I do enjoy anything pleasing to the eye. I saw one amazing painting of Imran Khan by Emma Sergeant (who was one of his sweet hearts in London during his playboy years). He was recovering from his shin problem and the painting showed him lying on the bed wearing, jeans reading a newspaper and shirtless.

Q) Are you a spiritual man, Savak?

Ans: Depends really. Yes I identify myself as a Muslim. I strongly believe in Islam and will defend my religion should anyone attack it. Just give me one day at Fox News and I would love to diss all those ******** including Bill O Reily. But I am not as practicing as I should be and this is mostly due to my laziness. I keep telling myself I will pray 5 times a day on a regular basis, I do it for a few days, then I start slacking in the end. I normally end up praying for help when I am in real trouble which not be the case but I will inshallah become more regular. I study with a Qari (Religious teacher) who comes to my house 3-4 times a week and end up having religious, political discussions with him most of the times which is fun because I am always giving the secular point of view while he advocates for a Taliban point of view and criticizes my liberal ideas in a funny way.