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Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:46 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Kamran Akmal


Born January 13, 1982, Lahore, Punjab


Major teams Pakistan, Asia XI, Lahore, Lahore Blues, Lahore City, Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, National Bank of Pakistan, Punjab Stallions, Rajasthan Royals


Playing role Wicketkeeper batsman


Batting style Right-hand bat


Fielding position Wicketkeeper


Relation Brother - Adnan Akmal, Brother - Umar Akmal

Kamran Akmal


Kamran Akmal may well be the most emphatic proof of cricket's changed priorities post Adam Gilchrist. Sides now search for an explosive batsman who can change a day, an innings, a phase with the bat and so long as you can identify right wicketkeeping glove from left, the place is yours.There has been little doubt about Akmal's batting. The purity of his drives and the strength of his cutting and pulling, particularly on slower subcontinent surfaces, has always held a strong allure. And when it comes together as it did one January morning in Karachi against India - one of the Test innings of that decade - he makes it in the side as a batsman alone.


But his glovework, which began so promisingly when he effectively ended the dogfight between Rashid Latif and Moin Khan in late 2004, has deteriorated alarmingly and few Pakistan matches are complete without a clumsy Akmal error. It wasn't always thus, for he was good when he began, good enough to impress Ian Healy. But non-stop cricket in all three formats have let technical errors creep in and critics and experts have long pushed for the need for him to take a break.To quality spin, he is often as lost as the batsmen and Danish Kaneria, over the years, has suffered in particular. In a string of error-ridden performances, the one nobody will forget will be the four dropped catches (and a missed run-out) in the Sydney Test of 2009-10, which allowed Australia to escape with a remarkable, traumatic win. Against this the memory of his Karachi hundred will always battle, with no clear winner ever likely to emerge. The tryst with controversy does his cause no good, with his refusal to accept his demotion from the side in the aftermath of a disastrous Sydney Test in 2009, eliciting a harsh fine and a disciplinary probation from the PCB.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:44 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Shoaib Malik


Born February 1, 1982, Sialkot, Punjab


Major teams Pakistan, Asia XI, Delhi Daredevils, Gloucestershire, Gujranwala Cricket Association, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Reserves, Sialkot Cricket Association, Sialkot Stallions


Batting style Right-hand bat


Bowling style Right-arm offbreak


Relation Brother - Adeel Malik

Shoaib Malik

There is almost no role in a cricket side that Shoaib Malik hasn't filled, so much so that over ten years into his career, nobody is sure what his precise and best role is.In essence, he is a batting allrounder, though he started his career as an off-break bowler. Partly the problem is that he is capable, as a batsman, of fulfilling many roles with some competence. He has had success as an opener in Tests and ODIs; he has been game-changing as a limited-overs one down and dangerous as a lower-order slogger; often he has been a stodgy middle-order bulwark. In Twenty20s, he can be brutal anywhere.


It is thus difficult to recall a definitive Malik high; was it his maiden Test hundred as an opener against Sri Lanka in Colombo? A few hands that led to an ODI series win against India in 2005-06? A Champions Trophy hundred against India?His basic game is tight, especially in the subcontinent. He isn't pretty, though there can be pleasantness in his high, stiff-elbowed drives and lofts. Square on both sides he is precise. Further, he runs well. With his flattish, very modern off-spin always useful for more than a few overs and a wicket here and there - less so after concerns over his action - and an athletic and languid presence in the field, Malik should be far greater a sum of his parts than he actually is.


He was for long earmarked as a potential captain - the late Bob Woolmer thought him the sharpest tack in Pakistan's set-up - but a stint with the captaincy was troubled, unimaginative and ended badly. It got even worse when the board banned him for a year in March 2010 as part of its unprecedented action on senior players after a disastrous tour of Australia.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:42 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Salman Butt


Born October 7, 1984, Lahore, Punjab


Major teams Pakistan, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lahore Blues, Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, Lahore Reds, Pakistan Cricket Board Blues, Pakistan Cricket Board Patron's XI, Pakistan Cricket Board Reds, Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab Stallions


Playing role Batsman


Batting style Left-hand bat


Bowling style Right-arm offbreak

Salman Butt

Because he is left-handed and possessed of some supple wrists, it is easy to compare Salman Butt with the delightful Saeed Anwar. His drives and cuts through the arc between extra cover and backward point are inevitably flicked, often scooped and it is a high-scoring region. He doesn't mind pulling either and off his toes, he is efficient rather than whippy as Anwar was. Further, like Anwar, Butt's footwork doesn't really hold him back. But in attitude and temperament Butt is more Anwar's long-time partner, Aamir Sohail.


He has a confident air about him, a spikiness and is one of the few younger players confident when speaking English. His breakthrough period was the winter of 2004, where he first scored an ODI century against India at Eden Gardens and then went further by scoring a fifty and a maiden Test century in Sydney later in the year. For most of 2005, he failed to build on that and despite another ODI century, also against India, doubts about his defensive technique and overt dash crept in, resulting in him dropping in and out of the team. But against England to end the year, he responded to criticism by unveiling a startling restraint and change of tempo, hitting a century and two fifties in the Tests, each innings commendably restrained. Though his consistency isn't up to the mark, he still remains a vital member of the Test team. Following the disastrous tour of Australia in 2009-10, where senior players were slapped with serious punishments by the PCB, Butt came through unharmed and was given the vice- captaincy for the Asia Cup and England tour in 2010.


He had made impressive strides at age-level matches before making his Test debut against Bangladesh in 2003-04, playing in the Under-19 World Cup and touring South Africa with Pakistan's Academy team, smashing 233 against the South African Academy side. His strokeplay has never been in doubt and he is capable of providing electrifying starts when needed but with the tightening of his defense, Butt could be one half of the opening conundrum that has so haunted Pakistan since...well, Anwar and Sohail left the scene.


2010 became a significant year for him as he finally cemented his place in all three formats and eventually succeeded Shahid Afridi as Test captain. But after winning much praise for his leadership on and off the field - and leading Pakistan to Test wins against Australia and England - his career was rocked by charges of involvement in spot-fixing and, in February 2011, he was handed a ten-year ban (with five years suspended) by the ICC.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:37 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Danish Parabha Shanker Kaneria


Born December 16, 1980, Karachi, Sind


Major teams Pakistan, Essex, Habib Bank Limited, Karachi, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Pakistan Reserves


Nickname Nani-Danny


Batting style Right-hand bat


Bowling style Legbreak

Danish Parabha Shanker Kaneria

Danish Kaneria will end his career as the highest wicket-taking spinner for Pakistan - itself an achievement - but whether or not he will be the best this country has ever produced will not be as straightforward a conclusion.


Kaneria, only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan, has many admirable traits, many necessary to make a good legspinner. His height purchases good bounce - though not always flight - and he can turn the ball significantly. Though the googly is overexposed, Richie Benaud once reckoned it to be among the best-disguised he had seen. Above all he has perseverance, and right or wrong, has served often as shock and stock bowler.


But something has been missing, the unknown that makes great leggies great. It is not so much in the tools, but in the persona and a peculiar lack of guile, especially if he is to be compared to countrymen such as Abdul Qadir and Mushtaq Ahmed; both had a wonderful presence. In turn he has also lacked a good captain, or always good supporting bowlers at the other end. Latterly he has suffered the lack of even an able wicketkeeper.


He has been an ever-present in the Test side since 2004 and his best period was in the years that followed immediately; critical spells came around the world, against Sri Lanka, England and West Indies and lionhearted ones against Australia and India. But he hasn't kicked on since. Often he will turn an innings, bowling as brightly as Pakistan has always hoped. But mostly he is a reliable run-controller and his strike rate has expanded alarmingly over the years. Tellingly, perhaps, he hasn't been part of Pakistan's limited-overs thinking at all for years.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Zulqarnain Haider


Born April 23, 1986, Lahore


Major teams Pakistan, Lahore Blues, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited, Pakistan Under-19s, Rawalpindi


Batting style Right-hand bat


Fielding position Wicketkeeper

Zulqarnain Haider

There was a time when it was not at all certain that Zulqarnain Haider, a tall and lanky wicketkeeper from Lahore, would ever build on his debut, which came in a heavy loss in a Twenty20 against South Africa in February 2007. But after some good domestic results he found a place on the 2010 England tour as Kamran Akmal's understudy, and when the senior keeper's lapses became too frequent, Haider was given a Test debut at Edgbaston. He was out to his first ball feathering a catch behind, but his characterful and determined 88 in the second innings formed the basis of a fightback.


That innings was testament to his character as his road to the top has been made in difficult personal circumstances. He took part in the Under-15 World Cup in England in the summer of 2000 at the age of 13. Four years later, at the Under-19 World Cup in Dhaka, he scored a vital 23 not out from 18 balls, and claimed three catches, as Pakistan took the title in the final against West Indies.


A broken finger after his Test debut ruled him out for the remainder of the tour and then his career appeared to come to an extraordinary, and worrying, end when he fled the one-day series against South Africa in UAE for London claiming he had received death threats following the fourth ODI. He sought asylum in London fearing for his safety, but returned to Pakistan eventually in 2011.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:33 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Imran Farhat


Current age 29 years 14 days


Major teams Pakistan, Biman Bangladesh, Habib Bank Limited, ICL Pakistan XI, Lahore, Lahore Badshahs, Lahore Eagles, Lahore Lions, Pakistan Reserves


Also known as Romi


Batting style Left-hand bat


Bowling style Legbreak


Relation Father-in-law - Mohammad Ilyas, Brother - Humayun Farhat

Imran Farhat

A gifted young left-handed opener who threatened at one stage to solve Pakistan's perennial opening conundrum, Imran Farhat had a brief spell in the Pakistan side after success with the national under-19 and A sides. Farhat also evokes Saeed Anwar but only fleetingly; he bludgeons rather than times his runs. He was rather too cavalier in his early appearances in the Test arena, and was promptly discarded after the tour to New Zealand in 2000-01. However, he tightened his game and achieved much more success in the 2003-04 season. Tempering his impressive array of shots with better defensive technique, Farhat scored a deluge of runs in the home series against South Africa and New Zealand, being involved in a record four successive hundred partnerships with Yasir Hameed in the one-day internationals against New Zealand. He also notched up his first century in both Tests and ODIs during this season, and then went on to score a vital 101 in Pakistan's victory against India in the Lahore Test. But since the India series, he has fallen away. A mediocre series at home to Sri Lanka and away to Australia saw him falter, especially with the emergence of the other left-handed opener, Salman Butt. When Pakistan included only one specialist opener in the squad for the series against England in 2005 - Butt - seemingly it confirmed that Farhat, temporarily, was out of national reckoning. But as an opener in Pakistan, you are never out of national reckoning and sure enough Farhat was back for the final Test against India, where he scored a fifty. That performance saw him on the plane to Sri Lanka and an average series. But with openers becoming as rare as dinosuars in Pakistan, he was retained for the summer tour to England, where he again produced some mixed results. Despite failures in the first two Tests, a broken finger and a spate of dropped catches, he came back to score a cavalier 91 in the final, fateful Oval Test. Runs against West Indies at home were followed by a barren patch in South Africa. A first away hundred followed by a patient half-century in the Napier Test of 2009 has set him up for a long sojourn in the Test side. His ODI career has however hit roadblocks since he was dropped after an indifferent run of scores in 2006.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:31 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Mohammad Irfan


Born June 6, 1982, Gaggu Mandi, Punjab


Major teams Pakistan, Baluchistan Bears, Khan Research Laboratories, Multan Tigers, Pakistan A


Batting style Right-hand bat


Bowling style Left-arm medium-fast


Height 7 ft 1 in

Mohammad Irfan

Confusion remains over Mohammad Irfan's actual height - the PCB has variously measured him at 6'8", 6'10" and 7'1". If he is indeed 7'1", he could be the tallest cricketer around, surpassing his idol Joel Garner. Irfan is a product of rural Pakistan, hailing from the eastern Pakistan town of Gaggu Mandi, which produced another tall former Pakistan quick, Mohammad Zahid. The lack of opportunities in his home town forced him to quit playing cricket and seek full-time employment to support his family. He was working in a plastic pipe factory and playing club cricket before Aaqib Javed had summoned him to the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. Aaqib was enthused by what he saw and soon after, he was playing first-class cricket for Khan Research Laboratories. He took nine wickets in his second game and ended the season with an impressive 43 wickets in ten games. He came close to national selection when he was named as a replacement for one of the injured seamers for the 2010 World Twenty20, but his name was withdrawn.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:28 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Mohammad Sami


Born February 24, 1981, Karachi, Sind


Major teams Pakistan, ICL Pakistan XI, Karachi, Karachi Blues, Karachi Dolphins, Karachi Zebras, Kent, Lahore Badshahs, National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Customs, Sussex


Batting style Right-hand bat


Bowling style Right-arm fast

Mohammad Sami

One of a new generation of Pakistan fast bowlers, Mohammad Sami initially forced his way into the Test team with outstanding performances in domestic cricket and had an immediate impact in his first Test with five wickets against New Zealand. Then, in only his third Test, he notched a hat-trick, eking out the last three Sri Lankans in the Asian Test Championship final and he also has an ODI hat-trick. But since those early years, and especially after the World Cup 2003, when he was expected to become the Pakistan spearhead after the retirements of Wasim and Waqar, his story has been a fitful and thus far disappointing one.


Series after series has seen him disappoint as a stream of promising paceman have overtaken him, including the likes of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer. For the most part Sami has been surprisingly ineffective and prone to leaking runs. So poor was his form after the India series in early 2006, he was finally dropped from the tour to Sri Lanka yet was lucky to be selected for the tour to England that summer, after a number of Pakistan's frontline bowlers were injured.


Nobody seems to be entirely sure where the problem lies either - he has been given the new-ball with license to attack, he has come on as first-change. He is fit - one of the fittest in the team - and athletic. From a shortish run-up and high action he generates surprising pace, settled in the mid-to-late eighties but with occasional forays into the nineties. He also quickly mastered traditional outswing and reverse-swing and bowls a mean yorker.


Sami put his future with Pakistan at risk by signing up for the unofficial Indian Cricket League (ICL), but was eventually welcomed back into the domestic fold when he severed ties. In late 2009, out of the blue, Sami was added to Pakistan's squad for their tour of Australia.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Fawad Alam


Born October 8, 1985, Karachi


Major teams Pakistan, Karachi Cricket Association Under-19s, Karachi Dolphins, National Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Customs, Pakistan Emerging Team


Batting style Left-hand bat


Bowling style Slow left-arm orthodox


Relation Father - Tariq Alam

Fawad Alam

Fawad Alam, son of Pakistan's famous first-class cricketer Tariq Alam, made his first-class debut at the age of 17. He was duly picked to represent Pakistan at the U-19 World Cup based on his performances with Pakistan Customs and Karachi on the domestic circuit.


An unbeaten 43 in the semi-final against India not only guided Pakistan to the final (which they went on to win), but also marked his status as an immensely talented left-handed allrounder (something that Pakistan agonisingly lacks).


He was then named in the U-19 squad to play the touring Sri Lankans and South Africa Academy teams. That same year, he was invited to join the National Cricket Academy (NCA), a pool of talented individuals to be groomed for the elite level.


His real breakthrough was the 2006-07 season where Fawad outshone the rest by miles. He guided Karachi Dolphins to the final of the Twenty20 Cup (losing to defending champions Sialkot Stallions) where he not only grabbed a five-wicket haul and scored a valiant 54, but also went home with the Man of the Final, Man of the Series, Best Batsman and Best Bowler awards.


He also scored heavily in the longer version of the game namely the Quaid-e-Azam trophy where he finished as the fifth highest run-scorer. In the shorter version of the game, he turned out to be a useful ingredient of the National Bank mix that lifted the Patron's Cup, almost carried Karachi Dolphins to the ABN AMRO Cup final (second highest run-scorer and highest wicket-taker in the competition).


After an intense, but profitable, first-class season, Fawad was selected to captain the Pakistan Academy's tour of Bangladesh where his performance was deemed adequate enough for a call to the national squad. Fawad, however, failed to shine on his international debut in the searing Abu Dhabi conditions aged 21. Surprisingly not required to bowl at all, Fawad also fell first ball to cap off a lacklustre debut. The selectors, however, kept their trust in the young allrounder, giving him opportunities in Pakistan's limited-overs squads. Fawad was the leading run-getter during Pakistan Academy's tour of Africa in September-October 2008; he scored 302 not out in a four-day game against Kenya.


Posted by anccricket on October 24, 2008 at 1:23 AM Comments comments (0)

Full name Mohammad Asif


Born December 20, 1982, Sheikhupura, Punjab


Major teams Pakistan, Asia XI, Delhi Daredevils, Khan Research Labs, Lahore Division, Leicestershire, National Bank of Pakistan, Sheikhupura Cricket Association, Sialkot Cricket Association


Playing role Bowler


Batting style Left-hand bat


Bowling style Right-arm fast-medium

Mohammad Asif

Few Pakistani fast bowlers have been as wily and smart as Mohammad Asif, though fewer have been as prone to scandal and controversy off the field. Neither claim can easily be made given the rich competition.

But such is the magic in the loose wrists of Asif. Pace is not his calling - he abhors such measurements - but he is unerringly accurate and cuts the ball either way with wicked regularity and glee. He is tall and lean so to these skills is added bounce and a natural ability to bowl long spells. An easy action and easier run-up mean that watching a long Asif spell, watching him out-think batsmen, is an experience in cricket not to be missed.


On several occasions, in Kandy, in Karachi, at The Oval, in South Africa, and in Sydney, all of it has come together in spells not only of the very highest quality, but of crucial importance to Pakistan's cause. But if ever a young, small-town man was blinded by the bright lights of a big city and fame, it was Asif.


Already, unforgivably, he has tested positive for steroids twice. Soon after the second offence, he was caught with a recreational drug in his wallet at Dubai airport and kept in detention for three weeks. Most seriously he was charged in 2010 with spot-fixing - bowling pre-planned, deliberate no-balls - and in February 2011 he was handed a seven-year ban, with two years suspended, by the ICC.He has come back well from bans before but the latest might spell the end of his career.