Wednesday, March 30, 2011



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shaid Afridi accuses Indian media of negative campaign

KARACHI: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi accused the Indian media on Monday of conducting a negative campaign against his team before Wednesday's eagerly anticipated World Cup semifinal in Mohali.

"There is so much negativity in the Indian media. There is nothing positive to watch on the channels and we are just sticking together as a team and it is just the hotel and ground for us," Afridi told the Geo News channel.

"The only answer we can give is with our performance. We will try to give 110 percent in this big match.

"Everyone knows how big a match this is and the pressures that come with it. But we will just do our best whatever the result. After the match we just want to be content in our hearts we gave our best."

Afridi also said Pakistan were considering playing their controversial fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar.

"I also want him to play but we have not taken a final decision as yet. And we have to take into consideration his match fitness and his form which we will see in the nets," Afridi said.

"We want him in such a high-profile match but we don't want him for just four or five overs, we want him to bowl his full quota of overs,"

Pakistan have not played Akhtar, who has announced his decision to retire after the World Cup, since they lost to New Zealand in the pool matches.

Afridi played down his remarks about not allowing Indian maestro Sachin Tendulkar to score runs in the semifinal.

"The Indian media has treated this negatively. There is never any doubt about Tendulkar's greatness. But if someone approaches me and asks me about him (Tendulkar) obviously as Pakistan captain I will not say we will allow him to score runs I will say we will ensure he doesn't get his 100th international century," Afridi said.

The Pakistan skipper felt the dew factor would play an important role,

"Yes, there is a lot of dew in the evenings but they are using chemicals to counter it. But it is a factor we will have to take into consideration at the toss," he said.

He also expressed disappointment at remarks from Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik about the government keeping a close watch on the players in the semifinal because of last year's spot-fixing scandal.

"I don't think he should have said such a thing at such a time," Afridi said.

Facts and figures relating to the World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan

Facts and figures relating to the World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan slated to be held at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Wednesday.

Head-to-head record: Pakistan lead 69-46 (NR: 4)

In the World Cups: India lead 4-0

In the sub-continent: Pakistan lead 34-25 (NR: 3)

Results in last five head-to-head ODIs: 14 Jun 2008: Pakistan won by 25 runs at Dhaka 26 Jun 2008: India won by six wickets at Karachi 2 Jul 2008: Pakistan won by eight wickets at Karachi 26 Sept 2009: Pakistan won by 54 runs at Centurion 19 Jun 2010: India won by three wickets at Dambulla

* India have won all four times they have played Pakistan in the World Cups, consecutively between 1992 and 2003

* At the Punjab Cricket Association, Mohali, Pakistan lead 2-0 having won both their games in April 1999 and Nov 2007

* Pakistan (WWWLWWW) not only topped Group A but also beat West Indies by 10 wickets in the quarter-finals

* Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi leads the wickets tally with 21 wickets at an economy rate of 3.48. Umar Gul, with 14 wickets/3.86 economy, is one of the leading pace bowlers in the tournament. Part-time spinner Mohammed Hafeez has seven wickets.

* Pakistan batting has been brittle and they do not have a player among the tournament's top 25 run scorers.

* Umar Akmal (211 runs) is their leading run getter, and more will be expected from the likes of Misbah-ul-Haq (192 runs), Kamran Akmal (188 runs), Younus Khan and Mohammed Hafeez (172 runs apiece).

* Pakistan has taken the least number of catches (23) among the semifinalists and they will be looking to take the chances created by the bowlers, in the field and behind the stumps.

* India (WWLWWTW) stormed into the semifinals, stopping Australia in their tracks in the quarters. They were beaten by South Africa, escaped with a tie against England and less than convincing wins against Netherlands and Ireland.

* India have a very strong top and middle order with Sachin Tendulkar (379 runs), Virender Sehwag (342 runs) and four-time man-of-the-match Yuvraj Singh (341 runs) within the top 10 scorers in the tournament.

* The bowling, despite the spearhead Zaheer Khan's stellar performance (17 wickets), has been lacking teeth. None of the other frontline bowlers have had much impact. Yuvraj Singh (11 wickets) has compensated with his left-arm spin.

Cricket World Cup 2011 : Blue vs Green in a match that's red hot

MOHALI: A Prime Minister playing the high stakes in a desperate act of proactive diplomacy, a batting genius presented with the grandest of theatres to fashion his much-awaited 100th international ton, a knock-out match where the pitch is merely a surrogate for battlefield, where the outcome could induce either agony or ecstasy in either nation - this is not just the 2011 ODI World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan, this is simply the biggest game cricket can conjure. ( Read: Fans bat big for men in blue ) ( Read: Chacha cricket arrives in trademark style )

Special Coverage: India vs Pakistan Semi Final

Peaceniks may be disappointed but for most fans on either side of the border, it doesn't really matter whether PM Manmohan Singh's initiative, a parallel event to the nerve-jangling game, takes off or not. ( Read: HC judges lose tickets to SC seniors ) ( Read: Pakistan's glitterati arrives for good cricket )

Diplomacy has the option to fail; the cricketers do not. Both MS Dhoni and Shahid Afridi have a crushing weight of expectations on their shoulders. Winning isn't important; it is the only thing. ( Read: 'We'd rather share tickets with our hosts' )

Most experts believe India are odds-on favourites. Pakistan have looked an ominous unit in their recent games but their primary strength, spinners, may not find the going easy against the Men in Blue.

Raina seems to have filled the last piece in the Indian batting jigsaw. The man in form, Yuvraj Singh will be playing before his home crowd. And there's something reassuring watching Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag go out to bat together.

It should be a memorable match. Here's hoping its outcome incites the longest late-night party in Indian cricket.

India Vs Pak: Bharat Bandh!

Naturally! With India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final today, everything's come to a standstill. BT finds out what celebs have planned for the big match

Ajay Devgn: I'm in Goa shooting for Singham. We have decided to finish our shoot by lunch so we can all see the match. We plan to sit in a private area in the hotel and the whole cast and crew will cheer for India together.

Imran Khan: I'm going to be shooting in Madh Island; we are all hoping that our director understands our excitement and puts a TV on the sets!

Deepika Padukone: I'm in London shooting. As we are behind India in time, I will get ready early and catch the match before my afternoon shoot. I wish I was in Mohali!

Sharman Joshi: I'll be watching the match with all my college friends and our families. We have booked a suite in a hotel, we'll meet at 2, have snacks, high tea, drinks and dinner. We're going to spend the entire day together.

Simran Kaur Mundi: I've ordered lots of cola and popcorn. All my friends are coming over for the match.

Chitrangda Singh: I'll call all my friends over and cheer for India till my voice goes hoarse!

Preity Zinta: I will be where the action is and I have 100 per cent faith that India will lift the World Cup this time. So, go India. Win it for us.

Mika Singh : I'm in Mohali. Our players are in great form and we will repeat the 1983 magic. I'm especially excited as it's being held in my hometown Chandigarh.

Shilpa Shetty: I'm in Dubai because of a prior commitment, but I'll watch the match at my home here with a couple of friends. It doesn't get bigger than this!

Neil Nitin Mukesh: I'm having a house party with family and close friends and popcorn. I have bought whistles that I'm distributing to people. Wish team India all the best.

Bose Krishnamachari: My friends and I have rescheduled our plans to be in Mumbai together for this match.

Alesia Raut: My little son is very excited about the match. Our entire family will watch the game together at home.

Riteish Deshmukh: We'll be wrapping the shoot of Double Dhamaal early to catch the match with the cast and crew in a hotel in Macau.

Rajniesh Duggall: I'm watching the match along with my friends at a cafe.