You guys might have noticed that Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat were ruled out of the World T20 due to injuries. The loss hurts especially in the case of Gul, who was deemed one of Pakistan's sharpest swords in the attack.
Naturally, Pakistan managed to turn the announcement of the replacements into a huge muddle. The people involved into the practical side of the game - captain, chief selector, coach - announced that the two Mos, Sami and Irfan, would succeed. Ijaz Butt felt snubbed and immediately declared the announcement invalid. Instead of Irfan spinner Abdur Rehman will join the forces now.
Like many of us I was looking forward to seeing the TV tower running in. For once in my life I have to agree with Shahid Afridi here, who said that Irfan would have extracted remarkable bounce due to his enormous height, and could have posed a nice surprise to the opponent. Alas, Irfan hadn't been on the list of the 30 probables and has to miss out now. Very sad story. I think if Pakistan really can't come up with two good quicks maybe the ideal combination would have been Irfan / Rehman.
And now for something almost completely different:
Pakpassion have conducted a rather peculiar interview with Mohammad Asif. I can't really make much sense of it, on the one hand he is basically telling nothing, on the other hand this can be quite telling, too. But let me quote the most interesting bit:
When Pakistan's fixtures are arranged, Asif must cringe at the thought of another series in the United Arab Emirates, especially given that Pakistan are going to be playing a lot of cricket in the Middle East later this year and beyond. He was asked whether he thought he would eventually get the chance to play in Dubai or Abu Dhabi again or would he have to remain a spectator for those series.
"Of course it's frustrating as I want to play for my country all of the time. I don't want to miss any matches. The matter is being dealt with by Ijaz Butt saheb and I know he is talking to the relevant people to try and sort out the issue. Hopefully I can start playing cricket in the UAE shortly".
Umm. Seriously does anybody of you guys think that his ban will be lifted at any point in the future? I can't see that happening. Two pleas of that sort have been rejected already. What makes him hopeful that the third one might be successful? What signal would be sent out to the public in the Emirates, if the the decision was overruled? I think Pakistan will remain without Asif as long as they have to play home matches in the UAE. And that was the second sad story of the day.