Khurram Ahmed

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Khurram was born in Pakistan and raised in the West Indies. Raised to be an opening batsman by his father, he also formed a fearsome pace quartet with his brothers, and has a tremendous first-class record in backyards and on rooftops across the globe. You can follow his cricket-related comic stylings @LordsHaveMercy.

Blog Posts by Khurram Ahmed

  • A support cast as talented as the stars

    Pakistan's bowling attack is potent because even lesser members know their roles perfectly.

    Mohammad Hafeez's awareness of his limitations has worked to Pakistan's gain.

    The most significant lesson to be learnt from the first ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is that the contest was between a team whose leaders were focused and ready to compete and another whose top talent was neither.

    If anything, Pakistan’s biggest hurdle in the match was their over-aggressiveness. Their three-pronged pace attack operated like the ultra-efficient law firm of Gul, Tanvir and Sami, except for the regular wides sprinkled with no-balls. The pitch was affording movement, but the bowlers tried to do more than was necessary against a lazy performance from the entire batting side, save Lahiru Thirimanne.

    Pakistan has the luxury of possessing a formidable limited overs attack in Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Mohammad Hafeez and Shahid Afridi, and whenever someone else steps in (Mohammad Sami and Sohail Tanvir right now) he is probably regarded as the weak link. Indeed, sometimes Hafeez and Afridi find themselves targeted by the opposition as they try to race through their combined 20

    Read More »from A support cast as talented as the stars
  • Afridi joins the party thrown for him

    The Pathan and Pakistan are as unpredictable, and talented, as ever.

    Taking it Forward: Afridi celebrates a wicket with skipper Mohammad Hafeez and Umran Akmal.

    Since Shahid Afridi exploded on to the scene in 1996, there have been hundreds of calls for him to curb his playing style to suit the match and the team’s needs. Play yourself in, they said.  Play straight. Play along the ground. Rotate the strike. 

    Eventually, the voices went away. Not because the advice was heeded, but because Afridi could not change his spots.  He is hardwired to be a certain beast, and that’s all he can be.  Pleading and expecting a change is the very definition of insanity.  The emergence of T20I cricket a decade into Afridi’s career had many wondering if perhaps he was just born a little too early, and that the sport he was born to play was not cricket, but T20 cricket.

    Afridi has not delivered on his promise in the format, scoring just four half-centuries - three of them consecutively in the middle of 2009.  His most recent effort against Sri Lanka produced an unbeaten 52 from 33 deliveries, the fastest 50 in the format from a man who once, as a boy, scored 102Read More »from Afridi joins the party thrown for him
  • Lack of IPL catching up with Pakistan

    Commentary on the first T20 at Hambantota

    “Players from other international teams are taking part in the IPL particularly the Sri Lankan players and that means they have a slight edge over us.  If you compare the whole world with us, everyone is there in the IPL getting practice in intense scenarios and enhancing their skills, but our players are missing out on that opportunity.”  That was newly-minted Pakistan T20 captain less than two weeks before the inaugural match of Sri Lanka tour, the now concluded T20 at Hambantota.

    Pakistan wasted a fine bowling performance as Sohail Tanvir made inroads with three early wickets to help push the hosts towards a laughable total at 89/7 before Perera and Kulasekera added 43 from the final 22 deliveries of their innings.  After the turn, Pakistan were bowled out 37 runs short, with only Ahmed Shehzad’s Misbah-esque 36 coming close to offering comfort.

    The detractors of IPL may say what they will about diluted talent, flat pitches and short boundaries but the latest season has shown too many

    Read More »from Lack of IPL catching up with Pakistan
  • Scaling the Everest made easy

    10,000 runs and 300 wickets aren't the benchmarks of excellence that they used to be.

    Chanderpaul completed 10,000 Test runs this week. When Sunil Gavaskar became the first person to accumulate 10,000 career Test runs in 1987, Test cricket itself was 110 years old. Until Gavaskar realistically inched towards that threshold, the number had little significance to either a schoolboy cricketer or a Test player. It was something that only existed in a very abstract sense, perhaps how the Neanderthals saw the moon. Enter Neil Armstrong.

    Before then, the measure for legendary status for a batsman with a long international career was 8,000 runs. And before that, it was 6,000. And 5,000 before that. Allan Border was the second to reach the mark six years later in 1993. A decade later in 2003, the floodgates opened and eight more batsmen now perch atop Test batting’s Everest. One is tempted to say it’s getting crowded. No England batsman has ever reached the mark, but barring injury, Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Alastair Cook all appear destined to go to well beyond the mountaintop.

    Someone somewhere might be tempted to

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  • Cricket in the time of terrorism

    If the PCB wants to get it right, they would do well to get the ICC on their side before finding a willing opponent.

    Pakistan's coach Dav Whatmore (C) talks with his players during a training session at the Gaddafi Stadium. (AFP/Getty Images)

    Pakistan, the cricketing civilization even when distinguished from the nation-state, has seen far more troughs in recent years than it has crests.  While it must induce head-shakes and tut-tuts around the world, for fans of Pakistan cricket each valley is uniquely painful and distinctly embarrassing, because the people involved are from your home town or you were able to spend a few evenings with players as they sought halal meals in the Caribbean. 

    In spite of all this, and the long shadow cast by spot-fixing, the saddest day in Pakistan’s cricketing history is the one that keeps the lights off in her cricket stadiums.

    The day the music died for cricket fans in Pakistan was 3 March 2009 when terrorists opened fire on the Sri Lanka team bus carrying players back to their hotels after the third day’s play.  Over three years have passed since then, and in that time a World Cup on the sub-continent.

    It seems like Pakistan is constantly trying to overcome the darkest chapter in cricketingRead More »from Cricket in the time of terrorism
  • The Gayle-shaped void

    Enough with the ego tussles. Caribbean cricket must bring back Gayle for its own good.

    While WI have been converting wins into losses, Gayle has been butchering T20 bowlers. Since 2006, the West Indies have declared a Test innings on only four occasions. Two of those resulted in tame draws and one in a victory against Bangladesh. The latest instance of course was against Australia in the Test at Kensington Oval, which painfully reminded fans they are still mired in the ignominious era of ‘Collapso Cricket’.

    Before the tourists arrived, the West Indies probably would have taken a 2-2 draw to the ODI series. But given the opportunity to seize so much more, they have shown a weakness in purpose, resolve and belief. These qualities are often referred to as intangibles, and often the fruits of strong leadership. The West Indies have had little from within their camp, and less from their board.

    Where purpose, resolve and belief flag, one must resort to rely on talent and class. Within hours of West Indies conceding the Test to Australia, Kieron Pollard took Player of the Match honors representing the Mumbai Indians in the ongoing IPL bludgeoning 64 from 33

    Read More »from The Gayle-shaped void