Friday, July 31, 2009

Operation FC (Liverpool)

An, English football club which has been through many disasters and controversies over the years. Founded in 1892, this eminent football club has done well to cement its name in the Premier League's "Big Four".

Nicknamed "The Reds", because of the all-red traditional kit they have been wearing since the early 1960s, Liverpool FC has gone through many-a-hard times during its Premiership. May it be an exemplary case of football hooliganism in the 1985 European Cup final, when charging Liverpool fans led to the death of 39 confronting Juventus devotees upon the collapse of a rickety stadium wall or the 1989 Hillsborough disaster which saw the death of 94 Liverpool F.C followers in a human stampede which would be remembered as one of the most gruesome disaster in football history. Another dark time in the football club's history was its relegation to Second Division for almost six years (1953-1959).

BillShankly is Liverpool's most celebrated manager, under whose leadership the club broke free from the Second Division, and ended the 17 year League title dought in 1963-64 followed by two FA Cups, another League title and the UEFA Cup [1972-73]. After retirement Shankly passed on the reins to his assistant Bob Prisley who was to be the most successful manager of Liverpool during whose tenure the club went on to win six League titles, three consecutive League Cups, five Charity Shields and three European Cups.

The club's badge consists of a central "Liver Bird", holding an olive branch and placed inside a shield. Above the shield, the title of Liverpool's anthem "You will never walk alone" is graphically represented. The two flames on either side of the crest symbolize an eternal fire that will burn in memory of the Hillsborough disaster victims.

Eighteen English League Championships (a shared record with Man U), seven League Cups, seven FA Cups and five European Cups are the highlights of Liverpool's trophy cabinet. The renowned club also bagged a 'cup treble' in the 2000-2001 season.

Liverpool has played at Anfield (45,000+ capacity) since its establishment, although a newer stadium (Stanley Park Stadium) is under construction a few yards away from the present one, which will be the official ground of Liverpool from 2011 onwards.

The current shirt sponsors of Liverpool are a Danish brewery company known as Carlsberg. Signed in 1992, this is the longest running, current shirt sponsorship agreement for a top-notch English football club.

The most prominent rivalries of Liverpool are: Everton, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.


  • Founded: 15th March 1892
  • Ground: Anfield (45,362)
  • Co-owners: Geroge Gillett, Tom Hicks (Both from USA)
  • Manager: Rafael Benitez (Spain)
  • League: Barclay's Premier League
  • Last Season Position: 2nd
  • Captain: Steven Gerrard (UK)
  • V. Captain: Jamie Crragher (UK)
  • Did You Know: The product of Liverpool's intense rivalry with Everton is the Mereyside Derby, which holds the record of the most player sent-offs in any Premier League fixture.
  • Official Site:
  • Current Squad:
    • Diego Cavalleiri (Brazil)
    • Jose Manuel Reina (Spain)
    • Charles Itandje (France)
    • David Martin (UK)
    • Martin Hansen (Denmark)
    • Peter Gulacsi (Hungary)
    • Glen Johnson (UK)
    • Daniel Agger (Denmark)
    • Fabio Aurelio (Brazil)
    • Alvaro Arbeloa (Spain)
    • Emiliano Insua (Argentina)
    • Jamie Carragher (UK)
    • Philipp Degen (Switzerland)
    • Stephen Darby (UK)
    • Martin Kelly (UK)
    • Martin Skrtel (Slovakia)
    • Andrea Dossena (Italy)
    • Steven Gerrard (UK)
    • Nathan Eccleston (England)
    • Albert Reira (Spain)
    • Xabi Alonso (Spain)
    • Yossi Benayoun (Israel)
    • Javier Mascherano (Argentina)
    • Lucas (Brazil)
    • Jay Spearing (UK)
    • Damien Plessis (France)
    • Nabil El Zhar (Morocco)
    • Steve Irwin (UK)
    • Fernando Torres (Spain)
    • Andriy Veronin (Ukraine)
    • Dirk Kuyt (Netherlands)
    • Ryan Babel (Netherlands)
    • David N'Gog (France)
    • Krisztian Nemeth (Hungary)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Operation FC (Chelsea)

Which football club comes to your mind upon seeing a crest bearing an upright blue lion, which is looking backwards and holding a staff? Yes! none other then Chelsea. The west London football club which has been making waves in the English Football circuit from its inception in 1905.

Also known as The Blues, because of the blue colour they appear to be so attached to. Although, the shades changed over the years, in the crests and Home/Away kits but the basic colour remained the same. This nickname was widely accepted among Chelsea's fan-following when the 1972 single "Blue is The Colour", rocked the UK Singles Chart with the voices of the then Chelsea's playing eleven.

This top-tier English football club has been English champions three times, and has won the FA Cup five times, the League Cup four times and the UEFA Winners' Cup twice.

The home ground of Chelsea is the 40, 065 capacity Stamford Bridge (although I always misunderstood it to be "Stanford Bridge").

Chelsea's traditional kit colurs are Royal Blue shirts and shorts with white socks. Their current shirt sponsors are "Samsung".

Chelsea's most prominent rivalries are; Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Man U, Leeds United and Liverpool.


  • Founded: 14th March 1905
  • Ground: Stamford Bridge (40. 000+ capacity)
  • Owner: Rowan Abramovich (Russia)
  • Manager: Carlo Ancelotti (Italy)
  • Chairman: Bruce Buck (USA)
  • League: Barclay's Premier League
  • Last Season Position: 3rd
  • Captain: John Terry (UK)
  • V. Captain: Frank Lampard (UK)
  • 2009 Player of the Year: Frank Lampard (UK)
  • Did You Know: C.F.C was initially founded for Stamford Bridge as the owners thought that such a big ground (it had 100,000 capacity then) required a club of its own!
  • Official Site:
  • Current Squad:
    • Petr Cech (Czech Republic)
    • Henrique Hilario (Portugal)
    • Ross Turnbull (UK)
    • Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia)
    • Ashley Cole (UK)
    • Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal)
    • Jose Bosingwas (Portugal)
    • Paulo Ferriera (Portugal)
    • John Terry (UK)
    • Alex (Brazil)
    • Juliano Belletti (Brazil)
    • Sam Hutchinson (UK)
    • Michael Mancaienne (UK)
    • Michael Essien (Ghana)
    • Frank Lampard (UK)
    • John Obi Mikel (Nigeria)
    • Michael Ballack (Germany)
    • Florent Malouda (France)
    • Yuri Zhirkov (Russia)
    • Deco (Portugal)
    • Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
    • Franko Di Santo (Argentina)
    • Joe Cole (UK)
    • Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
    • Claudio Pizarro (Peru)
    • Scott Sinclair (UK)
    • Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast)
    • Daniel Sturridge (UK)
    • Nicolas Anelka (France)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

[Social Eye] The Various Species of Candidates Sitting in CIE Examinations

  • Homo Sapien Ferraris: You can easily notice this rare model of Ferrari by the speed at which they fill the answer booklet; they just seem to know everything, such that a suspicions arises in the minds of fellow candidates that theses 'Ferraris' have somehow managed to leak the paper, may it be in dreams or in reality! You can spot this make of Ferrari (although they don't sport that prancing horse monogram of Ferrari anywhere) by parted hair (the style of a pre-schooler!), circular, thick-rimmed glasses (you almost mistake them for a magnifying glass, if you get a chance to see through those eyepieces), a closed neck button of their school shirt (against the will of the windpipe!) and that same conventional neat and tidy school uniform with no 'yo man! stuff' like rolled up sleeves, pulled out shirts etc. Although they might be too uncool to be from the house of Ferrari but the working of their Brain and CNS (Central Nervous System) literally makes them worthy to be called one.
  • Allah Walas: I am doubtful about these candidates' mental condition, because they don't even bother opening a book before the examination. The closest I can get to predict the roots of this 'ailment' is that either they are the sons of some Sufis\Darveshs or they are the sole successor of their Mullana father (yup, the one who has an overgrown beard!) as they are too expectant of divine intervention and enthusiastic about angels 'transporting' them all the correct answers. You can spot them easily as they have a red and an about-to-burst face with tears swimming in their eyes. One thought that I know would be battering their skulls like tsunami waves will be "Kash, ham tayari kar lete!" (Ah!, if only we had prepared!).
  • "Chic Magnets": Yeah! you got it right. These are the bunch of guys who hand nearly blank answer booklets to the examiner before time, just to impress a few girls and turn a few heads. To them the awe-struck faces of sweety pies are more important than the satisfied faces of their parents. They can easily be recognized as sons of successful businessmen or money-making machines as they have bank-notes to cushion this academic fall.
  • Over Prepared Mumblers: These guys don't have a brain. They have got brains. As during the examination they have multiple factions of brain cells operating. Each feeding in a completely different solution...the result of knowing toooooo much. It is much like a hard-disk which is overflowing with information and responds with multiple results for a single 'search' query. As a result, you would find these type of candidates mumbling to themselves with their cheeks resting on their palms as they know the answer, yet they are completely baffled by the question due to the war which is in full-swing within their head.
  • Forecasters, i.e, The Najoomi Party: These are candidates who think they just know which paper would be coming this examination session. They are abundant outside the examination hall and can easily be seen within groups of other candidates, speaking in hushed whispers about 1982's repeating Physics Paper, 1979's recurring Chemistry MCQs etc. Sometimes I have a feeling that these 'candidates' are specifically hired by rival educational institutions to have a disturbing pre-exam impact on the candidates, an impact, that would have a negative effect on that schools overall result triggering a decrease in popularity.
  • Unbelievers: These candidates are usually short on confidence and just won't believe that they have penned down the correct answer, even if they have! Usually they are spottable by the grunting sounds they would make which is often accompanied by a tsk tsk. Most of their time is spent in rubbing and correcting answers and they frequently have pages in their answer booklets which have holes large enough to poke your nose through. But still they manage to, somehow, complete the paper. An out-of-this-world feat in my sightline.
  • One-chance Maniacs: These so called maniacs think that they have only one chance to get it right! They seem to be overpowered by the thought that their parents (middle-classed or poor) cannot bear the towering expenditure of another examination session so you can often see them shaking or crying at a question they are stuck at. They get through the examination by hook or by crook, completely overtaken by the mistakes they have committed which are there all because of that psychological pressure. And on the result day they don't get the result they were hopeful for but nothing can keep them from going unconscious when their parents themselves ask "How about reappearing son?".
  • Reappearing Magicians: This specie is contrary to the above one. These candidates are as light as a feather as they know that nothing is at stake. If they don't get the result they desire for this time, they are always aware of the second chance. Therefore, as an outcome they get stunning grades all because of being relaxed. Some of them also get a bad result (due to less preparation), and you can see them sitting for the examination in the winter.
  • Time-bomb Affectees: These tranquil candidates are as lazy as a sloth at the commencement of the exam, thinking about each answer, making rough drafts, adding extra points etc. But all this calmness evaporates into thin air when the truth dawns upon them, i.e, 30 minutes for more than half of the paper. They suddenly pick up speed...their hands just a blur. Casting nervous glances at the wall clock they get unaware of what is happening around them until they write down the final answer. Their troubles would be over if only they had some time-traveling capability!!!
  • Year-o-Phobics: These candidates are completely taken in by the past-paper books (Redspot's to be precise) and going through innumerable mock exams' sessions with their help, they have that wrong perception that this would also be the case in the Cambridge Originals! So as soon as the question paper is distributed to them, they can't get their eyes of the year part , i.e, 20-- one, that's when the real situation reveals itself before them. This is their year....this is their paper...they are the ones to open it for the first time. Completely perplexed, they are jolted back to their senses by the Chief Examiner's stern voice, "Candidates, start your paper!" and they commence their exam after a few moments of disbelief.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Match Box (Pak. vs Sl. 1st ODI)



Rangiri Dambulla Stadium is the name. Built on a picturesque location in the North Central Province, this 16000 (apx.) capacity ground is amidst the test-hosting grounds of the world since 2000. One of the very few cricket grounds in Sri Lanka with floodlights installed.

With a lush green outfield on which the ball travels like a bullet, there is some surprise in knowing that most of the ODI matches played here had been quite low scoring, with the average first innings score of 198. In the 26 ODI matches played here so far, the team batting first has won 12 times while the team chasing a target have won 14 times. So pretty much balanced record here.

The pitch seems to help the fast bowlers initially due to the moisture provided by the high water table, which is there due to the proximity to the Dambulla Reservoir, but then the spinners come into play as the pitch deteriorates during play and the moistness is taken away by the scorching sun.

Above: A general view of RD Stadium, showing the immense play area and lush outfield.
Above: This photo shows the stands of the RD Stadium, with a beautiful peak in the backdrop.




Pakistan has so far played 5 ODIs here, winning only two of them. The highest total scored by Pakistan was 203 while the lowest one stands at 116.

Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka had been on 21 outings here since 2000. Emerging victorious in 13 games, with the highest total of 282 and the lowest total they could muster was 120.




  • Imran Nazir
  • Nasir Jamshed\Shoaib Malik
Two specialist openers are a must on this track, specially if you are batting first. But if Younus khan gets into friendships then Malik is bound to be here in place of any of these two.
  • Kamran Akmal
  • Misbah-ul-Haq
  • Mohammad Yousuf
  • Younus Khan
  • Shahid Afridi
This middle order is very strong, and should be strong, keeping in eye the constant collapses on this ground. Moreover Kamran and Misbah gel together very well because of their varied styles of play, which makes the opposition a bit nervous in field positioning (as seen in the final ODI against Australia in Abu Dhabi (May 2009)). Younus can also send Afridi up the order during PP or keep him a bit lower for the Batting PP. Well, I am not in favour of Younus to come ahead of the position specified above, considering his bad form with the bat.
  • Abdul Razzaq\Rana Naveed
  • Mohammad Amir
  • Umar Gul
  • Saeed Ajmal
Medium-pacers have been a handful on this track so Abdul Razzaq gets a place in our lower middle/tail area. Umar Gul is there for the middle overs while Amir should share the new ball with Razzaq. Ajmal and Afridi are the ones to keep a lookout for as this pitch goes well with spin later on. I won't be surprised if Younus himself bowls and gets some wickets. If Younus is adventurous enough he might swap Razzaq with Rana.


The above overview holds true for the 2nd and 3rd ODI as well!!

Stats Source:

Photo (c) AFP


Friday, July 24, 2009

Project Squad Pakistan (Part 1)

Pakistan's Tour of Sri Lanka ODI Series Squad 2009. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
  • Nasir Jamshed: A prolific left-hand opening batsman. Scoring loads of runs on the domestic circuit, he was first picked into the Pakistani side on Zimbabwe's tour of Pakistan in 2008. He also starred in the Asia Cup 2008, impressing many people. Then suddenly, much like a Pakistani talent, he was forgotten. he now gets a recall in the side in the place of out-of-form salman butt. An opportunity for him to cement his place in the side.
  • Imran Nazir: The comeback kid! He might be playing his first ODI in 2 years after severing ties with the rebel ICL. A great striker of the ball, who can really put the opposition on the backfoot by his absorbing and illustrious stroke play. not to mention the out-of-the-park route that he likes to take too regularly. Pundits label him more of a T20 player as his ODI average is just below the mid-twenties. but i tell you that this guy is one to look out for.
  • Umar Akmal: The younger brother of our wicket-keeper kamran akmal gets a call after some classical knocks against the aussies down under. An opener who likes to go after the new ball and tries to play the demoralizing game for the opponents early on. Though struggles a bit against medium-pacers but if successful in finding his groove, he can demolish the best in the business with disdain. Fingers crossed on this prospect, if he gets a chance though.
  • Younus Khan: The current captain of the Pakistani team is in a bad shape with the bat. Scoring at an average of 21 in the test series against the same opposition, he is not fit enough to come at number three or even four. But he says he will try to compensate for the test series loss by winning the ODI Series and the T20 but he has alot to do to improve his personal form with the bat. Although his leadership skill are great but in my philosophy a captain is not a captain until he leads from the front.
  • Mohammad Yousuf: The free flowing yousuf is the backbone of the Pakistani middle order. Piling up mountains of runs he is one of the few batsmen in world cricket today that have close to perfect technique. Although he takes a little time to adjust in the middle, but once he settles down, he is a difficult customer to deal with. Playing his first odi since 2007-icl-saga, Expectations are high on his part.
  • Misbah-ul-haq: Here comes the vice-captain! Who has been very inconsistent in his performances since he held this rank. After some hot words from the side of younus khan, he seems to be over with his bad patch, with a patient 65 against Sri Lanka in the final test. But now he has to mould himself into the shorter version of the game and perform, as the allegations are running high on him for lobbying in the pakistani camp against younus khan. Although a great striker and a sensible player, he needs to get something out of this series to silence the critics.
  • Shoaib malik: The former captain and the yoyo of the team. A very intelligent player in the ODI format of the game who has been the best odi allrounder of the year 2007. Although he had been under-pressure from all quarters after his controversial removal from captaincy, but recovered well and is very responsive to the current captain, with an unbeaten 134 against the lankans in the final test, he will be high in confidence and he should employ this form into the shorter version of the game.
  • Kamran Akmal: The wicket-keeper batsman, who recently rediscovered his form with the willow in the final test against sri lanka. He is a proficient striker on the off-side and has a very good record at number three position. He also pairs well with Misbah-ul-Haq and Pakistan owe many a wins to him. Although a bit rusty while keeping at the sumps but overall he is an agile sportman behind the stumps and should be the one to lookout for after younus's poor form with the bat at number three.
  • Shahid Afridi: "boom boom" Afridi as they call him, has been in a superb nick of late with both the bat and the ball. Converting his last two International appearences (ICC T20 WC) into match-winning performances and contributing greatly in the field. As a result expectations have risen for his acclaimed performances in the following up Sri Lankan Odi and T20 tour. The leg spin maestro has a bag full of tricks to unsettle any batting lineup...not to mention his slam-bang fireworks with the bat that can win an out-of-the-hand match before the opposition has time to think.
  • Abdul Razzaq: Another player from the 'ICL-returning-platoon'. A prolific hitter of the bowl lower down the order, who can make a deadly striking combination with afridi. Practically a slogger but he has modified his technique for any number after opening for Lahore Badshahs in the ICL. He is also a great medium-pacer who can seam and swing the bowl, and is one of the work-horses in the side. Although not given a chance in the test series, despite being in the squad, the gritty all-rounder has many-a-peoples' money on him to show his true performances against sri lanka in the limited overs' format.
  • Fawad Alam: The lucky charm, as many people call him, has been not exploited fully. A great left-handed batsman with a stance not too dissimilar of Simon Katich, who has piled a lot of runs in all three formats of the game in the domestic arena. He also bowls slow left arm off-spin. Apart from being an allrounder, he is a team-man, fielding his heart out on the field with breath-taking catches and runouts. This seems to me as the prime reason of his inclusion as Pakistan's sloppy fielding needs a strong arm like Fawad's.
  • Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan: Another comeback oldie. The 4th ICL player to return to the ranks of Pakistan after Razzaq, Nazir and Yousuf. He has shown his talents, both with the bat and the bowl in ICL which stands him almost at par with razzaq. It would be interesting to see that who gets the nod from captain younus khan. With hard-hitting power, seam and reverse-swing he is a typical bits and pieces cricketer who is so vital for a team's chances in anyormat of the game. Rana possesses an unplayable reverse-swinging yorker which makes him almost an automatic choice for a captain at the death in a T20 game.
  • Umar Gul: The star wicket-taker of this years T20 World Cup. Although his concentration on reverse-wing and bowling with an older ball has greatly effected this player's ability to endure a good spell with the new ball. He has been out of form throughout this tour showing only one moment of brilliance in the 2nd test match when he claimed four scalps. He has also have had problems with his runup bowling an unprecedented twenty plus noballs in the test series. He has to strike now in the ODI series as he is now finding competition in the Pakistani camp in the form of rana naveed and rao iftikhar anjum.
  • Mohammad Amir: This hot pace prospect from Rawalpindi has been compared by many for his excellent line (although a bit on the shorter side in terms of length) to the legendary pacer Wasim Akram. This left arm pacer finds a spot in the ODI squad in place of the unfit Sohail Tanvir. He would also be playing his first ODI in this series. Although he has six wickets from three tests, he should never be underestimated as many dropped chances and unfair decisions have kept this excellent new ball bowler's test-wickets' account from doubling over. Spare a thought for this guy, Lankans!!
  • Rao Iftikhar Anjum: Another fast bowler from the suburbs of Rawalpindi, Rao Iftikhar possesses a willy outswinger and comes with loads of ODI experience. Although he has not been regular in the Pakistani side for some time now, but this guy has the chance to make a comeback on this tour, and he has the skill to make it through, despite the tough battles for a place in the playing eleven between the five medium pacers\fast bowlers.
  • Saeed Ajmal: A star off-spinner who has been a victim of the selectors' over-looking and made his debut a thet late age of 31. But this guy has got bags of experience on spin bowling and an often unspottable weapon, the "Doosra", which helped him to be a regular in the playing eleven of all the three types of the game in no time. Saeed operates in a lethal tandem with Afridi which has worked for pakistan more often than not in the ODI format of the game.