Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spinners enjoy advantage this T20 - Asian teams ready to TWIST

T20 world cup is an electrifying blend of cricket and entertainment, and one of the most awaited ICC events now. The festival has started with warm-up matches where Zimbabwe has made a thrilling 1-run win against Australia. Considering the pitches of Caribbean islands, spinners will be one of the most effective tools for any team in the tournament. Asian teams hold the benefit in this case.

A good spinner can anytime be a match-winner, especially when bowling at Caribbean. The pitches of Guyana, St. Lucia and Barbados are slow and spin wickets that are already been considered by all the teams.

Here, the defending team Pakistan holds a strong advantage when it comes to spinners. Pakistan enjoys the presence of magical Shahid Afridi and versatile Saeed Ajmal. Both of these spinners have been remarkable in T20 format. Ajmal, who has been irritating for batsmen with his ‘Doosra’, has played 14 T20s for Pakistan, taking 20 wickets with the best of 4/19. One the other hand, Afridi is the trump-card for Pakistan, who has taken 37 wickets in 27 T20s. Shahid Afridi stands second in number of wickets in T20 internationals, after Umer Gul while Saeed Ajm

al is the eighth top-wicket taker. Pakistan also has Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez as supporting spinners. Strong enough!

The champion of first T20 world cup India also stands prepared on the spin front. Harbhajan Singh (16 wickets in T20Is) can be a lethal weapon for India. He will be supported by young and deadly Piyush Chawla. In contrast, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan are on the supporting squad. A lot can be expected from these spinners.

Sri Lanka’s deceiving spinners’ duo remains a nightmare for any team. Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis are equipped with various spin varieties. Although Murali has not been impressive enough in T20, yet remains a match-winner. Beware of these two.

The other two Asian teams in the competition are Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s spinner’s line-up is equipped with Samiullah Shenwari and Nowroz Mangal. On the other hand, Shakibul Hasan will be the leading spinner of Bangladesh. Lets see what they have at Caribbeans.

Another interesting fact is that 3 out 5 top wicket takers in T20 are spinners. Shahid Afridi, Daniel Vettori and Ajantha Mendis stand at number 2,3 and 4 respectively.

Now the tournament is about to start, the Asian teams and their spinning squad are the centre of attraction. Lets see what does ‘Googly’ and ‘Doosra’ make at West Indies.

Jibran T. Siddiqui

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Zimbabwe gives Australia another shock – Brett Lee out of T20 World Cup

Australian fast bowler Brett Lee will miss the T20 world cup 2010 after an injury in the warm-up match against Zimbabwe.

In the warm-up match before world cup, Zimbabwe made an upset by defeating Australia in a thrilling match. The 33-year old kangaroo fast bowler picked up a muscle strain in his right forearm.

He played four matches in this IPL season for King’s Punjab XI but unfortunately, couldn’t grab a single wicket.

Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris are the strong contenders to replace Lee in the mega event.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shaapit - Movie review

By Jibran T. Siddiqui

Horror genre is no new concept in Bollywood. From the beginning, Bollywood has been making films about reincarnation, souls, immortality and ghosts. The attempt at that time was not to scare as much as to give the love story a new dimension. Now that Bollywood has evolved into a strong industry, scary films like Phoonk and 1920 are followed by ‘super-natural thrillers’ like Vikram Bhatt’s ‘Shaapit’.

After ‘Raaz’ and ‘1920’, ‘Shaapit’ is Vikram Bhatt’s third venture where he has introduced the young Aditya Narayan and Shweta Agarwal ( Remember the child star and young singer Aditya Narayan?) The movie also stars Rahul Dev as a professor in one of the leading roles.

‘Shaapit’ revolves around the story of a family whose daughters have been carrying a curse from generation to generation. Aman (Aditya Narayan) falls in love with Kaaya (Shweta), one of the cursed daughters. As the reaction, they both are countered by an evil spirit. Aman approaches Professor Pashupati (Rahul Dev), a spiritual studies teacher, and convinces him to help the cursed couple. Finally, Aman alongwith his friend Shubh (Shubh Joshi) and Professor Pashupati sets out on a journey through the world of fear and intrigue where the evil spirit awaits them.

Unfortunately, the plot of the movie is conventional despite the new cast, fresh music and remarkable art work. Generally, the horror Bollywood movies have two stories, past and present. The past when the wrong was committed and the present where the ghost comes back to haunt. Same as Bhatt’s previous movies, ‘Shaapit’ also follows the trend dating back the story to 300 years back.

Vikram Bhatt tries his best to deliver as the director. After Raaz and 1920, he was expected a better version of horror flick and he does it. His professional skills are more highlighted in the second half. The thriller easily ranks amongst the best in this genre in terms of plot, setting, technique and performances. Some sequences have been shot excellently for example when Aman goes to get a particular book from the haunted library, when Kaaya wakes up in the middle of the night and Aman, professor and Shubh don’t find her at her place and the entire climax sequence too. Bhatt also merges past and present beautifully.

On the other hand, a mistake can be noticed when the camera goes to flashback where Mughals are enjoying Arabic music and dance. Better if they had added a mughal-based song at that place. Cultural Conflict or Cultural Confusion?

The debutants also support the film at their best. Aditya Narayan, son of veteran singer Udit Narayan, as emerged as a skillful actor and a versatile singer. His young yet focused acting proves him a ‘show-stopper’. Shweta seems weaker in the emotional scenes but still makes a promising debut overall. Rahul Dev demonstrates skilled acting and suits well in the role of a professor. However, Aditya Narayan enjoys the limelight.

The music of the film is excellent. The talented Chirantan Bhatt, who previously did it for Mission Istanbul (2008), makes the remarkable music. The hero Aditya Narayan also demonstrates excellent vocals in both the versions of ‘Kabhi na kabhi’. The rock version of this song can be adjudged the finest of the album. The blend of kick-drumming, electrifying guitar riffs and crunchy rock vocals make it a worth-listening track. In the other version, Aditya makes a soft and versatile combination with Suzzane D`Mello. Another remarkable track is Najam Sheraz’s “Tere bina” where Najam’s practiced vocals meet a heart-touching composition, resulting a marvelous song. The song deeply reflects the dark, frightening, depressed and tragic moments of the movie. Other songs like ‘Hayaati’ and ‘Chahta dil tumko’ also deserve a try. The background music is ideal for a terrifying supernatural thriller.

On the whole, Shaapit is truly a scary movie, which comes across as a worthy follow up to Raaz and 1920. If you are a fan of ghost stories, Shaapit should be on your list of 'things to do and watch' this weekend. Go for it and be prepared to be spooked!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pakistani cricket team faces absence of T20 specialists...

As the defending team, Pakistan has to be more responsible in the battle of T20 worldcup 2010. Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Akmal brothers, M. Sami, M. Amir and Saeed Ajmal are capable enough to defeat any team but Pakistani squad could've been stronger if the selecters have considered some more T20 specialists.

In the absence of Yousuf, Younis, Rana naveed and shoaib Malik, Pakistani team needs some strong support from the young. Here, hard-hitters like Shahzaib Hassan and Imran Nazir have been badly ignored. Both of them have been excellent in domestic and international T20. We all have witnessed Imran Nazir's magic in domestic RBS tournament and Indian Cricket League. On the other hand, Shahzaib Hassan has proved himself as a stylish and powerful batsman in Last T20 worldcup and RBS tournament.
All in all, they're way better options than Yasir Arafat, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Hafeez and Salman Butt. Fawad and Arafat have not yet performed in T20 format that makes Nazir's and Shahzaib's selection undeniable.

Anyway, goodluck to the team.