CRICKET FEVER GRIPS THE COUNTRY

KANWAL SALEEM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Feb 21 - 27, 20
11

With the start of Cricket World Cup 2011, the sale of televisions and dish TVs has increased in big cities of the country. According to a survey conducted by PAGE, television sets and dish TVs have been placed outside the shops selling electric appliances, announcing "special discounts" on their sale. Buyers, especially cricket lovers seem ready to buy new TV sets as prices are down by to 5,000 rupees (about 58 U.S. dollars). In the present days of slump, electric appliances stores are witnessing customers.

Cricket fans are thronging electronics shops to purchase big screen TV. The one at the home was now "old with small screen" and we want to see the world cup on a new TV set, a cricket fan Nasim Ahmed told PAGE at the Hall Road.

Shopkeepers at the Hall road Lahore said even before every cricket world cup there was a surge in sale of TV sets, and this time was no different. The shops have been stuffed with various brands of television sets. But, the Chinese TV sets because of their lower prices are outselling others, they said. As the market has become competitive, shopkeepers said the prices have been brought down.

Kamil Barkat, who sells UPS (uninterrupted power supply) machines and generators in the Hall Road, also said sale of generators drops in winter but nowadays "people are buying them for watching the world cup uninterrupted."

On the other hand, cricket fans in Pakistan are is collecting the world cup schedule or timetable, and putting or sticking it on the wall of their office and below the glass of their table. Most Pakistanis are only eager to watch the World cup match of Pakistan team; so they are only segregating the Pak team schedules or timetable.

There are total 14 countries for the 2011 world cup cricket matches and are divided into two groups: "Group A" and "Group B". Fourteen countries for the 2011 world cup cricket matches are India, Australia, Kenya, New Zealand, Canada, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, England, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, and West Indies. World Cup 2011 Group A team: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Pakistan. World Cup 2011 Group B team: India, Ireland, Bangladesh, England, Netherlands, West Indies, and South Africa.

Pakistan is scheduled to play its first World Cup match against Kenya at Hambantota, Sri Lanka on Feb 23. They will play their second World Cup match against Sri Lanka on February 26 at Colombo and third against Canada at the same venue on March 3. In their fourth and fifth match Pakistan will take on New Zealand and Zimbabwe on March 8 and 14 at Kandy, Sri Lanka. Pakistan will play their last group match against defending champion Australia on March 19 at Colombo.

India will host 29 of the total 49 planned matches including the all important grand final at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai and one semi-final as well.

Sri Lanka will host 12 matches while the first time nation Bangladesh has been given the opportunity to host the tournament opener along with eight other matches. Since India has been allotted the highest number of matches, the ICC has moved its headquarters to Mumbai to ensure smooth and timely preparations for the event

On the other hand, the legendary India batsman Sachin Tendulkar equaled Pakistani great Javed Miandad's record of six consecutive appearances in the Cricket World Cup (CWC) in the opening game against Bangladesh at Mirpur.

The 37-year-old veteran star Sachin, made his World Cup debut in 1992 World Cup which Pakistan won under Imran Khan with Javed Miandad was featuring in his fifth CWC after making his debut in the inaugural competition held in England in 1975.

Mumbai-based super star, Sachin Tendulkar had the honour of scoring the highest number of runs and centuries in the mega event held every four year.

Appearing in his 445th ODI at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur in the vicinity of Dhaka, Sachin holds the record of scoring the highest number of runs and centuries in ODIs as well as Test cricket.

Sachin made his international debut in Pakistan in 1989 tour as a 16-year-old attacking middle order batsman and appeared in his first World Cup in 1992.

The former Pakistan Captain Javed Miandad made his CWC debut one-day before his 18th birthday against the mighty West Indian at Edgbaston, Birmingham in 1975 as an enterprising all-rounder.

"It is great achievement and I am happy that Sachin has equaled my record and I want to congratulate him", Javed Miandad said in his comments. "This is a long journey and he (Tendulkar) is definitely greatest batsman in history and his records speak for itself," Miandad said.

"I have the pleasure of playing against Tendulkar in 1992 and 1996 World Cup. In fact, my last World Cup match was againstIndia in Bangalore," Miandad, who played 233 ODIs and 124 Test matches for Pakistan, recalled.

Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has said that we need to win this mega event the World Cup at any cost as it will bring the charm back for people in Pakistan.

"We have the bowlers who can bowl at the death and we can restrict the sides. The main thing is that the ball is going to reverse swing as the match progresses. That is where I think Pakistan's strength lies," he said. "I still bowl 150 kph (93 mph). Obviously, when you are 26 and 36, it's a bit different. I will try to do as well as I can with whatever ability I have. I am going to push my limits and give it all to the team," Akthar said in an interview.

Akhtar said "In Indians we all know Sachin Tendulkar is a great player. Every bowler gets hit. Even Brett Lee gets hit a long way, so I am not worried about being hit for sixes by Tendulkar. I have got him off the first ball too," Akhtar said.

"Not only Sachin, we will try to get other key players early because they can single-handedly win matches. Put them under pressure, and get them out early - that's what I will like to do," he added.