Pakistan cricketers and YouTube channels

It's a nice way of reaching out to fans, earning some revenue, and throwing oneself in the melting point that international cricket has become. 

Shoaib Akhtar's YouTube channel has gained a lot of popularity.   -  PTI

The recent controversy over Danish Kaneria's possible discrimination based on religion was prompted by a comment made by Shoaib Akhtar on a television chat show. There were other Pakistan cricketers participating in that conversation as well - Rashid Latif and Asim Kamal.

Thoughts on cricket and cricketers by Pakistan's well-known cricketers and commentators have become common in recent months. On YouTube, many have their own channels to be able to put out videos with some content every few days.

It's a nice way of reaching out to fans, earning some revenue, and throwing oneself in the melting point that international cricket has become. 

Shoaib Akhtar himself has a YouTube channel where he comments on cricket in Pakistan; in his polemic during Pakistan's World Cup 2019 loss to India, he criticised the team management for choosing to bowl in that game.

That video is titled 'Brainless captaincy', and is placed at the top of his collection of popular uploads. It has 9.7 million views.

Indian cricket and cricketers are talked about regularly by Akhtar. There are occasional guests as well - among them are Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh, his contemporaries from India.

After his comments on Kaneria in the talk show 'Game on Hai' on PTV Sports, Kaneria himself discussed the issue in one of his videos in his own channel. Kaneria, the Pakistan leg-spinner, doesn't receive as much traction as Akhtar does; he mostly shares his views about Pakistan cricket - and Indian - besides providing some coaching tips on leg-spin bowling.

 

Handy tips are also provided by Pakistan batting great Inzamam-ul-Haq, whose YouTube channel 'The match winner' is more entertaining. Of course, the fact that he's been a coach and selector after his retirement gives him better perspective about the current team.

Besides sharing anecdotes of the past, Inzamam makes value judgments on the performances of the national team, but doesn't indulge in any ticking off. There have been guests on his show too, including leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed and fast bowling great Waqar Younis.

In one of his videos, he shares his memories of Sachin Tendulkar; he describes Tendulkar as "better than extraordinary" and someone born to play cricket. He's also paid tribute to Mohammad Azharuddin, Hanif Mohammad, Bob Woolmer, and others.

Another batting great with trips down memory lane and value-laden comments is Javed Miandad. Recently, he invited former Australia captain Greg Chappell on his show; both chatted on a couch, and recalled the famous instance of a showdown between Miandad and Dennis Lillee in Perth in November, 1981.

Upon receiving a gentle kick from Lillee, Miandad turned around with his bat raised, ready to hit; the umpire stood in between. Lillee had been retaliating to a soft collision between the two as Miandad was taking a run. 

"Lillee is my buddy, we met after that. And in those days, so many things used to happen, people can't understand that in those days, cricket was very tough," Miandad said.

Chappell noted Miandad was among the few batsmen from the subcontinent to be chirping away at the bowlers or fielders. Recognising this, Miandad said: "[Batsmen never spoke] because they didn't have the heart. They knew, 'if I say something, I may receive a bouncer.' Those days, I never used to worry about that."

Two days ago, he discussed why Virat Kohli, the India captain, was his favourite cricketer. "You can't say he can't play fast bowlers or on bouncy tracks, or that he can't play spinners. He's a clean hitter," was his simple explanation.

If one's looking for juicy analyses, though, former wicket-keeper Rashid Latif and veteran journalist Nauman Niaz indulge in plenty of it in their channel 'Caught Behind'.

They talk cricket in a chatty and humourous way. Both have generated controversy in the past, Nauman says in the intro video, "par hum karte rahenge apna kaam ­[but we will keep doing our work]- international cricket, national cricket, and controversies."

Besides analyses, all-rounder Shahid Afridi, on the other hand, also provides glimpses to those interested to know what he is up to, and weighs in, among other topics, Pakistan's domestic cricket.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, Fawad Alam, besides others, have featured in his channel to talk about their cricket, and he's recently put out a 'gupshup' (chitchat) video with India's Yuvraj Singh.

Others have climbed on board the YouTube bandwagon as well; three other prominent cricketers with their channels that those interested may check out are Ramiz Raja - (Ramiz Speaks ­)- Saqlain Mushtaq - (Saqlain Mushtaq Show) and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan (Rana Naveed Official).

Many of them have utilised this platform to appeal to their local and international fans to practice social distancing. Those confined to their homes and looking for a way to entertain themselves can watch some of their videos for views raw and polished, interesting interviews, and some nice anecdotes.

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