The first one-day international of the current series between Pakistan and England has been declared a fund-raiser. It probably means that the receipts from gates will go to the relief efforts for survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck northern Pakistan (and adjoining Indian territory) on October 8 last. Some 80,000 people lost their lives in the catastrophe.
Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, had made a plea to the fans to come and pack the Gaddafi Stadium. Said Inzamam: "The winter has set in there and conditions will get worse so we need to help our people as much as possible. We should help them in any way possible and one way is to come to watch the match."
It was for a worthy cause and the plea was heard. There are 25,000 seats in the stadium and all tickets have been sold out.
The Pakistani coach meanwhile said that he didn't think the Test series win was an advantage that it meant they were the favourites. Yes, he did think they had a 50-50 chance. This means the better team on the day would win. Or the luckier one.
Bazid Khan might get a nod. He did well against the Englanders in a warm-up match. But then so did Hasan Raza before the Tests. If Afridi had not danced that jig on the pitch there would have been no Raza in the last Test.
And Afridi will still be missing for the first two ODIs. Shoaib Malik may miss the opener as he was required to make a trip to Australia---to be officially checked if he chucks or not and returns only on the eve of the match.