Mental health

PSL review, new kids on the block!

Hello and good morning, here I Ayyaz Malik aka The Sports Buff, talk about this years on going PSL. the games have been brilliant!

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Kingfisher fish and chip shop review

Hello and greeting my Bearded Soldiers. I pray you’re well and looking after your beards. Here is my review of my favourite fish and chip shop in Greater Manchester!

It’s over and out and out from your Bearded Captain.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

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Broad and Anderson the ultimate bromance

Sports like football and cricket, are beautiful sports for several reasons. Games can be decided and won through good teamwork or individual brilliance, yes that knock by Ben Stokes in the Ashes at Headingley comes to mind.

As important as those factors are for winning games, I want to talk about the need to build good partnerships in a duo, the bromance or the Romeo and Juliet pairings if you will. Let me elaborate.

Football fans, do you remember the Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer partnership for Blackburn Rovers, which helped the Lancashire side win the Premier League title in 1995.

Or what about the Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer partnership for England, or even the legendary pairings that both included Andy Cole, it’s fair to say someone is loved. First Cole and Peter Beardsley in the early ’90s, who combined to score more than 60 goals. If combining with Beardsley and scoring a sack load of goals wasn’t enough, it was when Andy Cole teamed up with Dwight Yorke at Manchester United that did an ultimate bromance develop.

In that 1998-99 season, as brilliant as Beckham and Giggs were, it was the deadly two upfront.

From the telepathic linkup play in the game against Barcelona or the semi-final win against Juventus in the 2nd leg, Cole and Yorke were brilliant, in fact so brilliant that then Blackburn manager Graeme Souness reunited the duo at Rovers.

In this blog, what I want to talk about are some of cricket’s deadly duo’s. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, Alan Donald and Sean Pollock or Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. In terms of the latter two players, they sound more like a solicitors firm rather than a potent Australian bowling attack.

In the example of every duo, that I have listed, one player seems to compliment the other, which I think can be said of the example I want to use now, the example of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

With 1100 wickets between them, it’s obvious to see that despite Joffra Archer, Olly Stone, Sam and Tom Curran at their disposal and many more bowlers in the production line, England will revert to type and go to their two premier bowlers at any given opportunities, it’s with good reason.

Despite Broad being 34 and Anderson 38 respectively, these two are the men who seem most likely to answer the call of need for England.

The ongoing test between India and England seems to be proving my theory. This may be a bit harsh, but at the time of writing Archer and Ben Stokes combined have bowled eight overs between them and have conceded 43 runs.

Yes, the West Indies born pacer does have a wicket in the India innings, but compare that to the legendary duo of Anderson and Broad, they two have conceded just 31 runs in 15 overs. Both Stuart Broad and Anderson have been able to produce bits of brilliance on several occasions in their brilliant careers.

To be fair, the supporting cast have produced at times, but there’s an over-reliance on Broad and Anderson. With 1100 wickets between them, this thinking is natural. Until England area able to find this formula of winning games without Anderson (easier said than done) then England will remain stuck in the past.

India (Bumrah), South Africa (Rabada), Pakistan (Shaheen Afridi), New Zealand (Trent Boult) and Australia (Pat Cummins) have younger main strike bowlers than England. All I will say is, I don’t envy Joe Root’s dilemma, but until they find a formula I think England will be stuck in the past.

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The over 40’s club

With Pakistan being neighbours to them, many won’t be able to resist the comparisons between Pakistan Super League and the Indian Premier League. Such comparisons are extremely unfair of course as the PSL is an infant a toddler almost at 4 years old whilst the IPL is the bigger brother at 13 years old, the IPL knows more than the PSL, but he too is inexperienced and can mature much more. What I want to talk about here is that many see these T20 tournaments as a ‘young man’s game’.

This year’s PSL tournament is an example that the youngsters won’t be solely dominating the Super League team sheets, several veterans are blessing the PSL.

West Indian legend Chris Gayle (Quetta Gladiators), Mohammed Hafeez (Lahore Qalandars) and Shahid Afridi (Multan Sultans)  are all members of the 40-year old club. The four, might not want to scream that from the rooftops, but fans will be screaming and shouting about how Messers Gayle, Hafeez and Afridi have made solid contributions.

Former Pakistan captain Afridi has impressed with the ball, in particular, the first game as the veteran all-rounder Afridi finished with 2-24 off four overs against Islamabad United in the first game.

As for the other three, they have made some good contributions with the bat. Gayle scored a solid 39 and a streaky half-century (68) in two games. The fifty that The Big Boss scored did offer a couple of big changes to the Lahore Qalanders, but the Qalanders fielders shelled those chances. Those drops didn’t prove costly as fellow veteran Mohammed Hafeez clubbed an unbeaten 73 off just 33 balls, which helped Lahore win and chase down a potentially tricky target at a canter.

For the cricket purists amongst you, I know you will be thinking why hasn’t Kamran Akmal been mentioned? I must admit as I drafted this up, I was thinking the same thing too, but then after some research realised he’s a spring chicken at 39. Just like Akmal,  Shoaib Malik is a youthful 39.

As I was compiling this blog, there was some drafting and re-drafting, my criterion is strict, this blog is a shout-out to the 40’s club. Messers Malik and Akmal wishing them good health will be in the club next year! It’s brilliant to see the veterans we mentioned doing so well. Sohail Tanveer, Mohammed Irfan, Sarfraz Ahmed are arguably in the veteran category too but are a bit more youthful than Gayle, Hafeez and Afridi.

The youngsters in the tournament and the emerging players too is clear evidence that the PSL is making huge strides on the T20 cricketing world map. Not bad for a tournament that’s 10 years behind the IPL and the other leagues around the world.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

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The end is nigh brothers!

Hello and good evening, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bearer of all beards on digital media.I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile. My brothers, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and more importantly your beard!

My brothers I want to talk about an important issue in the life of beard. As you are all aware, we are in a lockdown and in a lockdown, not only have the gyms, restaurants, bars and football stadiums to the fans have been closed, but the closing down of barbers has hit us beards hard!

I never think this would be the case, but a lot of us beards have grown the equivalent of afros, but it has been. This lockdown like the other lock down has been a challenge for all beards. Some beards have been better at it than other beards, the grooming of their bead. 

Brothers, I know some of you (me included) are working from home and the perceived need to maintain your beard is seen as not necessary. My Bearded beloved’s it is necessary as the beard is your pride and enjoy. These times of lockdown have been tough, but the end is nigh .. no more botched snipping of the beard (like a certain someone did, mentioning no names). 

Well brothers, the end is nigh! On April 12th, the barbershops will be reopening in the U.K. Form an orderly queue as The Bearded Captain exercises his right for being at the front of the line as I am The Bearded Leader. 

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

https://www.paypal.me/AyyazMalik86

The hangover

This season has been an unprecedented season for so many different reasons. As previously discussed in my blog post, which can be found here; https://ayyazmalik.com/2021/01/09/a-season-like-no-other/. This season has been an unusual one to put it mildly. In the English Premier League, there has been some normality that’s returned as Manchester City seem odds on to win their third title in four seasons.

Across Europe, Real Madrid/Barcelona neither of them are leading Laliga, it’s Atletico Madrid who seem to be running away it, but a surprise 2-0 home loss to Levante, means that the gap has closed at the top to just three points, but Diego Simeone’s side do have a game in hand.

In Germany although usual league leaders Bayern Munich are still top, ever since they returned for a successful and triumphant Club World Cup, The Bavarians have conceded 31 goals already this term, one less than they did in the entire 2019-2020 season. Their 2-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt means that the Bundesliga is more competitive this year.

With the example of Bayern, the Champions League winners have been far from flawless. In France last year’s Champions League beaten finalists PSG, have been suffering from indifferent from and they too aren’t have thing their own way in Ligue 1 as they trail league leaders Lille by four points. This is the same that could be said about Italian champions Juventus.

Juve, who have had a strangle hold on the Scudetto for a past best part of a decade, trail league leaders Inter by a massive 11 points, it must be noted that The Old lady have two games in hand over The Nerazzurri in Serie A. Regardless of this fact, even Juventus haven’t had things their own way.

This bug, shall we call it has travelled to Scotland too. Celtic who were looking to complete the ’10 in a row’, have been thwarted by a resurgent Rangers who are just seven points away from a first trophy in the Steven Gerrard reign. Covid, has affected us all and here’s to thinking that May can’t come quick enough.

But there’s some good things to have come out football being the way that is due to Covid, it’s not as boring and predictable as what it has been across Europe. That is a good thing, here’s to hoping that next season will be something similar, but I am not holding my breath.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

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My review of The Fat Pizza

Hello and good evening, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bearer of all beards on digital media.I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile. My brothers, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and more importantly your beard!

My Bearded Beloved’s I want to talk about an important issue in the life of beard. Brothers, as you know I fancy myself as a bit of a burger connoisseur. Here though, I want to talk about The Fat Pizza. Brothers, I love my pizza, but not like I love my burgers. Today was the first day I tried The fat Pizza. This pizza shop has shops across the country, so expectations were high.

Just like with a burger, I expect what I am eating to be fresh, kind to the teeth as I don’t plan a tug war with the crust and my teeth & easy on the taste buds.

For some it’s just pizza, but for me I expect that I can taste the toppings of the pizza and warm soft base as well a nice crunchy crust too, but not too crunchy which you find on non fresh pizza.

What makes a pizza is the deep pan base in my humble opinion and the way the sauce is applied.The fat pizza, mastered this perfectly! For my personal pizza choice on the day I opted for chicken and beef, being the meat lover that I am.

Was I disappointed? Absolutely not! I can’t forget the soft melting cheesy that forms like a string too, which they got right down to the T . That brothers … is magnifique pizza! The texture of pizza, the sauce, the taste of base and the crunch of crust – brothers this is “The fat pizza” in the slang term too!

On that note, Brothers These chaps are masters of the pizza, they’re worth a visit. But don’t just take my word for it. They have branches nationwide. It’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

https://www.paypal.me/AyyazMalik86

James Anderson, the man who can do it on a ‘cold night in Stoke’

In cricketing terms, he should have retired a while ago, he’s arguably outstayed his welcome, but England fast bowler James Anderson is like fine wine, as they say, he gets better with age.

There are not many other sportsmen that this could be said about, giving this some thought and I would say Juventus forward Christiano Ronaldo is the only man who you can say this about. Jimmy is the other.

Born in Burnley, Jimmy Anderson has turned from a spiky-haired youngster who would have issues with injuries and his action, to a world-beater with the ball. Our Jimmy is no mug with the bat either.

Starring in an Ashes test with folk legend Monty Panesar in a stubborn last-wicket stand to thwart old enemy Australia and save the game on that occasion. An 81 against India, his highest in first-class cricket left the cricketing fraternity pondering on the thought of England having a new all-rounder in the making.

As the Burnley Brian Lara got older, and more greys appeared on the head, what else came abundantly clear was Jimmy was getting smarter with the way he bowled. In his heyday, he could run in at close to 90 mph more consistently. These days towards the mid-eighties is the norm.

Anderson has now almost turned wizard-like with ball. When Ronaldo takes a free-kick in football, no one else can make the football talk like he does. In cricket, the same can almost be said of James Anderson.

Reverse-swing and making the old ball talk was only a skill that many thought Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis could do, but Anderson has mastered the reverse-swing art too. It must be a Lancashire bowler thing.

As impressive as that is for the now 38-year old Lancastrian, the challenge is if he can do it on a dry spinning pitch? The football equivalent of doing it on a cold night in Stoke. With 600 wickets to his name (the most by any fast bowler in world cricket), one would come to a resounding conclusion, yes he can!

In fact, in the ongoing series with India, James Anderson now holds more records. In the previous test series against Sri Lanka, the 38-year old became the oldest man to take a five-wicket haul and has the distinct record of being the man who has taken the most wickets in test cricket after reaching 30.

For a player who changed and remodelled his action, only to go back to it in the process, this is some achievement. James Anderson, you are a legend of the English game, no the world game.

There won’t be a fast bowler who can quite do it in all conditions as you have. World cricket salutes you, it won’t be long till her Majesty will be calling for a Royal Visit. Sir James Michael Anderson arise!

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

https://www.paypal.me/AyyazMalik86

Dixy Wythenshawe vs Dixy Chorlton

Hello and greetings my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards, flag bearer of all beards on digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile. Brothers, I hope you’re well, looking after yourselves and your beard!

I want to talk about an important issue in the life of beards and that is their stance on Dixy Chicken. Dixy, which as I am sure you know os held in high esteem by The Captain, what you also should know is that Dixy Chorlton is the flag bearer of all Dixy shops. The Longsight branch isn’t bad but they don’t do it week in and week out.

The same can be said of the Burnage site too. As mentioned Dixy’s is in Stretford, Whalley Range and now Wythenshawe. It’s the Wythenshawe branch I want to talk about. As you would have read from my previous post where I reviewed Dixy Chicken Wythenshawe, you would be aware of the love I gave it.

If you missed it, give it a read here;

https://ayyazmalik.com/2020/12/30/dixy-chicken-wythenshawe-review/

Ok, so let’s compare the two. Mega mix ve Mega Mix, there’s not a lot in it, but what makes the burger what it is, is the bread and the tenderness of the chicken. With that criterion in mind, the winner for this section is? Dixy Chorlton! Now, there’s no shame in this as the Chorlton boys have been doing their thing for sometime.

Next on the comparison list is the Mini Burger. Just like the Mega Mix, what makes this burger good is the taste of the chicken and the quality of the bun. What I mean is that the bread shouldn’t be too done it’s tasting like toast. This did happen on one occasion in Wythenshawe and never in Chorlton.

No exaggeration I have been going to Dixy South Manchester for 7 years now, I am almost certain it’s longer. In this time, they have never come close to dropping their standards where Wythenshawe did. For the record I have tasted both, when both were relatively new opened.

So, there you have it, all be it fine margins, but Dixy Chorlton is the best Dixy in Manchester. In terms of food shops in their sector, Kansas does give Dixy a good run for it’s money. You may have wiped the floor with all the other Dixy’s that came after you, but in Kansas and even Roosters Altrincham who have spicy chicken burger to die for.

On that note, it’s over and out from your Bearded Captain!

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

https://www.paypal.me/AyyazMalik86

When you know it’s winter (satire)

Hello and good evening my Bearded Soldiers, it’s me your Bearded Captain, leader of all beards and flag bearer of all beards on digital and digital broadcasting media. I am that beard who tries to make people laugh and I am that beard who tries to make people smile.

My Bearded Beloved’s I pray you’re well, looking after yourselves and your beards. Brothers, I want to talk about an important issue. My Soldiers, I spoke about when you know it’s summer in my previous blog post, in this blog post I want to share with you some signs when it’s winter.

Stating the obvious, it’s when your heating in your house in on full blast almost constantly. Yeah, that’s an obvious, but what about when you have to put those three quarter shorts to the bottom of the clothes pile and the-shirts too. The long Johns that weren’t mentioned in the summer, they’re on the tips of everyone’s lips.

With the case of the long Johns, you can say the only John that get’s mentioned in summer is our Pappa John, the pizza place. Are you coffee or a tea lover? Well, you will know it’s winter better than most, because you will crave that warm beverage even more. In the summer and when it’s hot you will not really feel the need to have coffee that many times in the day, if not at all.

Keeping it consumption based, what you feel with teas and coffee in the summer, you will tend to feel the same in winter too. When it’s cold all you want is hot food and when it’s summer you don’t.

I am not sure if this next example is just me, but you will know when winter is here when you wear a t-shirt you will feel a cold sensation not like freezing freezing cold but a cold you will only realise was there when you put your jumper on. In the summer, you will struggle to sleep due to hot and humid weather.

You will toss, turn and wrestle with the duvet, not being able to sleep with it off your body, but not being able to sleep with it on. In the winter? No such worries, initially there will be a period where your feet and part of your body will be like snow block almost, but when you sleep you sleep like a baby.

In the summer, where people are happy glowing and beaming, people are the opposite in winter maybe because it’s freezing and sunsets in the mid afternoon! I remember this with me. I went to work in darkness and came back home … in darkness! That’s enough to break a man.

Do you remember we mentioned about the ice cream man? Well the only ice cream man you get in winter is a male shrieking in a high voice (yeah that’s a dad joke). In the summer and with the weather being hot, you just want to sit in the shower days on end to cool down, in the winter?

Once you shake off the reluctance to go into to the shower due to it being freezing …. you don’t want to get out as you’re under a nice warm shower. I guess nothing changes there then. Last but not least in my opinion, when you know it’s winter time is when you see more men with beards, which is obviously to keep their face warm.

On that note, it’s over and out from The Bearded Captain.

To help keep wonderful content coming through and help maintain project Bearded Captain , you can help fund me here;

https://www.paypal.me/AyyazMalik86