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Cricket17 Jan 2021

Saud wants to represent Pakistan in all three formats
SPORTS REPORT KARACHI (January 17, 2021):-Saud Shakeel the left-handed middle-order batsman has been named in Pakistan’s 20-member squad for the two Test-match series against South Africa starting from 26 January at the National Stadium. The 25-year-old Saud hails from Karachi, and started playing cricket at the year of 12. Saud has featured in most of the age-group tournaments of PCB, he started his journey by representing Karachi in PCB’s U16 tournament in 2011. He represented U19 for the first time in 2013, and later captained the Pakistan U19 team in 2014. He was picked in Pakistan A squad for the tour of England in 2016, where current Pakistan captain Babar Azam was his captain. Saud featured in a four-day and four 50-over matches on the tour and played alongside Aamer Yamin, Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan. He led Pakistan Emerging team to victory in ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup Tournament in 2019, the side defeated Bangladesh in the final by 77 runs. Saud has scored 3220 runs in 46 first-class matches. He has struck 10 centuries and 17 half-centuries at an average of 48.78, with 174 as his best score. With his left-arm spin Saud has taken 23 wickets. In 67 List A matches, Saud has scored 2347 runs at an average of 46.01. He has struck four centuries and 18 half-centuries and taken 26 wickets. Expressing his delight over his inclusion in the Test squad against South Africa, Saud Shakeel said: “I could not watch team selection’s press conference, but after the team announcement, my Sindh team mates started ringing me and came to my room and congratulated me on my selection. “It is an honour for me to represent Pakistan national team, but my real goal is to feature for the national team in all three formats. “Throughout my cricket journey, I had learnt a lot from Asad Shafiq and Sarfaraz Ahmed, and now I look forward to learning as much as I can in the national team camp. “I am blessed to have come through age-group cricket, through a proper pathway and if given chance I look forward to grabbing it with both hands. “Occupying the crease and rotation of strike are my strong points.”

Cricket15 Jan 2021

Wasim selects nine uncapped South Africa Tests
SPORTS REPORT KARACHI (January 15, 2021):-Pakistan cricket selectors have named a 20-member squad, including nine uncapped players, for the two-Test series against South Africa, which commences here on 26 January. The players will enter the bio-secure bubble on 19 January and the squad will be trimmed to 16 players ahead of the first Test. Openers Abdullah Shafique and Imran Butt, middle-order batsmen Kamran Ghulam, Salman Ali Agha and Saud Shakeel, spinners Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan, and fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Tabish Khan have been rewarded for their stellar performances in the 2020-21 domestic season, including the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Hasan Ali has returned to the Test side after two years following a highly successful Quaid-e-Azam Trophy in which he was adjudged player of the final and tournament. Hasan, whose ninth and last Test appearance was against South Africa in Johannesburg, took 43 wickets and scored 273 runs in a fierce and highly competitive Quaid-e-Azam Trophy that included match figures of five for 129 and 106 not out in the second innings of the tied final. Also returning to the side is left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, who took 22 wickets with two-fers and scored 744 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. He last played a Test against the West Indies in Sharjah in 2016. Nawaz and Faheem Ashraf are the two-all-rounders in a side that also includes three openers, six middle-order batsmen, two wicketkeepers, three spinners and four fast bowlers. Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Shan Masood and Zafar Gohar, who played in the last Test in Christchurch, have been left out. Haris, Abbas and Shan will be invited to the High Performance Centre in Lahore so that they can work on their technical faults with the qualified coaches. Zafar who made his Test Debut in Christchurch remains part of selectors long term plans in both red and white ball cricket, and will also work with NHPC coaches on further improvement of his all-round skillset. Fast bowler Naseem Shah was not considered for selection after complaining of a niggle in his hamstring. He will shortly commence his rehabilitation programme at the National High Performance Centre. The 20-player squad is: Openers – Abid Ali (Central Punjab), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab) and Imran Butt (Balochistan) Middle-order batsmen - Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Babar Azam (captain, Central Punjab), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Kamran Ghulam (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab) and Saud Shakeel (Sindh) All-rounders – Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab) and Mohammad Nawaz (Northern) Wicketkeepers – Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh) Spinners – Nauman Ali (Northern), Sajid Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Yasir Shah (Balochistan) Fast bowlers – Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Tabish Khan (Sindh) Chief selector Muhammad Wasim: “I want to congratulate all the uncapped players who have made it to the 20-player Pakistan Test squad. These nine players are now just a step away from representing Pakistan in the pinnacle format of the game. As such, they have an outstanding opportunity to step-up show their class and potential, and perform strongly so that they can cement their places for future international assignments. “This is a reward for their consistent performance, hard work and perseverance during a difficult season played under the strict Covid-19 protocols. This is also an endorsement that domestic cricket will be valued and respected, and will remain a stepping stone for international cricket. All those players who aspire to represent Pakistan at the global stage will not only have to feature in it but also perform at the expected levels to earn the selectors’ nod. “For the players who have narrowly missed out on selection, I want to encourage them to retain their focus and continue to work hard as we have a busy and packed 2021 ahead. This means there will potentially be opportunities at some stage down the year. I will like to see these players continue to focus on their fitness and form even after curtain falls on the 2020-21 season so that whenever they get a call-up, they are ready to cash in on the opportunity. “Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas and Shan Masood have been dropped due to inconsistent performances. However, the PCB will not let its investment on these talented players go to waste and will invite them to the High Performance Centre so that they can work out their technical flaws and get back into contention. “Shan’s bad form has opened doors for Abid Ali’s new partner, be it either Abdullah Shafique or Imran Butt, who was last season’s top scorer. Together with Abdullah, he was in New Zealand with the Shaheens side. “Kamran Ghulam (1,249 runs), Saud Shakeel (970 runs) and Salman Ali Agha (941 runs) walk into the middle-order to support Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Fawad Alam. This is a formidable and highly skilled middle-order, which will encourage a further healthy competition for a permanent place in the side. “With Naseem Shah and Shadab Khan not available due to niggles, the selectors have shown faith in bowlers with diverse variations and skillsets, who also know our conditions at the back of their hands. “The horses for courses policy means performers like left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, off-spinner Sajid Shah, and fast bowlers Haris Rauf and Tabish Khan will be available for selection, depending on the team composition for the first Test against South Africa in Pakistan in 14 years. “Wrist spinner Zahid Mahmood had a strong case after an excellent season, but we decided against going into the series with all four inexperienced spinners. Yasir Shah understands pressures of international cricket and is familiar with the demands, challenges and expectations of the purist format of the game. “Tabish Khan has been preferred over Sohail Khan as he is more effective and useful in Pakistan conditions. Like Mohammad Abbas, Tabish is a workhorse, who can bowl long spells with controlled line and length. His 598 career first-class wickets, including 30 wickets this season, is a testament that he is a like-to-like replacement for Mohammad Abbas in the given conditions. “Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Nawaz are two all-rounders of contrasting skills and should provide more selection options to the team management.”

Cricket08 Jan 2021

PCB announces HBL PSL 2021 schedule
HAMMAD AHMED KAYANI KARACHI (January 8, 2021):-Karachi Kings will begin from where they finished their successful HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 campaign by taking on 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators in the opening fixture of the 2021 edition at the National Stadium on 20 February. On the following day, 2020 finalists Lahore Qalandars will take on 2017 winners Peshawar Zalmi in a day fixture, while two-time winners Islamabad United will square off against Multan Sultans in the evening. The 30-day 34-match tournament will culminate with the final at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on 22 March, marking the first time the venue will stage the final since 2017. To safeguard the integrity of the HBL PSL 2021 and to ensure health and safety of all participants in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PCB has decided to hold the matches in Karachi and Lahore only. The National Stadium will stage the first half of the competition, while the Pakistan cricket headquarters at the Gaddafi Stadium will be the venue of the second half of the competition, including the playoffs. With regards to crowd attendances, since Covid-19 is an evolving situation, a decision will be made closer to time though the event organisers are continuously monitoring the situation and remain in close contact with the concerned government officials. While preparing the event schedule, the organisers have ensured each side is playing equal number of day and evening matches. Also, the event organisers have tried to make optimum use of the weekends while scheduling double-headers that will ensure maximum following and coverage. The Support Period for the HBL PSL 2021 will commence from 15 February and the foreign players competing in the league will arrive into Karachi with a negative PCR test. Upon arrival, they will require two more negative PCR tests before being allowed to train and compete in the competition. The asymptomatic players or support staff returning a positive test will have to serve a five-day isolation period with RT-PCR tests on day one and four. Babar Hamid, Director – Commercial: “We are delighted to announce the schedule of our marquee event – the HBL Pakistan Super League, which for the second successive season will be held in Pakistan in its entirety. “We had to make the tough decision to limit matches to Karachi and Lahore, and this decision has been taken in the larger interest of the event, participants and the country. We want to limit the unnecessary exposure of the players as much as practically possible so that the players can operate in a safe and healthy environment that, in turn, will allow them to continue to entertain the fans and followers with their talent, skills and gamesmanship. “The crowds in Multan and Rawalpindi were awesome last year and we owe a big thanks to them for their contribution in making the HBL PSL 2020 a resounding success. I am sure when life returns to normal, the two cities will get their share of matches as the PCB remains committed and determined to stage matches of the HBL PSL at as many venues as possible. “Apart from the competitors, the PCB also has a duty of care towards the spectators. Although we have a couple of options on the table, the PCB will continue to monitor the situation and delay the decision as late as possible on crowd attendances as for the PCB, health and lives are of utmost importance. “As for the six franchisees and the event organisers, the schedule announcement gives them an opportunity to start planning for the tournament. While the six sides will be finalising their squads at the upcoming players’ Draft, the PCB has already been working hard on event planning and now is time to change gears so that we can strengthen our reputation and credibility as a high-performing board.” Event schedule (Day matches to start at 2pm; Night matches to start at 7pm; Friday’s double-headers to start at 3pm and 8pm, respectively): Sat, 20 Feb - Karachi Kings v Quetta Gladiators (N); NSK, Karachi Sun, 21 Feb - Lahore Qalandars v Peshawar Zalmi (D); Islamabad United v Multan Sultans (N); both matches at NSK, Karachi Mon, 22 Feb - Lahore Qalandars v Quetta Gladiators (N); NSK, Karachi Tue, 23 Feb - Peshawar Zalmi v Multan Sultans (N); NSK, Karachi Wed, 24 Feb - Karachi Kings v Islamabad United (N); NSK, Karachi Fri, 26 Feb - Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans (D); Peshawar Zalmi v Quetta Gladiators (N); both matches at NSK, Karachi Sat, 27 Feb - Karachi Kings v Multan Sultans (D); Peshawar Zalmi v Islamabad United (N); both matches at NSK, Karachi Sun, Feb 28 - Karachi Kings v Lahore Qalandars (N); NSK, Karachi Mon, 1 Mar - Islamabad United v Quetta Gladiators (N); NSK, Karachi Wed, 3 Mar - Karachi Kings v Peshawar Zalmi (D); Quetta Gladiators v Multan Sultans (N); both matches at NSK, Karachi Thu, 4 Mar - Lahore Qalandars v Islamabad United (N); NSK, Karachi Fri, 5 Mar - Multan Sultans v Karachi Kings (N); NSK, Karachi Sat, 6 Mar - Islamabad United v Quetta Gladiators (D); Peshawar Zalmi v Lahore Qalandars (N); NSK, Karachi Sun, 7 Mar - Multan Sultans v Quetta Gladiators (D); Islamabad United v Karachi Kings (N); NSK, Karachi Wed, 10 Mar - Peshawar Zalmi v Karachi Kings (N); GSL, Lahore Thu, 11 Mar - Quetta Gladiators v Lahore Qalandars (N); GSL, Lahore Fri, 12 Mar - Multan Sultans v Peshawar Zalmi (D); Islamabad United v Lahore Qalandars (N); both matches at GSL, Lahore Sat 13 Mar - Quetta Gladiators v Karachi Kings (D); Multan Sultans v Islamabad United (N); both matches at GSL, Lahore Sun, 14 Mar - Quetta Gladiators v Peshawar Zalmi (D); Lahore Qalandars v Karachi Kings (N); both matches at GSL, Lahore Mon, 15 Mar - Islamabad United v Peshawar Zalmi (N); GSL, Lahore Tue, 16 Mar - Multan Sultans v Lahore Qalandars (N); GSL, Lahore Thu, 18 Mar - Qualifier (1 v 2) (N); GSL, Lahore Fri, 19 Mar - Eliminator 1 (3 v 4) (N); GSL, Lahore Sat, Mar 20 - Eliminator 2 (loser Qualifier v winner Eliminator 1) (N); GSL, Lahore Mon, 22 Mar - Final (N), GSL, Lahore

Cricket06 Jan 2021

Chris Gayle feature in HBL PSL 2021 Platinum roster
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (January 6, 2021):-Chris Gayle, Chris Lynn, Rashid Khan and Dale Steyn are some of the leading foreign players who have made themselves available for the sixth edition of HBL Pakistan Super League. The quartet is part of a 25-player Platinum roster of foreign players ahead of the HBL PSL Player Draft that will be held in Lahore on January 10. The six franchises will now be making key trade and retention decisions before the Draft, with each team allowed a maximum of eight retentions ahead of the Draft. With a packed international calendar during the February – March window this year, some of the foreign players will only be partially available for the competition. The ICC T20I Player of the Decade Rashid Khan will be one of the major attractions of the Draft; the Afghanistan leg-spinner has bagged a total of 338 wickets in 244 T20 games besides his staggering T20I numbers of 89 wickets in 48 matches. South African batsman David Miller, a veteran of 320 T20 matches, will be one of the most sought after players for the franchises. Miller is yet to feature in the HBL PSL. West Indian T20 legend Chris Gayle who has represented Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars in earlier HBL PSL editions is another major attraction on the list along with the number one ranked ICC T20I Batsman Dawid Malan who was part of the Islamabad United squad in HBL PSL 2020. Australian Chris Lynn who scored 284 runs at 40.57 (strike-rate 179.74) for Qalandars last season is also part of the Platinum list and could be a possible retention option for the Qalandars ahead of the Draft. The West Indian representation on the Platinum list also includes Dwayne Bravo who has represented Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators in the HBL PSL along with Carlos Brathwaite (stints with Qalandars and Zalmi), Lendl Simmons (Kings and Zalmi) and Evin Lewis. The list also includes South Africa’s Morne Morkel and Rassie van der Dussen who are both yet to feature in the HBL PSL. The South African representation in the list also includes Imran Tahir (Multan Sultans), Colin Ingram (Kings and United), Rilee Rossouw (Gladiators and Sultans) and Dale Steyn (United). Besides Malan, England’s Alex Hales who was part of the Kings’ winning squad in last year’s edition is also in the list. Moeen Ali (Sultans), Chris Jordan (Zalmi and Kings) and Tom Banton (Zalmi) are also part of the Platinum roster. Spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rehman and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi (Gladiators) are the two other Afghanistan players on the list along with Rashid. Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera (Gladiators and Sultan) and Isuru Udana also feature on the list. Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman and Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichanne who have both played for Qalandars in the past complete the list. Director Commercial Babar Hamid: “We are delighted to release a star-studded list of players in the Platinum category even though we are dealing with an unprecedented situation due to Covid-19 and player availabilities are also hampered by a packed FTP calendar. “The HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 will be another exciting season once again being played in Pakistan. The quality of players on the list is a further testament of the credibility and integrity of the league as it continues to attract the best T20 talent from around the world. “In the coming days, we will work as hard as ever on successful delivery of the event with all stakeholders as we are determined and focussed on producing another world-class event while raising the bar higher and ensuring the safety and security of all participants.”

Cricket01 Jan 2021

Babar Azam is the Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year
SPORTS REPORT LAHORE (January 1, 2021):-Pakistan captain Babar Azam was named as the Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year following his stellar performances across all formats during the 2020 calendar year. In addition to the most prestigious award, the 26-year-old was also adjudged the White-ball Cricketer of the Year after averaging 110.5 and 55.2 in the ODIs and T20Is, respectively. In the four Tests, Babar scored 338 runs at 67.6. Mohammad Rizwan, the stand-in captain for the final Test of 2020 at Mount Maunganui against New Zealand, was declared Test Cricketer of the Year. In five Tests, he aggregated 302 runs, mostly in difficult situations, with four half-centuries at an average of 43.14. He also accounted for 12 batsmen behind the wickets. Fawad Alam’s fighting and courageous 102 at Mount Maunganui, his first Test century in 11 years that made global headlines, was chosen as the Individual Performance of the Year by the independent jury* that comprised highly respected and distinguished cricket personalities. Pakistan women’s national cricket team all-rounder Aliya Riaz was named as the Women’s Cricketer of the Year while 19-year-old Fatima Sana was chosen as the Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year. 17-year-old Test fast bowler Naseem Shah won the Emerging International Cricketer of the Year following his 20 wickets in eight Tests, including a hat-trick against Bangladesh that made him the youngest bowler to achieve the rare feat. The Domestic Cricketer of the Year honours went to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kamran Ghulam after he became the only batsman in the ongoing first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy to complete 1,000 runs. He finished 19 innings of 10 round matches with 1,065 runs with four centuries and four half-centuries at an average of just under 60. Rohail Nazir’s progression from the U19 level to Pakistan Shaheens’ captain has won him the Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year. In the period from 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020, the 19-year-old featured in nine events, including the ACC U19, Emerging Asia Cup, HBL PSL 2020, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019, ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020, two National T20 Cups and Pakistan Shaheens, and finished with 1,260 runs besides his 48 victims behind the wickets. The match referees and six Cricket Associations captains voted Asif Yaqoob as the Umpire of the Year. Pakistan men’s national cricket team’s gesture to visit the Bangladesh cricket team’s dressing room to thank them for their first visit to Pakistan in over a decade following a 2-0 T20I series win earned them the Spirit of Cricket award, while the independent jury* decided that the delivery of a highly successful and smooth HBL PSL 2020 in Pakistan, first-ever PSL event to be staged in front of home crowds, as the Corporate Achievement of the Year. The winners will be presented with specially designed trophies during the upcoming home series against South Africa. Below are the category-wise winners with their reactions: Umpire of the Year - Asif Yaqoob Facts – Officiated in two ODIs, four T20Is, 17 HBL PSL 2020, five National T20 Cup and four Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches. Voted by the match referees and six Cricket Association captains. Quotes – “I feel honoured to have been voted as the Umpire of the Year by my colleagues and the six captains. Umpiring is my passion and I take a lot of pride in what I do, but to be formally recognised by my peers is something to be really proud of. I want to thank my family, all the match officials and players for considering me worthy of this achievement and I look forward to working with them in future.” Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year - Fatima Sana Facts – Scored 145 runs and took 17 wickets in the National Women’s U19, National One-day and two National Women’s T20 Cups in the period from 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020 Quotes – “After thanking God Almighty, I want to thank my family as well as Bismah Maroof and Sana Mir for their encouragement and support. This award will motivate me to work harder and help Pakistan women’s national cricket team at the global stage.” Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year - Rohail Nazir Facts – Scored 1,260 runs and dismissed 48 batsmen behind the wickets in the ACC U19, Emerging Asia Cup, HBL PSL 2020, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2019, ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020, National T20 Cup and Pakistan Shaheens in the period from 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020 Quotes – “I am delighted that my progression as a cricketer has been recognised through this award. This means a lot to me. I have set my target at representing Pakistan at the highest level and will continue to work hard to not only achieve that target but also match the outstanding performances of my predecessors through a long, consistent and successful career.” Spirit of Cricket - Pakistan players visiting Bangladesh dressing room after their 2-0 win in T20I series. This was Bangladesh men’s cricket team’s first visit to Pakistan in over a decade. Men’s Emerging International Cricketer of the Year - Naseem Shah Facts – Took 20 wickets in eight Tests, including a hat-trick against Bangladesh that made him the youngest Test bowler to take three wickets in three successive deliveries. Quotes – “What I have achieved today is only through the prayers of my late mother and, as such, I will dedicate this award to her. When I go out there to play for Pakistan, I have the belief and confidence that she is behind me and continuously supporting and encouraging me go an extra yard and perform for my country. “I am thankful to the fans and my team-mates for this recognition so early in my career. I remain motivated and committed to do my very best for the team and this award will go a long way in helping me contribute to the team’s objectives and targets.” Corporate Achievement of the Year - First-ever HBL PSL 2020 in Pakistan Facts – 34 matches held in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi in two phases. From 20 February to 15 March, 30 matches were held and attended by around 600,000 spectators before the event was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The remaining four play-offs were held in Karachi from 14-17 November in Karachi. Karachi Kings won their maiden title when they defeated Lahore Qalandars by five wickets. Domestic Cricketer of the Year - Kamran Ghulam Facts – Scored 1,065 runs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 19 innings of 10 the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches with four centuries and four half-centuries at an average of just under 60 Quotes – “My dream has always been to represent Pakistan and I think I have taken a step forward in cherishing that dream. There have been a number of outstanding performers throughout the year in the difficult Covid-19 conditions but to have been identified as the Domestic Cricketer of the Year is extremely satisfying, not only for me but for all those who have contributed in my growth and development. I look forward to using this award as a launching pad for future challenges.” Women’s Cricketer of the Year - Aliya Riaz Facts – Scored 267 runs and took five wickets in the two National Men’s T20 Cups and the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in the period from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 Quotes – “This award means a lot to me and I will like to contribute to my team’s success in the upcoming seasons by further improving my performances.” Individual Performance of the Year - Fawad Alam (102 v New Zealand, 1st Test) Quotes – “I am pleased to have been rewarded with the Individual Performance of the Year Award. This reward is recognition of my continued hard work and efforts, and will only contribute in further enhancing my confidence. Nothing comes easy in life, all one can do is to keeping work hard, staying focused on the targets and wait for the opportunity.” White-ball Cricketer of the Year - Babar Azam Facts – Scored 221 runs in three ODIs at 110 with one century and one half-century, and scored 276 runs in eight T20Is at 55.2 with four half-centuries Test Cricketer of the Year - Mohammad Rizwan Facts – Scored 302 runs in five Tests with four half-centuries at 43.14 and dismissed 12 batsmen behind the wickets Quotes – “There is nothing like representing Pakistan at a global stage but the task is only accomplished if you can contribute to the team’s cause. In this background, I am delighted to have won the Test Cricketer of the Year award, even though there were other strong contenders who I have huge respect for. “I want to thank my family and teammates and all those who have backed and supported me in this journey, particularly those who believed and stood by me even when I was unable to break into the side despite being a member of the team. “I particularly enjoyed my performances in England as these came in difficult situations and against some of the finest exponents of red cricket ball. I am delighted that I was able to carry the confidence I got by performing in England by scoring two half-centuries in the series.” Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year - Babar Azam Facts – Scored 338 runs in four Tests at 67.6, 221 runs in three ODIs at 110 and 276 runs in eight T20Is at 55.2 Quotes – “I am truly humbled to have been awarded with the White-ball and Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year awards by the independent jury in what has been a difficult year for all professional athletes. Without the support of my teammates and family, this would not have been possible and, as such, I owe big time to all of them for my successes in 2020 and hope they will continue to support me in years to come. “Captaining Pakistan at home was a huge moment for me though without crowds it took a bit of the gloss of that honour. I think the cricket I played in England was some of the best. England is never an easy place to play due to the conditions and the players they boast, but to go out there and perform gave me the satisfaction and encouragement that I can compete against the best and help my side to do better. “I am disappointed to miss the three T20Is and the first Test in New Zealand as I was determined and motivated to perform against what is a really good New Zealand team and managed outstandingly by Kane Williamson. “I will reflect on 2020 will a lot of satisfaction and hopefully the honour and rewards I have won will only contribute in me working harder to further enhance and improve my performances as well as my young and talented team.” *Independent Jury – Saleem Yousuf (Chairman, PCB Cricket Committee), Bazid Khan (former Test cricketer and respected commentator), Nain Abidi (former women’s player who played 155 internationals for Pakistan), Ramiz Raja (former captain and respected commentator), Rashid Latif (former captain and cricket analyst), Abdul Majid Bhatti (Correspondent, Jang), Abdul Mohi Shah (correspondent The News), Khalid H Khan (correspondent, Dawn), Zahid Maqsood (Sports Editor – Express News), Aaliya Rasheed (analyst) and Mazher Arshad (statistician).

Cricket31 Dec 2020

Central Punjab a step away from fairy tale end
SPORTS REPORT KARACHI (December 31, 2020):-Hasan Ali-led defending champions Central Punjab are a step away from completing one of the most remarkable turnarounds in cricketing history as they take on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21 five-day final at the National Stadium from new-year’s day on Friday. Down and out and placed at the bottom of the six-team table at the end of the fifth-round and without a single victory to their name, the team made an inspirational comeback by winning four out of their last five matches and drawing the fifth to climb to the second spot on the points table with a tally of 137 points which sealed their final’s berth. Needing a convincing win in their tenth-round game against Southern Punjab, Central Punjab completed a resounding 10-wicket win in the second session of the last day to earn enough points (26) that helped them leapfrog Southern Punjab and Northern who both were in the running for the final when the tenth-round began. Central Punjab: In the all-important final, Central Punjab would be relying on the middle-order trio of Usman Salahuddin (797 tournament runs at 46.88), Mohammad Saad (608 tournament runs at 35.76) and Saad Nasim (575 tournament runs at 52.27) to lead the team in the batting department. The trio overcame the loss of seasoned batsmen Ahmed Shehzad and Kamran Akmal with such proficiency that Central Punjab decided to stick with the same combination for the final despite Kamran recovering from the injury he sustained in the earlier rounds of the tournament. The 38-year-old wicketkeeper batsman Kamran contributed a mere 112 runs in six innings of the first three rounds of the tournament at 18.66 before sustaining a finger injury. The in-form Usman slammed a remarkable unbeaten 219 off 346 balls against Southern Punjab and laid the match-winning platform for his side. Saad Nasim has been in prolific form since his induction in the team having made his runs in only seven matches with the help of four half-centuries and one century. Hasan would be aiming to once again spearhead the bowling attack; the right-armer has become the leading fast bowler in the tournament with 38 wickets in eight matches including two five-wicket hauls. Central Punjab’s pace attack has proven to be the most penetrative in the tournament with Hasan’s effort complimented by Waqas Maqsood who has 34 wickets in nine games. Spinner Ahmed Safi Abdullah has provided wicket-taking ability with his left-arm spin that has yielded him 33 wickets in nine games. Hasan Ali, captain Central Punjab: “I am delighted with the performance of my team; our journey to the final is a fantastic story which exemplifies the character and strength of the team and the management. Despite a poor start, we never lost belief and we knew that we had the ability of turning things around. “We have a great blend of youth and experience and that has helped us immensely especially in the tough situations we have to face. It truly has been an all-round effort and I am really looking forward to an exciting final and the team as a whole is now fully focussed and confident of retaining the prestigious Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa finished as the top team on the points table by accumulating 161 points (five wins, four draws, one defeat). They recorded the most wins by any team in the double-league group stage. They finished the group stage with a draw against Northern, the match was dominated by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa outfit that posted a mammoth 521-run total in the first innings courtesy centuries by Israrullah, Rehan Afridi and the leading run-getter of the season Kamran Ghulam. Kamran has been nothing short of a revelation in this edition of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. The 25-year-old right-handed batsman from Upper Dir has become the first batsman to cross the 1,000-run mark in the season since the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy was revamped as a six-team Cricket Association-based competition last year. Kamran’s 1,065 runs have come from 18 innings (10 matches) at an average of 59.17, the tally includes four centuries and as many half-centuries. Adil Amin is the second highest run getter for the side with a tally of 755 runs in nine matches. The seasoned middle-order batsman has scored his runs at 47.19 with the help of a century and five half-centuries. Left-handed opener Israrullah has scored 608 runs at 35.76, while wicketkeeper Rehan has a tally of 550 tournament runs at 34.38. Mirroring Kamran’s top position in the batting chart is off-spinner Sajid Khan who has collected 62 wickets in 10 matches at 24.81, his tally includes as many as five, five-wicket hauls. Captain Khalid Usman would be once again pinning his hopes on Sajid to spearhead the attack in the final. Khalid himself has taken 32 wickets in 10 matches with his left-arm spin at 31.28. Fast bowler Irfanullah Shah, who has collected 17 wickets in five matches with the help of one five-wicket haul, will lead Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s pace-attack. Coach Abdul Razzaq has a potent pace attack at his disposal with young 19-year-old Mohammad Wasim Jr. also impressing in his maiden first-class season with a tally of 14 wickets in five matches. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also have two more young pacers at their disposal, Arshad Iqbal (11 wickets in four matches) and Sameen Gul (nine wickets in three matches) who can be drafted in the playing eleven for the final. Khalid Usman, captain Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: “I am really honoured to lead my side in the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy as it is the most prestigious tournament in our domestic cricket. Our team has gelled brilliantly in the tournament with both batting and bowling departments delivering consistently. Kamran Ghulam and Sajid Khan have been outstanding for us but I would like to stress that all the players in the squad have given their 100 per cent and we have seen a number of match winning performances at various stages of the season. “The final will be an exciting one with two in-form and balanced sides. We are one step away from lifting the trophy that we have worked really hard for and we are entering the final with the same positive mind-set which we have maintained in the season.”   If the final ends as a draw, the winner will be decided as per the following criteria: ·       The team that racked up the most first innings points as per 16.9 of PCB Playing Conditions 2020 ·       If the first innings points are tied, then both the teams will be declared as joint winners (first Innings lead shall not be considered) ·       If the first innings of both the teams is not completed within the scheduled duration, the match shall be considered as drawn and both the teams will be declared as joint winners

Cricket31 Dec 2020

Physio can't be blamed for players' injuries
By BIPIN DANI Sri Lankan physio Ajantha Wattegama was on toe throughout the first Test match in Centurion. However, he is not to be blamed for players' injuries, according to Dulan Kodikara, the Sri Lanka-born physio, who has been with the Australian players and following the performance of the national team with the same interest. Speaking exclusively over the telephone from Australia, he says, "Just one man (Physio) cannot be blamed or held accountable for these injuries. It is an easy thing to point fingers and play the blame game when injuries occur". "The whole system and its implementation is to be held accountable. When the administration knew of the South African tour happening, they would have at least rested the key fast bowlers from being involved in the LPL. They should have conducted a fitness + bowling conditioning program to suit the longer formats of the game". "Meticulous planning which includes regular screening and testing of the players will help to keep track of their ups & downs, risk to sustain injury, fluctuations of fitness and well being including mental health".       "For all this to take place smoothly the sports science and sports medicine team not only needs experts and people with experience. They need systems to be in place. These practices have to be inculcated into a player when they are young, especially when the talent is identified and they are taken into a pathway program. If not these things may look/sound like “rocket science” to a lot of players. Especially a proper recovery (physical, social and psychological) + adequate supplements play a major role in minimising the injury risks", he further added. "I reckon people shouldn’t just blame Ajantha and wash their hands off. I certainly would not blame him or the team trainer without knowing the facts or what really happened behind the scenes, especially during the lead up to this Test series", he signed off.  Rest day Sri Lankan depleted players have got an additional day of rest because the Test match at Centurion finished within four days. "The ground, where the players will train is not ready and our first training session before the second Test match will now be held on January 1", one of the responsible members of the support staff, speaking exclusively over the telephone from Pretoria said.

Cricket31 Dec 2020

Short-lists for PCB Awards 2020 announced
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (December 31, 2020):-The Pakistan Cricket Board today unveiled nominations for the PCB Awards 2020, the results of which will be announced on the PCB digital Platforms on Friday, 1 January 2020. The short-lists for 12 categories, including 10 individual categories, have been finalised by an independent panel comprising highly respected and distinguished cricket personalities. In short-listing the nominees, the independent jury did not limit itself to just player performances, but also took into account various other factors, such as the opponent, impact, value and contribution of the players in the matches and/or during the period under consideration. Pakistan captain Babar Azam, T20I specialist Mohammad Hafeez and fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi have been short-listed in three categories each, while Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah and Shan Masood have been nominated in two categories each. Both Babar and Shaheen feature in the White-Ball Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year and Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year categories, while Hafeez has been short-listed in the Individual Performance of the Year, White-Ball Cricketer of the Year and Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year categories. Haris Rauf has made his way to the Men’s Emerging International Cricketer and White-Ball Cricketer of the Year categories and Rizwan has been included in the Test and Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year categories. Naseem is contending for the Men’s Emerging International and Individual Performance of the Year categories, while Shan competes for the Individual Performance and Test Cricketer of the Year categories. Apart from Hafeez (86 not out, 52b, 4x4, 6x6 v England 3rd T20I), Naseem (four for 26, including a hat-trick, v Bangladesh, only Test), Shan (156 v England, 1st Test) and Fawad Alam have been short-listed as well. Fawad has been included for his 102 in the first Test against New Zealand which finished in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday. The four nominees for the Domestic Cricketer of the Year are Hasan Ali, Kamran Ghulam, Saud Shakeel and Zahid Mahmood. Mohammad Huraira, Mubasir Khan, Rohail Nazir and Qasim Akram have been short-listed in the Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year category. Players born on or after 1 August 1999 and yet to make international debut for Pakistan in the 15-month period from 1 September 2019 to 31 December 2020 were considered for this category. There are two women’s individual award categories despite limited cricket. For the Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year, Ayesha Naseem, Fatima Sana, Najiha Alvi and Syeda Aroob Shah have been short-listed, while Aliya Riaz, Bismah Maroof, Javeria Khan and Muneeba Ali have been nominated for the Women’s Cricketer of the Year award. Spirit of Cricket Award and Corporate Achievement of the Year nomination were also decided by the independent jury, whereas the four umpires shortlisted on the recommendation of the match referees and six First XI Cricket Association captains are Ahsan Raza, Asif Yaqoob, Ghaffar Kazmi and Shozab Raza. Categories (in brackets are the criteria): Umpire of the Year (Period under consideration 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Ahsan Raza ·         Asif Yaqoob ·         Ghaffar Kazmi ·         Shozab Raza Women’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year (Players born on or after 1 Aug 1999. Period under consideration 1 Sep 2019 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Ayesha Naseem ·         Fatima Sana ·         Najiha Alvi ·         Syeda Aroob Shah Men’s Emerging Cricketer of the Year (Players born on or after 1 Aug 1999 who are yet to make international debut for Pakistan. Period under consideration 1 Sep 2019 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Mohammad Huraira ·         Mubasir Khan ·         Rohail Nazir ·         Qasim Akram Men’s Emerging International Cricketer of the Year (International debut after 1 September 2019) ·         Haider Ali ·         Haris Rauf ·         Naseem Shah ·         Khushdil Shah Women’s Cricketer of the Year (Period under consideration 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Aliya Riaz ·         Bismah Maroof ·         Javeria Khan ·         Muneeba Ali Domestic Cricketer of the Year (Events under consideration HBL PSL 2020, National T20 Cup 2020 and first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020) ·         Hasan Ali ·         Kamran Ghulam ·         Saud Shakeel ·         Zahid Mahmood Individual Performance of the Year (20 international matches played between 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Fawad Alam - 102 v New Zealand, 1st Test ·         Mohammad Hafeez – 86 not out, 52b, 4x4, 6x6 v England 3rd T20I ·         Naseem Shah - 4-26 (hat trick) v Bangladesh, first Test ·         Shan Masood – 156 v England, 1st Test Spirit of Cricket (Period under consideration 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Sindh players thanking a retiring Imran Farhat for his contributions. ·         Pakistan team visiting Bangladesh dressing room after their 2-0 win in the T20I series. ·         Pakistan players congratulating Zak Crawley after his 267 in the Southampton Test. ·         Pakistan players congratulating Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura on a successful career. Corporate Achievement of the Year (Period under consideration 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         First-ever HBL PSL 2020 in Pakistan ·         Pakistan cricketers inspiring other international sides to play during the Covid-19 pandemic ·         A complete, competitive and exciting 2020-21 domestic season during the pandemic ·         South Africa and England men’s national cricket teams confirming tours to Pakistan in 2021 White-ball Cricketer of the Year (three ODIs and 12 T20Is from 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Babar Azam ·         Haris Rauf ·         Mohammad Hafeez ·         Shaheen Shah Afridi Test Cricketer of the Year (five Tests between 1 Jan 2020 and 31 Dec 2020) ·         Babar Azam ·         Mohammad Rizwan ·         Shaheen Shah Afridi ·         Shan Masood Most Valuable Cricketer of the Year (five Tests, three ODIs and 12 T20Is from 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020) ·         Babar Azam ·         Mohammad Hafeez ·         Mohammad Rizwan ·         Shaheen Shah Afridi

Cricket31 Dec 2020

Women’s squad for South Africa tour announced
SPORTS REPORT LAHORE (December 31, 2020):-The women national selection committee announced a 17-player squad for ODI and T20I series against South Africa, which will be played in Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Javeria Khan will take the captaincy responsibilities in the absence of Bismah Maroof. Urooj Mumtaz-led selection committee, which also includes Asmavia Iqbal and Marina Iqbal, considered on-field performances in the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship, played from 22 November until 1 December in Rawalpindi, along with form and fitness of the players in the High Performance and probables camp while finalising the squad. Ayesha Zafar, Kainat Imtiaz, Nahida Khan and Nashra Sandhu return to the women’s national team for the tour in which they will play the hosts in three ODIs and as many T20Is. Nahida Khan finished the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship as the leading run-scorer with 154 runs at an average above 51 from her four outings. Her PCB Dynamites teammate Ayesha Zafar was the fourth best batter in the tournament with 111 runs. All-rounder Kainat Imtiaz was awarded player of the tournament award as she scored 111 runs from four outings, getting dismissed once, and took three wickets, while left-arm spinner Nashra Sandhu finished as the joint leading wicket-taker in the tournament with four wickets at 25. When the team takes the field for the first one-dayer at Kingsmead Stadium, Durban, on 20 January, it will mark their return to international cricket after over 10 months due to the Covid-19-enforced hiatus. After the second one-dayer at the same venue on 23 January, they will move to Pietermaritzburg where they will play the third ODI on 26 January and first two T20Is on 29 and 31 January. For the last T20I on 3 February, which will also be the last match of the tour, the team will return to Durban. Urooj Mumtaz, the chair of national women selection committee: “The squad has been selected after closely observing the players in the recent High Performance and probables camps and the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship. We have seen significant improvement over the last three months in the intent and mindset of the players and the team is shaping up well for the upcoming series. The squad is well balanced and possesses a good blend of youth and experience for what promises to be an exciting tour. “Javeria Khan is an experienced campaigner and has the desired understanding of the game which is necessary to lead the national women’s team. She has undertaken this responsibility in the past and I am certain she will rise to the occasion and inspire the players. “Our last tour to South Africa in 2018 produced high-quality cricket and we are looking forward to yet another competitive tour, which will be instrumental for the new head coach David Hemp as well as in our preparations for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. “Selecting a squad is never a stroll in the park and naming 17 players for this tour was no different. David and I have identified key areas of the game where these players must continue to improve. We will be having honest conversations with the players who were unable to make it this time, as they remain an integral part of our plans.” The 17-player squad will continue to prepare for the tour in the bio-secure environment, which was set up on 20 December for the probables camp, in Karachi before their departure on 11 January. Squad (for ODIs and T20Is) Javeria Khan (c), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wk) and Syeda Aroob Shah.

Cricket29 Dec 2020

Kashmir Premier League Joins Hands with Shahid Afridi Foundation
ABDUL JABBAR FAISAL ISLAMABAD (December 29, 2020):-Kashmir Premier League (KPL) on Tuesday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a charity organization, Shahid Afridi Foundation (SAF) aiming to develop cricketing activities to bring into line the community development with the cricketing activity creating a platform, which would positively encompass the people and land of Kashmir. The signing ceremony took place at local hotel. On this occasion, Arif Malik, President KPL said, “We have already Shahid Khan Afridi on board as our brand ambassador for the league and he already has a personal association and empathy for Kashmir and its people”. Shahid Afridi mentioned that he has visited Kashmir and term it as the Heaven on Earth. He also said he supports the Kashmiri Agenda and vow the launch of Kashmir Premier League a brand dedicated to the region. Mr Shahid Afridi is willing support the league initiative as it would open doors to new opportunities for the people. Through this process KPL will be promoting Shahid Afridi foundation on shirt logos and sponsoring food drives and other CSR projects. On this event Ch. Shahzad Akhtar CEO – KPL, shared his thoughts and highlighted the importance of KPL for the Kashmiri Community and said this will be a landmark event for the region. Other designated guests included Adil Waheed – Owner Mirpur Royal, Muhammad Arshad Khan Tanoli – Owner Muzaffarabad Tigers, Samar Abbas – Member Advisory Council KPL, Amir Nawab – Director Cricket Operations and Tanveer Mughal – Manager Cricket Operations KPL. It is pertinent to mention that KPL is a T20 fixture and six teams from Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) will fight for top honour that included Rawalakot Hawks, Kotli Panthers, Mirpur Royals, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Overseas Warriors and Bagh Stallions. The matches will be played at Muzaffarabad, Mirpur and Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium from April 1 to 10 next year 2021.