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Cricket24 Dec 2020

HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 local players categories renewed
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (December 24, 2020):-The HBL Pakistan Super League 2021 is set to showcase Pakistan’s best talent once again as categories of the players who took part in the HBL PSL 2020 have now been finalised. Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who was the Player of the Tournament in the 2020 edition after scoring 473 runs in 12 matches, is joined by Karachi Kings teammates Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir in the Platinum category. Islamabad United captain Shadab Khan continues in the Platinum category as his teammate Faheem Ashraf moves down to the Diamond category for the HBL PSL 2021. Peshawar Zalmi trio of Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Wahab Riaz have been placed in the Platinum category while fast bowler Hasan Ali moves to the Diamond category. Multan Sultans captain Shan Masood has moved up to the Diamond category with his impressive performances across HBL PSL 2020 and the National T20 Cup. Shan’s teammates Shahid Afridi and Sohail Tanvir have been placed in the Platinum category. Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is in the Platinum category while fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain moves up from Gold to Diamond after ending as Quetta’s leading wicket-taker in the HBL PSL 2020 with 15 wickets. Fakhar Zaman, who ended up as the second highest scorer in the HBL PSL 2020 with 325 runs in 12 matches for Lahore Qalandars, continues in the Platinum category where he is joined by teammates Mohammad Hafeez and Shaheen Shah Afridi, the highest wicket-taker of HBL PSL 2020. Qalandars pacer Haris Rauf’s meteoric rise continues as the fast bowler moves up from Gold to Diamond. He is the leading wicket-taker in 2020 with 57 scalps at 19.57. With the category renewal process and pick order finalised, the transfer and retention window is now officially open. As part of the category renewal process, franchise representatives were required to vote for every player. Teams were not allowed to vote for their own players but submit review requests at the end of this voting stage. The list was then reviewed by Director – High Performance Nadeem Khan and GM Commercial Imran Ahmed Khan, who has been leading player acquisition for HBL PSL since 2017. Factors including national team performances, domestic performances and perceived T20 brand value were considered while finalising local players’ categories. Director Commercial Babar Hamid: “The category renewals for the local players is a key step towards the delivery of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2021. The renewals were done on the basis of structured and meritorious criteria with an aim of providing fair and equal opportunity to all local players in what is one of the most followed and competitive cricket leagues in the world. “I am sure that like the previous five seasons we will see top-quality performances from our local players and a lot of young players will get a wonderful opportunity of showcasing their talents and progressing to the international stage by their exposure to a platform like the HBL PSL.” The category renewals did not apply to those players who were drafted in HBL PSL 2020 Playoffs in November. These players will be part of the overall player pool that will be available for selection at the HBL PSL Player Draft. Players who have represented Pakistan in any format have been assigned a base category of Gold. Under-23 players cannot be part of a squad as an Emerging player for more than two years unless they have played three or less matches in those two years. Teams can now send relegation requests for the players before finalising retentions. After a relegation request is floated, all other teams are given a chance to meet the player’s base category. If no team matches the player’s base category, the player may be relegated to a category below his base category.

Cricket21 Dec 2020

Imran Butt named in 17-player Test squad
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (December 21, 2020):-Pakistan captain Babar Azam and opener Imam-ul-Haq have been ruled out of the first Test starting in Mount Maunganui from 26 December, while the tour selection committee has named prolific domestic run-scorer Imran Butt in the 17-player squad. Babar had fractured his right thumb a day after Imam had fractured his left thumb during training sessions in Queenstown last week. Both are yet to return to nets with the team’s medical staff closely monitoring their progress. Decision on their participation in the second Test, which commences in Christchurch on 3 January, will be made closer to the time. Babar’s absence means Mohammad Rizwan will captain the Pakistan side in the first Test. When he will step out for the toss on Saturday, he will become Pakistan’s 33rd captain to lead the side in the traditional format of the game. Balochistan’s 24-year-old Imran Butt scored 191 runs in the three ongoing four-day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches before joining the New Zealand-bound tour party. He had topped batting charts in the 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with 934 runs at an average of over 62 with four centuries and three half-centuries. Also returning to the Pakistan Test side are Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah. They will replace Abdullah Shafiq, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz who will now join Pakistan Shaheens for five T20 matches against the local and New Zealand XI sides. Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez will not be in action on the New Zealand tour after the Napier T20I. Imad will travel to Australia to join Melbourne Renegades in the BBL, while Mohammad Hafeez will return to Pakistan. Test players to show some form in Pakistan Shaheens’ 89 runs victory over New Zealand ‘A’ include Azhar Ali (58 and 29), Fawad Alam (three and 139), Mohammad Abbas (4-40 and 1-34), Naseem Shah (0-55 and 3-44) and Yasir Shah (3-54 and 2-55). Separately, Shan Masood has had a successful calendar year with the bat in which he has scored 279 runs, second most after Babar Azam (338). Shan is followed by Azhar Ali (244), Mohammad Rizwan (171) and Abid Ali (131). Yasir Shah is the leading Pakistan bowler this calendar year with 15 wickets, followed by Shaheen Shah Afridi (10), Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah (eight wickets apiece). Misbah-ul-Haq: “It is disappointing to lose the T20I series against a well-settled New Zealand side, who utilised their resources and conditions to their advantage. We need to up skill and improve our individual and team performances, including in Tuesday’s match, and the sooner we get these sorted the better it will be in term of player confidences and team results as 2021 will not be any easier as we have two major events. “Contrary to the T20I side, the Test side appears to be pretty organised and we boast some experienced cricketers, both in batting and bowling departments. With some competitive cricket on the tour now under the belt, I am hoping we will be a better outfit in the longer version of the game. “Although it will be nearly two weeks to Babar’s injury when the first Test starts, it will be hard on him and the team to play him without any net sessions. I remain confident and optimistic that other players will rise to the occasion in Mount Maunganui and use the opportunity to rise to the occasion and put the disappointment of the T20I series behind them.” Squads: Pakistan squad for Tests: Mohammad Rizwan (captain for 1st Test), Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan and Yasir Shah. (Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq not available for first Test) Pakistan Shaheens for T20s: Rohail Nazir (captain, wicketkeeper), Abdullah Shafiq, Amad Butt, Danish Aziz, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Musa Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Malik. Upcoming matches: 26-30 Dec – 1st Test v New Zealand, Mount Manganui 27 Dec – 1st T20 v Northern Knights, Hamilton 29 Dec – 2nd T20 v Wellington Firebirds, Wellington 1 Jan – 3rd T20 v Canterbury, Lincoln 3-7 Jan – 2nd Test v New Zealand, Christchurch 3 Jan – 4th T20 v New Zealand XI, Lincoln 5 Jan – 5th T20 v New Zealand XI, Lincoln

Cricket19 Dec 2020

PCB confirms Mohammad Wasim as chief selector
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (December 19, 2020):-Mohammad Wasim has been appointed as the Chairman of the Pakistan men’s national selection committee, while Saleem Yousuf has been confirmed as the Chair of the PCB Cricket Committee. To ensure consistency and continuity, both have been appointed till the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The appointments were approved by the PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani following the final round of online interviews, which were held on Thursday and Friday. Mohammad Wasim’s first assignment will be to select the Pakistan side for the two Tests and three T20Is series against South Africa around mid-January, while the PCB Cricket Committee’s first meeting of 2021 will be held in Karachi in the lead up to the first Test, which will start at the National Stadium from 26 January. The 43-year-old Wasim is presently head coach of the Northern Cricket Association, which is second on the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy points table behind Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Last season, his side won the National T20 Cup and finished runners-up in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. By virtue of being the head coach of the Northern Cricket Association, Wasim was a member of Misbah-ul-Haq’s selection panel until 30 November. Wasim will assume charge of his new responsibilities following the conclusion of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, whose five-day final will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi from 1 January 2021. There is no change to the composition of the selection committee and head coaches of the six first XI Cricket Association sides will continue to serve on the panel. As and when Wasim’s replacement as the Northern Cricket Association head coach has been confirmed, he will join the selection committee as the sixth member. Saleem Yousuf last served the PCB as a member of the national selection committee from 2013-2015. The former wicketkeeper-batsman will head the panel that presently includes Ali Naqvi (match officials’ representative), Umar Gul (current cricketers’ representative), Urooj Mumtaz (women cricketers’ representative), and Wasim Akram (former cricketers’ representative). The PCB Cricket Committee’s remit is to advice the PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani on cricket-related matters, including but not limited to the performances of the national cricket teams and their managements, domestic cricket structure, high-performance centres and playing conditions. The Committee has the powers to invite relevant personnel for its quarterly meetings to assist as part of its evaluation, assessment and recommendation process. PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan: “We are delighted to confirm the appointments of two high-quality individuals as Chair of the Selection and PCB Cricket Committees. Both will serve for an initial three-year period till the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.   “Mohammad Wasim and Saleem Yousuf have sound knowledge of cricket, understand the rigours and demands of the modern game and are highly respected across the cricket fraternity. Both the gentlemen are also aligned to the PCB’s five-year strategic pillar of strengthening our merit and opportunity-based domestic structure, as well as improving our international rankings across all formats. “Wasim’s appointment is also part of our strategy to groom, develop and provide leadership opportunities to our talented cricketers. After retiring from competitive cricket, Wasim has progressed through the ranks, having previously worked as a match referee, coach and selector. “He is young, progressive and bold thinker who is in sync with our new High Performance Player Framework, and is one of very few people who are completely aware of the pool of talented cricketers available at the domestic level. “Saleem Yousuf was an intelligent, courageous and aggressive cricketer who served Pakistan with distinction. While he has built a strong professional career outside of the game, he has continued to maintain a huge interest in both our domestic and international cricket. “Under Saleem’s leadership, we will have a fresh, objective and constructive approach to all aspects of our game and the PCB Cricket Committee looks forward to putting up strong recommendations to the PCB Chairman on how we can continue to improve Pakistan cricket.” Mohammad Wasim: “I have been very fortunate to have played with some of the finest cricketers and am confident that I will be able to execute those learnings in this challenging role. “We have a busy 2021 year ahead and I will focus on being positive on selections that not only address our short-term needs but also fulfil our long-term ambitions. We have immense talent in Pakistan and it is important that they are given opportunities. “This is a performance-oriented world and, as such, my philosophy will be to promote meritocracy and select squads according to home and international conditions and requirements. As a chief selector, I will always be willing to make the hard calls, if these are in the best interest of Pakistan cricket. “I look forward to working closely with head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam as we collectively strive to take Pakistan cricket forward.” Saleem Yousuf: “It is an honour to chair the group, which boasts some highly respected and knowledgeable people. “The objective of this panel is to evaluate, analyse and assess cricket-related matters and then make recommendations to the PCB Chairman on how Pakistan cricket can improve, strengthen and move forward. “With the support of my colleagues on this committee, I look forward to making a significant contribution so that we can continue to move Pakistan cricket forward.” About Mohammad Wasim ·         Hails from Rawalpindi and turned 43 on 8 August ·         Played 18 Tests and 25 ODIs from 1996 to 2000. Scored 783 Test runs, including a century on debut, and 543 ODI runs ·         Played 194 first-class matches from 1994 to 2011, scoring 10,074 runs ·         Member of Pakistan side that won the 1996/1997 tri-series in Australia that also included the West Indies ·         Also played cricket in New Zealand and the Netherlands ·         Appointed Sweden men’s national team coach in 2018 ·         Appointed Northern Cricket Association coach and member selection committee in 2019 About Saleem Yousuf ·         Hails from Karachi and turned 61 on 7 December ·         Played 32 Tests and 86 ODIs from 1982-1990. Scored 1,055 Test and 768 ODI runs. Dismissed 104 batsmen in Tests and 103 batsmen in ODIs ·         Played first-class cricket from 1978-1996 for five sides. Scored 4,578 runs and dismissed 339 batsmen ·         Played in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 1987, which was hosted by India and Pakistan ·         Member of the Pakistan sides that beat India in India in 1986 and England in England in 1987, and won the Nehru Cup in India in 1989 ·         Served as assistant manager and coach of the Pakistan side for the 1996 World Cup  ·         Served as a member of the junior selection committee in 2003 ·         Served as a national selector from 2013-2015

Cricket15 Dec 2020

Urooj Mamtaz hopes for good series against South Africa
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (December 15, 2020):-Pakistan women’s national cricket team will tour South Africa for three ODIs and three T20Is, which will be played in Durban and Pietermaritzburg from 20 January to 3 February. In consultation and discussions with Cricket South Africa, the series has been finalised to ensure women’s cricket continues to build on the momentum and successes following the trailblazing ICC Women’s Championship 2017-2020, ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 and the ICC Women’s T20 World Cups 2018 and 2020. This additional series has also been organised to help both Pakistan and South Africa prepare for the upcoming assignments, in particular Pakistan, who will feature in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in July 2021 for the event proper to be held in New Zealand in early 2022. South Africa, along with world champions England, Australia, India and hosts New Zealand, have already qualified for the World Cup after securing top positions in the ICC Women’s Championship 2017-20. The series will start and finish in Durban with the first ODI on 20 January and the third T20I on 3 February. Both matches will be played under lights. Durban will also stage the second ODI on 23 January before action will move to Pietermaritzburg where the third ODI and opening two T20Is will be played on 26, 29 and 31 January, respectively. To prepare and select the best available side and in continuation to the Women’s High Performance Camp and the National Triangular T20 Women’s Cricket Championship, the women’s national selection committee has invited 27 women cricketers for a training and preparation camp, which will be held at the Hanif Mohammad High Performance Centre in Karachi from 20 December. From the start of the training camp until the side’s departure for Durban on 11 January, the women cricketers will remain and train in a bio-secure environment, besides undergoing routine testing in line with the PCB Covid-19 Protocols. Prior to joining the camp, each cricketer will require a negative test and another negative test after reporting for the camp before being allowed to integrate with other members of the group. The tour to South Africa will also be the first official assignment of head coach David Hemp and bowling coach Arshad Khan. While Hemp joined forces in October, Arshad was appointed in November. Mohammad Kamran Hussain will be the assistant coach at the training camp. This will be Pakistan women’s side’s second tour to South Africa within 18 months. In May 2019, Pakistan and South Africa featured in one of the most thrilling, keenly contested and exciting women’s series to date. The three ICC Women’s Championship ODIs ended in a 1-1 draw when the 12 May third ODI ended in a tie after Nashra Sandhu scored seven runs off the final two deliveries to help Pakistan reach 265 for nine in 50 overs. In the five-match T20I series, Pakistan took a 2-1 lead before South Africa bounced back to clinch the series 3-2. Women’s chief selector and head of the women’s cricket, Urooj Mumtaz: “It is critical for women’s cricket that we continue to invest in the game in these difficult times, otherwise all the efforts and hard work that have gone recently in building the profile, enhancing the standard and generating fan interest and following will be wasted. “I am delighted that Cricket South Africa have agreed to host us for a full tour despite having already qualified for the ICC Women’s World Cup 2022. This is yet another indicator and reflection of our relationship with the Member boards who are willing to help and support each other in any possible way. “The PCB created activities and held a domestic event for the women cricketers to attract and inspire them to remain connected with the game during these challenging times, but nothing can replace international cricket. In this background, it is great that our women cricketers will reap the benefits of their loyalty and commitment to the game by getting an opportunity to play international cricket against a quality side. “South Africa are ranked above us, both in the ODI and T20I formats and, as such, I am sure this series will go a long way in not only assisting us to further improve our standards but also prepare for June’s ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2021 as we aim to finish in the top three and progress to event proper in early 2022 in New Zealand.” 27 probables for the South Africa tour are (18-player squad expected to be announced on Thursday, 31 December 2020 at the National Stadium press conference room early afternoon): Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Bismah Maroof, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana Khan, Iram Javed, Javeria Khan, Javeria Rauf, Kainat Imtiaz, Kaynat Hafeez, Maham Tariq, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Najiha Alvi, Nashra Sandhu, Natalia Pervaiz, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Rameen Shamim, Saba Nazir, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Sidra Nawaz and Syeda Aroob Shah Tour schedule: 11 Jan – Departure for Durban 13-19 Jan – Training, practice and intra-squad matches, Durban 20 Jan – 1st ODI (d/n), Kingsmead Stadium, Durban 23 Jan – 2nd ODI (d), Kingsmead Stadium, Durban 26 Jan – 3rd ODI (d), Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg 29 Jan – 1st T20I (d), Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg 31 Jan – 2nd T20I (d), Pietermaritzburg Oval, Pietermaritzburg 3 Feb – 3rd T20I (d/n), Kingsmead Stadium, Durban

Cricket15 Dec 2020

Second XI Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament begins on Wednesday
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (December 15, 2020):-The six Cricket Association Second XI sides will feature in their third and final event of the 2020-21 domestic season when the Second XI Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament begins on Wednesday. The 50-over tournament will be held after the successful delivery of the Second XI National T20 Cup and the three-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. The single-league tournament will be played across three Karachi venues – KCCA Stadium, NBP Sports Complex and TMC Cricket Ground – and its fifth and final round matches will be played on 24 December. In the first round, Sindh, the winners of the three-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, will take on Southern Punjab at the KCCA Stadium. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa play Second XI National T20 Cup winners Central Punjab at the TMC Cricket Ground and NBP Sports Complex will host a fixture between Balochistan and Northern. With the Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament for the First XI teams scheduled to begin from 8 January, this tournament provides a platform to the up and coming domestic cricketers to impress the six Cricket Association head coaches and stake claims in the top-tier teams. Squads for Second XI Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament: Balochistan – Azeem Ghumman (c), Taimur Khan (vc), Abdul Rehman Muzammil, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Awais Zia, Fahad Hussain, Hayatullah, Hidayat Ullah (wk), Israr Ahmed, Mohammad Deen, Najeebullah, Nasir Khan, Nazar Hussain, Rameez Raja Jnr and Zainullah Central Punjab – Junaid Ali (c, wk), Mohammad Imran Dogar (vc), Abubakar Khan, Asfand Mehran, Atiq-ur-Rehman, Hammad Butt, Haseeb-ur-Rehman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Kamran Afzal, Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Faiq, Nauman Anwar, Raza Ali Dar, Shahid Nawaz, Sohaib Ullah and Zubair Khan Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Asif Afridi (c), Mohammad Haris (vc, wk), Aamer Khan, Abbas Afridi, Abdul Rauf, Arif Shah, Asad Afridi, Ashfaq Ahmed, Maaz Sadaqat, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Mohsin, Mohammad Mohsin Khan, Mohammad Sarwar, Nabi Gul, Sahibzada Farhan and Saqib Jamil Northern – Sohail Akhtar (c), Umair Masood (vc, wk), Abdul Fasih, Amir Jamal, Amir Shah, Farhan Shafiq, Kashif Iqbal, Mehran Mumtaz, Mohammad Ismail, Naved Malik, Nihal Mansoor, Salman Irshad, Shoaib Minhas, Umar Waheed, Zaid Alam and Ziad Khan Sindh – Saifullah Bangash (c, wk), Faraz Ali (vc), Adeel Meo, Ammad Alam, Arish Ali Khan, Azizullah, Fahad Iqbal, Ghulam Mudassir, Hassan Khan, Hasan Mohsin, Jahanzaib Sultan, Mohammad Suleman, Mohammad Taha, Rameez Aziz, Saad Khan and Saim Ayub Southern Punjab – Naved Yaseen (c), Rameez Alam (vc), Ahmer Ashfaq, Ahsan Baig, Anas Mustafa, Hamza Arshad, Junaid Awan, Maqbool Ahmed (wk), Mohammad Ali, Mohammad Basit, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Mohsin, Mukhtar Ahmed, Salahuddin, Waqar Hussain and Zohaib Afridi

Cricket13 Dec 2020

Babar Azam ruled out of New Zealand T20 series
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (December 13, 2020):-Pakistan captain Babar Azam has been ruled out of New Zealand T20Is after suffering a fracture in his right thumb during Sunday morning’s practice session.  World’s second-ranked T20I batsman suffered the injury during a throw-down session, following which he was taken to a local hospital where X-rays confirmed the fracture. As such, Babar will be unable to attend nets for, at least, 12 days, meaning he will not be available for the 18, 20 and 22 December T20Is to be played in Auckland, Hamilton and Napier, respectively. During this period, the doctors will continue to monitor Babar’s injury before confirming his participation in the first Test, which starts at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, on 26 December. Babar suffered the injury a day after Imam-ul-Haq had fractured his left thumb also during a throw-down session. Imam had also been advised a 12-day rest, which confirmed his non-availability for the Pakistan Shaheens’ four-day match against New Zealand ‘A’, which starts in Whangarei on Thursday, December 17. As with Babar, the doctors will continue to monitor Imam’s injury before confirming his participation in the first Test. Meanwhile, Pakistan T20I vice-captain Shadab Khan is also carrying a groin niggle, which limited his participation in Sunday’s net sessions to batting only. He had missed the Zimbabwe T20Is due to a similar injury and decision on his participation in the Auckland T20I will be made closer to the match. Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq: “Injuries are part and parcel of professional sport and while it is hugely disappointing to lose a player of Babar Azam’s calibre for the T20Is, this opens up opportunities for the other highly talented and exciting players to step-up, understand their responsibilities and try to prove that the Pakistan side is a complete package. “I have spoken with Babar and he is sad to miss the T20I series as he was fully focused and keenly looking forward to the T20Is. We have a long season of cricket ahead and we now hope that he regains complete fitness as early as possible so that he can return to competitive cricket. “The medical team is monitoring Shadab Khan’s groin niggle and we remain optimistic that he will be available for the T20Is, but we will neither risk him nor the team’s chances if we think he needs a few more days to be back to his complete fitness.” Pakistan squad for New Zealand T20Is: Shadab Khan (captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Musa Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz. Babar Azam (withdrawn due to injury) Pakistan Shaheens for New Zealand ‘A’ four-day match: Rohail Nazir (captain), Abid Ali, Amad Butt, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Malik. Imam-ul-Haq (withdrawn due to injury)

Cricket13 Dec 2020

Eighth round of first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy begins on Monday
SPORTS REPORT ISLAMABAD (December 13, 2020):-Following three exciting results in the previous round, the eighth round of the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, which commences on Monday, promises to sustain the momentum as teams fight for the top two slots which will enable their qualification for the five-day new year’s final. As anticipated, the points table further spiced up following Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s rise to the top after a stellar innings and 37 runs victory against Sindh, which helped them grab as many as 25 points, the most for any team in the seventh round. Central Punjab’s resurgence has put the title defenders on the fourth spot from the bottom of the points table after two back-to-back wins. Southern Punjab, who slipped to third spot following their defeat to Northern in the sixth round after spending four rounds at the top of the table, are just one point behind second-ranked Northern following their thumping win over Balochistan, who slipped one place to fifth position. Sindh continue to have a poor run of form following their win in the season opener. In their six matches since, they have lost three; two of those defeats have come in their last two matches, and drawn three. With only two rounds remaining after this one, Sindh, captained by Asad Shafiq, will be eager to accumulate maximum points and finish on a high. Balochistan v Central Punjab at State Bank Stadium: Central Punjab have staged an impressive comeback with two big wins against Sindh (by 227 runs in the sixth round) and Northern (by six wickets in the seventh round) and will be eager to further stretch this winning streak when they take on Balochistan, who also have lost three of their last six matches following their solitary win in their first match of the 2020-21 first-class season. Captain Hasan Ali regaining fitness and form and spearheading the bowling attack since his return to the side has played a vital role in Central Punjab’s change of fortune. The pacer has taken 15 wickets in the last three matches and now sits at the eighth spot in the list of the highest wicket-takers with 20 scalps at an average of 21.05. Contributions from Waqas Maqsood, who is the leading wicket-takers amongst the pacers to date with 28 wickets at 21.43, and 23-year-old left-arm orthodox Ahmed Safi Abdullah (28 wickets at 21.61) further strengthens the team’s bowling unit. Waqas is ranked third and Ahmed is ranked fifth in the list of bowlers with most wickets. Hasan, however, would be hoping that their batsmen join the party towards the business end of the tournament. Despite restricting Northern to 243 in their last outing, Central Punjab fell nine runs behind their opponents in the first innings, which underscore their batting woes, and lost four wickets in their chase of 166. Balochistan had a forgettable outing in the previous round as they slipped from 154 for two to 199 all out in their second innings, courtesy a scorching seven for 35 by pacer Zia-ul-Haq, to lose to Southern Punjab by a heavy 205-run margin. Their captain Bismillah Khan would be hoping for a better batting display. The team’s leading run-scorer Akbar-ur-Rehman, the 37-year-old right-handed batsman, has made 445 runs at 44.50 and is the eighth top run-getter in the season. However, the gulf between their best and the second best batsman, Ali Waqas (360 runs at 40), is so vast that he is 20th in the same list, which Balochistan will be eager to fill as the tournament progresses. Their bowlers have put some of the most impressive individual performances. Taj Wali leads them with 23 wickets in seven outings and their next best bowlers are Kashif Bhatti (19 wickets at 44.68), Jalat Khan (18 wickets at 26.61) and Khurram Shahzad (18 wickets at 27.89). They are ranked sixth, ninth, 10th and 11th on the list of bowlers with most wickets. Sindh v Northern at National Stadium (broadcast fixture): The National Stadium will host the teams, who are arguably the most eager to secure a win at this crucial juncture. Both teams enter the round at the back of defeats which have seen Northern getting displaced from the top of the table and Sindh slip to the bottom from the fourth position. In their last face-off, Northern defeated Sindh by 128 runs. Northern captain Nauman Ali has been in red-hot form and is the only bowler in the tournament to date to have breached the 50-wicket mark. The 24-year-old left-arm orthodox has 54 scalps at 20.67 and is the only bowler with five five-wicket hauls. He will continue to spearhead his team’s bowling attack, especially after impressive match figures of 11 for 153 in the previous match. Their batting line-up has been held together by Hammad Azam (641 runs at 64.10), Umar Amin (558 runs at 50.73) and Mohammad Nawaz (531 runs at 59) who are fourth, fifth and sixth top run-getters in the season. Sindh’s Sharjeel Khan has scored three half-centuries in last four innings and his captain Asad will be hoping that his bat continues to produce runs in front of the broadcast cameras, which will telecast action in Pakistan through PTV Sports and beam it across the globe through PCB’s YouTube channel. Twenty-five-year-old Saud Shakeel scored a fifty in his last innings which augurs well for Sindh as the left-hander has been anchoring their batting department over the course of the tournament. With 657 runs at 50.54, he is the third best batsman. Tabish Khan, the 36-year-old right-arm pacer, remains Sindh’s most successful bowler with 22 scalps at 30.82 runs per dismissal. Southern Punjab v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at UBL Sports Complex: This promises to be another exciting encounter with both teams vying for the top spot as Southern Punjab are 14 points behind the table-topper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (117 points). The match will bring two of the best three spinners in the competition face-to-face. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Sajid Khan is the second best bowler with 46 wickets at 22.57 and Southern Punjab’s Zahid Mahmood has the third most wickets (39 wickets at 22.69). Kamran Ghulam and Salman Ali Agha to leading batsmen of the season will also be pitted against each other. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kamran Ghulam’s both centuries have come in his last two matches and is currently the leading run-getter with 713 runs at an average of 54.85. The 25-year-old right-handed batsman has also scored three half-centuries. Southern Punjab’s Salman Ali Agha has crunched one century and five half-centuries which has helped him amass 665 runs at 66.50. The 27-year-old right-handed batsman is the second highest run-getter in the season. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s all four wins have come in the last five matches, while Southern Punjab have won one, lost two and drawn two in their last five outings. When, these teams came face to face earlier this season, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa won by 75 runs.

Cricket06 Dec 2020

Pakistan names 18-player squad for New Zealand T20Is
SPORTS REPORT CHRISTCHURCH (December 6, 2020):-Pakistan today announced an 18-player men’s national squad for the three T20Is against New Zealand to be played on 18, 20 and 22 December. The squad was finalised by head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Babar Azam in consultation with Pakistan Shaheens coach Ijaz Ahmed, who also locked his 16-player squad for the four-day match against New Zealand ‘A’ to be played in Whangarei from 17 December. Both Pakistan and Pakistan Shaheens squads are scheduled to depart for Queenstown on Tuesday, 8 December, after completing their 14-day isolation period in Christchurch. In Queenstown, both the sides will stay in different hotels and train at different times and according to their match requirements. On 14 December, Shaheens will travel to Whangarei, while Pakistan will head to Auckland on 15 December for the opening match of the three-match series. For the New Zealand T20Is, Pakistan have recalled Hussain Talat and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the only changes from the side that defeated Zimbabwe 3-0 in November. Hussain, who has replaced Pakistan Shaheens’ Zafar Gohar, played his last T20I against South Africa at Centurion in February 2019, while Sarfaraz Ahmed has reclaimed his spot from Rohail Nazir, who will captain Pakistan Shaheens against New Zealand ‘A’. Fakhar Zaman had played in all the three T20Is against Zimbabwe but missed the New Zealand tour after failing to recover in time due to high fever. Following the conclusion of the T20I series, Imad Wasim will depart for Australia on 23 December to play in Australia’s Big Bash League, while Mohammad Hafeez will leave for Pakistan on 24 December. Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq: “I want to compliment my players and the management team for their patience, sacrifices and the hardships they have endured to ensure they not only lead the safe resumption of international cricket during the Covid-19 pandemic since the series in England but also try to give their best every time they step on the field. “Top professional athletes require a certain environment to prepare so that they can perform at the minimum expected levels every time they represent their countries. While we completely respect and understand the New Zealand Government Laws, which have been put in place for the health and safety of their public, there is no denying the fact that the implementation of certain regulations has affected our athletes, both mentally and physically prior to an international series. “Nonetheless, when we will leave the isolation facility in the next day or two, we will try to put all this behind us and focus on the challenge of facing New Zealand in both the formats. New Zealand are a formidable side in their conditions and their recent performances against the West Indies confirm why they are ranked second in Tests and just behind us in T20Is in sixth position. “For the T20Is, we have retained the squad that has been playing together for some time. The squad comprises young, talented and high-performing players, who are determined and eager to make names for themselves and further cement their places in the side. “New Zealand boasts some of the best cricket facilities, which are backed by supportive and appreciative crowds. I want my players to make optimum use of the upcoming opportunities by expressing themselves by playing fearlessly every time they take the field. All the players have our backing and support, and all they now need to show is how much believe, faith and trust they have in their own capabilities.” Meanwhile, the Pakistan Test side players who will not be involved in the T20Is, will remain with Pakistan Shaheens to prepare for the two-Test series, which commences at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, on 26 December. As part of their preparation for the four-day match against New Zealand A, which begins on 17 December, Shaheens will also play intra-squad practice matches in Queenstown. Pakistan Shaheens coach Ijaz Ahmed: “Apart from providing youngsters the opportunity to get some experience and exposure, the objective of Shaheens was to help the red-ball Pakistan men’s national team players prepare for the Tests by featuring in the pre-series matches against New Zealand ‘A’. Despite the disappointment of losing a four-day match, I am pleased that some of the top Pakistan Test players will be representing Shaheens against New Zealand ‘A’ in Whangarei, which will enhance the importance and profile of the match. “The quarantine period was a tough one, something none of us had experienced before, but instead of reflecting on the tough times, we should now start focusing and thinking about playing and performing in international cricket because that is what we have come here for. “We need to avail and cash in on every opportunity to hone our skills and try to improve as professional cricketers. There is no better place than New Zealand to achieve these career objectives as the country has some amazing and cricket-friendly playing conditions.” Pakistan squad for New Zealand T20Is: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Musa Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Qadir and Wahab Riaz. Management team: Mansoor Rana (Manager), Misbah-ul-Haq (head coach), Shahid Aslam (assistant coach), Waqar Younis (bowling coach), Younis Khan (batting coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Cliffe Deacon (physiotherapist), Ibrahim Badees (team and social media manager), Malang Ali (team masseur), Dr Sohail Saleem (team doctor), Talha Ejaz Butt (analyst), Col (retd) Usman Anwari (security manager) and Yasir Malik (strength & training coach). Pakistan Shaheens for New Zealand ‘A’ four-day match: Rohail Nazir (captain), Abid Ali, Amad Butt, Azhar Ali, Danish Aziz, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Butt, Mohammad Abbas, Naseem Shah, Shan Masood, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Malik. Management team: Ijaz Ahmed (manager and head coach), Mohtashim Rasheed (assistant manager & fielding coach), Rao Iftikhar (bowling coach), Hafiz Naeem (physiotherapist), Saboor Ahmed (trainer), Usman Hashmi (analyst) and Mohammad Imran Ali (masseur). Pakistan v New Zealand T20Is: 18 Dec – 1st T20I, Eden Park, Auckland 20 Dec – 2nd T20I, Seddon Park, Hamilton 22 Dec – 3rd T20I, McLean Park, Napier

Cricket02 Dec 2020

MALAN ATTAINS HIGHEST-EVER RATING POINTS IN T20I HISTORY
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (December 2, 2020):-Dawid Malan has attained the highest-ever rating points for batsmen in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings after a terrific run saw him top the series aggregate with 173 runs and help England blank South Africa 3-0. The 33-year-old left-hander has reached 915 points, the first to cross the 900-point mark after Australian Aaron Finch’s 900-point achievement in July 2018. Malan now enjoys a 44-point lead over Pakistan’s Babar Azam, whom he overtook to become number one in September this year. Malan’s player of the series performance included a match-winning 99 not out in the final match and helped England leapfrog Australia to take top position in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Team Rankings. England, who had started the series at 271 points, are now level with Australia at 275 points but ahead on decimal points. South Africa and New Zealand retain their fifth and sixth positions while the West Indies have slipped behind Afghanistan to 10th place after losing 2-0 to New Zealand in another series, performances of which are also included in Wednesday’s rankings update. England’s Jos Buttler has gained seven spots to reach 21st position while South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen’s continued good form, which saw him score 136 runs in the series, has lifted him 17 places to a career-best fifth position. Faf du Plessis’s return to form, with an aggregate of 121 runs, has pushed him into the top 20. Among the bowlers, England’s leg-spinner Adil Rashid is back to the 700-point mark, gaining three places to reach number 4. He is just one spot below his career-best third position achieved in November 2018. The top seven bowlers are all spinners, with Tabraiz Shamsi, South Africa’s top ranked bowler in 5th place. Chris Jordan, who became England’s leading T20I wicket-taker in the third match against South Africa with his 66th wicket, has gained one place to reach 12th rank. Fast bowler Lungi Ngidi makes an entry into the top 50 bowlers for the first time after taking four wickets in the series. His previous best was 67th in September this year. The series in New Zealand saw the home side’s Lockie Ferguson leap 45 slots to 32nd position after finishing as the most successful bowler in the series with seven wickets, which included a player of the match effort of five for 21 in the first match. Glenn Phillips celebrated his recall to the New Zealand T20I side for the first time in two years by smashing a century in the second match and climbing into the top 100 batsmen for the first time – ending the series in 86th place. Kieron Pollard was the West Indian star of the series, scoring 103 runs at a strike rate of 198. That was good enough to take him up 18 places to the 57th rank with the bat and up to seventh place in the all-rounders’ table.

Cricket02 Dec 2020

Shoaib promises to bring his Indian wife to Sri Lanka in next time
By BIPIN DANI Pakistani all-rounder Shoaib Malik is hoping to bring his Indian wife Sania Mirza to Sri Lanka next year when he arrives to play the 2nd year of Lanka Premier League (LPL). Sania and son Izhaan Mirza Malik recently went to Pakistan to support Shoaib in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). "Yes, they did come to Pakistan. The reason being I had not met my son for about seven months. Sania came there and met my mother and family also. We then went to Dubai, where we stayed for a few weeks", Malik in a chat with this reporter at the virtual media conference organized by the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board revealed. Shoaib and Sania had spent some time with former India captain MS Dhoni and his wife Sakshi in Dubai, it is understood.  Malik also revealed the reason for not bringing the family to Sri Lanka. "My (two year) son may find it difficult to take so many flights but yes, they will come here next year. Sri Lanka is at my heart. I enjoy the hospitality of this country. I have so many cricketing friends in this country. I love the people here. Enjoy the food".      Jaffna Stallions' 38-year-old Malik did not wait for the umpire's decision for his run out dismissal against Kandy Tusker's on Tuesday. "It was a very obvious dismissal and any other batsman at this position also would not have waited for the umpire's call", Malik added.