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Cricket13 Mar 2021

Amazing to see my brother holding the winning trophy, says Axar Patel's sister
By Bipin Dani Team India's new spin sensation Axar Patel's married sister Shivani Patel, now living in Canada, had no interest in cricket. Leave aside watching the game on TV but she never used to discuss the game with her brother.  The time has changed now. Since her brother made debut for India in the recently concluded Test series against England, she would hardly miss to follow her brother's performance on the field.  "I was speechless and absolutely stunned when he was holding the winning trophy with both his hands and other team members around him", the sister, three years elder to Axar, speaking exclusively over the telephone from her Toronto home, said on Sunday morning (India time).  Team India captain Virat Kohli gave the honour of lifting the trophy to India's newest player. The trend started by MS Dhoni, who not only allowed the best performer to lead the side on return to the pavilion but offered the best seat in the bus and the flight.   "It was indeed a very precious moment in my life and will never ever forget it. It was very grateful to have such practice by the captain. It unites the team members well and junior players are never felt aloof in the side".   "With India's other spinner (R. Ashwin), I saw my brother grabbing wickets one after the other. It was amazing...". "I was also happy when my brother played his maiden Test and also got the Player of the Match award only when he was playing his just second Test match".  "Wow-27 wickets in three Tests...Can't believe it".  "Back home in Nadiad (Gujarat) my parents (Preeti ben and Rajesh bhai) are happy to see Axar's performance  and glad for his progress. I am proud of my brother and lucky to have a nice brother like him", she signed off, adding that Axar only named her 1-year-old son as Aansh.  In Gujarati community, the name of the new arrival is given by the aunty (father's sister).      

Cricket12 Mar 2021

Pakistan squads for South Africa and Zimbabwe announced
ABDUL JABBAR FAISAL ISLAMABAD (March 12, 2021):-The National Selection Committee headed by Mohammad Wasim on Friday finalized the national squad for upcoming South Africa and Zimbabwe tours, as national team led by Babar Azam will play seven T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests. The seven T20Is and two Tests will count towards the ICC T20I and Test Team Rankings, while the three ODIs against South Africa will be part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League – a 13-team competition from which the top seven sides will qualify automatically for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The 35-member Pakistan squad will depart for Johannesburg on 26 March for the three ODIs and four T20Is against South Africa. They will then fly to Bulawayo on 17 April for three T20Is and two Tests against Zimbabwe. The side is scheduled to return on 12 May. Prior to their departure for Johannesburg, a training camp for the white-ball players will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium from 19 March. The players will arrive in Lahore on 18 March following 16 March PCR tests in their respective cities and will undergo further PCR tests on 18, 21 and 24 March. During the Lahore camp, the players will remain in a bio-secure environment. The T20I and ODI sides include 18 players each with 14 players featuring in both the formats, while the Test squad comprises 20 players with eight players figuring across all three formats. These eight players are Babar Azam (captain), Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shaheen Shah Afridi. Squads: T20I: Babar Azam (captain) (Central Punjab), Shadab Khan (vice-captain) (Northern), Arshad Iqbal (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Asif Ali (Northern), Danish Aziz (Sindh), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Haider Ali (Northern), Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Mohammad Hafeez (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Sharjeel Khan (Sindh) and Usman Qadir (Central Punjab) ODI: Babar Azam (captain) (Central Punjab), Shadab Khan (vice-captain) (Northern), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab), Danish Aziz (Sindh), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haider Ali (Northern), Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Mohammad Hasnain (Sindh), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh), Saud Shakeel (Sindh), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Usman Qadir (Central Punjab) Test: Babar Azam (captain) (Central Punjab), Mohammad Rizwan (vice-captain) (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Abdullah Shafique (Central Punjab), Abid Ali (Central Punjab), Azhar Ali (Central Punjab), Faheem Ashraf (Central Punjab), Fawad Alam (Sindh), Haris Rauf (Northern), Hasan Ali (Central Punjab), Imran Butt (Balochistan), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Nauman Ali (Northern), Sajid Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh), Saud Shakeel (Sindh), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shahnawaz Dahani (Sindh), Tabish Khan (Sindh) and Zahid Mahmood (Southern Punjab) Players Support Personnel - Mansoor Rana (Manager), Misbah-ul-Haq (head coach), Abdul Majeed (fielding coach), Cliffe Deacon (physiotherapist), Col (retd) Khalid Mahmood (security manager), Malang Ali (masseur), Raza Kitchlew (Digital and media manager), Dr Riaz Ahmed (team doctor), Shahid Aslam (assistant coach), Talha Butt (analyst), Waqar Younis (bowling coach), Yasir Malik (strength & conditioning coach) and Younis Khan (batting coach). Pakistan white-ball vice-captain Shadab Khan and T20I specialist Mohammad Hafeez have returned to the side after missing the South Africa series. In addition to the two experienced campaigners, the selectors have also recalled 31-year-old left-handed opener Sharjeel Khan to the T20I side, four years after his 15th and last T20I match. In the 2020-21 season, Sharjeel scored 233 runs in the National T20 Cup, while he was third behind Mohammad Rizwan (297 runs) and Babar Azam (258 runs) with 200 runs in five HBL Pakistan Super League 6 matches before the event was postponed. The newcomers in the white-ball squads are 20-year-old Swabi-born fast bowler Arshad Iqbal (T20I squad) and 19-year-old fast bowler Mohammad Wasim Jnr from North Waziristan (both T20I and ODI squads). Arshad has earned selection after claiming 10 T20 wickets and seven 50-over wickets in the 2020-21 season, while his Khyber Pakhtunkhwa team-mate Wasim took seven 50-over wickets and four T20 wickets in the HBL PSL 6. Wasim also played in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020. Fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani is the only new face in the 20-player Test squad. The 22-year-old from Larkana took 26 wickets in his debut first-class season for Sindh after picking up six wickets in the second eleven National T20 Cup. He then followed up with five wickets in the Pakistan Cup One-Day Tournament and nine wickets for Multan Sultans in the HBL PSL 6. Two changes have been made in the 20-player Test side that defeated South Africa by seven wickets and 95 runs in Karachi and Rawalpindi, respectively. Kamran Ghulam and Yasir Shah have been replaced by Shahnawaz Dahani and Zahid Mahmood. Zahid has been promoted to the Test squad after taking three wickets on his T20I debut against South Africa following the non-availability of Yasir Shah. Yasir is recovering from a left knee injury he sustained during the Rawalpindi Test against South Africa. Chief selector Mohammad Wasim: “I want to congratulate Arshad Iqbal, Mohammad Wasim Junior and Shahnawaz Dahani on their selections in the Pakistan squads. This is an acknowledgement and reward for their talent and performances in the 2020-21 domestic season. “Representing the country at a global stage is the biggest honour and achievement for any professional athlete. I am confident these selections for important tours of South Africa and Zimbabwe will inspire and motivate these budding youngsters to produce more impressive and consistent performances so that they can justify the faith and confidence exposed on them by the team management and selectors. “Sharjeel Khan has also staged a comeback in the T20I squad. Although he is exactly not where we want him to be, he is not too far away. With the form he has recently shown in the domestic T20 events, he deserves an opportunity to further improve his fitness and show he still has that ability to win big matches for Pakistan. “Yasir Shah is suffering from left knee injury and requires another six weeks to fully recover. His absence has opened a door for Zahid Mahmood, who will have a stronger case in the Test squad as compared to the T20I side following the return of Shadab Khan and presence of Usman Qadir. For a place in the Test side, Zahid will compete with Nauman Ali and Sajid Khan, who, like Zahid, were the two outstanding bowlers in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. “Imad Wasim has missed out on selection as we have opted to continue with Mohammad Nawaz. The all-rounder had a decent series against South Africa, taking three wickets at an economy rate of 6.10 with a brisk 11-ball 18 not out in the series finale. Nawaz deserves another opportunity to show that he belongs to white-ball cricket. “Aamer Yamin, Amad Butt and Kamran Ghulam are unlucky to miss out on selections. Aamer and Amad have paved the way for Mohammad Hafeez and Shadab Khan in the T20I squad, while Kamran has narrowly missed out to Salman Ali Agha and Saud Shakeel in the Test side. However, the three are in the larger pool of players and will get their opportunity at some stage as we have a busy year of cricket ahead of us. “The South Africa and Zimbabwe tours are extremely important for Pakistan cricket. The seven T20Is are part of our preparation for this year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, while the South Africa ODIs are part of the Super League as we aim to qualify directly for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. “Test cricket remains the pinnacle format and are the health-check of any cricket playing country. We have limited Tests this year with three-Test series against West Indies and two-Test series against Bangladesh planned. As such, it is imperative that we do well in Zimbabwe so that we can not only carry the winning momentum forward but also prepare for tougher series in the West Indies and Bangladesh.” Tour itinerary (Zimbabwe schedule to be announced in due course) 26 March – Departure for Johannesburg 2 April - 1st ODI; Super Sport Park, Pretoria 4 April - 2nd ODI; Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 7 April - 3rd ODI; Super Sport Park, Pretoria 10 April - 1st T20I; Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 12 April - 2nd T20I; Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg 14 April - 3rd T20I; Super Sport Park, Pretoria 16 April -4th T20I; Super Sport Park, Pretoria 17 April – Departure for Bulawayo 12 May – Departure for Lahore from Bulawayo

Cricket10 Mar 2021

ICC WORLD TEST CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL AT SOUTHAMPTON
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (March 10, 2021):-The final of the ICC World Test Championship between India and New Zealand will be staged in a bio-secure bubble at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton. The decision, taken by the ICC Board, follows discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) where a range of options were considered to ensure the inaugural final could be staged safely with the potential impact of COVID-19 minimised for all involved. In selecting The Hampshire Bowl, the ICC drew on ECB’s experience of delivering a full summer of bio-safe international cricket in 2020. The venue provides world-class playing and training facilities, giving both teams the best possible environment in which to prepare. Whilst the on-site accommodation will significantly reduce the risk around COVID-19 transmission and better protect the health and safety of everyone involved in delivering the final. Should the UK government’s phased easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures proceed as planned, it is anticipated that a limited number of fans will be allowed into the Hampshire Bowl to watch the final. Fans can register their interest for tickets here. New Zealand were the first team to make the ICC World Test Championship final and they were joined by India following their series win over England which concluded on Saturday. Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager, Cricket said: “The ICC World Test Championship final is the pinnacle event in the Test calendar and is intended to be a week-long celebration of the oldest form of the game. A format, which rooted in tradition and featured the best that the game has to offer. I would also like to congratulate both India and New Zealand for becoming part of history by reaching the first final. “We are confident that in selecting the Hampshire Bowl, we have given ourselves the best possible chance to successfully deliver the final whilst keeping everyone involved safe and healthy and giving fans the opportunity to watch the two best Test teams in the world go head-to-head for the right to call themselves the ICC World Test Champions.  “I would like to thank the ECB for their guidance and advice to enable us to make this decision, which gives us the best possible opportunity to deliver a safe and successful World Test Championship Final.” Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board said: “We are delighted that the ICC has chosen to host the inaugural World Test Championship Final at The Hampshire Bowl. “As the world’s first fully bio-secure cricket venue, it has shown itself capable of delivering international matches to the highest of standards, even against the backdrop of a global pandemic. I am sure the finale of the ICC World Test Championship will be a wonderful occasion.” Rod Bransgrove, Hampshire Cricket Chairman, said: “We are honoured and delighted that The Hampshire Bowl has been appointed as the host venue for the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final. I should like to sincerely thank the ICC for this huge demonstration of confidence in our capabilities and the ECB for its significant support of the venue as host of what will be the biggest Test Match event ever staged. “I am sure our immense pride at bringing this fixture to Hampshire will be shared by all our loyal staff, supporters and sponsors as well as our unwavering partners, Eastleigh Borough Council. We will do everything in our power to ensure that this inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final is a secure, entertaining and successful event for everyone.’’

Cricket10 Mar 2021

Former international Cricketers meet Qamar Bajwa
ABDUL JABBAR FAISAL ISLAMABAD (March 10, 2021):-Former cricketers from different nations associated with Peshawar Zalmi met with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday in his office at Rawalpindi. According to a press release, Daren Julius Garvey Sammy- former West Indian Cricketer, Hashim Mahomed Amla-Former South African Cricketer, Mohammad Akram-former Pakistani Cricketer and Javed Afridi-owner of Peshawar Zalmi franchise were the part of deligation. On this occasion, COAS appreciated the dignitaries for their contributions for bringing international cricket to Pakistan and being the ambassadors of peace. Qamar Bajwa also congratulated the cricketers on success and growth of Pakistan Super League (PSL) and hoped that it recommences early for much awaited jubilation of entire country. Visiting dignitaries also shared experience of their visits to different parts of Pakistan and seeing Pakistan as a beautiful and peaceful country.

Tennis06 Mar 2021

Pakistan Japan Davis Cup Tennis Tie: Japan sweep 4-0
ABDUL JABBAR FAISAL ISLAMABAD (March 6, 2021):-Japan beat Pakistan 4-0 in the Davis Cup World Tennis Ties at the Grass Courts of Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad on Saturday. Aisam and Aqeel Khan disappointed the top officials of Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF), as well as whole nation. Pakistan player could win only a single set in four matches. On Saturday, In the Doubles fixture, Mochizuki Shintaro pairing with Shimabukuro Sho overcame local guys Aisam Qureshi and Aqeel Khan 2-1 in a three sets fuss. The final score-line was 4-6, 6-4 and 6-2. In the second match of the day, Shimizu Yuta outplayed Muzammil Murtaza in straight sets 2-0 with score-line 6-1, 6-1 in a one-sided affair. Atsushi Fujii and Yohei Shiomoto General Manager of Mitsubishi, Salim Saifullah Khan, President PTF, Mohammad Fuad Mohsin, National Business Head National Bank of Pakistan, and the Executive Committee of PTF and high-ranking officials of PSB witnessed the matches. ITF Referee Norbert Peick, ITF Event Manager Tom Nelson, the ITF Chair Umpires Jaume, Campistol and Alexandre Robein and the ITF Review Officials, Tamas Peterdi and Victor Chernov, and the Hawk-Eye Officials officiated the tie. Results (Day-II) Mochizuki Shintaro & Shimabukuro Sho bt Aisam Qureshi & Aqeel Khan 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 Shimizu Yuta bt Muzammil Murtaza  6-1, 6-1    

Tennis05 Mar 2021

Davis Cup Tennis Tie: Japan earn 2-0 lead
ABDUL JABBAR FAISAL ISLAMABAD (March 5, 2021):-Young Japanese players outclassed hosted top duo of tennis players Aisam-ul-Haq and Aqeel Khan in straight sets on Friday on the opening day of Davis Cup World Tennis Ties at the Grass Courts of Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad. The match rest of three matches including Doubles and Reverse Singles will be played on Saturday at same venue. In the first match of the day, Yosuke Watauki stunned Aqeel Khan 2-0 in straight sets with the score-line of 6-3 and 6-2 after displaying wonderful game of tennis that was blend of beautiful forehands and backhands drives in addition classic drop shorts, as top Pakistani guy failed to encounter his opponent to win the match in great style at home soil. The officials of Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) were disappointed on this occasion, as the top guys produced blew the mark performance despite of having home ground advantage. Later on, in the second match, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi , 41 lost his match against 26 years old Kaichi Ucnid 0-2 without showing any resistance. At one stage of the first set the score was leveled at 4-4 but Japanese lad broke the game of Qureshi and made the score 5-4. He retained his serves at won the set at 6-4. However, second set was tie 6-6 but visitor player did not allow local here to score the winning points, as tiebreak score was 6-4. Kaichi won the match at 6-4 and 7-6. Schedule: March 6, 2021 RUBBER 3: Aqeel Khan & Aisam Qureshi VS Shintaro MOCHIZUKI & Yosuke WATANUKI RUBBER 4: Aisam Qureshi VS Yosuke WATANUKI RUBBER 5: Aqeel Khan VS Kaichi UCHIDA  

Cricket05 Mar 2021

Bowler becomes nervous after 4-5 sixes are hit successively, says Pollard's coach
By Bipin Dani  Bowler comes under more pressure after four and five sixes are hit in his one over successively, according to David Furlonge, the coach of the West Indies captain Kieron Pollard whose six sixes in an over trumped Akila's hat-trick in a crazy chase on Thursday.   Speaking exclusively over the telephone, he said, "I think both-hitting six sixes in one over by a batsman or grabbing a hat-trick by any bowler-are incredible but as a bowler you would be under more pressure especially after the fourth and fifth six". "It was fantastic to watch from his Super 50 performance last week. I knew he would hit the spinners for some sixes but never thought six sixes, it was fantastic to watch", Furlonge, who has been Pollard's coach since he was 14 years, said.  "In a low scoring affair and the status of the game when he came in he took whatever chance Sri Lanka had of winning the game away from them in that over so he deserved the Player of the Match award" "Sri Lanka didn’t make enough runs and all that was needed would be one or two 20 run partnerships", the coach concluded. 

Blind Cricket05 Mar 2021

National Blind Cricket squad announced for Tri-Nation Series
ABDUL JABBAR FAISAL ISLAMABAD (March 5, 2021):-The selection committee of Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) headed by Mohammad Bilal Satti on Friday named 15-man squad  for the upcoming Tri-nation series, scheduled to be held in Bangladesh from April 2to 8, this year 2021. Masood Jan and Ibrar Shah were other two members of selection committee that announced the national team after the approval of Chairman PBCC, Syed Sultan Shah. Committee also picked up four reserves players for the said series. Team is a blend of seniors and juniors guys. Two new players have been inducted in the side including Mohammad Safdar, an emerging B3 player from the far-flung area of Dera Ghazi Khan and Mohammed Tehsin, a B1 player from Mirpur Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). All four reserve players are also featuring for the first time in the national side. Niamat Ullah and Naseeb Ullah are from Quetta, while Akmal Hayat is from Islamabad and Ahtesham ul Haq is from Attock. Names of players: 1. Riasat Khan B1 2. Zafar Iqbal (Vice Captain) B1 3. Sajid Nawaz B1 4. Mohammad Shahzaib B1 5. Mohammed Tehsin B1 6. Nisar Ali (Captain) B2 7. Badar Munir B2 8. Mati Ullah B2 9. Moain Aslam B2 10. Anees Javed B2 11. Shahzaib Haider B2 12. Mohammad Rashid B3 13. Mohsin Khan B3 14. Sana Ullah Khan Marwat B3 15. Mohammad Safdar B3 Reserve Players: 16. Akmal Hayat B3 17. Naseeb Ullah B2 18. Ahtesham ul Haq B2 19. Niamat Ullah B2 Team Officials: 20. Anwar Ali (Team Manager) 21. Mohammad Jamil (Coach) 22. Maher Mohammad Yousaf Haroon (Assistant Coach) 23. Tahir Mehmood Butt (Trainer) 24. Atif Qayoum (Analyst)

Tennis04 Mar 2021

Davis Cup Tennis Tie: Aqeel takes on Yosuke in the opening fixture
ABDUL JABBAR FAISAL ISLAMABAD (March 4, 2021):-Pakistan top national tennis player Aqeel Khan will take on Yosuke Watanuki of Japan in the opening fixture of Davis Cup Tennis Ties that will be kicked off on Friday at the Grass Courts of Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad. The match will start at 11:00 pm. According to an official of Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) that media persons would not be allowed to cover the prestigious international tennis event owing the Covid-19 pandemic. Later, the second match of the day will be played between international guy Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Kaichi Uchida. Non-Playing captain of Pakistan team Mushaf Zia hoped that team would perform up to mark and produce historical results. “We toiled hard in the court and all team member are fit and willing to deliver his performance against Japan, “he viewed.  The Official Draw of Davis Cup World Group I tie held at the Aisam ul Haq Pavilion, Pakistan Sports Complex, with strict adherence to ITF COVID-19 protocols. Secretary PTF and Event Security Manager Col. Gul Rehman, picked the official draw. President, PTF Salim Saifullah Khan, ITF Referee Norbert Peick, Secretary Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Mohsin Mushtaq, ITF Event Manager Tom Nelson, the ITF Chair Umpires Jaume, Campistol and Alexandre Robein and the ITF Review Officials, Tamas Peterdi and Victor Chernov were also present at the official draw ceremony.  Schedule: March 5, 2021: RUBBER 1: Aqeel KHAN VS Yosuke WATANUKI RUBBER 2: AisamQURESHI VS Kaichi UCHIDA  March 6, 2021 RUBBER 3: AqeelKHAN & Aisam QURESHI VS Shintaro MOCHIZUKI & Yosuke WATANUKI RUBBER 4: AisamQURESHI VS Yosuke WATANUKI RUBBER 5: AqeelKHAN VS Kaichi UCHIDA  

Cricket04 Mar 2021

Afghanistani opener advised not to lose heart on begging pair 
By Bipin Dani Afghanistani opener Abdul Malik's Test debut on Wednesday (against Zimbabwe in Abu Dhabi) was not a memorable one.  The right hand batsman, who will turn 23 next week joined the company of KR Rutherford (NZ v WI Port-of-Spain 1985), Saeed Anwar (Pak v WI Faisalabad 1990), DP Viljoen (Zim v Pak Bulawayo 1998) and R Chandrika (WI v Aus Kingston 2015) and became the 5th player to beg a "pair" on Test debut as opener.  "I can definitely relate to what he is feeling. I have no doubt he has worked extremely hard to gain selection and would probably be feeling that he has let his team down and is not good enough to play at Test level", the former left-hand batsman, Dirk Viljoen, speaking exclusively over the telephone from Zimbabwe, said.  The victim further adds : "My advice to him is to trust the system. Know that he was selected cause the selectors believe in him. The result today is part of being a mature cricketer. It takes time. Keep working hard and learn from this experience. It will make you stronger mentally. He will get more chances to showcase his skills".  "Unfortunately as batsmen, people record when you get a pair. But if a Test bowler on debut bowled in 2 innings and didn't get a wicket, is that recorded as a pair?  No it is not", he further added.