Jun 172017
Show no fear, Afridi tells Sarfraz

LONDON: When he was Pakistan’s captain, one of Shahid Afridi’s greatest ambitions was to win a world title for his country. He failed to realise that dream after having lead Pakistan to the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup and to a first-round exit from the 2016 World Twenty20 championship. On Saturday, Afridi hoped that his successor Sarfraz Ahmed will succeed where he failed. Sarfraz, the aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman, will lead Pakistan in a dream final of the ICC Champions Trophy against India on Sunday (today). “Before I dwell on Pakistan’s strategy for the big match, I want to say that the final has given Sarfraz a God given opportunity of leaving a lasting legacy. The feisty wicket-keeper batsman is still learning the art of captaincy, yet has grown in stature as leader in every game this tournament. My advice to Sarfraz for the final is simple — take all decisions wholeheartedly and without any fear whatsoever,” Afridi wrote in his column on the official ICC website. “In big games, you need captains to have a clear mind since they are the ones who have to steer the ship. Sarfraz needs to back his own abilities to the hilt since a confused or timid approach can hurt the team and dampen the chances of success.” Afridi stressed that Pakistan’s senior duo of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez will have to deliver. “Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez need to come to the party for the big game, both these players have contributed [Read More…]

Jun 012017

BIRMINGHAM: Former Pakistan ODI captain Azhar Ali has insisted his side will treat their Champions Trophy opener against arch-rivals India in Birmingham on Sunday as “just another game”. Politics in both countries means the Asian giants, arguably cricket’s fiercest rivals, now rarely meet outside of International Cricket Council events. Such is the global and commercial appeal of the fixture, the ICC has effectively admitted to ‘doctoring’ the draw to make sure the teams are paired together in the group phase of major tournaments rather than run the risk of them not meeting later on. PCB not giving up on series with India For all the anticipation surrounding their latest clash, Azhar told reporters at Edgbaston on Wednesday: “It’s just another game. “I think when the game starts it looks quite normal. The players play as per the situation and professional players are like that without worrying about anything else,” he added. Pakistan, who upset the odds to draw a Test series in England last year, have already been in Birmingham for two weeks in preparation for their bid to win the Champions Trophy, a tournament featuring the world’s top eight teams in the 50-over format. Not ready to play cricket with Pakistan: Indian government Birmingham boasts one of the largest Asian populations in Britain and a vibrant, sell-out crowd is expected on Sunday. “A game between Pakistan and India is always good and Birmingham has always had a very good atmosphere,” said Azhar. Azhar, who is expected to open with Ahmad [Read More…]

May 052017

Pakistan right-hand batsman Azhar Ali on Friday moved up two places in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Test batsmen’s rankings even after his team faced a 106-run defeat against West Indies on Thursday. Pakistan, set a target of 188 runs to win the second Test and seal the three-match series, were unable to fathom the bounce of the day five pitch at Barbados and were all out for 81 courtesy three ducks by Babar Azam, captain Misbahul Haq and Asad Shafiq. ‘Responsible’ Misbah, Azhar earn Sallu’s praise However, Azhar Ali’s 105-run knock in the first innings and 10 in the second innings helped him move to the eighth position to share the spot with South African batting star Hashim Amla, with both on 748 rating points. Misbah, who was playing his penultimate Test before retirement, scored 99 and a duck to retain his 20th position in the rankings, while returning opener Ahmad Shahzad moved up four places to the 62nd position with scores of 70 and 14. Yasir’s gains Leg-spinner Yasir Shah bagged nine wickets for Pakistan in the second Test with a seven-for in the second innings to lift himself to the 13th position in ICC Test bowler’s rankings. Yasir six-for hands Pakistan advantage He gave 94 runs in the second innings for his seven wickets to bag the second best figures by a Pakistan bowler against West Indies after former captain Imran Khan 7-80 in 1988. Team rankings Pakistan were placed on the fifth position with 97 points [Read More…]

Mar 152017

Former Pakistan ODI captain Azhar Ali has been dropped from the ODI squad for the upcoming tour of the West Indies. The 32-year-old stepped down from captaincy after the team’s dismal performance in the five-match series against Australia earlier this year. Ahmad Shahzad, Kamran Akmal expected to be in limited-overs squads The chairman of the selection committee Inzamamul Haq announced the 15-member squad for the T20Is and 16-member squad for the ODIs on Wednesday. Middle-order batsman Umar Akmal was dropped after failing the fitness test, Inzamam said while addressing the media at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore. Azhar Ali banned and fined for slow over-rate Fast-bowler Mohammad Amir is rested for the T20Is, whereas left-arm spinner Mohammad Asghar is included in the 50-over format. T20I Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Ahmad Shahzad, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan Shinwari ODI Squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Ahmad Shahzad, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Zakir, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Fahim Ashraf, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Asghar The post Azhar Ali axed, Kamran and Shahzad in for West Indies ODIs appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jan 262017
Azhar likely to be removed as ODI captain, Sarfraz favourite to take over

KARACHI: Following Pakistan’s 4-1 loss in five-match ODI series against the Australia, the Pakistan Cricket Board is now “seriously considering” to remove Azhar Ali from the post of team’s captain and name wicket-keeper batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed as his successor. Azhar was named Pakistan’s captain following team’s early exit from the World Cup 2015 which forced the then captain Misbahul Haq to step down from captaincy and announce his retirement from limited over cricket. Since then, Azhar has led Pakistan in 31 ODIs, winning only 12 of them while 18 games ended with results in opponent’s favour, leaving a big question mark on Azhar’s ability as team’s captain. Although, his individual record as a batsman is notable, but series defeats by Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Australia have left PCB, according to sources, with no other option but to remove him. Azhar was asked to step down earlier as well after Pakistan’s 4-1 defeat in England. He, however, refused to step down and led Pakistan to 3-0 win in three-match ODI series against West Indies in the United Arab Emirates. However, the 3-0 win didn’t help Azhar Ali to win the confidence of chairman PCB Shahryar Khan and the former diplomat clearly said ahead of series against Australia that team’s performance in five-match series would determine Azhar Ali’s future as ODI captain. “We are more than happy with Azhar as a player, human being and a person. But, his leadership skills have not given us confidence and his place in ODI [Read More…]

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