Jun 222017

LONDON: Afghanistan and Ireland will join the ranks of full Test-playing nations after receiving the backing of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) conference on Thursday. The body said it had voted to admit the two nations into the elite group that is permitted to play traditional five-day Test matches. As new full members of the ICC, Ireland and Afghanistan will take the total of countries playing Tests to 12. Until 1982 there were only seven but that year Sri Lanka were admitted. Zimbabwe then joined in 1992 and Bangladesh became the most recent member in 2000. Cricket has a long history in Afghanistan but the country played amongst the sports minnows until gaining one-day international (ODI) status in 2011. Two years later, still suffering from the impact of war and conflict, the country was given ‘associate member’ status of the world governing body ICC. In 2015, Afghanistan played in their first 50-over World Cup and they have also featured in the World T20 competition. Ireland have steadily progressed in the game and first qualified for the World Cup in 2007 when they pulled off a shock win over Pakistan and they have qualified for both World Cups since. The post Afghanistan, Ireland become Test-playing nations appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 222017

KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has praised the current team for winning the ICC Champions Trophy but also criticised the domestic structure and quality of cricket being played in the country. While speaking at the MoU-signing ceremony between ICMAP and Shahid Afridi Foundation at the former’s premises, Afridi said: “No one had any expectations that this team would even reach the semi-finals but the way they played and went all the way deserves appreciation. This is the beauty of ICC tournaments that no one can expect who will be in the finals. Any team can spring surprises.” He further said that the team defeated top teams but there is still a lot of work to be done at the domestic level. Classic win wins all-round plaudits “I have been and will keep on saying that the structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan should be modified and the quality of pitches, balls and standard of umpiring should be improved,” he said. “We cannot relax after winning the trophy. We have to work a lot on the domestic structure to keep the national team consistent.” Praising the efforts of Fakhar Zaman, the former all-rounder said that in modern cricket every team needs an attacking opener. “There is a need of attacking openers who can score quick runs for the team and Fakhar fits the bill,” he said. Talking about the seniors’ place and role in the side, the 37-year-old Afridi added: “If they are able to find cricketers of the seniors’ calibre [Read More…]

Jun 192017
‘Haan Bhai…saray hee har gaye phir!!!’

There was something different about the latest Pakistan and India fixture right from the beginning. The usual animosity was replaced with relative geniality. Saurav Ganguly was defending Pakistan against Amir Sohail’s comments, Indians were standing up for Sarfaraz Ahmed against people making fun of his English and most Pakistanis were simply glad to be in the final – let alone think about winning it. Things were so calm; Sarfaraz Ahmed even gave MS Dhoni his baby. PHOTO: FACEBOOK.COM/SHEHZADGS Everybody knew that India was going to win it and Pakistan was simply there to complete the formality of playing the finals of the Champions Trophy. The entire nation expected the worst when Fakhar Zaman nicked a ball outside his off stump for a regulation catch for MS Dhoni and he held on to the ball like it was Sarfaraz Ahmad’s baby. PHOTO: FACEBOOK.COM/SHEHZADGS But then everything changed – Indians showed that they also had no balls and Fakhar Zaman got a free hit instead of a lot of free s**t from fans. Boy! Did Fakhar Zaman make the most of the respite? Even Azhar Ali was hitting the ball all over the park. At one point, Azhar had 29 of 32 balls and Fakhar Zaman had 16 of 29 balls – finally proving the multiverse theory as clearly this match was being played in some parallel alternative universe. Jasprit Mumrah, wait no Bumrah, could not do much with the ball but he managed to get Azhar Ali run out. Was a [Read More…]

Jun 182017

Pakistan beat India by 180 runs on Sunday in their first-ever final appearance in the Champions Trophy and won their first-ever silverware at The Oval courtesy an all-round show. Here is what everyone will be talking about in the next few days. Never write off Pakistan They qualified for this by the skin of their teeth. They entered it as the lowest-ranked side in the tournament. When asked who will win this tournament, almost all experts agreed on one answer — anyone but Pakistan. History and ecstasy Pakistan’s as they claim first-ever Champions Trophy There is a reason that ‘unpredictable’ tag refuses to let go of this side. This is Pakistan’s greatest-ever sporting achievement In 70 years, Pakistan have pulled off some miraculous achievements in various sports. There have been the World Cups and Olympic medals in hockey and the World Cup and World T20 in cricket but never have Pakistan punched above their weight quite like they did here. The hockey team almost always entered a tournament as one of the favourites, while Pakistan boasted the likes of Wasim Akram, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad back in 1992. Razzaq backs Pakistan bowlers to do damage against India This team had an inexperienced skipper, an unsettled bowling attack and a woefully mediocre and out of form batting line-up. Yet here they stand, champions of the world. Fakhar etches his name in history Nothing ever writes your name in Pakistani folklore than a century against India. Nothing quite grants you immortality [Read More…]

Jun 182017

On the eve of the ICC Champions Trophy’s thrilling finale between arch-rivals Pakistan and India, a picture of MS Dhoni with Sarfraz Ahmed’s son has warmed the hearts of many. Sarfraz and Dhoni – the two wicket-keeper batsmen – have a lot in common in terms of their daring approach to cricket but they also have a lot of mutual respect for each other as evident in this photo. A child’s adorable rendition of Hasan Ali’s celebration The image comes as a breath of fresh air amid the frenzy revolving around both the teams, proving that the war-like atmosphere with tempers fraying all over is restricted to the field of the play only. A nice pic ahead of the Champions Trophy finals. @msdhoni with Sarfraz Ahmed baby: sports beyond boundaries!! #IndVsPak pic.twitter.com/8WNAlHzf4B — Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) June 17, 2017 Within minutes of the pic being posted, it took over social media with people from around the globe reveling in the power of sports to bring together two supposed foes. A nice pic ahead of the Champions Trophy finals. @msdhoni with Sarfraz Ahmed baby: sports beyond boundaries!! #IndVsPak pic.twitter.com/8WNAlHzf4B — Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) June 17, 2017 Nationalism is a splendid thing. But Y should love stop at the border?Meet @msdhoni.The wicketkeeper pouched Pak skipper Sarfaraz's kid ! pic.twitter.com/0bkZe50jgj — Rohan Dua (@rohanduaTOI) June 17, 2017 While assholes here are busy abusing each other over nothing, MS dhoni is carrying the baby of Sarfaraz Ahmed. Make some space for love pls. pic.twitter.com/lwWXN9fPkG — [Read More…]

Jun 082017

KARACHI: Former captain Rashid Latif believes it was the “youngsters’ day” on Wednesday when Pakistan beat South Africa by 19 runs, albeit via DLS method, to breathe new life into their 2017 ICC Champions Trophy campaign. The Sarfraz Ahmed-led unit, after being humbled by India in their campaign opener, bounced back by bowling out the world number one side for a modest 219, and were on their way to chasing the target at 119-3 in 27 overs before rain interrupted the match and handed the victory to Pakistan, who at that time were 19 runs ahead of the par score. Write off Pakistan at your own peril: Afridi “I congratulate the nation which saw Pakistan beat the top-ranked team in ODIs, the credit of which goes to the captain and the youngsters in the team,” Latif told The Express Tribune. “The young players have proved, and if given a chance, they can lift the team up. It was fascinating to see Imad Wasim and Hasan Ali put South Africa in trouble.” He added that Imad gave Pakistan early and important breakthroughs, and that Sarfraz’s bowling plan should be credited. “Imad deserves credit for his wickets but it was a well-planned bowling move by Sarfraz who used his bowlers in the best manner to put South Africa under pressure. Hasan’s three wickets also helped Pakistan and if you ask me, it was the youngsters’ day.” ‘Fakhar batted according to plan’ Latif, like many others who saw Fakhar Zaman bat on Wednesday, was [Read More…]

Jun 062017

While Pakistan fans lick their wounds after a chastening 124-run defeat against India, captain Sarfraz Ahmed says the mood in the camp is good and remains ‘confident’ ahead of their clash with South Africa in Birmingham on Wednesday. “South Africa is a really good team and we are working out plans for their team combination,” said Sarfraz. “As a captain, I am confident going into the match against them. The players are motivated. We’ve told them to play without feeling any pressure. I am hopeful that we’ll bounce back against South Africa.” Pakistan’s humiliation against India was meant to be When asked how the team management lifted the confidence of the players after defeat against India, Sarfraz said: “India-Pakistan match was a crucial one. Four to five players who faced India for the first time might have felt some pressure but we tried to pull them out of the gloom. “The mood in the camp is good. We briefly sat down together so that the players could improve their spirits and because the upcoming matches are important. Hopefully, the team will perform better in the next two matches.” Costly errors against India irk former cricketers Sarfraz received some stick in the cricketing circles for making a number of bad decisions against Virat Kohli and his men, one of which was not using right-arm off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez, who is considered highly effective against left-handed batsmen. “We wanted a wicket and we got it from Shadab. Shoaib Malik had bowled two overs [Read More…]

Jun 032017

Pakistani cricketers believe that they can add one more victory to their Champions Trophy tally against India if they go in with a positive attitude and deliver to the best of their capabilities on Sunday in Birmingham. Both teams will open their 2017 campaign with the high-profile clash at Edgbaston, and left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir says cricket has changed since he last played against India in the 2009 Champions Trophy. Sarfraz’s problem against India “To be honest, cricket has changed a bit [since 2009],” said Amir in a video released by the Pakistan Cricket Board. “At that time, only four fielders were allowed inside the circle, now you can have five fielders inside the circle. Also you have two new balls. So, cricket has changed since then.” The 24-year-old added that the game has become much faster but English conditions will help the bowlers and Pakistan must deliver their best if they are to down India. “There is a lot of T20 cricket now so the game has become faster but English conditions assist fast-bowlers, especially in May and June. If we deliver our best, there are good chances [that we will beat India],” he said. Champions Trophy unearths superstars: Malik Shoaib Malik was the hero for Pakistan when they beat India in the 2009 Champions Trophy by 54 runs, scoring 128 off 126 balls, and the all-rounder unsurprisingly counts it as his favourite knock against India. Pakistan bowlers will have to operate smartly: Aaqib “My favourite innings against India [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 202017

DUBLIN: Mashrafe Mortaza was a satisfied captain after Bangladesh swept aside Ireland to win their first match in the ODI tri-Series. A much-improved bowling performance, after Mortaza won the toss, put the Tigers in control and they knocked off the 182 runs required for victory inside 28 overs, for the loss of just two wickets, with Soumya Sarkar finishing 87 not out from 68 balls with 11 fours and two sixes. England wary of Ireland threat “We didn’t take early wickets in the last match but this time the bowlers did a really good job and that’s something we are looking for all the time,” said Mortaza. “Winning the toss was crucial as there was some moisture and both fast bowlers used it well.” Mustafizur Rahman took the wicket of the dangerous Paul Stirling with his third ball, and although Rubel Hossain did not take a wicket his pace and movement consistently troubled the Ireland batsmen. The introduction of Mosaddek Hossain accounted for Ireland captain William Porterfield and when Shakib also struck in his second over, Ireland were 61-3. Ed Joyce, playing his first match of the series, and Niall O’Brien, who scored a century against New Zealand in their previous match, led a recovery of sorts. However, Mustafizur returned to have O’Brien caught at third man, inches inside the boundary, and when Joyce followed in the next over, the first international wicket for debutant slow left armer Sunzamul Islam, Ireland were back in trouble at 126-5. Mustafizur added the wickets [Read More…]

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