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Australia hopeful of touring Pakistan in 2022: CA chief

Australia hopeful of touring Pakistan in 2022: CA chief

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29499135

SYDNEY: Cricket Australia (CA) is hoping to tour Pakistan in 2022, but chief executive Kevin Roberts said security remains a concern and he would never jeopardise the safety of players.

Most international teams have refused to visit the South Asian nation since the Sri Lankan team’s bus was attacked by gunmen during a Test in Lahore in March 2009, leaving six players injured. Six policemen and two civilians were killed.

Roberts returned from Pakistan on Thursday after the first trip by a high-level Australian cricket delegation in more than a decade.

The team has not played there since 1998, on government advice, but is next scheduled to tour in early 2022 and Roberts told Melbourne’s SEN radio he wanted to see for himself the situation on the ground.

“The purpose was really to understand the landscape, look at the plans they have in place around security and then start expressing our expectations for the safety of our players and our support staff well over two years away from when we’re due to tour,” he said.

“Things are heading in the right direction. In saying that we were travelling in armoured cars and escorted by police and felt very safe over there. But certainly that level of security is still required at this point.”

Roberts said “we would love to see international cricket return to Pakistan”, but cautioned that “we would never put our people in jeopardy”.

His comments came as Sri Lanka’s cricket board this week said they would press ahead with an upcoming six-match tour of Pakistan despite fears that players could be the targets of terror attacks.

Asked if he could realistically see Australia touring Pakistan during his tenure, Roberts said: “I really hope we do for the sake of world cricket and Australia’s important relationship with Pakistan.

“As I said to Pakistan, we share their desire for international cricket to return to their country. We have got the next couple of years to hopefully plan for a tour in 2022 but we have just got to set that out carefully, bit by bit, rather than rushing into it.”

Roberts is in touch with other cricketing nations over the issue and said his trip had triggered plans for similar visits by the chief executives of England and Ireland over the next month.

“It’s really good that the cricket world is opening its hearts and minds to the role of Pakistan and looking proactively at what it will take to return international cricket to Pakistan,” he said.

“Certainly, there’s parts of the country that are very unsafe, but there’s other parts where I think a number of nations will contemplate playing again in future when Pakistan are ready.”

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019



https://www.dawn.com/news/1506378/australia-hopeful-of-touring-pakistan-in-2022-ca-chief
Waqar throws his weight behind Misbah

Waqar throws his weight behind Misbah

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29499136

LAHORE: Newly-appointed bowling coach Waqar Younis, who previously worked twice as national team’s head coach, on Friday said he would fully support incumbent head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, and was willing to work under his guidance for improving Pakistan cricket.

“When you work under a head coach you have to work under his guidelines. Therefore, like other supporting staff I will also work under Misbah and we all will try our best to give the head coach our full support,” Waqar told reporters during the national training camp here at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Waqar, 47, who acted as national team’s head coach from 2010-2011 and then from 2014-2016 besides remaining the bowling coach in 2006-2007 and 2009, said: “It does not matter if you have come down or you are up as it is just myth. However, the main purpose of all of us is to serve Pakistan and to make its cricket better.”

LAHORE: Pakistan players in action during a practice match in the training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday.—M.Arif/White Star
LAHORE: Pakistan players in action during a practice match in the training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium on Friday.—M.Arif/White Star

Asked when he left the PCB in 2016 he had said that he would not work with the PCB again, what inspired him to again join it, Waqar said many things had changed in the past three years.

“A new set-up is at the helm, new system [regional to provincial] has been introduced plus other initiatives are also being taken, so the time has changed,” said Waqar, a veteran of 87 Tests in which he took 373 wickets at a highly impressive average of 23.56.

Waqar said though he had developed good chemistry with Misbah — as most of his work as head coach was with Misbah who then was national captain — even then they in future might have different ways of thinking on various subjects.

“My role is simple, I have performed as head coach and bowling coach so I have the idea, I know what I have to do. I also know Misbah’s mindset as he as captain has worked with me. Though there may be difference in thinking. Misbah I believe is passionate about cricket, his mindset is good and he is an honest person and we all have to support him at the maximum,” Waqar emphasised.

When asked where Pakistan cricket would stand if the new experience of giving dual role to Misbah failed, Waqar said negative thoughts should be shunned.

“Don’t think negatively, we should think positively. It [dual role] is not a new formula in the world of cricket. Negative voices from media may not give any positive to Pakistan cricket so all the stakeholders should think with a positive mindset,” he maintained.

To a question, Waqar said a couple of bowlers had impressed him but added that “it is not the right time for me to disclose their names”.

Responding to a query, Waqar refuted that he in the past had said both Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad should be kept away from Pakistan cricket.

“I had only suggested that both [players] should play more domestic cricket to further improve their skills and then they can make a comeback into the national side. Pakistan team is not of any [specific] individual; everyone who performs deserves the right to get a place in the team,” said Waqar, who captured 416 ODI wickets in 262 games at a fine 23.84.

It may be mentioned that in 2016 Waqar left the PCB protesting that his confidential report on Umar and Shehzad had been leaked to the media.

To a question, Waqar said Sarfraz Ahmed was the most experienced player as captain available to Pakistan. “He should lead the team in shorter versions and rest is the job of PCB chairman to also appoint him captain for Test cricket.”

It may be mentioned here that during Waqar’s 2014-16 stint as head coach, Sarfraz was struggling to claim a place in the national squad as Mohammad Rizwan was the head coach’s first-choice wicket-keeper. However after Waqar’s exit in 2016, Sarfraz made a remarkable entry into international cricket. And later in phases he was installed as captain of all three formats.

To a question, Waqar said nobody should compare one era to another.

“Look, we often talk about Pakistan team’s successes during the 1990s. However, the reality is that consistency in performance lacked at that time too.

“Now with new generation of players we won the 2009 World T20 and then the 2017 Champions Trophy but consistency is again lacking and that is a big problem to be dealt with,” Waqar said.

Meanwhile, Waqar welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s decision of giving permission to its team to tour Pakistan, and hoped the other cricket-playing nations would follow suit.

“And these [two] victories were recorded when international cricket was not being played in Pakistan.”

Commenting on the ongoing national training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium, Waqar said though hot weather still prevailed in Lahore, the camp was progressing well with added emphasis on physical fitness, which he said was a key grey area of Pakistan cricket.

Waqar revealed he was planning to shift from Australia to Pakistan in the near future to spend more time in coaching players at junior level too during off-season.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019



https://www.dawn.com/news/1506377/waqar-throws-his-weight-behind-misbah
Pakistan batting has struggled in recent games, admits Asad Shafiq

Pakistan batting has struggled in recent games, admits Asad Shafiq

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29499137

KARACHI: One of Pakistan’s most experienced and talented Test players, Asad Shafiq on Friday admitted that the batsmen should have performed well when the team needed them to in some of the key games that Pakistan lost recently against international teams.

“We have had some games, of late, where we should have delivered. We should have performed because we had the capability,” admitted Asad while talking to the media at the National Stadium. “There should be no excuses about not getting the ideal conditions. As batsmen, we have got a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the world cricket.”

Asad, however, also said that Pakistan doesn’t always struggle with the bat in key fixtures. “Yes, our batting struggles sometimes but it’s not always the case. Unfortunately, the kind of wickets on which we have been playing in Dubai, and not just us but everyone else, have struggled with the scoring rate due to slow pitches there,” said the 33-year-old.

“We always have neck-to-neck matches in Dubai. It’s not like we play slow overseas. We adapt to the conditions and play accordingly but, having said that, we know that we have to improve.”

Commenting on Misbah-ul-Haq’s appointment as the head coach and chief selector, Asad said: “Misbah’s appointment will have a positive effect on the team, especially on the batting unit. He is self-composed and doesn’t panic no matter how tense the situation. I have played with him. There were times when the pressure was mounting on me, but he controlled the situation well by remaining calm.”

“He is an experienced campaigner who has won a lot of games for Pakistan. I have learned a lot from him and this is a good opportunity, especially for the youngsters, to learn from his (Misbah’s) experience. He has played everywhere which is why he is in a better position to prepare the team accordingly,” said Asad.

On the fitness front, the right-handed batsman said: “We are working extremely hard on our fitness. We didn’t even touch bat or ball in the first seven days of our training camp. The entire focus was on the fitness sessions. We would have ground training in the morning and gym sessions in afternoon. We want to raise our fitness bar to an unprecedented level. Misbah himself is very fit. We know that our skill bar will only go up when we are fully fit.”

When asked what kind of wickets he is expecting for the next game, he said: “If you look at the scorecard of the previous game, you will see that the scoring rate of both the sides was more or less similar. The batsmen had lower strike rates because of the wicket being slow. But, the wicket that’s being prepared for the next game has some grass on it. We went to see it yesterday. So, we are hopeful that the pitch will play much better and assist the fast bowlers.”

He also said that we need to have more sporting wickets to make the first-class cricket better. “We have had wickets in the past in domestic games where 4-day games were wrapped up in two days. Sometimes, the wickets are slow to an extent that even one inning is not completed in four days. So, I think we should have a balanced wicket where there is something for everyone. Our first-class cricket will only get better when we have good sporting wickets and our players will also improve,” said Asad.

Sahibzada Farhan, the Balochistan captain, also spoke to the media and said: “We will have no pressure in the absence of our experienced players like Iftikhar Ahmed, Usman Shinwari and Mohammad Rizwan. Our bench strength is pretty good.”

“Since many of the players are returning to the domestic fold after playing white-ball cricket, it is going to take some time before they could adjust to playing red-ball cricket. I hope the wickets will also improve as the tournament progresses,” Farhan added.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019



https://www.dawn.com/news/1506376/pakistan-batting-has-struggled-in-recent-games-admits-asad-shafiq
Commissioner Karachi reviews arrangements at NSK for SL series

Commissioner Karachi reviews arrangements at NSK for SL series

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29499138

KARACHI: Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani on Friday visited the National Stadium and reviewed the arrangements for the upcoming One-day Internationals series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka which will commence here from Sept 27.

The Commissioner also held a meeting at the stadium’s conference room which was attended among others by Deputy Commissioner East Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, DIG East Amir Farooqi, PCB representative and NSK General Manager Arshad Khan, senior officials of Pakistan Rangers as well as of the civic agencies.

It was decided in the meeting that foolproof security arrangement will be made during the series. The Commissioner said that special measures are being taken to make the matches safe, successful and memorable. “The surroundings of the National Stadium and different areas as well roads and intersections of the metropolis will be decorated,” he said. “Karachi has been declared a cricket city and hopefully the city is going to have more cricket and good matches.”

He added that the Pakistan Super League matches held earlier this year and now the one day series with Sri Lanka would give the world a positive message that Karachiites love cricket and is a great venue for sports.

The meeting was informed that special parking arrangements were being made for which spaces have been identified. Deputy Commissioner East Ahmed Ali Siddiqui assured the meeting that people would be facilitated and steps would be taken for their convenience. He further told the meeting that shuttle service would be provided on this occasion to facilitate people.

It was also decided that the images of cricket heroes will be displayed at different parts of the city and festivity programmes would be organised throughout the metropolis.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019



https://www.dawn.com/news/1506371/commissioner-karachi-reviews-arrangements-at-nsk-for-sl-series
Sindh take on KP as Q Trophy second round begins today

Sindh take on KP as Q Trophy second round begins today

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29498302
KARACHI: Sindh, who trail at the fourth place on the points table after the first round, will be looking to put in their best when they face leaders Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in their second round fixture of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy (first-class) here at the UBL Sports Complex on Saturday (today).Sindh will be captained by Sarfraz Ahmed’s deputy Asad Shafiq while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be led by Charsadda-born right-handed batsman Sahibzada Farhan in the absence of Mohammad Rizwan who will be replaced by Rehan Afridi behind the wickets.The leading players are in Pakistan’s camp preparing for the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka who are set to tour Pakistan from September 25.Asad said that the pitch of the UBL Sports Complex would help fast bowlers. “Yesterday, we saw the pitch. There was some grass on it. I hope it will help the fast bowlers,” Asad told a pre-match press conference here at the National Stadium on Friday.He said that the 110 overs of the first innings would be crucial. “Now after the alteration in points system there are no points for the first innings lead. It is in our mind that the 110 overs of the first innings have points and we will try to get maximum points in that crucial phase,” the right-handed Test batsman said.Responding to a question, Asad said that the pitches should support both bowlers and batsmen. KP will also miss right-handed batsman Iftikhar Ahmed and left-arm pacer Usman Shinwari due to national duty.But the stand-in skipper Sahibzada Farhan says that their bench is strong. “Although we will be missing three key players, still we have a strong bench. We have bowlers like Junaid Khan and Imran Khan Senior who could deliver for the side,” Farhan said.Meanwhile, first-class cricket will return to Quetta after a gap of 11 years when Balochistan take on Southern Punjab in a much-anticipated match which will start at 10am. This will be the first of the four first-class matches the picturesque Bugti Stadium will stage this season.The event trophy landed in Quetta on Thursday to provide fans an up-close and personal experience with the prestigious silverware, the PCB said. After the first round, Balochistan have seven points. Southern Punjab, led by Shan Masood, have 11 Points.In the absence of Imam-ul-Haq, who scored a 352-ball 152 in his side’s only innings in the first match, and Haris Sohail, Balochistan will be captained by Imran Farhat, who led Habib Bank Limited (HBL) to the title last season while also finishing as the second highest run-getter with 744 runs in 11 matches.After a fabulous start to 2019-20 season, Southern Punjab will hope Sami Aslam carries his batting form to Quetta. He scored 243 not out and 50 not out in a Punjab Derby contest at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.Azhar Ali will lead Central Punjab, who have 11 points, in their home match against Umar Amin-led Northern. Central Punjab will call up players from their Second XI and reserve pool as captain Babar Azam, vice-captain Ahmed Shehzad, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf and Umar Akmal are attending the camp in Lahore.Northern, placed fifth with eight points, will also analyse the pool of players to fill in the vacuum in their bowling department, created by the absence of Shadab Khan and captain Imad Wasim.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/529561-sindh-take-on-kp-as-q-trophy-second-round-begins-today
Commissioner, other high officials discuss SL matches arrangements

Commissioner, other high officials discuss SL matches arrangements

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29498303
KARACHI: Preliminary arrangements for the one-day series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka to be held here at the National Stadium later this month have been finalised.Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shalwani reviewed the arrangements at National Stadium on Friday in a meeting attended by the Deputy Commissioner East Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, DIG East Amir Farooqi, PCB representative and NSK General Manager Arshad Khan, senior officials of Pakistan Rangers and senior officials of civic agencies.According to a press release issued by Commissioner office, it was decided that foolproof security arrangement would be made.The Commissioner said that special measures are being taken to make the matches safe, successful and memorable. “The surroundings of the National Stadium, roads and intersections of the metropolis will be decorated,” Shalwani said.He said Karachi has been declared a cricket city and hopefully the city is going to have more cricket in the city. He said the recent matches of PSL and now the one day series with Sri Lanka would tell the world that Karachi loves cricket.The meeting was informed that special parking arrangements were being made for which spaces have been identified. Deputy Commissioner Siddiqui said that shuttle service would be operated for the fans coming to the stadium to witness the matches. It was also decided that the images of cricket heroes will be displayed in different parts of the city.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/529562-commissioner-other-high-officials-discuss-sl-matches-arrangements
Test debut ?dream? excites NZ?s Ferguson

Test debut ?dream? excites NZ?s Ferguson

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29498304
WELLINGTON: After starring with the ball at the ICC World Cup 2019, New Zealand paceman Lockie Ferguson has said that he now wants to make his mark in Test cricket.Ferguson finished as the second-highest wicket taker in the World Cup with 21 wickets, including three in the final against England at Lord’s.The 28-year-old is currently tending to his fractured right thumb, sustained during the Sri Lanka tour earlier this month, but hopes to make a comeback soon, and is particularly keen to impress the selectors ahead of a big Test season.“I’ve been pretty vocal about Test cricket being the one I want to play,” he told Stuff. “My whole career, I absolutely love playing the longer format of the game. A lot of cricketers say they don’t really judge themselves until they’ve played Test cricket, and there’s a big Test cricket season coming up.”New Zealand are currently No.2 in the ICC World Test Championship standings, having won the second Test against Sri Lanka to draw level in the the two-match series. Over the next few months, they have Tests lined up against all of England, Australia and India, and while opportunities are bound to come up, Ferguson is only focussed in the here and now.“I’m certainly not getting ahead of myself,” he said. “There’s a lot of cricket to be played. A lot of times in the past, I’ve focused a lot down the line, and it doesn’t often help. I’ll just keep working away game-by-game and those kind of things take care of themselves. It would be a dream come true for sure.”The Black Caps will host England in a tour comprising five T20Is and two Tests, the first of which will be played from November 22 at the Bay Oval. Their next Test series is against Australia for a three-match series Down Under, after which they host India in five T20Is, three ODIs and two Tests.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/529563-test-debut-dream-excites-nz-s-ferguson
Pakistan go down against China in Asian Volleyball Championship

Pakistan go down against China in Asian Volleyball Championship

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29498315
KARACHI: Pakistan on Friday went 1-3 down to China in the 5th to 8th place semi-finals of the 20th Asian Seniors Men’s Volleyball Championship in Tehran.Having played a gripping quarter-final against Australia which Pakistan lost 2-3 on Thursday, it was expected that the Green-shirts would give tough time to China, but they failed to live up to the expectations.After losing the first two sets 17-25, 19-25, Pakistan reduced the deficit to 1-2 with a 25-15 win in the third. But China fought really well in the tough fourth set, winning eventually with 26-24.Pakistan face India on Saturday (today) in the 7th place game. India on Friday lost to Chinese Taipei 1-3 in their 5th to 8th place semi-finals.Pakistan did well in the preliminaries, beating Indonesia and Kuwait to make it to the quarter-finals. Pakistan in that phase lost to Korea. In the classification phase Pakistan lost to Japan and Chinese Taipei to set quarter-final date with Australia.After the event, Pakistan will continue their camp in Islamabad to prepare for South Asian Games to be hosted by Nepal in Kathmandu and Pokhara from December 1-10. The volleyballers will also represent their respective teams in the 33rd National Games slated to be held in Peshawar from October 26 to November 1.A senior official of Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) said that the camp would be continued. “We cannot disband the camp as we have to feature in South Asian Games,” PVF secretary Shah Naeem Zafar told ‘The News’ on Friday.He said that the minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) had told them that the camp would be supported. “You know we have a Korean coach and we need to get his maximum services,” Shah said. After the South Asian Games, Pakistan will also feature in the Asian qualifying round for Olympics in March in China.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/529574-pakistan-go-down-against-china-in-asian-volleyball-championship
Khalil qualifies for WCF to be held in China

Khalil qualifies for WCF to be held in China

21/09/2019, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 29498314
KARACHI: Pakistan’s top pistol shooter Khalil Akhtar has achieved another milestone by qualifying for the ISSF World Cup Final Rifle/Pistol to be held in Putian, China, from November 17-23.The ISSF World Cup Final is held every two years, one in Rifle/Pistol events and one in shotgun events. The 2017 edition was held in New Delhi, India. Khalil finished sixth in Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Rio de Janeiro this month, which was the last event of the World Cup Series in Rifle and Pistol events.“Yes, Khalil will be playing this prestigious event. The last date to confirm his entry is 27 of this month,” said Javaid Lodhi, Executive Vice President of National Rifle Association of Pakistan.He told ‘The News’ that they have received invitation in this regard and Khalil will be competing with top shooters of the world in this event. It is worth adding here 35 nations have qualified in eight individual events in this event. Khalil with the ranking of 11th has been placed at number 15th out of 18 shooters in the entry list of Rapid Fire Pistol event.Keith Sanderson from United States is the title defender. Athletes from the US, France, Germany, India, China, Korea, Russia, and Cuba are competing in this RFP event. Javaid said that every two years the ISSF World Cup Final is organized as a conclusion to the ISSF World Cup Series.At the end of the World Cup Series the eight shooters holding the highest qualification score in each event qualify for the ISSF World Cup Final. A maximum of two athletes per nation can compete in each event. Alongside these eight athletes, wild cards are granted to the title defenders and to the three medallists of the Olympic Games and of the World Championship, when these competitions are held. It is pertinent to mention here that Khalil has already won a quota place for Tokyo 2020.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/529573-khalil-qualifies-for-wcf-to-be-held-in-china
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