Pakistan

IOC chief says Tokyo Olympics will go ahead, no plan B

IOC chief says Tokyo Olympics will go ahead, no plan B

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211516

TOKYO: The virus-delayed Tokyo Olympics will go ahead this summer, and there is “no plan B,” International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach said in an interview Thursday.

“We have at this moment, no reason whatsoever to believe that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on the 23rd of July,” Bach told Kyodo News.

“This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful.” With just over six months to go until the postponed Games, doubts have grown about whether the massive international event will be viable with the pandemic still raging across much of the world.

Tokyo organisers have produced a raft of safety measures they say will allow the Games to go ahead, even if the pandemic is not under control, and without requiring vaccinations.

But public support in Japan is low, with around 80 percent of respondents in recent polling favouring either a further delay or outright cancellation.

Tokyo 2020’s CEO Toshiro Muto told AFP this week that organisers were “unwavering” in their commitment to holding the Games this summer and that cancellation had not been discussed.

But he conceded he could not guarantee the stands would be full, or rule out the possibility of a Games held without spectators.

A decision on whether foreign fans will be able to attend, and how many spectators will be possible, is expected this spring. The Games are due to open on July 23, with the nationwide torch relay scheduled to kick off in late March.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021



https://www.dawn.com/news/1602810/ioc-chief-says-tokyo-olympics-will-go-ahead-no-plan-b
Du Plessis gearing up for unexpected Pakistan Test series

Du Plessis gearing up for unexpected Pakistan Test series

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211514

KARACHI: Faf du Plessis was not expecting to play Test cricket in Pakistan so soon despite two visits for limited-overs formats over the last four years.

“That is one thing I did not see happening in my time,” the veteran South Africa batsman and former captain told the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s digital channel on Thursday. “I knew white-ball cricket was happening here, but I did not know that the red-ball cricket was going to happen this soon.

“I am looking forward to it and I hope that it is the same as it was more than 13 years ago the wickets are flat so we the batters can score some runs.”

The 36-year-old du Plessis is expected to form the nucleus of the Proteas batting in the upcoming two-Test series which will be first for South Africa in Pakistan since October 2007.

Du Plessis first toured Pakistan when he led an International Cricket Council (ICC)-backed World XI for a Twenty20 series in 2017. He returned last November to feature in Pakistan Super League playoff for Peshawar Zalmi at the National Stadium — venue for the first Test, starting from Tuesday.

“That [2017] was the first step to bring any sort of cricket back [to Pakistan”, du Plessis said. “What they did really well at that stage was to bring players from all around the world to come and play and to see that the security levels were going to be very, very good and it gave players peace of mind.”

Pakistan had long been trying to convince foreign teams to return for international competition in Pakistan, where incoming cricket tours were halted after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team’s bus at Lahore in 2009.

Du Plessis made his Test debut in 2012 and has played away matches in Australia, India, England, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. Five of his seven Tests against Pakistan have been in South Africa, the other two at Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2013.

The West Indies and Bangladesh have sent teams to play international cricket in Pakistan over the last six years. Now it’s South Africa’s turn.

“It’s important for Pakistan to play in home conditions,” du Plessis said. “They have been playing in the UAE for the last nine years or so and [some] fans have never seen them play at home and that’s almost like a generation and missed seeing them play.”

Du Plessis will not stay after the Test series to play in a three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore because South Africa will be preparing to host Australia in a Test series.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021



https://www.dawn.com/news/1602811/du-plessis-gearing-up-for-unexpected-pakistan-test-series
Pakistan launch preparation for SA Test with extensive training session

Pakistan launch preparation for SA Test with extensive training session

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211513

KARACHI: The new-look Pakistan cricket squad began its preparations for next week’s first Test against South Africa with an extensive practice session here at the National Stadium on Thursday.

Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq, batting coach Younis Khan and bowling coach Waqar Younis were joined by ex-Pakistan greats Mohammad Yousuf, Saqlain Mushtaq and ex-New Zealand player Grant Bradburn — the coaches at the National High Performance Centre in Lahore — during the four-hour session.

Both Yousuf and Saqlain along with Bradburn, who has been here to observe the domestic matches, are in the city to watch the last phase of the ongoing Pakistan Cup one-day competition. They will be in attendance during the training sessions over the next couple of days.

In what will be Pakistan’s first series after the national side were outplayed 2-0 in New Zealand earlier this month, the pressure is on Misbah and Waqar to turn around the team’s fortunes after both received reprieve following their meeting last week in Lahore with PCB’s Cricket Committee, headed by Saleem Yousuf.

But while both Misbah and Waqar have survived — at least for the South Africa series — the incoming chief selector, Mohammad Wasim, made a drastic overhauling of the squad that went to New Zealand by indicting as many as nine uncapped players in the preliminary 20-man squad for the series against Proteas.

Following a spate of poor performances in the last two tours — to England and New Zealand — Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas and Naseem Shah -- have all been dropped. The new faces in the Test squad, which is expected to be cut to 16 at the weekend, are Imran Butt, Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, Agha Salman, Abdullah Shafiq, Sajid Khan, Nauman Ali, Tabish Khan and Haris Rauf.

Also returning to the squad after an 18-month absence is the fit-again paceman Hasan Ali — who had been missing from the national team since the 2019 World Cup in England — after showing top form during the recently-concluded Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. Hasan’s heroics as captain enabled Central Punjab to play out a thrilling tie in the final against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa earlier this month at the National Stadium, with both teams sharing the first-class title.

Pakistan will continue their training over the next four days at the National Stadium, while the touring South Africa, who arrived in the city last Saturday and had several nets, played an intra-squad practice game at Karachi Gymkhana — which is adjacent to their hotel — on Thursday and are scheduled to play a second fixture on Friday at the same venue.

From Saturday onwards, the Quinton de Kock-led South Africa will start their Test preparations at the National Stadium. On the eve of the first Test, starting on Tuesday, South Africa head coach Mark Boucher will hold a pre-match media conference.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam will be leading the county for the first time in a Test match after missing both Twenty20 and Test series against New Zealand following a thumb injury during a training session in Queenstown.

The second Test will be played in Rawalpindi from Feb 4 before both teams head off to Lahore for three T20 games on Feb 11, 13 and 14 with the tourists to be captained by Heinrich Klaasen in the absence of first-choice stars — including de Kock, Faf du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada, — who are flying back after the final Test to undergo quarantine ahead of South Africa’s home series against Australia.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021



https://www.dawn.com/news/1602812/pakistan-launch-preparation-for-sa-test-with-extensive-training-session
Archer, Stokes to give England 'huge boost' against India, says Root

Archer, Stokes to give England 'huge boost' against India, says Root

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211415
COLOMBO: Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer’s return to England duty for their India tour next month will be a major boost to the side as they seek a crucial series win over the world’s top Test nation, captain Joe Root said on Thursday.Stokes and Archer have missed England’s recent...

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/777784-archer-stokes-to-give-england-huge-boost-against-india-says-root
Plans revealed for London Marathon after vaccine rollout

Plans revealed for London Marathon after vaccine rollout

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211416
LONDON: Ambitious plans to allow 100,000 people to take part in this year’s London Marathon have been announced. A record 50,000 people will run in central London on October 3 with another 50,000 running 26.2 miles at a location of their choice for the virtual event.Hugh Brasher, the...

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/777785-plans-revealed-for-london-marathon-after-vaccine-rollout
Security in Pakistan gave Proteas peace of mind: du Plessis

Security in Pakistan gave Proteas peace of mind: du Plessis

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211417
LAHORE: As South Africa is set to play their first Test in Pakistan after 14 long years, the team’s former captain and middle-order batsman Faf du Plessis shared how his experience of visiting Pakistan contributed to Proteas’ decision to play red-ball cricket in the country.The classy...

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/777786-security-in-pakistan-gave-proteas-peace-of-mind-du-plessis
Crystal Palace sign Mateta on 18-month deal

Crystal Palace sign Mateta on 18-month deal

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211418
LONDON: Crystal Palace have completed the loan signing of forward Jean-Philippe Mateta from Mainz on an 18-month deal.The Eagles have the option to make the move permanent and this transfer is the latest effort by the club to bring down their average age of the squad.Mateta is the third player...

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/777787-crystal-palace-sign-mateta-on-18-month-deal
Barty to end year-long absence in Adelaide

Barty to end year-long absence in Adelaide

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211419
SYDNEY: World number one Ashleigh Barty will make her first top-level tennis appearance in nearly a year when she joins a star-studded exhibition in Adelaide this month, organisers said on Thursday.Australia’s Barty, who has remained top of the rankings despite not playing since last...

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/777788-barty-to-end-year-long-absence-in-adelaide
Turkmenistan to vaccinate foreign athletes

Turkmenistan to vaccinate foreign athletes

22/01/2021, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 30211420
ASHGABAT: Turkmenistan plans to vaccinate foreign athletes competing in the isolated Central Asian state, one of the few countries in the world yet to declare a coronavirus case, state media said Thursday. The ex-Soviet nation is set to hold qualifying events for tennis’ Davis Cup and will...

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/777789-turkmenistan-to-vaccinate-foreign-athletes
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