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Afghanistan

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Pakistan Will Help India If They Defeat New Zealand In 2021 T20I World Cup: Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes a Pakistan win against New Zealand in tonight’s T20 World Cup 2021 encounter will help Team India’s cause.

The Indian team was handed a comprehensive 10-wicket drubbing by Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opener. The Virat Kohli-led side has a week’s break before they take on New Zealand in their second Super 12 encounter on October 31.

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Aakash Chopra: Pakistan Will Help India’s Cause If They Defeat New Zealand

Aakash Chopra pointed out that the Babar Azam-led side can do Team India a favour by defeating the Kiwis. At the same time, he previewed the Pakistan-New Zealand encounter in a video shared on his YouTube channel.

He explained: “I feel Pakistan will help India if they defeat New Zealand. But if it happens the other way round, New Zealand beats Pakistan, it can be a three-way tie, the net run rate story can come if India beats New Zealand and assuming the three teams win their remaining matches.”

Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India's score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki
Pakistan Captain Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan chased down India’s score of 151 in 17.5 overs | Twitter | @WahabViki

The cricketer-turned-commentator added that Pakistan will have one foot in the semi-finals if they put it across the Black Caps.

Aakash Chopra reasoned: “If Pakistan beat New Zealand, then only Afghanistan will be there in between and two teams who have come from the qualifiers – Scotland and Namibia. Then Pakistan through, make your place in the semi-finals and enjoy.”

Pakistan will almost certainly seal a berth in the knockout stages of the ongoing T20 World Cup with a win tonight. It would leave India and New Zealand to fight it out for the other semi-final spot from the group unless Afghanistan can spring a surprise or two.

Aakash Chopra: Pakistan Will Look For Revenge As They Felt Humiliated When New Zealand Went There And Returned Back Without Playing Any Match

Aakash Chopra highlighted that Pakistan might even be looking for revenge after New Zealand’s last-minute withdrawal from their tour recently.

He observed: “It is slightly a grudge match because Pakistan felt very humiliated when New Zealand went there and returned without giving any reason. So I feel Pakistan may have a point to prove.”

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2021. Image Credits: Twitter

The 44-year-old concluded by stating that Pakistan seems to be a well-rounded unit with both their bowling and batting coming to the fore.

Aakash Chopra said: “Pakistan is the team on song. They are playing like that, top three were anyway playing well and these conditions are going to suit Hafeez and Shoaib Malik a lot. They are bowling well. The team is looking formidable.”

Pakistan had limited-overs series against England and New Zealand scheduled at home ahead of the T20I World Cup, but the tours never came to fruition. Both boards pulled out at the last minute to tour Pakistan, citing security concerns and the wellbeing of players. New Zealand had even arrived there, but withdrew a few minutes before the toss happened.

New Zealand pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis left Islamabad on a charter flight the next night. The Pakistan tour was Black Cap’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003, and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency.

A deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore saw Pakistan become a no-go destination for international teams. In between 2012 and 2015, Pakistan hosted England in the UAE, which has staged most of its “home” games since the attack. However, a rapid improvement in security in recent years has led to the return of international cricket, with Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, West Indies, South Africa, and Bangladesh touring in the past six years.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan. Image Credits: Twitter
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Rashid Khan Denied He Ever Said He Will Marry If Afghanistan Win 2021 T20I WC

Rashid Khan insists his mind is occupied by the forthcoming T20I World Cup and not wedding bells as the leg-spin wizard looks to inspire Afghanistan at the Twenty20 global showpiece.

Still only 23 years of age, Rashid Khan is key to his nation’s hopes of a first-world title and a potential triumph that would deliver a rare bout of good news for his home country, especially after the militant group Taliban’s takeover. However, Rashid Khan said that speculation over his private life in the run-up to the tournament, currently underway in Oman and the UAE, will not derail his ambitions.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Rashid Khan Denied He Ever Said He Will Marry If Afghanistan Win Their First- 2021 T20I World Cup

Rashid Khan, who made his Afghanistan debut when he was a teenager- 17, is one of international cricket’s most in-demand players. He has already played 51 T20Is and more than 280 games in the format for franchises around the world.  A lucrative career has seen him ply his trade in England, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, and, of course, the IPL in India, where he has been a regular for Sunrisers Hyderabad since 2017.

He denied he ever said: “I will marry when Afghanistan win a World Cup.”

“Actually, I was so shocked when I heard this because, to be honest, I never made a statement that I will marry once I win the World Cup,” said Rashid, whose family lives in Nangarhar in the eastern part of Afghanistan.

Rashid Khan, Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2021
Rashid Khan, Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2021[photo: Twitter]

“I just said that in the next few years I have more cricket and three World Cups (the 2021 and 2022 Twenty20 World Cups and the 50-over World Cup in 2023) so my focus will be on cricket rather than on getting married.”

He has 95 wickets in T20 internationals with an average of just 12.63 and in 2020 was voted the ICC’s Cricketer of the Decade in the format. Initially, ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 World Cup 2021.

Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy. Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team. Rashid Khan decided to step down from captaincy after the spinner claimed that his “consent” was not obtained before announcing the squad.

Rashid Khan Feels It Will Be A Spinners World Cup

On the low, slow wickets of the Gulf, the spinners will be key contributors, according to the leg-spin wizard. Rashid Khan, who will be playing his second T20 World Cup, said that the spinners are always “effective” on the slow pitches at three venues in the UAE, where the Super 12s, as well as the semi-finals and final, will be played.

Leg-spinner Rashid Khan turned in a few memorable match-winning efforts in SRH’s journey to the finals of the 2018 edition. He took 21 wickets and emerged as the second-highest wicket-taker in that edition. He has 93 scalps in 76 IPL games averaging a mere 20.55 at an economic rate of 6.33- the lowest economy rate ever in IPL history.

“I think it will be a spinners’ World Cup,” said Rashid.

“The wickets here are mostly very good for spinners, so I think that’s the main reason most of the teams have more spinners in their attack.”

India has packed four slow bowlers in their squad with Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Varun Chakravarthy, and Rahul Chahar, while England has Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali, and Liam Livingstone. Defending champions, the West Indies have Akeal Hosein, Hayden Walsh, and Roston Chase. Chris Gayle can also turn his arm over.

Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP
Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin AFP

Pakistan can call on Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, and Imad Wasim as frontline spinners. Veterans Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik can also give the ball a tweak. New Zealand has Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, and Todd Astle. Australia, yet to win a T20 World Cup, will look to Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar. Rashid Khan is not Afghanistan’s only front-line spinner — there is also Mujeeb Ur Rahman and skipper Mohammad Nabi.

“What I noticed during the Indian Premier League (the conclusion of which was also played in the UAE) was that wickets were good but there was not that much spin,” said Rashid.

“But I think the more we play in this World Cup we might see wickets which are a bit different and the more you play on these tracks it becomes slower and slower and they will be handy for spinners.” Rashid refused to predict any favourites for what is the seventh edition of the World Cup.

“Well it’s T20 and anyone can beat anyone on the day,” said Rashid, who stepped down from the captaincy ahead of the event over not being consulted in squad selection.

“We have a mixture of both experienced and young players and most importantly it’s quite balanced with a few all-rounders which make the side very balanced, especially in T20 when you have more of that all-round option.”

Afghanistan is placed in Group 2 of the World Cup with India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and two qualifiers in the Super 12 stage, which begins on Saturday.

India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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ICC To Discuss The Course Of The 5th Test Of The Incomplete India- England Test Series

ICC- International Cricket Council is likely to discuss the course of an incomplete bilateral series in the ICC board and chief executive committee meeting at the end of the T20 World Cup next month.

The recent five-Test series between England and India in the UK was halted after the fourth Test because the Indian team refused to take the field at Manchester, Old Trafford, following a Covid-19 outbreak in the camp as assistant physio Yogesh Parmar was found to be Covid-19 positive.

International Cricket Council – AFP File Photo
International Cricket Council – AFP File Photo

International Cricket Council (ICC) Likely To Discuss The Course Of India- England Incomplete Test Series

The England and Cricket Wales Board (ECB) had sought forfeiture from BCCI’s end or a continuation of the series. In turn, BCCI has offered to play a standalone Test in England next year to make up for the financial loss incurred by the ECB. India was leading 2-1 when the series was halted.

The fifth Manchester Test between England and India at the Old Trafford was cancelled – which the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) first called forfeiture but soon changed it & the BCCI called postponement.

So far, the big talking point has been whether this series has ended up being 2-2 in favour of England and India or 2-1 in India’s favour, which was the result after the first four Tests. As per BCCI’s announcement, the two teams will play a standalone Test or the rescheduled 5th Test when India tours England in 2022, which ICC will decide.

“The competition terms of the World Test Championship states that if, for whatever reason, the series is not being able to be completed with matches left to be played, the first step is to reschedule those matches in the competition window. As for teams pulling out on the morning of matches in the T20 World Cup, we have our own team to assess the situation unlike it happens in bilateral series,” ICC’s acting CEO Geoff Allardice said during a session with select media on Sunday.

ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice. (Credits: Twitter)
ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice. (Credits: Twitter)

“During the ICC board and CEC meeting, we have set aside a day to talk about the future directions of the FTP,” he added.

The ICC has managed to get all of its elite panel umpires to travel and officiate in the T20 World Cup. However, the tournament will continue to have two DRS reviews instead of having just one in T20Is. The ICC had increased the number of reviews last year during the pandemic because the host boards could not get neutral umpires.

Geoff Allardice: ICC Has Been In Regular Contact With Afghanistan Cricket Board After Militant Group Taliban’s Takeover

Geoff Allardice also mentioned that the ICC was hoping to get neutral umpires back after the T20 World Cup. But it will also depend on the travel restrictions in various countries since making arrangements for three-four officials is not the same as making one for an entire cricket team.

The ICC official also confirmed that the 20-overs World Cup, last staged in 2016, will embrace the Decision Review System (DRS), with each team having a maximum of two reviews per innings.

Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul (Image Credit: AP)
Taliban fighters take control of the Afghan presidential palace after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

The ICC Board will also discuss how to deal with Afghanistan cricket following the Taliban takeover of the nation. While calling off Afghanistan’s tour of Australia this year, Cricket Australia has made it clear that they won’t be playing the Afghanistan men’s team since the ruling regime doesn’t support women’s cricket in Afghanistan.

“When the change of regime took place in Afghanistan in August, we have been in regular contact with their cricket board and our primary function is to support the development of cricket in that country through the member board,” Allardice said.

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) acting CEO, Geoff Allardice, has revealed that the Afghanistan cricket team is currently preparing for the upcoming 2021 T20I World Cup, and their participation isn’t under any threat at the moment. The acting CEO further stated that ICC will have a meeting where they will discuss how to maintain a relationship with the Afghanistan Cricket Board.

Currently, they will play in the World Cup, but further participation will be pondered over.

Inzamamul Haq addresses a press conference in Lahore. — AP/File
Inzamam-ul-Haq addresses a press conference in Lahore. — AP/File
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Inzamam-ul-Haq Discharged From The Hospital After Suffering A Heart Attack

InzamamulHaq, the former Pakistan captain and one of their all-time batting greats, has been discharged from the hospital after suffering a heart attack in Lahore.

The former Pakistan skipper underwent a successful angioplasty on Monday evening. The former middle-order batsman, who shot to global prominence during Pakistan’s World Cup-winning 1992 campaign, had been complaining about chest pain over the last three days.

Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq | AFP

Inzamam-ul-Haq Was Stable But Under Observation

Initial testing cleared him but tests on Monday revealed he had suffered a heart attack and had to be rushed for surgery. According to his agent, Inzamam-ul-Haq was stable but was under observation. The 51-year-old who is Pakistan’s highest run-getter in ODIs is their third-highest scorer in Tests.

Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP
Inzamam-ul-Haq JEWEL SAMAD / AFP

He was also among the country’s most successful captains. He retired from the international game in 2007 and has since held several positions in Pakistan, as a batting consultant and then the chief selector from 2016 to 2019. He has also worked as head coach of Afghanistan.

The former Pakistan captain underwent angioplasty on Monday after complaining of breathing difficulties. Soon after the news broke out, many including legendary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Wasim Akram took to Twitter to wish him a speedy recovery.

Inzamam-ul-Haq Played A Role In The Rise Of Afghanistan

Inzamam-ul-Haq is one of the most successful batsmen in Pakistan cricket history. Inzamam-ul-Haq played a vital role in the rise of the Afghanistan cricket team. When he was the team’s coach, the Afghans upset the West Indies in the ICC T20 World Cup 2016.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan

The 51-year-old had played 120 Tests and 378 One-Day Internationals for Pakistan. Inzamam-ul-Haq scored 8,830 runs in Test cricket with the help of 25 centuries and 56 half-centuries. His highest score of 329 in the longest format of the game came in Lahore against New Zealand in 2002. In the 50-over format, the right-hander scored 11,739 runs with 83 half-centuries and 10 hundreds at an average of 39.53.

Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
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Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Executive Director Hamid Shinwari Sacked By Taliban

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari was removed from the board by the Taliban. Taliban have sacked the executive director of Afghanistan’s cricket board.

Hamid Shinwari posted on his official Facebook page on Monday that he had been fired by Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the Taliban’s new Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani. He said he was not given any reason for his dismissal, but was told he would be replaced by Naseebullah Haqqani.

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari
Afghanistan Cricket Board’s executive director Hamid Shinwari Credits: Twitter

Afghanistan Cricket Board’s Hamid Shinwari Fired And Naseebullah Haqqani Appointed As The New Executive Director

It isn’t clear if the new ACB chief is a relative of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is sought by the FBI for questioning in connection with several high-profile attacks on Kabul during the Taliban’s 20-year old war with successive US-backed governments. The official Facebook page of the ACB has also announced the appointment of Naseebullah Haqqani (Naseeb Khan) as the new Chief Executive Director (CEO).

Naseeb Khan (Left) with ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazlik (Right)
Naseeb Khan (Left) with ACB Chairman Azizullah Fazlik (Right)

The Taliban’s order which banned women from sports – including cricket – has caused an international backlash. Cricket Australia last week threatened to cancel a match with Afghanistan’s cricket team to protest the banning of women from sports in Afghanistan. The official Facebook page of the Afghanistan Cricket Board also announced Naseebullah Haqqani as the new executive director.

Afghanistan’s Cricket Future Thrown Into Jeopardy After Taliban Takeover

Soon after forming an interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any other sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status. As per ICC rules, all Test-playing nations must have a women’s team as well. Cricket Australia (CA) said that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27 in Hobart, will be scrapped due if the Taliban doesn’t allow women in sports.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

Amid political uncertainties in the Asian nation, there were suspicions about the future of Afghan cricket. The Asian side is scheduled to play Australia in a solitary Test match in November, in what could be their first Test against one of the strongest nations in the world at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. The match will be played between November 27 to December 1 in Hobart.

Recently, Afghanistan’s three-match ODI series against Pakistan, which was due to get underway in Sri Lanka on Friday was postponed indefinitely as the war-torn country descended into chaos last month. The terror group took over Kabul on August 15 and the country’s democratically government collapsed.

The return of the militant group Taliban has sparked fear among Afghan citizens and the international community, reviving memories of the terror group’s previous stint in power. During the first rule, the Taliban imposed its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Most forms of entertainment were banned – including many sports – and stadiums posed as public execution venues. Sports the Taliban allowed were strictly controlled and were for only for men to play and watch.

Afghanistan played its first test match in 2018, becoming the 12th test nation. Since then, they have played 6 test matches, compiling a record of 3 wins and 3 defeats. Afghanistan’s proposed series against Pakistan in Sri Lanka was recently postponed due to travel complications, with no commercial flights currently coming in or out of Kabul’s international airport.

Afghanistan Cricket Board has made it clear that the team will be ready for action when the 2021 T20 World Cup gets underway in Dubai. With an eye on the current turmoil in the Asian country, questions have been raised on whether the team will be ready to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Afghanistan
Afghanistan
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Afghanistan T20 World Cup Squad 2021, Schedule, Date, Time, And Venue

Afghanistan is placed currently on the 7th spot in the ICC T20 international rankings. Once the team enters the tournament all eyes will be on big names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. The above-mentioned players will have a big responsibility on their back.

There was a question mark over the participation of Afghanistan in the ICC T20 World Cup after the Taliban takeover in the country. However, reports have emerged that the team will definitely participate in the tournament. The seventh edition of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 is all set to commence from October 17.

Meanwhile, the summit clash will take place on November 14. Notably, the tournament was scheduled to begin in India. The ICC later shifted it to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and OMAN due to the Covid-19 scare in India.

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Afghanistan. Credits: Twitter

Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan Quit As Skipper After Squad Was Announced

Notably, minnows and relative newcomers in the international arena, Afghanistan has never won an ICC T20 World Cup Trophy and never even made it to the finals of the marquee event. However, under the leadership of Mohammad Nabi, they will be hoping for a better outcome in the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021. Notably, Team Afghanistan made an entry in the Super 12s of the marquee event through direct qualification.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is placed in Group 2 of ICC T20 World Cup 2021. Alongside India, New Zealand, and Pakistan they will be joined by 2 other teams from the qualifier stage.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan (Photo Credit: Twitter/@cricketworldcup)

Meanwhile, there was a lot of chaos during the announcement of the squad as the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB). ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 World Cup 2021. Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy.

Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team. Rashid Khan decided to step down from captaincy after the spinner claimed that his “consent” was not obtained before announcing the squad for ICC men’s T20 World Cup slated to be played in UAE and Oman.

Afghanistan’s Squad For The Upcoming T20 World Cup 2021:

Afghanistan Cricket Team (Image Credit: Twitter)
Afghanistan Cricket Team (Image Credit: Twitter)

Mohammad Nabi ( C ), Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Karim Janat, Hazratullah Zazai, Gulbadin Naib, Usman Ghani, Naveen ul Haq, Asghar Afghan, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Najibullah Zadran, Dawlat Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Shapoor Zadran, Mohammad Shahzad (wk), Qais Ahmad. Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Fareed Ahmad

Star leg spinner Rashid Khan will spearhead the attack and has been joined by fellow all-rounders Mohammad Nabi and Sharafuddin Ashraf in the squad. Front-line spinners Qais Ahmad and Mujeeb Ur Rahman are also included in the Afghanistan roster for the tournament.

The Complete schedule of Afghanistan for the upcoming T20 World Cup 2021:

25 October 2021: vs Qualifier (B1), Sharjah (07:30 PM IST)

29 October  2021: vs Pakistan, Dubai (7:30 PM IST)

31 October 2021: vs Qualifier (A2), Abu Dhabi (3:30 PM IST)

3 November 2021: vs India, Abu Dhabi (07:30 PM IST)

7 November 2021: vs New Zealand, Abu Dhabi (03:30 PM IST)

Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
Sourav Ganguly reveals T20 world Cup trophy | Image Credit: Twitter
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ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

ICC T20I World Cup 2021 is just a month away from taking place after a gap of five years and the excitement for the tournament in UAE is at its’ peak already. The previous edition took place in 2016 when West Indies emerged as the champions and this will be a 12 team affair this time around for the group stages.

The top eight teams from the T20 international rankings qualified automatically for the league stages of the T20 Worldcup while the remaining four teams will have to make it through the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 qualifiers. Surprisingly, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh haven’t been able to make it to the league stages and are placed in the qualifiers. Here are 4 teams that won’t be able to qualify for the semi-finals of ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

ICC T20I World Cup 2021: 4 Teams Which Probably Won’t Be Able To Qualify For The Semi-Final

Australia:

Australia Pic: Getty
Australia Pic: Getty

Australia is one of the powerhouses in world cricket at present for a long time now and they still continue to dominate best teams but haven’t been doing it on a consistent basis. But recent losses to West Indies and Bangladesh with a depleted squad saw their reputation diminish.

When it comes to T20 cricket, Australia hasn’t always been the team to watch out for as they do have a lot of stars in their lineup but despite that, they have lacked the T20 flavour. 2010 was the only year they reached the finals of the ICC T20I World Cup and they lost to England.

Australia’s recent form in T20I hasn’t been impressive either as they lost the T20I series in West Indies 4-1 and lost a bilateral series for the first time against Bangladesh which wasn’t the ideal preparation they needed. Australia has been placed in a strong group comprising of England, West Indies, and South Africa and their chances of making it to the semifinals look bleak at the moment.

Australia has lost the last 5 T20I series they have played against New Zealand, India, England, West Indies, and Bangladesh. With the return of big names like David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, and Pat Cummins the Aaron Finch-led side will be looking forward to gaining back the momentum.

South Africa:

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )

South Africa has lacked the edge needed in the knockouts to progress to the finals of the tournament and it has been evident through their results so far in ICC events. They haven’t made it to a final in ICC T20 World Cup yet and have been succumbing down when it comes to pressure games for which they are labelled chokers.

The Proteas are a different looking side now without AB De Villiers and Faf du Plessis, and their new skipper Temba Bavuma will have a huge responsibility under his belt for the T20I World Cup. Their bowling attack does look good but they are expected to struggle with their inexperienced batting lineup and are unlikely to progress to the semi-finals after being placed in a tough group.

They are currently placed on the 5th spot in ICC T20 Internationals rankings. Also in the last 5 T20 international series, they have lost 3 series. They have some exceptionally talented players like Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassi Van Der Dussen, and David Miller on the team but have left out experienced Chris Morris, Faf du Plessis, and Imran Tahir.

Afghanistan :

Afghanistan
Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been one of the teams that have come from far behind in terms of development and the results are there to see as well. They have produced a lot of young match winners already and the best example is Rashid Khan who has been the best spinner in the world in the last two years globally.

Afghanistan has picked up a good squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 but they have a lot of issues going on with the Taliban government and it will certainly take a toll on their performance. They have gone in for experience in the fast bowling department and Rashid Khan has stepped out as the captain of the side as well for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021. With India and New Zealand in the group, Afghanistan might not be able to progress to the semi-finals.

Currently, Afghanistan is placed on the 7th spot in the ICC T20 international rankings. Once the team enters the tournament all eyes will be on big names like Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and Mohammad Nabi. ACB named Rashid Khan as their captain for the T20 world cup 2021. Rashid Khan soon came up with a tweet stating that he will be leaving the captaincy. Post that, ACB announced that Mohammad Nabi will be the captain of the team.

Pakistan:

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Pakistan is looking like a better group in the last few international series and with the change in the coaching staff and the Director, a lot could change for the Pakistan side ahead of the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

However, their recent performances haven’t been up to the mark especially in England and they still have holes to fill inside the group. Lead by captain Babar Azam, Pakistan will kickstart their ICC T20I World Cup 2021 campaign against arch-rivals India in Dubai on 24 October.

They will then face New Zealand in Sharjah on 26 October before returning to Dubai to take on Afghanistan. Their last two matches in the Super 12 stages will see them face runners-up of Group A and table-toppers of Group B from Round 1 in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah respectively.

Their middle order needed some solid experience and they have gone in for youngsters who had failed earlier. Their fast bowling and spin department don’t look bad either but they still do not like getting past New Zealand and India who have strong depth in their squads for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021.

Pakistan chose youth over experience for the backup wicketkeeper spot with the inclusion of Azam Khan over Sarfaraz Ahmed. Azam Khan has featured in only three T20Is in his career and has aggregated only six runs in two innings but his exploits in domestic T20 competitions has helped him seal a berth in the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah were among the surprise inclusions in the squad for the ICC T20I World Cup 2021 World Cup, having last played a T20I for Pakistan earlier this year against Zimbabwe and South Africa respectively.

They did not find a place in the squad for the tours of England and the West Indies. The experienced campaigners Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, and Sarfaraz Ahmed surprisingly didn’t find a place in ICC T20I World Cup 2021 squad.

Australia Test skipper Tim Paine (Photo | AP)
Australia Test skipper Tim Paine (Photo | AP)
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Australia Might Be Without Tim Paine During Ashes 2021/22

Australia might be without their captain Tim Paine during the upcoming Ashes 2021-22, scheduled to commence on December 8 at the Gabba. Australia’s Test captain is likely to be out of action until early November, giving him a month to prepare for the Ashes.

Tim Paine is all set to undergo surgery on a chronic neck injury which makes him doubtful for the all-important series against arch-rivals England. The 36-year-old, who hasn’t trained in the last six weeks, earlier believed that normal treatment would enable a complete recovery but that hasn’t been the case.

Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)
Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)

Australia Might Be Without The Services Of Tim Paine Who Will Undergo Neck Surgery Before Ashes 2021/22

The decision to go under the knife was made last week, which Tim Paine believes will give him the best opportunity to recover. The doctors feel the Tasmanian cricketer could start training within a month from the date of surgery, which gives him a month to prepare for the Ashes 2021-22. Tim Paine, who has been under the scanner for his inconsistency of late, will be desperate to prove his worth against the England side.

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au

Tim Paine’s captaincy and his wicket-keeping standards have come under severe criticism ever since India thrashed Australia 2-1 in the recently-concluded 4 match Test series. Tim Paine has led his country to 11 wins, four draws, and eight defeats.

Under Tim Paine’s leadership, Australia has retained the Ashes and won 11 of 23 matches, but has lost two successive home series to India. Australia has only played four Tests in the last 18 months – all against India last season – with the tour of South Africa earlier this year postponed due to Covid-19 concerns.

Tim Paine Grabbed The Spotlight For Commentating On The Afghanistan Issue

Tim Paine recently grabbed the spotlight, saying it will be difficult for Afghanistan to participate in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, slated to commence on October 17 in the UAE and Oman.

Speaking to SEN radio show,Australian skipper Tim Paine said: “I don’t think we want to be associated with countries that are taking opportunities or things off literally half their population.”

“We’ve heard nothing from the ICC, which is fascinating given there is a T20 World Cup in just over a month’s time. I’d imagine it’s impossible [for Afghanistan to take part] if teams are pulling out of playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores. How a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC-sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan has hit back at Tim Paine in an open letter.

Addressing the Aussie cricketer, Afghan wrote: “It requires too much of hard work and dedication to reach this level of cricket. For a less privileged cricketing nation as Afghanistan with zero infrastructure and support, reaching where we are right now and playing shoulder to shoulder with top 10 countries requires sheer determination, passion, and talent,” Aghan said in the letter.

Asghar Afghan
Asghar Afghan. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

“Therefore, you should refrain from delivering aggressive statements which would result in isolating the Afghan cricket,” he added.

Incidentally, Afghanistan is placed with India, Pakistan, New Zealand, and two qualifying teams in the Super 12s.

Tim Paine. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Tim Paine. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
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Asghar Afghan Slams Tim Paine’s Statements Of Boycotting Afghanistan

Asghar Afghan, the former Afghanistan captain slammed Australian Test captain Tim Paine for his ‘all teams should boycott’ comments at Afghanistan team ahead of the forthcoming T20 World Cup 2021, set to start from October 17 in Oman and UAE.

With the state of Afghanistan in political turmoil and the Taliban not in support of women’s cricket, Tim Paine had stated that the current teams would not love to play against a country that is taking off opportunities from half of their population. Tim Paine also asserted that there’s no word from the apex body ICC on the matter.

Asghar Afghan
Asghar Afghan. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images)

Asghar Afghan Slams Tim Paine’s Statements Of Boycotting Afghanistan

After coming across Tim Paine’s harsh comments, dejected Asghar Afghan slammed the Aussie Test skipper and urged all nations to support Afghanistan and its national team.

“I don’t think we want to be associated with countries that are taking opportunities or things off literally half their population,” Paine told on SEN radio

“We’ve heard nothing from the ICC, which is fascinating given there is a T20 World Cup in just over a month’s time. I’d imagine it’s impossible (for Afghanistan to take part) if teams are pulling out of playing against them and governments are not letting them travel to our shores. How a team like that can be allowed to play in an ICC-sanctioned event is going to be very, very hard to see,” he had said.

Tim Paine went a step further and stated that countries might consider boycotting playing against Afghanistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“It’s (boycott) something that teams will discuss on the eve of that World Cup”.

Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)
Tim Paine (File Photo/CricketAustralia)

Tim Paine, Australia Test captain said the chances of its first-ever test against Afghanistan going ahead are “not looking good” with the Taliban unwilling to let women play cricket and questioned why the game’s governing body had remained quiet on the issue.

Australia is due to face the Afghanistan men’s team in Hobart from November 27 but Cricket Australia said on Thursday it would not host the side if reports that women’s cricket would not be supported in the war-torn country were substantiated.

Asghar Afghan Appeals To All Nations To Support Afghanistan And Asks Tim Paine To Refrain From Aggressive Statements To Isolate Afghanistan

After coming across the comments, Asghar Afghan urged Tim Paine to refrain from giving such statements and appealed to all nations to support Afghanistan and its national team. He also stated that Tim Paine made his statement without knowing the actual circumstances.

“Mr. Paine! The Afghan National Cricket Team has the right to play not only in this World Cup but in all ICC organized tournaments/events in accordance with the rules and regulations of ICC, and I’m sure that our brave National Heroes will perform their best in it and showcase their elite Talents Inshallah.

As a Sportsperson and Professional Cricketer you know that it require too much of hard work and dedication to reach this level of Cricket. For a less privileged Cricketing Nation as Afghanistan with zero infrastructure and support reaching where we are right now and playing shoulder to shoulder with top 10 countries require sheer determination, passion and talent,” said Asghar Afghan.

Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Aghanistan. Credits: Twitter
Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi playing for Afghanistan. Credits: Twitter

“Therefore, you should refrain from delivering aggressive statements which would result in isolating the Afghan Cricket. Cricket is now the No#1 Sport in Afghanistan and is being followed by nearly 30 million Afghans,” said Asghar Afghan.

He added, “This shows, either you are unaware of the circumstances or talking out of contradiction; in any case you are mistreating Afghan Cricket and all the gains we have obtained with hardship in the past decade. (Sports should be separated from politics)”

Afghanistan named its T20 World Cup squad on Thursday with Rashid Khan as the skipper, but the star spinner immediately resigned from captaincy, stating he was not consulted before picking the 15-member side. Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has been named Afghanistan skipper for the upcoming T20 World Cup after star spinner Rashid Khan stepped down from captaincy protesting the selection of the national squad without his inputs.

Afghanistan T20 Squad: Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Hazratullah Zazai, Usman Ghani, Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Karim Janat, Gulbadin Naib, Naveen ul Haq, Hamid Hassan, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Dawlat Zadran, Shapoor Zadran, Qais Ahmed  Reserves: Afsar Zazai, Farid Ahmed Malik

ACB president Hamid Shinwari. Credits: Twitter
ACB president Hamid Shinwari. Credits: Twitter
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Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Hamid Shinwari Urged Cricket Australia To Reconsider Decision And Play

Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Hamid Shinwari has urged Cricket Australia to not isolate Afghanistan from international cricket.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Hamid Shinwari on Friday asked Cricket Australia (CA) to reconsider its decision not to host its men’s team for a Test in November after the Taliban banned women from playing the sport, saying such a move will only isolate the strife-torn country.

Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter
Hamid Shinwari appointed new CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board- Twitter

Afghanistan Cricket Board CEO Hamid Shinwari Urgest Cricket Australia To Keep The Door Open For Afghanistan

Soon after forming an interim government, the Taliban banned women from playing cricket or any others sports, casting doubts over Afghanistan men’s team Test status. As per ICC rules, all Test-playing nations must have a women’s team as well. Cricket Australia (CA) said that its men’s team’s season-opening Test against Afghanistan, slated to start on November 27 in Hobart, will be scrapped due if the Taliban doesn’t allow women in sports.

In a statement, ACB CEO Hamid Shinwari expressed “shock and immense disappointment” at the potential cancellation of the Australia-Afghanistan Test, which he described as “sudden and unexpected”. The ACB CEO said there is an alternative to cancelling this “significant, history-making Test match”. But, instead of offering any such alternative, the ACB said it is “powerless to change the culture and religious environment of Afghanistan”.

Afghanistan Test Team
Afghanistan Test Team. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“We ask Cricket Australia and the whole cricketing world to keep the door open for us, walk with us, do not isolate us and avoid penalising us for our cultural and religious environment,” Shinwari said.

“We accept that CA sees cricket as a sport for all and we support the game unequivocally for women at every level’. We understand, too, why, if recent media reports that women’s cricket will not be supported in Afghanistan are substantiated’, CA might believe they have ‘no alternative’ but to refuse to host the scheduled test match,” he said.

Amid political uncertainties in the Asian nation, there were suspicions about the future of Afghan cricket. The Asian side played its first test match in 2018, becoming the 12th test nation. Since then, they have played 6 test matches, compiling a record of 3 wins and 3 defeats. The team won against Ireland, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe (1 Test apiece) while they lost against India, West Indies, and Zimbabwe(1 Test apiece).

Hamid Shinwari Fears That If CA Decides To Cancel The Test And Isolate The Afghanistan Team, Other Countries Will Follow Suit

Hamid Shinwari said it fears that if other Test-playing countries follow CA, then Afghanistan will be alienated from the cricket world and the game may cease to exist in the country.

“If the CA decides to cancel the test match and isolate the Afghan men’s national team, it will have no impact upon those cultural and religious values as they stand. The spokesman for the government has unequivocally stated this,” he said.

Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. - REUTERS
Australia has so far played three international matches against Afghanistan. All three were ODIs, the latest being a World Cup 2019 contest. – REUTERS

He said the Taliban’s diktat regarding women’s participation in cricket is not substantially different from the ACB’s cultural and religious environment during the earlier governments. He also brought the International Cricket Council into the picture.

“ICC has been aware of our cultural and religious environment and it has taken a balanced, diplomatic, sensitive and considerate approach as we have worked to develop every aspect of the game of cricket in our country despite the situations we have faced.”

“We believe that the ICC has had the forethought to recognise and accept that we have been doing all we can to grow cricket in the traditional cultural, religious and changing political environments of our country”

“The alternative to cancellation of the test match would be for CA to take the same approach as the ICC. A considered, balanced, ‘cricket diplomacy’ would be far more productive for Afghanistan and for cricket than a sudden knee jerk’ reaction,” he added.

The Asian side is scheduled to play Australia in a solitary Test match in November, in what could be their first Test against one of the strongest nations in the world at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. The match will be played between November 27 to December 1 in Hobart.

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