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Pakistan vs England

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Pakistan Have No Preferences Regarding Semi-Final Opponents, Says Mohammed Hafeez

Mohammad Hafeez, the veteran Pakistan all-rounder, says such is Pakistan’s form at the Twenty20 World Cup. They are brimming with confidence and have no preferences as to who they play in the semi-finals.

Pakistan has been unstoppable since their historic 10-wicket win over bitter rivals India at the beginning of the campaign. The 2009 champions have gone on to beat a strong New Zealand side, Afghanistan and Namibia.

Mohammed Hafeez Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Mohammad Hafeez Image courtesy of ESPNcricinfo

Mohammad Hafeez: Pakistan Ready Irrespective Of Opponent At Semi-Finals In T20I World Cup

Pakistan will face the runners-up of Group 1, likely to be either Australia or South Africa, who play their last group matches later on Saturday. However, Mohammad Hafeez — a former captain of the Twenty20 side — said Pakistan was ready for any opponent.

If Pakistan remains undefeated and beats Scotland, they will face Australia in Dubai. On the other hand, if New Zealand beat Afghanistan and Pakistan lose against Scotland, the Black Caps will top the points table, and the Men In Green will rank second. In this situation, Pakistan will play against England in Abu Dhabi.

Regardless of the result of Pakistan’s match against Scotland, if Afghanistan beats New Zealand and India beats Namibia comprehensively, Pakistan will be table toppers and play against Australia.

“To be honest, when it comes to a cricket match we don’t think about who we want to play,” said 41-year-old Hafeez on Saturday on the eve of their match with Scotland.

“Whoever comes we are ready for that as our confidence is high, we are shaping up well and we are performing well. But first we have a game against Scotland so we need to take them on with the same intensity and confidence. The goal is to win the Cup for the nation and we are close to that.”

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

Pakistan has won all its three T20Is against Scotland, once in the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007 and two in Scotland in 2018. Mohammad Hafeez said there was extra satisfaction over their strong performances, considering the tricky lead-up they had to the tournament. Pakistan’s win over Namibia has now confirmed their final-four spot, leaving only Scotland in their path to a 100% group-stage win rate.

“We played only one match out of five in the West Indies due to the weather,” he said.

“Then New Zealand and England abandoned their tours so we were short on that front but the whole team and the management have done well in this tournament.”

New Zealand abandoned their tour due to a security alert, minutes before the start of the first ODI in Rawalpindi in September, and then England withdrew from two T20Is in October, citing players’ mental and physical health problems. As a result, the seven home T20Is (against England and New Zealand) in Lahore and Rawalpindi was to be played from 25 September to 14 October in Pakistan, which eventually didn’t happen.

Mohammad Hafeez: Win Against India Gave Pakistan Confidence

Mohammad Hafeez singled out the first match against India as the confidence booster — Pakistan’s first win over them in 13 World Cup matches.  After losing the toss, Virat Kohli-led India was asked to bat first on a tricky batting surface by Pakistan captain Babar Azam. To make matters worse, Pakistan pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Rohit Sharma for a golden duck, and soon after, sent back in-form opener KL Rahul to the hut.

Virat Kohli, who scored 57,  helped his team to a total of 151/7 in 20 overs. But in the end, the target of 152 was not enough as Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam scored 79*, and 68*, respectively, to win the match for their team by 10 wickets with 13 balls to spare.

“In any tournament when you win the first match, it gives you confidence so when we beat India it lifted our confidence hugely. I have been part of many World Cup matches against India and after all those defeats we had to bear the consequences but we always used to have strong comebacks. This time we won and it was great to be part of that team which beat India.”

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to a 10-wicket victory against India (PTI).

Mohammad Hafeez asserts that he is entirely focused on the World Cup.

“I am focusing on this World Cup so after this tournament I will decide what to do,” he said.

“I am a very emotional sort of player and playing for Pakistan is a great pride for me.”

Despite his age, Mohammad Hafeez has kept his Pakistan career on track owing to his consistent performances in the middle order. Overall, he has played 117 T20Is, scoring 2482 runs at a strike rate of about 121 besides picking 61 scalps averaging 22.16.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
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Babar Azam Optimistic About Pakistan’s Chances In T20I World Cup 2021

Babar Azam, Pakistan captain, is optimistic about the Pakistan team taking advantage of the conditions in place in the UAE during the forthcoming 2021 T20 World Cup.

The UAE has played host to Pakistan’s home games since 2009 after the militant attack in Sri Lanka cricketers’ bus. Although teams have started touring Pakistan in recent years, the UAE has hosted most of its games in the last decade or so.

Babar Azam
Babar Azam  (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

Babar Azam: Record At UAE Is Excellent As The Conditions Really Suited Pakistan

Pakistan is quite familiar with the conditions in the UAE-which was their 2nd home after the attack. They had an impeccable record in the shortest format of the game under Mickey Arthur, claiming the top spot in the rankings.

Speaking about his team’s campaign in the 2021 T20 World Cup, Babar Azam sounded upbeat about Pakistan’s chances, saying: “Our record there is excellent, it’s the place where we became world No. 1. The performances we produced, both as a team and individually, show the conditions really suited us. Our record and consistency there is proof of that. These days we understand teams are playing more positive cricket, and we need to continue to do that, too.”

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

Pakistan heads into the T20 World Cup off a 1-0 series win in a rain-hit 4 matches T20I series over West Indies and a 2-1 series defeat against England. They had limited-overs series against England and New Zealand scheduled at home ahead of the T20 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.

Babar Azam: Pakistan Struggling In Middle Order And Death Bowling

Babar Azam outlined the shortcomings in the current Pakistan team looking to win their second T20 World Cup after 2009. The captain rued that the players selected have been unable to remain consistent for a significant period of time. That has resulted in players getting dropped, leading to more experimentation and newer combinations.

Babar Azam said: “We’re struggling in two areas, middle order and death bowling, and have done for some time. We’ve tried different combinations and tried to assess who could suit the team if they played in certain positions. It didn’t work out, unfortunately, but that’s cricket. “

Shoaib Malik. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Shoaib Malik. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Babar Azam continued in this regard: “If you select players, you cannot guarantee that they will perform. There are ups and downs, and the players we selected were chosen because they had performed elsewhere. You need to take your chances if you want to stay in the Pakistan team. You will have to perform consistently, otherwise you get demoted to the bench.”

Sarfaraz Ahmed and Haider Ali have replaced Azam Khan and Mohammad Hasnain, respectively, while Fakhar Zaman, originally named a travel reserve, has swapped places with Khushdil Shah. In addition, veteran batsman Shoaib Malik has been included in Pakistan’s Twenty20 World Cup squad, replacing top-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood, who was ruled out due to a back problem, selectors said Saturday.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
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Pakistan ‘Used And Then Binned’ By England: Ramiz Raja

Ramiz Raja, Pakistan Cricket Board chairman said on Tuesday he felt “used and then binned” after England followed New Zealand’s example as they cancelled a white-ball tour for both their men’s and women’s teams next month.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cited “increasing concerns about travelling to the region” just days after New Zealand also pulled out of the Pakistan tour over security concerns. However, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Christian Turner, confirmed the decision was taken by the ECB on the grounds of player welfare.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Ramiz Raja: It’s The Feeling Of Being Used And Then Binned After England Withdrew From Pakistan Tour

The first trip by the England men’s side to Pakistan since 2005 was only meant to last only four days with two Twenty20 matches in Rawalpindi on October 13 and 14. Two women’s T20 matches were scheduled to be held on the same days as double-headers with three women’s one-day internationals to follow in the same city.

Public reaction to the withdrawal in Pakistan has been furious. Pakistan travelled to England last year at a time when Covid-19 infection rates in Britain were among the highest in the world for a three-match Test and T20 series that saved the ECB millions in television rights deals.

“It’s the feeling of being used and then binned. That’s the feeling I have right now,” Raja told reporters.

England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)
England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

“A little bit of hand-holding, a little bit of caring was needed after the New Zealand pull out and we didn’t get that from England which is so frustrating. We’ve been going out of our way to meet the international demands, being such a responsible member of the cricketing fraternity, and in return we get a response from ECB saying the players were spooked by New Zealand’s withdrawal. What does that mean?”

New Zealand officials refused to give details of the security threat that forced them to abruptly cancel their matches.

Christian Turner: Decision To Withdraw From Pakistan Tour Was Made By The ECB Based On Concerns For Player Welfare

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. 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.

“I share the deep sadness of cricket fans that England will not tour Pakistan in October,” Turner said in a video post on Twitter.

“This was a decision made by the ECB, which is independent of the British government, based on concerns for player welfare. The British High Commission supported the tour; did not advise against it on security grounds; and our travel advice for Pakistan has not changed.”

The T20 series was supposed to be part of the preparation for England’s men ahead of the next month’s T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.  But many of their star players would now be free to play in the latter stages of the lucrative second half of Indian Premier League 2021, also being hosted in the UAE, should their sides reach the knockout phase.

“You are quoting fatigue and mental tension and players being spooked and a hour-and-a-half flight from here before a World Cup they are quite happy to be caged in a bubble environment and carry on with the tournament,” added Raja.

“One feels slighted, one feels humiliated because withdrawal doesn’t have an answer.”

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

Heather Knight recently spoke enthusiastically about the prospect of captaining England Women on their first visit to the country. But on Tuesday she admitted the decision to withdraw had been taken out of her hands.

“The conversation and the communication between the board and PCA is a strong one, and it was a tricky situation with what had gone on with New Zealand,” Knight said after England Women lost to New Zealand in a one-day international.

“Taking it out of our hands is probably the right thing to do. That was done with a view to try and look after the players. Hopefully, sometime in the future we’ll be able to go. I do think it is important for them, particularly in women’s cricket with what’s going on in the region.”

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.

New Zealand was scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi starting Friday (September 17) before the series shifted to Lahore for a five-match T20I series, but the entire tour now stands unilaterally postponed following the visitors’ expression of concern.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File)
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Imran Khan To Meet Pakistan’s T20 World Cup Squad To Boost Players’ Morale

Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Prime Minister who is also the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), will meet the national T20 World Cup squad on Wednesday (tomorrow), said sources in a bid to boost the morale of the cricketers after England and New Zealand called off their Pakistan tours.

Sources privacy to the matter said that arrangements were being finalized for the meeting between the premier and Pakistan’s T20 squad, selected for the upcoming T20I World Cup. During the meeting, Imran Khan, the 1992 World Cup-winning captain, will share his experiences and give tips to the players apart from a motivational lecture as well.

Besides all the members of the T20 team, PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja and other senior officials of the board will be among the attendees of the meeting.

Prime Minister Imran Khan.Photo: file
Prime Minister Imran Khan.Photo: file

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan To Meet T20I Players To Boost Morale

After New Zealand decided to abandon their tour of Pakistan right ahead of the first ODI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that its men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan would not go ahead as planned.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)

Already reeling from New Zealand’s last-minute tour abandonment, Pakistan suffered another massive jolt on Monday as ECB pulled out both its men’s and women’s teams from the tour of the country. With the likes of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka touring the country, it seemed things were starting to get back on track. But England and New Zealand withdrawing from their respective tours will be a body blow to the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Pakistan Mulling Legal Action Against England, NZC

Earlier today, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chauhdry said that Pakistan will consult legal experts to take action against the England and New Zealand cricket boards after they cancelled tours citing “security” issues that cost the Pakistan Television (PTV) millions of rupees.

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

In a tweet, he said that consultations would be held with lawyers for taking legal action against both the boards- England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the New Zealand Cricket (NZC). The minister said that an international lobby was working against Pakistan. He said those who want to force Pakistan to surrender before them never succeed and they should end their misconception as early as possible.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
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Ramiz Raja Disappointed In England’s Expected Withdrawal And Said “It Was A Lesson For Pakistan”

Ramiz Raja, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman has said that both England and New Zealand’s decision to not play series in Pakistan is a lesson for them and now they will just look after their own interest.

After New Zealand decided to abandon their tour of Pakistan right ahead of the first ODI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Monday announced that its men’s and women’s tour of Pakistan would not go ahead as planned.

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

Ramiz Raja Disappointed In England’s Expected Withdrawal After New Zealand Which Was A Lesson To Pakistan

Already reeling from New Zealand’s last-minute tour abandonment, Pakistan suffered another massive jolt on Monday as ECB pulled out both its men’s and women’s teams from the tour of the country.

“I am severely disappointed in England’s withdrawal but it was expected because this western bloc gets united unfortunately and tries to back each other. So you can take any decision on the basis of security threat and perception. There was a sense of anger because first New Zealand got away without sharing information about the threat they were facing,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Ramiz Raja as saying.

“Now, this England was expected but this is a lesson for us because we go out of our way to accommodate and pamper these sides when they visit. And when we go there, we undergo strict quarantines and we tolerate their admonishments, but there is a lesson in this. That is, that from now on we will only go as far as is in our interest,”Ramiz Raja added.

England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)
England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

Further talking about cricket in Pakistan, Ramiz Raja said: “Our interest is that cricket will not stop in our country and if the cricket fraternity will not take care of each other then there’s no point to it. New Zealand, then England, now we have a West Indies series that can also be hit, and Australia who is already reconsidering. This – England, Australia, New Zealand – is all one block. Who can we complain to? We thought they were our own but they haven’t accepted us as theirs.

“We have to improve and expand our cricket economy so that these countries remain interested in playing us. That is in our interests as well so that our players are paid better and we are respected more. They come to the PSL where they don’t get spooked or fatigued but collectively they have a different mindset together toward Pakistan,” Ramiz Raja added.

With the likes of Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka touring the country, it seemed things were starting to get back on track. But England and New Zealand withdrawing from their respective tours will be a body blow to the Pakistan Cricket Board.  On Monday, the ECB announced that it was withdrawing both the men’s and women’s teams from next month’s white-ball series in Pakistan citing “increasing concerns about travelling to the region”.

New Zealand had earlier pulled out of their Pakistan tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. The Kiwis left Islamabad on a charter flight on Saturday 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.

Ramiz Raja: Pakistan Would Develop A Mindset Not To Lose And Will Avenge The Withdrawals In The Ground In T20I WC

Rawalpindi was due to host men’s and women’s T20 double-headers on October 13 and 14 as England’s men prepare for next month’s T20 World Cup. England women’s team were then due to play one-day internationals (ODIs) on October 17, 19, and 21, also in Rawalpindi.

Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)
Ramiz Raja. (Credits: Twitter)

Ramiz Raja said that his team would now be required to channel all their frustration into showcasing good performance in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

“We go in the World Cup now and where we had one team in our target – our neighbours India, they now add two more teams – New Zealand and England. So pick up the strength and develop a mindset that we are not going to lose because you didn’t do right by us with us and we will avenge that in the ground,” said Ramiz Raja.

There are a few surprises in the Pakistan squad as veteran players like Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed, who captained Pakistan in 2007 and 2016 T20 WCs respectively, did not get a chance in the squad. Aggressive opener Fakhar Zaman and leg-spinner Usman Qadir were not picked in the 15-man squad but the two players along with Shahnawaz Dahani were picked as reserves.

Pakistan Squad For ICC T20 World Cup 2021

Babar Azam (C), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Azam Khan, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim,Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood.

Traveling reserves – Fakhar Zaman , Shahnawaz Dahani and Usman Qadir

Pakistan’s Complete Schedule Against The Following Teams In T20I WC:-

October 24: India 7:30 pm Dubai

October 26: New Zealand 7:30 pm Sharjah

October 29: Afghanistan  – 7:30 pm Dubai

November 2: Runner Up of Group A (A2) – 7:30 pm Abu Dhabi

November 7: Winner of Group B (B1) – 7:30 pm Sharjah

Wasim Khan (Getty Images)
Wasim Khan (Getty Images)
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Wasim Khan Points At Inequality In Terms Of Treatment Towards Pakistan

Wasim Khan, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive, has pointed at “inequality” in terms of treatment towards Pakistan, in the backdrop of the New Zealand team pulling out of the tour due to security concerns.

Wasim Khan, who insisted that the security protocols that were in place for the Kiwi team were similar to the presidential security when the Royal Couple visited Pakistan in 2019, said the PCB will take the matter up with the apex board ICC and New Zealand Cricket in order to prevent countries from taking unilateral decisions regarding pull-outs which will have an adverse impact on the host country.

Wasim Khan said that PCB will take the matter up with the ICC and NZC in order to prevent other countries from unilaterally pulling out
Wasim Khan said that PCB will take the matter up with the ICC and NZC in order to prevent other countries from unilaterally pulling out © Getty

Wasim Khan: PCB Will Take The Matter Up With The ICC And New Zealand Cricket

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 later. The Pakistan tour was the Black Cap’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003 and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency.

“Ramiz Raja, the chairman, and myself will be taking this up at the ICC level but also with New Zealand. It is something that we’ll be pushing to have a discussion more broadly over this topic, when we sit at the ICC table,” Wasim Khan said at an online press conference on Sunday (September 19).

“Because as I said, the issue we have at the moment is that people can unilaterally make that decision without any consequences for themselves. There’s consequences for the others who are the recipients, in this case it was us. Is it fair that that can happen?” Wasim Khan said

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

“Yes we understand that there was guidance provided by the New Zealand government. But were we not owed the respect to at least to have some dialogue to share the information, security to security, to see if we can mitigate the potential threat,” Wasim Khan said

“We at the PCB didn’t need to know about the security threat, that could have been done at security level, and collaborations could happen at international level. We all want to see a peaceful, harmonious world. If at that level, we cannot share information outside a circle, then it’s going to be very hard for countries to be able to deal with and mitigate any potential threats that might be,” Wasim Khan said

“There is inequality. I don’t care what people say and I’ve been around cricket for a very very long time. We went to New Zealand, Bangladesh. We’ve done everything that’s been asked of us. We’ve shown solidarity in cricket. Our players have gone through hardships in 14 days of quarantine in New Zealand,” Wasim Khan said

“We went after the Bangladesh team got attacked in a Masjid. We’ve done everything we possibly could do. What we have to look at now is that we expect fair treatment the other way as well. It’s easy to walk out of countries like Pakistan without any reason, any dialogue or discussion. That has to stop. Because the inequality has to stop in world cricket, unless we do that we’re not going to have an even playing field, both in treatment and in finances,” Wasim Khan said

The PCB chief executive, who spoke about the security inputs that emanated from Five Eyes – the joint intelligence wing of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, and the US – said there was no change in the travel advisory despite the report that prompted New Zealand to pull out of the Pakistan tour.

New Zealand was scheduled to play three ODIs in Rawalpindi starting Friday (September 17) before the series shifted to Lahore for a five-match T20I series, but the entire tour now stands unilaterally postponed following the visitors’ expression of concern.

Wasim Khan Hopes ECB Will Decide To Send England Team To Pakistan For A Short Tour

Wasim Khan was also hopeful of the forthcoming England tour comprising of 2 T20Is going ahead as per schedule, stressing on ESI head of security Reg Dickinson’s assessment which gave a clean bill of health.

“Our understanding is that from a security perspective, as I mentioned, the travel advisory is an indicator of threat levels. Most of the western embassies and high commissions across the world use the travel advisories as an indicator of where the threat levels are. As it stands at the moment, the travel advisory has not changed from the British High Commission. Nor has it changed for the US, Australia and Canada who are also part of that five-eyes alliance.”

“England are meeting today to make a decision on whether they will tour Pakistan or not. We know what the guidance is, we know from a security perspective there’s a clean bill of health. We certainly hope England will tour. We certainly believe they should be coming and hope they will be coming, based on what the competent authority in Islamabad and the security expert are saying.”

England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)
England vs Pakistan Photo Credit: (Getty Images)

“The same security expert who provided the guidance for the ECB to go to Bangladesh, six weeks after the bomb blast that killed 12 people [in 2016] – so there’s a lot of trusts put into this security expert who is understood and respected around the world. We certainly hope when the board meets, the ECB will decide to send their team to Pakistan for this short tour,” Wasim Khan said

Wasim Khan, meanwhile, ruled out any possibility of Pakistan not playing their match against New Zealand in the T20 World Cup as a mark of protest.

“I don’t think the answer to that is not taking part or playing against New Zealand in the World Cup. We have a duty to the fans, we have a duty still to get out there and play. Our duty is to go out and win that match. This is an ICC World Cup and our job is to go out and do that and we’ll continue to have dialogue and discussion offline, myself and the chairman will do that with the competent authorities,” Wasim Khan said

The indications are that the two-match T20I series for the men’s England team and the five-match program for the women’s team will be postponed. Although it is still a possibility that the two series will go ahead, the England tour is in jeopardy after New Zealand’s pullout.

Pakistan coaching unit - comprising Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis (AFP)
Pakistan coaching unit - comprising Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis (AFP)
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Misbah-ul-Haq And Waqar Younis Step Down As Pakistan Coaches Before 2021 T20I WC

Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis have stepped down from their positions as head coach and bowling coach of the national men’s team respectively.
Misbah-ul-Haq cited spending “considerable time away from my family in a bio-secure environment” as the reason for his decision. Waqar Younis said that since he and Misbah-ul-Haq had walked into the roles together, it made sense to also “step down together”.
Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP

Misbah-ul-Haq And Waqar Younis Steps Down From Positions Of Head Coach And Bowling Coach Respectively

With New Zealand scheduled to arrive in Pakistan for a white-ball series later this month, the PCB has appointed Saqlain Mushtaq and Abdul Razzaq as interim coaches of the team.  Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis communicated their decisions to the PCB on Monday morning, around the time the squads for the upcoming series against New Zealand as well as England at home and then the T20 World Cup were made public.
The coaches had been appointed to their positions in September 2019, and still had a year left in their contracts. Misbah-ul-Haq was initially also appointed as a chief selector with his head coach position in 2019 but had resigned last year from the selection job citing a heavy workload.
“The quarantine in Jamaica post the West Indies series provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the past 24 months as well as the schedule for international cricket ahead,” Misbah said in a statement issued by the PCB.
“Considering that I would have had to continue to spend considerable time away from my family and that too in a bio-secure environment, I have decided to step down from the role.” 
Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)
“I understand that the timing may not be ideal but I don’t think I am in the right frame of mind for the upcoming challenges and it makes sense for someone fresh to step in and take the side forward. The past 24 months have been thoroughly enjoyable and I want to thank my team and the management for their support. I wish the Pakistan cricket team best of luck in the upcoming events and will continue to support them every time they will take the field to represent Pakistan.”
Pakistan announced a 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup on Monday. While Babar Azam was named captain, the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Wahab Riaz, Shoaib Malik, Faheem Ashraf, and Sarfaraz Ahmed were notable omissions.

Waqar Younis Quits Since He Felt It Was The Appropriate Moment As Misbah-ul-Haq Quit Earlier Citing Bio Bubble Fatigue

Waqar Younis called his decision “straightforward” once he knew what Misbah-ul-Haq was thinking.
“After Misbah shared with me his decision and future plans, it was a straightforward one for me to resign as we had walked into the roles together, had worked collectively as a pair and now also step down together,” he said. “Working with the Pakistan bowlers, including the youngsters, has been most satisfying as they have now started to show progress. Bio-secure environments in the past 16 months have had their impact, something we had never experienced during our playing days.”
Waqar Younis, left, said that after Misbah-ul-Haq, right, shared with him his decision and future plans, it was a straightforward decision for him to resign. File Photo
Waqar Younis- left, said that after Misbah-ul-Haq- right, shared with him his decision and future plans, it was a straightforward decision for him to resign. File Photo
“The next eight months will be busy and exciting for the Pakistan team and, like in the past, I will continue to back and cheer them. I want to thank each and every member of the Pakistan cricket team set-up as we stayed united in good and bad days, and hope there will be brighter days ahead.”

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq conceded that the timing of his decision is not right but stressed he is not in the right frame of mind for the upcoming challenges. Bowling coach Waqar Younis also stepped down with just a month to go for the T20 World Cup. Pakistan had a poor limited-overs stint against England as Misbah-ul-Haq’s coaching tenure came under scrutiny. Without the senior players being available, the England side won both the ODI and T20 series against the men in green.

Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP
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Misbah-ul-Haq Set To Return To Pakistan After Recovering From Covid-19

Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s Head Coach is set to return home, from Jamaica, on Sunday after recovering from Covid-19. Misbah-ul-Haq had tested positive on August 25 and consequently did not depart for Lahore with his side, after completing the tour of the West Indies.

As per the protocols, he underwent a 10-day quarantine in Jamaica. According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Misbah-ul-Haq has now tested negative for the virus and will reach Lahore on Sunday morning. It must be noted that Misbah-ul-Haq was the only Pakistan squad member who failed two pre-departure PCR tests.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). (Photo: Twitter)

Misbah-ul-Haq Likely To Continue As Head Coach Of Pakistan After Rain Marred T20I Series Win Against Windies

Misbah-ul-Haq’s tenure as head coach of the national cricket team is likely to continue through the upcoming T20 World Cup after Pakistan emerged victorious in the rain-hit T20I series against West Indies. Pakistan claimed the four-match T20 series 1-0 after the fourth and final game ended in no result on Tuesday following rain. Misbah-ul-Haq played 75 tests, 162 ODIs, and 39 T20 internationals in his international career.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Misbah-ul-Haq has a three-year contract with the PCB and will complete two years of the contract in the upcoming T20 World Cup. Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq who was on the verge of being replaced ahead of the T20 World Cup is now likely to stay after the series win against West Indies. The Babar Azam-led side managed to pull off a rain-hit four-match T20I series 1-0 against the West Indies side.

Pakistan had a poor limited-overs stint against England as Misbah-ul-Haq’s coaching tenure came under scrutiny. Without the senior players being available, the England side won both the ODI and T20 series against the men in green and it doubted the whole team management to go ahead with the T20 World cup coming up.

Pakistan Announce 20 Member Squad For ODIs Against New Zealand Including 4 Uncapped Cricketers

Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Haris, pacers Mohammad Wasim and Shahnawaz Dahani, and legspinner Zahid Mahmood are the uncapped players in the 20-member squad announced by the Pakistan selectors for the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand.

Zahid Mahmood is one of the four uncapped player in the 20-man list.
Zahid Mahmood is one of the four uncapped players on the 20-man list. © Getty

Iftikhar Ahmed and Khushdil Shah – both of whom last featured in the ODI against Zimbabwe on November 3, 2020 – have been recalled for the three ODIs which will be played on September 17, 19, and 21 in Rawalpindi. Meanwhile, Haris Sohail, Salman Ali Agha, Sarfaraz Ahmed, and Sohaib Maqsood, who were all part of the squad for the ODI series against England in July, have been left out for the New Zealand ODIs, which are part of the ICC World Cup Super League.

Squad: Babar Azam (c), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir and Zahid Mahmood.

Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja will meet with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan today to discuss his probable appointment as chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after Ehsan Mani's tenure ends.
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja will meet with Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan today to discuss his probable appointment as chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) after Ehsan Mani's tenure ends.
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Ramiz Raja And Ehsan Mani Expected To Meet Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Ramiz Raja, Pakistan’s former cricketer-turned-commentator, is expected to meet the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Imran Khan, today(23rd August).

The 59-year-old Ramiz Raja is likely to be given the big responsibility of PCB chairman in the near future. The three-year contract of the current chairman of the PCB, Ehsan Mani is set to expire on August 24.

Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of: ARY Sports
Ramiz Raja Image courtesy of ARY Sports

Ehsan Mani Has Also Been Called In To Meet Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Ehsan Mani has also been called in to meet the prime minister today and it is expected that his journey with the PCB is near its end.  Ehsan Mani was set for an extension but that changed when some government officials were left unhappy after the Pakistan team’s disappointing performance on the England tour and mishandling of the Kashmir Premier League (KPL).

An England team, missing most of their star players, whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the ODI series. With Ehsan Mani’s tenure as chairman likely to end soon, Ramiz Raja is one of the prime contenders for the job.

Ramiz Raja has played 57 Tests and 198 ODIs. He represented Pakistan (sometimes as captain) during the 1980s and the 1990s. Since retiring from cricket, he has been a commentator in international cricket matches. Ramiz Raja played international cricket for 13 years, appearing in 57 Test matches, with a career average of 31.83 and scoring two centuries.

Ehsan Mani
Ehsan Mani

According to sources, Prime Minister Imran Khan will recommend two names for the governing board which include Ramiz Raja and Dr Jawad Sajid Khan, chairman of the Lahore Gymkhana. One of these will be elected for the role of PCB chairman. It must be noted that PM Imran Khan has already appointed Justice (r) Azmat Saeed as the election commissioner to hold the PCB chairman elections.

Apparently, Imran Khan, himself a former captain under whom Ramiz Raja played the 1992 World Cup, feels it is time a former player runs the cricket affairs in the country. Another source said Ehsan Mani had also expressed reluctance to continue for another term due to health issues.

Pakistan Have Been Inconsistent In Limited Overs Cricket

Since the 2019 World Cup, poor selection decisions have seen players drift in and out of limited-overs squads, with few sticking around long enough to show results. Pakistan’s limited-overs squads have gone through numerous changes in the last couple of years.

Since the 2019 World Cup, they have tried 27 players in 11 ODIs and 38 players in 34 T20Is (in the first seven of those games alone, there were 25 different players, and a change in captaincy, though the team was No. 1 in the T20I rankings at the time).

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
A pattern has emerged of too many players being dropped after too few opportunities or despite producing decent results. Much of this has come during the tenures of Misbah-ul-Haq (September 2019 to December 2020) and Mohammad Wasim (since January 2021) as chief selectors. In that time Pakistan has still won more white-ball games than they’ve lost – their win-loss record is 22-18 – but it has been an uneven, unsettled ride.

Pakistan emerged victorious in the rain-hit T20I series against West Indies. Pakistan claimed the four-match T20 series 1-0 after 3 matches were washed out. In the preceding England series, England won the first two ODI matches to win the series with a game to spare.

England then won the third ODI by three wickets to win the series 3–0. Pakistan won the first T20I match by 31 runs but England went on to win the next two matches to win the series 2–1.

Saqib Mahmood AFP via Getty Images
Saqib Mahmood AFP via Getty Images
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Saqib Mahmood Released From The 2nd Test Squad And Will Return To Oval Invincibles For The Hundred

Saqib Mahmood, England’s pacer who is yet to debut in Tests has been released from the Test squad and he will return to Oval Invincibles for their The Hundred match, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Thursday.

Saqib Mahmood was added to England Test squad as a cover for the second Test against India.

Saqib Mahmood was with the England Test squad after being called up as cover
Saqib Mahmood was with the England Test squad after being called up as cover PA Photos/Getty Images

Saqib Mahmood Was Released From Test Squad And Will Play In The 100: ECB

Saqib Mahmood has since been one of the star bowlers in the first season of the Hundred, with five wickets at 22.40 for Oval Invincibles. He claimed nine wickets at 13.66 in England’s 3-0 series win in the ODIs against Pakistan in July, after being called up as part of an emergency squad following a Covid outbreak in England’s original party, and retained his place for the subsequent T20I series, where he picked up a further four wickets at 28.00.

“Saqib Mahmood has been released from the England Men’s Test squad and will return to Oval Invincibles for their The Hundred match against London Spirit on Saturday,” ECB said in a statement.

England's James Anderson and Stuart Broad(AP)
England’s James Anderson and Stuart Broad(AP)
England meanwhile won the toss and opted to bowl first after the toss was delayed by 20 minutes due to light drizzle. England captain Joe Root confirmed three changes in his side. Injured Stuart Broad was replaced by Mark Wood while Haseeb Hameed came in place of out of form Zak Crawley and Moeen Ali replaced Dan Lawrence. The first Test ended in a draw after day five was washed out at Trent Bridge.
Stuart Broad was ruled out of the remainder of England’s Test series with India after tearing his right calf muscle.
Stuart Broad underwent an MRI scan in London on Wednesday, which revealed the tear, suffered when he appeared to slip during a light warm-up jog ahead of training at Lord’s on the previous day.
Saqib Mahmood was called up to England’s squad as cover ahead of the second of five Tests at Lord’s as James Anderson also had an injury doubt. James Anderson missed training on Wednesday morning, as he is suffering from a tight quad, but he was selected in the XI.

KL Rahul’s Ton And Rohit Sharma’s 83 Put England On Backfoot On The 2nd Test’s 1st Day

Meanwhile, KL Rahul’s unbeaten ton and Rohit Sharma’s gutsy 83-knock helped India take the upper hand against England on the opening day of the ongoing second Test here. At stumps, India’s score reads 276/3 with KL Rahul (127*) and Ajinkya Rahane (1*) currently unbeaten at the crease. Earlier, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had also played knocks of 83 and 42 respectively to put the hosts onto the back foot.

KL Rahul. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
KL Rahul. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Resuming the final session at 157/2, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul mixed caution with aggression and they kept on moving the scoreboard, piling on the pressure on the hosts. KL Rahul brought up his century in the 78th over of the innings and he along with the skipper kept the hosts at bay.

After winning the toss, Joe Root made no bones about the fact that he wanted to make use of the overcast conditions to put pressure on India. But the Indian openers ensured India has a solid foundation.

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