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Wasim Akram

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Sunil Gavaskar: Everyone Would Like To See India Face Pakistan In 2021 WC Final

Sunil Gavaskar said that even the ICC, and not just fans or commentators, would like to see India face Pakistan in the final of the 2021 T20 World Cup.

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that even the apex board International Cricket Council (ICC), and not just fans or commentators, would like to see India face Pakistan in the final of the 2021 T20 World Cup. India had beaten Pakistan in the final of the inaugural 2007 T20 World Cup.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP

Sunil Gavaskar Would Like To See India Play Pakistan In The T20I World Cup Final

England and the West Indies were the finalists of the 2016 T20 World Cup. India and Pakistan are both looking to win the tournament for the second time in their history having won the trophy in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

India-Pakistan faced each other last in the 2019 ODI World Cup round-robin stage, where the former won by 89 runs (DLS method). Their last T20 World Cup face-off resulted in India’s 6-wicket win over Men in Green in Kolkata in the 2016 edition.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

However, due to the unfortunate political situation, the two teams haven’t played a bilateral series since 2012-13. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

“I would like to see India in that final, and Pakistan. What else does anybody want? Even the ICC wants India and Pakistan to be in the final,” Gavaskar said on Salaam Cricket 2021.

Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar and former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram both named India, Pakistan, England, and the West Indies as favourites to reach the semi-finals.

Wasim Akram: New Zealand’s Chances Depend On The Weather

Wasim Akram said that 2019 World Cup runners-up and World Test Championship winners New Zealand’s chances would be dependent upon the conditions.

“New Zealand’s chances really depend on the weather I feel. It is hot now and if it remains like this, it will be difficult for them but then by October, it will be pleasant. For me, the four sides that can reach semis are India, West Indies, Pakistan and England,” he said.

“They have won the World Cup twice and people keep underestimating them,” said Gavaskar of the West Indies.

Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)
Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)

It’s worth noting that Pakistan is yet to beat their arch-rivals India in a World Cup game in 12 encounters across the T20I and 50-over editions.

 

Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)
Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)
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Wasim Akram Reasoned Why He Hasn’t Or Doesn’t Want To Coach Pakistan

Wasim Akram, the former Pakistan captain, and fast bowling legend has opened up on why he hasn’t or doesn’t want to coach the national cricket team.

Wasim Akram, who won the 1992 World Cup as a player and captained the team to the final of the 1999 ICC World Cup, has coached in franchise T20 leagues. He was part of the support staff of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Kolkata Knight Riders and has also been associated with several Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises over the past years.

Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied
Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied

Wasim Akram Doesn’t Think He Can Manage Work Away From Pakistan

In a recent interaction, Wasim Akram was asked why he has never coached the national team Pakistan, to which Wasim Akram said that he will not be able to give the time that a full-time coaching job demands.

“When you become the coach, you need to give at least 200 to 250 days a year to the team and that’s a lot of work. I don’t think I can manage so much work away from Pakistan, from my family. And as it is, I spend time with most of the players in the PSL, they all have my number and they keep asking for advice,” Akram said in the interview.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

After calling it quits from cricket in 2003, the legendary cricketer had taken up a commentary stint. After that, he was involved in a coaching capacity and was part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as a bowling coach for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Later he was also seen in the role of mentoring in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Wasim Akram Can’t Tolerate Anyone Misbehaving With Him

Wasim Akram also cited misbehaviour by fans as a reason for him to not think about coaching the national team.

“I am not a fool. I keep on hearing and seeing on social media how people misbehave with their coaches and seniors. The coach isn’t the one playing. The players are the one playing. The coach can only help with the planning. So, if the team loses, I don’t think the coach is as responsible or accountable as we hold him as a nation.”

Pakistan coaching unit - comprising Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis (AFP)
Pakistan coaching unit – comprising Misbah-ul-Haq, Waqar Younis (AFP)

“So, I’m afraid of that as well, because I can’t tolerate anyone misbehaving with me. And we are becoming like that. I love the people, their enthusiasm and passion for the game, but not the misbehavior that is shown on social media. It shows what we are. I have never seen this happen in other countries.” Wasim Akram added.

Misbah-ul-Haq stepped down as head coach of the Pakistan team last month along with Waqar Younis, who too resigned from the position of bowling coach. Former Pakistan spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and all-rounder Abdul Razzaq are the interim coaches in charge of the team for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup.

Waqar Younis and Misbah-ul-Haq both had a year still left in their tenures, having taken charge in September 2019. Later, pacer Mohammad Amir came out of retirement following the coaches’ resignment as he had differences with the duo. Newly-elected PCB chairman Ramiz Raja recently announced Vernon Philander and Matthew Hayden’s appointments as coaching consultants for the T20 World Cup.

The leading runs getter for Pakistan in Test cricket Younis Khan parted way with the Pakistan team as the batting coach earlier this year. The former batsman resigned from the top job on June 22 even though he was roped in by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a two-year contract, which would’ve come to a conclusion after the T20 World Cup.

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.

Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied
Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied
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Wasim Akram On New Zealand Pull Out: Cricket Is More Than A Sport To Pakistan

Wasim Akram, former Pakistan pacer urged the cricketing fraternity to give them another chance to prove that playing cricket in Pakistan is safe enough after New Zealand pulled out from the tour to the Asian country citing security concerns. Wasim Akram’s comments came after New Zealand pulled out of their tour even before play started in the 1st ODI in Rawalpindi. New Zealand left Islamabad on a charter flight on Saturday night.

A disappointed Wasim Akram mentioned in a tweet that Pakistan will do its best to ensure that cricket can be played in a safe environment.

Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)
Wasim Akram. (Photo: Twitter/ @shoaib100mph)

Wasim Akram: World Needs To Give Pakistan A Chance To Prove Security Is Strong

The Pakistan tour was New Zealand’s first tour to the Asian country since 2003 and it was made possible after receiving clearance from their security agency. But the toss for the 1st ODI between the two teams was delayed after both teams stayed in their hotel rooms after which news came in that New Zealand Cricket had issued an official statement that they were abandoning the tour for security concerns.

Wasim Akram took to Twitter to state that cricket means a lot to the people of Pakistan and they would anything in their power to prevent it from being taken away from them.

“I think the world underestimates how powerful our security forces are. Cricket is more than a sport to us and we will do everything in our power to prevent cricket being taken from us again,” said Wasim Akram.

“The world needs to give us a chance to prove that!” said Wasim Akram.

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

The New Zealand contingent arrived in Dubai after leaving Pakistan on a charter flight. The contingent which is comprised of 34 players and support staff, is staying currently at a Dubai hotel and undergoing 24 hours of self-isolation. NZC informed that 24 from the group will return to New Zealand over the next week while the others will stay in the UAE and join the forthcoming T20I World Cup squad, ahead of the event that begins on October 17.

David White Thanked Pakistan Cricket Board For Organizing Safe Departure Of New Zealand Team

David White thanked the Pakistan Cricket Board for helping organize the safe departure of the New Zealand team.

“We appreciate this has been a terribly difficult time for the PCB and wish to pass on our sincere thanks to chief executive Wasim Khan and his team for their professionalism and care.”

David White added that New Zealand was looking forward to the Pakistan series but was left with no option but to abandon the tour after receiving some advice on the security front from the New Zealand government of a specific, credible threat.

New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White during a press conference. Photo: File
New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White during a press conference. Photo: File

He added that the advice was supported by NZC’s security consultants – who were on the ground in Pakistan, as well as by other independent sources. David White explained about New Zealand’s decision to quit the Pakistan tour:

“What I can say is that we were advised this was a specific and credible threat against the team. We had several conversations with New Zealand government officials before making the decision and it was after informing the PCB of our position that we understand a telephone discussion was conducted between the respective Prime Ministers. Unfortunately, given the advice we’d received, there was no way we could stay in the country.”

New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White admitted the fact that the board was initially satisfied with security arrangements in Pakistan for which they sent their team to the country.

New Zealand made headlines around the world when the cricket team called off its bilateral ODI and T20 series minutes before the toss for the first ODI between the two sides was scheduled to take place in Rawalpindi. New Zealand had arrived in Pakistan after 18 years to play a cricket series.

World Test Championship, India
Virat Kohli[photo: Twitter]
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More Than Technical Aspects, Virat Kohli’s Aggressive Thinking Is Causing Him Problems: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan believes aggressive instinct rather than any technical deficiency has led to Virat Kohli’s indifferent run in the series against England thus far. Virat Kohli has scored just 124 runs at a lowly average of 24.80 in the five innings he has played so far. The 55 runs he scored in his last knock is his only half-century of the series to date.

Across formats, the India skipper hasn’t scored a century since November 2019 and has also slipped to the 5th spot in the ICC Test rankings as a batsman.

Irfan Pathan (R) and a young Virat Kohli in 2012. (Getty Images)
Irfan Pathan (R) and a young Virat Kohli in 2012. (Getty Images)

Irfan Pathan: More Than Technical Aspects, Virat Kohli’s Aggressive Thinking Is Causing Him Problems

During an interaction on Aakash Chopra’s YouTube channel, Irfan Pathan attributed Virat Kohli’s underwhelming performance to his dominating nature.

Irfan Pathan said: “I feel more than the preparation, Virat Kohli looking to dominate is forcing him to play deliveries outside off-stump. It is just that small thing. More than technical, Virat Kohli’s aggressive thinking is causing him problems.”

Anjum Chopra: A multi-talented sportsperson who went to become one of the legends in Indian women’s cricket
Anjum Chopra was a basketball player, state-level swimmer, and one of the best-ever batswomen in Indian women’s cricket history © Getty Images

Anjum Chopra feels Virat Kohli’s pursuit of excellence has led to his downfall.

“He also knows that he has to score runs. But the thing about error-free batting, that he will make a statement is putting more weight on his shoulders and maybe not allowing him to move freely. I feel he needs to bring his standard slightly lower than the error-free batting he is trying to do,” said Anjum Chopra.

Virat Kohli has been targeted outside the off-stump by the English bowlers. They have played with his patience and eventually got him to poke at deliveries to be caught behind the wickets.

Irfan Pathan is a former Indian cricketer and actor. He was a bowling all-rounder and a member of the Indian cricket team that won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and 2013 ICC 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. Beginning his career as a fast-medium swing and seam bowler, Irfan Pathan broke into the national team soon after turning 19 and evoked comparisons with Pakistan’s Wasim Akram with his promising performances and prodigious swing.

Virat Kohli Has Lost Patience Against England Bowlers: Sanjay Bangar

Sanjay Bangar pointed out that Virat Kohli has lost the battle of patience against the England bowlers.

He observed: “The bottom line as far as I am concerned is that Virat Kohli has not shown the patience that England bowlers have shown against him. That was the only difference.”

The former Indian batting coach added that Virat Kohli’s mode of dismissals has been slightly different from the ones in 2014.

Bangar explained: “He has not got out defending a lot of times. He has gone towards the ball in all his dismissals. If you see his dismissals from 2014, he did not get out playing the drive as many times as he got out defending. I feel he is playing the sixth or seventh stump delivery, which is not required to be played.”

Sanjay Bangar | Twitter: ANI Digital
Sanjay Bangar | Twitter: ANI Digital

With the series tied at one apiece and all to play for, the Indian skipper will hope to rise to the occasion and play telling knocks in the remaining two Test matches.

In the 2014 England tour, the Indian skipper had a horrific series where he ended up scoring only 134 runs from four Tests. He averaged only 13, with scores of 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0, 7, 6, and 20.

Virat Kohli had contrasting tours of England in 2014 and 2018. In 2014, he managed only 134 runs in five Tests at a poor average of 13.40. Four years later, he hammered 593 runs in the five-Test series. Virat Kohli averaged 59.30 with two hundred in 2018.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Misbah-ul-Haq and Babar Azam. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Misbah-ul-Haq Likely To Continue As Head Coach Of Pakistan Through The T20I World Cup

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.

Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby
Pakistan AFP / Lindsey Parnaby

Misbah-ul-Haq’s Tenure As Pakistan’s Head Coach Likely To Continue

Before the start of the four-match T20 series against the West Indians in the Caribbeans, some PCB officials and technocrats on the cricket committee were concerned about the performance of the team in white-ball formats following a disappointing England tour.

“Basically everyone was keen to see how Misbah managed the team in the T20 series in West Indies as calls grew for the PCB to review his position as head coach in white ball formats,” one reliable source told PTI.

He said that the board had started to look for other options as the cricket community was upset after Pakistan lost the three-match one-day series to a second-string England side and then the T20 series with some key players missing from the home side.

“The feeling developed that perhaps Misbah was not the right man or didn’t have the coaching experience to take Pakistan into the T20 World Cup,” the source said.

Misbah-ul-Haq
Misbah-ul-Haq- the head coach of the Pakistan cricket team.© AFP

He said one of the options spoken about was attaching an additional specialist white ball coach with the team.

“But now since the T20 series in West Indies was badly disrupted by bad weather and three matches were abandoned it has become difficult for the board and cricket committee to make a final decision on Misbah’s future as white-ball coach,” the source said.

He said the main problem facing the PCB is the shortage of time with Pakistan scheduled to play series against Afghanistan, New Zealand, and England before the T20 World Cup starts in October.

“With this T20 series washed out in West Indies clearly there is no space or logical reason to reshuffle the team management now before the World Cup,” he said.

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 ahead with the T20 World cup coming up.

Wasim Akram Isn’t Satisfied With Coach Misbah-ul-Haq’s Progress

But the source confirmed that the cricket committee will be meeting with Misbah-ul-Haq, bowling coach Waqar Younis and captain Babar Azam to get feedback on what went wrong in England and the overall progress of the team before the team leaves for Sri Lanka.

The committee is headed by former Test cricketer, Saleem Yousaf and includes former great swing expert pacer, Wasim Akram and ex-test players, Umar Gul and Ali Naqvi.

“Wasim in particular is not satisfied with Misbah-ul-Haq’s progress as a coach and feels that Babar needs too be given more support as captain from the coaches,” another source revealed.

Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied
Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied

“The cricket committee will also meet with chief selector, Muhammad Wasim as they have a number of queries on selection issues and the way Misbah and Babar are making rapid changes in the white-ball teams.”

Misbah-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, and the other support staff will return home after a two-Test series in the West Indies that begins from 12th August.

Former South Africa opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs. (Getty Images)
Former South Africa opening batsman Herschelle Gibbs. (Getty Images)
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Herschelle Gibbs Terms It Unnecessary Of The BCCI To Stop Him From Playing In KPL But BCCI Says They Are Within Their Rights

Herschelle Gibbs, former South African batsman, and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were slammed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) saying the Indian board is well within its rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in the country.

This response from the BCCI comes on the same day when former Proteas’ batsman Herschelle Gibbs criticised the Indian board for allegedly stopping him to play in the Kashmir Premier League.

Herschelle Gibbs, one of the accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, has signed up to play for KPL franchise Overseas Warriors. (AP File Photo)
Herschelle Gibbs, one of the accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, has signed up to play for KPL franchise Overseas Warriors. (AP File Photo)

Herschelle Gibbs Termed It Unnecessary Of BCCI To Bring Their Political Agenda With Pakistan But BCCI Is Within Their Rights To Take Decisions: Official

Herschelle Gibbs plans to play for the Overseas Warriors in the six-team Kashmir Premier League, which runs from August 6-17 and includes several retired international cricketers.

“While one can neither confirm nor deny the veracity of the statement made by a former player who has figured in a CBI investigation into match-fixing earlier, the PCB must understand that even if Herschelle Gibbs’ statement is assumed to be true, the BCCI would be well within their rights to take decisions with respect to the cricketing ecosystem in India.

“The fact that the Indian cricketing ecosystem is the most sought after for cricketing opportunities globally, should not be envied by the PCB,” a BCCI official said.

PCB is coming across as confused. Just the way the decision to not allow players of Pakistani origin to participate in the IPL cannot be construed as interfering in the internal affairs of an ICC member, the decision, if any, to allow or disallow anyone from participating in any manner with cricket within India is purely an internal matter of the BCCI,” the official added.

Herschelle Gibbs have made some serious allegations on BCCI.
Herschelle Gibbs has made some serious allegations on BCCI.

Herschelle Gibbs, one of the accused in the 2000 match-fixing scandal, has signed up to play for KPL franchise Overseas Warriors. The official also said that the PCB can take up the matter with the ICC, but in the end, everyone knows why the Pakistan board is behaving this way, and what is motivating their actions.

“They are welcome to raise the matter at the ICC and one can understand where this is coming from but the question that they need to ask themselves is whether it is on account of government interference in their working since the PM of Pakistan is officially their Patron as per their own constitution. It is time to consider whether this issue also ought to be raised at the ICC,” said the official.

Earlier on Saturday, former Proteas batsman Herschelle Gibbs took to Twitter to say: “Completely unnecessary of the @BCCI to bring their political agenda with Pakistan into the equation and trying to prevent me playing in the @kpl_20. Also threatening me saying they won’t allow me entry into India for any cricket related work. Ludicrous.”

After this, the PCB also issued a statement, saying: “The PCB believes the BCCI has once again breached international norms and the spirit of the gentleman’s game by interfering in internal affairs of the ICC Members as the KPL has been approved by the PCB.”

Not impressed by this statement, the BCCI official added, “The PCB would do well to peruse the ICC’s classification of official cricket. In the eventuality that a retired player is participating as a player in a tournament, it would not quite be official cricket and any permission granted would be moot. I am not really sure how they are reading this to mean what they are intending it to mean, but then the PCB‘s positioning is always bemusing. They should allow cricket to entertain rather than their decision making.”

Tensions have been high between the neighboring countries Pakistan and India since New Delhi unilaterally changed the semiautonomous status of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India but claimed by both in its entirety.

Pakistan has reduced diplomatic ties with India since then, vowing there will be no peace talks with India until the 2019 move under which New Delhi divided the Indian-administered part of the Muslim-majority Kashmir into two federally governed territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — is reversed by the Indian government.

Pakistan also wants Kashmiri people to be given the right to self-determination under a 1948 U.N. resolution that called for a referendum on whether Kashmiris wanted to merge with Pakistan or India.

Kashmir Premier League’s Inaugural Edition Will Be Held With 6 Teams From August 6-16

The tournament is likely to see six teams- Overseas Warriors, Rawalakot Hawks, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Bagh Stallions, Kotli Lions, and Mirpur Royals. Players like Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi, Shadab Khan, Shoaib Malik, Herschelle Gibbs, Monty Panesar, and Kamran Akmal are expected to participate in this team.

Wasim Akram (right) and Shahid Afridi (left) Getty Images
Wasim Akram (right) and Shahid Afridi (left) Getty Images

The first KPL edition is scheduled to be held with six teams from August 6 to 16. Five of those teams will represent cities in PoK, while the sixth franchise, Overseas Warriors, is reserved for overseas Kashmiris. The tournament’s launch saw a mix of politicians and former Pakistan cricketers.

Wasim Akram is KPL’s founding vice-president, while Shahid Afridi is the league’s brand ambassador. Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, and Abdul Razzaq were present at the launch as well.

Hasan Ali Image Credit: AFP
Hasan Ali Image Credit: AFP
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Hasan Ali Wants To See Himself As An All-Rounder In All 3 Formats

Hasan Ali, Pakistan’s energetic pace bowler wants to become a top all-format all-rounder like his illustrious predecessors Wasim Akram, Abdul Razzaq, and Azhar Mahmood.

Hasan Ali played all the three ODIs against England where he returned a five-wicket haul in the second game. It was his first ODI five-wicket haul since 2017 after having had been set back by a back injury that ruled him out for over a year. He was then hit by a groin injury on return, forcing an absence that extended 20 months.

Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali | AFP
Pakistan pacer Hasan Ali | AFP

Hasan Ali Wants To See Himself As An All-Rounder In All 3 Formats

Hasan Ali missed the first of the three T20Is against England as a precautionary measure after picking up a strain in his left leg during a training session at Trent Bridge. Hasan Ali played only 1 T20I in which he picked a solitary scalp conceding 28 runs. He had picked 6 scalps in 3 ODIs against England and was the joint 2nd highest wicket-taker in the ODI series.

“I want to see myself as an all-rounder in all three formats and I am putting in extra yards in the nets. I am inspired by Wasim Akram, Abdul Razzaq, and Azhar Mahmood and want to contribute in crucial times for my team,” Hasan said in an interview.

Hasan Ali , who is gearing up for the four-match T20 series and two Test matches in the West Indies, took five for 51 in the second ODI against England at Lord's before bowling an impressive spell, in the last T20I. - AP
Hasan Ali, who is gearing up for the four-match T20 series and two Test matches in the West Indies, took five for 51 in the second ODI against England at Lord’s before bowling an impressive spell, in the last T20I. – AP

He said that he is trying to improve his power-hitting qualities.

“I usually get to bat in death overs in T20Is and the only option I have at that point is to hit the ball hard. I am working to improve my power-hitting in the practice sessions and learning how to score more and more runs against Yorkers, bouncers, and slower deliveries.”

Hasan Ali since his comeback to the Pakistan team early this year after a spate of injuries has impressed greatly with the ball but at times his hard-hitting in white-ball games has also helped Pakistan.

Hasan Ali Is Keen To Do Better In The Upcoming West Indies Series

Hasan Ali, who is gearing up for the four-match T20 series and two Test matches in the West Indies, took five for 51 in the second ODI against England at Lord’s before bowling an impressive spell, in which he gave only 28 runs, in the last T20I. Hasan Ali said that T20 cricket is all about variations and a good bowler should have command on bowling different variations.

“I have been practicing different deliveries in the nets and am very keen to do better in the upcoming series against the West Indies. I believe in giving everything for the team once I step on the field – whether it is by taking a wicket or hitting the ball out of the park.”

Hasan Ali
Hasan Ali Source: Pakistan Cricket

But he also revealed his love for batting as well.

“I want to be a batsman who contributes consistently to the team.”

Injuries kept Hasan Ali out of international cricket for nearly 18 months after the World Cup 2019 but since returning to the Pakistan team he has already snared five-wicket in an innings five times.

Hasan Ali earned his recall to the national team after he made headlines when he scored a sparkling 106 not out off just 61 balls, smashing seven sixes and 10 fours, to help Central Punjab tie the final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2020-21 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Hasan Ali, who is known for his exploits with the ball, showcased his batting prowess in the contest. The batsman scored his maiden first-class hundred to get his team back into the match. The 26-year-old slammed a spectacular 106 from just 61 deliveries and shifted the momentum with his stellar knock.

Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar (Photo: @shoaib100mph)
Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar (Photo: @shoaib100mph)
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Shoaib Akhtar Feels Quality Of Cricket Has Deteriorated In The Last 10 Years

Shoaib Akhtar believes the current group of batters are lucky as they have not faced the likes of Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, and Shane Warne, and himself in the international arena.

In an exclusive chat, former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar spoke at length on various topics. He was asked to give his views on how much the sport of cricket had evolved over the last few years.

Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)
Shoaib Akhtar. (AFP Photo)

Shoaib Akhtar: Batsmen Nowadays Are Fortunate Not To Face Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, And Shoaib Akhtar

Shoaib Akhtar opined that only the batting shots had evolved but there was no improvement in the quality of the game. He felt the majority of the current batters would fail to tackle the spin of Shane Warne and the pace and swing of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and himself.

“The game of cricket has not evolved. The shots have evolved, but the quality of the game has deteriorated in the last 10 years. Today’s batsmen are fortunate not to face the likes of Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and me,” replied Shoaib Akhtar.

Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shane Warne
Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shane Warne. Image Credits: Twitter

When it comes to Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper has been praised by many for his tremendous batting ability. The captain has faced many deadly bowlers, but former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar feels that Virat Kohli would have enjoyed it if he had played against the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Shane Warne.

Shoaib Akhtar: Fan Following Of Cricket Has Gradually Decreased

Shoaib Akhtar also spoke about how the fan following of cricket has gradually decreased over the years. He pointed out that the big matches of the ICC events drew big numbers in terms of viewership, but they were not consistent.

The 45-year-old tried to explain the reason behind the decline and said there were no ‘characters’ left in the sport now despite the presence of many star batsmen like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Joe Root, Kane Williamson, Babar Azam, and Steve Smith and pacers like Mitchell Starc, Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah and spinners like Nathan Lyon, and Ravichandran Ashwin.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma. Twitter

“The deterioration has happened. The viewership of the game has not increased but it has come down because the characters of the game have gone. People are saying there’s more viewership, but how is there more viewership? There’s no viewership for Test matches. 600 million might have watched the Champions Trophy match, but that was a one-off,” Shoaib Akhtar concluded.

Shoaib Akhtar further observed that the viewership has also suffered a drip because the major “characters of the game have gone” away from the game. He pointed out that there have often been talks of Test cricket suffering due to a lack of interest from the younger audience, and that only a few big games in ICC events gain viewers’ attention.

As for Shoaib Akhtar, the fast-bowler who bowled at an express pace claimed 178 Test wickets in 46 matches, 247 wickets in 163 One-day Internationals, and 19 wickets in 15 T20 Internationals for Pakistan before retiring from international cricket in 2011.

Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied
Wasim Akram Image Credit: Supplied
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Shaheen Afridi Will Try His Best To Make A Name Like His Idol Wasim Akram

Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan, and Lahore Qalandars left-arm fast bowler has named spin all-rounder Shahid Afridi and pace sensation Wasim Akram as the two cricketers from his country he admires a lot, apart from his elder brother Riaz Afridi. Riaz Afridi himself was a fast bowler who played one Test for Pakistan against Sri Lanka in Karachi back in 2004.

Shaheen Afridi has played 17 Tests, 25 ODIs, and as many T20Is picking 58, 51, and 27 wickets in the respective formats averaging less than 30 in each format. In December 2018, the imposing 6ft 6in left-arm pacer became the 35th player to make his Test debut for Pakistan under the age of 19. He debuted in the same year in ODIs and T20Is.

Shaheen Afridi
Shaheen Afridi (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shaheen Afridi Will Try His Best To Make A Name Like Wasim Akram

In a YouTube interaction with Cricket Pakistan, Shaheen Afridi was asked to name his favorite Pakistan cricketers.

The 21-year-old responded: “From the very start, I have maintained that my big brother Riaz Afridi is my ideal player. I started playing cricket after watching him and, of course, Shahid Afridi. In bowling, I was very fond of Wasim bhai (Wasim Akram). I will try my best to make a name like him. The way he served Pakistan, I want to do the same and make the country proud.”

Shahid Afridi brings out his trademark starfish celebration Pakistan Super League
Shahid Afridi brings out his trademark starfish celebration Pakistan Super League

Shaheen Afridi will be seen in action for the Lahore Qalandars when PSL 2021 resumes in Abu Dhabi soon. Asked to review his franchise, the pacer described the team as one with high-quality players.

He stated: “We have world-class players in our Lahore Qalandars squad like Rashid Khan, Mohammed Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman. If we need more players in the future we will look at it. But as of now, the present Lahore Qalandars team is the best.”

Shaheen Afridi Is Focussing On Cricket At This Moment While Replying On Wedding Plans And Date

As cricket fans would be aware, Shahid Afridi confirmed a while ago that fast bowler Shaheen Afridi would be marrying his eldest daughter Aqsa Afridi.

Asked about when the wedding will happen, Shaheen Afridi replied: “Let’s see. Right now my focus is on cricket. There are back-to-back World Cups coming up, so I am concentrating on that as of now as I want to play the World Cups for Pakistan.”

Shaheen Afridi
Shahid Afridi’s daughter will marry Shaheen Afridi. Image-Twitter

There are two back-to-back T20 World Cups scheduled for 2021 and 2022, followed by the 50-over World Cup in 2023. On what kind of cricketing interaction takes place between him and Shahid Afridi, the 21-year-old revealed that they do not discuss much.

He said:“Not much (discussion on cricket). When we do, it is mostly about how my cricket is going. He gives me good wishes and asks me to make Pakistan proud with my performances.”

Shaheen Afridi’s PSL franchise Lahore Qalandars had a good run in the T20 league before the tournament was suspended. They won three and lost only one of their four games. The pacer was the second on the list of leading wicket-taker with nine scalps when the event was halted.

There is no clarity yet over the resumption of PSL 2021 with players’ arrivals from Pakistan being delayed due to clearance issues. The organizers recently confirmed that the final of PSL 2021 will be played on June 24 instead of June 20. Also, the departure date of the Pakistan team for England has been pushed back to June 25 from June 23.

Karachi Kings are the current table-toppers in PSL 2021. They have won three out of five matches and have the best net run rate among all franchises.

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