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Monday, October 25, 2010

Pakistan still the spin kings

Abu Dhabi - There’s something almost breathtaking about Pakistan’s phlegmatic approach to their topsy-turvy cricketing existence. Essentially, it’s about handling life in the fast lane. Sometimes you get to where you want to go very quickly; sometimes you’re road kill.


Pakistan coach Waqar Younis was asked an earnest, thoughtful question at the press conference yesterday to announce the limited-overs series of two T20s and five ODIs between his team and South Africa. How difficult, asked a journalist, is it to plan ahead to the World Cup early next year when you have lost three of your best players?


He was referring, of course, to the fact that Pakistan’s two best pace bowlers, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, as well as their former captain, Salman Butt, have been suspended from all representative cricket following the spot-fixing scandal last winter in England.


“Honestly speaking, it’s hasn’t been easy,” replied Waqar with a shrug. “We’ve lost our three major players, not just from the squad, but from the starting XI. It’s never easy when you lose key players like that.”


In South African terms, it’s the equivalent of losing Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn and MornĂ© Morkel to the nether regions of scandal and infamy, something South Africans would regard as a catastrophe.


Waqar, however, clearly took it in his stride. He described the period after the controversy broke as “chaos” – a condition of turbulence that the Pakistanis seem to be masters at absorbing, digesting and finally moving forward from – but he pointed out that despite that, Pakistan still managed to win two ODIs against England and were only deprived a series win in the final match.


The Pakistan manager, Intikhab Alam, tried to reassure reporters that the Pakistan Cricket Board had taken seriously the ICC’s demand that they establish proper structures within 30 days to combat corruption. “We’ve briefed the players again and again that we must all do our best to make sure that nothing goes wrong. I’m sure that, with the passage of time, things will get better, and we’re really looking forward to that.”


Waqar continued in a philosophically: “That’s the way it is. It’s just unfortunate that this whole thing happened and we don’t have them (the players) anymore. It’s going to be difficult (to recover), but it’s not impossible. We’re trying our best and making sure that whatever resources we’ve got, we will deliver the goods.”


Asked what the fate of the men was likely to be, Waqar replied that he hadn’t a clue. There will be a hearing at the weekend to ascertain whether Butt and Amir’s appeals against their suspensions are upheld or not (Asif had withdrawn his appeal). “If they come back,” said an ever-hopeful Waqar, “it will be a pleasure to have them back.”


In the meantime, he was happy to talk up the Pakistani squad he has, talking blithely about their blend of youth and the experience of players such as Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzak and Shoaib Akhtar.


Waqar said that, in spite of their difficulties, he felt that Pakistan were “on track” for the World Cup and that he expected his team to beat South Africa because they still have lots of talented players and they will be playing in conditions that suit them, with their spinners, Saeed Ajmal and Afridi in the limited-overs matches and Danish Kaneria in the Tests, presenting their opponents with formidable problems.


By comparison with the colourful Pakistani roadshow, the South African press conference was solid cricket fare that was reassuringly predictable and completely shorn of scandal.


The triumvirate of Graeme Smith (captain of the Test and ODI team), Johan Botha (captain of the T20 team) and coach Corrie van Zyl said very little that they hadn’t already said at the press conference just before they left South Africa.


Smith expected the conditions to be tough – the formidable heat of the UAE summer is still evident – and that the team’s main challenge would be to quickly adjust, mentally and physically, to their new environment.


The team then left for their one and only practice under lights at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, the scene of tonight’s first T20 (6pm, SA time) in which all the takings will be donated to the victims of the Pakistan floods.


TEAMS


South Africa: Johan Botha (capt), Loots Bosman, AB de Villiers (w/k), JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, David Miller, Albie Morkel, Morné Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe


Pakistan: Imran Farhat, Mohammad Hafeez, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi (capt), Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Shoaib Akhtar, Tanveer Ahmed, Zulqarnain Haider (w/k), Shahzaib Hasan, Wahab Riaz

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Waqar wants improved fielding

Waqar younis, the Pakistan coach, has said the team will focus on fielding ahead of the upcoming series against South Africa in the UAE, which starts on October 26. The Pakistan squad will have a week-long preparatory camp ahead of the series.
"We have set up a six-day camp from October 17 before departing for the UAE on October 23," Waqar told the Express Tribune newspaper. "Although I am placing emphasis on the three departments of batting, bowling and fielding - fielding, once again is our highest priority as it has never been good."
Pakistan's catching during the recent tour of England was abysmal, with plenty of simple chances being put down. Waqar was also unhappy with the level of fielding in the Faysal Bank T-20 competition in Lahore this week. "I see weak fielding in the ongoing domestic Twenty20 championship as well, even though it is a vital aspect of the game, and if you start working on it at the lower levels it can help you at the top at the international level."
Already reeling from the spot-fixing crisis that has deprived them of three key players, Pakistan's build-up to the series had further trouble after Waqar and Shahid Afridi, the limited-overs captain, complained that the selection committee hadn't consulted them before picking the squad.
Pakistan's chief selector, Mohsin Khan, defended the decision by saying it was not in the PCB's constitution that the captain and coach needed to be consulted for the selection of the squad.

Lee signs up for New Zealand domestic T20 cricket

WELLINGTON: Australian fast bowler Brett Lee has signed to play domestic Twenty20 cricket in New Zealand later this year with the Wellington Firebirds, the club said Monday.

Lee, looking for as much match-time as possible as he seeks a career swansong at next year's World Cup, will debut for Wellington against Auckland on December 14, Cricket Wellington chief executive Gavin Larsen said.

"It's tremendous to have secured the services of Brett and his record speaks for itself," Larsen said.

"He's a gifted all-round athlete who has proven himself a true match winner for Australia in over a decade at the highest level."

The 33-year-old will miss the first half of the New Zealand domestic competition because of prior commitments to his home state New South Wales but will play five matches and be available for the final on January 2.

Lee retired from Test cricket earlier this year after a string of injuries but is desperate to cap his international career by appearing for Australia at the World Cup in February.

Lee has a large following in India, which is co-hosting the World Cup with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and has said previously that an appearance at the tournament would be a fitting end to his international career.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Butt hopes to revive career

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has begun working on implementation of the directives issued by the International Cricket council (ICC).


The ICC had given 30 days to the PCB for improving its matters and the PCB’s high officials are discussing the ICC orders for their implementation.

Initially, chief operating officer Wasim Bari, director National Cricket Academy Intikhab Alam and other officials have done paperwork for forming the anti-corruption and security unit at the meeting held here at the National Cricket Academy on Friday and it will be finalized after getting approval from PCB chairman Ijaz Butt .

Besides, it has been decided to compile a guideline book for players’ moral building.

The PCB is compiling all these steps keeping in view the code of conduct of the ICC anti-corruption and security unit and these will be made effective immediately also in domestic matches.

LAHORE: Former Test captain Salman Butt said Saturday he was eager to return to cricket and had not stopped practice despite his suspension on allegations of spot-fixing.


Test skipper Butt, 26, fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were banned from all forms of the game after they were charged with various offences under the anti-corruption code of conduct on September 2.

The charges followed revelations by British tabloid The News of the World and subsequent investigations by the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption and security unit into "spot-fixing" allegations during Pakistan's tour of England.

The three players will have their appeals heard in Doha on October 30 and 31. The ICC said Michael Beloff, head of the governing body's code of conduct commission, would hear their appeals against their suspensions.

Butt refused to comment on the spot-fixing allegations as the matter was sub judice but was hopeful things would go well for him.

"I have been keeping my fitness," he said. "If my suspension is lifted on October 31, I will be available to play for Pakistan from the next day,". "I am eager to do that," he added.

Salman said the allegations had derailed his career.

"The way I was playing and leading the team was a very good stage of my career but these allegations have derailed it," he said.

Butt took over after tour captain Shahid Afridi retired from Test cricket following Pakistan's defeat against Australia at Lord's.

Under his captaincy, Pakistan beat Australia in the second Test at Leeds -- their first win over Australia for 15 years. Pakistan then lost the first two Tests against England before beating them at The Oval.

England won the fourth Test at Lord's to take the series 3-1 -- two days after the spot-fixing allegations against Pakistani players surfaced.

Salman said the whole episode was a learning experience for him.

"It has taught me a lot about how to deal with the people around you, and you get to recognise people.... who is your friend and who is not."

Butt said he was mentally ready to play Pakistan's next series against South Africa starting in United Arab Emirates later this month.

Australia rout India 8-0 to win CWG hockey title

NEW DELHI: Luke Doerner and Jason Wilon slammed two goals each as power-packed Australia wiped out India 8-0 to win their fourth successive Commonwealth Games men's field hockey gold here on Thursday.

The world champions dominated the home team right through the lop-sided final played before a packed crowd at the sun-baked Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

The Aussies have now finished on top in each edition of the Games since the sport was introduced in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

The victory also completed an unprecedented hat-trick of winning the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth gold in the same year for Ric Charlesworth's men.

Also, it was the second time in a year that Australia crowned themselves with glory here, after having won the World Cup at the same venue in March.

For the Indians, who have not won a major tournament since their Asian Games gold in 1998, it was their first podium finish in the Games.

While the Aussies hugged each other in joy, the sombre Indian players went on a lap of the ground to show their gratitude to the patient crowd with a banner reading "Thank you all for your kind support".

Doerner finished the tournament as the highest scorer with eight goals.

The first-half saw a keen tussle between the teams to control the ball but it was the Aussies who surged into the lead in the 19th minute with Jason Wilson hammering one in from the left of the box.

The Aussies made it 2-0 two minutes later through Chris Ciriello before Wilson scored his second goal and Doerner slammed in his double in the 34th and 52nd minutes.

Simon Orchard made it 6-0 while Dwyer and Glenn Turner also joined in the goal-fest to cap a miserable outing for the hosts, ranked number nine in the world.

The Indians seemed to have no answers to the Australian assault and hardly threatened their defence. "They never allowed us to come back into the match."

In the other match of the day, New Zealand bagged the bronze after upsetting world number four England 5-3 on penalties.

Shea McAleese scored the winner while Adam Dixon missed his effort after the game was forced into the tie-breaker following a 3-3 deadlock at the end of extra-time in a fiercely-contested game.

Ace forward Simon Mantell scored all the three goals for England.

Dean Couzins, Nick Haig and Hayden Shaw scored for New Zealand, silver medallists at the 2002 Manchester Games.



NEW DELHI: Luke Doerner and Jason Wilon slammed two goals each as power-packed Australia wiped out India 8-0 to win their fourth successive Commonwealth Games men's field hockey gold here on Thursday.

The world champions dominated the home team right through the lop-sided final played before a packed crowd at the sun-baked Major Dhyan Chand stadium.

The Aussies have now finished on top in each edition of the Games since the sport was introduced in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

The victory also completed an unprecedented hat-trick of winning the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth gold in the same year for Ric Charlesworth's men.

Also, it was the second time in a year that Australia crowned themselves with glory here, after having won the World Cup at the same venue in March.

For the Indians, who have not won a major tournament since their Asian Games gold in 1998, it was their first podium finish in the Games.

While the Aussies hugged each other in joy, the sombre Indian players went on a lap of the ground to show their gratitude to the patient crowd with a banner reading "Thank you all for your kind support".

Doerner finished the tournament as the highest scorer with eight goals.

The first-half saw a keen tussle between the teams to control the ball but it was the Aussies who surged into the lead in the 19th minute with Jason Wilson hammering one in from the left of the box.

The Aussies made it 2-0 two minutes later through Chris Ciriello before Wilson scored his second goal and Doerner slammed in his double in the 34th and 52nd minutes.

Simon Orchard made it 6-0 while Dwyer and Glenn Turner also joined in the goal-fest to cap a miserable outing for the hosts, ranked number nine in the world.

The Indians seemed to have no answers to the Australian assault and hardly threatened their defence. "They never allowed us to come back into the match."

In the other match of the day, New Zealand bagged the bronze after upsetting world number four England 5-3 on penalties.

Shea McAleese scored the winner while Adam Dixon missed his effort after the game was forced into the tie-breaker following a 3-3 deadlock at the end of extra-time in a fiercely-contested game.

Ace forward Simon Mantell scored all the three goals for England.

Dean Couzins, Nick Haig and Hayden Shaw scored for New Zealand, silver medallists at the 2002 Manchester Games.

ICC headquarter stays in Dubai

DUBAI: The headquarters of International Cricket Council will not be shifted out of Dubai, the world cricket body has decided during a two-day meeting, putting an end to speculations that it may relocate to London.

“The matter of relocation is now closed,” an ICC statement, released after the council’s two-day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, said

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some more wallpapers of Messi








Roddick, Isner into 2nd round in Shanghai

SHANGHAI (AP)—Andy Roddick and John Isner advanced to the second round of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday.
Roddick moved on after an ill Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany retired in the second set. Kohlschreiber stopped while trailing 6-3, 2-1 after missing an easy overhead, shanking a forehand wide and double-faulting to drop his serve.
Isner fought off five match points in the two tiebreakers to defeat Polish qualifier Lukasz Kubot 4-6, 7-6 (9), 7-6 (7). Isner served 24 aces, but failed to break Kubot.
Next up for the 20th-ranked Isner is Roger Federer, who received a bye in the first round.
Roddick is looking to avoid falling out of the year-end top 10 for the first time in nine seasons. The 11th-ranked Roddick reached the Japan quarterfinals last week, his first tournament since an early exit at the U.S. Open.
“I thought I hit the ball well in what we did play today,” Roddick said. “I started to hit the ball pretty well last week, also. I don’t feel like I’m fighting myself out there. After the Open, I was able to train the way I want to for the first time in a while.”
Roddick will face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain.
Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic defeated Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-0, 6-4, despite battling stomach problems for the past two days.
“I felt quite weak so I was trying to play a little more aggressively, play really risky shots just to try to hang in there,” Berdych said. “I was really lucky. I don’t know what could have happened if I lost the second set.”
Chinese wildcard Yan Bai, ranked 465th, upset 30th-ranked Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 for his first win on the main tour.
Yan will meet fourth-seeded Andy Murray.
“I have some pressure, of course, because this is my home country,” Yan said. “(Murray) is a very talented player—much better than me. I hope to learn from him in our match.”
David Ferrer rolled past Michael Llodra 7-6 (2), 6-1, while Ivan Ljubicic struggled to beat wildcard Zhang Ze 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Janko Tipsarevic stopped Andrey Golubev 6-3, 6-4, and Daniel Gimeno-Traver, a lucky loser who replaced the injured Mardy Fish, rallied past Denis Istomin 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 before rain shortened the schedule.

PCB sends show-cause notice to Shahid Afridi

Islamabad, Oct 12 (IANS) The Pakistan Cricket Board Tuesday sent a show-cause notice to Shahid Afridi for allegedly violating the central contract.

'Shahid Afridi has violated the central contract,' the notice reads. 'He is barred from giving any interviews to the media without prior consent of the PCB chairman,' it added.

Afridi, Pakistan's one-day and T20 captain, had given an interview to Express TV Sunday in which he expressed reservations over the team selection for the forthcoming series against South Africa.

'The selection committee had discussed the probables for the England tour with me, but I don't know what happened this time around', Afridi had said. 'It's better to sit down and sort these issues out instead of indulging in a blame game later on,' he argued in the interview.

This is the latest controversy to hit Pakistan cricket, already engulfed by several controversies, including suspension of three players on spot-fixing allegations in August.

Salman Butt, captain of the Test team during Pakistan's England tour, is amongst the suspended players, alongwith pacers Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Aamer. The team had to find a new captain for the Test team in the form of the previously discarded batsman Misbah-ul-Haq.

'The board has moved illogically in issuing this show-cause notice,' former Test cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz said, adding that the chairman is trying to find scapegoats to cover up the board's own follies.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pace bowler Umar Gul marries Dubai doctor

Staff Report


ISLAMABAD: After fast bowler Mohammad Asif, pacer Umar Gul has also tied the knot. Gul married a Dubai-based doctor in a simple ceremony attended by close friends and family in Peshawar on Saturday night. Gul, 26, led the groom’s procession to the Peshawar Garrison Club, where the wedding ceremony was held. Following a colourful musical programme at the club, he took his bride home. Asked by reporters about his wife’s name, Gul said: “Don’t ask about her name. It is not considered good in Pashtun.” According to media reports, Gul met his bride in Dubai, where her father runs a construction business. “I am very happy, it is both love and arrange marriage,” he told reporters, adding: “I have become financially sound, that’s why I am marrying now.” The bride is from the Swat district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Provincial information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, sports minister Syed Aaqil Shah and local cricketers attended the ceremony. The walima reception was held at Green Garden in the Army Garrison Park in Peshawar on Sunday. Pakistan cricketers Shahid Afridi, Younus Khan, Yasir Hameed, Wajahatullah Wasti and several others, along with national selector Farrukh Zaman attended the ceremony.

Pakistani and Canadian wrestlers win Indian support besides gold

NEW DELHI: It was like home, away from home for Pakistani and Canadian wrestlers, who not only won gold in their wrestling bouts in the Commonwealth Games, but also an overwhelming support from the Indian crowd.

Canadian wrestler Arjan Singh Bhullar, who has his roots in India, was overwhelmed after winning the gold medal in the 120 kg freestyle at the K.D.Jadhav Indoor Stadium in the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex.

"My roots are in India and the feeling after winning the gold medal here is simply amazing. I had waited for many years for this day. My whole family from Canada had come to New Delhi to support me," the 24-year-old Arjan told IANS.

But Arjan perhaps did not need it. There was a lot more coming forth from the local spectators.

Talking about terrific crowd support, Arjan said: "Indian crowd is spectacular and I felt as if I was a part of these jubilant spectators. In fact, I could not stop myself from doing bhangra to the beats and tunes of Punjabi music that was playing around."

"They are not at all partial and supporting the wrestler of every country. This is an example of true sportsmanship and brotherhood," said Arjan, who is based in British Columbia in Canada.

Pakistan's 21-year-old wrestler Mohammad Inam, who won gold in the 84-kg category, said "This is the happiest moment of my life and it's really difficult to express this feeling in words."

"I am thankful to Indians for their support and hospitality. This is for the first time that I have come here to participate in a wrestling tournament. I will tell all my friends about this amazing experience and would like to come here again in future," said Inam, who hails from Gujranwala district in Pakistan's Punjab state.

Pakistan's wrestling coach Muhammad Amin told IANS that in India he feels like at home.

"There is no difference between India and Pakistan. The crowd is same and they are also equally enthusiastic like Pakistani people. Though Inam was fighting against an Indian wrestler but spectators were also cheering for him," said Amin.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

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PCB Chief against the English players.


PCB chief withdraws remarks against English players London: Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt has withdrawn his remarks in which he had alleged that England player had thrown the third one-dayer against Pakistan at the Oval but maintained that he was misunderstood. Butt had said England players were paid "enormous amounts of money" to lose the third ODI match at the Oval.

Pakistan out of CWG hockey after 4-7 loss to India

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s hopes to reach semi-final of the hockey tournament were shattered as they lost the crucial game in the Commonwealth Games to India 4-7 here
at the 19,000 packed open-air Major Dhyan Chand Stadium

The hockey clash between bitter rivals India and Pakistan sold out several weeks ago, since when residents of the capital have showed limited interest in any of the other sports.

With steeply-banked seats going right down to the field of play, the cauldron atmosphere soon came to a boil as India rocketed off to a 4-0 lead within 20 minutes.

A fifth goal early in the second half took India to 5-2 and well on the way to crowning the evening with a 7-4 final score

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Commonwealth Games 2010: Pakistan Won 1st two Gold Medal In A Hour

Azhar Hussain defeated Ebikewenimo Welson of Nigeria in the final of in 55kg category.
Hussain gave an impressive performance of clever footwork and brute strength to take Welson out by a fall in the second session of the 55kg freestyle final.
On the other side Inam was outplayed and overpowered by Kumar in the first session but, spurred on by teammate Azhar Hussain’s victory in the 55kg final, the big wrestler found the inspiration to overcome the favourite and the chants of a partisan home crowd.
Inam won the next two sessions by the narrowest of margins to take the bout 4-3.

Messi Wallpapers

Saturday, October 9, 2010

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Pakistan ODI, T20 team announced for South Africa series

KARACHI: Pakistan on Thursday left out former captain Shoaib Malik from their 15-man squad and also delayed naming a captain for their neutral venue series against South Africa starting later this month.

Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal, who suffered abdominal problems before being hospitalised on Wednesday, will have to pass a fitness test to get into the team.

Pakistan will play two Twenty20, five one-day and two Tests in the series to be hosted by Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

A Test squad will be announced later. Pakistan will have to find a replacement for Test captain Salman Butt who is suspended over charges of violating ICC (International Cricket Council) code of conduct.

Butt, along with bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were alleged to have taken money to deliberately bowl no-balls during Pakistan's Lord's Test against England in August. All three were not included in the team.

Veteran batsman Misbah-ul-Haq makes a return to the squad.

Allrounder Shahid Afridi led Pakistan team in the one-day series against England which ended in team's 2-3 defeat last month.

Veteran former captain Intikhab Alam will be the manager after Yawar Saeed stepped down following the tour of England marred by spot-fixing allegations.

Former captain Younis Khan's name was also not considered.

Squad: Imran Farhat, Moham
mad Hafeez, Mohammad Yousuf, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Tanveer Ahmed, Zulqarnain Haider.

Sania Mirza beaten by Rodionova in CWG tennis final

NEW DELHI:  Sania Mirza's Delhi dream came crashing down on Saturday when she lost 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (7/3) to Anastasia Rodionova of Australia in the Commonwealth Games final.

The Indian glamour girl had been bent on becoming the first Commonwealth Games tennis champion in front of her adoring home fans, but she met her match in top seeded Rodionova.


As in the semi-final, Mirza clawed her way back from losing the first set and she stood a break up at 2-1 in the decider before the Russian-born Rodionova broke back to level.


The Australian served for the match at 5-3 but was broken to 30 with the crowd wildly cheering on her every fault.


Mirza saved a match point in the following game before levelling the scores and taking the final into a dramatic tie-break.


Rodionova led from the start in that and the stadium went silent when Mirza double-faulted on the fourth match point against her.

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