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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Junaid upbeat ahead of West Indies tour

 The young Pakistani left arm fast bowler Junaid Khan is ready to face the West Indies challenge as Pakistan cricket team will leave for the Caribbean on April 14.
Junaid Khan, who previously toured West Indies with Pakistan A cricket team in earlier this year and had a successful season, was talking to media yesterday and said, “I hope that I would get an opportunity to use the trip to prove my potential. I am fully focused on the West Indies tour and trying my best to keep fit, which is all the more important.”
Junaid was part of Pakistan World Cup squad but didn’t get the opportunity to play any match in the World Cup. His only outing with senior team was in warm-up match against England where he grabbed the opportunity and took three wickets for just 44 runs.
junaid is known as all rounder and can bat in the late middle order. After the exit of young sensation Mohammad Amir from the international cricket, it is widely believed in cricket circles of Pakistan that Junaid has the ability and potential to fill the gap of Amir in Pakistan cricket team.
Pakistan cricket team will play one T20 match, five one day internationals and two test matches against West Indies in their tour of Caribbean.

Lankan govt wants Pakistan team to tour Sri Lanka

Mumbai–Sri Lankan government wants forthcoming series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka be played in Sri Lanka and not in Pakistan as was hinted by the Sri lanka Cricket board official a month ago.
“Sri Lanka Cricket will be pleased to honour our FTP [Future Tours Programme] commitment in Pakistan which is scheduled for October- November 2011, where they will play three Tests and five One-day Internationals,” Nishantha Ranatunga, the board official was reported to have said.
However, the sports minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, while speaking exclusively to this paper, said, “we want the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) home series be played in our country”.
Similar opinion was also expressed by the interim committee chairman, D. S. de Silva. “We want this series be played either in Sri Lanka or at the neutral venue at Dubai or Abu Dhabi”.
In March 2009, the gunmen had attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team on its way to play in the Pakistani city of Lahore. At least six policemen escorting the team bus were killed, along with a driver.
Seven cricketers of the Sri lanka team and an assistant coach (Paul Farbace) and the Pakistani umpire were seriously injured.
No international team has toured Pakistan since then. All teams have pulled out of cricket tours in Pakistan in the recent past citing security concerns.
Interestingly, according to the other independent sources, the FTP issue, though in agenda, was not discussed at length during the ICC board meeting, which was held in Mumbai after the World Cup.

Pak cricket team visits NA

 The Pakistan cricket team on Monday visited the National Assembly and received a warm welcome when the players arrived at Prime Minister’s Visitors Gallery in the National Assembly.

The Pakistan cricket team, led by its captain Shahid Afridi along with Chairman PCB Ijaz Butt as well as other team officials, when arrived at the PM’s Visitor Gallery to witness the proceedings of the National Assembly got a warm welcome by the legislators with desk thumping.

Just after the arrival of Pakistani team, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani also came into the National Assembly. Deputy Speaker National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi welcomed the team and said the nation is proud of them on their performance of reaching to the semi-final of the ICC World Cup.

The cricket team witnessed the proceedings of the House during the question hour and left it after remaining there for some time. Before coming to the National Assembly, Prime Minister Gilani also organised a reception for Pakistan cricket team at the Prime Minister House.

Afridi supports more youngsters for Zimbabwe tour

The skipper of Pakistan cricket team Boom Boom Afridi has said that more youngsters will be included in the Pakistan cricket team for the Zimbabwe tour as Pakistan team need young blood in the squad..
Afridi was attending the ceremony held by Sports Journalists Association of Sindh (SJAS) in his honour and he said, “We can’t replace all the seniors at once. We need to have back up of our senior players. Young cricketers performed well in the World Cup and we are now giving opportunity to the more youngsters in the West Indies tour.”
“When I took over the captaincy my priority was to improve the image of the Pakistan cricket and with the support of the Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board Ijaz Butt, efforts are being made to unite this team again,” he added.
Shahid Afridi also praised the performance of young batsman Asad Shafiq and left arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz and termed them as a good future prospects for Pakistan. Afridi also defended the inclusion of Ahmed Shehzad in the team despite of having poor World Cup and said, “Shehzad had a very good series before the World Cup. He is still very young and we are hoping that he will learn from the mistakes he made in the World Cup and perform well against West Indies.”
On commenting about the Abdul Razzaq’s statement of not utilizing properly in the mega event, Afridi said that all the players were used according to the situation and Razzaq should show patience now. Afridi also said that he has no planned to return to the test cricket and admitted that he doesn’t has the potential of test cricket.
The president of the Sports Journalists’ Association of Sindh (SJAS) Rashid Ali Siddiqui, Senior Vice President Syed Nasar Iqbal, Vice presidents Syed Yahya Hussaini, Tariq Aslam, General Secretary Ubaid-ur-Rehman Awan, Finance Secretary Shahid Ali Khan, Memmbers Managing Committee Mohammad Asif Khan, Abdul Ghaffar, Imtiaz Naranja, Irshad Ali, Mohammad Asghar, Emmad A. Hameed, Zubair Nazeer Khan and Zahid Ghaffar were present on the occasion.

Mohali match improved Pakistan-Indian ties: Gilani

The cricket World Cup semifinal match between India and Pakistan in Mohali has proved to be a catalyst for improving ties between the two countries, says Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Gilani made the remark Monday at a reception hosted by him in honour of the national cricket team, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
He said the semifinal played between Pakistan and India had brought the two governments and two nations closer.
"It is not the question of winning or losing by one country; In fact the winner is the cricket and the people of Pakistan and India," he was quoted as saying.
The cricket team led by Captain Shahid Afridi along with Pakistan Cricket Board chairperson Ejaz Butt, coach Waqar Younis and assistant coach Aqib Javed were present.
On March 30, India beat Pakistan by 29 runs in the thrilling semifinal in Mohali that was witnessed by Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. Gilani's visit to Mohali was dubbed cricket diplomacy.
India went on to lift the World Cup by trouncing Sri Lanka April 2 in Mumbai by six wickets.
Prime Minister Gilani praised the cricket team for its superb performance in the World Cup in which they reached the semi-finals.
He announced Rs.1 million for each team player and Rs.5 lakh each for the management.
Gilani appreciated the cricketers for proving their mettle in difficult circumstances and overcoming the wave of 'sports conspiracies'.
He said he was in favour of continuity of cricket matches between the two countries as it would help develop positive thinking besides providing a friendly entertainment on both sides.
Afridi told the media that his upcoming tour to West Indies was important.
"This cricket team is not just the composition of 12 players; it is the team of 17 crore people and the media," he said.

Pak team to demonstrate better performance in upcoming WI tour: Afridi

Pakistan Captain Shahid Afridi has said that Pakistan cricket team would demonstrate better performance in the upcoming West Indies (WI) tour as the players are playing cricket with confidence. Afridi in a private news channel interview admitted mistakes that he and his team committed in semifinal of the World Cup, saying the mistakes done in the match let his team down. 
Thanking the whole nation for encouraging and supporting cricket team on better performance in the World Cup said: “We will try to give further better performance.”
To a question he said, Junaid Khan would be a match winning bowler in future adding, Umar Gul, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz and Asad Shafiq are very good players.
To another question he said, Imran Khan as a captain had the support of all the main players of Pak cricket team: “I also enjoy the support of the key players,” he added.     
Javed Miandad was asked to serve the national team as a batting coach but, he refused, Afridi said adding, batting coach may also be taken from any other country.
He said the country also has a lot of talent in the coaching field.
Shahid Afridi said, 80 percent of today’s cricket depends on fielding and a team with better fielding performance may change result of a match.
Answering a question on poor fielding, he said the team’s fielding has always remained poor but the team fielded well in the World Cup except the semifinal.
Kamran Akmal is a versatile player, he replied to a query.
To another question he said that he declined the chances of his return to Test match cricket. 
Shahid Afridi who got appreciation in the world cup due to his good captaincy and is flamboyant allrounder, said that he would focus on getting some runs in the upcoming West Indies tour. “I will really work hard to improve my batting,” he said.
Noting the recent improvement in his team, Afridi said that Pakistan could emulate the mighty Australians with proper planning and hard work.
“Our team has improved a lot recently and our performance in World Cup was commendable because we played it under pressure because of a series of setbacks before the tournament,” he said.
The Pakistani players were very ambitious for victory in World Cup Matches, he said.
“Hafeez has a lot of knowledge and always gives free advice, that is why, we call him Professor, Afridi said adding, I am called ‘Lala’ in the team.”
To a question about Sarfraz he said, no doubt, he is a good wicket keeper but, he will have to improve his batting also.
To a question he said, the Indian spectators in Mohali stadium were very disappointed, when Pak team restricted India to 260 despite Sachin Tendulkar’s 85 in their World Cup semifinal clash.
Prior to the beginning of the tournament many of people had no idea that Pakistani team would exhibit such performance, he said. 
To a question about Muhammad Aamir he said, Aamir would play for Pak cricket team in future.

No plans of retirement as of now: Afridi

Pakistan's limited-overs captain Shahid Afridi has made it clear that he has no plans of retirement at the moment, and that he will keep playing for his country "for as long as people can bear" with him.

"When we lost the semi-final World Cup my dad called me right away. He made sure I wasn't going to make any emotional decisions," the Dawn quoted Afridi, as saying in a television interview, referring to Pakistan's suffocating 29-run defeat at the hands of India in the World Cup semi final clash on March 30.

"I have no plans of retirement at the moment and I will play on for as long as people can bear with me. The 2015 World Cup is a long way away, but the 2012 World Twenty20 is definitely something that I'm thinking about," he added.

When asked whom he would back as future captain for Pakistan, Afridi said: "I think that for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the selectors to decide...I can't say much on it."

"At the moment there is no one I can earmark particularly, but there are quite a few young players who can lead the team. When Imran Khan left everyone was wondering where the next leader would come from, but as we all know, there were quite a few capable people who followed," he added.

Talking about the upcoming West Indies tour, where Pakistan will play all three formats of the game, Afridi expressed confidence that the results would "surely be good" if his boys play to their full potential.

"I think right now we have a pretty balanced test side so we can probably achieve what we haven't in the past. The conditions are pretty similar to the subcontinent unlike the past. I really enjoy playing over there because after a hard day's game you can unwind on the beach. If we play to our potential, the results will surely be good," he maintained.

Pak team certainly needs batting coach to overcome their problems: Akram

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has backed limited-overs skipper Shahid Afridi over his demand for a batting coach, saying that an expert can help the national team players overcome their technical problems with the bat.

"Pakistan certainly need a batting coach because he can help them overcome technical problems," Geo Super quoted Akram, as saying.

Noting that most of the international teams have the services of full-time batting coaches, he said Pakistan should also follow suit.

Afridi had said in a recent interview that he had suggested to the Pakistan Cricket Board to look at having a permanent batting coach with the team "to guide the batsmen".

Akram also welcomed Pakistan's decision to rest pacer Umar Gul for the upcoming limited-overs series against the West Indies.

"It's a good idea to rest Umar Gul because he had been playing non-stop cricket and there was a risk that he might have injured himself in West Indies," he said.

Akram agreed that Pakistan have little experience in their pace attack, as three of their most seasoned pacers- Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq- are no more in the limited-overs squad for the Caribbean tour, but was quick to add that it was a good move to give youngsters a chance.

"Our pace attack seems a bit week and inexperienced but I believe that Waqar (Younis) and Aaqib (Javed) can bring the best out of these young boys," he said, referring to the two coaches of the Pakistan team.

Akram also said that the coaches should work on curbing the bowlers' tendency to give away too many extras.

"We have been conceding too many wides in recent times. When a frontline fast bowler gives away extras while trying to go for the wickets then its understandable, but you can't expect medium pacers and spinners to give away so many extras," he pointed out.
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