Ads 468x60px

Friday, May 27, 2011

Irish coach plays down pressure ahead of Pakistan game

Phil Simmons (left) and Paul Stirling

Ireland coach Phil Simmons has denied that his side will be under pressure to prove a point to the International Cricket Council in this weekend's two games against Pakistan in Belfast.
"I don't want to put that pressure on my team," said Simmons.
Misbah-ul-Haq will captain Pakistan in the games on Saturday and Monday.
Misbah was handed the captaincy last week following the sacking of Shahid Afridi, who has not travelled to Ireland because his father is in hospital undergoing liver treatment.
This weekend's matches are Ireland's only opportunity to push their case forward on the field before the ICC's final decision on the 2015 World Cup in June.
However, Simmons has refused to paint the games as crucial to their hopes of winning over the ICC.
We've crossed a stage since last year where we go into games now planning to win, not planning to survive
Phil SimmonsIreland coach
"I don't see these matches as a case of proving the ICC wrong, I think the cricket world knows that it is the wrong decision," said Simmons.
"We will go out there and prove things to ourselves that we can beat these top teams.
"The more we beat them the closer we will get to what we want to achieve which is getting higher in the world rankings."
Kevin O'Brien's thumping century helped Ireland clinch a sensational victory over England at this year's World Cup and Simmons believes such displays have also earned the respect of the full-member nations.
"The big teams think about us a bit more now," added the former West Indies all-rounder.
"I don't think they come and just play us without discussing us.
"We've crossed a stage since last year where we go into games now planning to win, not planning to survive.
"We've got to that stage now where we know we can win games against these guys."
They are capable of beating any side in the world so we've got to be very careful
Waqar YounisPakistan coach
Simmons is confident his side can back up those words and claim at least one win at Stormont over the Bank Holiday weekend
The World Cup semi-finalists arrived in Belfast on Thursday, straight from their tour of the Caribbean, and Simmons believes the sudden change in temperature and conditions will work to his side's advantage.
"If it's as cold as this then there is always that little bit of an advantage."
Pakistan's 15-man squad includes Umar Gul and Younis Khan, who were both rested for the five one-dayers in the Caribbean.
Ireland shocked Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup and coach Waqar Younis has insisted that his side will not make the mistake of underestimating the hosts.
"I've got a lot of respect for Ireland," said the Pakistan coach.
"They are capable of beating any side in the world so we've got to be very careful."
Ireland are without the injured pair Niall O'Brien and George Dockrell.

Pakistan spins into reckoning

Although Pakistan ended the tour of West Indies on a high after a 196-run win in the second and final Test to level the series 1-1, there was a lot to be learnt from the sojourn.
Two centuries in four innings – both coming in Pakistan’s final outing with the bat – dropped catches and a poor show by the tourists’ fast-bowlers on pitches where Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy and Kemar Roach excelled, denied Pakistan a chance to earn their first Test series win in the Caribbean.
Even in the second Test, Pakistan were reduced to 194 for nine before the final pair of Tanvir Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal added a valuable 78. Victory was owed to the spinners as they completed the job on the final day and claimed 15 of the 20 wickets to crush West Indies, whose batting woes troubled them thoughout the tour.
Taufeeq Umar makes a comeback
While Taufeeq Umar reached three figures after eight years – his last century came against South Africa in 2003 when Pakistan won by eight wickets – Misbah hit his first ton as Pakistan’s captain.
However, the result was a more favourable one for the hosts who started off as the underdogs and maintained their record of never losing a Test series against Pakistan at home.
This came after West Indies lost the One-Day International series 3-2, which former players said Pakistan should have clinched 5-0, and beat the tourists in the one-off Twenty20 as well.
Rehman surprised by
spinners’ show
Abdur Rehman, who finished with nine wickets in two matches, was surprised by the support the West Indies pitches offered to the spinners. Pakistan slow bowlers claimed 32 of the 40 available wickets with left-arm spinner Rehman picking up four for 65 on the last day of the second Test.
“We’ve been surprised by the bounce and spin that we have gotten from the pitches,” said Rehman. “West Indies have struggled against us. It would not be a bad idea to dig up this pitch, and carry it around with me, so that I can get plenty of wickets.”
Rehman also echoed views of captain Misbah with both praising the team’s fighting spirit after the poor start to the final Test.
“It really has been a good comeback for us. Our batting struggled on the first day, but this is the way cricket is played. Our coaches kept encouraging us, and giving us confidence, and they told us not to worry about what happened.”
WI captain satisfied
Sammy, the West Indies captain, was focusing on the positives during the series and was geared up to face India, the world’s number one ranked Test team, next.
“We did a great job getting the win in Guyana and we were looking for similar success here in St Kitts, but things did not go our way,” said Sammy. “Pakistan played some good cricket and you have to give them credit. Our bowlers did all that was asked of them all throughout the series. They bowled with heart and that is what we asked.”
Rampaul collected 11 wickets in the two-match Test series and was the leading fast-bowler just ahead of his captain, Darren Sammy, who finished with 10 wickets.
Taufeeq Umar
The opener made his first Test appearance in four years against South Africa last year and scored two half-centuries in 10 innings leading up to the second Test. After a 11 in the first-innings, Taufeeq hit 135 on a low pitch after being given two lifelines.
Misbahul Haq
A tally of 79 runs in three innings did not do justice to Misbah, who had scored six successive half-centuries before the tour. The Test captain matched the failure by scoring his first ton as captain and increased the run-rate before the declaration.
Wahab Riaz
Pitches where Rampaul and Sammy claimed 21 wickets between them, Riaz’s haul of four did not impress. But the fact that Pakistan spinners were so successful forced their use and Riaz had to be content bowling 41 overs in four innings.
Saaed Ajmal
He was Pakistan’s star during the series. The off-spinner’s celebration may have been cut short by Viv Richards’ comments but the 33-year-old was Pakistan’s main weapon against a West Indies batting line-up that struggled in face of the spinners.


PCB requests tight security for Afghanistan Cricket Team

The Pakistan Cricket Board has requested the Ministry of Interior to provide fool proof security to the visiting Afghanistan team, which will enable them to show the rest of the world that Pakistan is a safe place for the International teams.
Afghanistan is the first team to visit Pakistan after the attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team on March 3, 2009, in Lahore, when terrorists attacked their tour bus.
Afghanistan team is in Pakistan to play three unofficial One Day International matches against Pakistan ‘A’.
The first match was played in Islamabad on May 25, 2011, the second match is being played at Rawalpindi on May 27 and the last will be played at Faisalabad on May 29.
According to recent TV footage the Afghanistan Cricket team was escorted by just one police van which carried only three force men. Such neglection by the security agencies could have proved fatal in case of any attempt on the team.
The security agencies have claimed that they are having a close watch on the visiting team and most of the security persons are not necessarily in uniform but they are very much vigilant.
"Because of the prevailing situation in the country where militants are targeting security agencies and police as part of their terrorist activities the law enforcement agencies don't want to be prominent in their presence around the Afghanistan team by having uniformed policemen to guard the players," the official claimed.
The Chairman of PCB, Ijaz Butt is convinced that government will honour their request seriously and the ongoing series will end with a positive note.
"We are constantly in touch with the government over the security arrangements. We are coordinating with them but the responsibility of providing the security is with the police and other security agencies," he said.
The series between Afghanistan and Pakistan ‘A’ carries importance for Pakistan cricket as it is being followed by the entire world. PCB can encourage the International sides to visit Pakistan by providing adequate security and self assurance to the visitors.

Sana Mir hopeful of int’l cricket revival in Pakistan

Sana Mir hopeful of int’l cricket revival in Pakistan Pakistan women cricket players were jubilant while celebrating Pakistan's first ODI victory over Afghanistan saying that this tour would help revive international cricket in the country. 
Afghanistan is the first team to tour Pakistan after terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team in March 2009. "Pakistan is a cricket-loving nation and after the Afghanistan team tour, others will follow the same," Pakistan women cricket team captain Sana Mir said Thursday. 
Sana, who was the 'Player of the Tournament' at the 2008 Women's Cricket World Cup qualifiers, and currently ranked 16th in the ICC Women's ODI Bowlers rankings, also said there was an urgent need of an international women's coach for the women's cricket team. "A woman can understand other woman better than a man," she said. She hailed awarding central contracts as, according to her, it would help women cricket blossom. "Twenty-20 Pentangular Women Cricket Tournament is the result of PCB efforts and commitment to women games. She said female cricketers needed encouragement and reward for their hard work. 
Another Pakistan women player Nain Abidi sought government support for the promotion of women cricket in the country demanding that the matches should be telecast so as to promote the game. She said women cricketers were no less than men as they brought the first Asian Games gold medal from China last year. "It was due to our hard work and devotion to the game. 
Women's cricket over the years has been transformed into a specialised sport, which requires full time commitment," she said.

Misbah’s Pakistan face tricky Ireland series

Pakistan are set to play a two-match one-day series against Ireland with Misbah-ul-Haq, their fifth limited overs captain in three years.
Misban was handed the captaincy last week following the sacking of Shahid Afridi, who, it was announced on Tuesday, is not travelling to Ireland.
“Afridi has informed us that his father has been admitted to hospital for liver treatment and he wants to be with him and would not be available for the two matches in Ireland,” said Pakistan Cricket Board spokesman Nadeem Sarwar.
The 31-year-old Afridi took over as Pakistan captain last year and guided the team to the World Cup semi-final where they lost to India – who went on to win the final – in March.
After the recent series against the West Indies, Afridi accused Pakistan coach Waqar Younis of meddling in team selection upon his return home on May 9.
“Everyone should do his job and should be answerable for his duties,” Afridi said. When asked about his differences with Waqar, he replied: “They are not at a stage where we cannot resolve them.”
The weather could hardly be more different to that in the Caribbean the Pakistanis left barely 24 hours earlier before they arrived in Belfast here on Thursday amid cool, breezy conditions.
Meanwhile, the Stormont ground, the venue for both matches, on Saturday and Monday, was too wet Thursday to allow Ireland to train.
If Pakistan can adapt to the drop in temperatures and not think too longingly of home after more than a month away, they should have enough all-round strength to see off the leading Associate nation. But anything less than a fully committed performance could see them struggling.
Since Ireland knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup, they have gone from strength to strength, defeating England at this year’s edition.
And even one victory against Pakistan will consolidate their 10th place ranking in the ODI table, just four places behind the tourists.
Afridi will probably be missed more by the Irish public – he was a popular professional for Ireland in 2006 – than his team-mates because his bowling is much more dangerous than his batting these days and, as Pakistan proved in the Test matches in the West Indies, they have plenty of quality slow bowling.
Between them Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Mohammad Hafeez took 32 of the 40 wickets in the two matches although it is unlikely the Stormont pitch will turn nearly as much as in Guyana or St Kitts.
Ireland coach Phil Simmons, the former West Indies all-rounder, is hoping for a similar surface to the one served up at Stormint for the ODIs against Bangladesh in July last year.
That pitch didn’t turn, the Tigers were tamed and Ireland drew the series 1-1.
While Pakistan have a 15-man squad at their disposal, including the return of Umar Gul and Younis Khan, both rested for the five one-dayers in the Caribbean, Ireland will be without the injured Niall O’Brien and George Dockrell.
O’Brien, man of the match in the 2007 World Cup match between the teams, is averaging 94 in one-day cricket for his county Northamptonshire this year.
Dockrell, a talented 18-year-old left-arm spinner, took this year’s World Cup by storm but hasn’t bowled a ball since dislocating his shoulder in Ireland’s last game against the Netherlands in Kolkata 10 weeks ago.

Intikhab Alam's report led to Afridi's sacking as captain

Shahid Afridi's media outbursts were not the only reason for his sacking as Pakistancaptain, it has emerged that team managerIntikhab Alam and coach Waqar Youniscontributed to it with a critical report of his conduct during the just-concluded tour of the West Indies.

Well-placed sources in the board have confirmed that the report was sent after the ODI series during which serious differences developed between Afridi and the team management over selection issues.

"PCB Chairman Ijaz Butt asked the manager and coach to send a report on reported incidents where Afridi walked out of a team meeting and was also reluctant to lead the team in the last two one-day internationals because of selection issues with Waqar," a source disclosed.

"The manager in his report outlined the details of the incident and differences between Afridi and Waqar and also highlighted that Afridi had not behaved like a captain during the entire episode and was only persuaded to lead and play in the last two one-dayers by Intikhab and all this drama had a detrimental effect on the team atmosphere," the source said.

Pakistan lost the last two one-dayers in the West Indies after winning the first three in a row by comfortable margins and appeared set to clean sweep the five-match rubber.

The board has not given any reason for removing Afridi as captain of the one-day team but Butt has admitted there were disciplinary reasons for changing the captain.

"I will not elaborate on the reasons right now but I can say this much we had valid ground for taking this decision and we will give details once the Pakistan team returns home and we get the full tour report from the manager and coach," Butt said.

Butt insisted that the board was very clear now that no indiscipline would be tolerated from any player.

The PCB chief said a full review of the happenings in the West Indies would take place once the team is home and anyone found guilty of causing damage to team spirt and discipline would be taken to task.

Butt, while removing Afridi as captain, appointed senior batsman Misbah-ul-Haq to lead the team in the two one-dayers against Ireland on May 28 and 30.

Afridi, who was picked as a player for the two one-dayers, has pulled out of the series due to the illness of his ailing father who is under treatment in the USA.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that Intikhab has played a role in getting the captain changed.

In early 2009, as coach of the national team, he and the then manager Yawar Saeed recommended replacing Shoaib Malik as captain who they felt was not able to communicate properly with the other players.

Later that year, Intikhab and Yawar were again in charge when Younis Khan pulled out of the team and stepped down as captain during a one-day series in the UAE.

Yawar was later accused of helping Afridi, Malik and some other players meet Butt to whom they voiced their opposition to Younis as captain.

After the tour to Australia in mid 2009 it was on Intikhab and Yawar's reports that the board held an inquiry and removed Muhammad Yousuf as Test captain.


Coach Waqar Younis has refused to speculate on the possibility of Shahid Afridi returning as Pakistan's limited overs captain.
Afridi was stripped of the captaincy on the eve of this weekend's two one-day internationals against Ireland in Belfast after allegedly claiming interference from Pakistan Cricket Board officials in team selection.
The all-rounder is due to face a meeting with the PCB to explain his comments, although the governing body have denied his demotion came as a result of them.
Afridi was widely lauded after leading Pakistan to the semi-finals of the World Cup in March but, after pulling out of the Ireland series to be with his sick father, question marks remain around his future role with the national side.
"I have got no idea about that. It is the Cricket Board's decision what they want to do about the captaincy," Waqar said.
"My job is to look after the team and to deliver the goods.
"It's tough to say anything about it."
Waqar also denied reports he had fallen out with Afridi, after claims the all-rounder had also been unhappy with his role with the team.
"It was the papers that made all this," he added. "There is nothing in it."
Waqar was more concerned with his team's preparations ahead of Saturday's opening match against an Ireland team he is wary of following their World Cup exploits.
Waqar pointed to Ireland's stunning success over England on the sub-continent as reason to be on guard as he aims to maintain his side's motivation for a series that has followed hot on the heels of a tour of the Caribbean.
"They are a good side. They are young, they are very enthusiastic," he added.
"They chased 300-plus against England. Who thought they could do that?
"They are a very positive side and they are big fighters. We have to play really well."
Waqar is also fearful of literally being caught cold by the Irish after his side flew in from the balmy temperatures in the West Indies on Thursday.
"Coming from 35-40 degrees with a lot of humidity there and coming into this weather it is hard to adjust, especially with all those flights as well," added Waqar, who also pledged to play a full-strength team.
"I think we are professional enough to adapt to the conditions very quickly.
"We know what Ireland are capable of. They are a very tough opponent. We have to be very, very careful."
The Pakistan coach also backed calls, led by the Irish, for the International Cricket Council to backtrack on their decision not to include associate nations at the next World Cup in Australia.
The ICC's chief executive committee is due to discuss the possibility of introducing a qualification process at a meeting in Hong Kong next month.
Waqar believes Ireland would be fully deserving if a decision was made to allow them a route back into the 2015 World Cup.
"Just looking at the last World Cup, because I haven't seen much of their cricket outside that, but there they played like champions. It was top-level cricket," he said.
"The ICC have got a different ruling but I personally believe they have a good side and they are getting better day by day."

PCB to investigate Umar Akmal and others regarding Zulqarnain Haider

  • PCB to investigate Umar Akmal and others regarding Zulqarnain Haider
PCB to investigate Umar Akmal and others regarding Zulqarnain Haider
The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) disciplinary committee has decided to summon Umar Akmal and other team members to move ahead with their inqurity regarding the Zulqarnain Haider case.
The committee headed by Sultan Rana, the chief of domestic cricket, includes three members to probe into the matter and to know the reasons for which the former wicket-keeper had to leave the team’s hotel in Dubai, few hours before the last ODI against South Africa.
The board has been making continuous efforts to know the actual facts behind this incident, and for this purpose, it also issued a questionnaire to the former cricketer.
Zulqarnain, who sought asylum in London after abdicating the team, cited that he had received death threats and was being forced to fix the match.
Later, he also announced his retirement from the international cricket saying that he did not wish to play for Pakistan anymore.
However, spending almost six months in Britain, the player  decided to come back home and withdrew the asylum application.
His move came after he was assured of his and his family’s security by Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik.
On reaching Pakistan, the cricketer was provided with proper security and was kept at an undisclosed location in Islamabad, for security concerns.
Zulqarnain revealed that one of the bookies involved in threatening him, was an Indian. He also blamed Umar for his strange behavior during the One-Day series against South Africa, last November in UAE.
"Yes, the committee will also question Umar Akmal and some other players because the allegations made by Haider are serious ones," a PCB official said.
Using Zulqarnain’s information, Pakistan police raided a group of eight bookies in Sialkot and retrieved evidences.
Although, the wicket-keeper wanted to resume his cricketing career with the Pakistan team, the board’s officials said that the player will remain suspended until the committee reaches a final decision.
According to media reports the inquiry committee is expected in june.

Shahid Afridi signs up with Hampshire Royals to play Friends Life T20

  • Shahid Afridi signs up with Hampshire Royals to play Friends Life T20
Shahid Afridi signs up with Hampshire Royals to play Friends Life T20
The recently sacked skipper of Pakistan Cricket Team, Shahid Afridi, has signed with Hampshire Royals to play in the English domestic cricket’s new Friends Life T20 tournament.
The English players are delighted to have the top wicket-taker of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 among them and they believe that the all-rounder will shower success on them.
Afridi has recently been axed from captaincy following his row with the team coach, Waqar Younis. Misbah-ul-Haq has been given both the Test and ODI reins.
However, Afridi was included in the ODI squad for the team’s upcoming matches against Ireland, but he pulled out voluntarily.
Afridi has mastery over the limited-over format of the game. He poses to be the highest wicket-taker of T20 cricket so far. In 43 games, he has 53 wickets.
The former Pakistani skipper hopes that he will play an instrumental role in Hampshire’s success in the upcoming tournament.
He said, “I hope very much to play a big part in the club's success in 2011.”
The all-rounder further elaborated, "Having played at the Rose Bowl for Pakistan, I know it's becoming one of the best places to watch cricket.”
A Pakistani pacer, Umar Gul, has also joined Sussex Sharks to play in the tournament.
Another Asian player to play the tournament is Sri Lankan spin star, Muttiah Muralitharan, who has signed up with Gloucestershire Gladiators.
The Friends Life T20 league was founded in 2010 and is organized by the England Cricket Board (ECB).
It contains 18 teams and two phases, Group stage and Knockouts. The current champion of the league is Hampshire.
Afridi vows to deliver his maximum for the defending champions and earn another title for them.
The 1st match of the tournament will be played between Hampshire and Somerset on June 1 at The Rose Bowl.
Afridi has reached England in order to have interaction with his new teammates and get acclimatized with the weather and the field.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...