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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi and Rohan Bopanna Wins Gerry Weber Open title

Indo-Pak Express Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi won their second team title as they defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands and Milos Raonic of Canada in three thrilling sets sets 7-6(8), 3-6, 11-9 in the final of Geery Weber Open in Haale on Sunday. Qureshi and Bopanna took an hour and nineteen minutes to undo their opponents.

Both teams held their serve in the first twelve games of the opening set, levelling the score at 6-6 and forcing a tie-break. Qureshi and Bopanna claimed a late mini-break in the tie-break to win it 10-8. The Indo-Pak duo fired three aces and won 92 percent of the first service points in the first set.

In the second set, Haase and Raonic broke the Indo-Pak team in the eight game and held their serve in the next game, winning the set 6-3.

The Dutch-Canadian pair clinched two mini-breaks early in the match tie-break, racing to a 5-1 lead. Qureshi and Bopanna won three consecutive points to reduce the deficit to 4-5, taking back one mini-break. Both pair held their serve in the next four points to take the score to 6-7. At 9-9, Raonic committed a double fault, awarding a match point to Qureshi and Bopanna. The Indo-Pak Express controlled their nerves and won the match tie-break 11-9.

This is Indo-Pak Express’ first title this year and their maiden title on grass. The pair won their only previous title at the SA Open in Johannesburg, beating beating Ukrainian/Isreali pair of Karol Beck and Harol Levy in three sets 2-6, 6-3, 10-5 in the final last year. 

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ECB launches investigation into Aamer's appearance for local cricket team

The England and Wales Cricket Board has launched an investigation into banned Pakistani bowler Mohammad Aamer's appearance for a village side, and sought a 'full written explanation from the club' in this regard. 

Aamer, who has been banned for five years by an Anti-Corruption Tribunal after proven guilty of spot-fixing during last year's tour of England, played club cricket in Surrey last Saturday, starting for Addington 1743 in a Surrey Cricket League Division One fixture against St Lukes at the LSE ground in New Malden.

Aamer, who faces criminal charges over the bowling of two no-balls in the fourth Test against England last August, claimed he had been told by Surrey Cricket League side Addington 1743 that the game against St Lukes was a 'friendly'.

However, the ICC, who is investigating the matter, has made it clear that the ban prevents Amir from playing cricket at any level, and if it takes a dim view of Aamer's appearance in New Malden on Saturday, his exile may be extended, The Daily Mail reports.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the ECB "announced that it has requested the Surrey Cricket Board to assist it in its investigation of the circumstances surrounding the Pakistan cricketer Mohammed Amir's appearance for Addington 1743 CC in a Surrey Cricket League Division One match last weekend."

"ECB has also written separately to Addington 1743 CC seeking a full written explanation from the club of the events leading up to Amir's appearance in the match," the statement added.

It said that the decision came after the ECB "confirmed Addington 1743 CC falls under its regulatory jurisdiction by virtue of the club being affiliated to the Surrey Cricket Board," adding that the ECB will also continue to assist the ICC with its own inquiry into the matter.

ACB fumes over Latif’s refusal to attend SL camp

Rashid Latif’s unavailability for Afghanistan’s training camp in Sri Lanka is the prime reason why the former Pakistan captain has fallen out with the country’s cricket board, ‘The News’ learnt here on Saturday.

According to sources, Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and their national coach Rashid Latif are at loggerheads over Latif’s unavailability for a training camp in Sri Lanka in preparation for the Inter-continental Cup.

According to sources, Latif is unwilling to travel with the team to Sri Lanka, which is forcing the authorities to break ties with him.

“We have an important camp ahead of us as our main focus is to defend our Inter-continental title but our coach is yet to travel to Sri Lanka with the team,” a source in the ACB said.

“He (Rashid) has instead opted to travel to England where he has signed up with a club as a mentor and has told us that he will be unavailable for two months. This is a serious issue for us, as we are paying heavy salary of around $8000 and also facilitating him with dailies, airfares and other benefits which increase his package to $10,000.”

Latif earlier claimed that Afghanistan players had intentionally underperformed in a three-match one-day series against Pakistan A last month to get him sacked but the official said there is hardly any truth in his claims. But he said that the ACB will still investigate the matter.

The former Pakistan captain is mum over the tussle and has adopted a wait-and-watch policy as he awaits a word from ACB.

Meanwhile, a source said that the 20-day preparatory camp is scheduled to be held in Kandy, where former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Attapatu and leg-spinner Upul Chandana will work as consultants.

“We have lined up Attapatu and Chandana and the two former players will do a world of good to our players, as they will get to learn from the experienced duo,” he said.

It has also been learnt that a proposal for a series between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka A has been sent by ACB and they are waiting for the reply from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

“We have proposed for two T20 matches and three one-day matches. We hope that SLC will not disappoint us, as we are looking to take on stronger sides before beginning our title defense.”

Afghanistan will begin their campaign in the Inter-continental Cup against Canada in early August.

Upbeat Afridi hits the gym

 These are hard times for Shahid Afridi. The former Pakistan captain is facing an uncertain future as a professional cricketer because of a bitter battle with the country’s cricket chiefs, which is now being fought in the court of law.

During a span of a few weeks, Afridi has lost his captaincy and even lost his right, at least for the time being, to make a living by playing professional cricket abroad. He has ‘retired’ from international cricket and is now fighting what could be a long drawn legal battle with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

Things certainly look bleak for Afridi, who till last month was making plans to help Pakistan raise a strong team for next year’s World Twenty20 Championship in Sri Lanka.

But the seasoned allrounder remains upbeat in spite of all the trouble.

Afridi, who is waiting for the June 16 hearing of Sindh High Court, is keeping himself fit by carrying out training sessions on a daily basis. “There is no point in fretting over what has happened in the last couple of weeks,” he told ‘The News’. “The most important thing for me is to get a NOC to play in the Twenty20 tournament in England. I remain hopeful for it and am keeping myself in shape by carrying out strenuous training sessions daily,” he added.

Afridi had to return home from England after the PCB revoked all No Objection Certificates granted to the player after suspending his central contract for “violating” the Boar’s Code of Conduct.

Due to his decision to retire and the ongoing tussle with PCB, many of Afridi’s critics believe that the allrounder’s international career is almost over.

But the 31-year-old Afridi doesn’t think so. “I will play cricket till the time I’m fit. Right now, I’m in good shape and I’m working hard in the gym and in practice,” he said.
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