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Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Nasser Hussain wary of a controversy-free Pakistan cricket team – Cricket News Update
The former England captain, Nasser Hussain, has said that Pakistan could have been a biggest threat for England’s current status as the world’s best Test side had they been free of all the controversies embroiling the men in green for the past one year.

In an interview with a leading sports channel, the cricketer turned commentator did not agree with the host’s suggestion that South Africa are the biggest threat for the No. 1 spot of England.

They [South Africa] are, away from the subcontinent,” said the cricketer turned commentator. “If you had all of the Pakistan team available, and all fit, and none of the politics and none of the going around in circles with captains and all that, with their bowling attack, they would be a threat, but unfortunately that's not the case,” he added further.

He however, agreed that the Proteas are also a formidable side and pose a threat to England’s numero uno Test status. At the same time Nasser takes some positives from the South African squad that lacks variety.

“...they rely heavily on [Morne] Morkel and [Dale] Steyn. Imran Tahir is a very useful addition to them,” said the India-born former England cricketer. “But Jacques [Kallis] is not young, [Mark] Boucher is not young. I don't know who is going to keep wicket, whether AB [de Villiers] will take over. They are a good side, but I still fancy England,” he added further.

England recently toppled India as the world’s number Test side, inflicting a devastating 4-0 whitewash on Dhoni and his men. The thrashing pushed India to the number three spot on the ICC Test rankings table, just behind South Africa.

After losing the Test series and the only T20, India are currently playing England in the five-match One-Day series with eight of its key players out of the series with injuries.

When asked whether the ODI series between India and England would be tightly fought, Nasser said that without the likes of Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir, it is quite difficult for India to turn the result around.

I don't follow cricket anymore: Inzamam

He represented Pakistan in 120 Tests and 378 one-dayers but retired former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has lost interest in cricket now and says he is so engrossed in his construction business that he doesn't even keep track of the national team's fortunes.

The 41-year-old said he does not follow game any more and has no desire to seek any role in Pakistan cricket.

Inzamam, who retired after the 2007 World Cup, told the "Express Tribune" newspaper that he was now more focused on his business.

"I'm retired now and busy managing my construction business so I don't normally follow cricket anymore. My passion for the game has faded," he said.

Despite being the country's second highest Test run-getter after Javed Miandad, the burly batsman said he does not enjoy following the national team's progress.

"If Pakistan is playing Zimbabwe nowadays, what interest can I have in following the team's fortunes?" he questioned.

"I don't know much about the Zimbabwe team, plus we have so many new faces whom I don't know that I don't see any point in commenting upon their performances."

Unlike other former Test greats who keep themselves involved in the game, Inzamam, who now also spends a lot of time on religious preaching tours, said he has no desire to be part of the sport in any capacity.

"I'm least interested in finding any role in cricket at any level. I have already served Pakistan cricket a lot."

Razzaq relishes Champions League cricket in India

Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq on Wednesday said he was relishing the prospect of playing Champions League matches in India, where he aims to do his bit for improved neighbourly relations.

The 31-year-old will feature in the qualifying rounds of the September 19-October 9 league for Leicestershire, the English county side who won the domestic Twenty20 tournament.

Razzaq will become only the second Pakistani to play in the Champions League after Yasir Arafat, who represented Sussex in the first year of the tournament in 2009.

"I am really very excited to be playing in India," Razzaq told AFP. "It's a great chance and I will take a message of goodwill for Indians."

The Board of Control for India (BCCI), which runs the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) as well as the Champions League, barred Pakistani players from featuring in both events after they played in the inaugural IPL in 2008.

No Pakistani team is again invited to the Champions League, an event where the winners of Twenty20 competitions in top Test playing countries take part -- but Razzaq hopes that will change.

"I hope the respective governments will negotiate to resume the Indo-Pak cricket because without India and Pakistan playing each other, cricket is deprived of a high-profile, most-watched cricket series," said Razzaq.

India stalled sporting and other ties with neighbour and old rival Pakistan in the aftermath of the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, which New Delhi blamed on militants based across the border.

But Razzaq said cricket was "the binding force" between India and Pakistan, two countries where the game is massively popular.

"Doors should always be open for sportsmen or else you change the name of cricket, because cricket is the binding force between these two countries, which we have seen in the past," he said.

Razzaq claimed that an IPL without Pakistani players is less attractive.

"When we played in the ICL (Indian Cricket League) the whole charm of that league was Pakistani players playing in India, so I hope that after I go and play the Champions League, India also open doors of IPL for Pakistani players.

"I have faced no problems playing in India and even in the worst of times people of India welcome Pakistani players with open hearts and I hope I am soon part of a Pakistani team playing against India."

There are suggestions that might happen soon.

Pakistan Cricket Board has said it is negotiating with the BCCI over a possible tour to India next year -- approved under the Future Tours Programme of the International Cricket Council.

Razzaq also hopes Pakistan find a suitable coach after Waqar Younis.

"Pakistan needs a coach who can motivate the players and don't have ego problems," said Razzaq, who was dropped after the World Cup in March.

He has so far played 46 Tests, 262 one-day internationals and 26 Twenty20s for Pakistan.

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