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Pak vs Eng: Injuries, poor performance make selection tough for PCB



  • Double whammy for Pakistan selectors.
  • Selectors hold meetings ahead of team announcement for England series.
  • Sarfaraz Ahmed may get a chance if Mohammad Rizwan is rested.

The national selection committee is facing a tough time in announcing the team for the England series and the T20 World Cup in Australia amid multiple fitness issues and poor performance in the recently concluded Asia Cup 2022.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is supposed to finalise the squad for the seven-match series in a couple of days while the world cup cut-off date for team submission is September 15.

According to a report by The News, chief selector Mohammad Wasim, captain Babar Azam and head coach Saqlain Mushtaq held a meeting on Tuesday and are expected to meet again over the next two days to decide on the formation of the team for the upcoming international outings.

It is unlikely that Pakistan will go on to meet the deadline set forth by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to name the team for the World Cup and might request an extension.

“We have not yet requested the ICC for any extension in deadline but that is possible if the selectors desire so. There have been traditions where the ICC in some cases has given extra time to a member country to submit names for important events. I think the situation would get clear within the next two days,” a source within the board said.

Who is fit, who isn’t

Besides Shaheen Shah Afridi who is undergoing rehab in London, the national selectors are not sure at this point whether all the players who represented Pakistan in the Asia Cup are fully fit to take on England.

“The injury to Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan and Shahnawaz Dahani is a real concern. Selectors are waiting for the expert opinion on cricketers’ injury status before finalising the team for the England series, a source confided to the publication.

About Afridi, the source added, he would not be in a position to play the first five matches against England and depending on his fitness status he may be selected to play at least one of the matches before heading to New Zealand for the tri-series.

Sarfaraz Ahmad likely to make the cut

Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, who played the last two Asia Cup matches with knee problems, is also likely to be rested at least for the first half of the series against England.

Shadab’s injury status is also not clear yet. However, all these injured players have time at their disposal to get fit and ready before the team departs for New Zealand in the first week of October.

One of the tricky questions selectors face at present is the selection of an extra wicketkeeper with the squad to Down Under.

In case the selectors go in favour of a second wicket-keeper for the T20 World Cup, it is likely that he would be given a chance against England.

Chances are there that Sarfaraz Ahmed may be asked to keep wickets against England at least for the first half of the England series. In that case we may well see the reserve wicket-keeper travelling with the team to Down Under.

Extra player in World Cup squad

“Option of including one extra player in the T20 World Cup squad on all expenses paid by the ‘PCB’ is also under consideration,” the sources said.

“Apart from a 15-member squad, one of two extra players may be included in the team for the tri-series and later for the World Cup. However, these players would only participate in the World Cup, if some genuine injury problems erupt in between. Chances, however, are there that a reserve wicketkeeper may be included in the 15-member World Cup team, at the expense of a genuine batter.”


‘Dirty politics’: Shaheen comes out in defence of Shahid Afridi




Star pacer Shaheen Afridi has come out in defence of his father-in-law Shahid Afridi who has been dragged into “dirty politics” by a fake statement about former prime minister Imran Khan.

“I request you all to only think about Pakistan. We should not indulge ourselves into any act which divides us further,” the Pakistani cricketer said in a statement, sharing a video statement of Shahid Afridi.

“Hum Sab ko apni apni fields me positive reh ker Pakistan ka haq Ada kerna hoga. Pakistan Noor hai or Allah pak is Noor Ki Hamesha hifazat farmayain ge, Ameen.”

Earlier, in a hard-hitting video statement, the former Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi slammed those dragging him in their “dirty politics”.

“I am observing since yesterday that a statement is being shared on social media under my name about former prime minister Imran Khan is very sad news. Whoever is doing this, is indulging in very dirty politics. Neither I want to be part of this activity nor I am involved in this.”

The former chief selector, in a visibly angry mood, said that he had the courage to say whatever he wants to say.

“I never made any such statement anywhere on my social media. So please don’t involve me in this dirty politics. Aap ko apki siasat mubarak ho. My only politics is to serve this nation.”

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Pak vs NZ: PCB revises schedule of New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan




LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday revised the schedule of the limited-overs tour of New Zealand to Pakistan due to “elections in Punjab”. 

The Blackcaps are scheduled to play five ODIs and five T20Is with the PCB and New Zealand Cricket “unanimously” agreeing to make “tweaks” to the tour, the board said in a statement today.

According to sources, the itinerary was changed due to the upcoming general elections in Punjab scheduled on April 30.

As per the new schedule, New Zealand will arrive in Lahore and play three T20Is from April 14-17, before traveling to Rawalpindi where the final two T20Is and first ODI will be played from April 20-26. 

The tour will end in Karachi with the remaining four ODIs to be played from April 30-May 7.

The PCB said that this is an additional tour by the New Zealand cricket team and the matches will count towards ICC Team Rankings.

The ODIs will also help Pakistan to prepare their side for the Asia Cup and ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, while the T20I will assist the PCB to continue with their rebuilding of the side for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, which will be held in the USA and West Indies in June/July 2024.

Revised schedule:

  • April 14 – 1st T20I, Lahore
  • April 15– 2nd T20I, Lahore
  • April 17– 3rd T20I, Lahore
  • April 20– 4th T20I, Rawalpindi
  • April 24– 5th T20I, Rawalpindi
  • April 26– 1st ODI, Rawalpindi
  • April 30– 2nd ODI, Karachi
  • May 3 – 3rd ODI, Karachi
  • May 5 – 4th ODI, Karachi
  • May 7 – 5th ODI, Karachi

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PSL 2023: Babar Azam becomes top-run scorer




Peshawar Zalmi skipper Babar Azam became the top scorer of the ongoing season of Pakistan Super League (PSL) during the second Eliminator against Lahore Qalandars at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Friday.

Babar has outclassed Multan Sultans skipper Mohammad Rizwan who has played 11 matches and scored 516 runs in this edition.

As Babar scored his 37th run during the Eliminator, his total score for the tournament so far jumped to 522, surpassing Rizwan’s total.

The match is also Babar’s eleventh match in this edition.

This is the second time Babar has passed the 500-run mark. He first achieved this milestone during the 6th edition of the tournament in 2021, scoring 554 runs.

Previous records

Despite a rough start for the Zalmi during the tournament, the side’s captain seems to be on a roll. In the match against Islamabad United yesterday, Babar became the fastest cricketer to score 9,000 runs in T20 cricket.

Earlier, during the 27th match of the tournament, the right-handed batter smashed another 50 — the fastest 50 of his T20 career.

The right-handed batter scored 73 off 39 balls to help Zalmi score 242-6 in 20 overs. It was also his 83rd 50+ score in T20s.

Two days before that, during the 25th fixture of the tournament Babar also achieved another milestone. The skipper scored his first PSL century.

Babar managed to score 115 runs at a strike rate of 171.66 during a match against Quetta Gladiators at the Pindi Cricket Stadium — silencing his critics. His knock consisted of 15 fours and three maximums.

In PSL alone, the national side skipper has scored 2935 runs in the 77 innings he has played since the maiden season of Pakistan’s premier league. While Babar has one ton to his name — which he smashed in the ongoing season — he has scored 28 50s to date.

Babar has smashed 323 fours and 46 sixes in the PSL seasons he featured in.

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