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Pak vs SL: ‘Didn’t feel unsafe’, Babar Azam rebuffs security concerns in Sri Lanka

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  • Babar Azam says “Sri Lanka Cricket has looked after us really well and security provided to us is great”.
  • Says team will try their best to perform well in series and is well prepared for task.
  • Says, “I sent a message to Kohli to extend him support.”

GALLE: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam Friday expressed confidence in the security arrangements for the national Test squad that is visiting Galle for a Test series, as Sri Lanka goes through countrywide protests against the president and prime minister seeking their resignations.

Speaking to the press ahead of the first of the two-match series slated to begin July 16 at Galle International Stadium, Babar said that the team is being “looked after well” by the local authorities.

The squad arrived in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo last week when the economic crisis sparked protests there, forcing Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign as the country’s president. The team played a three-day warm-up match in the capital and then travelled to Galle.

“We didn’t feel unsafe here in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Cricket has looked after us really well and the security provided to us is great,” the Pakistani captain said, adding they also played a warm-up game there so everything was fine and they were focused on the series.

“There were no hurdles that made us feel unsafe.”

The star batter said Sri Lankan people love cricket and they saw a lot of enthusiasm in the Test series against Australia.

“We hope fans will come to the stadium in this series as well.”

‘We are prepared for Test series’

The Pakistani captain said that the team will try its best to perform well in the series and was well prepared for the task.

“I like the ground in Galle. The Sri Lankan team is very tough in home conditions,” Babar Azam said, adding that Australia’s series first gave the team an idea of what the conditions would be like.

“We have come here to play after a long time, we have done our homework.”

Galle pitch supports spinners a lot, the skipper said. “Sri Lankan spinners are very good and we have prepared accordingly.”

Defending the inclusion of Yasir Shah in the squad, Babar said he has come back after hard work and hoped that he will give a tough time to the rival team.

‘Virat Kohli needs support’

In a message of support to former Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who is going through a rough patch, Babar said that as a player, he knows how to get through and out of tough situations.

“Players need sport at such a time, I sent a message to Kohli to give him support.”

Babar said that Kohli was a great player and played a lot of cricket.

“Virat Kohli knows how to get out of these things, it takes time but we should lend him support so he comes of out it sooner than earlier,” he concluded.

On late Thursday, Babar tweeted a photo with Kohli and extended his support to the former Indian skipper. “This too shall pass. Stay strong,” Babar had written for Kohli who last made his international century in 2019. 

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Shaheen Afridi and Babar Azam get special jerseys from PCB chairman

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After the victory over Ireland, Babar Azam surpassed Uganda’s Brian Masaba (44 victories) to become the most successful skipper in T20I history with 45 wins. Since taking over as captain in 2019, Azam has guided Pakistan in 78 games.

In the interim, Shaheen Afridi reached the noteworthy landmark of 300 wickets in international cricket. During the second Twenty20 International, Ireland skipper Paul Stirling became his 300th wicket.

The 24-year-old is also the fifth-youngest bowler to reach the mark.

Since making his international debut in 2018, he has played in 145 matches across all formats for Pakistan. In Test cricket, he claimed 113 wickets, while in ODI and T20I, he claimed 104 and 84 wickets respectively.

Interestingly, in the second Twenty20 International, Pakistan chose to bowl first, and in the fourth over, Afridi dismissed both of Ireland’s openers, bringing the score down to 34-2.

Nonetheless, Ireland reached 193 in their allotted 20 overs thanks to an outstanding 51 runs from 34 balls by Lorcan Tucker, which included five boundaries and two sixes. Gareth Delany also hit a rapid 28 off 10 balls.

Thanks to the half-centuries of Fakkhar Zaman and Muhammad Rizwan, Pakistan was able to successfully chase the 194-run mark with 19 balls remaining.

After early wickets from Babar Azam (0) and Saim Ayub (6), they put up a 140-run partnership in 78 balls to turn the tide of the match in Pakistan’s favour.

With an undefeated 75 off 46 balls that included six boundaries and four sixes, Rizwan top-scored for Pakistan, while Zaman was removed after making 78 runs off of 40 balls.

Another important contributor was Azam Khan, who scored an undefeated 30 off 10 with four sixes. In the seventeenth over, he blasted three sixes off Mark Adair to end the match in spectacular fashion.

Pakistan and Ireland will play their third and final Twenty20 International tomorrow, May 14.

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PCB will install floodlights for PSL matches at Quetta Stadium.

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By installing floodlights by September, PCB will keep its word. Following stadium renovations, PSL matches would also be held in Quetta, according to Naqvi, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

He stated at a press conference held at Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti Cricket Stadium that the possibility of holding Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in Quetta was being considered.

In Gwadar and Quetta, he said, the PCB would do its part to promote cricket.
Quetta Stadium will soon have floodlights installed, as announced by the interior minister, which Chief Minister Bugti congratulated for the news.

The province has a wealth of skills, and installing floodlights will help promote sports and cricket in particular. He responded to a query by saying that chances will be given to the province’s youth at the federal level.

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The women’s team from Pakistan travels to England for a white-ball series.

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The national squad left Karachi earlier today to play three Twenty20 Internationals and three One-Day Internationals in the series.

Dr. Muhammad Faisal, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in England, greeted the women’s team and management.

The team will soon depart for Leicester to play a practice match on 9 May against the ECB Development XI. On May 11, in Birmingham, the first Twenty20 International will take place.

Notably, this will be Pakistan’s eighth and final series of the current event cycle. The ODIs in the series are a part of the ICC Women’s Championship 2022–25.

Pakistan women squad for England tour

Nida Dar (captain), Aliya Riaz, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Gull Feroza, Muneeba Ali (wk), Najiha Alvi (wk), Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Rameen Shamim, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Amin, Tuba Hassan, Umm-e-Hani and Waheeda Akhtar

Player support personnel: Nahida Khan (manager), Mauhtashim Rasheed (interim head coach), Saleem Jaffar (bowling coach), Taufeeq Umar (batting coach), Hanif Malik (fielding coach), Syed Nazir Ahmed (media manager), Rabia Siddiq (physiotherapist), Zubair Ahmed (analyst) and Hina Munawar (chief security officer)

Tour Schedule

9 May – T20 warm-up game v ECB Development XI, Uptonsteel County Ground (11.00 am local time)

11 May – 1st T20I, Birmingham (2.30 pm local time)

17 May – 2nd T20I, Northampton (6.30 pm local time)

19 May – 3rd T20I, Leeds (1.00 pm local time)

21 May – One-Day warm-up game v ECB Development XI, Northampton (11.00 am local time)

23 May – 1st ODI, Derby (1.00 pm local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)

26 May – 2nd ODI, Taunton (11.00 am local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)

29 May – 3rd ODI, Chelmsford (1.00 pm local time) (ICC Women’s Championship)

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