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Pakistan, New Zealand build towards World Cup with ODI series

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  • Babar Azam confident Pakistan will do well in white-ball format.
  • Shaheen Afridi and Shadab Khan missing due to injuries.
  • Second and third ODIs to be played on January 11 and 13.

KARACHI: Pakistan and New Zealand will face off in the first of three one-day internationals in Karachi today (Monday), with an eye on this year’s World Cup in India.

The preceding Test series between the two teams failed to produce a result in either of the two Tests — both in Karachi — ending a miserable season for both teams.

Pakistan failed to win any of their three-Test series at home, losing four of the eight Tests, including their first-ever 3-0 whitewash at the hands of England.

New Zealand also failed to win any of their last six Tests.

But Babar Azam is confident his team will do well in the limited over matches.

“Pakistan has proved themselves to be a good white-ball team, and this series provides us a perfect launching pad to kickstart our World Cup preparations,” said Azam of the World Cup in October/November.

Azam´s team won eight one-day internationals last year, including a 2-1 series win over a formidable Australia at home.

“We are a well-rounded side with solid batters and bowlers who have proved themselves time and again so I am confident of doing well in the coming series,” said Azam.

Pakistan will miss pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained in November last year while spinning allrounder Shadab Khan is also out with a recent finger fracture.

Opener Fakhar Zaman will bolster the batting, as well as Haris Sohail — recalled after two years.

New Zealand, runners-up in the last World Cup in 2019, won ten of their 16 ODIs last year and have a strong unit led by Kane Williamson.

They have been dominant against Pakistan, having won 12 of the last 15 ODIs between the two teams.

Williamson is also concentrating on World Cup, having relinquished Test captaincy.

“I felt that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years,” he said last month, referring to the 2023 ODI and 2024 T20 World Cups.

The accomplished batter acknowledged Pakistan’s strengths.

“Pakistan is a very strong side and naturally know these conditions very well,” said Williamson.

“For us as a team it’s focusing on the cricket we want to play and try put out some improved performances.”

New Zealand pacer Matt Henry is also out of ODIs with an abdominal strain sustained on the final day of the drawn second Test.

For varied reasons, they are already missing pace trio Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Adam Milne.

The remaining matches are on Wednesday and Friday, also in Karachi.

Teams:

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Agha Salman, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Usama Mir

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Asif Yaqoob (PAK)

TV umpire: Ahsan Raza (PAK)

Match referee: David Boon (AUS)

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Pakistan has advanced to the Women’s Asia Cup 2024 semifinals.

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GreenshirtsWith a 10-wicket victory over the UAE, the Pakistani women’s cricket team advanced to the Women’s Asia Cup 2024 semifinal. Target: 104 runs in 14 overs were pursued by the Greenshirts.

When playing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Pakistani women’s team won the toss and chose to field.

Captain Nida Dar of the Pakistan women’s cricket team remarked, “The bowlers’ performance in the last match was excellent, and the win against Nepal boosted morale.”

Pakistan’s starting eleven remains unchanged.

Dambulla, a town in Sri Lanka, is the site of the match.

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The ICC has approved the budget for Pakistan’s 2025 Champions Trophy.

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The specifics state that on the final day of its yearly meeting, the ICC approved the budget.

High-ranking representatives from various cricket boards, including Mohsin Naqvi, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), attended the ICC’s annual meeting.

Ankur Khanna, the chief finance officer of the ICC, and Javed Murtaza, the chief finance officer of the PCB, created the budget for the eight-team competition.

For those who are unaware, the Champions Trophy 2025 is set to take place in Pakistan in February and March. India is expected to participate in the tournament, although this is subject to change as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is awaiting government consent to travel there.

The Indian squad will not be visiting Pakistan for the forthcoming ICC event, according to reports that surfaced in Indian media, which cited a BCCI source.

Additional reports stated that the board intends to formally suggest Sri Lanka and Dubai as possible locations for India’s matches.

However, BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla claimed in a phone interview with an Indian media outlet that the cricket association has not released any information about their team’s Champions Trophy 2025 participation.

The source of this information is unknown to us. Shukla said over the phone to ThePrint that BCCI has not released any formal information on this.

Recall that India declined to go to Pakistan in order to compete in the 2023 ACC Men’s Asia Cup. Consequently, Sri Lanka assumed the role of co-host for the continental event, which was conducted using a hybrid approach.

It is noteworthy that because of the protracted political tensions between the two neighbours, India has not visited Pakistan since the Asia Cup in 2008.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has visited India four times in the previous 16 years. They were in town for the ICC Men’s World Cup 2023 last year, which was their most recent visit.

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Babar Azam identifies the most challenging bowler he has encountered.

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Azam made an appearance on AB de Villiers’ official YouTube channel, where he was questioned about the most challenging bowler he has encountered.

The Pakistan captain promptly replied, “Pat Cummins.”

De Villiers concurred with Azam’s statement, affirming, “Indeed, I concur.” He is in close proximity. “He is one of the most resilient bowlers I have ever encountered.”

It is noteworthy that Cummins has dismissed Babar Azam three times in Test cricket and only once in white-ball cricket.

The opening batter also stated that he seeks guidance from Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root to further his batting skills.

“I engage in frequent conversations with Virat Kohli, Kane Williamson, and Joe Root.” They consistently offer valuable advise that greatly benefits you. “I have gained a wealth of knowledge from these players,” he declared.

The prominent hitter also said that his family encountered economic difficulties during his early years, but they offered him steadfast encouragement on his path to achievement.

“I come from a modest background, and we didn’t have a constant flow of money.” However, my parents provided me with significant assistance. “During my childhood, I used to engage in street cricket, and I found it quite challenging to play with a hard ball,” he remarked.

Babar Azam is presently preparing for the forthcoming two-match domestic Test series against Bangladesh, slated to take place in August.

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