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Babar Azam becomes number one T20I batsman in the world for the third time

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Islambad : Fresh from winning the man-of-the-series award in the 3-0 clean sweep of Australia, frontline Pakistan batsman Babar Azam has also become the top-ranked T20I batsman in the world for the third time.

Azam scored a total of 163 runs in the three-match series against the Aussies, which saw him overtake Australian captain Aaron Finch in the latest rankings released today.

The right-handed opener now has 844 points — five more than the second-placed Finch (839) and 32 more than India’s Lokesh Rahul (812).

Fakhar Zaman, Azam’s fellow opener, sits in the fifth spot on the same list.

In January this year, Azam topped the ICC’s T20I ranking for the first time after helping Pakistan claim a 2-1 series victory against New Zealand in New Zealand. He had scored 109 runs in those trio of outings.

In April, he soured to the summit once again after amassing 165 runs in the 3-0 whitewash of the West Indies at home.


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Give silent treatment to Kohli: Faf du Plessis’s advice to Australia

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Mumbai : South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has urged Australia to give Virat Kohli who is currently the world’s top-ranked Test batsman, the ‘silent treatment’ as the two sides gear up to engage in a cricketing series from November 21.

The 34-year-old believes that their decision to avoided engaging Kohli during the three-match Test series against India earlier this year certainly played a key role in their 2-1 truimph.

“There are guys like that in international cricket (who enjoy the confrontation). We feel like that when we play against someone like Virat Kohli,” said du Plessis.

“He’s a similar character (to du Plessis), he wants to get into the fight.”

“There’s one or two guys in each team around the world that we as a team discuss before playing against them. We’re like, ‘better not say too much to him because you’ll get him going.”

“He’s an amazing player. We gave him the silent treatment and he still scored runs in South Africa, but we felt like it was not huge runs– he scored the one hundred there in Centurion when the wicket was slow.”

“So every team will have what they think works– for us, that was silent treatment,” he added.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli insisted that he had matured as a player and promised to not start arguments against the Australians, but only finish them during a media briefing before leaving for the Australia tour.

“If they (Australia) want to play a certain way, we will reciprocate,” said Kohli.

“That is how the game of cricket goes. But at the same time, in our own minds we have to keep it competitive.”

“We were always the ones giving it back, we were never the ones starting anything.”

“So long as it doesn’t start, we have no problem just focusing on our game and doing what we need to do,” he added.

India’s tour of Australia will commence on November 21 with the first T20 International between the two sides all set to take place at “The Gabba”.

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Hardik’s absence will hurt, says Hussey

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New Delhi: Mike Hussey, who has a fair idea about the current crop of India players, feels that all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s absence will “hurt” the visitors in the upcoming Test series against Australia. The series starts on December 6 in Adelaide.

Pandya is undergoing rehabilitation after suffering a lower-back injury during the Asia Cup in Dubai last September. “I think Hardik is a wonderful talent and I am sure his game style would have been suited to the Australian conditions. Add to that, the balance he offers the team with his all-round abilities, yes I think his absence will hurt India,” Hussey said.

India have a good chance of doing well against a depleted Australia but ‘Mr Cricket’ is confident that the home team’s seasoned bowling attack will test some of the younger batsmen in the visiting team. India are being dubbed as favourites in many quarters primarily due to the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner.

But India could face a different challenge with the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari set to face Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon for the first time. “I do think India have a good chance as they have an excellent team with some very good fast bowlers. However, I think Australia’s bowling attack is world class and will challenge the Indian team, particularly the younger players in Australian conditions. Australia always play well at home and hence will be very hard to beat.”

Virat Kohli remains the biggest threat to Australia having scored four hundreds during the 2014-15 series and Hussey reckoned that the home team bowlers need to be patient against the Indian skipper.

“The Australians will prepare well against Kohli, but it comes down to execution. In my view the Aussies need to be incredibly patient and disciplined for long periods of time against a world class player like Kohli,” said the 43-year-old, who has played 79 Tests and 185 ODIs for Australia.

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Brazil edge Uruguay after disputed penalty

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London : Neymar scored a contested second-half penalty to give Brazil a 1-0 friendly win over Uruguay and bring some joy to their fans on a gloomy at the Emirates Stadium in London.

The forward was again the stand-out Brazil player and he coolly side-footed home his 60th international goal in the 76th minute after Diego Laxalt brought down Danilo, although Uruguay claimed there was a handball in the build-up.

Until then Brazil had looked the more vulnerable of the two sides with Alisson making three fine saves, including a superb stop from a Luis Suarez free kick early in the second half.

It was Brazil’s fifth win in a row since they were knocked out of this year’s World Cup in the quarter-finals by Belgium.

“It was a tough game. Uruguay are always strong and very competitive,” said Brazil midfielder Walace. “We were patient and when the opportunity arose from the penalty spot we deserved the goal.”

On a dark and drizzly night at Arsenal’s ground in London, the game matched the weather with few bright moments.

Many of the players know each other well from club football and their familiarity was evident in their hugs and smiles before, during and after the game.

There was no lack of commitment, however, as niggly tackles flew in a clash that featured eight yellow cards, including one for Luis Suarez who thought Uruguay should have been given a handball against Danilo before he was felled in the box.

Although the fans had little to cheer, both managers had reason to be happy with youngsters Bruno Mendez and Mathias Suarez starting in defence for the first time for Uruguay and Napoli midfielder Allan making a second-half debut for Brazil.

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