KARACHI: Pakistan cricket team’s head coach Mickey Arthur has once again emphasised that a player will have to perform at optimum level to be a member of the national side. Arthur was talking to the media on the sidelines of the first day of Pakistan’s three-day training session ahead of the West Indies series on Thursday.
When asked whether he had dropped Mohammad Hafeez from his plans altogether, he said: “The doors are not closed for him at all. He knows it and I have had a chat with him about it. If Hafeez is bowling, he becomes a very good option for us. If he doesn’t bowl, it becomes a problem.
“We have often said that we are not going to pick players who just do one discipline. We want players who do all disciplines and fielding is not negotiable now. If you can’t field well, you cannot play for Pakistan anymore.”
Hafeez, however, will remain part of the thought process for the one-day side, he added. With the first of the three-match series between Pakistan and West Indies kicking-off here at the NSK on Sunday, the visitors are yet to announce their squad.
According to media reports, West Indian star players Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, and Marlon Samuels may opt out of the tour.
“I expect a cracker of a series,” Arthur said. “People are saying that some of the big names are not here. But at the end of the day, West Indies are a very proud cricketing nation. The players that they send here have absolutely nothing to lose. They are looking to forge their careers and are going to be very dangerous. And we will have to play exceptionally well. I think this is going to be a great series.” Pakistan added four uncapped players – Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Shaheen Shinwari, and Rahat Ali – in their 15-member line-up for the series to be played on three consecutive days.
Commenting on their first day in the T20I side’s training camp, he said: “We are very excited to see some new young faces. Seeing them go about their business have been very exciting. They bring fresh energy to the side and we are very, very happy where we are at the moment.” Arthur, however, expressed his concerns about the Pakistan Super League (PSL) being unable to produce quality batsmen. Out of the four players selected for the series, only one of them is a specialist batsman.
“My concern with the PSL has been that only our bowling stocks have been getting better and better because of it. We are not finding many young batsmen, which is certainly an issue for me … We haven’t seen a young stand out batsman coming through the ranks, like we have seen in terms of our spin and quick bowling stocks.”“If we are able to get 150, I’ve always said that we would be able to defend it. So, bowling is our strong point.”
India’s I-League clubs propose unified 20-team top tier to include ISL franchises
Mumbai : India’s I-League clubs have proposed a road map for a unified 20-team league next season featuring both I-League clubs and Indian Super League franchises.
The move comes as six I-League clubs say they will only play in the impending Super Cup if the All India Football Federation (AIFF) addresses their concerns over the league restructuring.
The I-League clubs have been worried that the league will be relegated to the second tier of the domestic game next season and be replaced by the more marketing-driven and Reliance-backed Indian Super League, founded in 2013 and modelled after cricket’s IPL.
Newly crowned I-League champions Chennai City FC, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl FC, Gokulam Kerala, Real Kashmir FC, Churchill Brothers and NEROCA FC are behind the proposal of a merger of the concurrent leagues into a 20-team league.
They have approached the AIFF and president Praful Patel via a letter demanding assurances from Patel about next season’s league structure before committing to participate in the Super Cup.
“There will be 20 teams in the first division and a strong 16-team second division,” said Mohun Bagan director Debasish Dutta. “Every team will benefit and we have given a financial model so that it’s a sustainable project. Not like ISL (project) because they are suffering huge losses. We don’t want to lose ISL clubs, because they are supporting Indian football by investing money. They should stay!”
“We have handed the proposal with a covering letter. We are ready to play the Super Cup after the meeting and if at all it happens, the Super Cup should start from the qualifying round,” he continued.
Chennai City owner Rohit Ramesh said: “This is a good way to play as far as the sport is concerned. We aren’t omitting anybody, we want to play against everyone. But, it should be in a manner where the money we put in has to be got back in some time.”
The proposed league would run for nine months from September to May and include promotion and relegation from the lower division. The letter also outlined that the marketing would have to be done centrally and projected a growth in total sponsorship revenue up to 40,6 million euros (325 crores).
“The proposed 20 team revamped League, would have 380 matches,” read the letter. “We can take a conservative/practical approach and generate a total net sponsorship revenue to the tune of INR 325 crores (€40.6 million).”
AIFF president Patel to meet I-League clubs in April
Mumbai : The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel has informed the I-League clubs that he will hold a meeting with them between April 10 and April 15 Goal can confirm. A suitable venue of the meeting will be confirmed later.
Patel has also urged the clubs to come out of their decision to boycott the Super Cup 2019 and take part in the competition. He has assured the clubs that a decision can be taken after mutually discussing the issue.
Nine I-League clubs had earlier unanimously decided to pull out of the Super Cup citing unfair treatment meted out towards them by the Indian FA.
Minerva Punjab FC, Aizawl FC and Gokulam Kerala FC had walked out of the qualifiers of the Super Cup which were scheduled on March 14 and March 15 in Bhubaneswar.
The clubs recently conducted a meeting where they prepared a roadmap for Indian football and informed the AIFF they are ready to take part in the Super Cup only after a meeting with the President of the AIFF.
The league structure suggested by the I-League clubs was that of a ‘unified top division league’ including all the Indian Super League (ISL) clubs and I-League clubs.
It will be interesting to see if Patel’s letter to the clubs will now bridge the gap between the federation and the nine clubs.
Praful Patel is currently in Kyrgyzstan as a part of his delegation for the FIFA council meeting.
Opportunity for young guns to grab WC spots: Arthur
SHARJAH: Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur is confident new players will grab the opportunity to fill a few available places for the ICC World Cup 2019 through the five-match ODI series against Australia.
Pakistan have rested six players — captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan — to provide an opportunity to the other leading performers to stake a claim for the tournament to be held in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.
Arthur believed it was a well-thought out and a sensible decision. “We designed this series for our players for the simple fact that we want to test our best bench players.
“There was planning, sometimes people think that its ad hoc. We want to test our bench-strength so that we could have a look at our final squad and combination. We know our major players for the World Cup.”
Openers Shan Masood and uncapped Abid Ali have been prolific scorers in domestic and ‘A’ series, while batsman Saad Ali scored more than 900 runs in the 2017-18 first-class season.
Paceman Mohammad Abbas is an established Test spearhead who has the knock of doing well in limited overs as well, while rookie 18-year-old Mohammad Hasnain has impressed with his pace in the recently-concluded HBL Pakistan Super League.
Umar Akmal has also been recalled after impressing with his match fitness in the PSL.
“After this series, we go to England and there we go with a very, very settled squad and the roles will be defined. We want to know where the squad stands. We felt that we have done everything possible to be the best possible prepared team for the World Cup,” Arthur remarked.
Pakistan also play five One-day Internationals against England before the 10-team mega event.
Arthur believes trying new players will help in long term. “For us, it isn’t so much about Australia, this is about us and those positions for the World Cup and the opportunity created for a lot of players because for us, we need to find who our players are for every position.
“If we could do that out of this series, then it would be good for us.
“To be honest, it’s a new squad. This is a series of opportunities. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work-out that a few positions are available for the World Cup. There are probably four available. [chief selector] Inzamam-ul-Haq and I have discussed that. So, these young players need to raise their hands up and try make those places their own. It’s an exciting time going into the World Cup.”
Arthur backed the decision to rest skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and five others.
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