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Hafeez, Junaid return for Zimbabwe tour






LAHORE: Seasoned all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, pacer Junaid Khan and leg-spinner Yasir Shah were recalled to national duty while Azhar Ali was axed as the selectors announced squads for the forthcoming T20 tri-nation event and ODI series in Zimbabwe.
Young batsman Babar Azam, who is still recovering from injury he sustained during the England tour, was named only in the ODI squad.
“[All-rounder] Asif Ali was included in the ODI squad to strengthen the lower middle order while Junaid Khan and Yasir Shah return to the ODI squad after getting fit. Babar Azam was not considered for T20s because he is recovering from injury and as per medical staff, it is hoped that he would be fit for the ODIs [in Zimbabwe],” a PCB press release quoted chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq as saying.
Sarfraz Ahmed will lead the 16-member squad in the ODIs besides captaining 15-member party in the tri-nation Twenty20 event involving Australia and hosts Zimbabwe. Pakistan first feature in the tri-nation T20 event from July 1 to 8, and then compete with Zimbabwe in a five-match ODI series from July 13 to 22 at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
The 37-year-old Hafeez, who has returned to international cricket after his bowling action was cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the third time following corrective measures last month, got the selectors’ confidence both as bowler and batsman. The right-handed top-order batsman, who bowls off-spin, has represented Pakistan in 200 ODIs and 81 T20 Internationals and last played an ODI against New Zealand at Wellington in January this year.
Azhar Ali, who was part of Pakistan’s ODI team which suffered a humiliating 5-0 ODI series whitewash in New Zealand early this year, however, failed to retain his place.
Three others, who were part of that series — Aamir Yamin, Umar Amin and Rumman Raees — are not in the current squad. They have been replaced by Junaid, Usman Khan Shinwari and Yasir.
The 28-year-old left-armer Junaid has earned a recall after remaining in wilderness for more than eight months. He last played an ODI against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in October 2017.
Yasir, who was facing a hip injury and missed the Pakistan’s recent tour to England, got the selectors’ nod for the ODI series after two years during which he was confined to Test matches. Yasir, 32, last featured in an ODI against England at Nottingham in 2016. Rookie pacer Usman, also a left-armer, last appeared in an ODI against Sri Lanka at Sharjah last year.
For the T20 tri-series in Zimbabwe, the selectors dropped opener Ahmed Shehzad whose career is in the doldrums after the opener was reported to have been tested positive in a dope test conducted recently.
The only difference between the ODI and T20 squad is Babar Azam, Hussain Talat and new entrant Sahibzada Farhan and Shaheen Shah Afridi. In place of Shahzad, Farhan is in the team.



Would be sitting at home if I think like people from outside: Kohli




Mumbai: Virat Kohli said he would be “sitting at home if he thinks like people from outside”, responding, in his trademark combative style, to Gautam Gambhir’s recent jibe at him, but without taking the former opener’s name.

Gambhir, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL trophies in 2012 and 2014, recently said that in a result-oriented franchise environment, Kohli has been “lucky” to have survived despite Royal Challengers Bangalore never winning the coveted title in his eight years as skipper.

Asked about it, the batting maestro said, “Obviously, you want to win the IPL. I am doing what I am supposed to do. I don’t care whether I am going to be judged on this (not winning IPL) or not. There is no real, sort of, parameters you set. I try to perform wherever I can. I try to win all the possible titles, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.


“We have to be practical about why we haven’t won one. That boils down to bad decision making in pressure situations. If I think like people from outside, I can’t even sustain five games. I would be sitting at home,” Kohli said.

According to Gambhir, one can’t say Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the same breath, as India’s current captain has not won the IPL even once in comparison to his predecessor’s three. Gambhir also compared Kohli with his national team deputy Rohit Sharma, who too have three IPL titles to his credit.

“I know people talk about it a lot and they like to grab opportunities to talk about these things. But I have a responsibility here and given a chance, as a captain, I would love to win the IPL for my team.

“We all are motivated to do so. It has not happened and that’s the reality. No excuses for that. Only acceptance of the faults that we made in the past. The fact that we played six semi-finals means that we have been a side who are always in contention. If we make better decisions, we can go further than that. That’s how I see things,” Kohli added.

The Indian captain was speaking on the eve of the IPL 12 opener between his team and Chennai Super Kings.

To a question if he felt RCB were the underdogs against CSK at home, he said every team that comes here has to be considered so, with the home team being led by Dhoni.

“MS knows exactly what he wants from his team in these conditions. We all have seen that and are aware of it. We are going to be backing our skills and then find ways to come out on top.

“It’s very easy to be overawed by the support that CSK are going to get. In the IPL, people can get carried away by the support that a team like CSK gets at home but we have to focus on our basics.”Kohli also said RCB’s focus this year would be on being consistent and scratching their way to wins.

“It again boils down to how much composure you have in crunch situations. If you see all the teams that have won, they have had players who have stood up and done the job.

“In the past, when we have been close to winning the title, we have just expected things to go our way instead of standing up. That is something we want to correct this season. If we look ugly, we look ugly. It doesn’t matter. We don’t want to be a side just playing flamboyant cricket. We want to be a consistent side,” Kohli said.

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AIFF deny I-League clubs’ request to reschedule qualifiers




Mumbai: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has denied the I-League clubs’ request to restart the 2019 Super Cup, Goal can confirm.

Nine I-League clubs had earlier informed the Indian FA that they are willing to take part in the Super Cup 2019 after AIFF president Praful Patel reached out to the clubs on Thursday and assured them that he will hold a meeting with them in mid-April.

After initially deciding to withdraw from the competition citing AIFF’s unfair treatment towards the clubs, the I-League clubs’ unison expressed their willingness to take part in the knock-out competition if all the clubs are allowed to take part.


However, as Goal reported earlier, matches given as walkovers cannot be replayed according to the regulations of the national cup competition. The AIFF has made it clear to the clubs that the regulations must be adhered to and that it would be unfair towards the opposing teams – Delhi Dynamos, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC – that took the field for the matches which did not take place.

Minerva Punjab, Gokulam Kerala FC and Aizawl FC failed to turn up for their Super Cup qualifiers on March 15 and March 16.

Due to the I-League clubs’ absence on the match days, the AIFF awarded Delhi Dynamos, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC wins by virtue of walkovers.

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Neymar charged for ‘insulting’ referee in Man United defeat




London: Paris St Germain forward Neymar has been charged for “insulting and/or molesting” the referee following his post-game rant after the French side were knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Manchester United, UEFA said.

Neymar, who was sidelined by injury, was investigated for lashing out and labelling the video assistant referee (VAR) system a “disgrace” after United won a controversial penalty in the dying stages to advance on away goals.

“Disciplinary proceedings have been opened following the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United FC (1-3), played on 6 March in France,” UEFA said in a statement.


“Player Neymar Junior – insulting / molesting acts against match official (statements made by the player following the above-mentioned match) – Art. 15 (1) (d) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations.”

If the Brazilian is found guilty, he could be suspended for three matches in the competition for insulting match officials.

UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will look into the case and a date for the hearing is yet to be confirmed.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel had said after the game that he understood Neymar’s anger and defended his comments, saying they were made in the heat of the moment.

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