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Leading in all formats no burden for Sarfraz





DUBAI: For Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, leading the national side in all three formats is not a burden.

The wicket-keeper/batsman recently lead Pakistan to a Test series win against Australia, and two consecutive Twenty20 International series triumphs against the Aussies and New Zealand respectively.

Former Pakistan batsman Mohsin Khan, however, believes Sarfraz will struggle if he keeps continuing to captain Pakistan in all the formats.


“With Sarfraz I was saying you got a new guy in, don’t put the burden of three formats on him. It will take such a physical load on him, T20s, ODIs and then Tests if he is captain he will not get any mental relaxation,” Mohsin, the recently-appointed Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Cricket Committee head, said on a private channel.

None of that bothers Sarfraz, though. The captain is looking forward to more wins and getting his team ready for the all-important 2019 World Cup in England.

“I just want to say that I want to play cricket,” Sarfraz told Dawn on Sunday.

“As a player and as captain I feel no pressure. I’m trying to manage everything with the best of my abilities and I hope things will improve further,” he added.

Sarfraz said he is not overly dependent on results to keep the team and himself as an individual confident and the team is moving towards the right direction.

“As we all know results can change — sometimes you win and some times you lose but as captain I’m confident about how things are progressing,” said the 31-year-old.

Pakistan’s six-wicket win in their second T20 against New Zealand marked Sarfraz Ahmed’s 11th consecutive series win in the format.

The captain believed the success is the result of the joint effort by the whole Pakistan camp.

“I’m very happy about this winning streak,” he said. “Winning 11 consecutive T20 series is a great feat and the credit goes to the team management and the players for the wonderful performances.

“May be as a team we are not applauded as much but still I’m very happy.”

Pakistan will take on New Zealand in a three-match ODI series with the first match set to take place in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

With recent assurances of dominance in T20s and Tests, Sarfraz said now it’s time to repeat it in the 50-overs format.

Sarfraz said he will make use of the upcoming matches to prepare for next year’s World Cup.

“The ICC Cricket World is a big event. Everyone knows the value of the event and I’m trying to make a good combination ahead of the World Cup,” said Sarfraz.

“My real aim is to analyse our positive and weak points so we are fully sorted before entering the World Cup.”

Sarfraz was also full of praise for medium-pacer Mohammad Abbas who was destructive during Pakistan’s 1-0 Test series triumph against Australia.

Abbas took an impressive 17 wickets in the series and became the joint second-fastest bowler to bag 50 wickets for Pakistan.

Sarfraz hinted Abbas can make it to the ODI squad ahead of the World Cup.

“Abbas’ performance clearly shows that he has the credentials to become a world class bowler. At the moment we have lots of good fast bowlers in ODI cricket but we can give him a chance,” he said.

The Pakistan captain also expressed his happiness over the return of veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez back in the national team fold.

“Hafeez Bhai really made a great come back in to the national side. I’m really happy the way he is performing at the moment. His consistency in batting helps the team a lot and I’m hopeful for the same in the coming series,” said Sarfraz.



Focus on short formats alone will lead to problems: Virat




Adelaide: Virat Kohli is peerless in ODI cricket but he has a priceless message for youngsters — focus on limited-overs formats shouldn’t be an “excuse” for not being able to cope with the challenges of Test cricket. The world’s No. 1 batsman with 25 Test hundreds warned that youngsters will have mental problems if they don’t embrace the pristine form of five-day cricket. “If we focus too much on shorter formats — yes, they’re important — but if we solely focus and look at them as an escape or an excuse to not be in the kind of situations that Test cricket presents, then I think there will a mental problem with upcoming cricketers,” said Kohli.

The Indian skipper, who has played defining knocks against world class bowlers like Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mitchell Starc and Kagiso Rabada during the past year, spoke about the hard work that goes into the making of a quality Test player.

“As long as you’re willing to wake up every morning for five days and do the hard yards and go do the dirty work — if you’re willing to bat for two hours and not score a run for the team — I think that is what people should prepare (youngsters for),” he said.


Kohli said the current batch of Indian Test cricketers was trying to set an example for the younger generation. “That (vision) will require the team to lay out certain things that needs to be done and for the next lot to keep following. So (when) the next lot comes in, they have to maintain that vision and then the people coming in will follow.”

Kohli has reaffirmed his commitment towards Test cricket, saying he wants India to become a superpower in the game’s longest format. “I wouldn’t say a goal but I would rather speak of a vision, which is for India to be a superpower in Test cricket or a very, very strong side in Test cricket in the years to come,” he said.

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Ganguly backs Pandya and Rahul, says ‘humans make mistakes’




Mumbai:Former Indian cricket team skipper Sourav Ganguly has defended cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul, following a controversy over their appearance on a television chat show. The former skipper and legendary cricketer defended the players, saying, “people make mistakes but everyone should move on and ensure it doesn`t happen again”.

Asked if modern day cricketers should be responsible while giving statements on a public platform as a whole lot of youngsters look up to them, Ganguly said “I haven’t watched that episode. I feel that you can’t generalise that only modern day cricketers should behave responsibly. People make mistakes. Let’s not get too far into that. I am sure whoever has done it will realise that and come out as a better person. We are all human beings. We are not machines that everything you put in comes out perfect. You have just got to live life and let others live. They are responsible people. They may be role models but they are under pressure all the time to perform. Certain things happen in life and as everyone, we should move on and make sure that it doesn`t happen again.”

When asked if he feels modern day cricketers of India aren’t responsible in their behaviour as compared to the past generation of cricketers, Ganguly said “I feel modern day cricketers are also responsible, disciplined and obedient. In life, certain things happen and you make some mistakes so, let`s not get too far into that.


Look at Virat Kohli, he is such a fantastic role model. India is a fortunate country. Every generation produces players who all of us cherish.”

He said India has produced great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli over the years.

“There was Sunil Gavaskar and when he retired, people thought who is next, then Sachin Tendulkar came and when Tendulkar retired, people again asked who is next then people saw Virat Kohli. So, we are a very fortunate country in terms of sports and a lot of these cricketers are fantastic human beings because they come from very middle class backgrounds and fight their way up.”

Ganguly made the remark while speaking at the trailer launch of the Hindi film “22 Yards”, with the cast members Barun Sobti, Geetika Tyagi, Chaiti Ghoshal and director Mitali Ghoshal on Wednesday.

On questioned, about who he would like to see playing his role, if a biopic is made on his life, Ganguly replied “It is difficult for me to answer that question because I haven`t thought about a biopic on my life. People should first make a biopic of other sports personalities and if people have an interest in my biopic, then we will see.”

He added, “I really liked the biopic of Milkha Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The film on Sachin Tendulkar was a bit different. Now, I have heard that the film on India`s 1983 World Cup win is being made. I feel that was a great time for Indian cricket, so I am looking forward to see that film. As far as my biopic is concerned, we will wait and see as at the moment I haven`t thought about it.”

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Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to retire at end of season




London: Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

The 36-year-old, who won four Premier League titles with Chelsea, revealed his decision on Twitter.

He wrote: “This is my 20th season as a professional player and it is 20 years since I signed my first professional contract, so it feels like the right time to announce that I will retire at the end of this season.”


The Czech, who arrived in the Premier League with Chelsea in 2004 and moved to Arsenal in 2015, added: “Having played 15 years in the Premier League and won every single trophy possible, I feel like I have achieved everything I set out to achieve.

“I will continue to work hard at Arsenal to hopefully win one more trophy this season, then I am looking forward to seeing what life holds for me off the pitch.”

Cech joined Arsenal in 2015 and has made 129 appearances for the Gunners after winning multiple trophies at rivals Chelsea.

Signed from Rennes by Claudio Ranieri in 2004, Cech won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and three League Cups with the Blues.

Cech suffered a serious head injury in 2006 following a collision with Reading’s Stephen Hunt.

Hunt’s knee crashed into Cech’s head, leaving him with a fractured skull, but he returned to action four months later wearing what became his trademark protective headgear.

Cech became the first goalkeeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Watford last season, during which he saved a penalty from Troy Deeney.

He is also the Czech Republic’s most capped player, making 124 appearances.

Cech is no longer first choice at Arsenal, with Bernd Leno preferred for most of this season so far, but the club were quick to pay their own tribute.

Arsenal tweeted: “For your consummate professionalism, for being the perfect role model, for the 50 clean sheets, for your honesty, your integrity and for your inspiring work with @AFC_Foundation, we want to say … Thank you, @PetrCech!”

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