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Leading in all formats no burden for Sarfraz

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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.


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UEFA probe Ronaldo for ‘improper conduct’ over goal celebration

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London : UEFA opened an investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration after scoring a hat-trick in Juventus’ Champions League comeback win against Atletico Madrid last week.
European football’s governing body said Ronaldo was facing charges of “improper conduct” after he mimicked Diego Simeone’s crotch-grabbing gesture in last Tuesday’s 3-0 win that sent Juventus through 3-2 on aggregate.
After scoring the decisive penalty four minutes from time, Ronaldo turned towards the Atletico fans and replicated Simeone’s gesture after the Spaniards’ 2-0 first leg win by grasping his genitals and thrusting out his groin.
A decision will be taken by UEFA on March 21.
Juventus take on Dutch club Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals over two legs, on April 10 in Amsterdam and April 16 in Turin.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he is confident Ronaldo will not be fined or suspended.
“I think everyone celebrated their own way on the field and in the stands.
I saw nothing strange, just a celebration. There won’t be a ban,” said Allegri.
Simeone was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) by UEFA for his gesture.
“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character,” said the Argentinian coach.
Five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo is the record goal scorer in the European competition with 124 goals in 160 matches.

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Sachin echoes Virat Kohli’s workload views

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New Delhi: There cannot be a uniform structure for workload management during the Indian Premier League as each and every player will have different set of requirements, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar said .
There have been a lot of discussions about how the World Cup-bound players need to effectively manage their workload during a demanding tournament like the IPL, and the maestro has his own take on it.
“Preparation before the World Cup is different for each player and so their workload management will also be different,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar agreed with skipper Virat Kohli who recently said that it is up to the players to realise the kind of load they are taking as well as the form they are in. “To me, momentum is important. Every individual should be smart enough to assess if he needs to take a break or he needs to play games to stay in the thick of things. So the responsibility is on the individual to take a call,” said the world’s highest run-getter in Tests and One-day Internationals.
He then gave an example of how workload management will be different for different players. “As a pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s workload will be very different from a pure batsman like Virat Kohli and a wicket-keeper batsman like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. All these players have a lot of experience and they will certainly make the right call,” said Tendulkar, who is a mentor with IPL’s most popular franchise Mumbai Indians.
Tendulkar echoed what Kohli had said a couple of days earlier during a media interaction in Bengaluru. “If I’m able to play 10, 12 or 15 games, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest,” the Indian skipper had said.
“Someone else’s body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing. And everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don’t want to miss out on such a big event.”
Kohli had said that it is up to individual players to deal with the issue to keep their body fit and be in contention for a place in the World Cup-bound squad. “From a responsibility point of view, all the Indian players will have the responsibility during the IPL to keep a watch on their fitness and their workloads,” he said.
“And to continue the frame of mind we have created in the Indian team – strive towards excellence and improve every day. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup in a good frame of mind,” he said.

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Kerala Blasters sign Rahul KP

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Mumbai : Kerala Blasters have wrapped up a deal to bring Indian Arrows forward Rahul Kannoly Praveen on board for the 2019-20 season, Goal has learnt.
The 19-year-old forward has become the fifth former India U-17 player to be roped in by Blasters after Dheeraj Singh, Mohammad Rakip, Nongdamba Naorem and Jeakson Singh.
Thrissur-born Rahul featured for Luis Norton de Matos’ Indian team in the U-17 World Cup held in India. He continued his development with AIFF’s Indian Arrows in the I-League and impressed in patches last season, scoring two goals in 17 appearances.
He has stepped up his game at Arrows this season under Floyd Pinto and contributed greatly to the team’s eighth-placed finish under the Indian head coach. He has three goals to his name this season.
Blessed with pace and dazzling feet, Rahul is good at taking on his opponent from wide areas and also has an eye for a pass. He was impressive against Gokulam Kerala and scored a terrific volley in the I-League match at Kozhikode earlier this season. He also featured in the Super Cup qualifier against Kerala Blasters as Indian Arrows won 2-0.
In what seems like a much-needed move after a disapponting season in the ISL, Kerala Blasters, under the new leadership of CEO Viren D’Silva, are off to a good start off the field and have added a promising local talent to the squad.

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