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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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Dhoni could be ‘exposed’ by Yuvraj’s dad after World Cup

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Mumbai: Father of recently retired former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, Yograj has struck again, and all the signs point toward former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

While the cricketer is busy preparing for India’s next clash against Pakistan on Sunday after rain played spoilsport on the much-hyped India-New Zealand clash, a recent video of Yograj has surfaced where he speaks about an ‘un-named’ player who is responsible for the ‘dirty politics’ in the Indian cricket team.

Yograj further goes on to state that this player is the reason that many players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and his own son Yuvraj Singh were not included in the Indian team at crucial points in time.

 

While Yograj didn’t reveal much about the player he talks about, he did mention that he’d make the complete revelations after the currently ongoing 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on earlier allegations by Yograj, who was also a former pace bowler, towards then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, It seems pretty evident that he is speaking of ‘Captain Cool’.

“I don’t want to take his name but he has been playing these dirty politics from the last 15 years. He has made lives difficult for Indian cricketers. I will make this revelation after the World Cup gets over. He will remember this for life that someone said something about him,” said Yograj.

“I don’t want to speak about him at this point in time because I don’t want the team to get affected during the World Cup,” he added.

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FIFA Rankings: India unmoved at 101

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London: The Indian national team remain unmoved in the June 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings released.

Following India’s exit from the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, India have had a change in coach with Igor Stimac replacing Stephen Constantine.

Under Stimac, India recently participated in the King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand where a 3-1 defeat against Curacao (79) was backed by a 1-0 win over hosts Thailand (116) in the third-place play-off.

 

GFX India FIFA Rankings June 2019

The Blue Tigers are set to face Tajikistan (120), DPR Korea (122) and Syria (85) in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2019 next. India enter the tournament as defending champions.

Meanwhile, in the global standings, Belgium continue to lead at the top having bettered their advantage over second-placed France who also stay put in their position, the same as Brazil and England at third and fourth spots respectively.

2019 UEFA Nations League champions Portugal have displaced Croatia to stand fifth while Spain (7) has gained two places. Germany (11 – tied with Argentina), Italy and Netherlands (both at 14) have also moved two places up.

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Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start

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Sao Paulo: A brace from Philippe Coutinho handed hosts Brazil a winning start to the Copa America in a 3-0 victory over Bolivia as the absence of superstar Neymar was quickly forgotten.

Barcelona’s Coutinho scored from the penalty spot early in the second half and added a close-range header three minutes later.

Substitute Everton netted a sensational third five minutes from time to clinch a Group A victory for coach Tite’s tournament favorites in Sao Paul.

 

The build-up to the competition had been dominated by Neymar’s woes, firstly when he was accused of rape by a Brazilian model, and then when he damaged ankle ligaments in a friendly last week, forcing him out of the Copa.

If Brazil’s first-half performance was anything to go by, the Paris Saint-Germain star was sorely missed, but Coutinho’s brace at least silenced the jeers that met the team at half-time.

“Whistles are part of the game, the fans want us to win and play well, so that’s why they jeer,” said the match-winner, whose goals papered over the cracks of an at times disjointed performance.

“We always want their support but we’re focused on the objective, which is the match,” Coutinho told Brazil’s SportTV.

“Whistles or cheers, the important thing is to stay focused and get the win.” Brazil made a bright start and predictably dominated the early possession and chances
But surprisingly their greatest threat came from set-pieces with Coutinho’s corner delivery causing panic in the Bolivian backline.

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