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Pakistan’s current team combination shaping well for World Cup: Sarfraz

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LAHORE: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, expressing satisfaction at the national side’s preparations for the upcoming tour of Zimbabwe, said on Wednesday that the main priority is to take the same one-day squad to next year’s World Cup in England.
“We have a good blend of seniors and youngsters in the squad who are performing well and we are trying to rely on the same group of players for the World Cup,” said Sarfraz while talking to reporters after the final day of the three-day training camp at the Gaddafi Stadium was cancelled due to heavy overnight rains.
Pakistan are due to leave for Zimbabwe on Thursday where they will first compete in a tri-nation T20 tournament — that also includes Australia — from July 1 to 8.
‘No team in Twenty20 format should be considered weak’
Following the T20 series, Pakistan will play five One-day Internationals against Zimbabwe from July 13.
“We have fine young players such as Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Babar Azam and now with Haris Sohail in the team plus the experienced Shoaib Malik, we will try to rely on them in the lead-up to the World Cup,” Sarfraz remarked.
Under Sarfraz’s leadership, Pakistan currently tops the ICC T20 team rankings and had earlier also won the Champions Trophy last year in England where they outclassed India in the final.
The skipper expressed hope that Pakistan would continue their good run in the T20 format as well as in the ODI series.
“We are going to Zimbabwe after decent preparations with this short camp here in Lahore and we’ll have three more days to prepare in Zimbabwe before the tri-series begins. Insha’Allah we are pretty confident of coming back victorious,” Sarfraz added.
Commenting on the level of contest in the upcoming T20 series, the Pakistan captain said no side can be taken lightly in the shortest format.
“To be honest no team in this [T20] format should be considered weak and although the Australians are fielding a new-look side they know how to play T20 cricket.
“So the series will be keenly contested and good cricket is in the offing in Zimbabwe,” Sarfraz said.
Asked what would he be expecting on the upcoming trip, Sarfraz said he had toured Zimbabwe twice — in 2013 and 2015 — and found different kinds of pitches there.
“Currently the weather is cool in Zimbabwe and the match will start early at 10:00am in the morning with moisture in the pitch, it would be a big test for the side batting first,” he opined. “But in our case, the team is performing extremely well in both bowling and batting. We will use the better option in case of winning the toss.”
Sarfraz further said that the boys are united and this is one of the key reasons behind Pakistan’s excellent success rate in limited-overs cricket in recent times.
About his own performance, Sarfraz admitted he has not performed to expectations but said he always tries to give his best and to improve both his batting and keeping.


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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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