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Salman Butt seeks international return after twin hundreds

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Lahore :Spot-fixing convict and former Pakistan captain Salman Butt pressed his case for a return to international cricket by scoring a century in each innings to help power his team to victory.

The 32-year-old was playing in his first major first-class tournament after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing, which ended in September last year.

Butt scored 125 and 105 not out in the match for Water and Development Authority (WAPDA) against Habib Bank in the final of Quaid-e-Azam trophy. His second hundred helped his team draw the match with 198-3, after a target of 444 to win on the fifth day.

 

WAPDA won the final on the basis of a first innings lead of 42, their maiden title in the 62-year history of the tournament.

“I have knocked the door (of international cricket) very hard and hope this will pave my way for return to (the) Pakistan team,” Butt told reporters.

“I want to keep myself fit and keep my form alive. I am trying my best with the best of my intention.

“I have a wish and always want to be in every squad. I have the capacity but that is something the selectors have to tell and decide.”

Butt accumulated 741 runs with four hundreds in the ten matches of the tournament.

This followed his 536 runs at an average of 107 in the National One-Day Cup earlier this year.

Butt, along with team-mates Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, were handed the bans after they were caught in a spot-fixing case on Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010.

The trio was accused of arranging deliberate no-balls during the match, for which they were also jailed by a UK court.
Pakistan fast-tracked Amir’s return to international cricket after the International Cricket Council amended its code last year, allowing banned players to return to domestic cricket six months before their ban ends.

Amir was selected for Pakistan in January this year.

Pakistan’s chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq last month said Butt and Asif will only be considered after they feature in first-class matches.

“I hope the bad days are over,” said Butt.

“I have gone through difficult times but my wife, my family and friends supported me.” Pakistan is currently touring Australia for a three-Test and five one-day matches.

After his performance Butt is likely to get selected for Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies in March-April next year where they will play four Tests, three one-day and two Twenty20 internationals.


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No cricketer has served India like Dhoni: Kapil

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New Delhi: Former India all-rounder Kapil Dev believes twin World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the biggest contributor to the gentlemans game. Coming from the man who himself lifted the 1983 World Cup in England, this is no mean appreciation.

As Dhoni walks into the last stretch of his international career, there has been quite a few statements made by former cricketers and pundits, especially after the most decorated captain hit a lean patch in 2018.

For Kapil, however, it is all about respecting what Dhoni has achieved on the field. Speaking to IANS, Kapil said: “I don’t have to say anything about Dhoni. I think he has served the country very well and we must respect him.”

 

It’s almost certain that the showpiece event in England and Wales that kicks off on May 30, will be Dhoni’s last and Kapil wants the former India skipper to finish on a high lifting another WC trophy.

“No one knows how long he wants to play and how long his body can continue to take the workload. But, there is no other cricketer who has served the country so well as Dhoni. We should respect him and wish him good luck. I hope that he wins this World Cup too,” he said.

The only player in the history of the game to have taken more than 400 wickets and scored over 5,000 runs in Tests, Kapil has come out with a coffee book titled “We The Sikhs” and while his impeccable record is there for all to see, the former cricketer feels it will not be easy for Virat Kohli and his men.

“This Indian team looks very good. However, it won’t be very easy. They have to play like a team. I hope that they will have no injuries,” he said, adding: “If they have a stroke of luck, they will definitely win.”

Interestingly, the Indian selectors decided to pick Dinesh Karthik, 33, as the second wicketkeeper over the young and rising star Rishabh Pant for the showpiece event.

Commenting on the move, Kapil said: “The selectors have done their job. Let’s respect the team. They have picked Karthik over Pant, then it’s alright. We should just believe that the selectors have done a good job.”

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Pakistan is ready for the WC: Arthur

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Islamabad: Pakistan’s cricket coach Micky Arthur believes that Pakistan is ready to take on the challenges of the upcoming World Cup.

Speaking to the media at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore , Arthur said: “We have worked really hard over the past two years. We are as prepared as we can be.”

“We have to bring all our capabilities to produce results in our favour,” Arthur said while showing confidence in the squad picked for the upcoming world series.

 

Speaking about Shadab being ruled out of the upcoming series against England, Arthur said: “Shadab Khan is a wonderful cricketer. As the buzz word nowadays goes, he’s ‘three-dimensional’. He plays a key role for us just outside the power play. However, we have tried to cover with another wrist spinner Yasir Shah.”

Arthur termed bringing in Yasir for Shahdab as an even exchange. “Yasir is under no illusion that he has to challenge both the outside and inside edge of the bat,” Arthur said, pointing out that the spinner has a hard act ahead.

“Our expectations are high from Babar Azam as he’s our best batsman in squad. He is so talented, he is a batsman who get the required scores,” Arthur said while adding that as long as Babar acts as he main batsman in the team, everyone around him will be able to bring the score up to the 300 mark and above.

“Mohammad Hafeez will be available for us during the World Cup as an off spinner too. We have faith in our team. All 15 of those players have the ability to win games,” the coach said.

“Our strategy will be to attack, we’re going to eye wickets. We have got all the bases covered,” the coach concluded.

Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, who was also present at the press conference, said that the team was ready to give their best during the World Cup.

“We are heading to England with complete preparations and wish to win. Our players are ready to give it their best shot,” said the captain.

When asked about who would open for the team, Sarfaraz said that Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq will be the best choices for opening partnership.The captain also shrugged off the suggestion that there may be some difficulty for the team since both the batsmen are left-handed.

“Both Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq are in good form,” he said and added that new addition Abid Ali will be a good choice for the number three spot.

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East Bengal extends Samad’s contract for 3 years

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Kolkata: East Bengal handed full back Samad Ali Mallik a three-year contract extension, the club said in a statement.

“Samad is confident that under coach Alejandro, his game will grow from strength to strength and he will be an asset to the team in the seasons to come. Samad has thanked the supporters for their overwhelming support and is certain that he will perform at his best with their backing,” the statement read.

East Bengal narrowly missed the I-League title this season, finishing runner-up behind Chennai City FC.

 
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