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We should try to invite Indian payers for PSL: Afridi

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Karachi:Flamboyant Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi believes Indian cricketers should also be invited to play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 event.
Speaking at a function of his foundation in Lahore, Afridi said he knew that Indian players had contracts which didn’t allow them to play in other foreign T20 leagues.
“But we should at least try to invite them for the PSL. I know it is difficult that they will come as they only play in the Indian Premier League. But we should invite them for the next edition of the PSL,” he said.
The former Pakistan captain’s remarks come at a time when India has not played a full bilateral series with Pakistan since 2008.
Afridi, who was injured during the course of the third PSL which eventually led to his franchise Karachi Kings failing to reach the final, also said that the increased number of foreign players coming to Pakistan for the playoffs and final was exciting.
“It is a very big step forward but I also believe that in future only those foreign players should be invited for the PSL who agree to also come and play in Pakistan when required,” he added.
Afridi said that with more international players coming to Pakistan for the PSL it will eventually also lead to international teams returning to the country for bilateral series.
No top Test team has toured Pakistan since March 2009 when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore leading to Pakistan being isolated as an international venue until now. Since the attack, Pakistan has been forced to play all its bilateral home series in the UAE or other neutral venues.
But since last year, the Pakistan Cricket Board had made concerted efforts to bring international players and events to Pakistan with two of the PSL playoffs being held in Lahore successfully on Tuesday and Wednesday while the final is scheduled at the national stadium in Karachi on Sunday.
Last year the PSL final was held in Lahore followed by a visit by the World Eleven side to Lahore for a three-match T20 series and then Sri Lanka also came for a lone T20 game also in Lahore.
Afridi minced no words in stating that only those overseas players be part of the PSL in future who respect the need and right of Pakistan to host international matches.
He said the decision to invite the West Indies for a three T20 match series in Karachi was also a positive move by the PCB.
He also advised the PCB to ensure that more one-day matches were organised in the country as he felt too many T20 matches were being held in Pakistan.


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Australia refuse to tour Pakistan for proposed ODI matches, cite safety concerns

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Melbourne: Australia has turned down Pakistan Cricket Board’s request to play two One Day International (ODI) matches in the country, citing security concerns. The PCB had asked Cricket Australia to play two of the five ODIs, which are slated to be played in UAE, in Pakistan, but security concerns made Cricket Australia decide against the same.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, though the proposal has been rejected by the Australian cricket board, it has assured the PCB that they would be open to the idea in the future.

“We want to see international cricket return to Pakistan – the country has a huge passion for it,” said a CA spokesperson.

 

“However, the safety of our players and support staff is our number one priority and we won’t compromise that. We’ll continue to take advice from a range of government agencies and our own security intelligence and act on this accordingly.”

“At this stage, from an Australia team perspective, we are not contemplating moving our current bilateral-tour arrangements from taking on Pakistan in the UAE, when they host the next series but we do remain open to the idea of playing in the country again. We formally advised the PCB of this position in early January,” he added.

The PCB has in return, declined reports of Australia refusing to tour Pakistan, terming negotiations with Cricket Australia (CA) as currently ‘open and ongoing’.

Australia have not played an away series against Pakistan since 1998 which PCB chairman Ehsan Mani had attempted to address during the former’s recent Test series against the Asian side.

Mani attempted to convince CA chief executive Kevin Roberts to schedule an away series against Pakistan, urging them to follow the lead of Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe who had toured the nation since 2017.

Sri Lanka’s return was hailed as a major boost considering the deadly attack on their players in Lahore in 2009.

Australian ODI captain Aaron Finch and Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja have recently expressed a desire to tour Pakistan, in case the security concerns were addressed.

“Obviously, whatever Cricket Australia tells us, that’ll be the big thing. We’ll leave it to the administrators. They’re pretty good at taking care of us and making sure everything’s safe,” said Khawaja.

“I was born in Pakistan so it won’t be too different for me, but it’s still a while away,” he added.

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Federer ponders over his ‘miraculous’ career after Murray’s early retirement prospect

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London: As the tennis world continued to digest the prospect of Andy Murray`s retirement, an evergreen Roger Federer pondered the “luck” of his longevity on Sunday ahead of his bid for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles.

Murray`s announcement that Melbourne Park could be his last tournament as a professional has made 37-year-old Federer`s career seem all the more miraculous.

Seeking a 21st Grand Slam title and a record seventh in Melbourne, the Swiss will plough into his 20th consecutive Australian Open on Monday with a first round clash against Uzbek Denis Istomin.

 

While suffering an assortment of niggles common to all hardened professionals, Federer`s only major layoff came in 2016, after he tore his meniscus when running a bath for his twin daughters.

It happened a day after losing the Australian Open semi-final to winner Novak Djokovic, but a year later, he was back raising a fifth trophy at the tournament.

While knowing the limits of his body and full of praise for his team for being able to patch him up repeatedly, Federer admitted that fortune had played a part in his longevity.

“I definitely needed a little bit of luck,” he told reporters at Melbourne Park.

“If you look at how unlucky things were with the incident here a few years ago when I ran the bath, I guess the knee, that part of the body was ready to go.

“Could have happened easily in the match against Novak, but it didn`t, maybe because I was warmed up. I have no idea what happened. I think you also need a little bit of luck.”

The 31-year-old Murray has been far less fortunate, with major hip surgery a year ago doing nothing to stop the pain that has driven the Scot to distraction and the brink of retirement.

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Barcelona on lookout for striker after Munir sale: Coach Ernesto

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London: Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said that the club were looking to sign a centre forward in the January transfer window after selling Munir El Haddadi to Sevilla.

The league leaders want back-up for Luis Suarez after Sevilla agreed a one-million-euro ($1.15-million) deal to buy Spain international Munir on Friday, leaving the Uruguayan as the only No. 9 at the club, playing between Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele.

“We have to look at it, it`s clear that after Munir`s departure we have a space,” Valverde told reporters on Saturday.

 

“We`ll see if we can sign a player, although we have to take into account the club`s economic conditions. We will see if we can, if someone comes.”

Asked about Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata, who has been linked to Barcelona in Spanish media reports, Valverde said: “I can only say the same thing — that he`s a great player, that he`s at another team, that we respect that a lot, etcetera.”

Barcelona are currently leading the La Liga with 40 points, with Atletico Madrid trailing them in second place with 35 points.

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