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PCB issues show cause notice Umar Akmal

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Umar Akmal faces sanction from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) following the out-of-favour batsman’s public outburst against head coach Mickey Arthur.

Akmal addressed a news conference on Wednesday in which he lashed out at Arthur, accusing the South African of insulting him and refusing him access to the coaching facilities at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

“I accept my fitness isn’t up to the mark, and I am trying to work on it, and I asked to be allowed a trainer to help me,” Akmal said. “But Mickey said I shouldn’t even have come to the NCA and should be playing club cricket instead,” he said

Umar further claimed Arthur used “demeaning and insulting” language against him.

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ICC announces schedule of U-19 Cricket World Cup 2018

WEB DESK: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the upcoming Under-19 World Cup which will be starting from January 13 2018 in New Zealand.

The first of the World Cup will be played between the defending champion West Indies and host New Zealand in Group A, day night match. Total 16 teams will participate in it and all the matches will be played in four cities of seven venues, including Christchurch, Queenstown, Tauranga and Whangarei.

Pakistan will start their world cup campaign on the first day of the tournament by facing Afghanistan in its first match.

Apart from the test playing nations, the other teams in Group A are 2012 champion South Africa and Africa qualifier Kenya. Three-time champions India and Australia are clubbed together in Group B along with Zimbabwe and East Asia Pacific qualifier Papua New Guinea.

Bangladesh, Canada, England and Namibia comprise Group C, while two-time champions Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Asia qualifier Afghanistan and Europe qualifier Ireland form Group D in what is the 11th edition of the tournament and the third to be held in New Zealand.

The final will be played at Bay Oval in Tauranga on February 3, while both semi-finals will be played at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on January 29 and 30.


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Mickey Arthur verbally abused me, claims Umar

LAHORE (INP): Batsman Umar Akmal on Wednesday claimed that coach Mickey Arthur had verbally abused him in front of Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq.

He further claimed that Arthur is also abusive towards other players. Akmal also said that senior players did not stop the coach when he was being verbally abused and added that the coach had told him to play club-level cricket instead of coming to the academy.

Akmal further claimed that he was dropped from the team after an unjustified warning. He also said that he wants to inform the Pakistan Cricket Board regarding the behaviour of the coaching staff.

However, Arthur refuted Akmal’s claims and said Akmal was not telling the truth. Arthur added that he had asked Akmal to improve upon his skills and attitude.  Coach Mickey Arthur rubbishes Umar Akmal’s allegations
Akmal was dropped from the Pakistan squad for the Champions Trophy in Birmingham in May this year after the batsman failed two consecutive fitness tests in two months.

The middle-order batsman’s failure in fitness tests prompted selectors to bring in Haris Sohail in place of Akmal, asking the cricketer to return home to work on his fitness. Akmal had also been dropped from the team that toured the West Indies in April, after being the only player, among 31, to fail the fitness test during a camp held at the NCA in March.

In an annual assessment earlier this year, Akmal had weighed 91kg with a fat-level reading of 115.6. A measurement in excess of 100 is considered high. After being released from Pakistan’s squad for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Akmal had apologised to his fans, saying he was determined to come back stronger than ever and promised to remain committed to cricket.

Earlier in May, chief selector and former batsman Inzamamul Haq reported on Akmal s fitness. Umar Akmal could not maintain his fitness after Pakistan Cup, and that is why he was being sent back from England, he had said.
During the press conference, Akmal also asserted that he was working on his fitness in England since then to make a comeback to the palying eleven.

On the other hand, Arthur has denied the allegations asserting that he did not misbehave with the player however, he admitted to having censured the cricketer for questionable discipline and poor fitness.

South African cricketer Mickey Arthur is employed by the cricket board as the head coach of the team under whose command the national eleven led by skipper Sarfraz brought home Pakistan’s maiden Champions Trophy earlier this year.

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Nadal delighted at return to No. 1, Federer out

CINCINNATI (AFP) – Rafael Nadal was thrilled Monday to learn he would return to world number one for the first time in three years but sorry it came because Roger Federer withdrew from this week’s ATP Cincinnati Masters tournament.

Third-ranked Federer said he injured his back in Montreal, where he lost in Sunday’s final to Germany’s Alexander Zverev in a key hardcourt tuneup for the US Open.

Federer, this year’s Wimbledon and Australian Open champion, was the only player who could have denied second-ranked French Open champion Nadal the top spot in next Monday’s rankings.

“For me to be in that position is something very special,” Nadal said. “I have the passion and love for the game. That’s why I’m able to be back in that position again.”

It’s the first time Nadal has been number one since July of 2014.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, who won his 15th Grand Slam title this year at Roland Garros, will overtake Britain’s top-ranked Andy Murray, who withdrew from Montreal and Cincinnati with a hip injury.

Nadal, who has spent 141 total weeks in the top spot, has struggled with knee injuries since first becoming world number one in August 2008 after a Cincinnati semi-final run. He admitted doubting he could ever regain the top spot after so many years.

“If you don’t have doubts, it’s because you are very arrogant and I’m not very arrogant,” Nadal said. “There’s a young generation up and coming. It’s very tough to come back and be number one.”

Nadal knows that while he will claim the upper hand no matter how he fares this week, the year’s final Grand Slam event starting in New York on August 28 will have a major role to play in the fight with Federer for number one.

“Roger and I are having great seasons,” Nadal said. “One of us will have the chance to have that position for more weeks. I’m going to try and do my best this week and see what happens.”

Federer, a seven-time champion on the Cincinnati hardcourts, apologized but said he needed to rest with the US Open so near.

“I am very sorry to pull out of the Western and Southern Open as I always enjoy playing,” Federer said. “Cincinnati has some of the best fans in the world and I am sorry I will miss them.

“Unfortunately, I tweaked my back in Montreal and I need to rest this week.”

Federer was replaced in the draw by Italian 85th-ranked lucky loser Thomas Fabbiano, who will enjoy a first-round bye.

Nadal said he was sorry to see Federer join the list of players absent this week, which includes Murray, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

“It’s bad news for Roger he’s not playing,” Nadal said. “I’m sorry for all of them. I hope they have good recovery. We need to see them back for the sport.”

Nadal has been forced to alter training and event schedules more as he has gotten older.

“Of course we’re not 20 years old any more. We’re not playing all the weeks. That’s part of the sport. I skip many more events than the rest of my competitors.”

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Ranatunga slams Sri Lanka board over whitewash

Ranatunga said Sri Lanka’s XI could not be faulted for the humiliating 3-0 drubbing described by skipper Dinesh Chandimal as the worst series of his career, but squared the blame entirely with management.

“Sri Lanka cricket is going through the worst period,” Ranatunga told reporters in Colombo.

“You can’t blame only the players, they are demoralised. It is the fault of the management.”

The comprehensive series defeat compounded woes for a side beset by injury woes and leadership changes.

Ranatunga renewed calls for Sri Lanka Cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala to be sacked, and urged the International Cricket Council to investigate management at the board.

Last week, Ranatunga, 53, told AFP there was no “proper discipline” in the national side, which has suffered a string of humiliating home defeats in recent months.

“We don’t have selectors with a backbone,” Ranatunga said, referring to the panel headed by Sanath Jayasuriya, a former teammate of Ranatunga’s 1996 World Cup-winning side.

Ranatunga has accused Sumathipala of involvement in gambling — a charge which would preclude him from a board position at Sri Lanka Cricket — and urged the ICC to investigate. Sumathipala has vehemently denied the allegations.

Sumathipala told AFP last week that Ranatunga was leading a smear campaign against him in a bid to wrest leadership of the board for himself.

“Every time the game is affected at the middle, Sri Lanka cricketers are not performing to the expectation, we hear this kind of noise coming from the same quarter,” Sumathipala said.

Since retiring from the game, Ranatunga has entered politics and was an unelected cricket administrator in 2008.

Last month he demanded an investigation into Sri Lanka’s 2011 World Cup loss to India, which was marred by allegations of match-fixing. – AFP

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Sri Lanka’s approval to tour Pakistan a historic decision: Sethi

Web Desk

LAHORE: Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi said that Sri Lanka’s approval to tour Pakistan is a historic decision, and let it be known that his meeting with islanders’ officials in Colombo during the session of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) was positive.

Najam Sethi thanked Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for their help in restoration of international cricket in Pakistan, and said the planning to host Sri Lanka matches has been started, and will be finalized soon.

While talking to media, Najam Sethi said other teams will also start touring Pakistan once Sri Lanka visits here. He revealed that PCB is planning to conduct the series in October this year.

On the other hand, SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala has stressed that all the fellow members should support Pakistan in revival of international cricket. He said all the cricket nations, especially Asians, should in fact ensure their help.

Sumathipala added that possibility of threats remains everywhere, as there were two attacks in London during the Champions Trophy, but the tournament continued due to the security assurance given by International Cricket Council (ICC). In the same way, cricket in Pakistan should also continue, he commented.

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Indian spinner Ashwin joins Worcestershire

The 30-year-old — who took 17 wickets on the recent tour of Sri Lanka as India completed their first three-Test series sweep on foreign soil on Monday — will replace Australian John Hastings as the county’s overseas player in a coup for the second-tier side.

The county will hope Ashwin, ranked number three in the bowler’s Test world rankings and second in the all-rounder lists, propels them to promotion in their final four matches.

Ashwin will be the first Indian player to play for Worcestershire since Zaheer Khan resurrected his international career after a superb season with them in 2006.

“Ravi is a fantastic international cricketer who is currently in terrific form with his game,” purred Worcestershire’s chief executive Steve Rhodes in a statement released by the club.

“He is ranked in the top three as a bowler in Test cricket, is a wonderful all-rounder who can bat six and scores hundreds in Test cricket.

“It is unlucky for John Hastings with his injury but Ravi is a wonderful cricketer for us to have at a crucial point in our season.

“It is a really important last few games in the Championship and to have someone of his class is a huge boost for the club.”

Ashwin has taken 286 wickets in 51 Tests, including five wickets in an innings on 26 occasions, 150 ODI wickets and 52 in T20Is.

Ashwin is also a force with the bat and has scored 2,004 Test runs at an average of 32.85 with four centuries and 11 fifties, and had been an opening batsman before turning to off-spin.

Worcestershire presently occupy the second and last spot for promotion to the first division, 15 points clear of third-placed Northamptonshire, whilst Sussex and Kent are a further two points adrift. – AFP


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Najam Sethi’s election as PCB chairman challenged in LHC

LAHORE (NNI): A petition challenging the election of Najam Sethi as Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman was filed in the Lahore High Court on Tuesday.

Advocate Nasir Iqbal petitioned the high court, contending that Najam Sethi was elected as the PCB chairman in flagrant violation of the PCB laws.

He submitted that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had nominated Sethi and Arif Ejaz to the PCB’s Board of Governors on July 09 for a three-year term with effect from August 06.

Their nomination came before the term of former PCB chairman Shehryar Khan expired in violation of the relevant laws which stipulated that members of the board cannot be nominated before the expiry of the tenure of the incumbent PCB chairman.

Moreover, the petitioner contended, the former prime minister who nominated them was later disqualified by the Supreme Court, thus the nomination of Sethi and Arif were rendered ineffective.

He pleaded with the court to declare their nomination to the Board of Governors as unlawful and illegal. On August 09, the Pakistan Cricket Board had elected Najam Sethi as its 30th chairman in a Board of Governors meeting at the National Cricket Academy, Lahore.

Earlier, he was elected to serve as PCB’s executive committee chief while Shahryar Khan was elected as the chairman in August 2014. Shehryar’s term expired on Aug 06.

Earlier on July 09, the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the nomination of two members namely Najam Aziz Sethi and Arif Ejaz to the Board of Governors of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for a three-year term starting from 6th August, 2017.



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Sri Lanka tour good omen for international cricket revival: Zaheer Abbas

ISLAMABAD (AFP): ‘Asian Bradman’ Zaheer Abbas on Monday welcomed the Sri Lankan cricket board’s clearance to tour Pakistan, saying it was good news for a cricket-loving nation and would help revive international cricket here.

Talking to APP, Zaheer said he has interaction with many foreign players and they are keen to play in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka cricket board on Sunday approved a tour to Pakistan, with its chief Thilanga Sumathipala saying that after a security assessment the team had been cleared to play three Twenty20 internationals including at least one in Lahore.

Sumathipala said he was keen to take his team to Pakistan as his security experts have given the go-ahead signal.

“We have three T20s coming up against Pakistan in September and we would like to play at least one of those games in Lahore,” Sumathipala said.

Former Pakistan batsman Zaheer Abbas, also known as the Run Machine, said, “It is wonderful that a team (Sri Lanka) attacked in Lahore is keen to revive international cricket in Pakistan. It is a positive message for other foreign teams, leaving no excuse for them to not play here.”

Zaheer, who had two stints as captain of the national team in 1981 and 1984, said he hoped everything goes well and Sri Lankan team’s tour leaves cherishable memories for the country.

Speaking about skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Zaheer said Sarfraz has proved his mettle as a team leader and under his captaincy cricket would flourish.

Zaheer, currently associated with Sports Board Punjab (SBP), said they were planning to open academies in the entire Punjab province for male and female players.

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Sri Lanka board clears first Pakistan tour since 2009

COLOMBO (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s cricket board has approved a tour to Pakistan, eight years after a deadly militant attack against the team brought top international games there to a standstill, officials said Monday.

Sri Lanka Cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala said after a security assessment, the team had been cleared to play three Twenty20 internationals including “at least one” in Lahore, scene of the 2009 attack which left eight people dead.

Any tour would require government approval before the team is sent abroad.

Leading cricket nations have shunned playing in Pakistan since the 2009 assault, in which gunmen ambushed the Sri Lankan team bus en route to the Lahore stadium, wounding at least seven players.

“We have had our security experts visit and make an assessment, and things look positive with things improving all over the country and especially Lahore being cleared,” Sumathipala was quoted as saying in a statement.

“We have three T20 games coming up against Pakistan in September and we would like to play at least one of those games in Lahore,” he added.

Pakistani cricket officials welcomed the decision, lauding the move on social media.

“Thank you Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala. We look forward to hosting you and the Sri Lankan team,” the Pakistan Cricket Board wrote on Twitter.

Since 2009, the only international team to visit Pakistan is Zimbabwe, who played five limited-overs games in Lahore in 2015. Pakistan play their “home” internationals in the United Arab Emirates.

But there were hopeful signs when Pakistan successfully staged the final of the Pakistan Super League — the rest of which was played in UAE — under heavy security in March.

Addressing the Asian Cricket Council in Colombo at the weekend, Sumathipala called for an end to Pakistan’s isolation and urged countries to play there.

He recalled that several Test nations did not want to visit Sri Lanka at the height of the Tamil separatist conflict, when bombs were exploding in the capital in the mid-1990s.

“Sri Lanka suffered through three decades of terrorism and war and at one stage no one wanted to come here — Pakistan stood by us then, as did India,” Sumathipala said.

Sri Lanka ended its long-running ethnic war in May 2009 when the top Tamil rebel leadership was wiped out in a military offensive that sparked allegations that 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by troops.

The Sri Lankan board statement also quoted Pakistan Cricket Board chief Najam Sethi saying they had set up state-of-the-art security and surveillance to make their cities safe.