News Cricket

Pakistan’s performance in World Cup not bad by any means – Moin Khan

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 3:54 PM IST


Pakistan went through another fruitless World Cup campaign. They were defeated by West Indies, India and Australia in the league matches leaving no chances of making it to last four of the tournament. Despite their win against England, New Zealand, South Africa and Afghanistan, Pakistan’s run rate remained in negative. Pakistan were banking on India to beat England in order to make their passage easy, but the Men in Blue were undone by Englishmen. Sarfaraz-led team need to beat Bangladesh by a margin of over 300 to dethrone New Zealand from fourth spot in the points table.

Moin Khan, the wicketkeeper-batsman, believes that his national team didn’t underperform in the tournament.

“Look if we win against Bangladesh we would end the World Cup with five wins out of nine with one match abandoned which is not a bad performance by my standards. So, whatever the PCB does it needs to think very carefully because just changing faces or positions will not help,” Moin was quoted as saying on Times Now.

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News Cricket

Why Dhoni has been changing bat logos in the WC? Find out

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 3:49 PM IST


MS Dhoni might well not be in his peak time as a cricketer. But, he is still one of the most talked about cricketers in the world. Be it his slow batting, work from behind the stumps or tactical acumen, he is just too good not be in the headlines.

But, there's also one thing that Dhoni has bewildered everyone with. He has been batting with different logos on his willow. The 37 years old has been seen playing with at least three different bat stickers in the ICC's mega event.

Dhoni’s manager, Arun Pandey, told Mumbai Mirror, “It’s a fact that he has been using different bats with different brandings, but he is not charging them. He wants to say thanks to them for helping in various stages of his career.”

“Dhoni has a big heart. He does not need money, he has enough of it, he is using those bats as a goodwill gesture. BAS was with him from the beginning and SG also was very helpful to him,” he said.

Dhoni so far has made 223 runs in seven innings at an average of 44.60 with a strike-rate of 93.31 in the 2019 WC. The right-hander's slow-batting approach especially his inability to rotate strike against spinners has got him plenty of flak on social media. Also, players like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and Shoaib Akhtar have questioned his sluggish batting.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni to miss final league game against Sri Lanka?

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 3:27 PM IST


Not too long ago, a picture of India's veteran wicket-keeper batsman, MS Dhoni spitting blood had gone viral on social media. It made his fans worried about his health. During the Sunday game against England at Edgbaston, Dhoni was seen spitting blood while batting and it was later confirmed that it was blood from his thumb. The 37 years old had apparently hurt himself first while wicketkeeping and then while batting. In spite of the pain, he came out to bat.

But it was giving a scare to the fans in regards to his availability for the game against Sri Lanka. The good news is that Dhoni will be available for selection in India's final league game on Saturday. "Hai toh pahadi, woh yodha hai (he hails from the mountains and is a warrior). After more than 300 ODIs, do you think these little things even bother him? He has an amazing capacity to ignore pain. But more importantly, his finger is fine and there is nothing to worry about," a source told IANS.

It is never possible for professional cricketers to be fit 100% all the time. They learn to play with slight discomfort and that is how Dhoni goes about his business as well. It is something that he had also said some time back.

"If you wait to be 100 per cent before you play a game maybe you'd have to wait five years before you play the next game. It's something I can afford to do (play with pain)," Dhoni had once said.

News Cricket

Feel very sad and emotional that I'm going to leave: Imran Tahir

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:47 PM IST


Imran Tahir has been a great ODI bowler for South Africa in the last few years. His overall record reflects that as well. He will retire from the international cricket at the culmination of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. As South Africa have already failed to make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup, they will play their last game against Australia on Sunday. It will be Tahir's last appearance in the South African jersey.

Tahir is quite emotional that he will not play for South Africa again. “As a team, we need to think about finishing on a good note,” he said. “But it makes me feel very sad and emotional that I’m going to leave. It was always my dream to play international cricket and I’m really grateful to everyone who helped me along on the way. They accepted me for who I was, the guy who came from overseas.

He added, “It’s a big moment of my life –- I always wanted to play cricket and play as long as I could and now is the right time to go. It will be quite a hurtful and sad moment for me but I’ve prepared myself for that, so hopefully it will go well for me and the team. I strongly believe there is lots of talent but they just need experience and then they’ll get to the stage where everyone wants to see South African cricket.

Tahir has taken 10 wickets in eight games of the World Cup so far. His economy rate has been 4.70. The leg-spinner has been of the bright spots of South Africa's World Cup campaign. The Pakistan-born spinner has taken 172 wickets in 106 ODIs for the Proteas and has an average of 24.63 to go with an economy of 4.63.

News Cricket

Entire world will miss Chris Gayle when he retires – Shai Hope

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:39 PM IST


Chris Gayle waved to all sides of Headingley as he walked off the field for the last time at a Cricket World Cup. Upon reaching the boundary edge, he was met by Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib who bowed before the West Indies great.

It wasn't the perfect farewell for the man otherwise known as the "Universe Boss" — Gayle's last World Cup innings was a scratchy 18-ball 7 — but he still made a telling contribution in his own inimitable style.

With his occasional off-spin, Gayle took the pivotal wicket of Ikram Ali Khil for 86 that sparked a mini-collapse as Afghanistan stumbled in its pursuit of 312 in a match between the World Cup's two worst teams on Thursday.

"I'm sure we're going to use this as a platform for the next four years," said Hope, "and hopefully we can have something stronger."

It will be without Gayle, however.

"I don't think we're going to cry about it," Hope added. "I think we have a lot to cherish."

News Cricket

West Indies can replicate England's model to build team for the next World Cup - Carlos Brathwaite

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:31 PM IST


Next-to-last West Indies ended the World Cup with two victories — from their first and last games — and moved level on five points with South Africa, which still has a match to play against Australia.

It was a disappointing tournament for the Windies.

The Windies won the toss and made 311-6 on a good batting strip, with Evin Lewis (58) and Hope (77) scoring half-centuries at the top of the order.

Nicholas Pooran (58 off 43) and Jason Holder (45 off 34, including four sixes) teed off near the end, helping the team rack up 111 runs off the last 10 overs that ultimately proved the difference.

Afghanistan was on track to chase down the target when Gayle, 39, trapped Ikram — at 18, less than half his age — leg before wicket. Two more wickets were lost in the next 13 balls as Afghanistan slipped from 189-2 to 201-5.

West Indies failed to kick on from a seven-wicket win in its opening game against Pakistan, which was skittled out for 105 in 21.4 overs.

There were narrow losses to Australia and New Zealand, but their batsmen never hit top form. Gayle, the talisman at the top of the order, made only two half-centuries in nine games.

All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite wants his team to follow the model of England and rebuild the team for the next World Cup in India.

"As a team, we need to regroup. We have some time off, some aching bodies will get time to recuperate and then it's about finding ways and combinations to compete and win series," Brathwaite said.

"Hopefully we can take that winning mentality into the next World Cup. If you look at 2015 and what England did after the World Cup, they have built straight up to the 2019 World Cup and it's paying dividends."

"I don't know off the field what the plans are for the 2023 World Cup but I think it's something we need to look at and build towards that."

News Cricket

MS Dhoni is still the best finisher in world cricket and should play another year or two – Malinga

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:14 PM IST


It is being reported that MS Dhoni will hang his boots after Team India's last game in the World Cup. The former skipper has been criticized for his slow batting in the tournament with many calling for his head. However, Sri Lanka's pace spearhead Lasith Malinga wants Dhoni to continue playing international cricket.

He further added that MS Dhoni is the best finisher in world cricket.

"He should play another year or two and prepare players who can do the job of finishers on the big stage. He is still the best finisher in world cricket. It will be difficult to fill his shoes and the young players should look to learn from him," Malinga was quoted as saying by IANS.

The 35-year old pacer also lavished praise on Jasprit Bumrah, who has bowled exceptionally well in the World Cup.

"What is pressure? Pressure means you don't have the skill. If you have the skill, there is no pressure. It is all about skill and accuracy and if you are accurate, you know you can do what you aim to. He is a skillful bowler and knows he can bowl same balls one after the other."

"The thing is anyone can bowl yorkers, slower balls and good length balls. But the idea is to have the accuracy. How many times can you hit the same spot? Then comes analysing the game. The handling of situation is what counts, and then comes the application," Malinga explained.

News Cricket

Ambati Rayudu got step-motherly treatment – Former Indian selector

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 2:11 PM IST


Ambati Rayudu bid adieu to cricket after he was overlooked by the national selectors. He was on standby for the ongoing tournament in England and Wales and despite injuries to Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal were preferred over Rayudu.

Many of the former cricketers have blasted the national selection committee for their unfair treatment of the middle-order batsman. Former selection committee chairman Sandeep Patil has spoken in favour of Ambati Rayudu and even slammed MSK Prasad.

“This is sad. The step-motherly treatment has been dished out to Rayudu and all this has been handled very badly,” Patil was quoted as saying by mid-day.

Sandeep Patil further added that he has nothing personal against Mayank Agarwal but Rayudu should have been asked to join the team as he was on standby.

“Look, Mayank is a good player and we cannot say that there has been any bungling simply because we have reached the semi-finals of the tournament. But somewhere I would say that all this doesn’t do justice to the horses for courses policy. I had Rayudu in my team for the World Cup,” Patil added.

News Cricket

Langer says team need to take emotion out of the game against SA

Harshit Anand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 12:54 PM IST


There will be a lot going through the mind of David Warner and Steven Smith when they face the Proteas in the 2019 World Cup on Sunday. Last year, they were caught in the ball-tampering scandal and after that, they faced a one-year ban. And now, they will again take the same opponents in arguably the biggest cricketing event in what is going to be an important game as losing against South Africa will open up India's chances of finishing at the top of the table.

Justin Langer is quite confident that the senior duo of Warner and Smith will be able to deal with whatever comes their way.

“They got a good taste of what they were going to expect from the moment we turned up in England,” Langer told reporters at Old Trafford.

“This game is significant for a lot of our players, but we’ve just got to take all the emotion out of it. We’re here to take the two points, keep the winning momentum going forward and for those guys this is just another exciting game of World Cup cricket,” said Langer.

“They’re cherishing playing cricket for Australia again, they’re both playing really well,” he said.

“To get to this point has taken a lot of hard work from where we came from in Cape Town,” said Langer, appointed after Darren Lehmann resigned in the aftermath.

Feature Cricket

Afghanistan’s performance should not be judged only by the final result

Partab Ramchand Updated: 5 July, 2019, 12:50 PM IST


On the face of it a team with a record of played nine, lost nine would be treated with scorn. They obviously don’t belong in the elite group would be the immediate reaction and questions would be asked as to how they got there in the first place. Afghanistan’s campaign in the World Cup however will not receive this disdainful treatment. In the first place their losing all nine games they played was very much on the cards given the competition. But the manner in which they played, the way they fought gallantly before going down in most of the games marked them out as fighters and a team that is bound to improve with experience.

The story of Afghanistan’s entry into international cricket has been well documented. A war ravaged country, citizens learning the rudiments of cricket in refugee camps across the border in Pakistan and the several heartwarming tales about how the players made it first to limited overs cricket and finally the Test ranks. Afghanistan first played in the World Cup four years ago and immediately served notice with a famous victory over Scotland, winning with one wicket and three balls to spare. This meant that they avoided finishing in the cellar position in their group that unwanted place going to Scotland.

Last year Afghanistan was elevated to the Test ranks and though India demolished them in two days they performed admirably in getting the better of Ireland who were also elevated along with Afghanistan. They still might be debates about whether Afghanistan deserves to be playing Test cricket but there is no doubt of their rightful place in the limited overs game. After all they earned their ticket for England entirely on merit defeating West Indies not once, but twice during the World Cup qualifying tournament. And even during the competition they were not overawed by any of the opposition. After all given their background the Afghans are the original bravehearts who love fighting the odds. In almost every one of their nine games they went down with their guns blazing, doing particularly well against India and Pakistan when the result was in suspense till the last over. And in their final game against West Indies they went down by just 23 runs in a high scoring encounter. Yes, the batting and bowling could have been more consistent while the failure of Rashid Khan to live up to his lofty reputation was a major blow. But overall Afghanistan’s was a performance which should not be judged only by the final result.

Feature Cricket

Interview with owners of Elevar: ‘We want to design the best products for cricketers’

Staff Writer Updated: 5 July, 2019, 12:00 PM IST


India is such a cricket crazy country that every other kid aspires to be a cricketer. But not everyone can be a cricketer. When you leave the dream of becoming Sachin Tendulkar, you try to possibly become the next Harsha Bhogle, but that is even more difficult. And perhaps, realizing that Kunal and Aayush, tried to stay connected with their first love that is cricket albeit in a different manner altogether.

They dived into the deep sea that is bat-making industry but with a new vision and an edge over their peers that science and technology bring to the plate, which Indians are not very fond of, at large, with Elevar.

In a freewheeling chat with Cricket Today, Kunal and Aayush opened up on various aspects of their start-up which is in its baby stage but have its sights set to become one of its kind in bat-making industry.

How your journey to bat making started and when did you first fall in love with the game of cricket?

Kunal: I have been playing Cricket for longer than I can remember. From playing in my apartment with my father as a kid to playing in England for my school team, my love and passion for cricket has always been strong. Aayush has a similar love for Cricket and we became good friends in college. When we came back to India we noticed that bats haven’t changed since we were kids and this really baffled us. We love a bunch of different sports and in all of them, products keep evolving and companies focus on innovation and quality products. This was not true in Cricket and so we decided to change it.

Where did the idea for Elevar come from, and how did you make this idea a reality?

Aayush: As Kunal mentioned, we were surprised that Cricket, that is treated as a religion by a billion Indians and played and watched by so many other nations, has just lacked innovation and a desire to build the highest quality of products. So we decided to start ELEVAR. Elevar means “to elevate” and so the ethos behind Elevar is “to raise your game to the next level”. We want to build the best products to help athletes of all levels improve. We started working on Elevar in May 2017. Our product designer and engineer worked with hundreds of players to understand the ergonomics and bio-mechanics of batting and finally we came upon a unique handle design, grip, and bat making process. So after a complete year of R&D and prototyping our bat design, we launched this bat in May 2018.

Was it hard in the beginning to set up your business and compete with big fishes in the market?

Kunal: Yes it was undoubtedly difficult, and it still is, for a small startup like us. The biggest challenge comes when challenging the status quo. So, we were met with a lot of supply side problems as we tried to execute our different design. Similarly, it’s not so easy to convince customers to try something completely new and unknown. But fortunately, it turned out that there are other cricket crazy people like us who also felt that cricket bats could use a breath of fresh air and they decided to give us a shot. It’s these early adopters who have helped us scale the business because once they liked the product, their word of mouth marketing has convinced many others to try us out.

Tell us about the process from start to finish of crafting a top quality cricket bat?

Aayush: Our process starts at willow selection. Our product designer and quality control team evaluate thousands of clefts to decide which ones will be good enough to make Elevar Bats. Then handles are joined to those clefts and workers use special tools to give the handle our unique and trademark shape. The bat is left for a couple of days to let the joining become stable and strong. Bat finishing is a largely manual process and workers give a slightly different shape profile to each of our bats so that bat balance is optimized. Finally, bees wax is applied to the bat as a finishing touch and then our signature bat grip and stickers are applied. There are quality checks at each step of the process and we end up discarding many bats so that customers only get the best possible batting experience.

How do you continually manage to innovate and improve as a bat maker?

Kunal: By doing one thing – listening to our customers! As Aayush mentioned we spent one whole year in R&D working with players and understanding their needs and wants. Even after our launch, our product has changed drastically, and this is because we keep listening to feedback from customers and make changes. Our products team has a single goal and that is quality and not cost. So, the team keeps working with our manufacturers to ensure bat quality keeps improving. We have designed stringent quality control processes throughout our supply chain to keep checks and balances. And our product designer is always experimenting with new, innovative ideas so that the next iteration of the bat can be even better.

Can you elaborate the technology part of your bat making process?

Aayush: Our uniqueness is in our bat design. We used science and technology to study batting behavior and the range of motion and type of functions a player and his/her bat goes through. Using this we were able to come up with an optimal handle shape and grip materials. Now we use in-house designed manufacturing tools to ensure that our exact bat design is maintained. We also measure various metrics like moisture and weight throughout the manufacturing process to inform us on bat quality.

What separates Elevar from other bat making companies?

Kunal: Our attention to detail and willingness to innovate. Most bat companies have been around for decades but the bat in essence has remained the same. We want to push the bounds of innovation to keep evolving the bat as a product. As you have seen with tennis rackets of golf clubs, these instruments have dramatically changed over the last 50 years and bats should be no different given the resources we have available now. And then we backup this innovation with an attention to detail in getting it executed even though it may be more difficult and costly than the norm.

Where do you see Elevar in next five years?

Aayush: As Kunal mentioned, we want to keep pushing the bounds of innovation. We want to keep designing better products for Cricketers of all types. We aren’t only focused on the pro market of players who buy English willow bats. The casual gully cricketer is equally important to us. And so, we want to design the best quality of products for cricketers across formats and eventually across geographies.

How do you engage the youth with your brand?

Kunal: We’re an online only brand at the moment so we are engaging young hand passionate cricketers on all social platforms. We love hearing from our customers and featuring their stories on our page. And we love pushing content their way and will keep doing so. We also have a very young team – our average age is under 30! And we hope to keep building our team with young and passionate sports people.

What is your prediction for the upcoming World Cup?

Aayush: Heart is always with India and I do think we will make it to the semis but I think England go in as favorites this year!

How has your work influenced your lifestyle?

Kunal: Our biggest passion is our work and that’s the most awesome part for us. We always used to play and watch cricket in our free time and now that counts as work! So its much harder now for our wives to stop us.

Who's your all-time favorite sports person?

Aayush: Virender Sehwag. To me he’s one of the people who defined the age of power hitting that exists in Cricket Today. He was the bridge between old school cricket and modern cricket. The tradionalists used to say that you can’t play test cricket without impeccable technique and yet Viru will go down as one of India’s greatest test cricketers. He famously said, “I don’t believe in technique, I believe in performance” and that’s what modern day cricket is all about – trust your natural game and go out there and perform.

What do you like most about cricket as a sport?

Kunal: It’s hard for me to single out any one thing about a sport I love so much. But if I had to pick out one thing, I would say that I love how cricket is always evolving and that means that cricketers are constantly changing how the game is played. Every new generation grows up playing the game slightly differently from the previous one, and taking the game to a new level. So if you look at games from 25 years ago to now, you feel like you’re almost watching a different sport. This way the excitement never dies, and you never know how the game will evolve 25 years from now.

Do you think India is sports oriented country?

Aayush: Yes, it absolutely is. We said this before, we don’t think that a sportsperson is just defined by going out there and playing in a pro circuit. Look at every street, maidaan, building in India and you’ll see people playing. Of course, the initiatives being taken across India to help pro athletes is amazing and we hope that India can excel on a global standard. But the love and passion for sports is in the streets of India and this is something we celebrate at Elevar.

News Cricket

It's like telling an individual to climb Everest without an oxygen mask, says Ramiz on Pak chances

AP Updated: 5 July, 2019, 11:11 AM IST


Former Pakistan test cricketers Ramiz Raja and Shoaib Akhtar were vocal in criticizing their team's performance in the World Cup and held out little hope for Friday's game.

"It's like telling an individual that you have to climb Mount Everest without an oxygen mask. It's that much of a Herculean task," former Pakistan captain and TV commentator Raja said on his YouTube channel, adding "whether they (Pakistan) win or lose it doesn't matter."

He called for changes after the tournament, saying: "We have to find batsmen, we have to find all-rounders. That's the way you can make your future team."

Akhtar was disappointed with the quality of cricket displayed by Pakistan.

"The mess was created by Pakistan themselves," he said, "the way we lost heavily to West Indies in the first match, then rain washed out the game against Sri Lanka which was unfortunate."

News Cricket

Coin flip could end Pakistan chances at Cricket World Cup

AP Updated: 5 July, 2019, 11:08 AM IST


One toss of a coin could deal a fatal blow to Pakistan's erratic Cricket World Cup campaign.

Pakistan goes into its match against Bangladesh at Lord's on Friday knowing already that it is effectively out of contention for a semifinal spot.

New Zealand is fourth with 11 points at the end of its nine group games. Fifth-place Pakistan can draw level with the Black Caps on points if it beats Bangladesh — which can't qualify — but needs to win by 300-plus runs to advance. That's never been achieved before in ODI history.

Pakistan could see even those remote hopes end without a ball being bowled if it loses the toss and Bangladesh chooses to bat, eliminating any chance for Pakistan to radically improve its net run-rate.

This is used after number of wins to decide which team goes through to the last four if they share the same points. If Pakistan wins Friday, it will have five victories, like New Zealand which has a far superior net run-rate.

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed acknowledges the almost impossible task ahead for his team under the current system.

"It is very difficult (to advance) ... Only if you're batting first, if you score 600 runs or 500 runs," Sarfaraz said Thursday at a pre-match news conference. "So I don't know what the study is behind this, but I can't do anything."

Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes wasn't giving anything away.

"I won't be telling you what we're going to do at the toss or how we approach the game," Rhodes said. "All I will be saying is there's a game to win for Bangladesh, and that's the important thing for us."

News Cricket

Rashid Khan fails to live up to billing at Cricket World Cup

AP Updated: 5 July, 2019, 11:04 AM IST


It just about summed up Rashid Khan's Cricket World Cup.

Standing at midwicket, Afghanistan's star player was in position to gobble up a flicked shot from West Indies batsman Shai Hope — on just 5 at the time — that was well timed but unfortunately hit straight at a fielder.

Rashid put it down, to the amazement of Hope and the Afghanistan fielders.

Hope went on to be West Indies' top scorer with 77 in the group match Afghanistan lost by 23 runs at Headingley on Thursday , piling on the misery for Rashid in a tournament he'll be glad to put behind him.

The 20-year-old Rashid arrived in England as the jewel in the crown of Afghanistan cricket, the country's millionaire player in the Indian Premier League, and the world's top-ranked allrounder in ODIs.

This was a chance for the casual cricket fan to see a star in the making, potentially coming into his own on the global stage.

He leaves with just six wickets at an average of 69 and an economy of 5.79, and just 105 runs in nine innings.

With their best player struggling, the Afghans lost all nine group games.

"With Rashid, everyone just expects things from him, especially how he played the last two or three years," Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib said. "Rashid has a 60% winning percentage in our team and every game he has 50-60% responsibility for the team. I am also expecting a lot from him but this is cricket.

"He gives 100% but it's bad luck; some missed reviews, umpire decisions, catches dropped. If you look at the performances, he did three or four games well but it's not enough here."

Gulbadin said Afghanistan came into the World Cup — for its second appearance in the tournament, after 2015 — looking to win three games but came up against teams who were better prepared and more consistent.

Fitter, too.

"If you look at the team, I'm not happy with the team's performance," he said. "Nobody has (played) 100% for the team or country. It's not professional cricket. Each and every department, you (need to) be fit and 100%. Especially fitness is a problem for our team — if you're not fit, nothing will go well.

"We played very badly here. I'm very upset by our performance. We didn't give 100% for our audience. I say sorry for my fans, my country."

The big positive from the West Indies game was Ikram Ali Khil, whose footwork and speed between the wickets stood out in his 93-ball 86. It was the highest score by an 18-year-old at a World Cup, beating Sachin Tendulkar's knock of 84 in 1992.

His innings came to an end when he was trapped lbw by Chris Gayle, at 39 more than double Ikram's age. That sparked a mid-innings collapse of three wickets in 14 balls that Afghanistan couldn't recover from.

"I am upset he missed a century — scoring a World Cup century is a big moment for anyone," Gulbadin said. "He is a youngster, starting off now. He played a lot of cricket the last two or three years, good cricket in the under-19 World Cup and that is why we gave an opportunity to him. He proved himself here.

"We have more talent in Afghanistan, not only (Ikram). So I hope with this kind of performance like Ikram did, the other guys if they are given a chance will prove themselves."

Ikram will come again.

So will Rashid, despite his forgettable World Cup debut.

News Cricket

Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib comes down hard on his players after nine loses

AP Updated: 5 July, 2019, 10:58 AM IST


Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib has criticized the professionalism and fitness of his team after it ended the Cricket World Cup with nine losses in nine matches.

After finishing the tournament with a 23-run defeat to West Indies, Gulbadin said "nobody has (played) 100% for the team or country. It's not professional cricket ... Fitness is a problem — if not fit, nothing will go well."

Gulbadin said that apart from four or five matches, "Afghanistan played very badly here. I'm very upset by our performance. We didn't give 100% for our audience."