Former Pakistani skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was one of the best players to come out of his country. The right hand batsman accumulated over 11,000 international runs in a career that spanned over 16 years. In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Misbah spoke about Pakistan's chances in the upcoming World Cup and whether politics should get weightage over sports.
“Politics, in my view, is a separate subject and should have nothing to do with sports. There is no connection between both of these ideas. When you enter a sports ground, you compete fairly and in a healthy atmosphere against your adversaries and test your skills against the opponents in good spirit. As a sportsman, you are expected to perform at your best and entertain the spectators which is what they expect of you, and really there is no question of bringing any notion of politics in sports.”
Sporting ties between India and Pakistan have taken a hit since Pulwama terror attack on the convoy of CRPF security personnel. The governing body of Indian cricket even requested the ICC to ban countries promoting terrorism. However, BCCI’s demand was rejected by the international body.
Not since the West Indies first unveiled their range of outstanding pace bowlers in the mid-1970s – a factory that remained productive for over a quarter of a century – have we seen such an assembly line of world class pacemen like South Africa has produced since their readmission to international cricket in 1991. Like it was with the West Indians there seems no end to this assembly line as even when a great bowler leaves the scene another just as good if not better takes his place.
South Africa’s pace bowling tradition is not as strong as the West Indies. Its initial successes were scripted by their spin bowlers Bally Balaskas, Reggie Schwarz and Bert Vogler. Later on of course there was Hugh Tayfield South Africa’s finest ever spin bowler. But the first pair of fast bowlers to really attract attention - Peter Heine and Neil Adcock – made their appearance in the fifties. Peter Pollock was their spearhead in the sixties and he was joined later in the decade by Mike Proctor but just as they were proving to be destructive South Africa were banned from international cricket.
The pace bowling tradition however became much stronger since their readmission. Allan Donald was the first to impress with his pace and hostility and even among the plethora of outstanding fast bowlers in the 90s he stood out. No doubt he provided the inspiration for a number of budding fast bowlers and in the last two decades South Africa have produced some of the finest. Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini and Morne Morkel have carried on the tradition so admirably that in the past few years South Africa have had the best pace bowling attack in the world.
Even as Pollock and Ntini retired, there burst upon the scene Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada. And now that Morkel has called it a day and Steyn will obviously not last very long they already have ready replacements in Lungi Ngidi and the latest find Anrich Nortje. In fact South Africa unearthed the best of the new breed of fast bowlers in Duanne Olivier who in ten Tests picked up 48 wickets at 19 apiece. But he has now signed a Kolpak deal with Yorkshire and that certainly is a big blow for South Africa.
But perhaps in the ultimate analysis it will not mean much for the others are still around and more are bound to appear. And what is particularly eye catching among the South African pacemen is the stats against their names. The average and the strike rate are the best among fast bowlers the world over.
The governing body of Indian cricket has announced the list of centrally contracted players for both the men and women teams. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah are the only three players, who have been kept in Grade A plus contract. The likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have been demoted from Grade A plus contract to Grade A contract.
There were speculations that Cheteshwar Pujara would be included in the top bracket considering his phenomenal performance in the Test series in Australia. He was the top run scorer in the four- match series and was also declared Man of the Series. However, the right hand batsman, is part of Grade A contract, meaning he would get a payment of Rs 5 crore.
Apart from Pujara, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane and seven other players are part of Grade A bracket.
“Pujara did well in Australia but A-plus category is only for those who are excelling in at least two if not three formats. Pujara is only playing one format. Similarly, Ishant Sharma plays one format and is in A category,” Rediff cited reports quoting a BCCI official as saying.
Why did it surprise no one that the International Cricket Council (ICC) while taking cognizance of the BCCI letter to boycott Pakistan stated emphatically earlier this week that it had no say in the subject? Undoubtedly it has to do with the fact that for a fair time now the ICC has been seen less like the supreme governing body for the sport and more like an innocuous host and a figurehead for the gathering of cricket playing nations.
Pushed to show some kind of action and accused of being patronizing of their neighbours despite the repeated infiltration of cross border terrorism in the aftermath of the Pulwama attacks on army personnel last month, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sent forth a letter to the ICC calling for a boycott of all nations that sponsor terrorism although it did not go as far as to state Pakistan explicitly by name. The general consensus was that even this late redressal at the ICC was simply lip service on the part of the BCCI, pushing the onus on the ICC instead of taking its stand independent of the stance taken by the government of India.
Even more on predictable lines was the understanding that while the ICC would put the letter on the agenda, it would not carry any weight because the ICC neither has the power nor is influential enough to carry forth the substance of the matter. Besides, the ICC can ill afford to turn away established, traditional Test playing nations with a formidable reputation. In a rather closed group of established teams that number less than a dozen, the ICC is not in a position to alienate any team by letting their political situation interfere the governance of the sport. It is why Zimbabwe cricket, once competitive, was allowed to fall away at one point, to virtually zero significance.
While it is another matter that the internal wrangling within the BCCI have kept the news reeling (pun intended) leading to a rather embarrassing situation at the ICC meeting, what is of relevance here that is while the ICC response was on expected lines, it, also, betrayed the fact that the ICC has very little hold on what happens within every cricket playing nation and for that matter, what happens between cricket playing nations. It explains a lot why things have languished with regard to Zimbabwe cricket as the ICC turned a deaf ear and why the West Indies unfortunately continue to remain in a perennial state of turmoil and their players in flux despite their rich cricketing legacy.
While it speaks to the truth of the matter, at a time when the ICC is making a bigger push for cricket to become a part of the global disciplines of participating sports at events such as the Asian Games and the Olympics, it cannot look like a toothless body running the show. This feeble, almost dismissive response from the ICC with a simple euphemistic notion that it cannot intervene in political matters between states and has no say in the matter does not speak very highly of the ICC as the entity that will take cricket globally. While the ICC is right in this stand given its history of indifference and inaction, it is not the message it would want to take to the world in its position of authority if it is looking to create a powerhouse status for cricket.
Men in Blue decided to don the camouflaged caps in the honor of Indian Army. Dhoni, who is Lieutenant Colonel with the Territorial Army, distributed the caps to the team members before the start of the third ODI between India and Australia in Ranchi. Kedar Jadhav gave Dhoni a grand salute after getting the cap from the veteran.
The official Instagram page of the Indian team posted the video and captioned it: “#TeamIndia will be sporting camouflage caps today as mark of tribute to the loss of lives in Pulwama terror attack and the armed forces. And to encourage countrymen to donate to the National Defence Fund for taking care of the education of the dependents of the martyrs, #JaiHind.”
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#TeamIndia will be sporting camouflage caps today as mark of tribute to the loss of lives in Pulwama terror attack and the armed forces And to encourage countrymen to donate to the National Defence Fund for taking care of the education of the dependents of the martyrs #JaiHind 🇮🇳
Meanwhile, the ongoing ODI could be Dhoni's last international game at Ranchi as the former skipper may call it quits after the mega event in England. The Men in Blue are leading the series 2-0, having won the first two ODIs in Hyderabad and Nagpur.
Irfan Pathan posted an adorable video that is winning hearts on social media. In the video, his son Imran can been seen asking him to disconnect the call. The Indian all-rounder is seen talking to someone on his mobile phone when Imran interrupts and forces Irfan to oblige to his demand.
Irfan has represented India in 120 ODIs, 29 Tests and 24 T20Is, picking up 173 wickets, 100 wickets and 28 wickets respectively.
Irfan is the only Indian fast bowler who has taken a hat-trick in the longest format of the game.
He has been part of Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils, Rising Pune Supergiant, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings.
Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni is one of the most followed cricketers in India. Apart from fans, he is loved by his own teammates, who look upto him for inspiration and ideas. KL Rahul has lauded Mahi for his fruitful career and also spoke about his importance in the dressing room.
“For youngsters and everybody, we know that he’s our go-to man. If we have any problem related to cricket or any personal problem, we can always speak to him. He’s like an older brother for everybody in the team. He brings a lot of calm to the dressing room and we love having him around,” said Rahul.
According to Yuzvendra Chahal, there's only person who is talked about in Ranchi and that person is none other than Dhoni.
“If you go anywhere in the city, there’s only person you will hear about and that person is MS Dhoni. There are posters of him everywhere and everyone wants to meet him,” said Chahal.
In an amazing gesture, the Indian team is wearing camouflaged caps in the third ODI at JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi. This is team India's tribute to the martyrs of the Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 40 CRPF Jawans lost their lives.
MS Dhoni, who is also a Lieutenant Colonel gave away the caps to the players of the Indian cricket team before the toss. Now, team India will have a game every calendar year where they will be seen wearing camouflaged caps in order to pay tribute to the Indian Armed Forces.
“The idea is to pay tribute to the armed forces and their families. To encourage countrymen to donate to the National Defence Fund for taking care of the education of the dependants of the martyrs,” a BCCI official was quoted as saying by IANS on Friday.
The official further added, “It’s fitting that the start of this annual event is being done at the home town of Lt. Col. Dhoni because it is not a superficial event but a sincere one. I for one will not be surprised if Dhoni ends up doing active service after he hangs his boots. To me, today’s symbolic act depicting solidarity with the forces is more powerful than the one involving monetary donation by the BCCI.”
MS Dhoni has hit the right notes in the ongoing year. The right hand batsman has already scored four fifties in one-day internationals and is looking in ominous touch ahead of the World Cup in England and Wales. It is widely speculated that he will hang his boots after representing India in the show piece event.
Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, however, has a different take on his career. He feels Mahi can continue representing India post World Cup.“Dhoni can continue after the World Cup. If India wins the Cup and Dhoni performs consistently then why should he retire? Age is never a factor if talent is there,” Ganguly told PTI.
MS Dhoni is one of the most successful Indian captains with two World Cup titles under his belt. He has also led India to Champions Trophy title and number one rank in Test matches. Dhoni has played 341 ODIs and has amassed over 10,000 runs in his phenomenal career. After the ODI series against Australia, Dhoni will lead Chennai Super Kings in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League.
Mumbai Indians cricketers Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and Jasprit Bumrah have revealed the importance of women’s in their lives. In a video posted by their IPL franchise, the trio gave a heartwarming message to every woman out there. Mumbai Indians shared a video featuring their skipper, new recruit Yuvraj Singh and pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. In the video, cricketers are seen sharing their respective stories and how women are influencing their daily lives.
According to Hitman, Women's Day should be celebrated as big as any famous festival. He further added that women have changed him completely. “Women’s Day has to be the most celebrated day in India. The women who have played a part in my life have changed me completely. So, I think, it is important that we celebrate Women’s Day as big as Diwali or any other festival that we celebrate,” said Rohit.
Bumrah feels women are ahead of men and the females in his life have always given him confidence. “I always feel women are way above men. They always give me strength, they always give me confidence. So, I am very happy to have them in my life. During any situation, they never feel weak. They are always there in tough times, in happier times,” said Bumrah.
Yuvraj Singh holds women in high regard and said that men are nothing without women. “They are very integral part of our life. I think without them we would be nothing. In my perspective, in my books, I really hold them in high regard. Definitely my mother, who has nurtured me over the years and kept me very safe, to my sisters as well,” said Yuvraj.
As per BJP's party sources, former Indian cricketers, Virender Sehwag, and Gautam Gambhir may well appear in Bharatiya Janata Party's list when they release the names of candidates for all seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital. The list is likely to be out by March 10.
“The names of a former Delhi Congress MP, a senior central party leader, along with those of former cricketers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, are being considered and may emerge as surprise contenders for the seats. Apart from all seven sitting MPs, more than 24 state leaders, including former MLAs, councillors and student leaders belonging to Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) are proposing names for the general elections,” the Delhi BJP leader said.
The names of Gambhir and Sehwag for the New Delhi seat has been making it to the headlines for a long time now. Gautam Gambhir fiercely expresses his political opinions and takes on the politicians on a wide range of issues on Twitter. Now, only time will tell whether these cricketers will fight elections for BJP or not.
Discarded cricketers, David Warner, and Steven Smith didn't find a place in Australia's ODI squad for the final two matches of the ODI series against Pakistan in UAE. Their bans will come to an end on March 28. The Australian selectors retained the same ODI squad that was picked for the India tour. Mitchell Starc continues to be out of action due to a left pectoral muscle strain.
"After consultation with members of the National Selection Panel, Greg Chappell and Head Coach Justin Langer, Interim EGM Team Performance Belinda Clark, CA Medical Team and both players, it has been agreed Steve Smith and David Warner will not be available for selection for the final two matches of the series against Pakistan," said Trevor Hohns, Chairman of the National Selection Panel.
"While their bans will be finished on March 28, Steve and David have been working through rehabilitation from elbow surgery and it has been agreed the best pathway for them to return to play is in the Indian Premier League, a strong competition which features some of the world's best players. David will play with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Steve with Rajasthan Royals. Cricket Australia will continue to liaise with both Steve, David and their IPL clubs to monitor progress as we build towards the ICC World Cup and the Ashes," said Hohns.
The ODI series between Pakistan and Australia starts from March 22 in Sharjah,
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa
In the latest central contract list announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Indian captain, Virat Kohli, limited-overs vice-captain, Rohit Sharma, and premiere bowler, Jasprit Bumrah bagged the Grade A+ contract.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant got a Grade A contract while pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and opener, Shikhar Dhawan got demoted to Grade A.
There were talks about Cheteswar Pujara getting a Grade A+ contract, but that wasn't the case and he continues to be in A category. Mohammed Shami also got promoted to Grade A from Grade B while players like KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya continue to be in the Grade B contract.
Suresh Raina and Murali Vijay were notable names that didn't get contracts. Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha also got a contract despite being out of action from the Indian team.
In Men's cricket, the A+ category players are paid a yearly fee of Rs 7 crore, while A category players get Rs 5 crore. Grade B and C category players are getting Rs 3 crore and Rs 1 crore respectively.
In Women’s cricket, Mithali Raj, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam Yadav and Harmanpreet Kaur have got Grade A contract.
Grade A players will bag Rs 50 lakhs as yearly retainer fee while Grade B players are paid Rs 30 lakhs in Women’s cricket.
Grade A+ (Rs 7 Cr): Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah
Grade A (Rs 5 Cr): R Ashwin, Ra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav, Rishabh Pant
Grade B (Rs 3 Cr): KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya
Grade C (Rs 1 Cr): Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Hanuma Vihari, Khaleel Ahmed, Wriddhiman Saha
Grade A (Rs 50 Lakhs): Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Poonam yadav
Grade B (Rs 30 Lakhs): Ekta Bisht, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Deepti Sharma, Jemimah Rodrigues
Grade C (Rs 10 Lakhs): Radha Yadav, D Hemalatha, Anuja Patil, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mansi Joshi, Punam Raut, Mona Meshram, Arundhati Reddy, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Taniya Bhatia, Pooja Vastrakar
Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar has lashed out against a video assistant referee decision that opened the way for Manchester United to eliminate his French club from the Champions League.
The Brazilian star used an Instagram post to criticize VAR officials for awarding United a decisive penalty in injury time after defender Presnel Kimpembe jumped and blocked Diogo Dalot's shot with his elbow.
Marcus Rashford scored from the spot to secure a 3-1 win at PSG, allowing United to overturn its two-goal deficit from the first leg and secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
"This is a shame!" Neymar posted. "They put four guys that do not understand football to watch it in slow motion. This doesn't exist!" He also used an expletive against the VAR officials.
Neymar, who is recovering from injury, watched PSG's elimination from the sideline in the Parc des Princes stadium.
PSG's social media channels showed Neymar watching from near the bench in the final minutes, screaming and emotionally responding to the result.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel refused to criticize Neymar for his outburst.
Andy Murray says he is pain-free after hip surgery but likely won't play at Wimbledon.
Murray tells the BBC in an interview he wants to continue playing but the surgeons "couldn't give me any guarantees."
The three-time Grand Slam champion says "I don't feel any pressure to come back. If it allows me to play that's brilliant."
After an emotional Australian Open exit in January, Murray had an operation to repair his damaged right hip with a metal implant. The 32-year-old Murray says he is now without pain for the first time in 18 months but cannot do "any high-impact movement."
Murray, who has two daughters, says "having the surgery was to improve all the day-to-day things and my quality of life."
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