Youth footballers from Pakistan qualify for Street Children World Cup

An eight-member football team consisting of children from Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir won the Future Depends on You football tournament 2017 which was held in Moscow from 25 to 28 October.

The team had a sensational run through the tournament winning all their matches including those against India, Brazil and Russia. The team has qualified for the Street Children Football World Cup which will be held in Russia in 2018.

The players were ecstatic after beating India 15-0 in the quarterfinal. “We were extremely happy to beat India,” said a member of the team.

“These children are from humble backgrounds. They include orphans, street children and underprivileged children,” said team manager Mujtaba Haider who also expressed optimism about performing well in the upcoming Street Children World Cup.

Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza meeting the young footballers – Photo ISPR
On November 7, Commander 10 Corps Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza met the children from the football team. An Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release said Lieutenant General Nadeem Raza appreciated the achievement of the young children and assured support for their training and assistance.

West Indies tour to Pakistan postponed due to smog in Lahore

The much-awaited tour of West Indies cricket team to play a three-match T20 series in Pakistan later this month is likely to be postponed, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials told DawnNews on Monday.

A senior PCB official said that thick levels of smog in Lahore [where the matches were expected to be held] and the commitment of West Indies’ players to participate in Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) became the reasons for postponement of the bilateral T20 series.

“The PCB and the West Indies Cricket Board had agreed that West Indies will tour Pakistan in November, but now it is unlikely to happen because of the smog and some other reasons,” the official said, adding that both the boards are deliberating upon other possible dates for the series.

The tour will now take place after March 2018.

According to the official, the meteorological department was also unable to predict an exact date for the decrease in smog.

Shehzad dropped from ODI, T20I for West Indies series: sources

LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) selection committee has decided to drop opening batsman Ahmad Shehzad from the proposed three-match t20I series against West Indies, sources informed ibc News on Monday.

The decision was taken after taking into consideration Shehzad’s deteriorating batting performances.

Meanwhile, the selection committee with the consent of head coach Mickey Arthur has finalised the 14-member national team squad for the proposed West Indies series; the committee has proposed Arthur to give chance to all-rounder Aamir Yameen or Muhammad Nawaz in the coming series to judge their talent.

Shehzad was benched in the recent series against Sri Lanka as he failed to make a mark by his innings despite given back-to-back chances.

The right-hand batsman scored 27, 22 in the two t20I matches respectively; he miserably failed in the ODI series as well where his score in two respective matches were 0 and 8.

The senior batsman who has played 13 Tests, 81 ODIs and 53 T20Is has also been released by the Pakistan Super League’s franchise Quetta Gladiators, however, the Opener is hopeful that any franchise will pick him in the drafts scheduled on November 12 in Lahore.

Inzamam scores advisory role with Lahore Qalandars

The legendary batsman and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq, has joined Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Lahore Qalandars as an adviser, read a statement issued on Sunday.

“Inzamam’s vision and experience will be extremely helpful for Qalandars,” read the statement.

Commenting on the development, Lahore Qalandars CEO Atif Rana said that Inzamam is definitely one of the great players who has played this game. “We are excited to have Inzi Bhai on board with us.”

Earlier this year, the Sultan of Swing, Wasim Akram, had joined PSL franchise Multan Sultans as the director of cricket operations — with the aim to light up the cricket circuit in Pakistan with more untapped talent.

Akram, who has been an integral part of various T20 cricket franchises around the world, including past PSL champions Islamabad United, was excited on joining the Sultans and hoped to produce players “capable of competing and excelling.”

Injured Shinwari ruled out of international cricket for up to six months

LAHORE: Pakistan’s bowling unit have been a dealt a major blow as in-form pacer Usman Shinwari has been ruled out of the upcoming series against the West Indies.

Sources have confirmed to Geo News that the medical camp of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has informed the team management that Shinwari may take next four to six months to recover from an injury. The pacer is facing a serious stress fracture of the back.

The PCB is still waiting for a final word from Cricket West Indies (CWI) on the proposed tour of Pakistan by the West Indies team for a series of three T20Is.

Meanwhile, a source in PCB has confirmed to that PCB has sent the proposed itinerary and the related plans to the CWI and the board is now waiting for the final approval.

“We are hoping for a reply from them by Wednesday,” said the source.

A joint statement from PCB and CWI had stated that Cricket West Indies and Pakistan Cricket Board were advancing discussions that would see the West Indies team play three T20 matches against Pakistan in Lahore in late November.

PSL 3 draft to be held on November 12

Player draft for the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will be held on November 12, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Friday.

A statement released by the PCB said international players — including Chris Lynn, J.P. Duminy, Mitchell Johnson, Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir, Angelo Mathews, Luke Ronchi, Colin Ingram, Wayne Parnell, and John Hastings — will be available to be picked in the draft.

The six PSL teams — which already have nine-player squads — will be able to pick up to 11 players each to complete their 20-member squad using a $1.2 million purse.

“The draft will include one round in Platinum, Diamond and Gold categories. This will be followed by two rounds each in Silver and Emerging categories. Teams will have the option to pick up to four players each in the Supplementary category,” the statement read.

“The default pick order will see Lahore Qalandars going first followed by Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans” but the order may be altered because of trades between the franchises, the biggest of which was Shahid Afridi’s recent move from Peshawar Zalmi to Karachi Kings.

Karachi Kings have also “opted to skip their first pick in the Emerging Round; they will nominate a player after the conclusion of their talent hunt program.”

The next edition of PSL is expected to be held in February, 2018.

Pakistan Post issues stamps to commemorate ICC Champions Trophy win

KARACHI: Celebrating Pakistan’s triumph at the ICC Champions Trophy, the Pakistan Post has issued a set of commemorative stamps and souvenir sheets to mark the country’s historic win in the event three months ago.

A formal ceremony to launch these stamps was held on Thursday which was attended by Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed and other team members along with officials of the board.

The stamps, priced at Rs 10, show Pakistan cricket team celebrating with the trophy at the Oval, another stamp show shot of trophy with flags of countries that participated in the event.

These stamps are available for purchase from post offices across the country. The souvenir sheet, showing all three stamps on one sheet under the trophy of the tournament is priced at Rs 50.

Pakistan outclassed arch-rival India under leadership of young Sarfaraz Ahmed in June earlier this year at the Oval to win the ICC Champions Trophy.

‘I love my Pakistan job,’ says coach Micky Arthur

Pakistan National Team Coach Micky Arthur said in a recent interview to CricBuzz that his experience with Pakistan has been ‘fantastic’.

“I love this job with them. I don’t think you’ve ever coached till you’ve coached an Asian team,” CricBuzz quoted Arthur as saying.

“The backing I have received form the PCB is second to none. They have allowed me to do what I want to do for the best. I really think that we are on the right track. I am loving this Pakistan job,” Arthur said while discussing his experience of coaching the Pakistan cricket team.

Talking about why he chose to coach an international team rather than a T20 league team, Arthur said, “When you are coaching an international team, you are running a programme for 12 months of the year. You get to influence peoples’ careers.”

He added: “The public following is so huge. We have 200 million people in Pakistan watching everything that is happening to the Pakistan cricket team — that stimulates me.”

“When you run an international programme, that’s where you make a significant contribution towards the game. I love coaching internationally because I can develop people, but it’s hard to do that in the T20 environment,” Arthur said, expressing his love for ODI cricket.

Discussing the difference between an Asian team and a Western cricket team, Arthur said that the passion, excitement and skill found in the Asian region is amazing, adding: “This is something that went through my mind after the Test series against Sri Lanka … everything is opposite in the sub-continent. It challenges you as a coach.”

“Being a coach of a Western team — like the South African team or the Australia team — we always win games with our pace. The game is quite faster to start with and then slows down,” Arthur explained.

Talking about the recent debacle Pakistan faced in Test matches against Sri Lanka, Arthur explained, “We are trying to get the right balance in terms of our [Test] team. We haven’t quite got it right as yet maybe. I love rebuilding teams. We have to rebuild the Test team now. Our Test team is at a stage where our ODI team was a year ago.”

“When you lose Misbah and Younis, you are losing so much experience and so many runs. We have to get the balance right,” he added.

Admitting the Pakistan team’s lack of skill when it comes to fielding, Arthur said that he was working with the boys to improve their technique.

“The good thing is the guys are having fun doing fielding drills. They are really enjoying their fielding. I think sometimes — excuse my words — Asian teams tend to see fielding as chill while batting and bowling are seen as the real skill,” he said

“Now we are putting so much emphasis [on fielding] because that’s the only thing we do together. When you play a game of cricket, you know you are going to field. By doing it over and over, you become more skillful and athletic,” Arthur said while talking about his plans for the team’s

Reminiscing about the team’s recent triumphs in the field, Arthur said: “When Shadab dived at cover point [in the World XI series] or when he chased the ball down and when Ahmed Shehzad took a blinder, the crowd were over the moon — that’s what fielding does to a team.”

He said: “You can see the enjoyment the boys are having on the field. They are throwing themselves.”

The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels all set to return to WWE ring

WWE legends The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash, are set to return for only a night at Barclays Center and Manhattan Center in New York City, which will be celebrated on January 22.

In January 2018, WWE will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their Monday Night RAW show, their flagship show which essentially helped the WWE become the company which it is today.

WWE announced on their website: “Superstars from both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown LIVE will be at Barclays Center, while the event at Manhattan Center, the site of the first episode of Raw, will feature both WWE Superstars competing, plus special appearances by WWE Legends.”

It will be Undertaker’s first appearance after his loss against Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 34 to which he left his hat and coat in the ring and was believed to have retired that year.

WWE’s flagship television show will ring in the quarter-century mark January 22 next year. It is pertinent to mention here that, Raw first aired January 11, 1993, from the Manhattan Center.

The 25th anniversary of Monday Night RAW looks like it’s going to be a good one, especially with the return of The Undertaker to television screens.

Sri Lanka plan more Pakistan trips after T20 success

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka are planning to send more teams to Pakistan after playing a Twenty20 match in Lahore for the first time since a gun attack eight years ago, a top official said Tuesday.

Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Ashley de Silva said the national team were impressed with the extraordinary level of security for the match at the Gaddafi stadium on Sunday.

“They delivered the security they promised and we were very satisfied with all the arrangements,” de Silva told reporters in Colombo a day after the team returned home.

He said the board would send junior sides to Pakistan soon and the senior side would follow as soon as possible.

“Our FTP (Future Tours Program) does not include Pakistan, but we will have one as soon as possible,” he said. “We are sending our A team and an Under-19 team to play against Pakistan shortly.”

Sunday’s T20 was Sri Lanka’s first in Pakistan since their team bus was attacked near the same venue in March 2009.

That attack, which left eight people dead and seven Sri Lanka players and their staff injured, forced Pakistan to play all their home matches at neutral venues, mainly in the UAE.

Sri Lanka’s T20 skipper Thisara Perera said several team members had raised concerns about safety, but he was able to assure them based on his experience in playing in a three-match World XI series in Lahore last month.

“In my nine years of cricket I have never seen that level of security,” Perera said of Sunday´s match which Sri Lanka lost by 36 runs. “I think we can play again in Pakistan.”

Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara and board President Thilanga Sumathipala also travelled to Lahore for the final of the three-match T20 series to underline Colombo´s confidence in the security arrangements.

The first two matches, which Pakistan won by seven and two wickets respectively, were played in Abu Dhabi before Sri Lanka flew to Lahore in a 24-hour fly-in, fly-out arrangement.