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Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan – Our dream is to win the T20 World Cup

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A mere 16 years after becoming part of the ICC, Afghanistan gained Test status. Four games into their Test-history, they’ve already picked up two wins, including one against a far more experienced Bangladesh team. Their top players are already global superstars who feature in multiple franchise leagues.

Given the incredible speed of the nation’s rise as a cricketing force, it doesn’t sound implausible that their players are dreaming of winning the T20 World Cup. Rashid Khan, Afghanistan’s all-formats captain and leading cricketer, believes they have the talent in all departments to pull off this dream, and only need the belief, which he feels will come with more matches against the top international teams.

“The biggest dream of the whole country was to be called a Full Member team and to play a Test game,” Rashid said on DRS with Ash, a YouTube show hosted by the India offspinner R Ashwin. “That was something which we were all hoping and praying for, the whole country, and we were not expecting that to happen as soon as it did. When you’re playing a Test game against India in India, it’s more than a dream for everyone.

“When we were playing against you guys in our first Test game, we didn’t know what we were doing. Everyone was just counting – I’m going to be the first one to hit a four, the first one to hit a six, the first one to take a single. Everyone was just so excited to play the first game and to get to the ground and do his best. It wasn’t the best game for us, but there were so many things we learned.

“I think the biggest achievement [for Afghanistan] should be, right now, what the team is looking for, what the country is expecting is, to win the T20 World Cup, because we have all the skills, talent, and we just need to have that belief in ourselves that we can do it. Talent-wise we are so good, we have the spinners, we have the fast bowlers, we have the batting skills as well. But what took us down in that Test was our experience against big teams, because we didn’t play enough cricket with them.

“The moment we play more series with them, we can become a better team. We are very famous for T20 players, but inshallah, that is a dream of mine and a dream of the country that one day we will win the T20 title and that will be the biggest achievement for Afghanistan cricket and for us as well.”

The next T20 World Cup is scheduled to be played in October-November 2021, in India. More immediately, Rashid’s focus will be on the IPL, which begins in the UAE on September 19. Rashid has been among Sunrisers Hyderabad’s key performers in his three IPL seasons so far, taking 55 wickets in 46 games at an average of 21.69 and an economy rate of 6.55.

Rashid carries good form into the IPL, having taken 11 wickets at 22.63, with an economy rate of 6.85, in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League.



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Sevens chief to advertisers – ‘We still love cricket’

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Outspoken Seven chief executive James Warburton has backed away from a months-long campaign against Cricket Australia, stressing to advertisers that the free-to-air network “love cricket” even as they sit in the midst of an arbitration process geared at shaving a huge chunk off the rights fees due to the governing body.

Ever since reporting the network’s financial results in August, Warburton has slung plenty of barbs CA’s way, all with the objective of getting a reduction in the A$450 million deal signed in April 2018, of which almost 60% was paid for the rights to the Big Bash League, with the rest accounting for Test matches and women’s internationals and WBBL. Foxtel paid the majority of the total A$1.18 billion figure to broadcast every ball of a home summer behind its paywall, with exclusive coverage of Australia’s men’s ODI and T20I fixtures.

In late August, Warburton had labelled CA “the most incompetent administration I’ve ever worked with”, a “train wreck” and that “this is not an acceptable product and we will not support the season”. On Wednesday, however, as he tried to sell the summer to advertisers, Warburton had rather changed his tune.

“One of the most talked about issues involving our company this year is our ongoing process with Cricket Australia. To be 100% clear, we love the cricket and we have a huge amount of respect for the teams and the athletes,” Warburton said at the industry presentation.

“Ultimately, we pay for media rights to deliver you the quality and eye balls that best suits your needs, which is to deliver a return on your investment. We pay for and expect a first-class product and will hold Cricket Australia accountable to provide that quality this summer. Even if it means at times we are outspoken.”

Seven is seeking somewhere in the order of a 20% cut to its annual rights fees – currently A$82 million in cash and free advertising paid over three instalments – for each of the remaining four seasons of the contract. CA is believed to have offered a discount for this season, affected as it has been by Covid-19, but stopped short of any further mark downs. “We’ll go through the arbitration process,” Warburton said. “The ICACA has all the submissions and will be in a position to nominate an expert shortly.”

In September, Seven had claimed to CA that it would pay only one partial instalment of what it was contracted to pay for the entire summer, then backed down after sitting in breach of contract for more than two weeks and paying the remainder of the amount owed. CA has reserved its rights to take the matter to court, arguing that the arbitration avenue will not be binding. Warburton picked up on the current state of uncertainty about where India’s tour will start as another means of keeping pressure on CA.

“We do find it surprising that three weeks before the all-conquering Indian team is due, that Cricket Australia is still [looking for a] port for them to arrive,” Warburton said. “They’ve had the entire winter to make their plans, and the AFL and NRL have executed their seasons.

“We really hope for our viewers that they can deliver the Test series. But there must be huge pressure on NSW Health given Western Australia … and it looks like Queensland have all said no.”



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Three Bangladesh Under-19 players test positive for Covid-19

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Three Bangladesh Under-19 cricketers have tested positive for Covid-19, while 15 others from a training camp held in BKSP are symptomatic, according to the BCB’s game development manager AEM Kawser. The training camp was being held to help the team prepare for the Under-19 Asia Cup, originally scheduled to be held in the UAE next month. The camp has now been closed and could be held again only next month after further tests.

“According to our protocol, we have to isolate everyone who has come into contact with the symptomatic person,” Kawser told the Dhaka-based The Business Standard. “There were a few symptomatic cases so we had to isolate their room-mates, as well as those they did nets with. Our medical team told us that there are three who were found to be positive. We cannot reveal the names, but we have isolated them and those who came in contact with them.”

Kawser said that since the Under-19 Asia Cup has been postponed, they are not in a hurry to restart the camp.

“We are not running the camp since the Asia Cup has been postponed. In addition there is a bit of risk now, so we have closed the camp and will only start the camp when things improve in November,” he said.

The camp had begun on October 1, featuring the 28 cricketers who were selected in the preliminary squad for the U-19 Asia Cup.



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BBL 2020-21 – Mohammad Nabi’s versatility lauded as he returns to Melbourne Renegades

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Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi will return as one of Melbourne Renegades’ overseas players for the BBL.

Nabi, who is the No.1-ranked T20I allrounder, has been part of three previous campaigns for the Renegades: in 27 matches he has scored 476 runs at a strike-rate of 130.76 and has taken 21 wickets with an economy rate of 7.17.

He is the second signing for the Renegades in recent days following the return of James Pattinson from the Brisbane Heat. They have lost Dan Christian (Sydney Sixers), Tom Cooper and Jack Wildermuth (both Brisbane Heat) as they look to rebuild the squad having finished bottom last season following the title-winning 2018-19 season.

Nabi is also the first overseas player from outside of England to be confirmed for this year’s BBL.

“Nabi’s versatility makes him a very valuable member of our team. He can bat and bowl in a number of different situations and he reads the game so well,” Renegades coach Michael Klinger said. “We’ll again be looking for Nabi to play a key role in our middle order and he’ll be called upon to bowl some important overs.”

Current Renegades squad: Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch (capt), Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Jon Holland, Shaun Marsh, Mohammad Nabi, James Pattinson, Kane Richardson, Will Sutherland, Beau Webster.



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