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SA vs PAK – praying for him to get that double

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Team-mates and former players react to Fakhar Zaman’s blistering 193

The controversy over the manner in which his innings ended may have overshadowed Fakhar Zaman‘s innings on Sunday at The Wanderers. His 193 will easily reside among the greatest ODI innings played by a Pakistan batsman and perhaps even beyond that when taking into account the match situation, the attack he was up against and how he managed the chase. And his team-mates and coaches were in no doubt as to its magnitude.

“One of the best innings that he has played, or I have seen, especially for the clean hitting. He took his time, then built his innings even as wickets fell. The longer the game went, he built these small partnerships but his batting with the tail was outstanding. His hitting at that stage and how he managed that situation, amazing. It was a total one-man show – sadly he couldn’t finish the game and he missed his double. We were really praying for him to get that double. If he had one allrounder batting with him, it could’ve ended 2-3 overs earlier.”
Babar Azam

“That was a really special innings. As a fan of cricket, it was a lot of fun watching that. Personally, really happy with the determination and hunger he showed – really enjoyed that. I can see he changed a little bit in how he played. He gave himself a bit more time and really showed maturity in how he went about it. That was special. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right result but it was an innings to watch.”
Mohammad Hafeez

“I think it was one of the best innings, especially with the match scenario, and the kind of bowling he was up against and the way wickets were falling. Sheer dominance. All alone, he stood there and chasing after such a big target. A smaller target you can understand and you can think about getting there by yourself. But something this big, to try and do it alone, with cricketing shots first and then how he began to clear the boundary. Great fun to watch. He’s been working really hard so to do it in these conditions, it’s great for Pakistan and a real lesson for other batsmen.”
Misbah-ul-Haq

“Amazing innings. It got so close to winning that game. I say it’s one of the best innings I’ve seen live because there wasn’t any partnerships with the top order in there. He did it alone. I feel honoured to have seen it live, for an Asian player and especially a Pakistani one to do it here. One of the good things about that innings was that you think of Fakhar as a batsman who plays 50-60 balls, makes 70-80 off it, a hard-hitting batsman who plays in one gear. But this innings he really did shifted through the gears. Very happy as a batting coach that if you look at his wagon wheel, he had shots everywhere. He’s known for big sixes but his running between the wickets, batting without partners, it was amazing that he fought till the end. That’s what we try to instil in our players, to just keep fighting till the very end.”
Younis Khan

“You don’t get to see innings like that very often in international cricket. His power-hitting was great to watch. Unfortunately no batsman could really help him out but still very happy to see an innings like that. And to know that Pakistan has a player who can turn a match around like that.”
Imam-ul-Haq



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Eng vs NZ 2021 – New Zealand’s wholesale changes show immense strength in depth

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Unprecedented six changes also highlight WTC’s impact on international cricket

New Zealand have never previously made six changes to their side within a series and that they did so at Edgbaston and still managed to take seven wickets after being asked to bowl on a flat pitch was evidence of two things: firstly, unprecedented strength in depth within their Test squad, and secondly, the extent of the World Test Championship’s impact on international cricket.

Tom Latham, their stand-in captain, insisted in his pre-match press conference that beating England was “higher on our priority list” than the WTC final, but that he was saying it in the first place was proof of the inverse: Kane Williamson was ruled out through elbow pain here but would surely be risked against India if he suffered the same ailment next week.
Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Colin de Grandhomme were all rotated out to manage their workloads ahead of the same fixture, and while BJ Watling’s stiff back and Mitchell Santner’s cut finger might well have caused them to miss out under any circumstances, the presence of ready-made replacements in Tom Blundell and Ajaz Patel and Trent Boult’s return meant only a limited drop-off in the quality of New Zealand’s side.

It has been clear for some time that the notion of teams knowing their ‘best XI’ is anachronistic in this era of international cricket but in the Covid era of enlarged squads, bubble fatigue, variety in conditions and a punishing schedule, squad depth is more relevant than ever. India proved as much during their improbable series win in Australia at the start of this year, and with New Zealand fielding 17 players across these two Tests, they are showing that the era of “Hadlee at one end, Ilford seconds at the other” is long gone.

The only time a team has used more than that in a two-match series was when Sri Lanka rested seven players after an innings-and-196-run win against a struggling Bangladesh in 2002, which led Sanath Jayasuriya to complain he had never seen some of his new side before and drew the disapproval of the government’s sports minister – though they still won the second Test by 288 runs.



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SL vs Ind 2021 – Shikhar Dhawan to captain India on limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar named vice-captain, Chetan Sakariya and Nitish Rana among new faces in the mix

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham and Chetan Sakariya have all received maiden call-ups to the national team, figuring in the 20-man India squad for the white-ball series in Sri Lanka, scheduled for July. The second-string squad – the main team will be in England at the time – will be captained by opening batter Shikhar Dhawan, who has never led India previously, and will also see the international comeback of fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been appointed vice-captain.
India’s Sri Lanka tour comprises six matches: three ODIs (on July 13, 16 and 18), followed by three T20Is (July 21, 23, 25). Former India captain Rahul Dravid has been confirmed as the head coach, although the BCCI did not announce the coaching staff for the side on Thursday when it announced the squad, which will have five reserve bowlers.

Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (vice-capt), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya

Net bowlers: Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh

More to follow…



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County cricket 2021 – Kyle Jamieson signs for Surrey on short-term deal

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Fast bowler will head to Kia Oval at conclusion of the World Test Championship final

Kyle Jamieson, the New Zealand fast bowler, has signed a short-term deal for Surrey across formats, and will link up with the club at the conclusion of the World Test Championship final against India later this month.

Jamieson, who has been rested from the ongoing second Test against England after claiming three wickets in the opening match at Lord’s, will be available for the Vitality Blast London Derby against Middlesex at The Kia Oval on June 25, and will remain with the squad until their final group game in mid-July.

In that period, he will also be available for Surrey’s final two group games in the LV= Insurance County Championship, against Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl from July 4-7 and against Somerset at The Oval from July 11-14. This will be his first time playing in English domestic cricket.

“I’m really excited to get the chance to play some county cricket after the Black Caps tour,” Jamieson said. “Originally I didn’t think this opportunity would be possible with the schedule this year, but with how things have unfolded it’s great to be able to join Surrey and experience both T20 and first-class cricket.

“Playing county cricket is something I’ve always wanted to do in my career, so to have the chance to do so now is awesome. I’ve heard a lot of great things about county cricket, particularly T20 Blast nights at The Kia Oval, and can’t wait to take up the opportunity with Surrey to continue to learn and grow whilst trying my best to contribute to the teams’ success.”



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