Connect with us


T20 World Cup – Afg vs Pak – Saqlain Mushtaq




Pakistan’s interim head coach warned that Afghanistan would be dangerous opponents because of their “fearless” approach

Saqlain Mushtaq, Pakistan’s interim head coach, would love it if his team got the opportunity to face India again, and beat them again, in the final of the T20 World Cup. He also feels more meetings between the sides will only improve relations between the two neighbours.

Pakistan began their campaign with a 10-wicket win that ended India’s stranglehold over their arch-rivals in World Cups – they had won each of the five previous T20 World Cup meetings between the sides as well as the seven ODI World Cup meetings. That resounding win was followed by a five-wicket victory over New Zealand that has put Pakistan firmly on top of the Group 2 table, and left them favourites to reach the semi-finals. They next face Afghanistan on Friday, followed by matches against Associate teams Namibia and Scotland.

“When you come with a mindset to become a world champion then you don’t think about the opponent,” Saqlain said in a virtual press conference. “You rather think whoever comes in, you do what you have to do and want to do. So we are thinking on the same lines day in and day out that whoever is against us in the next stage we will accept it. If you want to become a world champion then you have to live up to the requirements — being tough, being well-prepared, and playing cricket different from the others, and it shows that you are a genuine World Cup winner. If you want to be a world champion then you should be thoroughly [tested] so that the world actually recognises you.

“If India makes it to the final with us, it would be a great thing because I feel — and this is not because we became big-headed after beating them — but because they are a strong team, everyone considers them a favourite. England and Australia always play tough cricket too. What we have in hand is our process, how we plan, our commitment, how we fight and bounce back and things we can control so we don’t focus on results and the opponent. If India comes in the final, then it would be very good for the ICC, fans around the world and for world cricket — everyone will enjoy it. They are our neighbouring country and playing one more match would only improve our relations.”

On Friday, Pakistan will face a stiff test against one of the best spin attacks in the competition, featuring Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi. It’s not a test Pakistan have faced too often: they have met Afghanistan only once in T20Is, beating them with one ball to spare back in 2013, when Rashid and Mujeeb were yet to make their debuts.

Looking ahead to the game, Saqlain talked up Afghanistan not just for their spin attack but also their fearless batting. “I’ve been hearing about them, that they are actually a key player for Afghanistan,” he said of the spinners. “They’ve been doing really well in different leagues and they are quite confident to do their business on their day. They are very good but obviously we should play and we should execute our plan with the clarity of the mind.

“It’s a strong unit. We can’t really say that it’s very easy and you will roll over them. It’s not like that. They have a wonderful bowling attack, especially the spinners. When they bat, they just play, the way they feel it, what’s in their heart, what they think. They just go and execute the plan. They just play a sort of fearless cricket and I think that kind of team can be dangerous.

“But you play for your pride and you don’t think that this is a small team and this is a big team. Otherwise your mind will start thinking in that way. So in the World Cup, it’s a mega win. You play all the teams with the same intensity, with the same attitude, with the same sort of mindset and you execute your plan the way you execute the plan against the bigger-name team.”

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent

Source link

Continue Reading


Piyal Wijetunge calls for ‘patience’ and ‘consistency’ among young spinners




On a pitch that offered substantial assistance, Sri Lanka’s spin-bowling coach felt his bowlers were somewhat overeager

Sri Lanka’s young trio of frontline spinners has taken seven wickets between them and seemingly put the team in a strong position in the opening Test against West Indies. But spin-bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge thinks they could have done much better.

But on a pitch that offered substantial assistance, Wijetunge thought his bowlers were somewhat overeager.

“I’m not 100% happy – we could have done much better. We have been missing lines and lengths very frequently,” Wijetunge said of the performance. “We’ve got three young spinners, and on this pitch, which turns a lot, I think we were trying too hard to get wickets. We need to have patience, because the pitch does help us.

“Instead of bowling the ball in one spot and waiting for the pitch to do the work, we went hunting for wickets. We tried too many things. But of these three spinners, Lasith Embuldeniya has played 12 [11] Tests, Praveen Jayawickrama has played two [one], and Ramesh Mendis three [two]. They need to keep building on their consistency.”

However, Wijetunge did believe that Sri Lanka’s spin bowling was generally in a good place, with these three spinners around for the Test format, and others coming through the system. Sri Lanka are fielding two frontline left-arm spinners for the first time since the retirement of Rangana Herath (he had occasionally played alongside Malinda Warnapura late in his career). Wijetunge outlined Embuldeniya and Jayawickrama’s contrasting strengths.

“Lasith Embuldeniya is a conventional type left-arm spinner, and of the three who are playing this game, he’s the most consistent in terms of his skill.

“Praveen took 11 wickets on debut, and on this Galle pitch we would anyway consider him. He’s got natural variation, with the seam angles he uses. The ball straightens and when it hits the seam, it spins more than [it does] for the others. When they have exposure and experience, they are definitely going to be matchwinners.”

Where Jayawickrama, in particular, has a decent straighter ball, but Embuldeniya has not yet developed a good version of that variation – something that was obvious during England’s tour of Sri Lanka in January. Where Emuldeniya and Wijetunge might have ordinarily worked on developing a straighter delivery through the course of the year, this has not been possible in 2021.

“The one that comes in [to the right-hander] is definitely one that we have to work on with Embuldeniya. But with Covid-19 and the protocols around it, it has been difficult to work in new skills. We get bubbled a maximum of two weeks before the series, and the only thing we can do as coaches then is to get the players game-ready.

“Before this, we had off-season training at the high performance centre, where we could have developed variations, or worked on consistency. But we haven’t had that chance, and there are only five or six skill-training sessions per series.”

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

Source link

Continue Reading


Every Associate country is wondering what next?




Netherlands coach reacts to the ICC scrapping the ODI Super League

Campbell and his team are in South Africa for a three-match ODI series which is part of the Super League, which is set to disappear after just one edition. The 13-team league will decide the countries for the coming World Cup, which will be made up of hosts India and the nine best-placed finishers. But for 2027, the top 10 teams in the ICC rankings at a scheduled cut-off date will qualify directly. Four more will be added to the main draw after a global qualifier. This, Campbell says, will further minimise the chances of smaller teams getting to play against top-ranked nations.

“The Super League was always meant to give that 13th team, an Associate, an opportunity to play the best teams in the world. It was the first time in the history of Dutch cricket that cricket was shown live on Dutch television. The scrapping of the Super League was disappointing for all Associate countries but that’s the decision that’s been made,” Campbell said. “Every Associate country is wondering what next? How do we play? Where do we get our fixtures? Is the World Cricket League Two going to stay in place? How do you get into a ranking league and compete for a spot in the 2027 World Cup? There’s lots of answers we need to find and I think that is only going to be in time.”

While Campbell said Netherlands would “make the most,” of the year-and-a-half they have left to compete against the likes of England, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan, he urged Full Members to develop a better understanding of the Associate game and commit to cricket’s growth.

“I was lucky enough to be involved in the greatest team for Australian cricket and while I was there, I had no thought of what goes on in Associate cricket. I had no idea. I was drafted to go to Hong Kong and that was my first hard look at Associate cricket and the rigours you’ve got to go through, mostly unpaid. It really gets under my skin that the top cricket teams in the world – and I am trying not to be political here – but the facts are that we should be leaving this game in a better state for future generations.

“We can come out and say we want to be the most participated sport in the world and go on and ‘blah blah blah’ but if you’re not giving opportunities to the best Associate teams or teams lower down the scale to improve and go up against the big ten, it’s very frustrating. If you follow the game, teams ranked 11, 12, 13 are very close to teams 14, 15 and 16.

“I just get the feeling that sometimes individual countries forget that it’s supposed to be a world game. I think it was Donald Bradman who said we are supposed to leave the game in a better position when we go and I would ask that question of all the big teams: are they doing that or are they just worried about their own backyards and interests?

“When you look at the last division of (ICC) money that was split up, England and India and Australia wanted more and that came out of the Associate pool and then within weeks, they were announcing billion dollar new TV rights deals which is pretty frustrating.

“At the end of the day, it’s the world game and hopefully some of these bigger countries understand that if we want to grow the world game, the growth isn’t going to come from the big countries, it’s going to come from all the ones underneath them and they need to get in and help.”

While the last financial model did favour the Big Three countries in a massive way, the money that went to them also came out of the ICC cutting down operational costs. It wasn’t all from the Associates’ coffers.

Keshav Maharaj, South Africa’s stand-in white-ball captain, said he supports playing as much as possible, against as many different teams as possible, because it will make his side stronger. “It’s really important. The more we play, the better we get and the more we gel as a unit,” he said. “From a tactical point of view, we can try various combinations, see what works, see who fits in. I would love to play more against any nation, whether deemed as a smaller nation or a bigger nation. Cricket is really important and match time and game time is really important.”
Campbell knows that better than most. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected Associate teams like his more than most, with Netherlands going almost two years without any ODI cricket. They came out of that drought with a series against Scotland and then upset Ireland 2-1 as well to gain 20 points but they remain last on the points table. Campbell is optimistic they can climb the ladder though.

“Our short term goal is to finish 10th in the Super League. That’s always been our goal. That sounds a bit brash but this group of players will always set out to not just survive but show what we are all about,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good professionals playing in the county system but also back home. It’s really important for us that we go out there and to inspire the next generation of Dutch cricketers but also to show the world that we can compete against the best teams in the world.”

While historically, the Dutch have done that, their most recent performances have slipped. They failed to qualify for the Super 12s at the recently completed T20 World Cup and Campbell hopes they will move on swiftly from that to make a statement in South Africa. “We had a disappointing World Cup but three bad games of cricket shouldn’t define this group,” he said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

Source link

Continue Reading


Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 1st Test 2021/22




Cornwall fell on what turned out to be the last ball of the day

West Indies 224 for 9 (Mayers 45, Brathwaite 41, Jayawickrama 3-38, Ramesh 3-75) trail Sri Lanka 386 by 162 runs

Rain washed out the final session and pretty much the entirety of the second session – only four overs were completed after lunch before the groundstaff was called into action – as West Indies ended the third day on 224 for 9, still 162 runs behind Sri Lanka’s first-innings total. Play will begin 15 minutes earlier on the fourth and fifth days, provided the rain stays away.

In the end, the rain proved a welcome reprieve for the visitors on a day that had otherwise begun rather promisingly, with Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers taking the attack to the home side. It ended, however, with Rahkeem Cornwall being dismissed off what turned out to be the final ball of the day.

For Sri Lanka, Praveen Jayawickrama added to his wicket tally from the previous day to finish the day with figures of 3 for 38, while Dhananjaya de Silva and Suranga Lakmal also got in on the act. And despite Ramesh Mendis, the pick of Sri Lanka’s bowlers on the second day, being unable to reproduce the same control he had shown the previous evening – his 11 overs on the third day went for 52 runs with no wickets to show for it – Sri Lanka nevertheless remained in firm control of the Test.

But for the first hour or so in the morning, West Indies had looked rather threatening. Both Mayers and Holder showed they were unafraid to use the depth of the crease against the spinners, while Holder in particular used his extra reach to consistently get to the pitch of the ball and smother the considerable spin on offer – two delicious drives through cover for boundaries were the pick of his shots. Mayer, meanwhile, was content to rock back whenever possible, thrice flaying deliveries short and wide past point for four.

In between, the pair rotated the strike with ease, as Sri Lanka’s spinners gradually lost their early confidence in flighting the ball and resorted to flatter trajectories. The breakthrough eventually came courtesy some outstanding catching – first from captain Dimuth Karunaratne and then Dushmantha Chameera.

The first to go was Mayers, who failed to get to the pitch of one from de Silva that held up a touch and bounced up off a length. Mayers, who was already through an attempted drive, could only pop it up in the direction of short extra cover, where Karunaratne threw himself full pelt to his weaker right side to complete the take.

Chameera followed suit a little later, diving forward – again at full stretch – from point, to hold on to a cut that Holder had failed to keep down. Once more it was the extra bounce off a length that proved to be decisive.

Cornwall and Joshua Da Silva then proceeded to put on 49 for the ninth wicket, but just as that partnership was beginning to look promising, Cornwall top-edged a pull off Lakmal to square leg on the last ball of the 80th over. The second new ball was available but rain ensured there would be no more action.

Source link

Continue Reading