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CAPTAINCY is a huge responsibility whoever is entrusted with the mantle. It is generally considered a job of honour and pride because not every individual gets the tag. While some are born leaders, others go through the hard grind to justify their acclaimed status. The sacking of Sarfraz Ahmed from two formats of Pakistan captaincy wasn’t unexpected given the run of lows in the wicket-keeper’s overall form with the bat.

Removing the 32-year-old from the leadership of the Test team was on the anvil but his sudden ouster as the T20 captain has certainly taken some by surprise, despite Pakistan’s embarrassing 3-0 whitewash to seventh-ranked Sri Lanka in the recent home series, because he has previously led the country to an unprecedented 11 series wins on the trot and the ICC No.1 ranking in the format.

In the new set-up of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Sarfraz knew at the back of his mind that there would be no easy time forthcoming and the Sri Lanka T20 debacle was the last straw. The PCB regime wanted their incumbent team leader to abdicate the crown amicably and go out with his dignity intact. Upon refusal to comply the request — which was a justifiable move one must admit, given the stature attached to the post — Sarfraz further complicated his already vulnerable position. Even though, he had refused to lead Sindh in the ongoing National T20 Cup in Faisalabad.

The formula is simple whatever we all do in life as professionals: either one has to perform in order to remain in the job or get the sacking, as Sarfraz has done now after Wasim Khan, the PCB chief executive, showed up in Faisalabad the other day specifically to indulge in a one-to-one chat. This was an example of complete ignorance on Sarfraz’s part because he wasn’t prepared to understand the complexities of his weakened stance in the wake of the T20 losses against Sri Lanka.

Fearing the possible ramifications of what Pakistan will find Down Under against Australia, who are always very hard competitors in their own backyard, in a couple of weeks from now, the PCB has, in fact, done Sarfraz a big favour because more of the same results would have been killer-blow for his career.

Sarfraz would also be the first to realise — something he must be made to understand by everyone who is very close to the man — for his own sake a break at this phase of his international career would definitely do him a world of good. Except for a very brief period in the summer of 2015, Sarfraz had been constantly on the move in Pakistan colours since Adnan Akmal suffered a fractured thumb during the second Test of the 2013-14 series in the United Arab Emirates.

The deterioration in his form has been the real worry for a national team which has its lows, and occasional highs, because Sarfraz has got embroiled in situations where he appeared to be completely hapless as captain. In the first post-Misbah/Younis Test series, Pakistan inexplicably lost 2-0 to Sri Lanka on the familiar UAE pitches where visiting sides had usually bit the dust. This dose was repeated in the emirates by New Zealand last year when they nailed Sarfraz’s men 2-1.

His overall statistics across all formats are still much more respectable than a number of players who have had donned the Pakistan cap. But since becoming captain, Sarfraz never reached three figures — getting dismissed in the nervous 90s on several occasions — while his last significant score was 97 against England during the ODI series, just prior to the World Cup.

While Sarfraz averages a healthy 36.39 in 49 Tests for someone who bats regularly at No.7, his figures as captain of the longest format are quite disappointing — 25.81 in 13 Tests from which he accumulated only 568 runs — while he also shared a dubious landmark with Faf de Plessis, another embattled Test leader who is struggling to keep South Africa’s reputation intact, when the two provided the first — and only thus far — instance of both captains bagging pairs in the same Test when Pakistan toured the rainbow nation last season.

However, Sarfraz has done reasonably well on the limited-overs front. The skipper of Pakistan’s 2017 ICC Champions Trophy-winning squad averages a decent 33.90 from 116 One-day Internationals given his unstable positioning in the batting order, while his stats as captain are almost as good (32.16) in 50 one-dayers.

Another point of concern in Sarfraz’s case, according to those who were critical of his promotion to the Pakistan captaincy, always remained the way he handled the media briefings. Banter or two from him sent everyone into fits of laughter, the joke over rain during the ODI series in Karachi was perhaps his final laugh.

He may not have come from an aristocratic background but Sarfraz’s humbleness has been a plus point in his cricketing life, that initially brought him into limelight with the U-19 World Cup glory in February 2006 when Pakistan defeated India in the final at Colombo. Apart from the unfortunate Andile Phehlukwayo episode — that forced ICC to ban him for four internationals — Sarfraz had come through a tough journey since the beginning of his Pakistan career.

But now Sarfraz braces for the biggest test of his career yet. He knows he has got to perform, no matter what, to reclaim his spot in the Pakistan team. Being a fighter in his entire life, he does have the capability to prove critics wrong. The road to redemption has already began for one of the gutsiest cricketers produced by the country.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2019

#Kuwait #Cricket (KC) is delighted to announce that Ms #Awatif Al #Qallaf who is a Board Member of #KC and a former National Shooting Champion of Kuwait along with Miss #Khadija who is one of the Senior most players of Kuwait National Women’s team are Traveling to Pakistan - Lahore #PCB to attend ACC Level 1 Women’s Coaching Course from Oct 16 to Oct 20, 2019 organized by the Asian Cricket Council in collaboration with the Pakistan Cricket Board.

This is a huge milestone for #KC as for the first time in the history of Kuwait’s cricket, a national lady (Ms Awatif - a renowned name in International Sports - Shooting Champion) is going to participate in a level 1 cricket coaching course and the entire fraternity is extremely hopeful that this is bound to inspire a generation of national girls to come forward and take up the game of cricket at an early age.

#KC is focused on establishing a strong domestic structure for women’s cricket in order to compete with other nations in the region & beyond..and would like all the fans and followers to spread the news of an exclusive talent hunt for women’s which is scheduled to take place in November (15th & 16th) and the marketing campaign for the talent hunt will commence from tomorrow (16th October).

Sri Lanka stunned Pakistan by 35 runs in the second Twenty20 international in Lahore on Monday.

The visitors had set a target of 183 runs for Pakistan to save the series, but the hosts were bowled out for 147 with one over to spare.

Rajitha sent Fakhar Zaman (6 runs) back to the pavilion while Pradeep took the wicket of Babar Azam (3 runs) in the third and fourth overs, respectively. The eighth over of the innings was the most disastrous for the host team as Hasaranga dismissed Ahmed Shehzad (13), Umar Akmal (0) and skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed (26) on the third, fourth and sixth ball of the over.

Udana took the wicket of Imad Wasim (47) in the 16th over, while Pradeep sent Wahab Riaz (7) back on the last ball of the 17th over. Udana also dismissed Shadab Khan (0) on the first ball of the 18th over while Pradeep sent Asif Ali (29) and Mohammad Hasnain (1) away in the 19th over.

Earlier, Bhanuka Rajapaksa smacked an aggressive maiden half-century as the visitors made 182-6 against Pakistan.

The 27-year-old left-hander, playing only his second T20I, blasted 77 off 48 balls in an innings featuring six sixes and four boundaries after Sri Lanka won the toss and batted.

Soldiers escort coaster buses carrying Pakistan and Sri Lanka's cricket teams as they arrive at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. — AFP
Soldiers escort coaster buses carrying Pakistan and Sri Lanka's cricket teams as they arrive at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. — AFP

 

Rajapaksa added 94 for the third wicket with Shehan Jayasuriya, who made a 28-ball 34 with four boundaries.

Sri Lanka kept the same team which upset Pakistan, the world's number one T20 team, in the first match by 67 runs on Saturday.

 

The Green Shirts, who had never lost a T20 series in six attempts to Sri Lanka before today, brought in paceman Wahab Riaz and opener Fakhar Zaman in place of Iftikhar Ahmed and Faheem Ashraf.

The third and final match will be played at the same venue on Wednesday.

Teams

Pakistan: Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Umar Akmal, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan

Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Minod Bhanuka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha

Umpire: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Ahsan Raza (PAK); Tv umpire: Shozab Raza (PAK); Match referee: David Boon (AUS)

Pakistan batsman Babar Azam hits boundary in Karachi, Pakistan on Sept 30, 2019. (AP)

KARACHI, Pakistan, Sept 30, (AP): Pakistan marked the return of ODI cricket in Karachi after 10 years with a 67-run victory over Sri Lanka in the second one-day international on Monday.

Babar Azam formed the backbone of Pakistan’s strong total of 305-7 as he smashed 115 off 105 balls. Babar also became the fastest Pakistani batsman to complete 1,000 ODI runs in a calendar year in 19 matches.

In the absence of some key players who pulled out of the tour due to security concerns, Sri Lanka was bowled out for 238 in 46.5 overs.

Shehan Jayasuriya (96) missed out on a maiden ODI hundred and Dasun Shanaka made a career-best 68 before both fell in successive overs after sharing a century partnership.

Left-arm fast bowler Usman Shinwari rattled Sri Lanka’s inexperienced top order and reduced the visitors to 28-5 before Jayasuriya and Shanaka shared a 177-run sixth-wicket stand.

Shinwari returned and broke the partnership by having Jayasuriya caught behind and finished with 5-51. Shanaka was brilliantly snapped at midwicket by the diving Fakhar Zaman off leg-spinner Shadab Khan (2-76) in the next over.

A power failure at the National Stadium disrupted play for 26 minutes during Sri Lanka’s run-chase when one of the six floodlight towers malfunctioned twice. It was not a packed house at the 32,000-capacity National Stadium, where Sri Lanka was the last team to play an ODI in 2009. But still around 12,000 cricket enthusiasts braved the strict security checkpoints under hot and humid conditions and were enthralled by Babar’s imperious 11th ODI hundred that featured eight fours and four sixes.

Pakistan, which won the toss and opted to bat, got off to a good start with Fakhar (54) and Imam-ul-Haq (31) adding 73 runs for the opening stand.

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga (2-63) got two wickets by removing both openers before Babar took charge. He shared a 111-run stand with Haris Sohail (40) before holing out at wide long on in the 46th over as Pakistan looked for quick runs in the final overs.

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN

F. Zaman c Udana b Hasaranga                 54

Imam ul-Haq lbw Hasaranga                     31

B. Azam c Hasaranga b Kumara                115

H. Sohail run out (Samarawickrama)       40

S. Ahmed run out (Thirimanne)               8

I. Ahmed not out                 32

I. Wasim c O. Fernando b Udana             12

W. Riaz run out (Hasaranga)                     2

Extras: (8lb, 1nb, 2w)         11

Total: (7 wkts, 50 overs)    305

Fall of Wickets: 1-73 (ul-Haq), 2-104 (Zaman), 3-215 (Sohail), 4-242 (Ahmed), 5-261(Azam), 6-278 (Wasim), 7-305 (Riaz)

Did Not Bat: Khan, Amir, Shinwari

Bowling: Jayasuriya 10-1-48-0, Pradeep 9-0-59-0, Udana 9-0-60-1-6, Kumara 10-0-59-1, Gunathilaka 2-0-8-0, Hasaranga 10-0-63-2

SRI LANKA

D. Gunathilaka c Wasim b M. Amir          14

S. Samarawickrama b Shinwari                  6

A. Fernando c Zaman b Shinwari              0

O. Fernando lbw Wasim    1

L. Thirimanne c S. Ahmed b Shinwari      0

S. Jayasuriya c S. Ahmed b Shinwari        96

D. Shanaka c Zaman b S. Khan                  68

W. Hasaranga c I. Ahmed b S. Khan         30

I. Udana c S. Ahmed b Shinwari                1

L. Kumara lbw Riaz              1

N. Pradeep not out            0

Extras: (1b, 15lb, 5w)         21

Total: (all out, 46.5 overs)                         238

Fall of Wickets: 1-18 (Samarawickrama), 2-22 (Gunathilaka), 3-22 (A. Fernando), 4-22 (Thirimanne), 5-28 (O. Fernando), 6-205 (Jayasuriya), 7-205 (Shanaka), 8-211 (Tillakaratna), 9-232 (Kumara), 10-238 (De Silva)

Bowling: M. Amir 7-1-21-1, Shinwari 10-1-51-5, Wasim 7-1-38-1, Riaz 9-0-27, S. Khan 9.5-0-76-2, I. Ahmed 4-1-9-0

Match Result: Pakistan win by 67 runs

Umpires: Michael Gough, Shozab Raza

TV Umpire: Joel Wilson

Match Referee: David Boon

"I have to admit it is everyone’s dream to coach Pakistan cricket team, which has tremendous potential," says Misbahul Haq. — AFP/File

Former cricket team captain Misbahul Haq has stepped down from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Cricket Committee after deciding to apply for the position of head coach, a press release issued by the cricketing body on Monday revealed.

Haq informed PCB Director (International) Zakir Khan of his decision to step down in a meeting earlier today and then formally applied for the position of head coach, which has been vacant since Mickey Arthur's contract expired earlier this month.

“I am applying for the head coach’s role fully aware that the competition will be tough, as I envisage there will be a few more very competent and highly qualified people applying for one of the most challenging jobs in the game," Haq was quoted as saying by the PCB.

"In saying so, I have to admit it is everyone’s dream to coach the Pakistan cricket team, which has tremendous potential to be a force to be reckoned with across all formats."

Referring to rumours about him being interested in the role, the former captain said: "It has been interesting to see my name being mentioned as a future head coach of the Pakistan cricket team, but the fact is I only made the decision today."

Earlier this month, PCB had held a round of meetings during which Arthur's performance as head coach was reviewed, following which the board had decided not to renew his contract. It is now looking for candidates to fill the role. It had put out advertisements for the position on August 9 to invite applications from potential candidates. The last date to submit applications was August 26.

Image result for Kuwait to host two boxing competitions next year

Photo taken during the closing ceremony of the Asian Boxing Championship.

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 8: Head of Kuwait Boxing Association Mohammad Mansi revealed Kuwait’s intention to host two Asian competitions following the great success of the recent junior championship held in Kuwait in which 150 Asian boxers representing 21 countries participated.

He said the Public Authority for Sports, during a meeting held between President of Asian Boxing Confederation Anas Al-Otaiba and Deputy Head of Public Authority for Sports Dr Saqer Al-Mullah, approved to host the competitions. Mansi said Kuwait Boxing Association, after Eid Al-Adha, will receive a letter from the Asian Boxing Confederation about holding the Asian boxing competitions in Kuwait including an Asian junior boxing competition.

He affirmed that discussions are ongoing about holding a competition among Asian boxing teams in February 2020 concurrently with the National Day celebrations, as well as the Asian Junior Championship in April 2020.

Mansi explained that the recently-concluded Asian Boxing Championship was held along with the European boxing championship. However, International Boxing Federation (IBF) said the championship held in Kuwait was better in terms of the organization and technical level of the players.

Meanwhile, Head of Qatari Boxing Federation and Arab Boxing Confederation Yousef Al-Kazem appreciated Kuwait for hosting Arab Boxing Championship, and congratulated Kuwait on returning to the international sports field after the ban was lifted.

He said the success of Kuwait in organizing such important competitions not too long after the lifting of the ban is considered a great achievement.

Al-Kazem said the 2019 agenda of Arab Boxing Confederation includes organizing the Junior Arab Boxing Championship in Iraq in December 2019.

In addition, Head of Palestinian delegation to the Junior Asian Boxing Championship Mahmoud Al-Shaikh praised the stunning way the championship was organized, expressing his pride in participating in the championship.

Source: Arab Times

 

Group photo taken during the Arab Tennis Championship for Juniors held in Tunisia.

The Arab Tennis Championship for Juniors was held in Tunisia from July 23 to Aug 3, 2019 under the patronage of Chairperson of Kuwait Tennis Association and Arab Tennis Federation Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

 

The tournament witnessed the participation of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq and Tunisia.  Kuwait won third place (bronze medal) for the Under-11, Under-12, Under-13 and Under-14 categories as follows: Muhammad Jassem Al-Awadi and Abdulrahman Abdullatif Al-Abdullah in the Under-11 category, Khalid Bafaqeer and Abdullah Dehrab as well as Yusuf Al-Lanqawi and Hassan Ali Jamal in the Under-12 category, Abdulwahab Abdullatif Al-Abdullah and Othman Mahmoud Al-Anssari in the Under-13 category, and Husain Abdulreda Al-Shatti and Ya’aqoub Yusuf Muhammad in the Under-14 category.

Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah also congratulated the teams that won the first and second places while expressing happiness over the achievement of Kuwaiti players.

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