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Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said the different and overcast conditions suggested we should bowl first. — Photo courtesy: PCB Twitter

Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and elected to field in the second one-day international (ODI) against England at Lord's on Saturday.

Rain delayed the scheduled 11:00am (1000 GMT) start by 90 minutes, with the match reduced to 47 overs per side from the standard 50.

England stand-in captain Ben Stokes was winning his 100th ODI cap in the first match at this level at Lord's since he starred in a dramatic 2019 World Cup final win against New Zealand decided by a Super Over.

Both teams were unchanged following England's nine-wicket win in the first of a three-match series at Cardiff on Thursday.

“The different and overcast conditions mean we want to bowl first, and we want to utilise them,” Azam told BBC Radio's Test Match Special at the toss.

“We've spoken about Cardiff, and we want the players to play with freedom, be fearless and go and express yourself.”

Stokes said he had urged his inexperienced side to carry on from where they had left off in Cardiff.

“I've told them to do the same things as the first match. We didn't really get tested last time out and that usually doesn't happen in cricket.

“We would've bowled first too, there are lovely conditions to bowl here and we've been successful doing it, but this is a good opportunity to see the boys put a score on the board.”

As for winning his 100th ODI cap, the all-rounder added: “It comes the more you play but today is a bigger opportunity than for me as an individual. But it's nice to get 100 caps.”

England, the reigning 50-over world champions, had to select a completely new squad days before the start of this series after a Covid-19 outbreak among their original party.

Yet a totally changed XI, captained by the fit-again Stokes and featuring five debutants, thrashed Pakistan at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens.

Saturday's match at the home of cricket was the first in England to operate at full capacity since the pandemic.


England: Phil Salt, Dawid Malan, Zak Crawley, James Vince, Ben Stokes (capt), John Simpson (wkt), Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Brydon Carse, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wkt), Saud Shakeel, Sohaib Maqsood, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in a meeting with the six franchises of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Thursday, decided to hold the 20 remaining matches of PSL 6 in Karachi in June of this year. — File photo

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), in a meeting with the six franchises of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Thursday, decided to aim for holding the 20 remaining matches of PSL 6 in Karachi in June of this year.

In a statement, the PCB said the decision was unanimously agreed upon by the franchises and the cricket body "after taking into consideration all factors relating to event organisation".

It said that the month of June had "emerged as the most preferred and practical window" because the national team had commitments in March/April and late August/September.

The tournament was postponed midway earlier this month after seven people participating in PSL 6 tested positive for Covid-19.

While the PCB had suggested the windows of May, June and September, the franchises were interested in holding the games during March-April or June, Dawn reported earlier.

In its statement today, the PCB said "the remaining 20 matches in June are now being planned following the men's national cricket team's return from Zimbabwe on May 13 and before their departure for England on June 26".

"The PCB management will now look into the operational and logistical challenges and revert to the franchise owners and stakeholders," it added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Thursday (today) reported more than 2,000 virus cases for the first time since January amid fears of a potential third wave of the novel coronavirus in the country.

According to official data, Pakistan reported 2,258 cases in the last 24 hours, marking the first time the country has reported over 2,000 infections since January 29, when 2,186 cases were recorded.

An NCOC (National Command and Operation Centre) press release stated that 42,164 tests were conducted on March 10, which translates into a positivity rate of 5.3 per cent, while the total number of active cases in the country is 17,627 as of March 11.

BUENOS AIRES: In the Rotundo household in Buenos Aires, the spirit of Diego Maradona has a living tribute: twin nine-year-old girls, Mara and Dona, named after the soccer legend who died this week.

The diminutive playmaker, one of the world’s best ever who led Argentina to World Cup glory, inspired avid support through his magic on the pitch and his charisma off it, despite a turbulent personal life dogged by addiction.

Maradona died of heart failure on Wednesday and was laid to rest on Thursday amid huge fanfare and high emotion, with thousands of people crowding the streets around the capital as his body was taken to be buried.

The naming of the twins was never in doubt, said their dad, Walter Rotundo, who has a tattoo of Maradona on his back and proudly shows a photograph of the soccer star holding a picture of the two girls as infants.

Walter said the decision over the names went back to the 1990 World Cup when he saw Maradona cry inconsolably after losing the final 1-0 to West Germany.

He told his wife, Stella Maris Prez, the first time they met that they would one day have two daughters — named after the star.

Maradona has almost cult status in Argentina, where his nickname “D10S” is a play of the Spanish word for “God” and his famed number 10 shirt. Mara and Dona have their own Argentina shirts with the number and their names.

Mara, older than her sister by a minute, said she loved her name and the story behind it.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2020

  • Gamers are invited to register for the competition which will take place between September 19 and October 10.
  • Overall champion will secure automatic qualification to Free Fire Continental Series Grand Finals.



Dubai, 14 September 2020: Garena is to stage the fourth edition of its Free Fire Arab Series tournament that will see the best gamers in the Middle East and North Africa region put their skills to the test.


To be held between September 19 and October 10, the competition will have a prize fund of USD $20,000, with team overall national champions qualifying directly to the Free Fire Continental Series Grand Final, which will be held later this year.


Registration for the event will take place between 14 and 17 September ahead of the qualifying round from 18 to 20 September where the Free Fire gamers will aim to claim one of the 144 play-off berths.


The competition schedule will see the 144 teams, who will be split into 12 groups, compete in the play-off stage with the top four sides from each group advancing to the semi-finals on October 2 and 3.


With 12 places available, the semi-finals will see the 48 teams divided into four groups with the top three sides from each group securing their spot in the Grand Finals.


As well as vying for glory, the Grand Finals stage will also provide an opportunity for the runners-up and third-placed side to represent the MENA region in the play-offs of Free Fire Continental Series where both could join the champion in the Free Fire Continental Series.


Among the teams to participate in the latest Free Fire Arab Series edition are former champions Heroshima (Series 1), INFINITY_YT (Series 2) and INFISHIMA (Series 3) which merged between Heroshima team and INFINITY_YT.


As reigning champions, INFISHIMA are looking forward to battling against the region’s top’s gamers.


Achour Mourad (INS HARDCREW), team leader of INFISHIMA, said: “It is an honour to be participating in the Free Fire Arab Series tournament which we will go into as defending champions. We expect a stern test considering there are a number of strong teams across the MENA region and we are determined to do our best and win the title again.”


Staging the Free Fire Arab Series is part of Garena’s commitment to promote the eSports sector in the region and provide regular opportunities for gamers to test themselves against the best in the region.


This year, Garena has hosted a number of competitions including the Free Fire Arab Tribal and the Free Fire Arab Clash War.


Gamers can register for the Free Fire Arab Series event by going to esports in-game interface (FFC).

Young Emirati karting star shines bright in first X30 Junior season

Abu Dhabi - Sienna – 15th September 2020: Young Emirati karting star Rashid Al Dhaheri continued his successful first-ever season stepping up to the X30 Junior category, as he achieved first and second place respectively in Campionato Italiano Karting – with a big final and a smaller final following. This is in the face of Rashid being the youngest in the 12-14 category, with more seasoned drivers.

An excellent racing weekend was not without challenges. Finishing first in the qualifiers, with a tight margin against fierce competition, Rashid was placed in an excellent position for the first, big final race of the weekend, which was 20 laps.

Rashid powered ahead straight from the start, creating a gap immediately between himself and the competition. Holding firm for the extensive 20 laps, a small issue with his carburettor meant that he was losing fractions of a second each lap, creating a drag on his kart. Rashid held firm as the race ensued, with his competition gaining. Towards the last two laps, Rashid slowly held firm and closed the door.



Upon the last lap – an overtake. Despite the challenges to his kart, Rashid pushed his kart with determination. A photo-finish saw Rashid overtake with 0.3 of a second, sending Rashid to the top of the podium.


The weekend was a two-for-one, with the second final at 16 laps. The top eight of the first final were placed as reverse grid which meant Rashid started P8 on the outside line. Despite the big task to overcome, the young driver shone once more, overtaking lap upon lap, finishing in second and achieving fastest on the track.


Rashid said “This was a fantastic race to become involved with and I was glad to have held out for a first position and had a great second race as well. The competition is really challenging stepping up to the Junior category, so I am proud to have made an impact already. I hope to build on these performances for the rest of the season.” 


Coach and ex-Formula 2 champion Fausto Ippoliti said: “The move up to Junior category is a big step up in the karting world and Rashid’s consistency in achieving victories so early on should not be underestimated. The field is tough, however we are seeing that Rashid’s innate skills, preparation in practice and absolute determination even under challenges, is a great combination to keep him competitive at the highest level. I am really happy to see him developing his talent.”



The Circuit of Siena 1,037 metres, with a width of 10 meters and a new 12,000 m2 paddock. Among many excellent debuts, the Siena Circuit has held renowned racing personalities as a ‘baptism’, such as the son of the two-time F1 World Champion Mika Hakkinen. The track has a National ‘A’ type approval and a ‘C’ type international approval.






About Rashid Al Dhaheri

Rashid Al Dhaheri’s passion for motorsports started from a very young age, growing up just 10 minutes away from Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, which ignited his passion. After some practice sessions he attended a karting summer camp in Italy organised by the Italian Karting & Motorsport Federation (ACI CSAI). Here he immediately demonstrated an aptitude for racing and considerable natural talent.

Rashid has rapidly developed into a young karting racing star who continuously achieves a string of firsts for the Arab world. In March 2019, the young Emirati became the first person from both the Middle East and Asia to became champion of the WSK Super Master Series. He won the championship with a big margin and became the first Mini driver to win three out of four races in the last seven years. Rashid added to this the prestigious WSK Euro Series Championship and a win at the world’s greatest karting race in Macao.

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez reckons prolific batsman and limited-overs skipper Babar Azam should bat in the middle-order as to try different things.

Hafeez, who was also appointed Pakistan T20 team captain back in May 2012, shared his opinion that the star batsman should bat in the middle-order to try different things.

“I think in the upcoming series against Zimbabwe, we should try a new opening pair. It will help us evaluate the prospect of other opening batsmen in the domestic circuit. I believe Babar should come lower down the order,” Hafeez, who has scored 2,147, runs in 94 T20s, said while talking to a private news channel.

Hafeez, who scored 6,614 runs in 218 ODIs, believes that the Pakistan team management should give chance to youngsters in the upcoming series against Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe team are due to arrive in Pakistan for a limited-overs series in October, which includes three Twenty20s and as many ODIs.

Hafeez, who collected 3,652 runs in 55 Tests, reckoned that the team management should rest seniors for the said series and give chance to younger players.

“I think the team management should give chance to youngsters in the series against Zimbabwe,” said Hafeez. “This kind of series is a perfect opportunity to test your bench strength and give rest to seniors.”

Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan has confirmed that the Zimbabwe series will be split between Rawalpindi and Multan.

The ODIs will be staged in Multan while the T20s will be held in Rawalpindi.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday reiterated that the domestic players are not required to resign from their parent departments to obtain contracts for the 2020-21 domestic season, which commences with the National T20 Cup from Sept 30.

“The PCB is neither asking the players to resign nor to cancel existing contracts with their departments if they are interested in securing player contracts for the 2020-21 domestic season,” the cricket board said ina statement said. “All the PCB is asking from the employed and contracted cricketers, in accordance with applicable policies and SOPs, is for them to provide No Objective Certificates (NOC) from their departments so that they can be offered contracts for the 2020-21 domestic season. The issuance of such NOCs is part of the normal course of business; is not only a PCB requirement but that of the departments as well; and is, in fact, an established past practice.

“Once the relevant NOC has been issued by the player’s parent organisation and submitted to the PCB, the PCB will make payments in accordance with the terms of the contract it has executed with the player.”

The PCB has already explained that an employed cricketer is eligible for the 2020-21 domestic contract and the PCB will have no objection if the player’s parent organisation also pays him during the term of the 2020-21 domestic player contract.

“An employed cricketer can be offered 2020-21 domestic contract provided that the player has submitted the relevant NOC issued by his employer to the PCB in accordance with the rules and regulations applicable to such players. Whether or not the player will be paid by the employer is a matter between the two entities.”

The PCB has further explained that two types of contracts will be offered to the high-performing domestic players.

“A maximum of 32 players in each Cricket Association will be offered domestic central contracts, while the remaining players will be offered a seasonal contract.

“Under the domestic contract, a player will be bound by the obligations of the domestic central contract and will receive a monthly retainer along with match fee, daily allowances, other related benefits etc. wherever applicable.

“Under the seasonal contract, a player will be bound by the same obligations as those prescribed under the domestic central contract but will not receive monthly retainer. Such players, however, will be eligible to receive match fee, daily allowances, other related benefits etc. wherever applicable.”

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2020


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