Wahab Riaz Requests Six-Hitting Contest, Pakistan Coach Intervenes

Wahab Riaz Requests Six-Hitting Contest, Pakistan Coach Intervenes

Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz Requests Six-Hitting Contest, Coach Intervenes

Former Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz recently made a lighthearted request to current captain Babar Azam, asking to participate in a six-hitting competition before the fourth T20I against New Zealand. The request, captured in a video shared on Pakistan Cricket’s official social media account, drew a chuckle from Azam and the team.

However, Pakistan’s head coach Azhar Mahmood stepped in to remind Riaz that management was not permitted to join the contest. Undeterred, Riaz quipped, “I would’ve hit bigger sixes.”

The video highlights the camaraderie between the former and current players of the Pakistan cricket team. Riaz’s request, though denied, served as a reminder of his competitive spirit and the close bond he shares with the team.

Injury Woes for Pakistan Ahead of Fourth T20I

Pakistan’s preparations for the fourth T20I against New Zealand have been hampered by injuries to wicketkeeper Mohammed Rizwan and all-rounder Irfan Khan. Both players sustained hamstring injuries during the third match in Rawalpindi.

The injuries are a significant blow to Pakistan, who are already without Azam Khan, who was ruled out before the series began due to a muscle tear. Haseebullah Khan, who was called up as a replacement, is expected to take on the wicketkeeping duties for the remaining two matches in Lahore.

New Zealand Level Series with Victory in Third T20I

New Zealand’s second-string team emerged victorious in the third T20I by seven wickets, leveling the five-match series at 1-1. The first match of the series was abandoned after just two balls due to rain, while Pakistan won the second match by seven wickets.

The fourth T20I will be played in Lahore on Friday, with the fifth and final match scheduled for Sunday. Pakistan will be looking to regain the lead in the series, while New Zealand will be aiming to secure their first series win in Pakistan since 2003.

Pakistan and New Zealand Set for Crucial Fourth T20I in Lahore

Pakistan and New Zealand Set for Crucial Fourth T20I in Lahore

Pakistan and New Zealand will face off in the fourth T20I of their five-match series on Thursday at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The series is currently tied at 1-1 after the first game was washed out and New Zealand won the second game by seven wickets.

Pakistan will be looking to regain the momentum in the series after their loss in Rawalpindi. They will be boosted by the return of captain Babar Azam, who missed the second game due to a thumb injury. Azam is one of the best batsmen in the world and his presence will be a major boost for Pakistan.

New Zealand, on the other hand, will be looking to build on their victory in the second game. They will be confident of their chances, especially after Mark Chapman’s brilliant 87 in the previous match. Chapman is a dangerous batsman and he will be one to watch out for in the fourth T20I.

Both teams are using this series as preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies, which starts on June 2. Pakistan and New Zealand are both contenders for the title and they will be looking to use this series to fine-tune their preparations.

The fourth T20I is expected to be a close and exciting contest. Pakistan will be looking to regain the momentum in the series, while New Zealand will be looking to build on their victory in the second game.

West Indies 'A' Team Arrives in Nepal for Historic T20 Series, Receives Surprising Welcome

West Indies ‘A’ Team Arrives in Nepal for Historic T20 Series, Receives Surprising Welcome

West Indies ‘A’ Team Arrives in Nepal for Historic T20 Series, Receives Surprising Welcome

The West Indies ‘A’ cricket team arrived in Nepal on Wednesday, April 25, ahead of their highly anticipated five-match T20 series against the hosts. However, their arrival at the Kathmandu International Airport was met with an unexpected sight: a tempo waiting to transport their luggage.

A viral video captured the West Indies players loading their luggage into the tempo with the assistance of an airport helper. The video sparked mixed reactions on social media, with some criticizing Nepal for the perceived lack of hospitality, while others defended the use of the tempo as a practical solution.

Despite the unconventional welcome, the West Indies team remains focused on their upcoming series. Roston Chase will lead the team as captain, while Alick Athanaze will serve as his deputy. This tour marks a historic occasion as it is the West Indies’ first-ever visit to Nepal.

The series holds significant importance for both teams. For the West Indies, it serves as a crucial preparation phase for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. For Nepal, it provides an opportunity to test their skills against a formidable opponent and gain valuable experience.

Chase, who will captain the West Indies ‘A’ team for the first time, expressed his excitement and determination. “I am honored to lead this talented group of players. We have been working hard in preparation for this series, and we are eager to showcase our skills against Nepal,” he said.

Desmond Haynes, CWI’s Lead Selector, praised Chase’s leadership qualities and consistent performances. “Chase has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic and leadership abilities. We are confident that he will lead the team with distinction,” Haynes said.

The five-match T20 series between West Indies ‘A’ and Nepal will commence on April 27 in Kirtipur. The series is expected to be a competitive and entertaining affair, with both teams eager to prove their mettle.

Mitchell Starc's Underperformance Raises Concerns for Kolkata Knight Riders

Mitchell Starc’s Underperformance Raises Concerns for Kolkata Knight Riders

Mitchell Starc, the Australian fast bowler, has been underperforming for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season. Despite his hefty price tag of $3 million, Starc has failed to justify his worth, raising concerns about his form and the team’s bowling unit.

KKR, currently second in the 10-team table, has relied heavily on its top-order batting, with Sunil Narine, Phil Salt, Andre Russell, and Shreyas Iyer leading the charge. However, the bowling department has been a cause for concern, with Starc’s underwhelming performance being a major factor.

In seven matches, Starc has managed only six wickets at an economy rate of 11.48, the worst among KKR’s specialist bowlers. His lack of pace and reluctance to bowl slower deliveries have made him vulnerable to batsmen, especially in the death overs.

In contrast, uncapped Indian pacers Harshit Rana and Vaibhav Arora have impressed with their economy rates of 9.25 and 9.57, respectively. However, they have also been hit at times, highlighting the need for a more consistent bowling performance from KKR.

Against a power-hitting Punjab Kings side, KKR’s bowling unit will need to step up. Starc, in particular, will have to rediscover his mojo and play a leading role alongside Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, who have been effective in the middle overs.

Punjab Kings, on the other hand, have struggled to find consistency in their batting. Despite having talented players like Prabhsimran Singh, Liam Livingstone, Rilee Rossouw, and Jonny Bairstow, they have failed to deliver consistently.

However, their uncapped duo of Ashutosh and Shashank have salvaged the team from precarious situations with their astonishing power-hitting. The return of skipper Shikhar Dhawan, who is nursing a shoulder injury, would be a major boost to their morale.

The match between KKR and Punjab Kings promises to be an exciting contest, with both teams looking to improve their fortunes in the IPL. KKR will rely on their top-order batting and bowling unit, while Punjab Kings will hope to exploit KKR’s bowling weaknesses and find their rhythm in the tournament.

PCB Expands Women's Selection Committee to Seven Members

PCB Expands Women’s Selection Committee to Seven Members

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has overhauled its national women’s selection committee, expanding it to seven members in a bid to improve the team’s performance. The decision follows Pakistan’s disappointing 3-0 ODI series loss to West Indies at home.

The new selection committee includes four former Pakistan internationals: Asmavia Iqbal, Marina Iqbal, Abdul Razzaq, and Asad Shafiq. They are joined by former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Batool Fatima. The head coach and captain (currently Mohtashim Rasheed and Nida Dar) will also be part of the seven-member panel.

Former fast bowler Saleem Jaffar is the only member not retained from the previous selection committee.

The first task for the new selection committee will be to pick the squad for Pakistan’s upcoming tour of England, where they are scheduled to play three T20Is and three ODIs from May 11 to 29. All three ODIs are part of the ICC ODI women’s championship 2022-25.

Pakistan are currently fifth on the women’s championship table with eight wins and 13 losses in 21 ODIs. Ahead of them on the points table are Australia, South Africa, England, and New Zealand. The top five teams from the championship, along with hosts India, will directly qualify for the 2025 ODI Women’s World Cup. The remaining teams will participate in a qualifier tournament.

Pakistan started off the ODI series against West Indies with a 113-run loss. They then suffered a narrow, two-wicket defeat in the second game before going down in the third ODI by 88 runs. With scores of 140*, 44, and 141, Hayley Matthews was the star of the series as she finished with 325 runs while averaging 162.50. She was also the joint-leading wicket-taker along with Dar, picking up six wickets.

Pakistan will now compete in a five-match T20I series against West Indies which gets underway on April 26 and will run through till May 3. All matches will be played in Karachi. They will then travel to England with the first T20I scheduled to be played on May 11 in Birmingham.

RCB Set for Historic 250th IPL Match Against SRH

RCB Set for Historic 250th IPL Match Against SRH

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) are poised to make history as they prepare for their 250th Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Thursday. This milestone marks a significant chapter in the franchise’s journey, characterized by both triumphs and setbacks.

Despite not yet claiming an IPL title, RCB has etched its name in the league’s annals. The team has reached the finals three times (2009, 2011, and 2016) and the final four stage five more times. Their dedicated fanbase remains unwavering, despite the elusive championship.

RCB’s success has been built on the brilliance of its star players. Virat Kohli, the franchise’s leading run-scorer, has amassed 7,642 runs with eight centuries and 52 fifties. Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, the former RCB stalwart, holds the record for most wickets (139).

Over the years, RCB has provided fans with unforgettable moments. AB de Villiers’ rescue acts and 360-degree hitting, Chris Gayle’s monstrous sixes, and Virat Kohli’s record-breaking 2016 season are just a few examples.

The current RCB squad, led by Faf du Plessis, features a blend of experience and youth. The team will be desperate for a victory against SRH, having suffered six consecutive losses. SRH, on the other hand, sits in third place with five wins and two losses.

As RCB embarks on its 250th IPL match, the franchise looks to the future with optimism. With a talented roster and a passionate fanbase, they aim to break the title drought and etch their name in IPL history.

Axar Patel Raises Concerns Over Impact Player Rule's Impact on All-Rounders

Axar Patel Raises Concerns Over Impact Player Rule’s Impact on All-Rounders

Axar Patel, the versatile left-arm spinner and batsman for Delhi Capitals, has expressed concerns over the potential impact of the ‘Impact Player’ rule on the role of all-rounders in cricket. The rule, introduced in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season, allows teams to substitute players during innings, raising questions about the value of players who excel in both batting and bowling.

Patel, who played a crucial role in Delhi Capitals’ victory over Gujarat Titans on Wednesday, believes that the rule could marginalize all-rounders. “As an all-rounder, I feel that an all-rounder’s role is in danger with the Impact Player rule,” he said. “Every team is looking to play either a pure batter or a pure bowler as the Impact Player, and the all-rounders are not being used.”

Patel’s concerns echo those of other prominent cricketers, including Indian captain Rohit Sharma and former players. The rule has sparked debate and scrutiny, with some arguing that it undermines the importance of all-rounders and creates confusion in team selection.

Despite his reservations about the Impact Player rule, Patel delivered a standout performance against Gujarat Titans. Promoted to number three in the batting order, he counterattacked with a blistering 43-ball 66, helping Delhi Capitals recover from a precarious 44/3 to post a formidable total of 224/4.

Patel’s innings was a testament to his all-round abilities. He not only provided a much-needed boost to the team’s batting but also claimed a wicket in the defense of their total. His performance highlights the value of players who can contribute in multiple facets of the game.

However, Patel believes that the Impact Player rule could diminish the significance of all-rounders. With teams opting for specialized batters or bowlers as substitutes, all-rounders may find themselves relegated to a secondary role. This could have implications for the development of young players who aspire to excel in both batting and bowling.

As the IPL season progresses, the Impact Player rule will continue to be a topic of discussion. Patel’s concerns raise important questions about the future of all-rounders in cricket and the impact of rule changes on the game’s dynamics.

Pant's Scintillating Knock Seals World Cup Spot, Says Amre

Pant’s Scintillating Knock Seals World Cup Spot, Says Amre

Rishabh Pant’s scintillating knock against Gujarat Titans has reignited hopes of his return to form ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup. Delhi Capitals’ batting coach, Pravin Amre, believes Pant’s performance is a testament to his hard work and determination.

After recovering from a horrific car accident in December 2022, Pant returned to competitive cricket a month ago. His unbeaten 88 off 43 balls against Gujarat Titans has virtually sealed his spot as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper for the T20 World Cup.

Amre praised Pant’s dedication and preparation, highlighting his two-week camp in Vizag where he arrived straight from the airport. “He was hungry and made sure everyday he is going to utilise,” Amre said.

Pant’s partnership with Axar Patel (66 off 43) was crucial in Delhi Capitals’ victory. Amre believes Axar’s promotion to the No.3 spot was a strategic move that paid off. “Axar played very well, but the partnership he had with Rishabh was striking,” Amre said.

Amre emphasized the importance of Pant’s power-hitting in the last five overs, which made the difference in the match. “Rishabh was confident and he single-handedly batted very well in the last 5 overs,” Amre said.

Gujarat Titans spinner Sai Kishore acknowledged the impact of Pant and Axar’s partnership. “Axar and Pant batted really well. Rishabh scored a lot of boundaries off good balls,” Kishore said.

Pant’s performance has not only boosted his confidence but also raised expectations for his performance in the T20 World Cup. Amre believes Pant is ready to roar and make a significant contribution to India’s campaign.

Pakistan Cricket Legend Bismah Maroof Retires from International Cricket

Pakistan Cricket Legend Bismah Maroof Retires from International Cricket

Bismah Maroof Retires from International Cricket, Leaving an Indelible Mark

Former Pakistan captain Bismah Maroof has bid farewell to her illustrious 17-year international cricket career, effective immediately. As one of the most celebrated figures in women’s cricket, Maroof departs as Pakistan’s leading run-scorer in both One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).

Throughout her remarkable career, Maroof amassed 3369 runs in 136 ODIs, averaging 29.55. Her tally includes 21 half-centuries and a highest score of 99. In T20Is, she accumulated 2893 runs in 140 matches, boasting an average of 27.55 and 12 fifties.

Maroof’s leadership qualities were evident as she captained Pakistan in 96 games, including 62 T20Is and 34 ODIs. Only Sana Mir has led Pakistan in more T20Is (65), while Maroof ranks third in ODIs behind Mir (72) and Shaiza Khan (39).

“I have decided to retire from the game I love the most,” Maroof said in a statement released by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “It has been an incredible journey, filled with challenges, victories, and unforgettable memories.”

Maroof expressed her gratitude to her family, the PCB, and her teammates for their unwavering support throughout her career. She particularly acknowledged the PCB’s implementation of a parental policy, which allowed her to balance her cricketing aspirations with motherhood.

“The camaraderie we shared both on and off the field is something I will cherish forever,” Maroof added.

Maroof’s retirement marks the end of an era for Pakistan women’s cricket. Her contributions to the sport have been immense, inspiring countless young girls to pursue their cricketing dreams. Her legacy will continue to shape the future of women’s cricket in Pakistan and beyond.

Former Zimbabwe All-Rounder Guy Whittall Injured in Leopard Attack

Former Zimbabwe All-Rounder Guy Whittall Injured in Leopard Attack

Guy Whittall, the former Zimbabwean all-rounder, narrowly escaped a life-threatening encounter with a leopard earlier this week. The 51-year-old sustained severe injuries to his head and hand, necessitating immediate surgery.

Whittall, who represented Zimbabwe in 46 Tests and 147 ODIs between 1993 and 2003, currently operates a safari business with his family in Humani. According to his wife Hannah’s Facebook post, the incident occurred on Tuesday. Whittall was airlifted to Harare for urgent medical attention.

This is not the first time Whittall has had a close encounter with wildlife. Over a decade ago, an eight-foot, 165kg Nile crocodile entered his bedroom at the Humani game reserve and spent the night there.

Whittall’s injuries are reported to be stable, but he remains under observation. His family and friends have expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support and prayers.

The incident highlights the inherent risks associated with living in close proximity to wildlife. Whittall’s experience serves as a reminder of the importance of taking necessary precautions and respecting the boundaries of wild animals.

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