Inzamam hopeful about Pakistan’s comeback in 3rd Test

‘Win at Lord’s has shown everyone that this team is more than capable of winning against tough opposition and in foreign conditions’

KARACHI: Pakistan’s chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq seemed optimistic about Pakistan’s strong comeback in the upcoming third Test, which begins in Birmingham next week.

According to local media report, “I am convinced that as the players get more experience in these conditions, their performance will improve and Pakistan will get better results and bounce back,” Inzamam said.

“The win at Lord’s has shown everyone that this team is more than capable of winning against tough opposition and in foreign conditions,” the 46-year-old said.

“The Old Trafford Test obviously did not go that well, but then we have to give credit to England for making a comeback in this series which shows that they are a very tough team to beat.”

“Look most of the players are playing in a test series in England for the first time in their lives. I am not disheartened by the second test defeat because better touring sides than us have come to England and struggled in their conditions.”

“I firmly believe this team has lot of talent and can bounce back in the two tests.”

After a stunning victory in the first Test at Lord's, Pakistan were humbled when England leveled the series 1-1 earlier this week, crumbling to a 330-run defeat in Manchester.

One thing in Pakistan's favour heading into the Edgbaston Test will be the absence of England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who has been ruled out due to a torn right calf. England coach Trevor Bayliss, speaking before it was confirmed Stokes would not play in the third Test, said, “If he does miss out, it will give someone else an opportunity.

Inzamam has expressed that he was confident that Misbah ul Haq with his experience and performances would be able to lift the spirits of the team in the remaining two Tests and help them recover after the defeat at Old Trafford.

However, the third Test starts on Wednesday, August 3.



Courtesy www.dailytimes.com.pk

 

Cricket: Pakistan beat England by 75 runs at Lord's
By AFP

LORDS: Pakistan defeated England in the first test match on Sunday after Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir sent home the bulk of the British batsmen to secure the victory for the country.

Yasir Shah was once again the man who did the trick for Pakistan, when a low kept delivery rattled Bairstow's stumps. The latest dismissal meant that Yasir had claimed four wickets this innings while earlier he had claimed six English scalps in the previous innings of England. Mohammad Amir struck for Pakistan right in the next over, when he bowled Stuart Broad.

Mohammad Amir finished with two wickets in the end and it was the Pakistani pacer who clean bowled JT Ball to clinch the victory for Pakistan.

It was Yasir Shah who had done the damage earlier to the English batting side as his two quick wickets after lunch helped put Pakistan in the driving seat. At first, Shah dismissed Ballance before moving on to bowling Moeen Ali out.

England were set a target of 283 to win the first Test after bowling out Pakistan for 215 in their second innings on the fourth day.

England were 90 for three in their second innings, needing a further 193 runs to reach their victory target of 283, at lunch. James Vince was 41 not out and Gary Ballance 15 not out after Rahat Ali had removed all of England´s top three batsmen in a return of three for 36 in eight overs.

This is the first of a four-Test series.

Pakistan, 214 for eight overnight, lost their last two wickets for just one run in 13 balls during Sunday´s opening 10 minutes.

Stuart Broad struck twice in two balls with Yasir Shah, failing to add to his overnight Test-best 30 not out, and Mohammad Amir (one) both caught behind by wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow.

Pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes led England off the field after taking five for 32 for a match haul of 11 for 112.

England now needed to surpass their record fourth innings-winning chase in a Lord´s Test of 282 for three against New Zealand in 2004 if they were to go 1-0 up in this four-match series.



Courtesy www.thenews.com.pk

 

A century and 10 push-ups: Misbah fulfills promise made to army guys
By AFP

LONDON: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said his unbeaten century against England at Lord´s on Thursday was the "top innings" of an impressive Test career.

The 42-year-old Misbah became the sixth oldest player in Test history to make a century as his unbeaten 110 took Pakistan to 282 for six at stumps on the first day of a four-match series.

Thursday´s match was Misbah´s maiden Test at Lord´s, selection decisions having seen him miss previous tours of England, yet he secured a coveted place on the dressing room honours board at the very first attempt.

As soon as he had completed his 10th Test century, Misbah dropped to the turf.

But rather than utter a prayer, Misbah performed several press-ups, just as 73-year-old actor Jack Palance did when winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar at the 1992 Academy awards.

- ´Honour code´ -

But Misbah´s celebration, which included a salute to the Pakistan flag flying above the Pavilion, was no tribute act.

Rather it was a reference to Pakistan´s gruelling pre-tour boot camp at a military academy in Kakul in May.

"I promised the army guys I would do the push-ups if I got a century," Misbah told reporters after stumps.

"We had an honour code on the boot camp, for push-ups, so that was my promise to them the next time I scored 100. So that was for them, and the salute was for the flag."

Misbah equalled West Indies great Vivian Richards´s then world record for the fastest-ever Test century with a blistering 56-ball hundred against Australia in Abu Dhabi in 2014 -- a mark surpassed by Brendon McCullum´s 54-ball hundred for New Zealand against Australia at Christchurch in February.

But Thursday´s hundred ranked higher in Misbah´s estimations.

"I rate this as my top innings in Test cricket and I´m really happy about that," he said.

"It´s a dream to play at Lord´s and especially getting 100, and the name on the honours board is something special," added Misbah, who vindicated his own decision to bat first after winning the toss.

"Obviously when you are playing competitive cricket you just don´t think about your age.

"If you are there, you just take on the challenge that comes with playing the game.

"These records are always something special, and they are very satisfying to make those kinds of achievements, but the main thing is just to keep achieving for your country."

But with Chris Woakes taking wickets at both the start and end of the day´s play for a return of four for 45, England had reason to be happy with how things had gone as well.

Nottinghamshire quick Jake Ball, making his Test debut after England left out all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson because of concerns he had not yet recovered from a shoulder injury, also got in on the act.

He took one for 51 in 19 overs after a yorker that knocked Azhar Ali off his feet saw him win an lbw decision for his first Test wicket.

Before play, he received his Test cap from uncle and England wicket-keeping coach Bruce French -- himself a former Test cricketer.

"That settled me down," said Ball. "He (French) just said how proud the whole family are of me.

"To receive it from my uncle was an extra-special moment. He was holding back the tears."

As for the match situation, Ball added: "The two late wickets have given everybody a big lift.

"We now know if we can come out in the morning, get a couple and try to restrict them to about 350, then we´re well in the game."



Courtesy www.thenews.com.pk

 

Amir’s visa approved for England tour


KARACHI: Pakistani cricketer Muhammad Amir's visa for England tour has been approved, reported Geo News on Tuesday. Amir was named in Pakistan’s 17-member squad for the Test series against England.

Pakistan team would leave for England on June 18 to play four Tests, five One Days, and one T-20.

Amir who was banned from cricket for five years following the Lord s spot fixing scandal in 2010 along with the then captain Salman Butt and fellow pacer Mohammad Asif had submitted a visa application to the UK high commission in Islamabad last month.

The PCB had prepared a separate case for Amir while sending documents of other players for their visa to the UK High Commission in Islamabad.

The PCB chief had written a letter to the UK High Commissioner seeking special and sympathetic consideration on Amir’s visa.

The board was also in touch with the England and Wales Cricket Board who has been positive and cooperative in this matter right from the beginning, Associated Press of Pakistan quoted sources as saying.

The source said that the PCB had only decided to apply for a visa for Amir after legal consultations.



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Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74


LOS ANGELES: Boxing icon Muhammad Ali died on Friday, a family spokesman said in a statement.

"After a 32-year battle with Parkinson´s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74," spokesman Bob Gunnell said.

Ali, whose fame transcended sport during a remarkable heavyweight boxing career that spanned three decades, had been hospitalized in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with a respiratory ailment this week.

Born in Louisville, Ky., in 1942, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., he began boxing at the age of 12, winning a number of amateur titles, culminating in an Olympic gold medal as a light heavyweight at the 1960 Games in Tokyo. He turned pro soon after that.

Early in his career, he battled societal norms as frequently as he did his opponents. In 1964, as the struggle for civil rights simmered, he knocked out heavy favorite Sonny Liston to win the heavyweight title for the first time, then told reporters that he was a member of the Nation of Islam and had changed his name to Muhammad Ali, a name many news outlets at the time were slow to recognize.

By 1967, he had successfully defended the title nine times, all but two by knockout. With the Vietnam War raging, he refused induction into the U.S. Army, on religious grounds, and was arrested and charged with draft evasion. When prodded further for his reasons for resisting, he said, “I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder, kill, and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slave-masters over dark people the world over.”

Though he remained free on appeal, he was stripped of his title and not allowed to box for more than three years. The conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court, unanimously, in 1971. (A 2013 film by Stephen Frears, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” which dramatized the court’s decision, debuted in Cannes, aired on HBO in the U.S., and earned an Emmy nomination.)

During his exile from the ring, Ali decided to try acting, starring in the 1969 Broadway musical “Buck White” at the George Abbott Theatre. He played a militant black lecturer, and got better reviews than the show, which closed after seven performances. “He sings with a pleasant slightly impersonal voice, acts without embarrassment and moves with innate dignity,” wrote New York Times reviewer Clive Barnes.

Ali’s boxing career was defined by his matches against top opponents, particularly rivals Joe Frazier and George Foreman. His 1971 bout with Frazier to unify the heavyweight championship, his third after being reinstated, was called the Fight of the Century. Among those in attendance at Madison Square Garden were Miles Davis, Barbra Streisand, and Sammy Davis Jr. Bert Lancaster was the color commentator for the closed-circuit TV feed. Life Magazine hired Frank Sinatra as the photographer for Norman Mailer’s story.

Ali had exploded the era of humble sports heroes when he declared, “I am the greatest!” in the run-up to his title fight with Liston. He also was among the first athletes to trash-talk his opponents, and he called Frazier, who supported the war, an Uncle Tom. Frazier knocked down Ali in the 15th round, and won a unanimous decision.

Ali had to wait three years for another shot at the championship, this time against Foreman, who had beaten Frazier so badly in taking the title that few gave the 32-year-old challenger a chance against the 25-year-old champ. Ali called the fight, held in Kinshasa, Zaire, the Rumble in the Jungle. In documenting the bout 22 years later, Gast’s Oscar-winning “When We Were Kings” showed how an ebullient Ali had arrived on the scene a few days before the taciturn Foreman, and won over the nation’s citizens. An impromptu entourage of hundreds followed him around chanting, “Ali, bomaye!” (Ali, kill him!).

In 1977, Ali lent his name to a short-lived NBC animated series “I Am the Greatest!: The Adventures of Muhammad Ali.” Somewhat more memorably that year, he joined Sylvester Stallone — whose “Rocky” was to win best picture — to present the best supporting actress award to Beatrice Straight for her role in “Network.”

In the ring, a third, brutal fight against Frazier (the “Thrilla in Manilla”) as well as battles with Ken Norton subjected Ali to a great deal of punishment. And though he would become the first heavyweight to reclaim the title for a third time in 1978 at age 36, when he beat 25-year-old Leon Spinks in a rematch, the wear and tear of a career in boxing was apparent.

He retired, and stayed that way for two years, but ill-advisedly returned for two more bouts, with Larry Holmes and Trevor Burbick, both cringe-inducing losses.

In 1996, 12 years after his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Ali, showing the effects of the disease, lit the torch to begin the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In 2005, he was presented with the Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

Ali is survived by his fourth wife, Yolanda “Lonnie” Williams, two sons, and seven daughters, including Leila Ali, a boxer who retired, undefeated, in 2007.



Courtesy www.thenews.com.pk

 

ICC conducts dope tests on Yasir, Misbah, Azhar and Junaid
By AFP

LAHORE: Cricket´s world governing body is conducting dope tests on four Pakistani players, including leg-spinner Yasir Shah, suspended for three months earlier this year, team manager Intikhab Alam confirmed Friday.

Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq was also tested by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The team can ill afford any positive results, which could have a significant impact on their upcoming tour in England, during which the results are expected to be confirmed.

The ICC, which has been a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2006, routinely conducts such tests in and out of competition.

Shah was provisionally suspended in December last year after he tested positive for chlortalidone, a masking agent under the WADA list of banned substances.

He was barred for three months after he pleaded guilty and told the ICC that he had inadvertently taken his wife´s blood pressure medication.

His ban was lifted in late March, making him eligible for the England tour.

Alam said Shah´s test could come under the spotlight.

"Besides Shah, Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, one-day skipper Azhar Ali and fast bowler Junaid Khan were also tested but Shah´s test could be targeted," he told AFP.

Shah is seen as Pakistan´s main wicket-taker for the four-match Test series in England, which starts at Lord´s from July 14.

Pakistan will also play five one-days and a Twenty20 international on the tour.

Their last tour to England in 2010 was marred by a spot-fixing case which resulted in five-year bans on then Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.

Amir returned to the national team in January this year and is expected to be named for all three formats for the tour.

Courtesy www.thenews.com.pk

 

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