Hafeez upbeat to regain top all-rounder slot

Muhammad Asif Khan

Sharjah: Severing a one-year bar on bowling however a prolific Pakistan batsman, Muhammad Hafeez is hopeful of making an impactful return to the international scene as an all-rounder. “I have been working very hard on my bowling action and have doubled the practice lately. I am very confident to exhibit even better show upon return as a bowler. I am eagerly waiting for July to undergo the test”, said Muhammad Hafeez, in an interview to News One TV.

Hafeez PIC“Yes, I am disappointed but it is not in my hands. My aim is to regain the top all-rounder slot, in the ICC rankings, for Pakistan”, added Muhammad Hafeez, who can not apply for a reassessment of his bowling action until his suspension ends.

Bowling action of Muhammad Hafeez was reported twice in one year – in November 2014 & June 2015 – hence as per rules, he is not allowed to undergo ICC-accredited testing within one-year time.

Muhammad Hafeez, 35, also hoped that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) would have a positive impact on Pakistan cricket, added that young players would learn to handle pressure during the course of this T20 extravaganza. “Handling pressure situation is a much needed ingredient of international cricket and young Pakistan players are having the taste of it in the PSL”, said Muhammad Hafeez, who is representing Peshawar Zalmi in the 5-team league.

“The positive impact of the PSL, on young players, will start to get effect after a couple of seasons and it will subsequently help the national team”, concluded Muhammad Hafeez.

 

The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif

 

‘Lucky’ Manzoor upbeat to grab golden chance

Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: It is said that “fortune knocks once at every man’s door“, but in Khurram Manzoor’s case it’s the second time around. First, when he made his international debut in 2008 and now when he has been recalled after a long time to represent the national team again. 1

Pakistan Cricket selectors announced a 15-member bunch for the Asia Cup and World T20 Cup and Khurram Manzoor’s name caught the most of attention as he has not played a T20 international match as yet, however, the 29-year old opener shrugs the criticism and vows to carry forward his good form.

“What if I have not played a T20i, there is always a first time for everything. In view of my recent performance I am confident of performing well upon getting an opportunity”, mentioned Khurram Manzoor while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“I am not playing cricket for the first time”, stressed Manzoor

Recalling his recent record, the Karachi-based top-order batsman was of the view that he had earned a slot, in the national squad, through sheer hard work.

“I have earned a place after scoring eight hundreds in the last 13 domestic one-day games along with the domestic T20 performance. I was also amongst the runs during the recent series against England Lions in UAE.”, added Manzoor, who made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in February 2008.

The Asia Cup is scheduled to begin in Bangladesh from February 19 to March 6 where Pakistan will face the arch-rival, India on February 27. In the World T20 cup, scheduled in India from March 8 to April 3, Pakistan will lock horns with India on March 19th.

Khurram Manzoor expressed the desire to play against the arch-rivals. “I want to play against India and if I get a chance I will try not to let the opportunity goby”, concluded Khurram Manzoor, who has scored 1834 runs in 68 T20 games with two centuries.

 

 

The writer is a Pakistani sports journalist, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif

Amir can get Visa under special provision: Rizvi

Muhammad Asif Khan

Karachi: The debate on Muhammad Amir’s return to the national team has picked up pace however the fast-bowler has to cross yet another barrier even if he gets selected to represent Pakistan again. On a question about Amir’s eligibility to get the visa to enter any other country, the legal adviser to the PCB, Tafazzul Rizvi said a special provision [character waiver] could assist Amir in getting permission to enter a country. “Any country’s visa to a person who has been to jail for a crime is unlikely however there is a special provision as well through which the same person can be granted permission”, said Tafazzul Rizvi while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

“The relevant visa authority can grant him [Amir] visa if character waiver is provided. This is a specific category for such cases”, added Rizvi

Muhammad Amir along with Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif was jailed in London for hatching conspiracy to defraud book-makers. The trio involved in the notorious spot fixing case of 2010. Muhammad Amir, in view of the amended ICC code, was permitted to enter domestic cricket circuit before the expiry of his five-year suspension while Asif and Butt were let of the hook in September this year after the expiry of their mandatory suspension.

Muhammad Amir has recently been summoned to the national camp for the New Zealand tour.

“Amir’s lawyers have to provide necessary documents and we have been in touch with them to prepare his visa application accordingly in case he is get selected for the national duty”, concluded Tafazzul Rizvi

 

 

The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif

PSL: Arif Abbasi feels associations not taken aboard

Muhammad Asif Khan

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has crossed another major land-mark towards the much awaited Pakistan Super League (PSL) as the players’ draft concluded on Tuesday, with all fiveAA franchises completing their squads, however a former PCB administrator, Arif Ali Khan Abbasi has indicated a few ‘loopholes’ in the process. Arif Abbasi feels the absence of the associations from the process and said that it had killed the spirit of nationalism. “Associations should have been taken aboard in the players’ selection process. It will never be a national tournament unless associations are involved. Look at the multinational T20 leagues around the world there is nobody else selecting their teams except for the associations because it’s their team”, said Arif Abbasi while talking to this correspondent for News One TV

The former chief executive of the PCB also cast doubts over the drafting process, saying that bidding would have been a lot better option. “I don’t understand the mysterious selection criteria, there are over 35-year old in the emerging category, how can they emerge now? Also there should have been an open bidding for players, it would have evoked a lot of interest and would have been a huge marketing ploy as well”, stated Abbasi

On teams’ collective price, Arif Abbasi said that much more could have been earned. “$93 million are nothing, it should have been much much more. It was not probably handled by professionals”, felt Arif Abbasi

Arif Abbasi, who is regarded amongst country’s top sports’ administers also said that around a month left for the mega-event however the publicity, according to him, is below-par. “Month is very little time and I don’t see any hype. The people at the helm must pick up the pace now”, concluded Arif Abbasi

 

 

The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & Tweets @mak_asif

Sethi terms reservations over icon-list exclusion uncalled-for

Muhammad Asif Khan

Karachi: Reportedly a few senior players including veteransNS Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have voiced concerns over being excluded from the list of iconic players in the Pakistan Super League, however the man behind the much awaited T20 extravaganza, Najam Sethi, seems unmoved and of the view that world’s best T20 player were accommodated in the 5-man elite list. “Only five icon players from the world’s top T20 players are selected. Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi are better than others in the country therefore were picked for the top category”, explained Najam Sethi, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.

The Pakistan Cricket Board earlier announced its icon players for the upcoming league. The list comprises Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik.

“I think reservations in the regard are uncalled-for”, feels Sethi

The five PSL teams [Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad] will buy one icon player each, who will be fetching $200,000. Apart from the icon players, 25 players are placed in the Platinum category, who will be receiving $140,000. The other categories are Diamond ($70,000), Gold ($50,000), Silver ($25,000) and Emerging ($10,000).

On the matter of PSL franchise owners’ resentment over the tax levied on their final bids, Najam Sethi brushed aside the impression that the owners were kept in the dark. “This is not true, nothing was shielded. The franchises were informed in writing in bid documents about all such matters including tax liabilities”, said Najam Sethi

“In fact, I approached the finance minister, Ishaq Dar to give them [franchises] tax exemption but he refused”, concluded Najam Sethi

 

The writer is a Pakistani journalist, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif

Akhtar hopes to take All-stars to Pakistan

Muhammad Asif Khan

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Houston: Shoaib Aktar, who is playing in the USA with former cricketers is hopeful that one day the cricket extravaganza would be held in Pakistan. “I have had a word with Sachin [Tendulkar]on the possibility of the all-stars series in Pakistan one day. Sachin was happy and expressed willingness to materialise this idea”, said Shoaib Akhtar, while talking to a group of Pakistani journalists at the Minute-Maid park in Houstan.

“This series should go to India and Pakistan to act as a bridge between the two neigbouring countries”, added Shoaib Akhtar

Two teams of former stars led by Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar are in the USA to play three T20 matches in New York, Houstan and Los Angeles. The first match in New York was won by Warne’s Worriers.

Shoaib Akhtar also expressed disappointment on the stalemate between Pakistan and India over the much awaited cricket series, adding that it’s high time the two countries should engage in sporting activities. “Its about time that Pakistan and India should move forward and play cricket against each other, it will help in bridging the gap between the neighbours”, said Shoaib Akthar, who is playing under Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar in the All-star series.

“I am playing from Sachin’s team and we are enjoying each other’s company and getting to know eachother better. Pakistan and India much work out the bilateral series”, concluded Akhtar.

The writer is a Pakistani journalist, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif

Door on Indo-Pak series not entirely closed: Shukla

Muhammad Asif Khan

Karachi: After the resentment expressed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Sheharyar Khan over the treatment, he received, during the India trip, the much talked about the seriesShukla between Pakistan and India looks like a distant dream, however a high ranking official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Rajiv Shukla still hopes the bilateral series is a possibility. “We did invite the PCB chairman Sheharyar Khan however the situation erupted in Mumbai changed the scenario completely however I am still hopeful of the resumption of the dialogue process between the two boards on the matter”, said Rajiv Shukla, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV

“After the ongoing series between India and South Africa, the BCCI will seek fresh directives from the government and only afterwards the window for the Indo-Pak talks could be determined”, added Shukla, who is also the chairman of the Indian Premier League.

The BCCI official also spoke highly of Sheharyar Khan’s stature and feels him as a fitting person to give impetus to the efforts for bilateral cricket revival. “Sheharyar Khan has a clout in India and he is known by the cricket as well as political circle. I think he has the ability to carry forward the dialogue process in a positive direction”, said Rajiv Shukla

The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Sheharyar Khan toured India earlier this week however his scheduled meeting with the Indian counterpart was postponed indefinitely due to the unrest at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai.

Sheharyar Khan also expressed unhappiness over the treatment meted out to him, during his stay in India, which he described as disappointing.

The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif