Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ireland’s Niall O’Brien eager to tour Pakistan

Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: The wicket-keeper batsman of the Ireland Cricket team, Niall John O’Brien has expressed the desire to tour Pakistan if an opportunity comes his way, adding that he was offered to feature in the Pakistan Super League [PSL] as well. “Last year I was offered to feature in the PSL, and I agreed to the proposal as well, however, the idea was put on hold by the PCB. Whenever the PSL happens again, I will be there for sure.” said Niall O’Brien, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.Image

Shrugging off, the concerns in Pakistan, the wicket-keeper batsman stated that the experience of spending time with some of the players, especially Shahid Afridi, would be overwhelming. “If you hang around with people like Shahid Afridi, it’s going to be nice and safe at the same time”, added Niall O’Brien, who made his ODI debut in 2006.

Terming the Pakistan team an exciting outfit, O’Brien said he has always enjoyed playing against Pakistan. “I think they are a very talented team, yes, a little bit inconsistent but, on their day they can beat any team. Pakistan players are very friendly and completive on the pitch and I enjoy playing against them”, said Niall O’Brien, who has played 59 ODIs and 21 T20I.

On Ireland’s progress, Niall O’Brien, 32, credited the involvement in the English county circuit as well as the structure at home. “The Ireland team have come a long way since making the international debut. Majority of the players have been playing county cricket for a long time and the system, at home, has improved as well. I think both these aspects have contributed to the progress of Ireland cricket”, said Niall O’Brien.

O’Brien also paid rich tribute to Eoin Morgan, who initially played for Ireland and now is representing England, saying that his replacement is almost impossible to find. “It’s very hard to replace his caliber and skills. Morgan is one of the best players in the shorter format. We have not found his replacement as yet and probably will never find”, concluded Naill O’Brien.

Eoin Morgan, a 113-match veteran, played his first 23 ODIs for Ireland, but later chose to represent England at the international circuit.

 

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

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Fawwad Alam in no mood to shave off moustaches

Muhammad Asif Khan

Karachi: Still fresh from the Asia Cup performance, the young left-handed batsman of Pakistan, Fawwad Alam has said he wants to carry his prominent moustaches for some time, adding that there was no superstition attached to it but it was more of a public demand now. “I am not superstitious at all. I grew moustaches for myself and for the sake of a new look only, but now since people have started liking it therefore I have decided not to shave it off.”, said Fawwad Alam, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.Image

“At the end of the day, performance matters more than your appearance and I will try and carry the current form and fitness for a longer period of time as well”, added Alam.

The Karachi-born left-hander admitted that he was under pressure upon the international comeback after a long gap, however added that the support from the management and seniors worked well for him. “Obviously, playing an international game after three years, does add a lot of pressure, but I am glad to have contributed to the team cause”, said Alam, 28, who played the last ODI, prior to the Asia Cup, in November 2010.

Fawwad Alam, played two crucial back-to-back knocks at the Asia Cup, scoring 74 and 114 against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka respectively.

Fawwad Alam hoped that the Pakistan team would put up a good show in the upcoming World T20 cup, and would at least qualify for the finals. “The Pakistan-India encounter would be the test of nerves as usual, but the recent victories against the arch-rivals give Pakistan the upper hand. I hope Pakistan will begin the campaign with a triumph”, concluded Fawwad Alam.

 

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

Enjoy bowling situation not position: Junaid Khan

Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Young Pakistan paceman, Junaid Khan has dispelled the impression that he was less effective as the first-change bowler, adding that he was assigned a role as per the match situation. “I don’t think about my bowling position, my job is to deliver effectively for the team. Whenever the captain tosses the ball to me, I try and perform according to the plan.” said Junaid Khan while talking to this correspondent for News One TV. Image

The left-arm fast bowler, 24, also valued his frequent interactions with the legendry fast-bowler, Wasim Akram, adding that the bowling coach, Muhammad Akram, also encouraged them to reach out to others for help. “Young bowlers are lucky to have Wasim Akram around them and we hardly let a chance goby to learn from him. Even the bowling coach doesn’t feel bad when we seek help from others, in fact, he encourages us and says, at the end of the day, it would help the Pakistan team”, said Junaid Khan.

On his performance in the Asia Cup, Junaid Khan said one bad stint isn’t enough to write-off any cricketer. “On placid wickets, the team plan for bowlers, was to contain as much as they could”, said Junaid Khan.

“Last year I was amongst the top wicket-takers, I agree that the Asia Cup wasn’t satisfactory for me, but I am looking forward to performing much better in the upcoming event”, concluded Junaid Khan, who conceded 177 runs for the solitary wicket in 31 overs he bowled in four innings of the Asia Cup.

 

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

Ranatunga irked with SLC on Big-three stance

Muhammad Asif Khan

KARACHI: Terming the stance of the Sri Lanka Cricket [SLC] a ‘disappointing’ one, the former Sri Lanka captain, Arjuna Ranatunga feared an adverse impact, of the Big-three proposal, in the longer run.  “I think they – BCCI, CA & ECB – have different agenda, and I am very disappointed with SLC which took a U-turn and decided to support the revised draft recently.”, said Arjuna Ranatunga, while talking to this correspondent for News One TV. Image

The Sri Lanka Cricket had refrained from voting on the revised proposal at the ICC meeting in Singapore, however later the Executive Committee of the SLC decided to support the governance, finance and FTP changes in the ICC, which were proposed by the BCCI, ECB and CA.

At the moment, Pakistan is the only cricket board, which has not approved the proposed revamp.

The 1996 world cup winning Sri Lanka captain further said that had the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and SLC joined hands, the current situation would have been different. “If Sri Lanka and Pakistan got together to work against these particular policies then I am sure we could have made a big impact”, added Ranatunga.

“The countries supportive of the Big-three proposal might get benefited in the near future but in the longer run, all these countries would struggle. Ultimately the game of Cricket will suffer big-time”, maintained Ranatunga.

On the upcoming final of the Asia Cup between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Arjuna Ranatunga pinned hopes with his home side, however admitted that the unpredictable nature of Pakistan could turn the result around. “Comparatively, Sri Lanka have been playing better in the tournament, however the unpredictability of the Pakistan team, sometimes becomes their strength as well”, said Ranatunja.

“Afridi is not the only one to look for they [Pakistan] have other quality players too. The team play better on the day, would have a better chance to win”, concluded Ranatunga.

 

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