The England-West Indies series saw fast bowlers taking most of the wickets. Likewise, the coming series between Pakistan and England will be the pacers’ show all the way. While the two lead seamers in the England side have more than 500 wickets each to their credit, the Pakistani team is comparatively younger. Pakistani pacers are quite talented and skillful, packed with capacity to perform superbly. But they will have to sustain themselves and stay fit.
If spinners have fitness problems, say by ten percent they can still manage. But the pace bowlers cannot play Test matches if they have fitness issues even, say, by five percent. This is because long spells of bowling is the feature of the Tests.
I have no hesitation in saying that Pakistan could not manage to retain the reputation of being a team known by its superb fast bowlers. It was in my time that the same Pakistan used to have pace bowling pairs of Imran Khan and Sarafraz Nawaz. Sikandar Bakht was also the contemporary. This was followed by the likes Wasim Akram and Waqar Yunis. Then came top bowlers like Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir. But unfortunately, Pakistani bowlers could not keep their otherwise clean image intact. Their names figured in the match fixing cases in 1990s.
The fixing was like cancer that destroyed the Pakistani cricket. In that phase, I was impressed with Waqar Yunis who was spotless and whose bowling skill was also excellent. He used to bowl with full concentration, as if by heart.
If we analyse the Pakistani bowling attack against England, it won’t be right if we don’t analyse their batting. Bowlers won’t be able to experiment too much as long as batsmen don’t score big. At the same time, bowlers will have to have 20 dismissals to win the match. Team Pakistan has fast bowlers like Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Sohail. It’s not good to form any opinion about them just on the basis of their performance in a select few matches and media reports. All that I would like to say is that they should focus on accuracy and maintain line and length. The ball will get quite a movement there so they need to focus on their line. Short-pitch balls may be converted into huge pile of runs. Swings will also have to be controlled fully. If wicket is not supportive, then they should keep line and length perfect. This is the real secret of success in England. The bowling should not be according to what suits the English batsmen. Balls should not be given where they are comfortable. Pakistani pacers should maintain their line and have patience. They should also close a keep watch over English pacers, especially Anderson and Broad.
Both these bowlers have been most successful on their home soil. Saliva can’t be used to shine the bowl now, but sweat can be. Since rules have to be followed, but this is not a big issue.
Pakistani bowlers should work out their strategy keeping in view wind and weather conditions. The bowler should be able to swing the ball whether swing helps or not. Some of the Pakistani pacers have the ability to do that. They will have to force the batsmen of England to commit mistakes.
It’s disturbing and unfortunate that Pakistan cricket got affected due to some other elements. Pakistan Cricket Board has its own likes and dislikes. The retired talented cricketers there don’t get a chance to be associated with the team. Others should be given the chance like Ramiz Raza who was made commentator.
West Indies cricket has also been ruined. Cricketers like Gayle and Bravo don’t want to play Test anymore. Everyone is obsessed with T20 matches. It should be matter of pride for cricketers to play for their country. We used to get Rs 1,000 for one Test in 1974-75. But we were happy that we were playing for the country. The same feeling should be in every cricketer of the world. Like everyone else, I am also impatiently waiting for the Pakistan-England series. I hope that we will an opportunity to see a high-level cricket in this series.
The author has been a former fast bowler of the Indian Test team.
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Rosy Paulraj, Ajith share spotlight with National records
Pole-vaulter Rosy Meena Paulraj (Tamil Nadu) scaled new heights to share the spotlight with Weightlifter and state-mate N Ajith, both rewriting National records in the 36th National Games in Gandhinagar.
Rosy Meena Paulraj, 24, who got into a good rhythm, was able to improve her personal best from 4.00m to 4.20m to break VS Surekha’s National as well as National Games records set in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Ajith broke the National Record in the Clean and Jerk with a lift of 174kg to push National Games record efforts by track and field athletes into the shade.
Long-jumper Jeswin Aldrin (Tamil Nadu) was the biggest winner on the second day of track and field competition at IIT Gandhinagar. He first claimed the National Games record when he leapt to 8.21m effort on his third try. Even as Commonwealth Games medal winner M Sreeshankar passed his last four attempts, Jeswin Aldrin improved to 8.26m on his last attempt.
Shot-putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Services) and 400m runner Muhammed Ajmal (Kerala) also rewrote National marks but the day belonged to weightlifter Ajith.
Haryana tops the medal tally with 39 medals in National Games
Haryana continues to shine in the 36th National Games going on in Gujarat. Haryana players are winning medals in every event. It will not be wrong to call Haryana the capital of sports with such remarkable performances by the players. This may be seen from the facts that Haryana continues to lead the medal tally with 18 gold medals in the National Games. Haryana has a total of 39 medals including 18 gold, 12 silver, and 9 bronze medals till 5:30 pm on October 2.
Haryana clinched the first gold medal in the weightlifting competition held on Sunday. In the 81 kg weight category, Deepak Lather won the gold medal by lifting a remarkable 170 kg lift. Similarly, female sportsperson of Haryana are performing outstanding in the National Games. In the cycling track event, Haryana’s Taniksha Khatri won gold and Prachi Lohan brought laurels to the state by winning a silver medal. Apart from this, Shiva Narwal won a silver medal in the 10m pistol. Haryana girl’s team also won a silver medal in double sculls rowing. Apart from this, the Haryana boy’s team also added one more medal to Haryana’s medal tally by winning a silver medal in foil fencing sports event. The girls’ team also brought laurels to the state by winning a silver medal in the Track Cycling event.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal said that Haryana’s soil is where sports are rooted. The children here have always outperformed in sports. All they need is the right platform and coach, which will turn them into future role models. The Haryana Government is making strenuous efforts to improve the skills of the players and promote sports.
More than 600 players from Haryana are participating in the 36th National Games going on in Gujarat. Till now the players of Haryana have won 9 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze medals in wrestling. Similarly, 2 gold and 3 silver medals in shooting, 2 gold in netball, 2 gold with 1 silver and 3 bronze medals in athletics, 1 gold medal in rugby, 1 gold and 2 silver medals in cycling, 1 gold medal in weightlifting, 2 bronze medals in kabaddi and 1 Silver Medal in Table Tennis.
Significantly, the National Games 2022 is being organized in six cities of Gujarat – Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, and Bhavnagar.
Around 7,000 athletes from 28 Indian States, and 8 Union Territories, and Services (Teams of the Indian Armed Forces) are competing for medals in 36 different sports.
Abhishek Pal, Parul Chaudhary take home both 5000m gold
Uttar Pradesh’s Abhishek Pal and Parul Chaudhary completed a unique double at the National Games here on Saturday, winning the Men’s and Women’s 5,000m gold for their state.
Parul Chaudhary was delighted with her performance but Abhishek Pal was a slightly disappointed man even though he beat the stiff challenge of Services’ Karit Kumar and Sawan Barwal, as well as that of defending champion G Lakshmanan, for the title.
“I am happy to win here but am still disappointed,” he said after his win, revealing that he was eying the Games record as well.
Abhishek Pal recorded a timing of 14:07.25s, falling short of the Games record of 13:50.05.
“Yes, I was eyeing the record. But I want to do my best in events like the Asian Championships and the Asian Games,” he said, outlining his future plans. “I also want to secure a place in the NCOE before the resumption of the National Camp,” the 25-year-old said.
“After I joined the Sports Authority of India National Centre of Excellence (NCOE) in Bhopal, in 2015, my career took an upward curve,” he pointed out, revealing his reasons.
Hailing from a family of runners, Abhishek Pal has come a long way since he finished fifth in the 5,000m race in the National Games in Thiruvananthapuram seven years ago.
He was fifth in the 5,000m and seventh in the 10,000m in the Asian Championships in April 2019. And now, with more experience under his belt, he is confident he can be on the podium at the next continental meet.
However, Abhishek Pal’s distance-running statemate Parul Chaudhary was pleased with her first National Games gold, winning the title with a timing of 16:34.68.
“Though I have not done much speed work, I was confident I would be able to sprint to the finish if I stayed close to the leaders, no matter who did the front-running,” she said.
After the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July last, the 27-year-old from Meerut has been in the off-season. Though Uttarakhand’s Ankita Dhyani, Maharashtra’s Komal Jagdale, Haryana’s Bharti and Himachal Pradesh’s Seema took turns at holding the lead, Parul Chaudhary produced a kick over the last 200m that left the challengers well behind.
Abhishek Pal will get another chance to break the Games’ record when he takes part in the 10,000m on Monday.
Dark day for football: FIFA President Gianni Infantino
FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Sunday said that the riot and ensuing stampede at a football match in Indonesia that killed 174 people is a “dark day” for the sport.
The violence broke out at a stadium in East Java during a game between Arema and Persebaya Surabaya. At least 174 people died in the stampede, Deputy East Java Governor Emil Dardak told local media on Sunday afternoon. Other official or government-backed sources put the number between 129 and 182. The resulting stampede led to cases of suffocation. After the match in East Java province between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended on Saturday night, supporters from the losing team invaded the pitch to express their frustration, police said.
FIFA issued an official statement in which President Gianni Infantino said that the football world is in a state of shock following the tragic incidents.
“The football world is in a state of shock following the tragic incidents that have taken place in Indonesia at the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya at the Kanjuruhan Stadium,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in an official statement released by FIFA.
“This is a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims who lost their lives following this tragic incident,” he added.
“Together with FIFA and the global football community, all our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, those who have been injured, together with the people of the Republic of Indonesia, the Asian Football Confederation, the Indonesian Football Association, and the Indonesian Football League, at this difficult time,” Gianni said.
Many of the top football clubs around the world, including Manchester City, Manchester United, and Barcelona among others expressed condolences to the families affected by the horrific incident.
“Manchester United is deeply saddened by the tragedy in Malang, Indonesia. We send our sincere condolences to the victims, their families, and everyone affected,” tweeted Manchester United.
“Paris Saint-Germain would like to offer its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the stadium tragedy in Malang, Indonesia,” Paris Saint-Germain tweeted.
Shikhar Dhawan to lead India’s ODI team against SA
Batter Shikhar Dhawan will lead Team India in the three-match ODI series against South Africa as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the squad on Sunday.
Shreyas Iyer has been named as the vice-captain. India will take on South Africa in the three-match ODI series, starting October 6. Ranchi and Delhi will host the second and third ODI, respectively, on October 9 and 11.
Shreyas Iyer, who is part of the reserves named for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, will be the vice-captain with Deepak Chahar and Ravi Bishnoi the other players from the standby list to be named in the ODI team.
The senior players of the current team like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli etc are playing in the three-match T20I series against South Africa and are now rested for the upcoming ODI series.
The Indian cricket team is expected to fly to Australia on October 6, before the ICC T20 World Cup, to attend a special preparation camp.
For a training camp leading up to the T20 World Cup, the Indian side will fly out to Australia on October 6, two days after the T20I series against South Africa is over.
India squad against South Africa: Shikhar Dhawan (C), Shreyas Iyer (VC), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubhman Gill, Rajat Patidar, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (WK), Sanju Samson (WK), Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Mohd. Siraj, Deepak Chahar.
Indian bowlers hold nerve to clinch series 2-0 after 16-run win over SA
David Miller’s explosive ton went in vain as Indian bowlers hold their nerve to clinch the T20I series 2-0 after 16 run victory in the second T20I against South Africa here at Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati on Sunday.
With the win, Team India took an unassailable lead 2-0 over South Africa. For South Africa, Miller slammed an unbeaten 106 in 47 balls while Quinton de Kock played a knock of not out 69 off 48. For India Arshdeep Singh bagged two wickets while Axar Patel settled for one wicket.
Defending the target of 238, India’s Arshdeep Singh dented South Africa’s chase by bagging the wickets of Temba Bavuma and Rilee Rossouw in one over.
Aiden Markram and Quinton de Kock then played some careful shots while taking singles to ease some pressure from the team. Axar Patel then gave Proteas a big blow as he dismissed well-set batter Markram for 33 off 19 balls. South Africa lost important three wickets in under eight overs.
Markram’s wicket invited David Miller to the crease. Miller with de Kock found quick boundaries while taking singles at regular intervals. After 10 over of the match, South Africa’s score read 70-3.
With huge pressure on their head, Miller shifted gears and slammed Ravichandran Ashwin for back-to-back two sixes and gathered 19 runs alone in the 12th over of the innings.
While smashing Indian bowlers all around the ground Miller brought up his half-century in 25 balls with a huge six off Arshdeep. De Kock also shifted gears and slammed back-to-back two sixes in Axar’s over and piled up 18 runs.
After 15 overs South Africa needed 95 runs in 30 balls. In the 16th over of the match, Miller slammed Harshal for two successive fours and gathered 13 runs.
Quinton De Kock also brought up his half-century in 39 balls. It was a hard-fought innings by Quinton as he anchored a much-needed great partnership between him and Miller.
De Kock started the 18th over of the match with a stunning six, however, the latter could not do much as Harshal delivered the spell with great line and length and restricted Proteas batters to score runs in his over.
In the 19th over of the innings, the duo of De Kock and Miller hammered Arshdeep for 26 runs by slamming big shots. In the last over of the match, Miller brought up his blistering century in 46 balls. On the last ball of the match, Miller slammed a huge six but failed to guide his team home by 16 runs in the massive run chase.
The explosive Proteas duo failed to take their team home in the massive run chase and handed India a T20I series win.
Earlier put to bat first, India posted a daunting total of 237/3 with the help of stunning half-centuries from Suraykumar Yadav and KL Rahul. Suraykumar slammed 61 runs in 22 balls, while Rahul played a knock of 57 off 28.
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