Q: Do you think the ICC was too late to recognise your name in the ‘Hall of Fame’?
A: Sunil Gavaskar was also saying this but better late than never.
Q: We have heard when you used to play, they would tell you “Ab bas” (now enough, stop). Tell us the story behind it.
A: Amul butter had put up hoardings in Mumbai as a part of their advertisement campaign in which they wrote my name as Zaheer “Ab bas” (pun intended). These ads got very popular in those days. People still talk about those ads.
Q: You registered your name as the highest scorer in the Pakistan Test where you scored 274 runs and earned the title of ‘Asian Bradman’. How did it happen?
A: It was in 1971 in Boston. In an inaugural, I had already 111 runs. After which an English newspaper gave the headline ‘Meet the Asian Bradman from Pakistan’. I wondered why they said so because at that time I had not played any test and had not done anything. But when I scored 274 runs, I proved that the title was correct and I also proved that I was working with the same name that was given to me.
Q: You have scored 100 centuries in first class cricket — a record in itself. You were called a run machine in your time. Bowlers were scared of you and once only Sunil Gavaskar was able to get you out.
A: Gavaskar still tells this story to everyone that he was the one who took my wicket when I was close to my century. We both keep joking about this. I have known him since 1972 when both of us were selected for World 11 and went to play against Australia. We share a good friendship. Let me tell you one thing that when their team won at the Oval, I went to their dressing room to congratulate them. This is how you make friends by joining them in their sorrow and happiness. It was a happy moment for him. I congratulated him and our friendship from that time is till now.
Q: You have seen the time of Sunil Gavaskar, later Sachin Tendulkar and now is the time of Virat Kohli, Babar Azam and Rohit Sharma. How do you see batting has changed over the decades?
A: Virat Kohli, Babar Azam and Rohit Sharma are classic players. Rohit Sharma has already shown how a bigger batsman he is. He has played more matches and scored runs. But in Pakistan, players are told that they were big before doing anything big first. Sharma can score runs wherever his mind wants.
Q: Do you miss hitting cover drives when you see Rohit Sharma hitting good cover drives?
A: I could not hit cover drives the way Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli do in today’s time. I sincerely congratulate these two batsmen for their batting because it is the hard work of both of them behind such good shots. They seem to have worked very hard. As far as Babar is concerned, he is also slowly coming up. Whenever a Pakistani batsman does well, we start comparing him with Indian batsmen. I think India has the best batting line-up in the world today.
Q: Babar is now compared with the ‘Fab Four’ and Nasir Hussain equalled him to Root, Williamson, Smith and Kohli. What do you think?
A: Babar Azam has a lot of potential. He needs to learn a couple of things and he will learn those things over time. See, a big player is the one who makes fewer mistakes. Babar will not win the match alone. There should be at least two to three batsmen and there should be more runs in the team with Babar, then the time will start winning.
Q: It is being said that Virat Kohli will break the record of 100 centuries of Sachin Tendulkar in the coming time. Do you think it is possible?
A: See everything is possible and he is also young. He is playing very well. I think he will definitely do it.
Q: Now it is said that Pakistan’s fast bowlers’ factory has now shifted to India. What do you think?
A: Learning is an art. Our bowlers like Wasim Akram have taught Indian bowlers. Many have come to me as well to learn, which is very good. No doubt India has good fast bowlers. Now the combination is such that it can help the team to win matches. Apart from batting and bowling, India’s fielding has also improved.
Q: Do you think that India’s team is the best team in the world in ODIs and tests?
A: Yes, there is no doubt that India is one of the best teams in the world right now.
Q: How do you see the T20 format? Do you think this format has spoiled the test format?
A: Yes, because in T20, the match gets over quickly. The spectators come more in T20. But the test takes 5 days to get the result. The real skills of players come out only by playing the test format.
Q: Would you like to play T20? Is there any batsman like whom you’d like to bat?
A: I would like to play like me only. I too had many strokes to play. In the recent test series, batsmen were using T20 shorts there too. Crowd likes such shots.
Q: How to start cricket between India and Pakistan?
A: Yes, it should start right away because cricket is a game and it should be taken as a game. I feel very sad when India and Pakistan do not play with each other for so long and I think there will come a time when India will start playing back in Pakistan, there will also be a test series.
Q: Parvez Musharraf had praised M.S. Dhoni’s hair and when Dhoni retired, there was a lot of discussion about him in Pakistan. Ganguly did something similar. What do you think about such a captain in Pakistan, seeing that India got more than one captain, on the other hand, Pakistan did not find any such captain after Imran Khan?
A: See leadership quality is very important and India has got very sensible captains. I like Dhoni very much because he works on his own. He is a focused player and under his captaincy, India has also won the World Cup and lots of tournaments. It is true that India has got a lot of good captains while we got Imran Khan.
Q: How do you find Virat Kohli as captain?
A: Virat Kohli is a very good captain, he is also doing very well. He should control his anger a little bit. He is a very good captain.
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SYDNEY SIXERS SIGN SHAFALI VERMA, RADHA YADAV FOR UPCOMING WBBL
Sydney Sixers on Monday confirmed the signing of Shafali Verma and Radha Yadav for the upcoming Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). At just 17, Verma, who in 2019 became India’s youngest ever women’s T20 international, is widely considered the best batting talent in the world and currently sits atop the ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings. On Sunday, she scored a maiden ODI half-century with a mature knock of 56 as India upset the might Australian team, snapping a 26-game win streak.
Verma is expected to form a lethal combination with Alyssa Healy, Ellyse Perry and Ash Gardner at the top of the order for the Sixers, giving the team the most exciting top four in WBBL history.
She will also enter the world’s premier women’s domestic tournament with having a good time at the front of her mind. “This is a very good opportunity for me and my goal is to just enjoy myself, to make some new friends and have fun,” Verma said in an official release.
“I want to play WBBL and back myself and just believe in myself.” In June this year, the right-hander became the youngest player, male or female, to represent India in all three formats of international cricket before she debuted for the Birmingham Phoenix in The Hundred under Sixers’ Head Coach Ben Sawyer.
Not to be overshadowed by her teenage teammate, left-arm orthodox spinner Yadav arrives at the Sixers with a burgeoning resume of her own and sits 11th on the ICC Women’s T20I Player Rankings.
MOEEN ALI ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM TEST CRICKET
Moeen Ali on Monday decided to call time on his Test match career. Ali, 34, made his Test debut back in 2014 and went on to represent England in 64 Test matches. He took 195 Test wickets including 5 five-wicket hauls and scored five Test match centuries during his career. Ali in an official release said: “I’m 34 now and I want to play for as long as I can and I just want to enjoy my cricket. Test cricket is amazing, when you’re having a good day it’s better than any other format by far, it’s more rewarding and you feel like you’ve really earnt it.”
“I will miss just walking out there with the lads, playing against best in the world with that feeling of nerves but also from a bowling point of view, knowing with my best ball I could get anyone out. I’ve enjoyed Test Cricket but that intensity can be too much sometimes and I feel like I’ve done enough of it and I’m happy and content with how I’ve done,” he added.
Ali hopes that his Test career will inspire and open the door for other British Muslims to play for England. Ali added: “It always takes somebody to inspire you or takes somebody to think if he can do it I can and I hope there are a few people out there who are thinking that.
“I know he wasn’t English but someone like Hashim Amla, when I first saw him, I thought if he can do it I can do it, it does take that little spark. I’d love one day in 8-10 years’ time to say Moeen made it easier for me. There have been guys before me who made it easier, so you hope to open the door for someone else,” he added.
EXPECTING A GOOD GAME IN SHARJAH AGAINST KKR, SAYS DC BOWLING COACH HOPES
Delhi Capitals will be looking to register their fifth consecutive win in the IPL 2021 season when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
During a virtual conference on Monday, Delhi Capitals’ bowling coach James Hopes expressed that he expects a good game against KKR since both sides are in good form at the moment. “Kolkata Knight Riders’ coach Brendon McCullum wanted his team to be more aggressive in the second half of the season and they are certainly playing the way their coach wants them to play. They are playing a very attacking style of cricket and they have match-winners throughout their line-up, guys that can turn a game around very quickly. So we’ll set up our plans according to the conditions in Sharjah and we are just going to stick to our processes. KKR are in good form and we are in good form as well, so it should be a good game,” Hopes said.
When asked about the increase in aggression by the Delhi Capitals’ bowlers in the second half of the IPL 2021 season, Hopes said, “Having Rabada and Nortje, who bowl at a speed of 150+ km/h, in our attack has really enabled us to be aggressive. The fast bowlers prepare well, plan well and they understand the conditions very well and they also look after themselves.”
Hopes further added that he expects Delhi Capitals’ off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to have a massive impact in the tournament going forward, “Ashwin bowled beautifully the other day against Rajasthan. He put a lot of energy on the ball and I expect him to play a big part as this tournament goes forward. He’s a world-class bowler and I think he’s going to have a big impact as this tournament goes forward.”
While speaking about how the players are coping with the high temperatures in the UAE, Hopes said, “Good players always thrive in challenging conditions. They know it’s hard and we challenge our guys to actually enjoy it and play with a smile on their faces. Yes, it’s hot, but we have asked our players to embrace the heat. Great players don’t get sidetracked by conditions.”
RCB WOULD PREFER KOHLI TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE: STEYN
Former South Africa and Royal Challengers Bangalore speedster Dale Steyn has said RCB would like their captain Virat Kohli to be more aggressive.“I think the guys prefer to see him be more aggressive, it seems to get him to play a bit more fluently. It kind of sparks the younger players too, a lot of the younger guys have massive respect for Virat, and they admire him so much that they kind of follow in his direction,” Dale Steyn said while talking on the Select Dugout.
“When he’s fighting fire with fire and nobody’s doing it for India, you can hear all the quicks, when they were playing against England recently, how they were talking about following their captain and they wanting to play fighting fire with fire. So, he does lead from the front in that aspect and RCB love it. He’s kind of built that thought around RCB now. It’s the kind of culture that they have got in that dressing room,” he added.
Harshal Patel’s hat-trick and three-wicket haul by Yuzvendra Chahal helped RCB defend 165 and defeat MI by 54 runs here at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
Earlier, Maxwell and Virat Kohli scored 56 and 51 as RCB posted 165/6 in the allotted twenty overs. Srikar Bharat also played a knock of 32 runs from 24 balls. RCB will next lock horns against Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday in the ongoing IPL.
Roy, Williamson shine as Hyderabad beat Royals
Jason Roy and Kane Williamson played innings of 60 and 51* respectively as SunRisers Hyderabad chased the target of 165 in 18.3 overs.
Debutant Jason Roy and captain Kane Williamson thrilled with the bat as SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) defeated Rajasthan Royals (RR) by 7 wickets in their Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here at the Dubai International Stadium on Monday.
Jason Roy and Kane Williamson played innings of 60 and 51* respectively as SRH chased the target of 165 in 18.3 overs. Abhishek Sharma also played a crucial knock of 21* to carry his team over the victory line. For the Royals, their captain Sanju Samson played an all-important inning of 82 which in the end was just not enough. Chasing the target of 165, Hyderabad enjoyed a terrific start as their openers Jason Roy and Wriddhiman Saha amassed 57 runs in the first 5 overs. SRH duo gathered whopping 18 runs in the fifth over of Chris Morris.
RR had some respite after Mahipal Lomror struck in the last over of powerplay as he sent back Wriddhiman Saha to the pavilion. Saha walked back after scoring 18 runs off 11 balls. SRH score read 63/1 after the first six overs.Kane Williamson who joined Roy on the pitch continued the proceeding for the team in orange in the middle overs. With comfortable hammering of RR bowlers, the SRH score read 90/1 after 10 overs.
In the 11th over of the innings, all hell went loose on RR, as Jason Roy went berserk after scoring his fifty on SRH debut. Englishman along with his skipper smashed Rahul Tewatia’s over for 21 runs.
Jason Roy was sent back to the pavilion by Chetan Sakariya in the very next over. Roy walked back after scoring a superb 60 off 42. SRH had their hopes high after Mustafizur Rahman removed Priyam Garg for the first-ball duck in the 13th over.
Kane Williamson was then joined by Abhishek Sharma on the pitch and the duo brilliantly steadied the ship for SRH. The pair applied caution with delightful strokeplay and made sure to take their team over the line without any more setbacks.
In the penultimate over of the match, Kane Williamson reached his fifty after scoring back-to-back boundaries and also completed the run-chase with minimum fuss.
Kane Williamson and Abhishek Sharma remained unbeaten with scores of 51* and 21* respectively.
Earlier, Sanju Samson starred with the bat as Rajasthan Royals (RR) posted a score of 164/5 in their allotted twenty overs. Samson played an all-important inning of 82. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Mahipal Lomror also played crucial innings of 36 and 29* respectively for the team in pink.
Siddarth Kaul scalped two wickets, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma and Rashid Khan returned with one wicket each for SRH.Opting to bat first, RR had a shaky start after their star opener Evin Lewis walked back to the dressing room in the second over of the innings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck on his first ball as Abdul Samad caught Lewis on the fence.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson then steadied the ship for the team in pink as the duo gathered 49 runs in the first powerplay. The pair continued with their carnage in the middle overs. In the 9th over, Sandeep Sharma got the important breakthrough for SRH as he broke the dangerous-looking stand between Jaiswal and RR skipper. Jaiswal walked back to the pavilion after scoring 36 off 23 balls.
Rashid Khan struck in 11th over for SRH as he removed struggling Liam Livingstone. Abdul Samad caught Livingstone in the deep. Amid this, Sanju Samson continued mixing his caution with some delightful strokeplay. Royals skipper soon crossed the 50 run mark in the 16th over of the innings. RR gathered 20 runs in that over.
Siddarth Kaul removed Samson in the last over of the innings. Sanju Samson walked back for 82 off 57 balls. Riyan Parag also got out in that last over as SRH managed to finish on a high at the end of innings. Rajasthan Royals (RR) innings ended on 164/5.
Durand Cup: Mohammedan enter final after beating Bengaluru in hard-fought SF
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 27 (ANI): Century old local favourites Mohammedan Sporting (MDSP), overcame FC Bengaluru United (FCBU) 4-2 in the semi-finals of the 130th Durand Cup on Monday here at Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), to make their sixth finals of the iconic tournament.
Goals from Marcus Joseph, Faisal Ali, Brandon Vanlalremdika and Nikola Stojanovic made sure the Black Panthers quest for a third Durand title remained on course, despite a shock start to the game which saw FCBU talisman Pedro Manzi give his side the lead as early as 22 seconds into the game.
The scoreline, in the end, was a bit flattering for MDSP with United ending the game with 10-men and after tying 2-2 in regulation time. Sporting scored in each half of extra time to get the result, the close to 25000 local fans gathered at the stadium wanted.
MDSP gaffer Andrey Chernyshov went in with his trusted eleven and 4-4-2 formation in front of vociferous local support from the stands. Richard Hood the FCBU coach, started with a similar formation but with a first start of the tournament to Anup Theres Raj at left-back. Sanju Pradhan also started on the bench.
It could not have begun better for United with a move down the right flank involving Yumnam Gopi Singh straight after kick-off finding Manzi in space on top of the box. He was given a second bite of the cherry by the Sporting defence and made no mistake with a booming drive giving keeper Zothanmawia no chance.
The Panthers were stung and responded with ferocity. Milan Singh had the first good shot at goal but it was the inimitable Trinidadian Marcus who was destined to equalize for Sporting.
It was another one from the left of the box cutting across the keeper with his left foot. A trademark now almost. It was his fifth in this edition’s Durand putting him in running for the golden boot of the tournament for the second year running.
The Mohammedan attack line led by Serbian Nikola Stojanovic and ably supported by the likes of Azharuddin Mallik, Sk. Faiaz, Faisal and Marcus were displaying some slick football and stitched together quite a few attractive moves.
From one such move, Marcus found Faisal in the clear inside the box on the left and the youngster came up with a clinical finish, beating Kunzang Bhutia for the second time in the game.
The second half began as the first had ended with MDSP looking to take most of the initiatives. Quite against the run of play then, Kingshuk Debnath, a local boy, got Bengaluru back in the game, slotting home from a melee off a corner.
However, with a minute into added time, Manzi was shown red after a second bookable offence forcing Hood to bring in team fitness coach cum player Chelston Pinto to help his team fight through 30 minutes of extra time.
The change which made all the difference though was the one made by Chernyshov in the 83rd minute when he had brought on the pacy Brandon Vanlalremdika to replace Sk. Faiaz on the right.
The diminutive winger peppered the 10-man United defence in the second half with Stojanovic providing him ample support and supply.
In one such move in the dying stages of the first 15 minutes of extra-time, the Serbian found him in the clear inside the box. The Mizo had quite a bit to do with two defenders challenging him. He shrugged them off with two deft body feints, first inside then outside and unleashed a grounder with pin-point accuracy to beat Bhutia.
The final goal of the contest was fittingly scored by Stojanovic who blasted a penalty past Bhutia in the 110th minute of the game for a resounding scoreline for the local team. Marcus Joseph was adjudged the Man of the Match. (ANI)
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