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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Harmanpreet’s emotional breakdown on Jhulan Goswami’s farewell game.
The Indian Women’s Cricket team stepped into the iconic Lord’s stadium for the ODI match against England. While the team aimed to create history by clean sweeping England on their pitch, this match holds its importance beyond this.
The match was special as the Indian pace baller, Jhulan Goswami will bid adieu to the sports after this match. Ahead of the third and final match, Indian captain, Harmanpreet Kaur was seen crying and then Jhulan hugged her.
Jhulan’s cricket career has been spectacular where she played 12 tests, 2014 ODIs and 68 T20s for India. She has the record for the most number of wickets, 353 wickets, in her international career. This is the most by any player in women’s cricket.
“I’d like to thank the BCCI, my friends, my family, my coaches, teammates, and captains,” said the bowling legend to Sky Cricket before the start of the match. “Everyone, thanks for this opportunity, this is a very special moment.”
“When I started my career in 2002, I played my first series against England, and I’m ending against England in my last series. And the most important thing is that we’re 2-0 up in the series which is the most important thing for me at this moment.’
“Every moment [of 20-year career] has had a lot of emotions, a lot of effort put in. But the 2017 World Cup where our team came back and fought [is the highlight]. Nobody gave us a chance initially that we would be playing in a final, but the way we played that tournament was something different I think, and from there women’s cricket in India slowly and gradually picked up.
“And at this moment, we have our path to motivate generations and young girls to take up sport and that they have an option with cricket. I have to [keep emotions in check], I can’t come with all those emotions onto the cricket field, As a ruthless character, I have to come out and play hard cricket and give my best,” she added.
It was an emotional moment for the nation and the teammates. Captain Harmanpreet broke into tears during the farewell match of Jhulan Goswami.
Following his ‘friend and greatest rival’, Nadal withdraws from Laver Cup 2022.
Today was the final match of Roger Federer’s career and the Swiss tennis legend withdrew his name from the Laver Cup 2022 tournament. Moments later his friend and greatest rival Rafael Nadal followed him and withdrew from the event.
Nadal arrived in London, a day before his match alongside Federer. He straight up went to meet his teammates before going for the gala dinner. He could barely practice due to a shortage of time. The pair lost the final match of Federer’s glorious career to the Team World combination of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.
Moments after the match, Nadal withdrew from the singles tie. He is replaced by Cameron Norrie in the lineup against Team World’s highest-ranked player Taylor Fritz.
The Laver Cup confirmed on Saturday morning: “Matteo Berrettini will be stepping in for Roger Federer: ‘I cannot wait to start.’ Additionally, Rafael Nadal withdrew for personal reasons. He will be replaced by Cameron Norrie.”
“I am not doing well. It’s been a tough time for me, I hardly slept, I was stressed. Luckily everything is okay and I was able to get here,” said Nadal in the post-match presser explaining the reason behind his withdrawal.
Emotional end to the glorious career of tennis star Roger Federer
The star tennis player, 20 times Grand slam champion, Roger Federer bid goodbye to his glorious tennis journey. Federer played his last match alongside long-time rival Rafael Nadal after announcing his retirement at the age of 41.
He described his tennis career as the ‘perfect journey’, despite losing the last match of his career and not getting a fairy tale ending. His final match was against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and JACK Sock at a super crowded London’s O2 arena.
Federer was back on the court long after his knee injury in the 2021 Wimbledon Quarter Finals. He and Nadal won the first set but the opponents won in the end.
Federer and Nadal have been rivals for a very long time. But they were playing as a team in Federer’s last match.
“I’m happy, I’m not sad. It feels great to be here and I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time. The match was great, I couldn’t be happier. It’s been wonderful,” concluded Federer after the match.
After the match, Federer was overcome with emotions as he hugged his teammate Nadal and waved to the crowd. He broke into tears while addressing the arena.“Playing with Rafa on the same team and having the guys everybody here, all the legends ….thankyou,” said Federer. His parents, wife and four children joined him on the court.
Mathias accuses Paul of using witchcraft during Euro 2016
The Paul and Mathias Pogba saga took a new twist on Friday as the latter in a series of fresh videos accused the former of using witchcraft to summon ‘butterflies’ during the Euro 2016 final that featured France and Portugal.
A total of 30 new videos surfaced on Mathias’ social media accounts where he was seen labelling accusations against Paul and said that he used a witch doctor for years.
While it is not clear when the videos were made, it accuses the former Manchester United midfielder of taking help of the witch doctor who is close to his French footballer Alou Diarra and was introduced to him by Ivory coast international Serge Aurier.
He alleged that Paul paid the witch doctor a bi-monthly fee of €75,000 to €100,000 and used his services to cast spell on opposition teams. He also accused Paul of not sparing his teammates as well and alleged that he cast a curse on Kylian Mbappe too.
The former Guinea international in his video levelled allegations against the Juventus midfielder saying that he took the help of the witch doctor to win crucial matches including the Euro 2016 finals. He went on to add that the moths that swarmed Stade de France during the summit clash of the continental championship were summoned by Paul.
Legend’s Tennis League kick-starts with an opening ceremony
Legends Tennis League commences in New Delhi with an opening ceremony which was organised yesterday on 23 September 2022. The heavy rains did not stop the organisers and participating players of Legends Tennis League (LTL) to go ahead with the opening ceremony at RK Khanna Tennis Stadium. The league is being organised for Indian senior players who play on the ITF Masters Tour. More than 50 Masters players are playing in the league including those who have represented India in Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup competitions.
Former Davis Cupper and tennis coach Vivek Shokeen looked excited and exclaimed, “I think it’s a brilliant idea, we hope that it grows with more positive outcomes in the coming seasons. As it is happening for the very first time, that players of different age groups will get an opportunity to play, this would encourage them to participate. Moreover, they will be able to compete against different players and will simultaneously get chance to play doubles and mixed doubles. In tennis it’s a kind of unusual to see these kind of team events, so it’s a good start altogether and it will promote tennis in India definitely.”
Meanwhile, during the ceremony Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) Administrator Colonel Ranbir Chauhan was the guest of honour for the opening ceremony. He was accompanied by LTL organisers Dilip Mohanty and Aditya Khanna.
“When Aditya (Khanna) told me about the idea behind organising Legends Tennis League, I immediately said yes. I am so proud of my team for staging this event. I thank all the players who are committed to playing this weekend. I am sure we are about to create beautiful moments on and off the court.” confessed Dilip Mohanty, the organiser LTL.
DLTA Administrator and the guest of honour Col Ranbir Chauhan appreciated the organisers “We must acknowledge the efforts of the organisers of the league. What a fantastic idea, a league for senior tennis players is ground breaking and it is our privilege hosting all the players.” he proclaimed.
The debut season of LTL consists of six teams: Akross Acers, Aviraj Warriors, Bangalore Challengers, Punjab Aces, Rebound Ace Stag Babolat Yoddhas and Tennis Titans.
The league features more than 50 players from age 30 to age 70. Former Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup players like Ranjeet Virali-Murugesan, Vivek Shokeen, Vijayant Malik and Radhika Tulpule-Kanitkar are among the players who are participating in this league. The players are divided into nine categories – Men’s Star Player, Men’s 35+, Men’s 40+, Men’s 45+ Stars, Men’s 45+ Kings, Men’s 55+, Men’s 60+, Men’s Wild Card and Women’s 35+.
Arjun moves into semis of Julius Baer rapid chess
Teen Indian Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi eked out a narrow victory over USA’s Christopher Yoo in the quarterfinals to reach the semi-finals of the Julius Baer Generation Cup online rapid chess tournament on Friday.
Erigaisi locked in a battle with the 15-year-old Yoo clinching the victory in the tie-breaker to advance into the last four round of the tournament.
Starting the high-octane clash, it was the Indian who won the opening game but lost the next one. He then won the third one before losing the fourth to go into the tie-breaker.
However, in the blitz tie-break Erigaisi showed his class to win the first game and drew the second one to seal his spot in the next round.
Meanwhile, his compatriot R Praggnanandhaa, could not make it further into the tournament as he lost 1-3 to Germany’s Vincent Keymer.
Praggnanandhaa did not have the best of the starts in the quarterfinals and suffered a loss in the opening game. He drew the next two to stay in the hunt. The 17-year-old needing a win in the fourth game to take the encounter into the tie-break however suffered a 42-move defeat to bow out of the event.
Arjun would now take on Liem Quang Le of Vietnam in the semis who beat Hans Niemann of USA, while World champion Magnus Carlsen would face Keymer in the other last four duel. Carlsen, who had lost just once in the entire preliminary round, beat America’s Levon Aronian in the last eight round.
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