Pak vs SA: Your first 20-30 balls are vital in the sub-continent, says Markram - The Daily Guardian
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Pak vs SA: Your first 20-30 balls are vital in the sub-continent, says Markram

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Karachi [Pakistan], January 30 (ANI): South Africa opening batsman Aiden Markram has said that the first 20-30 balls are crucial for every batsman while playing in the sub-continent conditions.
The batter also said that he is not a finished product and he is still looking for ways to improve his game. His remarks come as Pakistan defeated South Africa by seven wickets in the first Test at the National Stadium.
“By no means am I all of a sudden a finished product. It’s a small step in the right direction. That’s how I am trying to see it. There’s still a lot of learning and growing in conditions like these. From a satisfaction thing, there is a bit I can take from this knock, a little bit of confidence. I would have loved to kick on,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Markram as saying.
“It’s generally very difficult for a new batter to get in. It’s something we’ve highlighted on previous tours to the subcontinent and on this tour. So (as a batsman) your first 20-30 balls are vital. It’s generally tough to get in against a spinning ball,” he added.
In the second innings of the first Test, Markram managed to score 74 runs and he was also involved in a 127-run stand with Rassie van der Dussen, but as soon as both these batsmen got dismissed, the Proteas innings collapsed, and the side was able to set a target of just 88 in front of the hosts.
“The longer you batted, the lower it got which posed its own challenge, putting spin aside. It was a slightly different innings for me. It was quite a challenge to accept spending time and not worrying about scoring,” Markram said.
“On the mental side of things, there are times in South Africa in seamer-friendly conditions where you have to be brave and try something different. It’s the same here. And we had the chance to learn from how Pakistan played and saw that we need to have the ability to back defence even in conditions that start to turn. It’s important that we don’t make the same mistakes we’ve made in previous tours,” he said.
“The thing that helped me was spending time in the middle and feeling like you can find a way to score,” he added.
Pakistan and South Africa will now lock horns in the second Test of the two-match series, beginning February 4 at Rawalpindi. (ANI)

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PSL 6: PCB to offer players and officials COVID-19 vaccine shots

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Karachi [Pakistan], March 3 (ANI): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday said it has decided to offer coronavirus vaccine doses to all participants of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 6.
“Pakistan Cricket Board has decided to offer SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine doses to all participants of the Pakistan Super League 6, becoming the first cricket board to use the vaccine that produces protection against the Covid-19 virus,” PCB said in a statement.
“The decision has been made in the line with the PCB’s duty of care policy and to ensure all participants of the league remain safe and healthy during the event, which concludes on 22 March,” it added.
PCB said the vaccine doses will be administered on Thursday and will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure bubble. However, it will solely be the players’ and officials’ decision if they want to get the vaccine shots, the board said.
PCB said it has been in discussions with the federal and provincial government officials, highlighting the national cricket teams’ international engagements and commitments as well as the significance, reputation, integrity and credibility of the PSL 6.
PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan, in a statement, said: “The PCB takes health, safety and wellbeing of its players and officials very seriously. In line with our duty of care policy, we have acquired a small allocation of SARS-Coronavirus Vaccine, which will be offered to all those inside the bio-secure environment created for the Pakistan Super League 6.
“The players and officials will be under no obligation to have the vaccine. The vaccinations will be administered on Thursday morning by qualified health workers, strictly in line with government protocols. While we live in these challenging times, the vaccine has been sourced to provide an added level of protection and comfort for players and all personnel inside the bubble. We will continue to operate responsibly in our duty to those involved in the tournament.”
England wicket-keeper batsman Tom Banton is one of the two overseas players who tested positive for coronavirus after Australia leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed contracted COVID-19 in the ongoing season of the PSL.
Since Monday and apart from the rapid tests, a total of 244 PCR tests were conducted which resulted in three positive tests. These individuals, including two foreign players and a local player support personnel, were quarantined on a separate floor of the team hotel.
Banton revealed on Wednesday that he tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday and is now in isolation. “Thanks a lot for all the messages and well wishes. Unfortunately, I received a positive Covid-19 test yesterday and I am now isolating and following the PSL protocols,” Banton said in a statement on Twitter.
“Fortunately I am feeling OK so far and I have been well looked after by the PCB and Quetta Gladiators. Thanks for the support, look after yourselves and stay safe,” he added. (ANI)

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Pollard backs senior players to get Windies back into winning habit

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St John’s [Antigua], March 3 (ANI): West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard feels the side needs to strike a perfect balance between the young players and experienced lads in order to get back to winning ways.
Windies and Sri Lanka will lock horns with each other in a three-match T20I series which gets underway from Wednesday (local time). The star all-rounder said the time has come that West Indies starts winning games on a regular basis.
The hosts are the defending champions of World T20 and but since their victory, in the mega event, the West Indies have just clinched 16 out of 50 T20Is.
“You look at some of the younger guys that have gotten the opportunities when we started off around 2019, and it has not really produced the results on a consistent basis,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Pollard as saying.
“As a team we need to start winning cricket matches, win series. Because we can go down the line of saying ‘we need to blood this talent, blood this talent’, but some of you same guys will start talking about the results as well,” he further said.
“So we have to strike that balance [between youth and experience], we have to start winning T20 matches, we are the defending champions, and we have to get back into the habit of winning. And if that means getting a couple of senior guys in to start that process, so be it,” Pollard added.
Star batsman Chris Gayle and pacer Fidel Edwards will return to play for West Indies in the T20I series. Gayle will return to play for the first time in two years for the hosts while Edwards will take the field for West Indies after nine years.
“These guys continue to perform despite their age. And one that thing that has been said throughout is that once you show that you can perform at the highest level, such as franchise cricket from the T20 point of view, the opportunity is still there,” said Pollard.
After the T20I series, West Indies will shift focus towards the 50-over format. The first ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies will be played on March 10. (ANI)

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PSL 6: Peshawar Zalmi fined for maintaining slow over-rate against Karachi Kings

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Karachi [Pakistan], March 3 (ANI): Peshawar Zalmi players have been fined 10 per cent of their match fees for maintaining a slow over-rate during their Pakistan Super League (PSL) match against Karachi Kings on Wednesday.
According to a statement from PSL, Zalmi were found an over short of their target after taking into account time allowances and, as such, were charged under Article 2.22 of the PCB Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which deals with the minimum over-rate offences.
Zalmi captain Shoaib Malik accepted the sanction proposed by match referee Iftikhar Ahmed. The charges were levelled by on-field umpires Rashid Riaz and Shozab Raza and third umpire Ahsan Raza.
In the match, half-centuries from Babar Azam and Mohammad Nabi guided Karachi Kings to a comfortable six-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi.
Kings surmounted the 189-run target with three balls spare as Nabi stroked his second successive half-century with a brisk 35-ball 67, studded by eight fours and four sixes and Babar hammered six fours and three sixes in his unbeaten knock of 77 off 47. The pair stitched a match-winning 118-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Mohammad Imran struck on the first ball of the innings as he dismissed in-form Sharjeel Khan for no score. Joe Clarke (17 off 14, four fours) and Colin Ingram (three off 11) were next to go leaving the scorecard reading at 43 for three at the end of the seventh over.
But the three wickets did not inflict the harm which Zalmi had hoped for thanks to a solid Babar-Nabi partnership. (ANI)

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We’ve to win as many games as possible to make it to top four: Klopp

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Liverpool [UK], March 3 (ANI): Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that his side will have to win as many games as possible to make it to the top four in the Premier League.
Liverpool are currently placed in the sixth spot on the Premier League table with 43 points, 22 points behind table-toppers Manchester City. The club is gearing up for the clash against Chelsea, set to be played on Friday.
“I think a week ago we were out, now we are around again. So for us the challenge and the job is clear: we have to win football games, as many as possible to make it in the top four. That’s how it is. We know that not only since today, so we know that. We cannot make a difference who we face but we know, of course, about the quality of Chelsea, and Chelsea have the same targets,” the club’s official website quoted Klopp as saying.
Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten in his first nine fixtures since taking over at Stamford Bridge towards the end of January, conceding just two goals in the process.
Reflecting on the upcoming match, Klopp said “full package is required” to defeat Chelsea.
“I think, first and foremost, it’s quite difficult to get more possession than Chelsea. I think they changed maybe slightly since Frank [Lampard]. But the full package [is] required, let me say it like this. So you have to defend because they let the ball roll, let me say it like this,” he said.
“…You have to be creative in moments and you have to show your desire for defending in all the moments because this is a top team and they will ask for a lot, and we should try to make sure that we have all the answers,” he added. (ANI)

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Former West Indies skipper Richie Richardson to be match referee for SL series

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St John’s [Antigua], March 3 (ANI): Cricket West Indies (CWI), on behalf of the International Cricket Council (ICC), on Wednesday announced the match officials for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
The two teams will play all three formats, starting with the T20I which begins on Wednesday night (local time) at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG).
Former West Indies Test captain Sir Richie Richardson will be the ICC match referee for all matches to be played at CCG and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS) in Antigua.
The team of match officials will comprise Joel Wilson, a member of the Emirates ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, as well as Gregory Brathwaite, Nigel Duguid, Leslie Reifer jr, and Patrick Gustard, who are all members of the Emirates ICC International Panel of Umpires.
The Test series will have special significance for Wilson and Brathwaite. Wilson will stand in his first Test match in the Caribbean. He has so far officiated in 19 Tests, 66 ODIs and 26 T20Is. Brathwaite will stand in his first Test match. He has so far officiated in 44 ODIs and 28 T20Is.
“We have worked over the years to improve the standard of cricket in all areas. It is a just reward for the match officials to be recognised for their hard work by being a part of an all-West Indian match officials team,” said Roland Holder, CWI’s senior manager of cricket operations in an official statement.
After the T20I series, West Indies will shift focus towards the 50-over format. The first ODI between Sri Lanka and West Indies will be played on March 10. (ANI)

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Sharath off to a flying start at WTT Contender Doha; Sathiyan bows out

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Doha [Qatar], March 3 (ANI): The ace Indian paddler Achanta Sharath Kamal began the 2021 season with an impressive victory as he defeated Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek 17-15, 9-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-9 in the men singles opening round at the World Table Tennis Contender Doha on Wednesday.
However, the other Indian Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, who also secured a direct entry into the main draw alongside 2006 Commonwealth Games champion Sharath, suffered 11-7, 11-4, 11-8 loss at the hands of World No. 20 Aruna Quadri in the Round-of-32.
The World No. 32 Sharath, who was up against an international opponent for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, struggled initially when he was seen trailing by five points in the first game before recovering well with a strong counter-attacking display to take an early 1-0 lead in the match. Despite losing the next game, the nine-time national champion kept firing attacking shots to bag the third set comfortably.
Sirucek, a World No. 51, who was the chief architect during India’s loss at the Team Olympic Qualifier last year, managed to come back in the fourth game and kept his challenge alive. However, the seasoned campaigner Sharath held his nerves in the deciding game and completed a remarkable 3-2 win.
Sharath will now face a strong challenge from World No. 7 Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei in the pre-quarters on Thursday. (ANI)

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