Kabul [Afghanistan], February 19 (ANI): Star spinner Rashid Khan is likely to miss most of the games in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as he was named in Afghanistan’s squad for the two-match Test series against Zimbabwe.
The 22-year-old spinner is gearing for PSL and will play for Lahore Qalandars in their first match on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Test series between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe will begin on March 2 in Abu Dhabi.
Asghar Afghan will lead the Afghanistan side. The squad also features many new faces with Munir Ahmad Kakar, Shahidullah Kamal, Bahir Shah Mohboob, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Abdul Malik, Saleem Safi, and Zia Ur Rahman Akbar who will play their first Test if included in playing XI.
“Here is Afghanistan squad for the upcoming Two-Test series against @ZimCricketv in UAE. The much-awaited series is set to commence this March in Abu-Dhabi,” Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) tweeted.
Afghanistan squad: Asghar Afghan (c), Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Javed Ahmadi, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Afsar Zazai, Nasir Jamal, Abdul Malik, Munir Ahmad Kakar, Shahidullah Kamal, Bahir Shah Mohboob, Rashid Khan, Amir Hamza, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Sayed Ahmad Shirzad, Saleem Safi, Wafadar Momand, Zia Ur Rahman Akbar, Yamin Ahmadzai
Earlier this week, Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine missed out as Zimbabwe named a 15-member squad for the two-match Test series.
Tarisai Musakanda has returned to the Test arena having played his first game in the longest format against Sri Lanka back in 2017.
The first Test will begin on March 2 while the second game is slated to be played from March 10. The focus will then shift to the shortest format of the game as the two sides lock horns in the five-match T20I series from March 17.
Zimbabwe Test Squad: Sean Williams (capt), Ryan Burl, Sikandar Raza, Regis Chakabva, Kevin Kasuza, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Prince Masvaure, Brandon Mavuta, Tarisai Musakanda, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Donald Tiripano. (ANI)
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Always tried to be like Gavaskar, that has never changed: Tendulkar
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): As former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar celebrates the 50th anniversary of his Test debut, Sachin Tendulkar thanked the batting great, saying Gavaskar showed the light to every young cricketer.
Gavaskar made his Test debut on March 6, 1971, against West Indies at the Port of Spain, Trinidad. Over his career, Gavaskar went on to break many batting records and established himself as one of the finest batsmen to ever play the game.
“50 years ago on this day, he took the cricketing world by storm. He scored 774 runs in his debut series and each one of us growing up had a hero to look up to. India won the series in the West Indies and then In England and all of a sudden the sport in India had a new meaning,” Tendulkar wrote in a Twitter post.
“As a young boy, I knew I had someone to look up to and try and be like him. That has never changed. He remains my hero. Wish you a happy 50th in international cricket, Mr. Gavaskar. To every one of the 1971 team a happy 50th Anniversary. You all made us proud and showed us the light,” he added.
India toured the West Indies during the 1970-71 cricket season for a five-Test series. The series turned out to be one of the most memorable ones as India won its first-ever Test series against the West Indies.
India, led by Ajit Wadekar, emerged victorious 1-0 in the five-match series and Gavaskar finished as the leading run-scorer, registering four centuries including one double ton.
In his career, Gavaskar played 125 Tests and 108 ODIs for India. He was also a part of the 1983 World Cup win and 1985 World Championship of Cricket.
Gavaskar scored 10,122 runs in the longest format of the game and he held the record for scoring most centuries in Test cricket till 2005. Sachin Tendulkar ended up breaking this record in 2005.
In 108 ODIs, Gavaskar scored 3,092 runs with his highest score being 103 not out. (ANI)
Arsenal’s position in Premier League standings ‘not acceptable’, says Arteta
London [UK], March 6 (ANI): Stating that Arsenal’s position in the Premier League standings is not acceptable, manager Mikel Arteta has asked the Gunners to improve their game in the upcoming matches.
Arsenal is currently placed at the 10th spot in Premier League standings with 37 points from 26 matches. They are slated to take on Burnley later on Saturday.
“There’s still a lot to improve, a lot of quality to add. We need to be much more efficient in decision-making, much quicker to open situations up when advantages are there, many more situations to feel when advantages are obtained,” Goal.com quoted Arteta as saying.
“More control of games, more defensive actions in the opponent’s half, fewer giveaways in our own half, more clean sheets. There’s a lot to do – more goals to score, more creativity. (There’s) a lot to do. When you look at the league table, it is not acceptable. We are Arsenal football club and we should be nowhere near here. If somebody is happy with that he is in the wrong place,” he added.
Arsenal has enjoyed a good spell since Christmas as the side has emerged triumphant on seven of their last 12 Premier League games, including a 3-1 win against Leicester City last weekend. (ANI)
Really pumped up to play in Doha Open, says Federer
Basel [Switzerland], March 6 (ANI): Swiss tennis player Roger Federer on Friday said that he is really pumped up to participate in the upcoming Doha Open.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner has not played in any tournament since Australian Open 2020. Since then, Federer has undergone two knee surgeries.
“So here we are, about to take off to fly to Doha. It has been a year since my last event. I can tell I am very excited. I want to thank all the people involved, it’s been a long and hard road,” said Federer in a video posted on his official Twitter account.
“I know I’m not at the finish line yet but it’s good, I feel I’m in a good place, I’ve been practising very well and I just feel really pumped up,” he added.
In December last year, Federer was named among the entries for the Australian Open 2021. But eventually, the Swiss tennis maestro ended up withdrawing from the Grand Slam.
Doha Open is set to start on Monday. Federer had last won a Grand Slam way back in 2018 as he emerged triumphant in the Australian Open. (ANI)
Leading Proteas in Test cricket is going to be tough, says Elgar
Cape Town [South Africa], March 6 (ANI): South Africa Test captain Dean Elgar has said that leading the side in the longest format would be a tough job, but he ensured that he will be putting his best foot forward.
On Thursday, Cricket South Africa (CSA) appointed Elgar as the Test captain while Temba Bavuma was appointed as the white-ball skipper.
“It’s going to be tough, and something that you have to be willing to do. Otherwise, I don’t think you should be put in this position. I am fortunate to be put in this position and that the hard work I have put in behind the scenes has been noticed,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Elgar as saying.
“I’ve played a few more games since then and learnt a lot more about what Test cricket and how a team operates behind the scenes. I have been part of the leadership group for a couple of seasons now. Then, I was a young guy just sitting there. Deer in the headlights. I’d like to think I have established experience since then,” he added.
Elgar has so far played 67 Tests in his career and this makes me the most experienced player in the current Proteas group. The left-handed batsman has scored 4,260 runs at an average of 39.81.
“It’s going to be a serious challenge, but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to. I feel if we get a few things in place we can definitely take the Proteas brand back to where we were a few years ago. That will be my biggest goal. We owe it to the game to carry on moving it forward. We’ve got a long line of young, exciting players who’ve been breaking down doors in domestic cricket to try and get a foot in this squad,” said Elgar.
“It’s good to have fresh blood around. We aren’t at the level of experience we were a couple of years ago, but we do have a couple of experienced players in the squad. I’m going to rely on them to help me through this journey,” he added. (ANI)
ISL 7: Last games were difficult to control due to injuries, says Ferrando
Panaji (Goa) [India], March 6 (ANI): After playing out a 2-2 draw against Mumbai City FC in the first leg of the Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final, FC Goa coach Juan Ferrando said that the last few games were difficult for him to control due to injuries to his players.
Goa broke the deadlock through Igor Angulo’s penalty (20′) before his goal was canceled out by Hugo Boumous (38′). Goa took the lead again through Saviour Gama (59′) but Mourtada Fall (62′) soon netted a vital equaliser to help the Islanders in restoring parity.
“We had clear chances. We can play against Mumbai City. Not only two key players, I lost a lot of players. (Jorge) Ortiz was playing today with difficult feelings, Edu (Bedia) was not at his 100 per cent, I lost Ali, Princeton. Very difficult to prepare the team,” Ferrando said during the post-match press conference.
“Sometimes it was good. In transition, we repeated the same mistakes. The last few games were difficult to control. There are a lot of injuries. We were playing with six players who were 100 per cent fit. The rest of the players had big problems. Edu Bedia for example has a fracture but had injections to help the team. But it is difficult to play in these conditions. It was our mentality to win all the time. But sometimes it is not possible,” he added.
Talking about the tackle on his player Princeton, Ferrando said: “Tackle on Princeton is not football, Fall’s tackle is taekwondo. I’m very happy because Leander was working all season. I believe and trust in him. There are a lot of players with problems on the pitch. In case, all the players are there, then you can use Ishan (Pandita). But today I didn’t know if several players were ready to play 90 minutes.”
Mumbai City and FC Goa will now clash in the second leg of the ISL semi-final on Monday. (ANI)
Swiss Open: Men’s doubles pair of Rankireddy, Shetty progress to semis
Basel [Switzerland], March 6 (ANI): Indian men’s doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy on Friday (local time) progressed to the semi-finals of the ongoing Swiss Open.
The pair defeated Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi 12-21, 21-19, 21-12 to progress ahead in the tournament.
Satwiksairaj and Chirag lost the first game quite comprehensively but the duo made a stunning comeback to win the next two games to progress ahead in the tournament.
Now, the duo would lock horns against Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussemn in the semi-finals of the Swiss Open later today.
Earlier on Friday, Sai Praneeth bowed out of the Swiss after losing against Lee Zii Jia 14-21, 17-21.
PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth have also progressed to the semi-finals of the Swiss Open after winning their respective matches here on Friday.
Sindhu secured a 21-16, 23-21 win over Busanan Ongbamrungphan while Srikanth defeated Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-19, 21-15 to advance in the competition.
Earlier on Friday, Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa’s fine run in the ongoing Swiss Open came to a disappointing end after a defeat in the quarter-finals.
In the singles match, Ajay Jayaram’s fine run at the Swiss Open Super 300 came to an end with the defeat against Thai badminton player Kunlavut Vitidsarn. The shuttler from Thailand thrashed the India badminton player in two straight sets 21-9, 21-6. (ANI)
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