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Shan Masood, Haris Sohail among six players dropped from Pakistan squad for South Africa Tests

PTI

Karachi, Jan 15: Six players, including Shan Masood, Haris Sohail and Imam-ul-Haq, from the recent New Zealand series were axed as Pakistan’s new chief selector Muhammad Wasim on Friday (January 15) announced a massively overhauled 20-member squad for the two-Test home series against South Africa.

Wasim rewarded several top performers of the domestic season and included nine uncapped players in the squad, which will be trimmed to 16 players ahead of the first Test.

Top scoring batsmen Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, all-rounder Agha Salman, left-arm spinner Nauman Ali, off-spinner Sajid Khan and fast bowlers Hasan Ali and Tabish Khan – all got call-ups for the series beginning on January 26 at the National Stadium in Karachi.

The selectors also upgraded young batsman Abdullah Shafique to the Test squad although he was selected for the New Zealand tour as a specialist T20 player and failed in his two outings.

Similarly, the selectors have also called up pacer Haris Rauf, another T20 specialist for the two-Test series.

The selectors also dropped six players from the dismal tour of New Zealand with Wasim insisting that fast bowler Naseem Shah was not in the Test squad because he had an injury.

About the ouster of left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, Wasim said the selectors had gone for specialist spinners in Nauman and Sajid Khan keeping in mind it was a home series.

Other players dropped from NZ tour include experienced pacers, Muhammad Abbas and Sohail Khan.

Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, Agha Salman, Nauman Ali, Sajid Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Tabish Khan, Haris Rauf and Imran Butt are yet to play Tests for Pakistan.

Wasim, a former Test player, insisted that selectors would follow a horses for courses policy now and the squad had been picked keeping in mind the conditions in Pakistan for the SA series.

“Ideally we would like to have players who can adapt to all conditions like Babar Azam but we need time for that. But we want to develop players who can play in any conditions,” he said.

Wasim also said that Haris Rauf had been inducted into the Test squad because the selectors felt that the bowling attack lacked aggression in New Zealand and he would bring that element to the pace attack.

Wasim also said that the selectors had done their best to acknowledge the top performers of the domestic season.

“This is a reward for their consistent performance, hard work and perseverance during a difficult season played under the strict Covid-19 protocols. This is also an endorsement that domestic cricket will be valued and respected, and will remain a stepping stone for international cricket.

“All those players who aspire to represent Pakistan at the global stage will not only have to feature in it but also perform at the expected levels to earn the selectors’ nod.

“Even the players who have been dropped will not go out of the system and will be closely monitored.”

Pakistan Test squad for SA series: Babar Azam (captain), Muhammad Rizwan (vice-captain), Imran Butt, Abdullah Shafique, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Kamran Ghulam, Agha Salman, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Tabish Khan, Haris Rauf, Sajid Khan, Nauman Ali, Yasir Shah. Faheem Ashraf, Muhammad Nawaz.

The South African team will reach Karachi on Saturday (January 16).

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IPL 2021 suspended owing to increase in Covid-19 cases

(Asian News Hub) – The ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been suspended owing to an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases within the bio-bubble.

BCCI’s vice-president Rajeev Shukla confirmed the development. “IPL has been suspended, we will see whether we can reschedule it, it is not cancelled. It is just suspended for now,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, SunRisers Hyderabad’s wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha tested positive for Covid-19.

Sources within the SRH camp confirmed to ANI that Saha was the lone person in the SRH unit to have tested positive and as a result, the entire team was.

“Yes, Wriddhiman Saha has tested positive for the coronavirus. Our entire team is now under isolation and there are no other positive reports, rest are all negative,” the member of the team management said.

SRH was slated to square off against Mumbai Indians later on Tuesday at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. This comes after two KKR players — Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier — tested positive for Covid-19 and two members of the Chennai Super Kings contingent.

The IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) slated to be played on Monday evening was rescheduled for a later date and the game between CSK and Rajasthan Royals was also set to be officially postponed as the CSK unit is in isolation.

The BCCI issued a release on the twin cases in KKR and said: “Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for COVID-19.”

ANI

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BCCI suspends all age-group tournaments with eye on COVID-19 situation

(Asian News Hub) – With an eye on the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend all age-group competitions like the upcoming Vinoo Mankad Trophy and will assess the situation further post the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

In a letter to the state associations, accessed by ANI, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah informed them of the situation and the decision to suspend age-group competitions at present as that would require inter-city travel and creation of bio bubbles.

“The domestic season 2020-21 started unusually late owing to the countrywide lockdown on account of the global pandemic.

The pandemic meant that we had to wait until January 2021 to start our domestic season and as discussed in the 89th AGM, we began our season by hosting the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy ahead of the IPL Auction.

“The domestic T20 tournament was followed by the Vijay Hazare Trophy, which was successfully conducted at different centres in India with New Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium hosting the final between UPCA and MCA on Sunday, 14th March.

“The Women’s Senior One Day Trophy is also currently underway at different centres with the final scheduled to take place on 4th April. While our endeavour was to get in as many matches as was practicable across different age groups in the season, prevailing circumstances have now forced us to suspend all age-group tournaments.

This is on account of the fact that active COVID cases are on the rise and organising tournaments requires intercity travel, strict quarantine measures and the creation and maintenance of bio-secure bubbles for the participants,” he explained.

The secretary then added that with the board exams round the corner, it would be appropriate to plan the age-group games post the IPL slated to be held between April 9 and May 30.

“Moreover, the situation is presently not conducive in some states.

Considering the fact that the 10th and 12th board examinations are also around the corner across India, it is prudent that our young athletes have the opportunity to prepare and focus on these crucial examinations.

“Furthermore, our players’ health, safety and well-being are our primary concern. I assure you that we will continue exploring a window for organising the age-group tournaments post the IPL 2021,” he added.

ANI

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Range level U-19 T20 Cricket Tournament concludes; Khanyar Knight Riders lifts the title

(Asian News Hub) – The final match of the U-19 T20 cricket tournament was played between Khanyar Knight Riders and Ganderbal Reds today. The cricket tournament was commenced on 21th February at SK Stadium Sonwar Srinagar.

On the closing ceremony, DIG CKR Shri Amit Kumar-IPS was Chief Guest and SSP Srinagar Dr. M.Haseeb Mughal-JKPS as a guest of honour. Zonal SsP of Srinagar city and other officers of Range Police headquarters viz, Srinagar & Ganderbal Districts attended the closing ceremony.

The final match was played at  SK Cricket Stadium Sonwar Srinagar between Khanyar  Knight Riders (KKR) and Ganderbal Reds in which KKR emerge as winners of the tournament by defeating Ganderbal Reds by 03 wickets in the final over of the match. Earlier, Ganderbal Reds won the toss and elected to bat first and scored 122/9 in 20 overs and set target of 123 for KKR to win. In reply in an interesting match, KKR chased the target in the final over of the match and won the title by 03 wickets.

Syed Mohsin of KKR was chosen as man of the match and Sirsheel Abass, Captain of KKR was declared as man of the series.

While speaking on the closing ceremony, DIG CKR Shri Amit Kumar-IPS  said that J&K Police is organizing various sports events for youth and together we are working for peace and unity, which is our joint responsibility.

Speaking on the occasion, the DIG CKR congratulated the winning and runners-up teams. He appreciated the Organising Committee and other partner agencies, persons for the successful conduct of the mega event. He also thanked the media fraternity for covering the event with wide publicity.

He said the excitement and response shown by the players from 06 of Central Kashmir Range teams (02 each from Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal) in the event is appreciable. He said that J&K Police has always been on the forefront in providing platform to youth and guide them in following their goals by organizing different events.

The DIG CKR presented trophies, cash prizes to the winner and runner up teams. Besides,  presented trophies, cash prizes to the man of the match and man of the series.

The event was organised by Range Police Headquarters Srinagar under the aegis of Civic Action Programme (CAP) of Jammu and Kashmir Police and witnessed an overwhelming response of the youth from Central Kashmir Range.

The two captains of the final match thanked the J&K Police for providing platform for them to show their talent and expressed their hope that such events will be organised in future also.

Two best teams from Range level tournament will now compete in the Zonal competition in the coming days.

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