Zaki Haider

Apr 102015
 

Punjab needed 163 to win. Virender Sehwag took the strike and he had a new opening partner Murali Vijay. Tim Southee bowled the first ball and was able finds the edge which was pouched by the keeper. Sehwag was gone first ball! A start which Royals needed. 

Match-Report (IPL 2015): Kings XI Punjab v Rajasthan Royals at Pune, April 10, 2015

Southee’s first over costs 11 runs but he has the important wicket of Sehwag. Vijay and Saha started the run chase but in the 3rd over, Saha was run out after wandering out of his crease. Samson’s direct hit did the damage. Punjab were 32 for 2 in 3 overs but Kings XI bat deep so that was not a problematic situation. 

In the 5th over, Maxwell was caught splendidly by Southee off the bowling of Faulkner. He scored just 7 runs with the help of one boundary. Murali Vijay kept on playing some good shots and played the lone hand as Kings XI looked to recover from the early dents. 

In the 9th over, the proceedings were literally stopped when Vijay got run out. He was short of his ground as he fails to beat a direct hit from Samson again. At that point Punjab were 64 for 4 in 8.4 overs. Miller was batting very well and was looking good before he caught at third man by Faulkner and Kulkarni got the breakthrough. It was believed that captain Bailey came in too late and at that time it was already over for the Kings XI. Bailey made 24 in 18 balls. 

At the end the target of 163 was proved too good to be chased for the Kings XI Punjab and their strong batting line-up could not resist the bowling of Faulkner and Southee. They took 3 and 2 wickets respectively. 

Earlier, Kings XI Punjab won the toss and put Rajhastan Royals into bat on what looked like a good batting surface. 

The decision paid-off immediately as Kings XI were able to make the early inroads in RR’s good batting line-up. After 10 over, they were just 74 for the loss of Rahane, Samson, Nair and the biggy Smith. 

Mitch Johnson started off with his lost art of bowling quick and teasing line and grabbed 2 wickets in his second over including the most important wicket of Steve Smith who was batting very well on 33 with the help of 5 fours. In the last 2 overs, he gave away 26 runs.

The damage for Kings XI started when Hooda and Falkner unleashed themselves. They made 51 for 6th wicket in just 6 overs. Hooda was bowled by Anureet Singh but not before he hit 3 huge sixes and scored 30 in just 15 balls. 

In the last overs Faulkner showed why he is one of the best finisher in the world. He used his hitting ability to the most and in the Johnson’s last and inning’s 19th over, Faulkner was all over him. He smashed 2 sixes and 1 four and made 20 runs in the over. 

It can be said that Kings XI Punjab could not recover from those meaty blows from Faulkner. He was declared Man of the match for his match changing 46 and 3 wickets.

Scorecard: RR 162/7 in 20 overs (Faulkner 46, Smith 34, Anureet 3/23) beat KXIP 136/8 in 20 overs (Murali Vijay 37, Faulkner 3/26)

Player(s) of the Match: James Faulkner (Rajhastan Royals)

Disappointment of the day: Virender Sehwag (Kings XI Punjab)

Click for detailed story

Nov 012014
 
Pak vs.Aus: Pakistan on Brink of Making History

Finally an improved bowling performance late on day three saw Mitchell Johnson took a couple of quick wickets with the new ball as both the openers went back to the pavilion cheaply. But at stumps on day three, Pakistan continued their seemingly unstoppable march towards a first Test series win against Australia in 20 years.

Match Review: 2nd Test: Pakistan vs. Australia, Day 3 at Abu Dhabi, Oct 30-Nov 3, 2014

After dismissing Australia for 261 (lead of 309), Pakistan skipper didn’t enforce the follow-on. However, it was expected that after Pakistani pacers bowled extremely well in the first innings and used reverse swing considerably well, Pakistan should have opted to bowl again.

In the second innings, Pakistani batsmen’s intentions seemed clear when Ahmed Shehzad (14) hit two fours and a six from Johnson’s first five balls. But a furious inswinging yorker uprooted his off-stump on the last ball.

Mohammad Hafeez once again failed with the bat and scored just 3. He tried to pull a short ball from Johnson and was very late as he only could lobbed the ball to mid-off where Mitchell Starc took a nice catch diving to his forward.

The best find of the series for Pakistan should be the fact that Mohammad Hafeez cannot play Test match and his place for the upcoming series against the Kiwis look vulnerable.

Younis Khan and Azhar Ali, Pakistan’s two immovable objects in this series, stood firm until stumps.

Younis Khan had already scored 422 runs in this series, and by the close he had added another 16 from 60 balls.

Pakistan will start the fourth day with a healthy lead of 370. The two important questions Pakistan have to consider are when to declare and how many runs should be adequate.

After that first Test first innings century from David Warner, finally another good innings came from Mitchell Marsh in his only second match.

Australia’s day three yielded 4-98 in the first session, 3-119 in the second, and 2-21 in the third before Pakistan started their second innings just after tea.

Australia was 8-239 at tea but lost Marsh and Peter Siddle (28) after a 62-run, ninth wicket stand.

Clarke (47) and Marsh put on 64 for the sixth wicket before Imran Khan evoked memories of his namesake with a wicked delivery, reversing late to sail through the his gate and emphatically sent his middle stump flying.

Marsh and Peter Siddle added 62 for the ninth wicket. No other partnership passed 41.

Clarke, who scored 2 and 3 in the Dubai Test, started off well as he played some classy strokes, using his feet well and looking back to his best against pace and spin.

Marsh, in only his second Test match, continued to bat with discipline, played straight and scoring the majority of his runs between cover and mid-on.

Haddin (10) bravely came out to bat, his injured right shoulder heavily strapped up under his shirt. He lasted 33 minutes before overplaying the leg-spin of Yasir, an inside edge ricocheting into middle stump.

Mitchell Johnson (0) edged his fifth ball behind, was dropped, but only a ball later, determined to take the fight to the Pakistan bowlers, he slog swept Yasir and the top-edge presented a simple catch to Mohammad Hafeez.

Siddle advanced down the track to the bowling of Mohammad Hafeez and chipped a simple chance down the throat of Yasir Shah at long on to end the Australia innings.   

Earlier, David Warner (19), Glenn Maxwell (37) and Steven Smith (0) all perished, as did nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (15).

Attacking a short and wide delivery from Rahat Ali, Warner got underneath his cut shot and succeeded only in spooning a simple catch to Yasir at point.

Maxwell, selected for his prowess against spin and excellent record at this ground, looked promising. On the 28th ball he faced, he danced down the wicket looking to whip Zulfiqar through leg side. The left-arm orthodox found turn, and the ball ripped past the outside edge to clip the top of off stump.

Smith’s wicket was perhaps the killer blow for Australia. One of the form batsmen of the tour and a much-vaunted player of spin, he played back to Zulfiqar and was hit on the back leg.

While Australia’s batsmen have been all at sea against Pakistan’s spinners, Marsh has effectively adjusted a technique reared on the hard and fast WACA strip.

Babar and Shah have taken more wickets (18) than all Australia’s bowlers combined this series.

Marsh played decisively with bat in front of pads to the slow bowlers interspersed by nine boundaries and a six off Babar.

Scorecard

Pakistan 570/6 dec. (Younis 213, Azhar 109, Misbah 101, MA Starc 2/86) and 61/2 (Azhar  21*, Johnson 2/29) lead Australia 261 (Marsh 87, Imran 3/60) by 370 runs

Toss: Pakistan, who chose to bat

Umpires – RA Kettleborough (England) and NJ Llong (England)

Oct 312014
 
Another Record Breaking Day for Younis Khan

With free entry to the Test match, and the large expat Pakistani population, long queues formed outside the ground to see the most unusual sight for a Pakistani cricket fan. It was yet again another one-sided day of Test match and the day once again belonged to Younis Khan.

Match Review: 2nd Test: Pakistan vs. Australia, Day 2 at Abu Dhabi, Oct 30-Nov 3, 2014

A record-breaking innings from Younis Khan and a late wicket made yet another day to forget for the tourists in Abu Dhabi.

As Younis and Misbah approached their milestones, the spectators went impatient with the slow entry system and began scaling the walls to see their heroes put the visiting Australians to the sword.

The pair duly obliged.

Australia was 1-22 in reply at stumps with opener David Warner 16 and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon on 1. The visitors trail Pakistan by a demoralising 548 runs. Pakistan is edging closer to a first Test series win over Australia in 20 years.

Imran Khan got the only breakthrough, with Chris Rogers (5) pushing forward at a ball angling away to gift a simple catch behind.

It was not a start Aussies would have wanted as they still trail Pakistan’s first innings by 548. With three days left to play on a crumbling pitch, it looks like an uphill task for the visitors to reach a safe position in this match.

It was once again a memorable day for veteran Younis Khan, who, on his way to a brilliant 5th double-century, became only the third Pakistani batsmen to reach 8,000 Test runs. In the mean time, searching for form, skipper Misbah-ul-Haq always joined the party with non-characteristic century. He made 101 in 168 balls. Azhar Ali could add just 8 to his yesterday’s score and fell on 109 on the bowling of Starc.

Younis’ stands of 181 with skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and 236 with Azhar Ali fuelled Pakistan’s fourth-highest total against Australia. Younis and Misbah had notched the most century partnerships by a Pakistan pair, 11, by the tea break.

Younis and Azhar had also registered Pakistan’s highest third-wicket partnership against Australia beating Taslim Arif and Miandad’s 223 set at Faisalabad in 1979-80.

Mitchell Starc was the only multiple wicket-taker for Australia, finishing with 2-86 from 27 overs. In a nutshell, Australia’s pace battery was nullified by the Pakistan batsmen, with Mitchell Johnson (1-59 from 25) and Peter Siddle (1-75 from 31) struggling to make an impact. Allrounders Mitchell Marsh and Maxwell went wicketless while Nathan Lyon once again looked totally out of touch and ended up with 1 for 154 from 37.

To add the misery, Haddin had left the field after landing awkwardly following a dive and he had to leave the field.

His absence was immediately felt as Warner, acting wicket-keeper, missed a rather easy stumping opportunity from the first ball he kept to Nathan Lyon. It was a second missed chance for the day for Warner, after the usually brilliant fieldsman missed a chance at gully he would have normally held.

Steve Smith finally had Pakistan skipper Misbah caught-and-bowled just before tea, but not before he had brought up his first Test century against Australia. With Pakistan already crossed 500, there was little celebration amongst the Australians.

Younis Khan now has 422 runs in his three innings across the two matches – the most by any batsman against Australia in a two-Test series.

Eventually he threw his wicket to Peter Siddle on 213 in order to accelerate.

Scorecard

Australia (1st inns) 22/1 (Warner 16*, Imran 1/18) trail Pakistan (1st inns) – 570/6 (Younis 213, Azhar 109, Misbah 101, MA Starc 2/86)

Toss: Pakistan, who chose to bat

UmpiresRA Kettleborough (England) and NJ Llong (England)

Oct 182014
 
Pakistan vs. Australia - what numbers have to say!

We might claim that Pakistan’s batting has been this poor for some time now. With the bowling arsenal without the skid missiles of Ajmal & Irfan, the weaknesses in batting were brutally exposed in the shorter formats against Australia as the batsmen were pulled apart, one after the other.

We must realize that the days of Anwar, Inzi and Yousuf are long gone and that batting mediocrity has prevailed for a while now. There was a time when Pakistan used to save matches even after scoring below par but no more.

Our batting has reached all-time low this year however, Pakistan’s batting, despite receiving its fair share of stick, was considerably better last year. Pakistani batsmen have been getting off to starts but have not been converting them; there have been only 8 centuries in 2014, half of those were in the longest format. While Australian batsmen have been able to make as much as 13 centuries this year (all formats) and 9 in Test matches.

The numbers kept getting darker as this year there is no Pakistani batsman in top 15 although Misbah ul Haq and Hafeez were the top two run getters in ODIs last year. Ahmed Shehzad at 19 is the first on the list. Last year six Pakistani batsmen were in the top 50 while this year, there are just 3 players.

If we compare our batters from last year to this year then we can conclude that only Umar Akmal has stepped up his game, improving last year’s average of 30.3 by more than 10. FawadAlam’s return to the side this year and Akmal’s form are the only two positives as the others have either stayed immobile orbackslidden. But according to our selectors, both of them are not good enough to represent Pakistan in Tests.

The biggest set-back Pakistan is facing is the lack of form of Misbah. The man commonly known as Mr. Consistent and Tuk-Tuk has failed big time to match his standards lately. He was last year’s top scorer, had 15 half-centuries to his name in 32 innings, this year he has just two in 10. A couple of times he failed to trouble the scorerswhile he was dismissed on zero only once last year.

I have tried to compare batting department of the two sides before the upcoming Test series. The form which Pakistani batsmen have displayed during the ODIs and T20 is not good enough for the fans not to expect any high scoring matches.

For this comparison, I have taken a sample of 5 batsmen from each side:

Australia: Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Dave Warner, Chris Rogers and Phil Hughes

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, AsadShafiq, Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad

Let’s talk about them first before getting into numbers.

Michael Clarke has transformed into one of the game’s most professional, reliable and focussed players. He is arguably one of the best batsmen of spin bowling ever produced by Australia. Lately he has been facing some fitness issues but if he is fit then it is his game.

Dave Warner is a diminutive and dangerous batsman; if he gets a start then he can do what Gilchrist used to do at no.7. Pakistan will attack him on his weaker side i.e. spin.

Chris Rogers has been a prolific run-scorer at state and county level for 15 years but he never got attention at international level. He has already scored 60 hundreds and 20,000 runs in first-class cricket but until 2013, had always found himself behind others – like Phil Jaques, Simon Katich, Phillip Hughes and Shane Watson – in the Test opening queue. Now he is a permanent member of the team, Clarke must be eyeing on him for a good solid start of every innings.

Steven Smith is next to only Clarke when it comes to play spin bowling with ease. His leg-breaks might come into play even though his batting became his stronger suit as the years went along. After the ODIs, he has a serious threat to Pakistani bowlers.

The ‘cool as a cucumber’ Misbah! as a batsman, he can either defend dourly with unflagging patience, or irritate bowlers with his improvisations. He is struggling for his form and if Pakistan has to do well in Test series, his performance will be the key. He was in charge when Pakistan completed one of their greatest Test series wins – a 3-0 sweep over the then No. 1 side, England in early 2012. But now Pakistan is not enjoying the bowling of Ajmal, Rehman, Junaid and Irfan.

Younis Khan is simply one of Pakistan’s modern batting greats. He is also one of the most successful fielders for Pakistan, and can bowl respectable slow-medium. Over the years, Younis has emerged a master of the fourth innings. Among players with 1000 or more fourth-innings Test runs, his average is among the highest.

Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq are the two, whole nation is expecting from. After Inzi & Yousuf, they two have handled the situation quite well but they need to step-up and take responsibility. Azhar would like to repeat his performance against England when in a series dominated by the bowlers; he was the only batsman from either side to average more than 50. Although he gets into a tangle against the shorter ball often but his patience is key.

Shafiq is a very stylish batsman and has been reasonably consistent as a Test batsman, showing spunk and flair in the middle order. But what is required from him is to convert his 50s into 100s. He should rather learn this art from none other than Younis Khan.

Ahmed Shehzad has provided much needed stability to the top order. Majestic timing and placement are his hallmarks. He is an opener capable of electrifying starts in all formats through graceful strokeplay rather than brute force. On his day he was one of the most gracefully compelling players on the international stage. He is also the best fielder in the team.

Let’s move on!

The Australian sample combined have played 195 matches and scored 14,633 runs in Test matches. While Pakistani sample have played 206 matches and made 15,107 runs. The combine score of these players comes out to 75 by Australian and 73 by Pakistanis – not too much difference here.

Australians although played 10 lesser Test matches than the Pakistanis but still managed to score 7 more centuries which reflects their better conversion rate and their better understanding of the longer format. Had Misbah-ul-Haq knew this conversion art then he would not have ended up scoring 25 fifties and just 5 centuries in 48 matches (0.10 centuries per match). While his counterpart has scored 27 fifties and equal number of hundreds in 105 matches (0.26 centuries per match). It means that Clarke has crossed 50-run milestone 54 times and half of the times he has been able to made it count – isn’t it commendable.

But wait, we have someone to counter his greatness! Here comes the ever smiling Younis Khan. In his 91 matches, he has scored 24 centuries (0.26 centuries per match) and 28 fifties. He is standing at 7,610 Test runs at an average of over 50. Although it is sad that he has been finding hard to regain his position in the ODIs but in the Test team he is as important in our line-up as Miandador Inziused to be at one point of time.

Australia

Matches

Runs

Avg

100

50

Michael Clarke

105

8,240

51.50

27

27

Steven Smith

20

1,361

40.02

4

6

Dave Warner

30

2,467

46.54

8

12

Chrish Rogers

14

1,030

38.14

4

5

Phil Hughes

26

1,535

32.65

3

7

Total

195

14,633

75.04

46

57

Pakistan

Matches

Runs

Avg

100

50

Misbah-ul-Haq

48

3,285

46.92

5

25

Younis Khan

91

7,610

51.41

24

28

Asad Shafiq

28

1,548

36.85

4

9

Azhar Ali

34

2,305

38.41

5

15

Ahmed Shehzad

5

359

35.90

1

2

Total

206

15,107

73.33

39

79

Now let’s talk about the recent form because all the stats above are history. In cricket, every day is a new day and you cannot win matches based on your past track or records.

Last 10 Innings (Tests, ODIs, T20Is):

In the last 10 international innings, this Australian sample has scored 6 fifties and 6 centuries as compared to 7 and 3 respectively by Pakistan.

Dave Warner is leading from Australia with an average of almost 50 and not far behind is Chris Rogers with an average of 49 in their last 10 innings. However Steven Smith is also in mid 40s while Clarke is struggling for his form.

Whereas Younis Khan is leading the other sample at an average of almost 49. But the problematic situation for Pakistan is that no other batsman is averaging more than 30 in the last 10 innings. Shafiq is number two with a below par average of 30.

Here is the list of the scores made by these players in their last 10 innings:

 

Clarke

Smith

Warner

Rogers

Hughes

 

Last 10 matches, starting from the recent match

68

77

56

25

5

 

161

12

29

39

6

 

0

101

43

5

15

 

19

3

53*

107

85

 

1

10

48

4

10

 

23

36

19

1

11

 

17*

31

20

11

23

 

8

1

4

119

13

 

34

84

40

61

11

 

17

36*

135

116

22

 

Total

348

391

447

488

201

 

Avg.

38.67

43.44

49.67

48.80

20.10

 

50s

0

2

2

1

1

6

100s

1

1

1

3

0

6

 

Misbah

Younis

Asad

Azhar

Shehzad

 

Last 10 matches, starting from the recent match

15

3

50

32

26

 

0

13

29

10

61

 

18

8

13

30

4

 

36

177

42

41

10

 

13

13

32

8

10

 

5

17

75

103

56

 

3

29

8

19

49

 

31

13

18

19

58

 

28

77

1*

11

8

 

65

136

6

3

4

 

Total

214

486

274

276

286

 

Avg.

21.40

48.60

30.44

27.60

28.60

 

50s

1

1

2

0

3

7

100s

0

2

0

1

0

3

In the side match, we see some good batting display by Pakistan-A. Shafiq managed to hit a timely hundred in first innings and Shehzad is also amongst runs so they need to step-up and provide the required stability in batting line-up. Since Younis is in the side and Sarfraz Ahmed is also in some good form, we can hope some good batting show by the seniors as well.

On the other side, since Pakistan bowling seriously lacking some fire-power so it will be a tough ask for Zulfiqar Babar to fill the gap created by Ajmal’s absence. 

Jul 232014
 
De Villiers To Give Up Keeping?

South African backbone AB de Villiers has having long-term back problems and this could force him to give up wicketkeeping in Tests.

De Villiers has already surrendered the gloves in ODIs and T20s and may soon be forced to do the same in the long format of the game.

De Villiers is unsure of his future plans as regards wicketkeeping, except to say that if he does so again it will only be if he is fully fit.

“I’d still like to think that I’m a wicketkeeping-batsman and whatever the team wants me to do, I’ll do that,” he said. “But we’d have to manage it really well so that I don’t come into a series having not kept for five or six months. I have to come prepared to a series without any niggles.” he added.

He was unable to keep in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle because of a hamstring injury. Though he has recovered, he is unlikely to keep in the second Test which starts on Thursday.

“In the last game I had that hammy issue. That’s sort of recovered, but my back’s always been an issue,” de Villiers told ESPNcricinfo website.

“It’s difficult to take on the gloves, especially keeping in mind that I haven’t kept for six or seven months now. So, with that injury and a two-day turnaround after the day off yesterday, for me to get into shape with my gloves on would be a little bit unfair with my back.”

It means Quinton de Kock can be assured of his place in the XI for the second Test in Colombo. He took eight catches, had one stumping, and scored his maiden Test half-century in Galle.

After the series against Sri Lanka, South Africa is to play a one-off match against Zimbabwe. It means that ABD will not have enough time to return to full wicketkeeping fitness by then. If that happens, according to him, he won’t mind occupying a place at slip in Harare.

“I do enjoy fielding. It’s tough at slip. The ball doesn’t come to you very often. So from that perspective I enjoy keeping more – you’re in the game the whole time. But it’s nice to pull off something special every now and then in the field, to keep the intensity and the energy going.”

Jul 142014
 
Warren Deutrom, CEO of Cricket Ireland fearful of 50-over cricket's future

The chief executive of Cricket Ireland, Warren Deutrom, is concerned with the current ICC 50-over pathway. He was talking shortly after arriving back in Ireland from the ICC’s annual conference in Melbourne where the new structures and powerbases were approved. He expressed his views on the reduction of World Cup playing teams to 10 in the World Cup after 2015. The next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will include 14 teams, but the tournament in England four years after that will be cut to 10 countries again in an “everyone-plays-everyone” format replicating the 1992 event.

Internationally One-Day cricket started in the early 1970s (following initial success in county cricket) with contests of between 35 and 55 overs, all in one long day, using up all the daylight available. Then it moved to 60 overs a side, and after about a decade, dropped to 50 overs, a duration it has held since, covering seven World Cups but there hasn’t been any significant increase in the number of team playing WCs since then. Bangladesh was the last team added which later on got a Test status as wel.

Nederlands, Scotland, Ireland, UAE and Canada are all in-and-out and never raised their game to the level where they could ever be considered to gain a Test status. However, these teams have been performing reasonably well in T-20 world cups.

“There’s a risk that some lower-ranked Associates may wonder about playing 50-over with the only real pathway being into 20-over cricket. If all these countries start turning away from 50-over cricket you have to ask yourself that if there are fewer teams playing 50-over cricket what’s the point in having a pathway because it will only be open to a small number of countries. If the 50-over structure is not assessed there’s a real risk of it losing context.” He expressed.

According to Deutrom, there is a danger of Associate nations losing interest in 50-over cricket with the reduction of the 2019 World Cup to 10 teams. Deutrom is concerned that the reduction in places for lower-ranked teams to qualify could see the format fade. Former Kiwi legend, Martin Crowe, already made a comment in the starting of 2014 that the future of One Day cricket is a 40-over match.

For the affiliate members, ICC has made a performance-based pathway to Test cricket through the Intercontinental Cup and a play-off series with the lowest ranked Test nation. ECB has put a Test against a potential qualifier into the new draft of the FTP – and a 16-team World T20 there is a fear that the middle format is being forgotten.

The exact details of qualification for the 2019 tournament have yet to be confirmed, but the likely option is that the top eight teams in the ICC ODI rankings will qualify automatically with the bottom two entering a tournament with the leading Associate and Affiliate nations for the final two spots.

“We, as Associates, have begun to circulate our concerns more strongly in recent months. The pathway to Test cricket has been put in place, the World T20 is now a 16-team event but we strongly feel the 50-over game has been somewhat overlooked,” Deutrom told the Irish Slog Sweep radio show.

“I think the Test countries think, ‘Great you now have a pathway to be in the 50-over World Cup’, but actually if it’s only 10 teams [in the World Cup] there’s a real risk of Associate countries not being part of that.”

That key objective for Ireland remains Test cricket and Deutrom remained persistent in his belief that Ireland will achieve their goal with the prize of that match against England.

Jun 052014
 
VVS Laxman wants India-Pakistan Test series

Former stylish Hyderabadi Indian batsman VVS Laxman said India is safe to host the matches, should a bilateral series between the neighbouring countries take place. He also compared the contest between India and arch-rivals Pakistan to the Ashes. 

“When Pakistan came for three one-dayers and two T20, the crowd really loved it. I don’t think any problem would be happening. It is like Ashes and everyone looks forward to the Ashes and the England and Australia rivalry and it is traditional rivalry”, Laxman said.

India-Pakistan matches have always been affected due to the tensed diplomatic relationship of the two countries. They have not played a Test since 2007. Meanwhile, Pakistan have been playing their home series away from home as all the teams are reluctant to tour Pakistan ever since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009.

However, former wicket-keeper batsman Syed Kirmani suggested otherwise. The best way to revive the cricketing ties between the two country was to host the series at a neutral venue in Asia, Kirmani suggested.

“It will offer an opportunity if Pakistan and India play in Asian countries where the Asian Cricket Council is trying to promote cricket. It will be a wonderful opportunity for those Asian countries (hosting the series) to see the top two teams of Asia play one another and that would be a source of inspiration.”

Former Pakistani captain and now a cricket commentator Ramiz Raja emphasized on India-Pakistan series regardless of the venue. “It (India-Pakistan series) must happen because it is great for the game”, Ramiz said.

May 252014
 
Cricket Australia: Jamie Cox sacked from his role with South Australia

Jamie Cox has been sacked as South Australian cricket’s high-performance manager for carrying out secret negotiations with potential recruits.

According to a SACA statement, Cox was axed after failing to comply with its code of conduct, by supposedly violating the Big Bash League player-recruitment regulations. Cricket Australia (CA) integrity unit is currently investigating Cox’s actions and alerted SA cricket chiefs on Tuesday.

The SA Cricket Association then held an urgent internal review that ended with Cox being sacked.

“The internal review has thus far revealed that Jamie has failed to comply with SACA’s own policies and expectations and it is for that reason that he has been dismissed,” SACA chief executive Keith Bradshaw said in a statement.

“Whilst it is regrettable that it has been necessary to take this step, SACA has high expectations of its senior management, as well as a clearly defined code of conduct that must be adhered to.”

Cox was appointed South Australia’s high performance manager in July 2008. He was also on the national selection panel between 2006 and 2011.

Last year Cox was among numerous SACA staff warned about abiding by recruiting guidelines after the state was fined $15,000 for making “improper” approaches in an attempt to lure the young legspinner James Muirhead away from Victoria.

CA’s investigation into possible breach of BBL rules was continuing. Cox’s statement is yet to come in public about his dismissal or whether he intends to dispute the SACA’s decision.

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