Babar Azam calls Comparison with Virat Kohli as Flattering

Pakistan top order batsman Babar Azam feels that comparison with indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli is flattering and wants to adapt more like him. Babar is currently number one ranked in MRF Tyres ICC T20I Batting Rankings. He is 5th on ODI rankings for batsmen. Virat Kohli tops ICC Batting Rankings in test and in day international formats. Azam is improving his test batting credentials from last year. He aims to play role in earning victories for Pakistan. Babar Azam is in good form of late and will look to use that to good effect in Cricket World Cup 2019 for success of Pakistan team.

Babar Azam said: “It’s flattering to be compared to Kohli. He is very consistent, and his mindset is very good. He gives 100 percent every time he walks out to bat. I am at the start of my career, so the aim is to be like him, and be the epitome of performance in each of Pakistan’s wins.”

Babar Azam describes comparing him with Virat Kohli as flattering
Babar Azam describes comparing him with Virat Kohli as flattering

Babar has average of over 50 in ODIs and T20Is. He is among leading run scorers in shorter formats in recent times. Babar has a modest average of 35.28 in test cricket. He is top run-maker for Pakistan in tests since 2018. He has collected 760 runs at 50.66 average. He has become integral part of Pakistan side, making use of his potential in all formats of cricket.

Babar Azam stated: “I keep learning from my mistakes and I take advice from my seniors Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq, because I want to be better and better in Test cricket. [Red-ball cricket] is the test of skill, patience and fitness of a player. The aim is to be the best for Pakistan across all formats.”

Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has backed Babar Azam to achieve great things. He is pleased with the progress of the right-hand batsman. Arthur reckons that cricket world is yet to witness the best of Azam.

Mickey Arthur echoed: “He will be in the top five (batsmen) of the world very soon across all formats. I thought I was a bit quick off the gun when I said two years ago that he would be almost as good as Kohli. But it has taken him a while to show that class. If you watched him in the nets couple of years ago, he was a young boy who has developed into a young man. He is got stronger and fitter, and his game gets better and better all the time.”

England to replace Travor Baylis with one head coach after Ashes 2019

Travor Baylis will leave England coaching role after Ashes series 2019. England will appoint one head coach to replace him for all formats. English cricket team will have two assistant coaches for test cricket and limited overs cricket. Fast bowling coach Chris Silverwood is favourite for red-ball role. Former English all-rounder Paul Collingwood is likely to get white-ball duty. Silverwood is front-runner for the head coach job also. Paul Collingwood is joining batting coach Graham Thorpe and bowling coach Chris Silverwood to assist Travor Baylis till ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Ashley Giles, English cricket’s managing director, is not in favour of split coaching system. He has first hand experience of how bad it can work, when he was in-charge of one-day side from 2012 to 2014, while Andy Flower guided test team. Giles feels that appointing one head coach will provide stability across different formats.

Chris Silverwood and Paul Collingwood to assist new England Head Coach after Travor Baylis
Chris Silverwood and Paul Collingwood to assist new England Head Coach after Travor Baylis

England cricket director Ashley Giles said: “I’m about 99.9% sure that I want one man to do that job in the future. One coach gives us stability in culture as well as voice. I see it as one guy in charge – and prepared for time off – and three assistant coaches, not just one, that work together and help share the burden. The top man has different voices to go to. We’ll see the start of that shape going into World Cup.”

Ashley Giles thinks that England does not have great coach development system. Just one English head coach worked in last 20 years. Peter Moores coached England twice, first from 2007 to 2009 and again from 2014 to 2015. Giles himself served as white-ball head once. Ashley Giles reckons that head coach should ideally be Englishman. But nationality is not much important and best person should do coaching.

English cricket director Ashley Giles stated: “Paul Collingwood will be involved in the World Cup, but he is not replacing Paul Farbrace. I think having one assistant puts a lot of pressure on that person. Spoons [Silverwood] is a candidate, yes. Seeing what he did as head coach of Essex was remarkable. They were a bit of a shambles when he came and, in two years, he’d turned them round completely. And he’s got a nice way about him. He’s a tough bloke, with a fair amount of discipline, but he communicates really well. We know he’s capable.”

Steyn to Quit ODIs and T20s After ICC Cricket World Cup

Dale Steyn is fast bowler of South Africa cricket team, planning to retire from One Day International and T20 format after the Cricket World Cup 2019. Steyn is disappointed by a lot of injuries over the last couple of years he counts these injuries a bad-luck for him.

South Africa Cricket World Cup Tickets
South Africa Cricket World Cup

Steyn said that “I will be trying to get to that World Cup. But after the World Cup, I don`t see myself playing white-ball cricket for South Africa. By the time the next World Cup comes, I will be 40.”

he said that “I hope that will be my trump card when the selection comes to the World Cup. I may not necessarily play all the time.But I think my experience will help, with me just being there.”

“Wickets are something that`s not guaranteed. I`m happy with that I came out 100% fitness wise. That`s the biggest cloud I have gotten over, especially the last two years.”

He played last ODI series about 2 years ago against Australia in 2016. South Africa cricket team coach Ottis Gibson has not picked him in ODIs and make him clear that he should focus on red-ball fitness. Steyn said that he would love to continue his Test cricket career after World Cup 2019.

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ICC says India vs Pakistan match at Cricket World Cup to take place

International Cricket Council is hopeful that match between India and Pakistan will happen as scheduled. ICC is confident that recent strained relations between South Asian neighbours will not affect cricket. Arch rivals Pakistan and India are set to face off in Cricket World Cup 2019 at Old Trafford in Manchester on 16th June 2019.

India-Pakistan rivalry is one of the most furious sporting rivalries in the world. Pakistan have better win record in head to head matches with India in tests and one day internationals. India have not played a bilateral cricket series since hosting Pakistan in 2013. Both neighbours continue to square off in ICC tournaments though. Relations between India and Pakistan have turned bitter after recent Pulwama attack.

India Vs Pakistan match of 2019 Cricket World Cup got most demand in ticket ballot
India Vs Pakistan match of 2019 Cricket World Cup got most demand in ticket ballot

India versus Pakistan is the most wanted match of every world cup edition. CWC 2019 has witnessed the same trend on ticket ballot. Nearly half a million applications are submitted for India-Pakistan game. It has left behind Cricket World Cup Final in popularity, that has attracted a quarter of a million applications. It is way ahead of England vs Australia fixture as well. Steve Elworthy, Managing Director of CWC 2019 revealed these stats on 100 Day Countdown to Cricket World Cup 2019 milestone at Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London. ICC CEO David Richardson displayed optimism that India vs Pakistan will be held surely.

ICC’s CEO David Richardson said: “We haven’t written to the boards as yet. We are monitoring the situation with our members including the BCCI and PCB. Certainly there are no indications any of the matches, including the Pakistan-India match, will not be played as planned at the World Cup. But as I say we will continue to monitor the situation. Sport, and cricket in particular, is perfectly placed. It has the wonderful ability to bring people together to unite communities. And hopefully cricket can be used in this fashion rather than a way of [dividing] people.”

World Cup tournament director Steve Elworthy stated: “It is probably one of the biggest sporting events in the world. You think of that match and you think of the passion, the support, the audience, the [number of] people who applied for tickets. To put that [number] in perspective, England v Australia was around 230-240,000. And the final was around about 260-270,000 applications for tickets. So that gives you a bit of perspective for the demand for this match [India v Pakistan]. It’s a big game. They could end up playing each other in the final [too], you never know.”

Paul Farbrace to Step Down as England Coach ahead of Cricket World Cup

Paul Farbrace decided to step out as England assistant coach in the next few weeks before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and he announced that he is going to take the role of sporting director at Warwickshire. After England`s Caribbean tour he announced to start his new job and during the Cricket World Cup 2019, he will not stay with them that was a really hardest decision for him.

England Cricket World Cup Tickets
England Cricket World Cup

He got several proposals from different countries and choose one of the best opportunity which suites him. Warwickshire gives the opportunity and showed their interest in me that was really tough for me to decide that, grab the opportunity or left it.

Farbrace said it has been a great experience of working with extraordinary players and world-class coaches. I love to achieve success and have a brilliant experience to be a part of the development of fantastic players.

Paul Farbrace said, “I am very grateful for the opportunity that Warwickshire`s Chairman Norman Gascoigne and Chief Executive Neil Snowball have offered me and I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my career development.”

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Trafalgar Square marks 100 Days to Go till Cricket World Cup Milestone

Trafalgar Square in London marked 100 Day Countdown to Cricket World Cup 2019. Historic monument of Nelson’s Column was transformed into giant wickets to signify the milestone. ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy Tour driven by Nissan has started 100-day journey of England and Wales. CWC Trophy will travel to over 100 events around 115 places across the host country. The Trophy Tour will visit all host cities of the CWC19. Trophy will be transported in 100% electric Nissan LEAF. Cricket World Cup 2019 is set to take place from 30th May to 14th July 2019.

Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square commemorates Admiral Horatio Nelson. It was a befitting start to 100-day countdown to CWC 2019. Nelson’s Column became part of giant wickets to celebrate the moment. Clive Lloyd, Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Nasser Hussain, UK sports minister Mims Davies and other personalities participated in the marquee event. Cricket lovers in England and Wales will get once in generation opportunity to witness world’s greatest cricket players in action at home.

100 Days To Go till Cricket World Cup Countdown Celebrated at Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square, London
100 Days To Go till Cricket World Cup Countdown Celebrated at Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square, London

Steve Elworthy, Managing Director of CWC 2019 said: “The tournament is within touching distance now and it’s amazing to see the takeover of the iconic London location of Trafalgar Square to mark 100 days to go! This really puts the tournament at the front of mind for the fans both here and around the world. This ambitious launch demonstrates the lengths we will go to in making this tournament the most memorable ever – one that will inspire excitement among players and spectators alike around the world. To launch the domestic leg of our Trophy Tour in such a landmark location is fantastic, and we’ll visit many more memorable places as we engage with millions of people across England and Wales in the next 100 days.”

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson stated: “Years of planning goes into the delivery of an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, but the excitement becomes real with 100 days to go and the arrival of the trophy on the shores of England and Wales. Transforming one of London’s most famous landmarks into giant wickets is a wonderful way to kick start the celebrations for what I know will be the greatest ever celebration of cricket for hundreds of millions of fans around the world.”

Sri Lanka Squad for South Africa ODI Series visit announced

Sri Lanka have announced squad for ODI series in South Africa. Experienced batsman Upul Tharanga has returned in the side after impressive performance in Sri Lanka A against Ireland A one day series at home. 20-year old batsman Avishka Fernando is included in squad after collecting 523 runs in 5 matches during same Ireland A series. Left-arm pacer Isuru Udana is back in the side after hunting 11 wickets in 5 games of the Ireland A series. Right-arm offbreak spinner Akila Dananjaya is back in the squad after his bowling action was cleared by the ICC.

All-rounder Angelo Perera is included in Sri Lanka ODI squad to tour South Africa, after good run in Ireland A one-dayers and tests. Batsman Oshada Fernando has earned ODI call-up after decent form in first class cricket. Ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis has also bagged ODI call-up after superb showing in the Ireland A series. Five match One Day International series will be contested from 3rd March 2019 to 16th March 2019. This series will offer major preparation for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 for both Sri Lanka and South Africa teams.

Sri Lanka squad for South Africa ODI series 2019 announced
Sri Lanka squad for South Africa ODI series 2019 announced

Injuries to main pace bowlers has forced Sri Lanka to select inexperienced trio of Vishwa Fernando, Isuru Udana and Kasun Rajitha; who have played 11 ODIs in total. Sri Lanka skipper Lasith Malinga will have to take extra load in pace bowling and guiding youngsters. Batting all-rounder Priyamal Perera has also got maiden ODI call-up after registering two double hundreds and two centuries in the first class cricket.

Former captain Dinesh Chandimal is ignored from ODI series versus South Africa, after shockingly being dropped from the test series. All-rounders Asela Gunaratne, Dasun Shanaka and Sekkuge Prasanna were also dropped from five ODIs versus Proteas, after being part of side in New Zealand series. Opener Danushka Gunathilaka and bowlers Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiuru Kumara are still on injury sidelines after series against BalackCaps. Angelo Mathews is given extended time to fully heal hamstring strain sustained in new Zealand test series.

ODI Squad for Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (captain), Niroshan Dickwella (vice-captain), Upul Tharanga, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Isuru Udana, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan

Chris Gayle To Retire from ODIs After Cricket World Cup 2019

Chris Gayle has publicized that he will retire from One-day Internationals after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England and Wales. The 39-year-old veteran batsman had been recalled by the West indies Cricket for the first two ODIs against England in training for this year’s World Cup. Chris Gayle last played for the team against Bangladesh last July.

West indies cricket World Cup Tickets
West indies cricket World Cup

Gayle having the West Indian record for most ODI hundreds with 23 centuries and is their second leading run-scorer in the ODI format with 9,727 runs. His 215 against Zimbabwe in the 2015 World Cup also signifies the highest limited overs score by a West Indies batsman.

Last year, Gayle had levelled Pakistan star Shahid Afridi’s record of the greatest number of sixes in a career in all three international formats joint. Both batsmen have 476 sixes well forward of the next best, Brendon McCullum at 398 sixes. Gayle, however, attained the feat in 443 matches while Afridi touched the mark in 524 games. Afridi hit 351 sixes in ODIs, 73 sixes in T20Is and 52 in Tests. Gayle has smashed 275 sixes in ODIs, 103 sixes in T20Is and 98 in test format.

“We welcome the return of Chris Gayle who missed the last two series and Ashley Nurse from injury. We are pleased to introduce Nicholas Pooran to the ODI cricket for the first time,” Windies chairman of selectors Courtney Browne had said.

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India announce Squad for home T20I and ODI Series against Australia

India have named squad for home T20I and ODI series versus Australia. Regular captain Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah have returned after rest in one day internationals against New Zealand. Lokesh Rahul and Rishabh Pant have also been included in the limited overs series. All-rounder Vijay Shankar is also drafted in both lineups after impressive performance in the shorter formats recently. T20 and ODI series with Australia are important for Indian squad selection and preparation for Cricket World Cup 2019.

Indian cricket team will host Australia for two twenty20 internationals on 24th and 27th February 2019. Leg-spinner Mayank Markande has earned maiden T20I call up. He joins Yuzvendra Chahal as second spinner in T20I side in place of Kuldeep Yadav. Markande has impressive performances for India A against England Lions, backing up his good run in IPL. Dinesh Karthik is third wicket-keeper in T20 side besides Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rishabh Pant.

India Vs Australia Cricket Series - February-March 2019 - 2 T20Is and 5 ODIs
India Vs Australia Cricket Series – February-March 2019 – 2 T20Is and 5 ODIs

India and Australia will contest five one day international matches between 2nd and 13th March 2019. Three all rounders in Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav are summoned in the ODI squad. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav are retained as main spinners in ODI side. Mohammed Shami keeps the pace leader role with Jasprit Bumrah in company. Siddarth Kaul is called for first two ODIs, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar will join pace attack in last three one-dayers.

India cricket team chief selector MSK Prasad said: “Prior to this we had two series in New Zealand and Australia, that is where Karthik was chosen. Because Rishabh played four Test matches, so we wanted him to get a good break. He had a 20 days’ break. Then he played a couple of one-day matches against England Lions, in which he did extremely well. Then we sent him to the T20 matches (in New Zealand). So we want to give him a few ODIs also before taking a final call.”

MSK Prasad stated: “Vijay Shankar’s performance in the recent series [in New Zealand] has really changed a bit of the dynamics. He brings in that double impact to the side, which is good enough. That’s why we have included him and we’ll see how he performs in the next few matches.”

T20I Squad for India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit (vice-capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Sidharth Kaul, Mayank Markande

ODI Squad for India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohamed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant, Lokesh Rahul, Siddharth Kaul / Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Pakistan Super League to help in Squad Selection for Cricket World Cup

Pakistan Super League (PSL) will help in finalizing players lineup for 2019 Cricket World Cup. PSL was inaugurated in 2016 and is now in its fourth edition. PSL4 will run from 14th February 2019 to 17th March 2019. Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has stated that he and selection committee under Inzamam-ul-Haq will review top players’ performances in Pakistan Super League for inclusion in 15 member Pakistan squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Mickey Arthur feels that ODI Series against Australia and England will also assist in making 15 men strong Pakistan team for CWC 2019 from shortlisted 19 players.

Originally comprised of five franchises, PSL expanded in 2018 to include a sixth side. Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators are founding members of Pakistan Super League. Multan Sultans became sixth franchise of PSL during third season in 2018. Islamabad United have won Pakistan Super League twice while Peshawar Zalmi has been victorious once. Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars represent two largest metropolitan cities of Pakistan, but they have failed to make impact in PSL so far.

Pakistan Super League to Assist in Finalizing the Pakistan Squad for Cricket World Cup
Pakistan Super League to Assist in Finalizing the Pakistan Squad for Cricket World Cup

Top batting order of Pakistan is performing somewhat consistently with openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq alongwith world class Babar Azam at number 3 position. Pakistan have experienced middle-order batting line-up with Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. Pakistan just need to groom batting finishers from the likes of Haris Sohail, Asif Ali and Hussain Talat. Pakistan Super League offers opportunity to other players also to put on good performance and get looked upon for CWC squad inclusion.

Pakistan’s bowling lineup seems settled for Cricket World Cup 2019. Pace battery of Pakistan has world class bowlers like Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Usman Shinwari. Junaid Khan can also stake claim after regaining fitness. Pakistan’s spin attack has options like Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim. Both are spin bowling all-rounders and offer decent preposition with pace bowling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf.

Mickey Arthur said in Lahore after South Africa series: “Inzi and I have been on the same page for a long while here. And I’m going to be honest because I’ve told the boys in the dressing room the same thing the other night. I think we’ve got probably 19 players for 15 positions. PSL always throws up one or two good individual performers, so we are going to have a look at some of our borderline players, the guys that we are not sure about. We have to look at them during the Australian series and then we will make our minds up leading into England, obviously we will be taking 15 there. The key is players get clarity in terms of their roles and role clarity is particularly important. Our planning is done. We’ve got our schedules, we’ve got everything in place leading upto the World Cup. Myself, Inzamam and Sarfaraz [Ahmed] have been completely united in the process that we are going forward.”