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Saturday,26-September-2020

International

It’s a positive move: Waqar Younis on Amir’s inclusion in Pakistan squad

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Waqar Younis. (Photo: Twitter/@waqyounis99)

Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis on Tuesday said the decision to call-up Mohammad Amir to join the squad in England is a positive move and there are no ill-feelings with the pacer despite the criticism he received after calling time on his Test career in 2018.

Amir had initially pulled out of the England tour for the birth of his second child but after fast bowler Haris Rauf tested positive for coronavirus, he was recalled into the side.

“With Amir, it is not just about this series but even going forward to see where he stands. It’s a positive move. He was a part of our white-ball team anyway,” Waqar told reporters via videoconference.

“He is an experienced fast bowler, if he is bowling well, we will see… The camp offers us the time to assess not just for this series, but even going forward to understand who we can take forward, who needs to improve.

“Not only Amir, but we can also bring in someone else as well. Going forward, there is a lot of cricket coming,” he added.

When further quizzed about the criticism Amir had received from himself and head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq at the time, the former speedster said they didn’t appreciate the timing of his retirement.

“Whoever has played for Pakistan or will play, our doors are always open. We didn’t appreciate that he retired from Test cricket because it was a last-minute retirement ahead of a major series against Australia,” Waqar said.

“That is why we expressed our disappointment. The doors are not shut for anyone in the past or will be going forward.

“We are hoping to utilize him well if he’s up to the mark. If he’s bowling really well and he can make Pakistan win, we shouldn’t go back to his past.

“Of course, it hurt at some point but we need to move on. If he’s best for the country and he can make us win, then we pick him,” he added.

International

Dean Jones was my friend for 35 years, will miss him: Kapil Dev

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Kapil Dev-Dean Jones

No foreign cricketer has visited India as many times as former Australian batting mainstay Dean Jones – more than 100 times – such was his connection with this country, said legendary Kapil Dev, while recalling his “35-year long association” with one of his closest friends who passed away on Thursday.

Jones, 59, collapsed and died following a cardiac arrest in a Mumbai hotel where he was staying during an assignment with the official broadcaster of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was his usual jovial self on Thursday morning, but by the afternoon, he was gone. His fellow Australian Brett Lee tried to revive him, but could not.

“Deano was quite a dear friend of mine and I was shocked to hear the news of his passing away. I feel quite sad and sorry for his family. You are going to miss him, but his family is going to suffer the most. I knew him for about 35 years,” Kapil, who first played against Jones during the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia, told IANS.

“He was a great cricketer and one of the best athletes. He was a master at running between the wickets. He was also a great commentator and had a wonderful sense of humour,” said the 1983 World Cup-winning captain.

Kapil also pointed out that because of his close connection with Jones individually and also because of the Aussie’s professional work in India, he visited this country many times.

“No other foreign cricketer has perhaps travelled to India as many times as Deano. He would have visited India more than 100 times. But now he is gone; he was not even 60 years old. Even Malcolm Marshall passed away quite young [aged 41 years 200 days in November 1999],” he rued.

Kapil bowled to Jones in 20 ODI innings and dismissed him four times – twice bowled and as many times had him caught – and in 15 Test innings, the Indian ‘Sultan of Swing’ got him out twice.

One more reason for Jones to love India was that he scored his first Test century – it was actually a fabulous double century in the testing conditions of Madras – in India in September 1986. It was only his third Test and fifth innings. After his eight-and-a-half hours innings in hot and humid conditions, during which he got dehydrated and vomited, he was taken to a hospital and was put on a saline drip. The Test at the Chepauk ended in a tie, only the second such result till date.

“A day that changed my life forever,” Jones tweeted on September 19, on the 34th anniversary of the tied Test. Another tweet read: “This Test was the renaissance for Australian cricket. It was our Mt Everest moment. Under AB [Allan Border] we started to believe that we can compete against the best. Great friendships started with the Indians. Our journey had just begun!”

After his retirement, Jones started working with Indian TV channels and broadcasters. Somewhere along the line, he was nicknamed ‘Professor Deano’ and he named his Twitter handle @ProfDeano.

Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar recalled once playing alongside Jones. “He was a very nice and jovial person. I was shocked when I heard this news. Of course, we played against each other, representing India and Australia. We also played together once. It was one of the three matches played before the main five-day game between the Marylebone Cricket Club and a Rest of the World XI at Lord’s, London. In that World XI-Gloucestershire game in Bristol, Deano and I had a 200-odd-run partnership. I scored 171 and he scored 70-odd in that match,” Vengsarkar told IANS.

Jones was working for the official broadcaster of the IPL and was staying in Mumbai.

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Was a pretty rusty day: KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik

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Dinesh-Karthik

After Kolkata Knight Riders lost their opening IPL encounter against Mumbai Indians by 49 runs here on Wednesday, skipper Dinesh Karthik said that rustiness was the reason behind the defeat.

“I think we had areas to do well with bat and ball. I think it was a pretty rusty day to be honest, I don’t want to get too analytical about it but it’s ok the boys realise where they could have done better,” said Karthik on Star Sports at the end of the match.

The match was played in hot and humid conditions in Abu Dhabi which was a change for a number of key foreign players in the KKR squad like Andre Russell, Pat Cummins and Eoin Morgan.

“Couple of guys — (Pat) Cummins and (Eoin) Morgan — just finished their quarantine today. It is hard — playing in the heat and getting used to the conditions. Don’t want to be too analytical, the boys put in a good effort. I haven’t had the conversation about that (regarding tweaking the top order) with Baz (coach Brendon McCullum), will let you know by the next game,” said Karthik.

KKR next face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Saturday.

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It was all about being ruthless: MI skipper Rohit Sharma

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Rohit-Sharma

Rohit Sharma, on Wednesday, returned to his usual, elegant self with a masterful innings to lead Mumbai Indians to a 49-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Rohit scored 80 off 54 as MI scored 195/5. In reply, KKR managed to score 146/9.

Interestingly, this marked MI’s first ever victory in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), having lost all of their matches in 2014 when a part of the group stage was played in the UAE.

“It was only two players from the 2014 squad. It was all about how we executed our plans today, we never let it go. We were in good position throughout the game but it was all about being ruthless, getting as many (runs) as possible. We knew the wicket was good and dew was coming down,” said Rohit in the post-match presentation ceremony in which he was declared Player of the Match.

As the KKR bowlers fumbled with their line and length and gave Rohit short deliveries, the MI captain replied with his trade mark pull shots to deposit the ball over the boundary.

“I back myself to play (the pull shots), love playing it and practiced it quite a bit. Pretty glad it came out well, they were all good (laughs), can’t pick one. I haven’t played a lot of cricket in the last six months time and was looking to spend some time in the middle; it didn’t come out well in the first innings but glad to have done it tonight,” he said.

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