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PSL 6: Wildermuth, Weatherald, Faulkner and Ferguson among eight Aussies heading for UAE

After a great deal of work done by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), finally, the twenty remaining games of the Pakistan Super League will be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in UAE. To participate in that a group of eight Australian players including Jack Wildermuth, Jake Weatherald, Callum Ferguson and James Faulkner will travel to the UAE. 

Since the tournament had to be rescheduled twice and it clashed with theT20 Blast and the international series of South Africa and West Indies and also England and New Zealand, many of the players who had committed to play for the six franchises of the PSL, moved out and new layers through two separate drafts were pulled in.

While Ben Cutting, Joe Burns, Dan Christian and Chris Lynn were the four Aussie players to pull out of the league, Weeatheraldm Wildermuth, Ferguson and Faulkner made up for it.  Quetta Gladiators picked up both Adelaide Strikers’ Weatherald and Brisbane Heat’s Wildermuth after Ben Cutting, Faf du Plessis and Chris Gaye were unable to join the side. 

Lahore Qalandar went on to add Sydney Thunder skipper Callum Ferguson as well as two of Hobart Hurricanes’ members Tim David and James Faulkner. 

Cutting, 34, who has been in various bubbles ver since November 30, the start of the Big bash League 2020-21, was willing to play his part in the PSL for Quetta. The Brisbane-born had even travelled to UAE after IPL was suspended. Since PCB wasn’t able to make any substantial gain in being able to pull of the league by June 1, as planned, the all-rounder returned home. 

"I love the PSL and playing for Quetta but in the current climate of bio bubbles and quarantine, it's difficult to do everything," Cutting was quoted as saying to cricket.com.au. "I have come home to refresh, reset and get back into things again at whatever tournament pops up next," he added. 

Along with the five new recruits, others such as Ben Dunk, Fawad Ahmed and Usman Khawaja will also join their original teams. 

While the PSL has decreased the number of foreign players required in the XI from three to two, the squad sizes have been increased to 20 players. The league is yet to make an official schedule for the tournament’s training 20 games. 

Australians in the Pakistan Super League

Islamabad United: Fawad Ahmed, Usman Khawaja

Lahore Qalandars: Tim David, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Callum Ferguson

Quetta Gladiators: Jake Weatherald, Jack Wildermuth

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BCCI contributes 2000 oxygen concentrators to aid in India’s fight against Covid

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to contribute 2000 10-Litre Oxygen concentrators to aid India’s fight against the second wave of Covid-19 in the country. Over the next few months, the Board will distribute the concentrators across India. Mr Sourav Ganguly, President, BCCI, said, “The BCCI acknowledges the stellar role the medical and healthcare community has played and continues to play as we fight this long battle against the virus. They have truly been frontline warriors and have done whatever possible to shield us.” “The Board has always put health and safety at the top of the chart and remains committed to the cause. The oxygen concentrators will provide immediate relief to those affected and will help in their speedy recovery,” he added in the press release. The country is going through its worst health crisis since independence with more than 4500 people losing their lives due to Covid-19 n a daily basis even as most of the states have a stringent lockdown enforced. Mr Jay Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI also hoped that this help from the board will help in narrowing the gap demand-supply gap of oxygen concentrators in the country. “The BCCI understands the desperate need for medical equipment in this hour of crisis and hopes this effort will help in narrowing the demand-supply gap that has generated across the country,” he said. Mr Arun Singh Dhumal, Honorary Treasurer, BCCI appraised the fighting spirit of the nation and reassured that the BCCI will keep supporting the greater cause of fighting against the virus. “It is heartening to see everyone coming together and doing their bit. The BCCI remains steadfast in its efforts towards social responsibility and will always be working closely with central and state governments to help them in their efforts to curb the spread of the virus. We believe these oxygen concentrators will boost healthcare infrastructure and be vital in providing critical oxygen when levels deplete rapidly,” he said.


Afghanistan keen on hosting Pakistan for white ball series

The Afghanistan Cricket Board has expressed their desire to host Pakistan for a white ball series during August-September in UAE. The two neighbouring nations have met each other quite often in ICC trophies and multi-nation tournaments. However, they are yet to play a full-fledged bilateral series at the senior level. While A teams from Afghanistan have toured Pakistan several times, they are yet to play at the highest level. As per a report in PTI, it is learnt that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) are in talks for organising a bilateral series which will include three ODIs and as many T20s. "The Afghanistan board is keen to have the series before the World T20 Cup which is in October,” the source was quoted as saying by PTI on the basis of anonymity. After meeting senior Afghan players including Mohammad Nabi back in January, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had urged the PCB to conduct bilateral tours with Afghanistan. The Afghan players had request Imran Khan to make a case for bilateral series between the two teams at the senior-most level. It is learnt that PCB was seeking the August window as a viable option after they return from the Caribbean shores after playing a white ball series. "The plan is for the Pakistan team to stop over in UAE and play the series in August as the Indian cricket board is also likely to host the remaining matches of its unfinished Indian Premier League in the UAE sometime in September-October,” the source said. "And a number of Afghan players including their captain, Rashid Khan, Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rehman and a few others take part in the IPL for different teams,” it further added.


Facing Lockie Ferguson and Pat Cummins has kept me in good stead says Shubman Gill

Indian Test opener Shubman Gill who is expected to be a starter for the ICC Test Championship final against New Zealand feels that clarity is very important while opening the innings in the longest format. "As an opener, not just in England but everywhere, you need to know how to play out sessions. Playing sessions is very important. It has been seen in England that whenever it is cloudy, the ball swings a lot,” Gill was quoted as saying by India TV. When there is sun, the pitch becomes good for batting. It is necessary to assess conditions as an opener,” Gill added. Gill had a sensational start to his Test career Down Under when he played a pivotal role in India’s historic triumph. His knock of 91 was instrumental in breaching the Gabba fortress. Despite low returns during the home series in England, Gill continues to be India’s preferred opener with Rohit Sharma. The stylish batsman is of the opinion that the team has produced quality performances on overseas tours and backed their chances in the inaugural Test Championship final stating that they couldnt be better prepared than this. “Our performance in Australia was very good. Over the last few years, we have been doing very well on away tours, so our confidence is very high. I think we can’t be better prepared for the World Test Championship (WTC) final than this,” said Gill. The young batsman was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He lacked consistency and couldn’t quite get his team off to goo starts. However he feels that facing the likes of Pat Cummins and Lockie Ferguson in the nets has helped him mould his game which should keep him in a good stead. “It helps a lot when you play good bowlers in nets and play them for a long period of time. Your confidence is very high. Like in our KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) team, we had good bowlers like Ferguson and Cummins,” he said. “Definitely, you get high on confidence. When you go out and play a match, you know what they’ll bowl. Those things matter,” Gill concluded.


I was made scapegoat for Strauss to stamp authority: Samit Patel lambasts ECB

Former England all-rounder Samit Patel sent a barrage of questions towards the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about him being neglected and not given due chances to represent the national team, dong injustice to his talent. “No, it just got chucked out there which I was pretty disappointed about,” said Patel mentioning the incident when Hugh Morris, ECB director of cricket in 2009, decided to omit the left-arm spinner from a tour to West Indies, just when he had made his debut in the previous series in 2009. Patel, now, 36, believes that had been in this generation, where every player is treated on the merit of their skills, things would have been different. “In my opinion, [it was] handled poorly by the ECB. [It was] not entirely their fault but if you put it now, things would be handled way differently by the ECB and captains and coaches. Maybe [I was] a little bit of a scapegoat, first up, but you live and you learn with this kind of stuff,” said the Nottinghamshire player. Blaming the crossover period in which the newly appointed skipper Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower wanted to make a statement, Patel said, “We went through a period where we were losing and Straussy came in and wanted different standards with Flower. It was that crossover period where people need to make some kind of statement and stamp their authority in different roles and I copped it for that.” The right anded batter who has a strike rate of almost 100 in the 33 ODIs that he has played and is more than capable enough bowler on spinning tracks, said that he was distraught at not being selected for the 2011 Word Cup. “To not make it, knowing that you should be there and you’re not there, it didn’t sit well with me,” he said. “It’s very stereotypical but it was the same. They didn’t think I was fit enough and that’s why they weren’t going to select me,” added Patel who will be representing Nottinghamshire and Trent Rickets in the upcoming t20 Blast and The hundred respectively. The last game in England colours for Patel came in 2015 in a Test against Pakistan. However, his last ODI was in India in 2013. Since then, he claims, the ECB didn’t even bother to explain why he wasn’t selected further. “I’ve had no conversations after 2013, 14 really, in terms of one-day cricket, at all. I don’t know what’s happened,” said Patel who has 822 runs and 38 international wickets to his kitty across formats. “The face doesn’t fit, fizzled out, you call it what you want. But yeah, I’ve not really heard from anyone post my last one-dayer, I can’t remember when it was, but I’ve heard nothing,” lamented the man who for the past 20 years has served the game of cricket playing 231 First-Class games, 245 List A matches and 305 T20s including the franchise cricket across the world.