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Sunday, April 17, 2011

West Indies Tour- Pakistan team selectors have made a smart move by picking a fresh squad for the one day and T20 matches to tour the West Indies later this monthBy excluding old horses like Younis Khan, Misbahul Haq, Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal they have paved the way for the next set of players in order to rebuild the house for the next World Cup. It was a decision that had to be made and there’s no better time to groom younger players than now. If we can unearth another Umar Akmal, perhaps find another exciting fast bowler and a decent wicket keeper we may have a shot at winning the next World Cup. The exiting players have contributed to Pakistan cricket in many ways, and while I thank them for giving us some memorable moments, it is time for them to step aside. Here are the new additions: Sadaf Hussein Dont be deceived by his name, he has all the masculine characteristics of a fast bowler on the verge of breaking through the ranks. This 21-year-old left arm quickie from Chakwal has made strides in domestic cricket. This past season, in 11 first-class matches, he was the leading wicket taker with 64 scalps at an average of 16.12, with eight five wicket hauls and two 10-wicket hauls ! Ravi Shastri was spot on when he said “they shake a tree in Pakistan and talented fast bowlers fall like leaves.” Usman Salahuddin The 20-year-old right hander from Lahore has had a brilliant first season in domestic cricket. In 24 matches, he piled on the runs at an average of 41.80 in 24, scoring five hundreds and eight fifties in the process. In his interview, he is ecstatic about being given the chance to represent Pakistan and believes strongly in his ability especially after scoring a brilliant 141 against Khan Research Labs who boast the best bowling attack in domestic cricket. Junaid Khan The much hyped tall left-arm bowler from Abbotabad was a part of Pakistan’s 2011 World Cup squad. He has done remarkably well for the past two years in domestic cricket. In 35 matches, he has 167 wickets, an average of 21. Khan’s record tells us it’s a stiff competition if one wants the fast bowler’s job on the Pakistan national team. Hammad Azam Azam is an exciting all-rounder, tipped to take over Razzaq’s role in the team. The right hander has done well representing Pakistan in U-19 competitions. Azam has only played 14 first class matches, in which he has a batting average of 29.85 with a strike rate of 55, along with 16 wickets at an average of 25. Though the numbers are not as impressive as the praises, many see immense potential in the young fellow. He is one to watch out for in the future. Mohammad Salman Salman is the new wicketkeeper (thank god!) and not another Akmal. Though, young Adnan Akmal showed excellent finesse with the gloves, Rashid Latif has called Salman “technically, the best wicket keeper in Pakistan”. And given the stunning glove work Latif used to do with the stumps, who can doubt his words? Almost 30-years-old now, right-handed Karachi native Salman will make his debut in the Caribbean later this month. His batting average of 26.63 in 103 first class games doesn’t suggest an ace with the bat. But given the headaches and heartaches Kamran Akmal gave us with his shoddy glove work, we ought to settle for anyone who can hold onto catches behind the stumps. Ahmed Shehzad Earlier, I wrote about Shehzad after his sensational hundred against New Zealand in Hamilton. His record in domestic cricket speaks for itself. Though the young man wilted under the pressure of World Cup matches, his abilities and shots are there for everyone to see. With the help of a much needed batting coach who can help him (and others) strengthen his mental game, he is sure to come good for Pakistan in due time. Also returning to the one day arena is Taufeeq Umar, the old warrior. I have always thought Taufeeq was one of our better openers, who was hard done by selectors in the past. His inclusion in the squad brings in some experience at the top. Wahab ‘Viki’ Riaz will be leading the bowling attack after Umar Gul has asked to be rested for the one day series. While I hope Gul makes a speedy return, Wahab has the chance to enjoy the responsibility as the fast bowling ace for Pakistan. If he can develop that elusive in-swinger, he will be twice as threatening as he is right now. It is important to remember that the majority of these new faces are still quite young and inexperienced. This is what makes Pakistan cricket so exciting: bringing in kids off the streets who dazzle the world with their skills. They will make mistakes and occasionally succumb to pressure, but it is important that we notice the potential talent in each of these individuals. We must persist with the ones who have a natural sting in their game and have the ability to handle pressure. It is the feeling of confidence when backed by fans and pundits alike that often helps them perform to the best of their abilities. Responsibility on Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq’s young shoulders has doubled; they will have to play a more mature innings from here on. It is good to see the Pakistan cricket management take a proactive step towards developing young players to be ready for the next World Cup. Pakistan Squad who are in the team- PTV NEWS












Pakistan team selectors have made a smart move by picking a fresh squad for the one day and T20 matches to tour the West Indies later this monthBy excluding old horses like Younis Khan, Misbahul Haq, Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal they have paved the way for the next set of players in order to rebuild the house for the next World Cup.
It was a decision that had to be made and there’s no better time to groom younger players than now. If we can unearth another Umar Akmal, perhaps find another exciting fast bowler and a decent wicket keeper we may have a shot at winning the next World Cup.
The exiting players have contributed to Pakistan cricket in many ways, and while I thank them for giving us some memorable moments, it is time for them to step aside.
Here are the new additions:
Sadaf Hussein
Dont be deceived by his name, he has all the masculine characteristics of a fast bowler on the verge of breaking through the ranks. This 21-year-old left arm quickie from Chakwal has made strides in domestic cricket. This past season, in 11 first-class matches, he was the leading wicket taker with 64 scalps at an average of 16.12, with eight five wicket hauls and two 10-wicket hauls !  Ravi Shastri was spot on when he said “they shake a tree in Pakistan and talented fast bowlers fall like leaves.”
Usman Salahuddin
The 20-year-old right hander from Lahore has had a brilliant first season in domestic cricket.
In 24 matches, he piled on the runs at an average of 41.80 in 24, scoring five hundreds and eight fifties in the process. In his interview, he is ecstatic about being given the chance to represent Pakistan and believes strongly in his ability especially after scoring a brilliant 141 against Khan Research Labs who boast the best bowling attack in domestic cricket.
Junaid Khan
The much hyped tall left-arm bowler from Abbotabad was a part of Pakistan’s 2011 World Cup squad. He has done remarkably well for the past two years in domestic cricket.  In 35 matches, he has 167 wickets, an average of 21. Khan’s record tells us it’s a stiff competition if one wants the fast bowler’s job on the Pakistan national team.
Hammad Azam
Azam is an exciting all-rounder, tipped to take over Razzaq’s role in the team. The right hander has done well representing Pakistan in U-19 competitions. Azam has only played 14 first class matches, in which he has a batting average of 29.85 with a strike rate of 55, along with 16 wickets at an average of 25. Though the numbers are not as impressive as the praises, many see immense potential in the young fellow.  He is one to watch out for in the future.
Mohammad Salman
Salman is the new wicketkeeper (thank god!) and not another Akmal. Though, young Adnan Akmal showed excellent finesse with the gloves, Rashid Latif has called Salman “technically, the best wicket keeper in Pakistan”. And given the stunning glove work Latif used to do with the stumps, who can doubt his words?
Almost 30-years-old now, right-handed Karachi native Salman will make his debut in the Caribbean later this month. His batting average of 26.63 in 103 first class games doesn’t suggest an ace with the bat. But given the headaches and heartaches Kamran Akmal gave us with his shoddy glove work, we ought to settle for anyone who can hold onto catches behind the stumps.
Ahmed Shehzad
Earlier, I wrote about Shehzad after his sensational hundred against New Zealand in Hamilton. His record in domestic cricket speaks for itself.  Though the young man wilted under the pressure of World Cup matches, his abilities and shots are there for everyone to see.  With the help of a much needed batting coach who can help him (and others) strengthen his mental game, he is sure to come good for Pakistan in due time.
Also returning to the one day arena is Taufeeq Umar, the old warrior. I have always thought Taufeeq was one of our better openers, who was hard done by selectors in the past. His inclusion in the squad brings in some experience at the top.
Wahab ‘Viki’ Riaz will be leading the bowling attack after Umar Gul has asked to be rested for the one day series. While I hope Gul makes a speedy return, Wahab has the chance to enjoy the responsibility as the fast bowling ace for Pakistan. If he can develop that elusive in-swinger, he will be twice as threatening as he is right now.
It is important to remember that the majority of these new faces are still quite young and inexperienced.  This is what makes Pakistan cricket so exciting: bringing in kids off the streets who dazzle the world with their skills.
They will make mistakes and occasionally succumb to pressure, but it is important that we notice the potential talent in each of these individuals.
We must persist with the ones who have a natural sting in their game and have the ability to handle pressure. It is the feeling of confidence when backed by fans and pundits alike that often helps them perform to the best of their abilities. Responsibility on Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq’s young shoulders has doubled; they will have to play a more mature innings from here on.
It is good to see the Pakistan cricket management take a proactive step towards developing young players to be ready for the next World Cup.

Mum’s the word for Younis-ESPN SPORTS







From the triumphant skipper of the World Twenty20 champions in 2009 to a shy fellow who wouldn’t even utter a single word leave alone look anyone in the eye, former Pakistan Test captain Younis Khan must have had a lot to reflect on in the last couple of years.

Today this proud cricketer who thought the Twenty20 format of cricket was not serious enough for a serious player like him finds himself at a loss for words at being dropped from the ODI squad for the West Indies tour.

This was not supposed to be a comment piece but it is turning into one due to the fine batsman’s declining to comment on anything at the inauguration of the Zaheer Ahmed Azm Group Invitation Cricket Tournament at the NBP Cricket Academy here on Saturday.

It is one thing to leave or announce retirement willingly and something else when you are overlooked with the face-saving excuse of being given some rest.

Perhaps that is why the man, following a robotic announcement of good expectations from the event that he had come to open, when asked a simple question, turned a stricken face to his host while mumbling, “I told you I wouldn’t say anything!”

Yes, Younis didn’t even have an answer for something as harmless as a suggestion from a member of the media asking him to start a foundation for the welfare of cricketers here. “No, please. I am not here to speak,” he said gesturing with his hand for the man to kindly leave him alone.

And out of respect for the cricketer the media that came from all over the city and waited for over one hour to get a chance to meet their hero did in fact leave him alone. Let’s hope that we, along with the rest of his fans, don’t forget about him completely.

Cricket knocks Indian film industry earnings for six -ESPN



MUMBAI: A packed cricket schedule that peaked with an Indian win in the World Cup final has hit the country's other grand passion -- film -- emptying cinemas and forcing studios to postpone big movie releases.
Analysts said business at multiplex cinemas had been weak so far in 2011, with the six-week World Cup that finished earlier this month keeping people glued to their television screens in the evenings.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament which began immediately afterwards is also expected to keep many cinema-goers away until the end of May.
The short-format Twenty20 competition has all the glitz of Bollywood, with many film stars owning team franchises and big name players from around the world, cheered on by a bevy of scantily clad dancing girls.
The financial newspaper Mint said during the week that multiplex chains may have lost up to 500 million rupees ($11.1 million) in the three months to the end of March. Earnings data is expected in coming weeks.
"It was a weak quarter, with average occupancy rates at theatres declining to between 10 to 12 percent," said Chitrangda Kapur, media analyst with Mumbai-based Angel Broking.
"Due to the World Cup and IPL, fewer films were released from February up to May" said Rajesh Jain, head of media and entertainment at global consultants KPMG.
In the absence of the usual number of weekend movie releases, some multiplex chains even resorted to screening cricket matches to attract audiences.
Alok Tandon, chief executive of Inox Leisure Ltd, said they had no option.
"As we know, February-March is traditionally a period when kids are busy with their exams and families prefer not to go out to watch movies," he said.
"Apart from the movies, cricket is the other religion of our country and hence during this period, very few big banner movies were released. We screened the semi-final and final, which ran to nearly house-full shows."
The back-to-back cricket tournaments could not have come at a worse time, with the Indian film industry struggling to recover from a prolonged slump.
Overall revenues have fallen 20 percent in the past three years from $2.3 billion in 2008 to $1.85 billion in 2010, according to KPMG research.
Domestic box office revenues still contribute 75 percent of an Indian film's earnings.
Poor quality content, rising overheads, the global economic crisis and an increase in other ways for people to spend their spare time have also been blamed for the downturn.
"The industry just needs one strong story to change the trend," said Devang Sampat, chief India strategist with Cinepolis, the world's fourth-largest multiplex operator globally.
Sampat cited the example of Aamir Khan's "3 Idiots" which broke box office records in 2009, but few releases in 2011 have enjoyed even a fraction of that success.
Hopes are again being pinned on Khan, and his ageing superstar namesakes Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, to boost box-office sales.
Salman's comedy "Ready" hits theatres in June, while Shah Rukh Khan stars in a sci-fi superhero movie "Ra.One" (Random Access - Version 1.0) and Aamir in "Delhi Belly" later this year.
KPMG's Jain predicted a better second half of the year for the industry.
"We have a good line-up of releases in the forthcoming quarters, including a good list of 3D and regional movies," said Inox's Tandon. "We are quite positive that these movies will do well."

India series appears doubtful this year: Former Pak players-ARY NEWS



 Former Pakistan players are in favour of resumption of bilateral cricket ties with India but have doubts over playing a short series this year due to arch-rivals` packed international calender.

Former captains Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Rashid Latif feel that a series is possible on a neutral venue later this year if both Indian and Pakistan governments work out the modalities.

"If both the governments want, then a short series is possible this year itself at any venue. If the Indian government asks the BCCI to organise a series, then the Indian Board will definitely try to find a time slot," said Zaheer

"The revival of Indo-Pak cricket ties is going to be a very positive development and it was great to see our premier and government officials visiting Mohali for the World Cup semi-final. It is very important for the development of cricket in this region and also for the betterment of international cricket that Pakistan and India should play regular Test and ODI series," he said.

India severed cricket links with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but a high-profile World Cup semi-final between the two nations in India last month raised hopes of a revival, albeit at neutral venues.

The semi-final, won by India by 29 runs on their way to clinching the World Cup title, was watched by Prime Ministers of both countries -- Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani -- at an occasion that was quickly being dubbed as "cricket diplomacy".

Pakistan`s status as an international cricket host came to an end with attacks on the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009.


Zaheer also noted that even from a business and financial point of view, a Indo-Pak series meant lot of money for the boards, players and commercial entities.

"A Pakistan and India series in the near future could generate immense resources," he added.

But former great Javed Miandad said he didn`t see prospects of a series this year because of the tight international calender of the Indian team.

"I don`t think we must rush things from our side because the Indian team is busy this year. But the Pakistan board must plan ahead for a series next year," he said.

Miandad said he supported the resumption of Indo-Pak cricket ties but felt it was of utmost importance that both teams also play Tests in their revival series.


Former wicketkeeper-batsman Rashid Latif said there were some stark realities Pakistan has to face like no foreign teams wishing to tour the country because of the volatile security situation.

"I don`t support this concept of having matches at neutral venues because it robs the series of its charm and importance. Playing in Pakistan or India is entirely different and the atmosphere and expectations are different. I think if need arises Pakistan can go and play in India to start off this revival process," he said.

Latif had no doubt that a series with India was very important for Pakistan from every point of view.

"I can understand the eagerness of the Pakistan board to organise a series even a short one because it will improve their financial health a lot. But even from a cricket point of view, a series with India is important as we are trying out new players and playing the arch-rivals always is a big test for any player," he added.
Pakistan, under the ICC`s future tours program, were due to tour India in March-April 2012 for a full series but the PCB had said that it will try to convince the Indian board to squeeze out a time slot for a short one-day series this year itself.

PTI
Pakistan, under the ICC`s future tours program, were due to tour India in March-April 2012 for a full series but the PCB had said that it will try to convince the Indian board to squeeze out a time slot for a short one-day series this year itself.

Pak players ducking domestic matches must be omitted from national team: Sultan Rana


Those international-level Pakistan cricketers who do not make themselves available for their domestic teams, should also be excluded from the national squad, the Pakistan Cricket Board's Domestic Cricket Director Sultan Rana has said. 

When asked during an interview whether any players who are not making themselves available for their domestic teams should be ruled out from the Pakistan team, Rana said: I think that's the way it should be."

"I remember there were certain players who didn't play in the First Class circuit last year - and they were not considered for selection [in the Pakistan team]. So this policy is already in place and I think we need to be stricter about it. Only the players who participate in domestic cricket should be considered for the national team. I think this policy is being followed," Pakpassion.net quote Rana, as saying.

He said that the selection committee, who pick cricketers for the national squad, go and watch the domestic matches and have records of all the players. 

"They don't consider the players who have not represented [their domestic teams] or have not performed. That is why if you just take a look at the previous Pakistani team, in the last 3 years or so, they have been changed. So domestic cricket is providing them replacements for the players who are unfit, not performing well or on the verge of retirement - so that we have a backup. 

A lot depends upon those who are picked up as replacements to maintain their position in the team," said Rana. 

He also dismissed the impression that domestic cricket was not producing players at all as rubbish, saying that all players in the Pakistan team in the last ten years had come up from domestic cricket. 

"Right from the year 2000, all of them came through the pathway which we have here in Pakistan - a system where they come and then go on to represent Pakistan," he added.

Talking about Pakistan's dismal fielding performances, Rana said: "I think Pakistan team has never been a good fielding outfit. Look at our fifty years of history - they were all average, mediocre fielders but they still went on to play for Pakistan for years. So fielding was never an integral part of Pakistan cricket, which is very unfortunate."

When pointed out that some Pakistani batsmen have rather large and impressive averages in domestic cricket, but they tend to struggle against seaming deliveries or good spin bowling at the international level, Rana noted that since domestic cricketers have the experience of playing only inside Pakistan, they might struggle to perform on foreign pitches.

"Once the international teams start touring Pakistan, these players won't have to go to England, New Zealand, Abu Dhabi or Sri Lanka to play their home series. When playing a series at home, you are used to the pitches and the atmosphere there which definitely helps a lot," he said.

Pakistan looking to host small ODI series against India in 2011-GEO SUPER



Pakistan looking to host small ODI series against India in 2011


If there is one thing the Pakistan Cricket fans are looking forward to, it is the reignited series encounter against the Indian Cricket team.
Following an entertaining ICC World Cup 2011 encounter at the semi-final stage, supporters of the sport from the two nations are hoping for another meeting in the coming weeks. This is one of the reasons why Pakistan is keen for a short ODI series, this year.
Talking to the press from Karachi, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Operating Officer, Subhan Ahmed, declared the desire of the country to see the two nations compete again soon.
Eager to kick off bilateral ties in cricket this year, the PCB is trying its best to convince the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to conduct a short series tournament in Pakistan.
"It is not possible to play a full Test series this year that is obvious to us. But we are definitely keen on at least having a three match or five match series sometime this year in Pakistan, or, at a neutral venue to kick off the revival process", he stated.
The BCCI and the PCB are keen to discuss all issues and details, which are scheduled to be discussed in June, 2011.
The only problem that may come up in the arrangement happens to be the tight schedule of the Men in Blue. The PCB, however, is trying to slip in a 10-day plan to put both teams in a series.
Right after the Indian Premier League games, the Men in Blue will be heading over to West Indies and England for two separate tours. Though a series is scheduled between Pakistan and India in 2012, the PCB wants to host one this year, if it is deemed possible.
"What we realize is that the Indian Board is tied up with the Indian Premier League and only after that is over would they also be able to focus on the issue of reviving bilateral cricket ties with Pakistan", Chief Operating Officer, Subhan said.
The PCB Chief Executive Officer further stated that the Board’s first priority is to invite the Indian cricket team to Pakistan for a short series but if that is not possible, neutral venues can be sought out for the event to take place.

WIPA condemns dropping experienced trio for Pakistan series- ESPN




WIPA condemns dropping experienced trio for Pakistan series: Cricket News


The dismissal of West Indies former skippers Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been condemned by the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).
The three players were not selected for the first T20 International against Pakistan as well as the first two One Day Internationals (ODI) against the Men in Green.
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Chief Executive Officer, Ernest Hilaire said that they selectors had not told them why they had dropped the trio.
Ottis Gibson, coach of the West Indies side, criticised the performance of the trio at the recently concluded ICC World Cup 2011. The new inductions include Anthony Martins, Krishmar Santokie, Danza Hyatt, Ashley Nurse and Christopher Barnwell.
West Indies Players Association says that they want to see young players in the side but this should not hamper the overall performance of the side. WIPA stated, “While WIPA wants to see that young players with potential are incorporated into the team and blooded, this should not be at the expense of the overall team performance or of the obligation owed to the players to deal with them fairly and justly.”
The statement by WIPA added, “While WIPA is clear that teams should be picked on performance, potential, playing conditions and preparedness, it is concerned that there may be an appearance that there were other unknown factors being taken into account.”
The association also criticised the replacement of the Windies captain, Chris Gayle, by Darren Sammy, as the WICB Chief had initially stated in 2009 that Gayle’s leadership from the team should be dissolved as it was not at all guaranteed.
However, this made Gayle infuriated and he refused to accept the year-long contract issued by WICB, and consequently Sammy was given the captaincy of the Windies cricket team.
West Indies will host Pakistan for a T20, 5 ODIs and 2 Test matches. The tour begins with the only T20 in the Beausejour Stadium in St. Lucia on Thursday, 21 April. The 5-match ODI series will begin on 23 April while the first Test match would be held from 12 May - 16 May at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.

New Zealand Cricket flags match-fixing incident to ICC - Cricinfo



New Zealand Cricket flags match-fixing incident to ICC: Cricket News
The Chief Executive of New Zealand Cricket, Justin Vaughan, has said that they have informed the International Cricket Council (ICC) Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) about a possible match-fixing. The alleged incident happened during an international tournament in which some players were treated to dinner by a suspicious businessman.
According to reports, Daryl Tuffey, Scott Styris and Nathan McCullum were seen with a man from Middle East, who was a famous diamond dealer and was also watched by the anti-corruption department. Some media sources have said that initially the players had no idea about that Middle-Eastern guy and his profession. They came to know about his business when he offered them some expensive gems and diamonds on discounted rates.
The New Zealand cricket team manager, Steve Wilkins, reported the incident to the New Zealand Cricket board and its Chief Executive, Justin Vaughan.
The Chief then discussed the incident with International Cricket Council and they told their ACSU to take proper action against the suspected players, who were seen along with the alleged businessman.
The players were interrogated by the ACSU of the ICC, which is headed by the former UK police officer, Sir Ronnie Flanagan. However, the players told them that they did not do anything illegal and were not under the suspicion of match-fixing at any point.
Match-fixing has been a serious issue in the cricketing world. Many examples can be seen who were allegedly involved in match-fixing and spot-fixing. The trio of Pakistan cricket team, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were banned by ICC for their involvement in spot-fixing during their 2010 England tour. They were banned from all types of cricket for at least five years.
According to the footage made by an English tabloid, a suspected book-maker, Mazhar Majeed, was seen taking GBP150,000 in cash in a meeting. Asif and Amir bowled no-balls precisely on the times when Majeed predicted. Such information is used by betting syndicates to place their bets.
After such incidents in the past, the ICC has made sure that no such offence should be entertained in any form of cricket in the world. The ACSU is also taking serious measures to stop such alleged incidents.

Lendl Simmons keen on making a mark in series against Pakistan



West Indies Lendl Simmons keen on making a mark in series against Pakistan
Upcoming West Indian batsman, Lendl Simmons, who has earned a recall in the national team for the series against Pakistan, is hopeful of making a real impact in the series and stamping his class on the international scene.
The youngster, who is the nephew of former West Indian batsman and occasional medium pacer, Phil Simmons, stated that he has become “mentally stronger" cricketer from the one, who last played for West Indies in 2010.
He added that the series provides an ideal opportunity for him to showcase his talents and cement a spot in the young batting line-up that is entering the series without the much vaunted trio of Chris Gayle, Shiv Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Simmons was hailed as a real prospect, who could serve the team for many years yet he has not been able to perform with any degree of consistency at the highest level especially when the situation became tough.
Now he feels that he has matured a great deal and knew what the requirements at the big level were.
"I see myself as a more mature player and I'm putting a lot more thought into my preparation for games and when I go onto the field of play as well”.
Simmons was first selected for the West Indies in 2006 making his One Day International (ODI) debut, from there onwards he was the star performer for his country in the World Twenty20 in England in 2009.
In that event he ended up with a tally of 150 runs at 30.00 and taking six wickets, the West Indians made it to the semi-finals where they were drubbed by Sri Lanka.
However, Simmons’s graph dipped badly from there. He had a barren run in an ODI series in Australia in February 2010 where he managed just 50 runs in five One-Dayers. His highest score was 29 and the selectors had little faith left in him.
As a result of the barren run he was axed from the team and spent time on the side-lines aiming to regain his touch and make a comeback for the West Indian team.  
Besides Simmons the West Indian selection panel has inducted many youngsters for the first three matches of the Pakistan series. The contest gets underway with a one-off T-20 match on the April 21, 2011. After that the two teams would be locked in a five match ODI series, thus far, the squad has been announced for the first two games.
Simmons would be expected to take the brunt of the batting along with Devon Smith, Darren Bravo and Kirk Edwards.
Simmons told the West Indian media that he was desperate to make an impression and wanted to make full use of his talent and the maturity that he has acquired over the years by regularly playing first class cricket.
"It feels really great to be back in the West Indies team set-up and among the players again as we look forward to facing Pakistan. I was away for a year and in that period I had a lot of time to reflect and analyze my game. I am happy to be back and I believe I am mentally stronger".
On the other hand, the Pakistanis have also inducted many youngsters in the team. The changes have been made with an eye on the next World Cup set to be played in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
As such the series is set to provide enthralling cricket between the two evenly matched teams.

India and Sri Lankan Cricket Boards hope to resolve IPL row



India’s and Sri Lanka’s cricket boards are aiming to resolve the row of participation of Sri Lankan players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after the Sport Ministry in consultation with the cricket board decided to call back its players from India.
According to reports emanating from the two countries there is a resolution being drafted, this was confirmed by the Chairman of the IPL Commission, Chirayu Amin. He stated that a common ground is being found for the resolutions of all issues with the hope that the two boards would work together for the wider interest of the game in both countries.
The IPL supremo told Indian media that efforts were underway in this regard, and the needful was being done. "The BCCI top brass is in touch with SLC and they will resolve the issue", Amin told the Times of India. "It is an issue between SLC and its players, who are playing in IPL four. We are expecting that the issue will get solved by next week".
The Sport Ministry in Sri Lanka asked the players taking part in the cash rich league to report for training at the start of next month. The training camp is being established to help the team prepare for the tour of England set to start at the end of next month.
The national team is due to depart for England on May 10 where they will play three Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20. The tour is of great importance for the Islanders, who are keen on reaching the top three in both ODIs and Test match format, additionally the tour is a real challenge for them considering the fact that they have not won a single Test series at the home of cricket.  
The call to bring players home has been made to make the players work on the challenges of playing with the red ball compared to the white ones that are used in limited overs cricket, something that the players have been exposed to regularly in the last few months.
Mendis, who is the Chairman of the selectors, stated that the players needed to concentrate on getting used to the change of playing with white balls rather than red.
Meanwhile, the greatest spin bowler of all time off spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, who is playing for Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the IPL, has slammed the board's decision. The recently retired champion stated that the decision by the Board defies logic as players needed to play more in the league and guide their respective franchises towards the business end of the tournament.
"I think the board [SLC] has given them permission till May 20", Murali told a TV channel. "I don't know what happened suddenly. The players were told to come on May 5. It is the fault of SLC because they signed the NOC [No Objection certificate] till May 20 so if they change it to May 5 it is wrong. Players will get demoralized, because if they go back on May 5, they play half of the IPL and they are going to miss a lot [of it]”.
He felt that the players would be returning home half hearted and that might backfire for the team as they head out to England for what can be a real gruelling series against a vastly improved team.

Indian Team Tour to Pakistan – What is The Real Plan ?


According to media reports, Indian cricket team tour to Pakistan is under consideration but no final decision has been taken yet. Permission from the two governments has given a hope to cricket fans for this tour.
In current worst security situation of Pakistan even players from any country will have concerns regarding tour to Pakistan.  Therefore, the tour of Indian team to Pakistan in recent future is out of question. So PCB needs to understand the planning of Indian government behind this permission. This permission from Indian government has provided chances to Indian media to speak against security problems of Pakistan loudly. Indian government will tell the world that we want to resume cricket ties with Pakistan but security problem does not allow us.  Because Indian government is under pressure from the world community for resumption of cricket diplomacy with Pakistan. Resultantly if the team of other friendly country want to visit Pakistan will also became impossible. Because their players will also set example of Indian cricketers and will follow them in avoiding visit to Pakistan.
Therefore, to counter this plan from Indian government PCB should offer neutral venue very quickly. And this will be a testing time for BCCI. If they are sincere in doing so, they will accept it and if they are working on another plan, they will make excuse for neutral venue also. After once playing on neutral venue, both the boards can plan for playing in India or Pakistan some other times.

ZULQARNAIN HAIDER (PHATOO) TO FACE THE MUSIC ON HIS RETURN SAYS PAKISTAN CRICKET BOARD

Pakistan Cricket: Zulqarnain Haider to face the music on his return says Pakistan Cricket Board

In a latest development regarding the runaway wicketkeeper, Zulqarnain Haider, it has been learned that he might return to Pakistan on April 24th 2011. According to reports, Haider will be facing the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) disciplinary committee who will then decide his fate.
Haider has however, clarified that his passport is with the British authorities and until the travelling documents are returned, moving back to his country will not be possible.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the former player met up with the interior minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik at the latter’s house in London, where he expressed the desire to return to the country and resume his cricket career. Haider also requested Malik to provide security to him and his family. It is believed that after the meeting with Malik, Haider finally made a decision to go back to Pakistan.
However, the lanky wicketkeeper has violated rules and regulations of the PCB and getting off the hook will not be an easy task. According to insiders, Haider will be up against PCB’s disciplinary and inquiry committee before getting clearance to resume his career.
The wicketkeeper, who has applied for asylum in the United Kingdom and is currently living there on a temporary residence permit, has not responded to the show-cause notice that was slapped by the PCB for his actions.
Haider in November 2010 became a matter of embarrassment for the PCB when he deserted his national team, which was in the United Arab Emirates playing a five-match One Day series against South Africa. Haider disappeared right before the fifth and final match of the tournament. The team management was clueless about his whereabouts, and it was only after the match that the UAE authorities informed that Pakistan’s wicketkeeper had boarded a United Kingdom bound flight.
After landing in London, Haider disclosed that he had received life threats from an unknown suspected bookmaker, who wanted him to lose the fourth and fifth match against the Proteas. Haider refused to comply and instead to opted to run for his life. Without revealing any names, he accused certain players within the team of having links with bookies. In his first press conference he announced his retirement from international cricket and expressed the wish to live peacefully in England.
However, later through his Facebook profile, the rogue cricketer pledged to announce the names of the individuals in the PCB that were involved in match-fixing. Nonetheless, he retracted his statement soon after fearing for his family’s security in Pakistan.
The PCB also terminated his central contract and has not cleared the money that the board owes him for representing Pakistan in the matches he played. Haider, threatened to sue the PCB for holding his payment, however, he never pursued a case against the country’s cricket board.
What made Haider finally decide to return home is still unclear, but now it seems as if within the coming days, the Haider saga will finally come to its conclusion - that is if he does indeed return to Pakistan

We will be crowd pleasers, says Alam- ESPN



Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam has promised that Caribbean fans will be attracted to the style of play of the visiting Pakistani team.
"I have brought a very young side with me, and I am quite sure you are going to enjoy the type of cricket we are going to play," he said.The Pakistanis made a quiet arrival in the Caribbean, when they touched down at the Hewanorra International Airport in the south of this island, but Alam said that belied the style of play fans can expect from his relatively young side.
"On behalf of the team, I would like to thank everyone for the very warm welcome extended to us. It is always a pleasure to come to the Caribbean.
"I have been coming since 1958 and played against some of your greatest cricketers like Sir Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, and the late Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell.
"I cherished their friendship, and whenever we met, we talked about old times. I have great regard for your cricketers, and look forward to the next few weeks on this trip."
Pakistan contest a Twenty20 and five One-day Internationals, as well as two Tests against West Indies on their near six-week trip.
Intikhab repeated his comments prior to his departure that Pakistan had the potential to be highly successful on their tour.
"The conditions in the West Indies have changed significantly in recent years, and so we believe we have the players to deal with the challenge, particularly our spinners," he said.
The visitors open the tour with a limited-overs match against the University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI on Monday at the Mindoo Philip Park in the island's capital of Castries on the northern side of the island.
St. Lucia also hosts a T20 between the Pakistanis and West Indies this coming Thursday at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, where the first two ODIs will be contested on Saturday, April 23 and Monday, April 25.

Illness forces change to Windies' ODI squad



An illness to rookie wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Thomas has prompted West Indies to make a change to their squad for the first two One-day Internationals against Pakistan.
The West Indies Cricket Board announced on Saturday that the 21-year-old Thomas, who has played nine ODIs for the Caribbean side, has been diagnosed with chickenpox and has returned to his homeland of Antigua.
Carlton Baugh Jr, the 28-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman from Jamaica, will replace Thomas in the 13-member squad.
Baugh made a return to the side for the Test tour of Sri Lanka last November, and kept his place in the side until he was sidelined by a hamstring injury just ahead of the World Cup, which was recently staged in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
He has however, recovered from the setback, and was part of the home team's training camp at the West Indies High Performance Centre for the last two weeks in Barbados.
Baugh has played 33 ODIs for the Caribbean side in a chequered international career, following his debut eight years ago.
He is easily one of the most prolific wicketkeeper/batsmen in West Indies domestic competitions, but he has failed to transform that class into the international arena.
The first ODIs between West Indies and Pakistan take place on Saturday, April 23 and Monday, April 25 at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in the island of St. Lucia.
Revised West Indies squad:
Darren Sammy (Captain), Dwayne Bravo (Vice Captain), Carlton Baugh, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Anthony Martin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Devon Smith

IPL reignites country or club debate



A Sri Lanka cricket board demand that national players involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) return to prepare for an England tour has reopened the long-running club versus country debate.


Eleven Sri Lankan cricketers are playing in the money-spinning IPL, including Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is likely to lead Sri Lanka in England withKumar Sangakkara having resigned the captaincy after the World Cup.
Dilshan plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL franchise along with fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep; Sangakkara is the skipper of Deccan Chargers and Mahela Jayawardene leads new team Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
The players have been asked to return to Sri Lanka by May 5, more than three weeks before the IPL ends.
Asked if they would abandon their respective franchise teams just as the tournament approaches its climax, Sangakkara was non-committal.

"It is up to the Indian board and Sri Lanka Cricket to negotiate on the date of our return," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"What we as players can do is to abide by the decision of our board."
The lure of easy money on offer in the Twenty20 competition where one needs to play a maximum of 15 games over six weeks has always tested the loyalty of players.
Australian Michael Clarke pulled out of the IPL in 2008, saying he wanted to focus on managing his workload and national commitments.
West Indies' Chris Gayle caused a furore when he arrived in England only two days before the first Test at Lord's as he was busy playing in the 2009 edition of the IPL, hosted by South Africa.
"We are all different and it's about who can adapt as quickly as possible and be ready physically and mentally," Gayle said at the time.
For the current tournament, explosive West Indies batsman Kieron Pollard chose to play for Mumbai Indians, owned by India's billionaire business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, and miss a series of home one-dayers against Pakistan.
New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori said the players could be spared the conundrum if an IPL window was provided in the international calendar.
"Most of the players would like for a window for the IPL," said Vettori, captain of Bangalore franchise. "A majority of the players understand that the country comes first.
"We would like to find a balance between playing for the country and playing for our franchises, so that no one misses the IPL and no one misses international cricket."
Flamboyant England batsman Kevin Pietersen has always made known his love for the IPL and admitted feeling gutted at missing this year's tournament due to an injury.
"I'm bitterly disappointed," said the South African-born batsman.
Pietersen was the tournament's most expensive player two years ago when he was snapped up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1.55 million and was due to earn around $650,000 playing for Deccan Chargers this season.

Hussey helps Chennai beat Bangalore



  Michael Hussey cracked an unbeaten 83 off 56 balls to set up Chennai Super Kings' 21-run victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.

The Australian hit one six and 11 fours as Chennai made 183-5 before restricting Bangalore to 162-7 for their second win in three matches in the Twenty20 tournament.

Bangalore, who suffered their third defeat in four games, faltered in reply as they lost three wickets for 31 runs, including that of hard-hitting Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dishan for a duck.

South African AB de Villiers top-scored for Bangalore with an impressive 44-ball 64, but received little support from the other end. Virat Kohli was the other main scorer with 35.

De Villiers hit two sixes and five fours before being caught in the deep off compatriot Albie Morkel, who finished with 2-34. Sri Lankan off-spinner Suraj Randiv took 2-24 off four overs.

Hussey, dropped twice during his brisk knock, earlier made the most of the chances to boost the innings after Chennai had elected to bat.

He added 51 for the opening wicket with Murali Vijay and as many runs for the third wicket with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Vijay made a 21-ball 31 with two sixes and three fours, while Dhoni contributed a 16-ball 22. Suresh Raina was the other notable run-getter, scoring 29 off 16 balls.

Off-spinner Ryan Ninan and South Africa seamer Johan van der Wath grabbed two wickets apiece.

The attitude of the nation has changed but will the performance of Team Pakistan change?


Pakistan cricket team received a warm welcome when they arrived from India after a defeat from India in the semi final of cricket world cup 2011. Later on Pakistan team received prizes from Chief Minister of Punjab and Sindh. They have also receive a reception from Prime Minster of Pakistan and PM has announced 1 million rupees for each player. This is the first time in history of Pakistan that any team lost in world cup receiving such welcome from this nation. The reason is that no one expected team to reach semi final and team led by Shahid Khan Afridi played some superb cricket breaking the winning streak of former World Champions Australia, beating Sirilanka in their pool match and in quarter outclassed west Indies.

My point is that the attitude of this nation has changed but will the performance of Team Pakistan change?

After 1999 World Cup this team is not changed a bit, in last 12 years we have struggled for finding a right opening combination, we have been dropping important catches at important stages which has really cost us many times, our batting always been unpredictable in last decade we have struggled in batting, and when our batting performs our bowling let us down that day, we have lost many matches which we were supposed to win at half way stage. When I see last 12 years of Pakistan cricket I am amazed that we have not changed or we haven’t tried to improve our self. I hope after the change in attitude of Pakistani nation, Pakistani cricket team will also try to improve themselves and will not repeat the mistakes which they are doing for a decade

Chance for Pakistan to make history-Routers



Karachi-Syed Moiz Pakistan cricket team has left for West Indies to play one T20, five ODIs and two Tests; and surely it is a real chance after a gap of over 40 years for Pakistan to beat West Indies at their own backyard.
Although this time the current West Indian side is much weaker as compared to past sides, which were full of big starts such as Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Clive Lloyd, Walsh, Ambrose and many more. The counting will have to be stopped but the players' list will continue. And any chance of West Indian backlash was further dampened with the axing of Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpul and Ramnaresh Sarwan. 
Without these players, West Indies will find it almost impossible to beat Pakistan, who are playing well and their morale is high after reaching the World Cup semi-final. The Pakistani selectors have almost selected the same side, which took part in the recently concluded World Cup with one or two minor changes.
On cards Pakistan will not face much difficulty in disposing of West Indies, but one never knows these Pakistanis are known for gifting relatively easy matches to the opponents. If Pakistan take West Indies easy there is every possibility of losing not only the matches but also the series as the West Indian team has the advantage of playing in front of their supporters who are known for backing their team through thick and thin.
The West Indian tracks always support both sets of bowlers as the fast bowlers and the spinners enjoy same success. The wickets in the Caribbean's are normally batting friendly but the bowlers can take advantage of the situation and early moisture on the track with their line and length. Pakistan as always enjoy upper hand in bowling department but the main area of concern for Pakistan is their batting and fielding, which always let the team down and Pakistan had lost matches in past due to their batting and fielding.
The World Cup semi-final is one such example where the Pakistani fielders almost dropped more than half a dozen catches which eventually led to their downfall. 
The PCB has retained the same team management with Waqar Younis being the coach and Intikhab Alam is the manager of the side, what wonders what they have done exceptionally which forced the PCB tom continued with them. In realty these two gentlemen had done nothing for the team, the players until now what had achieved is just because of their potential not because of coach or manager. It is the duty of a coach to take note of all the mistakes of a team on the pitch and try to remove or at least cut them in nets but in Pakistan's case the coach doesn't even bother to discuss these mistakes instead he puts blame on others. Pakistan cricket team is badly in need of a batting coach, who can help them in overcoming their mistakes and help them improve their technique.

PAKISTAN CAPTAIN SHAHID AFRIDI SETS HIS SIGHT ON ICC WORLD TWENTY20 2012



Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi sets his sight on ICC World Twenty20 2012 – Cricket news

After facing a terrible defeat at the hands of archrivals India in the ICC World Cup 2011 semi-final recently, Pakistan’s limited-over captain Shahid Afridi has set his sight on the next ICC World Twenty20 tournament scheduled to be played in Sri Lanka in 2012.
“The only way I can really overcome the disappointment of our defeat against India is by winning the Twenty20 World Cup,” Afridi said in an interview.
Afridi has said that he is focusing on World T20 2012, because he does not have any idea whether he will be able to play ICC World Cup 2015 to be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
“I would love to be around for the 2015 World Cup but that’s like four years away. That`s why I`m just focusing on the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and want us to take the right steps to ensure that we raise a team that is good enough to win that tournament,” the flamboyant all-rounder added.
Pakistan reached the final of the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in 2007, where the Men in Green fell to old rivals India, but Afridi emerged as Pakistan’s number one player in the tournament. Later in 2009, the blistering all-rounder played a pivotal role in his team’s title-winning triumph in the second edition of the event.
Moreover, Afridi was leading the side in the third edition of the World T20 championship in 2010, whenPakistan lost to Australia in the semi-final from a seemingly winning position.
Afridi believes his team has a huge chance to go all the way in the fourth edition of the hugely popular competition. “We have won the Twenty20 World Cup before and we can do it again,” the captain added.
The skipper, however, made it clear that it would not be an easy task for the team. He stated that the players have to learn from their mistakes they made in the recent ICC World Cup 2011.
  • He explained that India won the recent World Cup because they started preparing for it two years before. Afridi added Pakistan need to put things back on track now. He further cited batting woes as the team’s biggest problem, which needs to be addressed.

I am The World Champion From Pakistan. Says Amir Khan



KARACHI: British boxing prodigy of Pakistani descent Aamir Khan says as he considers himself a world champion from Pakistan and that his visit should also serve as an assurance that the country is safe for holding sporting activities.I came Pakistan to support my nation in Sporting world.

 The 23-year-old believes the world community should stop portraying Pakistan negatively because of some incidents of violence. He feels that although there has been some violence in the country, things should not be blown out of proportion.

 ‘Pakistan is a beautiful country. It is a great sporting nation. The world must support it by coming here for sporting activities. If Pakistan is isolated then the talent here will not be groomed,’ Khan told a press conference on Thursday.

 Khan, also known as ‘King Khan’ for his sensational feat at the 2004 Athens Olympics where he grabbed the silver at the age of 17 after losing to Cuban hero Mario Kindelan in the final, said he will also try to convince English cricketers to visit Pakistan.

 Pakistan has seen a slump in international sporting activities since the attacks on the visiting Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore. Cricket being a high-profile sport was hit badly when International Cricket Council shifted the Champions Trophy to South Africa last years after several countries including England refused to play in Pakistan because of security concerns, while hockey is also suffering owing to violence in the country.

 Khan, who turned professional after the Athens Games and became a sensation in the UK and his country of origin Pakistan after winning the WBA light-welterweight title last year, defeating Ukrainian Andreas Kotelnik, is on a visit to Pakistan on an invitation of Pakistan Boxing Federation.

 The world champion will watch the Benazir Bhutto international boxing tournament finals on Friday, the first international sports tournament after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers.

 Raja Iqbal Amir Khan, commonly known as Amir Khan, also a cousin of England cricketer Sajid Mahmood, says he is proud of his Pakistani roots and even considers himself a Pakistani world champion.

 ‘When I was in London to support the Pakistani cricket team at Twenty20 World Cup final, there were two champions from Pakistan – the Pakistan cricket team and the second one was me,’ said Khan who says he never faced any discrimination or racism in England because of his Pakistani descent.

 ‘I have never faced any problem, discrimination or racism. People in UK love me and see me as a fellow Briton just like the way Pakistanis see me as their countryman,’ said Khan who is also known as the ‘Golden Boy of UK’ since he became the youngest British boxing Olympic medallist.

 Khan promised he will at least fight once in Pakistan in his career but it will not be before 2011 or 2012 because of his professional commitments.

 ‘I want to promote boxing in Pakistan and I will definitely have at least one fight here in my career but that cannot be expected before 2011 or 2012. But one fight in Pakistan is something I will surely like to happen,’ said Khan in an exclusive interview with Dawn.com.

 The Briton, whose boxing idol is legendry former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, said although professional boxing was exciting, he missed the amateur version of the game as he cannot participate in Olympics being a professional.

 ‘I must say amateur boxers should come into professional boxing only after some experience, not before that,’ said Khan.

 Khan’s Dec 5 fight last year against Dmitriy Salita of the United States was seen in the Western media with much interest as he was a British Muslim while the American was Jewish. The Briton, however, says he never saw the fight as a clash between civilisations or religions.

 ‘It was all made up in the media. He (Salita) belongs to another religion but I took it professionally rather than making it a religious issue,’ said the world champion who successfully defended his title by thrashing mandatory challenger Salita in just 76 seconds in Newcastle, England, to break the unbeaten record of the American.

 Having an impressive record of 22 victories and a loss against Colombian Breidis Prescott, Khan he said would love to have Pakistani boxers train with him at his Bolton academy, adding that he expected enormous improvement in Pakistani boxing within a year.

 ‘With a younger president of Pakistan Boxing Federation and promotion of the game, I can see huge changes and vast improvement in Pakistani boxing. Boxing is a sport for the brave. You need a brave heart for boxing. Boxing is not poor man’s game in the UK. It is a rich sport. So my advice for Pakistani boxers is to work harder and aim high, and I am sure they will achieve success’ said Khan.

 Khan, however, did not agree that Britain can ever become the next Cuba in amateur boxing, saying it was not likely to happen as most of the British boxers turned professional.

 ‘No, I don’t think Britain can be what Cubans are in the amateur boxing because the British boxers usually turn professional, while Cubans don’t as they have restriction on joining professional ranks,’ said Khan attired in a white coat, jeans and boxing-style white leather shoes.

 Khan’s father Shajaad Khan said his son’s achievements came because of his hard work and his parents’ support.

 ‘We (Khan’s parents) are behind him. If he wants to box, we will never stop him. Whenever he says it’s over, we will never force him to box. But since he is into boxing, he has our support,’ says Shajaad Khan.

 ‘Amir has always been a down-to-earth kid. He replies each and everyone’s e-mails. Once he sent an e-mail to British champion Prince Naseem Hamed when he was just 11. Naseem never replied. When Amir had a chance to meet Naseem, he asked why he never replied to his e-mail. Now he (Amir) still remembers this and never forgets to reply to e-mails from his fans,’ Khan’s uncle Tahir Mahmood told Dawn.com.

 Khan will leave Karachi on Saturday for his ancestral town Rawalpindi where he will spend some time before leaving for UK.
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