West Indies legend Brian Lara named Kerala Kings mentor-coach

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Brian Lara

Kerala Kings, one of the six franchise teams for the first internationally organised 10 overs-a-side cricket league in this region, got a boost on Monday when former legend Brian Lara was named as their mentor and coach.

Confirming the news, Dr Nawab Shafi Ul Mulk, co-owner of the Kerala Kings franchise along with Hussain Adam Ali, said: “This is a great way to get things moving after Eoin Morgan agreed to take up the captain and brand ambassador roles for the Kings recently.”

Speaking about the role, Lara said he was looking forward to taking up a role where the new version (T10 cricket) would be challenging and interesting.

The players’ draft (auction) will be held in the UAE on October 25 where over 120 leading names in the sport will be listed.

The event coined as ‘T10 Cricket League’ will be held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium from December 21-24. Nawab Shaji Ul Mulk, UAE cricket veteran and a long time supporter of the sport, came out with the innovative idea to introduce 10 overs-a-side cricket to this part of the world. It has brought in a lot of interest among the followers of both Test and limited overs cricket.

The other franchises taking part in the shortest, most condensed version of the sport are Punjabi Legends, Pakhtoons, Maratha Arabians, Bangla Tigers and Colombo Lions.

Lara holds the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004. He is the only batsman to have ever scored a century, a double century, a triple century, a quadruple century and a quintuple century in first class matches.

Trinidadian Lara, acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, registered the highest individual score in first class with an unbeaten 501 for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston in 1994, which is the only quintuple hundred in first class cricket history.

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Mohammad Amir fitness woes add to Pakistan's headache in Dubai Test

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Mohammad Amir went off the field right before stumps in Dubai.

Pakistan didn’t start well on the opening day for the must-win second Test in Dubai. Not only did Sri Lanka finish on 254-3 with an unbeaten century from Dimuth Karunaratne, Pakistan also had to contend with an injury to pace spearhead Mohammad Amir right before stumps.

Amir walked off the ground in the 88th over after pulling out of his run-up due to apparent discomfort in his leg. Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood said the team is keeping Amir under observation for a possible shin injury.

“He is still under observation. Hopefully nothing serious. Because the pitch was really hard, Amir is feeling some pain in his left shin,” Mahmood said after stumps on Friday.

Amir was one of the two wicket-takers in Dubai but his length sometimes allowed batsmen to work him around on a flat pitch. Mahmood admitted the left-arm quick could have bowled a fuller length as that is his strength.

“Unfortunately, when you play a lot of limited overs matches, your length is shorter. If you see guys who play just Tests, like Vernon Philander, their length is fuller. But those who play all three formats, their length is shorter.

“I want him (Amir), especially with the new ball, to bowl fuller. When he bowls full, he is more threatening than any bowler in our side. With the new ball, he was superb. He wasn’t lucky enough to get more wickets.”

Another headache for Pakistan is the workload of leg-spinner Yasir Shah. He barely passed the fitness Test for the series and ended up bowling 84 overs during the Abu Dhabi defeat and sent 29 overs in the first innings in Dubai. With no other frontline spinner to help him and Amir’s fitness also suspect, it’s not looking good for Pakistan. Mahmood said Yasir and the team management are making the best out of the situation.

“Yasir in subcontinent conditions is our workhorse. So he has to bowl more overs when we are playing with three seamers. He plays only Test matches and after this game he has a long break, so that’s fine.

“He likes to bowl and he is used to bowling 30-35 overs an innings. However, in the last Test and this match, he has bowled quite a lot of overs,” the former all-rounder added.

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Shahid Afridi hopes T10 Cricket League will lead to greater India-Pakistan bonhomie

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Shahid Afridi will be a part of the Pakhtoons team in T10 Cricket League.

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi can’t wait for the T10 Cricket League to start in December as that would mean a clash between Indian and Pakistani teams on the field.

Cricketing relations between India and Pakistan have remained frosty for years with political tensions between the countries depriving fans of regular clashes between the sides. India play Pakistan only at ICC events, citing government objections, and that has hurt Pakistan cricket financially in the absence of bilateral series.

For Afridi, who is the brand ambassador of the Pakhtoons team in the TCL that will be played in Sharjah, any competitive and quality cricket between the two nations is welcome.

“It is very good sign that a few Indian players will be coming here (to UAE). Pakistan and India are currently not playing together for political reasons but sport brings countries together. This is a very good sign that Pakistani and Indian teams will play against each other,” Afridi said in Dubai.

“We can only try. This is the good thing the franchisees are trying to do. Media should also play a positive role in ensuring cricket is kept away from politics. Sports is the only thing that brings countries closer. Players from both side want to play each other. I will never understand why and how politics comes in between all this.”

Former India batsman Virender Sehwag is part of the Maratha Arabians set-up while other big names could be a part of the event after the player draft on October 25.

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