Rohan Mustafa has utmost respect for new team-mate Steve Smith ahead of Global T20 Canada

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Heading to Canada: Steve Smith

Rohan Mustafa has the utmost respect for Steve Smith after the UAE captain was drafted into the same team as the exiled Australian captain for the upcoming Global T20 Canada tournament.

Mustafa will line up alongside Smith for Toronto Nationals in the inaugural competition, which begins on June 28, in what will be the batsman’s first appearance since the ball-tampering scandal.

Smith, 29, was handed a 12-month ban along with Australia vice-captain David Warner, who will also feature in Canada, for their role in the incident carried out by Cameron Bancroft in the third Test against South Africa in March.

Mustafa insists he never lost respect for a player he regards highly and is looking forward to sharing the same dressing room as the 2015 World Cup winner.

“He’s one of the best players I have ever seen in my life,” the all-rounder said. “He’s one of the best Test players and is a World Cup winner and to be playing alongside him is a very good opportunity for me. I’m very happy to be calling him a team-mate. I’ve played against him at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and have a lot of respect for him.”

Smith and Warner will be eligible to play for Australia in March following their suspensions, which apply to international and state cricket. Bancroft, who received a lighter ban, will be available for selection in early 2019.

Mustafa admits the punishments handed out were harsh but believes their international careers are not over.

“I think Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft should come back and play international cricket,” he said. “It was a very big ban which I think is a little bit unfair. I think they should have been banned for one or two Tests but not nine or 12 months.

Utmost respect for Smith: Rohan Mustafa

Utmost respect for Smith: Rohan Mustafa.

“If people continue to criticise it’s not a good thing. There have been players that have been punished before for ball-tampering but not for this long.”

Two-time World Cup-winning skipper Darren Sammy and Keiron Pollard are among the other stars in Toronto’s squad, which also features UAE international team-mate Mohammad Naveed.

It will be the most high-profile franchise-based T20 tournament that Mustafa will play in after missing out in the PSL draft previously.

He had played in Nepal and the T10 League before but believes the Canada event will be great learning curve.

“It’s a great achievement to play alongside SSmith, Sammy and other international stars,” he said. “It will be a great opportunity to learn from them and we will learn a lot of things of that which will help us a lot.

“Smith and Sammy will give ideas and it will be great to learn how to deal with the pressure, how they build the innings and these are new things that I can apply to my game.”

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Live Cricket Blog: England batsman Jos Buttler grateful for Test opportunity

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Ashish Peter and the rest of the Sport360 team are in place to provide you with the latest news, comment and analysis on all things cricket.

Our daily blog will ensure you have all the latest updates throughout the week but we want you to get involved, too.

Tell us your thoughts on what’s happening by tweeting @Sport360.

7:30 pm – Buttler thanks England management

England v Pakistan: NatWest 1st Test - Day One

England batsman Jos Buttler has thanked the England management for showing faith in his abilities as  Test cricketer.

“Someone putting so much faith in me as a real wildcard pick gave me a hell of a lot of confidence,” Buttler said.

Read the full story here.

3:30pm – Jos Buttler and Azhar Ali among the winners and losers from England-Pakistan series

The two-match Test series between England and Pakistan came to an end on Sunday with the hosts completing a thumping innings win at Headingley. With the series finishing all square at 1-1, Sport360’s Stuart Appleby takes a look at the winners and losers from either side over here.

3:00pm – Sarfraz Ahmed needs to step up with the bat for Pakistan

As the Test series between England and Pakistan draws to a close, there is plenty for both sides to retrospect. For Pakistan, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s own personal form with the bat has been horrendous in both Ireland and England. Sports360’s Waseem Ahmed comments on why the skipper needs to start leading from by example in a column here.

1:30pm – England’s Chris Woakes ruled out of Scotland ODI

Chris Woakes has joined fellow all-rounder Ben Stokes on the injured-list for England ahead of their one-off ODI against Scotland. Woakes sustained a thigh injury during the second Test against Pakistan at Headingley. Read more about this developing story here.

1:10pm – Rohit Sharma throws ceremonial pitch in Major League Baseball game

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11:00am – Shahid Afridi among several stars picked in Global T20 Canada player-draft

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9:00 am – Pakistan in-tray: What the Men In Green need to work on

England celebrate victory in Leeds.

Pakistan came back down to earth with a bump on Sunday as England claimed an emphatic second Test victory by an innings and 55 runs at Headingley to tie the series 1-1.

The hosts well and truly bounced back following an horrendous performance at Lord’s, but Pakistan can still be proud of their showing on the tour.

Here, we look at three things they need to change following their defeat.

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England must not use Test win against Pakistan to 'paper over cracks', says skipper Joe Root

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Great effort: Joe Root

Joe Root was thrilled by England’s response to adversity at Headingley but has warned their innings win over Pakistan must not be allowed to “paper over the cracks”.

The England captain had reason for cheer at last with victory by an innings and 55 runs well inside three days of the second Test.

Jos Buttler’s unbeaten 80, his second successive Test half-century, helped England to 363 all out.

Then after James Anderson took two early wickets, Dom Bess and Stuart Broad added three more each – the latter answering his critics with match figures of six for 66 – as the tourists were bowled out for 134.

England rescued a 1-1 series draw by ending an alarming sequence of six defeats in eight Tests, which had put coach Trevor Bayliss under pressure.

While the Australian spoke in a broadcast interview of perhaps reminding England in future of “what it’s like to be embarrassed” when they lose, as they did so badly in the first Test at Lord’s, Root was wary of getting carried away with one overdue success.

“It’s very important we don’t paper over the cracks and think this is going to be us (sorted) forever,” he said.

“We have to make sure we don’t find ourselves in those positions like last week.

“I’m thrilled to bits. (But) we know we’re not the finished article – this is the first step towards our goal.”

England answered the rallying call issued by Root before his home Test.

“I asked the guys to play with pride … and you saw that on the field,” he said, acknowledging that pre-match criticism from pundits – Michael Vaughan’s for Broad was particularly high-profile – might have played its part too.


“I think an element of that comes out through criticism,” Root said.

“You want to prove people wrong, and you have to have that within you to play at this level.

“We had to show a lot of character. I asked a lot of things of them, and everything I asked was delivered.

“Ultimately, you can’t ask for more as a captain.”

For him personally, a year into his tenure, the win was needed urgently.

England emerged from their long, winless winter vowing to push themselves harder than ever in preparation for each Test.

It did not pay dividends at Lord’s – but after battling back to draw 1-1, Root said: “We’ve set our stall out for a long period of time where we want to get to, and we’ve decided we want to go about things differently in preparation.

“There are a lot of long-term things that are going to have to happen for us to get to where we want. We have to give that a chance to work.”

Buttler’s innings was a big help, vindication for his return at number seven – and leaving Root wanting more.

“It would have just been nice to be able to get another cup of coffee in and sit for another hour and watch,” he said.

“That’s why he’s in the side, to try to take games away from the opposition as he did.

“We all know how talented he is, what he’s capable of – so I hope this is something we’ll see a lot more frequently from him.”

Root’s opposite number Sarfraz Ahmed had to come to terms with falling well short of the standards Pakistan set in the first Test.

He said: “The way we played at Lord’s, everything was perfect – our fast bowling was perfect, our batting and fielding were perfect.

“It’s disappointing that we had a chance to win the series, but unfortunately we didn’t play well here. I am (still) proud of my young team.”

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