Pakistan's tour of Zimbabwe under threat due to cash crunch

Waseem Ahmed 13/02/2018
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Troubling times for Zimbabwe cricket.

Pakistan’s scheduled tour of Zimbabwe later this year is in danger of being cancelled due to a severe cash crunch in the African nation, according to reports.

Pakistan are supposed to travel to Zimbabwe for an all-format tour in July-August but the Zimbabwe Cricket Board has failed to a secure sponsor for the series and is looking at rescheduling or cancelling the series.

“Finances may not allow the Pakistan series to go ahead because we don’t get a lot from our TV contract and the production costs result in huge losses,” Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Faisal Hasnain was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“Given our current cash situation, in order to balance our books, we may have to either renegotiate the format or we may have to postpone it until such time as we are ready to play.”

Before the July-August contests, Zimbabwe had made plans for a limited-overs tri-series with Australia and Pakistan in June but that too looks unlikely at the moment.

“We are looking at all of that to see whether we have the tri-series only, the Pakistan series only, or we change the format,” Hasnain added. “We are just working through, considering our options at the moment.”

According to Cricbuzz, Zimbabwe approached the ICC last week hoping to get an advance payment on their future disbursements so that they can look to host international matches.

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Pakistan's forgotten man Fawad Alam hits 149 as Karachi Whites win Regional One-Day title

Waseem Ahmed 11/02/2018
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Fawad Alam hit 149 off 130 deliveries in Karachi's successful chase.

Fawad Alam scored a brilliant 149 as Karachi Whites beat Islamabad by five wickets in final of the Regional One-Day Cup in Rawalpindi on Sunday.

The final was another high-scoring affair with Islamabad scoring 347-4 batting first. For the runners-up, Pakistan batting mainstay Babar Azam scored a fine 95-ball 105 while Shahid Yousuf remained unbeaten on 96.

In reply, the Karachi Whites were in trouble early on as they were reduced to 38-2 before a 96-run stand between Alam and Akbar-ur-Rehman (41) steadied the ship.

Alam kept going after the latter’s departure and put together a match-winning 192-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Danish Aziz (86*). In the process, he brought up his eighth List A ton before being dismissed for 149 off 130 deliveries with the Whites within touching distance of victory. Karachi won with three balls to spare.

Pakistan stalwart Babar Azam had earlier scored 105 for Islamabad.

Babar Azam scored 105 for Islamabad.

Alam was declared the player-of-the-match for his ton which included 18 boundaries.

The 32-year-old has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket but continues to be overlooked by national selectors. Alam last played a Test for Pakistan in 2009 with his most recent international appearance an ODI in 2015.

He currently has a first-class average of over 55 having scored 10,742 runs in 145 matches with 27 centuries and 57 fifties. Alam averages nearly 49 in List A cricket after 161 innings with Sunday’s 149 being his highest score ever.

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Pakistan icon Shahid Afridi wins hearts in India by rising above politics

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Afridi has many fans in India and across the world.

Pakistan star Shahid Afridi is adored by fans not only in his country but across the globe and especially in India. His fearless style of cricket has made him a superstar who continues to pull in crowds wherever he goes and whichever format or level of cricket he plays.

During the recently held Ice Cricket Challenge in St Moritz in the Swiss Alps, Afridi showed why he is one of the most beloved cricketers to emerge from the subcontinent.

After the Afridi-led Royals team beat Virender Sehwag’s Badrutt Palace Diamonds side by six wickets, the star all-rounder posed for pictures with a handful of fans who had gathered at the frozen lake that was converted into a cricket pitch.

One India fan asked for a picture to be clicked with Afridi, careful to keep the Indian flag tucked away to avoid any potential unease. However, Afridi asked the fan to unfurl the flag before posing for the picture.

That gesture has won the hearts of scores of fans on both sides of the border.

“I believe as cricketers we can set examples of how relationship between individuals can be a template for relationship between countries,” Afridi was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

“I think after Pakistan, the two countries where I have received most love and respect are India and Australia,” he added.

The other big players who featured in the unique cricket event were Shoaib Akhtar, Graeme Smith, Andrew Symonds, Lasith Malinga and Mahela Jayawardene.

Last year, Afridi was gifted an Indian jersey signed by a number of star players including Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh on his retirement from international cricket.

That jersey was later sold at an auction for the star’s charitable institution – the Shahid Afridi Foundation.

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