Pakistan look to host 2021 Champions Trophy

Waseem Ahmed 14/02/2018
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The Pakistan Cricket Board is making a serious attempt to win the hosting rights for the 2021 Champions Trophy after original hosts India’s position got weakened due to tax-related issues.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has raised concerns over the lack of tax exemption for the tournament in India, which it said was ‘standard practice’ for any premier sporting event of the magnitude of the Champions Trophy.

The world governing body had earlier issued a press release stating that alternate venues with similar time zones are being explored. While Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the obvious options, Pakistan have sensed an opportunity and are looking to ‘host’ matches in the UAE, with the option of playing a few games in Pakistan, according to a report in the Ahmedabad Mirror.

According to the report, officials in the Pakistan establishment believe ICC will consider PCB’s offer “seriously”.

Pakistan is gearing up to host the final of the upcoming Pakistan Super League in Karachi along with two playoffs in Lahore.

International cricket in Pakistan was suspended after a 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore killed eight people and injured seven visiting players.

Pakistan’s national team has since played nearly all its home matches in the UAE. Authorities have been trying to bring international cricket back to Pakistan.

The final of the PSL last year was played in Lahore. Some foreign players made the trip, but many stayed away because of concerns about security.

That was followed by three T20s against a World XI in September, and one T20 against Sri Lanka in October – all in Lahore.

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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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